Our Gods and Religion

What is Heathenry?

The first thing to know is that Heathenry is much like any religion in that it is generally formed around belief the divine. But unlike monotheistic religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam; heathenry is a polytheistic religion. Where monotheism holds that there is only one god, polytheism is the belief in the existence of many gods. In specific, heathenry is the practice of worshipping and offering to those gods most often associated with the ancient peoples of northern-Europe. This could include the gods of the Norse peoples, the gods of the Anglo-Saxons, the gods of the Franks, in whatever case though it generally means the gods worshipped in ancient times by the Germanic peoples. It is also important to note that there is not one monolithic heathenry, instead there are many types of heathenry just as there are many types of Christianity. Between some groups the differences are smaller than between others, but generally between most there are some shared concepts, beliefs, and practices.

Heathen Gods

Heathens worship gods you might be familiar with such as Odin and Thor. But while there are stories and lore that have become popular that give people a familiarity with some of these gods, there are also many gods you might be less familiar with that many heathens worship. We are a polytheistic religion, the world is full of gods. Also, because there are different varieties of heathenry there are also differences in the names of the gods some of us use; for instance where a Norse-heathen might say Odin or Óðinn, an Anglo-Saxon heathen might say Woden. There are a great many gods and even a great diversity of what they were called within the peoples that worshiped them.

Heathen Religion

While there are a great many gods and beliefs in heathenry, the practices or praxis for the religion is fairly similar throughout the religion. Heathens tend to offer to the gods, pray to the gods, and worship the gods in similar ways regardless of the variety of heathenry they practice. You can read more about this in the section of this site that discusses Reciprocity.