There is a confluence of several events (about which more in the future, perhaps) that has had me thinking about my experience in the Normannii Theod, led by Dan.
I did, and do, like Dan as a friend, and probably always will. But his time as leader of the Normannii did damage not only to the tribe itself and its members, but also to Theodism (and Heathenry) as a whole. Many of these issues stem, I think, from the fact that Dan himself never went through the vital institution of thralldom (where one is deemed without worth, and learns many valuable lessons not only about Theodism, but themselves as well). I know when I did so, I came out with a new humility and understanding of my own limitations that I did not have before.
One of the things that the Normannii never seemed to fully focus on were the Gods Themselves. There were people in the leadership of the tribe who were absolutely sincere and most talented in their desire to embrace the Gods and put Them front and center. And they made valiant attempts to do so. But ultimately the Normannii became wrapped up in ego-driven attempts to aggrandize the leader rather than please the Gods and serve the tribe as a whole.
The effect on Theodism as a whole was shattering. People began taking sides, accusations were tossed back and forth, and a large number of Normannii hived off to start their own theod. I had my own part to play in some of that, and there are certainly things I would re-do if given the chance. Hel, it all drove me out of Theodism and back to Asatru for several years, and I know others who the whole Dan-thing drove out of Heathenry altogether. But ultimately, a lot of the problems stemmed from an attempt to out-Dan Dan, rather than a sincere attempt to undo the damage he wrought. Finally I returned to the Normannii in the misguided hope that I could help temper some of Dan’s worst impulses. That (obviously) failed, and the rest is history.
Theodism has spent years in an effort to “de-Danify” itself. Most of the dangerous and self-destructive elements that were added to the robust central core of Theodism are now, thankfully, gone. There must be more to Theodism than pomp and ceremony and flowery speeches, more than serving the ego of men who do not themselves love the gods more than themselves, and more than politics and trying to out-do everyone else.
Theodism is about a path to the Gods. It is about bringing people together to discover the sacred through the mystery of Sacral Kingship. And going forward, that is the sort of Theodism I intend to pursue, hopefully having learned through close examination of what does not work. Internal meaning, not external form.