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Godiva
Saturday, October 1st, 2005, 11:39 PM
Hello all!
I'm writing a research paper on the differences and similarities between Ancient and Modern Germanic Heathenry. I was wondering if there are any questions any of you would like addressed if you happened to be reading such a paper. I want to write it in a way that will both inform people who don't even know what Heathenry is, and offer some insights into questions that have plagued those who know all about it. If any of you could share with me some research questions I'd really appreciate it. And if any of you have suggestions as to where I could find good sources I'd appreciate that too. Thanks a lot!

P.S. I also need to "interview a professional in the field," but I don't know any professionals in this field, and have no idea how to get in contact with one. Any ideas? Thanks again. :)

Dr. Solar Wolff
Sunday, October 2nd, 2005, 05:46 AM
Yes, I have a few questions:

1. How much of Germanic Religion is a carry over from Celtic times?
2. How much of Celtic/Germanic Religion is a carry over from Megalithic times?
3. How real is the split between the Asier and Vannar Gods?
A. Does this have any temporal significance?
B. Does this have any cultural significance?
4. How do the Rokker Gods (see thread on this somewhere) fit into the pantheon of the other Germanic Gods?
5. What was the real role of the Armanen?
A.Role in binding the culture.
B.Role in religion itself.
6. What is the relationship of the Black Sun, called Santur by Willigut, to the other aspectes of Germanic Religion?
A. Does the Black Sun have any modern adherents?
7. How is it that modern practitioners with no cultural connection to the past such as von List and Marby have become engrained in the modern Germanic Religious thought?
8. What is the relationship of the mother-goddess-Isis religion expounded by Norber Juergen-Ratthofer to the ancient Germanic Religion? (He claims one.)

Cole Nidray
Sunday, October 2nd, 2005, 06:48 AM
If you want to interview a "professional" I suggest you mail David Lane or other members of, The Order. I know he's at some max-security prison in Colorado. You can PM April Gaede I believe she has contact information. http://forums.skadi.net/member.php?u=7336

The Order are an extreme example of modern heathenry; I'd even venture to call them, "Neo-Berserkers".

Here's a short piece by David Lane on Odinism,

http://www.mourningtheancient.com/dl-2.htm

The New Heathenry seems to be more logically based on a conscious return to the inate psychic harmony of our ancestors.

From Lane's perspective it is also very reactionary and seen largely as a means to unite Aryans against (an already occurring) genocide.

Siegfried
Monday, October 3rd, 2005, 08:50 AM
How real is the split between the Asier and Vannar Gods?

I think the Aesir are Indo-European, and the Vaenir pre-Indo-European.

:hve­rungur:
Tuesday, October 4th, 2005, 11:49 PM
If you want to interview a "professional" I suggest you mail David Lane or other members of, The Order. I know he's at some max-security prison in Colorado. You can PM April Gaede I believe she has contact information. http://forums.skadi.net/member.php?u=7336
The Order are an extreme example of modern heathenry; I'd even venture to call them, "Neo-Berserkers".
Here's a short piece by David Lane on Odinism,
http://www.mourningtheancient.com/dl-2.htm
The New Heathenry seems to be more logically based on a conscious return to the inate psychic harmony of our ancestors.
From Lane's perspective it is also very reactionary and seen largely as a means to unite Aryans against (an already occurring) genocide.
You're kidding, right? Please tell me you are joking because if you think someone like David Lane is any kind of "professional" on the subject you are sadly mistaken.


One of the largest differences ive noticed between the Ancient and more Modern Pre Christian Norse / Germanic folkway is how we practice. Long ago our most of our ancestors were part of "cults" who honoured / followed / worshiped one diety. For example, a person, family, group or tribe would have Freyr or Thor as their patron gods and not really "bother" with the rest. You would see more of the Kings and other Royalty be followers of Odin while Sailors and Fishermen would feel a closer connection to Njord and Farmers and other country folk would have Thor / Donnar as their patron god. Also in very ancient times the Germanic tribes some believe followed Tiwaz (Tyr) as the Skygod while Wodan (Odin) was the god of death and war. Over time Tiwaz and Wodan kind of "switched roles" so to speak where Wodan was followed and worshiped more as the "Alfather" or father of the Gods while Tiwaz took a "back seat" to Odin / Woden. Today most heathens honour/worship most of the gods and goddesses from the Germanic / Norse pantheon on the different holidays, solstices and equinoxes. My personal patron dietys are Thor and Freyr but I honour all of the Gods of my folk. They all have gifts to give and lessons to teach.


Another thing is the ritual and "physical" practice, long ago human sacrafices were made to the gods, usually slaves or warriors who reached old age and didn't die in battle. They would willingly give themselfs to be either stabbed to death in a very violent matter as a sacrafice to Tiwaz / Tyr or they would hang themselfs from a tree as a sacrafice to Wodan / Odin, the hanged god. Boars and Horses were sacraficed to Freyr, the blood was used for the blot and the flesh of the boar was later cooked for a feast, this was mostly done during Yule. Today of course we cannot sarcafice humans and in most cases not even a boar due to "Animal Cruelty" laws so we brew mead and use that as our sacrafice to the Aesir and Vanir. There are a lot of differences between what our ancient ancestors followed and the reconstructed path we follow today. I myslef am a traditionalist and I try to do as much in my daily and ritual practice as I can with keeping to the true history of our folkway but of course it's obvious in some cases that just isnt possible.


