Pagan Community Notes: Vivianne Crowley, Odroerir Journal, Sacred Harvest Festival, and more!

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note series, more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!

Vivianne Crowley joins Cherry Hill Seminary: Pagan author, former Pagan Federation secretary, and Jungian psychologist Vivianne Crowley has joined the faculty of Cherry Hill Seminary, a distance education institution for professional Pagan ministry. In a recent news update sent to supporters of Cherry Hill, Crowley, the author of works like “Wicca: A Comprehensive Guide to the Old Religion in the Modern World,” expressed excitement at joining CHS.

“I am excited about teaching for the first time Master’s level programmes with groups of Pagan students. I hope that the programmes that I teach at Cherry Hill will help students to deepen their understanding of religious practice and the dynamics that influence Pagan groups. Psychology of Religion is an important discipline for religious leaders and clergy of all faiths in understanding their own spiritual journey and that of those whom they serve, and the issues of Death and Dying are some of the most sensitive and important that we care called upon to deal with in our ministry.”

You can read more from Crowley about joining CHS, here. Vivianne Crowley will be teaching the class “Call of the Dark Mother” with Jennifer Bennett for the Fall semester. Congratulations to both Crowley and CHS!

The Rise of Óðrœrir: A new journal of interest to Pagans, particularly Heathen reconstructionists, has just launched. Óðrœrir” is “a fully downloadable journal dedicated to developing, fostering, and distributing scholastic literature solely regarding the reconstruction of the various pre-Christian religious traditions and cultures of Northern Europe.”

“It is our firm belief that while much of these traditions are completely viable in a modern setting, understanding and implementing them must be achieved through a thorough understanding of their original context.  We also believe that there is too much literature available that falls very short of this mark.  Thus,Óðrœrir is intended to serve as a bastion of literature that is evidence based and consistent with modern standards of academic accuracy and quality.  Articles are peer reviewed by a board ranging of individuals with over forty years of experience in reconstructing “heathen” traditions, to scholars who are currently leaders in the fields of Old Nordic Religion, and Old Nordic Culture.  It is our hope that with these high standards, and with the range of experience that exists on our board, that Óðrœrir will be able to bridge the gap between scholastic wisdom of ancient heathen traditions and the implementation and practice of ongoing ones today.”

The first issue is available for download now, featuring articles on the state of modern Heathenry, reconstructionism in modern Heathenry, Frankish Heathenry and more. You can also network with the creators at the journal’s Facebook page.

PNC-Minnesota Rolls Out Sacred Harvest Festival Coverage: The week-long Sacred Harvest Festival in Minnesota has just wrapped up, and PNC-Minnesota has begun posting personal reflections and reactions from attendees. However, my favorite thing so far from them is this picture of the founding coordinators of PNC-Minnesota: Heather Biedermann, Nels Linde, and Cara Schulz.

As a co-founder of the Pagan Newswire Collective, just knowing that there are a mixture of citizen and professional Pagan journalists starting to take an active interest in covering what happens in our community gives me hope for our collective future. Good job folks, this is only the beginning! Keep an eye on PNC-Minnesota for more Sacred Harvest Festival coverage rolling out this week.

Spirit of Albion Update: The upcoming independent film The Spirit of Albion, a story inspired by the music of Damh the Bard, has just posted its latest production diary.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hlJ7BbF2T4

You can follow Damh’s Bardic blog for updates, as well as the movie’s Facebook page.

Brendan Myers on Pagan Existentialism: Here at Patheos, Star Foster interviews author Brendan Myers about his most recent book “Loneliness and Revelation: A Study of the Sacred,” existentialism, and the value of suffering within modern Paganism.

“I think that any worldview that might deny, or ignore, the suffering and oppression in the world is profoundly immature and unrealistic. Thus if the pagan movement is a mature one, its question is not whether the acknowledgement of human suffering has value, but rather the question concerns what that value is. In the Christian worldview, the notion of Original Sin, and the crucifixion of Christ, put suffering at the very center of the Christian story. Christians, I am sure, would add that the resurrection is equally important. To this I would only comment that Pagans have a fine collection of dying and resurrecting gods who can act as our role models in our own struggles with the “negative.” Mithras, Osiris, Adonis, come to mind as examples, as well as any number of heroes who made an underworld journey, such as Inanna, Persephone, and Orpheus.”

For more on Myers’ work, check out the guest-post he did for this blog last year that touches on some of the same themes.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • http://www.facebook.com/EdAHubbard Ed Hubbard

    Great Job with coverage of the Sacred Harvest festival. We definitely need to see more coverage, community generated, in this vein.

  • Madhabmatics

    That magazine is pretty awesome.

  • Mia

    Yay, Óðrœrir has been showcased!

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Odroerit writer Bil Linzie characterizes thus, those who don’t accept Reconstructionism:

    “Reconstructionism still isn’t really popular among a handful of people mainly because they feel that by sticking to historical fact somehow ‘creativity’ is stifled. Although there was a time when I’d have said that, I don’t think that now. I think the reason that these folks feel this way is because they’ve never asked themselves the right questions. Most likely, they continue to do what I had done for my first 25 years as a modern heathen which is to first generate an answer and then create a question for it.”

    He identifies dissent with his own younger self, now surpassed in his own spiritual evolution. This puts him in a position to look down on the Other in exactly the manner that some Reconstructionists have done here from time to time. There is a parallel in Christianity, likening the ways of the Others with the ways of a child.

    This a poison seed, planted at the heart of this otherwise promising journal.

    • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

      horseshit

      • Karlsefni

        plus one

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Same questions.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        I assume you are labeling my analysis horseshit, not Bil’s quoted words.

        Could you be a bit more analytical? Have I misquoted Bil (I used cut & paste) or quoted him out of context? Can you explain how putting one’s disputants in the position of one’s own earlier, relatively undeveloped self does *not* set the starge for looking down on those disputants as also relatively underdeveloped?

        Reconstrutionists have said on this board, in effect, Recons deal with historical fact; Wiccans make shit up. How does Bil’s quote not serve as permission for such talk?

        • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

          yes, your comments are horseshit. If you had an inkling about what recons do or what it actually is then maybe I would use other terms but as it stands, horseshit is all you gonna get.

          Maybe you could critique my essay in the paper as well seeing as what I have done is take literary and archeological evidence and put it into practice so it is line with what we know they did, or would rather i just “made it up.”

          • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

            and just FYI…”putting one’s disputants in the position of one’s own earlier, relatively undeveloped self does *not* set the starge for looking down on those disputants as also relatively underdeveloped?”

            this is what makes us different from all the newage-sewage crystal crunchers out there, when in fact new evidence comes out we analyze it and see if it in fact has any bearing on what we are currently doing or if we in fact need to reevaluate what we are currently doing and change it in light of the new information.

            I dunno, but from talking to bil…have you ever talked to bil?…it seems that he is saying he has learned from his mistakes and others should follow suit.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            You are still trying to change the subject.

            I don’t dispute that Recons are devoted to truth through research. Is this snarky, superior attitude Bil enables and you display, rooted in the truth of research? Did late ancient Germanic Heathens specifically exhibit that attitude? As Bil’s essay says, cite your source!

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            You are changing the subject. I assert that Bil’s words have a certain import that keys into past rudeness by Recons on this booard. Don’t try to play the scholar’s card or give me homework.

          • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

            I am not changing the subject and you assert squat. The fact seems to me that you got sand in your shorts by the article because of past experiences. If you do not like the paper, don’t read it, nowhere in the article is he rude, condescending or confrontational…the same cannot be said for the responses by you and Apuleius

          • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

            “a fully downloadable journal dedicated to developing, fostering, and distributing scholastic literature solely regarding the reconstruction of the various pre-Christian religious traditions and cultures of Northern Europe.”

            you could have stopped right there and not bothered to continue reading as it says right there what the paper is about. If you do not like the methods used that seems to me to be your problem.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I find your dismissal of my past experiences strange coming from someone who claims to be building on researched facts. The attitude of some Recons on this board is a fact.

            It’s also odd that you should criticize me for checking out a journal highlighted in the above post, an action applauded by two other commentors. Do you think a shared snark toward non-Recons is not going to find the light of day?

            I’ve called you on something you can’t explain, can’t justify and won’t give up even when it damages your position. So far all you’ve done in reply is scatology. Is that the best you’ve got?

          • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

            “I find your dismissal of my past experiences strange coming from someone who claims to be building on researched facts. The attitude of some Recons on this board is a fact.”

            what’s “strange” about it? you could have stopped reading once you realized…if you even did…what the intent and substance of the ezine was about. I will say it again, it is not my problem that you got sand in your shorts over an article that in no way was condescending, hostile or snarky.

            Oh and I do not “claim” to be building on researched facts, it is actually taking place.

            “It’s also odd that you should criticize me for checking out a journal highlighted in the above post, an action applauded by two other commentors. Do you think a shared snark toward non-Recons is not going to find the light of day?”

            again, what’s “odd” about it? You could have read it and not commented also, instead you chose to take pot shots at it because you obviously have an issue with recons.

            “I’ve called you on something you can’t explain, can’t justify and won’t give up even when it damages your position.”

            lol, seriously? what exactly cannot I “not explain?”, how YOU seem to have a problem with recons? that’s your issue, not mine. It seems the issue at hand is the fact that fact is used as opposed to MUS and in the paper you take special affront to the “my first 25 years as a modern heathen” comment when isn’t the point of learning to actually learn?

            “So far all you’ve done in reply is scatology. Is that the best you’ve got?”

            oh no, I got lots more, I just am in between feeding my son and playing World of Tanks so when I find something you say highly amusing I am sure I will bust something appropriate out.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            You have done nothing in this exchange but enhance the rep of Recons for snark (or, in your case, scatology) regarding non-Recons. Your every reply digs you deeper.

            What is new, and shocking, is that you want to tell other folks not to discuss your and your attitudes. Where the hell do you get off, anyway?

          • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

            “Where the hell do you get off, anyway?”

            Because i can?

    • Mia

      Yes, I’m a heathen, and yes, I like recon, so I’m obviously biased, but here’s my 2 cents anyway.

      He’s speaking of a handful of people, and he means that. He’s not talking about Wiccans, Pagans, Satanists, etc., or all the others that are not reconstructionists, he’s talking about those few who are involved in trying to revive their ancestors’ beliefs, but are going about it via Metaphysical section books and thinking that is LITERALLY what the ancestors did, when historical and archeological sources show otherwise. Those are the only “Others” discussed.

      The explanations he gives for heathens that don’t like recon are real answers given by others to him. Suggesting that people don’t ask themselves the right questions (which is usually the questions of “why” and “how”) isn’t a statement made from hostility. It’s no different than school, you have to ask the right questions in order to get what you’re looking for, otherwise the answers aren’t going to be accurate.

      In addition, the target audience is mainly those who are interested in historical heathenry, so there’s context that goes with it. Simply put, if you’re not someone who’s interested or involved in heathenry, then he’s not talking about you.

      So, yes, I think you misunderstood what Bil is saying. The point of the article is not “Recons use historical fact, Wiccans make shit up”, it’s that heathenry and Wicca (and other groups) are supposed to be different things, so heathery should not be borrowing all its ideas from those other groups. It should instead delve into its own heritages and histories. If all that heathenry did was borrow from Wiccans and the ADF, then it would just be a spin-off of those traditions and therefore be pointless to maintain as separate entities.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Mia, thanks for a civil response.

        I never claimed Bil said, “Recons use historical face, Wiccans make shit up.” I observed that what Bil did say enables that kind of rudeness, and it cropped up again in the discussion last night (the one where the first rebuttal was “horseshit,” in toto.)

        You’ve given a kinder, gentler interpretation of the paragraph of Bil’s that I critiqued. I daresay your interpretation requires a bit of a strain. Mine is straightforward and flows freely from what Bil actually said.

        • Cigfran

          No, it doesn’t. Nothing in the quote you provide suggests ‘enlightenment’ (to use the term you supplied in your last response to me), rather than a process of evolution, or anything like the elitism and hostility you persistently claim. Suggesting that people deeply interested in learning something also learn to ‘ask the right questions’ is hardly radical.

