folkish asatru

I was called a Nazi on here the other day. 

I guess being part of the Folkish side of Asatru automatically makes me a Nazi. I mean, that’s a really really funny idea, because I’m not. I don’t like Neo-Nazis, and I don’t like Communists. I’m a Libertarian. I guess having the whole lifestyle idea of “You do you” is equivalent to being a Nazi, because I’m not going around trying to virtually stomp their throats with my boots. I love how people throw out the terms “FASCIST!” and “Nazi!” when someone doesn’t agree with them. 

I don’t have to justify my opinions, but the name calling is quite silly. I know that freedom of speech doesn’t necessarily protect me from repercussions in real life, but that doesn’t mean I can’t say what I want. 

People on here are so big and brave behind their computer screens. I’d love to sit and discuss things logically with some of you people, that seem to have your ‘heart in the right place’ by dehumanizing another human being for their viewpoints. I thought that pagans and Asatruar just wanted to be left alone by everyone else. Now I guess they’re taking it upon themselves to “cleanse” things from supposed white supremacist groups– which, you know, aren’t white supremacist at all. 

So quick to mindlessly jump on the “I HATE YOU BECAUSE THIS PERSON SAID YOU’RE RACIST” train. 

Dr. Christian Troy: [to Gina] “You want the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and can’t change? Here’s step 13: everything disappears. Love, trees, rocks, steel, plastic, human beings. None of us get out alive. Now you can huddle in a group and face it one day at a time, or you can be grateful that when your body rubs against somebody else’s it explodes with enough pleasure to make you forget even for a minute that you’re a walking pile of ashes. Now that is the truth. If you’re strong it’ll make you free, if you’re weak, it’ll make you… you.”
—  Nip/Tuck: Kurt Dempsey (2003)
Angelique van Engelen: The Ins and Outs of European Shamanism and Mask Wearing

The ancient peoples of Europe were more fond of masks and religious ritual than you would suspect if you saw Europeans today. Mask wearing and shamanism was part and parcel of everyday life in ancient Western European tradition, say researchers.

There are stories abound about African and North American tribal shamans but not a lot is known about ancient European peoples’ involvement with masked ritual or the practice of magic. That is why finding out about similarities between the ideas behind masks from around the world and those originating from European soil, is a discovery of intriguing and real beliefs.

The less obvious link of European societies with shamanism or religious ritual than for instance the North American native Indian customs or magic activity in the past is due to the more ‘sanitised’ way Europe has developed because of church interference in people’s lives.

The church dominance virtually stamped out any pagan
ritual. It was not until after 1960, when the Americans experienced a revival of the interest in shamanism, that much has become known about the European version of the practice of magic and mask wearing. There is more verifyable information about the true roots of Western European civilisation than initially suspected. “The spirit if not the exact practise of shamanism has been passed on through Europe’s generations”, one authority on the subject, Leigh Ann Hussey, believes.

The earliest recordings of ceremonies involving masks were found in the caves of the Trois Freres (Three Brothers) in France where paintings of a Paleolithic scene depicting European animism of the first order.
Ian Bracegirdle, a mask expert, describes the cave: A central figure stands wearing the head and antlers of a deer. He stands, shaman like, surrounded by animals. Animals that are important to the culture he represents. Some of the animals no longer exist in this area. Ibex, reindeer, bison, stag and horses. The shaman, for that
is what he seems to be, stands, a human figure amongst the potential food.

It is believed that the paleolithic cave served as a place where hunters were initiated. The sorceror or shaman was symbol to sympathetic magic. He wore ears and horns of a stag, the eyes and beak of an owl, the bearded face of an old man, the tail of a wolf, the paws of a bear and the legs of a dancing shaman. He stood in front of painted hunting murals. The Shaman served as mediator between humans and their
venerated animal kin.

This is pretty much the best evidence in tangible form that we have of our ancestors’ animistic beliefs. It dates back 10,000 years and is accompanied by an abundance of myths and stories showing our ancestors had plenty of similar ideas. A close analogy exists in the stories of Kernunnos, forest god of the later Celts. The masks express
animism to some extent. His information is confirmed by Ms Hussey, who went on a hunt in European shamanism and found when she examined ancient sources, that she did not need to borrow from other traditions. “It is clear that tribal Europe had as strong a shamanic
tradition as, for example, any of the American Indian tribes,” she said.

Summing up the general symbolism that unites masks from around the globe, Bracegirdle says that there are many striking similarities between the ancient cultures of the Pacific West Coast of North America and the tribal traditions of Africa. Symbols that all these cultures share are relating to fertility, the hunted animal, ancestors, initiation into rites, circumcision, cannibalism real and symbolic, healing and crossing
over into the spirit world for guidance and healing powers or to appease the gods or ancestors are the accompanying ideas behind masks.

Not a lot has been passed on from generation to generation in any much recognisable form or shape, but among the most powerful links is the seasonal nature of many traditions we still know about. In the UK, the Green man and the Hobby horse are two potent examples. “To me there is a tremendous link which is bound up with the very nature of the people we are and how we have developed. Our formative roots live in our societies now”, believes Bracegirdle.

