Much in Irminenschaft is similar to other forms of Heathenry. We certainly have more in common that we do differences! But many people have asked how we differ, so here some thoughts on the matter. This list is certainly not intended to be complete, but is intended as something of a generalized notion.
It should be stated that not all Théodsmen or Théodish tribes believe/practice the same way, so anything described herein is done only to be taken in very general terms.
1. Irminen see one another as more-or-less equal (although respect is given toward certain offices). Théodish Belief bears a strong, defined social structure similar to the ranks found in a military or police unit.
2. Irminen work to build personal, individual relationships with our gods. Théodsmen see this as near-impossible unless the individual in question is exceptional. The relationship between the divine and mankind in the Théodish mind is established through the community.
3. Irminen perceive ourselves as practicing a living, evolving tradition. Théodsmen perceive themselves as reconstructing a long dead religion/culture.
4. Irminen share immaterial bonds with one another based on common ancestry. Théodsmen share immaterial bonds with one another through tribal unions and hold oaths.
5. Irminenschaft does not recognize any sacral leader. Théodish Belief bases much of its thought on the assumption that the luck of the gods is transferred to the people through a sacral king.
6. Irminen see Heathendom as distinct from the neo-pagan movement. Théodsmen consider Heathendom to be only one facet of neo-paganism.
7. Regarding lore, Irminenschaft recognizes a broad canon with the understanding that many sources may be useful, but that the various sources must all be understood within appropriate contexts. Théodish Belief recognizes a much narrower canon, reading anything written after the Thirteenth Century with suspicion.
8. Irminen base our overall direction and goals on the assumption that we are conforming to cosmic law (Arm: Rita), that is, fulfilling our individual and group destinies. Théodsmen base their overall direction and goals on efforts to overcome an individual’s destiny (OE: dóm) while family/community is maintained through the concept of “right good will”.
9. Irminenschaft understands that our culture has evolved over the centuries with the importation of various religious, magical, and political ideologies that have made their stamp on our native Heathenry. Théodish Belief attempts to reconstruct ancient traditions as if the course of history did not have any effects on the Volk.
10. Irminen bear an attitude of “come to us if you are interested”. Théodsmen actively attend pan-Heathen and pan-pagan events seeking converts.
And now for some similarities:
1. Irminen recognize an authentically Heathen calendar (based on the records of Charlemagne). Théodsmen also recognize an authentically Heathen calendar (based on the records of Bede).
2. Both Irminenschaft and Théodish Belief insist on historical accuracy and attested sources, even if we sometimes disagree on the merits of certain source materials.
3. Both Irminenschaft and Théodish Belief are smaller in number than other Heathenrys allowing for a much more well-defined faith and a more committed community.
4. While many other Heathenrys are extremely anti-dogmatic, both Irminenschaft and Théodish Belief hold tightly to orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
5. Both Irminen and Théodsmen have demonstrated a willingness to adjust beliefs and practices to coincide with our learning and discovery.
Next up: Irminenschaft vs. Ásatrú