Leof Gunnsmith Wassail!
T. & L.Joy wrote:
>There are many religious tribes and subtribes.... over 3000
"denominations" of christianity alone, numerous islamic ones..
bhuddist, hindu...There are sport clubs and service organisations like the
YMCA, and the Masons, Shriners... order of the eastern star. These are
tribes too. The Hells Angels MC club is a tribe.
We are known among other peoples as"the White tribe". Especially
in Africa. Native Americans simply refer to us as "the Whites".
When I hear the word "Theodism" I see in my minds eye the SCA
carried to another level.. where the "play acting" has become real
to those involved. It has real signifigance to them then and is
probably the logical step from "playing" to "being".Thats
I guess the Existentialism that Garman is talking about.
It should be noted that, although a word like "tribe" may mean
many things to many people, in Theodism it is normally used as a technical
word with a specific meaning, a "term of art," in other words, and
is never used by Theodsmen in any other way.
Theodism has never been play-acting and isn't anything like the SCA;
Theodism is a religion, and has never been anything else, and has from the
beginning always been just as intense and prescription-strength serious as
it is today. The "existentialist" aspect is merely the
taproot-source of Theodism's uniquely "autochthonous" character as
a nouveau-religion. "Religion," to a Theodsman, is also a term of
art, and refers specifically to a certain specially defined class of
sociological phenomena, and never anything else. We say that "theod"
means tribe because, literally, it does; theod is just the Anglo-Saxon word
for tribe. In Theodish parlance, a tribe is not just any random collection
of people with a shared common trait or special interest. Tribe denotes a
body of people that is structured in a certain specific way, and that is all
it ever refers to.
The specific anatomical features of the kind of body of people that is
termed a tribe in Theodish sceaftcunnung (another term of art) are that they
all live together, or would if they were able, and by preference as
self-sufficiently and independently as possible, that they are,
functionally, a kind of human biome, made up of members of more than one
family or clan, yet have a population that is small and exclusive enough to
be self-governing, that their sense of transpersonal tribe-specific identity
is in most respects personally equal to or more important than their
individual identity, that they exhibit a strict social hierarchy in which
that personal sense of transpersonal tribal identity doubles as a place- and
status-marker, that they make regular traditional use of special tokens or
other distinctive livery as tribal identifiers whereby they recognize each
other and distinguish each other from foreigners, that they share a common
mythologized origin story and history, a dream time, a tribally distinctive
religion, and a personally binding common thew in all matters moral, ethical
To the extent that any of these anatomical features may be deficient or
missing, any group of people is not, technically, a tribe. Some kinds of
microcultures do in fact exhibit some of these features to a sometimes
startling degree, but rarely the full complement. An LA street gang, for
instance, or sometimes even a biker gang, is about as close as any
contemporary group of people is likely to come today, and typically features
self-government within an independent communal lifestyle, a significant
exclusive transpersonal identity complete with markers and livery, a strict
hierarchy and sense of place and status, and a rigorously observed moral,
ethical and sociological code or thew. Normally, however, they do not
exhibit a mythologized origin story or history, dream time or full-fledged
tribally distinctive religion, so in the last analysis they are really just
another quasi-tribal kind of special interest group. One thinks, of course,
of the Mafia in such a context too, but then, probably nobody really doubts
that Mafia families are indeed tribes in the technical sense, as well as
being special interest groups.
One can easily see why so many Asatruers are interested in the concept of
tribe, of course. On the other hand, one can also see why no Asatru aett has
ever managed to attain to tribehood so far; it is a sense in which the
original Asatru concept was naively designed to be self-defeating. There are
too many necessary parts missing from the strict doctrinal canon of the way
Asatru was originally designed and defined, a canon to which mainstream
Asatru still generally cleaves "religiously" as articles of faith.
As we have seen, Asatru in fact normally drives out any aett that does begin
to exhibit too many features of tribehood, since such aetts must necessarily
apostasize into so many dangerous heretical flirtations to do so.
And of course we know that Theodism is another matter, and has always
doctrinally supported tribalism in its basic design, though today's Theodish
Rice is probably no more than a virtual tribe at best, since we don't all
live together or independently. Other than that, Theodism is exclusive and
self-governing, and does have an origin story, a dream time and a history,
which are, although embedded in relatively recent business and real-time
history, nonetheless at least quasi- or proto-mythologized already, in the
sense that they contain so many vital defining central elements of the
supernatural, and have begun to accumulate a special corpus of associated
art and poetry, song and story. Theodism has a strict hierarchy, a
distinctive transpersonal tribal identity complete with identifying livery
and place- and status-markers, a strictly observed and distinctive body of
moral, ethical and sociological thew, and a distinctive tribal religion with
full-fledged sacral features. So in many ways, I guess we are to be
considered either a true tribe or else perhaps a very strange kind of
street-gang. Theodish break-dancing, anyone? Or maybe bust a bit of
Anglo-Saxon hiphop rap?
Your sentiments and vision concerning the greater folk, Gunnsmith, are
unquestionably very eloquent and very moving, but in this I'm sure you can
see why your hypothetical folk are not a tribe, and could never be one. For
the folk, tribes may well be the answer, but tribe is not. As perforce a
solitary, you have the leisure to utopianize about them in ways that those
of us with organizational responsibilities and personally involved in the
harrowing business of daily dealing with the actual nasty flesh-and-blood
creature in the round never could. If the folk as they really are ever could
be a tribe, not many people in their right minds would likely want to join
it, and you wouldn't either, bless your heart, at least not for long. The
upside, though, is that we really once were, and theoretically could be
again, some kind of far finer and better thing than what we are, and if we
just keep our hopes and our spirits up and start trying to really do
something with our better selves, then no doubt we will one day get there.