Elders and Godwo/men
The goal of this programme is to give the wo/men who will be the leaders and teachers among the true folk a full background in the history, religion, and tradition of our ancestors. This deep understanding is needed to keep the folk of the Troth true to the ways of our elder kin and to make the Troth a living way of being in the world today.
In the course of time, we mean to set up a teaching-stead with a large book-hoard and a full range of teachers and materials - with sufficient success, even to become officially recognised as a body capable of granting degrees in Germanic studies. In the meantime, we shall still give the best teaching of which we are able, on a level comparable to that of a university.
Elder Training Programme
The Elder Training Programme consists of needful studies, which all who have chosen this way must undertake in some form, and chosen studies, with which you may work according to your interests and skills. As they appear here, the chosen studies are guidelines, not requirements, and may be changed freely.
All Elders must have credit for all the needful studies and for at least nine of the chosen studies. The needful studies are listed in the order in which they would ideally be taught to someone with no background. This order can, and probably will, be rearranged to suit your individual need, as you and the Elder with whom you do most of your work shall decide. In very exceptional cases when someone has shown great leadership and teaching abilities or done great deeds for the Troth, it is possible for him/her to be recognised as an Elder without having yet fulfilled all the needful studies, though she/he will still bear the responsibility for bringing her/himself up to standard. All Elders should be able to teach the basic course as set out here, as well as having their own areas of specialization.
For the academic studies, University courses shall be counted as corresponding credits. Previous independent work shall be credited if you can show written material (articles in a newsletter, private work, or whatever), or if, by personal speech or letters, you can show your Elder that you know the material well enough to be credited for it. Otherwise, you will be asked to write a paper (at least 8 pages, as much longer as you like) for each credit. The paper will be deemed Unready (given back with suggestions for rewriting), Fulfilled (one copy given back, one kept in the book-hoard of the Troth), or Useful (one copy kept in the book-hoard, one given back with the strong rede that you either submit it for publication in Idunna or, if it is very long, allow it to be given out as a Troth publication). In this way, the fruits of your work will do the whole Troth good.
The working studies will be deemed according to their needs and merits. For credit in the areas of skills and crafts, you must either perform or show your works at one of the greater Troth blessings for the delight of the folk. If you are not able to make it to a feast yourself, you may send items, photographs of your work, or taped performances for display.
You can either choose to follow the general programme as it is laid out here, or to work on a project which will include elements from most of the needful studies. If you wish to do such a project, or if you wish to carry out your work in relationship to a specific aspect of our tradition, the Elder who is best qualified to deal with supervising your subject will be asked to oversee your training. You may have another plan of your own altogether: so long as it seems to give you the needful breadth of learning, we will accept it and do our best to help you fulfill it. The Troth does not wish to make intellectual or spiritual clones: there are many ways within our tradition, all of which are needful for us to become a whole folk. You, as an Elder, will be expected to have your own views, your own goals, and your own way of furthering the troth of our ancestors.
The books listed below are not requirements, but suggestions. If you have others which fulfill the same purposes, or are more appropriate to your studies, then use those by all means. Most of these texts also appear on the recommended Hearth/Garth reading lists with full bibliography; that data is, thus, only supplied here for those which are not on the general lists. Books especially recommended are marked with a star.
Common Germanic and Early Mythology
Early Germanic History (before 300 C.E.)
Migration Age History (300-793 C.E.)
Viking Age History (793-1100 C.E.)
Teutonic Revival History (1100 C.E. - today)
Indo-European Culture and Religion
General Survey of World Cultural History
Modern Conceptions and Misconceptions of the Teutonic Path
Methodologies and Critical Theory
Theological and Philosophical Principles
Basic Principles of Ritual, Mythology, and Religion
An Historical and Philosophical Evaluation of christianity
These studies must be demonstrated practically. If distance and schedule make it impossible for the Warder of the Lore or an Elder to see what you are doing, the requirements can be proven as follows.
Write up a full description of a blessing done by yourself for your Garth and/or others (the planned ritual, its progression, how, if necessary, you dealt with changes in the plan). If possible, get a few of the folk who were there to write brief descriptions of the proceedings.
Send a description of your Hearth/Garth's organization (officers and/or active performers in ritual) and of its functions, study meetings, and rituals. This description should be signed by a majority of the group's members.
Education Work Outside the Troth:
This can cover a wide spectrum. Qualificatory activities include, but are not limited to: writing a book or producing a magazine/newsletter which is distributed widely outside the Troth (at least 200 copies or subscriptions sold to non-members); at least three talks given in a non-Troth venue (the Unitarian Church, Pagan Student Alliance, or similar organizations), verified by a letter from the host; hosting a major event open to the community (such as the recent Freya Aswynn tour); and classes in Teutonic religion or magic held for non-Troth members. If you have done other work which you think qualifies in this area, present it to the Warder or Elder supervising you for discussion.
at least for a reading knowledge, listed in rough order of priority:
(not absolutely needful, but not having at least a reading knowledge of it is a crippling lack in Germanic studies). Nearly all universities and community colleges have facilities for night classes and so forth in German. If yours does not, call the German department and ask them to recommend a private tutor.
Modern Scandinavian Dialects
Fellow Folks' Studies:
Celtic Myth and Religion
Celtic History and Culture
Steppes Folks' Studies
Traditional Design & Ornamentation
and anything else that seems to fit here
Charm Spells and Folk Magic
Elder Training: Application Guidelines
The first set of questions must be answered in full. The second set of questions deals with materials which will have nothing to do with your acceptance into the programme, but may be helpful to the Elder with whom you work. These latter questions are of secondary importance, as well as being occasionally quite personal, and therefore may be answered or not as you choose. If you are writing out your answers by hand, please print, as I am very bad at reading other people's handwriting.
