[Daily article] August 18: Heathenry (new religious movement)

Heathenry, or Germanic Neopaganism, is a modern Pagan religion. The
practitioners of this new religious movement model their faith on the
belief systems of Germanic peoples of Iron Age and Early Medieval
Europe. Heathenry uses historical, archaeological, and folkloric
evidence as a basis. It does not have a unified theology and typically
centers on a pantheon of deities. It adopts cosmological views,
including an animistic view of the cosmos in which the natural world is
imbued with spirits. Many practitioners are solitary; other members of
the Heathen community assemble in small groups to perform their rites in
specially constructed buildings or outdoors (pictured). Heathen ethical
systems place great emphasis on honor, personal integrity, and loyalty,
while beliefs about an afterlife are varied and rarely emphasized. Many
groups adopt a universalist perspective which holds that the religion is
open to all, irrespective of ethnic or racial identity. Scholarly
estimates put the number of Heathens at no more than 20,000 worldwide,
with communities of practitioners active in Europe, North America, and
Australasia.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

684:

Second Fitna: Umayyad partisans defeated the supporters of Ibn
al-Zubayr and cemented Umayyad control of Syria.

1590:

On the third birthday of his granddaughter Virginia Dare, the
first English child born in the Americas, John White returned to the
Roanoke Colony in present-day North Carolina, U.S., only to find it
deserted.

1868:

Astronomer Pierre Janssen discovered helium while analysing the
chromosphere of the sun during a total solar eclipse in Guntur, India.

1940:

Second World War: During the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe
made an all-out effort to destroy RAF Fighter Command, wherein both
sides lost more aircraft combined on this day than at any other point
during the campaign.

2008:

War in Afghanistan: French ISAF forces were ambushed by Afghan
militants, suffering heavy casualties.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

scabrous:
1. Covered with scales or scabs; hence, very coarse or rough.
2. (figuratively) Disgusting, repellent, repulsive, vile.
3. (figuratively) Of music, writing, etc.: lacking refinement, harsh,
rough; unmelodious, unmusical.
4. (figuratively) Difficult, thorny, troublesome.
5. (figuratively, chiefly US) Covered with a crust of dirt or grime.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  If we can see our difficulties, there is a way of resolving them,
or the hope of a way.  
–Brian Aldiss

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