“Viking Philosophy – Part 1 – Introduction” – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: Herknungr- ‘Drengskapr’ (Viking Music)

Meditation:

Image may contain: one or more people and meme, possible text that says 'THE BEST THING I'VE EVER DONE FOR MYSELF WAS DECIDING THAT MoreCrazyStut Stuff COULDN'T GIVE ANY LESS OF A DAMN OF ANOTHER'S OPINION OR MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ME'

 

Text:

“Be Brave and Aggressive, Be Prepared, Be a Good Merchant, Keep the Camp in Order”

 

Sermon: ‘Viking Philosophy – Part 1 – Introduction’

I have been holding on to this picture of “Viking Laws” now for a little while.  I have thought about it and feel that a more practical series of Viking Philosophy is in order after my long treatment of Asatru.  The practical side of living life according to the philosophy of the Vikings might be in order.

In summary, the philosophy comes down to four items:

  1. Be Brave and Aggressive
  2. Be Prepared
  3. Be a Good Merchant
  4. Keep the Camp in Order

I want to take each of these fora week for four weeks and then consider a conclusion to the whole in this short but I think necessary series. My main issue is practical application of philosophy to life.  Of Wolves and Ravens is dedicated to that but this is a little more ‘spiritual’ as well with a sense of community and connection to the Nine Noble Virtues.

Until next week I can only say this short four phrase sentence will be on my mind a lot in the coming month.  In the meantime, I challenge you to meditate on it as well.  It’s time to pull back a bit from the theology of the Vikings and look at their philosophy of life.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: 1 person, beard, possible text that says 'Nordic Roots Sometimes you just need an adventure to cleanse the bitter taste of life from your soul.'

 

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Holy Days” (Asatru – Part 22) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “Diese Kalte Nacht” – FAUN

Lyric Video:

Meditation:

Image may contain: text

Text: 

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

It was a surprise to me how little I had to change things regarding holidays after I dropped my Christianity in the scrap heap and embraced a more pagan view of holidays.  Much of what was pagan, has been absorbed by Christianity. But mostly the holidays reflect the time of the changing seasons.  The circle of life.

In venerating the gods and goddesses, the followers of Asatru are simply giving their proper nods to the gods of each time of the year. Mostly there is the notion of Winter and Summer with the transition times more popularly known as Fall and Spring.  The issue of holidays is not so much one of noting special events although that does happen for heroes like Leif Ericson but rather about noting the change of the season and the unchanging cycle.

These are the Blóts of note and have their celebrations that are mostly festive although there are some somber occasions particularly in remembrance.  But the feeling I get this is more about the celebration of life, honoring the dead and giving devotion to the friends known as the gods.

For me, this was a logical step as I wanted to step away from Christian holidays as I have no desire to be reminded of them.  However, I did need to have reasons to celebrate with family and freinds and this is important from a community standpoint even as an atheist pagan. So the holidays are the Viking ones to me and so Yuletide comes soon.  They give a time of reflection and reminders of the changing times as well.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: one or more people and text

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Blót and Sumble” (Asatru – Part 21) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: MANEGARM – ‘Blot’

An absolutely beautiful song. English translation below.

Sacrifice:

At the hills of the kings
The trees of the gods are standing
An ash tree so proud and strong
A link to the land of the gods
A gate to ancient worlds
Made open with life
A sacrifice made with nine hanged
Whose flesh the ravens prey on
The fields that are here, bear the wounds from the years of famine
Seeds are vanishing in their path
Hear our speech
Bring our sacrifice to your table
A sacrifice to honor you, we give life
We give blood
Give us your crops
Let it the starved earth grow
Give life to the barren north
The fields that are here, bear the wounds from the years of famine
Seeds are vanishing in their path
Hear our songs
Help us to suppress the grime of Sweden
Give us wind in our sails
Cure our broken dreams
Let the tree sprout
Give new life to the root of the tree
Let the ravens eat this sacrifice
Let the ravens eat this sacrifice

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/blot-sacrifice.html

Meditation:

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup, text that says '"THE HARDEST THING TO EXPLAIN IS THE GLARINGLY EVIDENT WHICH EVERYBODY HAS DECIDED NOT TO SEE." - AYN RAND'

Text: 

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

Probably the two most common things that I understand quite well because religions all have them are 1) Festivals and 2) Services. In Asatru, the words are Blót and Sumble but the concept is the same.

