Wednesday, June 29, 2016

We're Still Here.

The title pretty much sums it up. This marks the 2 year anniversary of Ulv Hamre as a group, and in that time, there's been quite a few changes. Not only for the group itself, but for the individuals involved. I can only speak for me in detail, which I won't do in great length, but especially in the last year, I have seen a lot of things go downhill. I won't talk about much of it. I'll only just say that certain things have happened on a physical/mental level that has left me having a hard time processing, focusing, and sometimes having issues getting by with simple day to day things. I've been going to doctors for the last six months, and have been trying to work with it.

The reason I bring this up, is because this is why I haven't done many videos. I can't seem to focus enough to actually get a proper video done. Some of you that know about my personal and hobby stuff on Youtube will also note that I don't have to have in depth discussion on the art or gaming channel. I either just play the game, or I draw. Simple enough. It's gathering my thoughts that becomes the issue. Often times, I'll go to speak and I'll go blank, and I'll sit there for a long while, trying to collect myself and remember what I was doing. So, for those that were looking for new videos, my apologies.


As far as the group goes, we're still doing what we do. We're not as involved on a whole community level these days, and from the last meeting we had, it seemed that the conversation went to the fact that we've gotten to the point that we don't have anything to prove to anyone. That's the general agreement among us.

When we first started, I know I felt like I had to prove myself. I wanted to build a community that I could work with others in. Once that community started, however, I felt that I got more drained the more I did it, because essentially it was Ulv Hamre working to try to build something great, and after dealing with the others and seeing how little it mattered to them, the question became, "Why bother?" If this group is the work horse, and people are taking advantage of it with no actual input of activity or care, then why do it? That "Fuck you" mentality stemmed from that.

So, essentially, we're still us. Nothing has changed on that at all. We just stay to ourselves mostly. We may have friends in other groups, and I'll always support the growth of actual Heathenry, but we have nothing to prove. We've stuck it out this long. It's gotten easier after we cut out the drama and bullshit.


There are some subjects that I wanted to touch on, that I have tried to cover in videos, and couldn't finish the video because of some issues.

Race vs. Culture

Simple enough, race isn't culture. within a skin color, if you're basing your judgements on that, there are many different cultures. So while this may not be popular among many folks who once supported us because of preconceived notions, we've always had that stance. I'm not your brother just because we're both white. I come from a place where it's more of an economic problem. So, you got treated like shit if you were under the poverty line. So, black, white, brown, or yellow, I don't give a shit. If you're good to me, I'll return the favor. I've heard quite a few Heathens say they're not prejudice at all, but make comments about people being friends with other races behind closed doors. Again, Ulv Hamre has always had the same stance this whole time about the matter. Culture is where tradition and ideas matter. Not race. I grew up in the Mountain culture*** that was multicultural. Polish, Irish, German, Welsh, British, African, French, Italian, etc... They were all there, and were instrumental in many traditions the mountains still carry today. recap...just because we're the same color doesn't mean I hold you any closer. I've always identified with folks on a social level. I've always related to the throw-away types. So, don't bro me, if you don't know me...

Which brings me to the next topic...

European vs. American Heathens

I've seen quite a bit of this idea, and it seems to be growing. There's a lot of Europeans on forums, facebook, youtube, etc...that don't feel that Americans have any culture, but they shouldn't be using the Gods of their culture. There's mixed beliefs with this, but one of the most common (from what I've seen), is that you have to be from Scandinavia to follow the Gods, and it doesn't matter if that is your heritage, you should still be from that region of the world. If you're mixed European, even, forget about it. As far as that thinking goes, I feel like those ideas are mostly kept by special snowflakes, many who, ironically, don't even follow Heathenry, but look at it like a cultural thing. My problem is, there's a lot of historical issues that would contradict what they say, so while not getting too far into it (it would have been at least 3 videos long), I'll just say that many points these folks have are backwards and they are ill-informed.

