northern traditional

Katara: It’s not magic. It’s waterbending, and it’s-
Sokka: Yeah, yeah, an ancient art unique to our culture, blah blah blah. Look, I’m just saying that if I had weird powers, I’d keep my weirdness to myself. 

So I wanted to talk a little about Katara, because I think we often focus on her grief for her mother, and forget her relationship to her culture, and her experience of the Southern Water Tribe genocide (unlike the Air Nomads genocide, which was for the greater part over after four big terrifyingly effective simultaneous strikes, this one took place over a long length of time - more than 40 years? 50? - and it wasn’t total, but it definitely was one. genocide = the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group, fwiw)

(Kanna’s village - before and after)

All of the Southern water benders were exterminated or taken away to rot in prison (where they all died eventually except for Hama). Katara was born the only bender left in the whole South Pole. Then when she was eight years old, she survived a raid that was meant to kill her, but took her mother instead (she probably was too young to realize that, to her it must have been a question mark up until she met Yon Rha - gratuitous cruelty? Why her mother in particular? They took nothing else!).

So Katara from a young age had a double burden to bear: that of her mother, and the legacy of her bending (and she was shown as painfully aware of her situation and what it meant on both front). But here’s the thing: Katara could be a mother, she was naturally good at it, and her grandmother could teach her what she didn’t already knew. Her family and tribe demanded that of her, they needed her to be that for them (especially after her father and the rest of the men basically abandoned them). However, there was no one left to teach her how to waterbend - she had almost no hope of ever becoming a master without formal training, her brother thought it was silly and weird and let her know, her grandmother thought it was a waste of time. But she kept practicing, because she knew how important it was, to her and to her tribe, that she kept trying (as the only one left who could).

(…an ancient art unique to our culture, blah blah blah…)

(Of course she would obsess over that waterbending scroll)

When she gets to the North Pole, she meets Pakku, and with him the opportunity of finally becoming a true master. But because she is a girl, he judges her unworthy. He judges her, the only remaining southern waterbender, unworthy of carrying on their culture. The Fire Nation didn’t care about the gender of their prisoners, men and women - they all fought side by side for their freedom in the South, and they were all taken away to the last one, and killed to the last one. In the South, the women had the choice to learn how to fight, or be defenseless. And privileged master Pakku couldn’t possible realize the extend of what he was denying her in that moment.

Katara had to prove herself, she had to earn her right to these teachings. And if she had been less good or less stubborn or not Kanna’s granddaughter - well the North would have refused their sister-tribe the power to use their common cultural heritage to fight back against the nation that destroyed them.

(It’s sexist and terrible.)

Meh, thankfully, she was that good, stubborn, and Kanna’s granddaughter, and she did get to become a master.

Good.

But, of course, her story doesn’t end here, and wrt her culture, the next chapter is a much more traumatizing experience. In the Fire Nation, she meets another master. This time it’s an old woman from the South like her (“You’re a waterbender! I’ve never met another waterbender from our tribe!”), and she is, ah, more than willing to help her.

Look how happy Katara looks at the idea to learn from her in particular:

Katara: I can’t tell you what it means to meet you. It’s an honor! You’re a hero.
Hama: I never thought I’d meet another southern waterbender. I‘d like to teach you what I know so that you can carry on the southern tradition when I’m gone.
Katara: Yes! Yes, of course! To learn about my heritage… it would mean everything to me.

But when Hama starts her lesson, the techniques she teaches have been obviously developed with one goal in mind: survival in enemy territory. They can’t possibly have been invented in the South Pole, where water is abundant everywhere. They are deadly and cruel, and the damage they do to the environment leaves Katara sad and uncomfortable, but Hama waves that off as unimportant. It doesn’t matter, she doesn’t have the time to worry about flowers or beauty or nature. To her that peace and beauty is probably just an illusion anyway, a lie: years after her escape she is still living the war, and war is ugly and rotten and messy (her world is ugly and rotten and messy - this is her comfort zone).

The last technique she teaches Katara is bloodbending. She forces Katara to learn something she finds disgusting, repulsive (just like Hama was forced to learn?) by torturing her (Hama was tortured), by overpowering her, invading her, making her lose control over her own body, bending her blood (Hama herself is clinging to the last remain of control she managed to get back after rotting in prison for years), and finally by threatening to have the two people she cares most about in the world kill each other right under her eyes (Hama lost everyone too, she had to say goodbye).

