Polytheistic Reconstructionism is a movement that first came into being in the late 1960s to early 1970s. It gathered momentum in the 1990s to 2000s thanks to the internet and its ability to connect remote people to each other. The main aim of Polytheistic Reconstructionism is to re-establish historical polytheistic religions in the modern world. Reconstructionist religions are based on the surviving record, and on surviving folkloric practices of whatever culture of focus.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s a few groups of people in north America and in Europe decided separately to revitalize ancient indigenous religions. The religions revitalized (or reconstructed) were the Germanic religion of the Viking Era, the Hellenic religion, the Roman religion, and the Romuva religion. In the 1990s there were also serious attempts at reconstructing the ancient Russian and Celtic religions.
Some rules that they followed were:
- There is no attempt to recreate a combined pan-European paganism.
- Researchers attempt to stay within research guidelines developed over the course of the past century for handling documentation generated in the time periods that they are studying.
- A multi-disciplinary approach is utilized capitalizing on results from various fields as historical literary research, anthropology, religious history, political history, archeology, forensic anthropology, historical sociology, etc. with an overt attempt to avoid pseudo-sciences.
- There are serious attempts to recreate culture, politics, science and art of the period in order to better understand the environment within which the religious beliefs were practiced. (1)
Unverified Personal Gnosis:
Unverified Personal Gnosis or UPG for short represents the idea that someones spiritual insights or intuitions may be valid for them with out it being generalized to other people's experiences. The term seems to have originated in the 1970s and 1980s among the Polytheistic Reconstructionist community. The term is used ideally to differentiate between ideas found in ancient sources and other modern ones. These ideas however, must not contradict any information known from archeological or literary evidence.
Some rules to follow when using UPG:
(1) The information is a reflection upon what is known of Irish history,
(2) rejection of what is conclusively known that the Irish did not do, and
(3) experimentation is allowed on what is considered a modern invention based on the archeological records, and what is known of myths and folklore.
(4) ALWAYS label it as UPG clearly, and be ready to defend it.
(1) Linzie, Bill. Uncovering the Effects of Cultural Background on the Reconstruction of Ancient Worldviews. 8th March 2004. Accessed 26 July, 2012. <http://www.angelfire.com/nm/seidhman/cultural_bkgd.pdf> pp. 5-6