folklore · House Gods · Tomten

On House Gods

I’m not sure if it’s just the smallish circles in which I run within the pagan and heathen communities, but there definitely seems to be a groundswell of interest and activity in the “minor” divinities. Household gods, land spirits, ancestor worship, etc. I think it’s ane excellent trend, and one which is long overdue.

In Theodism, there is a tendency (understandable, but there nevertheless) to focus on the top-down aspects of religion in general. There are the high fainings that take place three or four times a year, and they are grand events on a tribal scale. But in between, there is precious little for the ordinary Theodsman to do on a religious level.

Queue the house-gods.

There is ample evidence that the house-gods were worshipped immediately after the the heathen period, and plenty of circumstantial evidence to say that they were an integral part of everyday religion among the masses during the heathen period. This has survived into the present day in the form of the tomte, nisse, tusse, brownie, etc. Folklore tells us how these spirits are to be treated, their likes and dislikes, what insults them and when they should be honored, etc.

I’ve been working on a book on this very subject for about three years now. Not just this subject, of course, but the general subject of “everyday” worship for heathens. It’s not all blots to Odin and high sumble; it’s listening to the birds sing and leaving something for the god that lives by the hearth, or making an offering at a spring when we need a boon. Most importantly, it’s instilling that mind-set into ourselves and our children; we are not alone. Both Gods in Asgard and spirits in our homes and the woods nearby all are there as well.

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