Hard as it is to say exactly what readership Portland musician and artist Markus Wolff expects for his Tyr essay "Ludwig Fahrenkog and the Germanic Faith Community: Wodan Triumphant," it seems safe to assume he's not expecting to outsell The Da Vinci Code. And mass popularity is hardly the point of a volume probing esoterica such as "Heathen Holy Places in Northern Europe" or early-20th-century "panentheism" in Germany.
The point, at its most ambitious, is the creation of an alternative intellectual reality. Tyr's contributors--who include former Portland musician/provocateur Michael Moynihan--reject most modern habits of mind (tidy typography excepted). They trade presumptions about progress (inevitable!) and technology (beneficial!) for fascination with archaic mystery.
For a reader from outside Tyr's small subculture of origin, the idealized Beowulfian warrior-scholar-priest society the journal synthesizes from dusty texts and obscure cosmologies is perhaps less vivid than the collective authorship hopes (I couldn't help thinking of the spear-wielding Riders of Rohan in Lord of the Rings--perhaps not the evocation the relentlessly self-serious Tyrlings would choose).
It's hard not to find the recurrent interest in a posited tribal "homogeneity" a little discomfiting (indeed, a section of this issue's preface attempts to dismiss "The Fascist Accusation" before the fact). Yet a mind of healthy curiosity--even one sharing none of the conclusions about life, the universe and everything championed in Tyr--will find plenty stimulating here. Tyr is a first-class artifact of, ironically, modern Bohemia.
tyr: myth, culture, tradition (Ultra Publishing, 425 pages, $22 includes CD sampler of music "inspired by tradition")