          You have made it clear that you don’t like the attitudes exhibited by some heathens who comment on this blog. But you have selected the wrong example for whatever you seem to want to identify as a prevailing mindset behind those attitudes.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I see no problem in using the term enlightement to describe a turning point in one’s spiritual evolution.

            Likening those who disagree with you to your own earlier, less evolved self is the essence of elitism.

            Therefore Bil’s paragraph cited it a perfect example of an attitude that some Recons exhibit from time to time. Presence of that paragraph in that journal therefore marks, to use your term, “a prevailing mindset” that is all to evident. I will remind you that it popped up in last night’s exchanges.

            You are being civil but tenaciously unwilling to see the obvious import of the cited paragraph. I doubt that further exchanges will be fruitful.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

            “You are being civil but tenaciously unwilling to see the obvious import of the cited paragraph. I doubt that further exchanges will be fruitful.”

            Not fruitful because he doesn’t agree with you? Is that an “enlightened” statement?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Not fruitful because we are beginning to repeat ourselves. Always a good point to find better investment of our efforts.

        • Mia

          My bad, I had a dyslexia moment with one of your earlier quotes.

          Personally, I find that it’s better to place the blame squarely on the perpetrators rather than anything they might read, as I and others have taken his words to mean something else entirely. If some use his ideas as an excuse to inflate their ego, then that’s the fault of the individual, not the author, in my opinion.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I admit my sentences can be prone to induce dyslexia. :-]

            I also admit that I have been writing about political topics in various media since long before the Internet. As a self-discipline (and, I suppose, a point of pride) I hold authors of ideas to strict account, specifically for the effects their words have. YMMV.

            I am trying to wrap my head around the idea that Bil’s paragraph has any import other than what an earlier poster said about “This is what sets us apart” and proceeded to put down other Paths. Sorry, I can’t make it work.

        • Keith

          Facts are facts, my friend. When one group of people is attempting to be consistent with and comprehend historical heathenry and another one says “well we dont need to do that” and then proceeds to engage in a modern invention….that is the inevitable outcome. You may find his paper to be rude, because you find yourself on the other end of the coin. I find it encouraging, and i was glad to read it.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Keith, I did not find his paper to be rude, and never said I did. I found one paragraph that set the ideological stage for a kind of rudeness that we have seen before on this board and, indeed, in the course of this discussion.

            Rudeness, putdowns and assertions of superiority are not the inevitable outcome. Lots of Pagans on different paths manage to be polite to one another.

            My question remains unanswered: Is this kind of superior attitude a genuine expression of historical heathenry? To evoke Bil, what’s the source?

    • Cigfran

      I bet that if you wrote a substantive rebuttal, based on actual knowledge of and experience in modern heathen practice and study, they’d seriously consider printing it.

      What you’ve written here is nothing more than a content-free ‘tone argument.’

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        It is not an argument about tone, but about the meaning of words as they are used in standard discourse. Bil drew a parallel between those who don’t do it his way, and his own younger, pre-enlightenment self. That’s not tone, that’s content.

        I’m not interested in getting published in that journal. I would never have dipped into it but that it was brought to my attention by Jason on this board, and this board is quite adequate to my responses.

        • Keith

          Alright Baruch, I’ll put this out there and then walk away. The reason I will walk away- “I’m not interested in getting published in that journal. I would never have dipped into it but that it was brought to my attention..” Clearly you have no interest in reconstructing historical heathenry. That is fine. However, that also means that Bil’s statements have nothing to do with you.

          There are a lot of people who argue against using a reconstructionist method, TO REVIVE THE HEATHEN RELIGION, for the exact reason Bil lists…It somehow is mimicing, and not really growing or developing without room for creativity. Bil himself says he used to think this…Until he realized that to come to the above conclusion, people have preconcieved notions (already think they have the answer…we see a lot of people here thinking they know what recon is….but their explanation of it is clearly NOT how the folk in Odroerir define it….and they seem to define it along academic lines). He realized once he could objectively investigate recon…that it does NOT stifle creativity at all. There is nothing wrong with this statement, in my opinion AT ALL. Does it set the stage for a tone of superiority? I don’t think so at all….Every recon I know actively looks to better understand their worldview…it’s a growing process…and a lot of previously held notions are dropped along the way. On the other hand, the REAL poison in heathenry is that people like to SAY they are practicing the heathen religion but when told “that’s wiccan” or “thats Christian” or “thats not consistent with traditional heathen ideology..where did you get that.” They get mad, while the RECON would reconsider that perhaps they have been going at it wrong. Those who embody the “poison” above want to believe that every idea, every belief, every practice is the same, no different from the rest. They can swap ideas and beliefs and practice and gods back and forth and put their own science fiction or christian spin on it, and it’s of equal validity as someone trying to actually revive the mindset, traditions, and reasons for honoring the gods of 9th century Norway. Maybe it’s valid to THEM because it makes them FEEL better, and maybe it will develop into something that becomes timeless; but it’s not a reconstruction of an old religion…which (to my mind and that of the recon i would assume) leaves the Old Religion STILL as dead as when they first set out to be “heathen” which IS the goal of the recon. This sort of pantheistic “poison” is what recon heathens want nothing to do with…..and I can certainly go for that.

          If there is one big thing I can say about Bils article..it strengthened me. After reading the journal, I am more excited about heathenism than I have been in a long time, and it’s time I start considering myself “recon”.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            At no time did I object to Bil’s notion that limits often confer a plenitude of choices. Basically, I think that’s true, and is why I’ve stuck with Wiccan forms whilst no longer really able to call myself a Wiccan.

            My objection, to repeat, is to the paragraph in which he enables (not exhibits, enables) an attitude of superiority that *is* my business because I encounter that attitude from time to time. Gary is the latest example.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

            “Is this kind of superior attitude a genuine expression of historical heathenry? To evoke Bil, what’s the source?”

            The difficulty with your question is that there is a work-product threshold that is required for modern reconstruction. If one has not read the sagas, Eddas and lore then “No” there is no meaningful discussion that can occur. Is that hubris to get to that point? Is it elitism to hold such a standard? I think not. It’s a method. And it’s a pool that not everyone can play in.

            If you interpretate that as an “attitude” then that is your choice.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            David, a shorter version of your answer would have been “No.” Despite the Recon allegiance to sources, there is none for this attitude.

  • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

    I just wish I could say I was surprised by the relentlessly hostile tone that this new “heathen” magazine takes towards everyone else, including all Heathens who don’t see things their way. Since they obviously have nothing but contempt for all other Pagans, I don’t see why the launching of their little ‘zine is of any importance to the rest of us.

    • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

      then why bother commenting?

      • Cigfran

        The persistent claim that the journal was written for a limited audience, and that no one who doesn’t already think in a particular, approved way has any standing from which to offer critique, is truly bizarre. If that is the real attitude of the publishers, perhaps it should be prefaced with a questionnaire, or be provided only to those who present proper credentials, know the secret password, or bear the right sigil.

    • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

      oh and how exactly is the tone “relentlessly hostile”

      • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

        Bill Linzie’s “The State of Heathenry” is the type of self-involved snarkfest one expects to see on some teenager’s blog.

        • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

          according to YOU perhaps, but considering where it was, where it is now and where it is headed the article has merit.

          • Bryan Russellson

            Gary…I enjoyed your article. I applaud the grove you and yours have constructed. But I find myself wondering why is that you seem incapable of sane, civil discourse in so many online arenas? And why my experience with so many recons (a la AsatruLore) mirrors your high strung, “destroy any dissent at any cost” approach to conversation? It really does lead me to wonder if many recons are afraid, at their core, that they are not as “on point” as they so desperately seem to need the rest of the world to see them as?

            For what its worth, I am a Heathen. For what it is further worth, I have a background in reconstructionism, though I would set my approach more as revival than recon these days. Judging from what you have shared of your endeavors online, we use many of the same sources in our research and draw many similar conclusions. Mine are not the words of a “fluff bunny” or a “cyrstal cruncher” or whatever other denigrating ad hominem you feel the need to throw at those of differing opinions in order to feel better about yourself.

            And damn, you make it hard to support the good work recons do.

          • Cigfran

            Is there an online focus on ‘revivalism’ as opposed to ‘reconstruction’?

          • Bryan Russellson

            Cigfran, I would argue that the non-reconstructionist Heathen community basically falls into the realms of “revival” and “neo-heathenry”. Revivalism tends toward taking up Germanic practices in a manner that honors them as intact as possible, with caveates made to the worldview of the 21st century. Neo-heathenry is generally applied to “the rest”…folks who employ much more syncretisism, neoshamanism and/or neopaganism in their endeavors (what folks such as Gary and Bil Linzie like to refer to as newagesewage). The whole sub-cultural breakdown is a bit ridiculous to the larger world, I’m sure.

            You may be interested in the Ravencast Podcast episode 47 (titled Reconstructionism 101) which further breaks down these divisions.

          • Keith

            Bryan the recons I know aren’t angry or argumentative..or dont seem to be…and get along well with members of the greater asatru community. I think we should all avoid the issue of stereotyping a whole group because of a few loud voices. I don’t think that’s your intent…I just hate to see a good movement soiled by people smearing one another on both sides.

          • Bryan Russellson

            Keith, like you, I have no desire for blatant stereotyping. Note that my reply to Gary referenced only my own experience with “many recons” that I have encountered (particularly through the legendarily acrimonious AsatruLore discussion board) and with Gary’s public persona (of which I have witnessed but not interacted with until this point). But to be clear, of course all recon heathens don’t conduct themselves like hostile teenagers just as not all non-recon heathens are “fluff-tard” “wiccatruar”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

            “You may be interested in the Ravencast Podcast episode 47 (titled Reconstructionism 101) which further breaks down these divisions.”

            Bryan,
            While I appreciate the plug, you do understand that the podcast with Josh Rood and Dan Oropallo are also the same folks involved with the magazine, right? :)

          • Nekoroth

            Heheheheh…As Dave said-Well thank you sir for the plug :). Indeed we are the same culprits… I’m glad to see people still talking a bout that presentation! It’s encouraging! Cheers!
            Josh R.

          • http://www.facebook.com/KveldulfThorsFreyrssonStormcloudWormwood Gary P Golden Jr

            “But I find myself wondering why is that you seem incapable of sane, civil discourse in so many online arenas?”

            Actually I am more than capable, my comments are in direct response to what I see as the particular tone and course for that particular discussion.

            “your high strung, “destroy any dissent at any cost” approach to conversation?”

            I have no problem at all with dissent, ignorance and cheap shots on the other hand.

            “It really does lead me to wonder if many recons are afraid, at their core, that they are not as “on point” as they so desperately seem to need the rest of the world to see them as?”

            Only thing I am “afraid of” is people thinking they understand what recons are or do and then opening their mouths or typing a response and removing all doubt.

            “whatever other denigrating ad hominem you feel the need to throw at those of differing opinions”

            If differing opinions can be substantiated with fact then I do no such thing, cheap shots and snarky comments however get what they deserve.

            “in order to feel better about yourself.”

            oh no, I feel just fine, I have my wife, my son, my family, my property, our grove, our friends… that’s all I need to feel good about myself.

            “Gary…I enjoyed your article.”

            listen to the ravencast on Heathen worship that I conducted that was supposed to be at last years ECT but never happened because my wife fell ill and we had to leave, I also plan on submitting that class as an article for the next journal, either that or the one I am preparing on the concept of gifting.

          • Bryan Russellson

            David, I sure do know who ran the class on Recon 101 that you podcasted. My issue was how Gary presented himself, not “all recons are evil”. For the record, I enjoyed the first issue of Óðrœrir. :-)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

      This whole debate touches on an issue that has haunted modern paganism from day one. Since the day Gardner went public (actually well back to the Golden Dawn and other 19th Century occultists), we’ve had the game of “are you pagan enough”? It’s a maddening game, but here’s the secret to winning every time. Refuse to play the game!

      Is there a lot of this holier than thou crap coming from recon quarters these days? Sure. But before them, there was decades of gamesmanship about who had the “real” lineage of Wicca or whether your trad was dark or hip enough or earthy enough or whatever. At the end of the day, I let it bead off of me like water on a duck’s back. There will always be people who dismiss my trad or work as “fluffy” or “neo” or “unscholoarly” or whatever. None of the people who play that game have the juice or honor or personality traits that I would ever want to emulate or aspire to.

