Category Archives: The Pagan Heathen

By Edain Duguay.

The Pagan Heathen is a monthly column, which will explore Paganism and Heathenism, and how the two can meld together. I will be drawing upon my experiences as a founding member of an ADF Grove and an Asatru Kindred, and also from the fact that I’ve been a Pagan for almost thirty years and I walk the path of a Pagan/Heathen or Druid/Heathen.
Within this column, I’ll be giving Pagans some basic information about the Heathen belief system Asatru, and how some of this information can be included in the everyday life of Pagans. I will also be comparing various aspects of Asatru and ADF Druidry, interviewing Heathen authors who publish through Wyrdwood Publications and getting insights from an Asatru Gythia (gyðja) and a Senior Druid.

Web of Wyrd

 

Norns under Yggdrasil by L B Hansen

Welcome to the March, and my final, article for ‘The Pagan and the Pen’.

The topic this month is the ‘Web of Wyrd’, rather fitting I think. You will see what I mean as we go on. Today, I’ve asked Austin “Auz” Lawrence to give his comments on what the ‘Web of Wyrd’ is, but first, a little about Auz.

‘Austin Lawrence is active in the Pagan community of Ontario, Canada.  He has worn a hammer continuously for the last 14 years.  Austin is a civil servant with a Master’s degree in Anthropology.  He is a member of the American Vinland Association and is an oathed goði, who serves sometimes as a Heathen officiate for rites of passage, an advisor to seekers on resources and lore, a counsellor to friends in local kindreds, but mainly as a land steward for sacred space and as a facilitator of gatherings. Austin is one of the coordinators of Canada’s largest Pagan gatherings, the Kaleidoscope Gathering.  He is also a steward of Raven’s Knoll, a campground at which Pagan and Heathen gatherings are held, where sacred sites have been established for the use of our community.’

Wyrd

Hail to you.

In Heathenry, concepts of fate and predestination are complex and varied.  In the modern context, as probably in the ancient world, there are many different opinions on the subject and much misunderstanding.  Edain has invited me to provide you with a few words introducing to you how I view the concept of wyrd.

The Word Wyrd

The word wyrd is a noun in Old English from the verb weorþan, which means “to become.”  In Old Norse the term is urðr.  The term harkens back to a common root word in all Germanic languages, and has been reconstructed as the Proto-Indo-European root *wert– “to turn, rotate.”  It is associated with the Old English weorþ, with the meaning of “worth” in the sense of “value, amount due” as well as “honour, earned esteem.”

The Norns

The single concept of wyrd was the main focus of most writing in the Anglo-Saxon regarding fate, likely because it was appropriated and re-defined to more closely match Christian theology after the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons.  Wyrd is also the most basic concept of fate that is elaborated in Scandinavian belief through a more mythologically complex understanding of fate.

In the Old Norse tradition, there are three mythological women that personify fate.  In Gylfaginning 14, Snorri Sturluson,* writes: “Under the ash near the spring stands a beautiful hall; three maidens come out of this hall whose names are Urd, Verdandi, and Skul; these maidens determine the life of men; we call them norns.”

The names of the three Norns are often roughly translated as Past, Present, and Future.  However, their true nature differs in important ways from a common understanding in modern English.  From the verb verða (to be), comes the name Urðr for “became” and Verdandi for “becoming,” as well as Skuld with the sense of “shall be, intended, debt owed.”

The action of the laws of fate that the Norns embody is portrayed through the metaphor of women continuously weaving in passages of the Völuspá, and throughout skaldic literature and later folklore.  It is by weaving that the Norns lay down ørlǫg.  The term comes from the word ór with the sense of “out, from, beyond” and “primal, ancient” combined with the word lǫg with the meaning of “law” and the sense of “layers, precedent.”  Ørlǫg is both a process of becoming and a completed thing.  (In Anglo-Saxon contexts often the term wyrd comes to stand for some combination of ørlǫg and urðr.)

