Further Adventures in Facebook Slavic Paganism

I’ve posted before about this, I think 1 or 2 times. Really, I’ve also posted a time or two about my experiences with tumblr; which really both of them are highly problematic. I’m not fond at all of the loud-spoken issues and types that sometimes post across these platforms. But then again, as the person I am, that’s not surprising.

But really…it’s just getting exhausting for me to try to deal with the outside community.

There’s this sense of “Slavic superiority” that permeates a lot of these groups and forums. Which I get, people are proud of their culture and heritage. That’s not an issue. I really don’t mind that. Pride in where you come from, your culture and the like are all things I understand. I am proud of where my family came from, so I really do understand it. But then, given recent historical events and political movements/leaders, there is a fierce tendency among loud, outspoken Slavic purists to push their Slavic superiority and denigrate other peoples.

Especially Germans and Germanic people. This is highly insulting and frustrating for me. Not least because I am about 1/4 German. I look like I’m Czech (which really I am, so whoot). While I was in Germany, living for a year and studying history and German — I was constantly mistaken for being a Czech uni student. And the whole year I was in Germany, even with people constantly mistaking me for Czech, I was always treated with utmost politeness, kindness, and respect. I lived first-hand what it’s like to be a “Slav” in Germany; and I got treated with more respect than in most other times of my life. Not once was I ever disparaged for being Slavic. No one cared, except to ask about where in the Czech Republic I had come from; which I always had to explain I am actually American. But still! I was always treated well and great. But then there’s this huge subset of purist Slavic pagans (and Rodnovers) who insist on crowing about how they’re superior to the Germans, how Germans are horrid people, etc ad nauseum. Which insults me not just because of my family heritage — but also because I lived there and know very well that people in Germany are polite and generally don’t care where you come from.

I’m not going to post a bunch of photos this time. There’s no need. It’s more of the same kinds of things I posted last time: people bitching about “non-Slavs” participating, or whining about who is and is not actually Slavic…and lots of hyper-national griping about people not living in Europe, in the “correct” country being interlopers who don’t deserve to practice or worship.

Just suffice to say that this time around, I got to read a lot of people (read: Eastern European Rodnovers) griping about how Germans are “ruining” Rodnovery and that Germans shouldn’t be allowed to practice. By “Germans” they of course mean anyone with any German heritage at all; for example, people whose families might have mixed in the Sudetenland of the Czech Republic, or German families who mixed up in Russia during the Empire, before the fall of the Romanovs, just to name 2 particular examples. Oh, and the further, laughable comments that only pure Slavic people living in the Old Countries should be allowed to follow the practices and worship the Slavic gods. That in itself is hilarious and stupid–because quite frankly, not everyone’s family had the option, luxury, possibility or ability (take your pick of the word most applicable) to remain there during the tumultuous last century. For example, my family, according to one family story, had to leave due to economic and political problems during the early 20th century. Of course, another story from another branch of the family is that there were dangerous things happening back then, and so some of the family fled to make a living and send support back home. Now, I don’t know which of these is true (or if any of the old family “legends” I’ve heard are)–but it does highlight a point. How many people’s families have fled from political upheaval? There’s nothing wrong with that, as I’ve said before.

So I am particularly unhappy with these attempted forays into spending time in online community with others. I am an American of Slavic heritage; my family did come in large measure from these countries. But I am also a German-American, and I am proud of that, too. It makes it difficult for me, since I cannot help but feel utterly unwelcome whenever I’m trying to participate in discussion. The vitriolic hysteria some Rodnovers have towards anyone who isn’t pure Slavic participating has really, admittedly sucked the fun out of these groups.

I’ve pulled back to where I browse for good articles. I don’t participate in discussions, and I only skim the chats that have happened; because at this point a good 80%+ are going to be annoying or just rude to read.

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I'm a bibliophile who loves collecting books. Definite cat person. Amateur historian and major geek, who loves all things Tolkien and Star Trek. I'm also fluent in German.

