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Topics - whitebread

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I find this very fascinating. I think it is an amazing way to honor your family.

Living Heathen / Living healthy
« on: October 05, 2014, 11:25:56 PM »
While this is not a subject I have, in the past, spent a lot of time thinking about, circumstances are now dictating otherwise.

For many years I abused myself with drugs and alcohol with no concern for my health, firmly entrenched in the 'it won't happen to me' school of thought.
For many years I smoked cigarettes, again convinced of my invulnerability to consequential health issues.

I am 9 1/2 years clean and sober and I have not smoked a cigarette since February 18th 2013.

The decision to stop engaging in those activities was certainly not rooted in concern for my health...well, maybe smoking was, a little, but for the most part the health benefits were just an added bonus.

I still ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I love to eat. I drank sweet tea, pop, energy drinks...whatever struck my fancy. Fast food meals were invariably super sized and in the words of Louis C.K...."The meal's not over when I'm full. The meal's over when I hate myself."

At 250lbs, I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life.

But no big deal. I felt alright. I got to pat myself on the back for not smoking and whatnot. I stay active at work. It's all good.

A few weeks ago I started having some blurriness in my vision, which was 20/15. It was aggravating and puzzling but not enough to alarm me. I turned 50 this year and I suppose things have got to start deteriorating at some point.  I thought maybe my blood pressure was going up so I started checking it every so often but it seemed ok. Then I started having an insatiable thirst. I just could not get enough to drink. All day long, bottle after bottle of water, tea, pop, whatever.  I just could not quench my thirst.

That's where I was going into LATP, By this point, anything further away than 5' from me was totally blurry but hey, it's LATP. I have shit to do.
We got home Monday evening and spent the next day unwinding and halfheartedly unpacking. Come that evening, my vision was so bad and I was so thirsty that it was freaky and Kimberly talked me into going to the emergency room.

They took my vitals in triage and, based on my symptoms, took a blood sugar reading. I maxed the machine out at 600. They admitted me, remeasured my blood sugar and told me it was 707, that I had diabetes and I was lucky that I got there when I did.

For those that don't know, healthy blood sugar levels are between 70 and 120.

They kept me a couple of days and I was absolutely bombarded with information, what to do, what to eat, what not to do, what not to eat, etc., etc., etc. It was impossible to take in all at once. I was still trying to digest the fact I had diabetes.

I have been out a couple of days now. I have started a regimen of medication and a daily insulin shot. Kimberly and I are now figuring out how to make the necessary dietary changes.

Guess what's on my mind constantly now...that's right, boys and health. In a way, I'm kind of excited about it...losing weight, eating healthy, exercising and getting back into shape. It sucks that it took diabetes to get me to that point but you know what? I don't drink or use drugs and I don't smoke. It would suck to be trying to quit those too at the same time. It's almost as if life somehow prepared me beforehand for this drastic change in my life and gave me a head start.

Anything that makes me a better person is good, whether it be spiritually, mentally or physically. I would like to live a long and productive life with lots of grandchildren to tell tales to of how I used to have to walk barefoot in the snow uphill both ways.

Living healthy.

Bring it on.

Heathen Resources & Media / $300,000 VO Viking Odin Rifle of the Gods
« on: September 17, 2014, 10:20:09 PM »
Oh how I wish I had an extra $300,000 laying around...

I preset the start time to right before the fire.

Welcome & Miscellaneous / Facebook...or the absence thereof...
« on: August 18, 2014, 11:57:13 PM »
I guess it's been about a month since I deleted my facebook account. Not deactivated. Deleted. Even then, they wait two weeks to actually execute the deletion probably because they know the chances are good that you will change your mind, log back in and carry on as if nothing ever happened. The myriad of ways to find yourself back there is amazing. Every website, game, application, etc., urges you to share on FB, or log in using FB.

Facebook is like the Walmart of matter how much you hate it, it has become so woven into the fabric of everyday life that you feel you cannot get by without it.

This is my second deletion of my account. After the first, I found myself creeping around on Kimberly's page, making the occasional post on her page and really being active enough that after a while I just made another profile.

