Anglo-Saxon HeathenryAnglo-Saxon Paganism or Anglo-Saxon Heathenry is a modern religion based on the ancient pagan tribal religions of the Germanic tribes that moved into what is now England in the 5th century. These tribes are generally thought to be the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons, although portions of other tribes such as the Frisians may have migrated also. It is therefore closely related to the ancient Norse pagan religion and shares many of the deitites such as Odin (Woden) and Thor (Thunor). Modern Anglo-Saxon Paganism or Anglo-Saxon Heathenry was first revived by Garman Lord in 1976, and for years he remained its main mover and shaker. After several false starts with groups such as the Witan Coven, he founded the Wínland Ríce which for several years remained the major Anglo-Saxon Pagan organization. In 1996, the Angelseaxisce Ealdriht was founded and it took the lead in Anglo-Saxon Paganism and this remained so until 2004 when it dissolved. Today there are several Anglo-Saxon Pagan organizations, among them White Marsh Theod and Geleafawær Fyrnsida.
Anglo-Saxon Heathenry is a polytheistic religion, that is it has many Gods and Goddesses. The ancient Anglo-Saxon pagans shared many of these deities with the Norse and Germanic peoples. Others like Eostre seem to have only been worshiped by the Anglo-Saxons. These Gods and Goddesses are not like those of the Roman and Greek pantheons. They do not have specific things that they are the deity of. That is while you may turn to Thunor for rain, he is not ONLY the God of rain. Modern Anglo-Saxon Paganism worships all the deities the ancient pagan Anglo-Saxons did with a few Norse additions. No doubt the names of many Anglo-Saxon deities have been lost.
Anglo-Saxon Paganism has many beliefs that it shares with Asatru, another modern Germanic religion such as the belief in Wyrd and such concepts as frith. There are also codes defining social behavior. These are generally drawn from ideas of ancient Anglo-Saxon and Germanic culture. There are a whole host of practices varying from such things as wassailing to the rite of symbel. Due to the lack of information on ancient Anglo-Saxon paganism, modern Anglo-Saxon Paganism is a blend of Norse and Anglo-Saxon practices. With the invasion of the Danes in the 9th century, and the closure of the monasteries by Henry VIIi in the 16th century much information that may have been helpful to reconstructing Anglo-Saxon rites and beliefs were lost., Since the Norsemen and the Anglo-Saxons come from a common Germanic culture, such borrowing was deemed necessary to fill out religious practice.
Wednesbury Shire practices a very specific form of Anglo-Saxon Heathenry. We draw on only the practices of the ancient Angles, using their customs as the basis for our religious practice. In addition, we are Theodish, which means that we believe a tribal setting is the natural way for Paganism to be practiced. For more information on Anglo-Saxon Paganism it is suggested you read "History of Anglo-Saxon Paganism.