Finding Kindred Spirits in Costa Rica

Heather Greene —  January 4, 2015 — 67 Comments

The Republic of Costa Rica, nestled in Central America, is a small country home to approximately 4,300,000 people. According to the country’s tourism service, Costa Rica’s small landmass “shelters 5 percent of the existing biodiversity in the entire world.” As such it has become a prime tropical tourist destination for travelers wanting an exotic or natural vacation experience. Much of that may not surprise anyone. However, what is surprising is that Costa Rica is home to a burgeoning Heathen community.

Esteban Sevilla Quiros, Blót to Óðinn in the Pagan Alliance Festival in October [Courtesy Photo]

“I have always been interested in ancient cultures,” said Esteban Sevilla Quiros. “When I was little I was fascinated with Greek Mythology and many other ancient beliefs. But one day I found the Mjölnir in a Symbol Dictionary and started to investigate more about Norse Mythology. This led me to find the Asatru faith.”

Sevilla Quiros is the goði for Kindred Irminsul, the first organized Asatru group in Costa Rica. He shared with us his experience as a Heathen in Costa Rica. “Some of my friends already knew about [Asatru],” he explained. “One day someone in a sarcastic and challenging tone told us ‘If you guys are all asatruar why don’t you get organized…’This got me thinking and I immediately replied to the others ‘why not?'”

In September 2010, Sevilla Quiros and his friends officially formed Kindred Irminsul. Wanting help and community, they reached out beyond their borders to The Troth, who answered the call. The following spring, Idunna, the Troth’s official journal, featured an article about Kindred Irminsul. Then, as Sevilla Quiros recalled, “in October 2012 we had the visit [from] Victoria Clare, former Steerswoman of The Troth, she traveled to Costa Rica and helped us out in several subjects regarding Heathenry and held a Winter Night’s blot and a Seidr session for all of us.”

It wasn’t long after establishing itself that Kindred Irminsul was joined by new kindreds. Within a year, the country boasted a total of six Heathen groups. Unfortunately, due to differences in theological interpretations, the new kindreds generally kept to themselves.

At the same time, Kindred Irminsul began reaching out to Costa Rica’s Pagan organizations with the hope of developing public works and fostering a stronger community within the Catholic nation. Sevilla Quiros noted, “Costa Rica is a Catholic confessional state. Pagan or Heathen religions are not illegal, but people get scared and call the police on you if they see you practicing in public.”

According to recent statistics,”76.3 percent of Costa Ricans identify as Catholic.” An additional 15.7 percent practice other Christian religions. The remaining 8% of the population reported being atheist or practicing other montheistic religions. Sevilla Quiros said that most of his Kindred members came from a Catholic background but passed through Atheism before finding Asatru.

The 2014 winternights blót, which was attended by 3 kindreds. [Courtesy Photo]

The 2014 winternights blót, which was attended by 3 kindreds. [Courtesy Photo]

In 2012, Kindred Irminsul and other small Pagan groups joined together to form the Alianza Pagana de Costa Rica. This alliance includes Asatruar, Roman Reconstructionists, Wiccans and Druids. In 2013, the newly formed alliance organized its first Pagan Pride Day. Sevilla Quiros added enthusiastically, “The PPD led us to re-establish our relationship with one of the kindreds we were with previously, the Volsungr Hearth. And recently, two former members and their Kindreds have [also] rejoined our projects for a greater good.” The birth of the alliance not only brought together Pagan and Heathen groups, but it also helped reunite a portion of the Costa Rican Heathen community.

Together these united Kindred have applied for legal recognition as a religious association, that will be called the Asociación Ásatrú Yggdrasil de Costa Rica. While Costa Rica is a Catholic country by constitutional law, it does allow for the practice of minority religions. With this special legal designation, Sevilla Quiros explained, “We can’t be kicked out for making rituals in public; we can get some privileges for our holidays, like getting days off or vacations for that specific date, acquire land and a building free of taxes, tax exempt donations.” If all goes as planned, the new Asatru association will have its papers by April.