The Norns are not known to be related to either the Æsir gods or the adversaries of the Gods the jotunar.  Nor do any clear accounts of their origin exist.  The Norns personify time and action, yet they exist outside of time.  Even the most powerful of the Norse gods, Óðinn – he who rules the home of the gods in Asgarð and created the world from the jotun Ymir’s body – will eventually die because of the course of events.  The forces of fate that the Norns embody, apply to everyone; even a god that gave shape to the world we live in.  As one Old English poem states it: “Wyrd bið ful aræd.”  (Wyrd remains completely inexorable.)

Time, Wyrd and Ethics

In modern English, concepts of fate and predestination are terms with roots in the Romance languages, often now infected with Christian theology.  In Romance languages past tenses are conjugated as compounds, while future tenses are single word conjugations.  In Germanic languages, the past tense is a single word conjugation, while the future is a compound conjugation.  Bauschatz observes that this distinction embodies a fundamental difference in how fate is viewed in the two worldviews.  In essence, the Germanic worldview weights ‘fixed reality’ to the past, while Romance language cultures weight ‘fixed reality’ to the future.

The way I see it, everything that I am physically (human evolution, the genetic happenstance of my family tree) and mentally (ideas learned through culture, education, being socialized in a family, psychological reactions to life events) is the result of the past.  Although a product of the past that is more than me, I am still a unique being with my own free will.  This free will, however, is constrained by all that I am and all that I encounter in my life.  All of which is the product of the past.  But, part of ørlǫg is our unique decisions.  As we act, so the Norns do weave.

I personally experience the Heathen view of fate in this way: We live in an eternal present that is the sum of all past action.  The past very clearly and definitely exists and cannot be changed, as it is the basis for all reality, what our consciousness views as “right now.”  The past cannot be changed.  The future, however, is not fixed.  (Nor, does it actually ever arrive since it is always “today.”)  But, the future is predetermined in a manner.  The future is constrained by what has occurred in the past, since action in the past is constrained by that “which is,” the wyrd that gives form to all present reality and options.  Due to wyrd things are bound to happen.

There are deeper mysteries and philosophical implications to the Heathen view of fate than anything I have presented here.  It is all rather wyrd and confusing, but life is like that!  What Heathens tend to focus on is trying to embody what they believe is good character in their action, the virtues, since this is what our tradition teaches is the best way to meet the debt that past action has determined is owed.  At the least, as strophe 23 in the Hávamál reminds us, there is no use staying awake at night worrying about the past.  It is better not to worry, get some sleep, and in the morning meet the day as the best person you can be and do something about whatever might be troubling you.

Heilir þeirs hlýddu!

Austin “Auz” Lawrence

* Snorri Sturluson was a 12th century Icelandic politician, poet and antiquarian who wrote down a vast body of pre-Christian Scandinavian lore and myth in what has come to be known as “The Prose Edda.”

Selected Sources

  • The Oxford English Dictionary.
  • The Poetic Edda.
  • Bauschatz. The Well and the Tree: World and Time in Early Germanic Culture
  • Mitchell and Robinson. A Guide to Old English.
  • Simek. Dictionary of Northern Mythology.
  • Sturluson. The Prose Edda.
  • Zoëga. A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic.

A huge thank you to my special guest, Auz, for taking the time to share his thoughts.  His description and interpretation of the Web of Wyrd is excellent, in my opinion.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the twelve glimpses into Heathen life during the past year. I’d promised to write articles for one year and then to re-evaluate my time, as I knew many of my writing and publishing projects would be coming to a head after that year. As predicted, my projects are rapidly moving into the fast lane and I will no longer have the time to donate to this column. A huge thank you to the owner and writers of The Pagan and Pen for allowing me to ramble on for this last year and for the excellent company along the way. 🙂

I wish you all peaceful and safe travels along your strands of the Web and hope the Norns give you a wonderful and interesting life.

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.


Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

Contact Edain @ Facebook Twitter YouTube Blogger

Runes

Handcrafted Rune Sets from Hernes Craftes.

This month, I want to talk a little about the Runes, which are an integral part of Heathen Tradition.

For a few years, albeit many years ago, I used to give family and friends Runic readings at New Year. Unfortunately, I only knew a small amount about them then and could only give a basic reading, but my readings were always well received.

