America’s Top Heathen

Odin himself might have had a hard time predicting Dan Halloran’s strange career on New York’s City Council

America’s Top Heathen
Michael Marsicano

On Tuesday, November 4, 2009, American political history was made, even though it was an off-year election, with few people running for high-profile offices.

A new political movement calling itself the Tea Party had put up its first crop of candidates. The upstart party helped deliver the first electoral defeat to the new American president, who had been inaugurated just months before with an 80 percent approval rating. By the end of the evening, the Tea Party had helped turn the governorships of two blue states red (Virginia and New Jersey).

What most political observers overlooked, however, was the most magical election of the night, featuring the most colorful Tea Party candidate in the nation, in the 19th City Council District in Queens.

That was where real history was made. Mayor Mike Bloomberg squeaking into a third term was inconsequential compared with Daniel Halloran, a Theodish heathen, becoming the first openly elected heathen in the nation.

Halloran was no garden-variety pagan. He was the “First Atheling,” or prince, of his own Theodish tribe, called New Normandy. He had “thralls” who swore their allegiance to him. He didn’t just spend weekends reconstructing the religious activities of the pre-Christian Norse and Germanic gods—he led his flock, about 100 people at its height, in their polytheistic celebration of the gods (plural). They’d gather for “blot” (sacrifice and feast), “sumble” (“boast and toast of the gods”), and play games that, to the outside eye, looked like something from Dungeons & Dragons or a Renaissance fair.

Halloran was elected with the backing of the Conservative, Republican, and Tea parties.

When the polls closed that election night, a motley crew of Roman Catholics and pagans gathered at a bank branch in outer Queens to wait for the returns. Halloran’s campaign in the 19th against Democrat Kevin Kim—who had the advantage of a 3:1 registration ratio—had been bruising. The Kim campaign, Halloran’s camp repeatedly said, tried to use Halloran’s unusual religion to its advantage. Meanwhile, the Kim campaign alleged that Halloran’s supporters had hurled anti-Asian slurs at their supporters.

As one Halloran volunteer put it: “We were brought in to be white faces. In an off-year election, this one came down to: Who do you hate more? Koreans or pagans?”

Ultimately, heathen or not, the pale face won out. But while Halloran’s fans waited for his acceptance speech, they gleefully watched the results coming in from Virginia and New Jersey, their anti-Obama rage well-honed after just a few months.

“We’re going to take this country back!” they hooted and hollered.

Finally, the Prince of New Normandy was introduced with, “We’ve got a new city councilman!” Dan Halloran climbed up and addressed the crowd: America’s next top heathen.

But he said one thing that night that gave his fellow heathens in attendance pause, and, in hindsight, should have put the fear of Odin in them.

Thanking his law partner, Halloran said, “The next time you give me advice to take a website down, I’ll do it.”

He was referring to the website of his heathenish theod, New Normandy, which is now defunct. The Voice and others have used images from the site of Halloran in medieval garb, hoisting drinking horns and other regalia that he had apparently found embarrassing.

During the campaign, Halloran had promised a lot of things: to give up his day job as a lawyer (he said it was unethical for a lawyer to practice law in the city in which he was on the council); that religion, his own or anyone else’s, shouldn’t be a part of politics; that religious freedom was paramount; that he was against government pork and largesse, even for his district; and that he, like just about every Tea Party advocate at the time, was a fiscal and not a social conservative.

None of these would prove to be true, and within months, the members of his theod would largely disband.

But that election night, his speech made for a good sumble.

For his followers, the first sign of Halloran’s hypocrisy occurred during the campaign itself, when he penned a piece in the Queens Chronicle called “I believe in God.”

Heathens around the Internet became enraged when, responding to what Halloran called smear tactics from the Kim campaign, Halloran opened his op-ed with these words: “I was raised a Roman Catholic right here in Auburndale. I was baptized into the Catholic Church and took my confirmation at 13. I attended Jesuit schools.”

The piece said nothing about heathenry, New Normandy, or paganism.

