Against the Sassites

Every Easter, Midsummer, and Yule a very curious and indeed annoying thing happens. From seemingly every corner these three times a year in particular a small but vocal cohort of heathenry crops up to tell everyone they’re doing it wrong – enter the Sassites. The Sassites follow a peculiarly restrictive and seemingly joyless vision of heathenry in which only three holidays seem to exist and pretty well all other holidays and celebrations are apparently tantamount to heresy. Especially odious to the Sassites are solar holidays and celebrations. Further, rather than a live and let-live strategy in which they practice their version of heathenry and leave everyone else alone, they seem to actively seek out heathen spaces on holidays to tell everyone they’re doing it all wrong and proselytize their view as the one historically correct view by informing everyone else of their inaccuracy. The oddest aspect of the Sassites though is that they see their own vision as the only historically accurate vision that exists even when confronted with historical sources that challenge their narrative. To be frank, I’m tired of it. There is not a heathen leader I am in contact with who isn’t tired of it.

I am a historian. But rather than being merely a lay-historian, I was academically trained in the field of history at University; I have a Master’s Degree in History. Through my graduate studies I focused mainly on pre-Christian beliefs through the time periods of their conversion. I have no intention of going for a PhD because of the time and cost involved as well as it not really being remotely necessary in the field of history to do the kind of history work I am interested in. All this to say that I am not some historical neophyte; I am qualified to not only review historical works but to teach history. I can tell you with quite an amount of certainty that these Sassites, beyond the mere annoyance they cause with their attempts at proselytization to their way through telling everyone else they’re doing it wrong, are not pushing a truly honest historical view of heathenry either despite that being their entire shtick. As it was put concisely by a heathen leader I greatly admire: Heathenry isn’t “hey let’s take these only few things mentioned and hold it as gospel” it’s about understanding why they celebrated as they did and making those attitudes relevant today.

In general I’m not opposed to correcting people when they are pushing falsehoods as historically accurate. However, there is a time and a place and there is a method for that. Further, when other historical sources are brought to bear that contradict the narrative one is pushing and show that things are more complicated than “one correct answer” it needs to be acknowledged and dropped. It has been years of this rigmarole and every year it is the same thing over and over again like a broken record.

To the Sassites, just leave us all alone and go enjoy (if enjoyment is even in your repertoire) the three holidays you actually do accept. Rather than trying to force us to conform to your holiday orthodoxy, just realize we’re practicing completely different religions at this point and leave everyone else be.

I’d like to think that this will be the end of it or that there might be an end in sight someday, but I am certain that next Easter, Midsummer, or Yule they’ll be back again in all the heathen groups doing the same things all over again.

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