By Galina Krasskova
[Snip] For newcomers to this ideological fray, I should probably take a moment to clearly define what “the lore” actually is. For the most part, I think the clearest definition of lore is that it is textual evidence pertaining to the community, social structure, rites, and beliefs of pre-Christian Heathens. In other words, “the Poetic Edda,” “Prose Edda,” various Icelandic sagas, Anglo-Saxon law codes, medical charms, folk-tales, and current and contemporary archaeological, linguistic, and historical studies. These things can be helpful. They provide a glimpse into past practices that we may never otherwise know. Many of the texts are fascinating in their own right, and in some cases, they form the cornerstone of an entire genre of literature (for instance, “Beowulf.”). Many of us, returning to ancestral traditions sundered by the spread of Christianity, coming to the restoration with minds burdened by the filter of ideological colonization, seek out every scrap, every fragment of information on our Gods out of pure spiritual hunger. We want to know, for certain, how They were worshipped so that we might align ourselves with our ancestors, be included in that fellowship, and proudly call ourselves ‘Heathen,’ secure in the knowledge that we are “doing it right.” Lore seems like the most secure, objective means by which to do that. Such an attitude, however, fails to take into consideration what medievalists have long known: the “lore” is not an uncontaminated source.
Basically, there are several problems that come to the fore here, and in this I write not only as a theologian and woman of faith, but as an historian of religion. . . .