“Pandering to monotheism,” one heathen who didn’t know Halloran put it to the Voice at the time.

Disappointment in Halloran by the members of his tribe, some say now, was instant: They’d already had their doubts while he was running for office.

“If you’re a Republican, and you’re a heathen, you’re shooting yourself in the foot!” says Valadia Kasandria Kristoffersen, an early member of New Normandy who goes by the name Kasidy. “I mean, if you’re a Republican, and you’re not a Christian, they don’t like you.” (Kristoffersen, who swore her oath to Halloran’s “Luck” as a member of his “Reich,” says she “defended him to death” for years. Now, she is more likely to call him “that slimy son of a bitch.”)

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154 comments
mainer74
mainer74

Victoria Clare, Steer of The Troth writes:

Dan Halloran (a/k/a O’Halloran) is currently designated as an Elder and Cleric of the Troth, Inc., a New York non-profit religious corporation. Mr. Halloran has not been active nor involved with the Troth, Inc. for many years. He has recently been accused of certain felonious acts. If Mr. Halloran is convicted of these actions, then established Troth disciplinary procedures will be enacted. The directors (a/k/a “Rede”) of the Troth are aware of the issues and Mr. Halloran’s status is being carefully monitored for the protection and integrity of our organization.

Randgrithr
Randgrithr

This is what happens when a Tyr's Godhi becomes an oathbreaker. His wyrd and orlog go right into the toilet. Now the rest of us who practice heathenry have to deal with this Ozzy Osbourne imagery of our faith, propagated to what is possibly the most forgiving, open-minded audience in NYC. It is a good thing that there are plenty of wiccans, heathens and pagans in this community who can speak to the rest of it and assure them that Dan-O's representation of the faith is rather unique, at best.

As with his religious community, his service to the City of New York is a pretense. His trip is entirely one of self-aggrandizement at the expense of convenient enemies, real or imagined - and rather disturbingly often, those enemies are people of color. For the rest of you, be assured that this is not what heathenry is really about.

Christopher N. Corradini
Christopher N. Corradini

Halloran is a loon and a bad politicianBut I find the treatment of not just his religion but the entire pagan community in this article to be bigoted and hatefulI am severely disappointed.If you want to make fun of him for being a wacko or a tea partyer then do it but to belittle not just one faith but an entire faith community is deplorable. I hope this kind of marginalization will not stand much longer.

Cassidy
Cassidy

Reality check, folks:

All religions are ridiculous (the religious impulse, however -- the inborn desire to go beyond our own individual selves and connect with the world at large -- is not).

Theodism/paganism/wicca is even more silly -- tying with Scientology for hilarity though thankfully not evil -- due to the whole made-up nature of it all. Might as well revive childhood beliefs in Santa Claus and North Pole elves!

As for the caricature, it IS fitting AND appropiate though yes the Abrahmaists would bomb the Voice (especially the Muhammadans, though I wouldn't put it past X-tians and Jooz to be too far behind) were it to mock their religion. However, insofar as Halloran pretends to be a Vikingist/Theodman/Blah-blah-blah-ist ***AND*** goes on to enact policies that are Catholic makes his religion fair game!

Anyway, ALL religions are bad...surely in this age of sub-atomic physicists we can come up with a better way of expressing and living our natural curiosity and affinity for the world than to engage in mumbo-jumbo about the stars aligning or Odin's beard or Muhammad's 72 virgins???

Seriously...choosing a religion is but choosing a different color of curtain for your prison cell window -- the prison cells of YOUR OWN MINDS!!!!

One Eyed Jack
One Eyed Jack

It is no one's business but the people involved.

Lara
Lara

You still have to question what sort of person would such a thing though in this day and age, and wether such a person should be allowed to have any sort of political power...