I am a person with addictive tendencies, so much so that they often become toxic and I begin to hate the very behaviours I feel compelled to engage in and this FB phenomenon is no different. It became the first thing I did in the morning while drinking my coffee. The first thing I did when I got home from work and almost always the last thing I did at night before going to bed, at about 2 or 3. Eventually I'm checking it throughout the day while I was working. And for what? To read about mostly stupid shit? To allow myself to be sucked into meaningless arguments with people who I don't even know, will likely never meet and probably wouldn't like them if I did?

All the while hating the way FB had become such a bloated presence in my life.

I do not look at Kimberly's page. I do not wonder what's happening over on this page, or that page. I do not miss the blatant dumbfuckery or the keyboard bravado and I certainly feel better about not fattening Zuckerberg's coffers anymore or having FB track my every move. I'll leave that up to Google and the NSA thank you very much.

Au revoir facebook...laissez le bon temps rouler.

Welcome & Miscellaneous / Article about ' Bizarre Iron Age Rituals'...
« on: August 01, 2014, 06:54:06 AM »

Interesting article. By that I mean that the conclusions that are drawn from the evidence found are a textbook examples , to me anyway, of how easy it is to come up with explanations that may or may not have any bearing on the truth of the situation.
I know that certain conclusions are arrived based on straight evidence, some on evidence coupled with logical extrapolation and that some seem merely the result of over active imaginations and wishful thinking and, as far as this story goes, I have no clue what category this falls into, but it appears to me, and maybe I'm reading it wrong, that the researchers really make some far fetched suppositions based on the evidence.

We just never really can know can we?

Growing Heathen Communities / Northern Folk Gathering 2014
« on: June 17, 2014, 12:34:42 AM »
This past week, myself and my wife, our 3 kids, Mark and his wife and 3 kids and Will Burris all drove 6 1/2 hours to New Ulm MN to attend NFG 2014. Hosted by Volkshof Kindred, who are from Minneapolis, this is an annual event that draws Heathens from all over and is always a quality event.

When Kimberly and I plan our yearly gatherings, this is always on the schedule. Besides Volkshof and JBK being sister Kindreds, the members of Volkshof are all good friends with us and we enjoy spending as much time with them as we can.

This year's NFG was at a new campsite; Flandrau Park in New Ulm. New Ulm is a town steeped in German heritage and tradition. There is a monument to Herman The German, or Arminius as the Romans referred to him, and a museum which a lot of us visited on Friday. It is also home to the Schell brewing Company which has been active since, I believe, 1860, or thereabouts. We took a tour of the brewery also, which was cool. Those who wanted got to sample the various beers they offered and for those, such as myself, who don't drink, or just didn't want to, they had fresh brewed root beer on tap which was absolutely amazing.

We also, on Friday, played some viking games; the hammer toss, which was won by a throw of 71', and a hammer toss for the kids. Tug of war between Kindreds and kids against adults.

The evening was started with a meal of sausage soup and then plenty of fellowship and catching up with old friends and making new ones.

Saturday was spent mostly inside the big dining hall...first brunch and then an auction of donated items to help defray the cost of the event and to put money toward the Hof and Hall fund. There were many high quality items and the bidding was vigorous for many of them. On more than one occasion, the person that won the item would gift it to the person that had been bidding against them. heathen generosity is amazing to see. An example of this is the hand made shawl that Jennifer Stinson made that I wanted for my wife. A beautiful yellow and green shawl. I was bidding on it against Todd from Volkshof. Finally the bidding got too high for me to continue and Todd won the item. That night at sumble, Todd gifted that shawl to my wife. She cried, of course. An amazing thing to witness, that generosity.

It was raining and raining and raining, so the Baldr Blot that was planned was held inside. Joe and Mary from Volkshof had carved an awesome long boat out of cedar to burn as a sacrifice during the blot. When it came time for that, the rain stopped, the sun came out, we sacrificed the boat and finsished the ritual outside. When we were done, the rain started again. Hmmm...

Dinner was Volkshof's famed 'conversion' sauerkraut, pork schnitzel with mushroom gravy, potatoes, brussel sprouts and apple crumble.

Let me just say here that Volkshof is known for the fine food they always prepare and that they take that renown very seriously and every year they provide a feast that is second to none. They are truly gracious hosts.