If you want a REAL professional id suggest contacting someone like Stephen McNallen, Valgard Murray or James Hjuka Coulter on the matter. People like David Lane know nothing about our true culture, they let their personal beliefs and politics get in the way and distort things. They give all folkish heathens a bad name as hatemongers.

Godiva, feel free to contact me via private message and we can talk and discuss things, there is a lot of stuff I could type but right now I just cant be arsed :P . I'll give you a few e-mail contact addresses if you would like.

Farr heill!!

Cole Nidray
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005, 09:55 PM
You're kidding, right? Please tell me you are joking because if you think someone like David Lane is any kind of "professional" on the subject you are sadly mistaken.
Not a professional on real Odinism.

I just meant a personality who has considerably altered Odinism for his own objectives and is well known.

People like David Lane and Varg would be interesting to compare to the classic Norse beliefs.


People like David Lane know nothing about our true culture, they let their personal beliefs and politics get in the way and distort things. They give all folkish heathens a bad name as hatemongers.

That's why I thought it'd be interesting to contrast them with classic Odinism as part of a larger project.

I see them as their own modern offshoot cults, like the ones our various ancestors had.

:hve­rungur:
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005, 10:03 PM
Interesting to compare? They HURT our folkway, because of people like them anyone who claims to be a folkish follower of the old ways is automatically called a nazi among other negative terms. They are BAD for bringing our ways back to our folk, they are heathen herpes and do no good for our culture or folk, at least the serious followers of the old pre christian germanic ways.

Cole Nidray
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005, 10:53 PM
Interesting to compare?
Notice I said "compare" and also "contrast". Please read my posts before replying to them.

They HURT our folkway, because of people like them anyone who claims to be a folkish follower of the old ways is automatically called a nazi among other negative terms.
No shit.

Go onto the ADL website of hate symbols and you'll find all the runes.

You think she can do a study comparing modern Heathenism to the ancient form without in some way adressing the distorted media views of Odinism? People will always think of the modern freaks unless they are addressed by us.

You need to read the article I linked to, David Lane sees "WOTAN" as some crazy acronym.

The modern day cults can be discredited by dedicating a portion of the project to how shallow they are.

They are BAD for bringing our ways back to our folk, they are heathen herpes and do no good for our culture or folk, at least the serious followers of the old pre christian germanic ways.
Did I claim otherwise? :blueroll:

:hve­rungur:
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005, 11:36 PM
It has been addressed by folk and trust me I know about the runes. They are even banned in Germany. Why are they banned and on the ADL website? Because of people like Varg Vikernes and David Lane. When I think of Modern Heathenism I dont think of the moronic "racialist" versions, I think of groups like the Asatru Folk Assembly and Odinic Rite who are trying to reconstruct and promote our ancient ways in a folkish yet positive non bigoted light. Interviewing someone like lane wont help realize the difference between modern and ancient heathenism among the germanic people because what they teach / preach / promote .....and this may come as a shock to you.....is NOT heathenism. Giving them a platform for their demended views that only bastardize the folkway our ancestors followed would only hurt us more and lead more people to believe that what they teach and follow is what all heathens follow and believe in. What does a person do when some annoying kid is bothering them on a plane? Do they constantly retaliate to cause the child to act up even more? Or do they ignore them untill they finally shut up and leave the person alone? Think about it, if you're trying to put out a fire do you pour gasoline on it because it looks close enough to be water?

I think if shes going to write a report on the difference's between Ancient and Modern heathenism, she should go with real cultural differences. The way we celebrate the holidays, ritual, modern beliefs and interpritation of the lore/myths, not the difference between the tru ways today and the ideals and false teachings of some morons who only use said folkway as a means to further promote their own political agenda.

Like I said, why waste your time adding fuel to a negative fire us tru folkish heathens want to put out? We dont want it to be illegal in 10 years to even wear Mjollnir or talk about our folkway, do we?

Leofric
Thursday, October 20th, 2005, 04:03 AM
Hello my beautiful wife!

I hope your paper is coming along well :)

Some questions that I have about modern heathenry that I think you could research (and that perhaps others here could answer) are about demographics:

how many practicing heathens are there today?
what percentage of contemporary heathens were introduced to the religion by their parents as children?
how many (extended) families are involved in heathenry today?
where are today's heathens from?
are today's heathens a representative cross-section of society, or do they tend to be members of particular segments of society?

Other questions of this type would also be interesting to get answers to.

When it comes to ancient heathenry, I guess the first thing I wonder is where you could find good sources to really know how our ancestors practiced their religion. I guess I see religion as being not just what people believe but also how they behave spiritually/religiously. As you know, we have Snorri's Edda, the Poetic Edda, and the Saga of the Volsungs here at home, and they tend to give good information about what our ancestors believed. But as far as knowing how they believed, I think I would want to know where to get that kind of information from a reliable source. Maybe you already know: I have noticed you have a lot of cool library books around the house.

One thing that might also be helpful, although I'm not certain about how specific the scope of your paper should be, would be a comparison to other ethnic religions Ś Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and so forth. Goswin_van_Eyck posted a good thread on a world conference of ethnic religions a while back that leads to good information about which religions are ethnic.

