Paganism is growing by leaps and bounds along with Witchcraft and Satanism. There is a lot of deception regarding all of these beliefs. Deception is the name of the game as the devil struggles to prevent the masses from discerning truth and turning back to GOD.
My most recent post is related to the Delphi murders. With all that has come out in the news regarding the ritual sacrifice of those two precious little girls, I remembered some information I thought I had posted long ago. Information on the rise of NEO Paganism and specifically the NORSE religions. I searched through my posts and could not find it. Turns out, the information was in my drafts. Never had been posted. This is the post that never was and I have been working to restore what was lost and add current information.
Here are the definitions and etymology of a few words you will see throughout this post. Keep them in mind as you work your way through.
HORG, HOV, VE and BLOT
hǫrgr – Etymology
From Proto-Germanic *harugaz (“sanctuary, cairn, grove”). Cognate with Old English hearg, hearga, Old High German harug, haruc, haruch. Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ḱarǝk- (“fenced or enclosed area”).
hør – Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Related to horg (“pagan stone altar or small place of worship”), from Old Norse hǫrgr (“a sanctuary, cairn, altar”), from Proto-Germanic *harugaz (“sanctuary, cairn, grove”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱarǝk- (“fenced or enclosed area”), from *ḱer.
The hov (temple) at Ranheim was a singleroom building, rectangular in plan and measuring 5.3 m x 4.5 m. The posts were placed precisely 1.8 m apart. The four walls were placed symmetrically between four corner posts, and a further two posts were placed mid-way on each side, i.e. the building had 12 posts in total. All of the construction posts had strong stone packing (Figure 10, 12). A building this size with strong foundations would not have needed additional roof-bearing posts. The posts would have provided a frame for walls constructed of staves, which would have made the building very stable, and the walls alone could certainly have supported the weight of the roof. Hence, it was very remarkable to find that within a building of stave construction there were four post holes arranged in a square with its sides parallel to the outer walls of the building. The holes were offset towards the west corner in relation to the centre of the building. The inner four ‘post holes’ had smaller diameters than those used in the outer walls and had not been dug to the same depth, which rules out the likelihood that they contained posts which played any part in supporting the roof. Since the four post holes in the hov at Ranheim have no constructional function, it is tempting to imagine that images of the gods had been placed on the posts in that part of the building, just as described in the Norse sagas (discussed in more detail in the section headed ‘Norse sources’).
Ve A third concept that can be linked to the cult of the Norse gods is a ve. Compared to horg and hov, the term ve is more difficult to interpret concretely as it is quite diffuse in meaning, but generally refers to a form of holy area designated to the Norse gods. In the 1940s to early 1960s the term was used specifically for stone rows which led up to the earliest churches, believed to have been built on original pagan cult sites (Olsen 1966: 244-267). Rather than interpreting the two rows of stones at Ranheim as the remains of a processional avenue alone, it is more appropriate to use the term ve as an indication of a larger sacred area. The term may also indicate a sacred grove or a bog. It is probable the whole area excavated at Ranheim was a ve – a sacred place dedicated to and used for worshiping the Norse gods. Concealment of the ve The last construction phase of the horg was the addition of a layer of cobbles, placed over the surface with quartz. I thus believe that this surface was the original surface of the horg/alter. As a consequence, the horg was transformed in appearance to look like a cairn that did not stand out from other Iron Age cairns in any way.
blót – bloʊt/ noun
From Old Norse blót. (and modern Heathen) ceremonial offering. quotations From Proto-Germanic *blōtą (“offering, sacrifice”). Cognate with Old English blōt and the first part of Old High German bluozhūs (“heathen temple”).
Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bʰlād- (“to offer, sacrifice”).
Blót means, strengthen. Blót deals specifically with sacrifice (the taking of a life as a gift to the gods). The blood is offered to them and the meat is consumed by those in attendance after the ritual. The post-ritual feast of the flesh from the sacrificed animal is called the Husel. In this fashion the feast is shared between the gods and the community, the two are joined. Source
Faining or offerings are any other type of ritualized gift to gods that isn’t blood: libations, food or votive offerings. However, in modern Heathenry the term, blót is often used to describe ritualized offerings of any form to the gods. Both blót and offerings are about the communities relationship to the gods. Source
The sources mention runes as powerful symbols connected to Odin, which were used in different ritual circumstances.
A rune is a letter in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets native to the Germanic peoples. Runes were used to write Germanic languages (with some exceptions) before they adopted the Latin alphabet, and for specialised purposes thereafter. In addition to representing a sound value (a phoneme), runes can be used to represent the concepts after which they are named (ideographs). Scholars refer to instances of the latter as Begriffsrunen (‘concept runes’). The Scandinavian variants are also known as futhark or fuþark (derived from their first six letters of the script: F, U, Þ, A, R, and K); the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc or fuþorc (due to sound-changes undergone in Old English by the names of those six letters).
The name stems from a Proto-Germanic form reconstructed as *rūnō, which may be translated as ‘secret, mystery; secret conversation; rune’. It is the source of Gothic rūna (𐍂𐌿𐌽𐌰, ‘secret, mystery, counsel’), Old English rún (‘whisper, mystery, secret, rune’), Old Saxon rūna (‘secret counsel, confidential talk’), Middle Dutch rūne (‘id’), Old High German rūna (‘secret, mystery’), and Old Norse rún (‘secret, mystery, rune’). The earliest Germanic epigraphic attestation is the Primitive Norse rūnō (accusative singular), found on the Einang stone (AD 350–400) and the Noleby stone (AD 450).
Etymology. Old Norse: galdr and Old English: ġealdor or galdor are derived from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic *galdraz, meaning a song or incantation.
As seen throughout Norse magick practices, galdr is a song or spell. It is very similar in origin and meaning to the English words “enchant” and “incantation“.
Marauding Vikings were truly barbaric and known to plunder their own people just as much as any foreign land. Vikings murdered slaves and prisoners at will and historians say that they did not even regard non-vikings as humans. Every male was also expected to prove themselves on the battlefield and so entire wars were started just so leaders could demonstrate their worth.
The truth is, while some might say that the Vikings were not so bad, this theory is often based on later times when feudal Scandinavia was finally in motion. Source
- Ancient History / Middle Ages / People
The Vikings were a brutal people, renowned over a thousand years later for their skill and fearlessness in battle. Whilst many subsequent depictions have descended into unfounded conjecture, in particular the common belief in horned helms, and accounts of their deeds avoidably have become exaggerated across the centuries, it is undeniable that life during the Viking Age was, to borrow the words of Thomas Hobbes, “nasty, brutish, and short”.
Here are 16 facts about brutal Viking life you should know about:
16. The Vikings murdered so many infant girls they induced an imbalance in the gender ratios
The raids during the Viking Age, in which European women were abducted back to Scandinavia, are legendary. But recent historical inquiry has indicated that these were not mindless acts of savagery, rather a coordinated response to a self-inflicted lack of Viking women.
According to James Barrett of Cambridge University, “selective female infanticide was recorded as part of pagan Scandinavian practice in later medieval sources, such as the Icelandic sagas”, and resulted in a substantial decline in the ratio between men and women. This theory is supported by Soren Sindbaek, explaining the “social motivation behind the fact that a large number of young men chose to set out on extremely risky voyages” and “the wish of disadvantaged young men to acquire resources necessary to set up a family” is a plausible solution to this age-old question of why.
15. Viking medicine was immensely rudimentary, including the tasting of blood from a wound to determine the severity of the injury
The Vikings were legendary for their brutality and fearlessness in battle, but were nonetheless human and, thus, suffered injuries of varying degrees of significance in combat. After the fighting was over, these temporary treatments were replaced by Viking battlefield medicine. These practices were of dubious efficacy, typically carried out by women, with little scientific foundation to many of the more commonly applied treatments. One such method of determining a warrior’s prognosis was to feed the wounded soldier a broth made from leeks, onions, and herbs, before smelling the wound. If the healer could detect the broth’s odor emanating from within, the wound was fatal. In the aforementioned story of Thormod, he refused the broth when offered and instead commanded the attending woman to cut into his wound and locate the arrowhead within, using pincers. Thormod himself pulled the arrowhead from his chest and joked “see how well the king keeps his men. There is fat by my heart”.
Another similarly brutal medical practice was the use of blood from a wound to determine the nature of an injury. In the Eyrbyggja saga, Snorri goði, in pursuit of a wounded Bergþór, tastes the bloody snow marked by his prey. Identifying the blood was from a severe and fatal internal wound, Snorri forgoes the unnecessary hunt. Magic was also used to unscientifically heal wounds sustained in the course of a duel. The Kormáks saga details the sacrifice of a bull atop a hill and the offering of its butchered meat for elves who supposedly lived in the hills as a tribute in return for the healing of Þorvarðr.
14. Homosexual rape was commonplace in Viking culture, with defeated enemies typically becoming victims of sexual assault in a show of domination and humiliation
Unlike early Christianity, Viking culture did not regard homosexuality as innately evil or perverted. However, this does not mean that the Vikings did not attach certain stigmas to homosexual conduct, in particular, to those who received rather than gave. Symbolically seen as a surrendering of one’s independence in violation of the Viking ethic of self-reliance, a man who subjected himself to another sexually was perceived as likely to do so in other areas and thus untrustworthy and unmanly. Being used in a homosexual nature by another man was equally connected to the trait of cowardice, an immensely shameful description in Viking society, due to the historic custom of sexual violence against a defeated enemy. This was recorded in the Sturlunga saga, Guðmundr captures a man and a wife and intends to rape both as a form of domination over his new property.
This use of rape to solidify authority over an individual, not unique to the Vikings but rather a recurrent feature of many hyper-masculine early civilizations, was reinforced by the frequent practice of castration for defeated opponents. Whilst the klámhogg (“shame-stroke”) on the buttocks was ranked alongside penetrative wounds: a clear symbolic reference to forced anal sex. Due to this cultural connection of homosexual conduct with submission, dominance, and defeat, the engagement of same-sex consensual relations with a close friend was regarded as an immensely offensive and shameful deed. The act was viewed as a humiliation of the vanquished; to participate in intercourse with a friend was not seen as a loving gesture but instead to betray that friend and shame him.
13. The Holmgang was a ritualistic method of Viking dueling, which had to be outlawed after too many warriors used it as a means to legally kill and rob people
The Holmgang (“hólmganga” in Old Norse) was a formal duel used as a system to settle disputes in early medieval Scandinavia. Unlike later European institutions of dueling, in which social class played a particular and important role, any member of society regardless of their standing could challenge another to holmgang if they so chose. The reasons behind said challenge could be wide-ranging, including a legal disagreement, the payment of a debt, property disputes, or as a matter of questioned honor.
A holmgang was typically fought within 3-7 days after the challenge was issued. Should the challenged party fail to attend, they were considered to have forfeited and the justness of the claim proved. Should the challenger fail to attend, they were branded “Niðingr” – a derogatory term identifying the loss of honor – and could be sentenced to banishment or even death. Usually, the combatants were the two individuals involved in the challenge; however, on rare occasions, particularly if there was a considerable age or physical disadvantage, proxy champions might be used in their stead to ensure a fair contest. Due to the nature of the holmgang, the system was invariably abused as a form of legalized robbery, with berserkers in particular recorded as using it as a means to claim rights of land, property, or women from less proficient warriors. As a result of this abuse, the practice was outlawed in 1006 CE in Iceland and 1014 CE in Norway.
12. Likely adopted from the indigenous people of North America in the 10th century, Viking warriors would painfully file and dye their teeth
Recent archaeological discoveries have unearthed evidence of an immensely painful and bizarre cultural practice among Viking men: teeth filing. Discovered in Sweden, Denmark, and England, the modification of teeth appears to have been adopted around the 10th century CE. Achieved by the filing of horizontal parallel lines in the front two teeth, although some Vikings also modified their lateral incisors and canines, and subsequently dyed, often in red, to accentuate the carvings, the precise purpose of the excruciating procedure remains unknown. The origins of dental filing in Viking culture is uncertain, but the most common centers of similar practices were West Africa and the Americas, both places known to have been explored by early Vikings.
One theory behind these horrendously painful dental alterations is that they were for cosmetic purposes. Unearthed remains in England indicate that the front teeth of Viking remains were carefully filed in neat horizontal lines, strongly suggesting the procedure was committed by a skilled craftsman rather than the individual themselves. David Score has asserted that although “the purpose of filed teeth remains unclear” it may have been “to show their status as a great fighter”. An alternative suggestion is that, given the aggressive and warlike culture of the Vikings, that they served the purpose of striking fear into an enemy, making the “warriors look even more terrifying to Christian monks and villagers”.
11. Viking slaves, although capable of earning or buying their freedom, most commonly ended up being sacrificed in honor of their deceased masters
Viking society was divided into three primary classes of status: the nobleman (“jarl” or “eorl“), the freeman (“karl“, “ceorl“) and the thrall (“þræll”). The thrall was a slave or serf within the Viking hierarchy, existing as property belonging to their master. A hereditary condition, meaning that those born to enslaved parents were themselves automatically thralls from birth, others entered bondage through capture in war or the inability to repay debts; the trade of captured slaves formed a central component of the Viking economy, with an estimated 10 percent of the population of Viking Scandinavia believed to have been slaves and most households retained at least a couple of slaves, some as many as thirty.
The treatment of slaves naturally varied between masters, but general conditions were uniformly poor. In addition to being assigned the hardest of labors and facing daily sexual exploitation, research by Anna Kjellström of the graves of slaves in Scandinavia strongly indicates that most thralls did not die peacefully. In fact, many thralls were, willingly or otherwise, buried along with their deceased masters as a human sacrifice; one contemporary account of this ritual has survived from Arab explorer Ibn Fadlān, who detailed that “six men entered the pavilion and all had intercourse with the slavegirl. They laid her down beside her master and two of them took hold of her feet, two her hands. The crone called the ‘Angel of Death’ placed arope around her neck (…) She advanced with a broad-bladed dagger and began to thrust it in and out between her ribs (…) while the two men throttled her with the rope until she died.”
10. The Varangian Guard was an elite bodyguard for the Byzantine Emperors composed of Viking mercenaries
Although one commonly imagines the Vikings as solely inhabiting Scandinavia, they were among the most adventurous and far-reaching peoples in medieval history. Due to this fascination with travel, it is perhaps unsurprising that the warrior race appears in the background of history in several distant lands; of particular note, the Norsemen served as the primary members of the Varangian Guard: the elite personal bodyguard to the Byzantine Emperors.
Formed as early as 874 CE, the Varangian Guard was formally instituted in 988 under Emperor Basil II; sent 6,000 Varangian warriors from Vladimir of Kiev, the Byzantine Emperor employed them due to his distrust of native guardsmen and the famed loyalty of the foreign warriors, who were bound by blood oath in allegiance to their employers. Of special note, the legendary Viking ruler Harald Sigurdsson III of Norway, commonly known as Harald Hardrada, was a member of the Varangian Guard between 1035 and 1043; according to the Haralds saga Sigurðarsonar, Hardrada fought in as many as eighteen battles against the Arabs in modern-day Turkey, Jerusalem, and Sicily, as well as in Bulgaria and southern Italy. Hardrada’s grandson, Sigurd I of Norway, would later follow in his grandfather’s footsteps in the Norwegian Crusade, in the course of which the majority of his force elected to enter the Varangian Guard rather than return home to Scandinavia in 1110.
9. The Vikings butchered animals and humans as part of sacrifices to their pagan gods, painting themselves and their buildings with the blood of their offerings
There were four fixed blót sacrifices each year, coinciding with the winter solstice, spring equinox, summer solstice, and autumn equinox; the Arabic traveler al-Tartuchi recorded the occurrence of a blót during the winter solstice, noting that “they celebrate a festival, at which all come to worship the god and to eat and drink. The one who slaughters a sacrificial animal erects stakes at the entrance to his farmyard and puts the sacrificial animal on them. This is so that people know that he is sacrificing in honor of his god.” Whilst some offerings merely took the form of physical possessions or money, some deities, particular Odin, Lord of Valhalla, commonly required a living sacrifice befitting his status among the gods; at Onshold, a shortening of Odin’s Holt, meaning “Odin’s Wood”, there is considerable archaeological evidence that both animals and humans were hung and bled for the purposes of religious sacrifice.
The specifics of a large-scale blót sacrifice was detailed extensively in the Saga of Haakon the Good, son of Harald Fairhair, written during the early 13th century. A gathering would be called at a nearby temple, where several different animals would be sacrificed but especially horses; the blood of these offerings would be collected in bowls, to be dashed on the walls of the temple and on those in attendance. The meat would be butchered and blessed, whereupon it would be consumed with great vigor along with multiple toasts to the respective deities, starting with Odin. A similar process was described in the Hervarar saga, in which a horse was dismembered and its blood used to paint a sacred tree in Uppsala – a known center of Norse religious worship.
8. Infections were commonplace in the Viking Age, with battlefield wounds often resulting in death by microbes
Scandinavia, due to its geographical location and relative isolation, was typically spared the worst of humanity’s ailments during the early medieval period. The first recorded smallpox epidemic in Iceland only arrived in 1241 CE, being transmitted from mainland Denmark, and is believed to have been introduced to Scandinavia by Viking crusaders returning home from Eastern Europe and Asia. Similarly, leprosy is believed to have spread to Scandinavia during the Viking Age via the slave trade. Leprosy is known to have been present in Ireland at least as early as the 7th century, growing to widespread prevalence by the 10th, and as a result of the abduction and transportation of Irish slaves back to Scandinavia they inadvertently brought the infectious disease back to their homeland; this issue became sufficiently problematic that both the Gulaþing Law and Borgarþing Law stated that “a promise of marriage is not binding if one of the partners was found to be leprous”.
Among perhaps the most bizarre instances of infection-related deaths is the story of Sigurd Eysteinsson, also known as Sigurd the Mighty, the second Earl of Orkney between 875 and 892 CE. In or around the last year of his reign, Sigurd challenged a rival native rule, Máel Brigte the Bucktoothed, to a 40 versus 40 man battle; in an act of great dishonor and deceit, Sigurd secretly brought 80 men and thus easily won the fight, beheading his defeated opponent. Strapping the head of Máel Brigte to his saddle as a trophy, at some point during his ride home the famed buck tooth scratched Sigurd’s leg. The resultant wound became infected as a result of close contact with the necrotic tissue, with Sigurd, ironically, dying soon after from the contracted illness.
7. Being captured as a slave during a Viking raid, especially if you were a literate male monk, likely resulted in your castration
As mentioned, the slave trade formed a significant component of the Viking culture and economy; contemporary historical investigation has suggested that, at least in part, the cruel trade was motivated less by internal than external economic factors. During the Viking Age, both the Byzantine Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate equally partook in the barbaric practice of slavery but maintained a unique preference for their male slaves being eunuchs; whether this was in a misguided belief that it made the slaves more submissive, for some religious inclination, or most commonly the “massive need for trustworthy guards” of the expanding harems, these eunuchs were so highly prized by these civilizations.
