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
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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

 

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)

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!