I can’t believe how weirdly prescient it is that I wrote about what a piece of human trash Aleister Crowley actually was not long ago and then a few years later voila! Yep, no one can deny that tons of his fanboys are hyper-misogynist racist shitbags just like he was. Precisely my point. This article doesn’t even mention any of that though, even while blatantly name checking one of his high profile right wing dork devotees. Ugh, the Occult. I wish I could tell you it was cool, I really do. What I can tell you is that I’ve been geeking out on a ton of Dr. Strange comics from the 70’s lately and those are in fact awesome. Just trying to look on the bright side here. (From VICE):
“According to Fredrik Gregorius, a senior lecturer at Sweden’s Linköping University who specializes in the occult, Paganism has long been “associated with progressive movements such as women’s suffrage, vegetarianism, the labor movement, and so on.” However, white supremacist ideas have always been there on the periphery.
Russian mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is one figure whose race-related writings from the late-1800s continue to be controversial. According to Gregorius, her idea was that humanity evolved from several “root races.” “The most famous interpreters of a more racist [view] of Blavatsky’s ideas about ‘root races’ are German Austrian esoteric writers [of the early 1900s] like Guido List and Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels, who is often seen as the primary founder of Ariosophy, a development of Theosophy that saw the Aryan race as divine.” Blavatsky’s work is also admired by modern racists like Tony Hovater, the “Nazi sympathizer next door,” who was profiled by the New York Times in 2017 and worked as an organizer for the recently disbanded Traditionalist Worker Part
Modern Paganism can largely be broken down into two categories, “eclectic” and “reconstructionist.” The most well-known form of eclectic Paganism is Wicca, which was created in 1954 with Gerald Gardner’s Wicca Today and is typified by worshipping gods across various cultures. While this has sometimes been criticized for cultural appropriation, for the most part eclectic Paganism is generally progressive and inclusive. “[The founder of Wicca] was himself a Tory and quite conservative,” Gregorious told me over email, “but when Wicca came to the United States it quickly became integrated into the 60s subculture and second-wave feminism. So that created a different environment that it grew out of.”
Reconstructionist Paganism, on the other hand, attempts to recreate the spiritual practices of ancient peoples, from Norway to Egypt. Asatru, Odinism, and other forms of Heathenry typically fall under the umbrella of reconstructionist Norse Paganism, and almost all of them have racists thriving within their ranks. The SPLC recently classified racist strands of Nordic Paganism under the umbrella term of “Neo-Volkisch.”
“Asatru and Odinism in America came out of a more nationalistic environment and it also aligned itself with pre-existing cultural images of the hypermasculine Viking,” according to Gregorious. “There is a narrative that early on connected the idea of Asatru and Odinism to ideas about ethnic identity. That didn’t happened with Wicca in the same way.”
Oh, and hey, Vice is doing like a hate week thing so if you want to read about how racists have invaded atheism, you can check that too. Am I surprised here? Nope, a lot of atheists are in fact joyless condescending dicks. Again from VICE
As someone who has worked in the atheist movement for the better part of a decade, this silence scares me.
I became an atheist when I was studying religion at a Christian college, and for years I felt very alone in my atheism. So I was happy to find an online atheist community in 2009 when I started a blog that eventually led to the publication of a book that detailed my journey to atheism. For years I spoke at atheist conferences and worked as a full-time humanist community organizer.
I’m still an activist, but after nearly a decade of active participation in online atheism (a loose community of forums, blogs, YouTube channels, and fandoms of figures like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and writer Sam Harris), I mostly stepped away from the online side of atheism a few years ago. One of the biggest reasons for this was my growing concern over its failure to adequately address some of its darker currents—such as overt sexism, racism, and anti-Muslim bias.
Countless people I’ve spoken with over the years describe finding the movement through atheism’s frequently trafficked blogs and forums, just as I did. And there are of course valuable aspects of atheism’s strong online presence. Atheists who aren’t open about their beliefs—especially those living in totalitarian or ultraconservative environments where it isn’t safe to be open—can find resources that help them connect with likeminded peers, or simply feel less alone. Online forums and organizations like the Clergy Project, which offers anonymous support to religious clergy who no longer believe, positively impact people’s lives.”