|"Atlantean figures" from the Nahua culture of the Toltecs at Tula. photo: wikipedia.org|
The Church Of Thor And Odin
|Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and other members of Ásatrúarfélagið walk to a blót at Þingvellir in the summer of 2009. photo: wikipedia.org|
A church called Asatruarfelagid has been building up followers to bring back the worship of Thor and Odin. It’s bigger than you might imagine—currently, they had 2,400 followers. They even opened their own shrine, a circular temple overlooking Reykjavik. There, ordained priests of Nordic religion host weddings, funerals, and ancient rituals.
|The Ásatrú graveyard in Reykjavík photo: wikipedia.org|
Their rituals are a bit different from how the Vikings did it. For one thing, they don’t sacrifice children anymore. They do, however, hold craft nights and social get-togethers that are a great way to make new friends. Oh, and they give out a lot of free coffee and snacks.
|Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson at a blót in 1991 photo: wikipedia.org|
The new religion has little in common with the vicious pagan beliefs that inspired it. To the followers, though, it’s more about connecting to their culture than about believing in ancient myths. They see the myths as “poetic metaphors,” not as something to be taken literally, and their worship as a celebration of the culture they came from.
The Oldest Monotheistic Religion
|Sadeh in Tehran, 2011) photo: wikipedia.org|
Zoroastrianism has been traced back to the sixth century BC, and it’s been called the first monotheistic religion on earth. The faith has never been completely wiped out, but it’s certainly not as strong as it once was.
|Parsi Navjote ceremony (rites of admission into the Zoroastrian faith) photo: wikipedia.org|
They don’t believe in evangelizing or converting others over to their faith, and so its followers have whittled down. Today, there only 190,000 left, most of them in India and Iran.
|Faravahar (or Ferohar), one of the primary symbols of Zoroastrianism, believed to be the depiction of a Fravashi (guardian spirit) photo: wikipedia.org|
They still keep their faith alive by holding religious classes and celebrations and by sharing ancient poetry. They also do their best to keep a fascinating burial ritual intact: sky burials. Dead Zoroastrians are not supposed to contaminate the earth with their bodies.
|A scene from the Hamzanama where Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib Burns Zarthust’s Chest and Shatters the Urn with his Ashesphoto: wikipedia.org|
Instead, they are to be left in funerary towers where vultures are free to eat their remains.Today, though, there is only one funerary tower left in the world, located in Yazd, Iran. And so the body of a Zoroastrian who wants to be buried according to his faith has to make a long trek from wherever they may live to Iran.
8 Tu’er Shen
The Chinese God Of Homosexuality
According to legends, Tu’Er Shen started life as a mortal man named Hu Tianbao, who fell in love with a man above his station. Hu Tianbao was too afraid to speak to the object of his affections and instead secretly spied on him in the bath. He was caught. The man he loved, enraged, beat Hu Tianbao to death.
|According to Zi Bu Yu (子不語), a book written by Yuan Mei (袁枚, a Qing dynasty writer), Tu Er Shen (兔兒神 or 兔神) was a mortal man called Hu Tianbao photo: antinousgaygod.blogspot.com|
He believes that homosexual Taoists need a god for their prayers, and so he has built a shrine to the rabbit god of homosexuality. There, he officiates gay weddings and encourages people to pray for help in love.
The Pagans Of Russia
|Mari orthodox monks and novices. 1894 photo: wikipedia.org|
When Christianity took over, the Mari were all but stamped out. Following their old faith became forbidden, but a few kept up the rituals in the cover of night. After midnight, they would go out to the glades and pray, risking detention and death if they were caught.Since the fall of the Soviet Union, they’ve been free to follow their faith in the open.
|Proportion of Mari in the population of Bashkortostan as of the 2002 census. photo: wikipedia.org|
6 The Return Of The Hellenes
Follower Of The Greek Gods
|Prometheus depicted in a sculpture by Nicolas-Sébastien Adam, 1762 (Louvre) photo: wikipedia.org|
Since 1996, a group of people called The Return of the Hellenes have been trying to bring the Geek gods back. The movement started with a philosophy professor named Tryphon Olympios. Today, though, he’s gathered a whole number of followers and holds full Greek festivals. One is the Prometheia Festival, dedicated to the celebration of Prometheus bring fire to humanity. Whole groups of people, some dressed in modern clothes and some in togas, come out to celebrate.
|Prometheus Brings Fire by Heinrich Friedrich Füger. Prometheus brings fire to mankind as told by Hesiod, with its having been hidden as revenge for the trick at Mecone. photo: wikipedia.org|
It’s not exactly the most historically accurate religion. For one thing, their key festival—the Prometheia Festival—didn’t exist in ancient Greece.
