Norse Mythology – Odin’s Horse – “Sleipnir”

Happy Tyr’s Day!

I am not much for horses. I prefer to walk or drive a car. But mythology has Odin possessing a horse which is a product of Loki being a mare and the builder’s horse in one of the stories being a stallion that impregnates him. Loki gave birth to Sleipnir, a horse with eight legs and considered the best of all horses. Odin rides Sleipnir during the Wild Hunt and he is the only known horse that can ride into Helheim and come back.

Based on this mythology, the Vikings most certainly valued horses for their speed and endurance. You don’t see Vikings with calvary that I am aware of but you do see them being used to delivering messages and the occasional rescue. Mostly Vikings fought on foot or with their longships. The longship was their mode of transport which made them truly one of the first effective amphibious assault warriors as well as using their ship to engage in hit and run tactics. Horses seem to be more specialized for them.

Odin doesn’t start out with Sleipnir as in some of the stories he flies being able to transform himself into flying birds. Transport isn’t the issue for Odin. Sleipnir seems to be an addition to Odin’s menagerie but it does make me wonder if Odin rode in the early stories of the Wild Hunt or did he just go on foot.

There are practical things in life that change for us. Sometimes gaining something new gains us abilities we didn’t have before. For me, I suppose this is best seen in the fact that I don’t run from new technology. I actually enjoy it. Perhaps it is my way of adding Sleipnir to my life. My apartment is a slightly smart one with Alexa, smart lights, and a camera for security. I don’t know specifically what Sleipnir would be to me other than this. Maybe I will think of something that makes philosophical sense at a later time.

I remain.

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


Mythology – “Geri and Freki” – Odin’s Wolves

Happy Tyr’s Day!

Odin also has his two wolf companions. Geri and Freki are Odin’s extra muscles. What they represent as ‘Hunger’ and ‘Fury’ is another matter. Some call this Passion and Anger. Need and Want are what I call them. Hunger and Desire. We all have certain things we need to survive, and some of us are further blessed with the philosophy to not only survive but thrive and prosper. For me, it is this dual aspect of Odin’s Wolves that I find interesting.

When people look at wolves some see evil and some see good. I don’t see either but rather the simple wild creature who is free. The concept of a domesticated wolf is one I raise my eyebrow at now. Mostly because Odin’s wolves seem to hang out with him but are they really ‘his’.

What they represent to me in my philosophy is the concept of the hunt for what one needs and what one wants. It’s OK to feed these wolves because they lead to living longer (survival) and prospering (building something better). Nothing wrong with either of these things.

I remain.

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


Norse Mythology – Hugin and Munin (Odin’s Ravens)

Happy Tyr’s Day!

Of course, the image of Odin is not complete without some references to some of the creatures and objects associated with him. The first I would like to highlight is Odin’s ravens Hugin and Munin. Thought and Memory, Reason and Experience, or whatever similar combinations you can give them.

The purpose of their existence for Odin is to search the earth and then report back to Odin what they see. Based on this Odin then sets his plans and his wonderings. For all practical purposes, they are Odin’s scouts.

Ravens were used by Vikings for a lot of things but one thing is for certain their behavior was watched and the Norse people and Vikings used them to tell certain things about what was going on around them. Raven could sense land and be often released from ships to be followed so the Vikings would know which way to go when they neared land.

Symbolically Hugin and Munin could be considered the scouts of the human mind. The idea for me is that if one uses Reason and Experience effectively, then one can see a clear path ahead in order to navigate to get what one wants. Pursuit of what you Need and Want requires good reconisance and that for the human being is performed by one’s mind through reason and filtering it all through experience.

Of course, you then need the drive to pursue what you need and want. But that is the subject for next week’s post on Norse Mythology.

I remain.

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


Norse Mythology – Odin

Happy Tyr’s Day!

I want it to be very clear here that as an atheist I do not believe in the literal god Odin. However, I believe the values and aspirations of the Norse/Germanic people are expressed in the stories they tell about their gods. Mythology, if nothing else, is mostly stories that have moral and ethical lessons to them. Things to meditate on and learn the values presented. In all mythology the values of the people who created the mythology are evident.

