Reidarian Identity

The Reidarjos (Gothic for “riders”) are the eponymous Sun-Riders of Sidjus Reidarje Sauilis. A single rider is a Reidareis, a word reconstructed from the Gothic *reidan (“to ride”) + the agent noun suffix -areis.

All Reidarjos are considered inheritors of Gapt’s and Teiws’ divine legacy. As such, each one bears a responsibility toward their fellow Goths, both ancient and modern, and to their greater communities: to be charitable, champion causes of Gothic concern, make an honorable name for Heathens everywhere, and promote the education and normalization of polytheism.

The following principles are shared by all Reidarjos:

  • A Reidareis is explicitly polytheistic and animistic. They know that the Gods are many, real, and immanent, with a vested interest in the doings of our world.
  • A Reidareis places emphasis on the worship of the Gothic Gods, while not necessarily restricting themselves to those deities alone.
  • A Reidareis recognizes the religious importance of the home and engages in domestic cultus, supplicating house Gods and other household or familial spirits.
  • A Reidareis understands that reconstruction is a methodology, and that informed innovation has its place in a real, living religion. They are not averse to syncretism or comparative study, and they realize that culture and polytheism are fluid and changing things.
  • A Reidareis knows that action adds strata to Dedesaiws (the Lake of Deeds), and that they are defined by those actions.
  • A Reidareis understands giba swaei gibais (“I give so that you might give”) and how that plays into their relationship with human beings and the numinous.
  • A Reidareis understands the dichotomy of the sacred and profane, and thus tries to observe ritual purity when communing with divinities.
  • A Reidareis does not discriminate against others based on their race, sexual orientation, gender, or any immutable characteristic.
  • A Reidareis strives for a state of muns (“readiness”) to benefit their local community, thereby earning hroþs (“glory, fame”) for themselves, their hearths, Sidjus Reidarje Sauilis, and all Heathens everywhere.

What is muns?

Prior to the consolidation of the power of the kings under Alaric I in the late 4th century CE, the ancient Goths lived as tribal peoples. They did not identify as Goths by blood or birth but by a specific warrior tradition. In his book History of the Goths, Herwig Wolfram identifies the key traits that defined early Gothic identity: one, being a good warrior; and two, loyalty to the king.

Gothic history is rife with warfare, from Cniva’s first successful raids against Rome in 250 CE to Roderic’s fall at the Battle of Guadalete in 711 CE. Moreover, deeds on the battlefield directly impacted a warrior’s renown or glory (hroþs), thereby affecting their reputation. However, most people in the modern age are not warriors in the traditional sense. In recognizing this, Sidjus Reidarje Sauilis interprets the state of constant warfare as an internal condition instead of as an external event. It is the duty of a Reidareis, therefore, to strive toward muns, or “readiness,” in response.

Muns is a concept with manifold meanings. First, it is a state of preparedness, which encompasses both skill fluency and resource preparation. A Reidareis should not only possess the right tools, but also know how to use them successfully. Any skill that directly or indirectly benefits one’s community is worthy of cultivation. And while skill fluency does not necessarily mean skill mastery, a Reidareis should neither allow their skills to deteriorate. A certain level of skill maintenance is necessary to preserve one’s muns

Second, muns is not only quickness and certainty of action but also the willingness to act in the first place. Skill fluency and suitable resource preparation both increase this aspect of “readiness”; without one, the chance of the other is diminished. A Reidareis who is willing but cannot act due to circumstances outside their control should consider acting in another capacity that suits their personal muns. However, a Reidareis who is unwilling to act in the best interest of their community, even if they have the means to do so, commits a great sin and is considered unswers, or “without honor.”

Finally, muns is the accumulation of lived experience. This meaning of muns is cultivated passively as a direct result of muns in its other meanings. As a Reidareis looks to the past to guide their present actions, so too does the accumulation of lived experience advise skill improvement, skill maintenance, and resource preparation, as well as increase the quickness and confidence to take action.

One’s muns directly impacts the glory (hroþs) and reputation of a Reidareis. Some examples of this might be:

  • Doing the best job possible at your place of employment without negatively impacting your own health. You are providing security for yourself and also for whomever shares your hearth, so there is no reason to slack off. Not only will you enjoy a better reputation for contributing to the household, but you will gain renown in the eyes of your employer as well.
  • Not hesitating to help a loved one (friend, family member, etc.) when they need help and you are able to provide it. This should be done in whatever capacity you have tailored your muns. Your loved one will naturally continue seeing you as a person with a good reputation, someone who they know they can depend on for support.
  • Providing support to your local community in times of crisis, in a capacity that suits your muns, whether that means donating money, providing aid, organizing people, contributing art or writing, protesting, making phone calls, etc. Your community will recognize your deeds, though do not expect anyone to sing your praises. A Reidareis must trust that their actions will speak for themselves.

Even “small” actions like learning to cook so you can feed yourself and others, taking care of your health in a holistic way, having a first aid kit at home and knowing very basic medical care — all of these contribute to muns.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Wolfram, Herwig. History of the Goths. Translated by Thomas J. Dunlap. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.