June 21, 2023
Rune Hjarnø on the Project of (Nordic) Animism, Part II
(Living Esoteric Cultures Series Interview 7)
‘It’s not only metal; it’s animist!’
In the second part of our interview on Nordic animism, we speak with Rune Hjarnø on various further points of interest:
• We discuss ‘splitters’ and ‘lumpers’ and the case-study of the thought of Mulla Sadra, who doesn’t ‘feel’ animist, but whose world-view is definitionally-animist,
• The ability to live with and think with conceptual contradictions, and the role of practice in such an ability,
• The problem of modelling Protestantism as a ‘disconnected’ way of knowing and of being in the world when faced with Jacob Böhme and William Blake, Protestants of the greatest ‘connectivity’ in their approaches,
• The many examples of animist saint-cult from mediæval Europe, which feel pretty much like cognate practices to some of the stuff we find in Afro-Caribbean religions like Candomblé,
• Some reflections on the quest for authenticity through deep historical roots – a feature of many Neo-paganisms, among other religious currents – versus the reality of human cultures constantly coming up with new rituals and customs,
• The interesting case-study of the globalisation of the North American holidays of Hallowe’en and El Dia de los Muertos in Denmark in recent decades,
• The question of ‘Euro-descendent’ status vis-à-vis Nordic animism, and how that works,
• And, finally, some low-culture questions: What are Rune’s takes on the neo-something band Heilung, the Scandi-folk-horror movie Midsommar, and the Marvel Comics version of Thor (as exemplified in the immortal work of Jack Kirby, but also looking at the recent films).
Rune Hjarnø Rasmussen is a Historian of Religion, PhD from Uppsala University in Sweden. He has researched Afro-diasporic strategies for maintaining animist reality in the modern world and he is now applying this in reading North European cultural history from the perspective of rejected animist knowledge and practice. He presently works as a public intellectual and cultural activist applying new-animist theory, Ontological turn thinking, and indigenous knowledge anthropology to recover Euro-traditional forms of land-connectedness, ecological knowledge, and kinship with the greater community of beings. He communicates through public media, independent scholarship, social media, and a number of cultural initiatives.
Works Cited in this Interview:
Neil Gaiman. American Gods. Headline, London, 2002.
Lemmy from Mötorhead addresses the concerns of a fan. ‘Screw ’em! Do what you love.’
Margaret Murray. The Witch-Cult in Western Europe. A Study in Anthropology. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1921.
Rune’s ‘quasi-manifesto for Nordic animism’: see the video on his home page.
South-Scandinavian folklore collection: Evald Tang Kristensen. Danske sagn som de har lydt i folkemunde. Vol. I – VII København 1928-1939.
See notes to Part I.
Keywords: Animism, Mullah Sadra, Jacob Böhme, William Blake, Nordic Traditional Religions, Afro-Caribbean Religions