The Jarnsaxa Scale is an informal scale of racial and cultural tolerances in Heathenry written by Kriselda Jarnsaxa (known as Jarnsaxa Thorskona when the scale was originally written). Please attribute any copying or publishing of this scale appropriately.
What is it?
As in all organized religions, there are issues in Heathenry where not all of the practitioners are of one mind. Sadly, one of the most contentious issues in Heathenry revolves around how open the religion is to people who are not of Northern European/Teutonic racial and/or cultural heritage. Not surprisingly, this is an issue that is very emotionally charged, and it is often difficult to conduct civil discussions on the various positions that are held. To try and remove some of the overt emotionalism that often accompanies this topic, and to try to help clarify what the range of viewpoints are, I have created a fairly basic scale that provides summaries of the most common viewpoints I have encountered or been otherwise made aware of. To that end, I’ve tried to write the descriptions from the perspective of one who holds that viewpoint, while using as little inflammatory language as possible, even at the extreme ends of the scale.
Validity of Included Viewpoints
Inclusion of a viewpoint on this scale does not mean that it is in any way generally accepted as a “valid” viewpoint by the Heathen community in general, only that there are people who call themselves Heathen and hold that particular viewpoint.
- Heathenry is an open religion which anyone can join. There are, however, certain things that must be done in certain ways, certain points of theology that must be strictly adhered to and certain beliefs that must be held. Anyone who doesn’t agree with all of these points simply isn’t Tru and can be deemed “traitors” to the Gods. One of these points that everyone must agree to is that Heathenry is open to people of all races, and those who believe otherwise are not welcome and should be actively denounced so that there is no confusion of their beliefs with those of real Heathens. I will only worship alongside those who follow the same beliefs.
- Anyone who wants to become Heathen can, regardless of racial or cultural history. Individuals have the freedom to choose any religion to follow, and I will defend and uphold that right. All are welcome to my Kindred and I will worship alongside any Tru man or woman.
- As the ties to the Aesir and Vanir are often ties to our ancestors (racial, cultural or ethnic), it is more unusual for those of non-Northern European heritage to be Heathen, but it is not impossible. I accept that the Gods and Goddesses will call to them whomever they choose and will worship alongside any Tru man or woman.
- Only those of Northern European background can truly follow the path of Heathenry. This does not imply that people of other races are in any way “less” than those of Teutonic heritage, only that they are different. All races and ethnic groups are equal in freedom to make a life of worth, and the theologies and pantheons that are connected to a non-Northern European heritage are every bit as valid and important as Heathenry. By the same token, all non-Teutonic ethnic paths are just as closed to me as Heathenry is to others. I feel it is of greatest value to follow the path of the your cultural and ethnic background, as these forces have had a great impact on who you are. Because I acknowledge and respect the validity of the various paths, however, I am willing worship with those who respect our Gods but are not of our path or ethnic group, and will certainly worship with any Tru man or woman.
- Only those of Northern European heritage can be Heathen, and Northern European races should separate from all other races. This does not imply that people of other races are in any way “less” than those of Teutonic heritage, only that they are different and that we have an obligation to keep the Northern European blood pure in honor of our Gods. There may even be merit in allying with other races who also value the separation of racial and ethnic groups and religious paths. I will only worship alongside those who are also of Teutonic heritage.
- Only those of Northern European heritage can be Heathen and the European races and ethnic groups are superior to all other races and ethnic groups. Aryans are the only true humans, and as such have an obligation to keep the racial and ethnic blood pure. If the only way to achieve this is to rid the world of the lesser races, then so be it. Only true Aryans can worship the Aesir and Vanir.
Well, for better or worse, there it is. It’s mine, and I’m going to “own” it. Just as an FYI, I’ve made one small edit. On level 3, I’d originally writeen that “it is more difficult for those of non-Northen European heritage to be Asatru, but it is not impossible.” Following a suggestion posted in the discussion at Beliefnet, I have changed it to “it is more unusual….” I thought the poster made a good point in that “difficulty” wasn’t really the best way to express that.