Can someone explain in laymen's terms Heathenism?

Can someone explain in laymen's terms Heathenism – at what point do you stop calling them Pagans?

What is the difference between Asatru, Odinism, and Irminen, am I missing any?

What other groups are counted as Heathens and what makes them Heathens rather than Pagans?

What are the [supposed] links between Heathenism, Norse based faiths, and racism or is this just myth?

*hands up* No Heathenism is not a branch of Paganism I know much, or anything, about.

Update:

No, not heathen as an insult, those who actually call themselves heathens such as Asatru.

I know about pantheism and polytheism within Paganism, I'm curious however about what makes them 'heathen' and about various heathen paths.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Heathenism is typically when the Nordic/Germanic polytheists use to self-identify - though there's been a trend among some of the Celtic polytheists to lean towards that term as well. In either case, it's used pretty much exclusively by folks following the northern European pantheons - I'm not aware of any other groups using the term.

    The reason they favor this is differentiation, really. A large number of people assume that "Pagan" equals "Wiccan" (or, at least, "near-Wiccan"), and it's easier to say "Heathen" than to say "Pagan-but-not-Wiccan". Some Heathens do not even consider themselves Pagan any more, due to the "Wiccan Assimilation" of the Pagan community - they feel that they have little in common with a vast majority of the Pagan community (on both religious and secular levels).

    There's some minor differences between the groups that you listed - typically based on focus, specific Nordic culture, etc. As far as I know, all three of the groups that you listed are Nordic polytheists of one form or another.

    Racism is an unfortunate stain on the history of the Norse faiths - the legacy of WW2, if you will. There are several organizations based on fighting that (such as Heathens Against Hate), and the racist strains of Heathenry are less common than they had been. Remediating Heathenry's reputation is going to be just as difficult and time-consuming, unfortunately.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This faith is polytheistic (honours more than one god) and can be practised in numerous different ways.

    The major gods and goddesses seem to have been brought together as the small tribes of early Europe fought and merged. As a result many of the deities have very similar roles and the ancient separate cults can either be honoured independently or combined.

    There is no doctrine to follow and the emphasis is on the individual, it would be hard to find two heathens who honoured the same gods in the same way.

    Those you mention, including Paganism, fall under the heading of Heathenism.

    You may find the attached site useful to clarify things.

    http://www.homestead.com/englishheathenism/introdu...

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  • Holly
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    The speed of sound is approx 700mph - the speed of light is way faster (light takes approx 8 mins to get from the sun to hear and thats millions and millions of equivalent miles - you could get your calculator out and work out how long sound would take but of course, sound doesn't travel in space due to the vacuum). My understanding of the theory of relativity (and it may not be entirely accurate) is that for a body to achieve the speed of light (or "infinite" speed) you would require "infinite" energy (i.e. all the energy in the universe) and therefore would require infinite mass (i.e. all the mass or matter in the universe). As you can imagine, for a layman such as myself, that is why it is easy to agree with Einstein, that speed of light travel is not possible. Of course, noone told also those light photons that go around! The theory also goes on about: what if you were on a train at the back of the carriage, travelling at the speed of light and then moved to the front, you would in fact be travelling at faster than light speeds (which Mr E stated is impossible). Lastly, Mr E bangs on about if you were on the train doing the Speed of Light (S.O.L.) your perception would be different to someone standing by the side of the "train track" - imagine you are looking at a tree; what you are actually seeing is the light (that took 8 mins to arrive from the sun) bounce of the tree to your eyes, which sends the electric signal to your brain which tells you you're seeing a tree. Apply that example to the bystander watching the S.O.L. train - what can you see when the train is moving at the same speed as the light that needs to bounce off the train to reach your eyes? I think this is why Mr E called it the theory of relativity because of this taking into account of the relative perceptions of the train passenger and the track bystander. As I said, this is my understanding and I could be way wrong - I would recommend you read "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawkings, although I've read it 3 times (last time was about 5 years ago) and I still feel like a caveman grappling with a Nintendo DS! Good luck in your journey towards enlightenment - may the force be with you!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Heathism or the more pronouneable Heathenism was the Conservative doctrine which pre dated Thatcherism, Ted was a "Batchelor" although I neither know nor care if that was in the Victorian sense or the contemporary meaning, and was a better organ player and sailor than political leader, luckily he made way for margaret before we had the opportunity to lose the Falklands.

    Took us into Yerp as the yanks call it though B*****d

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  • 1 decade ago

    Both "pagan" and "heathen" have historically been used as a pejorative by adherents of monotheistic religions (such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam) to indicate a disbeliever in their religion. "Paganism" is also sometimes used to mean the lack of (an accepted monotheistic) religion, and therefore sometimes means essentially the same as atheism. "Paganism" frequently refers to the religions of classical antiquity, most notably Greek mythology or Roman religion, and can be used neutrally or admiringly by those who refer to those complexes of belief. However, until the rise of Romanticism and the general acceptance of freedom of religion in Western civilization, "paganism" was almost always used disparagingly of heterodox beliefs falling outside the established political framework of the Christian Church. It has more recently (from the 19th century) been used admiringly by those who believe monotheistic religions to be confining or colourless.

    Blessed Be

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  • 1 decade ago

    heathen means people of the flatlands and pagan means people of the hills--heathen still carries more of a punch, but use of terminology is an individual choice

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  • 1 decade ago

    A heathen tends to be someone who doesn't believe in gods. It's meant as a derogatory term. It is the same as the term infidel.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Heathen is an insult. Nothing more nothing less. It's used for ALL non-christians and atheists and agnostics. It's like using the "n" word for blacks, and "s" word for anyone of spanish decent, the "c" word for asians, etc.

    It's incredibly unbelievably rude.

    Too bad many christians can't seem to understand that. And then they wonder why other people get mad.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Heathenism implies a more violent, uncultured person; it is used of Pagans to suggest that they are primitive unbelievers, therefore uncultured.

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  • 1 decade ago
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