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In This Issue
Editors Note: The first issue of the first magazine about Heathen Reconstruction ...........................................................5 Matt Walker

The State of Heathenry ...................................................................... 7 Bil Linzie Reconstruction in Modern Heatherny: An Introduction ................. 11 Josh Rood Women In Heathenry ...................................................................... 21 Jill Marten Animal Imagery in Anglian Heathenry ............................................ 25 John Wills Frankish Heathenry: An Overview ................................................. 31 Erick Lacharity Groves and Sacred Spaces in Germanic .......................................... 37 and Scandinavian Heathenry Gary P Golden Jr. Book Reviews Gods and Myths of Northern Europe ............................................... 45 By H.R. Ellis Davidson Dictionary of Northern Mythology .................................................. 46 By Rudolf Simek The Poetic Edda .............................................................................. 47 Translation by Henry Adams Bellows The Norsemen in the Viking Age ..................................................... 49 By Eric Christiansen Days in Midgard: A Thousand Years On-Modern Legends Based on Northern Myth.................................................................. 50 By Stephen Abell

Matt Walker ................................Executive Editor Terrence Plum ............................Assistant Editor Jeff Dailey ..................................Assistant Editor/Layout Jill Budynas................................Assistant Editor Josh Rood ...................................Assistant Editor Bil Linzie ..................................Peer Review Shane Ricks................................ Peer Review Fyrfos ........................................Peer Review Dan Oropallo..............................Cover Art/Graphic Design Tora ........................................... Comics

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From the Editor
Enjoy the inaugural issue of Óðrœrir, the first journal by and for Heathen Reconstructionists. What is a Heathen Reconstructionist, really though? That is perhaps the primary goal of this first issue: to set the pace of what sort of journal this will be, so instead of reading an explanation on it in this note, just look within! Hopefully by the time you’ve read this first issue, you will have a solid understanding of our definition of the word. I can claim sole responsibility for the name (unlike the rest of the e-zine). I named it what I did because in the lore that's the name of the biggest cauldron that held the mead of poetry. If you drink from it, you become wise. Yes, it's pretentious as hell, but I don't care. It's poetic. I am the Executive Editor. It's my baby. This magazine was my idea and I’ve been working on putting the whole thing together - but all that means, really, is that I’ve begged, pleaded, and cajoled a whole lot of people who are a whole lot smarter and more talented than me. These folks have submitted articles, book reviews, art work, photos, and other items, which have then been arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner to what you now have before you. We're not sure how often it will come out. So far, we just know it will be AT LEAST bi-annual. I’ve managed to wrangle articles from some of the brightest minds in heathen reconstruction, and their work has been reviewed by an editing team that will set the bar high – individuals with 40 plus years in heathenry, and academics with degrees in Old Nordic Religion and History who work closely with leading scholars in the field. And all that said, I believe what we’ve put together is something for everyone involved to be proud of, and for every heathen to enjoy. And not only have we put together this sweet e-zine, we’re disseminating it freely to all at no charge! So, enjoy the magazine. Pass it around. Discuss it. Email us with questions or suggestions. Perhaps you’d like to submit an article. We hope to grow and excel as time goes on, and as with any magazine, the readership will be a key part of that. Letters to the editor will be accepted and some will be published, from this issue forward. Drop us a line. Let us know what you think.

Matt Walker
Executive Editor

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I started questioning everything in modern heathenry. was that many of them only had 2-3 years as a heathen behind them and they were already where I was at 30 years of being heathen. (Several of my fellow New Mexicans were there. Their rationale was and remains to reclaim as much as possible and when chaff showed up in the forum.org. The neo-heathens held their high-ground. It's been around for quite a while among other quieter groups like Romuva. but they were doing the same thing as I was! They were researching various topics because they actually interested in it and wanted the same thing as me. I'd run across a tiny handful of folks interested in historical heathenry. and one knew each god's favorite drink so that offerings and toasts could be in a proper fashion. Most of us became irritated with all the fluff and left in a huff. there was a resounding collective cry raised up: “What's the source of your claim?” And they have a name: they are Reconstructionists. and ejected-from-the-mainstream heathen. but it is persistent and the . This new breed hasn't always been heartily welcomed either. but after about 6 mos.) What I saw there was the rise of a new breed of heathen. Reconstructionism is no longer an Ásatrúlore.. and starting with 'Germanic Spirituality' which directly questioned the rampant 'borrowing' from Wicca. The other side of the heathen coin was the Rydbergians who were so obnoxious that they were banned repeatedly only to reincarnate with some other fake Old Norse name two weeks later. In general. my cover was blown. Between '95-'97. They took an active interest in bringing historical heathenry into the 21st century rather than making up a 21st century version based on neo-paganism. Jews and even Christians. The mid-to-late 90s were irritating to say the least. but for whatever reason the spark was fanned into flame among heathens between 2002 and 2004. In 2000 CE. Reconstructionism isn't new anywhere but in heathenry. 2004. I quit Ásatrú in 2002 and was a very lonely. They actually wanted to look at historical fact and discuss it. 2003. Not only had people read my stuff. In my 32 years as a heathen this was a breed that I'd never seen before. some of the Hellenistic group. but a loud one at that. and I was getting lonely for heathen company. though. somewhat dejected. They separated themselves out as real wheat-heathen from the chaff-fluff and then had the audacity to reject the chaff-fluff vehemently. and they wanted a modern form of heathenry compatible with historical fact but also compatible with life in the 21st century! What really drew me back into actively participating as a heathen. Much precious forum time was filled with someone regaling us of flying among Valkyries and dragons. they wanted 'historical heathenry' brought to the fore. everyone was either a gothí or one-in-training. I signed up under the pseudonym of parallel_lines2000. Every 3rd person was either an expert rune-reader or had developed an intimate relationship with his totem-fetch so that nightly travels through the Nine Worlds were as common as chimichangas at the local mini-mart.org phenomenon but has cross-pollinated into other fora on the net. Those who were looking to follow a spiritual path and have a personal relationship were running the show. and Native Americans.Óðrœrir 7 The State of Heathenry By Bil Linzie Heathenry circa 1995 had become a hodge-podge of neo-paganism where one could to choose which god's hall one would die into and bide his (her) time until reincarnation kicked in. It was as if they were on an accelerated track. They not only had a voice. I purposefully exposed many of the 'sources' of this information only to catch flak from the more popular side of neo-heathenry. we slowly left email lists because we couldn't excite folks like the neo-heathen could. young heathens of a completely different caliber. Officially. one walked a path working with various deities until he had developed a personal relationship with more gods than the next guy. SCA. rejected. I started lurking on Ásatrúlore.