It looks like Hve­rungur has access to a lot of good information. You ought to talk with him about it ;)

By the way, I'd tell you all of this in real life, but it's on my mind right now and I don't know that it will be when you are working on your paper Ś plus it's just nice to have it written down so that if you want to use my ideas, you'll be able to look back at them any time you like.

I love you, and good luck on your paper!

Sifsvina
Thursday, October 20th, 2005, 04:20 AM
I would highly recomend the book "Thomas A. DuBois, Nordic Religion in the Viking Age" It is a fairly easy read.
I recommend this book for all who want insight into the historic heathens.
Beyond the actual lore it's just about my favorite.
:valkyrie

:hve­rungur:
Thursday, October 20th, 2005, 07:15 AM
I could suggest these books:

Myths of the Norsemen from the Edda's and Saga's by H.A. Guerber
Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by H.R. Ellis Davidson
Norse Mythology by John Lindow

Look around at your local book store, they arnt too expensive and Davidson speaks a lot of the history of the gods and goddesses, their worship in ancient times among other things.

Allso ive been a practicing Heathen for 4 years, I am by no means a professional but if you want to ask me any questions. Feel free :)

Godiva
Sunday, February 26th, 2006, 04:47 PM
I just wanted to thank you all for your good and helpful suggestions. I turned the paper in and my teacher said that it sounded like a very interesting topic. I got an A on it and my teacher said that it was fun to read. I think that the most important thing about this paper was that I learned more about the folk religion of my ancestors, which somehow makes them feel much closer to me now then ever before. Thank you for your help in teaching me about my people, it is priceless knowledge and you all are wonderful for sharing it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. :)

Taras Bulba
Monday, February 27th, 2006, 03:49 PM
Well I could more fully addressed this issue, but I have a tendency to really anger the pagans here, so I'll keep it short.

Major difference is that one is more anti-Christian than the other. The original Germanic pagans were nowhere near as anti-Christian as their supposed modern-day adherents are.

There are accounts of pagan and Christian priests presiding other each other ceremonies and blessing each other.

There's been much evidence that for generations before converting to Christianity altogether, Christ was worshipped alongside the more traditional heathen gods. Many have tried to advance the theory that Norse merchants largely did this simply to gain access to Christian markets, but then it wouldn't explain why many of these same merchants brought the Christian faith back home with them.

There's been much debate about Christian influence on Germanic paganism, particularly concerning the stories about Wotan's self-sacrifices. Also Ragornak(forgive my spelling) is sometimes commonly believed to have been based off the Book of Revealations.

I also had a debate at Original Dissent about whether or not the Germanics actually believed in Gods before the arrival of Christian influences. That was the position advanced by my opponent.

Most of what we know about Germanic paganism comes from Christian sources, including the Poetic Edda which was written down by Christian scribes.

I dont know if you've already wrote your paper, but if you want I can recommend some interesting literature about the relationship between the two traditions. ;)

Siegfried
Monday, February 27th, 2006, 07:06 PM
There's been much debate about Christian influence on Germanic paganism, particularly concerning the stories about Wotan's self-sacrifices. Also Ragornak(forgive my spelling) is sometimes commonly believed to have been based off the Book of Revealations.

Personally I find it easier to connect popular accounts of Ragnarok with Revelations than Wotan's sacrifice with Jesus' crucifixion. There is a very important difference between the two; Wotan suffered only to gain [esoteric] wisdom, while the Christian tradition interprets Jesus' suffering as necessary to wash away [original] sin. The aim is radically different and indicates an important difference in worldview. The Wotanic archetype as a whole has a rather shamanic element, and his sacrifice makes sense in that light.


Theres evidence from comparative mythology that the shamanic belt extended into the Celtic and Germanic cultures, where traces of it are found in the pre-Christian religion, such as in the cult of Odin, which shouldn't be understood as that of a Mediterranean resurrection god, because he didnt hang for any other reason than to gain wisdom, like a shamanic ordeal, indeed it seems that Odin was apparently a role model for shamen.

http://forums.skadi.net/showpost.php?p=203995&postcount=1

Taras Bulba
Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 05:35 PM
Personally I find it easier to connect popular accounts of Ragnarok with Revelations than Wotan's sacrifice with Jesus' crucifixion. There is a very important difference between the two; Wotan suffered only to gain [esoteric] wisdom, while the Christian tradition interprets Jesus' suffering as necessary to wash away [original] sin. The aim is radically different and indicates an important difference in worldview. The Wotanic archetype as a whole has a rather shamanic element, and his sacrifice makes sense in that light.

Well Im just stating what has been stated before. I will note that the stories of Wotan's self-sacrifice, along with the traditional Germanic veneration of trees as a kind of portal to the heavenly realms helped give a greater meaning and understanding of Christ's crucifixion(since a cross is a modified tree) to the Germanics when they converted. And add the fact that Christ descended into Hell after he died on the cross was something the Germanics had little difficulty in understanding.

You found this throughout Europe, where traditional folkore and concepts merged with Christian doctrine.

fms panzerfaust
Tuesday, April 18th, 2006, 11:06 PM
There's been much debate about Christian influence on Germanic paganism, particularly concerning the stories about Wotan's self-sacrifices.


Well Im just stating what has been stated before. I will note that the stories of Wotan's self-sacrifice, along with the traditional Germanic veneration of trees as a kind of portal to the heavenly realms helped give a greater meaning and understanding of Christ's crucifixion(since a cross is a modified tree) to the Germanics when they converted. And add the fact that Christ descended into Hell after he died on the cross was something the Germanics had little difficulty in understanding.

