Thursday, February 25, 2010

Norse Reconstructionism for Beginners

1. Declare absolutely all literary evidence to be corrupt syncretism that has nothing to do with actual heathen practices. In essence : there is no heathen literature at all. (Wow, what a way to win an argument : we've a priori declared all of your sources to be invalid!)

2. Gather up all the folklore mishmash that managed to survive the long struggle with Christianity, and declare that to be the original heathenism. (Kind of like finding the charred remains of a village and declaring that the ashes and stray bits of wood and metal were all that the villagers ever made!)

3. Rely heavily on archaeology, which will naturally support your minimalist conclusions. (After all, you're only looking at bones, stones, pottery, and some grave-goods!)

And there it is, folks, in a nutshell!

I should add,

4. Pretend that you are not driving an agenda by aggressively arguing your point, ridiculing other viewpoints, acting superior, and citing all the scholars who support your viewpoint (but not the ones who do not). Claim that your agenda is in fact just the best reconstructable reality.

Some other necessary points to add in some circumstances :

5. Assume, from the get-go, a position of special pleading whereby the practices of the Germanic people are unlike in every way the practices of every other surrounding people, especially pagans, including their closest Indo-European cousins.

And, so as to especially accomodate the more agnostic :

6. Assert that there is no separate soul from the body, and that only the body continues to remain, in the grave, after death. (But contradict yourself by declaring that the body, which everyone knows corrodes within a few hundred to a thousand years, continues to be able to send out its hugr, yet then suggest that this does not amount to a body/soul dualism simply because the soul-concept here is anchored in the physical.)

It's kind of a ... spirituality of the nonspiritual?

Add in an exaggerated emphasis on the "importance of reputation", to the degree that all that matters is one's reputation (amongst the living!). As if our ancestors didn't know as well as we do how fickle a thing such as reputation is, how easily slander has its sway even for good people, and as if memory didn't fade. Quote the Havamal verse about cattle dying while ignoring the surrounding context that suggests it is the renown pronounced as a verdict by the Gods' doomcourt that is final and lasting.

Don't get me wrong --- there are a number of fantastic and very important ideas explored in Norse reconstructionism, and in time, I shall give them better air time than this, but nevertheless, this brief, satirical summary does gather up in outline a lot of the patterns one will find in their approach.


Blogger Brainwise said...

Well played, my friend. Well played.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Damn but you're good.

10:04 PM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...


Thank you.

4:58 AM  

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