Over time, and exposure to the deeper meanings of the Runes, I have come to learn that they are a most fascinating and interesting extant remnant of the Northern European way of Heathen life.

A bit of a background on the runes and what they mean can be found here on The Runic Journey website.

One of the best authorities, considered today in the Heathen community, is Diana Paxson’s book ‘Taking up the Runes’. A few years ago my husband was gifted this book and, as it is an excellent learning tool, I began to read it.  With time and practise, I now see the Runes differently from how I did all those years ago. I would like to put this in words for you, but I think that the author, Diana, who has kindly agreed to give her comments on Runes here for us all to share, can say it much better than I…

‘The runes are many things—shapes, sounds, symbols, mysteries. They can be used for purposes as mundane as writing sales slips, as they were in the trading town of Birka, or as doorways to the Nine Worlds. The goal of rune study should not be “mastery”, but integration.  Rather than seeking the runes as a path to power, whether over them, or over others, we can learn to work with them to focus and fulfill our potential and enrich our lives.

Because the runes operate in many dimensions, “taking them up” requires a multi-level approach, sensory, experiential, and spiritual. At the sensory level we learn the shapes and the sounds, and draw the runestaves.  According to educational research, most people have a dominant sense through which they learn most easily. Visual learners remember best by reading and contemplating. Aural learners do best by hearing and speaking. Kinesthetic learners need to physically interact with the object of study. However we have found that working with secondary senses can stimulate areas of the brain that are less used. When studying the runes, all the senses should be used—learning to recognize the shapes, chanting them, and writing them.

The next level is experiential, in which we learn the significance of the runes for the Germanic peoples and how they manifest in our own lives. Fehu, for instance, means cattle. Most of us would associate that with milk or steak—a tasty part of the diet, but no more.  In the old days in the North, cattle were the major food source and the measure of wealth, prosperity on the hoof. Studying Fehu is a good time to work on a budget, evaluate your resources, or look for a more rewarding job. When we understand Fehu, we can look at how we measure prosperity in our own lives. How do we get it? How do we tend it? And how do we use it? Fehu can also lead us to a study of the Vanir, the clan of gods who were particularly (though not solely) associated with agriculture and prosperity.

The third level of integration is spiritual. Once you have internalized knowledge of a rune through study and experience, you can use each rune as a doorway to meditation, in which your unconscious mind combines the information in new ways, and the powers behind the runes lead you to new insights. Contemplating the runes in various combinations illuminates new aspects of each one.

The runes are a basic tool for working magic in the Northern Tradition, a key to Germanic beliefs and culture, and a path for spiritual development. Divination may be the most popular application, but it is by no means the only one. Once you have internalized their meaning, you will find yourself using them in many ways, including healing and protection. The runes have been called a magic alphabet, or perhaps an alphabet of magic. Certainly they bring magic into our lives.’

~Diana L. Paxson is the author of twenty-nine novels of historical and legendary fantasy, including ‘Sword of Avalon’ and the ‘Wodan’s Children’ trilogy, and non-fiction books such as ‘Taking up the Runes’ and ‘Essential Asatru’. She is an Elder in the Troth and edits their journal, ‘Idunna’. She is also a pioneer in the recovery of oracular seidh and has just finished a book on the history and practice of oracle work. www.avalonbooks.net , www.westria.org , www.hrafnar.org

I would just like to say a huge thank you to Diana, for taking the time out of her busy life to contribute here today.

Over the years, I’ve tried both the Runes and Tarot and somehow, the Tarot just doesn’t fit with me at all whereas the Runes seem to be just right and are still a wonderful journey of discovery.

Why not get yourself a set of Runes, like the ones pictured above and take the time to get to know them and their various meanings. They are a great tool for any spiritual practise, whether Heathen or Pagan.

Go on, discover something new.

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.


 

Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

Contact Edain @ Facebook Twitter YouTube Blogger

Heathen Celebrations

As we know, Pagans, generally, celebrate the turning of the ‘Wheel of the Year’ with the following festival days:

 

Imbolc (February)

Ostara/Spring Equinox (March)

Beltaine (May)

Litha/Summer Solstice (June)

Mabon (August)

Lughnasadh/Autumn Equinox (September)

Samhain (October)

Yule/Winter Solstice (December)

 

In Heathenry, there’s not one structure of celebration like the Pagan ‘Wheel of the Year’. However, here is a selection of events that are generally celebrated, they are somewhat different from, but still have similar attributes to, the Pagan ones. Of course, these are modern-day interpretations of the ancient Heathen celebratory days.

