Mead jug

My in-laws purchased one of the greatest gifts I have ever received for my recent birthday…a cow horn mead jug:

 

A full pint of ale, mead etc can be held in this cow horn jug (with only a passing odour as to be expected when drinking from the inside of such a natural object) sourced from the online store- Jelling Dragon which can be found at : www.jelldragon.com– a retailer I have found many, many fantastic items from over the last few years. My wife also purchased me a solid silver spearhead necklace from the site- it is based on a Finnish spear design and represents my dedication to Odin. It hangs nicely below the silver Mjölnir necklace which was also purchased from the site. The hammer is of course symbolic of my beliefs to aid identification for those in the know, but also to ask Thor to protect me from harmful Etins where needed.

 

The horn has already been used in blöt to celebrate the Winternights and will now serve as my drinking vessel for all rituals and more.

Still, my in-laws have yet to ask me what it is for or what my beliefs are- maybe they are afraid to know?Mmmmm

 

Advertisements

A liberal, heathen, non-folkish Asatru group in England…

So, I have posted previously about my search for (as per the title of this post) a non-folkish Asatru or liberal heathen group in England. They do exist- I’ve made contact with a few and have joined a couple of groups online.

But, there is an issue…

I can find more liberal groups in Sweden than in England. I travel to Sweden frequently, but not enough to partake in a group there.

UK or England based groups that have a liberal world view are often based in or around London which makes it about as likely for me to participate face-to-face as with those groups in Sweden.

The age old issue of some members of groups not fully understanding the consequences of what they say online. I have seen some liken Odinism to Satanism- I do not accept the existence of hell and/or Satan as they are Christian constructs with hell being named as a bastardisation of Hel in order to convert Heathens by way of informing them that their afterlife holds nothing but pain and misery and driving conversion by way of the repenting Christ. After so much has been done already to alter public perceptions and educate that all Pagans are not devil worshippers as we do not believe in Satan, I find it a shame that a self-professed Heathen would publicly associate Heathenism as a form of Satanism- yes, I am aware of the reality of what Satanism actually incorporates, but the general public and media would only use this as an act against us.

Some groups are local to myself, but meetings are infrequent and/or set around the lives of the core members making attendance difficult for myself.

Local Pagan/Heathen groups are often very Wiccan derived and although open to all pagan faiths, the insistence on a triple moon symbol for a group and the group worship of a Goddess and God is something I find offensive to my Gods and Goddesses- Mani is a male deity and not the moon-goddess as Wiccans believe etc. They are entitled to their views, as I am mine, but they unwittingly steer these groups in a Wiccan (although I would wager that few, if any, are actually initiates of a British-Traditional Wiccan coven derived from Gerald Gardner) manner.

I will attempt to find a liberal heathen group once more- I will consider Urd’s Well Kindred, the UK arm of the Ring of Troth (or the Troth) amongst others- NOTE: please feel free to suggest any liberal groups!

Further more, I see a likely development that I will relocate my family within the next 9 months (no baby is on the way!) and will look to move to a larger location. I will confirm that my thoughts have turned towards forming my own group, with my own criteria for membership and accepting those who share the same beliefs as myself. I’ll post more on that as it happens, but we are likely talking about a small online group at first, followed by a formalised structure for physical meetings and a location dedicated to such. I have no idea how this will form itself, but it is the way in which I feel drawn.

Midsommer/Althing

Hael Baldur and Sunna!

A wet, windy and extremely overcast celebration today.

04:30am in my garden to greet Sunna and say blessing to Sunna and Baldur rather than my planned journey to Michells Fold- the road is not accessible easily when it is raining.

Later in the day, I headed over to Carding Mill Valley to say prayers in the hills near to the waterfalls- spending time avoiding the school children on field trips!

Taking my search for a non-folkish Heathen group further afield

Again, I struggle to find a non-folkish/racist Heathen group.

I have now attempted to contact the local group of this type for a third time…after a reader of this blog put me onto them as he was a member. I have not been able to get a response from the group or the reader that emailed me to suggest them.

