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Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.



HOW YEW DOIN

Disclaimer

This thread is for asking and learning about ancient norse culture and religion, primarily from a neutral religious standpoint and for learning about historical heathen religion. While I also know a lot about contemporary norse pagan communities and practices, and will happily talk about these, this is primarily for mature, academic questions about these beliefs. Hecklers and babbys first atheism chucklefucks will be ignored and reported without exception - other folks in the field and practicing heathens are very welcome to contribute!


Basics

Old Norse faith is the signifier for a distinct kind of faith that developed when the north germanic peoples (also known as Scandinavians!) coalesced as their own distinct culture, probably as early as the proto-norse period, in the first centuries CE. We will use the term ‘heathen’ for reasons of proprietry, while many call it norse paganism this is a holdover from christianity, and ‘heathenry’ is more usually used in academia to describe both old norse faith and the reconstructed norse faith practiced today.


(Brynhilde offering Siegfried a prayer towards the day, a modern representation of a much older pagan motif of the woman priest initiating the hero in deeper mysteries)

All transmitted through oral culture rather than organized religious bodies, we know a lot less than what we’d like - but what do we know? Well, for one thing, it was polytheistic (duh), entailing the worship of many different gods and goddesses. Established tradition divides these into the Aesir (of which the best known are Thor and Odin), and the Vanir - worshipped through a heavy focus on ritualistic sacrifice, and participated in on many levels, from small sacrifices made by a single family to keep things running smoothly, to massive gatherings in especially sacred locations that were considered essential to the further working of civic society and the future of the world itself. There are good arguments to be made that most worshippers devoted themselves to one god above the others, something modern reconstructionist pagans do as well.

Central terms here are vé (also “vi” and “vig”), meaning ‘sacred’. If something ends on vé in old norse, we’re usually talking about a temple or other sacred place. Place names in Scandinavia often reveal this word somewhere. Odense, the third largest city in Denmark, is from ‘Odin’s Ve’, and Ishøj, where I used to work, is “The Young Ve (a kenning for Frej)’s Mound”. It is related to vígja, which means ‘to bless’. Another is ‘blót’, both a verb meaning ‘to sacrifice’ and a noun indicating the sacred ritual wherein sacrifice is given to the gods.


The Aesir

The principle and most famous pantheon in the heathen belief system, the aesir (singular form: Óss) include the Allfather Odin, Thor the Thunder God, as well as Friggr, Baldr, Týr for certain. I say for certain, because sources tend to sometimes disagree on whether a given diety is member of the aesir, Vanir or something else entirely. Also, since the Vanir were subsumed into the Aesir after the Aesir-Vanir war of the gods, they are often also called aesir.

The Aesir are more well known, but are most likely to have entered veneration the latest - while Odin definitely was known and worshipped in some places earlier, his chief status and aspect as King of Gods (and, more importantly, God of Kings) first popped up after the Migration period, where power settled into local chieftainrics who needed to establish a hierarchy backed by a divine mandate.

Apart from having some heavy hitters among their number, what can we say about the aesir? Well, one persistent theory equates them with civilization and towns. Their spiritual portfolios are often dominating chaos and evil, waging formal war and upholding law and custom - this can be weighed out by considering the Vanir (more on them below) a representation of nature, and so the chaotic and undomesticated forces of creation. Again, we don’t know enough to be sure about what ancient Scandinavians thought here, but it’s a sound speculative theory, considering the Vanirs association with elves, disír and jotunn. But we get ahead of ourselves!


(the Danish Snoldelev runestone, possibly depicting the power of Thor)


The Vanir

A group of gods associated with nature, fertility, wisdom, and the ability to see the future. The Vanir number, among others, Frej and Freja, Njord and Kvasir. Heimdal and Ullr may be Vanir as well, but this is not clearly documented.

Worshipped earlier than the Aesir, the Vanir had to see their way of life threatened by the Aesir (possibly because of actual worshippers entering and displacing believers in the Vanir physically in the distant past), and the two pantheons went to war, eventually ending in a truce that saw the Aesir win, and take hostages from the Vanir, as well as intermarrying with them to cement an alliance with them from then on.

The Vanir, as said, are earlier than the Aesir, and are clearly a product of worshipping the earth and prior fertility deities. Frej and Freja are clearly connected to the soil and grain, and we know that prior to the vanir, people instead worshipped a dried and cured horse penis, so yeah.. That’s how we scandinavians roll

There’s a great deal of overlap between these entities and the denizens of the other worlds in heathenry - Frej, a vanir, is also known to be the lord of light, a kenning for king of alfr (light-elves), and Freja is known in kennings as Vanadís (“Dísir of the Vanir” - a disír being a type of spirit associated with the dead.


A world of spirit(s): Land Elves, Giants, Zombies, and so on

Heathenry involved a holistic spiritual worldview, and had the original practitioners not been converted or killed we would probably see a thriving animism as can be seen in other indigenous peoples like native Sibirian, Saami or First Nation groups. What we can say with certainty is the worship, or at least propitiation, of váttir, 'land wights’. Also known as pixies, brownies or knockers elsewhere, they’re a kind of spirit intimately tied to the farmstead and/or home. Like the gods, the land wight was offered sacrifice, to keep the spirit happy and ready to offer assistance - if a land wight was displeased, it might break tools, strike animals or humans sick or, at worst, leave and take it’s helpful powers with it. Leaving out milk and cookies for Santa is a direct continuation of this practice from Scandinavian immigrants to America!


(shoemaker wights doing a mischief, as portrayed in a collection of Grimm Brothers tales)

Heathens had many different ideas on what the afterlife entailed, and at least one was returning as the angry dead if you were treated badly in life. Another way to get a zombie is breaking into a burial mound and/or stealing grave goods.

In general, observing custom and giving proper sacrifice is thought to be enough to keep things going well, but if not, you needed a magic-worker to mediate. This, while some of the most exciting about norse history, is also some of the least well understood. From the sagas and certain chronicles, we know that the magic of the gods was also used by humans, usually known either as vølva or seidr-workers. While the former were always women, the latter could be men, though it should be noted that magic was usually considered ‘unmanly’ and a great deal of stigma was attached to those who practiced it in the middle ages.

