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More than Meets the Eye: The Death and Resurrection of European Animism

Western man is in need of a religion connected to his roots – ethnic, spiritual, and environmental.

Carolyn Emerick has a bachelors degree in literature, college study in historiography, and graduate training in archival studies. She edits and publishes Europa Sun and Mythic Dawn magazines, and has been a student of European cultural history for as long as she could read. See her work at CarolynEmerick.com.

Modern Confusion

Shamanism, spiritualism, energy work, rainbows and crystals, totems and spirit animals. In our modern world, these things have existed in the realm of either ‘exotic’ (non-white) cultures or have been snugly in the possession of lefty wingnuts. In the sphere of Western paganism, there has been a great deal of discussion about reconnecting to holistic living, which is in turn often connected to ‘we are all one’ ideology. The irony is that Europeans did, in fact, hold an animistic understanding of the world at one point in time. We, too, believed in an interconnectedness of life and fluidity between the spirit and mundane realms. In fact, the mortal world was not actually mundane at all. It was teeming with spiritual life-force to such an extent that one might say that Midgard, the land of mortals in the Teutonic worldview, was seen as enchanted.

Animistic polytheism rooted in ancestor veneration was virtually a universal faith for humanity. However, it was not universalist.

It is fair to say that Europeans viewed the earth and life itself in a way not dissimilar to various indigenous spiritual traditions in the world. Indeed, animistic polytheism rooted in ancestor veneration was virtually a universal faith for humanity. However, it was not universalist. Spirituality had a unique expression tailored to each ethnic group. So, while many common themes can be found throughout the world in various ethnic faiths, each ethnic faith also varies with particulars and peculiarities that are specific to the people practicing it. In recent years, the revival of animism and belief in the metaphysical that sees human beings as interconnected with each other and our environment has tended to go hand in hand with the liberal doctrine that all human beings are one. But this is anachronistic. While the various peoples of the past, that is prior to Abrahamic universalism, did hold many of the same or similar spiritual beliefs, they were cognizant of the reality of race and other ethnic differences.

In other words, two different tribal groups may well have seen the landscape teeming with spirits, viewed themselves as interacting with both the spiritual and material, and very likely believed in notions such as a cosmic web that connects all things. However, this in no way influenced people not to draw boundaries or borders, or to engage in self-defense against neighboring rivals. In fact, it was universalist Christianity, not paganism, that was often used to make people forget their differences and join together in one ideological club. There was a clear understanding that the ‘one God’ ideology was correlated with ‘one people’ under ‘one king’. This is why Christianity was adopted by pagan kings looking to consolidate their power and expand their territory. Monotheism was useful to the feudal notion of monarchy. Monotheism was a tool to create mono-culture which helped to erase the differences between conquered tribes as they were merged into larger kingdoms. Therefore, the notion that an animistic worldview is equated with modern liberal ‘one world’ nonsense is anachronistic with respect to historical pagan practice.

European Worldview Versus Abrahamism

An article by an author using the pen-name ‘Spengler’ on the Christian web-journal called First Things sheds some light on this. The article, ‘Christian, Muslim, Jew’, highlights the writings of a Jewish rabbi called Franz Rosenzweig. While Rosenzweig died in 1929, the author says that his philosophy was especially popular in the post-WWII era. Spengler describes World War II as a war between Abrahamism and ‘neopaganism’, saying that ‘after neopaganism nearly conquered Europe, Rosenzweig’s contention that Christianity requires the presence of the Jews found great resonance.’ He continues

Pagans, Rosenzweig explained, have only the fragile and ultimately futile effort to preserve their physical continuity through blood and soil. Their hope for immortality takes the form of a perpetual fight for physical existence, which one day they must lose. Rosenzweig’s sociology of religion thus offers unique insights into the origin and nature of civilizational conflict when he argues that a pagan people, ever sentient of the fragility of their existence, are always prepared to fight to the death.

Much has been said over the years about paganism continuing to live on in the hearts and minds of ethnic Europeans. Rosenzweig’s view is that the presence of Jews in the West is a sort of paternalistic role which stops Europeans from reverting to paganism, with Gnostic Christianity being a form of Christianity that merges indigenous spiritual worldview with Abrahamic scripture. Spengler says that Rosenzweig ‘began a new kind of dialogue between Judaism and Christianity when he argued that the two faiths complement each other: Christianity to propagate revelation to the world, and Judaism to “convert the inner pagan” inside each Christian.’ He later continues, ‘Rosenzweig’s most influential claim holds that the Jew “converts the inner pagan” inside the Christian, such that the living presence of the Jewish people creates a counterweight to the Gnostic impulses in Christianity.’