Odin has always fascinated me. Sure most people look at Thor and think what a cool God. But Thor is a pure warrior with very little magic. Odin on the other hand not only has magic but the magic that is often reserved for women. He has foresight. It is this foresight that drives him to do what he does. He either is trying to prevent what he sees from happening or trying to delay it. He is both a warrior and a mage.

In simple terms, Odin is a conservative in that he tries to conserve the nine worlds as they are and prevent their end. He likes the current state of things and wants to keep it intact. Ragnarok isn’t the end of existence so much as it is a complete change of existence and that is what he is trying to avoid.

To this end, he wanders the world as a solitary person looking for wisdom, power, and knowledge to forestall Ragnarok. He is so dedicated, that he loses an eye, hangs on a tree upside down for nine days, etc. He makes extraordinary sacrifices to conserve what is. To protect what is his own.

In leadership, Odin is different from most chief gods in that he seems to be more of a chairman of the board than a king. He listens to the other gods, tries to build concensus, and then enforces the decision they all made together. In this last part, he acts more like a king. He makes sure ‘the will of the gods’ as a whole is respected and honored.

He has his flaws. He doesn’t seem to think of the possibility that at times his actions might be bringing about the ends he is trying to avoid. The whole story of Fenrir illustrates this point. He foresees his end in the fangs of Fenrir so he tries to take action to diminish Fenrir’s power. In so doing, he actually creates Fenrir’s motivation to destroy him. It also has an incredible cost that could have been avoided -Tyr’s hand is lost. If he rather befriended Fenrir, the outcome might have been very different.

Of course, for me, the image of the wandering god both warrior and wizard is the theme of this blog so it is fitting I talk about him first.

I remain.

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



Happy Tyr’s Day!


Alone he walks

The snow crunches

beneath his feet.

He is the Wayfarer

The Walker of Paths

He wanders

But he is not lost.

He seeks

He looks for the wisdom

Of the old, the new

And his fellow travelers

Spear in hand for protection

His friends

Two ravens, Two wolves.

He wanders

He walks

He is the Wayfarer

Author’s commentary:

I fell in love with the imagery of Odin a long time ago. I however didn’t realize that is what the original myth was that I was enjoying because I was reading Lord of the Rings and the character was Gandalf, the Grey. But Tolkien took his inspiration from mythology and in this case Odin.

When I finally did get to Norse mythology as a teen the image of Odin appealed to me. The man leading his people trying to delay his fate and the fate of the Nine Worlds. Trying to delay Ragnorok. Warrior and Wizard all in one. The interesting thing is he doesn’t go out and build an army to fight but takes the role of a humble traveler looking not for strength, but knowledge.

I take for myself the moniker The Grey Wayfarer in honor of this inspiration and in truth this was my inspiration not just for this blog but also for some of my interests. I am a scholar and teacher but I lift weights with a warrior’s mind and discipline. I hike, you don’t get much more Wayfarer than that. I guess I came to see my self-image resonate with this image and this poem is a reflection of that.

I remain.

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


“New Journal Post Format” – Tyr’s Honor

Happy Tyr’s Day!


Honor is the feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world”

Vision Point : Maintain my YouTube Channel with at least two videos uploaded a week and reach the goal of 100 subscribers.


This is the first journal post in the new format. The first channge being that each of twelve virtues I talk aobut will be connected to a Norse God or Goddess. I still have these organized into foundaitonal, business and self virtuesm, but that won’t be as in your face as before.

The second part is this is much shorter. State the virute, the vision point and then journal thoughts about both and life in general.

Honor has always been a trouble spot for me. I find that much of my struggles with honor stem from the fact in order to keep mine, I have had to far too often give up my own happiness. Finding an honorable path that also makes me happy has been the struggle.

YouTube has provided me a new pulpit of sorts. I like it and so far the at least two uploads has been maintianed and I am about 58 subscribers away from 100.

I remain,

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


“Viking/Germanic Paganism – Asatru (Part 3)” – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sun’s Day


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: “Song of Odin (A Cappella)” by Alchemical Poetry 

Damn son, this kid can sing and all the parts too.  Salute.



It depends very much on what you value: power at the cost of freedom or freedom which has a power all its own.