      Most braggarts turn out to be the fakes and lightweights they accuse others of being. They may have more experience or technical skill at spellcraft, but they’re clearly missing something if they feel the need to constantly put down others. They have no wisdom or power (or worthy companionship) to offer me. I don’t hold ritual with or for them. I do what I do to honor the gods, not them. If I’m not “authentic” enough, they’ll let me know in their own way and time. At the very least, they’ll stop coming to my circles.

      My own take on reconstructionism is this: If someone does it because they feel that the ancients had something worthwhile that speaks to them more powerfully than other things they’ve tried, I can respect that. If they tell me the old ways are the only paths to the gods and authenticity, then I say why did you bother leaving Christianity? You had some perfectly good inflexible dogma there! Scholarship is all well and good as a way of enhancing experiential practice, but it’s no substitute. Moreover, no amount of scholarship or research will ever make you that Roman follower of Mitrha or pre-Christian Norseman. You can tap into some of their wisdom, but you’ll still have to find your way to the gods and yourself as a 21st Century person like all the rest of us.

      • Keith

        You say a lot about recons that sounds more like an attack on strawmen to me than anything I read in the journal. The journal is directed towards those who are interested in recon-Not all pagans. It never says “recon is the only way”.

        It basically says “IF YOU WANT TO reconstruct the ancient heathen religions-it is possible, but you need to objectively research and understand the reason people did what they did then, so that you can understand the context that you are drawing from.”

        I sure as hell dont see anything wrong with that, and your talk about “orthodoxy”, “ancient wisdom” and trying to become a “pre christian norseman” tells me you don’t comprehend what reconstructionism is….at all. And infact towards the end of article on Recon-the author says “it doesn’t matter WHAT sort of ceremony you do, whehter its chording a spot off, or using a hammer right. What matters is that you understand the REASON the ancients did what they did, and why the moderns are doing it.”

        I’m glad this journal came out. It seems “real” to me. It reinforces a lot of what I have been thinking. It doesn’t preach “Holier than thou”…or maybe it does….I would rather listen to the guy who gives me his sources and tells me “this is how and why it was done, you can read about it here to get a better understanding.” than the guy telling me that the Gods spoke to him and that his made up, or Catholic or wiccan borrowed ceremonies are just as viable a substitute. Ever since turning away from Christianity, I have wanted to live the religion that my ancestors lived and honor those gods and my ancestors as closely as possible…I wanted to bring it back. You and the other Neo-Pagans can get angry all you want, but to me-this is the way to do it. Someone has to get their hands dirty and say “if you want to reconstruct the old religions YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THEM AS THEY WERE.” and dismiss the stuff that’s downright incorrect for that goal. I’ll take that path.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          “I would rather listen to the guy who gives me his sources [...] than the guy telling me that the Gods spoke to him [...]”

          Problem is, the Gods do speak to some of us. I’m Pagan because the Goddess knocked my head six ways from Sunday in Golden Gate Park in 1987. I composed my first ritual because the God told me to.

          You may say these are metaphors the describe the action of my unconscious, or my access to my personal copy of the collective unconscious, but they are what inform the rituals I compose and where I head on my journey.

          You did a good job in the above comment in defense of the journal. I hope it recovers from this initial stumble out of the gate and runs a long race.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

            You also seem to have an misunderstanding about UPG. The difficulty that Recons have with UPG is not that folks have them but that the application is universal. You wish to say that the Gods talk to me. Great but a recon can only intelligently respond with objective lore and end the discussion. Personal experiences have no medium nor forum for contrast, comparison nor discussion. Which is why a statement of the Gods did X to me will get you glazed looks. It’s not a question of validity.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I understand. It is precisely my attitude toward UPG when I was an atheist.

          • KMan10

            Woops! Didn’t mean to “like’ your statement Baruch. What a subtle way to accuse recons of being athiests, and looking more the ignorant for it. There is no reason to go about publishing “how to”s and guidebooks that were divinely inspired to you (rhetorical you) by (insert your favorite god), and just because the recon chooses not to be put into the dime a dozen mix of new age Muhammads (replace Allah with Freyr/freya/artimis/odin/thor/Gandalf) and instead chooses to publish information that helps other people to understand the context of the religions they are trying to revive is no reason to accuse them of being athiests… Also-a Recon would tell you that communication with gods is not “a metaphor”..hate to tell you but your once again miscategorizing. Recons usually believe in the gods literally and in the context that they were believed in and worshiped before Christianity..

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            If you think I was accusing Recons of atheism you need to log on after either one more cup of coffee or one fewer.

        • kenneth

          I’m not knocking that author or journal at all. Truth be told, I haven’t read them yet and I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I may yet read it, but I’m not out there looking to take insult or find fault in what he says about reconstructionism. My whole point is there is an ugly side to the reconstructionism debate as there is in any movement. There are people who take themselves a little (or a lot) too seriously. Conversely, there are neo-pagans who let themselves get sucked into the game. My whole point is that there’s no need to.

          I think we’re in agreement on a fundamental point. If someone wants to hold themselves out as practicing the authentic old religion of a particular time and culture, they ought to make a good faith effort to learn what it really was versus what they would like to project on it. That can be a very good and powerful way to “do” pagan practice. The ancestors weren’t (entirely) fools. They discovered and preserved some things of timeless value in ethics, devotional practice etc. On the other hand, I don’t believe that they possessed the “one true way” or the best way of all time. They did what worked best in their time and place. It’s great that people want to revive that and tap into it, as long as they accept the inherent limitations of being able to do so and find a good way to adapt it to the realities of the modern world. Maybe using a rough analogy, I think any modern sailor or warrior could learn a lot by helping to build and sail a longship. On the other hand, they’d be fools to take one into a modern war!

          • Keith

            I think we are on agreement with a bit then, as I’ve seen ugliness in all pagan movements. I think a lot of what recons fight against…and I say this because until discovering the term recon, I just considered myself asatru because I thought that WAS the reconstructed norse religion (its not)….I have always struggled to find the “good stuff”…taht is….the stuff about what was done, why it was done, and if and how that can be implimented today….I couldn’t find it among all the other mix of pantheistic practice…and people calling themselves “heathen” but doing something that for what “I” was looking for, was irrelivant…for example Scrying or tarot, or believing in astropojection across 9 worlds….and changing it around to have a norse feel…it wasn’t what i wanted..i wanted to know what ancient religion was like and how i could try and revive that…So I think Recons struggle with this because when they put stuff out there, they get hit with a lot of “Well its nice that they gave sacrifices to gods in return for earthly gifts in the form of luck…but I pray to Freya and meditate on her so that I can go to her hall.”…And when they try to say “but that doesn’t seem to have been the relationship our ancestors had with the gods” they’re told that they’re being bullies….I see the whole thing as very frustrating from 2 different points of view.

            Thank you for clarifying that you see ugliness in every movement and that recon in and of itself is not an ugly movement. Maybe you will find yourself enjoying the journal like I did.

      • Nick Ritter

        Hello Kenneth,

        “Scholarship is all well and good as a way of enhancing experiential practice, but it’s no substitute.”

        This is something that gets thrown in the face of reconstructionists a lot: a kind of caricature of reconstructionism as dry and lifeless. Maybe some people do reconstructionism that way, and maybe that would be an indicator that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do reconstructionism.

        As a reconstructionist myself (Theodish, not exactly the same sort of thing as Mr. Linzie and the folks from Óðrœrir), I think the *right* way is closely akin to a kind of experimental archaeology, wherein one studies the available data and the theories about that data, and tries to make it work in actuality. This process usually results in more questions, suggesting more avenues of research, leading to more study and experimentation, and so forth. It is important to note that the process is open-ended: what one knows is always subject to revision based on new discoveries and scholarship. This means that a reconstructionist should not be too dogmatic concerning a particular scholar’s works as “the Truth”. Also, I think it’s bad form to use scholarship as a bludgeon.

        All this is to say that, in the best forms of reconstructionism I’ve seen, the dichotomy between scholarship and experiential practice that you outline simply does not exist.

        “Moreover, no amount of scholarship or research will ever make you that Roman follower of Mitrha or pre-Christian Norseman. You can tap into some of their wisdom, but you’ll still have to find your way to the gods and yourself as a 21st Century person like all the rest of us.”

        What an odd statement. I have written elsewhere in this stream about the prevailing Western worldview and its derivation from Christianity. This notion that mere time causes a fundamental change that makes an ancient way of life impossible, this mistrust of the validity of old things merely because they are old, is part of that Western worldview. It derives from the Western idea of time as a linear progression, in which one is moving ever further away from the past. I think, in terms of Christian doctrine, this idea of time was set forth by Augustine of Hippo. If one adopts a different view of time, one comes to different conclusions, and the number of the century we’re currently in becomes clearly arbitrary.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5HSF7K6WH3MOY3WOLI6C52M3LM Lily Rice

    I just paìd $22.85 for an ìPad 2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.78 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $625 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, CentHub.còm

  • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

    “a fully downloadable journal dedicated to developing, fostering, and distributing scholastic literature solely regarding the reconstruction of the various pre-Christian religious traditions and cultures of Northern Europe.”

    Reading more on their website it seems clear that they focus solely on Germanic paganism/ heathenry/ Asatru (whatever name you might prefer). I hate to always pick on this kind of thing, but I just cannot help myself: There were and continue to be cultures in Northern Europe aside from Germanic and I can’t help but see it as a bit of an insult to those other cultures when some (and note I say ‘some’) heathens characterize Germanic traditions as ‘the’ historical cultures of northern Europe in a way that seems to imply that they were the only ones.

    • Mia

      They’re not trying to ONLY be that way though, but currently the handful of contributors are those that focus on Germanic heathenry, so that’s why it’s like that. There’s nothing barring “non-Germanics” from writing. Some of the guys who contributed are actually very interested in the other cultures of Europe, and how they’ve interacted over time.

      • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

        I don’t know, while reading through it I got the distinct impression that Óðrœrir does restrict its focus to Germanic paganism/ heathenry and, to be clear, I’m not objecting to that. Any magazine/ journal has every right to define the borders of its focus. My objection has more to do with the identification of Northern European as synonymous with Germanic (which unfortunately is not an uncommon assumption among some people both Heathen and non-Heathen) which, I feel, does disservice to the complex tapestry of cultures that exist throughout Northern Europe. So, if my assessment is incorrect, and it is as you suggest that they are open to articles about all Northern European peoples, that’s great. If on the other hand they are restricting themselves to things Germanic than my objection to the ‘Northern European’ part of their self description stands. Being a Finn no doubt makes me more sensitive to the issue because I have to educate people quite often that the Finns are not a Germanic people and have their own language, culture, Gods etc.

        • Mia

          I understand, and being someone who focuses further south in her heathenry (which has a whole lot more than “Germanic” stuff going on), I can relate a bit. This is just my word on it, but the Germanic stereotyping in the description is more a case of circumstance than anything intentional. Most of the authors started out with the Viking Scandinavia/Asatru’ heathenry that is still the dominant “form” in their target audience. People, like you and a few others, are just now starting to bring out the unique cultures of each area, and breaking the ideas of the pan-European, pan-Germanic, pan-Celtic, etc. cultures.

          It’s not a issue that’s being swept under the rug, but for an introductory volume with a handful of volunteers it’s not something that was able to be acknowledged to the fullest (among other things). For that to happen, they need more people with more information and content.

          And I just realized that I sound like a spokesperson. I’m not, I’m just someone who gets really excited about this sort of stuff.

        • Nekoroth

          Hi Kauko,
          As part of the editorial team-I can assure you while the journal’s PRIMARY focus is germanic-we have already asked for people interested in Celtic and Romuva recon for example to contribute. I would personally love to see that become a reality :).

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            Thank you for clarifying that! It would be interesting to read some articles on other groups, especially less well known ones about whom not a lot of information is available in English.

        • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

          And then there is also the problem that the Germanic peoples have not been restricted to Northern Europe. Not by a very long shot. For example the Lombards, who provide an important case of a Germanic people who stubbornly resisted Christianization well past the time they were supposedly “converted”.

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            Not to mention the Vandals who ended up and established a kingdom in North Africa.

    • Cigfran

      You missed the article on ‘Reconstructing Frankish Heathenry’?

      • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

        1. The Franks were a Germanic group.
        2. That article fails to mention the greatest hero of Frankish Heathendom, Flavius Arbogastes. meh.

        • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

          Sometimes Ap I would like to crawl into your head and peruse the encyclopedia called your brain XD

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            It is sad that Arbogast is a relatively obscure figure to most modern day Pagans. Even worse is the sad fact that this heroic figure is studiously ignored by those who claim to be Heathen “reconstructionists”, because he does not fit neatly into the little boxes inside their little heads.

        • Cigfran

          Quick googling suggests only that Arbogastes was a Frankish pagan – presumably of the old Roman religion? – as opposed to a ‘heathen’ in the current sense.

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Here we have an honest to Gods Germanic Heathen from 16 centuries ago who fought, and died, to defend the freedom to worship the old Gods. And you’re response is that he does not meet your definition of Heathen “in the current sense”? This tells me all I need to know about your conception of Heathendom.

          • Cigfran

            What a weirdly hostile, snide response, even from you.

            People who describe themselves as heathen these days tend to restrict their interests to a subset of cults and names. That you have a broader idea of heathenism may speak to your superior study and understanding, but it does not require that you get snotty about an usage you understand perfectly well, even if you disagree with it.

            Now, O teacher, return to the question I actually inferred: was Arbogastes specifically Roman paganism, or specifically ‘Germanic’ paganism (whatever that meant at the time), or something broader?

          • Cigfran

            Fargle. I meant to write ‘specifically defending…’

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            “Now, O teacher, return to the question I actually inferred: was Arbogastes specifically Roman paganism, or specifically ‘Germanic’ paganism (whatever that meant at the time), or something broader?”

            You seem to have gotten the wrong impression. I make no claims about being an expert.

            Anyone with the slightest familiarity with the history of the Franks (and I would not claim more than such slight knowledge) knows that Arbogast fought against the violent imposition of Christianity.

            And isn’t Frankish Heathenism, by definition, Heathenism as it was actually practiced by actual Franks? And shouldn’t this be especially the case for those Franks who fought against Christianization?

          • Cigfran

            At the time of my questioning, I had no information as to whether Arbogast was a ‘Frankish Heathen’ (in the older, broader sense of heathen as ‘non-christian’), a ‘Frankish Heathen’ (in the more common current sense of dealing with a particular pantheon/mythology) or a ‘Frankish Pagan’ (in the sense of a follower of more Romanized cultic practice). As this goes back and forth I’m doing more reading.

            As to your expertise, I freely acknowledge it with respect to my own state of knowledge.

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            “was Arbogastes specifically Roman paganism, or specifically ‘Germanic’ paganism (whatever that meant at the time), or something broader? ”

            I’m not sure that such a question applies well to ancient Paganism since ancient peoples rarely fit into neat, completely separate categories especially in areas where cultures met there is inevitably mutual influence between the 2 (or more than 2!). This would have been certainly true in the area of the border between the Roman Empire and Germanic territories, but also true even in the more remote areas such as Scandinavia where Germanic, Sami and Finnish peoples all influenced each others’ forms of Paganism.

          • Cigfran

            I do understand that, Kauko (I really wish the comment nesting here was a bit more sensible) but at the same time, was European paganism at the time an undifferentiated muddle (or tapestry, if you prefer a more colorful metaphor)? Did not some groups tell certain stories, practice certain rites, fashion certain idols, more than some other groups? And was this in no way some portion of ‘identity’, as much as was language? Did what we might now call ‘heathens’ have any distinction at all from what me might now call pagans?

            I’m not at all trying to reify a false set of arbitrary categories… I’m trying to get an idea of meaningful relationships between a wide variety of ideas and peoples.

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            “was European paganism at the time an undifferentiated muddle”

            Of course not, the two choices aren’t that either we have completely separate, distinct peoples or a ‘muddle’ as you said, but a more complicated middle ground. An important point that for some reason I didn’t make is that ancient religions were not generally mutually exclusive. Christianity, of course, was different and has shaped modern Western attitudes toward religion, i.e. that we see them as inherently exclusive. So, as to your question about whether Arbogast was ‘specifically defending’ (I read again and saw that you had apparently intended the word ‘defending’ there) Roman or Germanic pagan/ heathen religion. The answer is that that wouldn’t even have existed as a question for them. A Germanic person who found themselves in the Roman Empire might participate in various religious cults of the Romans and also still personally continue to practice their Germanic religion. The two were not exclusive of one another.

        • Keith

          The Franks were not a germanic group. There were a mosh posh of Celtic and Germanic groups with a lot of Roman influence.

          • Nick Ritter

            This is false. The Franks were a Germanic people. Their descendants include the Dutch and Flemings, and the various “Frankish” or “Franconian” groups in Germanic Europe: Ripuarian Franks, Moselle-Franks, Rhine-Franks, East Franks, South Franks, Lorraine-Franks and Luxembourgish Franks.

            I would suggest you read a history of the Frankish invasions of Gaul, after which the Franks formed an upper class, and the Gallo-Romans a lower. There were even different laws applied to one depending on whether one was Frank or Roman.

            I won’t deny that the Franks were somewhat Romanised, but then so were a number of other Germanic groups, like the Lombards, Burgundians, Visigoths, Vandals, etc.

  • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

    There’s a lot in Óðrœrir that has me sort of blinking but I think on the whole it’s interesting to have a journal dedicated to their particular brand of Heathenry. I’m a bit O_o at comics (nothing against comics FYI) being in what is being billed as a scholastic effort but *shrug*

    It’s the first issue, so if there are any kinks that need to be ironed out I’m sure they will. I also must applaud the fact that it (currently) is free, it allows non-Heathens like meself the chance to get to know the religion better.

  • Krystal H.

    As a non-recon Norse Pagan, I’m not surprised by the attitude expressed in the first couple articles in Óðrœrir that seem to assume that “only recons are capable of doing research” or “LOLZ non-recons are so ST00PID!” However, I did find a couple of the articles interesting, specifically the one about women and the one about animal imagery.

    Now, having said that, I do realize that the content is specifically geared towards recons and if I don’t like the material, I don’t have to read it, but I’d kind of like to see more journals like this, of the peer-reviewed and scholarly sort, I mean.

    • Harper

      Yes. This would be lovely. I’m a liberal Slavic Recon. myself, and a lot of the time I just wish I there would be more solid pagan scholarly articles or journals or books, without politics or opinion stirred in. It’s not that I don’t like people having those opinions. They’re fine. It’s more like, can’t there be a middle ground between scholars who happen to cover pre-christian traditions with minimal sympathy or understanding of the religion, vs. very politicized pagan scholarship?

      • Krystal H.

        Agreed, and I would like to see more scholarly articles that are more accessible. I’ve read some great academic writing, and I’ve read other stuff where I need a “stuffy-academic-to-student” dictionary.

  • Kilmrnock

    Guys calm down , i’m a celtic recon myself .The way we deal w/ it is we use the celtic legends and mythos and historicly proven facts modified to fit modern times and sensibilities. sounds like all of this a misunderstanding . most if not all recons work this way . re-enactors try to recreate the past , this doesn’t work as we all know. we all must take oor chosen path/way of life and make it work in our modern world as best we can

    • Seven Exiles

      As a celtic recon, you have probably been spared the arguments and trolling that have been going on in the Germanic reconstructionist web. There have been some rather unsavory incidents of “I’m more reconstructionist than you are” arguments that go on for days and days.

  • Nekoroth

    Just popping on to make a point that I think is important. I’m part of the editing team and worked on the journal extensively from it’s conception until now. It was noted by a few that the journal seems to be only “germanic” based. It will be announced on the site, and I will say so here-it comes off as Germanic based only because that primarily makes up our team and contributors. However-we are hoping that those interested in Slavic, Celtic, Saami heathenism etc also contribute down the road. If you find yourself under one of these categories, feel free to send us a line!
    Josh

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Nekoroth, you refrained from mention of our controversy here.

      I hope you’re not counting me among your enemies. I have done your journal the respect of checking it out and taking its content seriously. As an old editor myself I know that’s support.

  • Seven Exiles

    It seems Josh Rood and Bil Linzie have succeeded in doing what they always wanted. They have published their opinions in a form where nobody gets to talk back to them.
    They among others have been trying for a long time to force their idea of what reconstructionism means on the rest of us who use reconstructionism as a tool in troth-building. The fact is, each person who uses reconstructionism gets to choose how to use it.
    I contend that there is no way to fully reconstruct the worldview of the ancient Heathens. And if we were able to do so, how would it be useful? The world is different now than it was now, and we live now not then.

    • Cigfran

      > They have published their opinions in a form where nobody gets to talk back to them.

      The same might be said of anyone who publishes anything in print. I fail to see how this observation has any value at all.

      Further, an opinion strongly held, well-supported and oft-repeated hardly qualifies as ‘forcing’ anything on anyone. That ‘each person who uses reconstructionism gets to choose how to use it’ is simply a truism, that directly contradicts any notion of forcing.

    • AnonGuest

      There’s only one herder/charioteer of cats among Asatru, the rest run wild ;>

      I’m not Asatru, but I’m trying to picture someone getting them all to comply to one view would make absurdist theater. Good absurdist theater with a lot of laughs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

      “They among others have been trying for a long time to force their idea of what reconstructionism means on the rest of us who use reconstructionism as a tool in troth-building.”

      I do not think that your definition of those words is the same as theirs from your context here.

      “I contend that there is no way to fully reconstruct the worldview of the ancient Heathens. And if we were able to do so, how would it be useful? The world is different now than it was now, and we live now not then.”

      You seem to have accepted reconstruction in your prior sentence and deny the utility in this one. Clearly, the world is different from the past and that is kinda the point and need for the recon process to begin with.

      • Seven Exiles

        I define reconstructionism as using the best understanding of historical and archaeological knowledge to inform the building of what can only be a modern troth (it can only be modern because it’s happening now).
        I’m not denying the utility of reconstructionism, I use it myself. I am however questioning the utility of going so far into reconstructionism that you have to become an entirely different person in order to practice your religion.
        What nobody has ever been able to satisfactorily answer to me is why exactly they want to reconstruct the worldview of the ancient heathens and reshape their own minds into a non-native mold. Not that they shouldn’t if they want to, but why do they want to?

        • Mia

          Becoming a different person isn’t a perquisite. It’s something that just happens along the way, like any major life change can do (and I consider a change of worldview to be a major life change).

          I wish to reconstruct the worldview of my ancestors because that is what feels right and natural to me. It is not something that was dead and gone completely, as shown by the morals and values my family taught me, but it is something that I wish to dust the Christian coating off of as best as I can. It is not a matter of re-shaping my own mind into a non-native mold, it’s a matter of fine-tuning and enriching what I already have.

          • Keith

            Mia that is spoken more eloquently than i could… Thank you :)

          • Seven Exiles

            Keith, I don’t mind ineloquence. If you would care to have a crack at answering my question, I would love to hear it.

          • Seven Exiles

            Thank you for answering my question, Mia. That was very helpful.

        • Keith

          Did you bother to read the article before crying about having another opinion shoved down your throat? You don’t “get” Recon by your definition. You don’t get it AT ALL in fact. A) “recon” by their definition is scholarly…its the definition used and taught in anthropology and history classes around the world, as exemplified in Josh Rood’s article by Rudolf Simek who is a Catholic, and yet is also a heathen recon. It’s not so outlandish and radical as you seem to think. Nobody said anything about becoming another person. They said a lot about understanding worldview and looking through that worldview in order to understand the thought process behind the religion they are investigating. It’s pretty common sense really. But then I guess some people would rather invent new and complex and christian ideas about heathen “spirituality”, and then pretend that they are a modern viking than just look at and accept how it was then, and to build off of that with a proper understanding.

          • Seven Exiles

            I did read both articles, yes. I do get recon, actually. And I am a person of academic bent and enjoy good scholarship. The rest of the articles in Odroerir were delightful. What I don’t enjoy is people telling me that only their definition of recon is valid. Don’t get me wrong, I think Rood has lots of interesting things to say, but I mislike his attitude.
            I also don’t enjoy self-congratulatory “Look at me, I’m so great” articles like Linzie’s travesty appearing in an otherwise quallity medium. It disappointed me.
            “Shortly, I’ll leave here and go home to eat a sandwich of homemade Leberkaes, and homemade mustard on homemade sourdough bread” really? Could the man be more smug?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

            So may be you should have a samich yourself and relax.