|Prometheus (1909) by Otto Greiner photo: wikipedia.org|
The Last Aztecs
|The Aztec sun calendar is a circular stone with pictures representing how the Aztecs measured days, months, and cosmic cycles. photo: wikipedia.org|
One of the surviving Aztecs groups, called the Nahua, are a blend of a lot of different indigenous tribes and believes, all mixed together to make something new.
|"Atlantean figures" from the Nahua culture of the Toltecs at Tula.. photo: wikipedia.org|
Some of these people still use traditional healers, who treat their illnesses with herbs, incense, and sometimes even the blood of sacrificed chickens.They keep some of the rituals alive, too—although they tend to stick with ones that involve dancing and skip over the ones that involve human sacrifice.
|Number of Nahuatl speakers per state (Mexico only) photo: wikipedia.org|
The Religion Hidden For 1,000 Years
|Romuvan ceremony photo: wikipedia.or|
A thousand years ago, the Balts lived in modern Lithuania, worshiping fire as something sacred and eternal. Their tribes built sanctuaries upon the highest hills, where their priests protected an eternally burning fire.
|The late Romuvan krivis (high priest), Jonas Trinkūnas, at 2009 feast of ancient martial arts Apuolė-854 photo: wikipedia.org|
|Žemaičių Alka photo: wikipedia.org|
When the Union fell, though, they were once again free to practice their religion in the open.Today, Romuva has grown big enough that it’s now recognized as a “non-traditional religion” in Lithuania. It’s spread to other countries, as well.
|The official symbol of the Romuvan Church of Lithuania on a flag. photo: wikipedia.org|
Congregations have opened around the world, some as far as Chicago, Boston, and Toronto.
The Religion Of Genghis Khan
|Ai-Churek, a Tuvan shaman, during a ceremony at the fire in Kyzyl, Tuva, Russiaphoto: wikipedia.org|
The most famous Tengriist is probably Genghis Khan, who stayed true to his Tengriist principles and granted freedom of religion across the land.
|Kurşun dökme (Turkey) photo: wikipedia.org|
Today, followers use the religion to connect themselves to their nation’s past. It’s been revived as a way to create a national identity that resists the influences of globalization. But it’s still inclusive, and the followers often practice other faiths at the same time.One Tengriist, Dastan Sarygulov, says that his faith is technically not a religion at all. “It’s a worldview,” he says, “which has become a lifestyle.
|Ötüken yïš is regarded as the residence of Tengri and capital city of Turks in Irk Bitig. photo: wikipedia.org|
Followers of Tengriism don’t have a holy religious book, but they follow all the spiritual and moral commandments accumulated in major religions.”Another explains that he is “half-Muslim” as well as a Tengriist, saying, “I don’t fully follow Islam, I just partially follow some Muslim rituals.”
2 Nova Roman
The Modern Roman Pantheon
|The flag of Nova Roma, based on the colours and symbols of the Roman Empire. photo: wikipedia.org|
In the 1960s, a movement calling itself the “Roman Traditionalist Movement” sparked in Italy, fighting to bring back the traditions of their Roman ancestors—including the worship of Jupiter. The effort to bring back an ancient faith has taken a lot of different forms.
|Nova Romans performing a Roman religious ceremony in Aquincum (Budapest), 2008. photo: wikipedia.org|
There are organizations all around the world with distinct ideologies, all starting their own movements to bring back the Roman gods. In the United States, the group’s called Nova Roma. They celebrate ancient Roman holidays and boast that they “try to be as historically accurate of a recreation of the religion as possible.”
The Pharaohs Of Harlem
|Private altar of a practitioner in the Czech Republic, with a statue representing Thoth featured prominently. photo: wikipedia.org|
The Egyptian gods are making a comeback in the last place you’d expect: Harlem. The religion is called Kemetism, taking its name from an ancient name for Egypt, and it already has thousands of followers.These people show up to ceremonies dressed in traditional Egyptian clothes.
|Eye of Horus photo: wikipedia.org|
They have rules dictating what clothes they can wear on each day of the week. They even have their own school that teaches their ideology.To the Kemetists, this is a chance to celebrate their African ancestry. “The people who need it the most were taken away from Africa, taken away from who they are,” one Kemetist priestess says. “We aren’t meant to be in the projects. We are meant to be in the pyramids.”
Other articles on the same theme:
- How old is the Bible? We include Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other religious movements such as the Rastafari
- Babylonian Mythology Gods
- Top 10 - atrocities committed in the name of religion including Forced Conversion to Islam, Aztec sacrifices, Inquisition or Roman persecutions
- 5 Myths About Christianity
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Listverse . Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.