Tag Archives: Asatru

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

Sumbel 101

Hail and welcome to my first monthly article with The Pagan and the Pen. If you would like to read my columnist introduction, please see my previous post.

This month, I want to talk to you about sumbels.

Have you ever been invited to a sumbel? Perhaps by a Heathen friend at a Kindred meeting or a festival?

Maybe, you have heard of sumbels (also spelt sumble and symbel), but you have no clue what happens, never mind what is expected of you?

Hopefully, this post will answer all those questions and more.

What is a sumbel?

A sumbel is an Asatru toasting ritual with alcohol. The participants of the ritual are expected to speak and make toasts as the horn of mead (usually) is passed around. There are three rounds to begin with:

  • Round One: To the Gods and/or the Goddesses
  • Round Two: To the ancestors and/or a personal hero
  • Round Three: For an Oath, Boast or Toast

Round One: To the Gods and/or the Goddesses:

As the horn is passed to you from the right, you will raise it in the name of a God or a Goddess (or both) that have shown presence in your life or who you have gained some insight from. Be that a creative insight or wisdom or whatever effect they have had on your life recently. Explain why you are toasting this deity.

Once the toast is said, you would generally say ‘Hail’ or ‘Hail adding the God or Goddesses name’ at which point the participants reply with ‘Hail’ or ‘Hail adding the God or Goddesses name’. You would then take a drink from the horn and pass the horn to the person on your left. Please note that if you do not drink alcohol or dislike the drink that is being used for toasting, for whatever reason, you may pour your share into the fire, into a blessing bowl, or onto the ground as an offering.  You may also dip a forefinger into the liquid and anoint your own forehead. This is all acceptable behaviour.

Round Two: To the Ancestors and/or a personal hero:

During Round Two, you will raise the horn in the name of your ancestor(s) or a personal hero of yours (Batman or Spiderman do not count as heroes…lol). You may describe your ancestor or hero and why you are toasting them, you may state what effect they have had on you or your life or what inspiration you have gained from them.  Short tales about their mighty deeds or the reason why you’re inspired by the person being toasted are appropriate.  Just make sure to keep your story under a few minutes, or people might start losing interest.

The ancestor or hero you toast should be a deceased individual, as opposed to a still-living one.  Many Heathens believe that it’s ill luck to toast an ancestor that is still alive.  Exceptions are made when praising a large group that has accomplished a mighty deed (such as a group of firefighters that have risked their lives to rescue others), or to toast the people who are assembled at the sumbel.

Once the toast is said, you would generally say ‘Hail’ or ‘Hail adding the name of the ancestor or hero’ at which point the participants reply with ‘Hail’ or ‘Hail adding the name of the ancestor or hero’. You then take a drink from the horn and pass the horn to the person on your left, again you can make an offering of the liquid in their name.

Round Three: To an Oath, Boast or Toast:

In this final ‘official’ round, you will raise the horn in an Oath, Boast or Toast. You may choose one of these three toasts:

  • You may make an oath to do something or improve on something, but be prepared for it to be taken very seriously. Never oath anything you do not expect to be able to complete.*
  • You may boast about something you have achieved recently, something that you are proud of yourself for.
  • You may toast anything or anyone that has brought you happiness in whatever form and has improved your life or well-being.

*Remember, this is a ritual and any oaths taken at this time are considered absolute and binding to the point that the other participants will make note of your oath and keep you to it. They may also come up with a forfeit, which is usually something you deeply wouldn’t want to do, as a precaution against you failing your oath.  The penalty for failing to keep your oath must be something that would exact such a high price that it would be easier to fulfil the oath than to not keep it.  I can’t emphasize just how binding these oaths are. Also, remember that in the Norse Tradition Honour is a virtue and your word is your bond.

Once the toast is said, you would generally say ‘Hail’ at which point the participants reply with ‘Hail’. You will take a drink from the Horn and pass the horn to the person on your left.

After these three main rounds the sumbel may end, although sometimes sumbels do continue with a more relaxed attitude. Should you wish to partake of any further rounds, you may use any of the three main toasting rounds whenever the horn is passed to you. However, if you do not wish to make further toasts, it is acceptable to take a drink from the horn and pass it to your left without comment, or simply pass it without drinking. The leader of the sumbel with let everyone know, at the end of the first three rounds, whether the sumbel is to end or if it will continue until either the horn is completely drained, or the gathered people decide that they have had enough.  Since there is no circle or magical boundary created between the group and the outside world, the people are free to excuse themselves out of the gathering and re-enter at any point after the first three rounds are complete.

Please remember to not drink heavily from the horn during the sumbel as being drunk is consider bad form and, of course, disrespecting a tradition’s ritual is very ill-advised.

For those of you who are not familiar with drinking from a horn, there are a few points to remember.  Firstly, never drain the horn completely of the liquid.  If you notice that the level is getting low when you receive the horn, mention to the Gothi (goði) or Gythia (gyðja)** that the horn is almost empty.  They will ensure to refill the horn so the sumble may continue; if a horn is emptied completely, the liquid must be blessed before the sumble may continue.  It is far easier to simply bless the liquid at the beginning and adding further liquid to the remaining drink automatically blesses it.  Also, every horn has a “sweet spot” that it is easiest to drink out of.  Some horns have the nasty tendency of drenching the drinker with the entire contents of the horn when tipped the wrong way and an air pocket hits the mead at the bottom.  The general rule is “Point down and you won’t drown.”  If the point of the horn is pointing towards the ceiling as you drink, you might find yourself needing a towel.

**The actual term Gothi translates as God-man, while Gythia means God-woman.
~ A goði or gothi (plural goðar) is the Old Norse term for a priest and chieftain. Gyðja signifies a priestess. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothi

I’ve had the honour of being present at many sumbels and their sizes have differed enormously from four people to over thirty. I find the most preferable size, for the intimacy of a good sumbel, is between five and fifteen.

I hope this post has given you a basic understanding of what a sumbel is and how to participate in one, if ever you are invited. Please feel free to leave any comments below or ask questions.

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, eBook Author and Blog Writer

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

Contact Edain @ FacebookTwitterYoutubeBlogger