The 'Jotunn' (sometimes erroneously called 'giants' in translation) are also part of this cosmology. Large stones and hills that look like human figures were thought to be Jotunn, and if large rocks were found near christian churches folks assumed jotnar had thrown them there, as they dislike the new faith.

The sagas give a bunch of examples of how heroes and gods use the runes and seidr, but as mentioned these are not real good historical sources. There’s a gently caress-ton of new age folks claiming they have ‘researched’ ‘rune-magic’ or ‘seidr’, but it’s all a grift. I would look up either Einar Selvik or Jackson Crawford on the matter, as they are the most exciting sources for the internal and external approach to the matter respectively.


”Ásatru” and Modern Heathenry

People today worship the norse gods, and it’s a movement that is growing rapidly. I am part of it, though I’d appreciate questions being directly mainly at the either traditional heathenry or the neo-heathenry movement in general, as the last guy who made a thread got bogged down in dumb anti-religion screeds. This is the view from without, not “I am heathen, AMA” - respectful questions will be answered, everything else ignored.

In short:

1. Modern heathens do NOT “practice the religion of the vikings”. The rituals are made up of whole cloth going on very vague clues from archeological and historical documents. The religion was originally orally transmitted, and all we know are from the sagas. The sagas are, for a variety of reasons, NOT historically accurate sources. Our last priests died over 1000 years ago, and the sagas and chronicles that do talk about the old ways are recounted through layers of embellishments, christian authors and plain misinformation.


(Logo of the Icelandic heathen association, founded 1972)

2. Yes, it’s an actual religion, and tens of thousands worldwide get named, married and buried in it’s congregation. If worshipping Thor makes less sense to an observer than worshipping Jesus, it’s probably a cultural bias. That it’s reconstructed because it’s worship was banned means that it’s a reconstructionist religion, and there’s no real dogma. Some folks believe in the norse gods as Jungian archetypes to better themselves with, others swear trolls are real and their friends. One can find one’s own depth. This also tends to make it weird, and that brings us to..

3. Yes, it’s crawling with nazis. Before the modern reconstruction fellowships chugged along in the 90s, the only vocal heathen groups in the US and Europe were inbred biker gangs who couldn’t read a saga to save their life, and ideological nazis who crafted a religion known as ‘odinism’ which is basically toxic christian male worship without having to have a jew god, spiced up with völkisch claptraps written by actual nazis in the 1910s. I’d say, on a whole, worldwide, there are more nazis than not, but it really depends on how you define heathenry. If one must have a basic knowledge of textual sources and a religious practice aside from drinking beer and burning crosses, there are probably a lot less.


Subjects I know about and related good stories

The 12 or so afterlives in norse heathenry, and how to get there

Yeah, Loki kind of did get boned by a horse. His child is now the steed of Odin.

Jotunn/Giants - Bad guys or part of the family?

The completely batshit conversion of Iceland


What does a modern asatru/heathen ritual look like, and why?

How human needs turned Odin from a rando local deity into both God of Kings and the King of Gods.

I also have a basic knowledge about runic alphabets, ‘magic’ bindrunes and the various kinds of magic use in the sagas.

Tias fucked around with this message at 18:56 on Apr 1, 2020

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Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

I guess my question, or first question would be, why heathenry? Like you said, the religion is reconstructionist and not the same as the religion that the ancient Scandanavians practiced. It's not an old tradition passed down, its modern. So, when it was set up, why did the original practitioners decide they were going to do it? When they did decide to do it, were they concerned that it might get conflated with the old Norse religion? Or did they want it to be conflated with the old Norse religion?

WrenP-Complete
Jul 27, 2012



Thanks for making this thread! I'm sure I'll have questions as we go on.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



First off, thanks to Tias for making this thread. It's neat as hell.

Second off, I just want to emphasize that this is a modern religion based, like many, on ancient practices and as such people will be posting in this thread who are devout believers. Please be respectful of that. There is a line between asking honest questions about a faith that is not your own to learn about it and educate yourself and mocking the beliefs of others. I don't think it's going to be a big issue, but it's something to stay aware of.

zonohedron
Aug 14, 2006




Do one's ancestors play a role in the propitiation/worship/veneration/verb of spirits? If so, do modern heathens encounter ancestors who are annoyed that they're not (or not still) Christian?

How does modern heathenry view the eclectic "I live in Wyoming and my ancestors are from Germany and I worship Odin and Isis" sort of neopagan?

And, of course, please tell us more about "The completely batshit conversion of Iceland" :popcorn:

Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

zonohedron posted:


How does modern heathenry view the eclectic "I live in Wyoming and my ancestors are from Germany and I worship Odin and Isis" sort of neopagan?

I can answer this one since this is the space in heathenry that surrounds me. It is outwardly accepted. One of the people in the large organization I belong to claims to work with the acheulian mother goddess. She also rolls with Loki and Frey(Tias spelled Frej). There are many folk that mix pantheons. On one hand it makes sense. In the olde times each village and region would have a different set of gods they venerated over others and there would be bleed-over with neighbors. On the other hand it can lead to some seemingly bizarre altars.

They are as legitimate as anyone else at the end of the day and there are only 2 commandments.
1) You are doing it wrong.
2) You aren't my dad!

*Edit: rephrasing to not be an rear end in a top hat.

Bhurak fucked around with this message at 20:08 on Feb 13, 2020

Notorious AGP
Dec 10, 2019


The title alludes to cross-dressing, but there's nothing about it in the OP. Since I'm a tran, I'm curious: What references, if any, are there to cross-dressing in the lore of Heathenry?

Mr Enderby
Mar 28, 2015



How do Heathens view the sagas? Are they just used as sources of information about rituals, or do they have their own place in the faith. What about the Eddas?

What's your favourite saga? I love Grettis Saga.

