pagan families

9

Hereditary Witchcraft 

The term hereditary witchcraft, is given to the witch who has inherited the magic gifts through genealogy. (Sometimes this can skip generations.) These witches are born, usually to a magical family and begin their journey very early in their life. Grimoires are also passed down and are very highly protected. Each family has it’s own unique traditions. Most will stick together as family units rather than covens.

More like this

Cast Iron Blessing/Cleansing Bread

I shared pics of my grandma’s blessing bread last year during the Autumn Equinox and meant to publish the recipe too…just procrastinated awhile.

So. 

Here it is!

It’s a super simple no-hand knead bread!

In my family Pagan tradition growing up, the term “blessing” was interchangeable with “cleansing” and that’s the purpose of this bread- it’s meant to bless/cleanse yourself before a ritual or when you think you’re hanging onto too much negative energy!
Think a deeper purification than a bath- since you’re gonna eat it!

Important magical aspects of this recipe:
-The cast iron skillet itself: iron is good for warding off negative energy and entities. You could make this bread in the oven instead, but keep in mind it’ll be a little less potent (but I understand not everyone has a cast iron skillet large/deep enough for a round of bread!)
-rosemary: a classic herb in witchcraft for purification and cleansing.
-garlic: for protection (and flavor- my grandma fucking loved garlic in pretty much everything)
-sea salt: also for purification and cleansing

The bread itself is meant to be pretty basic because my grandmother thought that would promote the cleansing ability of the three correspondences, but do feel free to slather it in butter or toast some cheese on slices if you like that!

Ingredients:
-1 package dry yeast (I used those easy quick-rise packets because I don’t make bread constantly enough to have a bunch of yeast on hand)
-2 cups warm water (test with the inside of your wrist- if it’s too hot or cold for you, it’s too hot for your yeast! Yeast is a precious baby and must be treated gently!)
-1 tsp sugar (also known as “yeast-food”!)
-½ tbsp kosher salt
-4⅓ cups flour
-¼-½ tsp garlic salt
-dried rosemary (topping)
-sea salt (topping)

Directions:
1.) In a standup mixer (or in a large bowl), combine the packet of yeast, warm water, and bit o’ sugar. Let that yeast hang out in that bath for a bit and eat that yummy sugar until it starts foaming. This is happy yeast. Happy yeast makes happy bread.
2.) In a large bowl, sift together the salt and flour. Now add it to the yeasty water little bits at a time. You can use a dough hook attachment on your mixer or just a tough spoon (wooden is my fav). Be careful to add that flour slowly!

3.) After it’s all combined, cover the dough with a cloth and let it rise for about an hour. You can slip it into a larger bowl of warm water to help it rise if your kitchen is a bit chilly!
4.) Grease the skillet and gently put that delicate dough into it, shaping it to fit (you can use two or three skillets/batches if needed). Cover and let rise for another 30-ish minutes.
5.) Spread some olive oil over the top of the dough and sprinkle with the garlic salt, dried rosemary, and some sea salt if desired (you can skip this if you’re trying to go lower sodium, there’s plenty of salt in the bread and garlic salt to get the benefits!).

6.) Bake at 400 degree oven, in the skillet, for 16-18 minutes or until the top is a golden brown color. I let mine cool in the oven as well (i.e. turn the oven off and leave the skillet in until it’s cool enough to remove without an oven mitt).
7.) Enjoy! Visualize that cleansing energy as you eat it! It’s great for pre or post rituals and offerings!

The Real Real Story of St. Patrick’s Day

We all know the mythology that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Obviously it’s a myth. There were never snakes in Ireland because of the combination of cold climate and being an island.

Most pagans know the story that the snakes are a metaphor for pagans and that St. Patrick ran a convert or kill campaign and ended paganism is Ireland.

Many don’t know that’s also a myth. There’s no evidence that St. Patrick ever killed anyone, and we know for certain that there was still a Celtic pagan population in Ireland after his lifetime.

No, the snake myth probably came about the same way as many myths. People wanted to know why there were no snakes, and someone made up a story to explain it.

The pagan myth came about the same way as many other myths. Partial truth meets political agenda.

St. Patrick did convert a lot of pagans, and no doubt used some questionable means to do so, but there’s no evidence he used violence.

St. Patrick’s Day was originally a celebration of the man who made the single greatest contribution to the Christianization of Ireland. But he was one of many, in a process which took place over a broad span of time. A process which ultimately was not completely effective. Irish Catholicism is full of Celtic pagan imagery and stories, and there are many who claim unbroken pagan family traditions passed down in secret.

Today, the holiday is increasingly secularized, and has become simply a celebration of Irish and Celtic culture. It is my feeling it should be honored as such.

I'm salty here.

