“Germanic Magic” (Asatru – Part 23) – 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: “Rún – SKÁLD

Meditation:

Image may contain: fire and text

Text: 

See the source image

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

Sermon:

Magic is a word that conjures up a lot of imagery and there seems to be a definite difference in the understanding of those who practice it in the real world and those who write it in the fantasy literature genre.  In the real world magic is a more earthy and practical day to day stuff. Germanic/Norse magic is probably not as central to the practice of Asatru as it is in Wicca, but it still plays a vital role. In considering Germanic magic there some elements to consider – the magical workers themselves and the terms used most commonly, Runes, Seidh, and Deity Possession.

In Asatru, the magical workers are pretty much a part-time lot.  I suppose if you had the means to pursue magical practice full-time most might consider it but most are part-time in the practice like poets and songwriters. The term for a woman who practices magic is Völva and the term for a man who does the same is Thul.

There are specialized terms for the various practitioners of various types of magic beyond this. This includes terms for those who practice dark magic. Gand is the general term for magic and Galdr is the word for a spell and covers most of the verbal and ceremonial magic.  There are lots of types of magic but in Germanic magic – most, however, deals with the spirits of the dead and the spirits in general. Music is assumed to have a magical quality to it. That’s why skalds are not just bards but magical practitioners as well.

Runes are sometimes invoked in divination but seem to be in Asatru more of the standard offensive and defensive magic. They are old to the point of being ancient and there are currently 24 major ones although other runes are present.  No one really knows what they mean anymore. It probably the fact of Chrisitan persecution that may have destroyed many of the works of magic that the Germanic pagans had that could be helpful but no longer exist. Each rune has its own power and each rune often ahs its own patron deity associated with it.  Although the runes as a whole are associated with Odin the most as he is the one who is said to have brought them to knowledge from his nine-day ordeal on the World Tree – Yggdrasil.

The second division of magic outside the runes is Seidh. Divination or prophetic vision is mostly associated with women.  These days it concerns things involving trances and things similar to shamanism. This could include illusion and shape-shifting as well. Most notably though it is given the term – second sight. The reading of omens as well.  There is so much here that I am barely scratching the surface.

One rare thing to talk about is the idea of a deity manifesting its personality in a ceremony through a worshiper.  It is not mentioned much in the lore or practiced much in Asatru by my source’s own admission.  But it does rarely seem to happen. I’ve seen such things in my Pentecostal faith where people are said to be speaking in tongues or prophecy but this is a little different in that this is said to be Odin speaking through a follower. I must emphasize this is very rare today and debated among the followers of Asatru.

While as an atheist I pretty much dismiss these things, I find it a fascinating thing that religious cultures can have so much in common and yet feel they are so divided. The idea that psychologically both as individuals and groups we can believe things like magic is an interesting phenomenon and one that crops up often in any religion.  Asatru’s is much more complex, subtle, and sublime than most.

Parting Thought:

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!!!

“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!!!

“Early Pagan Culture – Asatru (Part 2)” – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sun’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: “Ancestors” – Lila Lilly

 

Meditation:

Image may contain: 1 person, beard and outdoor, text that says 'Proud Odin's Sons When I give you my time I'm giving you a portion of my life that I can never get back. Please don't make me regret it.'

 

People’s time has value.  Learn to respect that and you will go a long way to understanding how to properly influence people without manipulation or coercion. Also by making people respect your time you will go a long way to learning to respect yourself.

Text:

See the source image

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

Sermon:

My focus as I read the book in this first section on Asatru’s ‘history’ was to note at what spiritual concepts were being developed.  As the people migrated but as agriculture also became more prominent. People began to settle but some continued to move around and engage in trade. Governments began to form as a way to deal with human interactions and threats.  In all of this spirituality and religion began to develop.

In all of this certain spiritual concepts and ideas were started and began:

  1. The hearth or fire becomes sacred both to spirituality and religion at this time.  The fire was life and progress but also dangerous so it had that mysterious quality to our ancestors that they began to see as spiritual.  Home and hearth develop at this time as more than just nice feelings but as the center of belief in the gods.
  2. Various pantheons began to spring up all over Northern Europe and the idea of being spiritually inspired becomes common.  It is the nature of many of the words that mean inspire that also correspond to the god Odin as his name and the root of ‘inspire’ are the same.
  3. The number three becomes sacred.
  4. There is some evidence that by the bronze age, a trained priesthood existed.
  5. Magic as a concept begins and is practiced.

In the Norse lands, you begin to see the development of rituals involving ships, wagons, phallic men with weapons. There is a golden-haired goddess.  You see carved representations and pictures that probably represent the earliest forms of Odin, Thor and Freya worship. Marriage rituals are started here.

The point of all this is to point out that Norse ancestors were developing a fairly sophisticated form of religion and spirituality long before Christ and Christianity.  Long before any of the invasions by the Abrahamic religions.  The people that would become the Vikings, were very much about the hearth, home, fertility, and being courageous in battle.  What we need to understand is that no one was forced into this, it is simply what happened as these people looked at the world around them and tried to find answers to the things they didn’t understand.

Pagans respect each individual own spiritual walk.  They don’t impose their views on others because that is not how their religion developed.  Each person participated as much as they wished in the way they wished.  You actually see this very early on. It is a deep understanding of these ancestors that Asatru takes as its roots.

