What is the basis of Waincraft?

“Is Waincraft a type of religion based around historic and/or archaeological research into the parent group of the Indo-European Language? Or is it more about synchronizing commonalities in the descendants of that parent group?

A little of column A, a little of column B. However, Waincraft is less focused on language/linguistic groups and more on the essence of how spirits have manifested in particular landscapes.

But defining that essence required pretty equal amounts of intense research into varying European and neighboring Eurasian cultures and their extant mythologies, and cross cultural comparison to find commonalities that might speak to the “god behind the gods” sort of concept. The goal was to figure out what sorts of spirits are truly and uniquely tied to a particular place, and what sorts are more universal, and which qualities define those more universal spirits across all their manifestations, and which are due to localization.

Also, Waincraft is not a theistic-centric religion, but closer to traditional animism. It recognizes and honors several different types of other-than-human beings and its practitioners are not required to work with all of those types equally. Some may just want to work with the Tribes, or with the dead, or the gods, or one spirit in particular. The only thing that is required to consider oneself a follower of Waincraft is a dedication to the ideal of orthopsychy and a sincere desire with appropriate actions to reconnect with the world around one, all the rest is window dressing (the cosmology and theology are designed to help with these core bits, but are not necessarily compulsory if they don’t speak to a particular person).

Working with Waincraft outside of a Euro-American paradigm

“So if you’ve already got a (rough) cosmology and a theology, how would one go about approaching Waincraft if they were say… working primarily with a diverse set of Abrahamic demons and Lucifer and sometimes some angels who put up with your wise-assing?

 

A very good question!

There are a couple of different ways someone could go about it.

The first would be to adopt Waincraft side-by-side with the previous paradigm, similar in manner to Christopagans, Japanese Shinto-Buddhists, etc. This way, one could work with and honor each side in its own context or combine them for a fully rounded spirituality

Another would be syncretism. The theology of Waincraft is fairly syncretic to begin with, and with thoughtful and creative tampering could likely work for non-Eurasian/European paradigms. For example, with regards to the Powers, almost all of them are tied to a specific common natural phenomenon (the earth, the sun, the moon, the ocean, fire, etc.). Many demons and angels are also tied to these phenomena in various lore, so theoretically, these demons and/or angels could be worked with in those particular roles. Also, SPG indicates that most, if not all, Abrahamic spirits share common ancestry with the spirits of the Tribes and the Fair Folk via the First God (Night/Star Mother), so again, there is little conflict there.

A third option would be to, as I mentioned, not use the framework cosmology and simply focus on reintegration/reconnection and orthopsychy. This is the very fringe of Waincraft with little commonalities to other versions, but I am OfficiallyTM OKing that as valid “Waincrafting” if people want to do things that way

What is the difference between Waincraft and Vanatru?

In your own words, I would like you to explain how you think Vanatru and Waincraft are different, because this is a thing that confuses a lot of people.

Certainly!

The original Waincraft was a lot more similar to Vanatru than its current incarnation, which is probably part of the issue.

People who have read the book and conflated Waincraft with their own Heathenry also haven’t helped (I’m specifically thinking of Volmarr, here)

To me, Vanatru as it’s commonly practised is still a specifically Heathen paradigm, using specific Germanic/Nordic (and/or possibly Gallo-Germanic depending on the scope) deities, spirits and cosmology. Vanatru itself ranges from strict recon Heathenry with just a focus on the three specifically-named Vanir to a more mystical and spirit-centered version such as your own.

Waincraft is intentionally not culture specific (except where it tries to be a spiritual resource relevant our modern culture), though its initial phase drew heavily on both Heathenry and Celtic Recon, hence the prevalence of those two influences even still. The material as set forth in the book is almost entirely “lead by example” to show how the model can be frameworked into various pre-existing mythologies and/or cultures, or taken on its own with some additional work. The only “intentional” similarity at this point to any type of Vanatru are the Tribes, but that’s because of certain agreements I made with various spirits while creating the model.

To use an analogy, if Heathenry as a whole is Christianity, and Vanatru is the Unitarians or Quakers, Waincraft is Baha’i or Theosophy (sorry for the really bad analogy, but there really isn’t one that works properly) – common generalities of belief and practice, but rather different in specifics.

