Blog Particulars

TO BE PERIODICALLY UPDATED

// Last Updated – 09/04/2017/

Wes ðu hal.

Welcome to Of Axe and Plough, my space of nearly ten years in the Pagan and Heathen blogosphere. This blog is my attempt at intellectual, theological, and cultural musings on Contemporary Paganism, Heathenry, polytheism, and the intersections of other practices in those spheres which interest me. My name is Marc, although to some I am Marcus Arminius, and I periodically write under that Latin name. To the Gauls and the gods of the Galatis, I am Allocladios Torcocaitantos.

I am a Frēosceatt Hæþen, a Freehold Heathen, and a member of þe Frīfolc, an unaffiliated practitioner in an overwhelmingly Heathen system of cosmological belief and worldview that focuses on the proliferation of housecult and domestic worship in those systems. I value and place greater importance on exoteric identity and actively work towards developing and providing thoughts, resources, and ideas for people to use as a springboard and to develop their own general knowledge of their religion.

I started to write in Contemporary Paganism years ago, before the launch of this blog. The main purpose was to give another voice which countered the images that were common in both Paganism and in Heathenry. These namely were that Pagans were overwhelmingly Celto-Wiccan in practice, and that Heathens were, well. Heathen. Since 2010, with the proliferation of polytheistic Pagan identity, I’ve joined the chorus of Pagan bloggers who are advancing a polytheistic theological paradigm, although I tend to strictly stay within this sphere of writing.

About This Blog and My Paganism

My experience within Paganism is focused around it as a contemporary edifice. I am concerned primarily with the seamless integration of particularly nuanced concepts into a day-to-day lifestyle, which might get avoided over overlooked without discussion. The meat of this blog is focused on community commentary and my private practice and theological developments, philosophical ruminations, and other miscellaneous thoughts.

Guidance.

I am an animistic polytheistic practitioner that recognizes the plurality and mutability of divine experience throughout the world. I firmly believe in the efficacy of academically couched reconstructionist methodology in order to form a foundation of understanding with which we can advance and develop new methods of religious expression. This includes making use of history, historic philosophy, archaeological evidence, and other forms of comparative empiricist academia to foster a greater understanding of this practice. Above all I do not treat this as a purely intellectualist pursuit, the application of that information to a contemporary expression is the most important endeavor I can undertake. I very much support innovation and contemporary developments which are couched in an understanding of tradition.

Additionally, I employ unverified personal gnosis, interaction with the numinous, shamanistic and “low magic” traditions, and other forms of religiosity to explore my religious place.

At one time I used to claim that I was a “dual tradition” practitioner, and while it is not an incorrect statement, it is also limiting. I’m a polytheist and recognize the mutability and interaction which can come from multiple cultural expressions mingling with each other – which are done with greater frequency in this world of the Internet and Globalization. I am an American Heathen, at my core.

I’m a practitioner of Fyrnsidu, a form of Anglo-Saxon polytheistic practice which exists in the continuum of Heathenry which is espoused by the Lārhūs Fyrnsida. My worldview and cosmology is overwhelmingly Germanic, through an Old English cultural and linguistic lens.

I also have a significant influence from Roman polytheistic practices, typically from the provinces rather than the established cults of the Celestial gods within Rome itself. This includes a plethora of deities that are Romanized Germanic or Romanized Celtic, or simply native to the location. 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.

I became a (poorly) practicing Pagan at the age of twelve (in 1997), and came to where I am not through the “traditional” channels (e.g. Wicca). When I was going through college I was originally on the path to becoming a Freysman, but that fell through because it stopped feeling “right”. As far as this blog goes, 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 religious . This includes related “occult” topics, herbalism, rune work, witchcraft, and the like.

Personal Life

I hold a Master of Arts degree in History, having wedged myself into studies of late Antiquity and the transitional period of the conversion. The hills and river valleys, and the forests of New England and New York State are home and in my blood, and presently I live in Eastern Massachusetts, working as an architectural engineering draftsman and assistant manager.

I also believe I am one of the few people in the Northeast that doesn’t absolutely hate the Winter.

Freddie Prinz Junior is my spirit animal.

Thanks for reading!

Questions, comments, and intelligent thoughts are more than welcome. Hate and ridicule are not. Contact me at thelettuceman(at)gmail.com.

Of Axe and Plough can be found on Facebook here.

