Posts filed under ‘Pagan Blog Project’
Your favorite Pagan social science nerd here enjoys finding political, social, artistic as well as spiritual movements and currents to trace and connect (though sometimes rather tangentially) to modern Paganism. One such that I’ve come across is the Wandervogels (meaning wandering bird) a movement of German youth starting in 1896 that branched off into several organizations that emphasized a return to nature, freedom, independence and adventure and activities such as hiking and camping. Youth of varying political attitudes were involved- some emphasized freedom and individualism, others German national identity, and there were also Jewish youth groups that later developed into Zionist movements. In the wake of the 1929 crash, many youth were jobless and homeless, and some formed gangs for survival. They sported bowler hats with ostentatious ostrich feathers, and had sexual initiation rituals for entering into the gang. (Apparently sometimes homoerotic in nature) After the Third Reich arose, all youth groups outside of Hitler Youth or church-affiliated groups were banned. After World War II ended, some of the organized youth groups were revived, and there is a Wandervogel student group in Japan as well that engages in outdoor activities.
While It is speculated that this may have been an influence on the hippie movement in the United States. My mother-in-law grew up in New Ulm, Minnesota and there they even called hippies wandervogels!
Wikipedia entry (linked above)
Catching up on some major backlog!
Midsummer’s Light– Magickal Pen- lovely poem and reflection on the Solstice!
Mara & Modesty– Book of Mirrors- one of things I enjoy about PBP is all the different perspectives- this person worships Mara, a goddess from the Skyrim video game universe. This may seem silly but if you read it, you can see the sincerity and devotion she feels. (Note: there’s also a Latvian goddess by that name, not sure if there’s a connection..)
Mother Nature– Blue Crow- comparative myth & commentary about earth mother figures- I liked this comment: “Note to all you people who called our earth Gaia: that’s the Greek pantheon. Why pick one name out of the air and use it to name our living world, yet give no consideration to the rest of the Greek deities? You aren’t Greek, you aren’t in ancient times, you don’t follow those gods and goddesses, so why? New agers, pfft! It’s all very well having a varied path, finding pieces of many threads to weave your own path but come on! If you’re going to make things up, why not call Her Sheila or another name lol? Or how about just Mum?”
Meretseger– Fluid Morality writes about a lesser known Egyptian cobra goddess
Multiple Gods with the Same Focus– Kylara’s Musings
Morning Glory Zell: America’s Priestess– Book of the Eucalypt- a beautiful tribute to an amazing woman!
Male Familiars in Disney Films– Hedged Paths- I suppose it’s debate-able how “pagan” this really is, but the Disney geek in me couldn’t resist!
Sacred Objects, Symbols etc.
Moldavite– Super-Duper Space Witch- interesting info about a stone I’ve never heard of!
What is a Mystery Religion? the Broom Closet explains
Masonry/Co-Masonry– Set-jataset Masonry actually reminds me a lot of UUism, though with more mysticism and ritual. So if you’re a UU looking for a mystery tradition, that’s one way to go. “On a personal level, members are encouraged to raise their personal value without dogma and as a whole, members are encouraged to unite together to converse about theosophy and spirituality whilst respecting each other’s personal differences.” Also founders of this particular order were involved in French women’s suffrage!
Moontime– In Librarius Venefica- While I’ve never been especially interested personally in the spiritual aspects of menstruation, I’m all for finding more positive ways of viewing/experiencing it!
Morning Ritual– Book of the Eucalypt I always find it interesting to see regional variations on the directions.
Mandrake & Bear– Love by the Moon- poetic writing about experiences with Mandrake ointment
Minimalism– Serpent’s Labyrinth- after painful experiences of losing many of his spiritual items, Nornoriel learns to make do with very little.
M is Not for Muggle, Experiential Pagan and Kitchen Witch Musings both write on this. Honestly I’ve used that term jokingly, and I’ve seen other folks do so as well, but I haven’t really seen people seriously use it. Technically I am a Muggle, not being a magic-user! Now, I could see using it for non-Harry Potter fans…
Motivation– Fluid Morality
My uncle has lived for many years among the Crow Indians on an open reservation in Montana, and has befriended them and been trained as a sweat lodge leader, a very rare honor for a non-Indian. Back in college, I invited him to come to a University Pagan Society meeting, thinking he might find some commonalities. He observed us, rather bemusedly and later commented to me with his trademark mischievous grin: “I’m not a pagan. I’m a heathen“.
I’m not capitalizing it this case because he used idiosyncratically- I think as a way of thumbing his nose at white, Christian society. Certainly I’m aware that his Native friends wouldn’t be likely to call themselves pagans or heathens, as those terms are used offensively by missionaries.
So what does Heathen mean, how is it used properly, and how does it differ from Pagan?
Heathen means “dweller on the heath“- a country-dweller, so the connotation is much like Pagan, but due to it’s Germanic origin, it has become adopted to refer to modern revivals of the religions of the Germanic peoples– and there are more specific terms used for particular ethnic branches, approaches and so on. I also sometimes see Celtic and occasionally Slavic reconstructionists use “heathen” with an ethnic modifier instead of “pagan”, because those cultures tend to find more similarities with Germanic traditions than say, those of the Mediterranean and Near East.
On a socio-cultural level, Heathens differ in many ways from the broader Neo-Pagan community, and while sometimes overlapping, they do often keep to themselves. A great comparison of Wicca and Asatru can be found here.
Asatru– meaning “true to the Aesir“- in Icelandic (Aesir being the gods of the realm of Asgard) Asatru is often use interchangeably with Heathenry- but not all Heathens consider themselves Asatru. It is the label that most American Heathens identify with, a mainly Norse-influenced reconstructionism, and some prefer to use it to be specifically Icelandic. An individual member is called an Asatruar.
