Yule, it's that time of year

Yule falls this year on December 21st. This is the official beginning to the celebration which should last as long as you can manage (typically 12 days). Out of ease on my family we’re celebrating the twelve days before and culminating at Yule.

So, what can we do for Yule?
- give small presents on each of the twelve days
- drink cider, wine, or mead and go wassailing
- throw a party for your friends on the 21st and introduce them to Yule
- offer in a ritual
- have a bonfire shaped like a goat
- have a Yule log or a tree for inside
- enjoy your friends and family
- sing, be merry, eat, offer, pray, fill your day and night with joy

If you have kids, leave boots filled with hay outside for Woden to feed his steed and fill them up afterwards with doodads. This is an old equivalent to stockings but more pagan. It’s also a wonderful time for story telling about the gods and goddesses, your children should hear stories about them.

In all honesty, Yule is so intermingled with the western idea of Christmas that if you celebrate Yule it will be very similar to anyone you might invite over. Yule was appropriated by Christianity ages ago and they do a pretty good job of celebrating it. This means it’s obvious how to celebrate for the most part.

One thing of note worth elaborating on though: the night of the 20th is Mother’s Night (Modraniht). This night is sacred and should be devoted to the honoring of your female ancestors and motherly goddesses. I will be honoring my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother as well as Eorthe and Frige that night. I will bake bread and leave a large and very safe candle burning on an altar through the night. As much time as I can devote to it will be spent in reflection and prayer that night. I will also be weaving some that night to link into that whole magickal process and activity. The Norns would be of great importance in the night’s feeling and thoughts so spinning and weaving will get you right in the feeling. It is a subdued night, not boisterous like Yule, but instead reverent and contemplative.

The ritual I am preparing for each of these nights will be forthcoming.

As a side note, what better time of year than this is there to give others a better image of us as heathens? Heathenry has an image problem that will only be solved by awareness. So invite people to your Yule party, go all out and wow them with the true spirit of the season.

Just a gentle reminder

If you’re a Norse heathen and believe that “race mixing” is bad

  • remember that many of the gods are born from interracial pregnancies between the Aesir, Vanir, and Jotunns.

If you’re a Norse heathen and are transphobic or homophobic

  • remember that many of the gods will alter their forms drastically, the most notable being Loki changing into mare and being impregnated by a male horse, and later giving birth to Sleipnir

If you’re a Norse heathen and fascist

  • remember that vikings were largely democratic and would regularly hold votes to decide legal matters, and were incredibly accepting of other cultures
Norse Gods (And Other Deities) List

Having seen various incorrect, incomplete and inaccurate lists of Norse gods circulating Tumblr, I have decided to write my own and also include common terminology alongside. I will also include other beings who exist within the old lore and modern traditions.

I have opted to include the names in Norwegian, with translations in parenthesise after, along with a brief summary of some of the associations given to some of those gods. Be aware that, as an overview, brevity is necessary here and the individuals should not be oversimplified to basic aspects in your practice!

Æser (Æsir, Male Gods)