During the Early Middle Ages, among the foremost goods traded from Western Europe into Asia Minor and the Middle East was human slaves. A recent study by Mary Valente of Appalachian State University proposes that one of the primary motivations behind the increasing Viking raids on monasteries in northwestern Europe was to “capture literate young males who could be turned into eunuchs and sold off into the east”. Those captured would be transported to economic hubs like Venice, whereupon they would be castrated and shipped off for sale in the east. The 10th-century biography of St. Nian records the capture of 200 churchmen by the Vikings, with Valente’s investigation revealing that these “slaves may have been taken for precisely that purpose – feeding the eastern markets for young, educated castrates” and that “the expanding uses for slaves during the time of the early Abbasids, including the need for large numbers of enslaved eunuchs, drove much of the slave trade around the Mediterranean basin. The Viking raids, which began barely a generation after the Abbasid dynasty seized the Caliphate, met part of that need.”
6. Berserkers were fearsome warriors who entered the battle in a great state of rage and without armor, but were unable to identify friend from foe in their bestial fury
Berserkers, or berserks, were legendary Viking warriors who are believed to have often entered battle without armor, protected by merely their rage and fury. The word “berserk” is derived from the Old Norse words “ber” and “serkr”; the former means either “bear” or “bare”, with interpretations differing, whilst the latter translated as “shirt”, rendering an ultimately clear meaning: an individual who does not wear traditional armor into battle. This fury, “called berserkergang” and thusly described, “occurred not only in the heat of battle but also during laborious work. Men who were thus seized performed things which otherwise seemed impossible for human power. This condition is said to have begun with shivering, chattering of the teeth, and chill in the body, and then the face swelled and changed its color. With this was connected a great hot-headedness, which at last gave over into a great rage, under which they howled as wild animals, bit the edge of their shields, and cut down everything they met without discriminating between friend or foe. When this condition ceased, a great dulling of the mind and feebleness followed, which could last for one or several days.”
Several theories have been proposed concerning the precise cause of the berserk rage these warriors entered into, with many early academics suggesting the voluntary consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms, in particular Amanita muscaria, to induce a state of rage. Recent investigations have queried this conclusion, instead proposing that henbane petals were rubbed on the skin to provide a numbing effect and a mild hallucinatory sensation. Other less popular theories include factors ranging from mental illness, to epilepsy, but little evidence exists to support these hypotheses.
5. Vikings, via poor hygiene and the consumption of raw meat, were infested with a range of parasitic worms
Viking society was immensely filthy, lacking even the basic requirements of hygiene, with the absence of disinfectants creating the ideal breeding ground for parasite; concurrently, the frequent Viking consumption of raw and contaminated meat, especially the eating of organs such as the lungs and liver in an uncooked form, helped proliferate the prevalence of these parasites. The modern examination of preserved fecal matter by archaeologists, notably by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, has uncovered the existence of parasite eggs throughout Viking feces.
Among the uncomfortable parasites that almost every Viking invariably was forced to coexist with were the roundworm – residing in the intestines and growing to lengths of 30 cm – the whipworm – living in the intestinal wall and growing to only 5 cm – and the liver fluke – which, as the name suggests, inhabits the liver. These collectively tenants caused myriad health problems for their human hosts, ranging from weakening their immune systems, liver damage, and anemia. Unfortunately, the biological development of modified forms of alpha-1-antitrypsin (A1AT) to fight the endemic intestinal worms in Viking society, whilst serving a genuine purpose a thousand years ago, is today causing significant health problems among modern descendants; A1AT acts as a genetic risk factor for major debilitating and fatal conditions, with “these deviant forms of A1AT that once protected people from parasites are now at liberty to cause emphysema and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)”.
4. A Hestavíg was a ritualized and brutal competition wherein horses were forced to fight to the death in front of cheering spectators
A Hestavíg was an important cultural event that occurred in Scandinavia during the Viking Age, particularly within the Icelandic Commonwealth between 930 and 1262 CE, consisting of a brutal fight between two stallions; believed to have originated in Norway, the cultural practice was subsequently exported to neighboring Viking regions. The Hestavíg served several important cultural and societal functions for the Vikings. Firstly, the fighting simply served to demonstrate the strength of the horses and identify the ideal specimens for the breeding of future stock; horse fighting does occur naturally in the wild over prospective mates, and as such one can interpret the Hestavíg as a benign if artificial recreation of this natural competition.
Traditionally taking place within a ringed area, designed to prevent a stallion from retreating from the confrontation as would occur in nature, two stallions would be introduced to a mare in heat. The fertile mare would then be tethered in the center of the enclosure, or sometimes outside but still within scent range, as a deliberate inducement for the horses fight over her; if the horses chose not to fight for whatever reason, they would be compelled to do so via whipping or startling. The Hestavíg was recorded as lasting between fifteen minutes and more than three hours in some cases, with rounds introduced to separate the constant animal violence, and typically concluded with the debilitating injury or death of one of the two combatants.
3. Dying to a Viking was not the end of the misery for an individual, as your corpse would be posthumously mutilated as a display of victory in an attempt to gain the attention of the Norse pagan deities
Believing that the time of their deaths was predetermined, it was beholden upon a Norseman to seek to acquire as much fame and glory in the time that they had to best impress their deities in Valhalla; consequently, each Viking sought to surpass another in their displays of violence to garner greater attention from the gods and earn their place in the legendary afterlife. This ever-intensifying competition in brutality in the name of glory culminating in the cultural practice of humiliating best opponents; it was insufficient to merely defeat an enemy, one had to shame them and actively promote your triumph to the world. An archaeological investigation of Viking Age graves by Niel Price from Uppsala University has produced substantial evidence, corroborated by subsequent studies, that, although each inherently unique, these remains and the composition of the graves bear consistent characteristics, in particular bodily mutilations.
As detailed by Elise Naumann, “there are lots of macabre treatments of the bodies. Some have chopped off limbs, such as in the Viking graves at Kaupang“, and a routine feature of those buried in traditional Viking manner was that the deceased “seem to have suffered a brutal death”; as mentioned, important individuals were often accompanied by their slaves into the afterlife, with the remains of these presumed thralls equally mutilated and brutalized. Naumann has hypothesized that “the fact that the graves are so disparate might mean that they are part of a burial ritual that recreates important incidences in the deceased person’s life. This would explain why each grave is unique,”.
2. Viking sports and competitions were, unsurprisingly, incredibly violent and dangerous, with the likelihood of injury of death extremely high
Sports have been a fundamental aspect of human civilizations throughout history, with the Vikings no exception to this cultural pastime. One such known game took place in water, and can be best described as a “drowning competition”. The goal of this sport was to hold the opponent underwater for as long as possible; the Laxdæla saga details a drowning contest between Kjartan Ólafsson and King Ólafur Tryggvason, as well as between King Eysteinn and King Sigurd. Another, known as toga hönk or “tug-of-war”, involved two men facing each other and pulling on a length of rope; it is likely this competition, using similar movements and muscles to rowing, served as test of capability and strength for prospective crew. Ball games were also played by the early Vikings, of particular note Knattleikr. Described in the Gísla saga Súrssonar, Knattleikr was played every autumn at Miðfjarðarvatn and involved two teams of evenly matched players fairly ordered by strength; these teams engaged one another in full-contact, attempting to gain possession of the ball for an unknown purpose.
Even wrestling, a recurrent contest of strength in many early civilizations, was more brutal in Viking society. The sport of “Glíma” was fought in a wrestling field which contained a “fanghella“: a flat stone upon which one could break opponents back; the Kjalnesinga saga details a match between King Búi and an unknown opponent, wherein Búi wore a special jacket – fangastakkur – which protected him from having his spine shattered on the rock and allowed him to win. Similarly, the aftermath of eating a meal was, inexplicably, turned into a violent sport: hnútukast. In hnútukast participants threw bones from the meal at each other with the goal of causing injury; the Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss details a game of hnútukast in which Gestur threw a bone at Glámur, hitting him in the eye and causing it to fall out of the socket onto his cheek.
1. The Vikings possessed imaginative brutality, devising perhaps the most unpleasant method of execution in human history – the blood eagle
Given the immensely brutal conditions of existence within Viking culture, it is perhaps unsurprising that they are held responsible for the creation of the one of, if not the most vicious and painful mode of execution ever devised by humanity: the blood eagle. The blood eagle was a ritualistic and sacrificial method of execution, whereupon the victim was lain before his killer who severed his ribs from his spine; through the opening created by this painful brutalization, the victims’ lungs were then pulled out and draped over their shoulders to create an illusion of wings. Accounts of the blood eagle appear just twice in surviving Norse accounts, although is alluded to in other sources, with both named victims of royal status and killed by a son in vengeance for the murder of their father, suggesting the reservation of the method of execution only for those of special significance and specific purpose.
The execution of the first victim, Halfdan Haaleg, also known as “Halfdan Long-leg”, is provided by the Orkneyinga saga, detailing the sacrifice of the son of Harald Fairhair to Odin at the hands of Torf-Einarr: “Einarr made them carve an eagle on his back with a sword, and cut the ribs all from the backbone, and draw the lungs there out, and gave him to Odin for the victory he had won. The second known victim, Ælla of Northumbria, described in the “Tale of Ragnar’s sons”, was executed by Ivar the Boneless in 867 CE in retribution for the murder of his father, the legendary Viking ruler Ragnar Loðbrók. Captured after a battle at York, the saga recounts that “they caused the bloody eagle to be carved on the back of Ælla, and they cut away all of the ribs from the spine, and then they ripped out his lungs.”
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson – Iceland Actor, Played in Game of Thrones as Gregor Clegane.
Heathenry is a term used to describe the religious practices of two main groups of people, one historical and one modern.
The original Heathens were the pre-Christian North European peoples who lived a thousand and more years ago in the lands around what is now called the North Sea. These included the peoples of Anglo-Saxon England, Scandinavia, Germany and Frisia (Modern day Belgium and the Netherlands).
Modern Heathen groups around the world are reviving these old practices under various names including Asatru, The Northern Tradition, Forn Sed, Germanic Pagan Reconstructionism or, simply, Heathenry. In Iceland, which did not convert to Christianity until the 11th Century, Heathenry has once again become an official (nationally recognised) religion, and there are groups and individuals working for the same level of recognition in many other countries. Heathenry is officially recognised by the Department of Defense in the United States, and in the UK the Defence Pagan Network has ensured that Heathenry is recognised by the Ministry of Defence, alongside other forms of Paganism.
Heathens work to build healthy relationships with Gods and Goddesses, ancestors, spirits of the land, and others in their communities, both through holy rites and through their day to day actions.
There are literary sources that tell us how Heathenry was practised before the advent of Christianity. The main such sources include medieval Icelandic Eddas and Sagas, Anglo- Saxon poetry, the works of the 8th century English monk Saint Bede, and the Germania by the Roman historian Tacitus.
Although most of these were written in Christian times, they record the religious beliefs and practices of a culture that existed before Christianity came to Northern Europe. But, there are NO valid sources from anyone who actually lived and practiced the religion, crafts and rites at the time. No first hand knowledge of Norse or Celtic or Druidic Ancient Heathenry.
Archaeological evidence continues to be discovered which supports this picture of Heathen religion obtained from such classical and medieval literature. Archaeological evidence only proves their existence not their practices. All anyone can do from the archeology is surmise or guess at what actually occurred.
Alongside these historical sources, modern Heathens experience their own, personal, understanding of their religion as lived today, and their own relationship with their Gods.
Gods and Other Beings.
Heathenry, like all ancient european pagan religions, is polytheistic and recognises a large number of Gods and other spiritual entities. Although the Heathen Gods are best known from Norse mythology (and often called by Anglicised versions of their Old Norse names) they were honoured by many peoples outside of Scandinavia. For example, the God known to early Germanic tribes as Wodhanaz became Odhinn in Old Norse, Woden in Anglo-Saxon and Old Saxon, and Wuotan in Old High German. He is now most commonly known as Odin. Some of the most well known Heathen Gods are enshrined in our English days of the week.
Tuesday is named after Tiw (Tyr), Wednesday after Woden (Odin), Thursday after Thunor (Thor) and Friday after the Goddess Frige (Frigg). There are also many place names across the country named for Heathen Gods. For example Dewsbury is named for Tiw (Tyr), and Wensleydale is named for Woden (Odin).
In addition to the better known ‘major Gods’, the names of several dozen local or tribal Gods are known through medieval literature, runic inscriptions, and votive stones. Most Heathens choose to actively honour a subset of Gods with whom they have developed personal relationships, (do you understand that people are interacting with spirits? These spirits are real to them. They communicate with them and give things that they want like power or victory or healing. BUT THEY ARE DEMONIC SPIRITS. Deceiving the masses.) although offerings are also often made ‘to all the Gods and Goddesses’. The Gods and Goddesses that Heathens form closer relationships with are often those that they feel have a particularly strong influence on their lives. Heathens relate to their Gods as complex personalities who each have many different attributes and talents. For example, whereas Thor is popularly known outside Heathen circles as the mighty hammer- wielding God of Thunder, in Eddic poetry he is called by names such as Deep Thinker, Man’s Well-Wisher, and Consecrator Thor, revealing a gentler side to his nature. There is also crossover in the areas of influence of different Gods and Goddesses. For example there is no one ‘God of the sea’. Njord is the God most associated with coastal areas and fishing. Aegir and Ran rule beneath the waves. Thor brings the winds that are so important to sailors. And all of these Gods also have other aspects to their character. As well as being a God of the deep, Aegir is also the God of brewers.
As well as Gods, Heathens recognise and relate to a wide variety of spiritual beings or ‘wights’. These include the Norns – who are three female entities who weave the web of wyrd – and the Dísir – who are female ancestral spirits attached to a tribe, family, or individual. Heathens also work with ‘hidden folk’ such as elves, brownies, dwarves and etins. They interact with the housewights or Cofgodas who live in their homes and the landwights who occupy features of the landscape such as streams, mountains, forests or fields. Having a relationship with landwights is an important feature of Heathen religion and outdoor Heathen rituals will not proceed until the permission of landwights is sought and obtained.
These are all demonic entities who have only specific powers and rule over specific places or dominions. This is the way life was in the Ancient Times. These spirits had dominion over people and people HAD TO MEET THEIR DEMANDS. It was not a pleasant time folks! I find it strange that people think it is to inconvenient to follow GODS plan, THE CREATOR’s plan, but they are so eager and willing to come under the dominion of spirits of all kinds with horrendous demands who are very vindictive when disobeyed.
Another characteristic of Heathen religion is the respect and remembrance given to ancestors. (what a way to sugar coat it. What they really do is WORSHIP their ancestors! Just more spirits to whom they submit and obey.) These may be a person’s literal forebears, or may be people now dead who have inspired them in some way.
There are no central authorities in Heathenry and no single organisation to which all Heathens belong, though there are national and international organisations created to facilitate networking between Heathens. Asatru UK is one such organisation, which is open to Heathens across the country and has over 2500 members, and is run by a kindred council of 9. (So they do not obey any authority, they are lawless. Free to commit any offense, any crime any evil or murderous act they choose. But, they are subject to all the spirits and any of the whims, demands and rules those spirits choose to impose.)
Many Heathens belong to smaller regional groups made up of Heathen friends and family members. These groups are sometimes called ‘hearths’, ‘kindreds’ or ‘kiths’ and meet for religious rituals, discussion and socialising in members’ homes, outdoor spaces, pubs etc. Some hearths and kindreds have recognised leaders. Others are entirely egalitarian. (Kindreds who are under the dominion of the same or similar SPIRITS, Kindred Spirits or Familiar Spirits as the bible refers to them.)
The Confederation of UK Heathen Kindreds is an umbrella organisation which groups can choose to be a part of to share ideas and work together towards projects that benefit the whole Heathen community. The confederation has no authority over its member groups, and the chair is rotated on an annual basis.
There is no widely recognised priesthood, although sometimes individuals may be recognised as Godhis and Gydhjas (priests and priestesses) within their own communities. There is no ‘qualification’, and no Heathen is obliged to recognise anyone as a Gothi. Some groups do not have a recognised spiritual leader at all, and share the role between all their members.
Rites and Celebrations
The main rites celebrated in Heathenry are called blōt and symbel (pronounced sumble). Heathen groups and individuals hold feasts and celebrations based around blōt and symbel at rites of passage (such as weddings or baby-namings), seasonal holidays, oath-takings, rites in honour of a particular God or Gods, and rites of need (in which Gods and/or ancestors are asked for help).
A blōt was originally the ritual sacrifice of an animal (or HUMAN Sacrifice; which has been proven) to one or more Gods, alfs or ancestors. A feast followed afterwards at which the meat was shared amongst the participants. Blōts were held to honour the Gods or to gain their favour for specific purposes such as peace, victory, or good sailing weather.
A modern blōt centres around the offering of food or drink (most often mead) or other items to the Gods and tends to be followed by a feast. It may be a simple rite or a more elaborate one depending on the purpose of the blōt and the number of participants. In an indoor blōt where food is offered, it is common to lay a place for the God, ancestor or alf at the table. During a blōt held outdoors offerings are often thrown onto a fire. They wrongly believe or at least the lower level Heathens, believe that this is sufficient. What they do not understand is that the spirits they serve REQUIRE BLOOD…human blood. They are being trained in the practice of making offerings which will eventually be HUMAN Sacrifices. That is ALWAYS where Paganism/Heathenry leads. The SPIRITS do not change. Though mankind thinks man changes. The spirits have been the same for thousands of years. We as humans, have been protected from them because GOD has a veil keeping them from us. BUT THE VEIL has been removed. The SPIRITS are BACK. Those who commune with them, will be condemned with them.
Symbel is a ritual drinking ceremony in which one or more drinking horns or other vessels are filled with mead (or another appropriate drink) and used for toasting or boasting. It is common for modern Heathens to pass the horn(s) around all those participating after liquid is blessed. The first round of toasts may be to the Gods, the second round to wights or ancestors, and the third round may be to whatever else the assembled Heathens wish to toast. There may be many more rounds, or the symbel may stop after a designated number. A separate libation (drink offering) may be given to the Gods, landwights or housewights, or some of the contents of the horn may be poured out as an offering to them.
As well as major offerings to the Gods or alfs, Heathens like to leave gifts for their domestic hidden folk: the wights who live in their garden and house. For this purpose, many Heathens keep a special bowl to leave offerings in the house of cakes and ale, or may leave food or drink on or near a small garden altar. Many Heathens will give offerings to their housewight whenever baking or brewing, as these things can easily go wrong, and so it is important to have the wights favour. It is also important when dealing with wights to be respectful of their space. In the case of a housewight this can be done by keeping the house clean and tidy.
Different heathen communities and individuals celebrate different cycles of seasonal holidays based on their cultural affiliations, local traditions, and relationships with particular Gods. There is no fixed calendar of Heathen festival dates. The three Heathen festivals most commonly celebrated in the UK are Winter Nights – usually celebrated in October or November, Yule – a twelve-day festival that begins around the time of the winter solstice, and a festival for the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre in the spring.
