The EFC teaches that our folk have inhabited the eastern parts of Britain (now England), the Scandinavian lands and north western Europe since the end of the last ice age at least. More recent migrations of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes and other Norse peoples were little more than internal migrations of the same people who were already inhabiting these lands. They were very closely related to the peoples of western Britain and Europe, especially the Belgae, Gauls and Britons. The English are therefore native to what we now call England and are not immigrants.
In the early years, our lands were connected by a low lying area known as Dogger Land. This was a very fertile and pleasant area to live and may have formed the focal point of our ancestors’ homeland. As the ice melted and the seas rose, the Dogger area flooded and the North Sea was created. Large numbers of people migrated out of the area southwards into southern Europe, the Middle East and further west, even into India as one of the great migrations of our folk. It is the EFC’s belief that the original Israelites were descended from these people.
Our ancestors worshipped a single God, we call All Father. He is manifest through all things and was known to them through various spirit beings He created for that purpose. This religion, much the same as that of the Druids, held universal truths, but was not a universal religion. These universal truths were held by many peoples around the world, including the ancient Israelites. But everywhere they had become corrupted over time. Jesus came to restore the original religion; not to create a new one. The EFC teaches that Jesus visited ancient Britain to make contact with the Druids and that Druidry formed an important element of his ministry in the Holy land.
The aim of the EFC is to restore as best we can our original folk faith in the manner Jesus intended. Not the idol worship and superstition it had become, but the true religion passed down to us by All Father God and taught by Jesus Christ. Although imperfect, our ancestors in the period immediately prior to the Christian era still had a good perception and understanding of God. In fact, the Heathen culture often applied the teachings of Christ better than the Churchianity that replaced it. Our ancient myths and stories are important sources of this understanding.
God is pure spirit; eternal essence and uncreated energies, a single entity without division. God’s eternal essence transcends the created cosmos and exists outside of time and space as we know it. But His uncreated energies are immanent in the created world, existing within and throughout all matter. And the manifestation of the divine energies within our world as spirit and thought do take on the appearance of separate personas. This is a little like considering a human being, who whilst a single person does have a body, mind and spirit which may at times appear to be different and act independently. This is where we get the old saying ‘the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak’. This is what the doctrine of the holy Trinity is teaching us.
The underlying nature of God is made up of attributes such as love, order and creativity. These are the principles by which creation has been brought about and by which it is ordered. We call God’s nature, Wyrd or Orlog, which literally means the primal law. It is the underlying nature of God which governs the cosmos. The way we interact with God’s nature affects the unfolding of creation, both positively and negatively. In this way, our past actions collectively and individually affect our present and future. It is our spiritual and moral duty to align ourselves with God’s nature to help the positive evolution of creation.
God is creating the cosmos out of the void we call Ginnungagap, through a process of intermingling two equal but opposite energies represented in our mythology as fire and ice. These primal energies are known in mythology as Giants (Eotens or Ettins); Fire Giants of the land of Fire and Frost Giants of the land of Ice. The process of creation is on going; creating order out of chaos. But the process requires God’s constant active energies to keep it evolving forwards and prevent a reversion to chaos. The process of creation is therefore incomplete; being a continual and evolving ‘coming into being’. Imperfection exists and is inherent within and throughout our world, though it is essentially good. As creation evolves into unity with God, so imperfection will reduce and eventually cease.
This process of evolutionary creation is reflected in the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It can be seen in the pattern of day following night, summer following winter and the agricultural cycle. These patterns reflect God’s own creative energies and have been expressed mythologically as Sky Father impregnating Earth Mother to create the new life. It is also powerfully reflected in the Christian story of the nativity.
God has created a great many spirit beings that permeate the natural world around us. These are our folk gods and goddesses and the Ælfe (or Elfs); referred to in the Bible as part of Elohim or the Divine Council. They are immensely important spiritual beings assigned specifically to our folk group as tribal guardians or wardens. Spirit beings also include the land and water wights – guardians of our holy places. Although sometimes confused with angels in the popular mind, these spirit beings are not angels as such as they have free will. Neither are they the ‘fallen angels’. The EFC believes that dishonouring our ancient gods as devils has been the greatest deceit the Church has forced on our folk. We do not deny the existence of malign spiritual entities; our ancient tradition tells us of these too - the Deorc Aelfe for instance.
God’s spirit resides within all created beings. It is through the Spirit that we are animated and connected to God and to our folk gods and goddesses. The Greeks called God’s spirit the Christos or ‘Spirit of Truth’. The mind of God, his ‘word’, is called the ‘Logos’. The spirit and mind of All Father God was revealed to our ancestors through the folk gods and goddesses and they are still with us now. In Christ, God came amongst us as a human.
Jesus of Nazareth was born into our world. The EFC does not teach that a literal belief in the virgin birth is necessary to believe that God dwelt amongst us in Jesus. Two Gospels relate the story, two do not. Neither does Paul refer to it. It may be literally true or a powerful myth to emphasise that, in Jesus, the Spirit of God (the Christos) and the mind of God (the Logos) dwelt amongst us.
The resurrection story is part of the birth, death, rebirth cycle that forms the basis of our pre-Christian folk religion. It tells us of how in God we will be raised out of death and be reborn into life. But it also tells of how we will be raised up - perfected and made whole with God and in God. Whilst the human Jesus died on the cross, his physical body was transformed and raised up into heaven, one with All Father God.
The natural law of God (Orlog) is embodied in the ancient Holy Runes. It is through the Runes that we come to a meaningful understanding both of ourselves and of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. This understanding, or Gnosis, leads us to a union with the Spirit of Truth (or Christos). It is this Gnosis that Woden searches for in Mythology and which he finds in the Runes.
The holy scriptures of the Christian era contain divine wisdom and inspiration, but are not the complete and infallible word of God to be taken literally in every instance. The English Folk Church also recognises the importance of our ancient mythology and poems such as Dream of the Rood and the continental Saxon Gospel ‘The Heliand’.
Humankind is not born into a state of original sin, but rather a state of imperfection reflecting the incompleteness of creation as a whole. This condition is perfected through the teaching, healing and knowledge of the Christos that gently draws us closer to God. By leading positive lives, and responding to the Christos, we can move towards a higher level of spiritual evolution and perfection until we finally achieve wholeness in God. For most people, this process continues beyond our mortal, earthly lives.
The myth of the Holy Grael is a powerful part of English folklore. Legend holds that Jesus accompanied his great uncle, St Joseph of Arimathea, to the south west of modern day England as a young boy. The EFC teaches that during this time He was instructed by Druids and that this ancient British religion – a close relation of ancient Germanic religion - formed the basis of His teachings and His altercations with the Pharisees. Later on, the cup that he used at the last supper, the cup that held the blood of Christ and represents the covenant between God and his holy people, was brought by St Joseph to Glastonbury where the first Christian Church outside of Jerusalem was established. The myth of the Holy Grael has strong links with our ancient myths of the cauldron of knowledge and the myth of the mead of inspiration. The search for knowledge that underlies these myths is the search for true Gnosis, understanding or enlightenment. True Gnosis is achieved through unifying with the Spirit of Truth – the Christos – that dwells within each one of us. This is the true meaning of the quest for the Grael.
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