An Apology


I feel i might have been a bit sloppy and angry when i was writing a post on certain tendensies within SOME US Asatru..

It was in a period when i was feeling more or less bombarded with strange sentiments, incorrect history and weird oppinions.
The post was meant to reflect on a certain video and and their ilk and not “mainstream” (in lack of a better term) US Heathenry but i can see how it came across like a general
elitist abrasiveness.
Placing a picture on there without making clear that this kindred was NOT implied in the critizism was downright stupid.
The picture was really meant to illustrate that some Heathens DO wear historical clothing, but NOT in a “LARPy” way.
Some do in Sweden too (besides, i have nothing against LARPs or re enactement. I have LARPed for years myself).
Since then i have written a post on some things about US Asatru that i like and admire (and that sometimes are missing here ).

Neither post, ofcourse, is “general”. Nobody could write a post on Heathenry or Heathens anywhere that covered all Kindreds or individuals.

It is merely my oppinions or observations and might be totally incorrect or unfair.

Heathenry ,being orthoprax, there are all kinds of oppinions, traditions and “flavors” of it.

Historically that would be the case too, with farms, villages or groups having the same basic traditions, but with variations suited to them (even looking at Iceland and Sweden is enough to see that there where some differences in how things where done. Heathenry has varied in praxis with region as well as  time ).

I should also repeat what i have alredy said, any complaints (whining) i have are not about any Heathen community in general, that is, it is not meant to mean the majority of Heathens anywhere (and neither would i prefer Heathenry to be identical everywhere. That would go against it´s nature)but certain tendensies that bugged me at the time.

I know several kindreds (Asatru and Anglo-Saxon) in the US that i respect and like a lot and who obviously does something that works very well.

I also know a whole bunch of nutcases in Scandinavia using Heathen symbolism but who would not get any sympathies from most Heathens anywhere.

I do however sometimes come across all from simple difference of oppinion (wich is as it should be) to people getting upset with me for thinking Fenris worship is unhistorical.

There was a period when my feeling was that “my” culture was up for grabs and could be presented anyway anyone pleased without anyone speaking up.

As if Scandinavian (and other Norse) history was a matter of personal agenda and taste.

This is fine in art but not if presented as history (for instance) .

As a matter of fact i was even told once (on the web) that me, being European (actually the term used was “white”), had no right to complain about anything and should “shut up”.

If anyone feels that my whining doesent fit them at all, it is probably because it doesent.

I have stated before that the majority of US Heathens are just that, Heathens that happen to live in the US.

There are regional differences in Heathenry even within (todays) Sweden and there always have been.

It is quite common to see “What is your Sed (custom)”, in writing here, indicating that differences are expected.

There are traditions within families or individual traditions too (as i suspect there are everywhere).

There ARE people wearing viking age clothes here too and there are also Blóts where the presiding/officiating Godi is wearing special garb.

I must say i feel stupid for posting pictures in a way that could be understood as if the people on them where the ones i whined about.

I have practiced thinking twice since i wrote this in an attempt to avoid lashing out at the wrong people.

I am really sorry for any offence!
I have taken down the post and hope frith will be restored.
Marcel

Medieval texts colour our knowledge about Odin


Researchers disagree on the Viking Age conceptions of the god Odin. The source material is ambiguous and difficult to interpret.

Odin with his two ravens, Hugin and Munin (Illustration from a 19th century document. The Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland)
Today, the general conception of Odin is that of the one-eyed chief of the Norse gods. However, when it comes to the general conception that was prevalent in the Viking age, researchers disagree.
Up until now, research history shows us that the method for understanding Odin has been wrong.
Annette Lassen says.
“Regarding medieval texts as a single, heathen text and extrapolating an image of Odin from this is not a viable option. The texts are very diverse,” she says.

According to Lassen, once the Christian way of thought has been identified, not much information is left about Odin in the old sources.

She says that while archaeologists and historians of religion may not necessarily agree with this, there is not likely to be anyone disagreeing that it is necessary to analyse the Christian additions, before starting to look into the original Viking Age conception of Odin.

“My aim with the book was to focus on the Medieval Odin figure, clarify the extent to which Christianity has shaped our ideas of heathenism and demonstrate that this calls for circumspection, but also to come up with a method that other researchers can use,” she says.

“Basing a thesis about the pre-Christian Odin on a series of elements from medieval texts about Odin presupposes an interest in whether those elements come from Christian ideas.