Waincraft can be integrated into specific pre-existing mythologies, as I mentioned before, and certainly Heathenry, and thus Vanatru, could be practised in the Waincraft manner, but they are not synonymous by any means. For example, one of my students is working through the program and model from a strictly Celtic basis, and I myself don’t focus on any particular culture at all, but work with the model in the abstract/archetypal.

Waincraft Training Program

How can I join the Waincraft Training Program?

The Waincraft Training Program is a 3-year (can be longer if people want to extend it), 3-phase curriculum designed to do a couple of things:

1. Immerse participants in their bioregion through intensive study, experientials, and contemplation
2. Assist participants in discovering and manifesting their orthopsychy, which is their unique ideal role in the great pattern of existence, typified by a metaphorical “picture” or identity. Frex, mine is the Twilight Spinner, someone who spins tales and songs and paths in the changing time.
3. Educate and enable participants in assisting others with the above two points, as well as providing “clergy” services such as counseling, divination, and support; potentially some magical services as well.

Phase 1 is a minimum yearlong intensive focusing on bioregional orientation, introspection, writings on the Waincraft model including theology and cosmology, establishment of regular practice in meditation, cleansing and warding, and forming relationships with several of the Cosmological Beings categories.

Phase 2 is a time-indefinite journey through shadow work, healing, death/ancestor/Underworld work, intensive work with one of the Tribes and learning their mysteries and practices, and practicing wholeness and integrity.

Phase 3 is roughly equivalent to clergy training in other traditions, including unique-to-Waincraft practices that I’ve developed such as the Council of All Beings oracle, manifestation of their orthopsychy, initiation and counseling training, as well as creation and practice of more advanced magical and ritual and the imparting of certain mysteries.

At this time, the program consists solely of Phase 1 participants working in solitude with myself as the mentor. Should there be an influx of students before we have some complete all three phases, I may set up a forum or similar setting to keep things all together.

Some more, though currently limited, information can be found on the Hall of Ravens website: Waincraft Training Program

What is Waincraft?

Could you explain Waincraft, please? Like, what is it?

Well the short version is that Waincraft is a New Religious Movement (NRM) derived from the melding between neopaganism, animism, bioregionalism and depth psychology, focusing on a portable, adaptable cosmology that still carries meaning and relevance across multiple landscapes and biomes, as well as helping create an ecocentric worldview (à la Plotkin) for the future by encouraging people to find and manifest their unique gifts and deepest calling – the power, identity and actions that make their soul sing, which I have termed orthopsychy as a counter to the typical religious foci on orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

The cosmology features 6 distinct-ish (there’s a great deal of overlap in practice) categories of other-than-human beings that inhabit existence with us – the Powers, the Tribes, the Fair Folk, the Relations, the Elemental or Nature Spirits, and the Dead.

The Powers is a pantheon of variably 24 personified natural and/or conceptual phenomena (variable because some biomes do not contain certain elements/forces, others may need more or different than the “standard” 24) that, by and large, can also be found in most or all European/IE mythologies and occasionally in neighboring non-IE ones (Finno-Ugric, Magyar, Basque, Kartvelian, frex), mostly because they’re common across the world (i.e., the sun shines everywhere, night comes everywhere, etc., not counting the polar extremes during the solstices).

The Tribes are denizens of the Otherworld that represent and embody specific mysteries of life and development – e.g., Birth, Memory, Initiation, Magic, etc. Waincraft works with 23 of these Tribes, each associated with a particular animal or animal type. (For those interested, yes, these are the same Tribes as those of the Vanir/Eshnahai as elicudated here.*). Their main focus as far as the [Waincraft Training Program] goes, to which I’ve gotten agreements for, is “adopting” participants during phase 2 to help them with finding and embodying their orthopsychy; however, for general practitioners, they are still approachable and well worth the time of cultivating a relationship with even outside of the program.

The Fair Folk are the fairies, pixies, tomte/nissen, brownies, domovoi, elves, dwarves, daoine sidhe, dusii, leszi, vilas, nymphs, satyrs, etc. – those non-corporeal beings that primarily or exclusively reside in the “physical” world but aren’t the spirits of animals, plants, or elemental forces. This category is one of the blurriest, as some of the fair folk are actually Tribes-people, others are larger elementals, and some are active Dead.