Human Gods

Yea, yea. I know. I've already mentioned this in videos before, but it still rings true. People out here talk about what it is to be a man and to be savage, but, for many guys with this idealistic viking complex, they don't do anything, and even when throwing punches, can't seem to do it right. They look up to other men who proclaim themselves stronger, but get suckered in by ideas. This cult-like mentality just breeds men who need others to approve. They proclaim that they don't, but if that was the case, there wouldn't be so much dick swinging in public. So, if there was any advice I would give someone coming into Heathenry, it's that you shouldn't buy into the bullshit. You don't have anything to prove to anyone, but yourself. Honor your ancestors, and take care of your business, and be sure you can protect what's yours. I would kill for my kin, and have came close to it, without second thought. I don't have to brag about it, or boast that I'm a badass, because I'm not. I just love my family and want to protect it. Don't follow people for validation. If you need approval to be a man, you're doing it wrong. The reason I say you're doing it wrong, is because usually it's a bullshit scheme anyways that followers feed money into. 


Lastly, I would like to thank those who have stuck it out with us.  It's been great to meet some of you, and while I haven't gotten back to everyone (fucking way too many messages at this point), just know we're all okay, and we appreciate that you guys care about us. If you were on my friends list before on social media, and you noticed I went off, it's because I was originally going to delete all of it. I remembered I had the pages attached to the account, however, so to the best of my knowledge, I can't. So, all that's left is tribe, my mom, and business contacts.

Thanks again, guys, and there will be some new stuff posted from time to time when we get together and record some stuff. Other than that, if you need anything, just message the Facebook page. Hope this finds everyone well.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Looking Back

With Yule coming up, I've taken a bit of a hiatus from doing as many Youtube videos and blog posts. I've been working with the tribe to get everything together. This weekend, we're going to eat well, honor each other, our families, ancestors, and Gods.

This point in the year, it's time to look back at the last twelve months, and look at what's been accomplished, and also learn from failure.

I can only speak for myself, but this has been a year that's made me mature more, not just as a Heathen, but as a man. I made an oath last year that I would do what I could to help build a larger Heathen community in this state. I feel like WV, at this point, has much potential now as far as a Heathen community goes. It's been getting more active as of late, and I'm really happy to see that.

When Ulv Hamre formed, it was just Frank and myself. We had an idea of structure from the beginning, and that first copy of the handbook was put out in a Facebook group that we ran for us. I had known Terra from mutual connections and brought up to her what we were starting. I didn't know how exactly she would react to it, but she was receptive, and we went from there, picking up Stevan and Jeff.

Over the last six months, we've gained and lost, went through drama (as expected, unfortunately, when you deal with many people), had folks try to take our members out from under us, hosted an event, networked, and tried to do what we could to help the community. As a group, right now, we've never been stronger. Everyone has a job that they do within the tribe, and they do all do their jobs well. We work together, and in our personal lives, we've gotten to be great friends.

As a man, I've gone from being ready to fight at the drop of a hat, to being smarter, and overall more patient. I don't rush into a fight, but I don't back away from the struggle at all. I think more in the way of, "How does this effect my tribe and family?"...I've learned that in conflict, the best way to handle some situations, is just to merely ignore and move on. Sometimes the quieter route is more effective than the more physical or the loudest way of doing things. The idea is that, "if you give someone enough rope, they'll hang themselves."...I don't like drama and bullshit, so this works better at times.

With all of the highs and lows, I couldn't be more proud of my tribe. They've stuck by what we stand for, regardless of the situation. I've always been used to putting my head down and running head first into whatever problems arise, and just making it out on the other side, by myself. It's a whole other feeling when  you've got a group behind you, that look at you and say, "Well, we'll get through this too."

That, to me, is Heathenry, or at least our brand of it. That word has a lot of different meanings to different people these days. Mine goes along more of a tribal definition. It's a way of life that centers around family and our innegard. The idea that you're ready to weather whatever situation, and come out the other side together, dusting yourself off, and holding your tattered banner up high, is one that's important to me.

So the last twelve months have been great, honestly. It's been a learning experience, and I've met a lot of great people. The next twelve, I'm hoping we see more growth locally, as well as beyond.

With that said, videos will go up regularly after the new year. The newsletter is bi-monthly now, to fit in more content. A calendar of events will be put out for the year at some point, as well.

Hope you guys have a safe and merry Yule.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Working in our Living Communities

When I've read books over the years, "Community" usually refers to the Heathen community. When I talk about the "living community", I'm talking about our communities that...well...we live in. Why do I put so much importance on living community, when my focus should be Heathen? It's simple, really.