See the source image

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


My purpose for going through the history of paganism in regards to Asatru is to assess whether it is possible that the current practitioners of Asatru have as a genuine foundation the beliefs fo old.  It is also to point out that once we hit the Christian invasion that for the most part religion was not a cause for people to fight so much as needs and wants  That would change with Christianity’s arrival.

It can be simply stated that as the area entered the Viking era, religion had become far more sophisticated. The pantheon much more developed and regional differences smoothed over.  To the area’s credit, it seems that any religious differences were actually swallowed up by the mythology itself where the Vanir and Aesir both made peace and one pantheon formed.  Rituals evolve and the priesthood of the pagans established.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, the areas did gain some distinction as the Scandinavians pretty much became separated and developed their own lines of religious thought while the Germanic peoples on the continent continued to be influenced by the Empire’s final gasps.

What the Viking people became was a culture based on the old gods, fishing, herding, and some farming.  They became very adept at either trading for the other things they needed and raiding for the rest. Their gods evolved to reflect their culture and became integral parts of it with festivals, rituals, and calendar.  The population grew and the Viking leaders began to adopt the style of government on the continent known as feudalism.  This caused migration and that lead to the Vikings doing their raiding more and more frequently not just for loot but for land.

The one thing religion did id create a ‘professional’ clergy for the gods.  The hof was a place where the gods were worshiped and the idea of being a friend of the gods or a particular god is born.  Being  ‘Thorsman’ of “Maiden of Freya” is reflected in this time and some Scandinavian names still reflect this. The idea of worship in one place – the hof while the rulers were in their ‘hall’ was in some respects the first ideas of religion and state being separate but integrated.

For my part, I like this part of history because everything is unspoiled by Christianity. If I had lived then, I would be an Odin’s Man and perhaps a teller of tales –  A Skald. It would have been my desired profession to keep the stories alive. It makes me wonder if one of my ancestors was a skald or bard.

This, of course, would all change as the pagans and Christians would begin to clash.  But it should be noted that modern practitioners of Asatru look a lot to this time for their inspiration. More on these things in the coming weeks.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: 1 person, beard and text

There will always be someone better than you at something. The quest we should be on is self-improvement. The only competition we should have is what we were yesterday.

I remain,

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


“The Virgin Birth of Jesus” – Odin’s Eye – Bible Problems

Happy Thor’s Day


What I am about to do here is give at sample or teaser of what I am doing for my non-fiction book.  What I am doing is taking my expertise gained from a biblical studies degree, a theological studies degree and twenty years experience of being a pastor and doing a class I did many times – Life of Christ.  I am however this time doing it from a skeptics point of view.  I am doing it as a non-believer and a critic of Christianity and The Bible.

Today I am going to give a brief synopsis about why I think the virgin birth story is a tall tale concocted by many people who had personal and political reasons to do so.  The theory I am running with here is my own which is that there was a man named Jesus of Nazareth and that he did indeed have disciples.  That those disciples watched Jesus as he fought the religious establishment.  That establishment then did perhaps have him crucified by the Romans because they came to hate him and the threat he posed to their political and religious power.

This is where those disciples create mythology surrounding the man known as Jesus of Nazareth.  They knew the Messianic prophecies and began to retroactively go back to his life and spin things to fulfill them.  One of those things involved the fact that there was a prophecy where the Messiah had to be born of a virgin.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

One of the things that may have very well have been true about Jesus is that his origin may have had a little scandal attached to it.  That is there was a question as to who his father was or that it was clear he was conceived out of wedlock.  As a political scientist, I can see how scandal can be turned to opportunity if it is spun right.  So, no Jesus wasn’t the product of an illicit affair or the fact that Joseph and Mary had sex before the wedding day, let’s write it this way to turn him into the Messiah.

Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:26-38 – NASB

Suddenly the scandal becomes an opportunity to tell the story in a different way and Jesus fulfills the prophecy of being born of a virgin.  So what is the actual evidence?

Time to Look Through the Eye:


In order to believe in the virgin birth, you have to believe that God can make a woman pregnant which is not a stretch if you accept an omnipotent god. That Joseph was not involved and that he suddenly became cool with the fact that another man has sex with his bride to be and knocked her up.  He has to buy the story himself.

