Theodism: A Heathen Orthodox Approach To Germanic Reconstruction

Dan O’Halloran, Normannii Thiud Ltd.

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THEODISM, THEODISH BELIEF, THEODISIC GELAFE, GERMANIC TRIBALISM, THEOD: The movement is at once a cultural, religious, and a social system; its purpose is to revive not only the religion of our ancestors, but also the fabric and folkways of the Germanic peoples of Europe – and to do so within a tribal context. Similar to Asatru, in that it relies on the Germanic pre-Christian religious complex, Theodism differs in its application because at its core it seeks re-tribalization. Utilizing history, anthropology, and applied comparative studies disciplines, it is the hope of Theodish community to reconstruct the pre-Christian tribal religions of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European peoples; all within the cultural framework and community environment of specific elder tribes.

In 1976 Garman Lord formed the Witan Theod, the first aett within the Theodish community, as an apostasy of Seax Wicca; striving to cleave to a more organic and accurate reconstruction of Anglo-Saxon religiosity. Shortly thereafter, Ealdoraed Lord founded the Moody Hill Theod in the same area of upstate New York, Watertown. Unlike the other major Heathen organization of the time in America, the Asatru Free Assembly, which concentrated on the Viking Age, Theodism was focused on Anglo Saxon lore, beliefs, and all its attendant social structures, particularly the concept of thew (customary law). The religion was founded strictly to be a Reconstructionist tradition [called often “retro-heathen”], now known as Theodish Belief, Theodisic Geleafa (belief of the tribe – in Old English) or simply Þéodism.

In 1983 after a period of inactivity the Witan Theod became the Gering Theod – a play on words – meaning the Sprout of the Sprout; it began drawing many of its members and families from Fort Drum. Gering and Moody Hill merged and in 1989 they declared themselves the Winland Ríce of Theodish Belief, and named Garman Lord its Æþeling. The Winland Ríce, as it is generally known now, is the oldest surviving Anglo Saxon Heathen group, and the longest continuously running Heathen organization in America.

One of Garman Lord’s earliest gesiþs, Gert Thygen McQueen, went on to serve as an Elder and Redesman of the Ring of Troth for many years; she was also successful in lobbying the U.S. Army Chaplain’s Corps to adopt guidelines for recognizing Heathenry in general and Theodish Belief in particular. Together they operated Theod Magazine for many years – and Theod Publishing also ran a successful small bookshop venture, the most notable titles included: Beyond Good and Evil by Swain Wodening, Gods of the World and We Are Our Deeds, by Eric Wodening, instructional cassettes and CD’s on Anglo Saxon Scopcraft and galdorcraft, as well as reprints of Theod Magazine. In addition Theodish authors contributed greatly to IDUNNA throughout the Troth’s history and two Shopes were Theodsmen, Will Thegn West, and Troth Elder, Dan O’Halloran. Dan also served as a Redesman, the Steward of New York, and High Steward, and now acts as a member of the Godmatheler Board of the Clergy Program, and the Troth’s corporate legal counsel.

Within Winland Ríce, Garman Lord was raised on a shield at Litha of 1995, his Cynehelmung, the first, and to date only, Cyning in modern Theodish history. After some tumult within the Theodish community in 1996, Troth Elder Swain Wodening and Troth Godwoman Winifred Hodge left the Winland Ríce to found the Thaet Angelseaxice Ealdriht, and establish a more democratic alternative to the Winland Ríce. It became the largest Theodish and Anglo Saxon focused organization in the Heathen community, until it was dissolved in November 2004. The dissolution was necessary to facilitate the growth of two emerging tribal communities, the Mercinga Ríce, centered in Texas and the Midwest, which Swain Wodening was named Æþeling of in 2004, and the Neowanglia Þéod, under Brian Smith, which spanned across the Northeast; both these tribes cleave to Anglian thews.

Two other Theods emerged directly from within the Winland Ríce as fosterages of Garman Lord; the Fresena Riki, led by its Æþeling, Gerd Groenwald, which was founded in 1994 and revived in 2005 as the Axenthof Thiad, concentrates on Frisian thew; and the Normannii Thiud, formed in 1997 by Dan O’Halloran, who serves as its Æþeling, and which cleaves to Dansk-Norman thew. A secondary fosterage also emerged at Garman’s knee – the Leod of Visigothia was founded by Aelfric Thegn, as a Hall within the Winland Ríce in 2001, and remains in thew with the Gering Theod to this day. At Harrowmoot 2004 the Œthelland Cynn of the Jutes was formed by Daniel Thegn Flores and Richard Thegn Culver in Texas to revive Jutish thew. They entered into a fosterage alongside Neowanglia Þéod, under the gefannon of the Normannii Thiud aet Reik, and tutelage of Dan O’Halloran. Together, these groups, along with the Mercinga Ríce, represent the portion of High Theodism outside of the Winland Ríce.

