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BattyKiara
Mar 17, 2009


Thank you! I love Ratatoskr here, perfectly adorable story.

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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.


Knowing how the common squirrel shrieks in alarm, it takes little imagination to assume he says something mean about you

This might be a good time to talk a little more about Yggdrasill, the World Tree. A truly massive Ash tree that is placed at the centre of the cosmos, it is about a holy place as can be, and forms the site for the gods to hold their daily things or governing assemblies. The exact placement and nature of Yggdrasill is of course contexted, but the sagas and eddas explain that it's branches reach 'far into the heavens', and it's three roots go into far locations, the well of Urdsbr°nd (in the heavens, somehow), the spring Hvergelmir, and another to the well Mimirsbr°nd.

Urdrs Well may either refer to a norn named Urdr (one of the three fate-spinners that you have probably heard about), or the anglo-saxon concept of fate, also called Wyrd. Hvergelmir ("bubbling/boiling spring") flows over and between the antlers of a stag named Eik■yrnir, and is the source of a great many springs and rivers. Mimirsbr°nd ("Mimer's Well") is associated with the being Mimer or Mimir, and contains the power of great knowledge on the drinker. Odin sacrificed one of his eyes to the well for a drink, and this is where much of his infinite cunning and knowledge comes from. According to the elder edda, we know that the root of Yggdrasill that goes to Mimirsbr°nd also passes through J÷tunnheim, land of the frost giants - and which lies where the primordial nothingness Ginnungagap used to be before the worlds were created!

Many other creatures reside within Yggdrasill. The hawk Ve­rf÷lnir ("Wind-Withered") sits on top of the (unnamed) eagle that Ratatoskr carries insults for to Nidh÷ggr - Snorri who relates this doesn't explain what the deal is with the hawk or why it needs to be there with no other mention, though the hawk may be associated with the wisdom of the eagle, or like Hugin and Munin it flies away to gather knowledge to pass to the eagle. There are also four stags:

Harts there are also four,
which from its summits,
arch-necked, gnaw.
DÔin and Dvalin,
Duneyr and Durathr˘r.

..who may be associated with the four winds, seasons or elements. One archeologist has suggested that since the dwarves standing at the cardinal points, Nor­ri, Su­ri, Austri and Vestri, represent the corners of the world, and Dńin and Dvalin also are dwarf names, perhaps this is also linked to the make-up of the cosmos.

So what's the deal with Yggdrasill? It's hard to be sure. A prevailing theory, that I also support, is that it has shamanic significance. We know a lot about the general name and attributes of the nine worlds connected by Yggdrasill, but we don't have a lot of other info. Shamans journey into 'upper' or 'lower' worlds, either through tree roots and holes in the ground, or up the branches of a tree into the heavens. The rainbow bridge of Bifrost may symbolize such a method of journeying via the altered consciousness state of the shaman.

Another good theory is that pre-christian peoples worshipped huge trees and pillars, thought to be connections to the divine or the actual centre of the world. One such pillar was Irminsul which was a central ritual ground of the Germanic pagans until that fucker Charlemagne cut it down.

Bhurak posted:

I lack the context to understand what the reference is here but a pet peeve of mine is it seems a not insignificant number of pagans treat deities like pokeymans and just accumulate and trade them between pantheons or if that doesn't work well enough make them up.

Sitting and thinking about it I think it is the infidelity and frivolousness of the first part that irritate me. They people who gotta catch em all just seem to treat it like a game.

It has zero effect on me beyond eye strain but it's a thing. Probably due to the lack of deep roots and connection to the land for most Anglo North Americans.

I won't even start on the invention of deities...

It's easy to get angry at facebook pagans and wiccatru and what have you, but some of the oldest and most knowledgeable heathens I've met here in Scandinavia will worship gods from other pantheons.

Annoying as it is, there is no central authority on what heathenry is - and that's probably also the reason so many organizations or individual heathens try to set themselves up as such. Unfortunately, their lovely personality cults and tendency to present UPG as heathen lore only muddy the waters further.