            Your issues with the tone and attitude are ones of personal taste. You are free to make your case about the definition citing whatever sources you wish. Unless your response is cited and articulated well it’s not likely to be terribly accepted on grounds of of your position not being convincing (which is a different standard then smugness).

          • Seven Exiles

            Also, don’t assume from my brief comments here that you know anything about what I know, understand, do, or believe.
            I am taking in particular Rood’s statements and asking the questions that come to mind.

          • Keith

            Your “question” was answered, so you dont need to “love to hear it”. You had a faulty perception of what it means to reconstruct an ancient worldview,so it wasn’t worth answering as opposed to correcting it. However-the appeal of reconstructing an ancient worldview would be-to break free from a Christian worldview and to establish a heathen worldview which supports and reciprocates heathen belief and practice, so that that the religion and culture can grow from there as something that is consistent with traditional heathenism. That’s what I believed before i read the journal, and its what I believe all the moreso now.

    • Jim

      “They among others have been trying for a long time to force their idea of what reconstructionism means on the rest of us who use reconstructionism as a tool in troth-building”.

      No one is forcing anything on you. The information they (and others) have provided is there. One simply needs to take their head out of the unicorns arse and study it to determine it’s worth. If one chooses not, then so be it. Save us the old refrain, ‘Recons are meanies and I’m the victim will ya’?

      “I contend that there is no way to fully reconstruct the worldview of the ancient Heathens. And if we were able to do so, how would it be useful? The world is different now than it was now, and we live now not then”.

      Something that is acknowledged in the magazine… if you had taken the time to read it.

    • Nick Ritter

      “I contend that there is no way to fully reconstruct the worldview of the ancient Heathens. And if we were able to do so, how would it be useful? The world is different now than it was now, and we live now not then.”

      Let me tackle the latter point first. For one, although we often hear about how much “the world has changed”, no one ever seems to define exactly what they mean by that; at best, people wave at technological advances without ever defining the deep ontological changes these supposedly make. I don’t think the world has changed as much as we think it does. If anything, all of the advances of technology that people cite as evidence do nothing more than insulate a relatively small part of the world’s population, primarily in Western countries (and not even universally in those), from the consequences of the same old reality that has always applied everywhere else.

      Be that as it may, I see no acknowledgement in your statement that there are such things as eternal, unchanging principles that underlie the outward forms we see. Maybe you don’t believe in such things, which is fine for you, I guess. I believe in such things, though, and the idea of an underlying pattern to existence should hardly be a novel or an alien one. A worldview relates directly to the understanding of this underlying pattern, these underlying principles.

      So, how would an ancient worldview be useful in the modern day? For one, it can give us a different (and hopefully *truer*) idea of the world and the patterns and principles that underlie it than the prevalent view of modern Western cultures, which is derived ultimately from a Christian worldview. This is valuable, even if only for the sake of diversity of worldview and culture that convert-seeking (and often conversion-forcing) Abrahamic faiths erode.

      On to the first part: You contend that it is impossible to reconstruct an ancient worldview. I’ve often encountered that criticism from people who use it as a way of undercutting reconstructionism. May I ask: have you tried it? I think you’d be surprised at just what is possible to know when you have a community of serious-minded people seeking to know it. In any case, it is useless to proclaim something impossible just because you don’t see how it could be achieved; doubly so if you haven’t tried it yourself.

      I like to use a metaphor adapted from martial arts: It’s well known in various striking arts that if you aim for the surface of your target, you will slow your strike before you get there, and will lose power. In order to hit your target with full power, you have to aim beyond it. Similarly in reconstructing an ancient worldview and traditional body of knowledge and religious practice: in order to achieve the greatest results possible, we have to aim for what many, including yourself, claim is beyond our power. In reality, any limit anyone sets on what it is possible to know about, say, Germanic religion and worldview, is an *arbitrary* limit; no one really knows hows much we can know, but finding out seems difficult, so people generally assume the answer is “not much”.

      I can report, based on my couple of decades doing this sort of thing, that a more accurate answer is actually “a lot more than you might think.” This being the case, reconstructionists tend to ignore this kind of dismissal of what we do.

  • AnonGuest

    (As always, there will be people who will try to find insult at beautiful things offered them for free. Pshh. haters got to hate.)

    What a beautiful magazine. Thank you authors for writing and providing that. I particularly liked the grove pictures, which looked and felt like a real working area, rather than a prettied up display shelf. Get on with your bad selves :)

    • Lisa Golden

      Thank you for that lovely compliment! I appreciate it, seeing as that grove is on my property. I can attest that it IS, in fact, a real working area. It was cleared and built by the hands of many good friends.

      I cannot speak for my husband (nor do I need to, as Gary has seemed to have built himself quite the reputation) but I can say that anything we do is done with the utmost respect and reverence. I’d never tell someone what they can or can not do as far as their own PERSONAL practice (nor have I ever seen Josh, Dan or Gary do so). I simply ask that it not be passed off as “recon” when it clearly isn’t.

      I have no problem with people practicing Norse Paganism. Hell, I can even tolerate people who like to sit at the all-you-can-worship deity buffet. Just call it what it is and stop whining when the mean old recons don’t consider you one of their own.

      • Cigfran

        One hears this a lot from self-identified recon insiders – often enough, and with sufficient emphasis, that one can get the impression that claiming and defending insider status is the primary concern of recon activity.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

          I would respond to this. However, I am far too busy working on the East Coast Thing next week where more then 100 Heathens will be having a splendid time worshiping the Gods, carousing with the community, participating in the Viking Games and holding classes about the future of the movement.

          • Cigfran

            You just did respond, which indicates that the bulk of this reply is a good example of just what I was describing.

            I would be at ECT myself, if life didn’t have more pressing concerns.

          • Lisa Golden

            Well, I’m not too proud to respond….

            Cigfran, I never claimed to be a “recon insider”, as you call us. I’m just a regular ol girl trying to follow the worldview as closely as our ancestors did. I get a great sense of fulfillment in trying to understand WHY they did what they did and trying to follow that as closely as possible.

            I’ll reiterate what I said. I DON’T CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DO. Whatever floats your boat, knocks your boots or tickles your pickle is fine with me. So your attempt at making me out to be some socially obsessed name dropper is very unnecessary.

            Unless there truly is some “recon insider” club. In which case I’ll be waiting for my secret ring to arrive in the mail.

      • AnonGuest

        You’re welcome! I don’t have a problem with that view.
        all-you-can-worship deity buffet
        Nom, nom, nom hehee

  • Merofled Ing

    (posted as new, because if I post it where it belongs it will be 2,5 inches wide and 50 or so long…)
    … understanding and implementing them m u s t b e achieved through a thorough understanding of their original context. (my emphasis)
    The problem, to me, is here, in the ‘must be’, especially in connection with ‘implementing’.
    Getting to know more about the times, mindsets and beliefs from the times when goddesses and gods still were at the centers of worship is a mark of respect. Looking at what really went down during the European witch hunts, ditto. Besides, reading (even non-pagan) books about the way e.g. the ancient Greek understood and practiced their religion has certainly helped me a lot. Informative texts on older religions can show how radically different they, and their practices were, from the monotheist, Christian thinking and praying that we have all had so much contact with, so to explore the radical difference from an intellectual, historical level – liberating in many ways. Relying solely on metaphysics, or meditation, or spiritual practices developed in our time might make us underestimate that or miss the undercurrents. (So if Óðrœrir is indeed along literary and archeological evidence – thank you. For the articles, for the work.)
    However, labeling these practices as ‘newage-sewage’ ‘crystal crunching’ – ahem. Not in my book, not in my flat, not in my view. Doesn’t sound literary or archeological or scholarly or intelligent to me. Eschewing all that these practices have brought would take a lot of the spirituality out of my – well, hinwendung, turning towards, bowing towards, feeling towards … oh forget the words – practice. It is incredibly rude, and incredibly ungrateful, to so many people I have learned, and still learn, so much from. And it is beside the point. Exploring these practices are the step from what people d i d 15,000 to 1700 or so years ago (and it sure doesn’t hurt to try to learn what that was, as far as possible), and what that means today, and what we d o today.
    When it comes to the w a y I honor my goddesses and gods, to the way I approach them and the strengths and virtues which I yearn for – well, then I am my own highest authority. And if someone comes along and says “Look, you can’t do this or that, and you can’t worship these two”, I’m not even going to ask for Athene’s spear or Thor’s hammer. The mental and emotional equivalent of a butter knife will suffice.

  • http://dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

    Hey! That’s my bureau!

    • Slaeghunder

      Hey ya’ll – I’m the guy who put the journal together – I thought it up, created the name, and badgered the contributors and volunteer staff to create this thing. It was a matter of bringing to fruition an idea shared by a good number of other people who stepped up to help me out.

      I just want to point out that while the name comes from Norse myth and it is true that this fist issue lacked any content that was not Norse/Germanic in nature, I have intended since the beginning to welcome reconstruction oriented content pertaining to the Celts as well and even Urgo-Finnic, Slavic, or Baltic peoples. The problem is, all the hard core reconstructionists I know are Germanic reconstructionsist. I myself am focused on the cultures of the pre-roman Iron Age in modern Scotland, and in the process I study both the Celtic and Germanic peoples there across periods and on the continent and in the Nordic lands as well. I am interested on scholarly works on any and all of that.

      This journal is not intended to be Germano-centric, it simply has worked out that way so far. I solicited a few Celtic recons who’s blogs or websites I had come to read and appreciate, but I’ve not received a response from any of them. Perhaps now that the journal is out there and they can see for themselves what I’m looking for, they will acknowledge that I exist.

      And for any reconstructionists out there reading this who may be focusing on a non-Germanic European culture, consider this a challenge. Send us a submission.

      • Slaeghunder

        And to address a comment about the comics – this is not a “scholastic effort”, per se. Scholarly articles will be held to academic standards but the magazine was meant to be more that that. There is not rule that says a magazine that holds it’s content up to the standards of academia must present said articles in a sweater vest smoking a pipe, with all the charisma of a bowl of overcooked oatmeal. I consider the art and comics we employed to be the bare minimum to keep that from happening.

        Future issues will have room for fiction and prose rooted in recon thought and understanding. There will be advertizing for heathen businesses, notices of Heathen gatherings (and perhaps reports on the, after the fact, by attendees) – that sort of thing. And as I mentioned, the magazine was not meant to be purely germanic in scope and hopefully will not remain so.

        • Keith

          Hi Slaeghunder. I want to give you a heartfelt THANK YOU for Odroerir. Maybe some pagans hate an argument backed by citations but I am very thankful for it, and think it’s about time heathenism got something like this. Also I liked the cartoons….they were sort of a lighthearted reprieve from the intense articles. The artwork is amazing btw. I already look forward to the next issue.

          Wassail,
          Keith

          • http://castwidethecircle.wordpress.com/ Grimmorrigan

            Citation don’t mean anything unless the entire academic process is handled correctly. I’m not seeing much in the way of citation other than secondary sources which I ca assure you would NOT work in academia. Also if you/anyone else is going to claim that this is an Academic work by any means my suggestion is that everyone involved put on their big girl panties and get used to the slaughter that is peer review.

          • Keith

            News flash, Grimmorrigan. You don’t count as “peer review”. You count as an armchair critic A) and B ) you count as someone who isn’t recon and isn’t who the journal is targeting. It was pointed out that the point of the peer review was to make sure the facts presented were consistent with modern scholarship-not that the papers themselves were Acadamia. There’s a difference. Perhaps you should put your big girl pants on and learn to do more than rip other peoples works apart.

          • Cigfran

            Keith, nothing about the publication qualifies as ‘peer review’ either, in any accepted sense. Misusing the term doesn’t elevate, but in fact diminishes, the zine’s credibility and value.

        • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

          “There is not rule that says a magazine that holds it’s content up to the standards of academia must present said articles in a sweater vest smoking a pipe, with all the charisma of a bowl of overcooked oatmeal. I consider the art and comics we employed to be the bare minimum to keep that from happening.”