Blóts are festivals that involve sacrifice.  There are lots of these that either focuses on a particular deity or centered around a holiday. Blóts vary in style and elements depending on the worshipers much like any religion but there are a few common elements to all of them. 1) Preparation, 2) Focusing, 3) Invocation, 4) Offering, 5) Blessing, 6) Sharing, 7) Completion.  These elements are commonalities and I have seen them in pretty much any type of religion when it comes to the celebration fo holidays.

A sumble is more of a regular meeting for the purposes of meeting together as a group of worshipers. It is far less formal than a Blót although it can be part of a Blót.  Basically put, the master or mistress of ceremonies fills the horn with ale or mead and then announces the focus of that round of the sumble and then either gives the horn to the one taking the role of the Valkerie or just to the next person. The person drinks and then gives it to the next person or speaks with the focus of that round in mind.  This is the time for toasts, boasts, and oaths.  One tradition has the first round being the focus of praise to the gods, the second round is to remember the honored dead and the third to give oaths as an example.

Oaths are a special case because the sumble has certain responsibilities to the oath-taker.  Most notably to challenge the oath if they think it too large or difficult.  The group is responsible to make sure oaths are reasonable. They are also responsible to praise fulfilled oaths and penalize or fine oaths that fail.

I have to say that there are two things that happened this week that are of note in regard to Asatru and religion in general. In my group of former ministers turned atheist/agnostic, we spoke this week on social values of religion and how it can hold families, cultures, and societies together. part of that was the mention of holidays and services. People need some symbols and practices to note their tribe and culture and religion often fills that role. The substitute for me is Norse paganism.

See the source image

The second thing that happened was during work.  Thanksgiving I had to work and it is Black ‘Friday’s start so I was there helping with setting up and on the second half of the day checking receipts as people left the store.  During that whole time, I was wearing my Wolf Hammer (above) as it was Thor’s Day.  I received about five comments on how cool it was and two of those specifically mentioned how they appreciated other religions being represented at this time of year, one mentioning Yuletide. One guy even showed me his hammer tattoed to the top part of his chest. I never met any of these people before in my life, but the connection was there.

This illustrates the power that blóts ad sumbles undoubtedly have to build community and connection.  Something that has been missing from my life. Something I probably need to recover.  I really don’t connect with Christians that well anymore.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: 1 person, text

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Offerings, Prayers and Altars” (Asatru – Part 20) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “Asatru, Nordic Roots”

Mediation:

Text: 

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

With the idea of the friendship of the gods more prominent than anything Asatru worship of the gods as far as its practical form follows suit. The offerings, prayers, and altars reflect this and I find this as a former Christian minister very fascinating.  Ritual is a part of religion and it has its purpose in being aspects of the relationship with the divine.  In Asatru what I see in their rituals is more of a fellowship and friendship emphasis with the gods being the guests of honor.

Offerings in the modern-day tend to be drink offerings (alcoholic) and already prepared and cooked food. In the old days, the slaughter of the animal, skinning, and cooking were a part of it.  But very few people today tend to know how to do this so buying food and preparing it is substituted. As with a lot of religions drink offerings are poured on the ground to symbolize the gods partaking. Food is offered up and then shared among the worshipers. Pagan offerings have a practical side and I wonder if the Christians realize that their potlucks and similar meal sharings have more in common with pagan worship of old than their own practice of communion.

Prayers are different.  Asatru argues that for the most part, a worshiper should pray standing upright to indicate one’s relationship with the gods is not subservient so much friendship. Other than that, the details are more about what places one in an attitude of prayer; so whatever works.  The prayers themselves, having read many of them, are more in line with most prayers I have heard starting with a Hail, followed by a recognition of the title of the god where they dwell and what they did with what weapon.  Then there is an asking for aid with a summarization of the problem.  In meditation in private, this takes the form of visitation fo the gods in their homes and engaging them in discussions that reflect the friendship nature of worship.

