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Monday, 6 July 2020

Can Paganism Save Christian Europeans?

by Coady Colinson

Council of Gods in Olympus


Can Paganism work together with Christianity to save the European people and Western civilization? I am sure that it is an idea that would seem impossible, if not disgusting, to both traditional Christians and New Age Pagans; but it may be more possible than most people realize.

Christianity and traditional paganism are commonly accepted as being in opposition and bitter foes, probably because this is how they are exclusively portrayed in film, fiction, and even academic works, but this is a false conception that seems to be mainly due to a misunderstanding of what exactly paganism was and Europeans’ relationship with it. The adoption of Christianity by Europeans should not be seen as an abandonment of their earlier beliefs by the European people but as the acquisition of a layer of more sophisticated belief that was laid over their earlier and simpler belief. Europe needed the intellectual challenge of Christianity to progress to a more advanced society and culture, but its pagan god of yore still sits undisturbed in the hearts of the people that worshiped him for thousands of years; though we have largely forgotten him, and fail to recognize him anymore when we do encounter him. This pre-Christian god was never really a rival to Christ; he is a completely different kind of god and filled earthy role in matters that were beneath Christianity to deal with, and still thus has a role to play in our modern world.

Pagan Myths and Gods


All European mythologies and languages are based on a simpler common belief and language once held by a small group of proto-Europeans on the edge of Europe thousands of years ago. Eventually, as this tiny population migrated and spread out all over Europe, their myths, like their languages, began to differ as they drifted apart; but looking at their commonalities, one can still get a sense of what both originally were. Before World War I, comparative mythology was a quite exciting field led by largely forgotten scholars like Max Mueller and James Fraser who soberly and scholarly noted the linkages between myths, but could not exactly put their finger on a satisfying explanation for them. Their best guess was that myths were analogies for rituals or celestial events. These rather unexciting conclusions in more modern times have lost popularity to spacey quasi-Kabbalistic Jungian explanations like those espoused today by figures such as Jordan Peterson, which seem to have captured the public’s imagination.

The main reason that Mueller and company could not come up with a better and more conclusive explanation for what myths were about was due to that fact that so little was known about the species of men that co-existed with our ancestors, which was when the myths we know today seem to have had their genesis, at the time when they were writing. Even now, our knowledge of human prehistory and evolution is far from complete or accurate, but at least we know now of many more rival (or at least alternative and viable versions of man) that once existed contemporaneously with ours prehistoric ancestors, such as: Homo floresiensis, Homo densova, and the Red Deer Cave People. Others are bound to be yet discovered. 

The Australian Danny Vendramini has written an interesting book called Them and Us that speculates about how our ancestors might have been preyed upon by Neanderthals [1] and how the experience has long haunted our imaginations. I am not completely convinced that Neanderthals in particular were the predatory species that inspired our myths and folklore (it seems a more appropriate candidate would be bigger and more animal-like), but I accept the premise that some monstrous species must have long had a terrifying relationship with our own species, and I think Mr. Vendramini’s speculation is a step in the right direction. 

The existence of such a relationship between “them and us”, when we both would have existed on a similarly animalistic level, can be detected, for instance, in stories of “fairy godmothers” magically appearing at births, which seems to be based on early humans’ experience with a human-like, but non-human, predator that appeared when human women gave birth in the wild to make a snack of the new-born, the way jackals and hyenas wait about some herbivore about to giving birth on the Savanna. The fairy tales, as we know them of course, have humanized and prettified the predatory and savage ape-woman that once appeared to steal and eat babies into an angelic and mysterious being who takes away or claims a baby for some other benign mysterious reason.

In Greek myths, the truly monstrous beings we see playing secondary and supporting roles in myths like Cyclopes and Centaurs seem to be relics of the way that all gods were originally perceived and portrayed in a still earlier form of the myths we know; more like many of the strange half-animal Egyptian gods. The exceptionally vile man-eating behaviour of these same Cyclopes and Centaurs is what seems to have been the prime factor in preventing them from being depicted as being more human-like like the main Greek gods. The fact that Odin was described as one-eyed strongly hints at an earlier appreciation of him as a Cyclopes; an unlikely backstory was clearly invented later on to account for his missing eye. What beings like centaurs or one-eyed creatures seem to symbolically represent are beings that are half-animal and half-man, or incompletely human. Scholarly literature often refers obscurely to such beings as “liminal” beings. What our ancestors seem to have been trying to represent with these half-human beings were ape-like men, as these other species of men would have looked half-animal to them.