  • Balder (Baldr, Baldur) - Light, purity, rebirth
  • Brage (Bragi) - Poetry, eloquence, wisdom and music
  • Delling (Dellingr) - The new day, dawn
  • Forsete (Forseti) - Justice and reconciliation
  • Frøy (Freyr) - Vaner, virility, fertility, the sacred religious position of royalty, prosperity, good weather and sunshine
  • Heimdall (Heimdallr) - The senses, premonition or foreknowledge
  • Hermod (Hermóðr) - Bravery, spirit, possibly a former mortal hero/king elevated to the Æsir
  • Hjuke (Hjúki) - Man, lunar activity, lunar phases, moon craters, brother of Bil (the Scandinavian children in the moon)
  • Hod (Höðr, Hodr) - The blind god, darkness, rebirth, second chances
  • Høne (Hænir, Hœnir) - Survival, sense/spirit, beauty,
  • Lodur (Lóðurr) - Blood, warmth, life, 
  • Loke (Loki) - Change, creativity, ambiguity, impulsiveness
  • Lyter (Lýtir) - Premonition, foresight, prediction, prophecy
  • Magne (Magni) - Strength, development, son of Tor
  • Meile - Son of Odin, brother of Tor
  • Mime (Mímir) - Wisdom, knowledge, memory, advice
  • Måne (Máni) - The moon, the night sky
  • Njord (Njörðr) - Vaner, the sea, harbours, ports, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth/prosperity, and crop fertility
  • Od (Óðr) - Madness, fury, eagerness, excitement
  • Odin (Óðinn) - Father, war, battle, victory, death, wisdom, runes, magic, poetry, charms
  • Tor (Þórr, Thor) - Thunder, lightning, storms, rain, strength, protection, hallowing, healing, fertility
  • Ty (Týr, Tyr) - Law, sacrifice, heroism, glory, war
  • Ull (Ullr) - Skiing, archery, hunting, weapons, shields, personal combat, oaths
  • Vidar (Víðarr) - Vengeance, atonement, preparation, survival, silence
  • Vilje (Vili) - Will, willpower, moderation, the middle, wit, intelligence, touch, sense, motion
  • Ve (Vé) - Countenance, appearance, facial expression, speech, hearing, sight
  • Våle (Váli) - Revenge, bravery, daring, marksmanship, survival, rebirth

Åsynjer (Ásynjur, Female Gods)

  • Bil - Woman, lunar activity, phases of the moon, sister of Hjuke (the Scandinavian children in the moon)
  • Eir - Help, healing, protection, mercy, grace, calm
  • Fjorgyn/Jord (Fjörgyn/Jörð) - Earth, the world, nature, greenery
  • Frigg - Mother, love, fate, prophecy, marriage, birth, midwifery
  • Frøya (Freyja) - Vaner, fertility, love, passion, sex, sexuality, beauty, fertility, gold, magic, war, death
  • Fulla - domesticity, cleaning, housekeeping, listening, confidant, secrecy
  • Gersemi - Precious, beauty, blonde hair
  • Gjevjon (Gefjun) - Virginity, plowing, female independence 
  • Gnå (Gná) - Messenger, errands, crossing planes of existence, travel through land, air and water
  • Hnoss - Treasure, beauty, brunette hair
  • Idunn (Iðunn) - Youth, vigour, apples, love
  • Ilm - Fragrance, aroma, smells
  • Irpa - Guardian goddess, Hålogaland
  • Lin (Hlín) - Weddings, domestic sphere, flax, onion, fabrics
  • Lovn (Lofn) - Benevolence, kindness, gentleness, consolation
  • Nanna - Loyalty, empathy
  • Njorun - Soil, the land
  • Rind (Rindr) - Princess/goddess/giantess, mother of Våle from the East
  • Rån (Rán) - Sea, protection from drowning, fishing
  • Sigyn - Loyalty, burden, sadness
  • Siv (Sif) - Fields, wheat, fertility, family, wedlock
  • Sjavn (Sjöfn) - Love, sex, desire
  • Snotra - Wisdom, intelligence, cleverness, appropriate conduct
  • Sol (Sól) - The sun, warmth, daylight
  • Syn - Refusal, denial, speaking out, legal defence
  • Såga (Sága) - Seeress, all-seeing, companionship, drinking partner
  • Torgerd Hølgebrud (Þorgerðr Holgabrúðr) - Guardian goddess, Hålogaland, heathen shrines
  • Var (Vör) - Honesty, awareness, caution, carefulness
  • Vår (Vár) - Oaths (and punishing oath breakers), pledges, agreements, betrothal

Jotner (Jötnar, Elemental Giants)