Follow me on Twitter: @TheLettuceMan

Follow Of Axe And Plough on Twitter: @OfAxeAndPlough

 

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7 Responses to “Blog Particulars”

  1. I like how you mentioned, “heir to by blood and birth”. So your ancestry includes both Nordic (Thus, Germanic Polytheism) and Italian (Hence, Roman Polytheism) genetic lineages? I am not very hardcore in my line of thinking, but as a Vedic polytheist myself of Indian descent, I believe that people should first honor the deities of their own ancestral lineages.

    I admire the Egyptian and Canaanite religions for their rich ritual traditions and have no doubt about the great sincerity and devotion of their modern reconstructionist followers. But it kind of bums me out when people of Caucasian descent are honouring Egyptian or Canaanite gods while completely forgetting their own ancestral deities.

    While i believe that personal gnosis is important, I believe that a lot of Caucasians, especially Americans, believe in choosing their pantheon because they feel it better whereas i believe that one doesn’t get to “choose”. After discovering one’s personal historical and ethnic background, should one not honor first the deities your Great-great——-great grandfather probably worshipped?

    This view of mine may be slanted because in the Hindu tradition I was born in, reverence for the ancestors and the deities of one’s clan and family are very important. What is your take on this?

    • Hey there! I think, perhaps, that while “blood and birth” is a little poetic, but it’s a reason why I’m drawn back towards the Anglo-Saxon (Not Nordic) side of the Germanic cultures. My mother’s family has a lineage that comes from the Anglo-Saxons. In all truth, it is an old family that has seen a lot of work done on the lineage. I’m largely English and Italian for my ethnicity, although there are some other minor influences there. Both traditional paths feel like “Home” to me, if that makes sense. But, and this is a big but, I don’t really believe in ethnic religion. This is where I diverge a lot from some other Pagans, especially those in the Heathen sphere: I believe that one’s bloodline can give them a path backwards, if they want to follow it, but it is by no means the only path that they can (or should) walk. I can definitely appreciate your perspective, though. In some ways, I envy the fact that you were born into your tradition.

      Because, let’s face it, the European-Mediterranean basin was largely converted anywhere between 500 and 1387 CE, if we use Lithuania as the last true Pagan (and I’ll use a capital P here, because of the efforts to reform the faith as a state religion) region. Twice if you want to consider a lot of the North African coast, Iberia, and the Levant (among other areas, obviously). In my case, Anglo-Saxon folk paganism was largely dead by 700-800CE. Even the “re-heathening” due to the Danelaw only persisted for a few centuries more. That leaves, in my history, somewhere around 900 years of conversion and staunch Christianity to move past in order to regain my traditions. A period of time in which one could argue that I have a longer ancestral tradition of Christianity than Paganism.

      I think Americans suffer an even greater disconnect because all people that aren’t First Nations have been broken from their ancestral homelands, leading to further removal from the traditions of their ancestors. When it comes to attempting to find their new spirituality, I feel that many of us can feel cast adrift in an open ocean. Many of us are drawn back due to our interests or callings rather than any kind of familial connection. I also believe that the ancient polytheisms were highly mutable, highly transferable beliefs. You see that in the cultural crossover throughout Europe with bordering nations and peoples, even if they were of different ethnicities: the Near East is probably the best example I can bring up to mind, with the intermingling of different pantheons and faiths. Even the relatively “isolated” Norse had some cross-over with Sami peoples and beliefs, if I recall correctly.

      I can see why you feel the way you do. I’d wager it was because you were born into a living tradition, with a very rich history and a wonderful tradition that encourages a focus on your ancestors. Many Pagans have to try to recreate a spirituality that hasn’t drawn breath in several hundred years or more, so we’re left with a lot more uncertainty and a lot more blind navigation. It also, unfortunately, leads to a lot of appropriation. Something which I try to navigate carefully, and encourage all of the others that I come across to take heed of.

      I hope these answers are satisfactory and not too all over the place. I’m so burnt out from studying Latin that some thoughts are hard to coalesce into appreciable wording.

  2. Wow, burnt out? If this is your definition of “getting burnt out”, I am intimidated. Thanks for taking the time to write such a meaningful and detailed reply.

    I also apologize if I had come across as insensitive to the fact that most people of Caucasian descent do not get to be born into a tradition. I am, and that too in a living major world religion like you said, and thus my double advantage often leads me to take this for granted. Or if I should further qualify, born in a priestly caste (you might have heard of castes in the Hindu framework) has also given me a great predisposition to learning Sanskrit, and being able to think of ritual and religion in a formal, structured way. That would be a triple advantage that I am taking for granted.

