TO BE PERIODICALLY UPDATED
// Last Updated – 02/15/2017/
Wes ðu hal!
My name is Marc and I am a (strict!) polytheistic Pagan who long ago decided to blog about my particular branch of unaffiliated contemporary Paganism. I decided on being reasonably open about my spiritual and religious background as a means to understand more about myself, my place in the universe, and what I truly believe. It is one thing to simply say that an ethos or religious perspective speaks to me, but something else entirety to actually explore what that means and work out the nuances of the system. I periodically write under my Roman name of Marcus Arminius.
I’m what is known as a “Freehold Heathen”, which means that I primarily focus on my home and hearth before dealing with wider groups. Although if I could find a group or organization that I felt comfortable with I probably would join, but I prefer networking over group worship and practice. I have always been a loner in these regards, since I picked up the practice when I was twelve. While I am a Heathen, I overwhelmingly identify with the Pagan movement. A part of the reason why I am writing is because I decided I’d like to give another voice to the image of both Paganism (as a non-Celto-Wiccan Pagan, as opposed to a polytheist who has left the umbrella term) and Heathenry.
I was originally on the path to becoming a Freysman, but that fell through because it stopped feeling right. These days I’m spiritually afloat, without having much in the way of much non-mundane interaction.
In my personal life, I’m working on finding a way in the world for myself. I’m a born and transplanted New Englander (of the South Shore, Massachusetts), though I’ve lived in Eastern New York for the majority of my life. It takes me a few hours to get a Boston accent back, once I cross the border. I think I’m also one of the only people in the Northeast that doesn’t absolutely hate the Winter. I read a lot, table top game, play video games, and spend entirely too much time staring at the drama of the Internet.
About This Blog
The meat of this blog will be focused about my particular experience within Paganism. This includes focusing on both the community, which is typically found in an online capacity since I am in an area with a slight dearth of activity, and my practice. My practice is an unaffiliated, reconstructionist-derived, theistic religious understanding that falls within the greater pan-Pagan umbrella. In this sense, the term “reconstructionist-derived” is utilizing the aspects of reconstructionist polytheistic methodology: making use of history, historic philosophy, archaeological approaches, and other forms of empiricist academia to foster a greater understanding of my practice. I approach this from a contemporary perspective, and not a strictly intellectual pursuit, which means that I utilize these methodologies and pull them out of their own histories and attempt to make them applicable to the present, with modern adaption and advancement as required. I very much support innovation and contemporary developments, couched in a traditionalist understanding.
I accept a generous helping of unverified personal gnosis which helps to confer a greater spiritual revelation to my practice than some other reconstructionist faiths might accept. This is a reason why I do not necessarily claim an exclusive reconstructionist mantle. Likewise, I utilize extra-devotional practices: shamanistic practices, ancestor worship and veneration, and other such forms of religiosity.
I focus, largely, on two traditions, in unequal amounts. I hesitate to call what I do “syncretic” because I do not attempt to marry one understanding to another. Because I am a polytheist I do not believe in enforced religious isolation, and I consider myself a descendant of both traditions that I practice.
The first tradition is a Germanic path, largely focused on and dominated by Anglo-Saxon polytheism, of a particular tradition espoused by the Lārhūs Fyrnsida. I write this, short hand, as a Germanic form of paganism because I often broaden my view with comparative studies in Old Saxon, Old Frisian, and (to a vast lesser extent) Old Norse mythology, language, and culture. Much in the way of Germanic foundation was cross-cultural, so I believe that one can partially inform the other. I am not Theodish, nor am I a member of any community-based organization – in fact, the lack of emphasis on “the heath” is a prime reason why I have been reluctant to call myself a Heathen.
The second tradition, which I focus on significantly less, is an influence from Rome, and the greater Roman polytheistic understanding of the world. Unlike the Anglo-Saxon or Germanic practices I focus on, my approach to the Roman religion is far more patchwork and personal, dealing more with moments of clarity and insight. I have some associations with the Cultus Deorum Romanum, and focus on late Republican and early Imperial-era religious understanding. I reject the state-based religious understanding that groups like Nova Roma would attempt to foster (play-elections).
