Adapted from The Way of the Heathen by Garman Lord

*available from the THEOD Bookhoard

In today’s world, after a thousand years and more of Christianity, there has been an ever greater yearning amongst people everywhere to somehow find their way back to "the old religion," of the folk in the old days, before the conversion times. But after a thousand years, the question has been- how to do that? Many popular new religions today have claimed to be revivals of the authentic ancient folk religions, but not always successfully. Often, it seems to seekers that, after so many centuries, the real old ways must by now be completely lost and forgotten.

Fortunately, however, this is not the true picture. It is still possible, through research, to reconstruct much of the authentic ancient ways of the old pre-Christian folk religions, and some of the new religions, that have sprung up in the decades leading up to the millennium have indeed succeeded in recovering some of the most important features of the historically authentic elder ways. One of these ancient but ever new reconstructions is the elder Anglo-Teutonic form known as Theodish Belief.

"Theodish Belief" is Anglo-Saxon for "the belief of the tribe." In elder times, folk religions were not churches and did not have names, like Catholicism or Methodism or Baha’i. They were just time honored ways of worship of the folk themselves, and accordingly when priests of foreign religions asked the elder heathen what religion he practiced, he simply answered, "Mín Théodish Geléafa," or "my Theod’s (tribe’s) belief." And therefore, that is what Théodish Belief is still called today. Today, it is still possible to practice Théodish Belief, either alone or with others.

The form of Theodish Belief that began in 1976 is called "High Theodism," and is only practiced by the most dedicated people who may happen to feel that religious calling. High Théodsmen always practice the ancient faith as closely as possible to the way the elderen themselves practice it, including talking and singing to the gods in the ancient languages used by their ancestors. Just as with seminarians in any serious religion, it takes many years of dedicates study and practice to become a High Théodsman.

However, such dedication may not work or be appropriate in everyone’s lifestyle, and of course it is also possible to validly practice much of Theodism without having to be "High Theodish," to do it. This other kind of Theodism, which can be practiced by anyone, is called "Greater Theodism," and is less strenuous and rigorous, yet just as authentic, and offers its votaries much of the same power and weal of the gods.

Today, anyone who feels strongly attracted to Theodism can practice this ancient religious form, either alone or with others. However, it is important in all cases to remember that Theodism is different from many other new/old religious forms, in that it is much more social and communal in spirit. Other forms usually put most of their emphasis on the connection between the individual and his god or gods, either directly or indirectly through a priesthood. Théodism, however, connects spiritually in a somewhat different way. Where individual connection might be thought of as individual threads or strands, Théodism makes a much stronger kind of "group" connection, in the form of a "web" of threads or strands, running in all directions throughout the Théodish community, called the "web of thew." Individual Théodsmen may have individual connections with a god or gods, but the real main connection is between the gods and the unique spirit of Théodism itself, of which all true votaries of the religion partake as a special community. Knowingly or unknowingly, you as an individual practicing Théodism are connected by this web with many other Théodsmen everywhere, even though you might not personally know any of them or even their names. In that sense, knowingly or unknowingly, every Theodsman, solitary or otherwise, is part of a "group."

Even if you may not know any other Theodsman personally, this doesn’t matter, because the gods know them, and the gods know you. This was the way the gods preferred to connect with humans in ancient times, and it is how they still prefer to connect today, when possible. As a community, Théodism has people on all different varying levels of skill and knowledge of how to do the best and most meetly and seemly thew of the gods, and how to be of service to other Théodsmen in so doing. However, the spiritual connection with the gods is not through the Théodish priesthood per se, but rather through the collective spiritual body, or thew, of the whole Theodish folk itself. The high Théodish priesthood, with their special knowledge, are merely expert caretakers and maintainers of that collective thew. It is a sense in which Theodish priests and priestesses are like physicians. A doctor many prescribe medicine, but he does not actually heal you; only nature and your own body can do that. Rather, the doctor uses his special knowledge to help you heal yourself And meanwhile the main interest of the gods is in interacting with the Théodish community. They may relate to you individually; there is certainly nothing stopping them from doing so. But if you are Théodish, they also think of you as a member of a certain human community, namely the Théodish community, a fact which means something to them.

To become part of that community requires nothing more than a sincere conscientious participation in that spirituality, its principles and thew. To call yourself Theodish, then, there is one oath you must solemnly swear, individually or as a group, that is the oath of loyalty to the mystic holy principle of Sacral Kingship. This oath should be witnessed, if at all possible, by honorable persons, but of course the main thing is your intent. The oath runs as follows:

"I hereby swear that while I live, I shall never raise voice, hand or weapon against the Sacral Kingship of Theodish Belief, excepting that it be in self defense, nor ever aid or abet any other who does so. And moreover that I hereby bend my life to rightful deeds with a Right Good Will, in Wisdom, Generosity, and Personal Honor."

If you would like to become a Greater Theodsman, you can snail-mail a signed copy of this oath along with your full name, snail-mail address and e-mail address (for the Greater Theodish Registry) to the THEOD address below:

PO Box 8062
Watertown, NY 13601