    However, my own path is not without its struggles. Hinduism has never been a religion; only a mere family of religions competing with one another. And a good number of them are Henotheistic or downright Monotheistic, with the most ancient polytheistic layer, relegated to a very naive and uneducated form in rural India. Being born in a family that is more inclined towards the “Henotheistic” setup (Soft Polytheism at a rare best; Monotheism at an occasional worst), it was difficult for me to find my way towards a Hard Polytheism with its colourful world of ritual praxis.

    My stumbling across your blog is a result of my personal drive to help initiate, in my own way, the revival of polytheistic religions around the world. To this end, I am trying to understand the religious landscape of modern paganism/heathenry. I am more interested in Polytheistic Reconstructionism given its serious and academic tenor and find this more prevalent in the West whereas Polytheism has degenerated to mere temple worship in Asia. For example, I was very happy to read that some Israelite soldiers are secretly worshipping Anat, the ancient Canaanite Goddess of War amongst a few other deities of their ancestors. Perhaps, I had envisioned, over optimistically, a scenario where the descendants of the ancient ethnic peoples could once again re-ignite the fires of their own, genetically ancestral faiths.

    Of course, this would naturally beg the question if I am ethnocentric. Unfortunately, due to white guilt and a few lunatics among the heathens, this word has become loaded with terrible connotations. But I will take advantage of the fact that I am an Indian and would argue that, to be ethnocentric is simply to acknowledge one’s genetic roots and desire to maintain this continuity- not because of a belief in superiority but rather a pure and noble desire for self-preservation.

    The concept of choosing a pantheon still appears very alien to me. On a sociological level, this might reflect the individualism-collectivism dichotomy between our respective cultures where individualism creates a conducive environment for choice. But given the tremendous superficiality of that dichotomy, I would guess it is more to do with the reasons you have listed out. The religious landscape is very different in our respective regions. For me, not just India, but Singapore as well, where the environment is pretty amicable to a polytheist.

    Thanks for providing a historical context to the Eurasian Polytheisms. It was enlightening and I will look it up. Also, the “Nordic” was a force of habit. I will condition myself to think of Anglo-Saxon as well when I think of Germanic! Have a great week ahead and may your deities and ancestors bless you with greater wisdom and energy!

    • I’m sorry this took so long to get back to you! No, I’m burnt out because of other reasons. I have my own issues to overcome in this exploration of my spirituality and religion, but it is not yet at the level of being “burnt out.”

      I’m glad you stumbled across my blog! I’m one very small voice in a small movement, but we’re growing and I feel that everyone generally has something useful and insightful to say sometimes. I have a very little acquaintance to any of the Hindu traditions and philosophies, but I like to view many of them as kindred spirits in both cultural history and in religious ideals. I should probably make more of an effort to do so, because some Pagans will erroneously lump Hindu practitioners in with the larger umbrella and it causes some hard feelings.

      Ethnocentrism is one of those words that ends up getting blown around way too easily, along with appropriation and – as you said – white guilt. Anthropologically defined, being ethnocentric is more the state of assuming that one’s own experiences and culture are archetypal, instead of one of many different interpretations. I wouldn’t argue that defining oneself by genetic and ethnic or cultural roots is ethnocentric, although I am sure there are a lot of people that would. But, like I said, I wouldn’t turn anyone away from any religion if they were heartfelt into it.

      I have a cousin who is a citizen of Singapore, and we were speaking about some commonalities and differences to the extent of the culture of different religious interpretations. Interesting stuff, although he lives in the US, so it’s not his home culture. I honestly have no clue what it’s like to be in a culture that’s amicable in any way to a polytheistic tendency. In the United States we’re generally seen to be backwards or play actors. And it gets really boring to deal with!

      I hope you swing by more, when I manage to get more content out, and I’ll try to do the same to your blog! And I hope that your Gods smile on you and keep your family well!

  3. I’m glad I found this little gem of a blog!
    Well done.

  4. […] Blog Particulars […]

  5. I am so glad I came across this blog. My recent journey into Frynsidu has directed me to a lot of interesting and intelligent people. I still have a lot more that I want to learn, but it is very refreshing to see other Pagans with similar outlooks.

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