Chip McFuck
Jul 24, 2007

We droppin' like a comet and this Vulcan tried to Spock it/These Martians tried to do it, but knew they couldn't cop it

Notorious AGP posted:

The title alludes to cross-dressing, but there's nothing about it in the OP. Since I'm a tran, I'm curious: What references, if any, are there to cross-dressing in the lore of Heathenry?

Not involved in the religion, but there are a few references to cross-dressing in the Edda and some of the other sagas/myths. Thor dressed as Freya to get his hammer back and Odin dressed as a medicine woman to gain access to Rindr's bedchamber and surprise sex her. Hervor dressed as a man and went on a quest to find her father's cursed sword, Tyrfing. There are a couple others like Hagbard and Frotho I, but I don't think those have much of the original text remaining so there is a lot that isn't known about their stories. I'm sure someone will expand on these as there is probably plenty I'm forgetting.

OP, I'm curious what heathenism is doing to combat the co-opting of Norse symbols by racists. Do you find it difficult to attract new members/be open about your religion because of that?

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Would raising a runestone be something that you do in a community now, or is it considered more of an "old time" heathenry thing?

Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

Josef bugman posted:

Would raising a runestone be something that you do in a community now, or is it considered more of an "old time" heathenry thing?

Quick post because it's funny

https://m.imgur.com/gallery/1Kk0Q

Crossdressing because it's also quick: it was mentioned but the best example is Thryms lay. It's also an example of what a wedding may have looked like.

The Nazi question is a longer one.

Shaddak
Nov 13, 2011



Small question about runes, if anyone knows the history of them. How far back is there evidence for use of the futhark?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Is there much separation of gender roles in the priest/ritual roles in heathenry, either formally or in your experience? ie some roles or rituals require a male/male-identified-or-presenting ritualist, some require female, etc.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


First off, thank you for all your interest! I appreciate the questions.

Epicurius posted:

I guess my question, or first question would be, why heathenry? Like you said, the religion is reconstructionist and not the same as the religion that the ancient Scandanavians practiced. It's not an old tradition passed down, its modern. So, when it was set up, why did the original practitioners decide they were going to do it? When they did decide to do it, were they concerned that it might get conflated with the old Norse religion? Or did they want it to be conflated with the old Norse religion?

Well, for a variety of reasons, really. I think it really rode kind of a new wave energy where modern people on an individualist (or collectivist!) kick were getting sick of organized religion and the conflict and control it can bring. Heathenry in particular has an appeal to critics of christianity, I think, because there's a (more or less untrue) sense that our countries got converted to christ at the tip of a spear-point. In Denmark, many of the original core came out of an esotericist milieu (think hermetics and satanists), who realized the deity they were attracted to all along was Odin. As said, some also don't give a poo poo about the actual theology and join because their particuar lack of historical knowledge makes them think it's an anti-christian and anti-immigrant movement.

A lot of reconstructionists definitely believe they are following an unbroken faith from the iron age scandinavians and up until know. It's the same gods, after all! Ancestor worship is an important part of heathenry, and so many heathens consider it a serious obligation to continue the old ways, as they understand them. From Wikipedia, which I think gives a good overview (emphasis mine):

quote:

Some Heathens seek out common elements found throughout Germanic Europe during the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages, using those as the basis for their contemporary beliefs and practices.[15] Conversely, others draw inspiration from the beliefs and practices of a specific geographical area and chronological period within Germanic Europe, such as Anglo-Saxon England or Viking Age Iceland.[15] Some adherents are deeply knowledgeable as to the specifics of Northern European society in the Iron Age and Early Medieval periods,[16] however for most practitioners their main source of information about the pre-Christian past is fictional literature and popular accounts of Norse mythology.[17] Many express a romanticized view of this past,[18] sometimes perpetuating misconceptions about it;[19] the sociologist of religion Jennifer Snook noting that many practitioners "hearken back to a more epic, anachronistic, and pure age of ancestors and heroes".[20]

The anthropologist Murphy Pizza suggests that Heathenry can be understood as an "invented tradition".[21] As the religious studies scholar Fredrik Gregorius states, despite the fact that "no real continuity" exists between Heathenry and the pre-Christian belief systems of Germanic Europe, Heathen practitioners often dislike being considered adherents of a "new religion" or "modern invention" and thus prefer to depict theirs as a "traditional faith".[22] Many practitioners avoid using the scholarly, etic term "reconstructionism" to describe their practices,[23] preferring to characterize it as an "indigenous religion" with parallels to the traditional belief systems of the world's indigenous peoples.[24] In claiming a sense of indigeneity, some Heathens—particularly in the United States—attempt to frame themselves as the victims of Medieval Christian colonialism and imperialism.[25] A 2015 survey of the Heathen community found equal numbers of practitioners (36%) regarding their religion as a reconstruction as those who regarded it as a direct continuation of ancient belief systems; only 22% acknowledged it to be modern but historically inspired, although this was the dominant interpretation among practitioners in Nordic countries.[26]

I hope that answers your questions, otherwise please restate them!


zonohedron posted:

Do one's ancestors play a role in the propitiation/worship/veneration/verb of spirits? If so, do modern heathens encounter ancestors who are annoyed that they're not (or not still) Christian?

How does modern heathenry view the eclectic "I live in Wyoming and my ancestors are from Germany and I worship Odin and Isis" sort of neopagan?

And, of course, please tell us more about "The completely batshit conversion of Iceland" :popcorn:

Today? Not necessarily, but it definitely happens. Many who practice seidr and sooth-saying or shamanist work, know or come to realize they have had family members who had the same gift of mediumship. In iron age heathenry, definitely, yes. It was a holistic view where you had to both make sure you treated your ancestors right, and your house vætte right, because either would probably start throwing around bad luck if you didn't respect the order of things. However, there was probably still a distinction (as there is today) between regular heathens who made sacrifice and attended great blots to keep their lives blessed and well-oiled, and the specific mediums who cross into the spirit world and talk directly to ancestors and spirits.