which I also play. has any number of notes within an octave -. I would like to explain why this approach appeals to me as well as others. For almost 25 years I was just a heathen. you will also know that any key in the chromatic scale has also seven modes which go by handy names such as mixolydian. however. ionian. it's just that the player himself is required to be creative. however. In fact. Now the weird thing about a dulcimer is that it only has eight notes to the octave rather than 12 like a guitar or a banjo.) Having only eight notes somewhat limits what one can and cannot do. is required to know both the instrument and the music he's trying to play. I am both a reconstructionist and a heathen. onto the question “Why does the greater presence of reconstructionists in modern heathenry make heathenry better than it was a decade and a half ago?” I was originally given the task to write a piece on the State of Heathenry.Óðrœrir 8 presence is there. and a few others that I don't even know how to tune into. Being a reconstructionist requires no belief.' I was appalled. and. They saw the modern worldviews as an impediment to understanding. The new crew of reconstructionists didn't seem to buy it.'belief' can interfere greatly with 'interpretation of the facts. The limitation is in the player not in the instrument. and even classical music played on this so-called 'limited instrument. which I am also quite capable of hitting. when I first ran across an e-mail conversation between several people who were having a discussion regarding 'death into the grave-mound' rather than 'dying into the halls of favorite god. though. and interacted with it after it was created. but the most amazing thing about working within this set of limitations is that the dulcimer really isn't that limited. old-time swing. First. aeolian. I have heard jazz. can honestly say that I not only am glad to be a part of it but am also proud to do so. like other neo-pagan plugand-play religions. . then. of course. If you know anything about music. the dulcimer is an old timey instrument which plays. but for this discussion I'll stick with 'dulcimer'). Being a reconstructionist.a lot of really bad ones. however. technically. dorian. only requires one thing: that one takes a scientific approach to heathenry (or whatever else one is reconstructing) to understand how the makers constructed the thing in the first place and how they understood it. And. they wanted to know what their ancestors were thinking. Reconstructionism. for one. a fiddle. 'belief' can actually be a hindrance to understanding the data in hand -. Rudolf Simek is a Catholic theologian who has made a career out of delving into ancient Germanic heathenry.' To be a good reconstructionist. felt about it. the instrument isn't really 'limited' at all. but to answer the question. I'd like to say that the term 'reconstructionist heathen' is really two terms: 'reconstructionist' and 'heathen.' For example. What I wanted was a 'heathen-dulcimer' that had all 12 modern tones (like a guitar played in the lap) instead of being limited to 8. rock tunes. Depending on the group. a limitation. I. (Technically. I still held to the idea that heathenry. When I ran across the discussion mentioned above. I've played dulcimer since 1978 but only been a reconstructionist since 1995. Reconstructionism does not belong solely to heathens." Now. Now. could be anything that I wanted it to be. Before I go any further let me present this story (for any who know me. i. I wasn't always. It's a hot topic and always sure to raise at least some eyebrows. Now.' In fact. too. one must be able to step away from one's cultural background as well as spiritual background. gets the heart pumping no matter which camp one belongs to. It was another two years before I could understand what they were talking about and only after that was I able to take up this method of investigation and gaze into my own cultural past. Early on we all wanted to believe that 'interpretation of the lore' was simple – we discounted the idea that perhaps the 'worldview' may have been different or we decided that we must use our modern worldview to interpret because we were modern folk.e. "I am a traditional dulcimer player (along with a lot of other instruments. it can either be the vinegar in the wine or the fruit of the vine. out of only one key. you know that I can never discuss anything without telling stories). In fact.

but were instead were just thought to be 'gaps' because I had seen something similar in some other religion?” Maybe. I assumed the answer ('we need sacred space') and got busy generating how such a thing should look. creating elaborate rites had become far more important than historical fact. Which now brings me back to my first personal foray in experiential anthropology/ archeology. I engaged in and participated in my own cultural heritage which for me is a far more spiritual act than reading runes or scribbling out the script for a way-cool Ostara rite. the eight-fold calendar. Rather than look at how land. they must return albeit somewhat altered to the 21st. but its not completely possible.e. particularly cultivated land. For example. I'm still at it. I don't think that now. How far can we really step outside our own convictions without falling completely apart or ending up like a Zen master who's found Nirvana? Even the Zen master knows that 'first there is a mountain. Although there was a time when I'd have said that. Both common sense and historical fact had become a burden to creativity and had been all but dispensed with to make room for Scully and Mulder's newest I-want-to-believe discovery of the night before. then there is no mountain. but at some point. If we learn about our own worldview. Yesterday. Nice concept. seið as neo-shamanism. The days of borrowing from neo-pagans and .' Reconstructionists step from the 21st century back into the 8th. the pop-American form of reincarnation. Back in '95. and understand many of our own limitations. and remain willing to admit that our interpretations just might be wrong – something certainly not possible 20 years ago. I just thought the Hammer Rite had to be there to 'make the ground sacred for the blót' and that because Wiccans and Native Americans did something along these lines.Óðrœrir 9 I started as a reconstructionist in 1995 and became committed to it as of '97. then there is. Nigel Pennick had published his book on runic astrology and everyone else seemed to be jumping onto the bandwagon. or Buddhism. real heathenry. but not completely. still think there is no need to 'fill the gaps. we can go a long way toward objectivity. Mondays were especially interesting since the X-files had aired the night before – the plot of the show dictated the direction of the email discussion. Participating as a fine upstanding member in my own long line of German cultural heritage is far more important to me that was 15 years ago. Fifteen years later. even UFOs. his worldview. modern heathenry looked no more like historical heathenry than did Catholicism. The interpretation is everything and to assure that at least some type of objectivity is taking place in our own interpretations. Reconstructionism still isn't really popular among a handful of people mainly because they feel that by sticking to historical fact somehow 'creativity' is stifled. “What if what I had perceived as 'gaps' weren't really gaps at all. first. I now know the answer to both questions and engaged in making a nice loaf of wheat-rye sourdough bread made with my own sourdough starter yesterday and it should be ready for cutting today. we heathens must also have had something comparable. old-souls. and so I set about the task learning it all thinking that it would take me but a few months or so. was viewed and treated by early Germanic peoples. Real discussion rather than weak attempts 'to impress' is becoming the standard. This new guard has also built in some safe measures. rune-casting/ reading. objectivity.´ and am still learning to play heathen tunes on this old instrument we call 'modern heathenry.' This now seems to be the standard for the new reconstructionists. Heathenry. Wicca. now has a chance to grow and flourish in the modern era. that is related to and is a natural extension of historical heathenry. reconstructionism. we compare notes with others who are engaged in the same processes. i. At the time. Most likely. By that time there were a number of heathen 'customs' which had become accepted as historical fact: the Hammer Rite. That line of questioning lead me to the conclusion that I had no understanding of the ancient Germanic heathen's mindset. My second foray into experiential anthropology/ archeology was based in the following question: "How did the ancient Germanic peoples make bread?" (That was then followed by the next question: "How did they figure out how to make cheese?") 15 years down the line. walk-ins. I think the reason that these folks feel this way is because they've never asked themselves the right questions. they continue to do what I had done for my first 25 years as a modern heathen which is to first generate an answer and then create a question for it.