(Katara: But, to reach inside someone and control them? I don’t know if I want that kind of power.
Hama: The choice is not yours. The power exists…and it’s your duty to use the gifts you’ve been given to win this war. Katara, they tried to wipe us out, our entire culture… your mother!
Katara: I know.
Hama: Then you should understand what I’m talking about. We’re the last Waterbenders of the Southern Tribe. We have to fight these people whenever we can. Wherever they are, with any means necessary!
Katara: It’s you. You’re the one who’s making people disappear during the full moons.
Hama: They threw me in prison to rot, along with my brothers and sisters. They deserve the same. You must carry on my work.)

And this, this, is the only truly southern waterbending Katara is ever going to learn. This is her tribe’s bending heritage, what’s left of it: blood, grief, suffering, hatred, loss of control over both your body and mind (because it’s terrible, but I think that’s what’s implied by the show: bloodbending makes you lose your mind. Hama’s only mean of regaining physical freedom ended up trapping her in another nightmare). Hama gifts her with a power she despises (but will use anyway in her darkest hour when she loses control) and a philosophy of violence and revenge.

Katara chose peace and forgiveness. As an adult, she will have bloodbending outlawed, she will become the greatest healer in the world, and she’ll teach her daughter, the next avatar, probably many others. These choices matter, and we should talk about them with that background in mind. Katara redefined her heritage - or rather she created a new one for herself: she refused the condition that was forced upon her (bloodbender) and ensured nobody could legally do to someone else what Hama did to her (and it’s implied this law is valid anywhere in the world). She transmitted Pakku’s warrior teachings, the ones she fought for, to the next generations (and did a great job of it!), but she also taught them how to heal, refusing to separate the arts as in Northern Water Tribe tradition - and healing was something she discovered by herself, that she felt was always a part of her. At that, she became the universally acknowledged best. Her legacy, despite everything that happened to her, will never be one of violence.

tl;dr: Katara is one of the strongest fictional characters ever created bye

Pagan altar with Nordic Gods and Goddesses: Loki, Freya, Odin and Frigg. Hail!

Языческий алтарь и Северные Боги и Богини: Локи, Фрейя, Один и Фригг. Славьтесь!

What Is a Heathen/Northern Tradition Pagan?

   I am what is known as a Northern Tradition Pagan, or in short, a Heathen. As a heathen, I practice a variety of different religious and magickal workings which will be explained below. Before you read any further, understand that this has nothing to do with the christian religion and was practiced before Christianity reached Europe. The practices I am about to describe have ancient origins which date back to before the time of the vikings.

  Being pagan means anything other than christian. When someone says they are pagan, they are not just talking about one specific religion, they are talking about many, unless they specify which religion they are talking about. Heathenry or Northern Tradition Paganism can be described as the religion of the Vikings, but its origins lead further back than even them. We worship and call to gods and goddesses of three different types of pantheons. There are many different kinds of heathenry and in this basic description, we shall discuss the most popular and widely known.
   

 The Paths

  Asatru is one of the most popular types of heathenry. Asatru deals with the worship to the Aesir gods and goddesses. These gods and goddesses make their home in one of the nine worlds of Yggdrasil, the great world tree. Asgard stands at the top of this great tree and is home to many different deities. Odin, god of magick, death, poetry, ecstasy, written word, and war. Thor, god of storms and the common folk. Frigga, wife of Odin and goddess of motherhood, marriage, wyrd, and the household. There are of course, many more but these are just but a few that heathens of the Asatru form of heathenry would worship or call to.

  Vanatru is a form of heathenry which centers around the worship of Vanaheim deities. These deities work with nature, farming, planting crops, but they are not inherently part of nature, but they do help it grow in some ways. Freyr, god of fields, forest, harvest, and sex. Freyr is also lord of Ljossalfheim, which is another world inhabited by what most would call, elves. Freyja, which is Freyr’s twin sister is goddess of magick (usually magick specifically known as seidr), fertility, death, love, and sex. Nerthus, a very old and powerful earth like goddess, usually associated with the land and sea, or bog like areas. Again, these are just some of the many deities within Vanatru.
  