7 thoughts on “Further Adventures in Facebook Slavic Paganism

  1. You were being the wonderful person you are ;-). It is an insult to be asked if you are an American (the question tells you that your behaviour is not up to snuff). When I was in Italy I was always always complimented by not being asked if I was American.
    What absolute (cannot be polite here)! Borders were so fluid for hundreds if not thousands of years. Prussians can even be said to be actually Slavic. GRRRRR The inner Siberian Tigress is mad now. Severe shredding will commence as soon as I find my vic…….

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  2. It is so fiercely mired in nationalism that Human Rights Watch is monitoring the Slavic pagan community. Rodnovery is very strange to me, as it’s a modern monotheistic religion. I have a file on Slavic polytheism (I can email you what I have). There’s been attacks on Jewish people and Russian Orthodox Church because others were treated so poorly by it. I can understand how this could happen. Under the USSR no one was allowed to have any cultural history or identity of any kind there was just the Soviet worker. Everyone’s heritage disappeared. That has resulted in a lot of chaos across Asia and Europe. So if you had your heritage officially destroyed and were not allowed to retain any of it except in secret and you were a second-class citizen for being Slavic but not Russian and then the Western neoliberal money never showed up as promised there is a big backlash against globalization . And the religions have become very tied into nationalism. When we look at fascist party in Hungary ( I know that they’re actually Fino-Uragic) they are using the Slavic sunwheel as Hitler used the German one. Whenever a people have their heritage treated incredibly poorly when they start to feel better about themselves they almost inevitably become nationalists who treat other people poorly. Germany after World War I is a really good example. What is pretty amazing is what you have said, there is very little that we actually know about Slavic mythology. Rugen Island I find interesting. In my Indo-European studies I never really looked at Iran. Obviously for the Slavic parts I am seeking I’m going to have to start studying Iranian. The Zoroastrian stuff I just don’t like since it is the beginning of monotheism. But there’s obviously a lot of connections. It seems very strange that people from the Czech Republic would be xenophobic considering that after the wall went down Prague was the ultimate place to live if you were a young American radical. They had the velvet Revolution. It was so different. Nothing like the other nations.

    Do you do a lot of comparison with Baltic? Just because they were a combined linguistic group for a long time . And then when the Baltic tribes moved north the Slavic people still stayed in their little forest area . As far as what I have studied the Slavic people didn’t move into what we consider the Slavic lands until after the Attila the Hun left. Until then it was all German tribes again with a very small Slavic community still in the place where the Baltic tribes had left. The Germans were driven west and that was the end of the Rome, and by the time the Slavic people got into the areas that we consider Slavic lands it was already Christian. For the most part. Being so close to where the head of Christianity was at the time , Byzantine. Because of staying so small and close together there is a pretty general cohesion among different Slavic languages today I read because they didn’t split up over such a large area until at most 1500 years ago.

    So that is where I become confused. I can understand Pomeranians and the Poles and Wends as tribes, but when we move farther south east it becomes a lot more confusing. Who was where when?

    Comparison to Baltic mythology so far has been somewhat helpful but it’s really looking at Indo-European mythology that helps a lot more for me. But considering that the split into Balts and Slavs was rather recent it does give a decent jumping off point. And Lithuania was the last place to become Christians in Europe so there is some stuff to work with.

    What I remember all of us waiting for Wendy wall went down was when we would finally get the Soviet records about the folk customs and beliefs of the Slavic and Baltic people. Since they did so much research while they were destroying those cultures just like they did in Siberia . But that would mean someone would have to translate those. As far as I know that hasn’t been done.

    So that what is what I have been going through in doing this. It’s definitely going to require going into Iranian Indo-European studies next. Which is really the only Indo-European culture I haven’t looked that very much . I’m not even sure where to start! I did find a free book on Amazon but I think it cost some money now about Tracian magic and I was able to cut-and-paste the more relevant parts.

    If you want I can email you as attachments my folder contents for Slavic polytheisms. And yes, a lot of it is Wikipedia. 🙂 the articles at that magazine about Polish culture I found a really great . I made sure to cut-and-paste and put them into the folder as well. Every little bit helps.