Part of my reconstructionist interest is to speak for the deities that may no longer be around – the less-than-remembered, or those that only meet our gaze within the pages of academics. There’s a lot of cross-over in continental worship, and I am making in-roads in the study of deities on the frontier of Germania and Gaul. While I would not say that I have much inclination to the Gaulish deities, I will not discount interactions or comparative studies done by Gaulish polytheists.
Further, it is my intent to include topics and interests which relate somehow to my Pagan understanding of the world that might not necessarily exist in an exclusively “Pagan”. This includes related occult topics, herbalism, rune work, and the like.
Where Did The Blog Title Come From?
Really, it came about because I thought it sounded good, that’s basically it.
I could wax historic about how the axe is one of the most important inventions of mankind, how it is not just a weapon but a tool which can both destroy and create, and how Europe was carved into a habitable place using some variety of this historic implement. The stone core handaxe was one of the first tools ever created, and the forests of Europe were sure as hell not pushed back by a sword. Likewise, I could argue that the plough’s history was what enabled successive generations of humanity to expand and flourish after the domestication of crops, and provided enough of a technological advantage to create a population growth.
But that would not be this blog’s truth.
I could also say that the aesthetic of the blog was specifically meant to evoke a Northern feel, of a shrouded, mist-choked forest on the edge of the world where the self-sufficient went to strike new lands and live their lives. That wouldn’t necessarily be untrue. But neither is it the truth of the title.
A Note on Racialist or Exclusivist Religion and This Blog’s Position On It
I’ll get straight to the point: Folkishness is stupid. There’s no purpose to it, and it’s historically untenable. I do not take part in the Folkishness v. Universalist drama that goes on, because I believe it is largely a fabrication of the modern world. Racialist tendencies are a creation of the ambitions of imperialist Western countries hundreds of years ago. I will not perpetuate the continuation of those archaic modes of thought.
Posters and followers of Folkish or Ethnicist blogs are welcome to follow me, but they need to understand two things about this blog:
- I am not of your ilk.
- Your opinions on ethnicist and racialist Paganism/Heathenry/whatever will not find purchase here.
My conception of the geographic boundaries of what defines “Paganism” follows Michael York’s view in his book Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion. That is, I view it appropriate to call indigenous, reconstructionist, or contemporary religious groups from the historic European-Mediterranean cultural basin “Pagan”. This includes many indigenous faiths that are not strictly European. Other indigenous non-Christian religious bodies outside of this historic cultural zone often maintain their own identity, particularly if they have not been destroyed completely by conversion. This is as far as I’m willing to go regarding exclusivity.
I hold that anyone, no matter their makeup, heritage, or what have you is able to worship, so long as they are dedicated, respectful, and hardworking. I hold European-descendants to a higher standard, because they often assume they can waltz in to the religion. A historic community wouldn’t care about any of it, so long as the community can survive. It often feels like Tribalists are willing to extend the same opinions as mine on exclusive Paganism, so long as they “do it somewhere else”. I find fault with this because in the survival of a community, it wouldn’t matter. A person that assists in the community survival will be accepted, regardless of where they are from, over someone who does not aid their neighbors or assist with some pressing matter.
Think to yourself, “Is my comment or are my beliefs going to run counter to the idea that Folkishness is stupid?” If yes, don’t post.
Think to yourself, “Are my comments or are my beliefs representative of White Supremacist and/or Nazitru ideoloy?” If yes, leave.
A Final Note on Updates and Revisions to Content on this Blog
I have a fairly strict personal philosophy of owning my own words and keeping to them.
However, this blog has been in existence in its current state since 2009, despite the lack of updates in the early years of it. One cannot expect something as dynamic as religion and spirituality to remain static, and things can and will shift around as my understanding grows.
In the event of a major revision or change of an already posted article, I will leave an author’s note somewhere prominent.
Pages which are affixed to the banner of this blog (as in the ‘Books, Links, & Resources’ tab) will have a notice of last revision.
Thanks for reading!
Questions, comments, and intelligent thoughts are more than welcome. Hate and ridicule are not. Contact me at thelettuceman(at)gmail.com