  Rokkatru is a form of heathenry that many shy away from. The term Rokk as some people say, means dark or shadow. Rokkatru is a practice of heathenry that deals with worshiping the Rokk deities. Usually these deities are not seen as deities, but I personally believe them to be deities in their own right. The Rokk gods and goddesses also have another widely known term. That term is the Jotunar. Usually the Jotunar might be classified as beings from Jotunheim, the world of the giants or etins. However, there are many different kinds of etins, like, Fire etins, frost etins, sky etins, earth etins, sea etins, and so on. Some of them come from different worlds such as Muspelheim or even Niflheim. The gods and goddesses of this particular branch of heathenry are sometimes feared and shunned. Here I will give you a list on what some of the most popular Jotunar are. Skadhi, goddess of winter and hunting, usually living in mountains or snow terrain. Loki, god of mischief and chaos. Angrboda, one of Loki’s wives, hag (the term hag means wise woman or healer, but she is also other things too) of Iron Wood in Jotunheim. Thrym, high king of Jotunheim and seems to be a god of frost and snow. These gods and goddesses are ancient beings, said to have been around since before all the nine worlds were created. They are part of nature, they are nature’s purest form. Unlike Elementals, the Jotunar are more aware of themselves. They can transform themselves into ranging storms and strong winds which devastate the world. Most Jotunar are skilled in shapeshifting, so much so that they consider it a cultural art-form. They can change their form just like we change our clothes.
 
The Beliefs
  Now that I’ve explained the three different types of heathenry, let’s talk about a few other things that heathens may also follow.
⦁      Wyrd
  Wyrd in Heathenry is actually a complex system of many different things. Wyrd can encompass personal choices to that of circumstance, situation, or even deity influence. Wyrd also encompasses your personal strand of luck. Now luck in general is very complex. There are many different kinds of luck, luck ranging from situations or issues passed down from the family line, or luck that is part of an individual. Luck can also be passed down from lifetime to lifetime. All of this incorporates to a whole mess of webs and connections which make our wyrd what it is.

  Wyrd is essentially what some would call fate or destiny, but it usually determined by the actions of the individual or the actions of those before the individual. Wyrd intersects with all things, each person or living thing has a strand of wyrd. The wyrd we have is called orlog, it is our personal life path which we usually direct ourselves. While our wyrd touches others wyrd, it is ours and ours alone. Our wyrd may also affect others wyrd to a certain extent. We all have our own thread, and that thread depending on the circumstances or influences of ones life may or may not have knots or tangles in it. Either way, these strands of our wyrd feed into the greater cosmic tapestry.

  The tapestry of all wyrd can only be fully seen by deities, usually by the Norns. The Norns are giantesses which weave and sew our strands into the tapestry. While we have some control, they can also direct it too. Sometimes our wyrd is affected by deities other than the Norns as well. A god or goddess that you work with can essentially alter part of your wyrd, changing your luck from good to bad or bad to good. Generally, wyrd is a complex system of actions and reactions which play out as a course of cause and effect, but there are also some random things in there probably affected by something that either we did or something that a deity did.

    Wyrd can be read by individuals who have honed their skills in seidr and have worked with gods or goddesses associated with wyrd, such as Frigga. Wyrd is flexible and can create many different types of symbolism associated with a certain problem. We as humans cannot read the full spectrum of wyrd because it is to complex for our mortal minds to understand. However, we can get pieces of the greater picture involved in our lives and thus tell others how to untie their own knots or at least point them in that direction. For those of us who can tap into the weave of wyrd, we can only see a portion, we can look and feel, but never change anything, for it is outside of our power to do so. All we can do is guide an individual.

⦁    The Nine Noble Virtues
  Not all heathens follow this, but there are many of us who do, I am one of them. The Nine Noble Virtues were a modern establishment on what our people attempt to stand for and uphold, and these ways are believed to also be the practice of our ancestors as well. They are a set of guidelines, (not rules) that allow us to live an honorable life. They are as follows.