The links to ancient beliefs can also be found in many European languages. When we say in English that we are going berserk, we even directly refer to the shamanic state of extasy. The adjective comes from the noun 'berserker’, or 'berserk’, the Old Norse for 'wild warriors’ or 'champions’. 'Ber’ referring to 'bear’ and 'serkr’ to 'shirt’ or

These berserkers became frenzied in battle, howling like animals, foaming at the mouth, and biting the edges of their iron shields as if they acted in a Nike commercial. Berserker is first recorded in English in the early 19th century, long after these wild warriors ceased to exist. This is illustrative of how the tradition seemingly interrupted, still lived on.

Similar “Bear Doctors” stories have been found among California tribes. In some cases, the Berserkr or Ulfserkr would even eat the heart of the bear or wolf to gain its power. Another feast of hearts occurs in the seiðr trance, as described above.

Not a lot was known about Western shamanism until it hit the limelight in the 1960 and the undoubted expert in the field is the late Mircea Eliade, a religion historian who taught at the Sorborme in Paris and later at the University of Chicago. He described Shamanism, or 'witchcraft’ as it is referred to also, as not a religion but more as a technique. Shamanism, he says, is 'not strictly medicine men/women, magicians, or healers’. This is the conclusion of extensive studies of the phenomenon around the world in his book 'Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy’. He believes that shamans are not the same as priests; they may have coexisted with priests or even have fulfilled priestly functions as well as shamanic ones. A shaman was more a mystic than a priest or a minister.

A shaman was not “possessed”, as many people now believe, says Eliade. Neither was the shaman a medium or trance channeler. “Shamans control the spirit beings with whom they work, or at least they do not surrender to them. Like a medium or channeler, a shaman may appear unconscious when working, but upon returning, the shaman can tell where he or she has gone”, he says.

The shaman is not the instrument of the spirits. Traditional shamans cure people through their trances, accompany the souls of the dead to the Otherworld, and communicate with the gods. “This small mystical elite not only directs the community’s religious life but, as it were, guards its 'soul.”

Modern day processions where you can still see old masks being worn include processions in which giants and witches are displayed. These and other masquerades are among the more powerful tangible links we still have to ancient witchcraft ritual.

In well known childrens’ stories and folklore narrative, the links are also obvious. Dragons for instance are examples creatures pervading every alley you can imagine of old folklore and mythology, straight into modern times stories. Descriptions of the beast’s benevolence vary from the playful Puff (of Peter Yarrow’s song) to the sinister Smaug in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. Babylonian legends portray the Queen of Darkness as a multi-headed dragon - Tiamat. Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty features a battle between Prince Phillip and the evil Maleficent about a curse than can only be broken by three fairies. Likewise, the Germanic myth “Die Nibelungen” climaxes with the battle between Siegfried and the giant Fafnir, who has transformed himself into a dragon in an effort to become more frightening.

Our reaction to the physical characteristics of the dragon is another element that we share with and which connects us to our ancestors. Around the world the beasts are typically depicted as huge lizards, larger than elephants on average. Long fangs are generally accepted as are twin horns of varying length. Western cultures generally include large bat-like wings giving the dragon the capability of flight. But eastern dragons, usually wingless, use a more magical means of flying. Eastern dragons also tend to be more snake-like in nature, albeit with front and rear legs.

Wikipedia: Berserkers

Berserkers appear prominently in a multitude of other sagas and poems, many of which describe berserkers as ravenous men who loot, plunder, and kill indiscriminately.

The earliest surviving reference to the term “berserker” is in Haraldskvæði, a skaldic poem composed by Thórbiörn Hornklofi in the late 9th century in honour of King Harald Fairhair, as ulfheðnar (“men clad in wolf skins”). This translation from the Haraldskvæði saga describes Harald’s berserkers:

I’ll ask of the berserks, you tasters of blood,

Those intrepid heroes, how are they treated,
Those who wade out into battle?
Wolf-skinned they are called. In battle
They bear bloody shields.
Red with blood are their spears when they come to fight.
They form a closed group.
The prince in his wisdom puts trust in such men

Who hack through enemy shields.[4]

The Icelandic historian and poet Snorri Sturluson (1179–1241) wrote the following description of berserkers in his Ynglinga saga:

His (Odin’s) men rushed forwards without armour, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were strong as bears or wild oxen, and killed people at a blow, but neither fire nor iron told upon them. This was called Berserkergang.[5]

King Harald Fairhair’s use of berserker “shock troops” broadened his sphere of influence[citation needed]. Other Scandinavian kings used berserkers as part of their army of hirdmen and sometimes ranked them as equivalent to a royal bodyguard[citation needed]. It may be that some of those warriors only adopted the organization or rituals of berserk männerbünde, or used the name as a deterrent or claim of their ferocity.