' It's true that we reconstructionists do what we do because it makes modern heathenry a pleasure for us. These borrowed 'traditions' are being culled out as unnecessary and unacceptable by the new reconstructionists on the one hand while new art.' but there is no longer anything preventing us from asking about it and exploring it as historical fact and from looking at what purpose these traditions might have served. Heard a fellow say on the radio today. The State of Modern Heatheny = healthy and getting healthier. literature and philosophies are at the same time being built upon the foundation of historical Germanic heathenry. and I get flu vaccine every year because my job requires it. “Follow a worldview to its natural conclusion. Shortly.Óðrœrir 10 the new age groups is slowly coming to a grinding halt. the State of Modern Heathenry? It's not only alive and well but has taken on a level of excitement like never before. the fruits of my research. exposing children. We don't need to deny that these things may have existed historically within our own cultural heritage. raping and pillaging. . Heathenry is no longer 'another alternative religion' but has become an entire way of living complete with its own native worldview. There are. of course. and carving 'a blood eagle. and homemade mustard on homemade sourdough bread – I'll be participating in my own cultural heritage. music. I live in the 21st-century. I'll leave here and go home to eat a sandwich of homemade Leberkaes. Lastly. I work in the medical field. Perhaps after that I'll knock off a few tunes on the old dulcimer knowing that I am actively contributing to my cultural heritage which extends all the way back in the archaeological record to the faint beginnings of germanicity. In fact. then decide whether you can live with that. In the past 8 years or so. I started this thing out by saying that being a modern heathen-reconstructionist (a more correct version of the term) brings us reconstructionists 'the greatest of satisfaction. I drive a truck. I own a computer. I'm sitting in my office at work dictating the short piece on 'Reconstructionism 101' directly into my computer using a speech-recognition program packed into my Linux.” We have and we can. heathenry has grown up and matured into its own. We don't feel a need to 'fill in the gaps' or 'bring heathenry up-to-date' any longer because we know that historical heathenry is alive and doing well in the 21st century. some things that most would prefer not to reconstruct in the 21st-century such as slavery. Of all the things I've done in my life (which is quite a bit) adding the approach of reconstructionism to my being heathen and joining others who are doing the same has brought me the most satisfaction.

 they are highly encouraged to download Bil Linzies  articles “Germanic Spirituality”.  2  “Heathen/ry” as it is used in this article. until their respective conversion periods. is that reconstructionism has nothing to do with ‘things’ or ‘events’.  For the purpose of this article it will be strictly called  “reconstructionism”. Bil Linzie.” The reality however. It is also the intent of this article to provide the basic arguments as to why it is an important approach. its definition and the concepts it carries with it are being stunted by misunderstandings and misrepresentations propagated by opponents and proponents alike. The heathen reconstructionist has no interest in rebuilding the “Viking world” or the “heathen way of life” as it was a millennia ago.  3  Uncovering the Effects of Cultural Background on the Reconstruction of Ancient Worldviews. 2004. That is “Ásatrú is a living. These are simply ‘things’ and ‘actions.Óðrœrir 11 Reconstructionism in Modern Heathenry: An Introduction Joshua Rood Over the course of the last decade. The axiom of this movement is a shift towards an approach which is quite different from those previously advocated in most mainstream circles. and in many ways this is thanks to the research of Linzie and his contemporaries.    4  If the reader is interested in learning more about reconstructionism. the term “reconstructionism1” has surged forward as part of a very real movement within American heathenry2.  It should be noted. Yet even with the rise of reconstructionism within heathenry and a decade of circulation. If reconstructionism was about                                                               “Reconstructionism” is also called “reconstructionalism” by some. The purpose of this article is to introduce a compact introduction to reconstructionism4 which will help dispel some of these misunderstandings and replace them with an explanation of what it is. Certainly there are groups of modern heathens who choose to wear “Viking Age” garb during events and there are those that have attempted to construct particular social structures or imitate rituals exactly as they are described in history texts.  It is  also used to describe modern day groups of people who claim to worship or are attempting to rebuild the old “Heathen”  religions. “Reconstructionism’s Role in Modern Heathenry”.  1 . some of the more prominent misunderstandings need to be addressed in order to explain what it is not. and those who do not. the term was only just beginning to make headway. These should not be mistaken for the reconstructionism of heathenry however. 8th March. breathing religion and we should be focused on growing and developing. as they are not. however. describes the religions and cultures of the pre‐Christian Germanic peoples in all  their various forms from the time they are first recorded by Roman scribes. Before reconstructionism as it is can be approached. Today the word is commonplace in heathen communities across the United States. that  there are sects and branches that are beginning to develop because of reconstructionism. When Bil Linzie first published the article Germanic Spirituality under a Creative Commons Deed on July 11 2003 and followed it up with the first truly comprehensive analysis of reconstructionism in heathenry in 20043. and “Uncovering the Effects of Cultural  Background on the Reconstruction of Ancient Worldviews”. and the differences it has created  between those who subscribe to its method. not a sect or a branch within heathenry. who understood that in order for heathenry to be validated in the modern world it would need to be based upon historical reality. The popular belief that reconstructionism is an attempt to recreate the “Viking world” and to recreate the objects and events associated with that is a misunderstanding which has given rise to one of the more common arguments posed against it. not trying to go back in time or simply imitating rituals. The term “reconstructionism” did not really begin to circulate in conjunction with modern heathenry until the late 1990’s in America. and describes a method. and it is helping to redefine and reshape heathen communities in very powerful ways. and how this translates into the adherent’s understanding of heathenry.  All of which are searchable and downloadable in pdf form on  the internet for free.

i. Bil “Uncovering the Effects of Cultural Background on the Reconstruction of Ancient Worldviews”. the model leads to the development of protocols for                                                                6 7  Linzie. 7/13/07   Merriam‐Webster. A modular religion stands in direct contrast to an ethnic religion such as the indigenous religions of Africa. It is the worldview which formed the foundation from which heathen practice. 2004  . describes. One must investigate the social structure. and tradition developed amongst the pre-Christian Germanic people. but also predicts how two events interact with one another. pg 3. and helps to predict interactions between events. and corollaries.2011  8  Linzie. the adherent must seek to understand the “why” which shaped those systems and must try to comprehend the very worldview from which the investigated religion has developed. is an ideal divorced from culture. and it is to some degree. but this definition inherently omits any of the reality behind that process.8 Because the map defines. complete with its own rules. Linzie describes it as a type of “map”.e. “‘Religion. Likewise. March 8. which not only defines relationships between events. a middle class American has an entirely different worldview than an Indian Hindu or a member of the Huli people of Papua New Guinea. In order to reconstruct any of the ancient heathen religions the adherent must thoroughly investigate the culture that they are entwined with. belief. inherently “unheathen”. Because worldview’s primary shaper is culture. axioms. It fails to address exactly what is really being reconstructed. any American or any European for that matter is exceedingly different from that of the pre-Christian Germanic people.Óðrœrir 12 imitating events. If it is a religion. It is important to note that worldview is not a body of knowledge. These differences are of the most interest to the reconstructionist. Anthropologists over the past 150 years have been entertained. then one can not claim that the end result of this process is a reconstructed religion when it is really a modern construct bearing the surface appearance of its original form. laws. The worldview produced the “why” and it is the worldview itself that we aim to reconstruct. Rather. Australia. Bil “Reconstructionism’s Role in Modern Heathenry”. essentially. It is with this understanding that the reconstructionist operates. who seeks to recognize and understand them. The very idea that religion and culture can be separated is in fact. The original spiritual framework has been lost. and it neglects the process of how an individual goes about that reconstruction. as well as the logic used to explain ones personal relationship to the world outside of the self. the worldview of an American. and from worldview. The most common modern example of a modular religion is Christianity5…The concept is completely self-contained. and frustrated by how closely bound religion-culture-worldivew in these regions are to landscape-occupation-environment. the language. action. from landscape. fascinated. A term which I have often used in the past is ‘modular religion’ as opposed to ‘ethnic religion. and Greenland. The reality is that the spiritual framework which we label as “heathenry” is inexplicably bound to the culture and locality from which it developed and cannot be separated. a module. objects. It is also said of reconstructionism (as it pertains to heathenry) that it is the process of reconstructing an ancient heathen religion. and it is tied directly to the culture and environment that we are born and raised in.7 It is the very matrix through which we understand our world. It is a system of interpretation. from language. then on what terms is it being reconstructed? Is the religion being ciphered out of a vague understanding of an entirely foreign culture like broken jewelry out of sand and wired together to the shape and understanding of a modern American with a Judeo-Christian background? If this is the case. Worldview as it is defined is how an individual subconsciously interprets relationships between perceived events. or even rituals then it may well be renamed “reenactment” and it would indeed be a static and rigid pursuit. the customs and the political system not to find things to reconstruct or how to do things. Alaska.’ in our modern sense of the word.’ A modular religion is a religion which can be easily imported and exported across cultural boundaries. On the surface this would appear to be true.”6 Heathenism is an ethnic religion.