We finished the night with High Sumble, at which many strong and good words were spoken into the Well, ancestors were honoured and the Gods were praised. Gifts were given and the sense of community and rightness with the world was overwhelming.

As with all events like this, it was over much too soon and Sunday found us all engaging in the long, drawn out Minnesota goodbye. For those that don't know, this is the good bye that can start out at 8 in the morning and not be over until 2 in the afternoon. It happens a lot.

I will, however, get to see them again soon. It has become tradition that Kimberly and I leave our daughters with Volkshof and they will spend a large chunk of their summer in Minneapolis with them. The girls love it and look forward to it all year. It's good for them to see how other Heathen families live and the bonds that are being built between our children and their's will last a lifetime and lay the groundwork for the next generation to pick up where we leave off.

Bottom line: as always, Volkshof dedicated much time, energy and resources to providing an amazing event for all Heathens to attend and, as always, it was an amazing experience in a beautiful setting.


Living Heathen / Defining ourselves by what we are not.
« on: May 09, 2014, 12:29:38 AM »
The other day I read a comment on FB to the effect of how we have fallen into the habit of attempting to define who we are by what we are not.

For example.....if I told someone I was a Heathen but that I was not racist, homophobic or whatever, that doesn't explain who I am. If someone wants to know about me, I have to assume that means what I am, not what I am not.

A better answer would be to tell them I am Heathen, that I believe in the Gods of my ancestors. That I strive to live honourably because I am only as worthy as my deeds. That family and friends are everything to me. That I try to incorporate values into my worldview that make me work hard, think deeply, act generously and defend my life and those I love with everything in me.

Now they can start to see what, or who, I am. They will intuitively understand what I am not once they know what I am. They can never know what I am by what I am not.

The same thing applies to Heathenry as a whole. When asked what Heathenry is, we miss an opportunity if we we explain what it is not. "We are not a fear based religion. We don't kneel before our Gods", etc., etc., etc. What we should be saying is that Heathenry is the indigenous religion of Northern Europeans, that we value Honour and right action, ancestor reverence and personal worth. There is so much that we are that we could be sharing at that moment...a path as culturally rich and deep as ours? We should be able to talk for hours!

To explain what we are not causes us to appear to come from a place of defensiveness and weakness. Our attributes speak for themselves and need no comparison to qualities we have no regard for in order to be validated.

We do not need to explain what we are not.

Living Heathen / Heathens in Recovery
« on: May 03, 2014, 07:44:13 PM »
I am an alcoholic and an addict.

I am a Heathen.

For me, there is no separation between the two. I cannot be one without the other.

How do I incorporate my sobriety into a worldview that often involves the drinking of alcohol?

How do I incorporate my worldview into a life of sobriety and AA that, some may say, is Christian in nature?

At first it wasn’t easy. On the one hand, in AA, I had a tendency to recoil from the word God and, on the other, when I gathered with other Heathens there was often alcohol being consumed.

Desperation was a key variable. I knew that I had to do something, anything, to stay sober. I knew that I could not do it by myself. I had proven this over and over to myself. The harsh reality is that once I take one drink, I immediately lose the ability to control my drinking regardless of the consequences. I am powerless over alcohol. I went to my first AA meeting not knowing if it would help, but knowing that I had to find help somewhere. I felt absolutely out of place. I felt bombarded by the word God and I had legitimate doubts as to the effectiveness of this program as far as I was concerned.

Initially, my willingness to try to make it work was greatly enhanced by the fact my children were in state custody in Florida and the only chance I stood of ever getting them back was to stay sober. Eventually I came to see how vital the removal of alcohol from my life was to my growing as a Heathen.

But before that moment arrived, I was angry. I was disruptive. I walked out of meetings when the topic was spirituality. I questioned. I challenged. I went through my Big Book and for the first 92 pages wherever the word God appeared, I crossed it out and wrote the name of one of my Gods in its place.

Eventually I came to an understanding that allowed me to continue working the 12 steps without feeling that I was having Christianity shoved down my throat. It occurred to me one day that the word God is such a universally recognized word, that in order to convey a particular thought to an alcohol-damaged individual, it only made sense to use it; that it didn’t necessarily mean The Christian God, but whatever any given person’s concept of a God was; that it wasn’t a name, per se, but a noun.

