Why I’m Not Pagan

This is great 🙂

  Rogue Priest

So here’s something interesting. My article on expostmodernism and subsequent discussion of expostmodern religion triggered a huge response in the Pagan community.

If you don’t know, Paganism is a group of religions based partly on ancient myth and largely on late medieval folk practices, with a fair dose of contemporary innovation thrown in.

During these discussions a lot of people assumed I must be Pagan myself. It’s understandable; I’m a priest at a temple for the ancient Gaelic gods. I have a lot of Pagan friends and I do a column about the Heroic Life at the Patheos Pagan portal.

Pretty fair mix up, really.

But when I clarified it left some folks scratching their heads. Blogger Teo Bishop asked me if I could explain how exactly I’m not Pagan, since I follow the same gods that many Pagans do. So let’s do this.

Starting Off Young

When I was…

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The Vǫrðr

My Journey Through Miðgarðr


In Norse mythology, a vǫrðr (“warden,” “watcher” or “caretaker”) is a warden spirit, believed to follow from birth to death the soul (hugr) of every person. In Old Swedish, the corresponding word is varþer; in modern Swedish vård, and the belief in them remained strong in Scandinavian folklore up until the last centuries. The English word ‘”wraith” is derived from vǫrðr, while “ward” and “warden” are cognates.

At times, the warden could reveal itself as a small light or as the shape (hamr) of the person. The perception of another person’s warden could cause a physical sensation such as an itching hand or nose, as a foreboding or an apparition. The warden could arrive before the actual person, which someone endowed with fine senses might perceive. The warden of a dead person could also become a revenant, haunting particular spots or individuals. In this case, the revenant warden was always distinct…

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