Saturday, August 19, 2006

Heathenry in 300 Words or Less

Heathenry is the modern continuation or reconstruction of the religious practices of pre-Christian, northern European peoples, specifically those of Germanic / Teutonic origin, going as far back as 2000 years and farther. At its core, Heathenry is a polytheistic religion, honoring tribes of gods now referred to as Æsir or Vanir. This contrasts with polytheism, where all gods are seen as being different aspects of one or a few gods. Along with reverence for the gods, Heathenry emphasizes reverance for our ancestors (regardless of where they come from), Elves, the Disir, as well as the landvættir and sjóvættir (land and sea wights). Heathenry is a nature-based religion, animistic and totemic, that embraces technological advances. With all of this considered, Heathenry is also a family and community-based religion: the true essence of Heathenry is found in the home and community.

Rules and roles in Heathenry are determined more by community than by gods, and are made to increase the Wyrd and Luck of the community and its members. The Nine Noble Virtues, a list of personal qualities drawn from the corpus of Heathen lore, is perhaps the simplest way to describe what many Heathens aspire to: Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-Reliance.

Four primary holy tides are observed in Heathenry, with some Heathens observing several more (or less). These holy tides are Yule, Winternights, Eostre, and Midsummer (although sometimes Eostre and Midsummer are combined). Blot (sacrifice to the gods) is the most common ritual in Heathenry. Sumbel is also common in Heathenry - it is a form of ritualized drinking and toasting, whereby participants have the chance to learn of each other's deeds and intentions. Magic and shamanism are also utilized in Heathenry.

Other names (or forms) of Heathenry are Ásatrú, Forn Sed, Odinism, Theodism, and Heithni.


Suggested further online reading:

Wikipedia's entry for Heathenry
The collection of Heathen texts at Sacred Texts
Tacitus' Germania, at the Northvegr Foundation
Beginner's Course
, offered by the Frigga's Web Association
Any of the blogs at the Heathen Blogs Directory Project

*This article was posted by Bjorn of Expanding Inward while he was a guest blogger here. When I switched over to the new Blogger system on 9/12/06, the byline was changed by Blogger. I want to give credit where credit is due.


Bernulf said...

For those who may have been counting, I forgot to include one of the Nine Noble Virtues - that virtue is Perseverance...perhaps if it had been Attention to Detail, I wouldn't have forgotten to include it ;)

Rubicon said...

well it's a great post nonetheless :D good job bjorngrimnir!

Bernulf said...

Thank you, I'm glad you like it :D

brainwise said...

I only recently discovered A Pagan Sojourn, because you have posted links at your own blog, and I just wanted to commend you on this particular post. Well done!

Sojourner said...

Thanks for kind words about my blog! However, the praise for this particular post should go to Bernulf (Bjorn) of Expanding Inward. He wrote it while he was guest blogging for me last summer. His link is in the side bar under the heading of "Heathen Blogs."

I will pass on your praise of his article.

Thanks for the comment!