In some ways Urglaawe almost feels more familiar to me than most Asatru


Pennsylvania Germans

In some ways Urglaawe almost feels more familiar to me than a lot of other heathenry.

It is “theirs”.

So clearly Pennsylvanian German with a folkreligious/ethnic, contemporary feel to it that feels more like Swedish Forn Sed than most “Asatru” do.

It has this feeling (on surface at least) of context that i feel in (Swedish) Forn Sed.

Not something dug up from the Viking Age but part of living culture and regional folklore, reconstruction only being part of it.

(Note: Urglaawe and Forn Sed are distinct religions)

Forn Sed – The Fennoscandic Perspective


Perhaps one thing i can observe in Scandinavian Forn Sed (exept for the temporal, non emphasis on the “Viking Age”) is a perspective that is more Fennoscandic.

There are discussions on wether the Sámi influenced the magic known as “Sidr” or not and i get the feeling that people outside of Scandinavia might see the different linguistic and ethnic groups as more historically “distinct” than they are.

They are different linguistic branches but they are also living next door.

During parts of our history (Sweden was a “superpower” for a while) both Finland and Estonia where parts of  the Swedish empire.

To a Swede it is only natural that both Finnish and Sámi influences are very present in our language and culture since long back.

An area close to where i live is called “Finnveden” (“The Finn  Woods”) because it was inhabited by forrest Finns.

Linguistics

There are three major official languages in Sweden, the same as in Finland: Swedish,Finnish and Sámi.

There are loanwords between all three and in some cases loanwords have even come back to the original language.

One such case being the cityof Haparanda in Sweden, the name is a loan from the Finnish “Haapa Ranta” (“Aspen Beach”).

“Ranta” in turn is a loanword from the Swedish “Strand” (“Beach”).

So, from Swedish to Finnish and back to Swedish again.

Seite, Sidr and so on

When it comes to religion and cult practices one might draw conclusions from the likness of “Seidr” and the Sámi “Seite”.

Stabben: A siedi(worshiped stone) inBalsfjord.

Seite is a word from Sámi religion but is more a matter of a natural idol than a methodology or discipline. It is often a large rock, oddly shaped tree or other natural formation.

The symbol of goddessBeaivi, hypostasis of the Sunand breeder of mankind. It’s also the pattern for tradtional Sami ritual drums.

The Noaide (“Shaman” in lack of a better term) IS however using a Bodhran like drum and a singing voice (there  is a distinct Sámi way of singing called “Joik”) and i imagine contemporary practitioners of “neo seidr” see “utesittning” (“sitting out”) a bit in that fashion (Shamanic trance work).

Solveig Andersson, jojk “bjiejjie”

Some have speculated that Galdr may be influenced by Joik but the same has been done with Kulning / Kauking and that sounds very different and has a different vocal technique.

Kulning / Kauking (Sweden / Norway)

However, trying to produce some artificial “separateness” between the languages because they are not related (ignoring region as a factor) is simply denying connections that are there acording to any etymologist i have read.

The Sámi God Horagalles is often also called Tiermes.

Sami people worshipping Horagalles or Tiermes. Copper engraving by Bernard Picart from Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde(1723–43)
Horagalles is also called Thoragalles and have been called Thoron or quite simply Thor.
He is described as wielding a hammer (sometimes two), creating thunder and fighting the obstructing powers, protecting man. He often has a nail or piece of flint in his head (my own speculation draws paralells to the shard from Hrungnirs weapon left in Thors forehead).
“Horagalles” pretty much means Þórr Karl (Thor Man).
The fact that Sámi is an Ural language and Norse a Germanic one has no real bearing (nor any arguments for them being different cultures. They are still in the same region).
The Finnish “God of thunder” is called Perkele, probably connected to Perkunas. He too has a hammer is connected to oaks and so forth.
Now, Perkunas is Baltic, not Uralic.
The Sámi moon goddess is named “Mano”.
Who influenced whom, when,if and how is open to speculation but to pretend there are no likenesses is simply being obstinate.
In all fairness totally unrelated cultures, like the African Dahomey and Yoruba cultures also have a world pillar and an axe wielding “God of thunder” (Xangó / Changó) but there there is no regional closeness or etymological connections (obviously).
Indigenous
One must remember that the Sámi are indigenous to this region and where here before there even was a distinct Germanic culture or language.
It is perhaps (?) easy to think of the Sámi as some native nomads inhabiting some corner of Fennoscandia but in reality their traditional land took up (about) half of todays Sweden and Norway and Norse people would have been in frequent contact with them.

The area traditionally inhabited by the Sami people.

Sweden in the 12th century before the incorporation of Finlandduring the 13th century.

  Geats
  Swedes
  Gutes
They would have been in southern Norway already ca.8300 BC – 7300 BC as the Fosna/Hensbacka cultures.
Archeology shows that people reached Utjoki in Finnish Lapland around  8100 BC.
The Germanic culture didnt come into being until around 1800 BC.