 Indo‐Paganism. Because it is very difficult for an American to accept the idea of a caste system. (June 22. but can be read about in Barbara and  Thomas Metcalf’s A Concise History of Modern India. the single biggest challenge in reconstructing their worldview is the danger of internalizing and processing that which we learn about the ancient heathens through our own. “unheathen” filters. in the myths for example. a vast proportion of our culture is permeated and shaped by Christianity and urbanization. American heathens do not have that option and must consciously safeguard themselves from misinterpretation.” In other words. social mores. true conversion to Hinduism is perhaps impossible. particularly in the US and Europe no longer practice arranged marriage. This is the foundation of much of our worldview and it is not based off of a natural evolution of Germanic thought over time.  9 . afterlife rewards. and while the American seeking to fully understand the Hindu worldview can opt to move to India. The plethora of new age and neo-pagan movements within America are a prime example of this end result. Likewise. but rather something entirely different and most likely constructed with cultural schemas that are inherited from Christianity11.9 While it’s easy to point to differences in worldview between an Anglo American and an Indian Hindu. To the heathen using the reconstructionist approach it is crucial to accept that we have a vastly different worldview from that which we are trying to reconstruct. legal systems.  10  An interesting and easy to read essay concerning cultural misappropriation was recently published in The Wild Hunt. traditional marriages are still the overwhelming marriage type in India and to the Hindu families that follow this practice it is the “correct” way of doing things. Since we are not born into a heathen culture. but this is in many ways misleading. and the only way to do that is to reconstruct. and in many  ways the caste system is beginning to devolve. If we are not aware of the concepts of worldview and cultural context then we will instinctively and subconsciously reinterpret what we learn of pre-Christian Germanic thought through our own modern lens. The human mind is prone to reinterpreting information it receives into that which it understands and when it comes face to face with that which it does not understand.Óðrœrir 13 what that particular worldview considers “proper interaction. and Cultural Appropriation”. I have thus far used the term “modern” to describe today’s American worldview. due to our “modern” environment. and a focus on a “spiritual growth”. our “map of interpretation” and the inevitable outcome will be cultural misappropriation10. and how that individual interprets the guidelines for developing practice within it. The reality is that American society today is a product that has been shaped by layer after layer of social and economic change. It gives the notion that our worldview is more developed and superior to that of the ancient heathen. 2010)  11  Christianity is the prime religious model that our worldview works with. The worldview builds the framework for how an individual understands religion. with their emphasis on personal relationships with deities. be acquainted with. The reality is that in America today. Such schemata must be reworked in order to approximate heathenry. the result is often referred to as “culture shock”. and moral and ethical system are developed. we naturally interpret and even think through Christian schemas.  Whether these social changes are taking place due to shifts within the  Hindu worldview or from influence from outside of it is not the topic of this article. It is very easy for an American to look at the Hindu caste system. and understand heathen schema. from the Industrial Revolution to the Protestant Reformation to the start                                                               It should be noted that many Hindus. if one is looking to convert then it must be a true conversion and that individual’s personal worldview must be set aside in favor of the worldview of the religion they are investigating. We will no longer be reconstructing a version of heathen religion or worldview. However. the thought of arranged marriages in Hindu society are unsettling and unthinkable to our American ideals. “Hinduism. While parts of heathen culture have survived. Indeed opponents of reconstructionism have attempted to use this argument for years to justify interpreting information from a “modern perspective which modernizes heathenry” but it is a sincerely flawed argument. However. Lastly the worldview becomes a cosmological model and it becomes necessary for the guidelines of both secular and religious ceremony. and say “that is unjust”. particularly when exposed to a separate culture.   Kulasundari Devi.

They are “transcultural”. There is nothing in the United States including new age religions such as Wicca. Christianity and Wicca are similar in that both can be added to a culture to produce a new variation centered around the same theme. There is no indication or evidence that these people even had a sense of “religion”. Likewise. “the way we commonly do things”. When it comes to the concept of religion. is achieved by maintaining one’s standing within a described community through adhesion to a prescribed set of social principles which that community has defined. The Germanic heathen religion/tradition/worldview on the other hand. and still you will interpret every action. any responsible action taken within the moral constraints of one’s community is considered ‘spiritual’ activity. Romuva. and every aspect of life through this filter or worldview. This is the implicit “order” of things. earth. and are in no way separated from the mundane world. To consciously engage in an activity strictly as a spiritual exercise is only necessary in world rejecting religions. Two thousand years of established Christian schemata have so thoroughly saturated western culture that simply by existing in this society. Christianity. or a worshipful demeanor in which the individual connects or seeks to connect with some otherworldly entity or hidden revelation. Within these traditions. “prayful”. and Religio Romana among others should strive to recreate a pre-Christian worldview if they are to be revived. Press. Maintenance of spiritual fulfillment in this sort of world accepting system. They have left us no words which may imply “worshipfulness”. but seeks to broaden his base and standing in his community by expanding on his skills. AS sidu. and in the end are nothing more than a reactionary module Even the concept of what “religion” is differs vastly between our current worldview and the worldview of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. New York 1994). world rejecting religions and can be separated out from cultural tradition. like most indigenous folk worldviews. Modern “pagan” religions such as Ásatrú. It is what has created our filter of interpretation. and are separate from a transitory  physical world. and not on an “otherworld”. eschatological. Generally one does not seek otherworldly satisfaction in the spiritual sense mentioned above.  They are essentially soteriological.  Russell defines world rejecting religions as generally  escapist in nature and holding the belief in a soul and spiritual world which are eternal. Interactions with the “otherworldly” forces that are the gods are intended to directly influence this world in numinous forms such as luck. the primary impediment                                                               ON siðr. Wicca. Their  religiosity is tied to their culture and their environment. The heathen concepts of innengard and utgard. or “spiritual”. and do not focus on transcendence to another world. Each movement between today and the time of the preChristian heathen has emphasized its own concepts of values and ideal parameters of human interaction that are further and further removed from those that were originally a part of heathen cultures. Even radically opposed belief systems. They fail to break free of it however. family. or salvation. seodu    See Russell’s The Germanization of of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach  to Religious Transformation (Oxford Univ. god. which has not been formed.13 Christianity. and we are largely unaware of it.    World accepting religions are  generally folk‐centered. quiet reflection. responsibilities. Christian upbringing and environment is inescapable today. work. You can have never stepped foot inside of a church. The closest early terms12 translate to “custom”. was a world accepting tradition and closely tied to the very land and culture where it was practiced and could not easily be separated from it. or does so simply to feel at peace and whole with the world and one’s self. culturally specific. such as Satanism. or “tradition”. They are not intended to further ones “otherworldly” standing.Óðrœrir 14 of the Renaissance before that and so on. are nothing more than a reflection of that which they oppose. frith and luck have been replaced or given entirely new form again and again so that they have lost their native context. manipulated and shaped by urbanization and the revelatory module religion. However. The sense of ‘spirituality’ found today often involves some form of meditation. much of these religions sense of ‘spirituality’ is separable from culture. Buddhism and Islam are all modular. They are based off of and reactionary to Christian thought. every relationship between man.  13 12 . and universal in nature. one will be imparted with a worldview that is decidedly “unheathen”. and reputation. prayer.