          Of course there’s no rule, but I’d imagine that most scholastic journals don’t have comics in them. I’m not saying you can’t inject humour or anything into your work, I was making an observation. As always other folks mileage will (and has judging from the replies) vary.

          • Kustom Jeff

            This isn’t meant to just be a scholastic journal. It is a magazine pure and simple. The articles must be up to standards set, the rest will have different standards. It is meant to be entertaining, interesting AND most of all informative. The first issue doesn’t have a lot of the features later issues will have due to the small amount of folks involved right now. As more people start to contribute there will be more stuff in each issue. In essence learn from the articles, but enjoy the rest of it.

          • Mageprof

            “This isn’t meant to just be a scholastic journal. It is a magazine pure and simple.”

            Good, because in fact it is not anything like a scholastic journal.

            The articles in this issue are on the level of what an intelligent university student might submit as a term paper and hope to get an A-/B+. Basically, they have been synthesized from a few good secondary sources. This is not at all the same as doing actual scholarly research.

          • Kustom Jeff

            I guess I’ll reply here since Mageprof has somehow made it so that I can’t reply to them.

            If you don’t like our work do something better. If you’re not willing to do it then don’t piss on someone else’s cornflakes. Your opinion of our work is not relevant since you have shown me nothing to make me respect your opinion. Which really isn’t an opinion it’s just a pissy comment. And before you start to compare my bad grammar and punctuation to the articles in the book, don’t bother, I did the layout and didn’t write anything in the book. You comment also shows you to not have a clue what we are doing. Thanks for your worthless comment and I’ll file it appropriately.

          • Keith

            Mageprof. These are people writing articles on their spare time. These people are not getting grants, or being paid for their time. While I guess the review board is made up of people in the field, not all the contributors are. Get off your high horse. The point of the peer review is to ensure that the information given is accurate and citable. Not that the information is cutting edge scholarly research. That’s the job of people like Simek and Gunnell. The job of the people in this journal is to take the information that has been put out there by scholars-and to put it together in a recon minded fashion that heathens can utlize today. They did a damn good job of that. Writing an A- paper on your free time in the non existing class of “heathen recon” is an A++ to me.

            You know-I love the animosity some of these armchair critic, pan pagans have towards a free and beautifully done and VERY helpful gift.

          • Jim

            “I guess I’ll reply here since Mageprof has somehow made it so that I can’t reply to them”.

            Can’t have all that ‘negative energy’ flowing his monitor now can we?

          • Cigfran

            Mageprof has done nothing. The comment system seems to have a nesting limit.

            That an item is free does not mean it is good. I happen to think the journal is good in some ways, but that is only as valid an opinion as any other – and perhaps less so than that of anyone with credentials specific to the area of study, as Mageprof may or may not have.

            Further, a publicly published work is open to critique, period. You cannot expect to release it into the wild and receive nothing but golf claps and polite nods. That the famously pugnacious recon community would be so thin-skinned on this point is nonsensical.

          • Mageprof

            @Kustom Jeff:
            As a professional academic specializing in the field, it is my *duty* before all the Gods to piss in every last bowl of published cornflakes when it is offered to the public as true scholarship.

            Slaeghunder got it right, of course. The works in the magazine are being held to one level of academic standards — the standards to which one holds one’s undergraduate students, not one’s fellow professionals. Those standards are worth observing. Just don’t confuse them with the standards of scholarship. That is the point I was trying to make.

            @Keith:
            As for “people like Simek and Gunnell,” if you really think they would give you a higher grade than I do, then write to them and ask them what *they* think of your efforts. I dare say they will be far less charitable that I was.

            Also, no professor worth his salt should ever give any student an A for effort, let alone an A++. It is always the student’s results that should be graded, never the student himself, much less the amount of hard work that he did to get his results.

            Also, very, very few undergraduates ever got an A- or a B+ from me for their term papers. When I gave that grade to your magazine, it was high praise indeed. Just not as high as praise can get . . .

          • Keith

            It’s very easy for someone to post anonymous criticism on the internet without ever giving a valid reason for that criticism. The fact of the matter is the articles are sourced and cited, and peer reviewed to make sure that the historical ACCURACY is maintained. Not to ensure the paper’s structure and workmanship can rival that of leading modern scholars. Of course with all things, some opinion will be thrown in. However-while you say all opinions are valid…and I would agree everyone has a right to an opinion-they do not all hold equal weight. I’ll take the opinions of those who are putting arguments out there on the table, and citing and sourcing them, over the guy sitting at the computer claiming “thats not scholarly enough” without ever really being able to argue whether or not the information being presented is accurate.. it all goes back to this same “pan pagan” nonsense of everything is equal and everything is the same, and somehow an article that is peer reviewed and source based recieves more criticism from the armchair critics than the latest “this is how i astroprojected across the 9 worlds” crap that’s put out every other day across the pagan world. I’m not aiming this at you, Cigfran as you seem to be trying to be objective. I suppose I just feel that a lot of the criticism seems to be very unfair and baseless, stemming out of already existing resentment than anything else-such as that the journal itself is rude and superior ((I didn’t get ANY of that when I read it.)) and that the articles *gasp* get an -A at a university. *shrug* Spose this is why it’s best to avoid forums and to NEVER read the comments of articles, news updates and especially….Youtube.

          • Keith

            Mageprof…its not “my magazine”. I didn’t write it. I read it. I didnt say it needs an A for effort. I said it needs an A for the subject matter and the information thats being put out there. This is the first that I can recollect a heathen publication that is of this nature and strives to keep itself in check. Also-maybe its more fair that neither of us grade it in “paper” terms, but in typical review terms of best of of 10. I give it a 10..you choose what? An 8? Lastly-I apologize if i came off angry towards you.

        • Seven Exiles

          I liked the comics. Gave me a chance to recover from fuming at the self-congratulatory steaming pile that Linzie wrote so that I could get on to the good stuff.

          • Kustom Jeff

            I’m sure Bil loves you too.

          • Jill Budynas

            These are not meant to be masters thesis. I wrote the women in heathenry and I can tell you that its not the best paper I ever wrote. I also don’t have the access to the materials that I used to have when I was student either. We aren’t trying to get our PhD’s, we’re just trying to centralize hard to find or unheard of information. Its to give people something to think about.
            This was also written for a specific audience. We have not hidden this or tried to pass it off as something that its not. Its for recons or people who are curious to what the recons are doing. This isn’t meant to redefine anything for anyone, its meant to speak to people who are defining it in our practices. Recons aren’t the enemy that we’re painted out to be. ~Jill

  • Kilmrnock

    Seems like alot of the same old stuff, we heard years ago. A while back many ,not all mind you, asatru and heathens spent way too much time flaming other pagans , wiccans in general .Altho i never was wiccan , seems to me that is a collasal waste of time . Fussing amoungst ourselves is counterproductive , atleast as a group we , pagans and heathens, need to put forward a united front .We are still a misunderstood and maligned minority. The general public doesn’t understand us or really care to .We need to get the word out about who and what we are .Heathen/asatru groups need to be more envolved in pagan pride days , for example. And just for the info , Druids and Heathens are almost identical , we druids had alot of norse influence due to proximity and invasion.as perspective groups we’re more alike than different .particulary druid warriors.I personnally have a problem w/ many wiccans tendency torwards cultural appropriation . But i don’t flame anyone .Those who don’t like us very much , can us this stuff against us .The so called Witch wars need to end .Flaming each other is truely countertproductive . We Must stand together for our own good as a group Kilm

  • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

    While I was trying to get through many of the articles, the tone of many of them turned me off to what may have been otherwise compelling articles. While tone is not everything, it does count for something, especially when what could be otherwise informative articles are lost in what I feel was a malaise of self-congratulation or smugness.

    In my opinion, nearly the entire first page of Bil Linzie’s article, “The State of Heathenry” could have been cut because it took away from what I feel was the core of where he was getting with it: “Why does the greater presence of reconstructionists in modern heathenry make heathenry better than it was a decade and a half ago?” (Óðrœrir, 8) Heck, even starting off with “Reconstructionism. It’s a hot topic and always sure to raise at least some eyebrows; gets the heart pumping no matter which camp one belongs to.” (Óðrœrir, 8) would have, in my opinion, been better. I came away from the article asking a lot more why questions than were answered, and found that The State of Heathenry wasn’t really so much directly commented on, as around.

    I found Joshua Rood’s article, “Reconstructionism in Modern Heathenry: An Introduction” much more useful to the end the previous one was driving at.
    There is a persistent question I had throughout it, though: how exactly are we to reconstruct the mindset of ancient, pre-Christian Germanic peoples when there is excessively little surviving of it, either from primary or secondary sources? How are we to understand anything from within that framework when so little of it has survived? I also do not understand the point of this statement Rood makes, either in its criticism or its implication: “The plethora of new age and neo-pagan movements within America are a prime example of this end result, with their emphasis on personal relationships with deities, afterlife rewards, and a focus on a “spiritual growth”.” (Óðrœrir, 13).

    The criticism seems to be that New Age and Neo-Pagan movements are “most likely constructed with cultural schemas that are inherited from Christianity” (Óðrœrir, 13) while providing no means of actually asserting the opinion either through examples or direct quotes. The implication seems to be that ancient pre-Christian Germans did not have personal relationships with deities, afterlife rewards, or focus on “spiritual growth”. While I can get that the “spiritual growth” may not have been emphasized or practiced by most pre-Christian Germans, I don’t see how the idea of having a personal relationship with a God/dess or an afterlife reward system is an outgrowth of Christianity and is not an outgrowth of pre-Christian Germanic worldview.

    While the author says, in various ways in several places that there is a danger of a person believing “they are studying in an accurate heathen context, but in reality they are interpreting it in their own way and are taking the information out of its context and stripping it of its original meaning” (Óðrœrir, 15) there isn’t a way described in how to adopt an accurate heathen context or frame of mind in order to interpret the sources ‘correctly’. While Russell’s quote is informative, it isn’t, at least to me, effective enough in presenting the worldview the author is actually espousing.

    A question I also will raise, which I don’t feel is adequately answered by the article, is: if we are indeed molded by a Christian upbringing and fed into the schemata and cultural layout it presents, is relying so heavily upon lore as authoritative texts and experts for both the layout and content of one’s spiritual life playing into, if not embracing, cultural spiritual norms from Christianity rather than rejecting it? Why is experiential religion so seemingly diminished in Heathen circles rather than embraced? I ask this last question not as a jab, but a genuine question.

    I have another question because of the assertion Rood makes from his quote on page 19: “If you internalize the worldview of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples (which starts with understanding it), then the practices which rise from that worldview, while not identical to theirs, will be consistent with theirs.” (Óðrœrir). He makes this statement while, I feel, not adequately describing how to adopt the worldview requisite to the work, while insisting that orthopraxy is required in order to adopt it, while also insisting that orthodoxy must be practiced. How can you understand a worldview which, as he asserts earlier with his quote from Linzie, has a “closely bound religion-culture-worldview” which are dependent on “landscape-occupation-environment” (Óðrœrir, 12) when, it is admitted that the worldview has been completely lost? Everything then, it seems to me, is conjecture and interpretation from what very few sources of information remain.

    Then again, it may be I do not understand the perspective of Reconstructionist Heathens, as I’m not inside it and may not be getting the point, either.

    That said, I found the introduction comic by Slaeghunder to be damned funny.

    • Cigfran

      Thank you for this. This is the kind of sound, thoughtful critique I think the journal merited at the outset. I hope the authors take these questions into serious consideration.

      The heart of it, I think, is whether when they say that ‘this was written by and for recons,’ they really believe that they have no need to demonstrate anything, but that the pattern of assertion upon assertion is sufficient – in which case the journal is less vibrant even then their own discussions among themselves, and amounts to little more than preaching to the choir by reiterating what they already think of as foregone conclusions.

      We can hope that subsequent issues dig a little deeper, and present reconstructionism as the dynamic, detailed process of discovery and debate that it is (or can be), rather than as a digest of fixed, insular ideas and attitudes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

      Of course, I don’t speak for them but my answer to your questions are straightforward.

      “Why is experiential religion so seemingly diminished in Heathen circles rather than embraced? I ask this last question not as a jab, but a genuine question.”