In recent times the Asgardian Heathen Festival has become an important part of the Heathen calendar in the UK. Whilst it does not tie in with any historical festival, it is now the biggest annual gathering of Heathens in the UK, with hundreds attending the summer event each year. The festival involves rituals, workshops, talks and traders, covering all aspects of Heathenry. In the years since the first event in 2016 Heathenry has seen massive growth across the country, with national groups like AUK seeing a large rise in membership, and many new groups springing up across the country. The festival has given the opportunity for many solo practitioners to experience the community aspect of Heathenry for the first time, and led many to get much more heavily involved in the community.
Magic and Seership
Magic and seership were practised by some individuals within ancient Heathen cultures, and this is also the case with today’s Heathen community.
Some Northern European magical practices being revived by Heathens include the carving of runes onto talismans and the chanting of charms called galdor. Some Heathens are also rediscovering Northern European shamanistic practices known as seidh. In a ritual called ‘oracular seidh’ a seer or seeress answers questions or gives advice to participants. Many modern Heathens also practice runic divination.
Although magic was part of ancient Heathen culture, it did not play a part in the religious rituals of blōt and symbel. Therefore, it is not seen as an intrinsic part of the religion. Although most Heathens share a belief in the ability of the Gods to enact change in the world, they do not all believe in the ability of magicians to do so. These people really expect you to believe that! When everything they do is totally in attempt to work magic.
Wyrd and Ethics
One of the central concepts in Heathenry is wyrd, the force that connects everything in the universe throughout space and time. Heathens believe that all of their actions can have far reaching consequences through the web of wyrd. They understand that who they are, where they are, and what they are doing today is dependent on actions they and others have taken in the past, and that every choice they make in the present builds upon choices they have previously made.
With an understanding of wyrd comes a great responsibility. If we know that every action we take (or fail to take) will have implications for our own future choices and for the future choices of others, we have an ethical obligation to think carefully about the possible consequences of everything we do. Thus, one of the principal ethics of Heathenry is that of taking responsibility for one’s own actions.
Another Heathen value is frith, the maintenance of peace and friendship within a social group. Obligations towards friends, kin and community are taken seriously by Heathens. Like many peoples living far apart in a harsh climate, pre-Christian Heathens put great stress on hospitality, and this is still valued by modern Heathens. A related concept is the giving of gifts, though both gift-giving and hospitality are bounded by reciprocity, a principle that Heathens consider important.
Plain speaking, honesty and forthrightness are also important to Heathens. This may be seen as part of a value system based upon personal honour, which eschews deceit and dishonesty towards members of the social group. Thus, Heathens place great value on the giving of their word, and any form of oath-taking is taken extremely seriously. This often means that Heathens will not sign their name to something unless they can assent to it in both letter and spirit. Breaking an oath is one of the worst social taboos a Heathen can commit and has the potential to destroy ones reputation.
GIFTS FROM THE FALLEN – PART 1 – Origins
They Swore an Oath – Octagon
Heathenry is focused on right living, in the here and now and does not place as great an emphasis on the afterlife as some other religions. Whereas Valhalla – Odin’s hall – is popularly seen as the Norse equivalent of heaven, this is a misconception. According to the mythology as recorded in the Eddas, Valhalla is only for warriors who die in battle. Even then, half of these battle-slain warriors go to Freyja’s hall and half to Odin’s hall. Those who drown at sea go to the Goddess Ran’s hall. People who die of natural causes go to the hall of the Goddess Hel. Most of today’s Heathens see Hel as a neutral place where they will be reunited with their ancestors.
Sources do not enable a complete reconstruction of the pre- Christian Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon views of the soul. One concept, however, which is still retained in folk stories, is that of the fetch or fylgia. The fetch was held to be a part of the person which might be contacted during life, but which would not be physically seen until just before death. The sight of one’s fetch was, indeed, a signal of the ending of one’s life.
There are a few passages in the sources which are interpreted by some as indicating an ancient Heathen belief in reincarnation, but they are far from compelling. Some modern Heathens believe in the continuation of part of a person through reincarnation, while others do not.
Extremists and Misappropriation of Heathenry
Unfortunately, like many religions, Heathenry does suffer from some unsavoury elements, and whilst the majority of Heathens do not associate or engage with these groups or individuals in any way, they do exist. This darker side of Heathenry is more prevalent in the US and Canada, however there are unfortunately also some elements in the UK. These individuals use Heathenry as a mask for racist and discriminatory beliefs. They argue that Heathenry should only be open to those of northern European descent. They also tend to have discriminatory beliefs towards women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, and place an unhealthy emphasis on masculinity.
These beliefs are universally rejected by the majority of Heathens, as they are simply not compatible with Heathenry. Heathens believe Odin wanders the whole world, and with his brothers created all mankind. This includes people of all races and ethnicities. (We have already seen that Vikings (heathens) did not even consider non vikings as humans. So obviously this person is not speaking for all Heathens or even the majority. Merely their own personal beliefs.) Heathenry has many strong female Goddesses, and historical evidence suggests that women historically had far more importance in society under pagan rule than they did under Christianity. There is also no justification for homophobia or transphobia in Heathenry. (again, we have seen that VIKINGS considered any such act as anal sex to be a shame and a aberration.) Indeed, evidence from mythology suggests that there are hardly any sexual taboos at all amongst the Gods. (Now, that is very likely the case. Pagan gods/demons/fallen angels were and are all about polluting the human race so they practiced and encourage all manner of unnatural sexual activity.) Cross dressing, homosexuality and polygamy all feature. Ironically, the beliefs of these groups have far more in common with fundamentalist Christian groups like the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church than they do with Heathenry. They have adopted Heathen symbols, and cherry-picked parts of the mythology that fit their agenda, but ignored the vast majority of Heathen values. In the same way as the KKK does not represent Christianity, and Daesh does not represent Islam, these racist groups do not represent Heathenry.
Unfortunately, the media loves sensationalism, and as a result the unsavoury side of Heathenry gets a disproportionate amount of coverage, with stories of ‘neo-nazi rituals’ dominating the headlines, and normal, peaceful and inclusive Heathens being largely ignored. It is vitally important that we work to dispel the myths, and raise awareness of what true Heathen values are, and that there is no place in our beliefs for discrimination of any kind.
Heathenry and Other Contemporary Pagan Spiritualities
Heathenry is a living religion based on literary and archaeological sources for the religious practices of a particular pre-Christian culture and extended by the relationships of modern Heathens with their Gods. It differs from wicca and other modern day non-reconstructionist pagan paths in a number of ways. Perhaps the primary difference is that Heathens are ‘hard polytheists’: they honour a large number of individual Gods, Goddesses and other spiritual beings whom they see as existing independently from humans. And in common with many indigenous religions world- wide, they also honour their ancestors.
Heathens differ from wiccans and many of the other modern day non-reconstructionist pagans in many other ways. They reject the concept that all Goddesses are aspects of ‘The Goddess’ and that all Gods are aspects of her consort. They also reject the Jungian concept of Gods and Goddesses as archetypes in the unconscious mind. Heathen festivals do not follow the ‘Eight-Fold Wheel of the Year’ based on solstices and equinoxes. Their rituals do not involve ‘casting circles’ or ‘calling quarters’. Magic is not an essential or central part of Heathenry, and the majority of Heathens do not consider themselves ‘witches’. There are no ‘degrees of initiation’ within Heathen religion and no ‘high priests’ or ‘high priestesses’. Thou, as stated above, they do have “Godhis and Gydhjas (priests and priestesses)”
Despite these theological differences, many Heathens are involved in the wider pagan community for social and political reasons, and despite the differences, there are also plenty of similarities.
This summary draws on a 2003 BBC website article by Alexa Duir, Arlea Hunt-Anschütz, Jenny Blain & Jez Green. It was updated by Dan Coultas and the Heathens of Yorkshire, with further assistance by Geoff Davison and Rich Blackett.
A Norse temple for the 21st century
High priest (what do you know, they do have a HIGH PREIST) Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson has had a lot on his plate lately. He is the leader of Ásatrúarfélagið, Iceland’s largest association of followers of Ásatrú, the Norse neopagan religion, and ever since news hit the international press that his association would soon be breaking ground on the first temple to the Norse gods in 1000 years, his inbox has been flooded with inquiries from foreign journalists. Ásatrú ceremonies have been disturbed by curious tourists.
This current notoriety is a far cry from the humble beginnings of Ásatrúarfélagið. Founded in 1972 by Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, a sheep farmer and writer of rímur, a form of epic poetry (here he is, chanting the poetic Edda), the original congregation numbered just about a dozen souls. Nonetheless, in 1973 the association applied for, and received, official recognition as a faith-based organization with the right to perform marriages and funerals as well as to collect congregation tax. The worship of Odin, Thor, Freya and the other gods of the old Norse pantheon became an officially recognized religion exactly 973 years after Iceland’s official conversion to Christianity. This conversion was agreed upon at the Althing in 1000 AD; consensus was reached, with characteristic Scandinavian pragmatism, with the help of three compromises: the new Christians would still be allowed to eat horsemeat, abandon unwanted infants in the wilderness and worship the old gods in the privacy of their homes.
In recent decades, membership in Ásatrúarfélagið has grown to about 2,400 — a not insignificant sum in a country of only 330,000 — and has become the largest non-Christian religious community in Iceland. Ásatrú movements in Sweden, Denmark and Norway are more modest, with members numbering a few hundred in each country, but they are growing steadily.
It should come as no surprise that the news of a new temple to the Norse gods has drawn such attention: Along with progressive politics and the Nordic welfare model, narratives of the pillaging Vikings and their gods are arguably what make up the total of people’s associations with Scandinavia in much of the world. It’s enough to take a stroll down the main streets of Stockholm’s Old Town — or similar tourist traps in Oslo, or Reykjavik — to realize that Vikings are good for business: Norse-themed dolls, t-shirts, and costumes are for sale at every souvenir store. Horned Viking helmets, sometimes completed with a fringe of blonde hair glued to the rim, are particularly popular. (There is no evidence that the Vikings ever attached horns to their helmets.)
And it’s not just for the tourists: Every summer thousands of vacationing Swedes, Danes and Norwegians flock to that Scandinavian version of the Renaissance Faire, the Viking market. Norse mythology and the Viking esthetic have provided plenty of fodder for kitsch souvenirs and ideas that we not only sell to tourists but also, to a large extent, buy into ourselves.
No other period in Scandinavian history has become so mythologized. Ideas about our Viking ancestors and our pagan past are inextricably tied to our understanding of our history, culture and national identity. Norse mythology and symbolism has a long history of being used and abused to suit the needs of the time. Interest first surged in the Scandinavian countries during the romantic nationalist period in the 19th century, when it was used in attempts to forge a unified nation and a common ethnic identity. Painters such as Anders Zorn and Carl Larsson explored Norse themes, as did writers such as Erik Gustaf Geijer and composers such as Edvard Grieg. To a large extent, the movement was successful: The imagery and narratives that were developed during this time remain in the popular imagination today.
No less kitsch but all the more troubling is the extensive use of Norse symbols and mythology by Neo-Nazi movements both in and outside Scandinavia. Runic letters and other symbols have become so tied to these groups that their use in any context has become suspect. Excessive interest in Norse mythology carries the whiff of fascism.
Of the Ásatrú movements that exist in Scandinavia today, however, none have any ties to Nazi groups or espouse racist ideologies. Ásatrú in its current form developed in the 1970’s, and has more in common with other alternative nature religions that sprang up at around the same time, such as Wicca and other forms of neoshamanism. They are largely apolitical, with a progressive, environmentalist bent. (Not so, Wicca is far from a-political. As we winessed in the attacks on Trump. Wiccans and Witches came out in force.) In the words of Samfundet Forn Sed, the largest Ásatrú association in Sweden, they acknowledge “all humans as equals regardless of gender, origin or sexual preference and shall also uphold religious tolerance in a multicultural society.” (Sounds to me like the main chanting of all UN, WEF and NWO groups. The current global agenda.) Contemporary Ásatrú seeks communion with nature, eschews religious dogma, does not proselytize and allows people of all faiths to partake in ceremonies. HMMM Cop27, Synod and Papal BULL anyone?? In Iceland, Ásatrúarfélagið was an early advocate for same-sex marriage.
As such, the modern Ásatrú followers have probably strayed quite far from the original beliefs and practices of the Norse pagans. The fact is, however, that very little is actually known about these pre-Christian religious belief and practices. What we know of Norse mythology has been gathered from a host of largely secondary sources. Even the Eddas, which remain the major source of knowledge on Norse mythology, were not written down until the 13th century, after couple of centuries of Christian cultural dominance. What we know is so fragmentary that it is not even certain that the different sources describe a single, uniform religion — it’s an open question whether there is an “original” belief at all.
High priest Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson takes this substantial lack of evidence in stride, and is happy to admit that his faith is in large part a creative reimagining of an ancient religion, or “romantiquarianism,” as he calls it. It may well be this very dearth of any certainties is what gives Ásatrú its appeal: In an increasingly secularized and individualist society, it offers a comfortable middle ground. Followers are able to satisfy their spiritual needs within a framework that feels authentic, true to some kind of ancestral identity, but at the same time is empty and flexible enough to fit in with modern values and concerns.
In most of Scandinavia, Ásatrú followers have been largely dismissed, either as blood-obsessed Nazis, or as live action role-players who ended up taking their LARP a little too seriously. Only time will tell, but the Icelandic example suggests that there may be space for a more serious movement. Who knows — it may well be that a revival of Norse paganism is the most fitting religion for our time: The ruthless measures of strength and amoral intrigues of the Icelandic sagas a more perfect mirror for our constant competition under global capitalism; a sustainable life in tune with nature our only salvation; and a pantheon of imperfect gods for our fractured, willful selves.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera America’s editorial policy.
It has been the dream of Iceland´s neo-pagan worshippers for four decades.
Now construction of the first heathen temple or “hof” to be built in a Nordic country in almost 1,000 years is set to get under way.
The temple will provide followers of Iceland’s old Norse religion with a place to hold their communal “blot” – or feasts – as well as marriages, name-giving ceremonies, funerals and rite of passage ceremonies for teenagers. Until now, ceremonies have mostly been conducted outdoors during the summer.
“At last, our long journey across the desert is at an end,” says Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, a composer and high priest of Iceland’s neo-pagan Asatru movement. (Hmmm, So the DO have a HIGH PRIEST!)
Designed by Danish-educated architect and Asatru member Magnus Jensen, the oval-shaped temple will be built into the side of the hill and use the natural rock as one of the walls.
The nearby airport was built by occupying British forces in 1940, and the surrounding landscape is dotted with deserted gun positions and a cemetery with the remains of British servicemen.
Water will flow down the stone wall and collect in pools on the floor. Local wood will be used, and a skylight in the temple’s dome will allow for an ever-changing interplay of light and shadow on a daily and seasonal basis.
It will incorporate the ancient concept of the “golden ratio”, a geometric proportion regarded as the most aesthetically pleasing to the human eye.
With the design, Mr Jensen says he is seeking to combine natural with manmade, and indoors with outdoors.
For him, the building should appear timeless. He does not want it to resemble a traditional Viking temple or remain specifically modern in style.
Back to life
Norse paganism was the common belief in Iceland until 1000 AD, when its lawmakers conceded to Christian demands that Christianity should become the country’s official religion.
- Odin – god of magic, poetry and war (ruler of the gods)
- Frigg – wife of Odin. goddess of marriage and motherhood
- Balder – son of Odin and Frigg. god of beauty, peace, and rebirth
- Freyja – goddess of love and fertility, who wept golden tears when she was unhappy
- Thor – god of the skies, storms and thunder
- Loki – mischievous “trickster god”
This compromise saved the nation from a bloody civil war. All that pagans asked was to be allowed to practise their religion privately. But once Christianity had established itself, paganism was suppressed and forced underground.
However, thanks to the literary endeavours of 13th Century Icelandic scholar and chieftain Snorri Sturlason, the old Norse myths were preserved and widely read by Icelanders through the ages.
Sturlason’s epic text Prose Edda and the family sagas ensured Iceland´s pagan heritage was kept very much alive in the national consciousness.
And in spring 1972 a few individuals came together in a cafe in Reykjavik to bring it back to life by establishing the Asatru association.
Later that year, the group’s elected high priest, Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson, met Iceland’s minister of justice and ecclesiastical affairs to present a request for the Norse religion to be recognised as an official religion in Iceland.
The move was met with opposition, with Iceland’s Lutheran bishop saying a constitutional ruling on religious freedoms should not apply to polytheistic religions.
But the story goes that shortly after Mr Beinteinsson left the justice ministry, a powerful thunderstorm started up, causing a power cut in the capital.
Some Icelanders like to think it was Thor, the god of thunder, having his say on the matter, as a few months later the minister agreed formally to recognise the Asatru.
Today the Asatru has close to 3,000 members and is one of the fastest growing religions in Iceland.
Its principles are non-authoritarian and decentralised, with no sacred text or official founder. Its philosophy promotes tolerance and individual liberty. It costs nothing to join and is open to all irrespective of race, cultural background, gender or sexuality.
What is Asatru?
- Asatru literally translates as having faith in the gods
- Polytheistic religion, with range of gods and goddesses
- In Iceland the most popular god and goddess are Thor and Freyja
- It does not aim to convert people and followers of any religion are welcome to their public feasts, or “blot”
- Celebratory feasts take place across the the country all year round, with particular focus on summer and winter solstices and the two equinoxes (So, they do focus on the solstices, like all other pagan religions. Hmmm)
- Asatru members decide who may join the society´s board and who becomes a priest or priestess: there are currently four priestesses and five priests (so, they do have priests and priestesses…determined by a board.)
- Members have protested against damage to the natural environment, including construction of a hydro-electric dam in 2006 (so they do get “Politically involved”)
Followers do not pray in the traditional sense and do not necessary believe in gods but instead, as Hilmar Hilmarsson explains, see the Norse myths as “wonderfully layered stories rich in symbolism and metaphors”. (So, if they have Blots and Symbels who are they worshipping and petitioning? If they petition for favor, or wealth, or good harvest, or healing… that is prayer. If you are making offerings, requests, and worship…than you believe in gods. So who do you think you are fooling?)
Because of the focus on living in harmony with nature, the temple’s builders will carefully dig up the trees on the construction site and replant them elsewhere. (It is sounding to me that these folks worship GAIA/Nature/Creation. Which is what God said not to do. Don’t worship the creation, worship the CREATOR.)
The “hof” should be completed late next year and Mr Hilmarsson is confident it will attract considerable attention among visitors.
“Foreigners are more than welcome to join our feasts, get married here or have a name-giving ceremony and we can arrange all the formalities,” he says.
“People have come away from our ceremonies with a changed outlook, moved in a way they had never expected.” (No doubt, coming home with a few spirits they did not bring with them.)
ÖSKUHLÍÐ HILL Perlan sits on top of the hill. The pagan ceremony takes place at the foot of the hill, near Nauthólsvík geothermal bathing area. Photo/GVA
Members of the Icelandic Ásatrú Association will gather at Öskjuhlíð hill in Reykjavík tomorrow morning to view the near total solar eclipse and to celebrate the construction of the association’s first pagan temple. This will be the first pagan temple to be built in the Nordic countries in nearly a thousand years.