or social destabilization…the relationship of social structure to ideological structure and religious expression plays a significant role in this inquiry.   Russell. the Anglo Saxon gospel. James. The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel. bit by bit and is a lifelong process. Also the homogeneity of early medieval Germanic society… did not predispose to the Christian message. but in reality they are interpreting it in their own way and are taking the information out of its context and stripping it of its original meaning. New York. as discussed by James Russell below. Oxford University Press. Unplugging one set of practice and lore from one’s worldview and plugging another into the slot is akin to changing the flavor of gelatin one uses but retaining the same mold. Christ is viewed as a roving warrior. 1994 16 15   . “A Strong sense of social unity and collective security prevailed among the Germanic Peoples in the early Middle Ages … (They) did not have immediate social and spiritual needs which Christianity might fulfill. New York. The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious  Transformation. It took centuries for the Germanic people to totally and truly convert to the Christian worldview which simply did not fit with their own. New York: Oxford University Press. Bil Linzie addresses this with a solution that the adherent to reconstructionism must fully internalize. While this has been exactly the case for modular religions including the waves of new age.Óðrœrir 15 is the fact that in order to be able to do this they’re revivalists must collect and analyze information through the Christianized. The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious  Transformation.14” This is demonstrated in early Germanic poetry. The inevitable outcome then is Christian schema and worldview remaining firmly established. G. That is a willingness to set aside all preconceived beliefs and notions. Russell16 argues that while the native Germanic worldview was eventually “Christianized”. and thus lost. neo-pagans that have swept through America in the past several decades. This means that quite often the individual will think that they understand the information they are studying in an accurate heathen context. One cannot become “heathen” by switching out one body of knowledge for another. it is completely natural to subconsciously filter new ideas through an individual’s natural feedback cycle (worldview). This is the nature of adopting a different worldview. The intent of these examples (other than to hint at a wealth of Christian texts from which much about the heathen worldview is preserved and may be investigated and learned from) is not to discourage the reader. It is difficult to break the cycle and must be worked on consciously and honestly. God the Father resides in “Hill fort on the highest mount”15 and the greatest source of pleasure in life is found in the mead hall or at symble amidst the living community. C. The Wanderer. The Heliand. Furthermore. C. and Beowulf demonstrate powerful Germanic ideals that were foreign to Christianity. under “pagan” guise. it simply cannot be so if one is to reconstruct an indigenous ethnic religion out of historical heathenry.                                                              14  Russell. Oxford University Press. While “Christian”. but rather to underscore the reality that ‘converting’ to heathenry is not nearly so simple as rejecting so called Christian teachings and adopting “new gods” in the place of Christ. 1992. Ronald. We should question in spite of the fact that we may discover in the course of examination that some of our most cherished beliefs may have been accepted on blind faith taken from our own worldview’s misinterpretation of the subject at hand. Christianity tends to flourish in the heterogeneous societies in which there exist high levels of anomie. modern filters which were created by the culture that trained them to subconsciously interpret in the first place. and which are not to be found within its module. poems such as Dream of the Rood. 1994  Murphy. much of its influence on Christianity has also remained to this day. James. The single greatest tool with which to combat this issue is to simply understand that this is the case and to be aware of it.

at least in neo-pagan circles. The following is a small set of examples which demonstrate how the reconstructionist will approach historical heathenry and how this effects their understanding and practice.Óðrœrir 16 “The group avows itself in all silence to neo-paganism. Darmstadt. and is in a position to question everything he studies. Simek himself. alongside any of the other leading scholars in the field of Old Nordic History. The reconstructionist is. St. This is far from the truth. and during the closing of Nights of Yule-Tide–so say the old myths– the seeds buried in the earth slowly awake. Anyone who is engaged in this sort of research is practicing reconstructionism to some degree. The fire is a beacon of light for the sun which gradually blesses the earth with longer days. These examples are used only to illustrate a point and not to serve as a full guideline to reconstructionism itself. and brot [to the fire]. The only real question is how good the adherent is at sticking to source material. is a strict reconstructionist. Like thousands of other neo-pagan groups all over the world. Odin and Frey. this small community attempts to revive the ancient practice of the winter-solstice ritual that is still practiced by many indigenous peoples today. while not a heathen. Germany) 2003     . What was the Old Norse or Old High German or the Old Saxon word for ‘belief?’ Was it a word that heathens used and recognized. It simply means that with the understanding that “belief” and “faith” are not the centerpieces of                                                              17  Simek. or was it a representation of an early Christian concept? Bernard Maier (and many others) in his Die Religion der Germanen provides ample evidence that such a theme was not recognized as part of the early Germanic worldview. Odin and Frey and with it a revival of the ancient Germanic mythology is not to be found. The ’gifts’ which draws the group closer together are supposed to express thanks to all the spirits of nature.’ ‘As this example shows the neo-pagans themselves have expressed very little to do with the actual Germanic religion–and the skill and knowledge with which they do this is little more than modest. This is not to say that the reconstructionist heathen has no belief or “personal unverifiable gnosis” (UPG).” He does not recognize any real importance of ‘faith’ or ‘dogma’. according to Bil Linzie “treading on good solid heathen ground with historical precedence for support. and those who advocate neo-paganism have become quite apparent. A rekindling of the Viking Age religion of Thor. Rudolf. They celebrate here their winter-solstice ceremony.”17 This quote is by Rudolf Simek. Die Religion und Mythologie der Germanen. John’s wort. in common parlance] offers some sage. Indeed this process has already begun. and thus questions the supposition that ‘belief’ must be a necessary component to modern heathen praxis. Wissenschaftliche  Buchgesellschaft. At the same time this bonfire will magically draw the sun ever closer to mankind. is the only method which may reasonably “rekindle” any sort of heathen practice that is in any way akin to the Viking Age religion of Thor. It strikes at the heart of neo-paganism but to the heathen who is engaged in reconstructionism it exemplifies the importance of such an approach. The reconstructionist questions all assumptions and concepts. Strict reconstructionism as it is defined by those who advocate the described approach. who is one of the leading scholars of Old Nordic religion and one who is highly respected in the academic and the reconstructionist fields. and the differences between those who are rekindling the old heathen religions. and setting aside personal misinterpretations. The group’s leader [ goðí. The approach is inescapable for any scholar interested in understanding ancient cultures.