By: Irene Berg Sørensen

ScienceNordic

Whole Article: http://sciencenordic.com/medieval-texts-colour-our-knowledge-about-odin

The North is barbaric and sublime


Many associate the North with wealth and progress. But ancient stereotypes of barbaric Vikings and primitive ignorance are still alive and kicking, says Icelandic historian.

Ancient stereotypes of the far North as a barbaric and primitive place thrive together with more modern images of wealth and progress. (Painting: Norsemen Landing in Iceland, by Oscar Wergeland)

The North and the far North have had many and varied depictions thrown at them over the centuries. The region has moved from poverty to wealth, from enlightenment to romanticism, from being cold and barbarous to being warm and kind.

These different permutations of the North clearly illustrate the constant change in people’s images and stereotypes of the North.

“All these ideas were well known in earlier eras and they have survived to this day,” he says. “The North is simultaneously a utopia and a dystopia. We can argue that it is perhaps more correct to speak of many and various Norths rather than one individual North.”
By: Dann Vinther

ScienceNordic

Whole article: http://sciencenordic.com/north-barbaric-and-sublime

 

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).

Authentic Viking DNA Retrieved From 1,000-year-old Skeletons


Authentic Viking DNA Retrieved From 1,000-year-old Skeletons.

ScienceDaily (May 27, 2008) — Although “Viking” literally means “pirate,” recent research has indicated that the Vikings were also traders to the fishmongers of Europe.  In a new study,  Jørgen Dissing and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, investigated what went under the helmet; the scientists were able to extract authentic DNA from ancient Viking skeletons, avoiding many of the problems of contamination faced by past researchers.

Sampling of teeth for aDNA analysis. The last layer of soil was removed and two teeth extracted while wearing full body suit, hairnet, gloves, shoe covers, and face masks. The teeth were placed in sealed sterile tubes and transported to the aDNA-lab. (Credit: Melchior L et al. Evidence of Authentic DNA from Danish Viking Age Skeletons Untouched by Humans for 1,000 Years. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002214)

Analysis of the Viking DNA showed no evidence of contamination with extraneous DNA, and typing of the endogenous DNA gave reproducible results and showed that these individuals were just as diverse as contemporary humans.

Vikings With Vanity: Vivid Colors, Flowing Silk, Fashionable Until Advent of Christianity


Vikings With Vanity: Vivid Colors, Flowing Silk, Fashionable Until Advent of Christianity.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 25, 2008) — Vivid colors, flowing silk ribbons, and glittering bits of mirrors – the Vikings dressed with considerably more panache than we previously thought. The men were especially vain, and the women dressed provocatively, but with the advent of Christianity, fashions changed, according to Swedish archeologist Annika Larsson.

Swedish viking men’s fashions were modeled on styles in Russia to the east. Archeological finds from the 900s uncovered in Lake Malaren Valley accord with contemporary depictions of clothing the Vikings wore on their travels along eastern trade routes to the Silk Road. (Credit: Photo by Annika Larsson)
She maintains that Swedish Viking women in the pre-Christian period probably dressed much more provocatively than we previously believed. She bases her theory on a new find uncovered in Russian Pskov.
She maintains instead that the Birka women’s skirts consisted of a single piece of fabric and were open in front. The suspenders held up the train and functioned as a harness that was fastened to the breasts with the clasps.

Sacral King


In many historical societies, the position of kingship carries a sacral meaning, that is, it is identical with that of a high priest and of judge. The concept of theocracy is related, although a sacred king need not necessarily rule through his religious authority; rather, the temporal position itself has a religious significance.

 

 

 

Germanic kingship refers to the customs and practices surrounding kings among the pagan Germanic tribes of the Migration period (circa AD 300-700) and the kingdoms of the Early Middle Ages (circa AD 700-1000). The title of king (Proto-Germanic:*kuningaz) is in origin that of the leader elected as sacral and military leader from out of a noble family, usually considered of divine ancestry, in the pagan period.

The Germanic monarchies were originally pagan, but their contact, during the Völkerwanderung or Migration Period, with the Roman Empire and the Christian Church greatly altered their structure and developed into the feudal monarchy of the High Middle Ages.

The term “barbarian monarchy” is sometimes used in the context of those Germanic rulers that after AD 476 and during the 6th century ruled territories formerly part of the Western Roman Empire, especially the Barbarian kings of Italy. In the same context, Germanic law is also termed leges barbarorum “barbarian law” etc.

 

 

Election of a King at “The Stones Of Mora” by Olaus Magnus

 

 

The Germanic king originally had three main functions:

  • To serve as judge during the popular assemblies.
  • To serve as a priest during the sacrifices.
  • To serve as a military leader during wars.

