A New Series of Posts on Ritual Praxis

I was inspired by a conversation with two Heathens I speak with to begin writing on ritual praxis. For me, this project will take place along similar lines as Lārhūs Fyrnsida, especially in regards to their Ritual Format page. Before we get into types of ritual praxis, it is my firm belief that explaining why we develop a ritual praxis is more important, so that will be the first post in the series. Then, we can dig into how we develop a ritual praxis.

The reason I decided to write a series of posts on ritual praxis is because I have seen a lack of understanding about what ritual praxis is and why it is important in my local Pagan and polytheist communities, especially from a general Heathen perspective. My aim is to provide context for our home and communal rites, giving people a place to reference or jump off of in developing their own.

A few things to note:

  1. While I do not take a single ancient Heathen perspective my references are primarily Norse and Icelandic with bits of German and Anglo-Saxon. My use of language and the specific words I use reflects this view. I see nothing wrong with being eclectic. I respect that, for a great many people they find more use in sticking to one culture as their worldview. For me and mine, our worldview is primarily based primarily in Norse and Icelandic culture with appreciation for crosscurrents between other ancient Heathen religions as we find them.
  2. This will be a series of posts describing why then how Heathens without a particular cultural focus should and can build a ritual praxis. It will focus first on hearth cultus, religious life and rituals centered in the home. We can move out from there.
  3. This series of posts is meant to spur people to not merely think about their religion and religious activities, duties, and so on, but actively to do them. What this means is that if you are doing rituals and you are doing divination to check on things like “Is this ritual correct for us? Are the Gods, Ancestors, and/or vaettir happy with this?” I fully expect you to act in accordance with your own results.
  4. The power and beauty of tribal Heathenry is that presumably the reader and I are not in the same tribe, and just because we may approach the very same Gods does not mean They will have the same responses to our offerings, rituals, and so on. I fully expect folks may get completely different responses from the Holy Powers, and the needs of a given community may differ such that ritual format, protocols, taboos, offerings, etc. may need to change. In other words, none of what I am writing should be taken to be set in stone. These posts are guidelines, not instructions.
  5. Down the road I may move these posts and future posts down the line into a format similar to the Lārhūs Fyrnsida because of ease of access and solid structure.
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  1. thelettuceman
    February 10, 2018 at 10:14 am

    ;).

    One side comment re: eclecticism. I think the preoccupation with the concept of eclecticism is a predominately Wiccan/ate aspect of contemporary Pagan belief. That is, I don’t believe that polytheistic revivalists can be “eclectic” in the same sense that many people get obsessed/concerned with, given the mutability and pluralism of polytheistic religious praxis (eclecticism =/= syncretism, and something like Greco-Buddhism is not “eclectic” in the way it’s often used in Paganism, or Ptolemaic Egypt, as a secondary example).

    This especially goes for P.I.E and the daughter cultures, where there tend to be a fairly common seeds of practice across the spectrum.

    Just some thoughts.

    • February 10, 2018 at 10:16 am

      You are right in that. Ancient Germans worshiped Gods of many peoples without issue just as ancient Romans would have, with respect to their own cultural lenses.

    • February 10, 2018 at 11:04 am

      I appreciate you saying that, especially since that view is sometimes lost in modern Pagan discourse.

  2. heathenembers
    February 10, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Excellent idea for a series. I think there’s a real need for this type of thing, and I look forward to reading and learning more.

  3. Doug Freyburger
    March 20, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I offer some UPG. Years ago I wondered about Norse Wiccans. I asked Thor what he thought of people who follow him in action but who use a different ritual structure than we do. Thor is good company but he usually answers every question with a request to share more ale or coffee. I just kept asking. In about a year he figured I would not stop asking until he answered. He shrugged and said he likes followers.

    Given that I concluded that the FACT of praxy beats the TYPE of praxy. Maybe anypraxy rather than orthopraxy. I stopped worrying about ritual structure and just focused on ritual action, or dependable ritual repetition.

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