Loyalty (Frith, Family, Friends)
Be true to your family and your kin. They come before all else; the whole comes before the individual. Work to provide for, protect, encourage, and support them.

Self-reliance (Responsibility)
Always be in a position to provide for yourself, so that you’re not a burden to others. Accept help graciously when it is offered, but do not constantly depend on others. Ask no one to do something for you that you could do yourself. In addition, take responsibility for your own happiness and fulfillment. Do not blame others for your situation until you have looked at yourself.

Industriousness
Contribute. To your family, to your tribe, to your country. Find where help is needed and offer it. Do as much as you can. Don’t waste time being unproductive. Build relationships, craft things, study, teach others.

Truth (Honesty, Wisdom)
Keep your word. Don’t tell lies, except to an enemy who lies to you. Keep your integrity. Be honest to yourself. Learn how to see through lies. Be wary of others’ facades and false words.

Hospitality (Generosity)
Do not hesitate to welcome the weary into your home. When you have guests, provide them with your best food, drink, and warm clothes. If there is no extra room, give them your own. In return, when you are a guest, be a gracious one, offer help, and do not overstay your welcome.

Honor
Keep your word when you’ve given it (and know when to give it). Mend things, situations, and relationships that you’ve damaged. Admit when something is your fault.

Courage (Bravery, Boldness)
Do what is right in the face of opposition or derision. Protect yourself and your kin from harm. Challenge yourself.

Steadfastness (Strength, Endurance)
Perseverance. Once you’ve committed to something, see it through, even if the way is hard.

Self-Discipline (Moderation, Control)
Constantly work to better yourself. Keep control of yourself; be mindful of your own actions. Set goals and challenge yourself to meet them. Do not allow yourself to fall into vice, or give up control of yourself to others.

⦁      Each person is different within this religion. Not every Heathen practices the same way or even worships the same deities. Some of us are also looked downed upon. Some heathens are very restrictive, not allowing people of color into their religion or practices, while others like myself, are very open to anyone practicing. We are a diverse group of people and not all of our practices are the same, let alone done in groups. There isn’t a lot of organized religion here, but some of the Asatru folk are pretty organized when it comes to performing Blots, which are actually a form of group meeting in which we might honor the gods.
 

   All heathens have their own practices and ways of doing things. Some of us have taboos, things we do on a daily basis and things we aren’t supposed to do at all. These things are usually along the lines of what is most logical, or to what we feel our gods or goddesses are telling us to do. We believe the gods and goddesses of the Norse Pantheons are individual, who can think and feel all on their own, so their interactions with us are not limited. We tend to see them as valuable partners and friends, but still hold a high respect for them no matter what we do. We believe the gods can treat others differently and have their own way with dealing with each person, even if it is the same god or goddess that another is working with.

  Many of us like to incorporate practices of Norse Mythology, or more commonly known as the lore, into our practices. The lore is a translation of older icelandic texts written by an 1170 scholar named Snorri Sturluson. He was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, which consists of Gylfaginning (“the fooling of Gylfi”), a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skáldskaparmál, a book of poetic language, and the Háttatal, a list of verse forms. He was also the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with legendary material in Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history.

⦁    The Cosmology of Yggdrasil

The Creation
  In the beginning, there were two worlds. Muspelheim, the world of fire, and Niflheim, the world of ice. The two worlds swirled around in the endless abyss called Ginnungagap and into it poured the sparks and smoke and layers of the rime-ice and glacial rivers. As heat and cold met in Ginnungagap, crashing together, they created Ymir, first of the godlike giants. Ymir could produce asexually, and when he sweated, more giants were born.
   As the frost continued to melt, a cow, Adhumbla, emerged from it. She nourished Ymir with her milk and she was also nourished by the salt-licks in the ice. Her licks slowly uncovered Buri, the first of the Aesir tribe of gods. Buri had a son named Bor, who married Bestla, the daughter of the giant Bolthorn. The Half-god, half-giant children of Bor and Bestla were Odin and his two brothers, Vili and Ve. The three brothers slew Ymir and set to constructing the worlds from his corpse. The brothers fashioned the oceans from his blood, the soil from his skin, and muscles, the plants from his hair, clouds from his brains, and the sky from his skull. The brothers then set four dwarves to the four cardinal directions, and held Ymir’s skull aloft above the earth.
  After creating the nine worlds, they eventually formed the first man and woman, Ask and Embla, from two tree trunks of the shore, and built a fence around their dwelling place and set the sparks of Muspelheim into the sky.