It's because my family lives here, and my tribe lives in this region. When I invite folks from out of state to visit, or I invite my tribe over, I want to make sure that they're not worrying about anything. Where I'm originally from, in the coal fields of southern West Virginia, it's a dangerous place. You constantly have to worry about people stealing your stuff, just about everyone has a gun, but not for defense, there's drugs everywhere, and as Robert Taylor put it the first time he met me, "I've never heard of that it one of those places where people just disappear?"

I've had friends killed there, and the cops would come and take crime scene photos, and leave again. Rarely did they ever come down my way. So, when we got flooded and had no choice but to move the family to my uncle's about an hour and something away, I figured we'd get looted. It wasn't from strangers was from people I grew up with and knew well. With just my mom and myself working on two houses, we couldn't just get everything out all at once. So, it happened pretty fast when they started. So, you grow up with the mentality that if something happens, I don't call anyone (because who can you trust to take of the bad stuff in a place where no one cares?), and I just take care of it myself, and fix the situation.

That's what I think we should strive to do in a lot of ways. Especially with taking care of our living communities. We spend a lot of time talking about taking care of our own, but we don't. Our Verterns, elderly, and children tend to be left in societies ditch, so that some super church can send a bunch of upper class hipsters to a country in South America to build churches and spread the word of their god. We spend a lot of time talking about taking care of our own....when did the meaning of that change?

So, the idea is that my family is in this living community, and my tribe is in neighboring areas in the region. So, to give back to my family/tribe, or to try to make my community a good place for my family and tribe to flourish, then I need to take care of my community and be active. This gives back to the living communities, and our folk that live in those communities.

Many Heathens already do some form of charity work, either through animal shelters, homeless shelters, volunteering with cleaning the area, donating, etc. There's numerous ways to help. For me personally, I've tried to talk to folks when I go out, and get a feel for what's going on in the area. Something as small as me helping a little elderly couple with their groceries, can open a door to them coming to me if they see me out and need help. Making connections with folks is also a great way to get the facts out about Heathenry, not by fanatical preaching, but by showing that you're not some nut that the media usually shows.Showing that you're a good person, and that you're willing to help, is a good start for not just you and the other folks involved, but for Heathenry, as it opens a line of communication.

Other things you can do in the way of donating:
  • If you get another deer, and have more meat than you need, then you can donate the meat to a local homeless shelter. There's places that will fix it up for you, so that you don't have to.
  • You can donate to food and toy drives.
  • In Spring, you can attend these clearance sales, and stock up on coats, hats, gloves, etc... By next year, around October, you can donate those. Sometimes the State Police will take them, other times, you may be able to get a hold of a local place, or group, to give them out. If you're wanting to do more, you can host an event to gather up more things and donate.
  • You can stock up on school supplies (often times you can go to the dollar store and get a lot of stuff, and during those clearance sales, you can sometimes find backpacks for cheap), and donate those in July or August. 
  • You can donate your time with hospitals, shelters, etc...
 Our living communities are important to our folk, because it's what surrounds our folk. We want our kin and kith to be safe and healthy. These are just a few ways that can help with the environment we're in.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Brand of Heathenry

When you do anything, you're going to get criticism. I've always expected that. So, when I find out that there have been some comments...some to me...some behind my back, about what I'm doing in Heathenry, then I feel like I should clarify some things.

For starters, I don't practice Heathenry as a hobby. It's apart of me. So when it comes to being productive, or working hard towards something, it's because I believe in what I'm working on. When I'm networking folks, or I'm answering questions, or referring people to sources and groups, it's because I believe that it has potential to help the future of our folk. I could never look at this as something I do once a month.

Second, I want to get away from the personal politics that people throw into Heathenry. People will use their religion as a way to justify their social or political bias. We see it with just about every religion out there. So, when you have a lot of folks starting "debates", causing various disturbances,'re going to have new folks coming in and picking up on that, and it will perpetuate the misinformation and personal bias, and often times, people just run with the information they pick up on when they first come into something like Heathenry.