Christianity had a directive to remove barriers between ethnicities while paganism was synonymous with ethnic identity.

Rosenzweig’s worldview clearly saw Judaism and Christianity working together in unity against a ‘blood and soil’ worldview. Paganism is essentially ancestor worship and nature veneration, literally blood and soil. And, according to Rosenzweig, without the guiding hand of Judaism, Europeans would fall back into this belief system. Spengler explains, ‘Rosenzweig argues that pagan society cannot foster authentic human individuality but dissolves the individual into an extension of race or state.’ This explains quite well how closely paganism is tied to ethnicity, whereas Christianity, guided by Judaism, is supposed to function as a universalizing force transcending racial boundaries. He continues on:

In pagan society, where God remains unrevealed, the individual exists only as an organ of the collective of state or race. The pagan’s sense of immortality therefore depends solely on the perpetuation of his race, and his most sacred act is to sacrifice himself in war to postpone the inevitable day when his race will go down in defeat.

I would say that this Jewish rabbi’s views on paganism are accurate. And his discussion illuminates precisely why Christianity was used as the ideological tool to subdue disparate tribes into submission under an expanding empire with globalist aims. Indeed, if one begins to dig through old dictionaries for the definition of the word ‘ethnic’, what one finds is that before WWII, it had been used interchangeably with ‘heathen’ and ‘pagan’. The word ‘ethnos’ itself has origins in ancient Greek wherein it was used to describe a collective group of creatures that are alike to one another. In the earliest usage, ethnos could be used interchangeably with words like hive, pack, flocker, it was also used to describe groups of people who were alike, such as a tribe or a race. The New Testament verse Romans 10:2 supports Rabbi Rosenzweig’s point of view: ‘For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. Add to this that the word used by Saul-turned-Paul of Tarsus in the original Greek New Testament which has been translated into English as ‘pagan’ was originally ‘ethnikos’. It is quite clear that Rosenzweig was correct: Christianity had a directive to remove barriers between ethnicities while paganism was synonymous with ethnic identity. Therefore, liberal hippy-dippy pagans pushing no borders are practicing the wrong religion!

Conspicuous Origins of Wicca

But, how did this confused form of paganism begin? In light of what ‘Spengler’ said about Rosenzweig’s views of paganism, and his own assertion that World War II was ‘neopaganism nearly conquering Europe’, it is interesting to look at the birth of Wicca. Modern liberal pagans owe a debt of gratitude to Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca. It is important to note that pagan revivalist movements have popped up in virtually every century in Western history. The notion that modern pagan practice originated with the advent of Wicca is false. Further, Wicca is not a reconstructed pagan faith, but rather a contrived religion cobbled together with bits and pieces from Germanic and Celtic belief mixed together with ceremonial magic. According to his Wikipedia biography, Gardner was a freemason.

It is curious that Gardner appeared on the scene the same year that World War II came to a close. Gardner’s Wikipedia article explains: ‘moving to London in 1945, he became intent on propagating this religion, attracting media attention’. Witchcraft had been outlawed in Britain for centuries, but the Witchcraft Act was repealed under Winston Churchill’s watch only a few short years later, in 1951. Winston Churchill was also a freemason. Prior to World War II, ethnicity and paganism went hand in hand, and had done for millennia. In 1945, Gardner made his way to London ‘intent on propagating his religion’, which was a cobbled together mish-mash that confuses Teutonic and Celtic cultures, but ultimately leads practitioners away from both. While there is no smoking gun to prove a conspiracy, these are interesting coincidences to take note of.