Send your completed letter of application to the Warder of the Lore, c/o the Troth.
Why do you wish to become an Elder?
What is your experience within Germanic heathendom?
How long have you been a member of the Troth?
What educational or other background do you have which applies to the general course of study outlined above? A description of your linguistic skills is especially important in helping us choose texts for your study.
Describe any special relationship you have to the god/esses or principles of the Troth.
Describe your plans for your Eldership.
What sort of resources do you have with regards to locating recommended texts (University library, local library, private collections, or other sources)?
Are you committed to a long-term relationship?
If so, what is the spiritual orientation of your Significant Other?
How supportive of your Troth work can you expect your environment in general to be?
Give a short description of your religious background and/or significant spiritual events in your life.
Outline your educational and/or work history, and briefly describe your plans for the next five years or so.
Anything else you think is relevant.
Godwo/man Training Programme
The purpose of the Godwo/man, or "Lay Clergy" training programme is to train and sanction a stable base of responsible individuals who are interested in working within our community in a ministerial capacity. Godwo/men are the ones who lead at the most local level, who hold the blessings for their folk, co-ordinate study groups, and do basic counseling and "ministering". Their role might be compared to that of career sergeants in the military: they are practical, concerned with dealing with the situations at hand and taking care of their own people, without spending a great deal of time on research or long-term strategy.
Godwo/men must be able to show a basic knowledge of the primary sources (the Eddas and sagas) and some familiarity with the most important secondary literature (Turville-Petre, H.R. Ellis-Davidson) - in other words, to have mastered most of the texts on the Hearth recommended reading list and the most needful and accessible of those on the Garth list. A Godwo/man should be able to give a solid introduction to the Northern religion and co-ordinate a study group. A Godwo/man must be able to work a blessing or other ritual competently and, at need, to show others how to do so as well. S/he should be able to express the root beliefs of the Troth clearly, though is not expected to engage in intense public debates on religion (unless s/he has a clear talent in that direction). Most important, however, is that s/he be a stable, mature person who is capable of caring for other true folk, willing to listen to their problems in times of crisis and at horrible hours of the night and help to the best of his/her ability, and able to perform basic counselling and refer those who need more help to the appropriate specialists. Since from time to time serious crises do occur among our folk (as in every community), it is thought very important that Godwo/men develop a comprehensive referral system focusing on qualified professional individuals within mainstream society. Such a referral system should include the names of doctors, lawyers, and counsellors, etc., who are sympathetic to the often unique needs of those in the community of the true.
Godwo/men are qualified to perform all the blessings of the Troth, including weddings and burials, and to lead Garths. They are expected to hold the greater blessings of the year, along with such other rites as seem needful, and to co-ordinate and encourage both study and practice within their own Garths.
A Godwo/man must be over twenty-one, and really should have at least a high school degree or the equivalent thereof, although this is not abolutely needful.
A Godwo/man must be a member in good standing of the Troth.
The period of training/evaluation for a Godwo/man shall last at least a year. The purpose of this is not only to make sure of the candidate's command of the basic lore and ritual capability, but to observe his/her general stability and ability to work with the folk.
A Godwo/man must show an acceptable ground-level standard of Germanic lore, religion, runology (need not be a runic magician, but should be able to write and read runes and have a basic idea of their magical meanings), cosmology, history, and knowledge of the seasonal blessings.
Ideally, a Godwo/man candidate will be sponsored and/or trained by an Elder, though this is not needful. The Warder of the Lore shall do his best to put Godwo/man trainees into contact with Elders who may be able to train or guide them.
Role of Warder of the Lore in the Godwo/man Training Programme
The Warder of the Lore (or his designate) may exclude or expel individuals from the Godwo/man training programme if their behaviour is not in accord with the values and goals of the Troth.
The Warder of the Lore (or his designate) has final word on all disagreements arising from the Godwo/man training programme.
The Warder of the Lore is free to add to or expand upon the programme as it stands.
The Warder of the Lore must abide by the minimal criteria listed above.
Godwo/man's Conduct and Deeds
The Godwo/man must agree to act in the best interests of the Troth at all times.
The Godwo/man must present him/herself in such a manner as to bring respect and honour to the Troth and the religion of the North.
The Godwo/man must hold the greater blessings of the year.
The Godwo/man must keep the local Steward aware of all his/her personal or group activities which pertain to the Troth.
Applications should be sent to the Warder of the Lore c/o the Troth. Please type or print, as the Warder of the Lore is very bad at reading other people's handwriting.
Full legal name
Troth or magical name by which you would like to be known, if you have such.
Date of birth.
A brief description of why you want to enter the Godwo/man programme.
A short description of how and why you wish to serve the Gods and the Folk.
A general overview of your background in lore and practice.
Godwo/men can be trained and certified as capable by any Elder. Upon certification at this level, the Godwo/man is then recommended to the High Rede, which, unless there is serious reason to doubt his/her qualifications or psychological state, will promptly charter her/him as an official Godwo/man of the Troth.
The original Elder Training Programme was developed by Edred Thorsson, first Warden of the Lore. The current one is based on the original, somewhat revised by Edred's successor KveldúlfR Gundarsson.
The Godwo/man Training Programme was largely developed by Magnus Þórfinnson, Hawkmoon, and KveldúlfR, with helpful comments from Freya Aswynn.