thereby leaving behind good. T. Old Saxon. the reconstructionist heathen has been able to ask many questions. Culture and Art Studies (Reprinted version)  University of Helsinki. through such an approach there is plenty that we do know about heathenry as it was historically. It is simply a matter of “unlearning” what one assumes about heathenry that will enable that individual to construct a solid foundation off of which to develop. How much of the eddic material is Christian interpolation or interpretation? 2. Rudolf Simek published the article “The Vanir: an Obituary” in which he provides the compelling argument that the notion that the Vanir were a historically worshiped separate tribe of Gods from the Aesir should be put to rest once and for all. and so that one                                                              18  Simek. who had no practice based off of the assumption that they were such a tribe. Understanding and being satisfied that one has added to his community by good works during life. or special rewards in the afterlife have never really been a part of the Viking Age Germanic way of life. They are rather the hallmarks of a world-rejecting religion and began to show up during the time of conversion. the reconstructionist is willing to give up previous beliefs or notions should they conflict with evidence to the contrary. Accept that Ásatrú as a spiritual way to live is the expression of the underlying worldview. Heathens utilizing the reconstructionist method did not find their traditions to suddenly be conflicting with newfound data. E.Óðrœrir 17 the heathen tradition. Anchor Books. New York. History. 4. Such a practice lacks in any in-depth understanding of the worldview. The method of reconstructionism does not however. Note: The concepts of reincarnation. This is only a list. simply dismantle all potential “truth”.18 I have chosen to still use this example because while many in the neo-pagan circles were forced to rethink their ‘beliefs’ and their ‘practice’. intended to be used as a set of examples to the point. In fact this idea had been suspect to the reconstructionist for years. the reconstructionist heathen did not because this information changed nothing about the heathen worldview as we understand it. Was Óðínn viewed as ‘the High God’ in all Germanic linguistic branches? The question pertaining to the Vanir was recorded by Linzie over seven years ago. The reconstructionist is also willing to leave information that has been uncovered as it is. without adding modern interpolations or assumptions. It is not and never has been about looking outward or inward. Shortly afterwards. Note: Assuming that becoming heathen is simply a matter of switching one religion for another is left-over baggage from the late 20th century. Ásatrú spirituality is based on the interacting with the real world in a way which supports the well being of family and community. and Anglo-Saxon texts? 3.Folklore Studies /  Dept. The spirituality grows up from the worldview and cannot be switched from one to another. salvation. and hence have an entirely different outlook on proposed queries such as: 1. Retrospective Methods Network Newsletter. Beyond Culture. Because of this approach. Old High German. December 2010. 1976  . Rudolf “The Vanir: an Obituary”. special judgment by a divinity. Bil Linzie has already constructed a list. “Final rewards” are directly correlated to the memories left behind after one’s death. Accept that Ásatrú (heathenry) as a worldview is probably complete (but not fully interpreted) and can stand on its own without modern interpolation or “filling in the gaps”. Helsinki  19  Hall. 3. by holding it as questionable. 1. fond memories after death. Note: This is exactly the dividing point between a world-accepting and a world-rejecting religion. On the contrary. which was adapted to suit heathenry from Edward Hall’s Beyond Culture19 and which I have made some minor adjustments to. of Philosophy. There never was a separate tribe of “fertility gods” as previously supposed. Why doesn’t the tribal separation of the Vanir versus the Aesir show up in Gothic. 2.

What was their goal? What was the purpose?” Investigating the heathen worldview would produce a different conclusion than what had been assumed previously. spiritual connection with gods was borrowed from Christianity a millennia ago. The person had observed that this action is not in any way based off of historical heathen tradition and is a modern construct. Individuals seeking close. the reconstructionist is free to establish and develop any sort of action that is consistent with and which reinforces this mentality as opposed to imitating actions while reinterpreting them through a different cultural (in this case American Christian/New Age) lens. I responded by pointing out that it does not matter “how” you begin the ceremony if you don’t understand the intent and purpose of the historical (or modern) methods. The gods would have been recognized as already being present within the confines of the community and not in some otherworldly spiritual place. spiritual philosophy but rather how an individual could apply personal skills to the betterment of both family clan and community. The Troth  20 . ‘Rugged individualism’ is both a foreign and a modern concept.21 Working within and understanding the reconstructed heathen worldview does create very real differences in developing practice. and belief.  There is  evidence that individuals did pray to the gods. In this case. The land was not separate from its ‘owners. or Crucifix but rather retains its older meaning of ‘holy’ meaning ‘whole’ or ‘complete’. tribal religions. The land upon which a geographic community is built and supported is holy.  Our  Troth. From here and with this understanding. where the presence of holy powers can be felt more strongly. Note: Here the world ‘holy’ does not mean ‘sacred’ in the sense of the Catholic Eucharist. or tracing it with fire) that can be employed to initiate a blót with. The correct question should be “why did historical heathens begin blót the way they did. and to declare who is and is not welcome. Shinto. tradition. The observer then pointed out that there are more historical methods (such as cording off the blót space. you are still only emulating actions and attaching modern rational to them if you do not understand the original context of “why”.22” The purpose would be to establish a boundary that marks the physical limits of that sacral space.’ 7. If you internalize the worldview of the pre                                                              I have altered Linzie’s original argument that praying directly to the gods was borrowed from Christianity.20 A reciprocal relationship of gifting to and in return from gods is more appropriate. If you cord off a blót space because that is what evidence shows may have been done historically. 2004  22  The quote was taken from one of the most popularly owned and read books regarding Asatru in the United States. the purpose of an opening act in blót would not be to ‘hallow’ or ‘purify’ a space or to create a “space that is set apart from the world of man. to declare the purpose of that event with rules and guidelines of proper and improper action within that marked area. 5. The family is the smallest recognizable unit in Viking Age philosophy. Second Edition.Óðrœrir 18 is welcomed into the home or land of the dead is the hallmark of world-accepting religions such as early Greek. Vol 2. I was recently posed a question concerning the heathen practice of Blót. Individualism during the Viking Age was not about personal . It is crucial to make a distinction between practice and worldview. 6. Note: individualism is a deeply ingrained part of the American way of life with few exceptions such as the Native American or the Amish who maintained the older Germanic concept of community. etc. The intention of such an approach is not and never has been to attempt to emulate heathen practice. etc. 2007. the individual is but one part of the family. Bible. and wanted to know if these methods were being used by anyone. through the observations of the Rus asking for good trade.  21  Linzie. The former arises from the latter.  I have  changed the statement to reflect that. The question was based off of the observation that many modern Ásatrúar use what is called the “Hammer Rite” to initiate the ceremony.  The nature of  the heathen relationship with gods and that of the Christian relationship with God however is very different.

Bibliography Gundarsson. New York.com/nm/seidhman> Linzie. 11. an Obituary:. Bil. C. Through it. Web. Patheos. Linzie. New York. The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation. and growing out from that worldview of the ancient heathen while realizing more and more every day just how compatible that worldview truly is with the modern world. Barbara. even seemingly impossible.com. Beyond Culture. "Hinduism. New York. Bil. at other times it can be fun and exciting. and Cultural Appropriation. 17 Jul 2011. James.                                                              23  This line was taken from a member of a reconstructionist forum. and the author felt it helps to sum  up this article perfectly. Web. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.com/nm/seidhman> Linzie. Darmstadt. <http://www. 20 Jul 2011. 22-06-2010. Rudolf. Anchor Books. Hall. It is always informative. “Germanic Spirituality”. 2001. <http://www. We spend our lifetime honing.23 While approaching heathenry through the reconstructionist method can be very difficult at times. Murphy.org.angelfire.  . developing. and Thomas Metcalf. Bil. It is an approach. 2003. Mirriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. "The Vanir. then the practices which rise from that worldview. 1992. <http://www. 2007. Kvedulf Gundarsson. North Charleston: BookSurge Publishing. Oxford University Press. Rudolf.asatrulore. Ronald. Die Religion und Mythologie der Germanen. Reconstructionism is not a sect or a branch. “Uncovering the Effects of Cultural Background on the Reconstruction of Ancient Worldviews” 2004. Devi.angelfire. 2003. while not identical to theirs. “Reconstructionism’s Role in Modern Heathenry” 2007. New York: Cambridge University Press. Oxford University Press.The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel. 1994 Simek. Germany) 2003 Simek. Russell. Kvedulf. A Concise History of Modern India. G. Edward. www. Springfield: Mirriam Webster Inc.com/nm/seidhman> Metcalf." Our Troth:Second Edition.Óðrœrir 19 Christian Germanic peoples (which starts with understanding it).angelfire. will be consistent with theirs. "Volume 2: Living The Troth. Indo-Paganism. Each new discovery leads to questions about how and if it effects the researcher’s worldview and understanding thereof. T. heathenry as it is known in America has been and will only continue to develop and thrive as a consistent rekindling of the ancient heathen religion." Retrospective Methods Network Newsletter Dec (2010): 1018. Comp." The Wild Hunt. 1976 Kulasundari.

