What is Theodish Belief?

"The universe, the Northern Path, the true folk religion, is not at all a journey into the "self;" that idea in itself is magical, a reification, and a mere romantic palliative, not a cure. The true "journey" is not into the self at all, but its opposite: community." - Garman Lord

Defining "Theodish Belief" is fairly simple. If you were to ask an ancient Anglo-Saxon pagan "What do you believe?", after a look of confusion and a furrowed brow, his answer probably would have been something like "Mín þéodisc geléafa." or in our New English "My people's belief." The religious movement known as Theodish Belief was first formulated by Garman Lord in the mid '70s. Over the next 40 years Theodism evolved and changed until it reached its present form. The Theodism of today is different from that of 20 or even 10 years ago as it is an ever changing, ever evolving religious movement. Since Theodsmen (what the adherents of Theodism are called regardless of gender) seek to reconstruct an ancient religion the way that religion is practiced changes as new information in the form of scholarship comes to light. Trial and error has also caused Theodism to change as folks learned what works and what does not work keeping that which helps the community and throwing out that which does not. What has always been at the heart of Theodism is the idea of the community.

"Unlike many modern religions Theodism's goal is not the fullfillment of the individual through personal revelations, but fulfillment of the individual by making them a member of a community. Theodism is different from many other new/old religious forms, in that it is much more social and communal in spirit. Theodism however, connects spiritually in a somewhat different way. Where individual connections may be thought of as individual threads or strands, Theodism makes a much stronger kind of "group" connection, in the form of a "web" of threads or strands, running in all directions throughout the Theodish community..." - Garman Lord

What Garman meant was that an individual strand or thread can never be as strong as a woven cloth or braided rope, the individual being a single thread and the cloth or rope a group or tribe. Theodsmen seek to form tribes or theods based on those in the days of old. It is felt that Germanic paganism was a religion that was practiced communally, and therefore that is how it should be done today. While the tribes or groups modern Theodsmen form today can never be like those in ancient times, the hope is that by creating a common identity, building a common history, and making a common culture Theodsmen can enjoy many of the benefits an ancient tribe would have given.

Every Theodish group is different and places emphasis on different things, but central to nearly all Theodish organizations is the concept of frith (from Old English friþ). Frith is usually translated as "peace," but it actually involves a great deal more than that. It is the state of being when all things are right. Thus security, prosperity, peace, honor, safety all play a role. Frith exists when all is right within the community, and as such frith unlike peace is not a passive activity. Theodsmen strive to ensure that these conditions exist within the community. They try to make sure the tribe is safe, prosperous, secure, and that all within the community are dealt with honorably. Theodsmen work hard to ensure prosperity, see to the safety of their families, and live honorably so not to bring shame upon the tribe.

Part of working hard to ensure safety and prosperity and live honorably is adhering to the Three Wynns or Three Joys. Theodsmen keep many virtues dear, but the highest amongst them are the Three Wynns. The Three Wynns were formulated by Garman Lord and are Worthmind (Honor), Wisdom, and Wealthdeal (Generosity). Honor amongst Theodsmen is a very complex thing, but it can be broken down to doing what is right at all times according to custom. Wisdom is the seeking of knowledge and applying it in a common sense way, Generosity really needs no explanation, but is best defined in the terms of Theodism as sharing with those less fortunate within the theod and others not of the theod.

As stated the emphasis of Theodism is on community. While that is so, there is much room for spiritual fulfillment of the individual. It is thought that to best serve the individual one must provide them with a support network, a network of friends and family they can rely on when times are tough, and rejoice with when things are going well. Research has shown that cultures with strong families and communities have fewer suicides and less crime. Even though a Theodsman is a member of a community though, he or she is free to worship in their own home as they see fit. This is known as "freedom of conscience." When in a community Theodsman must act as is the custom of the tribe, but in their own home (under one's rooftree as it is often put in Theodish circles) they are free to do as they please.

Theodsmen gather several times a year to give honor to the Germanic Gods and Goddesses. At these get togethers they give thanks for the gifts given them, and enjoy the fellowship of being together as a tribe or group. They gather together informally many other times as well. Community is at the center of Theodism, and while there are many beliefs and customs within any theod, community is at the heart of it all. Anyone seeking fellowship with other Germanic pagans would do well to be a part of a theod. There are many other ideas and beliefs that are a part of Theodism, but all serve towards keeping a sense of the community, of being right with each other, and being right with the Gods and ancestors. Feel free to contact us if you have questions.

The Theodism of Wednesbury Shire of White Marsh Theod is Anglo-Saxon Heathen in perspective, that is we worship the Anglo-Saxon pagan Gods and Goddesses, follow Anglo-Saxon custom, and use sometimes Old English as a liturgical language. It may better be defined as Anglo-Norse or Anglo-Germanic as we draw on much from the lore of the other Germanic peoples to fill in some of the gaps in what is known of Anglo-Saxon belief. These however are mostly in the area of one religious rite which we know to have existed amongst the Anglo-Saxons, but have no detailed accounts of, and to some degree the myths of the Gods and Goddesses. Nearly all our customs and other beliefs stem from the Anglo-Saxon peoples. If you have questions, want more information, or are interested in joining us feel free to contact us.