European Animism

We can see that Europeans once had an animistic worldview just like other indigenous spiritual systems, that this was distinctly ethnic-based; but this did not equate modern liberal ‘we are one’ nonsense – at least not until 1945. So, what did we believe and why does it behoove us to look to our own ethnic folkways in the modern world? Well, a good place to start is with the original meaning of the word ‘god’. The early Judeo-Christian missionaries used cultural appropriation quite liberally when packaging their ideology to Europeans. Many words from our own indigenous lexicon were used to sell Christianity. The word ‘god’ is only one of many words taken and twisted from its original meaning. It is a Teutonic origin word, with close cognates found all across the Germanic language landscape. Etymonoline says:

From Proto-Germanic *guthan (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch god, Old High German got, German Gott, Old Norse guð, Gothic guþ) … perhaps from PIE *ghut- ‘that which is invoked’ (source also of Old Church Slavonic zovo ‘to call’, Sanskrit huta- ‘invoked’, an epithet of Indra), from root *gheu(e)- ‘to call, invoke’. The notion could be ‘divine entity summoned to a sacrifice’.

But some trace it to PIE *ghu-to- ‘poured’, from root *gheu- ‘to pour, pour a libation’ (source of Greek khein ‘to pour., also in the phrase khute gaia ‘poured earth’, referring to a burial mound. ‘Given the Greek facts, the Germanic form may have referred in the first instance to the spirit immanent in a burial mound.’

Originally a neuter noun in Germanic, the gender shifted to masculine after the coming of Christianity. Old English god probably was closer in sense to Latin numen.

So if the Teutonic word ‘god’ was closer to the Latin word numen, what is the meaning of numen? Per Merriam-Webster, ‘numen: a spiritual force or influence often identified with a natural object, phenomenon, or place’. Therefore, in the Germanic context, ‘god’ had an animistic meaning. We believed that our landscape and the creatures within it were imbued with spiritual forces that we called gods. And the act of honouring these gods involved pouring libations, or offerings, in propitiation. This act also appealed to these spirits to invoke their presence. We offered sacrifice so that the gods might intercede here on Midgard. It is documented that sacred springs were venerated across European language boundaries. Dr. Brian Bates discusses the enchanted landscape of Northern Europeans in his book The Real Middle Earth: Magic and Mystery in the Dark Ages. He draws a distinction between the more rationalist worldview of the Romans compared to that of the Celts and Teutons. However, he does have to concede that some spiritual practices were held in common. He says,

The Romans are counterpointed elsewhere in this book as lacking some of the imaginative sensitivities of Middle-earth culture. However, they also honored wells. One well dating back to prehistoric times was rediscovered in 1876. Excavations showed that it had originally been built by the Celts and had subsequently been taken over by the occupying Romans. Displacing the indigenous Celts, or at least setting up military overlordship, they built a fort at the well right at the northern border of England, called Brocolita, now named Carrawbrough. Artefacts recovered at the well show that it was dedicated to Coventina, almost certainly a local Celtic goddess who was adopted by the Romans.

But we know that the sacred wells and springs were honored in Britain even prior to the arrival of the Celts. A British documentary television series called Walking Through History hosted by Tony Robinson features an episode called ‘The Path to Stonehenge’ which gives a lovely discussion with several leading anthropologists and historians about recent (as of 2013) theories regarding the purpose of Neolithic sites in Britain. Ancestor veneration features prominently in Neolithic European culture. But water veneration also appears frequently. Robinson speaks with experts who explain the role of ancestors as guardians of the living, but also that water is venerated for its life-giving force. The official website for Stonehenge echoes this interpretation. Discussing the wider ‘complex’ connecting Stonehenge to Avebury and Silbury Hill, the website says:

In late winter/early spring, the winterbourne (dry in winter) river Kennet resurfaces and floods the low lying land, The ditch surrounding Silbury Hill is filled and, again, forms the shape of the squatting Mother Goddess. Such a clever design, using the seasonal flow of the river to venerate the Provider and where, from the summit, She would be visible. The annual, fresh flow of life-giving water from the Swallowhead Spring to swell the River Kennet, would have held great significance to the populace living in and around Avebury. Swallowhead Spring, would have been seen as part of the Goddess’s living body. We see Spring, the Herald of new life, the first Age of Man and the first Season of Mother Earth. Contrast the absence of the water flowing from the earth which could signify drought, crop failure and to those reliant on those waters, death if the Provider withheld the bounty.

