Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wotansvolk flag as an Umbrella Symbol of European Neo-Paganism?

In the 1997 book 'Creed of Iron', author Ron McVan presented a new Wotanist flag (shown above). I don't see any particular reason that this flag cannot symbolize all traditional European-descended neo-pagan concerns. According to legend, Genghis Khans mother--Hoelun--handed him an arrow when he was a boy. She asked him to break it in two, which he did. Then she handed him a handful of arrows and asked him to break them in two. When he wasn't able to, she impressed upon him that alone one is not nearly as strong as part of a group; and, of course, Khan went on to conquer much of the world, but only after uniting feuding bands of Mongol tribes.

On page 142 of the book, McVan displays the powerful flag and describes its meaning, which all basically relate to "the Allfather," Wotan. However, the solar cross is the main symbol, and it can be tied to virtually every other Europagan tradition. Lets face it, the Teutonic spiritual tradition had been the most defined and widespread pre-Christian pagan tradition in Europe; and it was spread to virtually every corner of Europe at some point. OF COURSE, there were other pagan traditions! However, remember Hoelun's arrows...

The "horned god tradition," while it was also--in some form--spread throughout Europe in ancient times, lacked the definition of Odinism. Also, almost all of these spiritual traditions overlapped one another; especially as they're connected to the "wheel of the year." I tend to prefer the name "Wotan," rather than Odin, because it reminds me of the larger concept. In other words, "Wotanism" reminds me more of the mountains and forests of ancient central Europe, than it does the more Scandinavian-sounding "Odinism." The Langobards called him "Godan," but I'm thinking of what would be best in relating to the larger spiritual concept. Everything cannot be neatly packaged and presented for each one of us on a silver platter all the time!

A folkish Wiccan, for example, could very much relate to the solar cross and the two ravens. Also, there were "Wiccan-like" pagans (i.e. "Witches") within Norse and Germanic paganism. Still, we live today as if we were those feuding bands of Mongol tribes. Even within Odinism/Asatru, there is a strong factional feeling. Sometimes we need to occasionally think of the bigger picture. Remember, there were Odinists burned alongside Witches in the Middle Ages. They were viewed with the same distain by religious zealots then, or even today. This flag could be more of a "spiritual proposition concept," than an actual "organization." No concern needs to intrinsically "change," but perhaps pragmatically "expand" their spiritual scope.

The flag was designed to be a Wotansvolk ("Odin's People") symbol. Couldn't it also be a symbol of the larger Heathenry ("the people of the hearth") and/or the Pagans? A lot of areas have just a tiny handful of people who self-identify with a particular pagan tradition. Wouldn't it only make sense for them to be part of a voluntary milieu of a larger harmonious localized Europagan social construct? No matter where we live--whether in a remote area or in a large city--we still are all "the people of the hearth." Perhaps it's time to recognize that first, rather than always be factionalized in a largely artificial, negative thought-form.


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