I also don't agree with being easy on folks if they've done something they shouldn't. Point blank, coddling doesn't help anyone. What usually happens to folks who get babied growing up? They usually lack structure, or understanding. There's nothing wrong with being stern with someone. For me, I like to actually talk with people, and try to make sure there's an understanding.

Oaths are important, and I don't take those lightly. So, I don't agree with just freely oathing, especially in a group.

I don't believe in Heathenry as a social club. 

I believe in going back to the basics of ceremony, without mixing new age stuff in it.

I believe in promoting Heathenry, instead of promoting other faiths and paths

I believe in aligning myself with folks who have the same goals.

More than all of these things, I believe in being true and loyal to my kin and kith.

Overall, this is where I am, and I'm happy to be here. Criticism is expected, and honestly, there's no problem with it. Is it going to stop me from doing what I have been this whole time? No, it's not. I've noticed that I'm not the only one who feels like our faith is polluted with people who aren't dedicated, who don't care about their folk, who look at our faith like it's a game and a reason to play Viking, and who look at kindred/tribe structure like it's a fraternity/sorority. We're getting back to basics and learning about our cultural heritages, getting out in the world and meeting other folks, instead of staying behind a keyboard, and creating stories from our experiences and hard work.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Long Way Around

I've always been stubborn, and it's always been said that it's a true family trait. I come from an old style Appalachian family from the coalfields of West Virginia. Great Grandpa had a bull and a feed store that still stood (and in some form, still stands), when I was a kid. It used to be said that you had to cross the field where Great Grandpa had his bull, to get to the houses from the bus stop, and so the kids would have to hop the fence and run for dear life. So, Great Grandpa would stand outside with a stick, and when the kids would get ready to run through, that bull would start huffin' and beating the ground with it's hoof. Great Grandpa would haul off and smack that bull in the face with that stick. The bull would calm down. It was also said, that the bull was exactly like Great Grandpa as far as personality goes.

I remember, I used to sit on the feed store's steps with my little glass bottle of Coke and a bag of chips, just as my Papaw and my Mom once did. Papaw was a military man, desperate to get away from the coalfields. In some twist of irony, Papaw ended up coming back to the same holler (yes, I know it's actually "hollow", but I type like I talk), and even after we flooded a few years back, he, due to his stubbornness, went back for a few months this past year, and eventually got too sick to take care of himself. He passed away February 13th of this year. His legacy that he left behind in the community is a man who had a filthy mouth, did whatever he wanted, drove too fast on small roads, but then would drive 30 miles under the speed limit on the highway. He was also known as one of the best butchers around, because as the newspaper put it,  "Our butcher was special. It was said he could cut part of his finger off, wrap it quickly, and never get a drop of his blood in the hamburger he was grinding fresh for someone. Sadly, OUR BUTCHER (Don Moore) passed within the past month at about 80. His legacy as the company store butcher with the friendly smile lives on"...He really did cut off his finger as a butcher.

 Papaw and Great Grandpa

My mom, of course, is also stubborn. She grew up a fighter. Essentially beating the living shit out of anyone that deserved it. She once grabbed a boy off a bike when she was a kid, and then proceeded to beat the shit out of him in the middle of the road, because he called her fat. She's never had it easy, and despite the hard times, she's never given up. With her family in mind, she went to school and became an RN and raised both myself and my brother, and then proceeded to help raise my nephews. Now, she is diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiform, which is a brain tumor for those that don't know. She was given 9 months to live...that, however, was about 18 months ago. She continues to fight.


So, it was only natural that I would inherit this as well. For better, or for worse, I was a member of this family, which means I get the good and the bad. Overall, it's both helped and hurt me over the years. Primarily in the respect that I have always seemed to walk my own path. I've always, either by meaning to, or not, taken the rougher road. I've never fully understood it. I've just always taken the longer way around. It's just seemed like the natural thing to do. More than that, it's always seemed to served my folk well in the end.

When I was younger, I don't think I fully understood the importance taking things this way. Why would anyone really ever want to take the hard road? Normally, in today's society, it's promoted that we do things an easier way. My response to taking the easy route is simply that it's not always better. Have you ever wondered why we have that easy way available to us? It's because someone took that hard way first. In the midst of all the overgrowth, holes, and predators, they've put themselves through it, and often times, not for just themselves, but for others to come after.

