Cutting Ties Pt. 2

There are two parts to this. The first is a copy of the email I sent to Galina Krasskova and Sannion so that everyone knows what I have said and there is no mistaking my stance on things.

The second, this post, is my reflections on things.

I am going to ask everyone who is going to comment to fully read these posts first. Know that I do not delete posts unless they are spam. I also make frequent backups of this blog. None of the conclusions I have reached or the actions I have taken or will be taking in the future were arrived at with haste. If anything, this has been a long time coming where I have ignored my internal compass for too long, and I have hit my limit. Now, on to Part 2.

It has been a year since I reached this decision, and I have not regretted my decision to cut ties whatsoever. It does not feel like a year, though. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Looking back, if I regret anything, it is that it took me this long to make the choice to cut ties. In the last few years I knew them, both besmirched anyone even a bit to the left of them, which is fairly far right. For awhile I thought perhaps they were both centrist. In my early friendship with her, Galina and I held a lot of similar views in regards to universal healthcare, the right of a woman to choose, civil rights for LGBTQIA+ folks, civil rights for BIPOC, and on many other issues. Towards the end of our relationship I had a sinking feeling when they both made fun of or criticized pronouns, particularly the use of they and the use of differing pronouns such as that of Spivak, or neo-pronouns. Likewise to their denigration of the Left in general, Black Lives Matter, and social justice in general.

There were a great many red flags that I ignored for a long while. Their insistence that the Gods were either above political machinations, something I have only ever heard when folks want you to ignore the political implications of their positions, or the over-focus on miasma were warning signs. Something Galina said towards the beginning of our relationship, and that I still hold quite true, is that polytheism itself is revolutionary. It is. To then insist, especially as loudly as she and Sannion did, that the Gods are “above” politics, is to completely ignore the history of how enmeshed the Gods have been in them, and quite firmly are. If someone insists that the Gods are above politics, do not just question it. Demand they explain themselves. While a given God or Goddess is not likely a Republican or Democrat, a socialist or a capitalist Themselves, polytheism, and the Gods from whom these religions are devoted to and rise from, have definite leanings, if not views.

The over-focus on miasma is something that I should have understood as a red flag. It is one thing to wish to be clean, but to insist on it, in all areas? It becomes Puritanical. Taken to the extreme it becomes the fascist idea of rooting out all that is unclean and purging it. This is different from being sure to cleanse oneself before ritual, before divination, before hearth cultus, and so on. The focus on miasma and cleansing it that marked their writing before I cut them out of my life had, at that point, reached something of a fever pitch. Ironic, considering that Sannion picked up and wore one of the most contaminated symbols he could possibly have, and that Galina then defended this decision.

There were a lot of red flags otherwise. Red flags that I set aside, and ignored my own internal compass on. I gave passes when I should not have. To be sure, I argued with Galina and Sannion in private, especially with regards to how they spoke about Black Lives Matter, their hatred towards Islam, antifa, and other subjects. I could have and should have been much more public in my pushback. I thought, given we were colleagues and friends, and I was initiated under both of them, that maybe I had more pull with them than what I did. Had I pushed back earlier the letter I wrote would have been different, and written much earlier. I cannot undo the choices I made that led me ignoring my internal struggle with their rhetoric and harm, nor the choices that led me to separating from them in the way I did.

I cannot tell you what has happened to either of them in the interim beyond a few scant details, and I have no big desire to hear, read, or delve into gossip about them nor to be updated on them. I have avoided their media presences, blocked every method of contact, and have not written or spoke about them much until this post. I needed the time to grieve as they are both dead to me, whatever their physical status is.

This amount of separation has given me time to think on Galina’s role in my life as a Heathen. She came into my life not too long after I became a Heathen. At the time there was a fierce divide in the Heathens and Heathen communities I encountered between folks who were more experiential and those who weighed everything by “The Lore”. It was a fierce one too, one I found fairly inhospitable as a good chunk of the latter were composed of ‘blood and soil’ types, Neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. Galina’s books at the time, and Raven Kaldera’s too, opened up my Heathen exploration to experiences with the Gods in dynamic and powerful ways that still affect me to this day.