In addition to these Theods, there are numerous Greater Theodish aetts in the Heathen community, whose membership sprang from Garman Lord’s seminal work, Way of the Heathen. Published in 2000, A Handbook of Greater Theodism expounded on the religious theoretic of Theodism. Included in these ranks are the Sahsisk Thiod, which is centered in Virginia, the Frankish Leod which hails from Oklahoma, and Ostrogothia Thiod, in Pennsylvania.

The Theodish religious philosophy can be described as three interlocking sets of thews: A) The Votive Thews – i. Sacral Kingship, ii. Theodish Affinity – the Web of Troth and Oaths, and iii. worship of the Germanic Gods and Ancestors; B) The Criterial Thews – i. Life as a process of Ordeal, ii. Worthing and Becoming, and iii. its context of the Three Wynns – Wisdom, Generosity and Honor; and C) the Existential Thews – i. Freedom of Conscience, ii. Right Good Will, and iii. Sovereign Tribal Weal. These Three Rings of Thew [the “TRT”] are what binds together each tribe’s Theodsmen and makes possible the Theodish theological construct. Each of the thews interlock and are co-dependant, they are likewise situational and dependant on context for expression.

Theodism regards thew as situational – circumstances can and do dictate how we, like our ancestors, deal with each individual event in the course of life. As Theodism is a human endeavor, it is prone to all the failings, fragilities, and frailties of man. However the Theodsman trusts to the overarching Thew, which thew is Hope. A Theodsman must have hope; hope in his lord, in his men, in his troth, in his Gods and Ancestors, in his luck and thews, and in – of course – his fellow tribesmen. Theodsmen strive for the goal, even knowing they may well fall short, because it is a worthy endeavor…because it is innately lucky, and thus Weh. It is done so, for faith and folk, for Worth and Are, that one may have good Gefrain, and leave an enduring mark.

Theodism, in the larger sense, now encompasses groups practicing tribal beliefs from Scandinavia and the Continent, in addition to following in the model set forth by the early Anglo Saxon theods of their insular thew. Theodish aetts include Dansk-Norman, Frisian, Angle, Saxon, Jutish, Gothic, Alemannic, Frankish, and Swedish tribal cultures. Each Theod is striving to reconnect with the heritage and the elder cultures of the Germanic peoples, in Theodish gelafe. There are hundreds of High Theodsmen, and many more Greater Theodsmen to be found in the United States and Canada.

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Garman Lord.

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Garman Lord.

Footnotes:
The Way of the Heathen: A Handbook of Greater Theodism by Garman Lord ISBN 192934001X (2000)

Hammer of the Gods: Anglo-Saxon Paganism in Modern Times by Swain Wodening ISBN 159457006X (2003)

Thewbok: A Handbook of Theodish Thew by Dan O’Halloran ISBN Pending (2005)

Beyond Good and Evil Swain Wodening THEOD Press 1995

We Are Our Deeds Eric Wodening THEOD Press 1999

http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usny&c=words&id=10416

My grandfathers; my heroes.

A rather sentimental and slightly personal piece on ancestral veneration and pride in modern times.
By Einar Valur Bjarnason Maack, skáld at Hvergelmir International
A large part of the Heathen worldview and faith is that of loving where you come from. Ancestral veneration. Appreciation of your roots and the people whom have affected your life.

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Sidus and Worldview of Sáuilaþiudōs Haírþō

Alþeis Sidus: Suebo-Visigothic Heathenry

This section is but an early formulation of my ideas on Hearth Cult as Sáuilaþiudōs Haírþō (formerly Sunnōniz Fulka Herþaz or Sunfolk Hearth) practices it. A term with a “*” before it is almost always a reconstructed Gothic word. Some of the reconstructed words are my own work, some I found in Himma Daga‘s Gothic Edda poems and the rest I borrowed from  Gutiska Haiþnis Galaubeins. The terms between “#” are intended to be translated into Gothic as soon as possible.

Last Update:  4th July 2017.

1. Our Heathenry

Basically Heathenry, according to the practice of our *hairþō (hearth), is based over what was transmitted to us through several historical documents of many Germanic peoples. I decided to use this broad, but not so broad, approach to a more vivid practice. As time passed, I realized that many customs were more common than peculiar…

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Hawking/Falconery In Viking age Scandinavia.

Written by Frans Stylegar at Hvergelmir International.

Hawking as an aristocratic and royal hunting technique is an established fact in the Viking Age. But direct archaeological evidence for hawking are relatively scarce, not least in Scandinavia. A number of small copper alloy bells found in both graves and settlement contexts might provide a clue, however.