Internet Wizard
Aug 9, 2009

BANDAIDS DON'T FIX BULLET HOLES


A note about Ve­rf÷lnir, the only source for there being a hawk sitting on top of an eagle is, as far as I know, Snorri's Prose Edda. All of the surviving sagas alternate between words and kennings for hawk and eagle, and only ever mention one bird being there. Dr. Crawford's hypothesis is that there was only believed to be a bird of prey of some sort, and the authors of the poems just used whatever words worked for that stanza, and Snorri came up with the hawk sitting on top of the eagle to try to reconcile this (this isn't the only time when Snorri clearly just came up with some synthesis of conflicting sagas for his Prose Edda)

Dwarves also commonly took the form of animals, such as in the Volsungsaga where there's a dwarf who is an otter

Internet Wizard fucked around with this message at 20:16 on Apr 30, 2020

Internet Wizard
Aug 9, 2009

BANDAIDS DON'T FIX BULLET HOLES


Double-posting because tonight was the first thunder of the year. Did what little I could without leaving my apartment because of the lockdown, meditated on my porch for a bit and offered some mead to Thor. Hopefully soon I'll be able to join the local group for some proper offerings.

Tias
May 25, 2008

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


Hail Thor, to better times for us all!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se78ttwyrcQ

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Tias posted:




It's easy to get angry at facebook pagans and wiccatru and what have you, but some of the oldest and most knowledgeable heathens I've met here in Scandinavia will worship gods from other pantheons.
But the norse also probably did that? Hermod for example is likely the norse version of Hermes. Many also had no problem believing in both Yahve and Odin.

Alhazred fucked around with this message at 10:34 on May 4, 2020

Tias
May 25, 2008

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


I don't believe that at all. Hermod as messenger only appears in Snorri's Edda, and Snorri was a christian with classical training who probably thought it fit snugly to have a norse pendant to Hermes - all this happened after the fall of heathenry.

In the poetic edda and old sagas Hermod is just a king who is known mostly for going into exile and/or receiving king Haakon the Good into Valhalla.

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Even so, there's little reason to believe that the norsemen were that dogmatic. People who lived up north with sami people practiced both religion because they believed it made them more powerful.

Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

They were very likely pragmatic about such things but there is a difference between syncretism with your neighbors and making a personal stable of mismatched gods you found on the internet. The Finnish life is not that far removed from the Danish. It is however very different than the Egyptian or even the Mediterranean.
It just feels frivolous and unauthentic to me but it affects me not in the slightest if someone wants to treat the gods and goddesses like shirts at a shopping trip to Walmart. Clearly it is working for them at some level and I am not any sort of authority or asapope or whatever, just an irritable rear end in a top hat.

Tias
May 25, 2008

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


The original heathens were probably syncretic - we know for a fact that norsemen dual-classed christianity and paganism because their polytheism wasn't trumped by the first commandment

I'm more, like Bhurak, annoyed with folks who worship Thoth and Freya because why not, rather than any explicable connection to the Egyptian pantheon.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

This is more a question about old Norse Heathenry rather than reconstructionist Heathenry, but I'm hoping someone will know. Did the old Norse have a tradition of individual worship of the gods? I'm maybe not asking the question well, but I'm more familiar with Greco-Roman paganism, but there worship was communal and contractual, which is to say that rituals were the community coming together and saying to a god or gods, "We're going to conduct this ritual/make this sacrifice to you/do you honor, and in exchange, you're going to give us a good harvest/make our animals fertile/give us success in battle/whatever. It wasn't a matter of individual belief so much as it was of community responsibility and shared practice. An individual might say, "Mercury, if I come back safe from this trip, i'll sacrifice a sheep to you", but you don't have people going around saying "I worship Mercury", or even spending much time thinking about Mercury outside public festivals to him.

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Epicurius posted:

This is more a question about old Norse Heathenry rather than reconstructionist Heathenry, but I'm hoping someone will know. Did the old Norse have a tradition of individual worship of the gods? I'm maybe not asking the question well, but I'm more familiar with Greco-Roman paganism, but there worship was communal and contractual, which is to say that rituals were the community coming together and saying to a god or gods, "We're going to conduct this ritual/make this sacrifice to you/do you honor, and in exchange, you're going to give us a good harvest/make our animals fertile/give us success in battle/whatever. It wasn't a matter of individual belief so much as it was of community responsibility and shared practice. An individual might say, "Mercury, if I come back safe from this trip, i'll sacrifice a sheep to you", but you don't have people going around saying "I worship Mercury", or even spending much time thinking about Mercury outside public festivals to him.

