The Gods of Anglo-Saxon Heathendom

In part because ours is a reconstructed belief, and in part because it represents a more primitive form of Teutonic myth, Anglo-Saxon Heathendom has an ambiguous and dreamlike feel to it when compared to Norse Heathendom. The lines between God, Giant, Elf, Ancestor, and Hero are at best blurred and, quite often, nearly nonexistent. Take Weland the Smith for example. He is a prince of the elves, an apparent god of blacksmithing, depicted as a semi-divine yet semi-human hero, and is said to be the son of a giant. Likewise, Wóden, the king of the gods, is also said to have been an earthly king who sired noble lines that are with us still. For many, such ambiguities would be problematic but, for we Anglo-Saxon Heathens, they are the strength of our religion.

Truthfully, it is the dreamlike quality of the belief that draws many of us to Anglo-Saxon Heathendom. Because our mythic understanding is piece-mealed from Norse lore, English folklore, and the scant Anglo-Saxon references that have survived, the only way for us to truly reconnect with our gods is through holy-work (honorary feasts, offerings, sacred dramas, songs, dances, and magic). This, coupled with the dedication to scholarship that is required to reconstruct such ancient rites, makes for a Heathendom that compels the true seeker closer toward the gods. To grasp the holy mysteries of Anglo-Saxon Heathendom one must search out the dreamlike mythic landscape of Olde England wherever and however it may be found. It is in this search that one rediscovers the gods in a way that those equipped with a more answer-ready corpus of lore might otherwise overlook. Or, as we are so often heard to say, “everything you are taught is false, everything you learn is true.”

Of the gods themselves, who can count them?  Some we know from the holytides of the year or the days of the week, yet most are the very gods worshiped by our Norse neighbors our our Germanic continental cousins and are thus known to us through poems, songs, sagas, hagiographies, and histories that have survived the Middle Ages.  Yet it may be that not ever goddess who was given offering on Hálogaland was worshiped by the West Saxons.  Of such things no living man may say for sure.  As such, in the Ealdríce, we find it wiser to err on the side of belief.  Far luckier is it to worship more gods than our Anglo-Saxon forelders did than it is to risk godlessness.

What follows are the names of many, though by no means all, of the gods given worship in Ealdríce.

Of the Ése (Æsir), there are:
Wóden, the All-Father
Fríge, his wife
Þunor, his bairn
Sibbe, wife of Þunor, goddess of family
Wuldor, stepson of Þunor
Bældæg/Bealdor, bairn of Wóden and Fríge
Nóþe, the daring goddess, wife of Bældæg
Fositie, the presiding one, son of Bældæg
Tiw, the one handed
Hengest and Horsa, the twin horse gods
Hamma, who wards heaven
Weland, the Smith
Wade, father of Weland who wades the seas
Edunne, goddess of orchards
Geofon – goddess of the plough, and possibly Neorþe.

Of the Wane and ylfe (Vanir and Alfar), there are:

Ing, god of the wain
Geard, the wife of Ing
Frowe, the lady
Sætur, who is oft called Njordr
Erce, who if oft called Neorþe or Nerthus
Béowa, god of barley
Béole, goddess of bees
Scéaf, god of wheat

And of others who we worship, there are:
The Wyrde, who weave the threads of wyrd
The Módru, the Mothers, of which there may be hundreds
Gársecg, known as Égor, giant of the seas
Mundelferend, the miller who turns the year-wheel
Móna, god of the moon
Sunna, goddess of the sun
Hréþe, the goddess of late winter and early spring wind and hailstorms.
Éastre, dawn goddess of spring