Theodish Belief: Oft-Askings (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is Théodish Belief?
Þéodisc Geléafa, more commonly called Theodish Belief, or Theodism, is a religious movement rediscovered by Gárman Lord on the night of July 4th, 1976 C.E, in Watertown, New York. Unlike other present-day Pagan movements, Théodish Belief constituted contemporary Heathendom’s first truly earnest effort to reconstruct, as authentically as possible, the ancient, ancestral Teutonic religion –  that of the Anglo-Saxons in particular.

What makes Théodish Belief so different?
Reconstruction is an integral part of Théodish Belief, yet Théodish Belief is more than a reconstructionist approach toward Heathendom. Théodish Belief is a religious tradition. There are now nearly forty years of wyrd and thew unique to this great experiment we call Théodish Belief – wyrd and thew that are as much an essential part of Théodish Belief as its reconstructionist approach. You can have Reconstructionist Heathenry without true blót, shaftcunning, maincraft, Right Good Will, the Three Wynns, sacral kingship, or any ties to the Witan Theod, but such would only be Reconstructionist Heathenry. It would not be Théodish Belief.

Who is Théodish?
Over the years Théodish Belief has waxed and waned, working out its own wyrd, yet worthing itself all the same. As such, it is difficult for any Theodsman, as its adherents are oft called, to completely pinpoint what is Théodish Belief. Simply put, those who are in thew with Théodish Belief, i.e. those who have inherited its traditions, recognize it when they see it.

How are Théodish fellowships organized?
From 1976 to sometime in the mid 1980’s, Théodish Belief’s first fellowship, known as the Witan Théod, consisted of a handful of Heathen pioneers. Théodish Belief was very much a Wódenic cult during this era, with great effort being put into recovering the magical traditions of the Anglo-Saxons. During these early days, Théodish society was loosely modeled on the Anglo-Saxon witans of old, being a council of wise and witchy sorts.

From the late 1980’s until the mid 2000’s, the structure of Théodish society changed. A witan was fine for a handful of wizardly types but, as Théodish Belief grew, the need for a more encompassing social model became evident. While retaining its Wódenic roots, Théodish Belief was reorganized as a reconstruction of the Migration Era männerbund. In imitation of the ancient war-bands, Théodish society was bound together by a web of hold-oaths extending from Gárman Lord, its founder and sacral king, to the lords, thanes, and churls of the Wínland Ríce (Vinland Kingdom). It was during this era that Théodish Belief embodied the Anglo-Saxon cult of kingship as well as that of the sword cult.

Beginning in the early 2000’s, the shortcomings of the männerbund model had become evident so Gárman Lord convened a Wisdom Roundtable in 2001-2002 to rethink how Théodish society should be organized. Though several ideas were put forward, the männerbund model remained the Théodish norm until 2010 C.E. when Þórbeorht Línleah established the Ealdríce Théodish Fellowship in Richmond, Virginia, the first Théodish fellowship to be founded upon the Anglo-Saxon religious “guilds” of old. Not forgetting its witch cult origins, the cult of kingship, or the cult of the sword, Théodish Belief became more “third function” at this time, exploring the mysteries of the agricultural year.

That said, of the few authentically Théodish fellowships which remain (or which have since sprouted), the majority maintain the männerbund model or some modified version thereof. Rumor has it that a witan inspired fellowship might also still exist. Thus, to answer the question of how are Théodish fellowships organized – as reconstructions of attested to Teutonic societies. Be they witans, warbands, or godly fellowships, the goal of each Théodish society is the same, to thew the gods with as much historical authenticity as possible and to pave the way for true tribal societies in the generations to come.

Are all Théodish fellowships Anglo-Saxon?
Théodish Belief began as the revival of the ancient Anglo-Saxon trow and thew. By the mid 1990’s, however, Théodish Belief broadened, and a Frisian fellowship was founded by Gerd Forsta. Since then other continental Germanic fellowships have also formed.  Links to these fellowships can be found on our hlencan/links page.

Are all Anglo-Saxon Heathens Théodish?
Not at all. Since the mid 1990’s many other contemporary Heathens, untethered to Théodish Belief, have had a go at rediscovering Anglo-Saxon Heathen religion. As such, Anglo-Saxon Heathendom has become an umbrella term, encompassing several different approaches to thew. That said, Théodish Belief’s influence can clearly be seen in any Anglo-Saxon Heathen fellowship that one might visit. Furthermore, since the early 2000’s, beliefs and thews once held only by Théodsmen have become commonplace in Ásatrú due, in large part, to the writings of the Wódening twins.

Are all Théodish fellowship’s affiliated with each other?
During the 1990’s, all active Théodish fellowships belonged to the Wínland Ríce. Once the Wínland Ríce disbanded in 2002, however, there remained no single banner under which all Théodsmen gathered. Therefore, the bonds that exist between Théodish fellowships today are born from Right Good Will, shared history, or friendship rather than from hold-oaths or formal writs.