There seems to be a lot of censorship in the pagan community. That annoys the fuck out of me. Paganism is partially about having that choice to distance yourself from societal ideologies that you disagree with, whereas something Abrahamic you need to conform to said ideologies. But in those societal groups, and norms, there is communion, and a sense of family. The censorship only goes as far as taking the lord’s name in vain, in Christianity. (Ex. “Jesus Christ!”), but when you’re part of a community that seems to propagate censorship, and political correctness, you can’t say anything that deviates from the societal norm associated, without coming under fire. People can disagree, and be cordial, without getting triggered into the ground, believe it or not. That’s what we call “ freedom of speech ” in non-draconian parts of the world. Let people say what they want, feel free to disagree, but don’t try and censor them. We have mouths, and brains for a reason. If we choose to put our foot into our mouth, so be it. I’m tired of infighting over tiny political disagreements about some social issue. Especially when what seems to be the majority of pagans (anecdotally speaking - AKA, in my personal experience), are hardcore leftists. Believe it or not, Fascism isn’t a rightist belief. It’s neutral. People from either side of the political spectrum can be fascist. Communists? Leftist fascists. Hitler? Believe it or not, he was a leftist fascist (the political spectrum has to do with economics. He was a socialist and communist, and therefore a hard left fascist.) By trying to impede freedom of speech, especially in your own minority community, a community as minority as paganism, you are exhibiting fascist beliefs. Let people be the free thinkers they were meant to be! That paganism once held on a pedestal. Let them vocalise their beliefs. It’s their choice. Not yours.
I apologise for this tirade. Its done now. Sort of. I’m just tired of the infighting and political censorship of a community as marginalised as ours. We should be coming together, be it with fellows of our path, or pagans from many paths. Emulating that abrahamic sense of family, and communion. That isn’t to say that many don’t already. But just as many seem to want to inhibit that freedom of speech, thought and opinion, and drive a wedge, rather than tie a knot. I apologise if this sounds generalising, it isn’t meant to be. I’m well aware that many(if not most) pagans ignore the political aspect, and I try my best. But I’m sick of censorship. Not just in the pagan community (an especially strong sickness of it there though), but in general.

tyrsbiest  asked:

I saw a documentary recently, in which they said, Iceland became Christian basically because Denmark became Christian and imprisoned every Iceland not der on it's soil, sending an ultimatum to Iceland, that they would execute them, if Iceland wouldn't convert. A heathen law man, respected by Christians and Heathens alike, was in the end asked to decide. After some days he decided that Iceland should become Christian by name but in private every Icelander was free to do whatever. Can you confirm?

Sæl vinur,
(Hello friend,)

For the most part, yes, but also not exactly, because we should add a dash of ‘it’s complicated’ just to be safe. Allow me to briefly retell the story:

All of the parts are correct, but the interpretation of all those parts together is up for some debate. After all, documentaries are not exempt from having a bias, and not in the sense of having an agenda, but just because it is simply human nature to have certain inclinations. I suppose it is better to say that the documentary may have made some claims or assumptions that could be seen from various perspectives, and every interpretation is but one perspective out of many. I am finding myself being carried away in a moment of philosophical contemplation, so I digress (my apologies, but, in my defense, those are things we ought to think and talk about).

Anyway, Iceland was indeed pressured by Norway and not exactly Denmark. To be more specific, though, it was King Olaf Tryggvason who truly pressured the Icelanders, especially after his missionary, Thangbrand, returned from there with little success in 999.(1.) After this, the king not only imprisoned Icelanders as hostages (not a ton, mind you), but he also closed off Norwegian ports to Icelandic merchants.(2.) Now this was a big deal. Iceland was an island, after all, which meant that many goods needed to be imported. I would argue that it was not only the pressure from executing hostages that placed an ‘ultimatum’ on Iceland, but the economic strangling that King Olaf placed around their necks.

Yet, there were hostages, and they were the often the “sons and daughters of prominent Icelandic pagans.”(3.) Furthermore, King Olaf did threaten to “maim or kill [them] unless Iceland accepted Christianity.”(4.) Yet, this, as I mentioned above, was not the only force creating pressure. Believe it or not, there were already Christian Icelanders, some of which were fairly prominent, too.(5.) Why would they need to care about someone else’s family members? Unless they had some sort of bonds through kinship, they didn’t. 

There was something else on the line here, though. An aspect of Iceland’s foreign policy was to maintain a good relationship with Norway for two reasons: family and economic ties.(6.) Many Icelanders, whether pagan or Christian, had family in Norway, and therefore would prosper from continued positive relations. Furthermore, as already mentioned, Norway was Iceland’s major trading partner, and a falling through would be devastating on the economic front.

As for the “heathen law man,” his name was Thorgeir Thorkelsson, a chieftain (goði) from the farm of Ljósavatn in the Northern Quarter.(7) Most of what the documentary seems to have said pans out to be true, although his motives are, you guessed it, up for debate. Various accounts do agree, though, that he was indeed the Lawspeaker to make this decision.(8.) Here is an account from Njal’s Saga:

“Thorgeir lay for a whole day with a cloak spread over his head, and no one spoke to him. The next day people went to the Law Rock; Thorgeir asked for silence and spoke: ‘It appears to me that our affairs will be hopeless if we don’t all have the same law, for if the law is split then peace will be split, and we can’t live with that. Now I want to ask the heathens and the Christians whether they are willing to accept the law that I proclaim.’” 