 

The Charming of the Plow/Disting /Solmonað* (February)

Summer Finding/ Eostre/Hreðmonað* (March)

Walburga/May Day (May)

Midsummer/Summer Solstice (June)

Freyfaxi/Thing’s Tide (August)

Harvest/Háligmonaþ* (September)

Winter Finding/Winter Nights (October)

Yuletide (Jul, Jól) (December)

(* Represents the names of the Anglo-Saxon celebrations mentioned by Bede in his work ‘The Reckoning of Time’ (Latin: De temporum ratione) dated 725.)

 

A caveat to the above list, most Heathens don’t celebrate all these dates and the dates are movable. Basically, many Heathens celebrate their festival days depending on the movement of seasons within their own countries rather than a rigid calendar.

For more information of the meanings of these celebratory days please consult the following websites:

The Ring of Troth

Irminsul Ættir

Anglo-Saxon Heathenry

 

Whatever the date and reason for a celebration there is usually a blot. What is a ‘blot’, you might ask…

A blot is a Heathen ritual. The word ‘blot’ comes from the word ‘blood’ and means a sacrifice. The Ancestors thought it perfectly normal to feed a community with an animal, which had been ritually slaughtered at such a rite. Today, Heathens make different sacrifices and there are good mythological reasons to use mead or other alcoholic drink for this. The part of the blot where it’s drunk is called ‘Sumble’ (see my ‘Sumble 101’ article), and Heathens will make ritual toasts and boasts whilst passing a horn of hallowed mead around.

However you celebrate the passing of the seasons and year, remember to spare a thought and perhaps a horn of something for the Ancestors, without whom, none of us would be here.

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.

Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

Contact Edain @ Facebook Twitter YouTube Blogger

Yule and the Wild Hunt

Odin’s Wild Hunt by PN Arbo 1872

Yule is one of the most important celebrations in the Heathen calendar and is usually celebrated on or around the 21st of December. The date of Yule/Winter Solstice can vary by a day or so each year, this year the Solstice actually falls on Tuesday, 21st December at 11.38pm.

For this month’s article, I’ve invited Vaygar Yngvi Elmersson, the Godi/spiritual leader of Rheinwood Hearth Kindred, to give his comments on Yule and the Wild Hunt.

Thoughts on Yule
By Vaygar Yngvi Elmersson

The concept of Christmas has often been a source of disappointment for me even after a life-long experience in Christianity. Coming into Heathenry twelve years ago, it was such an easy and enjoyable transition to observe Yule instead of the Christ-mass. Yule is possibly a Heathen’s most highly celebrated holiday. As a matter of fact, many of the traditions used in Christmas have their origin in the pre-Christian expression of Yule; the most immediately notable is that of the bringing of a tree inside the home and decorating it. So the idea of honestly celebrating something more aligned to my Germanic heritage excited me beyond measure, minus any guilt that might be levied against me via the Church hierarchy.

Heathen Yule actually has two stories prevailing within it. My initial exposure to Yule was that which surrounds the Winter Solstice. The second story is that of The Wild Hunt.

The Wild Hunt is a story involving Odin and his cohorts riding through the skies during the dark nights of Winter snatching up souls who venture outside their homes. As horrid as this spectacle might seem, to me, it makes perfect sense considering the land and the origin of this Myth. Coming from the Northern European Tradition such as this story does, in my opinion, it has been told, retold and embellished in an effort to discourage anyone from leaving the confines of their home during the dark and snowy nights of winter. Realistically speaking, it was simply dangerous to go outside one’s home for anything after dark for fear of getting lost or misguided in the night. It was easier for adults to tell children horror stories to scare them into submission rather than fill their heads with fanciful ideas. Connected to the Wild Hunt are even more realistically scary ideas of Berserkers and wild animals. Superstitions can play a vital role in controlling group behavior. I can see those of the Warrior/Viking aspects of Heathenry preferring to adhere to the stories of the Wild Hunt as it makes for much better story telling around the hearth-fire through Winter. This continues to be played out in today’s society with Heathen groups focused more on masculine deities like Odin, Thor and Tyr.