Map of the Nordic Bronze Age culture, around 1200 BCE

During the Iron Age and Viking Age there was heavy taxation on the Sámi by the Norse.
It is believed that a lot of Sámi where assimilated into Norse culture.
There are no proof of direct battles but there are folkloric sources naming the “Stalo”, interpreted by preacher Laestadius as Vikings, that where hostile.
Finns
There is research ongoing that might prove the first pre glacial, Neandethal finds in the Nordic countries.
Otherwise people of the Kunda and Swiderian cultures reached Finland as the ice withdrew ariound 9000 BCE and are believed to be the ancestors of the Finns and the Sámi.
Written history in Finland starts after a Swedish conquest. Iron Age is considered to have lasted 500 BC until c.1150 AD, by what time the Swedes where present.
There where Viking settlements in Finland and a lot of both commercial contact as well as plundering since pre Christian times.
There was Swedish rule in Finland through Birger Jarl since around 1249 (Second Swedish Crusade).
Wars with Finns are described in the Sagas and in legends (though “Finland” or “Finns” in this case could mean either what we call Sámi or Finns in this case).
“It happened one summer that King Agne went with his army to Finland, and landed and marauded. The Finland people gathered a large army, and proceeded to the strife under a chief called Froste. There was a great battle, in which King Agne gained the victory, and Froste fell there with a great many of his people. King Agne proceeded with armed hand through Finland, subdued it, and made enormous booty.”
Ynglinga Saga  (taking place in the 4:th century)
Norna Gests Thattr tells of Finnic Kvens and Curonians raiding in Sweden in the 8:th century.
Karelians are blamed for raiding and burning Sigtuna 1187 according to Erics Chronicle 1335.
According to Saxo and Snorri many heroes of Scandinavia had Finnic roots.
According to Egils Saga Norway had conflicts with the Kvens 873.
Divinities (Norse)
Völund (Wayland) is described as the son of a Finnic (Sámi) king in Völundskvida.

The hero Völundr the ‘ruler of the elves’ (vísi álfar), sometimes thought to bedwarves, nicknamed ‘dark elves’ (dökkálfar)
Hilda Ellis Davidson theorizes that Skadi may have had Sámi connections. She is a skier, archer and hunter and a cult in Hålogaland, northern Norway might have thrived because of this (a place where Norse and Sámi people would have lived in close proxemity) and that her split with Njördr might be symbolic of  a similar split between her cult and that of the Vanir.

Skade (1893) by Carl Fredrik von Saltza
Conclusion
All i am really trying to say is that this separateness of the Norse people that seems to be a picture held by some  outside of Scandinavia is usually not the one held by Scandinavians or Nordic people, neither is it shared by scholars.
The Norse people, as far as evidence goes, seems to have been anything BUT separate, especially from those neighbouring them, they where influenced  in both language, clothing, religion, jewlery and a number of other things.
I dont speak for other Nordic or Swedish people but i would be surprised if i cold find even one Swede with an interest in history that could imagine Swedish pre history/history separate from that of Finland and Sápmi.
That naturally spills over in Forn Sed too…..it being “Forn” and all.
(Finnish, Sámi or other historians / archeologists / anthropologists, feel free to correct anything incorrect here. Especially Stone Age pre history is not my forte).

Eddic Poetry (Voluspa recited in English by heart)


In September 2009 during Symbel at Midwest Thing in Minnesota, Mark Stinson of Jotun’s Bane Kindred recited the Eddic Poem, the Voluspa from memory in fulfillment of an oath. Our ancestors had an oral story-telling tradition, and it is something worth reviving… The music in the video was used with permission from Kari Tauring…please visit http://www.karitauring.com and purchase an album of her beautiful music. A big thanks to Jason Grothe for shooting the video, and to my kindred for their encouragement.

You officially impressed my butt off again Mr Stinson.

Mark Ludwig Stinson is an author, craftsman, father and chieftain of the Jotuns Bane Kindred, Kansas.

http://heathengods.com/temple/modules/tinycontent/?id=2

Some GOOD Things About US Asatru


Since i have aired my frustration sometimes, and perhaps (unintentionally) in a way that might seem like i´m targeting whole groups rather than certain tendencies (some of them “fringe” but that might have bigger consequences in the long term) it feels only fair that i also open my mouth about some pros.

There are whole groups as well as very learned individuals within heathenry everywhere outside of Scandinavia and some basic things we do will be the same or similar,others might differ, and in my view that is how it should be.

Even in the public cult, Norse customs where more “related” than “the same”.

Cult practices differed some. Things where not identical but certain cult practices or customs where of a similar nature rather than the “same” in every detail.

Among the Sviar (Swedes) the king was part of the cult, in Iceland they had a republic from the get go with a cult reflecting this for an example.