Vanatru– “true to the Vanir” The Vanir are another tribe of Norse gods, and people who focus on their worship sometimes use this word for themselves- others may use Vanic Paganism, Vanic Polytheism, or Vanic Heathenry.
Odinism– belief/worship of Odin, is an older term that is less often used- primarily by the Odinic Rite, a British-based organization. Sometimes devotees of Odin will call themselves Odinists, while referring to their religion by a different name. Some Heathens feel this term reflects an erroneous view of Odin the All-father as a Germanic Yahweh figure. Related terms: Wotanism, Wodenism.
Anglo-Saxon Heathenry– focus on the traditions of the Angles, Jutes and Saxon peoples who invaded England from Germany.
Theodism– founded by Garman Lord, this is a specific tradition of Anglo-Saxon Heathenry that has a particular tribal structure (theod means tribe)
Irminism/Irminschaft– continental Germanic Heathenry, name comes from the Irminsul, a pillar representing Yggdrasil, the World Tree.
Urglaawe– Deitsch Heathen folk religion(Pennsylvania German) see also Pow-wow (Braucherei)
“The Deitsch Heathen religion of Urglaawe derives many practices and lore from the Heathen elements of Braucherei.Included among these elements is a knowledge of the old Teutonic deities and other spirits. The oral traditions of Braucherei also carried myths regarding the interactions of the deities with enemies, such as the Reifreis (Frost Giants). Certain deities, most notably Holle, Wudan (Odin), Dunner (Thor), and Ewicher Yeeger (Eternal Hunter), have played an ongoing role in the evolution of Braucherei. Some practitioners have historically appealed to these entities, whether in the context of deities or as saints or compassionate spirits, for help in their healing work. Urglaawe practitioners utilize solely Heathen imagery and references in their work.”
Forn Sed– Swedish for Old Way/Old Custom, or just “Sed” (link to org page in English)
Forn Sidr– Danish for Old Way/Custom (link to org page in Danish)
Nordisk Sed– Nordic Way/Custom “in Norway and Sweden the term “Forn Siðr” is mostly bound to the, and considered a synonym for the, Nordisk Sed movement, which is in conscious contrast with Scandinavian Ásatrú groups. Scandinavian Heathens regard Nordisk Sed as a more authentic Scandinavian religion, based on Scandinavian local traditions, in contradistinction with the more eclectic Ásatrú, based on the Eddic material, and influenced by 19th century Romantic trends and 20th century New Age ideas. The ideology of the Nordisk Sed or Forn Sed groups is called þjóðtrúin Icelandic (“troth of the folk / of the theod”,variants folketro or folketru in Norwegian and folktro in Swedish actually meaning folk religion —, or less ambiguously “fundamentalistic traditionalism”- Wikipedia, Neo-Paganism in Scandinavia
Not (Necessarily) Heathen Traditions & Terms
There are some other religious labels that are often lumped in with Heathenry that are seen both among Heathens and by themselves as not being Heathen.
Folkish, Universalist and Tribalist– these refer to socio-political positions an individual or organization may take within Heathenry in regards to how they view ancestry and race. People who use these labels don’t even agree on what they mean, so be careful!
Norse Wicca– is not a specific tradition, but simply means the practice Wicca worshipping/honoring/invoking Norse gods. As with Wiccans in general, Norse Wiccans will have theological views that vary from “All Gods are Ultimately One” to polytheism, whereas Heathens are generally polytheists.
Norse Paganism– even broader than Wicca, just means they are Pagans of some sort with a Norse focus, many of these folks now call themselves-
Northern Tradition Paganism– founded by Raven Kaldera, is unlike Heathenry, not reconstructionist, culturally has more in common with Neo-Pagans, and includes worship of beings/gods (Loki & giants) that other Heathens may not include. They are staunchly anti-racist/pro-GLBT etc. Note: I’ve noticed more people calling themselves this, but I don’t think they are all necessarily members of Kaldera’s group.
Seax Wicca– tradition founded by Raymond Buckland that draws on Anglo-Saxon lore.
Lokean– just means a person who worships Loki. Partly since honoring him is controversial among many Heathens, Loki worshippers may or may not call themselves Heathen, and they may belong to any number of different non-Heathen traditions or religions. “Lokeanism” is not really a separate religion as such, though I suppose an individual might use that term to describe their path.
Rokkatru– coined by Abby Helasdottir, used mostly by Northern Tradition Pagans for people who focus on the worship of the Jotuns. People who honor individual jotuns (like Loki) may or may not call themselves this.
Norse Druids– ADF Druidism is Pan-Indo-European, not just Celtic, so if you see any Norse Druids around, that may be what’s going on. Many of them do consider themselves part of the Heathen community, there is a lot of overlap between ADF and Troth membership. Or they might just be Norse Druids!
Norse-myth influenced Pop Culture Pagans- (for lack of a better term) this can refer to anyone who incorporates pop culture characters that relate to Norse mythology into their magical or spiritual practice. For more explanation/discussion see my post
Germanic Magical/Esoteric Practices & Traditions
There are various forms of folk magic deriving from Germanic cultures which are practiced by both Heathens and non-Heathens, including Christians. As with Paganism, some but not all Heathens practice magic, either as part of or in addition to the practice of their religion.
Pow-Wow– “Early Pennsylvania was a melting pot of various religious persuasions, as William Penn’s promise of religious freedom opened the doors for many Christian sects: the Anabaptists, Quakers, Lutherans, German Reformed, Catholics, and all manner of religious mystics and free-thinkers. It is from this blending that the Pennsylvania German Pow-wow tradition was born”It primarily consists of healing charms and protective symbols (hex signs) that were painted on barns.
To be continued…