You found this throughout Europe, where traditional folkore and concepts merged with Christian doctrine.

Without the intention of offending christians over here, let me give my two cents on the subject:

The story about Wodanaz self-sacrifice don't came from christian influence, as you say (or intended to say) in the first post. But instead this have some influence on christian conversion, as you say in the second post.
However, the sacrifices are quite different, christ sacrifice was used as a means of manipulation from the catholic church through a self-imposed feeling of guilty about the "original sin". This concept of "original sin" was invented just to legitimize christ godlike nature, something like saying that "he comes for free the world from brutality", this brutality supposedly being originated by the original sin. This, combined with the effect of imagery (heathens dont have too much images of their gods at that time, nor big cathedrals), and the absence of human sacrifices, have a deep psychological effect in most people at that times. And really, that times were brutal, much people were in despair and the promise of the church to bring peace through redemption and salvation seduced the common, non-warrior people. But after the conversion the inherent brutality of the barbarians dont stopped, and instead was used for the holy wars and crusades that enriched the church. The brutality of the barbarians gained a "reason", to make god's will on the earth, and they dont feel guilty anymore, because the original sin was redeemed by christ on the cross.
Just my two cents.

Utopian
Saturday, May 20th, 2006, 09:04 PM
The question of ancient vs. modern is one that is not limited to heathenism but should be asked of other religions such as forms of Christianity, Gnosticism, etc.

One thing is certain; religion in the modern sense has become way too materialistic.

If we look into the central meaning of all valid religions we must find that certain divine beings came down to earth so that they may rise again. And this is the meaning or purpose of life, spiritual transcendence. Most people don't realize that by "afterlife" what our ancestors meant was just this, that of transcending our own natures, not through physical death but the "initiatic death." The key to understanding this mystery lies with the Titans or Giants. One English mystic remarked that TEITAN (Titan) added up numerically to 666. The Titans or Giants represent mankind. As Evola and others have pointed out, the Titan, above all else, is focused in the pursuit of the Tree of Life in order to transcend his own nature and get back that divine nature which was lost. These Titans fell down to earth onto a mountain, and as you may be aware, many of the great heathen temples were on mountains. It is said that Moses, too, received a divine message on a mountain. Now the pyrimidal shape of the mountain suggests a hierarchy, which was the true form of our ancient religion, an initiatic hierarchy, at the top of which were "man-gods," who controlled the fires of heaven, if you will. All of this had less to do with morals and almost everything to do with "magick."

The only sources I would suggest to anyone who was interested in learning the true way of our ancestors are those of the Traditionalists, such as Rene Guenon, Julius Evola, and of course, all of the classics.

skal
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006, 05:38 AM
First: Sorry for my bad english...Yes, surely there is some christian influence on germanic heathenry. But on the other side there is much more pagan influence on christianity. Christmas just as on example. So nowadays Christianity is very "germanized" for the aim of christianization and conversion. So you can say both religions influenced each other and nowaday you cannot make accessible for example if Adam and Eva/askr and Embla were an jewish/christian or a pagan idea/mythology.
But we should reconstruct our forefathers beliefs as good as we can. If Askr/Embla were originated from christian influence or not, thats not important point imo.

CountBloodSpawn
Tuesday, May 30th, 2006, 03:48 AM
the only heathen literature that really has any christian influence is the Eddas, other than that the other religious practices and cosmology don't have any christian influence on them

Moody
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006, 07:30 PM
Major difference is that one is more anti-Christian than the other. The original Germanic pagans were nowhere near as anti-Christian as their supposed modern-day adherents are.

The original Germanic pagans were probably too trusting of imported religions such as Christianity which was certainly a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Modern pagans have no illusions about Christianity or any other of the monotheistic creeds.


There are accounts of pagan and Christian priests presiding other each other ceremonies and blessing each other.
There's been much evidence that for generations before converting to Christianity altogether, Christ was worshipped alongside the more traditional heathen gods.

Certainly; there were periods where pagan and Christian beliefs interchanged and ran parallel.
However, things changed historically when Christianity began its persecutions of pagan survivals in Europe.
The Inquisitions, witch-hunts, Reformation and Counter-Reformations also took their toll.

Paganism had been lulled into a false sense of security and had to pay a heavy blood price.

With the rise of rationalism in the 17th century we see the witch-hunting hysteria calm down and a revival of interest in paganism takes place.

"In north-west Europe, antiquarian studies of megalithic sites became popular in the late 17th century, leading to a new awareness of Paganism amongst the learned".
[A History of Pagan Europe, Jones & Pennick (recommended book)]

This interest flows into the Romantic movement, another great carrier of pagan & heathen cultural ideals and scholarship.

This continued into the 19th century when the philosopher Nietzsche recognised the pernicious effect that Christian persecution had had on Germanic Heathenism.

"Antiquarian study of the Runes, especially in German-speaking countries, led to a reawakening of runic use, including their spiritual dimension ...
"The pan-Germanic mystic Guido von List dedicated himself to the service of Wotan & in 1904 devised a new system of Runes based on the scriptural authority of the rune-song in the Eddic lay, Havamal ..."


Guido von List is very important to this whole revival.

Only in 1951 was the Witchcraft Act in Britain repealed!