Mostly though you have to believe that Mary herself is not lying about the angel.  Because the only witness of that event is Mary herself.  Understand that even if I take the account as true, the only witness even in the gospels of the event is Mary and the only gospel that records it is Luke.  Luke is probably the last synoptic gospel to write.  One could theorize that Luke is reacting then to the fact that Mark says nothing about a virgin birth and Matthew only deals with Joseph’s reaction and no one has addressed Isaiah’s prophecy to that point.  If you believe in the virgin birth, you simply taking the word of one witness – Mary.  A girl of fifteen who finds herself pregnant in a culture that stones women who commit adultery or at the best puts away women privately to live out their days in silence.  Which is more likely at this point – God impregnated her or that she came up with a story to cover her pregnancy out of fear of reprisal?  Or she made it up later to vindicate herself after the fact when people are starting to believe her son is the Messiah.


Let’s understand something. the virgin birth in the Bible does not stand alone as the only one.  Religions around the world have tons of virgin birth stories and Mary was not unaware of them. This is something that is well known and well published. Just look it up for yourself.

The thing is though for Christianity a lot of theology regarding sin and the biblical god is wrapped up in this story being true; so of course, they defend it regardless of how common such a story is in mythology around the world and how little testimony there is to support the actual story.

But understand that even under the Bible’s own standard of establishing every fact the virgin birth story fails.  It only has one witness Mary herself and she certainly has plenty of cultural and personal motivation to make it up.  Luke is the only direct record of it but it is still her story alone, he just records it. This fails the two or three witnesses required even by Biblical Standards, particularly the Law of Moses.

Matthew records Joseph’s response but even his response might have had a personal motivation if he either loved Mary or he was the cause of her pregnancy.  How he reacted really has only one witness – Joseph himself.  He may have simply been a man who took responsibility for his actions and we are assuming he was even around for Matthew to interview as he might have been dead.  It is easy to see how Matthew who was writing with the goal of persuading Jews to become Christians might make up Joseph’s story based on stories of others. But that makes is second-hand hearsay, not reliable evidence.


This story absolutely is essential for doctrines such as original sin and the incarnation of Christ.  For the early Christians, they needed a story that fulfilled some of the prophecies so going back a retroactively recounting things with their own spin on it became essential for the accusation that the Jewish leaders had killed the Messiah.

The motivation for this is that Jesus may very well have been a man who successfully created a movement of reform and the Jewish leaders, by killing him, had created a martyr.  It is not hard to see how the disciples, motivated by a desire for the resurrection to be true and to create Jesus as the Messiah, would stretch the truth and follow rumors and ‘urban legends’ of Jesus of Nazareth to do so. For later Christians, these become the basis for theology that allows Jesus to be the answer to the sin question and how Jesus was both God and Man.


While a great many Christians, particularly women, draw a lot of spiritual strength from Mary’s Story, I look at it more as identification with a character caught in a bad situation that has a great story to get herself out of it and go from being a immoral unwed mother, to the mother of the Messiah.  I can see where a lot of women would love that idea and emotionally and spiritually resonate with it. Even those who might think it is not true fully understand given Mary’s Culture why she would do it. In the movie Saved! – the character Mary remarks in one scene how she could understand, being pregnant herself in the movie, why a girl would make up such a story.


My thoughts are this, I think Jesus of Nazareth was a real person but I think after thirty years before the first writing on his life a lot of mythology and what we would term ‘urban legend’ became built around him that also got into the story.  One of the examples is the virgin birth story which appears late in the accounts like it was a reaction to criticism of Jewish leaders that the prophecy in Isaiah is not fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth.  So Matthew records the story of Joseph with his reaction to her being pregnant and later on a little bit after that Luke does the same from Mary’s point of view.  Except this does not even meet the Bible’s own criteria of ‘two or three witnesses” as each account is only one person’s perspective and with no other witnesses.

What really happened?  Most likely Joseph and Mary had sex before they were married.  A common tale even back then.  Joseph may very well have simply decided to marry her because it was his child; which oddly enough the Law of Moses would have accepted provided he gives up is right to divorce her later. Joseph and Mary would have lived with a cultural stigma after that which would have cast her in particular as an immoral woman.

Fast forward some decades and their son actually becomes a great Rabbi and critic of the religious leadership.  He gets killed and becomes a martyr.  Mary finds herself with the opportunity presented by the new but fanatical Christians to vindicate herself and be the mother of the Messiah, to no longer be considered an immoral woman.

