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Heathenry

Page history last edited by Yvonne 9 years, 10 months ago

 

Heathenry, like all ancient European pagan religions, is polytheistic. Heathens recognise numerous sentient entities, generally referred to as 'wights'. In addition to humans, these include major gods, local gods, ancestral spirits, and various sorts of beings familiar from Germanic folklore (elves, brownies, trolls, etc.). Heathens regard all these entities as real parts of the natural world, distinct individuals capable of independent thought and action, just as humans themselves are. Wights are understood to vary in their concerns and behaviour on the basis of mood, character, and circumstance, and two wights of the same kind may have very different personalities. - Arlea Hunt-Anschütz, 2002

the god Frey

Heathen beliefs

 

  • usually polytheist and animist
  • belief in spirits of place (land wights)
  • usually focus on one tradition or pantheon
  • some do not use magic (moving away from links with the Western Mystery Tradition)
  • believe in deities as distinct individuals, not aspects or archetypes
  • often believe that our ancestors' way of life is worth reviving
  • belief in Wyrd

 

Heathen values

 

Frith, troth, honour, courage, discipline, truth, steadfastness, freedom, hospitality (Nine Noble Virtues); a gift for a gift; A sense of honour and integrity: doing what we say we are going to do. A great sense of hospitality. The knowledge that a gift demands a gift - "you don't get owt for nowt" - and that when you ask something of a god or any other being you're prepared to negotiate and offer something in return. A great sense that the future is always an opportunity to add to your personal reputation and to build upon the layers of Wyrd already laid down.

 

Heathen practices

 

  • Reconstructing ancient rituals (Blot; Sumbel)
  • Forming relationships with deities
  • Libation and offerings are very important
  • Respect for ancestors
  • Magical practices – divination, Seidr, galdr, making runic talismans

Odin riding Sleipnir

Heathen rituals

 

Blot: an offering of mead and honouring the gods & goddesses

Sumbel:

1. An introduction by whoever is hosting the Sumbel;

2. The First Round – Dedicated to the Gods and Goddesses – they are hailed at this time.

3. The Second Round – Dedicated to the Ancestors and Heroes gone by – they are hailed at this time.

4. The Third Round – This is the time for all to make oaths, speak poetry, sing a song, etc.

 

Heathen festivals

 

Ancient heathens did celebrate a few seasonal festivals though many were local affairs with local timing. Most appear to have celebrated a Winter Nights feast in October or November, depending on latitude, and Yule in midwinter. The Anglo-Saxon Heathens celebrated the goddess Hreða in March and Eostre in April. Nowadays they do this too.

 

Further reading

 

 

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