I have now made first contact with such a group operating out of Sweden. I’ve been to Sweden many times as I work for a Swedish company. I love the country and the people. I feel at home there. I hope, I truly hope that I can find a home within this group- not sure how social meets and blots will go though!

I’ve started to look at learning Icelandic (Old Norse essentially) and Swedish for my own interests.

I’ll let you know how this attempted contact goes…

*update* The group international contact person has been in touch… we will discuss further

A year on this path…

A year ago I started this journey. After much time searching for the higher power in the universe, some books on Wicca opened up some different thought processes and rekindled a bond with the Gods of Asgard that I had such affinity for in pre- teen years. I finally feel at peace with the world and like I am part of something bigger with my fylgja at my side.

My tattoo reflects this perfectly- the commonly used pentacle representing the Wiccan knowledge that reawakened my mind to the pagan world marked upon the tree of Yggdrasil- with the raven representing my fylgja atop the tree and the corpse sucker Nidhogg at the roots of the tree- representing the destiny that may have awaited me come judgement by the gods in my death. Whilst avoidance of Nidhogg and the vaettir of punishment cannot be guaranteed, it is something I strive to do so by way of serving the gods during my remaining time in Midgard. I would hope that my actions now please them and that I can be judged favourably.

Sigurd’s day it is- a day to remember a great warrior who tamed the dragon Fafnir. To me, I don’t ask that anyone agrees, but it is easy to see how the christianisation of England formed st. George from Sigurd= Si is St and Gurd is George. Pronounce it- Se Geord and you will see what I mean.

All in all, I have never felt so alive, free and comfortable with my role in the world. Thanks to Odin and all that I have prayed to or sought guidance from during the last year.

One thing I have found is that my faith relies less on magick now and more on prayers and devotional ritual. Whilst I believe in magick, I know mainly focus on the use of the runes and some use of crystals. The major sticking point for me with Wiccan books was the focus on spell work and nothing on prayer etc. Spell structure replaced prayer as a way to form structure in the minds of those opposed to anything resembling the religions they were brought up into.

To those about to flame me in a comment about those views- know your facts about BTW as formed by Gerald Gardner before claiming it is the true old religion etc. and that half of those calling themselves Wiccan are not actually part of BTW initiated covens an so are not Wiccan as per that definition but are more a type of neo-ecclesiastical Wicca/pagan practice- and that is ok! Even the major religions in the world today have their different sects and views- heck, the Abrahamic based religions are split around their god, Jesus and Mohammed…

All I will say is that Odin is very clever, a traveler, a master of disguise and that he can appear as whatever he wishes to achieve his goal. Maybe there is more than just assimilation of old practices to explain the similarity between some aspects of the old ways an these Abrahamic religions?

Heathen music

Now, I’m a little surprised that I find the following music very much pleasing to listen to- after all, I wouldn’t usually find music themed around a particular subject of interest as I like a variety in my musical tastes…

It began with a quest to find some music non-intrusive, yet suitable for use in the background when preparing blots etc or to raise energies for magickal deeds. What I found was a group named Wardruna and their album Gap var Ginnunga. The album employs traditional instruments native to Norway and the rest of Scandinavia and the music is steeped in the lore of the 9 worlds. As a Heathen or Asator- this album is nothing short of a delight to listen to.

Well, being so impressed I decided to see what other Heathen music was out there…

Sig:Ar:Tyr is a great mix of folk/metal.

Tyr are an amazing band from the Faroe Isles whose albums are steeped in the Lore of the Asa-gods and the Edda’s. They make good use of their heritage within the songs which are classic metal in style with harmonies that sit between Iron Maiden and Rush.

Amon Amarth are a Swedish Death Metal band whose albums and lyrics all revolve around the tales of the Edda’s, the Asa-gods, persecution at the hands of the Christians and the life that a viking would have had 1000 years ago. An amazing band, fantastic lyrical content, brilliant melodies (yes- they are so melodic that they are frequently called a melo-death metal band!). Worth a listen and their are multiple videos on YouTube.

