Heathen sailor from Eagle River keeps Norse beliefs alive aboard aircraft carrier

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 12:12
  • An altar is created on a log at the Alaska Heathenry gathering in Ninilchik. Alaska Heathenry members camped on the beach in Ninilchik for their annual midsummer gathering. Photographed on June 21, 2018.(Marc Lester / ADN)

An Eagle River sailor is helping lead a movement to keep an ancient belief alive aboard a Navy aircraft carrier.

“The chapel onboard [the carrier John C.] Stennis is where Aviation Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Joshua Wood, a once-Roman Catholic sailor from Eagle River, Alaska, fills the duties of Heathenry lay leader, a position of religious leadership that must be appointed by a unit’s commanding officer,” reads a story published recently in the Navy Times.

Wood is a 2010 graduate of Eagle River High School. He has observed Heathenry for five years, according to the story, which notes he leads a small group of sailors in weekly services devoted to Norse gods. He was first exposed to the beliefs in school, he said.

“Wood was just in high school when he enrolled in a mythology class that he says ‘opened my eyes to the Nordic Gods,’” the story says. “It didn’t take long before the sailor discovered a group of like-minded Heathens in his hometown of San Diego, one that helped cement his perception of his newfound faith and his place in its community.”

“They are my surrogate family,” he said.

Read the full Navy Times story here.

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