The Relations are the bodies and spirits of all the animals, plants, fungi, protozoans, etc., that inhabit or have inhabited the physical world. Basically, if it’s on the Eukaryote family tree, it’s a Relation.

The Elemental or Nature spirits are the personification of actual individual elemental/non-“living” objects – raindrops and swamps and oceans, flames and lightning and volcanoes, breezes and winds and tornadoes, stones and metals and mountains, etc.

The Dead are, of course, those in the Homo family tree that are no longer corporeal, from H. habilis to the approximately 14k who died today and every day.

There is a cosmological orientation of 14 – 7 physical directions and their corresponding mirrors in the Otherworld. Above, Below, North, South, East, West and Center. Each of the cosmological beings is associated with one of the directions – Above is the sky, clouds and mountains, while the Upperworld is associated with the Powers, who represent and embody knowledge, archetype and unities; East is the closest to Above, and is the realm of the Elemental Spirits; South follows the descending spiral and is the realm of the Relations; Below is under the ground, caves, tunnels, all existence that cannot be seen from the surface, and the Underworld is the realm of the Dead; West is the closest to Below, and is the realm of the Tribes, who represent and embody mysteries, wisdom and diversity; North continues the ascent as a double helix, and is the realm of the Fair Folk, intermediaries between Spirit and Soul. And Center, between and touching all, is humanity, because this is a model and cosmology created by humans for humans and human development.

There are only two “worlds” to speak of, this world and the Otherworld. Both are divided into three realms of Under, Upper, Middle or Sea, Sky, and Soil Land (see what I did there? :P)

Religious observances will vary based on both the needs of the practitioner and the cycle of the local bioregion, but the basic solar and lunar events are encouraged (solstices, equinoctes, and dark and full moons). Following common myths, Waincraft typically places the year-shift at the winter solstice, but it could equally be at the vernal or autumnal equinox, summer solstice, or one of the cross-quarter days should those be included (Feast of the Dead is a good candidate). The book included all of the “standard” Wheel of the Year observances with non-culture-specific names, as well as a twelve-day observance for the winter solstice, a Feast of the Dead mirror on May Eve/Walpurgisnacht, and an observance for the Fair Folk which can take place at any point throughout the year (the book places it in late autumn based off the Heathen Álfablót)

The primary focus in regular practice should be on integrating physical and spiritual realities, re-enchanting and re-animating the world. Learn the name and personality of your local mountain, forest, rivers, desert, cliffs, etc. Leave out offerings for the spirits who take the form of ants. Know the signs of the seasons. Be able to converse with the tree in your backyard. Pay reverence to the sun as zie goes through the dance of the year. Do the same for the moon in zir dance. Make new myths about the rain and the sun and the mountains and the birds and the rabbits, based on how they actually act in your bioregion. Praise the light of dawn and embrace the comfort of night. The passage of time is a god, the same god who dances with the bears and has an overflowing cornucopia – time is wealth and abundance. Learn where your food comes from, your water, your air. From what direction the storm? What stars dance solemnly above, and what is the pattern of their dance? How is Hare’s mystery of Renewal echoed in the rabbits in springtime? How is Serpent’s wisdom and magic echoed in a garter snake, or a cobra, or an iguana? How is the Otherworld mirrored in the one that surrounds you, and how does it mirror in turn? What role do you have to play in the dance that goes on around you? Everything is connected, but how have you removed yourself or been removed from the wider pattern?

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*Note: Waincraft is not associated or affiliated with Vanatru or Heathenry, but it does share this particular group of spirits with certain strains of Vanatru and Vanic practice.

Waincraft Wednesdays

As part of the push to get content and material for Waincraft, as well as answer questions people may have, a new series has been started on the official Tumblr, The Compleat Waincraft. Every Wednesday from midnight EST to midnight PST (27 hours), people are encouraged to submit a question or thought, which will be answered/shared either same day or the next.

These questions can be on any aspect of Waincraft, its cosmology, theology, praxis, theory, spirits, history, or anything else related to bioregionalism, animism, religion and transpersonal and eco-psychology.

Questions previously asked and answered will be posted here on the blog over the next few days.

A New Look

Those who pay attention will notice that a lot of changes are going on here at the Waincraft main site. This is a result of some new insights and explorations into this model.

Stay tuned for more!