Unfortunately, legal recognition will not automatically end religious discrimination for Heathen practitioners, who still remain an overwhelmingly small minority in Costa Rica. Sevilla Quiros lamented, “We still get discriminated [against] in our workplaces, public spaces and within our families, just like everywhere else, but we are not extremely harassed.”

The Kindred has also faced problems originating from within the Pagan and Heathen world. Because Asatru is so uncommon in Costa Rica, many people mistake it for a New Age practice or Wicca. Sevilla Quiros said that seekers often think “Heathenry is a witches’ religion centered on tarot and rune readings, magic crystals.” He added, “I guess this happens everywhere. It is something we have to work with every time someone new comes in.”

[Courtesy Photo]

[Courtesy Photo]

In its work and public outreach, Kindred Irminsul always stresses it’s dedication to Norse traditions. For some people, this religion, based on a mythology and history originating in a land so distant and different from Costa Rica, may be a source of confusion. Even if it hasn’t, the cultural difference and regional distance has caused another, entirely different, problem.

In establishing themselves and reaching out to the greater Heathen world, they have run into bigotry. All of Kindred Irminsul’s members are native to Costa Rica. Sevilla Quiros said that its membership is “mostly a mix of Europeans and indigenous peoples, some are white, some are brown, it is a 50/50 ratio.” He added, “We received backlash from folkish and racist Heathens several times, especially at the beginning … We decided to continue anyway. That’s where the Troth helped us out. We still get some hateful comments on Facebook but that’s it.”

In a country and a land so rich in its own natural and native spirituality, it may seem odd to some that Sevilla Quiros and other Costa Ricans are not drawn to the spirit of their own land. Sevilla Quiros explained, “I was always curious about indigenous beliefs, such as the Bribri religion, it is an animistic religion but I didn’t really feel connected to it, though I am not sure if they would let me in into their tribes.” Instead, it was the Norse traditions that fed his spirit and that of others.

But Sevilla Quiros did say that their form of Heathenry does carry a flavor that comes from being Costa Rican. He explained, “As a Kindred we might have our unique things, but I think they are mostly about the Costa Rican culture itself, the “Tico” culture and our “Pura Vida” attitude.”

Together with the other members of the Pagan Alliance, Kindred Irminsul remains in the public eye with the aim of educating the local population and bringing change to religious laws. On Dec. 4, Costa Rican channel Canal Nueve interviewed the group on its national show Universos Desconocidos.

The producers have scheduled two more appearances for the Pagan Alliance, both of which will air in January.

Sevilla Quiros has also tried to maintain his own personal connection to the international community and to the Troth. As a small country with a tiny Heathen population, resources are limited so this has always been important to him. Unfortunately he has yet to have the funds or time to travel to any large international events. In the meantime, Sevilla Quiros does what he can to stay connected. Kindred Irminsul was one of the many Heathen groups that published a community support statement in response to Ferguson.

In addition, Sevilla Quiros has published a plea on Facebook to the international Heathen community. He asked that everyone help his community grow by publishing works in Spanish or allowing their works to be translated. On Dec. 9, he wrote, in part:

… I would like to kindly ask all the heathen writers to send your books and articles for translation, it will be good for your business and it will be good for us too, We will keep your work untouched and we will be well informed … Hispanic heathenry is growing way too fast, and you can’t think that they all will learn English just to buy your book. Let’s do it for the sake of knowledge, for the sake of heathenry around the world.

As is noted in this Facebook plea and is evident by the Kindred Irminsul’s story, the population of people practicing Heathenry, and even Paganism, is growing in Costa Rica, and other countries in the Americas. While each nation may add its own cultural flavor to its religious practice, the connection to a specific mythology and tradition, whether it be Norse or something else, can bring people together from around the globe who might otherwise never connect. Kindred Irminsul now joins that extended global Heathen world.

*   *   *

Click here for the Spanish version of the above article.

 

Correction: Kindred Irminsul has applied for legal recognition together with other local Asatru organizations. The original article suggested that they did so alone. That correction has been made in the body of the text above.