The Yuletide Celebration that I encourage with Rheinwood Hearth Kindred is that which surrounds the more agrarian nature of the Winter Solstice; that being, the shortest day and the longest night of the year with the encouraging of the return of the sun and warmth to the land. I have replaced “The Twelve Traits to Remember” previously offered by Swain Wodening; often connected to the Twelve Days of Yule (predecessor to the Twelve Days of Christmas), with our commonly held Nine Noble Virtues plus three very important dates of Mother‘s Night, the Winter Solstice and 12th Night which in my opinion were overlooked by Swain‘s effort. Rheinwood’s Twelve Days of Yule, starting roughly around December 20th, are patterned thus:

1st day of Yule – Mother’s Night-honoring the feminine
2nd Day of Yule – The Winter Solstice-encouraging the return of the sun
3rd Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Courage
4th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Truth
5th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Honor
6th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Fidelity
7th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Hospitality
8th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Discipline
9th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Industriousness
10th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Self-Reliance
11th Day of Yule – Remembering the Noble Virtue of Perseverance
12th night-oaths, boasts and toasts

Any time during these Twelve Days of Yule, Rheinwood Hearth Kindred can meet for feasting and celebration! We also don period garb in an effort to connect with our culture, ancestors and gods. We celebrate our relationships with each other as Kindred by speaking words and sharing mead over our Kindred drinking horn.

The Rheinwood Hearth Kindred is located in Wichita, Kansas. We invite you to check us out.

For many Heathens the Wild Hunt is a strong tradition, which they still uphold even in this modern age. If you would like to find out more about the Wild Hunt, please go to each of the following links as they all have different points of view:

The Wild Hunt – Wikipedia page

The Wild Hunt – Orkneyjar page

The Wild Hunt – Hlidskjalf page

However you celebrate Yule, whether it’s by raising a horn to the ancestors or quietly sharing time with your loved ones, I wish you and yours a very Happy Solstice.

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.



Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

Contact Edain @ Facebook Twitter YouTube Blogger

An Interview with R. Phillip Prince, author.

As a publisher of Pagan/Heathen eBooks via Wyrdwood Publications, I have the pleasure of publishing the children’s author R. Phillip Prince. In his eBook, The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard, he writes in the style of the old story tellers and brings to the children of today, a wonderful mixture of magic and mayhem.

For this months column, I though you would enjoy learning more about this light-hearted author and the path that led him to write this endearing eBook.

*Please note that for EVERY copy sold a tree is planted in a deforested area of the world!*

Welcome to The Pagan and the Pen, Phillip.

Thanks for having me, Edain!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you found your path in the Norse tradition or it found you.

Hmmm….well, I could start at the beginning…First, the earth cooled, then came the dinosaurs! LOL! Ok, that might be too specific for this article and really it has nothing to do with me. Look, I’m just a guy originally from Indianapolis Indiana, born in ‘56 and winding my way down to today via life’s little highways and forks in the road. Just a “semi normal” guy who one day decided to write a Norse short story to make kids smile. ;-D

What events led you to write ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’?

No events to speak of for it. I think the idea simply popped into my head one day a couple of years ago. I think it was wintertime…I frequently use my brain more during that season, since I’m usually locked in the grip of cabin fever!

Your eBook is written in a lovely old-fashioned storytelling style, what inspired you to write it this way?

That’s the only way I felt it would work. Those were always the kind of stories I enjoyed my parents reading to me as a kid, it’s a simple formula that works. Kids don’t have time for a whole heck of a lot when they are real small, as far as the written word goes, so I’m all about keeping it short, sweet, simple and as entertaining as possible.

Also, it’s fun to create a read where parents have an active role in the reading of a short bedtime tale like mine. Making it fun for both the adult reader and the child is what it’s all about…that’s quality time the kids will never forget!

