(I've moved btw - you can find my new webstead here)
m a modernist Anglo-saxon Heathen and also a Haegtesse (see here for my interpretation of what that is). I'm quite innovative and forward-thinking in my ideas though like to think that I retain much of the core essence of what was most important in the ways of my cultural forebears. I set up this site to basically get my thoughts into a coherent and cohesive form and also to share my thoughts with other interested parties out there in the world! Heathenry has done so much for me in terms of improving me as a human being and encouraging me to be a better family member, friend, colleague and member of my community, that I just felt the need to speak it out to a greater audience.
Fyrn Sidu is a way of life grounded in the old English cultural past which emphasizes the cultivation of honour-based, reciprocal relationships with not only the visible world of our fellow humans, our nearest and dearest, friends and aquaintances etc, but also the spirits ("wights") of the unseen world around us, of our departed kinsmen (Ancestors) and the land upon which we live. The most powerful beings of this unseen world are those we envison as Gods, ineffable in their might and wisdom and yet available to us as and our households and communities as wise guides, teachers and dispensers of "maegen" (roughly speaking, luck, blessings, spiritual strength). Different Heathens have different ideas about who and what Gods actually are, but in the main we tend to approach and experience them as real beings worthy of our veneration and respect. The "work" of Heathenry is learning how to cultivate these relationships in our everyday lives so as to increase the maegen, wellbeing, wisdom and prosperity of ourselves, and most importantly, the communities of which we are a part. One of the greatest teachings of Heathenry is that none of us is an island, we are all a part of a greater web of being and relationships, and so the doom we bring upon ourselves, good or bad, is going to affect others to whom we are connected wether we're aware of this or not.
Therefor we need to act with integrity, honour and courage, ever mindful of our good name and wether what we are doing is truly worthy of respect (ie will it bring good or bad, honour or shame, on my people and I?). Many of the values of the Germanic (which includes the old English) people are perennially relevant, and such have been distilled and organised into the various lists of "Noble Virtues" or "Thews" which can be found in many descriptions of modern Heathenry. The list I follow is from modern Anglo-saxon Heathenry and can be summarised as follows - Boldness, Steadfastness, Troth, Givefullness (generosity), Guestliness (hospitality), Sooth (integrity, honesty), Wrake (seeking justice for wrongs done), Equality (esp of the genders, races, differing sexual orientations etc), Friendship, Freedom, Wisdom, Busyship (industriousness).
Thus as Heathens we seek to live in a state of "Frith", a state of secure, harmonious peace and freedom, with not only our fellow humans, but also the unseen world of those otherworldly beings which are recognised, but perhaps envisioned and labelled differently, by cultures the world over. We believe that our family luck and wellbeing is in many ways interdependent with these unseen spiritual presences, though many of us would caution against slipping into any sort of superstitious and destructive fearful obsession with them to the point of being unable to function in this world! All that is needed is a bit of good sense, a willingness to listen with the heart and "inner ear", and some good manners and respect, and we should be fine with the majority of decent wights in our locality. The closest to us perhaps are those of our own ancestors, and honouring them is a very important part of the regular devotional practice of most of the Heathens I've ever come across. Infact, one's relationship with one's departed kin and friends is seen by many as being more immediately important than one's relationship with any other group of beings, including the Gods (I think we all ultimately benefit from the luck and wisdom granted by the divine though, wether we live in this world or the next, so my view is a bit more in the middle on that one..)
In the various pages of this site I'll be writing about different aspects of my beliefs and practices, and will try to mention where a belief or practice is actually just my own or is held by a broad spectrum of other Heathens too (as far as can be deduced), wether it's from the old lore, or wether it's purely based on my own preference, experience or "UPG" (unverified personal gnosis). Heathenry is in many ways a very diverse faith with no presiding body or central authority to tell people what to think and do, even if we may all broadly speaking adhere to many common ideas and practices based in various degrees of strictness upon what can be gleaned of elder Heathen ways. For example, Modernist Heathens may enjoy reading the old tales, and learning about the latest scholarly research on elder Heathenry, but we're more relaxed about adapting things to the modern day and modern tastes, whereas Reconstructionists are much more strict about sticking as closely as possible to what can be discerned of beliefs and practices of the ancient Heathens. My argument as a Modernist though is that what people thought and did in the past does not appear to have been static, and so it is more authentic in my mind to adapt, innovate and move with the times. Heathenry is not, for me, a museum piece or form of historical re-enactment wherein people seek to impress each other and compete over how "olde worlde" and historically authentic they can be, but a living and organic faith based on the best of the old blended with the most worthwhile of the new. This to me is the most balanced and mature position.
Anyway, hope you enjoy my site!