      Because the thought process is that we start with the lore. That is the roots and core. It’s a rule set for a framework. Why is tennis played with the net up? Because that makes the game more interesting. The lore is the starting point the bones for the flesh of practice and belief. It outlines the ethical and spiritual starting point basis. Your next question is related to that:

      “Everything then, it seems to me, is conjecture and interpretation from what very few sources of information remain.”

      We do have to interpret said lore. Reconstruction is a tool to do that with, as a process. The hope and expectation is that we immerse ourselves as such so that our mindset is of one that has 1000 CE values. Just because there is a process and that it requires some work does not mean that it is invalid nor inappropriate (although it’s not for everyone). I suggest that every religion needs and has a process for dogma. Your question is typical of an eclectic point of view that I don’t think can be debated beyond a preference…

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        David, your final paragraph above brought something to mind.

        Charlene Spretnak looked up everything she could about Greek goddesses who had been around before the place was conquered by Zeus worshippers. She made a basic assumption that those goddesses were previously more powerful figures and not necessarily of the same character as exhibited in, eg, the beauty contest that destroyed Troy.

        After steeping herself as much as she could, she tried intuitively to descibe what they were like pre-conquest. The result is her book, “Lost Goddesses of Early Greece.”

        I’ve assumed a Reconstructionist would regard Spretnak as an intuitive fluff-bunny. But your final paragraph above sounds an awful lot like what she put herself through only more like 1000 BCE.

        Fluff-bunny? Or early, non-Asatru reconstructionist?

        BTW I’m not asking about agreement or dissent regarding her conclusions, just the process.

        • Cigfran

          I obviously can’t speak for David, but I can tell you that recons don’t do a lot of intuiting – or more specifically, they tend to keep it to themselves. They challenge each other constantly on what can be substantiated through evidence.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            OK, thanks.

      • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

        Starting with the lore is fine and all. A lot of people who aren’t reconstructionists at all start with the lore, using, as you describe it “a rule set for a framework”.

        Yet you are not addressing my deeper question which ties right into my question on experiential religion in Heathenry that you quoted. My deeper question is what I already mentioned above: “how exactly are we to reconstruct the mindset of ancient, pre-Christian Germanic peoples when there is excessively little surviving of it, either from primary or secondary sources?” Without this question answered, your answer to my other points is moot. Saying you want to immerse yourselves in 1000 CE values is fine, but how do you actually arrive at what those even are through so many filters, from Christian scholars who wrote down most of the works, to the many reinterpretations between you and the text (assuming you don’t read the original language), to ultimately how you build a 1000 CE worldview/way of life around what remains?

        It is fine that you have a skeleton framework out of which to make the sinew, flesh and skin for your religion. Putting it another way, once you’ve finally decided on a skeleton from the lore, where do you get the sinew, flesh, and skin from?

        It is well and good that there is a process to this. I would expect that. It is well and good that there is an understanding as to how things enter into dogma, that these can even be tested is something I appreciate. Yet, my question remains unanswered. Dismissively calling it “typical of an eclectic point of view” is a nice ad hominem, but you’re not addressing my question.

        • Nick Ritter

          Hello Sarenth,

          “My deeper question is what I already mentioned above: “how exactly are we to reconstruct the mindset of ancient, pre-Christian Germanic peoples when there is excessively little surviving of it, either from primary or secondary sources?””

          I would disagree with the statement that there is “excessively little” surviving of that mindset. It is true that that mindset is never spelled out _in toto_; but what worldview is?

          There is a large body of primary sources that reflect this worldview: gnomic verse that tells what is considered wise and good; mythological poetry that gives a cosmology and that, along with heroic poetry, sagas, etc. gives examples of actions considered exemplary, foundational, etc.

          Your questions concerning “filters” of transmission is a valid one; as I see it, this is a problem that paralyzes some reconstructionists, and causes them to throw out much of what is good and authentic because they cannot quiet their doubts about its authenticity.

          Concerning he filter of language and interpretation, I think it is vitally important for anyone who is seeking to research early Germanic religion to learn early Germanic languages – not only in order to read primary sources without that filter of translation, but also because language itself is a key to the worldview of the people who spoke it. This latter is a big reason why early Germanic languages are a focus of Theodism.

          Concerning the possible Christian bias (and possible Classical filter) of the people who wrote down the primary sources (more of a problem with prose texts than poetic ones, I think), this can be approached through different kinds of comparison. On the one hand, a familiarity with Christian worldview, especially as part of a familiarity with the history of religious ideas generally, can bring to attention exactly those elements that a Christian author might have interpolated in a text about Heathen things. On the other hand, a comparative study of the mythologies, religions, and worldviews of related (Indo-European) or contacted (Finno-Ugric, Hunnic) cultures highlights what in the material goes back to the roots of Germanic culture, and what might have been borrowed from other peoples.

          Concerning these “Christian” sources, it must be mentioned that virtually none of them were from some theoretical and purely Christian culture; they were all, as far as I can tell, products of a syncresis between Germanic and Christian culture. As such, the “taint” that their Christianity may have left on the source material is, in some cases at least, faint to nonexistent.

          This syncresis lasted for a very long time, especially in the rural parts of Germanic Europe: it lasted as folklore, folk-customs, folk-tales, etc. That body of material is also useful for developing an idea of a Germanic worldview, I think. After all, the Germanic culture whence Germanic religion sprang did not cease once churches started being built; it lasted for a very long time, and exists still, albeit tenuously.

          Christianity didn’t kill Germanic culture; it caused a long decline that changed it. This goes for the worldview, too: there are still traces of it in traditional Germanic cultures existing today. So long as one approaches this material carefully and with a critical eye, one can use it.

          • Nick Ritter

            Also, the central place of the existing poetry in reconstructing a worldview cannot be overstated, although I think it is not fully appreciated by most Germanic reconstructionists. In Calvert Watkins’ “How to Kill a Dragon”, his book on comparative Indo-European poetics, the author talks about the central place of poetry in Indo-European culture. I don’t have the book in front of me to quote it right now, but the gist is that the traditional formulas that make up a body of traditional poetry in an Indo-European culture are the vehicles of themes; all the themes of a body of traditional poetry are the entirety of that people’s “intellectual” or “ideological” culture.

            Deep familiarity with the extant poetry (of which we are lucky to have a great deal), most preferably in the original languages, brings a deep familiarity with the themes of that body of poetry, and thus with the worldview of that culture as expressed in that cultured traditional manner of expression.

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            Hello, Mr. Ritter. Thank you for responding to me as quick and in-depth as you have.

            You have a fair point that no worldview is spelled out in totality. I should have said that my use of ‘excessively little’ was in comparison with other ancient cultures, namely Greek and Roman. I suppose in comparison, to say, Phoenician culture, it probably has fared a bit better.

            I agree that the body of sources, primary and secondary, are useful in helping to reconstruct it. I feel that they are not quite enough, though. It seems that, while these are good resources for developing one’s worldview, they by no means complete it.

            How do you see the question of filters paralyzes some reconstructionists? What do you see them throwing out that is good and authentic?

            While I agree that it is important to research early German religion if you’re going to practice it, I think it is quite the tall order to ask all who would walk the path to learn the ancient German. Granted, it is important to understand the material with as few filters between you and the text. I don’t deny language is powerful, and that it is part of the key to understanding a people, culture, etc., but that said, it would seem to me that those who might be otherwise drawn to the path may have a rough time meeting such a requirement. I hope that there is still room for those who cannot devote the full time to such an intense, scholarly pursuit.

            Considering that Snorri Sturluson wrote down that Odin came from Troy, I tend to take a good chunk of salt with me in reading anything written down. I would agree that having an eye to Christian interpolation is a good thing, especially, as you note, when you read the prose texts. It takes a lot of sifting to get through to what might be authentically ancient German. Although I cannot read ancient German, having read translations and parsing through what I can, I agree that there are things you can touch in reading the text that comes through as authentic.

            You mention syncretism between ancient German and Christian beliefs. Where do you see this clearest?

            I agree that the poetry, as well as the other sources are the place to go for the beginning, but again my question is, where do you go once your skeleton is put together? I see understanding and reading the lore and putting it into a framework in your life as the skeleton. Where do you go from here? How does a person who, while studying the texts and such, apply such things to their life while still worshipping the Gods? Beyond the poems and prose, I find there still is little to reconstruct much on.

            The lore may have the bones of a worldview, but where does the flesh, what one does in the everyday, and/or religious rituals and celebrations come from? Where the does sinew holding your community together come from? Where does the skin, protecting the community’s understanding while stretching with new layers of understanding, experience, and even UPG come into play?

            Do you simply not engage in a ritual unless it is vetted by lore? Do you create your own rituals from scratch so long as they are, near as you/the community understands, within the cultural framework of ancient Germans? Is direct experience of a God/dess, vaettir or Ancestor not accepted unless vetted in some way by lore? I respect the mountain of work it takes to reconstruct such a view, but once it is reconstructed as well as it can be, where do you go then?

        • Nick Ritter

          Hello,

          I’m posting my reply to your latest below as a new reply to the article. It got a bit long.

  • Nick Ritter

    Hello again,

    Those who know me know that when I get talking about something, I have a hard time cutting it short. Tuis the wall of text below. Also, please understand that I’m discussing things from a Theodish perspective: other Reconstructionists, even other Germanic Reconstructionists, will have a different approach.

    “How do you see the question of filters paralyzes some reconstructionists? What do you see them throwing out that is good and authentic?”

    There are certain questions in the body of scholarship concerning certain parts of lore, and whether these parts were part of the pre-conversion understanding of the religion, or whether they were post-conversion interpolations by Christian, classically educated authors. For example: the Vanir, and whether they were actually understood as a separate group of gods; Ragnarök, whether this was a native eschatological myth or a calque on the Christian Doomsday; Baldr, and whether he was actually a Germanic god, or a figure invented by Christian authors. Some reconstructionists give greater weight to those scholars who raise doubts concerning the authenticity of these elements, and therefore tend to throw these things out as inauthentic. Some, like myself, answer these questions through comparison with other Indo-European mythologies, and arrive at different answers.

    “While I agree that it is important to research early German religion if you’re going to practice it, I think it is quite the tall order to ask all who would walk the path to learn the ancient German.”

    Indeed, which is why I don’t expect that all people will be doing the requisite research needed in order to practice the religion. There need to be some people who research and experiment and learn, and who transmit what they learn to others. It is unreasonable to expect, on the one hand, that everyone practicing Germanic religion will be a linguist, an anthropologist, a historian, a philologist, an archaeologist, a comparative mythologist, an Indo-Europeanist, as well a priest, a leader, and whatever else life might require. On the other hand, it is equally unreasonable to expect that a religion’s practice and knowledge not advance beyond the lowest common denominator of what everyone can accomplish. Clearly, some division of labor is needed. That shouldn’t be a problem, really: early Germanic religion was social, and was practiced by societies that did divide up the labor.

    “Considering that Snorri Sturluson wrote down that Odin came from Troy, I tend to take a good chunk of salt with me in reading anything written down…. It takes a lot of sifting to get through to what might be authentically ancient German.”

    That’s a good example of where one needs to know more about the text and the context in order to interpret it correctly, instead of looking with an equally jaundiced eye on all written texts. Snorri was educated in the classics, which means he was almost certainly familiar with the Æneid, the story in which the foundation of Rome gets tied to the Trojan War. The Æneid was how the Romans were able to link themselves to what they saw as a greater, nobler history. Once education in the classics spread throughout Europe with the Christian Church, numerous attempts were made to link their histories to the Trojan war as well, to make themselves equally as noble and ancient as Rome. The Scandinavians did it, the Russians did it, other peoples did it as well; it was a stock-piece of medieval historiography. Understood in this way, it’s easy to see how Snorri uses this as a frame in which to present mythological material in a manner that would seem acceptable to a medieval, Christian audience; he maintains the appearance of a suitably disinterested medieval scholar. Once the frame can be differentated from the mythological material, there is no particular reason to doubt the mythological material given, especially where that material can be corroborated from other Indo-European mythologies.

    “You mention syncretism between ancient German and Christian beliefs. Where do you see this clearest?”

