Over the past year, and especially since the Frith Forge conference in Germany, I’ve noticed increasing use and discussion of the term “inclusive Heathenry.”
It often seems more of a rebranding than a revolutionary concept. Practitioners of Ásatrú and Heathenry have long taken sides over issues of inclusion, with some taking hard stances on either end of the spectrum and many situating themselves in a complicated middle ground. The battles that have raged for so long have been between positions that were often defined by the other side. The universalist position supposedly said that anyone could be Heathen – no questions asked. The folkish position supposedly said that only straight white people could be Heathen – with many questions asked.
TWH – Some people believe that religious beliefs necessarily transform people and eliminate bad qualities such as prejudice. However, prejudice forms one of the core beliefs of white supremacist Odinism. Mass incarceration has provided white supremacists a place to recruit alienated white prisoners, which has created a toxic mix. Recently, The Wild Hunt interviewed Rory Bowman about white supremacist Odinism in prison. Bowman is the chaplain liaison for Heathen Prison In-Reach Services of the Troth, an international organization that promotes inclusivist Heathen traditions, or those that do not endorse such prejudice or similar beliefs. What is white supremacist Odinism?
TWH — Sex, gender, and race issues are churning among Heathens. For example, Declaration 127 was published at Huginn’s Heathen Hof as a denouncment of bigotry seen as the official position of the Asatru Folkish Assembly. The formation of Heathen Women United occurred in early 2017. That summer, the Twitter hashtag #HavamalWitches began to appear in social media. Most recently, late last month Heathen Men United was formed in response to misogyny and toxic masculinity; we turned to its organizers to learn more.
From Oct. 5 through 8, Frith Forge 2017 will be held in Petzow, Germany. Organized by the Troth’s International Relations and Exchange Program, the event is designed as “an international conference among inclusive Asatru/Heathen organizations and individuals.”
According to the official website for the October conference,
Frith Forge is the space and time on an international level to build alliances, understanding, and friendships among us instead of compartmentalizing further in an industrialized world. Let’s learn from each other with respect and fellowship to forge frith [Old Norse “peace”] among us. Together we can enjoy this opportunity to discuss inclusion in religion and to promote cultural, religious, and educational exchange.