Heather Greene

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Heather is a freelance writer and journalist, living in the Deep South. Professionally, she has worked for Grey Advertising Global, Coca Cola Company and GCI. She has collaborated with Lady Liberty League and has formerly served as Public Information Officer for Dogwood Local Council and Covenant of the Goddess. She has a masters degree in Film Theory, Criticism and History from Emory University with a background in the performing and visual arts.
  • Regarding the challenge needing works translated, all parties should consider Esperanto – it’s quite easy to learn and for native Spanish speakers it’s even easier. Duolingo is bringing an Esperanto for English speakers course probably before the end of the first quarter ( https://www.duolingo.com/course/eo/en/Learn-Esperanto-Online ), and pages like http://www.Lernu.net already provide great instruction in Esperanto in 41 languages. Alternatively, Duolingo provides crowd-sourced translation projects and English-language documents – if they get enough attention – could probably be translated quickly in Spanish with that service.

    • ¡Pura Vida Mae!

      Saluton, James! Ankaŭ mi estas esperantisto, kaj praktikas ĝermanan paganismon 🙂

      • Mi ne volas havi longan diskuton cxi tie, do bonvolu sendu al mi retposxton se vi volas babili! Mia retposxtadreso estas je mia G+ pagxo, kaj la ligilo vi trovos per mia Disqus pagxo. Mi ne studas gxermanan paganismon, sed mi cxiam gxojas renkonti novajn amikojn 🙂

        • dantes

          Esperanto looks fun, and I find it cute how Esperantists have developed a whole subculture around it all, but I would personally learn quite many other (living) languages before this one.

  • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

    I would like to point out that folkish does not equal racist. And this article seems to confuse the two with this quote: “We received backlash from folkish and racist heathens several times…” See more at:
    http://wildhunt.org/2015/01/finding-kindred-spirits-in-costa-rica.html#sthash.cB3pPXKk.dpuf

    No one would dare call a Native American racist for declaring that their practices based on their culture were for their people. And if someone did they’d be walking into a PR landmine and they know it, so no one says anything. But folkish Heathens are easy targets. There are some Native American tribes who will teach others, but some will not. The folkish stance is no different. But I’m no fool, I know very well why that position gets attacked and the Native American doesn’t. It’s a shame really. Not that this article was attacking the folkish stance, but it was confusing folkish and racist as being one in the same.

    • thelettuceman

      “But I’m no fool, I know very well why that position gets attacked and the Native American doesn’t”

      A bloo-bloo the world hates whites.

      • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

        You seem to think all Heathens are “white” How racist of you.

        • Your Orwellian Doublethink shows everyone anything they need to know.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            Does it? You’re the one who brought up “whites”, when the article clearly shows not all Heathens are.

          • Orwellian Doublethink. Again.

            Never said all Heathens are white~ But the Folkish position is that all Heathens should have “European Ancestry” which often translates into a “whites only” line of thinking. You know it. I know it. And you aren’t fooling anyone.

            Last comment to you. Go cry more about how “oppressed” and “belittled” Heathens are. Have to deal with this same shit in Hellenism too.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            You’re making an error in thinking. The folks who make it a “white” thing are not folkish Heathens, regardless of what they call themselves. Thus why I’m calling for a distinction to be made. And again you’re a terribly insensitive person toward people who really are treated terribly for wanting to restore their ways, whether Hellenic of Germanic.

          • Guest

            Alright alright, read this: “We received backlash from folkish and racists, I never said both are the same”, the distinction is obviously made there. Though we have received backlash from folkish organizations and their frontmen, people who represent their organization… this means that there are racist folkish who get into bigotry. Sorry but that’s the proof, maybe there’s just too many racists within folkish community.