In 1973, [i]Asatru was officially recognised as an established religion".
[ib.,]

So we see that it has been a long-haul to return from the conflagration of the witch burnings, Inquistions and legal repressions of the past.

Even today, we are only just continuing this work of re-birth, following on from the 17th & 18th century antiquarians, 19th century Romantics, and the 20th century cultural nationalists.

That we are more 'anti-Christian' than before is hardly surprising!

Osmaegen
Sunday, September 17th, 2006, 12:05 PM
[FONT=Times New Roman]
If you want a REAL professional id suggest contacting someone like Stephen McNallen, Valgard Murray or James Hjuka Coulter on the matter. People like David Lane know nothing about our true culture, they let their personal beliefs and politics get in the way and distort things. They give all folkish heathens a bad name as hatemongers.

Swain Wodening would be another interesting person to talk to. He has been longer than Hjuka and is perhaps the only person familiar with the Folkish, Theodish, and Universialist communities.

Sigurd
Monday, September 18th, 2006, 05:57 PM
The original Germanic pagans were probably too trusting of imported religions such as Christianity which was certainly a wolf in sheep's clothing.[/quote]

I agree that such would be true. They would have thought that it would maybe just be another god that the Christians wanted to add to their pantheon. They could not yet have been aware of all the damage Christianity, would time come, do to the nature and spirit of our Folk.

However I think that especially the country people were only converted because Christianity was not so pacifistic in these days - and you would be astonished to know how quickly you would (at least nominally) convert if a man on horseback knocked on your door, holding a crucifix in one hand, a sword in the other. ;)


The story about Wodanaz self-sacrifice don't came from christian influence, as you say (or intended to say) in the first post. But instead this have some influence on christian conversion, as you say in the second post.

This can be take either way.

Assume that it is a myth of ours - then it is quite obvious that it stands for sacrificing things that may be valuable to you in order to gain a greater good, not only for yourself, but for your Folk (Wotan/Woden/Odin went on to teach the gift of Runes to Men, did he not?).
The same thing would obviously go for Tyr's missing hand, et al.

Assume thought that it were a Christian myth - then one would have to think that the lost eye or the lost arm would stand for the CHristians wanting to mock our gods by giving them physical disfigurements.

Either way, I do believe that the sacrifice of the eye or the hand, is a genuine heathen myth - so nothing I am actually trying to debate against here with you personally ;)

Taras Bulba
Monday, September 18th, 2006, 07:49 PM
The original Germanic pagans were probably too trusting of imported religions such as Christianity which was certainly a wolf in sheep's clothing.

It goes right to the heart of the nature of heathenism as a religion.



Modern pagans have no illusions about Christianity or any other of the monotheistic creeds.

Quite the contrary, modern pagans have numerous illusions and delusions about Christianity, as Ive continously pointed out here on numerous occasions.



Certainly; there were periods where pagan and Christian beliefs interchanged and ran parallel.

However, things changed historically when Christianity began its persecutions of pagan survivals in Europe.
Much of which is blown out of hand or inaccurately described by many neo-pagans. For the most part, it was largely the pagan gods that came under assault from the Church. And in many cases, like with the Slavs, abandoning the old gods came very easily and quickly for the most part.

Yet lower spiritual creatures(elves, fairies, demons, etc.) were not as harshly persecuted, and in fact were eventually incorporated into general Christian practice and/or folklore. Most famous example of this concerned how to combat vampires, ie using a crucifix and using a wooden stake made of oak to kill the creature. Why oak? Because that was the wood Christ's cross was made of.

And Ive made mention before about how many European peoples upon conversion maintain many of their folk customs on the very grounds that they parrelled those praticed by the Israelites in the Old Testament.

This argument was especially used by many Germanic chieftains when arguing with theologians on why their practices of polygamy shouldve been maintained; after all the Patriarchs practiced it asll.


The Inquisitions, witch-hunts, Reformation and Counter-Reformations also took their toll.

None of which had anything to do with paganism, except in the minds of Wiccan pseudo-historians.



With the rise of rationalism in the 17th century we see the witch-hunting hysteria calm down and a revival of interest in paganism takes place.

Which also gave rise to the Enlightenment, which laid the intellectual groundwork for the French Revolution and later on the rise of Marxist socialism.



[A History of Pagan Europe, Jones & Pennick (recommended book)]

Pseudo-scholarship, although I did find it interesting how the authors made mention about how much of pagan revivals were based off the occult practices of the Gypsies, and I believe the influence of the Jewish Kabbalah was mentioned as well. Impressive I must say!



This interest flows into the Romantic movement, another great carrier of pagan & heathen cultural ideals and scholarship.

There were some pagan elements in Romanticism, but for the most part it was a Christian-based movement. Catholicism in particular was a major element in Romantic thinking, hence why there was a considerable rise in converts to the faith during this period. In fact the father of French Romanticism, Franšois-RenÚ de Chateaubriand, was a staunch Catholic and catapulted the rise of Romanticism in France with his book The Genius of Christianity.