At this time, no one in my home group knew anything about Heathenry in general or Asatru specifically. My spiritual path was as strange to them as theirs was to me. But here was a roomful of people that had apparently found a way to save themselves from the ravages of unchecked alcoholism and that it what I not only wanted, but absolutely needed. They didn’t so much see me as a Heathen but as a fellow human being suffering from the same disease that afflicted them all.

I was still very new to Heathenry but I knew there was no way for me to incorporate the values that define a Heathen into my life if alcohol continued to be part of it.

Fortunately, my introduction to Heathenry was so profound, and came at a time where I was at the lowest point in my life, that the effect it had on me was truly life changing. Not life changing as in winning the lottery, but life changing as in being offered an alternative to certain death…or worse yet, a continuing living nightmare.

As I started to put together some sobriety, I felt more and more worthy of calling myself Heathen. As I grew as a Heathen, I felt more able to conquer this monster that had been slowly destroying me all these years. My confidence grew, which allowed me to attend Heathen events where alcohol was being consumed and not let it bother me.

Before I oathed to Jotun’s Bane Kindred, there was a period where they were a little leery of me. They obviously saw some potential in me, but initially I didn’t bring a lot to the table. Alcoholic, addict, convicted felon. But they continued to allow me to attend events. At some point, I don’t remember exactly when, it was suggested that during fainings, or any time there was a horn with mead in it going around, that a second horn accompany it containing a non-alcoholic beverage. This allowed me to actually fully participate, and made a world of difference on so many levels. Little did I know that I would eventually become part of this dynamic Kindred and that I would swear an oath of kinship and loyalty to each and every one of them. Something that could never have happened had I still been drinking.

The Kindreds that share frith with JBK have also adopted this practice, not just for me, but for anyone who, for whatever reason, prefers not to drink alcohol. Whenever I am somewhere that this is not the case, when the horn comes to me and I raise it, when I am done, I simply kiss the horn.

Today, there is no distinction between my life of sobriety and my life as a Heathen. Each one compliments and enhances the other. I have had the privilege of showing other Heathens that also struggle with addictions that they can walk both a path of sobriety and Heathenry.

Better burden bearest thou nowise
than shrewd head on they shoulders;
but with worser food farest thou never
than an overmuch of mead.

For good it is not, though good it is thought,
mead for the sons of men;
the deeper he drinks the dimmer grows
the mind of many a man.

The heron of heedlessness hovers o'er the feast;
and stealeth the minds of men.

These words are especially true for me. For those of you, and I know there are many, that have no problem controlling their intake of alcohol, or the way they act when doing so, I commend you. I cannot say that I wish I could because the life I have today as a sober Heathen is far beyond anything I ever imagined. I only hope that there are those out there who might be strengthened and encouraged to know that even Heathens can be alcoholic, but that sobriety and Heathenry do not have to be mutually exclusive.

I am an alcoholic
and an addict.

I am a Heathen.

Johnny Whitebread
Jotun’s Bane Kindred
May 20th, 2011

Living Heathen / Prison Kindreds and Free-World Kindreds
« on: May 03, 2014, 07:38:14 PM »
There’s a world of difference between a kindred in a prison and a kindred in the free world. So many differences, in fact, that it creates many difficulties for those wishing to make the transition.

Understand that this is no way anything other than my own take on this. Having discovered Asatru in prison, becoming an oathed member of a prison kindred and now being an oathed member of a vital, dynamic free world kindred, I am in a unique position to offer some of my own thoughts on this based on my personal experiences. Add to this the fact that I am a recovering alcoholic/addict with 5 ½ years of sobriety and the perspective I offer shifts even further from the norm.

In 2004 I was in prison for the 4th time for a parole violation for a 1992 conviction for possession of marijuana with intent to sell. I was spiritually bankrupt, morally deficient and without honour. I was a slave to my addictions and all else was secondary to that. I was hateful, vindictive, prejudiced, selfish and self-seeking.