    I was happy to see someone writing about Slavic polytheisms who was not a nationalist ! It’s almost a guarantee that the person will be very folkish. Not living in a Slavic country and growing up with the oppression, I don’t really have much to offer in those conversations except that we’ve seen this over and over again – when Yugoslavia was no longer under Tito’s dictatorship everything became terrifying and suddenly there were concentration camps and rape camps on TV! A lot of African nations where the boundaries were created by Europeans and had nothing to do with the actual travel boundaries are having the same kind of wars. When an outside culture comes in and enforces a completely different system and boundaries when they leave everything is in turmoil. It sucks. It’s hard to remember that it wasn’t that long ago really since the ball went down. After not being allowed to have any nationality except Soviet the nationalism backlash makes total sense. It’s just something that we have to work to end, but nationalism is on the rise .

    But it’s great to find your blog.

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    1. I’ll need to read over a few times to get all the points (so much info, I love it)!

      I do not know a lot about Baltic mythology–I am far more familiar with history there, not spiritual or religious beliefs. So I’m unable to provide any kind of comparison with west/east Slavic peoples as compared to Baltic beliefs.

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  3. Thank you 🙂 I’m mostly interested in Jarilo (he helped me understand Frey better) and Veles, who really has every one of Loki’s children in himself. The Slavic land of the dead is my favorite. It makes sense of course Jarilo would be there with his foster father Veles, where does vegetation go? But it’s the most classic Indo-European land of dead. You have a river barrier even. I assume Veles is a shape changer as he’s basically everything in life Perun is not. Watery, low ground. Cattle is the ultimate indo-European sign of wealth. It’s the center of the culture. So Veles has all the earthy goods including the dead. Perkunus just feels two dimensional to me
    Yeah, the Indo-European creation myth is about the lightning god fighting the serpent god. And then there’s the cow part. And twins where one kills the other, the dead one is the first God, our first ancestor and the world is made from him and he receives us in the land of the dead. But Veles plays more roles than the snake watery god the lightning up high god fights, which became saints and heroes killing dragons.

    Mokosh I thought was linguistically “moist mother esrth”? The traditional female water mother.

    Have you read Deep Ancestors? It’s a very good place to start for the proto-Indo-European polytheism all of these came out of. There’s a PIE website too I found helpful.

    Rugen Island is what I look at more because we have Danish Christian reports of the temple, the Gods and some practices. The white horse for divination is what German tribes did too and the grey or white horse pops up in Celtic and Hindu/Vedic stuff a lot.

    But without the Aryan part (Iranian) I think I’m out of my league with Slavic. The Tracian stuff I got from Bulgaria and Romania areas of folk practice and magic and rituals are interesting. They tie so much into deeper earlier practices of Indo-European they do flesh out Slavic pagan practices.

    It’s also unusual to work with the Byzantine churches and Orthodox, not Roman like the rest of Europe. I think that’s another learning curve. I don’t know that history.

    I thought Slavic would be so easy LOL! The extreme hierarchy of the modern polytheist or monotheist really pagan groups there really stress conformity. I have a paper someone wrote on the whole thing. So you can’t deviate at all. Or you’re kicked out. So there’s going to be everyone saying the same thing, most from that guy’s book in the Ukraine.

    On etsy I was so happy to find a Jarilo statue… but it was by that writer. And I won’t give money to nationalists. The Slavic pagan community bssed out of upstate New York is just as bad….

    We’re seeing the effects of trauma….

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  4. I know what facebook group you’re talking about and not only was I threatened to be banned for bringing up the subject of fighting racism in Rodnovery, but I was personally attacked about my home state and my personality by a mod and members in the process. I obviously couldn’t fight back because I was gonna be banned so I fucking left.

    It was hilarious because the mod read my article and pointed out how it was just sooo offensive and a bunch of hogwash. Yet this shit you point out keeps happening.

    But nah. Rodnovery doesn’t have a racism problem.

    and the emperor isn’t naked either.

    *sighs*

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    1. It is a huge problem, and it’s unfortunate that people get kicked out for pointing out the problems. Which is why, as I said, I only lurk and look for good articles/information. Conversation is impossible for me, since I have no tolerance for BS.

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