The answer to the second question is that 'modern heathenry' is so colossal and heterogenous a movement that there is no one answer. Many groups are open to wiccans/hermetics/vodoun who worship one or two norse deities but don't subscribe to any traditional heathen practices, particularly in the USA - but I also know a norwegian traditional pagan who also propitiates Kali. You can get the whole gamut from groups who are only for white men who worship Odin to the queer folx who embody Lakshmi and Loki by riding Shambhala at the same time. To each their own, and I must emphasize clearly that there is not one, unified Ásatru with religious leadership and strictly codified practices.

I can only speak for myself when I think it's a bit confusing to me why someone would worship both Odin and Isis, unless maybe if you're Danish-Egyptian and really intent on dual-classing, but it definitely happens.

I'm in a bit of a jam with school and work, but I'll get to Iceland soon!


Notorious AGP posted:

The title alludes to cross-dressing, but there's nothing about it in the OP. Since I'm a tran, I'm curious: What references, if any, are there to cross-dressing in the lore of Heathenry?

Odin the Allfathers thing is to wander the nine worlds in disguise, most of the god-sagas has him doing exactly that, and several accounts has him cross-dressing to do so. Loki engages in flyting with Odin at one point, claiming he dressed as a women and practiced magic (this is deserving of a longer post about 'unmanliness' in norse sagas, magic use is specifically considered an 'unmanly' (and thus very bad) thing to do for a man, which is why seidr and other sorcery is left to women and outlaws. In another account from Saxo Grammaticus, we know Odin dressed as a maid of the princess Rindr in order to get close enough to bed her.

More famously, Thor disguises himself as a woman in order to retrieve the hammer Mjølner, as part of a larger caper where the hammer-thief Udgårdsloke demands to be married to the vanir goddess Freja before returning it. I won't say cross-dressing is -central- to the lore, but in general the heathen sagas and mythology is pretty queer, and it's not a coincidence that a lot of trans and LBQ people are attracted to the reconstructionist faith today.


Mr Enderby posted:

How do Heathens view the sagas? Are they just used as sources of information about rituals, or do they have their own place in the faith. What about the Eddas?

What's your favourite saga? I love Grettis Saga.

Again, it varies quite a lot - but all sagas are used as inspiration to some degree in nearly all groups. The eddas in particular, since that's where we get some of the most important information about the gods and cosmology (particularly the Vøluspa).

My favorite is also the saga of Grettir the Strong! He's quite the goon. Fun fact, the 'hallowing of peace' in my heathen group, a ritual where we charge everyone to keep the peace during a ritual or gathering, is lifted more or less directly from Grettir. I tease them a little about it, since the (later-era, christian) author is clearly chewing the scenery with an exaggerated, overly formal magic oath, but it's all good.

We'll also often read a story from the sagas during blót ceremonies. Tjasse donning the falcon-skin and being set afire, leading the marriage of Skadí and Njord, is a perennial favorite.


Chip McFuck posted:

OP, I'm curious what heathenism is doing to combat the co-opting of Norse symbols by racists. Do you find it difficult to attract new members/be open about your religion because of that?

Eh, might as well dive in: We're doing everything we can, but we can't directly influence either the racists or the public, as there are few formal and state-sanctioned heathen groups - in Denmark, we have the singular misfortunate that our oldest and largest, state-sanctioned, heathen organization is now run by racists - and they have had luck convincing their (numerous, non-racist) members that people who call them racists are just communist agitators - even when presented with clear evidence.

I've never had any problems with folks thinking I'm racist because of my heathen faith( well, outside terminally online places like C-Spam). Our problem resides largely with the fact that my blót guild is explicitly anti-racist, and as much as every 10th member we attract is strongly racist anyway and have to be thrown out.


Josef bugman posted:

Would raising a runestone be something that you do in a community now, or is it considered more of an "old time" heathenry thing?

Yes, on occasion! It happens in our heathen graveplace on the island of Fyn if the deceased is loaded, but all heathens in Denmark also raised a large stone in Jelling back in 2006, next to the famous Jelling Stones. Here's a picture of stone and plaque:




(lit.
"The group Forn Sidr ("old ways") set this stone
to praise
the men and women
who once again
bound a thread
to the powers
of the old ways")


Shaddak posted:

Small question about runes, if anyone knows the history of them. How far back is there evidence for use of the futhark?

Uh, that's a hard one. I'm not really good with the history, but I'd hazard from between 200 to 1600 for the elder futhark. Strictly speaking, folks still uses forms of the younger futhark today, and variations of that came into being around 900.

Nessus posted:

Is there much separation of gender roles in the priest/ritual roles in heathenry, either formally or in your experience? ie some roles or rituals require a male/male-identified-or-presenting ritualist, some require female, etc.

Again, there are most definitely groups who think this, but there's no real argument to do so with basis in reconstructionist heathenry. In the blots there are four people who represent gods and goddesses, but you don't have to be male to represent a god or female to represent a goddess, it's more about intent and desire to connect with that deity.

As I wrote about a little earlier, seidr-workers and vølvas (a dedicated augurer, probably a shaman) were always either women in original heathenry, or else they practiced in secret, on pain of scorn, ostracism and outlawry. Some groups of a more esoteric bent definitely consider the sexes more useful for different roles, like how women should tell the future and lift curses.

Tias fucked around with this message at 10:32 on Mar 19, 2020

Mr Enderby
Mar 28, 2015



Tias posted:

My favorite is also the saga of Grettir the Strong! He's quite the goon.

I always say it's like a reverse Don Quixote. He's trying to live like an amoral warrior poet in an age of Christian morality.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


Sure, but he's also super non-plussed whenever people express any kind of normal emotional reaction towards him. It's kind of endearing in the end!

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Thanks Bhurak and Tias.

Is there lot of spinning to reach the Gods, ecstatic dances that sort of thing, or is that a different sub-set of heathenry.

Could you talk a little more about the ideas of gender in past Nordic worship, as well as in current heathenry if you have the time/inclination.

Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

Josef bugman posted:

Is there lot of spinning to reach the Gods, ecstatic dances that sort of thing, or is that a different sub-set of heathenry.

Could you talk a little more about the ideas of gender in past Nordic worship, as well as in current heathenry if you have the time/inclination.

