Now for something completely different… Amateur Religious Ethnography Botched, Or the Pagan Interviews, Part 11

An interview with Scott Worley on solitary Heathenry.

Skepoet: What is your religious background and how did you come to it?

Scott Worley: A long time ago on the fourth day of the forth month in the nineteen hundred & seventy first year of the Common Era I was born….

And life was grand, I had no questions to be answered cause everything was new and filled me with awe, and then it happened, I started to want to know the why of things but not the things that school taught so I started to ask questions of my mother and grandmother. I really didn’t get much from them but that they held a membership at West highland Baptist Church that was little more than a stone’s throw from the house so I started to hop the fence and walk there every Sunday morning and went there until just before my teenage years and in truth had fun and made many friends and felt that many of my questions were answered, but even so I still felt like something wasn’t meshing with the place so I stopped going and  quite frankly said screw religion for a few years. Sometime later in my late teen years  my older sister was dating or friends with (can’t remember which  it was) a youth minister at Cherokee Heights Baptist Church so I went the first time more or less to stop them from asking me each week. There I did fall in love with more than a few of the youth group and reconnected with my dearest and oldest friend and I felt like hey, this may be it , but truth be told I still felt the outsider even though I value all of the friends I made their dearly, and then I graduated high school. On a side note it was via my reading the youth ministers books that I first learned the terms Paganism, Occult, and my desire to study all religions for the common thread  was spurned.

So I left for College and well got into role playing and all and learned the D&D was not of the devil   and all those books were little more than fear mongering trash. Keep in mind this was a Christian college.

Well, anyways, when I left the college having gotten bored with being there and missing home  I came back  started visiting friends churches  one was a Church of God… to be honest the place was just too weird for me. So again for a while I stopped going anywhere.

Then I met a young lady whom I now harbor a deep seated hatred for (long story and not going into it now) and started visiting her church being Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church and indeed it was to say my first introduction to the concept of ” Ancestor worship”   even though that’s technically not what honoring Saints is, it is a step in that direction. So for a while Christianity made sense to me, but after we were no longer a couple I stopped going there and started to look at the history of the religion kind of trying to connect all the dots so to speak. So for a few years after my divorce I had no faith to speak of, I mean I wasn’t truly an atheist nor an agnostic, I had simply given up caring one way or the other about anything spiritual.

Anyways, then an odd thing happened I got a job at the high school I went to as a security guard  and met a few people whom have endeared themselves to me as loyal and trustworthy friends, some of which had these unique religious beliefs. And so I started to look into their various faiths just to see what values they espoused. So I started looking into the modern day faith of Wicca mostly via books at first ( have a somewhat extensive library of Wiccan related books) and even joined the faith via the Correllian Nativist Tradition via their Witchschool.com website  even liked the  place so much I became a member of the inner court meaning I became a part of their priesthood  but after the tradition  went through a schism between the American  covens and those overseas, I left the tradition along with my mentor & all of our combined students, and all went our own ways spiritually speaking.

Roughly after I joined  the Correllian Nativist Tradition I became interested in modern Druidism as such following a suggestion from a gentleman I met at a Pagan gathering I looked up Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) and switched up my focus so to speak via their dedicant program and online discussion groups I have learnt a great deal about  all the indo European traditions  and for some time I felt Celtic-recon was the thing for me (under the concepts espoused by ADF that is to say)

Anyways I keep an on and off again membership with them even tried and failed to start and help start local study group. At any rate while whole heartedly being a Modern Pagan I started looking into the Eastern faiths other than Christianity and will say they all have equal beauty to me, but none have really  felt right to me, on a visceral level. So  I have shelved my study of them. Which is not to say that all these various faiths don’t have their own beauty and value mind you, they just don’t feel like home,  and I feel a spiritual path should feel natural to a person, not like it is work to believe it and live it.

That being said I come looking into my ancestors  Native Pre-Christian  faiths & practices (with in the modern constructs of  sacrifice, etc) These things I learned via ADF, but  after  looking more into my family’s history and some UPG I felt drawn to the God’s of my Saxon and Norman ancestors. So for say 4 years give or take I have been studying Germanic Neopaganism with a bend towards Saxon Reconstructionism, however I am by far more familiar with the Nordic names for the God’s and tend to use them more often than the Saxon ones.

Skepoet: What is your academic background?

Scott Worley: I have some college but have as yet receive a degree other than a few technical certificates. I wish to return to get my  masters in History with a focus in European history some day but with having a limited income and more financial responsibilities than I care for it as many want to’s & need to’s will have to wait.

Skepoet: How do you see these interacting with each other?