At the time of my last arrest I was living in Florida with 2 children and their mother. I weighed 120lbs and wore a size 28 waist.  I was strung out on methamphetamine and when I was arrested I was laying in a hospital bed. I had been up for 17 days and was so sick that when I was admitted the doctors thought I had spinal meningitis and I was quarantined. When tests of my spinal fluid revealed that this was not the case, it was discovered that I had almost completely crystallized 75% of both my lungs and had pneumonia. I almost died. The arrest occurred in front of my children, who were 4 and 6 at the time. I fought with the cops and was chained to the bed while my children watched in absolute horror.

This preamble is meant to serve 2 purposes; the first being to establish some credentials, if you will, and the second is to present a point of reference to support my personal opinion of the positive effect a prison kindred can have in a person’s life.

Are there racially motivated ideals in prison kindreds?  Absolutely. Are there illegal activities associated with prison kindreds? Undoubtedly. Is Asatru distorted and twisted to support these agendas? Undeniably. Are there Asatruars in prison kindreds who have no concept or interest in what it really means to be Heathen? Of course there are. But that is a far cry from the complete picture. Sadly, they are often the only aspects of prison Heathenry that make their way through the bricks, past the towers, over the razor wire and into the world at large for the media to sensationalize and spoon feed to the public. Sad but true.

There is no way to really compare prison as an environment in which to discover Heathenry with the free world. In most prisons it is a battle of epic proportions every step of the way. First comes the countless lawsuits that have to be filed to force the state to recognize Asatru. Once that is accomplished, the individual battles begin for every single ritual item, every single book, every single Hammer. The fight for the right to gather once or twice a week, to have outside Clergy allowed in, to be allowed to observe our Holy Days. Everything has to go through the chaplain. You might get lucky and have one who doesn’t have a deep seated mistrust and hatred of all things non-christian. Maybe.

The available resources are severely limited, not only by the difficulties of dealing with a hostile administration, but for financial reasons also. Many in prison exist only on what they make while in there, which is often little to nothing. All books, all Hammers, all items must usually be brought directly from a distributor and shipped directly to you via the chaplain. Often times the literature that is available is borrowed, worn, well read and has passed through many hands before you get it.

The same issues that the public hears about, the violence, the hatred, the ‘racial aspects’, are the same justifications the administration uses to make being Asatru so challenging in prison. It’s ‘gang activity’, or ‘an unsanctioned prison group’ or my own personal favourite, a ‘threat to the security of the institution.’

Every activity is severely monitored. The slightest deviation from any rule is grounds for breaking a kindred up, shipping its members to different facilities, confiscating items, etc.

The nature of prison life, in and of itself is transient. Inmates come, inmates go. It is difficult to establish a kindred with longevity and stability due to this transience. This difficulty makes it a challenge to illustrate to the administration how a well functioning, legitimate kindred can function.

Everything in prison is racially divided, so when I arrived at Lansing Correctional Facility, I naturally gravitated towards other white inmates. Needless to say, it does not take long to figure out who belongs to what clique. The majority of those I was talking to were wearing Hammers. In fact that’s how they were referred to as, Hammers. I asked about them one day and heard the word Asatru for the first time in my life. I was 40 . When I started asking questions about it the Chieftain of the kindred, (or as he’s referred to there; the Jarl,) loaned me a copy of The Book Of Troth by Edred Thorson. I read it in its entirety that night. I was absolutely floored, so much so that every few pages I had to stop because the things this book said spoke to me. It felt like a key and been slid into the lock and all the tumblers fell into place. It was, literally, a life changing event.

So, much like any kindred, there was a period of time in which I got to know the members of what was to become what I like to refer to as my Birth Kindred and in which they got to know me. There were some fundamental requirements that had to be met to be part of this kindred. First and foremost was absolutely no sex offenders. Anyone who wanted to even hang around kindred members had to produce their ‘face sheet’, a paper that had all their information on it; what you were charged with, how much time you were doing, etc. After the point was reached where they felt I would be a good addition to the kindred, I had to request permission from the Chaplain to attend the ‘Asatru Callout’. The kindred met twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Wednesday was the study group and Saturday we would hold a faining, although we always referred to it as a Blöt.