The ceremony will begin at 08.38 am tomorrow, at the same moment as the Moon touches the Sun’s edge, with the pagan ‘blót’, the worshipping of the old gods, happening when the eclipse reaches its maximum at 09.37.
All are welcome to partake in the event.
A new temple dedicated to the Norse god Odin and other gods has opened in Denmark.
Is it the first Odin’s temple since the Christianization of Scandinavia, which took place between the 8th and the 12th centuries. The year 1188 AD marks the triumph of Christianity in Denmark with the canonization of St. Canute (Sankt Knud), the patron saint of Denmark. Since then, the old ways native to the Danish folk was suppressed for centuries. Finally, as the old ways become re-embraced into Danish culture, a temple rises to hail the way.
Etymology. Inherited from Middle English Canut, from Anglo-Norman *Canut, Kenut (compare Medieval Latin Canūtus), from Old Norse Knútr, possibly originally a byname meaning “knot”.
So, in 1188 was the KNOT tied between the Catholic Church and the Norse Pantheon? We know that ROME worshipped the ancient gods. The Roman Catholic Church is just ROMAN government under cover. PRETENDING to be “Christian”.
Cant the Great was King of England from 1016, King of Denmark from 1018, and King of Norway from 1028
Canute IV, later known as Canute the Holy or Saint Canute, was King of Denmark from 1080 until 1086. Canute was an ambitious king who sought to strengthen the Danish monarchy, devotedly supported the Roman Catholic Church, and had designs on the English throne.
Evidently, the origin for the “Canute” spelling lies in Latin writings from France or Normandy. A French or Norman origin for the disyllabic spelling may be related to difficulties in pronunciation and makes phonological sense: Speakers of Romance languages, such as (Anglo-) Norman, Old French and Latin, cannot pronounce the sequence /kn/ and one way to remedy this is to insert an epenthetic vowel between the velar and the nasal consonants (Lincoln Canfield & Cary Davies 1975; Minkova 2003: 337); rather like the French taunter in Monty Python and the Holy Grail saying ‘kuhnnigits” rather than “knights”!
It is the first time in nearly a millenium, that Odin and all the other Nordic Gods will have another home in Denmark to visit when they are in Miðgarðr.
The opening of the Odins Hof (Valheim) in Denmark is a new beginning for the old ways.
Ceremonies began to consecrate the Hof to Odin. Nine Roosters were sacrificed for “Alföðr” and consumed as a part of the sacrificial ritual.
When the participates entered the northern corner of the Hof, thunder was rolling 3 times. Magical!
The Three Godas (or Norns) made a magnificent job with the most fantastic songs etc
Construction of the Hof. The Odin’s Hov is rising 12 meters above the danish soil, with a square area at around 100 m2.
After some small finishing touches and then temple was ready for the official opening ceremony with attendance of several Danish ministers, with the ribbon cut by the leader of the Danish Parliament.
The “first” Odins temple in a nearly 1000 years is now a reality – and MUCH bigger and more beautiful than they ever have imagined.
“On that day, men shall fling away, to the flying foxes and the bats, the idols of silver and the idols of gold which they made for worshiping.” (Isaiah 2:20)
As the pagan Norse religion makes a roaring comeback in Iceland, the Asatru Society is expected to finish construction of a new temple –
There have been no temples to the Norse gods in Iceland for over 900 years, but in 2015, the Ásatrú Society, re-established in 1972, began construction on a modern temple in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. It is expected to be ready for use sometime this summer at a final cost of around $1.25 million.
The pagan religion is making a comeback in Iceland, necessitating the construction of the new facility.
“I think more people are seeing what we’re doing and they like it,” said Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, current High Chieftain and director of the Ásatrú movement, in an interview in Iceland Monitor. “We do not recruit members. We just encourage people to come if they are interested. Our ceremonies are open to everyone.”
There may be another reason for the rise in Ásatrú popularity. Unlike the mainstream Lutheran church that most Icelanders attend, the Icelandic version of neo-paganism promotes same-sex weddings.
“There has been a massive increase in demand for same-sex wedding ceremonies in the last year, an explosion really,” Hilmarsson said in an interview in Gay Iceland, noting that many foreign citizens visit Iceland specifically to be married in his pagan service. “The pagan belief is very inclusive and we are open to all opinions, so we welcome all, gay or straight, Icelandic or foreign.”
Hilmarsson is optimistic and believes that once the new temple is complete, interest in the Norse gods will flourish.
“Since the younger generation is gradually turning away from [established] religion,” he said, “I think our growth will continue, for many years to come.”
Asatru has its roots in Germanic paganism and bears many similarities to other forms of idolatry. Its adherents worship a pantheon of gods. Just as biblical paganism has a strong aspect of divination, runes play an important role in the Norse religion.
As seen in the bellicose Viking culture, war was ritualized and the slain enemies became sacrifices to the Norse gods. It is likely that human sacrifice was part of Norse paganism but nothing suggests that it was part of common public religious practise. Instead it was only practised in connection with war and in times of crisis. (That is a lie/a deciet. Don’t believe it. They sacrificed humans and animals as part of their ritual offerings to Odin and others. Not just in war.)
The major holidays revolved around the changing seasons, with Yule being the most important, celebrated in late December and continuing for twelve days.
Norse paganism went mainstream in 1962 when Marvel Comics began publishing a comic book series featuring the god Thor and other characters from the Norse pantheon. In 2011, Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures released the movie “Thor”, based on the comic book. That was followed by two more movies, the most recent, “Ragnarok”, based on Norse eschatology.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarok refers to a series of apocalyptic events, including a great battle resulting in the death of the gods, natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water.
Iceland’s New Temple to Norse Gods looks like Novus Ordo Church
Credit: Magnus Jensson
We have often mentioned that Novus Ordo churches look like pagan temples, and today we can report that pagan temples also look like Novus Ordo churches.
In February of 2015 it was announced that Iceland was getting ready to build its first temple to the country’s historic Pagan gods in more than 1,000 years. These plans are beginning to take on concrete shape now. As the Nordic edition of Business Insider reports, a new idolatrous temple is being erected on behalf of the Asatru Society (Hof Ásatrúarfélagsins) for the worship of Odin and Thor, two of the gods of Norse mythology. Construction is currently underway, and completion of the edifice is expected by the end of the year.
The image above is a rendition of the anticipated final product. Let’s face it: The fact is that if someone had told you that this building was a Novus Ordo church, you would have believed it — because it’s virtually indistinguishable from one, at least on the outside.
Additional images of the project can be found at the web site of the architectural firm.
How will Club Francis react? Probably not at all. Perhaps they will simply be glad to have a new conversation partner for their interreligious dialogue and a new participant to invite to the next Assisi peace prayer meeting. The entire Vatican II Church is gradually moving towards neo-gnostic, neo-pagan nature worship anyway. We recall that in November of 2014, the Benedict XVI appointee “Cardinal” Francesco Ravasi participated in a pagan rite of adoration of the mother earth goddess Pachamama:
Francis’ environmentalist encyclical Laudato Si’ didn’t help in that regard. Shortly after the document’s publication, by the way, a televised Canadian Novus Ordo “Mass” closed with a hymn to “Beautiful Gaia, calling us home”. The diocese ended up apologizing and promised that this would not happen again, but only after an outcry had been raised on the internet over the scandal.
“Pope” Francis is always busy denouncing all sorts of quasi-idolatries (of money, of freedom, of self, etc.), but when it comes to idolatry in its proper sense — the literal worship of the creature rather than the Creator — he falls curiously silent and encourages Pagans in their unhappy state. Remember?
- Francis stands up for the Rights of Tradition – Pagan Tradition, of course!
- “Meeting God in different Ways”: Francis boldly promotes One-World Religion
As far as Paganism and interreligious dialogue are concerned, let us never forget the following anecdote from the Church’s treasury of saints. St. Boniface Winfrid, Apostle of Germany, once had the following “encounter” with the indigenous heathens:
To show the heathens how utterly powerless were the gods in whom they placed their confidence, Boniface felled the oak sacred to the thunder-god Thor, at Geismar, near Fritzlar. He had a chapel built out of the wood and dedicated it to the prince of the Apostles. The heathens were astonished that no thunderbolt from the hand of Thor destroyed the offender, and many were converted. The fall of this oak marked the fall of heathenism.
(Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “St. Boniface”)
This is the very Thor the adherents of the Asatru Society in Iceland will be worshipping in their new temple later this year. St. Boniface, madly in love with the true God, put aside all human respect and refuted the Pagans’ false gods by cutting down their “sacred oak”. And it worked! His action produced conversions in abundance. This is the fruit of proselytism and triumphalism!
Can you imagine what “Pope” Francis would have said if he had been around back then to witness this? Not only would he have denounced the saint for disrespecting the cultural traditions of the indigenous and offending their religious sensibilities, he also would have complained about the unnecessary cutting down of a healthy tree God created for our “common home”, clearly another example of that “culture of waste” promoted by selfish man lording it over creation. Francis would still be yelling at St. Boniface today for putting up walls instead of building bridges!
The truth is that Francis worships man, not God. Like the Freemasons, he is concerned about the rights of man, not about the rights of God. But 118 years ago already, Pope Leo XIII lamented: “The world has heard enough of the so-called ‘rights of man’. Let it hear something of the rights of God” (EncyclicalTametsi Futura, n. 13).
Paganism, whether in its ancient or more modern versions, is a mortal sin against the First Commandment:
I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them….
Unfortunately, the history of the Old Testament is filled with stories of how the Chosen People defected into idolatry time and again. God punished this sin harshly even before the advent of grace. How much more will He punish it today! The following scriptural verses are very pertinent:
For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens. (Ps 95:5)
And I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols…. Nor shall they be defiled any more with their idols, nor with their abominations, nor with all their iniquities: and I will save them out of all the places in which they have sinned, and I will cleanse them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (Ez 36:25; 37:23)
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him. God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth. (Jn 4:23-24)
Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. (Jn 14:6)
Wherefore, my dearly beloved, fly from the service of idols. (1 Cor 10:14)
You know that when you were heathens, you went to dumb idols, according as you were led. (1 Cor 12:2)
And the rest of the men, who were not slain by these plagues, did not do penance from the works of their hands, that they should not adore devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither did they penance from their murders, nor from their sorceries, nor from their fornication, nor from their thefts. (Apoc 9:20-21)
Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie. (Apoc 22:14-15)
The paganization we are witnessing today is possible to a large extent only because of the collapse of Catholicism initiated by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. As tragic and abominable as it is, however, it is important always to keep in mind that the collapse of Christendom is not some unforeseen circumstances that signals the defeat of Christianity and the destruction of the Catholic Church. Rather, in the world’s apostasy and especially its return to Paganism, we are but witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy, as described in the Apocalypse:
And there came one of the seven angels, who had the seven vials, and spoke with me, saying: Come, I will shew thee the condemnation of the great harlot, who sitteth upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication; and they who inhabit the earth, have been made drunk with the wine of her whoredom. And he took me away in spirit into the desert. And I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was clothed round about with purple and scarlet, and gilt with gold, and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of the abomination and filthiness of her fornication.
The fornication and whoredom spoken of here are a common biblical metaphor for unfaithfulness to God, specifically idolatry. Thus, for example, the prophet Nahum declared: “Because of the multitude of the fornications of the harlot that was beautiful and agreeable, and that made use of witchcraft, that sold nations through her fornications, and families through her witchcrafts” (Nah 3:4).
That ancient Paganism should make a comeback in our time, even if modified a little, is actually not surprising. In an increasingly complex intercultural world of no borders or boundaries, people are yearning for a sense of identity and belonging. But having turned Catholicism into little more than a be-nice-to-each-other creed with bad liturgy, the Novus Ordo Sect has nothing substantial to set against it. Such people are desperately looking for something to hold on to and find it in their heathen roots. It will be their undoing: “But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils” (1 Cor 10:20).
Expect, then, to see an increase in evil: sorcery, witchcraft, Pagan sacrifices, abortion, promiscuity, open devil worship. This alone will be bad enough — but then consider also the divine punishment that will follow it. We must take great care to live holy lives, cultivating always the gift of sanctifying grace in our souls, so that we will, by the grace of God, be counted worthy to receive the sign of God on our foreheads and thus be spared God’s just wrath (see Apoc 9:4; cf. Apoc 7:3-16).
It seems we are heading towards the prophesied end in great haste. What is still missing is the false messiah for the apostate Jews — the Antichrist — and the re-establishment of the old sacrifices in a rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem. But they’ve been working on that:
“I am come in the name of my Father, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive” (Jn 5:43).
By the way: The location of the Pagan temple to Odin and Thor is Öskjuhlíð, a hill in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. But don’t think Iceland is first in building a new idolatrous temple in our times.Denmark was faster.
Lord, have mercy!
IF YOU WANT TO WAKE UP TO WHAT IS HAPPENING AROUND YOU AND HOW YOU ARE BEING MANIPULATED LISTEN TO THE TALKS BELOW !
When you read the article below and listen to the interview below, be aware that Geoffrey Hoppe from Crimsoncircle in one of his channels says that
Denmark is THE HEART, Norway is THE FEMININE and Sweden is THE MASCULINE and is pretending that it should be very spiritual and good, what he is indirectly stating is that DENMARK, NORWAY AND SWEDEN IS THE BLUPRINT OF NEW WORLD ORDER STRUCTURE and the mindcontrol and structure model of these countries will be implemented to the rest of the world.
SCANDINAVIAN AND EUROPEAN ROYALTIES ALL PARTICIPATING IN THE CREATION OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER LISTEN TO THE TALKS BELOW TO INFORM YOURSELF TO FREE YOURSELF
Sweden and Norway as “Experimental Countries”
June 3, 2007
Alan Watt on Red Ice Radio
with Henrik Palmgren of Sweden
“Episode: Bilderberg, Elites and The Navigators”
Red Ice Radio write-up: Alan Watt joins us to talk about the Bilderberg meeting, the Elites and the Navigators. Topics discussed: Bilderbergs “ranking”, DemoCrazy, the Navigators, Club of Rome, Hidden Masters, the City of London, Banks and the Obelisk from Egypt, Order of the British Empire (OBE), Temple Bar, The Grey’s Inn, The Grey’s, the Black and White Checkerboard and the “Grey Men” of Masonry (The Men Who Walk Between Worlds), Gen-Technology from the 1500 – 1600, the Pharaohs, Reincarnation, Soul Transmutation, “Opening of the Mouth Ritual”, “Gnome”, Human Genome Project, Eugenics of the Big Boys, Depopulation Plans from the 50’s using inoculations, George Soros and Breaking the Bank of England and The Swedish Economy and the connection to Bilderberger Carl Bildt (Swedish Foreign Minister), Sweden and Denmark as “Experimental Countries”, CIA Funding Both Sides of Revolutionary Groups, The Brain Chip, Hierarchy Infighting and much more.
April 29, 2007 PART 2
Alan Watt on Red Ice Radio
with Henrik Palmgren of Sweden
“Episode: Moon Landing, UFO’s and Fake Alien Threat”
Red Ice Creations Radio Write-Up: We continue our talk with Alan Watt and begin to talk about the possibility that the 1969 NASA Moon landings actually was done in a studio and what we have been about the moon landings is a lie. Topics Discussed: Moon gravity discrepancies, “How NASA Mooned America”, The Moon Car measurements don’t add up. The history of NASA – part of the military. The Words NASA, NAZI, NSA. Cape Canaveral “Cain-Veral/Virile”. The Rocket, the Obelisk and The Ben Ben Stone, The Big Ben. “Rockefeller”, Rock-Et = End Times for the Christians and Extra Terrestrial for the New Agers. Arthur C Clark – High Mason, 2001 and the start of the New World Order. The Van Allan Belt. Ronald Reagan and the Alien threat, the UFO filed in general, abductions, thought/mind control by Remote Control, Uri Geller, 2010, China and Russia Eyeing the moon, the reasons for the space program. Project Bluebeam, HAARP used to create a hologram.
SCANDINAVIAN AND EUROPEAN ROYALTIES ALL PARTICIPATING IN THE CREATION OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER LISTEN TO THE TALKS BELOW TO INFORM YOURSELF TO FREE YOURSELF
Jan. 23, 2008
Alan Watt “Cutting Through The Matrix” LIVE on RBN:
Management, Governance – Computer Interfacing – Intelligence Agencies, Secrets – Gordon Brown, Global System – UN, NGOs, Sustainable Development – League of Nations. Industrial Era, Economics, Banking – Experts – Darwin, Evolutionary Theory, “World Consciousness”. Population Reduction, First-Born Sacrifices, Promiscuity – Dependence on System. Youth Culture, Hollywood – Cold War, CIA Funding of Left and Right Wing Groups – Plato – Plastic Surgery, Terror of Growing Older. “Evolution” – Autism, IQ Drop – Facts and Theories – Dropping Age of Female Puberty – New Medical “Normals”. Targeting Hormonal Development, Charles Galton Darwin – Inoculations – Preponderance of Evidence. “Republic” and “Democracy – Plebeians, Elections, Voting (the Way the Elite Want Them to) – Re-Public (Another Con). Founding Fathers, Government of Ancient Rome, Aristocracy, Eagle – Senate (Chess Floor of Egypt). Ralph Nader, UN Agenda, Habitat Areas, Bureaucracy – Louvre of France, Dubai – London, Sales of Parts of Scotland – Edinburgh – Finland, EU. Secret Societies, Comacines, Cathedrals, Lake Como, Red Thread, Green Man – Trotsky, Freemasonry. Harry Potter.
* Poem & Dialogue Copyrighted Alan Watt – Jan. 23, 2008 (Exempting Music, Literary Quotes, and Callers’ Comments)
Jan. 21, 2008
Alan Watt “Cutting Through The Matrix” LIVE on RBN:
Eco-Movement, Greening – Club of Rome – Terrorism – Common Enemy – Inquisitions. Pythagorean Schools, Code of Silence, Revolution – “Golden-Thighed Pythagoras” – Number and Color Coding, Blue and Red Ties, Green, Masonic Lodges. Farming Terminology – Property – Organ Donation – Passive Chips – Training the Herd. CONOLOGY – Environmental Con – UN Climate Change Conference, Bali – Skeptical Scientists, Man-Made Global Warming, IPCC. Slogans – Symbols – Raydon, Master of Ra – “Y”, Trinity, Duad, Y-Chromosome. Protests – Canadian Parliament, High Masonry – Ronald Reagan, Helsinki, Shooting (a warning). Sumer: Movement from Highlands, Pantheon of Gods, Weights and Measures, Trade with India – Harappans – Previous Civilizations, Ages. Life-Extension, Prosperity for Those Serving “The Great Work” – Reincarnation into Family Lineages – Intermarriage, Selective Breeding, Eugenics. JFK, Secret Societies. European and Scandinavian Royalty – Revolutions – Dialectic – Israel – Water “Shortages” and Privatization. Use of the Mind – Brains “Like New, Never Used” – Matrix System– Grassroots Movements – Noble Blood – Benjamin Franklin, Hellfire Club, Mating for Offspring.