Yggdrasil
  
   Yggdrasil is a great cosmic tree bearing the nine worlds in its boughs. I believe this tree exists outside of our own universe and is actually part of another universe which intersects with our own, just as many others do.

The Nine Worlds

1.    Asgard Home of the Aesir gods
2.    Vanaheim Home of the Vanir gods
3.    Ljossalfheim Home to the Ljossalfar (Light elves)
4.    Midgard Home of the humans
5.    Jotunheim Home of the giants/etins
6.    Svartalfheim/Nidavellir Home of the Dokkalfar (Dark elves) and the Duergar (Dwarves. The Dokkalfar live in the upper part of the world where the Duergar live mostly underground in Nidavellir, which is a series of tunnels holding cities and homes for the Dwarves.
7.    Niflheim A world of frost and ice, home to many Frost Etins and some dwarves.
8.    Muspelheim World of fire and volcanoes, home to Surt and his Fire Etin’s.
9.    Helheim World of the dead, ruled by Hela the death goddess who is said to be half living and half dead. All who die of natural causes, murder, and disease go there.

⦁    Offerings
  Offerings are given to the gods as a pledge or as a payment. Many heathens offer food, drinks, trinkets, and other things to give some kind of homage to our gods as a thanks for being in our lives.
  In the eyes of the gods, offerings are needed to prove ones worth in worship and spirit work. It shows that you are willing to sacrifice something in your life to obtain either knowledge or their respect. Usually it is to show your loyalty to them in some way, to be glad they are within your life and to not take what you have for granted.
 
  An offering may consist of food, drink, statues, candles or scented candles, a drop of your own blood. Generally an offering can be an entire altar dedicated to a specific deity or several deities. When an offering is made, it is placed on a special place, usually set aside, like an altar. All of this is for the gods, for the services they provide and for just being in our lives.

  In some of our Blots, we have animal sacrifice. Unlike what most people think of animal sacrifice, it is not cruel or done for reasons of malice and suffering. When we sacrifice something, it is to not only pledge and worship, but to have our own meat and drink as well. What we eat, the gods also eat. Usually the leftover meat that isn’t eaten is thrown in the fire pit and is believed to be transported to our deities. However, animal sacrifice is also a practice which very few do today, as most of us are not farmers or own a plot of land, and so we are incapable of performing such rituals, myself included. However, even if an animal sacrifice is performed, there is great respect for that animal and are treated with care. The animals meant for sacrifice are often cared for gently and appropriately, taken to the doctor for diseases, and kept in a housing facility neatly kept up by the owner. When the time comes for the sacrifice, the animal is quickly put down and is not forced to endure any kind of excess pain. If the animal suffers to much pain or is dealt with in a disgusting manner or kept in a inhospitable environment and given to the gods, it is considered an unacceptable offering. You don’t give a gift to someone when the gift is in bad condition, and that is what animal sacrifice is all about, paying homage to the gods and offering them food to eat at our table as a gift of hospitality. However, other alternatives have been made in place of this practice. Since many of us are not farmers, we usually buy a steak or alcohol or some other beverage or food we think they might like from the store and offer it to the gods instead. Usually the sacrifice or offering is given to nature or burnt up in flames.

Magickal Practices


⦁    Seidr

   Seidr usually involves some form of trance which is used to communicate with specific wights (wights are spirits of some kind, usually associated with nature, but they are different from alfar, which are known as elves but also different from the Jotunar) or deities. Seidr is one of the two known Norse forms of sorcery. Seidr can mean that you are one who enters trance or it can also mean you are a spirit worker or even a spiritwalker. Usually when you enter a trance to speak with a deity, there is no room for ego, it must be removed to allow a form of message to come across to you. Since Seidr involves trance, it makes it more possible for someone to fair forth, or to hamfarir (shapeshifting or astral projection). Seidr acts as a springboard to achieve hamfarir.