Our prehistoric ancestors’ idea of what god was was nothing like we think of him today. Their god was a monster, a giant with superhuman strength (as all great apes tend to have), and mankind was his prey. Man truly had reason to fear god. What made this pre-Christian god “holy” or “great” was simply his size and strength. It was a god that did not care what kind of person you were and whatever your personal shortcomings were; he did not even care if you existed most of the time, except as a possible meal. However, he was a god, that unlike the Christian god, one could actually seek out and encounter on earth and in the flesh, and his reality was never in question for thousands of years. Our pagan ancestors would have never understood the concept of a god that one never would or could encounter but had to simply believe in. 

Norse Viking Giant Wolf Fenrir Monster Beast

Why bother to believe in such a god? They had to believe in their monster god in the interest of self-preservation. Their prayers were really just simple and practical requests for permission to hunt in “his” forest and to kill “his” animals, and pleas not to be killed by him. Claiming to have a special relationship with such a fearsome god would have been the pagan priests’ source of power and prestige, and actual communication with this god seems to have been the central tenet of pagan belief. The famous Delphic Oracle is a relic of the idea that once one could communicate directly and personally with god, in this case Apollo, but the recorded accounts are of such a late date that the rite has become theatre and the god speaks through a Sybil intermediary, instead of the enquirer speaking to the god himself and being answered by him. Inspired by their priests’ real or claimed relationship with this god, tribes and nations naturally saw an advantage to claiming a relationship with the same monster as well, a god who would fight with them and kill for them exclusively, as a way to inspire their men and terrify their enemies. The giant that was once seen as the protector of the forest and its animals came to be seen as the protector of a nation and its people. It was a short step from that to claim that he was an actual member of the tribe and to depict him literally as one. The pagan god himself appears front and center in all the central myths and legends of Europe; he appears in human disguise as Cu Chulainn, Roland, Achilles and Beowulf. What made these heroes heroic, is what made the old god a god: their strength and size alone. 

No doubt, the idea that mankind spent most of its existence worshipping a monkey-man will strike many as revolting, but the disgust you are likely feeling is the exact same reason that Europeans turned to Christianity; they were embarrassed with the bad and ignoble examples their thinly disguised animalistic gods made even when depicted as perfectly human-looking. There was nothing truly heroic about pagan gods, they were self-interested, Odin sacrificed himself to himself. The most important thing about the story of Christ is his genuinely heroic sacrifice of himself for others. You cannot have a great and lasting civilization without heroic self-sacrifice and an appreciation of it. Europeans rose above having a parasitic and opportunistic pirate culture like the Vikings by junking paganism, which always seems to go hand in hand with such repugnant practices as slavery and human sacrifice.

Another bone of contention for some readers may likely have is that I am writing of a pagan European “god” rather than “gods”, as polytheism is usually seen as a hallmark of paganism. My reason for that is my own scepticism about the validity of a concept like polytheism. All the folktales and myths we have had handed down to us have been worked over by professional poets and storytellers who added dialogue, characters, and humanisations to what once were short and simple stories of strange encounters with other kinds of “men” from various locales and times. The idea that these characters represent distinct beings or “gods” is an illusion created by storytellers. The well-known gods of the Greek and Norse pantheons were just multiple local versions and perceptions of the same Indo-European monster god and were no more different from each other than a “cougar” is from a “mountain lion”, or a “puma”, or a “panther”, they are just different names for the same thing. Odin is Zeus and Thor is Apollo, and so on and so on, and I would definitely include Yahweh in any roll call of interchangeable Indo-European monster gods. It was the far-fetched fictions and dramatizations storytellers used to differentiate and humanize gods that led modern scholars to see the gods and monsters of European mythology and folklore as simply “imaginary”, and to analyse myth as literature created out of a whole cloth by the same storytellers, rather than a distillation of thousands of years old prehistoric and preliterate beliefs and experience into their final and most degraded form.

