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Awe, Reverence, and Restoration

By Galina Krasskova

What is this thing called Heathenry? What is this body of religions that many of us are trying so avowedly to restore? I suspect if you asked ten Heathens, you’d receive ten different answers but I’m going to explore this question a little bit here, as I see it, because over the twenty – plus years that I’ve been Heathen, my understanding of the nature of these religious traditions has changed dramatically.

Note, by the way, that I try very hard to avoid referring to Heathenry as one religion. I don’t think it is, nor do I think it would have been so during the times of our polytheistic ancestors. Today we talk about religions having different denominations, each with different theological foci; in the past there would have been regional cultus. The way “Heathenry” was practiced would have varied, sometimes quite drastically, from locale to locale with different Gods taking precedence, different social mores, perhaps different ritual structures at the very least. This is a good thing too. It lends color and texture and vibrancy to a tradition. I think that Heathenry then and now is big enough to encompass such dramatic diversity; in fact, I think such diversity to be one of polytheism’s greatest strengths.

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