There are numerous pagan religions in RK, including the Loki worship of the Wolves of Sherwood, worship of other Norse gods, various members of the Celtic pantheon, and more RK-specific deities such as the "Midnight Queen".
Most RK pagans have a very personal interpretation of their religion, but common themes include handfasting, sacred groves, and homage to God and Goddess by whatever name one uses. Some also consider Jah an aspect of the God, and often they will adopt one "patron" deity as the foremost.
There are no formal gatherings for worship, other than handfastings, and most seem to either attend their local grove to commune with their deities when they feel the need for guidance, or find some other quiet place.
While paganism is not an official religion in the British Isles, followers of the "Old Ways" are tolerated, having public places of worship and able to take high office. Some pagans have also used alternative, non-Jah wordings in oaths, such as oaths to the National English Army. Handfasting ceremonies are not officially recognised as marriages by the Church, but in the public eye the couple are considered "married".
There have been recent cases of religious intolerance against pagans and their Groves by Aristotleans mistakenly believing that all pagans are linked to the Wolves of Sherwood; while Loki worship is indeed linked to the Wolves, not all Wolves worship Loki, and indeed not all followers of Loki are Wolves. Added to this, Loki is just one of the Gods seen in RK paganism, and Celtic deities such as Brigit and Mannanan are more often invoked by non-Wolves.
Alliance of Independent ReligionsEdit
The Alliance of Independent Religions (AIR) is an association of all "unofficial" RK religions - mainly Celtic and Norse pagan, although there are many variations in practice. They define themselves as "pagan" for convenience.
"Pagan" Deities seen in RKEdit
- Brigit - Celtic goddess of fire, the hearth, all feminine arts and crafts, martial arts, healing, physicians, agriculture, inspiration, learning, poetry, divination, prophecy, smithcraft, animal husbandry, love, witchcraft, occult knowledge.
- Loki - Norse trickster God, worshipped mainly by the Wolves of Sherwood.
- Mannanan - Celtic God of the Sea.
- The Midnight Queen (or just the Queen) - RK-specific Goddess, apparently a generic "Earth Mother" nature Goddess but with more of a passionate slant than is usual, perhaps even hedonistic. Few known adherents, although many other pagans accept her as an aspect of the Goddess.
- Odin - Norse chief God, invoked by Norse visitors or by those with Norse background.
- Aengus- Celtic god of love, youth, and poetic inspiration.
- The Lady of Summer and The Winter Lord - RK specific seasonal deities, based in the Inis Grove. Attended by a Priestess and a Gardener. As Summer advances the appearance of the Lady ages, while the sleeping Lord grows younger in appearance. The now youthful Lord begins to wake mid-Autumn and for a few short weeks courts his Lady once again, before she in turn sleeps through the colder months. During Winter the appearance of the Lord again ages, while the Lady once more becomes youthful, waking mid-Spring to tryst with her love and see the seasons continue.
Known Places of WorshipEdit
- The original shrine to Loki is located deep within the Wolves forest of Sherwood. (accessible via their external forum at www.sherwood-wovles.forumactif.com)
- Brigit's Sacred Grove, Hereford - dedicated to Brigit (by all her names). Has also been used for worship of the Midnight Queen and Mannanan.
- The First Church of Loki, Worcester - Central "church" for the Wolves of Sherwood. Originally run by Tyrson until his death, now by Merlyna.
- A sacred grove, somewhere south of Evesham - a little-known grove, dedicated to the Midnight Queen, with a moss-covered statue of her, described as "a lady, dressed in a long gown composed of ivy. A silver crown decorates her head; otherwise she is painted green apart from her eyes".
- There are also sacred groves being rediscovered and put to use in Scotland, including a stone circle in Stirling, Glasgow.
- Oak Grove and stone circle between Canterbury and Sevenoaks in Sussex.
- Inis Grove - a quiet glade just on the edges of Inis, Ireland. Sacred to The Winter Lord and The Lady of Summer and attended by a Priestess and a Gardener.