In Scandinavian contexts, iron bells of various types are known to have been part of the horse equipment. For bells made of copper alloy, however, the interpretation differs – and varies. Small bells or rattles of type Rygh 593 were found in 11 different graves in Birka. In 5 of these the bells seem to have been associated with the clothes of the deceased. Gräslund interprets the bells as resulting from East Baltic influences, but she also mentions parallells from Frisian burial finds. Among the Latvian tribes, small bells could be hung from the copper alloy chains attached to the women’s costume. Copper alloy bells of similar types have also been used as part of the horse harness in the Baltic area (incidentally, a small copper alloy bell of type R 593 in the Borre ship burial seems to have been associated with a horse’s head gear).

Reconstructing the original function from grave finds is one thing. Recently, however, small copper alloy bells have been found in settlement contexts in Scandinavia. The finds in question, from Uppåkra and Järrestad, both in Scania, seem to suggest a link between the bells made of copper alloy and hall buildings. This link points towards some kind of connection between the bells and aristocratic life. One possible connection is found in aristocratic hunting practices.

Some copper alloy bells known from the archaeological record have been interpreted as hawking bells, i.e. bells attached to one foot of a falcon or a hawk used for hunting purposes, and designed to make it easier to find the bird if it is tangled up in a bush etc. during the hunt. For instance, it has been suggested that the small copper alloy bell from the Sutton Hoo ship burial was worn by a falcon or hawk. The bell finds from Fröjel have been discussed in a similar way, while Maria Vretemark discusses the possible link between small bells and falconry in a more general way.

Nicholas Orme, writing of the education of the medieval Englisk kings and aristocracy, says that hunting came second only to fighting as the most prestigious physical activity. The earliest record of falconry in Anglo-Saxon England was the dispatch by St Boniface of a hawk and two falcons from the continent to King Æþelbald of Mercia in 745-6. Hawking as a highly developed form of hunting was established in continental Europe around AD 500 already, as evidenced by various Germanic laws. It was no different in Viking Age Scandinavia, where written sources record hawking in several instances. Thus, according to Frankish sources, Godfred, the early 9th century king of the Danes, was killed by his own son while out hunting, just as he was about to release his falcon from its prey. According to the Norse sagas, earl Håkon had to pay 100 ‘marks’ of gold and 60 hawks or falcons as tribute to Harald Bluetooth. Olav Tryggvason, on the other hand, is said to have plucked the feathers off his sister’s hawk in a fit of fury. The latter examples are from the 10th century. By the mid-11th century at the latest hunting falcons were being exported from Norway to England, as evidenced by mentionings in the Domesday book.

Judging from finds of bones from birds of prey in cremation graves, however, hawking seems to have been practiced in Scandinavia almost as early as on the Continent. Lavishly furnished graves like Vendel III and Valsgärde 6 contains birds of prey, as do at least 14 other Swedish graves, dating from the late 6th to the 10th century. There are also a number of Continental finds of birds of prey in graves. In a cremation grave dating to c. 800 from Hedehusum/Süderende on Föhr, bones from a man, his dog and his falcon was salvaged. In a somewhat earlier grave from Staufen in Dillingen, a man had been inhumed along with rich furnishings, including a hawk or a falcon placed at his right hand.

Pictorial evidence for hawking in Scandinavia includes the 11th century picture stones from Alstad, Toten (Norway), and Böksta, Uppland (Sweden), both of which show a mounted man with dog(s) and bird(s) of prey. The tapestries from the Oseberg ship burial (dated dendrochronologically to AD 834) also include a scene with a mounted man and two birds of prey, interpreted as either falcons or hawks.

Political power and military potential in Roman period Norway

Written by Frans Stylegar. Archeolog and director of Varanger Museum In Norway, at Hvergelmir International.

The court site (tunanlegg, ringformet tun) – i.e. a number of houses placed side by side in a circle (or circle segment), each of the buildings featuring an entrance in the short wall facing the open courtyard in the centre – is a well-known type of site in Norwegian Iron Age archaeology. More than 20 court sites dating from the Early Roman period and later are found along the Norwegian coast from Agder in the Southeast to Troms in the North. In the following text, I put forward some arguments for interpreting these monuments as being integral to military organisation in Roman period Norway, and suggest a connection with the so-called ‘Illerup horizon’ in the Danish bog offerings. Continuar a ler

Weapon graves in Iron Age Norway (1-550 AD)

Written by Frans Stylegar, Archeolog and director of Varanger Museum In Norway, at Hvergelmir International

The present paper deals with a minority of burials in Roman (B-C) and Migration period (D) Norway, namely the ones containing weapons. Its aim is two-folded: 1) to present an overview of this material to non-Norwegian colleagues, and 2) to discuss the significance of the weapon burial rite in its Scandinavian and North European context. Regarding the first, I intend to focus on the chronology, regional distribution and typology of burials with weapons. As for the latter, the emphasis will be on weapon graves as evidence both of the militarisation of barbarian society in general and more specific of warlike relations between the Roman Empire and the northern Germans, particularly the question of Scandinavian auxiliaries in the Roman army.

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