  • Aurvandil - Star, planet, Orion & Big Dipper constellations
  • Bauge (Baugi) - Farmer, money, wages
  • Dag (Dagr) - Day, light, rides Skinfakse
  • Fornjot (Fornjótr) - Ancient giant, ancestor, original, owner
  • Frosti (Jökull) - Cold, winter, frost, ice, icicles, glaciers
  • Fårbaute (Fárbauti) - Hitting, striking, cruelty, danger, violence
  • Geirrød (Geirröd) - Entrapment, cruelty, aggression, violence
  • Gyme - Hills, Mounds
  • Helblinde (Helblindi) - “Hel Blinder”, “All Blind”
  • Hyme (Hymir) - Brewing, cauldron, thick skull
  • Kåre (Kári) - Wind, scathe, howl, sails
  • Loke (Loki) - Change, creativity, ambiguity, impulsiveness
  • Loge (Logi) - Fire, wildfire, 
  • Mime (Mímir) - Knowledge, wisdom, memory, counsel, Mimes Brønn (Mímisbrunnr)
  • Mokkurkalve - Clay, life, innocence, childishness
  • Norve (Narfi) - Narrow, oppressive, closed in, difficult birth
  • Rungne (Hrungnir) - Strength, brawling, fighting, whetstone
  • Snø (Snær) - Snow
  • Surt (Surtr) - Fire, heat, burning, blackness
  • Suttung (Suttungr) - Mead of poetry, orphaned, eagle
  • Tjaste (Þjazi, Thiazi) - Abduction of Idunn
  • Torre (Þorri, Thorri) - Black ice, frost, cold, winter
  • Trym (Þrymr, Thrymr) - Uproar, King of Jotner, 
  • Vale (Vali) - Unlucky, wolf, murdered his brother Norve
  • Vavtrudne (Vafþrúðnir) - Riddles, weaver of tales
  • Utgards-Loke (Útgarða-Loki) - The outer places, magic, illusion, beyond society, an alternate plane
  • Yme (Ymir) - The big bang, primordial, birth, the ancestor of all, elemental
  • Æge (Ægir) - Sea, ocean, sea creatures, protector of sailors

Gygrer (Gýgr, Elemental Giantess)

  • Angerboda (Angrboða) - Grief bringer, sorrow, Iron Wood
  • Aurboda ( Aurboða) - Gravel, mountains
  • Bestla - Mother to Odin, Vilje and Ve.
  • Driva (Drífa) - Snowfall
  • Fonn - Snowdrift
  • Gerd (Gerðr) - Beauty, light, fertility, earth
  • Grid (Gríðr) - Greed, vehemence, violence, impetuosity
  • Hel - Death, Helheim (the underworld), Náströnd (“Corpse Shore”)
  • Hyrrokkin - Fire smoked, smoke, strength, wolves, serpents
  • Jernsaksa (Járnsaxa) - Iron knife, mother to Magne
  • Lauvøy (Laufey) - Needle, slender, weak
  • Menglød (Menglöð) - Lives in a castle guarded by Fjölsviðr
  • Mjoll (Mjöll) - Powdered snow
  • Natt (Nótt) - Night, darkness, nightfall, counting time, rides Rimfakse
  • Skade (Skaði) - Damage, archery, hunting, skiing, winter, mountains

