Heathen Call Calling
Review: Juleigh Howard-Hobson
Coming in at fifty pages, Heathen Call #9 is more of a journal than the zine it bills itself as. An imprint of The Heathen Circle, it has grown from a photocopied venue to a professional saddle stitched heavy paper publication. Recent issues have included the poetry of Robert N Taylor (whose retrospective poetry collection Remnants of a Season has just come out), articles such as “Kupała (Summer Ritual practices in Poland)” by Ziemisław Grzegorzewic and interviews with heathen musicians from Norway’s Eliwagar to the legendary neo-folk band Changes.
This particular issue is a turning point for Heathen Call, not only does it feature a glossy cover, it includes four previously unpublished poems from Sweden’s preeminent traditionalist philosopher Lennart Svennson. Many readers will know him from his book Borderline: A Traditional Outlook for Modern Man published by Numen Books last year. His poetry will not disappoint those who find his philosophic musings intelligent and insightful.
“The Glory of Hyboria” is a paean to the mythology of Scandinavia:
Hyboria is gone, Middle Earth is no more
crumbling in the upheavals of Ragnarok-
gone with its rivers, land and circumpolar abyss.
A paean that ends on a lamenting hopeful note:
Hyboria is gone but Arya lives on.
The poem “Vittra” is a nod to the numinous, opening with:
My grandmother told me about vittra,
shiny, silvery people roaming the Norrland woods.
They were not men. They were superhuman, they
were of elven kin, demigods ruling the land
along with the devas of vegetation.
I will not ruin the beauty of reading Svennson’s poems by yourself, in their complete forms, by quoting any more from them. I will merely say that all four are as mystical and as well wrought as the small glimpses I revealed of two of them. I find it hard to believe that English is not Svensson’s native language, his words fit so precisely and his poetic ear is impeccable.[spacer height=”20px”]
Svensson is not the only treasure to be found in Issue 9—there is an article on Slavic Rodnovery: “Perun and Weles, the Divine Duel” by Ziemisław Grzegorzewic “Emulation & Ritual” by Derrek Burton and two interviews. One with Erntegang (aptly billed as “20+ pages of Philosophy & Heathenry from the voice of a German Neo-Folk musician”) and one with Urfyr (Germanic Neo-Classical / Neo-Tribal music)—both interviews are much more detailed and personal than the typical online or music-zine interviews tend to be.[spacer height=”20px”]
Pan-European pagan faiths are not relegated to specific safe sacred spaces and certain sacred ways—Europa’s heathen poetry, art, music, philosophy and daily life itself all hold sacred acknowledgement of the divine. Heathen Call’s editor B. Z. Mayoka does a splendid job of showcasing this in a contemporary and glorious manner.[spacer height=”20px”]
(NOTE: While I have a poem and an article in this issue, there’s no need for me to review them – but I will say that I am honored to have work included, and doubly so to share literary space with Numen Books’ author Lennart Svensson.)[spacer height=”20px”]