A General Comment on Whatever Nonsense Warrants It

The Ealdríce is an independent religious fellowship that cleaves to the religion known as Anglo-Saxon Théodish Belief. Anglo-Saxon Théodish Belief itself is a revival of the pre-Christian pagan religion of the Anglo-Saxon théods, that is tribes, as it was practiced up until the end of the 7th century. As such, it is a folkhearted faith rather than a universal creed, much in the way that Judaism is the religion of the Jews, Shinto is the religion of the Japanese, and Native American tribal religions are the religions of said Native American tribes.

As the Anglo-Saxons are a Germanic people, our religion is likewise related to that of other Germanic pagan peoples such as the Norse, Frisians, Franks, and such. Indeed, beneath the broad banner of Théodish Belief there are even found fellowships that practice Frisian Théodish Belief, Gothic Théodish Belief, and a Norse Théodish Belief.

Moreover, as the Germanic peoples are part of the larger Indo-European family of folk, our religion is related, albeit more distantly, to Celtic Druidry, Baltic Romuva, Slavic Rodnovery, Religio Romana (Roman paganism), Hellenismos (Greek paganism), and even the Hindu religion of India.

Ours is a manygodded (polytheistic) religion and our liturgical year is largely based on the agricultural seasons. Our religious celebrations, known as fainings, are occasions for great revelry with singing, dancing, feasting, and other such merriment being central to our practice. As such, Anglo-Saxon Théodish Belief may be thought of as both an ancestral religion and an agrarian one.

As odd as it sounds, ancestral worship and agricultural celebrations are sometimes mistaken by others as something else entirely, something sinister and nefarious. Quite honestly, as one who has held to Théodish Belief for nearly all of my adult life, I cannot fully fathom why this is. Yet the thought of an Anglo-Saxon singing to a plough or dancing about a Maypole somehow, for some, invokes associations with 20th century political ideologies. This is a problem with the perception of others rather than one of our own intentions.

Ours is a religious belief held by our ancestors from the day we were shaped by the gods from wood until our religion was suppressed in the Middle Ages. It may be that modern sensibility often runs counter to ancient wisdom, but any difference there is due to our sincere spiritual desire to revive the ancient religion of our Anglo-Saxon heathen forbears.

The Ealdríce is a religious fellowship. Any political ideology that we might hold would be an ancient, pre-modern one, intertwined with our ancestral religion, such as folkmoot, a noble and priestly witan, and sacral kingship. Moreover, such pertains, if pertinent, to the way in which we go about our own Théodish business. Canon law if you will.

All members of the Ealdríce are expected to obey the laws of the land, pay their taxes, fulfill expected civil duties, be gainfully employed if not a homemaker, retired, disabled, or a student, be a good neighbor, and, most importantly, be a jolly good fellow. Should a member of the Ealdríce fall short of this, we expect them to remedy the situation as soon as they are able.

Regarding the wrong doings, should they ever occur,  of members of other movements intended to revive the pre-Christian Germanic religion, such as Ásatrú and Odinism, or even of anyone who might lay claim to being a Théodsmen yet who is not formally affiliated with the Ealdríce, what can we say? What does such have to do with our happy ale-offerings? Ours is an independent fellowship. We can only speak to our own. More importantly, we don’t commit crime here.  Well aside from Morris dancing, Mummers plays, witchcraft, drunkenness, degeneracy, brawling in bars, indecency in public places, and the like. We are a deeply religious people after all.

About Þórbeorht Línléah

Ealdorblótere (chief priest) at Whitthenge Heall of the Ealdríce, an Anglo-Saxon Théodish fellowship. Author of Of Ghosts and Godpoles: Theodish Essays Pertaining to the Reconstruction of Saxon Heathen Belief, Both Old and Anglo (2014). Author of Þæt Ealdríce’s Hálgungbóc: The Théodish Liturgy of Þæt Ealdríce (2015, 2016). Þórbeorht resides in Richmond, Virginia with his wife Eþelwynn and two daughters.
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