Parting Thought:

 

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What you are is apparent to everyone.  Live your life and the accolades will come to you as you deserve them and who you are will be apparent.  No need to brag about it.  Those that do are often lying.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

Odin’s Eye – Religion Problems – Relics (St. Valentine’s Day Post)

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

I am going a little out of order here and the original design of “Religion Problems” was to hit other religions besides Christianity. But it is St. Valentines Day, so I am drawn to the holiday because of what we do with it.  But in the area of religion, the subject of relics is an interesting one.

Even as a Christian I wrote about St. Valentines Day as being something of a weird holiday when you look at it rationally. I wrote a post on it back in 2013:

St. Valentine’s Day – Maybe I Should Get a Tattoo

From that post I quoted Wikipedia:

The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire; during his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote “from your Valentine” as a farewell to her.

The other thing is his relic:  A skull (said to be his)  with flowers that bloom from it.  I mean according to the church no one just puts these flowers on the relic, they just appear. The idea that this regular miracle builds faith in the Saints and in the faith they served is a pretty common theme in the use of such relics regardless of religion.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

So the question of miracles comes up with relics. I mean the blooming flowers thing would be impressive, if it is true.  But notice something right away in the picture of this relic.  It is carefully preserved in a box and that box probably has a back door.  I wonder what that would be for? It would be too simple have someone reach in when no one is watching a replace the flowers from time to time. Having grown up in the Pentecostal church I have seen the height of sleight of hand to get people to believe and to me the most rational explanation for blooming flowers is not a miracle, but placement when people are looking the other way.  That is very easy for any illusionist. I saw people doing this all the time to ‘prime the pump’ of faith.  Sorry, this is a ‘miracle’ that may not be so miraculous.

Religion:

I also find it interesting that this use of relics is even present in the three major monotheistic religions. All of them have as a base the commandment about idolatry and no matter how you shake and dance, veneration of an object is idolatry.  In the case of relics,  this idea of a spiritual force infecting an object, is definitely on the idolatry side is given a pass. because it ‘builds faith’.

Theology:

Miracles in general are often attached to things in my opinion that really are not a miracle. The idea of genuine miracles being possible I do not dismiss, I just also have a very specific theological definition of miracle that is basically an act of the divine that does something both unusual and unnatural. Babies being born, beautiful sunsets, etc. are not miracles by that definition.  To prove such a thing would require actual rational observation. When you do this with most relics, you find the sleight of hand and illusion aspects every time.

Spirituality:

I guess from a personal spiritual point of view, I don’t really have a need to have relics prove faith or theology.  I engage both with my spiritual side but it is much more internal for me as a pagan.  Relics and ritual have always be a bugaboo for me because, I can see that they can be easily turned into something where people are psychologically manipulated. It can have absolutely nothing to do with real spiritual or divine power. Relics are a good example of that kind of manipulation, if you ask me.

Conclusion:

On a lighter note, I prefer the modern version of Valentine’s Day.  A day devoted to expressing love toward your significant other. A day where you remind each other how much you love each other.  In that respect I can give a nod to the holiday. But relics – no. Just no.

Continuing to Walk the Path,

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

Skaal!!!

Crossing Bifrost – Norse Symbols and Objects – The Valknut

Happy Saturn’s Day and Happy Disting.  Let’s all remember those mothers and women who passed on before us, and the beginnings of spring in which there is new life even in the ice and snow.  

In looking at symbols of the Norse people this one seems to have a long origin and goes back to possibly the 9th century.  It is composed of three interlocking triangles. It can be found on gravestones and in archaeology in various places from the Viking Age.  The Norwegians introduced the idea of it meaning ‘knot of those fallen in battle’ long after the Viking age was over but it could be true.

What does it mean?  We don’t know really.  It is connected with the dead in Viking culture, because it appears on gravestones and viking funeral ships. Representations of Odin appear with it, so it is often thought to be connected with him. Mostly though we get the idea that this symbol for the Vikings was connected with death.

That hasn’t stopped modern people from running with it and giving it their own meanings.  Currently it is connected withe the revival of heathen practices among people with Norse and Germanic decent. It has come to symbolize other things in the modern mind.  But the one thing it seems to maintain is its association with the Vikings and their death rituals. Many theorize a connection with deep strong magic in the Viking culture associated with death.

For me and many others I think, the Valknut symbolizes the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) the best.  It is basically three interlocking triangles, total of nine sides that form a single symbol.  Each triangle has come to mean one of the higher virtues for me and each side one of the NNV.  The whole thing stands together as one symbol representing my total philosophy.  In the end it makes a great meditation focus for me. I have also seen it used in conjunction with the nine worlds.

I am well aware of the fact that there is one white supremacist group that uses this as their symbol but I think they pervert it. It never had any connection to white supremacy until they used it this way, and I would say it is a common practice of race oriented groups of all kinds to take good and noble symbols and pervert them.  The most notorious one being the swastika which originally was a symbol of balance and harmony.  Hitler perverted it. Mostly though for the Valknut, I stand with a lot of other pagans in my defense of the symbol representing a heritage without racial hatred. It should be noted the symbol is used by many other non-racist organizations and companies. Including ones that actively stand against this racism.

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In the end the symbol has a lot of mystery and so it can be given a lot of meanings and perhaps that is its greatest strength. It allows the individual the freedom to think what they wish about it and give it the meaning that best works for them. For me it is a reminded of the virtues I place value on and try to practice.  So it remains a constant reminder to me of that and that, because of its connection with death, I should be remembered for the noble life I lived because of following the virtues to me it represents. I wear one on a necklace around my neck these days.  A reminder of the mysteries of following the NNV and walking as a pilgrim through life.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!