When I cut Galina and Sannion out of my life I questioned everything. I asked questions like “Is everything I experienced complete and total bullshit? Do I actually have skill with the Runes? Am I really an Odinsson? Am I a spiritworker? Am I a good Heathen?”

Again and again I parsed those questions and those like them, sometimes at intrusive times. They would pop up when I was trying to sleep or relax. When I was in the shower, about to pray, before divination sessions. I could put them aside for awhile, and they would still be there. Eventually, I came to my understanding in conversation with dear friends and in self-reflection.

Galina was my Elder, mentor, and for most of the relationship after the first four years or so, a colleague to me. We knew each other since about 2007. However, she was not the container of my relationships with the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir. She was a bridge in them, but she did not contain them. She did not make me a spiritworker any more than she made me a child of Odin. Being a child of Odin was a revelation I came to well before I met her, and being a spiritworker is something I have always felt called to in some fashion or another. Whether it was through her, another teacher, or just my interactions with the Ginnreginn I was likely going to be doing something like what I am now whatever else I did. It is clear from my experiences with and feedback from others that I am a good Heathen, a skilled spiritworker, and skilled in working with the Runes. Looking over my experiences, and the effects they have had on others, most of what I experienced as Galina’s apprentice, student, and colleague was genuine. I have enough people in my life who live genuine, good lives who were willing to call me on my bullshit if I were anything else.

The Runes as vaettir, as spirits? It made sense to me, and given the experiences I had of Them before I ran into her work, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I have no doubt the Runes are vaettir, powerful ones at that. When you cut someone this meaningful to your spiritual journey out of your life, though, you question everything.

Though far less involved than Galina, my experiences and studies with Sannion occupy a similar place. The experiences and initiation I had with the Toys of Dionysos were genuine. The experiences I had with Dionysos were genuine.

Looking back, I think the biggest tragedy between the both of them, and those who have similar stories to them, is the incredible amount of good they could have done. Through their actions they have tainted their work, probably irrevocably. Their work helped provide firm foundations from which others grew. It could have informed many generations of polytheists.

Equally important as the time I have taken to grieve and reflect in the last year is the time I have taken to heal and empower myself. I have kept a regimen of regular cleansing, grounding, centering, and shielding. I partnered with Water in a lot of this work, under guidance from a dear friend and spiritworker. I have done ongoing spiritual work for myself and for others in the community. I have kept up my devotions to the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir, my Ginnreginn. My ties with my Ginnreginn and communities continues to deepen. The cutting of ties with these two has not dampened my desire to do this Work; if anything, it is invigorated in the face of it. It is clear we need more people public-facing willing to talk about, and especially, to do the Work.

To that end, I will continue to offer my services as a spiritworker, which can be found on my Spiritwork Services page, and through my Patreon. I will keep up my fulfilling work with Crossing Hedgerows Sanctuary and Farm. I will continue to write here on my blog, which you can support through my Patreon. I will continue to make and hold workshops. I will continue to make videos on Heathenry and other topics on YouTube, and engage with folks on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

I am also working on revamping my first book, my anthology Calling to Our Ancestors. I will be removing everything Galina gave to me for the book. In addition to reformatting it, I will be putting in new work so that the book serves two purposes: as a guide on how to do Ancestor veneration, worship, and work, and as a devotional. It is slow going. After all, it took about 4 years to put this book together the first time, and I have many more irons in the fire now than I did then.

I apologize to my loved ones, my family, my friends, and my community for holding my tongue when I should have spoken out. I apologize to the Heathen, Pagan, and polytheist communities for actively promoting Galina and Sannion’s work over the years. I apologize for defending and going to bat for people I should have recognized as actively harmful and toxic.