Óðrœrir 20 .

   Jenny Jochens. in some ways. None of this should imply that women like those in the stories did not exist. they are realities all the same. In the Older Borgarthing Christian Law. In the reconstructionist approach to heathenry if we do not attempt to look at multiple sources in history. because they very likely did.Óðrœrir 21 Women in Heathenry: What We Find Beyond the Literature Jill Budynas Many times the fictitious tales of the sagas conflict with the surviving legal codes and archaeological evidence giving us a hazy picture of reality for women in historical heathenry. Women were defined by their marital status as maiden. and indeed demanded the brides consent. and gender roles that may or may not have affected the holy. in order for a marriage to take place. if a woman says no than the marriage cannot go forward  and specifically states if she remains silent that is to be seen as consent. Jochens also examines in detail the cross referencing of literary material and legal codes to  rebuild the ritual surrounding ritualistic naming even outside of the introduction of Christianity.4 To dismiss this as irrelevant is to deny basic household dynamics and division of power that dictated rituals. daily roles. By combining the literature with the legal codes we can get a bigger picture of the “right to life” which in turn.2 Christianity brought the right. or more specifically the absence of “no”.  2 1 . we are creating gaps in knowledge that may not exist. wife or widow opposed to men who had no status designated to them through marriage or lack of. This does not mean we put away the stories of heroic women and erase them from our lore. It was arranged by her father and the bridegroom and his family and indeed she may never lay eyes on him until their wedding day. There is evidence of gender roles in ritual historically and without the examination of those rituals or the context in which we find them. “Teutonic Families”. then we must examine the guts as well as the glory. birthing rights. lets us piece together assumptions of naming rituals. and names it. See  Jochens chapter 2 in which she discusses marriage practice in detail  4  Theodore John Rivers. We cannot confine ourselves to sagas and Eddas or we miss massive amounts of material lending us insight to marriage. Just because there is a conflict between the sagas.3 There was also no minimum age to marry and we can see an example of this in the Grágás as to the special provisions granted for women widowed and engaged under the age of 16. Christianity did bring what would modernly be labeled as freedoms to the North that did not exist before. especially in a subject that is vaguely scrawled across the pages of the past like women’s roles.5  Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in regards to Puritan funeral practices. acknowledges it as his own. In order to gain a full understanding of why our ancestors practiced things in the manner that they did. Women in Old Norse Society (1991) pg 17 supported with sagas and legal code analysis  3  This is a place where the sagas and literary sources deviate with legal codes and surviving correspondences between  missionaries and bishops. legal codes and archaeological evidence does not mean we ignore the literature. One of those realities is. Expanding past the literature gives us a wider insight into daily realities. In Norway and Iceland a woman did not have a voice in her marriage. such as the right to the life of a child and the naming of those that survived. then we are leaving gaps in meaning which defeats the purpose of what the movement is attempting to accomplish. Gleis outlines the ritual of leaving the child on the floor until the father picks up the child. “Widows Rights in Anglo‐Saxon Law” The American Journal of Legal History  (1930)   5  Paul Gleis. While some of those realities are hard to stomach by modern heathens. We just have to keep in mind that “well behaved women seldom make history”1 which means we have been left little evidence of the ones who followed the rules.  Looking at the evolution of older codes versus the  new ones we can see where the accepted practices in marriage evolved with Christianity and away from pagan ideals.

What we have is undeniable evidence that shows women were considered socially unequal by our terms. 85 were male. pg 20‐21  7 6 . not the father. as she could not speak at Thing.   8  There are many places in the legal codes where the order to not do something is very telling of what was done before the  decree and in some instances it is declared pagan outright. again supporting the importance of context. translation Jochens   The name would be demanded from the door while she was in labor and if the name was audible to those near or at the  door the child was named as a “half father” and was responsible for the financial aspects until a month after birth.  9  Through years of attempting to ban the practice of infant exposure. but that did not mean that they were not extremely liberated compared to the Greeks and Romans or that they held no sense of balance at all. cooking equipment was found in both male and female. The Norse. In the sagas we can see where women maintained their entire dowry. but in 26% of female graves opposed to 16% in male and agricultural equipment was found in 50% of female graves opposed to 36% of male though there was a difference in the specific type of equipment per gender. For example. For example. the child will be exposed. The Grágás outline the many reasons that a person could get a divorce.13 Women were also found buried with weights and balances. we have a fair understanding to an important rite of passage. giving us an instance where the sagas match up with believable reality. but deserve a more detailed  examination than available here. in a Denmark cemetery of 320 graves. only in a higher percentage of a specific item for a specific gender. a strong indicator  pina hana in the Icelandic. If she  failed to rename the father then the child was placed in slavery and fines were paid to the king according to Norwegian  laws.11 What they found was that there were a higher percentage of objects such as weapons and riding equipment in male graves and arm rings and spindle whorls in woman’s graves12 but that does not mean that all named objects were not found in the both male and female graves.9 By accepting the roles and rights of women. In Icelandic laws. the church instead made rules surrounding it. For example in the laws of Aethelbert in AngloSaxon law.7 Working under the fair and supported assumption that the church did not outlaw most practices that did not go directly against early Christian doctrine and our knowledge of early Christian doctrine. it was only long enough to be baptized at the church and then buried alive “until it is  dead” as well as several other grim practices toward unwanted children as seen in the Norwegian laws. which in the end changed very little in how they practiced their births. None of this is to say that women had no rights or were utterly passive. we have a good idea of what was pagan practice and what was Christian influenced. through bones or grave goods.8 What the church attempted to take over was the right to decide life. making it still relatively easy to obtain and the ability for a woman to take her property with her and back to her family made it a viable threat. but she could initiate one with nothing more than a witness before the era of the church came into play and not much more even after the church took up supervision of divorce. The Anglo‐Saxon’s converted nearly 400  years before the Norse and Icelandic and the analysis of Christian influence on these laws would take more than the scope  of this essay allows.  10  The Anglo‐Saxons are mentioned sparingly in this essay for several reasons. our ancestors did not. Norwegian law states that every child must have a father and both Norwegian and Icelandic law allowed for the “torture”6 of a pregnant woman in order to gain the name of the father or demanding the name from the door while the woman was in labor. a woman could leave with child and still maintain half of the property. They should not be ignored as a viable part of heathen studies. Iceland and the Anglo-Saxon10 clung to their right to divorce so fiercely that the church stopped trying to abolish it and simply tried to control it. While  the church demanded a child live.Óðrœrir 22 Unless he does. a name. taking the right to choose a child’s life from the woman. A woman could not complete her divorce without a man. The legal codes are peppered with detailed inheritance and divorce laws outlining what a woman held the right to as her own. the woman not only had to name the father but where they met and when the child was conceived.   11  Judith Jesch Women in the Viking Age (1991) pg 13  12  Ibid pg 14  13  Ibid. What we would consider a gender divide in labor. 73 were females and 162 could not be determined.