I will always remember my dad reading to me Jules Verne’s, 20,000 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He must have read it to me a dozen times…and he always read it with enthusiasm and vigor. That was the fun part! I loved it and him for doing it so often. Those are the times your kids will cherish and remember…and hopefully, learn to integrate that sort of story telling skill set into their own parenting situation.

How do you incorporate the ideals of your Norse tradition into your everyday life?

Well, I have always had a very keen interest in all things medieval and only recently became interested in Norse living history. I can’t say I’ve been able to indulge in this new hobby as much as I’ve liked, however, the fun comes from the study of it for me.  They were a simple people living in not so simple times. Many getting the bad rap of historical stereotyping, like the Vikings. Most were farmers and merchants and only a very few did the raiding and attacks they are credited for.

As for as how it helps me in everyday life I’d have to say that when you study an ancient society you come to realize it for what it was and to always remind yourself to stay humble, since our ancestors had it FAR, FAR worse than we ever will…stay humble and true to the values of old.

I’m a real believer in Chivalry and think that it has certainly become a lost art form. More young men of this generation have no clue what it is and that is a sad fact. I think it should be taught in school. The earlier the better. All the skills are laid out and I do think young men should learn what true Chivalry is all about.

I understand you participate in Norse Living History re-enactment, does this give you a connection to your spirituality or is it just recreational?

Purely recreational for me.

What items, either in this modern-day world or in the old heathen one, give you the most inspiration for your writing?

The time, the place and the setting. Swords, axes, tough men in a tough world. There is a plethora of real and imagined images from that time period from which to draw inspiration from. Plus, a little dash of contemporary silliness never hurts! Imagine a very aloof and sometimes cocky talking mouse loose in the Viking Dark Ages! That’s about as silly as it gets.

If you could be any one of your characters in ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’, which one would you be and why?

The mouse of course! He gets all the cheese the Viking drops into his beard! Not mention he has the most unique perspective of his world.

Will there be another tale with the characters from ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’? If so, can you give us any hints as to what it may be about?

I’d like there to be. I have an idea I’m mulling about now that I’ll attempt to flesh out over the winter. I can tell you that once again our little friend, the mouse, will be having another adventure in the land and times of the ancient Vikings and getting into all sorts of trouble, I’m sure!

What other writing projects are you working on at present?

Just another instalment with our rodent and his friend!  I have a one-track mind! Lol

Thank you for being with us today, Phillip.

This was great fun, Edain! Thanks for letting me yak on about myself. ;-D

As Yule is just around the corner and if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the little, or indeed big heathen on your list, I believe The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard would satisfy everyone. For more information on how to order this book, as well as others exclusive to Wyrdwood Publications, visit the website at: www.wyrdwoodpublications.com

Remember! A tree is planted in a deforested area of the world for EVERY copy sold.

A Review of ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’:

Reviewed by Brynneth of The Druid Network

Publisher: Wyrdwood Publications

Subject: Fiction – mythic/ancient

Bjorn the Viking has an enormous beard. When a talking mouse moves into it, all kinds of chaos and adventures ensue.

This is a charming little story, ideal for young pagan readers (and non-pagan children as well). It’s an ebook, so you need to be willing to read from the screen, or print a copy, but that’s no great hardship. There’s humour, action, mead and magic.

Given the length, it would lend itself to being retold by story tellers as well – its written in that style.

I thought it was delightful.

To purchase a copy of The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard please go HERE.

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.



Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

Contact Edain @ Facebook Twitter YouTube Blogger

Kindred

Some of you may have heard the word Kindred before, some of you may not have a clue what it is and what a Kindred can mean to you. I want to explore this aspect of Heathen life with you this month.

What is a Kindred?

Here is the definition from the kindred page on Wikipedia:

In Ásatrú and some forms of Germanic neopaganism, a Kindred is a local worship group. Other terms used are Garth, Stead, sippe, Hearth, skeppslag and others. Kindreds are usually grassroots groups, which may or may not be affiliated with a national organization like the Asatru Folk Assembly, the Ásatrú Alliance, or The Troth. It is more typical for a Kindred to be affiliated to an organization within the US than elsewhere. Kindreds are composed of hearths or families as well as individuals, and the members of a Kindred may be related by blood or marriage, or may be unrelated. The kindred often functions as a combination of extended family and religious group. Membership is managed by the assent of the group.

