Our Beliefs In Brief

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The English Folk Church proclaims there to be one eternal God, who is unchanging and exists within and beyond our world. 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 the uncreated energies are immanent in the created world, existing within and throughout all matter. In this, the EFC is Panentheistic.

 

 

 

 

The EFC is not overly dogmatic. We do not insist on literal and fundamentalist interpretations of bible stories. We do not use a microscope to analyse every word that is recorded of what Jesus said. Instead, we seek to understand the word of God as taught by Jesus through the eyes of our folk culture, what we observe in the natural world and the use of our powers of reason to guide us along the path of life. We believe that the Logos and Holy Spirit help us in this task.

 

 

 

 

This is not to say that we do not teach fundamental Christian truths. We do. We do teach that God became human in the form of Jesus of Nazareth and taught the natural divine law. We teach that he died and was reborn in glory to demonstrate the victory of life over death. We teach that he rose into heaven and remains with us to this day as the ascended or cosmic Christ. What we don’t insist on is exactly how all of this happened. We are content that some of these stories are meant as metaphor for deeper truths and it is to these deeper truths we look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The nature of God is love, order, creativity and justice. It is literally God’s Law, the natural law which governs the creation. Our ancestors called this, Wyrd or Orlog, which literally means the primal law. The way we interact with it 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 lead positive lives and to help the positive evolution of creation.

 

 

 

 

The EFC does accept the concept of God as a Holy Trinity as a means of trying to understand the divine nature. Trinities of one form and another are common in Indo European mythology, culture and social structure and so this is a natural expression of divinity for a folk faith rooted in an Indo European tradition. We find value in the thinking of the Neo-Platonists, who argued that within any object that presents itself to our senses, there are three higher spiritual principles or hypostases.  Plotinus, for instance, saw them as the One, the divine intellect or Nous and the World Soul. These roughly equate to the way the EFC views the Christian Trinity; God the Father (the One), God the Logos (the Nous) and God the Spirit or World Soul. These three ‘persons’ or ‘personas’ of the Trinity are held in a dynamic unity within God's transcendent Essence. We believe that the Divine Logos and Holy Spirit are manifest throughout our world through God’s divine energies.

 

 

 

 

 

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We believe that different spiritual beings and states of being are manifested through the uncreated energies of God through a process of unfolding or emanation. In line with the Orthodox theologian Gregory Palamas, we believe that it is through these emanations that the unknowable essence of God is revealed to us. Unlike subsequent theologians such as Niketas Stethatos and neo Platonists such as Plotinus, we do not hold to any definitive hierarchy of such beings or seek to name them all. We do, however, believe they include our folk gods and goddesses (who we call Guardians) as well as various kinds of Angels. The lowest level of being are humans and the animal kingdom. We also believe they include various states of being or divine attributes such as wisdom. The totality of these divine powers and principles, constituting the ‘heavenly realm’, is called the ‘pleroma’, a Greek word meaning fullness or totality.

 

 

 

 

 

Each emanation into our physical world of form is that bit more removed from the essence of God and that bit more imperfect, our own mortal bodies being amongst the most imperfect. However, the EFC does not hold our world to be evil or to have been created by an evil ‘demiurge’. It is essentially good, but imperfect and incomplete. Its perfection and completion will be achieved by becoming ever closer to the true reality that exists in the pleroma. This is what the Logos came, in the form of Jesus, to teach us.

 

 

 

 

Our true human nature is spiritual rather than material. We have a soul or spirit, which contains a spark of the divine, and which seeks to be reunited with the father and our ancestors in the heavenly realm. It is through the World Soul, or Holy Spirit, that we see all of creation as being in some way alive and connected to the Creator and all other parts of creation, including ourselves. The Spirit is the divine spark that lights our souls, it gives comfort and wisdom and may also manifest as nature spirits or wights. These beliefs are sometimes referred to as ‘Christian Animism’.