  There are several ways to perform Seidr. One way is to sit, use various tools to provide an environment which will induce trance. These tools might be things like: incense, candles, statues of deities, offerings, songs, and chants. Another way is to have a group of people, possibly with those tools and those people chant or sing in unison and provide a “battery” for you to slip into trance, which may also involve a god or a goddess horsing you. (Horsing is a term used to describe deity possession, it has many forms.) Another form might be to fast and wait out in nature or even in your own home, wrapped up completely naked. The purpose of fasting is to allow your body to enter a survival mode which will eventually, within a period of four to five days without food and small amounts of water to bring you to a state of mind that allows you to tap into your most primal instincts and allow for wights or deities to come to you to speak messages to you in one way or another.

  Seidr is a very exhausting practice. It is in no way meant for those who want a safe trip. There can be real danger in Seidr, such as blackouts; not remembering what you have done or where you have been, incapable of controlling your own actions due to fury, or even physical marks left on you by some spiritual vision or even spiritual travel. It is not meant to go yippy skippy along the way down spiritual road to meet your favorite gods and goddesses with no regard of purpose and safety, not to mention that it could lead you into trouble if you’re not welcome in a specific area. Even with animal spirits, you can receive some very negative responses, such as getting attacked through a vision of sorts by a fox and when you come out of it you realize you have a physical rash where you were bitten. (The last statement actually happened to me.)

  Usually this kind of practice is meant for those who feel lead to help others, usually along the lines of traveling worlds or speaking to deities about specific information involving someone else that you’re helping. In many ways it is like a shamanic type of practice, but it is very different and is in no way the exact same. Seidr is powerful and usually combined with some form of galdr magick. (Galdr is a form of Norse sorcery which is used by words to create some form of outcome.) It should in no way be used for fun, the things you do in Seidr can be very real and also very dangerous depending on the circumstances. While it is dangerous, it is a very useful practice when you wish to communicate with deities.

  A person who uses some form of Seidr is usually called a Seidkona if a woman or a Seidmadr if a man. Women were more common in the original use of Seidr and men were usually downed upon and deemed unmanly, because Seidr is a type of sorcery which makes you vulnerable.  To practice Seidr you must remove yourself, and at the same time you might leave your body and fair forth to elsewhere while your body remains immobile. Even if you aren’t fairing forth, the trance allows you to stretch your consciousness outward so you may see other things happening or different visions of sorts without actually leaving your body. You may also receive some form of divine message from these visions or even receive some kind of dialog implanted within you by a specific deity. This dialog may be thoughts of your own or like thoughts of your own with a different “voice” playing in your head. You never hear anything physically, but you usually do mentally if they decide to speak to you.

   I would just like to note that these statements are true in my own personal experience and is no way meant to represent all personal experiences with others who practice Seidr. Seidr is a form of sorcery which I personally practice so that I may yet be closer to my gods and goddesses. I may also use whatever I get from “them” to help others along my journey.

⦁    Rune Casting

  Rune casting is a type of magick associated with runes, usually of the Elder Futhark but also sometimes of the Anglo Saxon Futhorc. Runes are widely known as a powerful divinitory tool that allows us to access the tapestry of wyrd. They can be thrown upon a piece of cloth to perform a reading. Usually whatever runes are face up or next to one another or even on top of one another are seen as part of the reading. The runes have individual meanings and energies, I will not discuss them here because there is far to much information which is seemingly endless.
  Runes are also powerful talismans of many different kinds. Some offer protection and others offer curses or even healing. Generally, the rune one wishes to use is either drawn somewhere or said by its name. Runes have power all on their own, the symbol alone is enough to make changes with our combined intentions. Runes were often used to help in pregnancy and protection of otherworldly forces, such as wights or alfs.
  

The runes at one time were also a language, a set of alphabetical letters different from the english language. The runes today are now used mostly as a form of divination, which is mentioned above. Many heathens still use the runes as the ancestors did. Many of us carve our own sets of runes while others buy them from various stores. There are also various other Norse related staves (sigils or symbols) that are a combination of either runes, usually known as bind-runes or something else entirely.

The Conclusion

   From the differences in paths to magickal practices, each Heathen or Northern Tradition Pagan, is inherently different in our practices. While this is an overview of a basic practice that could be in someone’s practice, it is in no way to represent all forms of Heathenry, every Heathen, or every Northern Tradition Pagan.
  