The office was received hereditarily, but a new king required the consent of the people before assuming the throne. All sons of the king had the right to claim the throne, which often led to co-rulership (diarchy) where two brothers were elected kings at the same time. This evolved into the territories being considered the hereditary property of the kings, patrimonies, a system which fueled feudal wars, because the kings could claim ownership of lands beyond their de facto rule.

As a sort of pagan high priest, the king often claimed descent from some deity. In the Scandinavian nations, he administered blóts at important cult sites, such as the Temple at Uppsala. Refusal to administer the blóts could lead to the king losing power (see Haakon the Good and Anund Gårdske).

According to the testimony of Tacitus (Germania), the early Germanic peoples had an elective monarchy already in the 1st century.

“They choose their kings by birth, their generals for merit. These kings have not unlimited or arbitrary power, and the generals do more by example than by authority.

 

 

The notion has prehistoric roots and is found worldwide, on Java as in sub-Saharan Africa, with shaman-kings credited with rain-making and assuring fertility and good fortune. On the other hand, the king might also be designated to suffer and atone for his people, meaning that the sacral king could be the pre-ordained victim of a human sacrifice, either regularly killed at the end of his term in the position, or sacrificed in times of crisis (e.g. Domalde).

Among the Ashanti, a new king was flogged before being enthroned.

From the Bronze Age Near East, enthronement and anointment of a monarch is a central religious ritual, reflected in the titles Messiah or Christwhich became separated from worldly kingship. Thus, Sargon of Akkad described himself as “deputy of Ishtar“, just as the Pope is considered the “Vicar of Christ“.

The king is styled as a shepherd from earliest times, e.g., the term was applied to Sumerian princes such as Lugalbanda in the 3rd millennium BC. The image of the shepherd combines the themes of leadership and the responsibility to supply food and protection as well as superiority.

As the mediator between the people and the divine, the sacral king was credited with special wisdom (e.g. Solomon) or vision (oneiromancy).

 

Examples

Sacral kingship was carried into the Middle Ages by considering kings installed by the grace of god

Gamigo´s cute and fun racism


A gaming company, having the odacity to using the term “cultures online” describes my culture and history thus:” 1)Build a city. 2)Destroy someone else´s.3)Steal their resources.4)Use them to get big and strong.5)Repeat.”

All under the banner of “Discover the world of the Vikings”.

Why not throw in some canibalistic negroes with bongo drums and savage Indians with bows and arrows too?

If this was done to any non European culture it would be seen as racism. Now it´s just a game.

Enjoy!

http://en.start.gamigo.com/cultures-online/003/?pl=af&affiliateID=697

en.start.gamigo.com

Cultures Online is a fun browser-based simulation strategy game. Build your own little Viking village in a cutesy design style. Play for free and join the epic hurry-scurry, right in your browser!

The War Of The Unholy Squiggle


In Swedish we have a very nice word, “krumelur”. I guess the English equivalent is “Squiggle”, a name you can give any doodle or geometrical form.

I have oft thought of how people fight these symbols (usually ill informed of any historical / cultural use ) rather than ideas, thus using the Squiggle as a scapegoat.

In Germany the display of Swastikas ore prohibited in almost any form, leading to ANTI FACISTS being arrested for having CROSSED OVER swastikas???????

With their logic , a crossed over Swastika is still a Swastika ( = anti Nazism is a kind of Nazism? )

Gegen Nazi

As late as 2005 police raided the offices of the punk rock label and mail order store “Nix Gut Records” and confiscated merchandise depicting crossed-out swastikas and fists smashing swastikas. In 2006 the Stade police department started an inquiry against anti-fascist youths using a placard depicting a person dumping a swastika into a trashcan. The placard was displayed in opposition to the campaign of right-wing nationalist parties for local elections.

This law has since been changed (how did something THAT stupid even get debated??? )

The band KISS has all their album covers changed in Germany since their logo contains the letter “S” chaped like a bolt / flash, thus reminding of the Sigil Rune used by the SS:

The fact that three fourths of the bands original members are Jews ( including the designer of the logo ) and one of them was even born in Israel doesent temper the Squiggle hunters and their traumatized vicarious  guilt.

Angular “S” = Nazi…..so there!

Kiss logo

The swastika in the decorativeHindu form.