            “We
            received backlash from folkish and racist Heathens several times,
            especially at the beginning … – See more at:
            http://wildhunt.org/2015/01/finding-kindred-spirits-in-costa-rica.html#sthash.igQGJ9PX.dpuf
            “We
            received backlash from folkish and racist Heathens several times,
            especially at the beginning … – See more at:
            http://wildhunt.org/2015/01/finding-kindred-spirits-in-costa-rica.html#sthash.igQGJ9PX.dpuf
            “We
            received backlash from folkish and racist Heathens several times,
            especially at the beginning … – See more at:
            http://wildhunt.org/2015/01/finding-kindred-spirits-in-costa-rica.html#sthash.igQGJ9PX.dpuf
            “We
            received backlash from folkish and racist Heathens several times,
            especially at the beginning … – See more at:
            http://wildhunt.org/2015/01/finding-kindred-spirits-in-costa-rica.html#sthash.igQGJ9PX.dpuf

          • Guest

            Alright alright, read this: “We received backlash from folkish AND
            racists.” I never said both are the same, the distinction is obviously
            made there. Though we have received backlash from folkish organizations
            and their frontmen, people who represent their organization… this
            means that there are racist folkish who get into bigotry. Sorry but
            that’s the proof, maybe there’s just too many racists within folkish
            community.

          • Esteban Sevilla

            Alright alright, read this: “We received backlash from folkish AND racists.” I never said both are the same, the distinction is obviously made there. Though we have received backlash from folkish organizations and their frontmen, people who represent their organization… this means that there are racist folkish who are bigots. Sorry but that’s the proof, maybe there’s just too many racists within folkish heathen community.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            Of course there are racist folkish people, just as there are racist anyone else. I really don’t think it was distinct enough. However, being that you’re the person who said it and you’re clarifying that you don’t think folkish Heathenry is the same as being a racist, I’m happy to have that statement made more clearly. So thank you.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            Ahh it was thelettuceman who brought up “whites”. Apologies. However, you seem to be in agreement with them so I’ll stand by my comments.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            In what way would you say I agree with them? I was not aware of taking sides.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            No, no that comment was in reply to Conor. (:

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            On my computer screen it was Lettuceman, not Conor, who brought up whites.That being said, we have the situation of two people accusing one another of being racist over differing assessments of the validity of connections between humans of the present day and humans of long ago. I learned my take on racism in the Fifties and Sixties, and I don’t see any trace of it in either stand per se. Can we quit using “racism” as code for “you have opinions I find hateful?” Or am I just being a starry-eyed liberal Boomer again?

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            Yeah I caught that too and addressed it, and thank you for catching it. I would stand by my use of racist in this instance because Conor is deliberately writing off an entire group of people based on their ancestry as having legitimate claims to restore their faith for their people, yet he does not apply this thinking to others, like Native Americans. This is racism, pure and simple. It’s OK for that group to do it but not this other one? Racist. Where as there is absolutely nothing racist in the folkish position. And for the record, I am not Heathen, Asatru or anything of the sort. But I have studied it in depth and feel it necessary to make corrections in faulty thinking when a faith is being misrepresented, as I feel this article did, which I mentioned in my original post.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Reading Conor between the lines I think his distinction is the quality of continuity rather than racial. That it disproportionately affects some racially-identified groups is not unique. (note: this is interpretation, not my thinking!)

          • Daikan

            Danielle Amourtrance Verum to expand in what Esteban Sevilla said about the backlash and to give an example: I’m an asatruar from Mexico, and in the clans and kindreds that we have formed, we have been trying to contact several authors from different parts of the world for permission regarding the translation of their texts, books and articles for those of us in Latin America that only speak spanish.
            We have contacted authors all across the board from Asatrú, Odinism, Theodish, Folkish and many other denominations of Norse Heathenism; and we have received answers all across the board: from helpful to hateful and downright denigrating.

            I leave you these verses:

            My name is not my own,
            It is borrowed from my ancestors,
            I must return it unstained.

            My honor is not my own,
            It is on loan from my descendants,
            I must give it to them unbroken.

            Our blood is not our own,
            It is a gift to generations yet unborn,
            We must carry it with responsibility.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            Perhaps you missed my point in the post so I’ll restate it here. Folkish Heathenry is not the same as racism, nor being a folkish Heathen the same as being a racist. I’m sure your replies have been varied, some probably very negative. But that doesn’t change my point, which the author of the original comment clarified as well, that folkish Heathenry does not equal racism. As for the verses you mentioned, well said. So are you seeking the ways of your ancestors from which your name is borrowed? Are you honoring the blood in your veins? Or are you seeking the the ways and blood outside your own? I don’t personally care either way, but I find your choice of verses interesting.