Vetter (Vættir, Beings) & Other

  • Alver (Elves) - Light/Dark/Black, personification of nature
  • Andvare (Andvari) - Dwarf, “careful one”, waterfall, fish, wealth, magic ring called Andvaranaut
  • Ask og Embla - The first humans, ancestors of humanity
  • Diser (Dísir) - Female protective deities/spirits, fate
  • Dverger (Dvergar) - Dwarfs, metallurgy, wisdom, smithing, mining, crafting
  • Einherjer (Einherjar) - Honoured dead, fallen in battle, sent to Folkvang or Valhalla
  • Fenrisulven (Fenrisúlfr) - Death, destruction, rage, the end of times, fen-dweller
  • Fjolne (Fjölnir) - Swedish king, Vaner, son of Frøy and Gerd
  • Gullveig/Heid (Heiðr) - Volva, seid, enigmatic, “Lust For Gold” or “Golden Drink”
  • Kvase (Kvasir) - Wisdom, knowledge, skaldship, poetry, mead, blood, juice
  • Midgardsormen (Jörmungandr, Midgard Serpent) - Sea serpent, poison, self-reflexivity, cyclicality
  • Norner (Norns) - Weavers of fate, Wyrd, destiny, birth, death
  • Sigurd Fåvnesbane - Stag, hero, wisdom, prophecy, speak to birds
  • Starkad (Starkaðr) - Jotun, hero, great warrior, many arms cut off by Tor
  • Troll - Isolated natural landmarks, strength, slow, dim witted, 
  • Valkyrjer (Valkyries) - Choosers of the slain, Odin’s maids, spirits, ferocity, death, ravens, wolves
  • Vanlande (Vanlandi) - Hero, Swedish king, Vaner, “Man from the land of the Vaner”, 
  • Vedfinn (Viðfinnr) - Father of Hjuke and Bil
  • Vetter (Vættir) - landvette, skogsvette, husvette, vannvette, sjøvette, havvette, hulder, nøkken, draugen, nisse, troll, huldrefolk, deildegasten, dradokke, trollkatt, basilisk, krake, utburd, lyktemenn, varulv, marmæl, lindorm
  • Volund (Völundr) - Blacksmith, magical powers, sword maker, hero, alvedrotten (Chieftan of elves)

I have just been shown possibly the greatest website for witches or book lovers in my life today and it’s called http://darkbooks.org and it has over 1500 free downloadable e books on occult, pagan, and witchcrafty topics from centuries of publishing, including all books by aleister Crowley, h.p. lovecraft, dozens of books on fairies, free spell books, Aradia gospel of the witches, several versions of the Edda both prose and poetic and so so much more. So please check it out if you like occult and pagan literature or even just mysteries. I’ve been on it for hours and can vouch that nothing has happened to my phone and they all open up in my Kindle app.

Remember, http://darkbooks.org

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More phenomenal artwork from sceithailm (DeviantArt)
English translations of Old Norse (from top to bottom): 

Witchcraft
Loki spake: “They say that with spells in Samsey once, Like witches with charms didst thou work; And in witch’s guise among men didst thou go; Unmanly thy soul must seem." 

Heimdall
Loki spake: "Be silent, Heimdall! in days long since, Was an evil fate for thee fixed; With back held stiff must thou ever stand, As warder of heaven to watch.”

Baldr’s Death

Loki spake: “Thou wilt then, Frigg, that further I tell, Of the ill that now I know; Mine is the blame that Baldr no more, Thou seest ride home to the hall." 

Fenriswolf
"The wolf shall fell the father of men, And this shall Vithar avenge; The terrible jaws shall he tear apart, And so the wolf shall he slay.”

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Scandinavian Folklore – Trolls

No creature frequents the stories and beliefs that make up the Scandinavian folklore as often as the trolls. Trolls often lived inside of mountains, and were then called mountain trolls or mountain people. They could also be found in big blocks of stone or simply underground. Few creatures of folklore have been quite as transformed by modern storytellers and toymakers as the trolls. We’re used to seeing them as clumsy and grotesque, furry human-like creatures. And of course they always have a tail. If only it would have been that simple!

But amongst the people of old trolls had a reputation as being very complex and cunning creatures. What they actually looked like is debatable, and often varies from place to place. There are also stories about them being able to change their appearance at will. Sometimes they could look just like humans, but much more beautiful of course!  

Trolls especially liked to take the shape of animals. If you happened upon a strange cat or dog walking about alone you should be extra careful, because those were the trolls favourite animals to transform into.

The trolls home-life was actually quite similar that of people, they lived in large families and kept animals. You could sometimes hear them shouting or smell their cooking deep in the mountains or forest.  And they also liked to make trouble for the humans nearby. They often sneaked into village and farms to attempt to steal food or beer. A clever farmer would protect himself by always carrying steel (like a troll cross).

But trolls stealing food was not the biggest problem. From time to time, a villager might disappear in the forest and then people would suspect them of having been mountain-taken, kidnapped by trolls.