* Poem & Dialogue Copyrighted Alan Watt – Jan. 21, 2008 (Exempting Music, Literary Quotes, and Callers’ Comments)
Become your own prophet with Bill Cooper
About 50 min in the utube below more on Denmark and king Christian
The nordic race and the anglo-saxons
Kong Christian af Danamrk og New World Order
December 18, 2017|
The royal families of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark finance and direct Nazi-Viking organizations in the United States and Europe. The House of Bernadotte use the Wallenberg family as Court Factors and financiers. The Wallenberg family established Stockholms Enskilda Bank now known as SEB Group which has assets estimated at over 2.6 trillion. During WWII Stockholms Enskilda Bank acquired subsidiaries in Robert Bosch GmbH which was in contract with the Nazi military producing arms and using Nazi slave labor. The national bank of Sweden financed the Nazis and was blocked by the US during WWII. The CEO of their bank Jacob Wallenberg was even awarded the Order of the German Eagle under the Nazis. The Swiss-Swedish company ABB Group formerly Brown, Boveri & Cie before it merged with the Swedish ASEA paid millions of dollars to their slave labor victims used during WWII. ASEA used a swastika for its original logo. The royal families of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are all intermarried with German nobility that were directly involved with the Nazis. The German House of Glucksburg rule in Denmark and Norway today. The Glucksburg family married in with various German Nazi bloodlines. Prince Christoph of Hesse was Ministry of Air Forces for Nazi Germany and a Nazi SS commander.
Prince Christoph married Princess Sophie Glucksburg of Greece and Denmark. The Swedish Prince Gustaf Adolf the Duke of Vasterbotten had met with Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goring during WWII. Prince Gustaf Adolf married Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and her father Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was a politician in Nazi Germany and her brother Prince Friedrich Josias was a member of the Nazi defense force. Princess Birgitta of Sweden was married to Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern and his uncle Prince Franz Joseph of Hohenzollern-Emden was a member of the Nazis SS. Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein wsa a Nazi fighter pilot and Princess Benedikte of Denmark married Gustav Albrecht, 5th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg whose father was a Nazi commander. Although Nazi Germany invaded Denmark and Norway during WWII the war was orchestrated by the royal families as part of their long term takeover plot and for the purpose of depopulation. All through out history the royal families caused wars used their armies in competition for land, titles, and resources with out killing each other and instead they marry each other.
The Nazi-Viking cults are involved with divisions of the Aryan Brotherhood and white supremacist prison gangs with members incorporating Norse Mythology into their beliefs. Nazi-Viking cults are also involved with militia movements in the United States. These Nazi-Vikings are fascists. The word fascist derives from the Roman fasces. Not to be offensive but fasces and faggot both mean a bundle of sticks. Nazi-Vikings are crypto-bisexual and rape other men in prisons or shower rooms to assert their dominance over each other. They are not what they claim to be. The Nazi-Viking cults are militant fascist supremacists and organized through prisons, militias, and brotherhoods similar to Freemasonry. Ole Andreas Halvorsen is from Norway and resides in Connecticut today. Ole Halvorsen is worth over 2 billion and he owns the hedge fund called Viking Global Investors which was recently managing over 28 billion in assets. Many investment firms use investments and stock trading as the disguise for criminal pay offs. Leaders of these Nazi-Viking cults may own companies which investment firms finance and the more work these cults do for the global criminal agenda the more they get financed.
They may use trading stocks as pay offs as well. This creates a veil of protection and functions in a similar way as cronyism where members of the these groups receive special treatment like stock trading tips, low interest rates, bonuses, promotions, or even pay offs disguised as loans. From the cult leaders the pay offs trickle down to lower level members often through cash, PayPal, or Patreon accounts. The term troll is used for paid online agents that reside on sites and channels targeting people who speak against their narrative. The Swedish Trolle family oversee online trolling and work with Swedish, German, and British bankers which finance them. The Trolle family merged with the Wachtmeister family headed up by Count Hans-Gabriel Trolle-Wachtmeister. Erik Wachtmeister is a Swedish born Jesuit Georgetown educated banker that has worked for Lehman Brothers, Rothschild Inc. and Ladenburg Thalmann. Erik Wachtmeister also founded the investment company called Viking Internet. Christopher O’Neill is the husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and he has worked for Noster Capital, NM Rothschild and Sons, and Steinberg Asset Management. These banking connections are used for making criminal pay offs to their online disinformation agents. Govern-ment translates to control mind.
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Prince Carl Philip the Duke of Varmland, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Prince Daniel the Duke of Vastergotland, Princess Madeleine the Duchess of Halsingland and Gastrikland, Princess Christina, Tord Magnuson, Princess Margaretha, Princess Birgitta, Princess Desiree, and Baron Nils-August Otto Carl Niclas Silfverschiold.
Norway’s royal family
King Harald V of Norway, Queen Sonja of Norway, Princess Martha Louise of Norway, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Princess Astrid Ferner, Carl-Christian Ferner, Alexander Ferner, Haakon Lorentzen, and Ragnhild Lorentzen.
Denmark’s royal family
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Prince Consort Henrik of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Prince Joachim of Denmark, Princess Marie of Denmark, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Gustav the 7th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Count Jefferson von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth, Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece and formerly of Denmark.
House of Bad Luck
July 14, 2017
The House of Glucksburg are a powerful royal bloodline that rule over Norway with King Harald V, Denmark with Queen Margarethe II, and also formerly ruled over Greece. The family originates in Germany and the word Gluck means luck or fortune. Many of the Germany and Venetian nobility have some ancestry from Greece and the Byzantine empire. The former Greek nobility dominate over the global shipping industry and work closely with the British Peers and London merchants. The Greek royal family have businesses in London today. The Greek Mafia work closely with La Cosa Nostra and there are many wealthy Greek families in the United States. The Karadja family settled a branch in Germany and the Greek branch are the Kardashians today who have Armenian ancestry. Many Byzantine families were Armenian. The Kardashians are wealthy and famous today because they descend from Greek nobility and serve the Greek House of Glucksburg today. The Bush family were the House of Bussche of Germany and before that they were the Vatatzes family of the Byzantine. Vatatzes or Batatzes means a bramble bush or briar in Greek. The Vatatzes family ruled in the Empire of Nicaea during the early 13th century. Vatatzes is similar to Vatican just as the Council of Nicaea established modern Christianity under Emperor Constantine. The Glucksburg family also originated from the Byzantine Empire and are likely descendants of the Constantinian dynasty. The head of the Greek royal family today is Constantine II and he was the last reigning monarch of Greece. When the royal family were exiled from Greece they stayed in Rome. Queen Sofia of Spain is from the House of Glucksburg and her husband Juan Carlos of Spain was born in Rome while the Spanish House of Bourbon was in exile. Prince Pavlos of Greece went to the Jesuit University of Georgetown in DC with his cousin King Felipe VI of Spain. The Glucksburg family are a younger branch of the German Oldenburg family which ruled in Glucksburg, Germany. Prince Christoph of Schleswig-Holstein is the current head of the House of Oldenburg and the Duke of Glucksburg. Prince Christoph’s son is Prince Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein.
The word Gluck means luck or fortune. The Glucksburg are a very lucky family with large amounts of wealth and power in the world. Members of the Greek royal family have ties with London and carry out private business there like most of the royal families. One way that the Glucksburg family are so lucky or fortunate is because they cause misfortune for others that threaten their power. A Greek word for luck or charm is goiteia. Goetia is a form of sorcery and conjuring. They use witchcraft and covert methods to curse and ruin the lives of others that threaten their system or control. The Greek royal family have authority over many of the fraternities and sororities in the world that are Greek based like Phi Sigma Kappa and Alpha Delta Phi. Fraternities or brotherhoods are secret societies that use initiations similar to Freemasonry. They use secrecy because they are involved in plots to dominate over aspects of society like business, banking, and politics and they serve powerful families like the House of Glucksburg. Through these secret organizations they pay off or reward members to cause misfortune for those that threaten their system or power. Princess Alexia is married to Carlos Morales Quintana who was investigated for bribery in Spain and the Canary Islands. Robert Warren Miller is the father of Prince Pavlos’ wife Princess Marie-Chantal and he is worth about 2 billion. Robert Warren Millier owns Search Investment Group which partly owns Prince Pavlos’ company Ortelius Capital Partners. Princess Alexandra von Furstenberg is the daughter of Robert Warren Miller and her husband’s step father Barry Diller created Fox Broadcasting Network. Prince Nikolaos of Greece worked for Fox Broadcasting. The Greek, Danish, and Norwegian Houses of Glucksburg are covertly managing the World Health Organization (WHO) which uses the Greek Rod of Asclepius of a serpent coiled around a staff. Serpents are venomous. Modern medicine is being used as a form of chemical warfare and this is another way they cause misfortune and disease in society. It was Norwegian delegates that helped to establish the WHO. Gro Harlem Brundtland was Prime Minister of Norway for three terms and also Director General of the WHO. Halfdan Mahler was from Glucksburg controlled Denmark and the three time former Director General for the World Health Organization. Prince Haakon of Norway and Prince Pavlos of Greece are top managers of the WHO.
Have you ever asked yourself if there is anything such as “the Norse wheel of the year”? or what the Viking calendar looked like? Different calendars were found in different areas, as Vikings travelled and spread around Europe, but we don’t have many records about them, unfortunately, and the ones that survived to this day are heavily Christian influenced.
Ancient Symbols… Modern Fit
Luckily, these archaeological findings still had some references to the previous Pagan celebrations and the old Icelandic calendar was used up until the 18th century, so thanks to these resources, we can have an approximate idea of how the early Germanic tribes organised their time.
Unlike our modern Gregorian calendar, the year was divided into two seasons only: Summer and Winter. Although the Sun had a pretty important role in their lives, Vikings used the moon phases to keep track of time, from new moon to new moon, dividing the year into 12 months of 30 days and four extra days every 4th Summer called the Sumarauki, to account for leap years.
Just as in other civilizations, solstices and equinoxes had some importance as well: these astronomical events are very noticeable in the northern regions and helped them predict the arrival of the different seasons, something critical for agriculture and farming.
Names of the months in the Norse calendar
Here are the names of the different months and seasons of the Norse “wheel of the year”:
- Náttleysi (nightless days or Summer months):
- Harpa (mid-April to mid-May): the first month of the year, probably named after a forgotten goddess or mythical creature.
- Skerpla (mid-May to mid-June): probably named after a forgotten goddess as well.
- Sólmánuður (mid-June to mid-July): its name translates to “Sun month” and it’s the brightest time of the year.
- Heyannir (mid-July to mid-August): or “haymaking”. It’s time to harvest the hay.
- Tvímánuður (mid-August to mid-September): it means “two months”. This might refer to the two months left of Summer.
- Haustmánuður (mid-September to mid-October): the Autumn month and time to harvest and get ready for the hard winter months ahead.
- Skammdegi (short days or Winter months):
- Gormánuður (mid-October to mid-November): or “slaughter month”
- Ýlir (mid-November to mid-December): also known as “Yule month”. The origins of its name aren’t clear, but it seems to be related to the celebration or to “Jólnir”, one of the names of Odin.
- Mörsugur (mid-December to mid-January): its name translates to “fat sucking month”. Animal fat was very important to survive the hard Scandinavian winters when nothing else grew from the land.
- Þorri (mid-January to mid-February): or “frozen snow month”. Its name may come from the god Thor (Þor) or the Norwegian king called Þorri Snærsson.
- Góa (mid-February to mid-March): literally “Góa’s month”, who was Þorri’s daughter and a winter spirit.
- Einmánuður (mid-March to mid-April): meaning the “lone month” or “single month”, probably referring to the fact that this is the last month of winter.
Fun fact: each month of the Norse calendar always started on the same day of the week.
The Norse calendar is filled with different holidays and festivals, but we don’t have detailed records of all of them, unfortunately. What we know about some of these festivities was based on medieval manuscripts, while others have been recreated by using the little information available from different sagas, mixed with the Wiccan Wheel of the Year as an inspiration in some cases.
That being said, here are the different holidays in the Norse wheel of the year that we know of:
- Þorrablot: or Husband’s day, it was celebrated on the first day of Þorri in honour of all husbands and fathers. It was held in honour of Thor and of course, the winter spirit of Thorri.
- Góublót: also known as “Wife’s day”, it took place on the first day of Góa in honour of all mothers and wives. It’s also a celebration of the end of winter.
- Sigrblót: the first day of Harpa. A day to celebrate the beginning of Summer and the victory of light over darkness. Offerings to Freya were made during this festival.
- Mid-Summer: a common festivity in many cultures, it was the celebration of light, fertility and music.
- Alfarblót: the first day of Winter. It celebrates the last harvest of the year and it’s also associated with the goddess Freya. This festivity was celebrated in the privacy of each home, as opposed to the others and it was lead by the women of the house.
- Jól or Yule: a festivity associated with the Wild Hunt and Odin and the predecessor of the modern Christmas celebrations in northern Europe.
- Dísablót: the exact day of this celebration is unclear, some sources say it was held at the beginning of winter, others at the end of it or it might have been celebrated on both, actually. This festival honoured all the female figures: the disir (the female spirits of protection and fertility), goddesses, ancestors and other female figures of the Norse lore.
The Heathen Holidays
What we know today as the “Heathen Calendar” was in fact created by Steven Mcallen in 1975, using the Wiccan Wheel of the Year as inspiration and giving Nordic names to existing celebrations within Northern Europe, which were heavily influenced by Christianity at that point.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you are wrong if you decide to follow this calendar (aside from the controversy linked to its author) for religious purposes, as it is more convenient for our modern lifestyle. Faith is something very personal that evolves with time, so choose whatever feels right for you!
Without further ado, here is the Norse Wheel of the Year:
- Disting or Disablot (February 2nd): a celebration of new beginnings and preparation of the land for planting.
- Ostara (March 21st): rejuvenation of the Earth and celebration of fertility and growth.
- Walpurgisnacht or May Eve (April 30th): associated with the god Frey and goddess Freya. Celebration of love, fertility and the coming of Spring.
- Midsummer or Midsummarblot (June 21st): The date of this celebration can vary a little bit if you decide to do it on the actual Summer solstice. Bonfires, traditional music and the burning of corn dollies take place to celebrate the brightest time of the year.
- Frey Feast or Freysblot (August 1st): thanksgiving for the fruits of the first harvest of the year. A loaf of bread is baked as an offering to the god Frey.
- Fall Feast or Haustblot (September 23rd): this festivity falls on the Autumn equinox, so the date may vary a bit if you celebrate it on the actual astronomical event. It honours the second harvest of the season and it’s the time to gather food for the upcoming winter months. It’s also a time to reflect on what we have achieved and to be thankful for what the Earth has given us.
- Winter Nights or Vetrnaetr (October 31st): The end of the harvest season, which meant that it was time to use the meat of the farm animals and start hunting. It’s also a night to reflect and honour ancestors, as well as the goddess Hela. The veil between the worlds is thinner during this night, so it’s also a good time to do some divination for the year ahead.
- Yule (December 20th-January 1st): the most important of all Norse holidays, it has a duration of 12 nights, starting on December the 20th. The darkest time of the year symbolizes the beginning and end of all things and it is when the gods and goddesses are the closest to Midgard. The dead return to Earth to share feasts with the living, but other magical creatures run freely at this time too, so be aware! (click here to see some easy Yule gift ideas)
I hope you enjoyed this short overview of the different Viking calendars! I didn’t want to make this post incredibly long, so I will make separate posts to cover each festival more in-depth and give you ideas on how you can celebrate them at home.
Globally, in Satanism (Paganism) among all races, occult “medicine” is comprised of various substances, and for this purpose, ritual murder is committed for the sake of power, victory in war, healing, prosperity, etc. Knowing or unknowingly, people dabbling in the occult drink blood (vampirism) and some eat human flesh (cannibalism;) mostly soaked and stirred in potions to give them “power.”
Penny Miller wrote, “Ritual murder was common as certain parts of the human body were necessary for the completion of spells and cures. Many body parts were consumed for their properties which, it is thought, were transferred to the person. Thus, brains would be given to those who wished to be cunning, or heart for greater courage… There are [strong] evidence that ritual murders still take place…”
|Surprised by a Pagan Temple Discovered Near Solomon’s?
Tel Motza hosted a pagan shrine displaying a Canaanite deity—a find characterized as ‘surprising.’ Here’s why it’s not. By Christopher Eames • November 1, 2021A fragment of what may be a depiction of an ancient Canaanite deity has been found in seemingly the most unthinkable place: a Judahite shrine near Jerusalem from the time of King Solomon’s fabled temple,”
Aerial photo of the temple at Motza at the end of the 2013 excavation
The temple, which is located in Reykjavik, was designed by the architect Magnus Jensson who structured the design to emphasize the relationship between the earth, the sky, and the sun. The temple, which is designed to hold up to 250 people, also includes a rock wall, a south facing glass wall and a domed ceiling with a skylight.
The construction of the new temple is indicative of the growth of the pagan faith in Iceland. Approximately 1000 years ago, the ancient pagan faith of the Icelandic people was largely abandoned in favor of Christianity. However, in recent years Nordic neopaganism has experienced a huge boom in popularity. In 2002 the faith, often referred to as Asatru, boasted only 570 members in 2002. Today, around 3900 Icelanders identify as belonging to the religion which makes it the largest non-Christian faith in the country.
The religion has changed quite considerably from the ancient faith it descends from. Many of those who identify as belonging to the faith consider themselves to be practical atheists and do not literally believe in the Norse gods such as Odin and Thor but rather that these mythological figures are manifestations of pure nature or allegorical stories to illustrate aspects of human and natural life. For these members of the faith, Asatru is simply an aspect of their Icelandic culture and identity. However, some members of the faith are literalists and believe that the Norse gods are physical beings. Others fall somewhere between these two extremes of the faith.
Hmmm, sounds just like modern Satanism. lol Well, most of us really don’t believe in a Satan as a being, we just see him as a representation of Freedom, some of us do believe and take it ver seriously, and others just want to be anti religion. DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU BELIEVE. Satan knows that what does matter is that you are calling on the name. Just as the Norse gods know that if you are calling on the name you are worshipping them. Also, the ritual practices, the symbols, the spells and incantations… they all work whether you believe or not. AND, when you call on these demons, you are opening yourself up to possession by them.
Iceland is known for its tolerant society, and therefore it is perhaps unsurprising that these drastically different attitudes towards the faith are not a matter of conflict within the pagan community.
The temple will not be the only pagan building of worship in Iceland for very long. As the faith continues to grow it is expected that more and more temples will emerge across the country.
Who is Odin?
Odin is the first and eldest of the Gods, the all-pervading spirit of the sun, the moon, the stars, the hills, the plains and of man. With his help were made heaven and earth and the first man and woman. All knowledge came from him; he is the inventor of poetry and discovered the runes; he governs all things, protects the social organization influences the human mind, avenges murder and upholds the sanctity of the oath. He is well named Allfather. And because he chooses to surround himself with a bodyguard of those who have fallen in battle he is also known as Valfather, Father of the Slain. (well, from that description, He is calling himself ALMIGHT GOD, a title and position that belongs ONLY to the CREATOR HIMSELF. Dangerous ground to be trying to usurp God!)
