Why I’m putting John Henry on my Thor Shrine

So… Here’s the thing. Gods don’t have skin, unless they’re borrowing it (along with the rest of the flesh) when riding a mortal. When we see a god, we’re seeing them as they want us to see them, and that usually means seeing them in a form we’ll readily accept. Often, that means they choose to show themselves in a form close to our own, so that they can talk to us without glaring differences getting in the way.

So, when someone claims, “But Thor doesn’t look like that!” They’re either relying on the (scant) description in the myths, or they’re giving too much weight to how Thor looks when He shows Himself to them.

So Thor as a black folk here? Works for me.

EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir

I’ve been contemplating lately variousrepresentationsof Thorthat resonatewith me, and the idea of John Henry keeps coming back around: a powerful man wielding a huge hammer against a mountain and a machine, in defense of his friends, the common working man, and those downtrodden and oppressed by forces outside their control. He also wields his hammer in his own defense, when directly challenged, of course, but only when provoked.

John Henry is a uniquely American fable with ambiguous history, making him a typical heroic legend. There are countless variations on dozens of songs in his honor. He has long represented the causes of the labor movement and civil rights, especially for African Americans.

I would not presume to detract from his representations of those essential causes. Rather, I see how John Henry is what Thor looks like in that context. I believe John Henry…

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About Lon Sarver

Lon Sarver is a polytheist priest of Dionysos, living in the San Francisco Bay Area and contemplating (with a healthy amount of dread) making a second attempt at a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. View all posts by Lon Sarver

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