Why I am not a reconstructionist

I am a heathen. A polytheist. I honour the Gods of old, with the Norse deities especially close to my heart. Odin. Freya. Ullr. Nótt, so dear to me. But am I reconstructionist trying to pinpoint the practices and beliefs of pre-christian Scandinavia? No, not really. But why?

It is not for a lack of historical interest, that’s for sure. One glimpse at that Masters degree in Archaeology and a life long fascination with the past should be enough to dispel that idea.

Lack of seriosity in my practice, an unwillingness to “do the homework”? Aww fuck no. That’s definitely not it.

Then why?

We live in the here and now. My faith is a part of my view and understanding of reality, and not just the reality of then but of now.

And, to be more practical (or cynical?)… Try to pinpoint the details of pre-christian Scandinavian faith and you will get it wrong. We don’t have enough sources to truly reconstruct the ancient practices even if we want to. However we try it will always end up our modern and personal interpretation of the shards that remain. Perhaps it is the archaeologist in me being picky, but in order to actually ‘reconstruct’ something you need better sources. No, I do not look down on recon heathens at all, and I respect their practices. But I think it is important to realize that recon heathens don’t hold the “right” answer just because they aim to reproduce the practices of old.

Oh, and that brings me to the next question. If you are trying to pinpoint and reproduce the practices of old, even if you do have enough sources to do it within reason, which period in time do you pick as the “right” one? Who exactly were right, and when and where? Looking at Scandinavia especially there wasn’t a unified “religion” anyway, there were local variations both in time and space. How would you choose?

No, I will not go on a wild goose chase trying to reconstruct practices we have too few sources of . I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint which practices and beliefs are the “right” ones anyway.We are dealing with reality here and now, not the frozen image of what used to be. My faith reflects just that.




2 thoughts on “Why I am not a reconstructionist

    1. That sounds less like a question and more like an insult. I’m happy to discuss the actual issue but if you want a serious answer you might want to start with saying what, in your opinion, I am missing or getting wrong. Having a degree in archaeology does not in any way mean that one is involved in or knowledgeable of modern recon heathenry, and if I am wrong then I’d much rather learn something new than sit here and get insulted. My view on recon heathenry is based on two things: what I have seen and heard from recon heathens in the past, and what the word “reconstruction” means in the first place. Has that resulted in a “flimsy” interpretation? Possibly, but if so it has nothing at all to do with my academic studies. Because you know what? The academic study of archaology doesn’t usually involve modern recon heathenry. So, enlighten me if you think I am wrong. But lay off the insulting tone, please. It is pointless and unpleasant.


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