The NATTY religion of the Aryan is ancestor worship. You can only come to this realization after reading Coulanges’ The Ancient City. It’s not that our ancestors believed in a great deal of Gods, but these Gods were the first men. The Hyperboreans, if you like.
Some thoughts on this very good article:
1) Reconstructed ancestor worship can and should be used as a corrective to historical Norse paganism. The two deviate mildly in some ways, and we are as secure in our knowledge of the one as we are of the other—but the hearth cult is older.
2) That said, we have good reason to consider the Norse lore authentically pre-Christian, much of it anyway. I have explored some of this in the intro to the Folktales book:
2a) Linguistic analysis tells us that Germanic lore preserved in verse predates Christian conversion. We're quite certain that whoever wrote the Poetic Edda has simply set down what had been sung since his forefathers were heathens, at least in most verses.
2b) Comparative myth is probably the sketchiest comaprative science but it generally confirms Norse authenticity. Dumezil's war of the functions shows up in Norse, Roman, and Indian. Anti-logos (cosmogony out of Khaos) is seen in Norse and Greek. Norse world construction out of Ymir is very close to reconstructed PIE creation myth.
2c) Comparative folklore tells us that some of the key points in both Poetic and Prose Edda can be traced back 2000 years before conversion. I detail this in the Folktales book. This is absolutely unambiguous, and shocking.
3) Some 19th century scholars considered Thor to be the high god of the Germanics. This brings them somewhat more into line with the rest of the IE branches, although it's not 100% clear either way. Theologies undergo change over time and that's OK. Abrahamists have no stones to cast here—their ur-religion has evolved too.
4) The Tyr=Zeus equivalence is generally rejected by Norse pagans. However I disagree with them and suspect that it's valid. My harebrained thesis is that the Sky Father had a tendency to atrophy over time among IE peoples—we just aren't built to have a transcendent god. Dyeus in the Indian pantheon has certainly done that. Tyr seems to have done so as well. Zeus linguistically matches with the sky father but structurally doesn't—he's much more like Thor, the thunderstriker.
5) I agree that ancestor worship is the ur-religion and future of our peoples. One of the strengths of paganism that's thought to be a weakness is that it's incomplete—there's work TO DO for us. Ours is a dynamic and living religion, newly reborn and bursting with youthful energy. Others have made all the theological moves possible and are now spent. This is not a strength for them but a weakness.
Yes - more sage advice from BD!
I suspect you're correct in suggesting that Norse paganism was significantly distorted by the Christians through whom it passed. And, yes, it seems there's no fix for this particular problem, other than, as you say, proceeding as best we can in the spirit of the thing, with a focus on ancestors.
A bit off topic, since it's not directly related to the Norse pantheon, but I do recommend "Beowulf - A Pagan Hero" by Julie Boyden. This translation attempts to strip away the Christian alterations and additions, of which I'm convinced there were many. Impossible to gauge its accuracy, but this "pagan" version rings truer to me than other, obviously Christianized, translations.
Interestingly, the pagan Germanic tribes that defeated the mighty Roman Imperial Army, as well as many of the Germanic tribes that preceded them, lived as semi-nomads in the deep forests of Europe without permanent dwellings or shelters. Considering the harsh winters in that area of the world, that life style is conducive to forging a tough, relentless, unforgiving warrior race, especially combined with their genetic proclivity for such they already possessed.
Believe and Practice ⚓️
@barsoom sent me