I am not who I was. I made my mistakes, and I own them. I will keep on doing the Work that is mine to do. My Work is not here to make amends. My Work is here for the Ginnreginn, and if amends are part of that, then that is what it is here for. All I can hope is that my Work shows my worth and my quality.

13 thoughts on “Cutting Ties Pt. 2

  1. Sarenth, you are an inspiration. The episode of Around Grandfather Fire where you discuss this I listen to at least every couple weeks. It is a hard road that I can only understand from the human side.

    Thank you for baring your soul to all. May the gods continue to support your work.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you for having the courage to be so open and work through your self-examination in a public forum. That takes so much fortitude and honesty, and shows that you’re coming from a place of integrity in your sacred work.

    I understand exactly where you’re coming from here because I went through a similar process when I was much younger and had to sever ties from my teachers in Egypt, and work through an agonizing process of purging myself of a very unhealthy situation. When you have taken initiation, grown with, developed through, and placed trust in teachers, and that intense bond becomes toxic, the source of conflict, doing the right thing can be the hardest thing of all. It can tear up your spiritual life and leave massive scars. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this.

    Keep going in the direction you now know is the right one. Trust your intuition and values, and move ahead to help others find their place. I have no doubt you’ll do that, and very well.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I am very grateful you have spoken out. I remember that huge divide between those who experienced the Deities directly and those who were very “Lore”-focused. Back around early 2011 when I was starting off, I felt quite awkward in Norse-related circles, as I’d been drawn to faith in the Gods and Goddesses via mystical experiences. Galina’s writings, along with those of others she associated with then, were very helpful at that time. It is profoundly sad to realize how much good could have been done. How many soulful connections could have been formed. We will find other ways to support each other and go forward, of course. But it is a loss.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I must ask a question though because I think it needs to be asked in light of all of the evidence:

    Sannion and Galina are essentially libertarians. While perhaps they are not as politically inclined as others, it’s very clear to anyone who has actually read a sizeable portion of their writings that they for the most part are for a lot of the social platforms supported by the Left. They’re pro-choice, pro-queer, pro-racial equity (Sannion himself is a mixed race person of color), have criticized police brutality, have criticized racism and antisemitism, so on and so forth. With all due respect, Sarenth, I have to ask what political implications are you worried about? I don’t really think you addressed this well enough in this piece and I’d like to hear exactly what your thoughts are

    Liked by 1 person

    • Respectfully, have you read PT 1 of this blog series, or done any looking into the myriad of accounts that exist within the existing community of the harmful rhetoric and practices these people are espousing and actively representing? It takes an immense amount of courage to put a forward face on something so painful as cutting ties with an elder, and to ask someone to disclose personal information in order to prove to you that those cutting of ties were warranted, is a bit of an overreach at best, and could come across as downright accusatory at worst. I understand that most likely that was not your intention, however I also do not hear any support for Sarenth in your comment, and it comes across much more “prove it to me” than anything else. Again respectfully, no one owes you that kind of emotional labor, particularly around such a sensitive topic. There are plenty of other spaces that get into the specifics of what is harmful about Galina’s teachings, and I invite you to explore that, instead. I mean you no ill will, and I wish you well on your path.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have and I have found that a lot of them are written by people that have never engaged with those two nor do they present an actual representation of what it is they are trying to get across. One example off the top of my head regarding animal sacrifice was wildly misrepresented.

        I mean no disrespect to Sarenth and he’s done no wrong to me but I just can’t shake the feeling that there’s something admittedly disingenuous about some of the things he wrote here as well as what other people have written when we hold it up to not only what Sannion and Galina have actually written but the larger community’s way of talking about certain issues as a whole. Especially when I know who in particular have tended to spearhead these accusations against them. There’s a story that a lot of the folks on Tumblr just aren’t telling you and I can’t in good conscience support that

        Liked by 1 person

      • So…I don’t know what you know, and you don’t know what I know, and I can’t tell you what I know, but I’ll tell you that what you know isn’t what you really know. SMH

        Like

    • A little libertarianism is good for everybody. As an overwhelming doctrine, however, it is routinely a cloak to bring in fascist ideology by the back door (because concepts like “freedom of speech” are a great way to encourage tolerance for extreme ideas that end in violence, or “freedom of belief” which inevitably supports “freedom to believe in racist ideology”). If you take fascism seriously – if you have compassion for its victims and awareness that it can always return in new forms – then being “a libertarian” is not enough. One has to be actively and publically anti-fascist.