Altars provide the focus for this whether in homes or places of worship.  They tend to be in mantlepieces but any space dedicated to the task of prayer and meditation will do.  They also tend to be as individual as the people who use them reflecting their gods of choice. Statues, candles, banners, flowers in season, etc. can all be a part of an altar depending on the taste of the individual worshipper.  Public altars tend to be a little simpler and reflect the group as a whole.

As an atheist, I don’t worship anything, but I do find that my meditation space has an altar quality to it and probably I will create something to reflect this myself.  For me, of course, having a statue of Odin as the original Grey Wayfarer would be appropriate.  A banner depicting wolves and ravens, a candle for a meditation focus and perhaps a spear to reflect Odin’s weapon.  Runes would be prominent as well given Odin’s association with them. If I am going to meditate on the Nine Noble Virtues, I should have an appropriate setting.

Parting Thought:

No photo description available.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Hel / Hella – Goddess of Death” (Asatru – Part 16) -The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “Helvegen – The Way to Hel” Wardruna

Meditation:
Image may contain: one or more people and text
Text:

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon: 

Somewhere along the way the depictions of Hel or Hella, to differentiate her from the realm she rules, became a half beautiful woman and half corpse.  But the original description of her in mythology simply has her half black and half white. The one thing is for sure a lot of elements Christianity crept in as time passed as regards her realm more properly known as Helheim.  She is the goddess of those who die of natural causes and not in battle. Her realm is mainly described as a continuation of this one but forever.  Forever, of course, being defined as until Ragnarok when everything basically hits the reset button.

Hella is in a couple stories of significance.  First, her origin story which has her as the child of Loki and a giantess. It is in this story that she is placed in charge of Helheim by Odin himself.  Her spheres are not pleasant ones – sickness, famine, old age.  Her artifacts reflect all of this.

The other story is, of course, the story of Baldar who ends up, somehow even though he died in battle,  in her realm.  The gods attempt to appeal to her for his release.  Her condition is that every person must weep for his death.  Loki, of course, has a hand in making sure one person does not and  Balbar remains with Hella. She also is in charge of keeping Fenrir the great wolf bound until his release at Ragnarok. It is interesting how much she figures into the story when it comes to the end of things and perhaps that is her real sphere – the end.

To the followers of Asatru, Hella is venerated not as someone to be feared.  She is simply one of the options one might find oneself in when you reach the afterlife.  Her real job is to offer comfort to those who have died and give them rest from the toils of this world.  The people who live in Helheim admire and respect her.

For me, she offers an interesting paradox of a character.  Of dubious origin being the child of Loki, she fills the role fo bastard daughter who finds herself in a position \of power and thus both loved and feared.  Her personality might be a little brooding and gloomy, but given her job who can blame her.

In my writing when I have depicted death allegorically or as a traveling companion to the hero, I find she always takes the form of a woman and I have to say this is due ot Hella’s influence. I see her as not only gloomy and foreboding but with a dark sense of humor who occasionally can find laughter in the ironic particular as regards death.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: 1 person, text

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Pagan Playlist #1” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Sif’s Day

Musical Journal:

Well, looking back the last time I wrote about music I was bemoaning a wedding that never took place and the music it might have contained. Since then there have been a couple weeks of other things besides MUsic to talk about so it is probably about time that I got back to it. Music, of course, has a tendency to reflect my feelings.  As I have said many times before if want to fill the gaps between my spoken and written words to know the real me, listen to the music I am listening to as it speaks the unspoken.

In my efforts to make the Pagan Pulpit which appears every Sol’s Day, I started adding a pagan song as the theme song and in the process have discovered a genre of music that I am coming to enjoy listening to from time to time.  There is something that reaches into my spirit and soul with this stuff and taps something long lost to me. Something buried and presumed dead, that this music is reviving inside me.

This music has a quality that is haunting with an air of sadness,  no matter how upbeat it might be.  There is a sadness of loss but at the same time a desire to return to the old ways. To return to the ways of our ancestors out of respect to them. I know I will probably do another playlist as I discover more groups.  For now, what follows is some of the ones I find myself listening to more often and a bonus track to illustrate a point.

Playlist: (with explanation) 

SKALD – Rún:

Basically when you look at the translation of the lyrics on it is about magic and practitioners thereof of old.  It is about awakening the magic that once was. I really like the way this is laid out and played by SKALD.  