          • Johan

            Hi Danielle, a direct question: do yo agree that Latin American people (mostly of mixed race) can practice Asatru and any other European Heathen religion or not?

          • CindyWoodruff

            Sorry, but you’re wrong on that one. Many racists have adopted the term ‘folkish’ to describe their beliefs. I would agree that not all folkish heathens are racists, but some are, and to say that none are is quite disingenuous considering how loud those folks tend to be.

          • dantes

            Can someone tell me where those verses are from? One thing’s I can say for sure, those aren’t written in dróttkvæð.

    • Equating Heathenry, a broken-tradition no longer tied to a surviving culture, with Cherokee, Pawnee, Waxahachie, etc, practices and customs is foolish.

      Heathenry is not “their practices based on their culture” because the culture that contained those practices is dead. Any American or Canadian claiming “it is based on our culture” is being doubly dishonest. We are so many generations removed from those practices that an argument based on heritage cannot be made.

      Folkish is just thinkly veiled racist stances and ideologies. Odinia ring any bells?

      • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

        Remember that the Germanic peoples of old were the victims of cultural and religious hatred and persecution. Faulting modern day persons for having a broken line to their ancestral faith is a fairly awful and insensitive thing to say. Modern day folk are trying to rebuild some of their cultural ways and practices and shame on you for disrespecting them. Native Americans, who also were victims of religious hate and persecution and who also lost much of their spiritual heritage, are doing the same and do not allow others into their groups…yet you do not criticize them or label them racist. I find your double standard to be problematic.

        • Haha, the fact that you continue to equate the reconstructionist efforts of Heathens with the various religions of native tribes demonstrates further that you have no idea what you are talking about.

          Heap all the shame on me you want, I have no respect for Folkish Heathens what so ever. Their premise is faulty and ignorant and completely glosses over the fact that those “cultural ways” have been completely dead and lifeless for several centuries.

          I’ll say it in a more unambiguous way. Screw Folkish Heathenry.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            You’re a fairly unpleasant if not downright hateful person when it comes to your views. An entire culture of people is stamped out by another and you can think of nothing better than to heap insult upon injury upon modern people who would like to see those ways restored. And you deliberately exclude folkish Heathens as recons. I can think of no other reason for this other than your own racist and hateful views toward people who don’t agree with you, or you have some need to be approved of. It’s very fashionable to trash folkish Heathens in the Pagan community, just as it’s currently fashionable to trash Muslims in the wider world and equate all of them with violence and terrorism. I am not so idiotic as to fall into such nonsense. You however seem to have bought it all.

          • Go QQ some more.

        • dantes

          Total support. I can’t stand people who want to shut down debate by vilifying their opponents.

        • JosserDawn

          Danielle, although I understand what you’re saying the issue is that, on one hand is not fully truth. First; people react badly to racially exclusive religious groups of all races, maybe Native Americans are an exception but every Black supremacist group like Black Panthers, Black Muslims and Nation of Islam will have the same rejection than White’s, and also Jewish supremacist groups like the Kach and the Jewish Defense League, so is not so truth that only White groups are the targets.

          Second, while many positive non-racist White European folkish groups does exist, is perfectly undestandable that people see them suspiciously, can you blame them? after decades of violent racist White European groups like KKK, the German Volkish Movement, Nazism, etc., is natural that people respond like that at first. No violent Native American gruop has ever being important or kill a lot of people, and they’re the minority so is not really scary if a lot of them have racist views so is natural that they don’t worry on those cases. Is the duty of the positive European Folkish groups to gradually change the popular image left by KKK, Hitler, and etc.

          Third, I’m not sure how true is the assertion that Europeans can’t be actively proud of their heritage and show it, I mean, US have Italians, Irish, Spanish, Germans and other white ethnies having pride parades, cultural associations, exclusive clubs, and so on. May be what is not very well recieve is a “Caucasian only” club or “Caucasian pride” group, which obviously will be suspicious.

          So is really a problem be a Germanic Folkish? Not as much as be a Black person that follows an African-base religion and thinks is for Blacks only, so.

          • dantes

            That makes a lot of sense.