On this side of the pond the new sex seems to be voluntary possession or 'horsing' where you let one of the gods take over for a bit. Came out of past practice of using ecstatic trances to contact the norns. The book in question is this one by Diana Paxson.. It's more of a group activity since sometimes people have difficulty coming out of it. Brains are weird yo. This is a personal account of possession.. It will probably raise more questions than answers.

Generally most folk don't go that far. The runes are the most common method and the gods talk to whoever they want. It is often arbitrary but there is a sense to it.

As far as gender in past worship the short answer is we don't know a lot. There are hints in accounts of gender bending priests but yeah. When the church stamps, they stamp hard. My Catholic priest friend when we were younger often joked "When was the last time you heard if an albagensian(sp?)?". In the circles I run in it doesn't matter. I think if I sat down and counted there are actually more prominent female than male godspeople. Oh, that's a thing too. There is currently a push to make a gender neutral name for clergy. Currently it's Gothi/Gythja or Godsman/Godswoman. Likely the Norse words will be dropped.

I'm actually curious what folk do in Europe in regards to the ecstatic practices.

BattyKiara
Mar 17, 2009


Interesting thread, thanks for starting it.

To what extent are the Norse gods and godesses aspects of the same deity vs different entities?

While everyone has heard of the famous ones, like Thor and Freya, are there any lesser known deities you think need a comeback?

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






BattyKiara posted:


While everyone has heard of the famous ones, like Thor and Freya, are there any lesser known deities you think need a comeback?

There's Brage the of god poetry who might be based on a real person called Brage Boddason who was the earliest skaldic poet we know of. He was married to Idunn who kept the gods eternal young by giving them her golden apples. In Norway there's a ketchup brand named after her.

There was also a norwegian search engines named after the wisest god of them all, Kvasir. When the vanir and aesir made peace they signed the deal by spitting in a vat. Not letting good spit go to waste the gods then made Kvasir out of it. The dwarfs Fjalar and Galar killed Kvasir and mead out of his blood, everyone who drank this mead became master poets. Odin then stole the mead, who was by then owned by Suttungr, by swallowing it and turning into an eagle. Suttungr chased after Odin and in order to escape Odin had to piss out some of the mead. Thus, all the good poets were said to have sipped of Kvasir's mead and all the lovely ones were said to have drunken Odin's piss.

People also seems to forget that Odin had two brothers named Vilje and Ve. When humans were created Vilje gave them intelligence and Ve gave them speech. When Odin were away they ruled in his stead and also, according to Loke, bedded his wife.

The vikings also believed in different afterlives. Vikings who drowned at sea went to Ran who was the wife of Ægir who was a sea jotun. Half of the slain in a battlefield went to Fólkvangr which were Freyja's place:
Fôlkvang is the ninth, there Freyia directs
the sittings in the hall.
She half the fallen chooses each day,
but Odin th' other half.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


Josef bugman posted:

Thanks Bhurak and Tias.

Is there lot of spinning to reach the Gods, ecstatic dances that sort of thing, or is that a different sub-set of heathenry.

Could you talk a little more about the ideas of gender in past Nordic worship, as well as in current heathenry if you have the time/inclination.

I will hopefully have more time in the future, but in short:

A central concept from the sagas and eddas are argr (adjective, meaning "craven", "cowardly" or "useless") and ergi (noun, meaning "unmanliness"). We learn, especially from Ynglingasaga and Heimskringla, that Odin is a user of 'seidr', which has an unmistakable unwholesome air - in fact, the sagas talk so ill of those who 'carry seidr' that it used to be translated into 'black magic', though the analysis has since become more nuanced. Anyway, it is the province of women, and Odin is only given a pass because he is so good at it that he force-chokes anyone who criticizes it. He is the greatest sorcerer in the world, and you really can't be on the bad side of someone like that.

Women are allowed to practice it without repercussions, because you really need a magic midwife if your child won't come and earls and kings need their auguries told, but if a man does it he is specifically 'ergi', and of no account, even less worth than a women or slave in fact. We know from the aforementioned sagas that becoming one who carries seidr involves sexual passivity, possibly in a ritual context - and so, it's fine for priestesses and goddesses, but not for a man, as being homosexual is ergi, and so strongly frowned upon. The carving of magical rune combinations, and singing of galdrs, magic songs, are also forms of magic, but appears to have been not ergi and so acceptable for men to practice.

This is one of the reasons LGBT folks (myself included) are attracted to both seidr and the norse gods - if this was the iron ages, we might have been put to death, but at least the gods would favour our learning magic to protect ourselves with. Today, the picture is a lot different. Thankfully much of the heathen world has moved into the modern world and don't give a poo poo what you identify as or who you have sex with, but of course all the folkish and nazi currents strongly support the anti-modernist narrative that only toxic masculinity (and leaving the magic to women, or rejecting it entirely) is the acceptable interpretation.

BattyKiara posted:

Interesting thread, thanks for starting it.

To what extent are the Norse gods and godesses aspects of the same deity vs different entities?

While everyone has heard of the famous ones, like Thor and Freya, are there any lesser known deities you think need a comeback?

You're welcome!

One of the most popular gods in my guild, that is very little known outside the faith is Ejr or Eir. She is the goddess of healing, which checks out since many of our members are either psychically or physically ill, and most are up in age. She is known to have 'healing hands', and is a fount of knowledge of the herbs and medicines needed to live a long and healthy life.

An interesting thing to notice here is that she MIGHT actually be Freja, but one popular stump of saga describes her as a Disír or Valkyrie, "sitting at the knee of Shines-With-Jewelry (Freja)", a retainer or household goddess in Frejas house. To answer your other question, a lot of Gods are definitely numerous gods and deities who have been rolled into one in more modern times. Tyr and Odin are almost certainly in this category.

Another popular deity that isn't much mentioned in the sagas or popular culture is Forsete, the good of common sense, justice and education, whom we often implore to help both ourselves and others.