The study groups in the Northman’s Way Kindred were intense to say the least. We had ‘homework’, so to speak and we would be quizzed on this homework. Three wrong answers, or three I-don’t-knows, or any combination thereof totaling three, and you got to take a lap around the table and everyone got to give you a rib shot. Not some light hearted tap, but good solid make-you-feel-a-rib-break shots. You would lift your arm and take it, all nine or ten of them. It added a little impetus to studying your homework. The ‘warrior’ mentality runs deep in a prison kindred.

An applicant had to learn the Elder Futhark, be able to recite it, be able to write it and have a basic understanding of what each rune symbolized. He had to be able to name 12 of our Gods and Goddesses and had to be able to name all nine worlds.

The unity in this particular kindred was very strong. Long before I heard the word frith, I was immersed in it. If a kindred member had any kind of problem with anyone outside of the kindred, no matter whether he was in the right or wrong, the kindred would absolutely stand behind him. If he was indeed in the wrong, it would be dealt with ‘in house.’  In addition to all the positions known to free world kindreds, Chieftain, Skald, Gothi, etc. there was a Hammersax. He could be termed an enforcer. If someone in the kindred was ‘violated’ for whatever reason, maybe using drugs, or amassing gambling debts, or any kind of trouble he had to be bailed out of, or any behavior that put the kindred or its members at risk, the Hammersax would pay him a visit, usually in his cell and administer whatever degree of physical punishment had been ordered by the Jarl. If he had to take another member with him to enforce this violation, he would. Or two. Or three. Whatever it took to get the job done.

Obviously, testosterone runs high. We walked tall. We walked proud and when we hailed the Gods in a ritual it was deafening and powerful. I remember holding a horn to the sky and feeling the energy coursing through me so intensely that the horn was shaking violently enough to splash its contents on the altar.

The administration established an outside worship area for us. They had to. Every other religious group received concessions, such as the Native Americans being allowed a sweat lodge, and we were allocated an area outside of the medium security camp that was ours. It was, obviously, fenced in but we had a large stone altar on a mound, a fire pit and a large Eye of Odin made out of stones laid out on the ground. About three times a year all three Lansing Kindreds, the Northman’s Way from the minimum security camp, Bilskinir from medium and Herjansfane from max, would be allowed to gather in this area to celebrate Holy Days. We would be provided sack lunches that included ham sandwiches and for a few hours we would be with our Brothers. We would have a faining and then spend time building the bonds between kindreds and among each other as individuals. It was very powerful. I took a blood oath of kinship with one of my Brothers on that altar and it was a very intense ordeal. My blood, your blood, our blood.

When I left this environment, I was paroled to a half way house in Kansas City. I had never been in KC before and I knew nobody. I would use the computer in the library to look for other Heathens. I was almost completely computer illiterate at that point, so this was certainly a challenge for me. I looked and looked, day after day and eventually resigned myself to walking this path I had now been following for a year by myself and I did, for six months.

While I had been in prison, the mother of my children had lost custody of them and they were now in the hands of the state of Florida. It seemed impossible that I would be able to fulfill every requirement Florida had in order to get them back. I was stressed out to say the least. I hated almost everybody. I was angry. I was antisocial…but above all I was Heathen. This was a point of great pride and importance to me. It was the things I had learned in the Northman’s Way Kindred that helped me through this monumental test. It was the pride in who I was that kept me away from the drugs and alcohol, that made me determined to no longer be a slave to those vices. It was the virtues of self-reliance, industriousness and perseverance that kept me showing up at day labour at 5:30 in the morning to work all day next to Mexicans of questionable immigration status for $40 a day. For six months. It was courage and honour that kept me strong and focused so that eventually, 18 months later, I could drive down to Florida to get my children who I now have full custody of. It was the belief in that what I was doing and who I had become was absolutely meant to be and that the blood of my Heathen ancestors had been quickened in my veins. This is what I had learned in a prison kindred.

I went to the first Asatru meet up that became the starting point of what is today Jotun’s Bane Kindred. I met Mark and Rod and Craig and a few others that showed up who have since faded into obscurity. I respected and admired their goals, their vision of Heathen unity, but I was still a little rough around the edges and I still had the intensity of a prison kindred ritual ringing in my ears. I still envisioned every Asatruar as a soldier, a warrior and free world Heathenry felt alien to me. It felt lacking and watered down and I really had nothing to bring to the table.