David Armstong has done impressive research onto the close relationship between Christianity and Romanticism, which includes statements from major Romantic figures themselves on the issue, here:
http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ357.HTM

Here are a few quotes that should be of interest to people, especially since they deal with Germany. All quotes are taken from The Portable Romantic Reader

From Madame de Stael's 1813 Concerning Germany:
"The word romantic has been lately introduced in Germany, to designate that kind of poetry which is derived from the songs of the Troubadors; that which owes its birth to the union of chivalry and Christianity. If we do not admit that the empire of literature has been divided between paganism and Christianity, the north and the south, antiquity and the middle ages, chivalry and the institutions of Greece and Rome, we shall never succeed in forming a philosophical judgment of ancient and of modern taste . . . The new school . . . affirms that Christianity is the source of all modern genius; the writers of this school also characterize, in a new manner, all that in Gothic architecture agrees with the religious sentiments of Christians."

From Heinrich Heine's The Romantic School:
"But what was the Romantic School in Germany? It was naught else than the reawakening of the poetry of the middle ages as it manifested itself in the poems, paintings, sculptures, in the art and life of those times. This poetry, however, had been developed out of Christianity; it was a passion-flower which had blossomed from the blood of Christ . . . Mankind now recognizes the nature of that religion, and will no longer allow itself to be put off with promises of a Heaven hereafter . . . "

*And dont try pulling the old Heine was a Jew argument, since many German nationalists admired his work, in fact Hitler himself is said to have spoke fondly of him on some occasions.

Friedrich von Schlegel, another major figure of German romanticism, fully contended that Romanticism was by and large a Christian phenomenea as opposed to pagan Classicism. He also wrote alot about the Christian foundation for German culture, which prompted him and his brother to convert to Catholicism.

Then who can forget Novalis, who asserted that Christianity was the spiritual foundation of European civilization.

Even Fitche invoked the Christian faith, in particular the example of the Maccabee warriors in the Old Testament, when calling on the Germans to resist the French.

Herder himself was a theologian, and by his own admission the theology of Pietism was a strong influence on the development of his theories on nationalism. Koppel S Pinson goes into much more details about this in his treatise Pietism as a factor in the rise of German nationalism.



That we are more 'anti-Christian' than before is hardly surprising!

It's also counter-productive.

Taras Bulba
Monday, September 18th, 2006, 08:08 PM
I agree that such would be true. They would have thought that it would maybe just be another god that the Christians wanted to add to their pantheon. They could not yet have been aware of all the damage Christianity, would time come, do to the nature and spirit of our Folk.

Forgive me, Im not Germanic, but I do question your assertion that Christianity did damage to the nature and spirit of your folk. Considering the fact that conversion to Christianity actually meant that Germanic peoples would come to the center stage of European affairs, and not to mention the rich heritage that came forth from the Holy Roman Empire; which was endlessly glorified by German nationalists.

Without Christianity, the Germanic peoples wouldve been deprived of some of their greatest cultural and spiritual figures. This is especially true in the case of Hildegard von Bingen, considered one of the greatest Christian mystics of all time!

In fact you can listen to samples of modern renditions of her songs and sermons here(not to mention read her biography):
http://www.anonymous4.com/index2.html?ooftop.html

Please tell me you dont think Hildegard von Bingen(and the other Rhineland mystics for that matter) did damage to the nature and spirit of the German folk. If so, why on earth do you think so?



However I think that especially the country people were only converted because Christianity was not so pacifistic in these days - and you would be astonished to know how quickly you would (at least nominally) convert if a man on horseback knocked on your door, holding a crucifix in one hand, a sword in the other. ;)

That's an overly simplistic explaination about the conversion of Europe to Christianity. Yes, there was violence in the process, but there were also many peaceful incidents of it as well. Even Charlamenge came under fire from many of the leading Christian theologians for his treatment of the pagan Saxons, telling him that was not proper conduct for a Christian ruler. And believe it or not, these criticism were a major factor in the lessening of repressive measures against the Saxons.

Osmaegen
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 03:34 AM
Without Christianity, the Germanic peoples wouldve been deprived of some of their greatest cultural and spiritual figures. This is especially true in the case of Hildegard von Bingen, considered one of the greatest Christian mystics of all time!

It is my own belief such personages would have become Heathen mystics instead and still been able to contribute to society. Without Christianity, the Germanic tribes would have still been at center stage, at least for a while. Rome had propelled them into a rapid cultural change that lead to the establishment of centralized authority prior to the conversion, and the unity created by this authority would have made many of the things possible that were possible under Christianity. One only need look at the artifacts of Sutton Hoo and the description of the temple at Uppsala to realize we were dealing with an advancing civilizaion at the time.

Taras Bulba
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 06:07 AM
It is my own belief such personages would have become Heathen mystics instead and still been able to contribute to society. Without Christianity, the Germanic tribes would have still been at center stage, at least for a while. Rome had propelled them into a rapid cultural change that lead to the establishment of centralized authority prior to the conversion, and the unity created by this authority would have made many of the things possible that were possible under Christianity. One only need look at the artifacts of Sutton Hoo and the description of the temple at Uppsala to realize we were dealing with an advancing civilizaion at the time.

Except that your argument is based entirely on speculation. Not to mention you deinigrade the mystics I mentioned above as mere spiritual opputurnists, serving whichever system governed at the time.

Pervitinist
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 12:37 PM
Except that your argument is based entirely on speculation. Not to mention you deinigrade the mystics I mentioned above as mere spiritual opputurnists, serving whichever system governed at the time.

But what if mysticism points to a deeper understanding of existence than can be reached by staying within the confines of doctrinal theology? What if even the true christian mystics reached a level where they were in reality no longer "christian"?