The Frankish Question

It is interesting that Bates discusses the Roman adoption of Celtic sacred springs, because Roman Christianity used the same tactic. Places that were seen as holy since time immemorial continued to be venerated by the populace even after nominal conversion. The historical record has preserved numerous edicts and letters of instruction from the Catholic hierarchy sometimes urging the destruction of indigenous European holy sites, the outlawing of veneration of natural objects, or sometimes instructions to appropriate these sites for Christian use. Della Hooke, in her well-researched book called Trees in Anglo-Saxon England, gives a lengthy discussion citing ample historical documentation of the Christian attack on nature veneration. She says,

Frankish [Christian] kings were anxious to wipe out the worship of springs, trees and sacred groves, and set fines in the later eighth century for those who thus made vows at such places or squandered praises on pagan gods and ordered that such trees, stones and springs where foolish lights or other observances were used or carried out should be removed or destroyed. The Council of Nantes in 895 specifically ordered the destruction of trees consecrated to ‘demons’ or local gods.

Had we never been forced to abandon the gods of our landscape we would have been better stewards of the Earth.

Interestingly, the Frankish attacks on indigenous European culture are further evidence that Rabbi Rosenzweig is accurate in his assertion regarding the relationship between Judaism and Christianity in their unity against the ethnikos, or pagans. A Jewish scholar called Arthur J. Zuckerman put intensive research into his book, A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, 768-900, published by Columbia University Press in 1972. Apparently, there was a Jewish principality in southern France that has been generally forgotten today. This community played a role in the story of Europe versus the Moors in Spain, in the early medieval trade routes, the establishment of networks of credit and the banking system, and also in the Christianization of Northern Europeans. According to Zuckerman’s research, the Franks granted land to the Jews of Septimania on the condition that they locate a descendant of Israel’s King David to crown as their own king. A scholar from the line of David was found in Babylonia and made king of Septimania. Author Lee Levin sums up the story in his article for ‘The Jewish Magazine called ‘The Jewish Kingdom of Septimania’, wherein he explains that the Carolingian dynasty lacked a royal bloodline and so their family married in with this new ‘King Machir’. Levin says

[Machir] would give oaths of allegiance to the King of the Franks. King Charles requested that Machir marry his aunt Alda. A request from the King of the Franks was a command.

All now came clear. So this was why Pepin had required that the King of Septimania be a direct descendant of King David! The problem for Pepin, and for his son, King Charles, was that Pepin had usurped the throne of the Franks from the Merovingians, and thus there was no royal blood in their veins. This they desperately needed in order to establish the legitimacy of their dynasty. By this marriage of Alda to Machir, who was a direct lineal descendant of King David, they would not only have royal blood in the veins of their descendants, but the most royal blood possible, the blood of David himself!

But how could such a marriage take place? Alda was Catholic, and no Catholic priest would marry her to a Jew unless the Jew converted, which of course Machir absolutely could not do. On the other hand, no rabbi would marry Machir to a gentile unless she converted. An unsolvable dilemma? Apparently not, for marry they did, and had a legitimate son through whom Jewish blood now was intermingled with that of the Carolingian kings of France.

It is further explained in Zuckerman’s scholarly work that

At the time Pepin admitted Makir to the high Frank aristocracy he may well have dubbed him with a distinguished dynastic name. Theodoric suggests itself because of its frequent reappearance in later generations of the Makhiri (p. 212).

Zuckerman asserts that the ‘prevailing view that the Franks allied with the Goths defies the evidence. Pepin was allied with Caliph of Bagdad and they worked together for a “Franco-‘Abbasid domination over Spain”’ (p. 173). He continues,

After the fall of Narbonne and the amicable outcome of the negotiations the negotiations with Bagdad in 765–68, Pepin and his sons Carloman and Charles redeemed their pledge to the Jews, settled a scholar-prince in Narbonne by the name of Makhir, dubbed him Theodoric, gave him a Carolingian princess as wife, and endowed him with noble status in addition to vast allodial estates. (p. 173).

(As an aside, that the Carolingian kings would bestow the name ‘Theodoric’ upon this Davidic-line Jewish king is significant. The name contains the Germanic elements ‘theo,’ cognate to ‘deus,’ and ric/rik which means ruler).

That Pepin’s son Charlemagne granted economic privileges to Jews in his realm is well supported in the historical record. The same is noted of Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious. Charlemagne would go on to become famous for the horrific slaughter at Verdon, where he killed 4,500 unarmed Saxon chieftains in cold blood. Louis the Pious is thus named for his penchant for collecting all known writings on indigenous European culture and setting them alight.

