I’m Karl Benson. I live in New England, where my father’s line has resided since 1638 except for two dalliances. I am happily married to a wonderful man since April 2013.
I’m a second generation polytheist. While my father remains something of an atheist for the last several decades, my mother raised me with reverence for nature and a love for the gods of our ancestors. I was, however, a poor student under her and didn’t especially care about religion while growing up. I understood the ideas, but I never especially cared; science stole my attention readily. It wasn’t until my teen years that I finally started getting involved and reading what I could regarding Germanic polytheism. It has been a decade and a half since that started.
In those years I have developed a passion for history (like my parents), linguistics, medicine, and writing (also like my parents). And, like my parents, I maintain a strict sense of academic rigour. Concepts must be understood as fully as possible, facts must be compared to extant knowledge of related cultures and languages, and biases must be acknowledged both in one’s own thinking and in publications.
For many of the intervening years, I had a deep love for web design. I started learning HTML in 1999 at the age of 12 and continued doing so merrily for over half a decade. While I am not what I once was, I have retained a good portion of that knowledge and have provided my expertise where needed for a variety of pagan projects. It is refreshing to use that knowledge again in order to provide this site.
My earlier days of polytheism were spent identifying myself as practicing Ásatrú. Those days were a bit fluffier than I care to admit, but it was also par for the course for what was available at the time. My usage of Old Norse names had felt odd at the time, but I continued to use them, despite my own mother having used German forms predominantly when trying to teach me in my youth. It was not until university that I finally started feeling that I wasn’t honouring my ancestors properly; my family is from England and Germany, not Scandinavia.
It was around 2006 that I started saying that I practice Fyrnsidu (Old English “old custom”) instead. I feel that the term is more descriptive in a way, as there’s more to the religion than the gods. It had the added bonus of being Old English, of which I have a greater understanding and to which a cultural connection. I continue to follow Anglo-Saxon practices to this day, filling in the blanks where I can with comparative mythology and general Indo-European practices.
This website shall serve as a place to store information about Germanic polytheism and more broadly Indo-European polytheism and to get back into the habit of writing, which has been sorely lacking as of late. Many reconstructionists don’t discuss their personal beliefs much and instead focus solely on existing lore; I wish to do differently where possible. Many don’t discuss our religion in relation to the world around us, choosing to keep religion fully separate from the world, despite saying that “it’s a worldview”; we deserve more. I want to fill in the gaps.
I hope that everything here will be useful for those who find it.