Bhurak posted:

As far as gender in past worship the short answer is we don't know a lot. There are hints in accounts of gender bending priests but yeah. When the church stamps, they stamp hard. My Catholic priest friend when we were younger often joked "When was the last time you heard if an albagensian(sp?)?". In the circles I run in it doesn't matter. I think if I sat down and counted there are actually more prominent female than male godspeople. Oh, that's a thing too. There is currently a push to make a gender neutral name for clergy. Currently it's Gothi/Gythja or Godsman/Godswoman. Likely the Norse words will be dropped.

I'm actually curious what folk do in Europe in regards to the ecstatic practices.

That's cool! We kept gode and gydje, but in our last general assembly neutralized all trustee titles (from ealdorman to ealderperson, from writer lad to writer and from cash master to cash trustee!

I will maintain that the examples you give of possession are examples of "Unverified Personal Gnosis" and so examples of people using their modern magical practice to get answers from spirits and gods about how they should practice - which is perfectly fine and also done by many reconstructionists (myself included), it's just not strictly speaking reconstructionist heathenry.

Tias fucked around with this message at 14:22 on Feb 15, 2020

Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

Could be considered verified? Done in a group setting by many people with consistent results? Tias and tldr short explanation at the end.

Either way it's not strictly reconstructionist. On this side of the pond heavy reconstructionist focus is typically associated with folkish heathenry. We also don't have a landscape marked by the gods. We took someone else's. The heavy hitters from the revival over here came from or were heavily influenced by Wicca and Satanism. Read anything by Edred Thorsson or Kvedulfr Gundarsson. Or don't. That's a better choice. This has led to what I can only imagine are different flavours of the same religion which is as it should be, really. Even here in Canada each province has its own feel. There is a lot more experimentation. Which means since so much was lost we can fill in the gaps with what works and toss what doesn't.

This has also led to some cringe. One of the often used pieces of ritual is the hammer rite which was adapted from the Wicca calling of the quarters. When I was writing the ritual for my wedding I asked Freyr what he thought of the hammer rite and he responded with the equivalent of a wet fart.

Thankfully the last decade or so has had some much more scholarly influence and some of the worst bits are being slowly removed to be replaced with other cringe induction devices.

A bit of a long phone post but more for those not of the religion to get a glimpse.

Tias/tldr:
Not recon because of that gaps and landscape and so many of the heavy hitters are from California so the smell of Wicca and Satan with a dose of new age dipshittery can be overwhelming.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Mr Enderby posted:

What's your favourite saga?

If you like the sagas check out Saga Thing.

It is a podcast where two professors analyze the Icelandic Sagas and rate them in categories like "best boodshed" and "best nicknames." It's really good

Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


^^^Seconding Saga Thing, it's amazing entertainment ^^^^^^

Bhurak posted:

Could be considered verified? Done in a group setting by many people with consistent results? Tias and tldr short explanation at the end.

Either way it's not strictly reconstructionist. On this side of the pond heavy reconstructionist focus is typically associated with folkish heathenry. We also don't have a landscape marked by the gods. We took someone else's. The heavy hitters from the revival over here came from or were heavily influenced by Wicca and Satanism. Read anything by Edred Thorsson or Kvedulfr Gundarsson. Or don't. That's a better choice. This has led to what I can only imagine are different flavours of the same religion which is as it should be, really. Even here in Canada each province has its own feel. There is a lot more experimentation. Which means since so much was lost we can fill in the gaps with what works and toss what doesn't.

This has also led to some cringe. One of the often used pieces of ritual is the hammer rite which was adapted from the Wicca calling of the quarters. When I was writing the ritual for my wedding I asked Freyr what he thought of the hammer rite and he responded with the equivalent of a wet fart.

Thankfully the last decade or so has had some much more scholarly influence and some of the worst bits are being slowly removed to be replaced with other cringe induction devices.

A bit of a long phone post but more for those not of the religion to get a glimpse.

Tias/tldr:
Not recon because of that gaps and landscape and so many of the heavy hitters are from California so the smell of Wicca and Satan with a dose of new age dipshittery can be overwhelming.

1. What constitutes verification? If a bunch of satanists verifies contact with Jehova, would the holy catholic church care? Not being snarky, it's just a personal rite with personal results.

2. Both Thorsson and Gundarsson are either grifters or so full of poo poo they can't even see themselves.

Loomer
Dec 19, 2007

A Very Special Hell

Kveldulf Gundarsson is the biggest fuckhead around. Well, that might be Flowers, but close.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Can I hear more about both Forsete and also the prize fuckheads being discussed here.

Loomer
Dec 19, 2007

A Very Special Hell

Josef bugman posted:

Can I hear more about both Forsete and also the prize fuckheads being discussed here.

With Flowers, he likes to slum around with the alt-right while never quite making openly fascist statements.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


And Thorsson made up his own 'norse wizardry' claptrap that has nothing to do with archeological evidence or sagas, which you can learn by taking expensive mail order courses

Forsete or Forseti means 'the presiding one' (and is actually the word for 'president' in Icelandic today!), and he was probably a god of the Frisians to begin with. His sacred place was at Heligoland, and he might well be worshipped by Scandinavians as well for that reason. There is some trading routes and linguistic arguments that suggest he could be Poseidon brought to the north by Greeks before the migration period, but we don't really know. Snorri's Edda (unreliable for other reasons) has him being the son of Baldr and Nanna.

While he is seen as a god of justice and reconciliation, this as well may have been made up by Snorri. There is one legend about his incarnation related to laws, though. Charlemagne summoned the 12 lawspeakers of his realm and asked them to recite the sum of the laws they were upholding. When they couldn't after several days, he let them choose between death, slavery, or being set adrift in a rudderless boat. They chose the last and prayed for help, after which a thirteenth man appeared, with a golden axe on his shoulder. He steered the boat to land with the axe, then threw it ashore; a spring appeared where it landed. He taught them laws and then disappeared, and that was totes Forseti.

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Tias posted:

There is some trading routes and linguistic arguments that suggest he could be Poseidon brought to the north by Greeks before the migration period, but we don't really know.
I've also read that Hermod, messenger of the gods, is the norse version of Hermes. His main claim to fame was that he rode to Helheim to try and bring back Balder from the dead. I've also read that Garm, Hel's dog, could've been inspired by Cerberos.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


Oh hey, I've lived on Hermodsgade in Copenhagen!

