the Stop Sign:
If Heathens treated traffic rules
way they treated the lore…
collected by Ingeborg S. Nordén and others online
I'm sure that at least some of you have seen humorous lists (like this one and this one) describing how various Christian and/or Jewish sects would "interpret" stop signs, if they used the same approaches as they do for the Bible. Here's my attempt at a similar list, correlated to Heathen approaches to ritual and lore.
1. The strict reconstructionist Heathen would complain that stop signs are an insult to the gods, and that hiring a police officer to control traffic is a truer and more traditional approach to road safety.
2. The modernist Heathen would honk impatiently at the reconstructionist, grumbling that just because stop signs weren't around in Henry Ford's day it doesn't mean the gods expect us to ignore them now...
3. The white-supremacist "Heathen" would rear-end a black/Asian/Hispanic driver's car, then argue to a policeman that he was just obeying the stop sign and should get out of paying a ticket.
4. The militantly Folkish Heathen doesn't mind stopping at signs, as long as everyone else at the intersection owns a car imported from Northern Europe.
5. The militantly non-Folkish Heathen doesn't mind stopping at signs either, but will proudly show off his Japanese car to the Folkish Heathen when they stop side by side.
6. The rune-obsessed Heathen will do one of two things: (a) meditate briefly on Isa as he waits, or (b) chant Sowilo-Tiwaz-Othala-Perthro at the sign, taking it as a good omen for reaching home safely.
7. The eclectic Heathen, approaching the stop sign, decides whether or not to stop based on how urgent the trip is and where he hopes to go.
In addition to the above, here are some other users' contributions to the "Heathens at stop signs" list. If you've got a funny idea about how various Heathen groups would react to a stop sign, please drop me an e-mail. Please keep the profanity and other grossness to a minimum, though: I will not add suggestions that are obscene, abusive, or "preachy" in favor of a non-Heathen religion.
The Complete and Utter Nutcase Heathen will write a rambling, semi-coherent screed (in all capitals, and shot through with quotes from his own translation of the Eddas and odd linguistic theories intended to prove that Atlantis was the original Norse homeland located in Polynesia) about how stop signs are manifested to warn unfriendly aliens (JOTUN = URANUS TIKI GOD ENEMY OF ODIN/WOTAN/A'AKUEWO) away from the entrance to Asgard, which is in fact inside the hollow Earth.< BR >
The strict reconstructionist is still there. The Lore clearly says "STOP", but going again once traffic is clear is strictly UPG.
No…the strict reconstructionist carries the oldest known driver-examination booklet from his state's DMV in the glove compartment, and times his stops according to the descriptions printed there.
An esoteric-minded Heathen associates the shape with the eight "otherworlds" surrounding our own, and concludes that the original purpose of the sign was to stop hostile outdwellers from entering Midgard. He cites the sign's red color as further evidence of its "true" magical purpose.
The anti-Semitic and/or Bible-bashing Heathen, on the other hand, will retort that the number eight is equally common in Judaism and the Hebrew Bible; he will also point to the signs' red color as "proof" that Jews use human blood in some holiday ceremonies. Therefore, stop signs are a clear symbol of the dominant Judeo-Christian culture's attempt at "stopping" Heathens from practicing their true ancestral tradition--and should be vandalized or destroyed whenever possible.
more-scholarly-than-thou heathen will complain because the stop sign should be
written in Old Norse.
The language freak will speculate exactly which Old Norse (or Anglo-Saxon) word carries the perfect shade of meaning to label a stop sign.
The scholarly esotericist will speculate on whether the variety of words available for "stop" should be taken as evidence for Norse awareness of different soul parts, or different worlds, or both.
tribalist will obey stop signs in his own neighborhood, but ignore them in
Chinatown or Little Italy because "foreign" traffic rules don't apply
The strict Norse/Anglo-Saxon/Continental Heathen will research traffic safety laws in his chosen European country, and react to stop signs accordingly--no matter where he's driving at the time.
The pan-Germanicist riding with him will point out that stop signs look the same almost everywhere in the world, and that anyone who's learned enough to have a driver's license should have the common sense to stop the same way as other cars around him.