 

 

 

 

 

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God came amongst us in the form of Jesus and that he taught the divine natural law; universal principals such as love, honour and compassion. It is to these truths he was referring to when he said ‘nobody comes to the father except through me’. However, we do not believe that his message needs to be packaged up in a one size fits all Church religion that every Christian must adhere to. Instead, we believe that God made human kind in great diversity and is revealed to each group in different ways appropriate to their character and make up. Jesus’ words are universal because they speak to all people, but these words are best understood in the context of our indigenous folk ways. This is the essence of Folk Christianity.

 

 

 

 

We also recognise that many of the stories about Jesus have parallels in older pagan mythology. We do not see this as a threat, but rather as proof that God does indeed interact with His creation and seeks to guide us into the way of truth. God’s holy law is revealed in the pagan or heathen traditions. Jesus was the fulfilment of this, speaking to us directly as a human and as God. The Logos existed before being born into our world as Jesus and the Logos is with us now  as the ascended Cosmic Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angels are celestial beings that act as messengers for God and can intervene in human affairs. A popular belief is that we all have a Guardian Angel, not just as individuals but entire nations. The Old Testament refers to a Divine Council ruled over by God and to which the lesser gods are appointed as Guardians over the different peoples of the world, Yahweh being appointed to Israel. Whilst we do not equate Yahweh with the supreme Creator, we do recognise that all tribal Guardians are hypostases of the Creator and to some degree at least are windows to the Creator and can be seen by their Wards as the supreme creator itself. The EFC believes that the Guardians appointed to the English and other Germanic peoples are the old pantheon of pre-Christian gods and goddesses. There are two main groupings, the Ese (Aesir) and the Wanes (Vanir). Some of the Wanes are also known as Aelfe (Elfs), beings of light. Do not think of the popular perception of Elfs as ‘fairy folk’ or Dobby the House Elf in Harry Potter. They are more like the Elfs of Lord of the Rings, bright shining ‘Wise Ones’, of great beauty, wisdom and holiness.

 

 

 

 

The Guardians shaped both our native lands and our particular ethnic and cultural form, literally breathing life and their ‘godly hue’ into us making us their kin. We honour them as such, but do not worship them. 

 

 

 

 

We also acknowledge the spirits and wights of land and water referred to in our mythology. These dwell in the forests and woodland, in the landscape of our earth and in rivers, streams and marshland. The Ents are the great primordial spirits of the forest, such as Treebeard from Lord of the Rings. Wights may be friendly to humans, but some may be mischievous or even unfriendly to us, especially where we harm the natural world they inhabit and protect. Grendel is a Wight of the eastern marshes.

 

 

 

 

The Saints are the faithful departed who have attained spiritual completion or perfection and who dwell in heaven. Sainthood is therefore the aspiration of every faithful Christian, which is why we pray for the faithful departed that if they have not yet become perfected that they will do so soon. Some Saints have led notable, holy and honourable lives and are revered amongst our people. We may pray to these and other Saints known to us to ask for their prayers in heaven, but they have no power to grant us blessings or benefits themselves. The EFC particularly venerates English Saints and recognises King Alfred the Great as one of our most important. 

 

 

 

 

Our folk mythology contains a great deal of profound wisdom that we believe is given to us by the Creator before the incarnation of the Logos in Jesus of Nazareth. However, we need to be careful with myth as much of it has been lost down the ages and much has been altered so that its original meaning is not clear. Other stories have also been written to look as though they are myth, but are not, and often seek only to ridicule the Guardians as part of the attempts by the Church to replace them.

 

 

 

 

Irminsul

 

 

 

 

Mythology tells us that Woden (Odin) brought the Runes from the depths of the Well of Wyrd, deep below the roots of the ‘World Tree’ Yggdrasil. This can be considered as a Shamanic experience in which Woden acquired the hidden knowledge of the Holy Runes. This knowledge has been embedded in a number of ‘Rune Poems’ within the Germanic world, one of the best known of which is the ‘Anglo Saxon Rune Poem.’ This poem contains much wisdom from our pre-Christian religion, but has been partially Christianised which makes it invaluable for the English Folk Christian. We believe that the hidden knowledge of the cosmos that lies in the Holy Runes makes them at least as important as the Gospels themselves.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

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