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.

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

Hospitality

In May, I showed you how the Virtues of the Asatru and Druid (ADF) traditions differed and that only three of them were actually the same:

This month, we shall be looking at the last of the three, the Virtue of Hospitality in a little more detail, and, with the help of an Asatru Gythia (gyðja) and a Senior Druid, we will see how this Virtue relates to a Kindred and a Grove, and the members therein.

The Meaning of Hospitality

Sylvie, Gythia ~ Mapleheim Kindred (Asatru):

Hospitality is one of the virtues that those who practice Asatru hold in high esteem in themselves and in others.  There are many examples in the lore and the sagas of how hospitality was important to those long ago.  In a time when all travel was done on horseback or on foot, refusing admittance to strangers at the door might be condemning them to death by exposure in inclement weather.  As the Gods were also known to wander Midgardh in disguise, being inhospitable to the Gods might lead to unfortunate circumstances.

In modern times, Heathens are widely known for opening their homes and their kitchens to those who are visiting.  When we welcome people into our houses and serve them the best of what we have, we strengthen our bonds of community and kinship with those around us.  But hospitality doesn’t mean we restrict ourselves to caring for only those who come to our homes.  It can and does include caring for friends and kinsmen by helping in any manner possible when they are facing difficulty.  The hospitality of your hearth means that you are there to help those around you with whatever you are able to provide.  This can mean anything from helping fill someone’s refrigerator when they are needing a helping hand, helping someone else move into a new house, or helping re-shingle your kinsman’s roof during an emergency.


Julie, Senior Druid ~ Thornhaven Grove (ADF):

I take my cue for this virtue almost entirely from the rune Gebo, which speaks of the obligations that come with being a host or guest. Hospitality is about interdependence, between ourselves, and between us and the Gods.  It speaks to humanism, the human connection that we have with each other, and need to maintain in order to survive individually and as a race. It encompasses compassion, sensitivity, understanding the needs of others, and not waiting to asked. We are all guests in each others’ lives, and the best thing we can do is be good guests and good hosts. As a host, I give freely without expecting return. As a good guest, I ask for little, bring a gift or help pitch in, and know when to leave. The same can be said in terms of our relationship with our Gods. As the Gebo rune states, a gift demands a gift–for all the blessings we receive from the Gods, we must return their generosity with offerings and devotion. And as guests on this planet, we must take as little as possible, and work to improve the world, rather than simply take from it.

This virtue has a very personal connection with me. When my husband and I were moving from the UK to Canada, then Canada to the UK and finally from the UK back to Canada over the span of eight years, there were many times that we only owned a suitcase each and that was all we had in the way of belongings. Each of these times, our family and friends stepped up and offered us help. The hospitality came in many forms including a place to stay, free furniture, loans of a car to find an apartment or to get equipment and food. It even included, what was known jokingly at the time, as ‘reverse pillaging’, where groceries were actually gifted to us and put in our hands.

We will always be grateful for this hospitality, love and help we received during that desperate time. We know that we will never be able to ‘pay’ everyone back for all the help we gained, at least the folks concerned know it was very appreciated and that we would always be there for them.

Hospitality is, in my opinion, the most under used virtue in this modern age. Too many people are more concerned with their own lives than sharing and helping others. We saw this on a major scale during 9/11 where for a couple of months everyone in New York opened their doors, homes and hearts to those in need and gave all they could. Once the crisis had passed, however, the people of New York went back to their independent lives with no interest in sharing or giving hospitality.

The point I am trying to make is that we should not wait for a disaster like 9/11 or Haiti to galvanise us into action. Hospitality is something that should be practised everyday, even if in a small way to your family and friends or the greater community around you.

When was then last time you gave true hospitality to someone?

Or, indeed, received it?

This video is wonderful and, although it is an advertisement, you will understand why I wanted to show it here.

Finally, now that I have come to end of these three articles and will start anew next month, I just wanted to say that I recently attended a discussion by the Thornhaven Grove (ADF) on Virtues. It was a wonderful evening exploring the differences and similarities of the ADF, Norse and First Nations Virtues. If you get the opportunity to discuss the Virtues with a diverse group of people, do so. It was a most entertaining and informative evening. 🙂

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 @ FacebookTwitterYoutubeBlogger