Jeffrey Runokivi
Jeffrey Runokivi

Interesting. I have seen a lot of comments claiming offense at the caricature that heads the article. Silly, is it that people have a desire to be offended these days? Its a pretty good likeness, actually. Speaking as a Blotere (a priest who has performed a animal sacrifice) I am more offended by Dan being called a Heathen at all, or more particularly Theodish (something I have been for almost 20 years more or less). I have known Dan-O for a majority of that time and he has been nothing but trouble. I tried to warn people about this 15 years ago, but no one would listen. Well, I guess what goes around really goes around. Its nice to see that the truth does not stay buried forever. Dan is the most cynical and opportunistic type of person. He will say anything and do anything he feels that he has to to get what he wants. It would be nice if he would just move to another religion and bother them for a while.

Hawk
Hawk

....and, Mr Thrasher, the point of your "article" is exactly what? Are you presenting a legitimate view or just enjoy mocking another's religion or lifestyle. I find your piece simply shameful and insulting.

One Eyed Jack
One Eyed Jack

Child, you have no idea of who I am, and what I know. You are a good kid, but you have been lead astray. You have seen the evidence, heard it first hand, but like your lord, you choose to put on blinders. One day you will snap out of it, but sadly you will have alienated yourself from all who have cared for and loved you.

I know things about this man that would curl your hair. Don't count me amongst the ignorati.

Not a DH hater!
Not a DH hater!

I feel I should point out: New Normandy still exists and is growing. The members who remain and the members who have joined are all long time friends or acquaintances of Dan Halloran. When speaking about the split/ breakdown of a group, it is generally wise to speak to people on both sides of the fence instead of just the one side. Obviously, people who are determined to hate someone will only ever say what they want others to hear. I'm sure that the Village Voice never once tried to speak to any member of the tribe still remaining (some of whom have been around for over 20 years) for they would say good things, and we wouldn't want that now, would we. I would also like to point out, having known "Kasidy" personally, that she was in a car accident that caused severe brain damage. Her memory is severely lacking and I don't consider her to be, by any means, a reliable source of information. And as a final point: The Village Voice has never liked DH and will probably continue to write slanderous articles full of misinformation for the shear joy of riling people up.

Lokisgodhi
Lokisgodhi

Actually, Carla, it's an astonishingly accurate representation of Halloran.

Lokisgodhi
Lokisgodhi

I'll pick you up a copy of the Voice. Let me know where to send it.

Lokisgodhi
Lokisgodhi

It accurately represents Dan Halloran. A drunken buffoon in a costume.

Lokisgodhi
Lokisgodhi

That's unfortunately because that's what Halloran's type of Heathenry is. New Normandy was always a bad joke. The people who lived in what became Normandy were Christian for five hundred years before it became Normandy. There was never a Pagan Normandy. The most embarrassing part was that Halloran was too stupid to know this.

Don't blame the Voice for pointing the spotlight. Blame the clown it's pointed at for drawing attention to himself.

Lokisgodhi
Lokisgodhi

It'd be more appropriate to have put Halloran in a Nazi uniform.

I was at a Asatru meet up at a pub downtown a few years back (before his political career). A member of Halloran's New Normandy theod spent the whole evening making anti Semitic comments. Halloran was there and said nothing to his person while this was going on.

As far as I''m concerned Halloran is a complete scumbag and a waste of oxygen. Hanging's too good for him and wold be an insult to Odin.

Christopher Blackwell
Christopher Blackwell

As a politician Mr. Halloran is open to attack, but to snipe at whole religion smacks of religious bigotry. Steven Thrasher has done this before in other articles so this is not done by accident, but seems to be a sign of his own religious bigotry. Religious bigotry is considered anti-social in our day and age. I think Mr. Thrasher owes the Heathen and Pagan community an apology for his open expression of his bigotry. As I said any politicians can be attacked for what they have done or have not done though promised.That is not the complaint, but the broad brushing of an entire religion is not acceptable.A Marine Vietnam Veteran and Wiccan

Thomaspas
Thomaspas

You should hear what Mr. Thrasher and some of the folks at the Voice have to say about NYC's hasidic jewish community...

