Asser Levy in New Amsterdam

Leading up to Thanksgiving, a post on Twitter reminded me of Steve Brodner’s 2013 piece on Asser Levy (?-1680).  Asser Levy is the first documented Jew in North America, and his been called the Founding Father of American Jewry. He might have been one of the Jewish refugees from the Dutch colony of Recife in … Read more


Sometimes people cite Wikipedia for things that are false, and they get offended if you question them. Other times, people go around the Internet chiding everyone who cites Wikipedia for anything. Honestly, it makes me think people in general don’t understand either Wikipedia or citations. Really, there are times and then there are times. If … Read more

Pagan vs Post-Christian

C.S. Lewis asks, “Are there any Pagans in England for me to write to? I know that people keep on telling us that this country is relapsing into Paganism. But they only mean that it is ceasing to be Christian. And is that at all the same thing?“ He thinks not. They’re very different things. … Read more

America is a Religion

Just finished watching “Americans Are Religious About America“. That rings some bells. “Basically, American Civil Religion is when Americans are religious about America. The series argues that Americans are being religious when they create and curate American identity and ideals.” Robert Bellah says, “The phrase ‘civil religion’ is, of course, Rousseau’s. In chapter 8, book … Read more

Asuras and Devas

One of the more interesting questions in religious history is why there is a divide and reversal between the asuras and the devas. If you’ve made a serious study of religions this divide is old hat. If you haven’t heard of it until now, you can begin to see it easily and quickly just by … Read more

Linking Religion to Ethnicity

Some interesting thoughts here. Ethnicity, language, religion, and race are not entirely independent variables. Traditional pagans won’t be surprised by that. This particular discussion reminds me of something I often hear from Jewish friends — if go back just a few generations, you run into a solid wall of orthodoxy. The ancestors of modern Jews … Read more

Ancestors and Personal Power

“In traditional East Asian forms of witchcraft and ceremonial magic, connection to your ancestral lineage hs always been expressed as kind of a requirement. Real talk, right? Historically and culturally, ancestors are always involved. . . . When you do anything at all, it’s got to be on behalf of your ancestors or in the … Read more

Swedish Heraldic Society

I’m a sometime member of the Swedish Heraldic Society (Svenska Heraldiska Föreningen). I sort of rolled into it, from years ago when Magnus Bäckmark included my grandfather Harry Swanstrom’s coat of arms in his armorial roll at Gröna stubben. Probably about 1998, or a bit earlier. At this point I feel like I’ve known Magnus most … Read more

Pater Aeneas

Sum pius Aeneas, raptos qui ex hoste Penates classe veho mecum, fama super aethera notus. Italiam quaero patriam et genus ab Iove summo. [I am pious Aeneas, who carries my Penates, snatched from the enemy, in my fleet with me, known by my fame above the ether. I seek my fatherland, Italy, and a race … Read more


Adoption plays an often quirky role in genealogy. First, there’s the problem that people often disagree about how to handle adoptive lines when a biological line is also known. And second, there is the problem that modern adoption is a formal, legal procedure, while historic adoption was often informal and can be indistinguishable or almost … Read more