folketro

Things to Remember Regarding Heathenry

All of the deities are either a) jotnar b) descended from jotnar or c) married jotnar, the idea that jotnar represent non-white races is racist bullshit that, ironically, means the deities are either not white, biracial, or in interracial marriages. Sorry racists! All ur faves are biracial.

Innangard is bullshit.

The Nine Noble Virtues are also bullshit. Here are some concrete reasons why they’re bullshit. 

Frigga is not “just” a housewife. She canonically tricks Odin twice. (Once in the Longobards’ origin story, and once in Grímnismál). So-called “women’s work” like textile production and cooking were vital to survival in the Viking Age (if you don’t believe me, look up how prominent spinning and weaving is in Norse myth–and fairy tales).

Angrboda is mentioned a grand total of twice in the lore. The whole “Angrboda is feuding with Sigyn” thing is UPG. Lokavinr put together a helpful list of Loki’s children by various women with lore references. Please give it a read.

All ur fave deities are queer. Some of ur fave heroes are also queer.

Heathen culture is neither closed nor living. You cannot “appropriate” Heathenry. There is a REASON we call our religions “revivalist” or “reconstructionist”.

Folkishness is racism, full stop. If you aren’t a racist crapbag, don’t call yourself folkish. (Note: Not to be confused with folketro, which means “folk belief”).

How to Spot a Shitty Heathen Book: Useful Words and Phrases

Since I was just asked about this, I thought I’d share some words and phrases I look for when evaluating a Heathen book to try and tell if it’s shit or not. I think this will be useful to some.

Note: Sometimes older books use certain phrases on this list. They might not be Odinic Rite bad but they are probably a bit outdated. Use of most of the terms on this list is no guarantee the book is crap, but they can be an early indication of a book you’ll want to read with a grain of salt.

Odinist/Odinism - particularly if the author seems to prefer Odinism over other terms like Heathen or Asatru. Note that some (particularly non-Heathen Pagan books) will treat Odinism as a synonym for Asatru. In the US and Canada, at least, the term “Odinism” is more often used as a shorthand for “racist”. Be especially wary if the author describes themself as Odinist. 

“Teutonic religion” - this is more of an indication that the book is old. The issue with this term is that it is vague. Lokavinr explains it better than I can. It’s one of those terms that might indicate that you’re reading an older book than a racist one, but still take them with a grain of salt.

“ethnic European religion”/”indigenous European religion” - a ton of books refer to Heathenry as an “indigenous European religion”, but be on the lookout for folks who describe it as an ethnic religion. It’s a red flag that you’re dealing with racist nonsense.

Folkish - avoid Heathen books that describe Heathenry as folkish. Folkishness is racism in a nice suit. Do not confuse this with folketro, this is a word meaning “folk belief”, as in, folklore and folk traditions

There are more things you could look for: metagenetics, looking at how they view women or lgbt+ people. Seriously, if it looks like it was written by the sort of dudebro who screams “misandry!” at the drop of a hat, it’s probably not worth your time. These are just some really basic things to watch for, but it’s helped me so far.

Gloson

In Swedish folktradition, Gloson is a terrible ghost pig that was a part of the challenges a year walker faced on a year walk (Sw. årsgång). She, the pig is usually a sow, could run between the legs of a person and cleave him or her in half. Sometimes she carried a scroll or a book in her mouth, and the one who snatched it could learn magic.

Artwork by fromfarbeyond and description by suttungsbrew

The day which Heathens traditionally considered New Year was sundown on the night of the first full moon after the midwinter solstice. On this night, it was believed that the barriers between the realms were at their thinnest. It was a night when many would attempt to commune with the powers and attempt rituals that required crossing between planes of existence. Such rituals would include Årsgång (Year Walking), Spådom (Premonition), Trolldom (Nordic Folk Magic) and doing positive things that would help set a precedent for the coming year!

The artwork comes from an 1875 book and depicts someone partaking in Årsgång.

Vardøger

A vardøger (roughly translated as “warning spirit”) is a well known Norwegian phenomenon in which a familiar person is heard to be returning home as usual and undertaking their usual routine of arrival until the sounds suddenly stop and no evidence of that person is found. Some time later, typically 15-20 minutes, the sequence of sounds will repeat but this time the person actually arrives!

Vardøger are not thought of as threatening or frightening and may even seem friendly or reassuring. The typical vardøger will be someone very close to those experiencing the phenomenon. The vardøger is never seen, only heard. Footsteps, noisy keys, opening doors, turning on a light, creaking floorboards and more typical noises are often reported and the noises are specific to the person whose vardøger pre-empts their arrival. Yet after the sounds cease there will be no evidence of any of the actions which were heard. No footprints in the snow and no sign that anyone has entered.

