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The ways in which Heathens use this historical and archaeological material differ; some seek to reconstruct past beliefs and practices as accurately as possible, while others openly experiment with this material and embrace new innovations.

Others adopt concepts from the world's surviving ethnic religions as well as modern polytheistic faiths such as Hinduism and Afro-American religions, believing that doing so helps to construct spiritual world-views that are akin to those that existed in Europe prior to Christianization.

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Some practitioners who emphasize an approach that relies exclusively on historical and archaeological sources criticize such attitudes, denigrating those who practice them using the pejorative term Neo-Heathen.

Some Heathens seek out common elements that were found throughout Germanic Europe during the Iron Age and Early Medieval periods, using those as the basis for their contemporary beliefs and practices.

Although many solitary practitioners follow the religion by themselves, members of the Heathen community often assemble in small groups, usually known as kindreds or hearths, to perform their rites outdoors or in specially constructed buildings.

Heathen ethical systems emphasize honor, personal integrity, and loyalty, while beliefs about an afterlife vary and are rarely emphasized.

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