Kindreds usually have a recognized goði (priest) or Gyðja (priestess) to lead religious rites, while some other kindreds function more like modern corporations or communes.

For a more personal definition, I’ve invited a member of the Rúnatýr Kindred to give us a view on the subject of Kindred.

Erik Lacharity, Lawspeaker, Rúnatýr Kindred:

As Lawspeaker of Rúnatýr Kindred, an Ottawa based local heathen folk, I have been asked to give a little insight on what I, as a modern heathen, have come to know of heathen kindreds. I think that the best way to gain an understanding of what a kindred is and what it means for those who are in one is to look at the etymological roots of the word.

Our modern word kindred is a very ancient one indeed. The root of the word has come to us via the OE cyn, which was understood to mean “family, race, kind or nature” (1). Though this root is still older than OE and most likely was derived from the Proto-Germanic *kunjan. In every case, the many derived nouns from this common word in all the Germanic tongues share a theme of “family”. So what modern heathens have come to mean by kindred is “a cohesive family unit”, though this unit is not necessarily united in blood, it is always united in strong bonds of worth.

What makes a kindred different from any other group of worship or club is this notion of shared commonweal of its members in all times. In times of need or times of plenty, members of a kindred come together as a family should and help each other better themselves so as to better the whole of the membership. A worship group may meet for religious observances, such as a Wiccan coven, but in most cases these groups are not involved in each other’s lives in the same way as a brother or a sister would. A club usually meets for fun and entertainment though they too are not as involved in the lives of their membership in the way of a kindred. This is because heathenry isn’t so much about the religious aspect of life on a given day of the month; it is about being the best person you can for your family every minute of every day. This closeness between folk has been lost on many in modern society and it has been the focus of modern heathenry to reconstruct this more ancient view of the world, which was the normality among Germanic tribes.

Unlike the majority of the modern pagan movements, heathenry does not have a large number of “solitaires”. This is due to the fact that every religious observance or social undertaking in the Germanic worldview is communally based. If we look at ancient tribal life, there was no room for the rugged individualism that we see today. Everyone relied on each other to survive in this world. The realm of the solitaire was most often that of the outlaw who was without kin and therefore cast out into the wilds to fend for himself, an almost certain death. It is true, however, that there are solitaires within heathenry in our day and age, though for the most part this is due to circumstances out of the heathen’s control than by personal choice.

What does the future hold for modern kindreds? Well, if we look at the headway that has been achieved by many dedicated heathens in the past forty years, what is certain is that whatever it is… it will be good. The kindreds today are, for the most part, strong and deeply kin oriented. They want to build their luck within their trusted family but also build luck with neighbouring kindreds as well. In time, North America will be dotted from coast to coast with kindreds of every stripe and when the time is right some of these kingroups may unite into regional confederacies and hold regional ‘Things’. How far modern heathenry can go and how great kindreds can become is only limited to the amount of effort each member wants to put into the commonweal, the luck of their folk. In the end, there would be no heathens without kindreds and there would be no kindreds without heathens as each are inseparable.

Erik Lacharity,

Lawspeaker,

Rúnatýr Kindred

(1) http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=kin

 

Having been personally involved in the building of a kindred, I can attest to the points that Erik makes about it being a family with close personal interaction outside of the religious aspect.

I’ve found great comfort with the creation of a family from friends of like mind and I know that those I choose to call Kin will be with me throughout the long length of my life.

Outside of your blood family, do you have folks in your life that you can truly call Kin?

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.


Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

Contact Edain @ Facebook Twitter YouTube Blogger

An Interview with a Warrior Poet

In my other role, as a publisher of Pagan and Heathen eBooks via Wyrdwood Publications, I have the pleasure of publishing the Asatru author, Robert Allard.

In his eBook, Warrior Poet ~ Musings of an Asatru Warrior, he has written a collection of fifteen evocative poems and kennings, in the style of the poetic Eddas and brings to a modern day world the excitement and atmosphere of the ancient warrior ways.