Emphasis has been placed on the frenzied nature of the berserkers, hence the modern sense of the word ‘berserk.’ However, the sources describe several other characteristics that have been ignored or neglected by modern commentators. Snorri’s assertion that 'neither fire nor iron told upon them’ is reiterated time after time, and the sources frequently state that neither edged weapons nor fire affected the berserks, although they were not immune to clubs or other blunt instruments. For example:

…men asked Halfdan to attack Hardbeen and his champions man by man; and he not only promised to fight, but assured himself the victory with most confident words. When Hardbeen heard this, a demoniacal frenzy suddenly took him; he furiously bit and devoured the edges of his shield; he kept gulping down fiery coals; he snatched live embers in his mouth and let them pass down into his entrails; he rushed through the perils of crackling fires; and at last, when he had raved through every sort of madness, he turned his sword with raging hand against the hearts of six of his champions. It is doubtful whether this madness came from thirst for battle or natural ferocity. Then with the remaining band of his champions he attacked Halfdan, who crushed him with a hammer of wondrous size, so that he lost both victory and life; paying the penalty both to Halfdan, whom he had challenged, and to the kings whose offspring he had violently ravished…[6]

Similarly, Hrolf Kraki’s champions refuse to retreat 'from fire or iron.’ Another frequent motif refers to berserkers blunting their enemy’s blades with spells, or a glance from their evil eyes. This appears as early as Beowulf where it is a characteristic attributed to Grendel. Both the fire eating and the immunity to edged weapons are reminiscent of tricks popularly ascribed to Hindu fakirs.

In 1015Jarl Eiríkr Hákonarson of Norway outlawed berserkers. Grágás, the medieval Icelandic law code, sentenced berserker warriors to outlawry. By the 12th century, organised berserker war-bands had disappeared.

The Lewis Chessmen, found on the Scottish Highland island of Lewis but thought to be of Norse manufacture, include Berserkers depicted biting their shields.

Scholar Hilda Ellis-Davidson draws a parallel between berserkers and the mention by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII (AD 905–959) in his book De cerimoniis aulae byzantinae (“Book of Ceremonies of the Byzantine court”) of a “Gothic Dance” performed by members of his Varangian Guard (Norse warriors working in the service of the Byzantine Empire), who took part wearing animal skins and masks: she believes this may have been connected with berserker rites.[7]

The actual fit of madness the berserker experienced was referred to as berserkergang (“going berserk”). This condition has been described as follows:

This fury, which was called berserkergang, occurred not only in the heat of battle, but also during laborious work. Men who were thus seized performed things which otherwise seemed impossible for human power. This condition is said to have begun with shivering, chattering of the teeth, and chill in the body, and then the face swelled and changed its colour. With this was connected a great hot-headedness, which at last gave over into a great rage, under which they howled as wild animals, bit the edge of their shields, and cut down everything they met without discriminating between friend or foe. When this condition ceased, a great dulling of the mind and feebleness followed, which could last for one or several days.[8]

Theories about what caused berserker behaviour include ingestion of materials with psychoactive properties, psychological processes, and medical conditions.

Modern scholars believe certain examples of berserker rage to have been induced voluntarily by the consumption of drugs such as the hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly Amanita,[9] or massive amounts of alcohol.[10] While such practices would fit in with ritual usages, other explanations for the berserker’s madness have been put forward, including self-induced hysteriaepilepsymental illness or genetics.[11]

Jonathan Shay, MD, makes an explicit connection between the berserker rage of soldiers and the hyperarousal of post-traumatic stress disorder. In Achilles in Vietnam he writes:

If a soldier survives the berserk state, it imparts emotional deadness and vulnerability to explosive rage to his psychology and permanent hyperarousal to his physiology — hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans. My clinical experience with Vietnam combat veterans prompts me to place the berserk state at the heart of their most severe psychological and psychophysiological injuries.[12]

Devotional 09/16/2012

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First Rune: Fehu 

Symbolizes beginnings, moveable wealth (in the forms of money posseions and credit). It’s not only represents the power and energy we need to obtain worldly wealth, but also the strength we need to hold on to it, making Fehu a rune of power and control. Fehu can mean emotional and spiritual riches, as well as money.

In many ways, we have become as domesticated as the cattle, living our day to day existence without wanting or even being aware of anything more being possible. The first step in breaking away from this situation is to catch a glimpse of what is possible, without dwelling on what security we may lose to attain it.

Second Rune: Mannaz (Drawn Reverse)

Reverse Meaning
When drawn, this rune counsels to begin facing up, releasing and admitting to yourself that in order to progress, you must first clear away the blockage within. Only then will you be able to satisfactorily deal with outside blockages. Braking the momentum of old habits is the task here. Remember that in the life of the inner-self you are always at the beginning

Third Rune: Wunjo (Drawn Reverse)

Reverse Meaning
There is blockage. Things are slow coming to fruition. A crisis or difficult time is at hand. Consideration and deliberation are called for at this time. Tread slowly and carefully, proceed with caution. It is time to re-evaluate your current position, to reflect and meditate.