In the mythology Odin’s single eye (the other he sacrificed in exchange for wisdom) is the sun, his broad-brimmed hat the arched vault of heaven, his blue cloak the sky. A conspicuous passage in the Edda is Odin’s sacrifice of himself to himself:
You speak of “the Odinist mythology”. Do you really expect anyone to believe in a myth?
Every religion is mythical in its development. Mythology is the knowledge that the ancients had of the divine; it is religious truth expressing in poetical terms mankind’s desire for personal and visible gods. The mythology of Odinism consists of a group of legends, fables and tales relating to The Gods, heroes, demons and other beings whose names have been preserved in popular belief. Our object must be to discover, with the help of our mythology, the Gods who manifest themselves throughout Nature: in the streets and in the trees and in the rocks, in the running streams and in the heavy ear of grain, in the splendor of the sun by day and in the star-strewn sky at night. But it is not the myth that Odinists believe in but the Gods whom that myth helps us to understand.
You have mentioned the “Gods of Nature”. Does this mean that Odinists are nature-worshippers?
Odinists recognize man’s spiritual kinship with Nature, that within himself are in essence all that is in the greater world, which perform within him the same functions as in the world. Thus there are in man the four elements, the vegetative life of plants, an ethereal body – the god- soul – corresponding to the heavens, the sense of animals, of spiritual things and reason and understanding. Because in this way man comprises all the parts of the world within himself he is thus a true image of the Gods.
Also containing the essence of the universe within themselves, the Gods are everywhere and in everything: they show themselves to us as fire, as a flower, as a tree. Odinists believe that all life should be lived in communion and in accord with the mind of the Gods. Christianity turned away from Nature and concentrated its adherents’ attention on the human soul and became obsessed with the fall of man, by which it was implied that man had brought all Nature down into sin with him. Christian teaching encouraged man to see Nature only in her physical form whereas Odinists regard Nature as a true manifestation of the divine. “We and the cosmos are one,” wrote D. H. Lawrence, “The cosmos is a vast living body, of which we are still part. The sun is the great heart whose tremors run through our smallest veins. The moon is a great gleaming nerve-center from which we quiver forever. Now all this is literally true, as men knew in the great past and as they will know again.” Whoever shall properly know himself and all things in himself shall know the Gods. The Odinist, because of his awareness of his relationship with Nature, is able to feel a consanguineous kinship with plants and animals and the land – a complete oneness.
Who are the other Gods of Odinism? What kind of Gods are they?
We have already spoken of Odin and Balder. Of the other Gods the best- known is Thor, the most famous story concerning whom tells of this Warrior-God crushing the powers of chaos. He rules over clouds and rain and makes his presence known in the lightning’s flash. He is the protector of the farm worker, the chief god of agriculture, a helpful deity who makes the crops grow and who also blesses the bride with fertility. In the words of Professor P. V. Glob, ” He wishes all men well and stands by them in face of their enemies and against the new God, Christ.” Tyr is the God of martial honor, the most daring and intrepid of the Gods. He dispenses justice in time of peace and valor in war. He it was who sacrificed a hand when overpowering the evil Fenris Wolf, showing us that we ourselves must be prepared to make sacrifices in order to protect ourselves and our kin from those who seek to cast our society into anarchy and chaos.
Frey is God of the harvest and is therefore also a God of fecundity and growth; some authorities believe that he and Christ may have become blended, in England at least, in the new religion of Christianity. Freya is a Goddess of love and the sister of Frey: barren women may invoke her and she is also the Goddess of death for all women. Another God, Vali, is called he Avenger because when he was yet only one night old he avenged Balder’s death, thus demonstrating the moral obligation we have of punishing society’s enemies. Other Gods include Brage, Heimdal, Vidar, Frigg and Forsete.
The Gods of Odinism are the ordaining powers of Nature clothed in personality. They direct the world which they themselves created. They are referred to collectively as the Aesir, of whom every living thing forms a part (thus not all the Gods are necessarily good ones). Objects and phenomena that are regarded as greater or lesser Aesir are qualities such as thought and memory, and natural things such as the sun, rivers, mountains and trees as well as animals and ancestral spirits. There are also the guardian Gods of the land, of skills and occupations and the spirits of national heroes, the Einheriar and other men and women whose outstanding deeds and virtues have contributed to our civilization, culture and well-being.
|Odinism is the original, indigenous faith of the English people. For more information about England’s native and national religion write to the address below to receive a free explanatory booklet:
This offer is only available to residents of the British Isles. Alternatively, read our web pages printed below.
|WHAT IS ODINISM?
Odinism is the name we give to the original, indigenous form of heathen religion practised by our forefathers, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, and by the related Teutonic peoples of the Continent. It is, accordingly, the ancestral, native religion of the English people, and, as such, our very own spiritual heritage. Odinism is an ancient religion whose origins are lost in the mists of time, but it has been restored in recent decades by those who believe it offers a solution to modern Man’s spiritual crisis.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A ‘HEATHEN RELIGION’?
The terms ‘heathen’ and ‘pagan’ are synonymous and interchangeable, and refer to any of those religions practised in the earliest phases of a nation’s or people’s history. One feature common to all the earliest forms of religion known to Man is polytheism, the belief in many gods and goddesses. The ancient, heathen or ‘natural’ religions can be contrasted with the ‘prophetic’ or ‘revealed’ religions founded, at a much later period, by individual teachers such as Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus or Mohammed.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER KINDS OF PAGANISM?
All the peoples of ancient times were pagan: the ancient Greeks and Romans, the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, as well as the ancient Teutons, Celts and Slavs. The polytheistic Hindu and Shinto faiths of India and Japan, respectively, are forms of heathenism which have survived into modern times. So too are the animist religions of sub-Saharan Africa. Paganism is therefore, in one sense, the only universal form of religion known to Man, and Odinism is but one branch of the heathen family of religions: that practised by the Teutonic peoples.
WHO ARE THE TEUTONS?
The Teutonic or Germanic peoples comprise a number of nations and tribes of northern Europe, possessing a common origin and sharing many cultural affinities, who speak one or other of the Germanic languages. Their modern representatives include the Germans, Dutch, Flemings, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and Icelanders, as well as the Anglo-Saxons of England and lowland Scotland – and all their descendants in the New World. Among important Germanic tribes of ancient times we can number the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Lombards, Franks, Burgundians and Vandals. All of these nations were originally worshippers of the gods and goddesses of the Odinic pantheon.
WHAT KIND OF RELIGION IS ODINISM?
Odinism is a life-affirming religion. Odinists value and esteem everything that sustains, promotes, enhances and enriches life. Odinists do not see our life on Earth as merely being a preparation for a life hereafter. We see it as an end in itself, as something positive, good and hallowed. We rejoice in and celebrate all that is wonderful in the world around us: the fruitfulness of Nature, the changing seasons, the comforts of family and home, human creativity, and our personal and collective achievements. Odinists do not indulge in fasting and penitence; rather, we worship the gods in our feasting and merry-making.
WHAT OF THE GODS AND GODDESSES?
Odinism is a polytheistic religion. We believe in and honour the life-giving and bountiful gods and goddesses of the Odinic pantheon, whom we refer to collectively as the High Gods of Asgarth, or as the Æsir and Vanir. Our gods are true gods, divine, living, spiritual entities, endowed with power and intelligence, able and willing to intervene in the course of Nature and of human lives. It behoves us to seek their goodwill and succour through prayer and sacrifice. But the gods do not require us to abase and humble ourselves; they do not seek to make of us craven slaves. Odinists therefore do not bow or kneel or kow-tow to the gods, but address them proudly like free, upstanding men and women. Odinists regard our gods, not as our masters, but as firm friends and powerful allies.
… AND OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT?
Odinism is a spiritual religion. Whilst we do not denigrate or despise the material aspects of human nature and of the world in which we live, we recognise that Man’s essence is spiritual. Man is endowed with a soul or spirit, which contains a spark of the divine, and which is his imperishable and eternal Self. Its destiny is to be reunited with the ancestors, abiding for ever in the halls of the gods. Odinist teachings seek to achieve a balance between the material and the spiritual, neither condemning the former, nor denying the latter, for both are god-given elements of human life.
… AND OF NATURE?
Odinism is a nature-loving religion. Odinists revere, love and honour Nature, viewing it as a true manifestation of the spiritual. Our gods are Nature gods, expressing true concern for and, indeed, identifying themselves with its aspects and elements: Odin with the wind and air, Frigg with the land and earth, Thor with thunder and lightning, Niord with the sea and waves, and so forth. Odinists believe that all living beings are, in some degree, possessed of a spiritual essence; and by ‘living beings’ we understand not only beasts and plants, but mountains, rocks, seas, rivers, islands, all of which can be apprehended, like the Earth herself, as living entities, endowed with spirit.
… AND OF ODINIST COSMOLOGY?
Odinism is a cosmic religion. Odinists do not subscribe to a simplistic dichotomy of ‘Heaven and Earth’. Odinist mythology explains to us that, just as there are many gods, there are also many ‘worlds’, that is to say, many planes of existence, or dimensions of reality, interconnected, overlapping and inextricably enmeshed one with another. The myths describe this phenomenon as the ‘Nine Worlds’. And within this cosmological reality, as the myths repeatedly illustrate, there always has been from the very beginning, and always will be for ever and ever, conflict, a conflict of opposing forces, embracing the entire cosmos, ourselves included, which the myths portray in terms of the struggle of the Æsir against the giants, that is to say of the forces of Nature, order, life and creativity against the opposing forces of dissolution, disorder, disintegration and destruction. In this cosmic conflict each man and woman must choose his side and play his part, for or against the Æsir. This is the inner meaning of our lives.
Ásheimur Temple, which is situated in Northern Iceland, stands as a testament to the resurgence of ancient Norse and Germanic paganism and the enduring spirit of Ásatrúarfélagið, the Icelandic Pagan Association. Serving as the country’s inaugural consecrated heathen temple, Ásheimur temple has become a sacred place for the local heathen community and a symbol of cultural preservation. Let’s have a closer look at the fascinating story behind Ásheimur Temple, its construction, and the role it plays in fostering the beliefs and practices of Ásatrúarfélagið and other contemporary heathens.
A Haven in the Hjaltadalur Valley
Nestled within Iceland’s picturesque Hjaltadalur valley, Ásheimur Temple finds its home on the land of Efri Ás, a normal Icelandic farm raising dairy cows and sheep. The visionary behind this extraordinary sanctuary is Árni Sverrisson, the farmer of Efri Ás, who also happens to be a devoted heathen priest. Árni, along with his wife, family, and friends, embarked on a remarkable journey to construct a traditional heathen temple called Ásheimur.
A Labor of Devotion
The construction of Ásheimur Temple commenced in 2010, fueled by Árni’s unwavering dedication to resurrecting the ancient traditions and beliefs of his Norse ancestors. Through countless hours of toil and unyielding determination, the temple took shape and transformed into an 80-square-meter structure by 2014. Designed to emulate the essence of Viking age heathen temples, Ásheimur features stone and turf walls, a sturdy wooden framework, and a captivating turf-covered roof.
The temple’s construction was a labor-intensive process that involved the use of traditional building techniques. The stone and turf walls were constructed using methods that have been used in Iceland for centuries, while the wooden framework was built using traditional woodworking techniques. The turf-covered roof was constructed using a method called “turfing,” which involves laying a layer of turf over a wooden frame.
Reviving the Spirit of the Vikings
Ásheimur Temple serves as a place of worship and gathering for members of Ásatrúarfélagið, the Icelandic Pagan Association. Local heathens, as well as individuals with a keen interest in Ásatrú, frequently converge within the temple’s hallowed walls to partake in rituals, ceremonies, and discussions. These meetings not only provide an opportunity for spiritual connection but also foster a sense of community, reinforcing the cultural and historical significance of Ásatrú in Iceland.
Ásatrúarfélagið: Guardians of Ásatrú
Founded in 1972, Ásatrúarfélagið plays a vital role in preserving and promoting Ásatrú, the ancient pagan faith of the Norse people. With a growing number of members, the association actively engages in various cultural and educational initiatives, making Ásatrú accessible to the wider population. Ásheimur Temple stands as a testament to Ásatrúarfélagið’s tireless efforts in revitalizing the heathen traditions that once thrived in Iceland.
Ásatrúarfélagið’s Þingblót 2009
Prior to the establishment of Ásheimur Temple, Ásatrúarfélagið did not have a physical temple in which to conduct their rituals. Instead, they held their meetings in rented spaces or outdoors in nature. The establishment of Ásheimur Temple has provided Ásatrúarfélagið with a permanent space in which to hold their meetings and conduct their rituals.
Preservation of Norse Heritage
The consecration of Ásheimur Temple marks an important milestone in Iceland’s cultural landscape, emphasizing the significance of preserving and celebrating the country’s Norse heritage. As one of the few remaining countries with ancestral ties to the Vikings, Iceland serves as a custodian of a rich and ancient past. Ásheimur Temple acts as a tangible link to this history, allowing visitors to experience the spiritual connection between past and present.
Welcoming to all
While Ásheimur Temple primarily serves the local heathen community, its doors are open to all those that are interested in Ásatrú. The temple acts as a bridge, inviting enthusiasts and curious visitors to immerse themselves in the rituals, traditions, and wisdom of the Norse pagan faith. By fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity and open dialogue, Ásheimur Temple encourages the exploration of Norse and Germanic paganism.
Archaeologists unearth ‘unparalleled’ pre-Christian temple in Norway
A fascinating discovery is shedding light upon pre-Christian Scandinavian religion and early Christian inroads into Norway. In the Norwegian press, this highly important find is being called “unparalleled,” “first of its kind” and “unique,” said to have been “deliberately and carefully hidden” – from invading and destructive Christians.
Located at the site of Ranheim, about 10 kilometers north of the Norwegian city of Trondheim, the astonishing discovery was unearthed while excavating foundations for new houses and includes a “gudehovet” or “god temple.” Occupied from the 6th or 5th century BCE until the 10th century AD/CE, the site shows signs of usage for animal sacrifice, a common practice among different peoples in antiquity, including the biblical Israelites. (E.g., Num 7:17-88) Over 1,000 years ago, the site was dismantled and covered by a thick layer of peat, evidently to protect it from marauding Christian invaders. These native Norse religionists apparently then fled to other places, such as Iceland, where they could re-erect their altars and re-establish the old religion.
A personal journal to share my artistic works, to write about Norse shamanism and traditional paganism, European History, Archaeology, Runes, Working with the Gods and my personal experiences in Norse shamanic practices.
Archaeologists have discovery something truly amazing in Norway, something to give light to the pre-christian scandinavian religion. It seems it’s the first of its kind to be found in norwegian soil, but it is so unique for a reason – it was deliberately hidden to avoid its destruction by christian hands.
This archaeological finding is located at the site of Ranheim, to the north of Trondheim. It seems the area where the temple was found had been occupied since the 6th-5th centuries BCE until the late 10th century CE (common Era). There are traces of animal sacrifice obviously, which isn’t something that outstanding, for it was a common practice in many cultures of antiquity. This temple was dismantled and covered by peat a 1000 years ago more or less, to protect it from christian invaders as told before. The people of this place fled from the christians but not before safeguarding their place of worship.
The temple may have been built somewhere around the year 400 AD. It was thus used for hundreds of years until the people emigrated to avoid Christianity’s oppressive religion. The temple consisted of a stone-set, commonly known as “sacrificial altar”, and also traces of a “pole building” that probably housed idols in the form of sticks with carved faces of the gods. Deceased relatives of high rank were also portrayed in this way. Not far from there, the archaeologists also uncovered a procession route.
Being covered by layers of peat the temple was very well preserved. Such places covered by stratigraphic layers of turf and a very wet soil, tend to preserve whatever lies beneath. The altar for instance, where one worshiped the gods and offered animal blood, was preserved and we can have an idea how it was. It consisted of a circular stone setting around 15 meters in diameter and nearly a meter high. The pole building a few meters away was rectangular, with a floor plan of 5.3 x 4.5 meters, and raised with 12 poles, each having a solid stone foundation. The building may have been high and it is clear that it wasn’t used as a dwelling. It had no fireplace. Inside the “house” were found traces of four pillars that may be evidence of a high seat where the idols stood between ceremonies. The processional road west of the temple headed straight towards where the pole building was marked with two parallel rows of large stones, the longest sequence at least 25 feet long.
- A 1,200-year-old temple to the Old Norse gods including Thor and Odin has been unearthed in Norway by a team of archaeologists.
- It was likely used for worship and sacrifices to gods during the midsummer and midwinter solstices, and other fertility festivals.
- Icelanders are officially practicing the Old Norse pagan religions again; the first temple to the Norse gods in 1000 years is currently being constructed in the City of Reykjavík.
The discovery is a breathtakingly rare remnant of the Viking religion built centuries prior to Christianity’s introduction, and eventual dominance, across the land.
Photo courtesy of the University Museum of Bergen
The building remains were unearthed by archaeologists from the University Museum of Bergen in September at the seaside village of Ose located in western Norway ahead of preparations for a new housing development project. Based on the placement of post holes and other artifacts, the team was able to determine the structure of the god house and how it was used.
The large wooden building was about 45 feet long, 26 feet wide, and 40 feet high, and is thought by archaeologists to date from the end of the eighth century. The building’s layout is almost identical to late Iron Age god houses found at Uppåkra in southern Sweden and Tissø in Denmark, but this is the first temple of its kind found in Norway according to archaeologist and architect Søren Diinhoff who led the project.
“We have discovered the most perfectly shaped god house of all the finds so far — I know of no other Scandinavian buildings in which the house construction is as clear as it is here,” Diinhoff told Syfy Wire‘s Elizabeth Rayne. “I think our building is central to document and verify this very special architecture.”
Diinhoff told Live Science that god houses at Ose followed the architectural blueprint of Christian basilicas that travelers would have come across in southern regions. Because of this, Old Norse religious temples of this time are characterized by a high tower looming above a pitched roof, similar to early Christian churches. At the site were also a number of cooking pits for preparing religious feats, and a collection of bones — the remains of animal sacrifices.
Their excavations also revealed traces of early agricultural settlements dating to between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago, including the remains of two longhouses — large wooden halls typically covered with turf and thatch and used as communal habitations. According to Diinhoff, they would have each been the center of a small farm for a family and their animals.
Later in the sixth century is when the Norse began to construct large “god houses.” These were complex outdoor worship sites dedicated to deities of the Norse pantheon including the fertility god Freyer, the war god Odin, and the storm god Thor. This suggests the worship was more than a small cult or folk practice. Rather, it likely had something to do with elite classes wanting to put on an ideological spectacle. As high-status families began to take control of the earlier religious cults, Norse religious worship became more organized.