As the months went by the Heathen qualities I now tried to infuse into everything I did, everything I said and everything I thought slowly changed me. The toxic hatred that had eaten at me for so long began to dissipate. I realized at some point that this hatred and my anger were as much a drug to me as anything else and I had become just as addicted to them.

I participated in kindred activities. I attended open kindred events. All at a somewhat limited level, of course, but I suited up and I showed up and as time went by the deeds of the members of this fledgling kindred starting speaking for themselves, the honour and the integrity they lived by started outweighing my misconceptions of how Heathenry should be until the realization came over me that there is not just one way, that there are almost as many approaches to Heathenry as there are Heathens.

The dynamics of the kindred, the cohesion, the unbreakable strength of the bonds between members, the passion and integrity present in all they did became evident to me over time and I came to understand that Heathenry is not always about volume, not always about physical presence, that it runs much deeper than that and manifests itself in different ways in different people. I had been suffering from a case of contempt prior to investigation and it had been stunting my growth.

In February of 2007, I was released from parole five years early. For the first time since 1978, I was free of The System. I had a job. I had my first legal vehicle. I had documents, for the first time in fifteen years. I was living in my own house. I had my kids and I had a wholly revised understanding of what it meant to be Heathen.  Now I had something to bring to the table.  Now I might be someone who would be a good addition to the kindred. 

I asked to join Jotun’s Bane in September of 2009. At LATP 2010, I oathed to the kindred.  Five years and four months after getting out of prison. It took that long for me to make the transition from a prison kindred to one in the free world. A lifetime in some respects, but a blink of an eye in others.

Comparisons between the two types of kindreds is like comparing apples and oranges. Each has its own benefits, its strong points. Each has its own challenges. I would not be who I am today if not for the Northman’s Way Kindred, but who I am today would mean nothing without Jotun’s Bane Kindred.

It’s too bad that the majority of those who claim to be Heathen while in prison choose to return to a life full of the same activities that got them sent there in the first place. The fire of prison can forge steel of great strength, and when wielded effectively can be devastating and unstoppable.

Johnny Whitebread
Jotun’s Bane Kindred

January 21st, 2011





Living Heathen / The Importance of Loyalty
« on: May 03, 2014, 07:28:13 PM »
The importance of Loyalty cannot be understated.  Cannot be dismissed as archaic or antiquated.

What would the future of Heathenry be without it? What if those you felt were forever aligned with you bailed at the first sign of adversity? How would your entire worldview shift after that happened a couple of times? How would the structural integrity of any Kindred, any Tribe, any Family remain intact without loyalty? How desolate, fleeting and trivial would personal relationships be?

As an oathed member of a Kindred, this is what is expected of me;  to always be there for my Kindred brothers and sisters, to put the welfare of my family and my Kindred before my own, to understand that I am made larger, stronger and better by this oathed association. I have a responsibility to represent my Kindred and everyone in it to the best of my ability at all times. But above all is loyalty: to always be there no matter what. If anyone in my Kindred is set upon, then I am set upon too. Their burden becomes my burden. Their joy my joy.

This is what we do, no matter how inconvenient, no matter how frustrating, no matter how difficult.

Without loyalty, there is nothing. No trust. No respect. Nothing.

There should be no question, no doubt, no situation where you wonder if your six is covered.

If your fists are bloodied, mine are too. If my Family is eating, yours is too. If I am warm and dry, you are too.

I feel sorry for those who find this concept alien. You cannot truly be Heathen without loyalty. Period. It really can be simplified to that. Without loyalty, you are alone. The concept of a lone Heathen, popular as it is these days, is ridiculous.

Without loyalty, there is nothing.

Living Heathen / I'm Not a Heathen, But I Play One On TV...
« on: May 03, 2014, 07:25:44 PM »
The phenomenon of ‘online heathenry’ is out of control...

The internet should, ideally, be a place to supplement the everyday lives of real Heathens; making new contacts, promoting events, staying in touch with Heathens you actually know and have met.