      For example, this post alone states that they are 1. opposed to people choosing unusual pronouns for themselves ,and 2. opposed to Islam. It’s a weird kind of libertarianism which doesn’t support the individual to redefine their own gender at will, or worship any faith in any way the individual chooses. More importantly, these are two key areas of overlap with not merely centerist-libertarianism but actual Right Wing politics. Restrictions of religious liberty, sexual liberty, liberty for gender minorities, and ethnic minorities.

      It also states that they are opposed to the BLM movement. There is no good reason to do this, and suggests they are NOT pro-racial-equity. You can be critical of aspects of a movement (few things are perfect!) while still unambiguously advertising your support for a campaign’s fundamental goals. And again, its a weird kind of libertarian which favours the State having a monopoly on both violence and incarceration, because it has a private army in the form of the police, which individuals cannot resist.

      Finally, if they are as pro-Left as you claim – then there are left wing tendencies within libertarianism. For example, anarchism is arguably “left wing libertarianism”.

      You have to listen to what people are actually saying and doing, not how they label themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • But that’s not the whole story. They have never stated that they are against Islam. Sannion originally made the #BacchicLivesMatter pins as a way to show alleyship with BLM, made a post lamenting the deaths of one of the famous Black victims of police brutality, and made a post about Black people’s history with His own patron deity. Galina posted something in honor of the memory of Emmett Till. In regards to pronouns, they have both have used people’s preferred pronouns in public writings. Galina did indeed say some pronouns she disagreed with but said she’d use them anyways out of respect for the other person. All of this information you can find in their own writings

        Like

      • This is in response to Marcus, the thread won’t let me directly reply.

        Sannion’s “Bacchic Lives Matter” posts were deliberately inflammatory; they were posted as a time when the “All Lives Matter” schtick came out. Sannion can backtrack however he wants to, and can do the comparisons he claims, but it was in bad taste, if we’re being gracious.

        Galina specifically has been VERY vocal about being against Islam. She, along with Kenaz Filan, platformed a man from India who used the n-word more than once (and specifically “house n-word” to refer to Indians who were Muslim) and about how Islam is destroying the polytheism of India. They’ve both created commentary about monotheism being a root of evil, and Galina has more than once made posts or signal boosted commentary involving “Muslims invading white European countries and are the cause of crime” content.

        This isn’t hidden, and they’ve been blatant about it for years.

        Liked by 2 people

    • wrt BLM specifically, I’ve seen Galina post nothing but defamatory comments about it on twitter. Honoring Emmett Till is, to my mind, a separate issue and hardly controversial – the man was tortured and brutally murdered by a lynching mob, so you’d have to be quite avowedly racist to not have an opinion about his death. Galina is also quite pro-police and pro-military for being a libertarian, as those are typically big government talking points.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for writing this. Like a lot of pagans, I have followed the people you mention on and off for years – but not closely enough to have picked up on this pattern of behaviour. I value what you have done immensely.

    It isn’t enough to be passively anti-fascist; these narratives get such a hook on the human heart, when we allow them to, that they must be actively resisted. This is true both within neo-pagan/occult scenes, and beyond. The reality of fascism is that it generally comes cloaked in moderate language, both by actual fascists who have learnt to hide their true intentions, and by naive-but-well-intentioned moderates who cannot spot their messaging for what it is. We must be proactive in resisting these tendencies within ourselves, our politics and magic, and our social communities.

    I am sorry you had this experience. Thank you for your courage and your service to the community, & I hope you are healing, and will find a new band of peers to support you. Best wishes x

    Liked by 2 people

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