This is what I've learned from my family. My Papaw cut his finger off, and went right back to work, because it was the right thing to do for his family. My mom struggled in school, just so she could graduate and give us a better life than what we had. As far as my Great Grandpa...well...he was just Great Grandpa. Stubborn and tough. There's many lessons to learn from that. In conclusion, sometimes going the long way around, makes you stronger and wiser, and hopefully you come out at your destination with a story despite the scars and hope despite the bruises. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Let Them Hate...

"Oderint dum metuant" was a favorite saying of Caligula. It essentially means, "Let them hate, so long as they fear." It's also one of my favorite sayings. So much so, that I have it tattooed on my chest around my Mjolnir tattoo that I did when I first decided to dedicate myself to Heathenry.

I understood when you go against the grain of what is considered "correct" by the majority, that you're going to get folks that hate you. Not because of who you are, and not necessarily for what you stand for. They hate you for the assumptions that they* make. They hate you, a majority of the time, from false ideas that they've created in their head automatically.

So, it's no surprise that I got opposition when I first came to Heathenry. I still get it today. The interesting thing about the disrespect I get today, though, is that most of it comes from the "Heathen" scene. Does it annoy me? Sometimes it does. There's nothing more frustrating than someone twisting words around, and coming up with bullshit ideas that they use to justify their distorted reality. It does get frustrating to have people just assume things. 

At the same time, these types often never do anything with their lives. They sit behind a keyboard and type up some junk, in an attempt to feed their egos through debate and mockery. It's never a face to face issue. Normally, if there is face to face contact, they're the type to smile to your face if they see you out. 

I understand that considering myself as a Tribalist and a Folkish Heathen is unpopular among today's politically correct society and in Heathenry. No matter how much I work to unify folks in the name of our way of life and try to forward our culture and traditions, promote learning when it comes to history and archaeology, or anything of that nature, I'm going to have an asterisk by my name. I'm always going to have some guy that spends 90% of his time in facebook groups, shit talking. I'm going to get shit talked in the local Eclectic Pagan groups for being a "snob" about who I let in my innangard. I'm going to get called fluffy because I don't argue with the "intellectual" groups. 

I understood all of this from the first time I picked up my first book on Asatru and started reading. The mental state I'm in at the moment, however is pretty clear. I'm going to do what I do, regardless. I'm not going to be like some of these folk who straddle the fence and switch sides depending on who they're talking to. I don't view my faith and my lifestyle as something that can or should be easily swapped. 

It's important to have that mentality when you're going against the popular views. Views that state that it's okay to make our folkway a universal religion for anyone to come in and bastardize by adding whatever they want to it. Views that say it's okay to window shop for a religion, because it's all about fashion. Views that say it's okay to sit on your ass and never do anything to ensure a future for Heathenry. A fucking debate on a forum doesn't make you a warrior. You won't go to Valhalla for it.

When we find opposition, we should move along, regardless. Those of us who care enough to work towards a future for our faith and our way of life need to be strong and carry the burden. In five years, we'll still be standing, while everyone else is still sitting on their computers with the same tired arguments. 

This is an exciting time for Heathenry. For newcomers, coming in and seeing the strength that we speak of is important. To hold your convictions and carry them through everything bad that can be thrown at you, and to come out the other side still holding them is essential to our survival. 

People fear things they can't control. When someone maliciously mocks you and tries to debate you, they are trying to control you. Don't let them. When it comes to criticism, always remember that phrase. Let them hate, so long as they fear. If they can't control you, they have no power. Stand your ground and always push forward. This is your saga, and you're the one that decides how it's going to go. It's best to leave behind something worth talking about long after your gone.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Remembering Erik the Red

Today we remember Erik the Red. 

Many of us today will reflect on his loyalty to the Old Ways. It was said that once his wife became a Christian, she refused to sleep with him. His loyalty to Thor and the Old Gods is something that we should look at. However, we should also take into account his loyalty to his family. Despite not liking Christianity, he remained loyal to his kin, even after they converted. 

One of the things that many new Heathens seem to have a problem with, is honoring ancestors and family who aren't Heathen. One thing I think we can take away from today is that, even when we disagree with our kin, it's important to remain loyal to them. At the same time, we should stand our ground and stay loyal to our ways.