Scott Worley: I sometimes find myself in awe of those who have been able to get the degrees I would prefer to have, but at the same time I do not feel a lesser person for not having a sheet of paper to tell the world I know what I know. However, at times being somewhat a reconstructionist where my spiritual path is concerned not having the college background makes getting s few who do to see me as an equal in discussions no matter how much non-college studying I have put into my faith systems lore.

Skepoet: How large are the heathen groups in your area?

Scott Worley: At present in my immediate area of Dothan, Alabama there are no Heathen groups. Seems I am the one and only Heathen in Dothan. I know of one Wiccan coven of the Unicorn Tradition nearby , and there is an Ecclectic “generic” Pagan Circle in the Wiregrass as well. As far as my search has indicated  Járnhallafélagið (Fellowship of Iron Hall)  is the largest organized Heathen  group in Alabama as a whole; however it is too far for me to visit having no transportation.

Skepoet: Do find there are a lot of resources for isolated Heathens?

Scott Worley: Outside of books and stuff one can find online for the sake of studying the lore & various web groups for the sake of “community” & the one national organization that allows for solitary memberships I would say no. Being somewhat isolated as a Heathen I know I often find myself skipping holiday celebrations and the like being as many of the rituals of this faith system are centered around a community dynamic, or at least that’s my take on them.  There are a few good resources but one must look for them as a isolated Heathen or luck up on internet friends whom will point them to where they can find resources. After all Asatru has been called the “religion with homework” .

Skepoet: Do have a relationship with a specific deity or several deities?

Scott Worley: I would say its a little of both. I know more about Thunor (Thor) so I find him more familiar and more like family so to speak so I tend to feel a closer bond with him. However I the UPG that brought me to Asatru from the Druidic path was from Woden, and I have had one bit of unverifiable personal gnosis that that could have come from only Vidarr. So I do honor them as well more often than the rest. But Thunor tends to get the lion’s share of my thought & worship truth be told.

Skepoet: What do you use as the primary sources of your worship textually speaking?

Scott Worley: The Edda’s, the Sagas, but for the sake of ease The Havamal…. but this would be only things I could see as being useful outside of history books that are helpful to me coming from a very loose Reconstructionist ideal.

Skepoet: What do you think of the criticism that the Eddas are corrupted by Christian influence since they are a very late document?

Scott Worley: Honestly I have not given that much thought to it. While I can see some influences  in say the creation myth part in the name similarity in the names Ask & Adam / Embla & Eve but such as influence could have easily been just the opposite the Germanic myth influencing the early Christian ones as far as naming goes.  However one would that the translators would have left their faith at the door when doing the work of translation, but one can never know. Indeed it is the main reason I tend to draw inspiration from multiple translations as I understand many Heathens do, some seem to be more popular than others in example would be The Havamal which I prefer the Bellows or Hollander translations for the language used, other would “swear by” Chisholm and so on. Quite thankful for having ran across that very good internet resource being the online library at the Temple of Our Heathen God’s website.

Skepoet: Some other pagans have noticed that many Heathens are of a formerly Protestant Christian background, but this is largely anecdotal as good records aren’t available. What are the backgrounds of most of the heathens you correspond with?

Scott Worley: I find that among those I know personally & online its a blend of the following former Catholics, former Protestants, Atheists, and Agnostics, and pretty well everything in between. I have even met the odd few who had no previous religious or spiritual beliefs.  As far as active correspondence’s go it seems to be a 50/50 split between the former Catholic & former Agnostic backgrounds. On a side note I have met two verifiable 2cd generation Wiccans and know a few 3rd gen teens as well.

Skepoet:  How could you separate spiritual Volkish heaven groups and information from people using Volkish ideas for ethnic nationalist or other political ends?

Scott Worley: For some groups it is as simple as noticing the language they use. For other groups its a matter of looking at the things they draw inspiration from example being someone say having David Lane as a hero listed in many of it members  list of inspirations. And others it often does boil down to just asking questions of its members and higher ups specifically. At least this is how I have done this so far.

Skepoet: Is there anything you would like to say in closing?

Scott Worley: I only have two thoughts to leave you and any who may read this interview with, both are other men’s words, but sum up the ideas of my personal faith.

My name is not my own.
It is borrowed from my ancestors
and I must return it unstained.
My honor is not my own.
It is on loan from my descendants
and I must give it to them unbroken.
Our blood is not our own.
It is a gift to generations yet unborn.
We should carry it with responsibility.
LIVE TRUE.
– Vincent Enlund

There prior interviews in this series can be found here, here, herehereherehere,  herehere, here, and here.

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