Christian Sublimation of Pagan Gods


With the coming of Christianity, the awful and terrifying god of old would be seen and portrayed by the ascendant Christian clergy with unillusioned clarity for what he basically was: not a handsome or even human-looking member of a pantheon but as simply as a semi-human demon with a tail and horns they called “the Devil”. The European common people seem to have made no strong objections to their former god being depicted as having a tail and horns, as such animal attributes would be perfectly in keeping with the oldest traditional depictions of him as half-human/half-animal. They probably never heard of the court poets’ descriptions of their gods as humans anyway out in the countryside. In the process of demonizing and downgrading the traditional European god, however, he came to be identified by the clergy with the Jew, who had already been identified with Satan in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John; and who like paganism continued to be seen as a threat to Christianity during the Medieval times. 

With this identification, the old god suddenly gained a level of human cunning and malice that were never before have been part of his personality before, as the pagan god was traditionally known to be rather dim-witted as an animal might be (think of how giants are outsmarted in fairy tales). Instead of concerning himself with questions of morality, the pagan god was always more concerned with the purely physical aspects of life that Christianity never really felt comfortable with: the provinces of war, feasting, sex, and fun. Christianity is a supremely and admirably intellectual religion but to follow it perfectly one must almost be an ethereal spiritual being, ignoring and frowning on a lot of the normal and necessary demands a physical body and a physical community needs to live and thrive. Christianity seems to have been long aware of its shortcomings in regard to the necessary physical and animalistic requirements of human physical existence, and has always discretely provided space for unchristian fun on Christmas, Halloween, and Easter, and even allowed once for the encouraging of procreation at May Day festivals, and has always turned a blind eye to Christians acting like remorseless blood-thirsty savages in wartime.


So in a sense, Christians or Europeans (which ever you prefer to call them) have never stopped, and will never completely stop, being pagans, so there is no need for us now to recreate paganism from scratch. A testament to our continuing admiration for our old god is easily seen in countless movies and stories featuring a superhuman (e.g. non-human) hero or villain with some extraordinary or terrifying killing ability like Jason in “Friday the Thirteenth” or the Clint Eastwood character in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, or William Tell or Nosferatu, etc., etc. Over and over it is the same sort of being that has a central role in our stories, a character that is definitely not Christ. Though our old feelings for our old god may be as strong as ever, we have become estranged from him and him from us as never before. Hollywood’s Spiderman, Batman and Superman do their heroic deeds as a civic duty or due to some personal grudge or grievance, and act as alienated individuals with identity issues; they do not identify themselves with a nationality or religion. Even King Kong, who actually looks like a monster-god, is an emotionally fragile Woody Allan-like neurotic, obsessed and motivated exclusively by his crush on a woman. These are the only heroes or villains we are allowed today by our elites, as the Iranian cleric Shahab Moradi recently alluded to

If King Kong was fighting for Christianity or Superman was fighting for the white race, these movies would be far more important and relevant than “entertainment,” and we would at last feel something of what our ancestors felt when they heard tales and songs of their heroes. When I hear of the pervasive depression, addiction, and suicide affecting Western men I cannot help but think that it has something to do with them not feeling a connection to a supermanly god that represents their nation. When we take children to see “Santa Claus”, we are actually introducing them to a child-friendly version of the old earthly god of our ancestors, the god you can actually meet while you are alive, but after that we sadly lose contact with him. As young men become adults they should become reacquainted with a much more adult and scary version of “Santa Claus”. I have come across an example of a not too remote ritual in which a young man forms a relationship with the god of his ancestors, an experience young men of today sorely need:
A secret society with pagan undertones has existed for centuries in North-East Scotland. It is called the Horseman’s Word; and until a young man had been initiated into the society, he was hardly regarded as a man at all…. No farmhand in 19th-century Scotland was a genuine ‘made horseman’ unless he had shaken hands with the Devil. At the end of the initiation ceremony into the Horseman’s word, after a ‘minister’ had expounded the mysteries of the Word and explained the laws and customs of the society, the novice horsemen were pushed one by one and wearing blindfolds into the ‘cauf-house’ of the barn for a ‘shak o Auld Hornie’. Sometimes the horseman’s ‘Deil’ was a man draped in a calf-skin rubbed in phosphorus, perhaps wearing a horned mask; sometimes it was a live calf or goat. In either case, the novice felt a hoof pressed welcomingly into his hand, and he was ordered by the other horsemen to shake it (Various 462-63). [2]

