Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Intentional Heathen Migration - An Ill-Conceived Idea

When we discuss Heathen communities...and actually working to establish physical Heathen communities, there are several ways to go.  Jotun's Bane Kindred is working enormously hard at gathering the funds necessary to buy tribal land here in the Midwest.  We will then build a Hof and Hall on our land and some of our kindred will live there as part of an intentional community.  This plan has a local grassroots focus, but will also provide a resource here in the Midwest for heathens in our region.  It is based on the strength of our tribe and the frith we share with one another.

Currently, there are Heathens on Facebook and the internet, proposing several different versions of what I would call a "planned heathen migration."   Basically, the concept is to choose a location somewhere in the country or the world, and then a bunch of Heathens move there and sort of slowly take over the town or county.  Some of these plans involve forming a "Heathen Homeland."  This concept does not have a local grassroots focus, and is somewhat ill-conceived.  

Personally, I would not and could not uproot myself to move to such a community or "homeland" for the following reasons:

1.  My Kindred is here in Kansas City.  I would never leave that.
2.  My kids go to good schools here.  I moved to my current house specifically so they could go to these schools.
3.  My career is here.  I have been a police officer since 2003, and I am less than a decade from retiring.
4.  Our famlies and friends are here.  We have roots, connections, and bonds here in Kansas City.

Jotun's Bane Kindred does plan on establishing a Heathen community right here where we are. But, it will be based on knowing one another...and having close bonds. In other words, it will be as safe and stable as we can possibly make it for our families.  We all have history with one another. Other Heathens can get to know us over time, and join the community, but again...that takes bond-building, time, and trust.

One of most important decisions about establishing an intentional community, is deciding how it will be populated. If it is on private property...and some controlling authority (an owner, a Kindred, etc.) decides who moves there and who does not, then it is possible something like this could work.

But the "planned migration" model proposed so often on the internet seems to have a "build it and they will come" mentality to it. It is this idea that you can announce a town or county, and then a bunch of Heathens move there and sort of take over. In this model, I do not see how anyone could control the sorts of people who move there. It is a complete crap-shoot.

Who will come to this sort of community? Let's assume for a minute that people really put their money where their mouth is, and move there. Let's move beyond the wishful thinking and internet-commitments, and assume there are Heathens that actually pack up everything they own and move there. What sort of people will they be? We cannot say for sure.

But, my first worry is that it will be mainly people who are rootless. People without jobs...or at least good jobs...where they currently are. People without families. People without any real ties, or friends, or Kindred where they are currently located.  What good will come from a Heathen community or nation made up of rootless people who were incapable of forming or maintaining a stable life of worth prior to their migration?

My second worry, is that many of the people we will not associate with will move there. People who currently work to twist and misuse our ancestral Folkway would certainly be interested in taking advantage of such an open invitation. White supremacists, chaos-bringing Jotun worshipers, and people of little worth. The wide-open model of populating such a Heathen community, has no real way of preventing these elements from flooding to the area.

My final worry, is that withdrawing from the world by planned migration into a purely heathen community or nation, we are withdrawing from the world and reinforcing our position as a "fringe" religion.  Our ancestors did not withdraw from the world. They were constantly traveling out into the world...interacting and trading with others, exploring, and adopting ideas and concepts they liked. They had a clear idea of Innangarth and Utangarth, but they did not withdraw from the world.

Based on these three concerns, I would not be able to participate in such a wide-open effort at populating a community, or purposely migrating to a community or nation. I will not expose my family or children to that. I do not gamble with them. The intentional community we build in the Midwest, will be people we know personally. People we trust, and who trust us. But that is our choice. Our approach.

Obviously, other heathens will have differing points-of-view on this.  So, this post should not be considered a personal attack on those putting forward plans for a "planned migration.”   I simply wanted to share my concerns and ideas about the various "planned heathen migration" models, and illustrate how our plans for an intentional community are enormously different.  If the "planned migration" concept is a good idea, I am sure my thoughts and concerns about it will not really have any impact on it what-so-ever.

One thing I do worry about regarding the various grandiose internet plans and efforts that are constantly starting and failing on Facebook, is that they burn people out.  One month people are all fired up about a "new National Organization" that is starting...and the next month that effort has faded away or fatally crashed.  A couple of months later, people get all fired up about a "new Heathen Nation" that is going to be formed...and the next month no one is posting in that Facebook page anymore.  And as each grand, grand effort starts (on the internet only) and crashes on the digital reef of meaninglessness, I think it has the tendency of disillusioning Heathens and making them cynical.

The key to success for any Heathen effort, is building something meaningful and real, with flesh & blood people whom you actually know and trust.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

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