|Date:||August 5, 2014|
Before reconstructionism as it is can be discussed, some of the more prominent misunderstandings need to be addressed in order to explain what it is not. The popular belief that reconstructionism is an attempt to recreate the “Viking world” and to recreate the objects and events associated with that is a misunderstanding which has given rise to one of the more common arguments posed against it. That is “Ásatrúis a living breathing religion, and we should be focused on growing and developing instead of trying to go back in time or simply imitate rituals.” The reality however, is that reconstructionism has nothing to do with ‘things’ or ‘events’. The heathen reconstructionist should have no interest in rebuilding the “Viking world” or the “heathen way of life” as it was a millennia ago. Certainly there are groups of modern heathens who choose to wear Viking Age garb during events and there are those that have attempted to construct particular social structures or imitate rituals exactly as they are described in history texts. These should not be mistaken for the reconstructionism of heathenry however. That’s not what they are. They are simply ‘things’ and ‘actions. If reconstructionism was about imitating events, objects, or even rituals then it may well be renamed “reenactment” and it would indeed be a static and rigid pursuit.
It is also said of reconstructionism (as it pertains to heathenry) that it is the process of reconstructing an ancient heathen religion. On the surface this would appear to be true, and it is to some degree, but this definition inherently omits any of the reality behind that process. It fails to address exactly whatis really being reconstructed, and it neglects the process of how an individual goes about that reconstruction. If it is a religion, then on what terms is it being reconstructed? Is the religion being ciphered out of a vague understanding of an entirely foreign culture like broken jewelry out of sand and wired together to the shape and understanding of a modern American with a Judeo-Christian background? If this is the case, then one cannot claim that the end result of this process is a reconstructed religion when it is