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Greater Theodism and Way Of The Heathen

 

Wassail!
Garman here.

> Thus, I feel that, while I could certainly benefit from a reading Way of
> the Heathen, I nevertheless have a pretty good idea on what it is all
> about.
>
> So, would your advice to me be don't assume, make sure, or do you think
> that one could draw all they really need from the heap of Theodisc articles
> and correspondence from over the years?

 

Self-serving though it may seem, and probably is, in fact, to promote my own
book, I would be inclined to say this much: You probably already do know
enough about Theodism without buying the book. Theodsmen have noted that
Greater Theodism only differs from High Theodism in certain special
particulars, and the book doesn't really add anything new. However, there are
two respects in which it is still always worth having on the reference shelf.
One is as a reference work; I occasionally even find myself looking stuff up
in it to refresh my own memory.

The other usefulness is as an ethical handbook for heathen leaders. Anybody
who has been around heathenry for any length of time knows the real thing
that has always held back the progress of the Reawakening to date; namely,
people, and the huge problem of the heathen group dynamic. The public motto
of heathenry, for most, is "we are our deeds," but privately we all know that
the real heathen motto is the Pogo maxim; "we have met the enemy and they are
us." What heathenry preaches loudest tends to be Personal Honor, but what it
actually practices most enthusiastically is internecine treachery, a sense in
which heathenry is every bit as hypocritical as the Xtianity it despises and
heathens every bit as depraved a generation of vipers as any parcel of Xtians
ever were. While we all know perfectly well that the real strength is in
numbers, the sad reality is that heathenry is still too new to have evolved
out of the host-society Xtian tradition of radical individualism, and it is
still not possible for any meaningful-sized group of serious heathen to be
brought together long enough to accomplish much of significance without
self-destructing politically along the way and setting the cause another two
steps back for every one step forward. Overall, despite modern heathenry's
penchant for chest-thumping puffery, the hard bite-the-bullet truth is that
most of heathenry typically feels empty and dead and seems strangely distant
from its own noble gods... for the simple reason that in fact the average
heathen of today is not worthy of them.

Theodism is a dead-simple religion, about which everything really important
to know could easily be summed up in about a page and a half. WAY OF spends a
few chapters and appendices saying it in a more expanded way, most of which
is mere commentary. The book, however, is some 240 pp long. What has been
called so unusual about WAY OF THE HEATHEN is that it is the first book ever
to devote serious space to the problems of the group dynamic and suggest what
to do about them. Good people who come into the community have to realize
that heathenry is no pollyanna utopia, and chances are excellent that at some
point they are bound to get burned by other heathen. Good young leadership
talent, especially, typically comes into the picture full of ideas and
idealism, and very naive about the contemporary community's shark-pond
tendency to cannibalize its leaders; they have to realize going in that in
trying to strike a positive blow for the cause they are really just putting
themselves on the menu. WAY OF is the first book, so far as I know, to ever
just throw aside the fluff-bunny PC puffery and talk in detail, in a
no-nonsense way, about the games heathen play, how and why they play them,
and what to do about it. As such, it has sometimes been called the
Machiavelli's PRINCE of heathenry.

WAY OF doesn't cover every possible game or outcome; surely no book that size
could. Nor does it try to anticipate the games of tomorrow. Everybody knows
that you just can't idiot-proof something like heathenry; no matter what
advances you may make, the world just comes up with a bigger and better idiot
every time. It can't even really prevent the games it describes. During the
year or so that the book has been out, probably most who have read it have
nonetheless seen instances of people playing the same old sandbox games with
the same old disastrous results, and too often been forced to the conclusion
that the only thing we ever learn is that we never learn. Nonetheless, I
myself think the real message is hope, or else I would never have bothered to
write the book. If it just gets a few people thinking, and seeing things a
little clearer, it can ultimately mean that tomorrow doesn't necessarily have
to be like yesterday or today, even though real evolution and meaningful
spiritual progress may take time.

Maybe you don't need that stuff either, Hrothwulf; you may have been around
long enough to know all the games by now, and what to do about them, with no
kibbitzing needed from the sidelines. But anyway, that's what's in the book,
plainly labeled, accept no substitutes, all goods worth price charged,
dissatisfaction guaranteed; hope that helps. Godspeed......

Garman