Reconstructionist Heathenry. For a phrase that’s so widely used throughout our community, there seems to be an awful lot of misconceptions about what it actually means.
An in-depth guide on transcribing Old Norse into runes!
Last time we covered the Elder Runes, which are the ones most people learn first. This is primarily because they have enough characters with similar sounds to function as letters in modern English. The Younger Futhark runes were developed between 700-800 CE, right near the beginning of what we often call ‘The Viking Age’. The vast majority of rune stones, and inscribed ‘viking’ swords you’ll likely ever see are going to be written in this text. If you want to write Old Norse in runes, the Younger Futhark are what you would use!
Many aspects if our tradition end up getting oversimplified into easy to swallow ‘Christianized’ binaries. This is most evident in the modern concept of Valhalla. I so often see Valhalla, or in Old Norse: Valhöll, described as this kind of glorious “Heathen Heaven”; a golden hall in Asgard where every day is filled with Fighting and Feasting and Fff….’Frolicking’… The idea of Valhöll goes so much deeper than that, and it’s such a shame to see this fundamental part of our tradition’s worldview so often be either misunderstood or blatantly misrepresented.
The Elder Futhark are the runes that just about everybody learns first, and they’re what you’ll see on just about every set of divinitory runes you’ll likely ever see in a shop. We’re going to take these on first because, quite frankly, they’re the easiest to learn.
Did the ancient Heathens have some concept of a ‘spirit guide’ or ‘totem animal’? The answer might surprise you.
Heathenry has always had a fascination with wolves. From ancient sagas to modern Facebook groups, the image of the wolf is ubiquitous. Among most modern Heathen groups the wolf is often seen as a symbol of strength, willpower, and fierce loyalty. However, while the wolf as a symbol might be a constant in our traditions, its meaning is not. Far from being a positive totem of our community, the wolf was the quintessential ‘monster to the ancient Germanic cultures. So in a community that’s rather focused on preserving the old Lore, how and why did this shift manage to occur?
Tyra Ulfdottir recently wrote a piece that’s getting a LOT of attention, called “Reconstructionists are Idiots”. So why am I (a self identified Reconstructionist) not offended by this piece? Well, because Tyra’s not ENTIRELY wrong, and I think we need to have a better conversation about what, exactly, Reconstructionist Heathenry actually is.
A common problem for newer Heathens, and even some of the more experienced members of our community, is determining exactly what the Heathen holiday calendar looks like. Even a brief dive into Google will reveal a number of different calendars and holy days. The AFA has eight holy days based on the Wiccan wheel of the year. The Troth has TWENTY TWO annual celebrations if you include the various ‘Days of Remembrance’. Combined with current scholarly disputes over dates and practices, it’s enough to leave a newcomer completely baffled!
The question of ritual magic and mysticism within Heathenry has been a hot-button topic for ages.