This year, my wife and I spent midsummer in Paris. It was her third trip, but my first. Believe me when I tell you, in all sincerity, there can not be many experiences more romantic than seeing Paris for the first time with the love of your life. All the more so when she’s six months pregnant!
The trip was not just my first to Paris, but actually my first to Europe as well. Needless to say, the whole experience stirred up some interesting feelings on multiple levels.
I’ve always felt a strong appreciation for history and I have a special love for old buildings and old trees. The EiffelTower I found unbearably boring, but in the oldest segments of the Louvre I felt a sense of throbbing power. In the Cathedral of Notre Dame I felt a sense of undeniable awe and in the cobble-stoned alleys of Montmarte I felt an eerie sense of déjà vu.
Though I lack any known French ancestry, the trip did give me a feeling of being in touch with my European cultural heritage. Many of my memetic ancestors walked these streets, even if my genetic ancestors may have not. It was not lost on me that Catholicism and Greek Mythology ranked equally as the most common themes in art and sculpture.
Catholicism always stirs mixed feeling in me. I find the aesthetics of the tradition almost irresistibly appealing and even if the moralism is pretty hard to swallow. My fascination with Voodoo and related traditions is due in no small part to the skill with which the practitioners have managed to absorb the power and aesthetics of Catholicism, without compromising too much of their own worldview. If Voodoo can make use of Catholic iconography, why can’t Heathenism? There’s plenty of evidence for historical syncretism.
Our neglect of the Greco-Roman tradition is less understandable. Through the intermediary of Rome, the Greeks have become the cultural ancestors of all of western civilization. We may not necessarily be in love with civilization, but we cannot deny who we are.
A study of early Greek philosophy quickly proves that mysticism was never exclusively eastern and an exploration of modern Hellenismos reveals a tradition that is highly compatible with Heathenism, to say the least. Besides, the Iliad and the Odyssey are such ripping good yarns that it’s a shame to exclude them.
If you’ll join me in a moment of selective fundamentalism I might propose that we accept Snorri on face value. There, now we’re all descended from the Trojans and the Iliad is, at least, an important clue to our heritage. For those who care to notice, the Trojans of the Iliad speak Greek and worship Greek gods. We all get to be Greeks, too!
And so we come to the end of this, one young Heathen’s rambling reaction to his first footsteps on European soil. It’s taken me a long time to digest what I learned about myself in Paris. But, in the end, the lesson is simple and obvious. In order to truly understand ourselves as Germanics, we must understand ourselves as Europeans as well.