Instead we have a tidal wave of ‘heathens’ who have an online presence only, who go to no events, belong to no kindred, who further heathenry in no way, shape or form.

These online heathens come in a variety of distasteful flavours.

You have the mouth breathing basement dwellers that play WoW and claim to be heathen because it appeals to their sense of role playing that helps deflect the miserable truth of their situation. They disparage and belittle others and claim to have been heathen for ‘x’ amount of years. They have names that they think reflect the depth of their heathenry. No kindred. No events. Nothing.

You have the reconstructionists  who amass books and can quote from them on demand. They claim to be purists and in possession of the one true way to be heathen. These people usually cannot be openly heathen because of their lives away from the keyboard. They maybe be married to a judge in Texas or something and, as such, being openly heathen would have an adverse effect on their ability to profit from that judgeship. So they hide behind ridiculous names…maybe something half heathen, half redneck and spend their time posting from a pseudo-intellectual standpoint all the while looking down their noses at others. They do not belong to kindreds, go to events or otherwise do anything to further heathenry. They, too, claim to have been heathen for ‘x’ amount of years, when in reality what they mean is they have ‘claimed’, on the internet, to have been heathen for that long.

On and on it goes: Jotun lovers, Loki worshippers, Extreme universalists…every type of subgenre, off shoot, right and left wing faction all doing their utmost to divide, to isolate, to discourage, to cast aspersions.

It’s very telling that the targets of these ‘online heathens’ are generally the doers, the movers and shakers. Those that organize and attend events, that get out and travel and build the bonds between tribes and kindreds, that live, eat, sleep and breathe heathenry, that are heathen in everything they do, not because it’s what they do but because it’s who they are. There’s nothing like another’s productivity to throw a spotlight on your inactivity.

Unfortunately these online scabs are not going anywhere. All we can do is neuter then by giving no attention to their dysfunction. Attention validates them in their eyes. Nothing is worse for an online heathen than to be ignored, not taken seriously or just treated with the contempt they deserve.

I don’t know these people. Don’t want to. I want my circle of acquaintances to include active, dynamic, forward thinking Heathens who are Heathens in everything they do, that are forging the future of Heathenry for our children with their bold actions, determination and strength of spirit that grows with every event they attend, every horn they lift skyward and every sacrifice they make.

Those are my Folk.

Johnny Whitebread
Jotun’s Bane Kindred
June 7th 2013

Bragi's Corner - Heathen Poetry / Fair Fame Fade Never - A Poem
« on: May 03, 2014, 07:21:50 PM »
Fair fame fade never,
let the sagas be sung

By the men of today
and tomorrow, their sons

Let good name be
honoured and honour be named

Let our deeds be
remembered, lasting and famed.

Raise the bar towards
Asgard, to the Gods’ very door,

Be as shining as
Balder, and then shine some more

Strive to be Heathen
in all that you do

Let the sagas be sung
about you.

The name of a good
man left when he’s gone

Carries family
gefrain upward and on,

Lives on forever, as
eternal as time

Let my deeds bring
honour to mine.

Fair fame fade never
if fame fair be won

Let Heimdall’s kin
and the Gods be one,

Make your forefathers
proud in the Ancestor’s Hall,

Be proud, strong and
Heathen, that’s all…

Bragi's Corner - Heathen Poetry / Jotun's Bane Kindred - A Poem
« on: May 03, 2014, 07:20:51 PM »
The sagas of Vinland are still being writ,
An age that will rival them all,
And Vinland’s new sons tread fearless and brave,
Their war cries resound through the halls,
The sharp sword of deeds, shining and keen,
Sings promise of glory and fame,
And today is the day that quickens the blood
At the mention of JBK’s name.
Think not we waver, nor balk at the fray,
Think not we shall flinch from the fight,
Know all ye men that we welcome the chance
To feast on Valhol’s boar tonight.
Larger than life will our gefrain be
In saga times such as these
And the skalds shall sing long of the JBK song
And giants will fall to their knees.
Vinland stand tall, warriors all,
Turn loose the Jotun’s Bane,
Cattle die and kinsman die
But forever will live that name…

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