My Thoughts on Reconstructionist Methodology

I’d like to wax a little on Reconstructionism, and where I feel I stand within it. It’s a methodology that is familiar with anyone who has been involved with Polytheistic revivals. Reconstructionism relies on historical and archaeological record, as well as the theories of scholars in order to get a feel of how Elder Heathens and Pagans practiced, what they believed, and their general worldview. All of which are, regardless of how often one employs Reconstructionist methodology, still used nonetheless. That knowledge is where even the least Reconstructionist oriented person gets an idea of what to practice. Whether or not they choose to use it is on them.

Still, Polytheistic Reconstructionist methodology is relatively modern, as well as historically unprecedented. This may be its greatest irony. However, this is something I am a part of as well. I couldn’t say anything against Reconstructionist methodology without saying something against a part of myself. However, I don’t see these types of terms as absolute. I see Reconstructionism as a tool, and only a tool, and at that, a range in a spectrum of approaches to practice.

So, to me, it has always been a tool in the creation of the expression of my own understanding. With said understanding informing both practice and belief. That which it is for likely anyone else. Not that I think that such a statement makes me remarkable. I don’t know how many people have said these things already, and definitely no idea if implication is involved. Anyone who has had a conversation with me online knows that I am terrible with implications. With that being said, I may be saying what other folks are already thinking, but I haven’t heard it.

Why we look back to these older cultures fascinates me, partly because, as I noted a moment ago, the revival of Pagan customs is unprecedented. Nothing like this has existed in history. There aren’t a lot of accounts of anyone saying, “You know how people thought, and what their customs were, like fifteen hundred years ago? Let’s see how much of that we want to revive.” Yet, here we are. For me, there are many reasons as to why I have looked back to move forward.

The first being that I simply don’t fit in well with the over culture. I, like anyone living in the modern Western world know enough about it, but I don’t understand it. If I did, I don’t think there’d be a good reason to Reconstruct a fifth century worldview. It isn’t that I hate the over culture, or want to “rebel”. I simply don’t feel very in touch with it.

There’s some technology that I don’t trust, but for the most part, I’m not against it. In fact, I think the Internet is one of the best things ever invented. However, the attitudes and morals of the over culture simply do not resonate with me. So, naturally, I looked elsewhere to find a meaningful understanding of the world. Though there are of course, good things about the over culture, I’d be a liar if said that I didn’t see it as mostly something I have to put up with.

For that, I eventually found Fyrnsidu. Though, other cultures than those called Anglo-Saxon (a term the pre Christian Old English speakers would not have recognized) have been an influence on my practice. Mostly other Germanic language speaking and Celtic language speaking peoples. There are slighter influences from other Indo-European peoples beyond that, but less so. It’s only fair to note these influences when we must “fill in gaps” of understanding in practice. Thus, to be fair, those influences should be noted now and again. As the notion of a cultural “purity” is one that only exists in the minds of either those isolated by remoteness, or by fools. The practice here is made by making sense of the tools of understanding those in the past gives us.

Taking these older cultures, Reconstructionists are in turn, creating new ones in a way. Local and regional adaptations to practices are being made. We’re aren’t making one Heathen religion. Nor should we. However, I don’t have to tell you all that. As those interested in building customs from older ones communicate and cross pollinate, and different ideas are shared, the blue million customs that will come from it are an inevitability.

Since we all came to this by choice, we have to decide, each of us, our parameters in our processes. There will inevitably be some who try to push practices one way or another. Though this is not always a bad thing, our different backgrounds and experiences will naturally bring us to variations and differing conclusions.

Once worldview is understood (those who do not have even a mediocre grasp of worldview are not those I consider having a practice anything like mine, so they would be considered something else to me) sufficiently, study and time makes everything else fall into place.

What I speak of is how things have worked for me. It has been a wonderful wayfaring, and every time I think I have things figured out, I realize that I still have a lot to learn. These have been my thoughts on the state of practice. More is sure to come.

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