We don't know that much since the vikings didn't write that much about their religion (or anything really). What we do know is that the man/ of the house usually lead the daily rituals. We don't really know to what degree people thought of their religion outside public festivals.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Alhazred posted:

We don't know that much since the vikings didn't write that much about their religion (or anything really). What we do know is that the man/ of the house usually lead the daily rituals. We don't really know to what degree people thought of their religion outside public festivals.

Do we know what the daily rituals were that a family would perform?

Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

I'm currently wading through Grimm's Teutonic Mythology and he seems to think that some folk had a fairly personal relationship. He has pages talking about a family named Freyrsgothi or freyrlings. There is the story in Eyrbyggja of one of the Thorsmen tossing the godpole over the side of the ship and following it to find a new place to live. The sagas (naturally) speak about heroes interactions with Odin that all end in a predictable fashion.

Beyond that like Allhazred said there isn't much known.

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Epicurius posted:

Do we know what the daily rituals were that a family would perform?

Not really? Norse religion were not an organized religion so each family was more or less free to perform the rituals they wanted in the way wanted to do it.

Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

Epicurius posted:

Do we know what the daily rituals were that a family would perform?

Thryms lay might have an accurate wedding. The volsung saga has a morning prayer that people debate whether it is real or not. A prayer to Sunna

Tias
May 25, 2008

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


Alhazred posted:

We don't know that much since the vikings didn't write that much about their religion (or anything really). What we do know is that the man/ of the house usually lead the daily rituals. We don't really know to what degree people thought of their religion outside public festivals.

This. Though, going on the sagas, it appears pretty clear that many individuals dedicated themselves mainly to one god, often Odin, Frej or Thor. The sagas may or may not be a reliable source in this regard, though, so we'll never know for sure.

Loomer
Dec 19, 2007

A Very Special Hell

On a purely pragmatic level, many of the local heathens I know also maintain some level of belief in the local Dreaming stories. Personally, Odin is the god of my ancestors and me, but he is from another country and the Country I live on has its own stories, and so to communicate with him it just makes sense to ask the local spirits to pass the message on and to pay them the appropriate level of respect as a journeyer on their Country. It's no different to acknowledging the elves and the trolls.

EDIT: Whoah, didn't notice that conversation had petered out. Timestamps, what are they?

Tias
May 25, 2008

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


Well, it's a good point. I definitely eat up all the stories of local spirits from other lands so I can beseech and placate them should I go traveling. As a hard polytheist, I mostly believe all gods and entities exist in some form, just not that they are always relevant for me.

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Bhurak
Nov 12, 2007

Playing music in the key of HIP!


Fun Shoe

My garden is planted, and I am awaiting parts and materials to continue the various projects hounding me so I will crank out the next literature review. As per my original post I'm doing these chronologically as I read them as a reflection on my journey and because I don't care to organize them in any orderly fashion.

One of the deficiencies I find in the popular practice of heathenry is that the focus is either on original sources (recon) or being a wizard. Recon is important because that is the surest way of knowing the god(esse)s as they were and what they represent. I definitely find myself leaning hard in that direction. The problem is that the lore is a thousand years old and much was lost when the church did their best to stamp it out. We are not the same culture as the norse were. I personally don't feel a compulsion to slay my neighbor for a haystack. I've never slit the throats of my captives over a cauldron to divine the future. (sadly)Wizards are also important because from them we can develop new practices that work. The problem with this approach is that many folk can't hear the gods even if they can feel the calling and many of the wizards have accumulated a new age stank which can be off-putting. Not everyone wants to play dress up and cast spells. If the religion is fated to grow we will need a grounded mythology that (relatively) normal people can grok that isn't millennia old. The next book I read is a collection of short stories titled "They Walk With Us" written by John T. Mainer. I believe this is his aim.

Mainer served in the Canadian army and as far as I remember saw action in the Yugoslavian civil war in the 90's. Sometime in the last decade as a sworn Odinsman he lost one eye and broke his neck. Motherfucker is legit. As a soldier he is definitely used to seeing things from the bottom up which is a perspective that is sorely lacking in the circles we inhabit here in North America. This perspective permeates many of the stories he presents and I appreciate it. In short, I like it. Reading it puts me into the frame of mind of standing on a hilltop in the blowing sleet staring grimly at the future. We need more modern mythmakers so that with a large enough body of work we can see what survives and what doesn't as lore and begin to organically replace what was lost.

I'd say buy it. It's a short read. To get an idea of his writing his blog can be found here.

Next on the block is the second edition Our Troth.

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