There was no freedom of expression during the christian-controlled middle ages, so mystics had to hide their knowledge and to express themselves in symbolism and metaphor in order to avoid excommunication, torture, death.

You may call this mere speculation as well, but if you read mystical tractates like those of Meister Eckhart, Tauler, Seuse and others you will find things that are clearly beyond christian theology.

Taras Bulba
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 04:32 PM
But what if mysticism points to a deeper understanding of existence than can be reached by staying within the confines of doctrinal theology?

Then you're entering what Berdyaev called the conflict between theology and religious philosophy. Nevertheless it really goes into the heart of mysticism...more on that below.



What if even the true christian mystics reached a level where they were in reality no longer "christian"?

That's a contradiction. That's like saying a Buddhist mystic stops being a Buddhist upon being a mystic. Thats not so. No one faith has a monopoly on mysticism, and mystics have often freely admired and found inspiration across the various traditions.

For example, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton spoke wrote much praising the mystical traditions of the East(Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc); and many Buddhist mystics have spoken fondly of many Christian mystics.

However this free exchange of ideas does not amount to those people abandoning or transcending their own particular tradition. Thomas Merton would have staunchly rejected this label on him, and while speaking fondly of Buddhist traditions, he also criticised those who sought to "baptize Buddhism" as he put it.



There was no freedom of expression during the christian-controlled middle ages, so mystics had to hide their knowledge and to express themselves in symbolism and metaphor in order to avoid excommunication, torture, death.

Again this is simply imposing a cynical motive to the their actions. This also fails to explain the continual existance of mystics within the Christian tradition well into the 20th century. Thomas Merton lived during the 1960's for example.



You may call this mere speculation as well, but if you read mystical tractates like those of Meister Eckhart, Tauler, Seuse and others you will find things that are clearly beyond christian theology.

Meister Eckhart staunchly asserted that his teachings were in line with Orthodox Church doctrine and admitted that many people misquoted him.

Either way, I can easily point to Christian mystics like St. Bernard, St. Dominic, St. Francis, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius, St. Therese, among many many many many other Christian mystics who not only upheld but further defined orthodox Christian theology.

Pervitinist
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 05:29 PM
No one faith has a monopoly on mysticism, and mystics have often freely admired and found inspiration across the various traditions.

Yes, but doesnt that already imply a concession to religious pluralism that goes beyond an 'orthodox' understanding of christianity? How can the other traditions be truly "inspiring" - and not merely interesting, ethically admirable, etc - for a christian when they know nothing of Jesus and the trinity?


Meister Eckhart staunchly asserted that his teachings were in line with Orthodox Church doctrine and admitted that many people misquoted him.

But that's exactly my point since it is obvious that Eckhart stood unter the pressure of a possible persecution by church authorities and so had to bring his teachings in line with orthodoxy. He oviously cared about being accepted by the church and was consequently restricted in his freedom of expression in order not to be called a heretic.


For example, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton spoke wrote much praising the mystical traditions of the East(Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc)
...
However this free exchange of ideas does not amount to those people abandoning or transcending their own particular tradition. Thomas Merton would have staunchly rejected this label on him, and while speaking fondly of Buddhist traditions, he also criticised those who sought to "baptize Buddhism" as he put it.

I dont see how any fruitful exchange of ideas (or "dialogue") can ever take place between religious systems that each claim absolute truth for their respective myths and doctrines. The only way to reach such a point would be to relativize their respective claims and become in a way philosophical. But then, don't they lose not only their individuality but also their status as religions?

I have the feeling that like you said genuine mysticism is not far from crossing the line between theology and religious philosophy.

That's why I still think that the true christian mystic goes beyond christianity in a certain sense while of course in order not to be considered a heretic by other fellow christians (for sociological reasons, so to speak) he has to express himself in a way compatible with the language of christian theology.

... but btw, arent we going off-topic? I thought this thread was about Germanic heathenry and now everybody is talking about christianity ...:|

Taras Bulba
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 05:50 PM
Yes, but doesnt that already imply a concession to religious pluralism that goes beyond an 'orthodox' understanding of christianity?

Not really. As St. Paul stated, all truth comes from God and that God's truth had in men's hearts since the beginning of time. So if a person speaks the truth, no matter what religion he adheres to, he's still speaking the truth that came from God.

To use the language commonly used today, there is indeed truth in say Buddhism; but from a Christian perspective we must remember that it is an "incomplete truth". Christianity has the complete truth.



I dont see how any fruitful exchange of ideas (or "dialogue") can ever take place between religious systems that each claim absolute truth for their respective myths and doctrines.

It's quite simple really. The problem only arises when you believe your faith exclusively holds the truth to a very extreme degree. Yet few people actually believe that. They're more than willing to acknowledge elements of another faith that correspond(or dont directly contradict) the tenents of their own as being part of the truth. This was certainly the attitude taken by the Church fathers were dealing with Plato, and Thomas Aquinas later with Aristotle. Or even as I recently discussed(and yes I know I need to get back to it) how many Christian Existentialists dealt with Nietzsche.



That's why I still think that the true christian mystic goes beyond christianity in a certain sense while of course in order not to be considered a heretic by other fellow christians (for sociological reasons, so to speak) he has to express himself in a way compatible with the language of christian theology.

It depends on what you mean by "Christianity", because a great number of the great thinkers and figures of Christianity would fall into this category, and it would not make much sense to label these people as not being "really Christian".