Zach Walls
Zach Walls

The Village Voice ought to be ashamed at attempting to portray heathenism in such poor light. I am a proud heathen and not appreciate the way they essentially mocked our religion. I can understand commenting on political standing points, but when you use someone's religion to try to further mock them AND their community, you have stooped as low as you can in my book. SHAME on this so-called "newspaper" and the author of this article.

Plbuck
Plbuck

The picture is offensive. It looks like Grimmer/Glima Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings. The Runes are not all authentic, either.

David
David

The image is highly offensive. Shame on Village Voice for flaming a religious belief, rather than the person who holds it.

John
John

In Theodish Rite, Halloran swore loyalty to "King" Garman. How funny is that? A "Tea Party" guy swearing loyalty to a "King"?

Star Foster
Star Foster

It's rare to see someone devote so much time to being an asshole. Well done. I'm sure you feel your day has been well-spent.

Cassidy
Cassidy

Uh, why not? This guy's a public figure, and one who's very much into making religion public policy!

One Eyed Jack
One Eyed Jack

No you don't. A person is free to tie themselves to any other person, in any way that they deem appropriate. If the man wished to acknowledge another as his religious leader, who are you to render an opinion one way or another.

One Eyed Jack
One Eyed Jack

Funny how none of Dan Halloran's constituents are up in arms at his nonsense and posting on this website. Could it be that they realized their desire to have a blue-eyed blonde-haired boy from the neighborhood over an Asian has patently backfired on them?

Thus far I have only heard a lot of whining from the "heathen community". [sic!] of perceived wrongs he has committed against them (and a few legitimately victimized peopleof his own flock).

Garman Lord used to say "people pretty much get the religion they deserve" and I know this was his take on "people often get the government they deserve". Funny how these two platitudes come to their crowning achievement with the "King of Queens", neh?

Cassidy
Cassidy

Please tell! Why not??

One Eyed Jack
One Eyed Jack

No thank you. I have his Witan archives. I know exactly what happened.

Shy Guy
Shy Guy

He who likens himself as a king shall be made a fool. In the end, he will not receive the fame for which he sought but shall be maimed for all the wrongs that he will do. These words were spoken to you "Not a DH hater!" years ago and you too are a fool if you have not seen them come to fruition. You can't fix what is broken and it was broken long before its own self-destruction.

Ex-tribe memeber
Ex-tribe memeber

I don't remember Kasidy being brain damaged. She is intelligent, smart and having being with Dan since near the beginning is an excellent judge of his character. She was not someone new to the tribe. She was a wealth of information on the tribe and heathenry and in a major role of the tribe at the time. She is a very reliable source of information, you just dont like she pointed out the bad things that happened at the time.

Valadia Kristoffersen
Valadia Kristoffersen

Catie, get your facts straight, little one. It is not BRAIN DAMAGE, it is a brain INJURY. I STILL have a 152 IQ, and a Doctorate. (TBI, look it up.) And, I may be brain INJURED, but I am HARDLY brain DEAD. YOU of all people should know that. The facts of what DH did, MANY of them, have not come to light. Truth, he is not someone who is worthy to follow. YOU know what he has done to his FAMILY... You cannot be so naive as to believe that he is a REAL follower of the Old Ways. Trashing me doesn't change anything. Truth is truth. Oh, by the way... I was involved in THEODISM longer than DH has ever been. AND Normandy is dying. Just like his marriage.

Cassidy
Cassidy

Religion?? Seriously, all religions are ridiculous, and none so much as those which are faddish.

Cassidy
Cassidy

It's about as nutty as nuts can get. ALL Abrahamic religions are a threat to world peace and human progress, but Judaism is where it all started.

Lokisgodhi
Lokisgodhi

Halloran is the one who mocks our religion. The Voice is just reporting it.

Cassidy
Cassidy

You know, there's a reason why this kind of blood & soil sh!t was left behind...it's why even Jews, as nutty as you can get with a religion, no longer sacrifice animals or stone people for masturbating.

Cassidy
Cassidy

"Follower" should be a most unworthy title of anyone who actually exercises the brain.

Jeffrey Runokivi
Jeffrey Runokivi

Heathen Community, indeed...that one always makes me giggle.

