30 May 2011

The Meaning of "Irminenschaft"

We have heard a few astute readers ask what the term “Irminenschaft” means translated into English. This term is not as simple to translate as one might expect.

The tradition of Irminenschaft grew out of Armanenschaft. Those familiar with the works of the early Armanen masters know that it is very common for Armanic terms to be based on certain German word-plays allowing multiple-–although not exclusive-–meanings for a word or phrase, often based on the rules of Kala. The term “Irminenschaft” was coined based on a similar word-play.

Looking back to the writings of Guido von List, the man who first exposed the Armanen tradition to the world, we see that he actually used two different terms in relation to his teachings. The first was Wuotanismus (“Odinism” -- not related to the movement inspired by A. R. Mills) which spoke specifically of the exoteric German religion. The second term was Armanenschaft specifically addressing the esoteric side of Wuotanismus. Here it should be mentioned that all religions bear exoteric and esoteric sides – some having a specific term to describe it and some not.

List had reconstructed the German Armanen based on Tacitus' Irminones, Herminones, Hermiones. The suffix -schaft refers to a state of being as in Freundschaft (“friendship”) and Bruderschaft (“brotherhood”).

Jumping ahead in time to the coining of the term Irminenschaft, of course, we have to ask about the term “Irminin” (or to use English plurals, “Irminists”). Irmin is a byname of Wodan. Cognates have been preserved in nations surrounding the Germanys including MLG Ermen, OE Eormen, and ON JormunR which all are known bynames of Wodan.

Thus, “Irminenschaft” is a play on words that connotes both “Odinism” and “Armanenschaft”.

Die Armanenschaft der Ario-Germanen now Online

See it at http://www.archive.org/details/List-Guido-von-Die-Armanenschaft-der-Ario-Germanen

20 May 2011

Thoughts on the THOR at the Cinema

A number of Heathen blogs have been commenting on Marvel Studios' new THOR film. Some have complained that the script is inconsistent with ancient lore; while others complain about the casting of a black actor (Idris Elba) playing the character of Heimdall.
What do we have to say about all this? We say, “Get over it”!

First of all, if you are watching a picture film made by Marvel Studios or someone in Hollywood for spiritual edification, religious education, or in hope of making converts you are wrong. Movies are generally not a good source of information. Enough said about that.

Second of all, this picture is not about the Old Norse ÞórR or any other Heathen god (including our own Donar), but about the character that has appeared in Marvel Comics since 1962. Personally, I love motion pictures based on the comics I read as a child. But I do not confuse my childhood phantasy stories with anything in real life - including my Heathen triuwa.

As for casting a black actor to play a Scandinavian deity, well, Marvel Studios will have to explain their rationale behind this. While it doesn't make much sense to me – any more than having a white actor play a ninja – I don't find it offensive in any way either. Anyone can play a comic book character as long as the storyline explains why the character does not look as expected.

If one wants to enjoy an hour and a half of fun and escapism go enjoy the THOR movie! But don't confuse it with your triuwa just because this superhero has the same name as a real god.

~~Steve Anthonijsz IG

02 May 2011

10 Differences & 5 Similarities Between Irminenschaft and Ásatrú

Ásatrú is a bit more difficult to discuss when compared to the other Heathenrys we’ve considered in this series because it is not only the most populous of modern Heathenrys, but it is also the most varied and inclusive. Because of the anti-dogmatic and fiercely individualist  stance of most Ásatrúar even the very term Ásatrú has come to mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Therefore we are forced here to speak in even broader terms than in our comparisons to Odinism and Théodish Belief.

That being said, here are 10 differences between Irminenschaft and Ásatrú:

1.      Modernism vs. reconstructionism: Ásatrúar attempt to reconstruct rituals and other aspects of ancient tradition in an attempt to rebuild a long dead religion leading to a resistance toward changes in belief and practice. Irminen practice a living tradition and honour living gods and do not find a need to reconstruct the ancient past.
2.      Irminen rely on an authentic Heathen calendar. Ásatrúar rely on a reconstructed calendar.
3.      Many Ásatrú circles are comfortable with “fringe” practices such as the worship of Locho (ON Loki) and soul-cunning (ON seiðR). Irminen find these practices reprehensible.
4.      Irminenshaft is composed of German-descended people practicing a German expression of Heathenry. Ásatrú is composed of “Northern Europeans” practicing an Icelandic expression of Heathenry.
5.      Irminic esoterica is based on Armanenschaft. Ásatrú esoterica is based on Odianism.
6.      Irminenschaft, while encouraging civic action, does not lend itself directly to political involvement. Ásatrú has been consistently divided by various political agendas.
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. Ásatrú recognizes a much narrower canon, reading anything written after the Thirteenth Century with suspicion.
8.      Ásatrú bears an underlying connection to Viking romance. Irminenschaft lacks a connection to Vikings or anything similar.
9.      Irminenschaft holds tightly to its orthopraxy and orthodoxy. Ásatrú is militantly anti-dogmatic.
10.   Irminenschaft places its emphasis on the ancestors and wihtir. Ásatrú places its emphasis on the gods.

And now for some similarities:

1.      Irminenschaft and Ásatrú share a laissez-faire social structure.
2.       Both Irminen and Ásatrúar believe that an individual can foster an intimate relationship with a deity.
3.      Neither Irminenschaft nor Ásatrú accept the notion of a sacral leader.
4.      Both Irminenschaft and Ásatrú reject the notion that Heathendom is associated with neo-paganism or any other religious movement.
5.      Irminen use a combination of Old High German and Armanic terminology as a liturgical language. Similarly, Ásatrúar use Old Norse and Modern Icelandic as a liturgical language.