Sure, but we ought to distinguish between the theories. Tacitus (IIRC) just claims off the bat that the germanic gods correspond to the hellenic/roman ones, and for a long while no one challenged him on it. The argument that Forseti is Poseidon is more based on some linguistic arguments that it has the same roots, and we knew a Poseidon worshipper popped by heligoland to sell amber in approx 325 AD.

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Tias posted:

Oh hey, I've lived on Hermodsgade in Copenhagen!


A lot of places in Scandinavia is named after norse gods. Especially Frøya, Tor and Odin.

Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

Stephen Flowers/Edred Thorsson was one of the founders of the Troth who got kicked out for too much Satan. He runs said mail order course. I would surmise he is just a fuckhead. My experience thus far in this community leads me to believe everyone is sincere
So in his case he's a sincere dipshit. Most recent book had the black sun on the cover and I believe without actually looking into it his "Book of Troth" is now being published by the AFA so not really dancing around the racism anymore.

KvedulfR (not a typo) Hagan Gundarsson/ Stephen Grundy is another founder of the Troth. He came out of the 90s as well. Doesn't appear to be racist in spite of his love of the swatztika. Claims to also be a wizard. I'm currently going through his magnum opus and it's rough. Lots of claims, no citations. He is an actual scholar so I don't get it. Too many mushrooms perhaps. May have quit the organization he founded in December over some pretty loltastic drama between him and a member of the governing body. Which seems to be part for the course.

I'm trying to find good books to reference and use for research and ritual design without the new age smell, what would you recommend Tias or anyone else in this thread?

The Moon Monster
Dec 30, 2005
THIS CUSTOM TITLE WILL COME IN HANDY WHILE LURKING


What was it that made you look at "Norse heathenry" and say "yes, these guys have it right and this is what I believe in". Not trolling, I'm genuinely curious.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


The Moon Monster posted:

What was it that made you look at "Norse heathenry" and say "yes, these guys have it right and this is what I believe in". Not trolling, I'm genuinely curious.

I happened in a rather roundabout way, really. Originally I studied core shamanism by Harner, which is a method to perform healing or augury more than an actual relation, and considered myself an agnostic. Having had some mystical experiences doing that, I then trained under a student of Peruvian shaman Alberto Villoldo. Then I was invited to do some things with my current blót association, and they were the first and only religious group I ever met (save for the indiginous Americans I've trained with) who not only did not reject shamanistic practices out of hand, but in fact welcomed them.

I'm still a lot more drawn to the Vanir and the spirits/vættir than the Aesir, but I guess I've come to regard them as part of the family, so to speak. Being raised Danish with all the stories of the magicians, thunderers and fabled warriors we used to worship probably also played a role.

Bhurak posted:

I'm trying to find good books to reference and use for research and ritual design without the new age smell, what would you recommend Tias or anyone else in this thread?

I doubt there's any good reference that doesn't come with 'new smell' in some way or form Neil Price's the Viking Way allegedly has some good stuff from archeology, I just ask the folks from my blót association how they have done it, which is a method that's grown out organically among Scandinavian reconstructionists. I'd be happy to compare notes, if you need it!

E: Last I checked the Troth had a handbook, looked into that?

Tias fucked around with this message at 09:47 on Feb 19, 2020

Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

The Moon Monster posted:

What was it that made you look at "Norse heathenry" and say "yes, these guys have it right and this is what I believe in". Not trolling, I'm genuinely curious.

It was the reciprocity and world accepting philosophy.
Why is the world poo poo? It started out chaotic then evil and has only become as good as it has through hard work.
Why do bad things happen to good people? See above. Even the gods die. poo poo just happens.

How do you make things better? Hard work and community. Reciprocity.

I approached it initially as a world view. Everything else came later.

sbaldrick
Jul 19, 2006
Driven by Hate


So what are the 12 afterlives and now do you get to them

Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


The many afterlives and how to get there

In advance I shall apologize if I forget any, the point is there are a great deal of conceptions of death and afterlife in norse paganism and heathenry. This is, primarily, due to heathenry being a diverse collection of beliefs that are very different according to geographic area and time period, but also because polytheism straight up offers choice.

Andlangr

A safe house where folks who survive Ragnarok will spend time, and may also be there during Ragnarok itself to survive it. May be related to Gimle.

Brimir

Made up by the same author (Sturlasson) as Andlangr, a ‘hall of souls’ where one may survive Ragnarok. Interestingly enough, older sources also mention Brimir, but as an aspect of Ymir, the world-giant of whose cosmos the universe is made.

Fensalir

Friggs hall. It is unclear whether any but devoted Frigg worshippers (if these even existed) go there, but see Sökkvabekkr.

Folkvangr and Valhalla

As Alhazreds' beautiful ditty( taken from Grímnismál) illustrates, Odin and Freja each pick half of the slain in battle. Valhalla is clearly the more reported on and popular, at least among male kings and warriors. We know it contains golden roof-spars, a magical pig whose bacon grows out as soon as you cut it off, and a goat whose utter spews top-rate mead! This is tied in with norse eschatology: The final battle, Ragnarokk, must be prepared for, and so the warriors of Valhalla fight huge battles every day, the participants die in combat, and are resurrected afterwards to go feast and war all over again.

To go to Valhalla, you must die in battle, and in some accounts it is also important to die well against worthy opponents - though we also know men who were nearing death from disease or age would hurl themselves into suicide by combat in the hopes they would count as having died well.

Folkvangr may be related to ‘folk’ as meaning ‘army’, and one account has Freja presiding over the eternal battle of Hjaðningavíg (brought about by family drama and a magical sword, pretty usual saga stuff). There’s not much to go on, but we should not discount at this point that Freja has connection with both death and war for these reasons. We know she is connected to the Valkyries as well.

Here we also find Sessrúmnir, Frejas hall, that is ‘large and beautiful’, and some historians think it is connected to ship burials, which is very exciting stuff but can’t be conclusively proven.

