Real paganism is still practiced

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Old paganism

 

For some years now, we have been using the term “old paganism” or “old paganism”, also “old paganism”, to characterize our religion and teaching. With this we have established an independent direction within the pagan and Ásatrú currents and therefore I want to write something about it here.

From the beginning we had the claim not to practice any neo-paganism, but the actual pagan belief of our ancestors. Yet we were called "neo-pagans"; Sometimes the term "neo-pagans" or "neo-pagans" was used, which in my opinion is clearly meant derogatory. It is reminiscent of the term "neo-Nazis" and thus establishes a connection between "neo-pagans" and "neo-Nazis": "neo-paganism" is religion, "neo-Nazis" is the political direction of a group of people that is apparently identical. The word "neo-Nazis" shows that the term is meant to be derogatory. What would it sound like if one were to speak of "New Nazis" instead of "Neo-Nazis"? The Nazi ideology would appear as something modern, contemporary, just new, would lose the image of the eternal. That is why politicians and journalists avoid this German term. This designation is only suitable for designating neo-pagan associations without a uniform teaching, since it also implies that there are few intellectual foundations: neo-pagans.

In any case, we were and will be called neo-pagans. This is to show that our religion is new, not traditional, as we claim. With the use of this term, we are presented as liars. We are also denied any pagan tradition: The paganism of the Teutons had perished, no longer existed, so we can only practice neo-paganism. In truth, however, we know that old paganism was never completely gone, that customs and ideas have survived until our time under a Christian superstructure. If we now free ourselves from this superstructure, some well-preserved remnants of paganism remain, which are still practiced today. Let's just think of the Christmas tree, customs around the Ruprecht or customs at the turn of the year. So if you subtract the Christian bishop Nikolaus from the figure of Santa Claus / Nikolaus / Ruprecht, the pagan god Hruodperaht (the "glorious" Wodan) remains. If you now organize a Ruprecht parade, it is a pagan parade of the god Wodan and thus a component of the old Germanic paganism. If you don't call our Christmas tree in a modern Christian "Christmas tree", but in Swiss "Bechteli", you can tell that this tree is dedicated to Frau Berchta, the goddess Frick. These two current examples show that old paganism peeks out from under a thin Christian whitewash: So it is my job to remove this whitewash.

Incidentally, Christianity is a religion that was founded less than 2000 years ago. Over the centuries this religion has changed quite a bit too. If one compares, for example, the early Christianity in ancient Rome with today's Catholicism. The sign has already been changed: today it is the cross, earlier it was the fish. The liturgy is completely different, dogmas have been added and the ideas of the hereafter (Hades, Last Judgment, Antichrist) are completely different today. Nevertheless, no one speaks of "neo-Christians" among today's Christians.

We now also claim this for our paganism: We do not want to be called “neo-” or “neo-pagans” because we practice old paganism. The term “pagans” applies to us too, but it is quite general (as for example “Christians” also includes very different directions, namely, for example, Catholics, Protestants or Orthodox). And today there are quite a number of groups who call themselves pagan and use this paganism in a modern way, i. H. practice using newly thought rituals (e.g. the "hammer ritual"). We don't have much to do with them and they too often distance themselves from our form of paganism. That is why it was necessary to choose our own name for our religion: ancient paganism.

For the scientists (e.g. social scientists) we are still regarded as neo-pagans, the old GGG was even classified as "völkisch", although this is in no way true. “Völkisch” was introduced in the previous century as a translation of the foreign word “national”. The GGG, however, was never limited to one nation (i.e. Germany), it had many members abroad and (in contrast to the “German-believing community”) has never committed itself to one nation, state, not even a language area.

Perhaps at some point the scientists will also introduce a category “old pagans”, but currently they see us old pagans as new pagans. It is curious when the group of the “old pagans” is listed under the heading “new pagans”, and every unbiased reader will recognize that the scientific classification is doubtful.

 

Use of this term.

In the works of earlier times the term “old paganism” was used more often to denote the belief of the Germanic peoples. But this happened without the knowledge of a new paganism that opposed it.

Only with the publication of various books from church circles that dealt with "neo-paganism" did this term come into our field of vision. Now a distinction could be made between the old paganism of the Teutons and the new paganism of the last century. That was then also done by different people.

