Belief in the Gods, Love for the King
Note: A version of this article appeared in Spellstów Volume 1 Number 2 Wéodmónaþ 2019 as “The Ríce Renewed.”
Anglo-Saxon Théodish Belief began on July 4th, 1976 in Watertown, New York, when the god Wóden made himself known to Gárman Lord. Soon thereafter, Gárman founded the first Théodish fellowship, the Witan Þéod. Over the years Théodism grew around Watertown and, by Hallows of 1989, the Wínland Ríce (Vinland Kingdom) was established with Gárman as its Æðeling (noble heir). Between 1992 and 1995, Théodism began to branch out well beyond the bounds of Watertown as sundry théods (tribes) sprang up within the Ríce. So blessed by the gods was the Ríce that, in 1995, Gárman Lord was crowned with the boar-helm, set upon the shield, and raised as the Cyning (sacral king) of the Wínland Ríce.
Théodism continued to grow but, as it did, new difficulties arose. The Ríce’s théods were all based upon the warband of the Folkwandering Tide (Migration Era). While this framework made for an authentic RetroHeathenry, it also attracted triflers, adventurers, and agenda mongers who, once within the Ríce, cultivated intrigue and sowed the seeds of treason. By Winterfylleþ of 2001, Wínland was a kingdom wounded by betrayal.
Thus it was that in 2002, Gárman Lord sought to rethink the structure of Théodish society. To help him in this, Gárman established the Wisdom Roundtable and welcomed to it sundry Heathen sages, both within and without the Wínland Ríce. The charge that Gárman gave to the Wisdom Roundtable was this: to search through Heathen lore and Anglo-Saxon history and to find another framework for Théodish fellowship.
Alas, the Wisdom Roundtable failed to fulfill the charge that it had been given and so, in 2004, the Wínland Ríce went fallow. Yet among its members had been a Greater Théodsman, known now as Þórbeorht. Though the Roundtable disbanded, Þórbeorht took the king’s call to heart. And so, after reading through sundry Anglo-Saxon laws and charters, Þórbeorht founded the Ealdríce in 2010 not as a warband but, rather, as an Anglo-Saxon holy-guild (OE: háliggyld). By 2014, Þórbeorht and Gárman both felt that the Ealdríce’s framework showed enough promise that the Ealdríce could begin to call itself a Théodish fellowship. And, at Þrimilce 2019, after the Ealdríce had proven its steadfastness in the wake of great ordeal, Gárman Lord heard Þórbeorht’s hold oath. For the first time in fifteen years, the king donned his crown and the Ealdríce became the first holy-guild of a renewed Wínland Ríce. Seventeen years after it was called, the Wisdom Roundtable’s quest was complete.