Jeffrey Runokivi
Jeffrey Runokivi

Sorry Jack, Cannot really comment on his rule as Alderman in New York...I live a long way from there. Although, I will say one really good thing about Dan-O...he is extremely consistent. I am sure his Political life is lived very much as his Religious life has been lived. I think the reason that so many Heathens have been commenting is that these people used to trust Dan-O, when they should definitely NOT have trusted him. Knowing him personally, though, I can see why they did...he is a very charming individual. If only he would have used his superpowers for good.

thenorsewitch
thenorsewitch

@Ex-tribe memeber 

May you be eternally blessed, kind soul. Thank you for your standing. Catie is a child, family problems, emotional problems,  and a general have not (NOT a boyfriend, a job regularly, a LIFE generally.. The type that can be attracted to dan-o's type.. Lost souls..).  I treated her like a daughter.  Typical reaction by a child. 

May the Gods smile upon you forever.. Many blessings!! Your kind words (which are TRUE, btw.. which is nice), mean a great deal... Thank you!! 

Valadia Kristoffersen
Valadia Kristoffersen

One more thing. AFTER my car accident, I reinvented myself. I became a Heathen clothing designer. And, when you consider that, when I looked around Normandy, and other groups, I could see a good percentage of people wearing MY GARB... that tells me that I am successful. Very much so. What I do is professionally made, with the very best material my customers can afford, and I guarantee my work. Case in point. I have been successful even after the TBI. (Traumatic Brain Injury). That is hardly DAMAGED. AND, you would be AMAZED in what I remember. More importantly, what OTHER PEOPLE remember. I am NOT alone in this, NOR was I the ONLY one reporting.

Not a DH Hater!
Not a DH Hater!

Sycophant, noun: a servile flatterer. I don't remember trying to flatter anyone, though I believe I was trying to put up an opinion about the flaws in this article, mainly the lack of information from anyone who has a differing opinion. Journalism 101: Get both sides of the story. I'm not trying to change the opinion of anyone in the heathen community. That's a feat I don't think any person could accomplish. But for the people reading this article who have never heard of or do not know the man in question, I felt that some kind of rebuttal should be made towards certain questionable "facts" based on the statements of slanderers and haters.

gdewar
gdewar

@Cassidy Ever wonder why atheists are the #1 most mistrusted minority?  It's talk like this.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, you're just stupid enough to think yours are facts.  They aren't.

Lara
Lara

EXACTLY!!! All these offended people just need to get over themselves in my opinion - Heathens like Halloran deserve to be caracatured! I'm saving the leading pic to my hard-drive because I found it so amusing.

Jeffrey Runokivi
Jeffrey Runokivi

Ahahahahahahahahahahah! Yes, my sentiment exactly! I am sure that they would also be lawyers.

One Eyed Jack
One Eyed Jack

"If an there were priests of Loki, they would surely deny it, clam virtue, and say they were priests of Tyr"

One Eyed Jack
One Eyed Jack

Yeah, we figured you would have to look that up. We even placed bets on it. Looks like I am out a dollar.

Not a DH Hater!
Not a DH Hater!

For the sake of your peace of mind, let's replace severely brain damaged with severe brain injury. It doesn't change the rest of my statement. I will not get personal with here beyond pointing out, again, that I feel your information was inaccurate for reasons both mentioned and not.

Valadia Kristoffersen
Valadia Kristoffersen

It is only slander when it is not true. In this case, it IS true. Be careful when you accuse people of being brain "damaged", btw. And 'Severe' brain damage? I am neither in a chair, nor unable to take care of myself. Mild Traumatic Brain INJURY is a bit, QUITE a bit, different. Ask my doctor. And those 'questionable' facts? Only the TIP of the iceberg. And MOST people know halloran quite a bit better than you do, myself included. I have to agree with One Eyed Jack.I know YOU, too, Catie.

Cassidy
Cassidy

Halloran looks like a Dungeons & Dragons nerd. Seriously, I should know; I was one myself!

 
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