One of them was Berthold Brecht. He wrote in "The Communists and the German Religious Struggles" (Collected Works, Vol. 20, Frankfurt / M. 1967, 240 f.):

> In the Third Reich ... there is not a fight against religion, but a fight between two religions. New paganism is not atheism, but just like old paganism a religion. In fact, the neo-paganism against Christianity is a backward religion. ... If we have fought the Christian religion as opium, because we said that it lulls the oppressed into passivity, then we must fight this new religion even more intensely, since it is a much larger serving of intoxicants .... But Christianity itself is embroiled today in a very fruitful struggle with its own pagan residues and is forced to revise its blind subservience to the state, which has continually led to the blessing of wars and the unconditional defense of obsolete forms of property. In the German religious struggles, we communists have to fight alongside the more progressive religion ... <.

Brecht differentiates between new paganism (for him probably what Hitler wanted) from old paganism (that of the historical Teutons and Celts). To call Hitler "neo-pagans" is of course nonsense: Hitler was a Catholic and his movement was a Christian one. His anti-Semitism came from Christianity, not from neo-pagan ideas. He himself only came across thoughts once in his life that also recall a neo-pagan trend, namely when he got his hands on individual issues of the New Templar magazine. This order was Christian and was founded by the Cistercian monk Georg Lanz. But Guido List, the founder of Ariosophy (a neo-pagan Occult doctrine), was also a member here. Hitler himself had later clearly spoken out against attempts to re-establish an old Germanic religion. Today it is the case that there are also pagan neo-Nazis. But they are all new pagans, there is no neo-Nazi old pagan community.

We have been using the term “ancient pagan” since 1985. At that time we let the “Heidnic Community e. V. ”in the Berlin register of associations and I also formulated a declaration of principle, the original of which can be found in the HG association file. In it I had, among other things. written:

>The pagan community sees itself as part of the worldwide nature-religious movement, which is officially recognized in Iceland. For the first time in about 900 years there is an association in Germany whose sole aim is the practice and dissemination of ancient pagan belief ... The results of prehistory research, religious studies and folklore are now available in many publications. On the basis of this research, the pagan community has now come together to put what has been researched into practice

This is the earliest evidence I have of the use of this term by us and in the sense of our faith. The next evidence can be found in my book “Pagan Natural Religion - Traditional Beliefs, Rites and Customs” (Bergen 1988) on page 13:

>The Pagan Community e. V., in which I am Gode, on the other hand, only pursues genuine paganism, is quasi orthodox paganism, just "paganism", not "neo-paganism" ... So may this book contribute to the old pagan religion, as far as it has been handed down to us, to make it known to a wide readership. Berlin 1988 <.

And on page 12 you can read:

>Modern Germanic or ariosophic knowledge can therefore not be found in this book ... <

That is clear, it should be old paganism, not new paganism. However, we also used the terms “traditional Germanic paganism” and “traditional Germanic paganism” very often. For example in the constitution of the GGG of 1991, Section 1, § 1:

> The Germanic Faith Community is a religious association for the preservation, promotion and dissemination of the traditional Germanic faith and cult that has been developed through research.

When we reactivated the GGG, there were only our two communities (HG and GGG) in Germany (and probably also worldwide, with the exception of Iceland), which had old paganism as their sole goal. The other existing groups were mostly oriented differently: The Armanen-Orden and Die Goden e. V., as well as the groups Temple of the Semnones, ANSE and others, which were later derived from it. The Yggdrasil circle was ariosophical, but also neo-Celtic and also integrated the modern direction of Wicca witchcraft. The species community and the German-believing community were ethnic. There were also other smaller offshoots. Finally, there were the new esoteric, Wicca-oriented groups, such as B. the stone circle. All groups from that time can actually be classified into these three categories. Most of the groups did not want to be religious communities at all, because they did not want to commit to a certain uniform doctrine, which would always have led to a loss of membership.

The "Odinic Rite Germany" (ORD), which was founded in 1985 as a German offshoot of the British parent organization and has since been renamed the "Association for Germanic Paganism", has been advertising since 2003 with the text: "Traditional Germanic Paganism in Today's Time". That was a reason for us to rethink the phrase “traditional Germanic paganism” that we have only used up to now. Our teachings differed from what was seen in the ORD as “traditional Germanic paganism”. Many Wicca followers also spoke of "traditions", namely the tradition of the Gardnerian Wicca or the Sanders Wicca and meant traditions that were only a few decades old. That is why we had used the term "old paganism" more heavily since then. This also had the advantage that in formulations such as “the Externsteine ​​are an ancient pagan sanctuary” our faith is addressed in exactly the same way as the faith of prehistoric times. Both are therefore identical in linguistic usage.