So that is what she did.  The story gets changed so that she is a virgin and both she and Joseph have visits by angels no one else sees and they decide to get married after all. She was a virgin until after Jesus was born and the prophecy fulfilled.  Of course, there are no witnesses to this other than Mary herself and so we must take her word for it. No physical exam, no other witnesses of the angels in question, nothing but her word.

I think the more simple explanation is she made it up to vindicate herself.  It is not something Christians want to hear but it seems to be very likely given her culture and her desire to clear her name would have been very strong.  It is just unfortunate how far people have taken this legend. I mean people actually pray to this woman now and she is probably nothing more than a woman who either told the story to save her ass or vindicate herself as an older woman who had lived with the stigma of being immoral all her life. She definitely improved her status in retrospect so the story worked.

So there it is a sample page from my non-fiction book although it will be much more extensive and much more complete and referenced. Hope you enjoyed it.

I remain,

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


Crossing Bifrost: The Norse World – Alfheim

Happy Sun’s Day

Alfheim. The land of the elves. Elves do not figure prominently in the Viking legends but they do appear often as spirits in Viking belief.  The high elves live in the higher realm of Alfheim. This is the hall and land of the Freyr who is one of the gods.

See the source image

I will get more into the light elves when I talk about them more directly but part of their personality can be seen in some respects in the land they dwell in.  Much like Valheim, Alfheim has no borders.  It is not wald because of the suffix ‘-heim’ rather than ‘-gard’.  That said there is a feeling of an odd combination of wild lands couple with civilization blending in harmony.

See the source image

Norse mythology does not play this realm or its people into the stories very much if at all. It has however been the inspiration of many things in literature and pop culture.  The most notable being the feeling one gets from Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings. But it has also spawned at least one online game and probably this notion of the perfect blend on civilization yet respecting the wilds of nature is very popular.

See the source image

For myself, I would say once again the ideas behind this realm came to me indirectly. Part of it I used in the now gone – Grove of the Red Tree as a setting for part of the Hedge Wizard of Redberg. That said there is this notion personally I have of a place where the comforts of civilization meet the wonders and beauty of nature. Alfheim fits that very nicely. I suppose there is some poetry I have done with Alfheim as the feeling I am after.

As for the elves that live there, they, of course, are everywhere.

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


Crossing Bifrost – The Norse World: Vanaheim

Happy Sun’s Day

Basically the Home of Vanir.  I will probably do a different post of the fact that the Vanir and Aesir gods are different gods but the mythology joins them at some point so they are one and Vanaheim, the realm of the Vanir, becomes part of Asgard the realm of the Aesir.  The gods associated with the Vanir tend to be fertility and nature gods and goddesses and their realm reflects that. Except for the only thing we really have to go on is that the ending of the word removes the boundary which indicated Vanaheim might be a little less civilized and wild.

See the source image

What we have is a realm were the Vanir who are mostly fertility an nature gods and goddess would feel at home.  Wild and untamed in some ways where they could play, enjoy the natural beauty of their realm and as fertility gods and goddesses – make love.

See the source image

As a writer, you can see elements in other literature of a wild but wonderful place.  One might think of Tolkien’s Elves in the Lord of the Ring Series but I am thinking the real we will talk about next Alfheim.  That said there is something mysterious about this realm because we know so little about it.  It speaks very well of nature’s nature.

See the source image

I have been hiking enough to feel this type of mystery where even an old familiar path can surprise you with something new. An event that took place during a thunderstorm that leaves a fallen limb where none was before. An animal on the path.  There is a wild wonder to it that speaks of Vanaheim.

See the source image

In my writing, I have yet to take a character of any type to Vanaheim but I can see its potential as a place of wild wonder, sensuality, nature, and mystery.  And not necessarily always calm and serene.  Thunder, snow, and rain are part of nature and so part of Vanaheim. I suppose in retrospect, I drew much of my inspiration for the Red Tree Grove of The Hedge Wizard of Redberg (now gone) from the imagery it has, but through other sources that were indirect. I will very likely use this idea of a wild natural place of freedom again.  It also presents a contrast between the high point of civilization that is Asgard but the contrast isn’t a war, but both sides of the coin of human experience.

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