The name vardøger comes from the Old Norse “vard-hugr” and is closely related to the Icelandic concept of the “fylgja”. It is seen as an attribute of certain people who possess the ability to project themselves.

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I Sing…

I sing to my gods
As I walk through the trees
I sing to my gods
With my brothers near
I sing to my gods
And I know they are here
I sing to my gods
And I know that they hear.

In the plants and the trees
I hear their whisper
In the song of my people
With my brother and sister
In the land that I walk
In the footprints they laid
In the kiss of the sun
And the cool rocky shade.

I sing to my gods
Around an open fire
I sing to my gods
With my sisters near
I sing to my gods
And I know no fear
I sing to my gods
And I know that they hear.

In the wildlife and animals
I found my peace
In the streams that give life
I found my belief
In the mead that we share
And the stories all told
I find greater riches
Than all the world’s gold.

I sing to my gods
And my ancestors dear
I sing to my gods
With my family near
I sing to my gods
And they show me they’re here
I sing to my gods
And I know that they hear.

Pictures & Words - @hedendom

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The Ring Of Brodgar

Long, long ago, there were trolls in Orkney. They were big, loud, brash creatures, quarrelsome and slow witted, but they did love to dance. During the day they had to hide away, for the sun would see them and turn them into stone. They lived in fear of the yellow face, only coming out at night when the moon shone softly down on them.

One night they gathered at the place between the lochs to dance. A fiddler struck up a tune and the trolls shouted with joy, linking hands and dancing around in a great big circle. Around and around they went as the fiddler played faster and faster. The sound of their feet as they danced must have sounded like thunder and felt like an earthquake as they sped around and around. They were having fun, in fact they were having so much fun that they completely forgot about the time.

Suddenly, the sun rose above the horizon and caught them with its fiery eye. The music and the dancing stopped as each and every giant turned into stone. They are still there to this day, only now we call them the Ring of Brodgar. The Comet Stone that stands in the field next to them was the fiddler; now silent in stone.

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The Lagarfljótsormur is a legendary water serpent that is said to inhabit Lake Lagarfljót, Iceland. The earliest recorded sightings of the Lagarfljótsormur date back to the Icelandic Annals of 1345 and have continued to this day.

In their book “Icelandic Folk and Fairy Tales,” folklorists May and Hallberg Hallmundsson describe the origin tale of the beast:

At one time, long, long ago, there was a woman living on a farm in the Lagarfljót district, close by the stream where it broadens into a lake. She had a grown daughter. Once, she gave her daughter a gold ring. The woman instructed her daughter to catch a snake and keep the gold ring underneath it in her linen chest (as, apparently, one did long ago in rural Iceland). She did so, but when the girl went to look at her ring again, the snake had grown so large that the chest was beginning to come apart. Then the girl was frightened and she picked up the chest with everything in it and threw it into the lake. A long time passed, and gradually people became aware that there was a serpent in the lake, for it was beginning to kill both people and animals crossing the waters. 

In 1963, the head of the Icelandic National Forest Service, Sigurður Blöndal, reported seeing the giant worm and in 1998 a teacher and students at Hallormsstaðir School also claimed to have witnessed the legendary creature.

In 2012, an amateur cameraman, Hjörtur E. Kjerúlf, accidentally caught what is thought to be the Lagarfljótsormur on camera. The Icelandic government set up a commission to determine whether or not the footage (shown above) was authentic and in September 2014 their report concluded that the footage was, in fact, genuine and recommended further investigation and research into the Lagarfljótsormur.

Oskoreia/Åsgårdsreia

My translation. Everything in italics taken from Mytiske og andre sagn by M. B. Landstad, a collection of folk tales and other material gathered by Landstad in the region of Telemark, Norway. My notes in square brackets.

Åsgård-reiden [the ride or hunt of Asgard] is pronounced Åsgår-reie or Åsgår-reia; the people from Hjartdal and those who live further afield say Osgo-reia. [It is worth keeping in mind that Landstad wrote in a period where thoughts on folk culture were heavily influenced by romantic nationalism. The Romantic suggestion of “Åsgård” as the etymon of “osgo”/“osko” is one of many possible explanations. Another is öskurligr, meaning terrible.] 

Here we will quite simply relate the talk of the people, without mixing in our own views. Either it is the gods of Asgard themselves who are out riding with their heroes or einherjer, or also it may be the ride of the fallen heroes to Asgard in the company of the valkyries who fetch them. The latter seems most plausible. For here we meet the old heroes Sigurd Fåvnesbane and his mistress Gudrun, and Gunnar. Brynhild, who should not be missing from this company, I have nevertheless not heard mentioned.

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