The practices here are based on my own personal beliefs, combined with various other explanations and beliefs that I felt was appropriate to explain our religion to an outsider. We are in no way, devil worshipers, insane, or craving for attention. The things we do are usually in the intention of getting closer to our gods and expressing our faith in various ways. These are just some of the beliefs and ways of a heathen, which again may not reflect to all of us.

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4,000 Houses for 4,000 Followers: No. 44:

Clandeboye House, Northern Ireland. 

Built in 1801, the eccentric interiors are due to the 19th century traveller/ diplomat owner. 

Photos: mainly Country Life Images. 

An Excellent documentary about it is available on Youtube. 

Health Care Bill Prayer

In this time of need, I call upon you gods for the sake of those like myself, for the sake of those who are in more dire need of your assistance! I call to you!

Odin, god of wisdom, travelers, homeless, magic, and All Father! I call to you! Bring those who share your pain and know your way into a great fortune! Do not let this forsaken healthcare bill pass!

Tyr, god of law and rightful doings, hear me! Do not let this bill health care bill pass! 

Hod, god of the blind and less fortunate, see the pain that is wrought from those who would seek to take your own into the depths of unnecessary death! Do not let this health care bill pass!

Forseti, god of justice and presiding, see the injustice in this health care bill and do not let it pass! 

Thor god of storm and of the common folk, see the pain of the many and less fortunate, protect them in this hour of need!

Skadi oh huntress, give the people your courage and power in this time of great need!

Freya, goddess of magic and warriors, guide us to victory and away from strife, lead us into battle to come out victorious! Do not let this health care bill pass!

Easter traditions in Germany are similar to those in other Christian countries, from the religious commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the Easter bunny. They include: 

Das Osterfeuer. Many Germans, especially in the North, gather around large bonfires on the eve of Easter Sunday. The wood of old Christmas trees and garden debris from the long winter is used for this occasion and collected in one place to be lit. This tradition actually is an old Pagan ritual dating back to before Christ to symbolize the coming of spring, driving out the evil spirits of winter, etc. Back then it was believed that any home or field shone upon by the light of the fire would be protected from sickness and misfortune.

Der Osterhase. The concept of the Easter bunny is believed to have originated in Germany. The first known account of it is found in the 1684 notes of a Heidelberg professor of medicine, where he discusses the ill effects of eating too many Easter eggs. German and Dutch settlers brought the tradition with them to other parts of the world. 

Der Osterfuchs and others. In some parts of Germany, children wait for the Osterfuchs instead of the bunny. They’ll hunt for his yellow eggs on Easter morning which are dyed with onion skins. Other Easter egg deliverers include roosters (Saxony), storks (Thuringia), and chicks. In the past few decades they have become less popular as the bunny has taken over most of the country. 

Der Osterbaum. Beautifully painted Easter eggs are hung on tree branches in a vase in the house or on a tree in the garden. 

Das Osterlamm. There are cakes in the shape of a lamb. Some families might eat actual lamb as well, even though this is not a popular meat in Germany.

Das Osterrad. This custom is practiced in some regions of Northern Germany. Hay is stuffed into a large wooden wheel, then lighted and rolled down a hill at nighttime. A long wooden pole pulled through the wheel’s axle helps it keep its balance. If the wheel reaches all the way to the bottom intact, a good harvest is predicted. The city of Lügde in the Weserbergland prides itself as being the Osterradstadt, since it has followed this tradition yearly for over a 1000 years.

Die Osterspiele. Rolling eggs down a hill and the traditional egg hunts for kids are German customs.

Der Ostermarkt. Similar to Germany’s Weihnachtsmärkte for Christmas, there also are some Ostermärkte with special foods, artisian eggs, and other decor.

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4,000 Houses for 4,000 Followers: No. 74:

Florence Court, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. 

It’s building spans the 18th century, with 3 major periods of construction.

It is now run by the National Trust. 

She looked so sweet from her two white feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I’d to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there
—  Irish folk song

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https://www.etsy.com/shop/Blagowood?ref=l2-shopheader-name§ion_id=21011661#items