An attempt to ban the swastika across the EU in early 2005 failed after objections from the British Government and others. In early 2007, while Germany held the European Union presidency, Berlin proposed that the European Union should follow German Criminal Law and criminalize the denial of the Holocaust and the display of Nazi symbols including the swastika, which is based on the Ban on the Symbols of Unconstitutional Organisations Act. This led to an opposition campaign by Hindu groups across Europe against a ban on the swastika. They pointed out that the swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace. The proposal to ban the swastika was dropped by Berlin from the proposed European Union wide anti-racism laws on January 29, 2007.

The swastika (Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक) is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing (卐) form or its mirrored left-facing (卍) form. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient India as well asClassical Antiquity. Swastikas have also been used in other various ancient civilizations around the world. It remains widely used in Indian Religions, specifically in HinduismBuddhism and Jainism, primarily as a sacred symbol of good luck.

The Administrative Office ofWoljeongsa in South Korea.

Two swastikas on an ancient Greek Kantharos, Attica, ca. 780 BC. It is displayed at Staatliche Antikensammlungen

Etruscan pendant with swastika symbols, Bolsena, Italy, 700-650 BCE.Louvre Museum.

A comb with a swastika found in Nydam Mose, Denmark (3rd or 4th century)

Four swastikas in an ornament of a bucket found with the Oseberg ship (ca. AD 800)

The swastika design is known from artefacts of various cultures since the Neolithic, and it recurs with some frequency on artefacts dated to theGermanic Iron Age, i.e. the Migration period to Viking Age period in Scandinavia, including the Vendel era in Sweden, attested from as early as the 3rd century in Elder Futhark inscriptions and as late as the 9th century on Viking Age image stones.

In older literature, the symbol is known variously as gammadionfylfotcrux gothicaflanged thwarts, or angled cross. English use of the Sanskritism swastika for the symbol dates to the 1870s, at first in the context of Hindu and Buddhist traditions, but from the 1890s also in cross-cultural comparison.

I must admit that some attempts to take away the stigma of the Symbol has failed with me too (like someone trying to make happy little post cards with Swastikas ) but in other cases, like in Heathen rituals it fits in quite naturally. 20:th century politics feels very far away.

Once, long ago, i made a Tarot deck of my own and decided to try to trancend the stigma by placing a fylfot (Swastika) AND a hexagram ( Star of David ) AND a cross on the same ( Solar ) card (all of these symbols have Solar symbolism in Hermetic thought ).

Orders like The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn use both Swastikas AND the Star of David in the same ceremonies (written before Nazism ) and both are featured on degree banners.

Peter

The inverted cross is another Squiggle that gets people crap on themselves and screem Satanism……despite having another name / symbolism as “The Cross of St: Peter – The Apostle or Petrine Cross.

The origin of this symbol comes from the Catholic tradition that Simon Peter was crucified upside down, as told by Origen of Alexandria.

Peter’s Cross on a Lutheran Church
Inverted Pentagram
The same problem is present, even within circles that consider themselves esoteric, with the Inverted Pentagram.
Seen as a symbol of Satanism or at least a fallen state / inbalance, the element of Spirit being below the other elements instead of elevated above them (both are actually “wrong from a Hermetic stand point. Spirit is in the “middle” if we insist on a geometrical thinking, as per the Greek Cross, resembling a “+” ).
The idea is also based on the symbol resembling a goat as in “The Goat of Mendes” while the usual pentagram is seen as a man, arms streched out in worship.
Mendes
The symbol, however, for esoterics, also symbolizes Spirit descending down into the elements ( = breath of life, ecstacy, the Holy Ghost , Chi, Prana, Reiki , Sacred fire consuming the sacrifice) or The Horned God and a number of other equally valid interpretations to lengthy to write down here.
My point being, as long as folks continue to over interpret or culturocentrically interpret symbols and chase Squiggles instead of focusing on what is really important, they will:
A: Keep the ideas they dislike forever present (they can just change symbols ).
B: Persecute those that have nothing to do with said ideas in a manner not different from what they claim to dislike ( since they shouldnt have to, and would be hard pressed to change symbols ).
The fact that “Mein Kampf” was written with the Latin alphabet and numbered with Arabic numerals should get this article banned too, shouldnt it?
*Since writing this it has come to my attention that Ace Frehley actually isnt Jewish. I have always thought that “Frehley” had the same etymology as “Frolich”. He designed the KISS logo. Gene Simmons real name is Chaim Klein Weitz and Pauls Stanleys is Stanley Eisen though. Not that it makes a difference to my arguments but right is right*

Orthopraxy, Living Custom And The Non Nordic Born Heathen


In Sweden Heathenry is sometimes referred to as “en levande sed” (“a living custom).