 

Outlook.

We were on a retreat from the start: At first it was we who used the term “paganism” alone (e.g. “pagan community”). Others came along, registered their claims and we now spoke of "traditional Germanic paganism". After the Odinic Rite also took over this name, we had to take a further step and now speak of "old paganism". Unfortunately, there are new people in the starting blocks who want to dispute this designation. But this time we will not take a step back, we will insist on our name. It is not just about the word, but the teaching that is connected with it and worked out by me. This should and must remain uniform, there must be no division. We do not want to provide the divided picture that the many Christian sects show us. There can only be one single ancient paganism. In order to guarantee this, inter alia. My office there: to ensure the uniformity of the teaching, to say clearly: That is old pagan, it is not. Without this office, ancient paganism would split up in different directions over time; there would be fights for direction, delimitations, disputes about the “right” way, etc. That must not be.

Currently, a group of a few members from the Internet, which was founded by an ex-GGG member, is currently trying to bring about such a split. One calls oneself "old pagan", but rejects my office, wants to train one's own gods without consecration and without having to prove the necessary knowledge at all. These should only be gods of this group, which is against every pagan tradition (a correct god is god for all ancient pagans, regardless of association membership). Anyone who arrogantly overrides traditions in such a way is not an old heathen, even if he calls himself that. Old pagan communities are currently only the GGG; the originally old pagan HG (pagan community) has meanwhile become neo-pagan. When in doubt, I advise everyone to ask me whether a person or group is actually old-pagan or not. The associations "Wodans Erben eV" as well as "Wodan heirs" are clearly not ancient pagans.

By the way, there is now also a separate entry on ancient paganism in the free world network lexicon "Wikipedia" in the article "Ásatrú" under "currents" (status: July 1, 2007):

> Since 1985, an Ásatrú current has developed in Germany, which its followers refer to as Old Paganism. An essential feature of this oldest Ásatru direction in Germany, which was coined by Géza von Neményi, is the use of the word Ásatrú in translation as belief in the sir, which results in a religious conception of the gods and a different relationship between people and the gods than i . d. R. von Ásatrú is common today, in which a more rational emphasis on "trust - in the gods, or loyalty - to them" is understood. This is also the main reason why ancient paganism is sometimes viewed by representatives of most Ásatrú communities as not belonging to Ásatrú. Another essential feature is the great value that the ancient pagans place on the traditional sources; In the Blóts (festivals), traditional prayers, customs and songs are used exclusively in the primary sources (Eddas, Sagas, historians, sagas, folklore). The Edda songs are considered to be mystical revelations of the gods. Christian influence is not seen in the traditions. The old pagans, who today mainly in the Germanic faith community and the pagan community e. V. are organized, consider G. v. Neményi as the highest religious authority, as "universal jargodes" <

It should be noted that ancient paganism naturally belongs to Ásatrú. We had already written that in 1985.

 

Basic content requirements.

How is ancient paganism defined? It is the historical belief of the Germanic peoples, no more and no less, in my source-based reconstruction. Certain objections were made, namely that “the Germanic peoples” really didn't exist. I don't see it that way, but well: the fact, which cannot be denied by anyone, is that there were people here 2000 years ago, most of whom are our direct ancestors. How you want to name them is of secondary importance. These people are a reality, and it is also a fact that they had a religion that is partially preserved in ancient customs up to our times. So it must theoretically be possible to practice this religion today.

In practice, there are also some difficulties: the not so good sources, the question of whether every tribe had its own religion, the question of whether paganism has not also changed and changed a lot, and finally the question of the Eddas, which was just beginning in the late pagan period and in Iceland.

Because of this problem, many researchers now come to a picture of what is called "Germanic paganism" which is different in details. Researchers make their own hypotheses and may reject them after a few years. Researchers have to commit themselves to a certain region and time, do not have to submit a reconstruction for the whole of Germania, researchers do not have to worry about the spiritual truth content of a religion, etc.