Some good stuff

“Lightning Across The Plains”. http://heathenfolk.blogspot.se/ From the blog “Kansas City Heathen”

 

  • American heathenry seem to congregate more and often form in “kindreds”. These are not only a support system but also a place for a number of social activities, learning and everything else that comes from getting together.The Havamal says that “Men delights in the company of men” or in short, mankind has a place to grow in eachothers company.

Chieftain Mark Ludwig Stinson, kids and adults from the Jotuns Bane Kindred

  • Scandinavians might be surrounded by Norse history and artifacs and their culture might be a direct extension from things of both pre Christian, and later nature. But familiarity breeds contempt. As they say, you dont miss something until it´s gone. It is very easy to get blind to the things right in front of you.
  • For the same reasons, a person outside of Scandinavia will have to actually look for information. They cant just relax and pretend to know simply by virtue of being born in a certain place. With some non Scandinavian heathens i get the feeling they really hit the books. You value something more if you worked for it than if you got it for free it is said.
  • Without being naive, freedom of speech and religous freedom are traditions that are at the core of what built the US. Despite right wing wingnuts it is a good place to be of a different religion (some Euopean countries only recently got religous freedom, though nobody would enforce the law ).
  • Heathens outside of Scandinavia have often managed to adapt the customs to their circumstances, mindsets and time in a way that seems to work for them. I have seen kindreds and individuals all over the world that are both impressive and very interesting. Related but distinct so to say.

Heathen Freehold Society of BC conducting a baby naming ritual at Midsummer.
In short, i might speakout at historical inaccuracies or give my own opinions on things. But i do like the fact that heathenry has, and always had, different faces.
Every country and region has its own history, ancestors, tastes and circumstances and heathenry, being orthoprax in nature, has room enough for that. As a matter of fact i would say it thrives on that. We connect with our ancestors and the vaettir of our homes. If that produced identical results something would be strange. Heathenry is supposed to offer strength, not get in the way and every group has its örlög and there is more than one way to flog a horse.
Til ars ok frithar!

Malaysian: Worldview of the Batek tribe


Malaysian: Worldview of the Batek tribe.

ScienceDaily (July 3, 2012) — How do individuals conceive their world and their place in it? In an attempt to identify the worldview of the Batek tribe, a team of researchers from the Academy of Language Studies at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) embarked on a comprehensive study to document the characteristics and elements found in Batek folklore.

In an attempt to identify the worldview of the Batek tribe, a team of researchers from the Academy of Language Studies at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) embarked on a comprehensive study to document the characteristics and elements found in Batek folklore. (Credit: ©UiTM)

 Exploring the relationship between superstitions, the supernatural world and culture, the team draw on oral literature, in particular the eighteen stories recounted by Tok Batin Mahad, the head of the Batek tribe in Taman Negara, Pahang, to produce this socio-cultural study.

The study provides an intriguing insight into the diverse elements found in Batek folklore. Twenty three elements including folk botany, traditional narratives, supernatural beings, sorcery and witchcraft, the physical world, the earth, the material world, animal folklore, fire, hypnotism and animal magnetism, the human body, life and death, folk medicine, traditional customs and ceremonies as well as folk sayings form the core of the stories.

Structuralism, Cultural Relativism And Deprogramming


The term ethnocentrism was coined by William G. Sumner, upon observing the tendency for people to differentiate between the in-group and others. He defined it as “the technical name for the view of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it.” He further characterized it as often leading to pride, vanity, beliefs of one’s own group’s superiority, and contempt of outsiders. Robert K. Merton comments that Sumner’s additional characterization robbed the concept of some analytical power because, Merton argues, centrality and superiority are often correlated, but need to be kept analytically distinct.

Just as it may take “deprogramming” to get out of a “cult” (in the modern meaning) it may take some to get into a cult (proper).

A deprogramming of the norm so to speak.

It is very easy to by way of structuralism and ethnocentrism attempt to apply a teaching or way to ones life that is really nothing more than ones original one in other trappings.

I would say that this is true regardless of weather it is a mystery school such as Thelema, Kabbalah or Raja Yoga or if it is a reconstructivist or ethnic path.

I sometimes find myself struggling with sexual ideas, ideals as to what is “sacred” and what is “profane”, the nature of morals, philosophical and cultural ideals and so on that i can clearly see are Christian (despite not having been a Christian for decades), Post-Modern or other strains of philosophy that are part of contemporary mainstream  society.

This despite a number of initiations, years of religous practice and study.

This is probably (one reason ) why banishings are so essential to the Ceremonial Magician.

Taking out the trash leaves room for any other work.

Just like when studying another contemporary or ancient culture, the glasses of ones own has to come off.

Paralells that dont exist must be exorcicised and the subject must be studied objectively and with some degree of honesty.

This however also applies to the praxis that might follow.

Just like an ethnocentric antropologist would be more or less studying his own culture, a mystic or reconstructivist stuck in the norm of today would simply be a guy changing robes.