From the late 1980s into the 2000s Theodism was a war zone. Beginning with the dispute between Moody Hill Theod and the Winland Rice and ending with squabbles between the Normanni Thiud and the other theods Theodism has known its share of disagreements. Today, while some Theodists will not speak with each other, it is a much more peaceful branch of Heathenry. The last few years there have been no major disputes between the theods. I cannot think of one big disagreement between theodsmen in the past four years.
There are many reasons for this. For one thing some Theodists either left Theodism or withdrew from the public light. For another theods began to respect other theods’ right to practice Heathenry as they see fit. At one time some of the theods wanted to dictate how all theods should practice in the mistaken idea that there could only be one form of Theodism. That is for a theod to be considered Theodish it must adhere to a certain outline, a certain structure. All oaths needed to be more or less the same, the same árungs (ranks) were to be used across the board, and the interpretation of the various beliefs important to Heathenry were to be the same. Any deviation from this and a group may not be considered Theodish by the other theods. This is why there is to this day the debate of whether or not the Angelseaxisce Ealdriht was Theodish. Though it was founded with the intent of being an improved form of Theodism its structure and interpretations of the core beliefs was such that many Theodsmen did not consider it Theodish. And for this reason many in the Ealdriht avoided use of them term Theodish further complicating the situation.
Now however theods have learned to respect each others’ right to form their own customs and traditions not to mention respect the fact that every theod will have its own interpretation of the lore and the core beliefs of Theodish Belief. There may even be differences within a theod as smaller units form their own customs. This all came about after the last attempt to formulate one form of Theodism came about in the mid-2000s. Most of the theods balked at the idea, and came to an agreement that each theod was the master of its own ideology. Ever since then every theod has respected the other theods’ right to practice as they please, and to a large extent theods have left each other alone. Sometimes beliefs may vary a great deal between theods. I can no more tell you the beliefs and practices of Axenthof Thiad than I could some sect of Hinduism. I could hazard a guess, but I could not tell you precisely what they do or do not do or believe.
Another reason there is less bickering is that Theodish leaders are aging. At one time, with the exceptions of Garman Lord and Ealdoræd Lord leading a theod was a young man’s game. My brother and I were perhaps the oldest outside of Garman and Ealdoræd being in our 30s. The level of maturity of the leadership of Theodish Belief was therefore not great. Its leadership was quite young, and in many ways immature and hot headed. The management and leadership of a group of people was something new to most of the young leadership, and the fact that most theods were feudal in nature with all decisions resting on a theod’s young lord matters were only made worse. Add to this the fact that Theodism often attracted very strong willed and sometimes pig headed people and problems were bound to arise. Those that were not strong willed and/or pig headed were often fickle, changing their minds with whatever shifting wind blew the strongest.
Now however nearly every Theodish leader is over the age of 40, and if not are at least in their late 30s. They now are much more mature. They are not as hot headed and are prone to think things out before acting. In the past one heated email between two theodsmen of different theods could lead to an all out flame war between theods. Today though such disagreements are dealt with with more grace, and will usually end in the two disagreeing theodsmen agreeing to disagree. Too, past disagreements have for many theodsmen humbled them. When I was younger and a leader of men I was arrogant with a much over inflated ego. Numerous conflicts though humbled me and made me rethink myself. I suspect other Theodish leaders have gone through the same experience. For me it meant being the only theodsman to go from being a lord to a thrall and basically starting over. While I do not know of anyone else that took such drastic measures I am sure others rethought their positions. The leadership of Theodism has matured and become wiser.
Finally many within Theodism grew tired of the constant bickering. They saw it accomplished little and indeed it was driving people away from Theodism. As a result they began to avoid conflicts. In some cases this meant theods withdrew within themselves. That is they ceased to interact with other theods. This has not changed for several years though I believe it is beginning to. Other groups while they may not have withdrawn have sought friendlier relations with those not of their theods. They have changed their approach to other theodsmen and even non-theodsmen. All of this has lead to the lack of conflict within Theodism Without the stress of ongoing conflicts they were able to think more clearly, and even more conflicts were avoided. Perhaps this came with age and maturity, but a lot of it can be owed to simply being tired of the conflicts.
The result of all of this is that Theodism is much more peaceful than at anytime in the past. There are theodsmen that will not speak to each other because of past conflicts, and not a few perhaps that hold certain other theodsmen in contempt, but to date this has not lead to further conflicts. Theodish Belief is now very much more drama free. It is to the point that we have folks becoming Theodish because they are tired of the drama in greater Heathenry, and want a drama free experience of Heathenry. Perhaps in time even those theodsmen that no longer speak to each other can mend fences. It is my hope that this grith will continue. It has been nice these last few years to see Theodism grow without the conflicts of the past driving people away.