I, on the other hand, didn't just want to practice an old pagan religion, I also wanted it to be “true”, that is, that it reflects what is reality on the spiritual level. To found a religion that says something about otherworldly beings and worlds, a look into this otherworldly is necessary. So a religion needs some kind of revelation. This can come from the respective founder, or from teachers and individual followers of the religion. It can be passed on orally or in writing, it doesn't matter. As such a revelation of ancient paganism I see the songs of the gods of the Older Edda and many parts of the Younger Edda. In the songs, their names or individual sentences indicate that they come from deities. Comparisons of the myths with the Persian Zend-Avesta and the Indian Vedas show their great age. According to my belief and knowledge, Christian influence does not exist and has never been proven so far.

In addition to these important revelations, there are also revelations of today. Through my years of membership in a spiritualistic circle and the teachings there from spiritual beings, I know exactly what it looks like "over there" and can therefore interpret, understand and classify the corresponding traditions of the Germanic peoples in this way. Personal revelations, however, must always give direction; genuine tradition must always be placed above individual revelations.

Therefore, the first principle of ancient paganism is that the sources be accepted as divine revelations. That is an unchangeable basis.

The second basis says that earlier people lived more in touch with nature and were more spiritual than people today. Whatever the reason, our unnatural technical way of life, our rational society, which places the mind above everything else, or the fact that shamans etc. are no longer available because of the prevailing Christian religion. Or because the third, spiritual eye is becoming more and more stunted, or because it is no longer customary today (except for us) to bring about visions etc. using archaic techniques and drugs. No matter why, in any case, our pagan ancestors were still to a great extent bright and spiritually sighted. That is why their rites, customs and ceremonies are effective and tried and tested. If no higher being had appeared at a blót, one would have noticed it immediately. The adoption of these customs and ceremonies means for us the certainty that the rites adopted in this way will also be effective for us. It's the safe, tried and tested way.

The third part is a spiritual priesthood, that is, gods who do not become part of it by destiny, but through training, election and ordination. Because this religion should only be interpreted and interpreted by priests, not by lay people (i.e. non-priests). The office of universal jargon is also part of it. A falsification, dilution or division is thus not possible, because everyone who wants to deviate from the doctrine or change it no longer belongs to old paganism but is at best a new pagan because he wants something new, innovations.

Just as the highest standards are applied to the quality of Demeter organic products in order to be allowed to bear the name "Demeter", strict standards also apply to ancient paganism. Only those who fully fulfill them can be recognized as Altheide; this applies to individuals as well as communities.

The other questions raised are that of the uniformity of the Germanic religion. Tacitus, for example, describes the Nerthus cult by the sea, the sacred grove of the Semnones or the priests of the Alken. All different cults from different tribes. But really also signs of deviating religions? Hardly likely. If Leonhardi rides take place in Bavaria, but only Martin's parades in the north, then these are not different religions, but just different saints who are venerated in different ways. Everything remains part of Catholic Christianity. It was the same in Germania: one tribe perhaps had a famous sanctuary of the Nerthus, the other one of the god Wodan. Still, of course, all deities were worshiped. So, just like the religious scholar Bemann, I assume a fairly uniform Germanic religion. This changed, too, but to a very minor extent. Why should one want to change anything in a proven, effective religion? The biggest change I see is the emergence of the younger runes in the north. However, this happened for linguistic reasons, because certain old rune sounds had changed or had been omitted. It was similar with the names of the gods; the name "Wodan" lost its initial W. That was also a linguistic development and can also be found with other names (e.g. Wulf - Ulfr). So I am not assuming any major changes.

Because of this, it was also possible to combine customs from very different times and Germanic regions into a whole. For example Tacitus' description of the initiation in the Semnonenhain with the laying on of hands ceremony in the Ynglinga saga and some Germanic components of the church ordination. Everything went well together and now forms a unit again.

You can imagine it like this: You can find individual pages of hymn books from different times and regions. A table of contents is also known. Now you put these sheets together in a meaningful order in a book: every song in it is authentic and old, some older, some younger. But one always stays in the realm of pagan tradition, every page is real, nothing has been invented. The only thing that was not previously done was the compilation. All the pages did not come from just one book.

In order to define "old paganism", these three principles are essential:

  • 1. The sources of revelation (Eddas) are viewed as unadulterated testimonies of faith.
  • 2. The traditional customs as offshoots of paganism are practiced, there are no newly created rites.
  • 3. The office of universal jargon and the traditionally used gods are recognized.

It is now up to all of us to contribute to the preservation of ancient paganism. We have a very valuable teaching to defend and to fill with life, which can help us all on our spiritual path.

 

© 2007 Allsherjargode Géza v. Nahodyl Neményi