These tactics would he echoed by converted Christian kings for centuries as they joined ‘Christendom’, a forerunner to the modern E.U., which granted economic privileges and trade incentives. But, dedication to and practice of our indigenous folkways lingered on amongst the populace despite the efforts of their elite overlords. Eventually, the Protestant Reformation would rightly notice that under Catholicism Europeans remained essentially pagan. And so, again, secular and religious authorities rounded up individuals suspected of engaging in their own indigenous practices and set living people on fire for this sin. That famous ‘Protestant work ethic’ coincided with the rise of the mercantile economy and the capitalist machine that has dominated the West in more recent generations. While atheism is often blamed for the loss of the sacred, industrialization occurred in Western nations that were still overwhelmingly Christian. Industrialization arguably raped and abused the natural landscape both by unethical harvesting of resources and the pollution that ensued.

Moving Forward

Today we stand upon a precipice, and must ask ourselves ‘Which way Western man?’ Many are observant enough to see that those who present history are re-writing it in front of our very eyes. We can see media misrepresenting facts such as the historical ethnic demographics in Europe. That our academic and educational institutions are literally indoctrinating students from their tender years through university is news to no one. Yet, there is a chasm of disconnect when it comes to looking critically at the recording and telling of other areas of history and the roles that elite-imposed ideological precursors to modern liberalism have played in driving us to the scenario in which we find ourselves today. The dissident right looks at the media and scoffs at the ‘lying press’, while they simultaneously allow themselves to be manipulated by it. An analytic jaunt through the history of historical paganism, the figures responsible for spreading Christianity at sword point and their other connections and activities, coupled with a closer look at 20th century history, turns the standard understanding on its head.

Shamanism, spiritualism, energy work, rainbows and crystals, totems and spirit animals belong to lefty wingnuts only so long as we eschew our own ethnic spiritual inheritance. This is a question of dire significance. For, when the fight for ethnic viability is over, immediate questions arise on the horizon. Will we defeat the globalists only to allow their goals to continue under the guise of universalism? But, more pressing will become the need to wrestle environmentalism away from the left. What good will it be to save our race if we have destroyed our own planet? While it may not be realistic to expect a mass return to animism as a religion in the immediate, it can be said that had we never been forced to abandon the gods of our landscape we would have been better stewards of the Earth.

Western man must ask himself, squarely, if he believes in blood and soil. If the answer is yes, then hope springs eternal.

Works Cited

Bates, Brian. The Real Middle Earth. Oxford: Sidgwick & Jackson, 2002.

Etymonline.com. ‘God’. n.d. 22 12 2012.

Hooke, Della. Trees in Anglo-Saxon England. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2010.

Levin, Lee. ‘The Messiah of Septimania’. 2011. The Jewish Magazine. web. 22 12 2018.

Spengler. ‘Christian, Muslim, Jew: Frank Rosenzweig and the Abrahamic Religions’. October 2007. First Things. web. 22 December 2018.

Stonehenge.co.uk. ‘Thoughts on its purpose’. n.d. Stonehenge.co.uk. web.

Walking Through History, Series 2, Episode 1. Perf. Tony Robinson. 2013. Television.

Wikipedia. ‘Gerald Gardner (Wiccan)’. n.d. web. 22 12 2018.

Zuckerman, Arthur J. A Jewish princedom in feudal France, 768-900. New York: Columbia University Press, 1972.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. Indeed, nobody has ever been better able to live without destroying their own livelihood than people un-destroyed by middle east religions and Marxism, and you can’t beat doing that. This was one interesting article.

  2. My observations are universal correspondences in the sense of an esoteric religious/mystical current whose central figure is Hermes Trimegistus or Hermes the “Thrice Great.” That includes all sympathies and antipathies of religious, political, scientific, and philosophical entities. It is the mathematics universal.

  3. These connections were inevitable for any political power controlling the left bank of the Rhine, since diaspora Jews were firmly rooted in Roman limes settlements like Cologne.

  4. “Spengler” is David Goldman, a Zionist Jew, and formerly an editor of First Things, a neo-con effort to make neo-con attitudes and analyses seem high-brow. He is right to focus of Rosenzweig, who nearly converted to Christianity himself but instead went in the direction which Goldman tirelessly advocates.

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