        • CindyWoodruff

          No, actually its your inability to distinguish between colonizer and colonized in formulating what you (falsely) consider to be a ‘double standard’ that is more problematic than anything else. There’s absolutely no comparison, sorry, and trying to assert such a ridiculous false equivalency does nothing for your cause.

          • dantes

            To be fair, christianization was a bloody process. It did not always include the same kind of political domination that accompanied christianization in the colonized world but it was, in some ways, a process of cultural annihilation whose scars still ache in the soul of modern Pagans.

      • Myra Esoteric

        I just heard about Asatru recently, but I know that if for example, a Chinese spiritual order such as Taoism, barred people from joining due to race/ancestry, it would be condemned as racist.

        I am just mentioning the attitude in my culture, but I’m personally not religious.

        The people I know about in the US who believe in a spirituality limited to their ancestry are more the guys who combine Islam with ancient Egypt and Malcolm X, and a lot of people dislike this crowd.

        • dantes

          That sounds interesting ! What about Ancestor worship, how does it work in China?

    • I had the impression that what they were saying is that they had received backlash from folkish /and/ racist heathens. As in, two separate, unrelated groups, and the exact reasons for their upset not provided in the same sentence.

      • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

        Beautiful article. Thank you for sharing it. Sums up my thoughts on so many things.

    • Northern_Light_27

      This debate is so ten years ago. Go here, read this, understand the origins of the word “folkish/Volkish” and if you’re not racist, pick a different word! https://www.facebook.com/notes/asatru-heathenry/folkish-heathenry-a-commentary-by-josh-rood/10152892056492612

      • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

        Link says content not available. But I already know how folkish came into use and it has never had anything to do with racism. Here is a link to an AFA Facebook post (so you may have to be logged into your FB acct to see it) that explains folkish. The founder of the AFA is one of the first movers and shakers of Asatru in America and so he one of the best sources out there as far as what folkish is and was well involved in the Heathen movement when folkish became a word to distinguish one type of Heathenry from another. So if anyone gets to say what folkish is, it’s this guy. https://www.facebook.com/Asatru.Folk.Assembly/posts/487237578018244

        • Northern_Light_27

          McNallen is your source? Oh dear. Okay, excerpt from Josh Rood’s post:

          “I think two terms that often get confused are “Folk Religion” and
          “Folkish Religion”…yes…there is a difference. It’s actually huge. In
          short, Folk religions are just ethnic religions (Ethnicity is NOT
          synonymous with “race”. Believe it or not, an American of German Descent
          and a native German living in Berlin are not the same ethnicity.) Due
          to the rise of “Folkish movements”…again…scholars are actually
          beginning to try and find other ways to define folk religions. You’ll
          see “ethnic religion” sometimes, but then members of the different
          “Folkish” movements have tried to use that definition (I’ll touch on
          that)…so now we see definitions like Jame’s Russell’s “Primary
          Religions” VS “World Religions” where “Primary Religions” are..in
          short….”ethnic” religions but under a term that’s not so easily
          misappropriated.

          Onto the word “Folkish” as it relates to religion.

          Let’s
          call it by it’s original term..Volkish (Völkisch). It began in the
          1800’s in Germany. It’s history is a bit complicated so I don’t want to
          get into that. But it rose out of Romantic Nationalism, it was a bit
          decentralized for a while but by the 1900’s it was already pretty well
          full of elements of “Racial purity/fatherland/betterment of Race
          Nation”.

          The Nazi movement was quite influenced by the Volkish movement, and the two are quite interconnected.

          What
          does this have to do with people today calling themselves “folkish”?
          It’s entirely relevant. The reason the word is floating around is
          because of neo-Völkisch movements since WW2 both in the US and Europe
          who have continued to blend Volkish ideology (Varying degrees of white
          nationalism) and neo Paganism (Romantic views of ‘our unchristian
          fathers’=”Ethnic religion who’s rituals reaffirm the identity of the
          Race and it’s figureheads…mostly Odin…poor Graybeard).

