A quick Google will tell you Heathenry is a “new religious movement”. That honestly couldn’t be further from the truth. Okay, so technically speaking Heathenry is a practice developed in the 20th century and modeled on beliefs of Iron and Early Middle ages Germanic people, but it’s so much more than that.
Heathenry uses historical and archeological material to build its foundation. One of the very few Pagan paths that actually has historical references, and that makes it something very special. To know, almost without doubt, that you are connecting to the Gods in a way similar to how our ancestors did makes everything we do just that bit more special.
As with most Pagan beliefs, Heathenry has many branches and many terms. Most commonly recognised among them are Ásatrú, Vanatrú, Norse Paganism (Eclectic) and Forn Sed. Theodism is another popular path but focuses on Anglo-Saxon traditions. There are those that are recognised as “folkish” such as Odinism but these are basically far-right groups in disguise.
Now, I can tell you what Heathenry is not. It is not an ethnic or racial religion. In fact, as far as we at BB (and every Heathen we know) are concerned, if you come across someone who refers to themselves as “folkish” then they are either grossly misinformed or quickly getting themselves kicked out of Heathen circles. Modern-day Heathenry prides itself on its acceptance, and it openly supports and accepts people of all ilk.
Unfortunately thanks to such groups, Heathenry is often misrepresented in the media and mainstream. Perfectly innocent symbols from heathen history and practice have been appropriated for far-right use, and this continues to be a big problem. The most common example of this is of course the Swastika. Originally a symbol for luck and prosperity, this has been misappropriated beyond repair thanks to far-right, nazi, and neo-nazi groups. Whilst symbols like that are lost to the western world, we must work to preserve the more recently taken such as Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer) and the Valknut. More information about Norse symbols can be found here.
The Hávamál is likely the most referred to piece of actual literature that the Heathen/Norse Pagans have for reference. The only surviving source of the Hávamál can be found in the Codex Regius, which compiled during the 1270’s, is a collection of Icelandic poems. However, the Poetic Edda dates back to pre 9th century, and more than one Stanza of similar wording is found in it showing that these were words of wisdom dating far back. Be sure to check out our other blogs highlighting some of the best stanzas and words to live by.
Our founder is a proud eclectic norn. You can find out more about a day in her life here.