Hashtag Heathens

Contemporary Germanic Pagan Feminine Visuals on Instagram


  • Ross Downing




Paganism, Heathenry, Norse, witch, social media, Instagram


A rising number of young adult females use Instagram, posting pictures with hashtags which alert Instagram users to their specific interests. Heathens have also begun to use Instagram and in order to better understand this new feature of the religious movement I interviewed fifteen Instagram account owners whom I identified by three factors.

1. Their use of three or more of the following hashtags: #norsewitch #heathengirl #seidr #volva #galdr #norsepagan #heathensofInstagram #witch #runes #viking #shamanism #witchesofInstagram
2. Their personal identification as Heathen, Asatru, Norse Pagan, or otherwise expressing spiritual belief in a Nordic mythology.
3. The account had at least 500 followers, indicating the likelihood of having an impact on Heathens, Pagans, and sympathetic individuals.

My focus is to document the processes and dynamics of Instagram as a medium for religious communication from the point of view of producers of religious content: the alpha Instagram account owners. The data shows that these young females apply significant theological thought in their posts and most have a strong sense of responsibility to teach others about Heathenry. The data departs from previous research on Instagram and Heathenry in that the account owners appear to have altruistic motives in the first instance and an affirmative non-political epistemology in the second.

Author Biography

Ross Downing

Ross Downing holds an MA in religious studies from the University of Gothenburg and an MLitt in Viking studies from the University of the Highlands and Islands.


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How to Cite

Downing, R. (2020). Hashtag Heathens: Contemporary Germanic Pagan Feminine Visuals on Instagram. Pomegranate, 21(2), 186–209. https://doi.org/10.1558/pome.40063