I have often emphasized how Nordic cultures, having only been officially Christian for less than a 1000 years, are ripe with Heathenry, how our hollidays and celebrations (perhaps especially Yule and Midsummer), our names and folklore and even our Christianity, not to mention our mentality is colored by it.

This is often taken up when Scandinavians are irritated by some form of American or other non Nordic Heathenry that takes on forms that feels very incompatible to our ways to us.

I would like to make clear that this is usually not a sentiment towards the majority of American Heathenry.

One of the most creative (in every sense of the word) kindreds i know off is the “Jotun Bane Kindred” who have taken orthopraxy and put it in a place that feels like exactly the point with it (they have a community spirit that is incedible by any standards as far as i can see).

Now, ortghopraxy does not only have to do with cult acts, blots and worship of the Divine, or even with virtues and conduct, but, as i´m sure practitioners of Romuva (Lithuanian Paganism),  Suomenusko (Finnish Paganism)

and many other indigenos customs would agree , folklore and tradition as a whole plays a big role. Dances, songs, sayings, all of it is a part of the custom.

So, now i was thinking i should turn my whole argument on its head (or at least so it might seem at a quick glanze).

Most Heathens and Pagans i know off internationally seem to celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving and so on, in part to be with their (extended) families, partly to be part of community as a whole and because it feels nice.

Many might privately see the celebration in another light than those around them (“we sit at the same table, we  celebrate together but as you comemorate the birth of Jesus, i give thanks to Saturn”).

Now, imagine if you will (and this probably happens) a group of Americans, gathering at a house or in a grove at Veterans Day and / or 4:th of July, giving blot to Odin and thanks for victory, freedom and the rights they enjoy. Following with a blot to the ancestors who made this possable and boasting about relatives and ancestors that made this possable and perhaps giving vows to deserve this gift to the best of their abilites.

It would look similar to the Sigr blot (Victory blot at spring), but be connected to culture, history and nationality close to the participants and probably striking a chord.

One might say that this is a new invention but actually it is MORE traditional than dressing up in viking age clothes (wich is not “wrong”).

After all, festivals and cultic celebrations where always connected to local cicumstances.

Things where not done in Iceland as they where in Sweden.

These celebrations are secular in nature and thus highly adaptable.

A Swedish Christmas table would make sense to someone living in Canada or Alaska (from a nutrition / survival standpoint) in another way than it would to a Heathen in Hawaii or Northern Australia.

Why stuff your face with fat, alcohol (well, there´s always a reason for mead) and slaughter a lot of animals at the hottest part of the year?

And why give thanks to Freyr for grain that we recieved in the North (not that we mind   😉   )?

I have eaten bananas at Christmas in Africa. In my fathers homeland a blot of chicken, beans, bread, rice and fish would make sense as well as a strong cult for Njordr and Aegir (since it is a country of islands with much fishing and marine culture) for a Heathen.

It is not a matter of abandoning traditional cult acts or their ingredients (pigs and pork still has meaning symbolically for instance). Neither is it a matter of declaring it “wrong” to dress in viking age clothes, eating traditional Swedish smorgosboard or wearing Noerwiegian folk costume ( to celebrate heritage or simply because one likes it for that matter).

Rather, it is a matter of bringing the orthoprax thought into the society , place and time in wich you live.

You have blessings from the Gods to give thanks for unique to your life and region as well as ancestors closer than the vikings, but no less heroic, that ensured that you could enjoy those gifts.

I think the LEAST you owe those that died (or even survived) 9 / 11, or WWI and WWII is a beer and some boasting.

Your tribal elders  and ancestors that built the country you live in, dont they deserve a mention and a bit of respect?

Your ancestors that fought in the ghetto, died in camps, defended the Alamo, where in the French resistance where imprisoned at Robben Island feels natural as guests by the Hof to me (and they would to pre Christian Norse people too).

The Vaettir of your lands, unique to them, deserve consideration, blot  and respect. The land vaettir of Minnesota are the land vaettir of Minnesota, the vaettir of Manitoba are the vaettir of Manitoba.

The advice and help from these mights are closer to you too (the vaettir being of your region and your close ancestors being closer to your own circumstances).

In Scandinavia Heathenry, like folklore in general differs by region.It always did (there are clear attestations) and probably always will.

The orthoprax idea is to bond YOUR life to the divine, not sombody elses.

This is not new, it is the very nature of the beast.