The temple at Ose was likely used for celebrations and sacrifices to gods during the midsummer and midwinter solstices (the shortest and longest days of the year), which would have been highly revered cosmological events for agrarian societies like the Old Norse. Several years ago, a “phallus” stone was found nearby the excavation site. According to Diinhoff, it was likely a part of Old Norse fertility rituals.
Festivals in which meat, drinks, and treasures were offered to wooden figurines representing the gods would have also taken place. While the gods consumed the spiritual essence of the food and drink, practitioners were able to enjoy the material of the feast.
“You would have a good mood, a lot of eating and a lot of drinking,” Diinhoff said to Live Science. “I think they would have had a good time.”
Unfortunately, the party was brought to an end during the 11th century. It was then that Norway’s rulers imposed Christianity onto the population. As a result, pagan religious structures were torn down and burned, and Norse gods were demonized. There’s currently no evidence suggesting that Ose’s god house was part of the iconoclastic purge, but Diinhoff and his team would like to find out in further work.
Recently, the Norse pagan religions have made a comeback. For example, an Icelandic neopagan faith group called the Ásatrú Association of Iceland, is currently one of the country’s fastest growing religions. Over the last decade, it’s almost quadrupled its membership going from a (granted, low) base of 1,275 people in 2009 to 4,473 in 2018. The association is constructing the first temple to the Norse gods in 1000 years in the City of Reykjavík. The project began in 2017 and after running into a funding roadblock, it’s expected to be completed later this year.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 1, 2021
A few months ago, I was interviewed by Utkarsh Patel, who teaches comparative mythology at the University of Mumbai in India. The interview was for The Mythology Project, a fantastic enterprise that Utkarsh co-founded and currently leads with comparative mythologist Arundhuti Dasgupta Singhal. Both Utkarsh and Arundhuti are also prolific writers and authors of groundbreaking books on myth and folklore.
The Mythology Project is designed to be “a meeting place for myths, legends and folktales from around the world.” Its founders describe its fantastic mission in detail.
The Project is an endeavour to create a space that preserves and nurtures this immeasurable intangible inheritance, and offer a platform that encourages debate and discussion on its influence on us as people and our understanding of the world around us. It will shine a light on the manner and form in which ancient cultures nourished themselves, through stories, songs, poetry, craft and performing arts—through the legacy that lives on in among us.
While being located within India and focused on its vast heritage of myth and folklore, the Project will not be exclusive to the region. It will work to uncover the intricate web of likenesses and variances that create a criss-cross of connections throughout the global, imagined landscape of our past.
The Project understands the past as an inheritance that goes beyond monuments and statues, as one that is manifest in myriad forms that seep into the routine existence of the present. Our aim is dig into this rich cultural stockpile, piecing together the puzzle of our existence through archival collections, by researching living myths and traditions and conducting public lectures, workshops and courses for adults and children.
It was a great honor to be interviewed for this wonderful project. There are so many paths to explore between Hinduism and Ásatrú, and I am extremely happy that Utkarsh and Arundhuti have decided to include Norse mythology and Ásatrú theology. I look forward to collaborating with them in the future.
Utkarsh’s questions are in large bold type below, with my answers in the normal font.
What is the significance of myth in Nordic culture?
In the past, before northern Europe was converted to Christianity and when Germanic polytheism was a living set of religions throughout a very large region for a very long time, the myths functioned as do the myths of any religion.
Myths are traditional tales told within a religious culture that express that culture’s worldview and/or explain beliefs, practices, and the natural world. There are Christian and Jewish myths just as there are Norse and Hindu myths.
To understand the significance of the myths, we need to understand the parent culture to the best of our ability. To divorce myth from culture – as do some widely read theories of the “hero’s journey” and so on – may be a meaningful literary exercise, but it tells us little of religious meaning.
The first step is to place the myths in cultural context, to place them in dialogue with what we know from history, archaeology, and other written sources of the time period. Without doing this, the myths become nursery tales that float free from any cultural weight.
There are elements in the Norse myths that tie directly to what we know of real-world practice. For example, Thor shrinks his hammer and wears it inside his shirt as northern European pagans wore small amulets of Thor’s hammer around their necks.
|Stone Thor’s hammer amulet found in farmstead from Viking Age in Iceland|
As in the oldest Sanskrit layers of Indian mythology, the Norse myths discuss the sacrificial act. They tell of the god Odin sacrificing himself to himself in a double ritual – both stabbing and hanging – that we have evidence of as actual sacrificial practice.
Those of us who today practice the modern form of Norse religion known as Ásatrú (Icelandic for “Æsir faith,” referring to the main tribe of Norse gods) face the task of incorporating myths of long ago into our modern lives and finding meaning within them.
In India, there are not only vast numbers of myths and legends, but there are also many long centuries of theological writings that discuss interpretations of the old stories. In Ásatrú, we are faced with a relatively tiny number of myths and no surviving second-order theological discourse by the practitioners of long ago – that is, no reflection upon the meaning of the myths in the context of a living practice.
|Stone carving of Thor’s fishing trip from early 11th century in Altuna, Sweden|
Why was the story considered so important? Possibly because it shows Thor, the great protector of the human and divine worlds, in direct conflict with his greatest enemy – the gigantic serpent of the waters who surrounds the earth and is the literally enormous threat to the worlds of both humans and gods. Thor risks his own life as he seeks to pull the serpent from the waters and smite it with his mighty thunder-weapon. Even a young child can understand Thor’s role in these images.
Those who know the Mahābhārata are familiar with the idea of being stuck between conflicting dharmas; this is one of many points of contact between the Icelandic and the Indian, and the great literature of both nations wrestles with these moral issues.
Whether the tale provides a way to grasp the role of the deity in an immediate way (like Thor and the World Serpent) or to examine an ethical dilemma in the form of narrative (like the fathers and sons), the fact that the same stories are repeated in multiple forms and formats does gives us a sense of core concepts and conflicts within the wider cultures that created them.
What is the significance of violence in Norse mythology? Why do we have such vivid descriptions of a battle and, in this sense, how would you compare these motifs and patterns with world mythology?
On one hand, the ancient world was a violent world, and the tales reflect the tenor of their times.
The Icelander Snorri Sturluson tells us that the bright and beautiful god Baldr is “the most beautifully spoken and the most merciful, but one of his characteristics is that none of his decisions is effective.” Baldr will rule in the golden age of peace that will begin the next cosmic cycle after the end of this one (another point of contact with Hinduism), but he is simply too kind and peaceful to have a large role in the myths of the Viking Age. In fact, it is his shameful murder at the instigation of Loki that truly begins the slide into doom at Ragnarök.
On the other hand, tales need adventure.
If Bilbo Baggins never left his comfortable home and became embroiled in the dwarvish scheme to vanquish the dragon, The Hobbit would be a book about pipe smoking and vegetable gardening. These may be very nice things to do, but they do not hold the audience enrapt around either the campfire or the fireplace. Conflict of some sort is what drives narrative, and what is the ultimate form of this-worldly conflict than violence, battle, and war? These are awful things to be thrown into, but they do keep the audience engaged.
On the third hand, it’s always good to listen to Mahātmā Gandhi on the Bhagavad Gītā.
|Illustration of the Bhagavad Gītā showing Arjuna and Krishna (India, 19th century)|
Describing his first impression of the text in 1888, he writes of what he called Vyāsa’s “religious theme”:
I felt that it was not a historical work, but that, under the guise of physical warfare, it described the duel that perpetually went on in the hearts of mankind, and that physical warfare was brought in merely to make the description of the internal duel more alluring.
This allure is what I mentioned about keeping the audience enrapt, but there is something deeper in Gandhi’s words – the idea that stirring tales of violent deeds can be read at two levels: the physical and the spiritual.
I would respectfully add one more degree and say that mythology can be read or heard at three levels: dramatic, emotional, and spiritual.
At the first level of drama, myths can be enjoyed as grand tales of adventure by individuals both young and old.
At the second level of emotion, the tales can be returned to again and again as one’s life experience deepens – the same person as child, teenager, young adult, middle-aged person, and elder can hear the same story at these different life points and have very different emotional reactions as they relate the tales to their own experiences.
The third level of spirituality is seeking to understand the deeper messages that the myths encode symbolically, even if our own modern solving of the code is quite different from how the symbols may have been understood millennia ago.
The tales of Tyr and Thor are violent ones, but we can see beyond the violence to the message. In different ways, both gods stand up for their communities and put themselves in grave harm in order to protect those around them.
Tyr gives his right hand so that Loki’s enormous and terrifying wolf-son can be bound until the end of this time cycle, and Thor loses his life at the final battle of Ragnarök even as he finally defeats the World Serpent.
We can see these mythic actions embodied by those around us now – by firefighters who rush into the burning forests of America’s west coast and by front-line medical workers who offer up their own lives in sacrifice to save those stricken with this terrible virus.
Myth is life, life is myth, and both can veer between the violent and the sublime.
Which Indian god holds a close parallel with a Norse god?
The closest parallels are in the oldest layers of Sanskrit, for it is these that contain the most classic Indo-European motifs that are shared by the myths, legends, and fairy tales of the Norse, Germanic, Celtic, Greek, Roman, and other related cultures. These building blocks of story appear in so many different combinations across such a wide range of time and space.
Thor and Indra are the most obvious parallels.
|Indra kills Vritra with his vajra, the thunder-weapon (India, undated)|
In the great pagan temple of Uppsala in eleventh-century Sweden, Thor sat in the center and was considered the mightiest of all, as Indra was considered the great king of the gods in the older myths of India. Both have enormous appetites, both wield the thunder-weapon, both respond to challenges from enemies of the gods, and both face the great serpent of the waters.
But this sort of parallel isn’t really the most interesting. The mighty wielder of the lightning bolt is found throughout Indo-European mythologies, so the Iceland-India connection is not unique.
The creation myths of the Eddas and the Vedas have parallels that are much more fascinating. They even begin with similar lines.
The Old Norse Völuspá (“Prophecy of the Seeress”) tells of a time before the world was made:
There was no sand nor sea nor chill waves, no earth to be found nor high heaven, a gulf of gaping void, and grass was nowhere.
The Sanskrit Nāsadīya Sūkta, the creation hymn, opens in like fashion:
There was neither non-existence nor existence, no realm of air nor sky beyond… There was no death then nor immortality, there was no sign of night nor of day.
Thousands of miles and thousands of years apart, both mythic systems begin their creation songs by describing the unimaginable void as a list of what is not there, by placing the immensely ancient nothingness before creation in terms of negating what we can see around ourselves now. They both find the same solution to comprehending the incomprehensible.
According to the Sansksrit Puruṣa Sūkta, the hymn of the cosmic giant Puruṣa, the gods sacrifice the enormous figure and make the moon from his mind, the sun from his eye, the wind from his breath, the sky from his head, and the earth from his feet.
The Icelandic Eddas tell us that the gods kill the primeval giant Ymir and make the clouds from his brain, the sky from his skull, the earth from his flesh, the sea from his blood, the mountains from his bones, and the trees from his hair.
The Indian and the Icelandic are again parallel, this time sharing the idea that the gods create the world from the yet older being whom they kill together early in time. Everything that is created, both myths tell us, is made from what came before.
There are other parallels, of course. I dive deeply into these with the students in my “World Religions” course, in which we examine Hindu, Norse, and Celtic mythology and religion. I am also very interested in parallel theological ideas between modern Ásatrú and Hinduism, such as the twin concepts of wyrd and karma. We have much more in common with each other than many may think.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, termed it as step in the positive direction for Iceland and Europe, signaling inclusivity and freedom of religion.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, commended the Reykjavik City Council for donating the land for this temple. Zed hoped that Council would also donate some land for the Hindu temple when local Hindus were ready to build their temple.
Said to be Scandinavia?s first Norse temple in 1,000 years since the Viking age, its structure (350 square meters) on a forested hill overlooking Reykjavik will reportedly be in the form of a half-buried circular dome, with roof allowing sunlight to enter. Both Reykjavik University and the University of Iceland are nearby. Temple will expectedly open in the summer of 2016. Iceland?s Asatruarfelagid (Asatru Association) will reportedly raise about $975,000 for building costs.
This seemed to be an effort of the descendants of Vikings to get back to their ancestral roots and the world should welcome it, Rajan Zed pointed out.
Stressing interfaith dialogue, Zed says that in our shared pursuit for the truth, we can learn from one another and thus can arrive nearer to the truth. Dialogue may help us vanquish the stereotypes, prejudices, caricatures, etc., passed on to us from previous generations.
When Iceland was constituted as a republic in year 930, it was based on the heathen religion. Currently, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, the National church established by law, claims about 80% of Iceland?s population as members; and the rest are divided between Evangelical Lutheran Free Churches, Roman Catholic Church, Pentecostal, Buddhists, Baha?is, Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah?s Witnesses, Orthodox, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hindus, etc. Iceland is also said to have one of the highest rates of nonbelievers in the world and Norse Paganism is reportedly the second biggest religion after Christianity in Iceland. Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson reportedly leads Asatruarfelagid.
Cinematic Iceland is famous for its active volcanoes, hot springs and geysers; whose settlement began in 874 CE.
BERSERKERS AND OTHER SHAMANIC WARRIORS
The shamanism of the pre-Christian Norse and other Germanic peoples took several different forms. Among the most common of these forms, especially for men, was the attainment and use of an ecstatic battle-fury closely linked to a particular totem animal, usually a bear or a wolf, and often occurring within the context of certain formal, initiatory military groups.
During the Viking Age, these “warrior-shamans” typically fell into two groups: the berserkers (Old Norse berserkir, “bear-shirts”) and úlfheðnar (pronounced “oolv-HETH-nahr” with a hard “th” as in “the;” Old Norse for “wolf-hides”). These groups were a late development of the earlier Germanic warband, and shared much in common with the warlike shamanism of other circumpolar peoples.
As far as we can tell today, the berserkers and úlfheðnar shared a common set of shamanic practices, with the only substantial difference being that the totem animal of the berserkers was, as the name implies, the bear, while that of the úlfheðnar was the wolf. These names are a reference to the practice of dressing in a ritual costume made from the hide of the totem animal, an outward reminder of the wearer’s having gone beyond the confines of his humanity and become a divine predator. It’s hard to imagine a grislier or more frightening thing to encounter on the late Iron Age battlefield.
One of the defining features of shamanic traditions across the world is an initiation process characterized by a symbolic (and occasionally literal) death and rebirth, whereby the shaman-to-be acquires his or her powers. Candidates for Germanic shamanic military societies underwent such a process before being admitted into the group: they spent a period in the wilderness, living like their totem animal and learning its ways, obtaining their sustenance through hunting, gathering, and raiding the nearest towns. To quote the esteemed archaeologist Dominique Briquel, “Rapto vivere, to live in the manner of wolves, is the beginning of this initiation. The bond with the savage world is indicated not only on the geographic plane – life beyond the limits of the civilized life of the towns… but also on what we would consider a moral plane: their existence is assured by the law of the jungle.” The candidate ceased to be an ordinary human being and became instead a wolf-man or a bear-man, more a part of the forest than of civilization.
Thenceforth, he had the ability to induce a state of possession by his kindred beast, acquiring its strength, fearlessness, and fury. We have only the haziest idea of the techniques used to reach this ecstatic trance state, but we know that fasting, exposure to extreme heat, and ceremonial “weapons dances” were among the shamanic toolkit of the ancient Germanic peoples. It’s extremely likely that warrior-shamans used these techniques, alongside numerous others that have been lost in the centuries of malign neglect that have passed since these were living traditions.
On the battlefield, the berserker or úlfheðinn would often enter the fray naked but for his animal mask and pelts, howling, roaring, and running amok with godly or demonic courage. As the Ynglinga Saga puts it,
Odin’s men [berserkers and úlfheðnar] went armor-less into battle and were as crazed as dogs or wolves and as strong as bears or bulls. They bit their shields and slew men, while they themselves were harmed by neither fire nor iron. This is called “going berserk.”
In the biting or casting away of their shields, we see a reminder that their ultimate identity is no longer their social persona, but rather their “unity with the animal world” that they have achieved through “self-dehumanization.” A warrior’s shield and weapons were the very emblems of his social persona and status; they were given to a young man who had come of age by his father or closest male relative to mark his newfound arrival into the sphere of the rights and responsibilities of his society’s adult men. In biting or discarding the shield, the mythical beast triumphed over the petty man, and “Odin’s men” tore through the battle, psychologically impervious to pain by virtue of their predatory trance.
Like other northern Eurasian shamans, Germanic warrior-shamans are occasionally depicted with “spirit-wives,” in this case from among the valkyries, the female attendant spirits of Odin.
In the polytheistic system of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples, wherein different sorts of people venerated different sorts of deities, the berserkers, úlfheðnar, and other warrior-shamans were exemplary devotees of Odin, the Allfather of the northern gods and the giver of óðr, “ecstasy/fury/inspiration.” Óðr is the source of poetic inspiration and philosophical insight as well as battle frenzy (“going berserk,” Old Norse berserksgangr). Thus, it should come as no surprise that many of “Odin’s men,” such as Egill Skallagrímsson and Starkaðr, were also warrior-poets. These were no ordinary soldiers; their battle frenzy, with all of its grotesqueness and violence, was of a rarefied, even poetic, sort – and, being a gift from Odin, it was inherently sacred.
The information and practices described in this site are the result of years of study and dedication to the understanding of the risks involved. These descriptions are provided for purposes of information only. Actually trying to practice anything described in this site would almost certainly lead to injury, perhaps even serious injury or death. I strongly advise against it.
The berserkergang was the practice of a kind of elite viking warrior, called a berserk. The meaning of the word berserk seems to have varied from place to place. It sometimes seems to mean “bare of sark,” referring to the practice of the berserks of fighting without armor. It also sometimes was used as “bear-shirt,” referring possibly to another practice of fighting in an actual bearskin or to the belief that the berserk somehow changed into a bear. Some kinds of berserks (in the first sense of the word) were referred to as “ulfhedinn,” meaning wolf-coats in the same sense as the second meaning of berserk. There may also have been boar-berserks and cat- (of the large predatory variety) berserks.
Kveldulfr, who was described as a berserk in Egil’s Saga, was said to change shape into a wolf.
But what were the berserks?
The berserkers were described as “Odin’s men.” They were often described as fighting together in bands of twelve or thirteen, and mention is sometimes made of brotherhoods of berserkers. It seems that the berserkers were practitioners of a mystery (in the old sense of the word) of Odin, an ecstatic religious state that granted them their formidability in battle. In this they differ from the other common kind of Odinic devotee, in that they were not usually noblemen and the gifts Odin favored them with were power and madness, rather than battle strategy and information. (And it says something important about Odinic nature that his two standard chosen types are those on top of society or those outside it entirely. Both are free of society’s constraints, and so are free to follow their individual wyrds withersoever they will. But while modern Asatruar often attempt to imitate the aristocratic sort of Odinsman, the berserker kind of Odinic worship seems to be almost entirely absent in modern times. And this is a shame, for in many ways the path of the berserker is a closer, more intimate relationship with the god. But what exactly was the berserkergang?