          We can
          say that “Odinism” stems from Alexander Rud Mills, a one time Nazi
          sympathizer turned critic (BUT who was ALWAYS pro “aryan” or “white” and
          a mouthpiece for what we can basically sum up as white nationalism.) It
          was later used by Else Christiansen in the 60s….who….was actually
          quite the communist….a Racial Communist, who relied heavily on Jung’s
          archetype bullshit, and who proclaimed that oh so popular phrase “The
          religion is in our genes.”

          Those are the origins of Odinism.
          Those are the origins of “Folkish religion”. Since that time Folkish
          movements have continued and they never stray far from what is described
          above.

          “Folkish” heathen movements might vary in how outright
          they are, but they are always for some form of “White, Germanic
          nationalism, headed by Germanic gods”. It’s HUGE in the white
          supremacist movements….Just talk to an outright white
          supremacist…not a backwords hillbilly. A Hammerskin, or a skinhead
          who’s part of a group. OH how they know what “Folkish” means.

          ************************************

          I
          know the word has become popular lately…mostly due to the simple fact
          that human beings hear words and re utilize them… Once upon a time I
          was told that because I love Odin so much that I was an “Odinist” and I
          thought “cool word…yep…Odinist.”…I even reused it a couple times,
          before I realized where the word comes from and the greater movement
          connected to it. I will never refer to myself as Odinist again.

          “Folkish
          Heathenism” is intimately connected to the above movements. Now as I
          say this I would like to ask everyone to remember what I said at the
          beginning….please don’t personally associate with any word I’m using.
          I’m describing movements. I am not saying “Person A said he’s
          Folkish…he must be a white nationalist.” That’s not the case….if it
          was there would be no reason to write this giant ass post…the point of
          the post was to try and shed some light on the origins and development
          of “Folkish Heathenism”

          When people attack “Folkish Heathenism”,
          this is why. The problem is that terminology has become INCREDIBLY
          gray…as stated above. But I think we need to look at terminology
          again.”

          That’s the origin of your term. Like I said, if that’s not the association you want to have, pick something else.

          • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

            Aaannnd there’s the Nazi reference. Which pretty much means you have nothing much else to say. Bye bye.

          • dantes

            I find this post very hard to read. But I would agree that McNallen has said some dumb shit over the years.

        • CindyWoodruff

          You’re kidding, right? McNallen’s one of the most notorious racists out there. If he’s your source, you just threw your own credibility right out the window.

    • Myra Esoteric

      Dude that’s like saying it’s rational for people in India to be bothered that people in Thailand and West Hollywood are practicing Buddhism, or that people from Saudi Arabia should be irritated that people in East Africa are practicing Islam.

  • This is amazing!

  • Tracie Holladay

    Costa Rican heathens and heathen reading material in Spanish. Awesomesauce. 🙂

  • sindarintech

    I guess worshipping Nordic gods is no weirder than worshipping a Jewish one. Makes me wonder, though, why they seem to have ‘no connection’ to their own. Perhaps it’s a remnant of Spanish colonialism.

    • AndrasArthen

      Those “remnants” of Spanish colonialism actually represent the core elements of the mainstream cultures throughout the twenty countries that compose Hispanic America. To people in the U.S., the idea that some Costa Ricans (or possibly any Hispanics, for that matter) would be drawn to Ásatrú might not make a lot of sense at first blush; yet, Ásatrú is rapidly growing not only in Costa Rica, but in Spain, in México, in Argentina, in Chile, and in several other Spanish-speaking countries. Part of the reason for this is that some Hispanics feel an ancestral connection — both cultural and genetic — to the Visigoths who ruled over most of the Iberian peninsula in the time of Late Antiquity. Granted, it is a very remote ancestry, but to the people involved, it’s a meaningful one.

      • dantes

        You are right, most Western and even Southern Europeans do have Germanic ancestry and probably, down the line, Heathen ancestors.

        I just find it a bit strange that everyone is simply trying to reconstruct the same, late Xth/Early XIth century Norse/Icelandic practices while it only applied to a rather short period of time and to a limited area.

        • Tracie Holladay

          Well, my husband focuses on a specific place and time simply to streamline the entire process. It makes life easier. 😉

          • dantes

            I have to admit that I don’t really understand what you mean by “streamline”. Sorry, English is not my native language.