For this months column, I thought you would enjoy learning more about this author and how his chosen path of Asatru led him to write this engaging eBook.

Welcome to The Pagan Heathen, Robert.

Thank you for inviting me.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you found your path of Asatru.

It all started a few years ago during an overseas exercise in the north of Germany with the 433 squadron, a CF 18 tactical squadron of the Canadian armed forces, we were stationed in Scleshvig Holstein close to the remains of the old Viking settlement of Hitabu. I found that I had the time to visit the site, see all the artefacts in the museum and it led me on the path I’m now travelling.

What events led you to write the ‘Warrior Poet ~ Musings of an Asatru Warrior’?

The world of today does not recognize the warrior ethos as the old ways portrayed it and as such, a great imbalance is created. The every day hero of our time should have a chance to enjoy his accomplishments, boast if you will and have a voice in our time, as well as the time of our ancestors. I hope that my eBook is a testament to those that fight every day for their family and for a better life.

Your eBook is written in the Old Norse style of the Poetic Eddas. The Asatru tradition finds these writings; the Poetic and Prose Eddas, the Sagas and the Hávamál of great importance. Could you briefly tell the readers what they are?

The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius, the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends.

They are written in the old skaldic metering and are a great influence in the Scandinavian literature of the early 19th Century. The Prose Edda is, as it says, a prose version of the Edda written by Snorri Sturluson, who had a monumental part in the revival of the old scripts, which were almost forgotten at that time.

As for the Sagas, they are the accounts of heros and the lives of the settelers of Iceland, Greenland and also Vinland.
Do you feel that these ancient writings are still relevant to our modern day society?

I believe that the essence of them is very much relevant in this day and age. They’re a beacon showing the old values, which are not often shared in our time, like respect of our elders, honour in life, standing by your actions and living with their outcome and this, in my opinion, will never be outdated nor unwarranted in any age.Which of the Old Norse Sagas would you like to have been written about you, and why?

Actually, there are some Sagas that I do identify with. One of them is The Saga of Grettir the Strong. Grettis saga tells of a man that lived his life following his own destiny, making his own choices and living by them to his end.

What items, either in this modern day world or in the old heathen ways, give you inspiration for your writing?

I have some battle ready swords that I have been using in medieval re-enactment, they are notched and broken from the countless tournaments I have fought in during the past 10 years or so. They are living proof of the old ways, the extreme power of the sword and the terrible outcome of it, when used to resolve conflict. The naked and terrible truth, of the use of force, should not be used lightly and is the warrior’s burden of responsibility.

What other writing projects are you working on at present?

I’m working on an Asatru science fiction novel called the ‘Saga of the Nine Worlds’, which portrays the Asatru nation of the future on an exploration of space to find the nine worlds of the Edda. This is made a reality by finding space maps hidden away in the old scripts.

Obviously, you live your path 24 hrs a day; into what other creative pursuits do you channel your path?

The living study of how they lived through re-enactment, also leather working and photography.

If you could be remembered as a modern Asatru Warrior, what deed do you feel you would be remembered for?

As a herald showing that the old ways are not forgotten and can be integrated in our life. Warrior glory can be found through making the grades at school or getting that new job or improving yourself to be ready to win in any challenges of your life.

Thank you for being with us today, Robert.

Thank you.

*To read more about this eBook and to purchase it, please go HERE.*

Review of Warrior Poet ~ Musings of an Asatru Warrior

Review by Crystal Allard
Editor In Chief
Building Bridges Newsletter

(…)

He [Robert Allard] gives his reader a glimpse into the heart of his creativity and does it with passion. His use of Kennings is profound and authentic. Robert has captured the essence of a warrior, wrapped it in chain mail and served it to his reader with the nine noble virtues as his shield.

Yule is just around the corner and if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the heathen on your list, I believe Warrior Poet, Musings of an Asatru Warrior would satisfy even the harshest of critics. (…)

To read the entire review, please go HERE

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.

Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Worlds Of My Own Making
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

Contact Edain @ Facebook Twitter YouTube Blogger