... but btw, arent we going off-topic? I thought this thread was about Germanic heathenry and now everybody is talking about christianity ...:|

Well the one argument I made was that neo-paganism today is much more anti-Christian than the original pagans. SO I guess thats how we got here.

Moody
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 07:14 PM
It goes right to the heart of the nature of heathenism as a religion.

How Heathens allowed Europe to become Christian is a constant problem that eludes the understanding.

I've said today on another thread that heathen tribal religions did not survive the transition from an insular tribal existence to that of being a citizen in a great empire because they were less suited to this latter existence than was Christianity.

Another answer I have recently started to favour is that Christianity itself was 'paganised' or 'heathenised', and that the difference between paganism and Christianity was not as stark during the period of conversion and 'dual-faith' as it seems today.

I also see much sense in Titcomb's view that Christ himself partakes of the Aryan Sun God myth.

From all this I am starting to shift my position somewhat; this does not mean I am becoming less heathen - far from it; I am rather starting to get a more genuine idea of what a heathen 'was'.

To use the analogy of a family tree;heathenism was, say, your father's side of the family [and it goes farthest back all in your own lands, although some of the most distant ancestors seemed to come from Aryan India]: your father is Heathenism.

Your mother's side is Christianity; this also goes back quite far in its European heritage, but some 2,000 years ago there is some Middle-Eastern blood which itself had mixed with some Aryan blood.

So both the paternal and maternal blood-lines have a good 1, 500 years of pure European heritage.

Now who could say that "I am only going to acknowledge my father's side" of such a family, and "I am going to reject any influences from my mother's side?"

Not only would this be foolish [given the long European antiquity of your mother's tree], but it would be impossible.

I really think we have to look at a European spirituality, and sort out the best 'blood' from the past and carry them forward into the future.

This will only happen if we have honest debate between racially focused people who are from all points of the compass of our total heritage.

I think that when dealing with the big issues of spirituality and philosophy we cannot afford to think small and narrow.


Quite the contrary, modern pagans have numerous illusions and delusions about Christianity, as I've continously pointed out here on numerous occasions.

True, but there are also deluded ideas around paganism too, false ideas held by pagans themselves about themselves.


Which also gave rise to the Enlightenment, which laid the intellectual groundwork for the French Revolution and later on the rise of Marxist socialism.

And as well as evaluating the good and bad in Heathenism and Christianity, we must do the same with secularism and science too. As with most things, they weren't all bad - neither were they all good.


Pseudo-scholarship, although I did find it interesting how the authors made mention about how much of pagan revivals were based off the occult practices of the Gypsies, and I believe the influence of the Jewish Kabbalah was mentioned as well. Impressive I must say!

You would scoff!
The book [Pennick & Jones History of Pagan Europe] gives a good general overview and attempts to briefly tell the spiritual history of Europe from a [biased] pagan perspective, rather than that of the more usual [biased] Christian one.
So it is very valuable in that sense and I would recommend reading it alongside Belloc's [admittedly more brilliant] 'Europe and the Faith', for example.

However, I am currently reading Alain de Benoist's 'On Being a Pagan', and am finding this to be an incredible eye-opener.
It's not an easy book, but it really does attack the problems from a variety of perspectives, and is far from being a pro-pagan polemic.
What it does do is help to sift out the pagan from the Christian and vice versa - our 'father' and 'mother respectively.


There were some pagan elements in Romanticism, but for the most part it was a Christian-based movement. Catholicism in particular was a major element in Romantic thinking, hence why there was a considerable rise in converts to the faith during this period. In fact the father of French Romanticism, Franšois-RenÚ de Chateaubriand, was a staunch Catholic and catapulted the rise of Romanticism in France with his book The Genius of Christianity.

But there was almost a sense that Romantics eventually took solace in the Catholic church after embarking on their impossible nihilistic flights of rebellion.
Byron in his letters mused that if he did get religion, then he would choose the Catholic Church as it suited his aesthetic temper. However, Shelley was famously anti-Christian, although his metaphysics were soundly Platonist.

And don't we have here, in the Romantics, that kind of melding of paganism and Christianity that may be seen in a Blake [even though Blake wouldn't have seen himself like that]?


Friedrich von Schlegel, another major figure of German romanticism, fully contended that Romanticism was by and large a Christian phenomenea as opposed to pagan Classicism.

But again, the lines between Romanticism and Neoclassicism were always blurred at the time [take the painter David and Blake again].

I believe that this combined polarity of Gothic-Christian Romanticism and Pagan-Heathen Neoclassicism is the very crux of European culture.

Osmaegen
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 10:15 PM
Except that your argument is based entirely on speculation. Not to mention you deinigrade the mystics I mentioned above as mere spiritual opputurnists, serving whichever system governed at the time.

No, that is not what I am doing, I am basing my arguements on the mysticism inherant in Geramnic paganism. I am also assuming the mystics you mention would have been spiritual in whatever religion they were raised up in. If they never knew Christiainity, but only knew Germanic Heathenry, then they certainly cannot be called opputurnists. But then I am working on the assumption a spirtual person is going to be a spiritual person regardless. Look at Penda's daughters, all of the are now Catholic saints despite the fact that their father was a hard core Heathen king. None the less, his devotion to the old religion translated into his daughters' devotion to Chrisitianity. Think of it as service to the devine regardless of the form the divine takes.