Heathen Sects For Dummies
Heathenry can be broken down into smaller sects based off how the religion/faith is practiced and who the religion/faith focuses around. There are five main groups that Heathenry can be divided into, based off how it is practiced:
- Folkish Heathens
There are three sociopolitical types of groups: Universalist Heathens and Folkish Heathens are two polar extremes. In a way, you could consider the Tribalist Heathens to be the moderate viewpoint. So these are the first three we will discuss and focus on in this post.
The term "Universalism'' expresses that this religion is open to anyone, regardless of their ancestry or race. '' Some Universalists have extended this racial tolerances to other areas, such as broader lifestyles and political tolerances, and tolerances of religious differences, with mixed results from group to group and between different practitioners .'' Galina K.
Universalists truly hold the view that ANYONE (regardless of who they are as a person, and any personal information connected to them) can practice Asatru and Heathenry as long as they truly desire to work with the Aesir and Vanir. The problem with this is sometimes Asatru becomes ill-educated because many self-defined Asatruars, who proclaim to know the practice, are actually pretty clueless. They often don't know the difference between a blot and sumbel. This allows for a lot of new-age stuff to get thrown into Asatru, and can actually give it a bad name sometimes. But hey, anyone can practice, so their welcome to it.
Universalist Heathens in Northern Tradition Reconstructionist are more accepting of people's beliefs and practices, so long as their practice express's a basic ground of the ancient texts. These Heathens tend to reject centralized authority and social hierarchy and will look at focusing more on groups working together rather than making a exclusive circles.
These Heathens are the ones that their belief in Northern Tradition is a ancestral religion who are descended from Germanic bloodlines, and most Folkish Heathens will disapprove of their Germanic religion being practices by other people ( who are not fully or almost full) of Norse, Angol-Saxon, Germanic descent. Some even have the thought that the Gods will not talk to anyone who lacks in the tie of blood. However some Folkish Heathens will accept forms of adoption or a tie of blood-brotherhood.
Folkish Heathens believe that only norse/germanic blooded people can practice Asatru/Heathenry. They actually believe their bloodlines are connected. You can break the folkish group down even further though: The most well known and disliked sect of Folkish Heathenry is the ''White Power'', ''Hammerskin'' Folkists. They believe only white individuals have the right to practice Asatru. They believe the Gods have nothing to do with anyone of a different skin color. They are affiliated with the Nazi party.
For these Heathens it's not only a focus on recreating a religion but also a culture. This is where a person cannot properly practice a religion without also joining the worldviews/ethics from which that religion has come from and growing from. '' Tribalist Heathens attempt to form groups with social structures and ritual practices modeled on those of ancient cultures and (in some, though not all, cases) the social stratifications of those cultures. They expect- or hope- for those social structures to permeate the lives of their members .'' Galina K.
Tribalist groups will usually have standards as on who can join their tribe because they tend to be more hierarchical and because they have a lifestyle based on the rules of ancient cultures. Tribalists are the ones who refuse either extreme standpoint, making them moderate. I like this description of them:'' The answer the Tribalists have to the question of ''Who can practice Asatru?'' is: ''Anyone who makes a sufficient effort to understand and adopt the culture of the ancient heathens.' '''. They believe that study and effort must be put into it. You should attempt to KNOW and UNDERSTAND the practice before self-proclaiming yourself a Heathen. Anyone can study and learn, though, it doesn't matter what race, age, or anything else you are. This keeps some of the traditional parts of Asatru alive, while allowing for reconstruction of it as well.
This article was a combined effort between Fairywolf and Personified.
Northern Traditions for the Solitary Practitioner-A book of Prayer,Devotinal Practices,and the Nine Worlds of Spirit by Galina Krasskova and Raven Kaldera