There is also good reason to suspect other people go to Freja - As I will probably say several times over in this post, many folks believed they could go directly to their god of choice if faithful towards them in life. So, in Egilssaga, the world-weary Þorgerðr declares that ‘I have had no evening meal, nor will I do so until I join Freyja. I know no better course of action than my father's. I do not want to live after my father and brother are dead.' - and in Hervors saga, a queen hangs herself in front of an altar to the Dís (a group of spirits connected to Freja), and is assumed to go to Frejas hall because of her noble despair.

Gimle

A place of dubious provenance as an afterlife, we learn in Snorri's edda and the Vóluspa that this is the most beautiful place in Asgard, more beautiful “than the sun itself”. Older sources only indicate this is a place where the survivors of Ragnarok will hole up for a while, Snorri seems to have elaborated forcefully on that, making it into the equivalent of a the christian heaven.

Hel

Ah, Hel. Much talked about, not well understood. Hel is both the name of a giantess goddess, who presides over the death-realm of the same name. She’s the daughter of Loki, and clearly an awe-inspiring psychopomp. It must be understood, and I cannot stress this enough, that many conceptions of Hel is taken from Snorri Sturlasson’s edda, and he was a christian trying to make sense of the older myths - from him, and only from him, do we have the idea that Hel’s realm is dark and horrible, that inhabitants starve more the more they eat, and that all is lament and desolation. This idea influenced medieval christians a lot, and even today the word ‘Helvíti’ (lit. “Hel’s Punishment”) and derivatives mean Hell in scandinavian languages. Still, Valhalla seems to have been preferred, as we also have heathens trying to trick Hel not to go to her realm.

Going on more heathen sources, Hel just seems to be ‘that place you go when you die’, and several sources state that it is stocked with magical drinks, green and golden hues and good company. The entrance to Hel is separated from midgård (where you and I live) by a rapid river over which Gjallarbrú (“Roaring/Shouting Bridge”) is built. The more alive you are, the more the bridge roars, which means the living can’t quite sneak in.

Helgafjell

Helgafjell (lit ‘Holy Mountain’) was an idea of afterlives found in a couple of sources, namely, that a nearby mountain would be the place you went when you died. Allegedly some psychically sensitive folks could see into them while alive, and saw warm, hearty scenes with good drink and food. If you died in good standing with your family, this might be a place to end up.

Náströnd

Lit. “corpse shore”, this is located in or near Hel, where the terrible serpent Nidhogg gnaws on the entrails of certain deceased, those who are guilty of adultery, (illicit) murder and oath-breaking, the worst crimes imaginable to people at the time.

Niflhel

Connected to Hel, this means “The darker/darkest Hel”, and so is kind of super-Hel. Only mentioned in Snorris Edda and VafÞrúðnismál, we learn that this is “lowest and scariest” part of Hel. It is found by going “north and downwards”, which may be both a geographic or esoteric guide - I will talk about the 9 worlds of norse cosmology at some point, but here it suffices to say it could be a way to journey magically there.

Ran and Ægir
This woman and her husband are the personifications of the sea, and their nine daughters are the waves. If you die at sea you can opt to live with them.

Sökkvabekkr

“Sökkvabekk is the fourth, where cool waves flow,
And amid their murmur it stands;
There daily do Othin and Saga drink
In gladness from cups of gold.”

The “sunken benches” (alt. “treasure-bank”) is connected to the goddess Saga, and to Frigg. It may be the same or close to Fensalir. Unlike Fensalir, we have the impression that Sökkvabekkr is located below ground and water, possibly in a bog. Older (maybe even pre-aesir) rites have heathens sacrificing animals and humans in bogs to the goddess who dwells there, and the possible connection is hard to overlook. Being sacrificed is a sure way to enter her hall, I’d say.

Unnamed anglo-saxon glade type place

I’ve straight up forgotten what this one was called, but it persists in anglo-saxon sources. This is a glade bathed in light where you’d see your family again, so some cross-pollination with christianity and/or heathenry probably happened there.

Vingólf

Location unsure, possibly within Asgard - one of the places "virtous men" go after death, at least according to Snorri. The older, enigmatic poem Hrafnagaldur Odins also mentions it, though:

"Vingolf reached
Vidur's ministers,
both borne
by Forniot's kin.
They entered,
and the Æsir
forthwith saluted,
at Ygg's convivial meeting."

Víðbláinn

Another invention of Snorris, lying above Asgard and Andlang, and also referred to as a safe house from Ragnarok.

Tias fucked around with this message at 09:57 on Mar 11, 2020

BattyKiara
Mar 17, 2009


Extremely interesting post about various Death Realms. Is there any truth to the stories I read somewhere that the worst places of Hel are set aside for people dying of communicated diseases? As in the worst way to die is to die as a plague spreader? Also, where do women go? My guess is most women didn't get the chance to die in combat? No special hall of Freya for say women dying in childbirth or something?

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






BattyKiara posted:

Also, where do women go? My guess is most women didn't get the chance to die in combat?
Female warriors are somewhat controversial. There is tendency for swords found in graves with women in them to be considered ceremonial.

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Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


Alhazred posted:

Female warriors are somewhat controversial. There is tendency for swords found in graves with women in them to be considered ceremonial.

This area has moved quite a lot since. At least the Oseberg woman is considered to have been a professional warrior now.

BattyKiara posted:

Extremely interesting post about various Death Realms. Is there any truth to the stories I read somewhere that the worst places of Hel are set aside for people dying of communicated diseases? As in the worst way to die is to die as a plague spreader? Also, where do women go? My guess is most women didn't get the chance to die in combat? No special hall of Freya for say women dying in childbirth or something?

I haven't heard anything about the communicated diseases, and since I haven't read about it in sagas, I'm going to go with "unconfirmed and unlikely".

A historian whose name eludes me says that Freja takes women who die well, citing the aforementioned princess who committed suicide as an example. The general consensus is that women go whereever men go, the focus is largely on the manner of death and not so much social stratification (though there is good reason to think war was primarily men's business, and so it is mostly those taken by Odin and Freja).

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