Asatru, Proto-Religions, and Garman's New Comments in Marklander
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This letter is a comment to an article published by Garman Lord of Theod in the Yule 2001 issue of Marklander Magazine (#57 = Vol VIII, No. 1).
Garman Lord's comments in the Yule 2001 edition of Marklander were fascinating to put it mildly. Thanks, Garman for continuing to put a bit more pizazz into this fine publication!
First, I would like to thank him for his comments explaining his use of the term "primitive proto-religion" to refer to Asatru and his comments that it could also be applied to his own religion, Theodism. He is no doubt correct in his statement that both religions will continue to evolve, at times rapidly, and that it is not clear at this point where they will go in the long run.
I would also be interested in seeing him publish in Marklander his observations on the various factions of Asatru, especially the recent developments/evolution in the Asatru Alliance and the AFA. Garman hints at much but says very little. However, he refers to them as "the two mainstream quarters of Asatru." That's hardly accurate. From my position in The Troth, the Asatru Alliance and the AFA seem fairly closely related, and I'm not sure they can best be characterized as "mainstream." That, I suppose is relative to one's one affiliations and beliefs within Asatru and is a matter of personal opinion.
However, the overall tone of Garman's letter has the effect of piling on even more smug, high-falutin' talk about Theod and more comments about Asatru that will very reasonably be taken as condescending and even insulting by many Asatruar. For instance, the claim that Theod today has "a theology as elaborated as Thomas Aquinas and an epistemology as sophisticated as Buddhism" seems to me to be a bit too much from the leader of a religion that has been around 30 years at most and whose ancient roots were, in comparison with its Norse counterparts, almost entirely destroyed. No Heathen of any sort objects to an honest boast, but this is surely excessive, especially when paired with one of his parting shots: "Butt-ugly a thing though Asatru may look to be today..."
Garman has a fascinating way of going from Harvard Don talk to guttersnipe banter in just a couple of sentences. I must admit that I kind of like it, although perhaps I shouldn't!
Unfortunately, as long as Garman chooses to express himself in the way he does, which in my opinion at least is unjustifiably looking down on and gratuitously insulting others, the relationship between Theod and Asatru will continue to be rocky to say the very least. His most recent letter amply confirms the conclusion I reached back when that "Gamlinginn, a Study in Evil" nonsense was mailed out some years back by some Theodists (I sent "my" unsolicited copy straight on to Gamlinginn, by the way): Theod has a fine catalogue that just keeps getting better. Theodists have done some fine research. Their political muckraking has died down a lot in the last few years, for which I am sincerely grateful. The letter by Garman Lord to which I am now responding is as mild as milk compared to the group's past politicking. Nevertheless, my overall attitude toward Theod remains, in the immortal words of the Winnie-the-Pooh "Heffalumps and Woozles" song: "Beware; beware; be very, very ware!" This, I suspect, is all I will have to say on the subject.
last modified 03/13/2004