Divinity is defined as: “the quality of being godlike or pertaining to a god”. In this, TFA, understands that one cannot speak solely of gods or the supernatural powers as there were no cut and dry divisions between the manifold powers offered cultus. In contact zones, religion and religious ideas are fluid between segments of the population, taking on airs of creolization. Taking an approach which encapsulates all beings or forces humans acted religiously towards allows us greater opportunities to worship.
Within TFA we use the Old Frankish term Hêlen (related to ModE “holy”) or “those who make hale” to describe these powers. Within this broad umbrella we find the goda, wihta and gêstos as well as a myriad other beings who have an impactful effect on the fabric of reality. The Hêlen in turn fall into loosely defined “offices” (spheres of influence) known as Ambahtô where each holy power makes their efforts clearly known.
- Hêlen is derived from PGmc *hailijaną “(transitive) to heal”, itself deriving from PGmc *hailaz “whole, intact”, ultimately from PIE *kóylos “healthy, whole”. The term is used in the Old Saxon Baptismal Vow (the language being Old Low Franconian) in the negative form: End ec forsacho allum dioboles uuercum and uuordum, Thunær ende Uuôden ende Saxnôte ende allum thêm unholdum thê hira genôtas sint.
- Ambahtô is derived from PGmc *ambahtiją “service, office”, and itself deriving from the Gaulish *ambactos. The ultimate root is the PIE *h₂m̥bʰi (“round about, around”) + *h₂eǵ- (“to drive”). From this common root we also get the Latin agere (“to drive, lead, conduct, manage, perform, do”).
When eeking out the Hêlen from the source material, it is important to first establish the probability of whether a Frank of old could have once offered cultus to such a being (goda, wihta, gêstos, etc.) in the first place. This is achieved through the weighing of evidence, albeit circumstantial most often, to then purport whether such a cult should be (re-)established in our own modern era.
Although the term Ambahtô (offices) with regards to heathen religion is a modern innovation, we can detect evidence of “spheres of influence” from a number of ancient sources. It is important to note that the polymorphic nature of the divinities necessitates that any one of them may be found within multiple offices, at times seemingly contradictory.
- Epithets: Names ascribed to the principle appellation of a deity which can denote over such things that being has domain (e.g. Venus Victrix, Lenus Mars)
- Iconography: The images of the deities often depict things which they posses that shed light on their sphere of influence (e.g. Mars Intarabus with wolf pelt)
- Myths: The stories the ancients told would hold clues as to which things were under the control of a particular deity (e.g. Mercury as psychopomp to Larunda)
- Collectives: Ancient authors would group beings with a specific form/function/origin into collectives which pointed towards their realms of power (e.g. Di Superi, Terrestres, Inferi as per Varro)
- Personifications: A number of ancient polytheistic deities were personifications of aspects or primal forces apparent in the world and as such were named after that thing they had power over (e.g. Pax, peace personified)
In this section (under construction) the Hêlen represented may be Germanic, Gallic or Roman in origin (sometimes unknown). Some may be of a later attestation, being perceived as qualitatively Frankish in particular. The beings listed in the next pages are also (re-)constructed from rationalized evidence found throughout the Frankish territory with the purpose of offering to them cultus in this age. Therefore, these are holy powers for the practice of Thia Frankisk Aldsido and may be re-rationalized or re-imagined by practitioners in different ways through the development of their cult(s). This list will be updated as time goes on, it is not exhaustive. In time, other Hêlen may be added who have gained prominence among disparate modern Frankish groups and perhaps should be introduced to a wider society.