Heathenry (new religious movement)
Fri, 2017-Aug-18 01:05 UTC
Length - 4:06
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The featured article for Friday, 18 August 2017 is Heathenry (new religious movement).
Heathenry, also termed Heathenism or Germanic Neopaganism, is a modern Pagan religion. Classified as a new religious movement, its practitioners model their faith on the pre-Christian belief systems adhered to by the Germanic peoples of Iron Age and Early Medieval Europe. To reconstruct these past belief systems, Heathenry uses surviving historical, archaeological, and folkloric evidence as a basis, although approaches to this material vary considerably.
Heathenry does not have a unified theology and is typically polytheistic, centering on a pantheon of deities from pre-Christian Germanic Europe. It adopts cosmological views from these religions, including an animistic view of the cosmos in which the natural world is imbued with spirits. The faith's deities and these spirits are honored in sacrificial rites known as blóts in which food and libations are offered to them. These are often accompanied by symbel, the act of ceremonially toasting the gods with an alcoholic beverage. Some practitioners also engage in rituals designed to induce an altered state of consciousness and visions, most notably seiðr and galdr, with the intent of gaining wisdom and advice from the deities. Although there are many solitary practitioners who follow the religion alone, members of the Heathen community often assemble in small groups, usually known as kindreds or hearths, to perform their rites in specially constructed buildings or outdoors. Heathen ethical systems place great emphasis on honor, personal integrity, and loyalty, while beliefs about an afterlife are varied and rarely emphasized.
A central division within the Heathen movement concerns the issue of race. Many groups adopt a "universalist" perspective which holds that the religion is open to all, irrespective of ethnic or racial identity. Conversely, others adopt a racialist attitude—termed "folkish" within the community—by viewing Heathenry as a religion with intrinsic links to a Germanic race that should be reserved explicitly for people of Northern European descent. Some folkish Heathens further combine the religion with explicitly racist and white supremacist perspectives. Although the term "Heathenry" is used widely to describe the religion as a whole, many groups prefer different forms of designation, influenced by their regional focus and their attitude to race. While a number of groups venerating Scandinavian deities use Ásatrú or Forn Sed, those adopting folkish perspectives tend to favor the terms Odinism, Wotanism, or Odalism.
The religion's origins lie in the 19th and early 20th century Romanticist movement which glorified the pre-Christian beliefs of Germanic societies. In this period organised groups venerating the Germanic gods developed in Germany and Austria; these were part of the Völkisch movement and typically exhibited a racialist interpretation of the religion, resulting in the movement largely dissolving following the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. In the 1970s, new Heathen groups emerged in Europe and North America, developing into formalized organizations in order to promote their faith. In recent decades, the Heathen movement has been the subject of academic study by scholars active in the field of Pagan studies. Scholarly estimates put the number of Heathens at no more than 20,000 worldwide, with communities of practitioners active in Europe, North America, and Australasia.
This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:05 UTC on Friday, 18 August 2017.
For the full current version of the article, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathenry_(new_religious_movement).
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