          • Tracie Holladay

            It makes things simpler. He doesn’t have to jump around from one period to another, and he also doesn’t have to alter things in his practice or any of the tools he uses as a result.

        • It’s no doubt for fairly practical reasons—the Norse/Icelandic sources are plentiful and give a good deal of information about pre-Christian Norse religion, while other Germanic peoples’ pre-Christian religions weren’t so prolific in terms of written evidence.

          • dantes

            You’re both right, and as (if I’ve understood correctly) these groups aren’t Folkish, it makes sense. It would be much much weirder to see people claiming ancestral rights of worship ending up imitating rituals of their great-great uncles once removed.

      • Daikan

        It goes beyond Spanish colonialism, and to give an example I repeat the words from my german teacher (she teaches german and is from Germany) when she asked me about my beliefs: “It’s interesting that many germans are attracted to native american beliefs and that people from Latin America are attracted to native european beliefs. I guess you sometimes have to go to a foreign land to find that which you believe in.” She is a german inmigrant in Mexico, and has been living over here for about 27 years.

        And I put myself as an example: I was a “Conchero” or “Danzante”, a modern form of aztec religion centered around ritual dances. But after years of practicing I realized it was not for me. Then I found Asatrú. And it is more akin to my character, my personality or, my spirit.

      • Johan

        Well the article also said that besides Asatruar they also have Roman, Druid and Wiccan groups among the Pagan Costa Rican community, being closest to the Latin and Celtic Spanish heritage. Nevertheless I do agree with the aforemention Visigoth connection which is also valid.

  • I think it is very appropriate that this Kindred is named “Irminsul”, the religious symbol sacred to the Saxon people, and destroyed by Charlemagne in 772 AD as part of his Jihad against Heathenry. Few peoples ever more fiercely or more successfully resisted Christianization than did the Saxons. It is far more important for us to identify with our spiritual ancestors than with our biological ancestors.

    • When I first saw an Irminsul, it reminded me strongly of the fancier designs which support the Scales of Justice.

  • ¡Pura Vida Mae!

    ¡Pura vida, Esteban! Folkish is sometimes taken the way some take tribalist. I consider myself folkish, that is to say, I would raise a horn with whomever is a part of my group/kindred, regardless of their heritage, if they are a part of the group, that’s all that matters. Many take folkish to mean of a particular color or race, white. Those who use the term in that way have very little understanding of how tribal based cultures have worked for the most part since forever. Even among ancient Heathens, people could be adopted into a tribe and thus became part of the folk, their color or ancestral heritage did not matter. It might have been rare, but it happened, just as we have seen with Native American societies. So, that’s what I mean when I say folkish. Unfortunately, a lot of racists also use the term folkish, which is why many non-racist Heathens seem to be using the term tribalist now. So, that’s part of the confusion with folkish and racist: a great many who call themselves folkish are racist, but not all, even within Heathenry these terms are contentious.

    I run into the comments all the time of ‘Why would Hispanics and/or Latinos want to be Heathens. Well, FFS! Look at some history! Everyone soul on the planet who is Hispanic also has Germanic ancestry (again, not that heritage or race should even matter 1 solitary f^@#!), but even for the racists, they seem to be unable to understand even a basic history lesson. Plus, we know that the northern Europeans were all over the place and mixed and mingled and rolled around in the hay with, well, everyone!

    And don’t even get me started on the definition of race (as we use it today, a completely modern social construct that is a direct inheritance of the Colonial Period).

    I lived in Costa Rica a lifetime ago, loved it there! At the time I had no idea any other Pagans were even there, but then again, that was pre-Internet 🙂

    • Johan

      I love this comment

  • Angus Cairnie

    It is unfortunate that some people attempt to impose 19th century ideas about “race” onto a culture that predated those ideas and appear to have shared none of them (that myth with Heimdall notwithstanding; it’s not really talking about race anyway, just class). Respect and hail to Kindred Irminsul!

  • Steven T Abell

    Hail the Heathens of Costa Rica! I am happy that The Troth was able to help.