There has been much speculation by historians and anthropologists, amateur and professional both, as to what exactly the berserkergang was. The most well-regarded theories are essentially of four types:
1)Alcohol induced. The theory here runs that an excess of alcohol could have lowered inhibitions in the minds of the berserks, leaving them short-tempered and prone to bouts of rage, as well as willing to both inflict and suffer great harm without really noticing.
2)Amanita muscaria induced. This theory holds that the gangr was brought about by ingestion of the psychoactive mushroom amanita muscaria (possibly the famous soma of India). The mechanism here is supposed to be the great strength and endurance the mushroom is said to give to those who ingest it, and that the rage could be triggered by the plant’s psychoactive properties.
3)The berserks never existed. This school of thought holds that there is more of the fairy-tale creature than the real human to stories of the berserks, so as no easy explanation can be found for the gangr, they must never have existed.
4)Self-induced frenzy. This theory holds that the gangr was a self-induced religious ecstasy that prompted a temporary change in physiology.
My research into berserkers and the berserkergang has lead me to the following conclusions regarding these four theories.
1)Couldn’t possibly be alcohol induced. Drunks just aren’t formidable fighters. If you are so drunk you are prone to uncontrollable rage, you are too drunk to stand or to walk straight. And the anaesthetic effect of alcohol is a tricky thing. One touch of real pain and the recipient often sobers up real fast. This is why doctors and dentists switched from alcohol to chloroform as an anaesthetic as soon as it became available.
2)Extremely unlikely to have been brought about by amanita. While on the surface this seems like a very plausible explanation, backed up by the pharmacology of the mushroom, there are some serious problems with it. First of all, there is no record anywhere of its having been used for this purpose. There is very little evidence the vikings even knew it existed, except for in isolated pockets. Also, the mushroom is restricted to a limited growth season only in certain soil conditions in symbiotic relationship with the right trees, and only in temperate zones. There is no evidence that off this season berserks didn’t fight. And berserks are also spoken of in Iceland, where this mushroom most definitely did not grow. Additionally the mushroom not only induces nausea in its initial stages, the effects – and lengths of effects – of the mushroom vary widely from one “trip” to the next. It would just not be practical to depend upon soldiers who might be unpredictably heaving their guts out when the battle started. And most tellingly of all, berserks are spoken of as having the berserk fit “come over them” at unexpected times. Hardly consistent with mushroom (or any other entheogen) ingestion.
3)It seems unlikely that berserks were entirely a product of story. They were spoken of too consistently in too many sources over too long a period of time. And problems involving them are mentioned in legal sources. In fact, during the Christian “conversion” strong laws were enacted against going berserk, lengths which would not have been gone to for imaginary fairy-tale creatures.
4)My conclusion is that the berserkergang was self-induced, a form of religious ecstasy. My reasons for this conclusion are several. First of all, Egil’s Saga (as well as other sources) speak of the gangr as something that could come upon a berserk unexpectedly. Fabing cites sources that claim it could be brought about by laborious work. The Byzantine emperor Constantine VII refers to the “Gothic dance” of his Varangian Guard, which was ceremonial in nature and involved dressing in animal skins. (While it is not recorded whether the Varangian Guard were berserks – a term Constantine would not have known – they certainly are described in a similar manner.) In a similar vein, artifacts such as the Torslunda plate show Odin dancing with animal-skinned warriors. In the Volsunga Saga Sigmundr (chosen of Odin) and his son Sinfjolti put on wolf-skins and become nearly invincible. Berserks are described as leaping about before battle, or pacing like a caged animal, or biting upon their shields. Statues that may be of berserks show the warriors pulling strongly upon their beards (which is rather painful, to all you non-bearded persons). The thing each of these last examples have in common is that they would all tend to induce high adrenaline states, either through pain or through exertion, which is certainly consistent with descriptions as a cause of the gangr. And lastly the berserkergang is a phenomenon that is hardly unique to the vikings. The Greek maenads, female devotees of Dionysos, are described in a virtually identical manner (and yes, they were fighters according to legends of the wars in India). The Celtic Heroic Feats, practiced by such warrior bands as the Feanna, seems also identical. I might also mention the leopard-men of Africa, the wolf-warriors of the ancient Middle East, and possibly the Indonesian “Running Amok”. And in many of these other cultures these practices are spoken of as something self-induced.
So if the gangr was self-induced, how was it induced?
There is actually a fair amount of evidence (albeit largely circumstantial) on just how to go about invoking the berserkergang, if you research long enough. The basic techniques could be broken down as follows:
1)Physical adrenaline triggers such as dancing, leaping, posturing, etc. that initiate adrenaline by repetitive motion of large muscle groups (a well-known cause of adrenaline release).
2)Physical adrenaline triggers such as shield-biting, beard-pulling, cutting, etc. that initiate adrenaline by pain, another well-known adrenaline inducer.
3)Excitement, another adrenaline trigger, as in Egil’s ball game or just before battle.
4)Sympathetic invocation of an animal spirit by wearing its skin or acting in a manner consistent with the animal. This seems to put the mind in a receptive state for becoming like an animal’s mind.
5)With the help of the god Odin.
Let me expand upon this last one before continuing. The meaning of the name Odin is roughly “stirrer to fury”. This is certainly consistent with the hypothesis that adrenaline is a major component of the berserkergang, as fury is a major result of excess adrenaline. But here is where we must be careful. This is an old word, od (or wod, depending upon place and time), and “fury” or “rage” are only translations. They have certain implications to us modern folk that the ancient heathens may not have shared. Od means not just fury in the sense that we use it, but it also seems to mean possession, as by a spirit or god. Thus the fury of the berserkergang is no mere display of bad temper, or uncontrollable rage, but it is something transcendant, something holy. It is an ecstatic state.
Possession is an unusual state of mind wherein unity is attained with a god or spirit, where the boundary of the ego that separates the self from the god or spirit is erased. In essence, the one possessed “becomes” the god or spirit in question.This practice is found in many different religions, from the obscure to the commonplace. The practitioners of Vodoun engage in it when they become “ridden” by the loa. It is also found in Catholicism, under the term Mysterious Union, where the practitioner (usually a monk or a nun) becomes one with the Christian god for a time.
So it would seem that the berserkergang began with fury as we modern people understand that term. The berserk would use various physical techniques to get himself into an adrenaline high, and would then apply further techniques of religious and/or sympathetic ritual and become possessed, entering into an ecstatic state, and becoming a wolf, or a bear, or even maybe Odin himself.
EVERY WINTER, SOMETHING strange happens in the snowy mountain communities across Europe. Between December and Easter, tiny villages spanning all the way from Romania to Portugal become overrun with humans who shed their human form completely. Dressed like bears, goats, stags and monsters, the people of the village jump, shout and reenact wild hunts as part of the annual festivals that celebrate the winter solstice and beginning of spring.
Over the course of two winters, France-based photographer Charles Fréger visited 19 countries and more than 50 villages to document these strangely dressed animals. His resulting book, Wilder Mann, is an in-depth look at the rituals and costumes worn during these annual festivals.
>The Wild Man is represented differently in almost every country.
Watching humans undergo the transformation from person to bizarre beast is an interesting sight, but it’s even more fascinating once you realize how intricately gorgeous each of the costumes are. Most of the get-ups look menacing, with their sharp teeth, wild fur and weapon-like accessories, but the festivals are actually a way for humans to usher in spring and celebrate life. “The animals bring fertility—freshness,” Fréger explains. “They shake death away.” In many of Fréger’s photographs, you’ll see people dressed as bears, which he explains was believed to be the pagan god before Christianity came into the picture. But the Wild Man, and its various names, is represented differently in almost every country he visited.
In Germany, the Reisigbar is a bear dressed in twigs and a wooden mask. In Poland, the Macinula is a clown-like figure covered in strips of multi-colored rags and paper. And in Spain’s Basque Country, people dress as the Zezengorri, a bare-skulled beast who carries around a pitchfork. In Bulgaria, professionals have cornered the market on crafting the masks made of skin and horns, and depending on what country you’re in, the traditional bells that are worn around the waist can cost anywhere from 50 to 500 euros.
Though the costumes Fréger photographs are oftentimes beautifully complex, he says most people’s outfits are quite simple and are made just days before the celebration. “It’s a farming tradition, so they build it with anything they can find,” he says.
>The festivals and costumes are surprisingly similar in Japan.
Fréger organizes his visits months in advance in order to find translators and ensure he has photography subjects lined up. He typically spends just one day shooting his subjects, preferably before or after the actual festivities so he can control the landscape (he likes shooting in the snow) and frame the shot just right. Fréger says the photos are far from journalism—“they’re much more anthropologic,” he says—but they certainly highlight a tradition not often seen by people outside the rural carnival culture.
Fréger has since moved on to photographing the Wild Man in Japan, where he says the festivals and costumes are surprisingly similar to what you’d find in Europe. “This project was to show that Europe is also very tribal,” he says. “These rituals are really connected to the same type of traditions in Africa and Asia or anywhere in the world. It’s just to say we didn’t really lose our pagan rituals and we have this in common with a lot of civilizations.”
ns=”spaced spaced-xl spaced-top spaced-bottom”>Old rituals and traditions live on in modern Europe’s ‘wild men’ who chase away winter and bring fertile spring
Paulus Vischer (c. 1498-1531): Wild Man, c. 1521/22, bronze. Skulpturensammlung (inv. no. 8403, acquired in 1929), Bode-Museum, Berlin. (Public Domain)
A Wild Man as a Bear
However, in certain areas these traditions merged with the Christian faith that replaced pagan ways. For instance, in Mamoiada, a small village in Sardinia, wild men are part of a ritual that takes place on the Feast of Saint Anthony the Great, which falls on January 17th. For this ritual, there are two groups of wild men, the Mamuthones, who represent the darkness, and the Issohadores, who represent the light.
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Whilst wild men come in all shapes and sizes, it may be said that their costumes are normally meant to be menacing. In Germany, for example, men dress up as the Reisigbar, which is a bear wearing a mask and dressed in twigs. The bear is closely associated with the wild man in many European cultures. In some, this is also regarded as its father. The bear’s ability to walk on two legs makes it seem like a human being. Additionally, the animal’s habit of hibernating during the winter, and its re-awakening during spring is symbolic of death and re-birth. These aspects of the bear strike a chord in the hearts of those participating in the pagan wild man rituals.
Geweihleuchter “Wilder Mann” (“Schreckkopf”) North Germany before 1575. (Public Domain)
Apart from animals, wild man costumes may also represent fantastic beasts not found in the animal kingdom. The people of Spain’s Basque Country, for example, dress up as the Zezengorri, a creature recognized by its bare skull and pitchfork.
Zezengorri, a wild man in Spain’s Basque Country. (Ernie Omega)
Differing Roles for A Wild Man
Whether they assume the form of an animal, or some other strange creature, there is good reason for wild men to take on such a ferocious appearance. In many of these pagan rituals, the wild man is supposed to protect villages by scaring away evil spirits, or to chase winter away and welcome spring. Therefore, having a fierce demeanor is particularly useful for such tasks.
In some cultures, a wild man has different roles to play. In some Alpine countries, including Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia, for instance, there is the Krampus, a beastlike creature who served as the counterpart of Santa Claus. Whilst Santa Claus brings presents to good kids, the Krampus visits the naughty ones to punish them.
According to tradition, Krampus devours naughty children. ( Public Domain )
In other pagan rituals, wild men have the task of promoting fertility in the land, livestock, and even women. In Bulgaria, for example, there are the Babugeri and the Chaushi. The costumes of these wild men are made of goat skin, and traditionally, they carried a red-colored rod that represented a phallic object. They would brush this rod up against a woman to make her fertile. Today, the phallic rod is replaced by a stick.
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Documenting Wild Men
Lastly, it may be said that these pagan rituals involving the wild man were brought to a wider audience thanks to a French photographer by the name of Charles Fréger. Over a course of two years, Fréger visited more than 50 villages in 19 European countries in order to document the wild men and their pagan rituals. Fréger’s work was displayed as a series entitled “Wilder Mann” at the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York, and is also available as a monograph called Wilder Mann: The Image of Savage.
Top image: Kukeri is a type of wild man in Bulgaria. Rituals with this ‘beast’ are believed to scare away evil spirits. Source: Klearchos Kapoutsis/CC BY 2.0
By Wu Mingren
The Norse æsir gods had animal helpers, but did anyone of them have a bear? Have bears been found in graves, like dogs and horses et cetera? Are there Norse illustration of bears?
Some Norse warriors were called berserks because they wore the fur of bears. And fur from bears was an important export good.
Is it lost in the tradition because there never were any bears on Iceland? And absent from archaeology because one couldn’t sacrifice a wild animal that one doesn’t own.
But while the wolf was an as dangerous animal, it was semi-domesticated and Odin owned wolves. Am I just missing alot of references to bears in Asgard, or did the bear have a different kind of role to play than other animals?
Originally published in Mountain Thunder, Summer, 1993.
by Diana L Paxson
Darkness covers the tents scattered across the drying grass of the festival grounds with a kindly shadow; at the far end of the sloping valley, the cliffs are edged by the first silver shimmer of the rising moon. As its light grows, it outlines a canvas pavilion and glimmers on the upturned faces of the folk gathered before it. They are gazing at a tall chair like a throne, but higher and draped with a bearskin, where a veiled figure waits, her body motionless, her face in shadow.
“The gate is passed, the seidhkona waits,” says the woman sitting on the fur-covered stool below the high seat. “Is there one here who would ask a question?”
After a moment’s hesitation, someone rises. He must decide whether to move from his present home or continue where he is. What should he do? What fate does the Völva see?
“Speak now, seeress, ’till said thou hast. Answer the asker ’till all he knows. . .” says the leader. And after a moment the seidhkona, her voice harsh as if it comes from a great distance, begins to answer him.
This could be a scene from the world of our ancestors, but in fact the ritual described above took place at a pagan festival in Northern California. For the past three years, a group called Hrafnar (“the Ravens”) has been performing a reconstruction of the Old Norse seidh ritual as a service to the community. The group has worked outdoors in rain or moonlight, in an underground bunker, and in living rooms; for groups of forty or more people, or for only two or three. In addition to assisting in personal growth, our purpose has been to demonstrate the validity of the shamanic tradition of Northern Europe, and to serve the larger pagan community to which we belong as the Völvas of Scandinavia served their people. The procedure has undergone many changes during that time, and continues to evolve, but we have now learned enough so that it seems appropriate to share our findings.
The form of divination described above is one of a group of practices referred to as Seidh, which bear a strong resemblance to activities which in other cultures are called Shamanism. In order to understand what Hrafnar is trying to do, one needs to know something about Shamanism in general and how it was practiced in the northern lands.
Shamanism may well claim to be the oldest type of spiritual practice still in use among humankind. Evidence for activities similar to those of later shamans can be seen in the Paleolithic cave paintings. Shamanic practices have survived at all the edges of the inhabited world, with remarkable similarities in both technique and symbolism appearing in places as disparate as Siberia and Tierra del Fuego. Such a broad dispersal suggests that shamanism was practiced by homo sapiens at a very early stage of development, before its dispersion into different cultures. With such a venerable and extensive history, one would expect to find evidence of shamanic practice in the pre-Christian cultures of Northern Europe as well.
A careful analysis of Norse and Celtic sources suggests that this is indeed true. To the reader familiar with the literature of shamanism, many of the visionary and magical feats attributed to both Druids and Old Norse vitkis or völvas seem strongly reminiscent of shamanic practices. The Icelandic sagas are rich in accounts of magic of all kinds, including spirit journeys, weatherworking, healing, prophecy, and shapechanging. Some of the Scandinavian practices may well have been learned from the Saami (Lapps) or Finns, but accounts from Celtic and even Greek legend support a belief in native Indo-European shamanism as well.
The practice for which we have the most information is called seidh (nominative case in Old Norse, seidhr), which may come from a word meaning “to speak” or “to sing”, or possibly be cognate to the verb “to seethe”, derived from the rituals of salt-boiling (Grimm, III:1047). According to Stephen Glosecki,
The etymology of seidhr, however, suggests indigenous development, perhaps retention of Indo-European practice. The mysterious term is cognate with French séance, Latin sedere; Old English sittan, and thus with a large group of terms based on the Indo-European root *sed-. A seidhr, then, was literally a séance — a “sitting” to commune with the spirits.
— (Shamanism and Old English Poetry, p. 97)
In the literature, seidh refers to various kinds of magical practice, including an act of divination or prophecy performed while in trance. Other terms for the practitioner of seidh would be seidhkona, spákona, or for a man, seidhmadhr. A more general term for a male spiritual practitioner was vitki (in Anglo-Saxon, wicca or [fem.] wicce). At an earlier period, both men and women appear to have practiced this craft. Male practitioners of seidh included Ragnvald Rettilbeini (the son of King Harald Fairhair, who was burned by Erik Bloodaxe at their father’s command along with the men who worked seidh with him), and Eyvindr Kelda, who was drowned by King Olaf. However the majority of those who practice seidh in the sagas are female. The strong feminine tradition makes this form of shamanism especially interesting to women.
Skill in seidh was a speciality of the god Odin. It is said to have been taught to the Aesir by the goddess Freyja (Ynglingasaga: 4) and parts of the practice probably originated with the Vanir cult. On the other hand, Odin was himself originally a shamanic deity, who seems to have acquired this magical technique in addition to his mastery of the runes and other lore. In part VII of the Ynglingasaga, we learn that —
Odin had the skill which gives great power and which he practiced himself. It is called seith, and by means of it he could know the fate of men and predict events that had not yet come to pass; and by it he could also inflict bane on men, or soul loss or waning health, or also take wit or power from some men, and give them to others. But this sorcery is attended by such ergi [a term meaning sexual, or spiritual, receptivity used as an insult] that manly men considered it shameful to practice it, and so it was taught to priestesses. . . .
Odin could change himself. His body then lay as if sleeping or dead, but he became a bird or a wild beast, a fish or a dragon, and journeyed in the twinkling of an eye to far-off lands, on his own errands or those of other men. Also, with mere words he was able to extinguish fires, to calm the seas, and to turn the winds any way he pleased.
A passage from the Lokasenna is of especial interest, since if the verb in the second line is examined carefully, it may provide evidence for Norse use of the shamanic drum. Taunting Odin, Loki says–
But thou in Samsey wast performing seidh
And beating out (spells) like a Völva,
Vitki-like didst pass through the world of men,
In woman’s wise, I believe.
— (Lokasenna: 24)
Other practices identified as seidh include raising storms, journeying or battling in animal form, sending a nightmare to kill someone by suffocation in his sleep, and love spells, all things with which shamans in other cultures are credited (or accused of) as well. Journeying, both in the body and in trance, is a standard practice in Norse literature. Destinations vary, there are references to travel in Midgard (viewing other parts of the real world) and seeking Odin’s Seat of Seeing in Asgard. However by far the most common use of the term seidh is in reference to a ritual in which the seeress (völva or seiðkona) sits on a platform or high seat (seidhjallr), goes into trance and prophesies for the community. It is this practice which Hrafnar has to date spent the most time in recovering.