English Translation: click here

Einar Selvik – Völuspá:

It is not often that the person who wrote the song and the music performs it and records it.  Better yet in the main video below, he explains it.  The guy has a good set of pipes and that sadness of death and renewal comes out of his voice.

Translation Video:

Live Performance:

Eivør Pálsdóttir: Tròdlabùndin (Trøllabundin):

I don’t care who you are if you don’t think this shows a talented female singer, you are out of your damn mind. The song is about being spellbound.

English Translation: click here

Alchemical Poetry – Song of Odin (A Cappella):

Love this one, talented guy.

Wardruna – Viking War Song – Fehu:

Powerful war song, but you can still hear that deep spiritual sadness.

Bonus Tracks:

Ly O Lay Ale Loya (Circle Dance) ~ Native Song

I include a Native American track for a lot of reasons, but mostly to ask the questions of why all pagan music these days has that element of sadness and haunting to it.  Perhaps it is because so many pagans have felt the sting of conquest.  Of people just trying to defend their spiritual way of life against the rising tide of religions who sought to ‘convert’ them and subjugate them.  That sadness can’t help but come out in their music.

FAUN – Walpurgisnacht

Just for fairness though, this is a pretty upbeat pagan song, but it focuses on a holiday – Beltaine to be exact. It’s hard to be down on a holiday that celebrates the return of spring and has lots of wild activities.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Belief in the Norse Gods (Asatru Part 6)” – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “The Pagan Norse” – Burnt Page Films:

Meditation:

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Even death is just an epitaph to your story as your legacy and influence can have an effect long after you are gone. But while you are alive the story is still being written and you can have an effect on the end of the story and what that legacy will be.

Text:

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

As we head into the second part fo our text, a sermon is in order about belief in the old gods, but first, a disclaimer from myself as this is the part of Asatru I have the ‘hardest’ time with.  I don’t have a problem with people believing in the Norse gods any more than I have a problem believing in Christ, but I find that the actual existence of such divine beings as Odin or Christ for me needs to be defined. For me, this would be a belief for me that is more about the personification of divine or spiritual forces, not a belief in an actual being known as Odin or Thor. It’s kind of like saying Spiderman exists.  Is there a real guy that is named Peter Parker with spider powers? No.  But there is a creation in the literature that is a beloved comic character that teaches life lessons and personifies certain very human ideas. That is very real.

I think the same is true for all the mythologies.  Certain cultures created stories that reflected their values and there was a perceived need to have these values preserved and restated through myth.  The Norse people were no different in this regard. Whether Odin and Thor actually exist is irrelevant to me as this part of Asatru, it is the values and virtues they portray in their stories that matter to me.  In that respect, the gods exist and the had an influence on my ancestor’s lives and that is enough for me.

For followers of Asatru, there is an identification with gods that is often individual and very personal.  Some followers of Asatru worship all the gods, but they’re always a favorite god for many which earn that follower a title – ‘Thorsman’ or ‘Freyawoman’ or some other title with the god’s name.  I don’t think you have to do much more than look at this blog to see what god would be in my title. I am an Odinsman.  Not the warrior Odin in his hall so much as the wanderer looking for knowledge and wisdom.   It is an image that inspires me and motivates me.

See the source image

Asatru is about the Norse gods in the end and their worship and veneration.  It is about honoring them and what they stood for. This is something one can accomplish without necessarily believing in a literal Thor, Freya or Odin. Religion is ultimately a personal construct that you can share as a community construct. Many followers of Asatru are also like myself in that we are returning to the faith of our ancestors.  A faith that was taken from us by the invasion of Christianity and now we have the freedom to once again embrace.

In the coming weeks, we will be looking at the spiritual significance of many of the gods to the followers of Asatru.  Essential Asatru does this by first covering the gods and then the goddesses, I will be going back and forth to maintain a little more male/female balance. In some cases, I will probably combine a few of the gods and goddess together.  This will be done when there is little known about them or that the combination has a significance in the mythology.

Parting Thought:

Quit explaining your life, live it.  Those that love you will give you the freedom to be what you want to be because they love you.  Haters?  Fuck ’em.  They get silence.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!