If anyone knows any more music that is rock/metal/folk based I would love to hear your suggestions. Led Zeppelin always leant towards this, but there are so many brilliant musicians taking heathen music to the forefront with their brilliant work. Always the obvious ones like Wagner which I admit form the base of a lot of my music for rituals.

Magick and ethics, redes etc.

‘An it harm none…do what you will’

The infamous Wiccan rede. It, of course, should be taken as a guidance. Techinically- turning the power on to read this blog could be defined as harming someone- the children harmed in floods caused by global warming, the miners struggling to breathe as they mine coal or those affected by fallout from radiation leaks at power stations….

My view is this- defensive or offensive Magick is a martial art. Like all martial arts, you need to learn and understand how to hurt someone so that you do not inadvertently do so. Like in Aikido- the goal is to defend yourself without having to hurt others- but you know how to do so if there is no other choice.

The greatest dilemna is knowing how far you need to go in order to defend yourself and your loved ones. Not viciously harming others gives you a clear conscience, but there will be times where, like with any martial art, you have to strike in order to defend yourself/family.

We should all hope that we never need hurt anyone, but there is no point in being naive and not knowing how to do so should circumstances present themselves- it’s called self-defence and justified levels of action. Learn the curses, attacks and defences. Hope that you don’t have to use them.

Be smart, be true.

Defining my own path…

This journey keeps surprising me more and more.

Recently started chatting to other Pagans on various websites about beliefs and I guess some of them pointed out something I pretty much knew anyway- my beliefs are more Asatru than Wicca.

Do I worship the Moon as Goddess and Sun as God?- No.

Do I worship Odin & Frigga as my primary God and Goddess? Yes

Do I also call other Gods of the Aesir and Vanir as needed? Yes

Do I have an unexplained attraction to the ‘Norse Gods’ since childhood? Yes

Do I place faith in the Runes and what they divine? Yes

MMMmmmm….Yes, I may well be more Asatru than Wiccan.

I wasn’t sure what this meant- most of the Asatru groups I have seen are about group worship and little inclusion of magick. Spellcraft forms a central tenet of my relationship with my Gods and Goddesses. Where did this leave me?

And then I picked up a book I had purchased and has been on my pile to read for a short while…Northern Magic- Rune Mysteries and Shamanism by Edred Thorrson. Yes, this book knows me! It’s like it was sat there waiting to answer my questions!

So as I embrace the Troth and learn from my ancestors, I know now that I am on the path of a vitki (wise one) which actually isn’t too far from the original meaning of the word ‘Wicca’.

I now feel able to continue, without label, on my own path as a vitki who is exploring my Troth and what magick I find along the way. I belong to no group as such and seek no companion on my journey as it is mine and mine alone as I endeavour to be closer to Odin.

Blessings.

Storing out of sight…

When you embark on a Wiccan or any Pagan path, have a family that understand but your house is open to many visitors that maybe would not understand and be suceptible to the typical Hollywood and Christian church influenced bias against you- then you have to tidy your altar and tools away…

Doing this can be easier said than done! I need storage I feel is suitably special, blessed and protective without drawing undue attention to the contents.

Why can’t you find boxes long enough to hold 50 or 60 assorted incense sticks? Why can’t you find wooden boxes large enough for an athame or wand to be secure within? There’s a niche market their for someone to produce such items. Wand bags? I had to go and make my own wand and as such…it doesn’t fit bags made for off the shelf wands.

I currently have my items stored in 3 large wooden rectangular boxes of various design plus one large domed wine casket for the incense and larger altar items.

Books, candles etc are hidden in plain sight within a glazed cabinet so people see them but they don’t notice them. At least- if anyone does notice, then nobody has the front to ask my wife or I what they are for!

How I would love to have a spare room, attic or cellar to dedicate as my sacred space and permanently erect my altar!

Any ingenious storage ideas are welcomed please!

Blessings…