    In those sorts of things we call folklore, folk-magic, folk-tales, as well as in customs surrounding holidays whose meaning had been re-assigned by the Church. I can think of a few charms that incorporate both Christian and Germanic figures, for instance. Also, there are folktales in which stories are told of the Christian god, or Jesus, or Mary, that seem like they might have been told of other gods earlier. There were popular cults of St. George in England and Norway that I think were Christian varnishes on the older cults of Þunor/Þórr (noted for his dragon-slaying), and similar sorts of Christian façades on what appear to be earlier cults abound. Also, there is nothing particularly Christian about maypoles, or Christmas trees, or bonfire-jumping, or any of the rest of it.

    “I agree that the poetry, as well as the other sources are the place to go for the beginning, but again my question is, where do you go once your skeleton is put together?”

    I don’t think that this is merely “the skeleton”. Myths, gods, some likely religious practices, sources describing that worldview’s idea of the good, along with exemplars of that idea of the good, ideas on how people should relate to each other: what would you say is lacking, besides people who would put it into practice? That is “where you go,” you put it into practice, you learn along the way, you discover new questions and you figure out how to answer them, all as a continuous process.

    “How does a person who, while studying the texts and such, apply such things to their life while still worshipping the Gods?”

    Perhaps I don’t understand the question, but the “how” really doesn’t seem that complicated; I wouldn’t say that it’s easy, but it’s not complicated. Could you be more specific?

    “Beyond the poems and prose, I find there still is little to reconstruct much on.”

    As I asked someone else in this comment stream: have you ever tried it? Honestly, the greater part of what one can learn one learns by doing; one cannot simply sit down and read a myth or two and think that one now “gets it”. One should learn, and then put what one learns into practice while learning more and putting that into practice, too. From what I’ve seen, it takes about a decade of dedicated, continuous learning and putting-into-practice of what one learns before one starts to start to “get it.” This putting-into-practice includes worship, as well as one’s everyday life.

    “The lore may have the bones of a worldview, but where does the flesh, what one does in the everyday, and/or religious rituals and celebrations come from?”

    “What one does in the everyday” comes from an application of the virtues and exemplary traits that are seen as good in the lore, as well as the sorts of traditional values that one gets from one’s family, if one is lucky enough to come from a family that keeps up the sorts of traditional values considered good in Germanic culture. Not everyone does come from such a family, of course, but a lot of people do. Religious rituals and celebrations are a bit trickier, but the information is there, if one is willing to dive into scholarship.

    “Where the does sinew holding your community together come from?”

    In Theodism, we call that “thew”. What it is, as well as where it comes from, is people working, living, and being together with good will in a network of mutual obligation and shared group-identity.

    “Where does the skin, protecting the community’s understanding while stretching with new layers of understanding, experience, and even UPG come into play?”

    I’m afraid you rather lost me with your metaphor. Could you explain what you mean?

    “Do you simply not engage in a ritual unless it is vetted by lore?”

    In Theodism, we expect that Theodish rituals will be backed up by lore insofar as their structure is concerned. Some of us are invited to non-Theodish rituals from time to time; we try to be good guests.

    “Do you create your own rituals from scratch so long as they are, near as you/the community understands, within the cultural framework of ancient Germans?”

    To a certain extent, we have to create our own rituals from scratch, because we don’t have the benefit of a manual of rituals from ancient times. We do our best to make sure that the structure and elements of the rituals, as well as their purpose, are in accord with what we know of early Germanic ritual. Having created a ritual, we don’t stop there, though: rituals are always open to change when we discover something new in the body of research.

    “Is direct experience of a God/dess, vaettir or Ancestor not accepted unless vetted in some way by lore?”

    It depends on the situation and the individual. If a well-respected someone who has been steeped in the lore for decades has a remarkable experience, he or she has a greater chance of being taken seriously than a newbie who only heard about our gods last month. And even still, whatever sort of truth that respected someone has will not be expected to be taken as truth by all. If a god speaks to you, listen; if someone tells you that a god spoke to them, you don’t have to listen. You’re expected to use your best judgement.

    “Do you accept UPG even if the lore is hazy or does not comment on the contents of it?”

    UPG may suggest a direction in which to do some research and formulate an idea to present to others. Also, as Theodism concerns itself primarily with religion done as a group, people are much freer to rely on their own whims when it comes to personal worship.

    “I respect the mountain of work it takes to reconstruct such a view, but once it is reconstructed as well as it can be, where do you go then?”

    I’m not sure I understand your question. Do you mean: “Once you have a complete culture, what do you do then?” The answer is: we live it. Or do you mean: “Once you have an incomplete culture that cannot be reconstructed any further, what do you do with it?” I suppose the answer to that would be: “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” That eventuality would seem to be a long way off, though: there’s still a lot to know, and, I think, quite enough to live on.

    “I see from your blog that new art and new poems are something you encourage, and I think this is a good thing.”

    I’m gratified that someone’s found my blog, but a bit embarassed at the lack of substantial writing and the long pauses between. New art and new poems are vitally important ways of maintaining a tradition. Insofar as the ancient poetic traditions are concerned (Germanic and otherwise), they haven’t truly been reconstructed if there is no new poetry being added to the body of traditional poetry, because the composition of new works in the traditional way was part of the tradition itself. Perhaps this provides an answer to your question of “where do you go then?” When we’ve reached the point where we are secure in our understanding of the worldview of pre-Christian Germanic culture, when we have internalized it and it is our worldview, then whatever comes next flows from that source and is a new iteration on the old themes. Perhaps that could be understood as the reasoning behind reconstructionism itself: to get back to a true understanding, and to go from there with that understanding as our source.

    • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

      Again, thank you for a damned in-depth response.

      As someone who has, with limited understanding of the texts as I mentioned before, tried to bring reconstructionism into my path, I have found this a bit hard. I would probably be best described now as reconstructionist-derived. I’m no scholar when it comes to ancient societies, and I’m certainly not versed in ancient languages, so a lot of my filtering process is about figuring out what is and isn’t likely to be pre-Christian Germanic from what sources are translated into English.

      I have arrived at my own ideas of Rangarok and similar things that you’ve mentioned above. They may not be as informed by lore, but I have applied, I feel, a good deal of work to understanding the texts where I can. I have a lot of reading to do and a lot of learning to do, but I look at this as positive. That all said, I am speaking as someone who has not joined a reconstructionist community, but has figured a lot of his own path out through trial, error, research, critical thinking, and UPG.

      “Where does the skin, protecting the community’s understanding while stretching with new layers of understanding, experience, and even UPG come into play?”

      Where I was going with the skin analogy, is “How do you as a community make decisions on how new layers of understanding, experience, and UPG come into acceptance in your community?”, but you answered that question quite well already.

      Re: your point about folklore, I definitely see that.

      “If a god speaks to you, listen; if someone tells you that a god spoke to them, you don’t have to listen. You’re expected to use your best judgement.”

      Seems sensible to me.

      Re: your answer to my question “I respect the mountain of work it takes to reconstruct such a view, but once it is reconstructed as well as it can be, where do you go then?”

      I was more to the point of asking how, when you find the ‘view’ with which you see the ancient Germanic and putting into practice has been done, where do you from there? I guess I was asking for a long-term view of how Theodism will evolve. I think it is interesting that you’ve mentioned that social roles are developed and more developing the more Theodism grows.

      Thank you for answering all these question in such depth and in so short a time.

      • Nick Ritter

        “Thank you for answering all these question in such depth and in so short a time.”

        Certainly, and I’m glad you didn’t feel you were waiting too long.

        One of the reasons I think it’s important to answer such questions, especially on such a public forum as this, is that I think Eclectics and Reconstructionists tend to misunderstand one another. I’d like to shed more light than heat, for once.

        “I was more to the point of asking how, when you find the ‘view’ with which you see the ancient Germanic and putting into practice has been done, where do you from there? I guess I was asking for a long-term view of how Theodism will evolve. I think it is interesting that you’ve mentioned that social roles are developed and more developing the more Theodism grows.”

        I hesitate to give long-term prognoses. Theodish thinking tends towards letting things develop organically from a firm basis. Over-planning has caused problems for us in the past.

        Social roles have been a part of Theodism pretty much since the beginning, and they have worked well for us. That’s one of the things that gives me hope that we’re going about things the right way.

        • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

          Thank you for engaging me in true-blue respectful dialogue.

          While I’m not Theodish or strict reconstructionist, and some of my views may clash with yours, it’s heartening to have a good exchange. Thank you.

          If you have questions, please ask them.

          • Nick Ritter

            Well, I suppose the most interesting questions would have to do with contrast. Why are you eclectic? What is your way of looking at lore and UPG, and relating these to your religious belief and practice, and why do you look at it in that way?

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            I am an eclectic because I have had more than just Norse/Germanic Gods that call to me. I am eclectic because I don’t limit myself to one pantheon; it’s hard to ignore the call of other Gods when they need your ear, for one reason or another. I call myself a shaman because it is what I have the closest approximation to what it is I do for my communities. A good chunk of what I do in terms of spiritual work and religious ritual is often UPG related. I do my research where I am able (as I mentioned I can’t yet read ancient German or other ancient languages) and I do not know any other language fluently besides English. I’m just starting to learn German, so my resources are English translations of texts, and English-language sources otherwise.

            I call myself eclectic because I don’t think or feel I fit into the reconstructionist mold, except maybe in reconstructionist-derived. That is, I use the lore and what archaeology gives us as a starting point and go from there. This does not mean I add to my practice willy-nilly and pick up whatever happens to come my way without critical thought, but I trust UPG as I experience it more readily than I understand reconstructionists might.

            My way of looking at lore is that it is the skeleton for one’s practice, or at the least a springboard into understanding the Gods. I am polytheist, and so, I treat Odin as Odin, and Frigga as Frigga, and the one is not the other to me. The skeleton and springboard are there behind what I do, and I work to keep an indigenous mindset each day. In the culture I live in it is I see it as a choice to immerse yourself in the dominant paradigm, Protestant Christianity from my view (albeit I was raised Catholic), or to adopt a different one and stick to it.

            My way of looking at UPG is that it is not necessarily more or less important than lore, but important in ways different than lore. The lore is the springboard, the skeleton, but the UPG is the water, flesh. To put it another way, lore is Niflheim and UPG is Musplheim; a balance needs to be struck between the two for life to flourish. Lore gives us certain ways of concretely understanding our Gods, Ancestors, and the basic cosmology of the ancient Germanic people through the written word, archaeology, and intellectual understanding. UPG gives us certain ways of understanding our Gods in less concrete ways, whether establishing relationships with the Gods, spirits, Ancestors, etc., or ways to experience the impact of the Nine Worlds and Their inhabitants on our lives, both overall and in moments.

            My religious beliefs are eclectic in that while I work with and worship ancient Germanic Gods primarily now, I have not broken off my relationships, and their particular methods of being, from Gods I worked with and worshipped previously. I still believe and practice as a priest of Anubis, although He has not called me to work for Him for some time now. My religious beliefs are also eclectic in that I have a good deal of personal interaction with the Gods that I work and worship, both during my time as a very eclectic Pagan, and now, as a Northern Tradition one.

            As I understand it, this is not emphasized in reconstructionism, and in some circles of reconstructionism, is actively discouraged. As I have encountered it (and I am generalizing but I have heard this a number of ways), the idea of personal interactions with the Gods is rare because the Gods have things to do, or that we are ants to Them, so why should They care? To my mind, this does not make sense, especially if They (depending on which They you’re talking about here and which culture, etc. etc.) created us and formed lasting relationships enough with past generations (i.e. ancient Germanic cultures believing they had sprung, at some point, from Odin) from which we descend. If we’re good enough to fuck and help along, we should be good enough to, in some way, shape, or form, relate to.

            My religious practice is largely shaped by my work with the Gods and the needs of my community. While I am not doing much in the way of community work right now, I do spiritual work besides, such as making offerings to my Ancestors and Gods, study texts as I can, and train for my work as a shaman.

  • Merofled Ing

    Nick Ritter and Sarenth – thank you for that great and awesome discussion. I wish I knew half as much, and could express myself half as good. (Sarenth: good luck with the German. Keep at it.)

    • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

      Thanks Merofled; got through Intro to German last semester, and looking forward to my next class as soon as it’ll fit in the schedule.


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