They all assented to this. Thorgeir said that he wanted oaths from them and pledges that they would stick by them. They assented to this, and he took pledges from them.

‘This will be the foundation of our law,’ he said, ‘that all men in this land are to be Christians and believe in one God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and give up all worship of false idols, the exposure of children, and the eating of horse meat. Three years’ outlawry will be the penalty for open violations, but if these things are practiced in secret, there shall be no punishment.’

All of these heathen practices were forbidden a few years later, so that they could neither be practiced openly nor in secret.” (9.)

He was indeed a heathen, and he did, as illustrated above, for some unknown reason, deem that Iceland should adopt Christianity. It is also true that heathen practices were allowed afterwards, but not indefinitely. In Ari Thorgeirsson’s Íslendingabók, he says this about what happened afterwards:

“And he (Thorgeir Thorkelsson) brought his speech to a close in such a way that both sides agreed that everyone should have the same law, the one he decided to proclaim. It was then proclaimed in the laws that all people should be Christian, and that those in this country who had not yet been baptised should receive baptism; but the old laws should stand as regards the exposure of children and the eating of horse-flesh. People had the right to sacrifice in secret, if they wished, but it would be punishable by the lesser outlawry if witnesses were produced. And a few years later, these heathen provisions were abolished, like the others.” (10.)

So, given that account, people were “free to do whatever,” but only during this period of transition. Now, we may enter the realm of reasonable probability, but that, of course, comes with its limitations. Still, we can assume that it was quite possible that people still remained heathen for quite some time, yet this would have been difficult, mainly due to social pressures. It may have been more likely that some families retained their heathen traditions in somewhat of a hybrid religious state, in which they worshipped both Christ and the old gods. This was actually not unheard of. In Landnámabók, the Icelandic Book of Settlements, a man named Helgi the Lean is described as such:

“Helgi’s faith was very much mixed: he believed in Christ but invoked Thor when it came to voyages and difficult times.” (11.)


My final judgement is to say that this documentary was correct, of course, but not an ‘absolute truth’ on the matter. Besides there not being such a thing as an ‘absolute truth’, especially in regards to history, the documentary only provided one telling of a complicated tale; there were quite a few complications likely not discussed in the documentary. 

After all, there was more going on behind the scenes back when King Olaf was taking hostages. Furthermore, although Thorgeir allowed heathens to continue practice, this was only a temporary condition. Yet, even so, we do not truly know the reality that was in place. All we have are generalized accounts that tell us the ideal or legal standpoints. Let us not forget, either, that these very sources were written by the ‘winning’ party. As I said when I began this post, we all have a bias, whether we like it or not. There is no shame in this, but it must be known to properly handle the sources that we are given.

My advice, then, is to understand that documentaries, and even many works of academia, often only grant you one version of the story. Even the version I have told above leaves out certain details that honestly need consideration. Still, the documentary was not wrong, but there are always many levels of intricacy that truly need consideration before we can fully understand any given situation. 

Anyway, I truly am grateful that you asked this question. It was a pleasure to respond to it, and I do hope that you and many other prospers from my insights.

Með vinsemd og virðingu,
(With kindness and respect,)
Fjörn


FOOTNOTES:

1. Jesse L. Byock, Viking Age Iceland. (London: Penguin Books, 2001), 299.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. I could talk about this for quite a while, but it would take us further from the question at hand than we ought to wander, at least for the time being.

6. Byock, 299.

7. Ibid., 300.

8. Ari Thorgeirsson’s Íslendingabók, chapter 7, and Njal’s Saga, chapter 105, give good accounts of this, and arguably with slightly different motives.

9. Robert Cook trans., Njal’s Saga, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders, vol. III, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder. (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 127-8. (Chapter 105, pages 180-1 in the Penguin edition)

10. Ari Thorgeirsson, The Book of the Icelanders: Íslendingabók, translated by Siân Grønlie, edited by Anthony Faulkes and Alison Finlay. (London: University College London, 20016), 9. (Chapter 7)

11. Hermann Pálsson and Paul Edwards trans., The Book of Settlements: Landnámabók. (repr., 1972; Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press, 2012), 97. (Chapter 218)

Finally finished my witch’s ladder/mediation rosary!

Descendants of Eve

Paper collage by Annalynn Hammond (Sold)

I lied! And today’s Easter, aaaaaaaa-! Turned out I had to help prepare things yesterday for today, and had no time. I’ll also have no time today ._.

How about I don’t plan things and just like, post when I’m actually free, cause when I plan a schedule everything has to happen on top of the schedule I made.