Saxon Paganism is a spiritual path inspired by pre-Christian English beliefs and traditions. This path is sometimes called Fyrn Sidu, and is similar to other northern European religions such as Forn Sed (Swedish Paganism) and Forn Siðr (Danish Paganism). When we say “Saxon”, we use the term in its broader sense to include all of the Germanic peoples who migrated to England from the 3rd century onward; Angles, Jutes, Frisians, Swabians and Franks, as well as the Saxons themselves.
Paganism is an umbrella term which includes all religions other than Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The word comes from the Latin paganus, meaning a country dweller. Pagan is synonymous with the word Heathen, which comes from the Old English hæðen, meaning a person who lives on the heath. Today many people use the word Heathen in a more specific sense to mean a polytheist who follows a northern European tradition. Both of these words – Pagan and Heathen – originally had the implication of “hick”, but are now being reclaimed by people of many religions who are proud of their earth-centered spirituality.
Saxon Paganism is a reconstruction of the spiritual traditions that inspired Tolkien to compose his beloved Lord of the Rings novels. I’ve found that people are often confused by the idea of reconstruction. This is not the same as reenactment. The Saxon Pagan doesn’t live in the past. Instead, he draws his inspiration from the past to reconstruct a viable expression of spirituality for the present and future. We look to the same sources as Tolkien did – Old English poems, Beowulf, early healing charms, the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem and English folklore – rediscovering a lost world of wonder and courage.