Europeans Need a Secret Brotherhood


What is needed for the survival of the European people and even Christianity, is such a secret brotherhood and mutual aid society for men of European stock similar to Freemasonry, but with rituals based on European rather than Hebrew lore, and dedicated to nationalism and populism. Freemasonry appears to have played a decisive organizing role in the American, French and Russian revolutions, and its secrecy was essential to its success. The way the authentic Right has been pilloried and persecuted post-Charlottesville is a useful lesson about IRL activity. A secret brotherhood would best suit the needs of the populist/ nationalist movements of this new century, as far more people would be able and willing to join such an organization. 

Young men also need an uncomplicated spirituality they can draw on for supernatural strength and feel that they should not have to not justify their beliefs to anyone but their ancestors and their war-like god. In a multi-cultural hellscape where races and religions implacably struggle for dominance, unworldly Christianity may not be able to provide the best code of conduct; we may have to resort temporarily for inspiration to our old brutal tribal god of strength, but one should never desire this to be a permanent situation or claim that this god is superior to Christ. In any revival of the worship of our ancestral god, in fact, it would probably be wiser to not identify him as a god, but depict him and refer to him as human or at least human-looking for the sake of the general, and likely hostile public, and insist that you are still a Christian, as any rebooting of paganism would undoubtedly be viewed and portrayed by the media as Satanic and anti-Christian. 

Portraying it as a cult of a militant Christian figure like Saint Maurice, Saint George, or Saint Michael the Archangel would be a relatively seamless way to celebrate our old god within Christianity. If a less religious figure is desired, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, or Augustus Caesar might be suitable as the focus of a pan-European hero cult. Probably the best choice would be a national or local military hero that men from that region could identify with. Wolfe might be a good choice for Canadians, due to his role in the birth of Canada and his magnificently depicted death. Whatever human chosen would, of course, be just the public face and name for the god, privately the god would be known to be, and presented to adepts as, a monster such as the one described the previously cited Scottish rite; his proper name would be something like “The Protector of Canada” or “The Master of Canada”. 

All this is nothing unusual; gods and superhuman beings commonly have numerous names and sobriquets, and appear in multiple guises in myth and folklore. Though there definitely a few brave people that could serve as the public face of such a movement to attract converts and to make policy clear, the vast majority of members should stay underground and anonymous. Like the early persecuted Christian church, I would recommend that gatherings for the worship of such a god be in dark, remote, and secret places, where this god has always been most fittingly worshiped anyway: deep in a woods, in cellars, or in caves at night. Such worship would be basically and simply a celebration and confirmation of brotherhood, masculinity, heroism, and shared blood and values. The object of any cult of the pre-Christian European god should be to have it eventually accepted or at least openly tolerated by the Christian church and government, which I think could be achieved, if it was seen to have a growing following and not be a threat to either. The corrupt and feminized Christian churches with their gay and female clergymen seem to be uninterested in, and incapable of, preserving Western civilization.

To reiterate, am not saying we should give up on Christianity for Paganism, I am just saying we should acknowledge the paganism we have never been able to, and never will be able to, shake off and put it to use. In its hour of peril, covert paganism may yet end up saving the West, and Christianity along with it. The time is overdue for men of European descent to seek out and shake hands with “the Devil”.

References


[1]. Vendramini, Danny. Them and us: How Neanderthal predation created modern humans. Armidale, N.S.W.: Kardoorair Press, 2009.

[2]. Various. Folk-lore, myths and legends of Britain. (2 nd ed.) London: Reader’s Digest Association, 1977.

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