Óðrœrir 23 that women were allowed to participate in trade. Women in the Viking Age. and according to the Grágás inheritance section could come directly into her inheritance. Lady With a Mead Cup. Theodore John. Carol. “Hildigunnr’s Lament” Cold Counsel: Women in Old Norse Literature and Mythology (2002) Jesch. Michael. including the literary sources.15 While none of this remotely supports modern equality. Rivers. 1991 Jochens. It is not that there is no value in the literature because that would be blatantly untrue and damaging. but as pieces of art and entertainment with small glimpses into the world the writer wished to convey. which is not reflected in or representative of the common man or in real life. She was also allowed to inherit property. however when we examine the literature alone. These amazing examples of poetry and lore were not meant to be historical documents. or her male guardian.  marriage.17 When we look at the sources on these topics we can see a clear formula for these rituals and the fact that it was left solely to women to fulfill these roles in a socio-religious context that seems to be largely ignored in heathenry. 1995. 1996 Clover. There are some realms that belonged to women alone such as cup bearing in liquor rituals 16 and incitement or whetting. warriors. Jenny. It only says that in order to gain a real grasp on our ancestral sisters we must broaden our scope significantly in order to see the dynamics that influenced rituals and rights of women in historical heathenry and in turn can get a better grasp on ritual and life itself.   16  Micheal Enright Lady With a Mead Cup (1996)  17  Carol Clover “Hildigunnr’s Lament” Cold Counsel: Women in Old Norse Literature and Mythology (2002)   15 14 . Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. even before the age of 16 which was the legal age for a male.14 Women were also able to own and sell property in some cases. The high ratio of men to women in the literature gives us an even smaller window to view women in historical heathenry and that is before we pick apart the heavy Christian influence and additions. and valkyries of incredible worth and power that ruled the world in glory and fame. but she maintained ownership of it. BIBLIOGRAPHY Enright. That is only to say that it cannot and should not be taken at face value. Women in Old Norse Society. Judith. The literature plies us with stories of queens. and surviving wills across the Norwegian. Portland: Four Courts Press. "Widows' Rights in Anglo-Saxon Law. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Frisian and Icelandic. These are stories of heroes and nobility. Generally women were married and their husband gained control of that property." The American Journal of Legal History 19 (1975)  Ibid pg 21   Most ideas of what women were and were not allowed to own can be gleaned by both the legal codes on inheritance. Anglo‐Saxon. it does not support total submission either. That is not to say we do not have a great deal of material to learn from. we miss vital pieces to the puzzle that has been left to us.

Óðrœrir 24 .

however. Wollaston Pioneer from Northamptonshire (Middle Anglia/Mercia). artwork cannot be changed over the years as it is physically the same now as it was when it was created. Benty Grange from Derbyshire (Mercia) and Coppergate from York (Northumbria). this time from a Christian perspective yet with echoes of the Lord Ing. The animals connected to helmets are boars and dragons. which for this reason requires special attention (see below). The artwork of the period can be seen in three broad groups. what you see at first sight is almost certainly not what you see on closer inspection. Less obvious boars are found on the Sutton Hoo helmet. Cambridgeshire (East Anglia). The Coppergate helmet reflects this protective motif in a less direct way through a script written along the “wala” or crest band. The last line of the verse “ðus heardingas ðone hæle nemdum” translates as “thus heroes (or hard men) named the hero” suggesting that Ing is the hero of heroes. which is useful as there is no confusion from Saxon or Jutish cultures. All four helmets are Anglian. Another boar figurine exists from Guilden Morden. The use of animals as totemic protection is clear from an examination of the four complete helmets found in England. anthropomorphic/zoomorphic (designs featuring humans/humanoids and animals/creatures). Only the Coppergate helmet falls outside of the Heathen period but it should not be removed from this study as it shares characteristics with the earlier types. The purpose of this article is to take a brief look at the idea of animal imagery as a representation of and a connection to the Otherworld. he is the “warrior defender” who not only gives life but actively protects life. geometric (abstract shapes. both these have boar crests or figurines which are fitted directly to the front to back band at the apex of the dome. these terms should not be confused with style or chronological groupings such as Salin’s style groups. The . the fragments from the recently discovered Staffordshire Hoard appear to support the previous conclusions. Eofor-lic scionon ofer hleor-bergan (Boar shapes shone over cheek guards) [Beowulf 303-304] The boar in Norse lore an animal with close connections to Freyr (and thus by inference the Anglian Ingwe or Ing) a god regarded by many modern Heathens as solely a fertility god yet here in the Anglian Ing(we) we find his full warrior nature. For the purposes of this introduction to Anglian animal art and its symbolic meaning I will focus mainly on pictorial representations of animals and birds. These pieces give us an insight to our ancestors’ understanding of world around them and their religious or superstitious beliefs. Understanding Anglo-Saxon artwork is not a simple task. Þunorrad Þeod.Óðrœrir 25 Some Animal Imagery in Anglian Heathenry Written and illustrated by John Wills. Looking at Old English literature for this information is also useful but has its pitfalls due to translation and the agenda of the author (especially with literature dealing with the Migration period as all records were written during the Christian period). knots. is a hero who travels by wagon. fylfots etc) and pictorial (realistic representations). They are: Sutton Hoo from Suffolk (East Anglia). specifically those depictions carried into battle by the Anglian warriors. It was found in 1864 but there is no associated helmet even though the figurine itself does have fixing rivets on its feet matching both Wollaston and Benty Grange. ring-dots. Ing. England. The two most obvious boars in the corpus are on the Benty Grange and the Wollaston helmets. During the 5th to 7th centuries the Germanic settlers of England produced a large amount of artwork depicting animals and mythic beasts. this is not only a continuation of the Old English love of riddles but also a reflection of how the Unseen hide around every corner and share our space. these will be dealt with separately. according to the Old English Rune Poem.

hip ps and shou ulders. NOMINE. Only the e Wollaston boar has no o decoration n resembling g the Gullinb nbursti story however th his matc ches the plai in style of th he whole helmet. The Gui ilden Morde en boar is made m of bron nze and has a crest t running ac cross its bac ck. On the Sutton Hoo helmet the boars have silver stripe es and gilde ed head ds. DNI. XPI.Óðrœrir 26 scrip pt reads “IN. G Benty Grange Guilden n Morden Wolla aston onstruction o of Wollaston n head Reco ton Hoo (one e of the pair) ) Sutt orpus of Ang glian “helme et” boars. The Benty B Grang ge figurine is i dotted wit th smal ll gilded silv ver studs. h prote Gullinbu ursti. silver and gemstones g m makes this bo oar figure ver ry much h like the description d o Gullinburs of sti. Oshe ere. SC CS. NOST TRI IHV. E OMNIB BUS DECEM MUS. the boa ar given to Freyr in No orse lore. The eyes s of the Ben nty Grange b boar are gar rnets mounte ed with gilded silve er filigree. (Yngvi-Frey yr of the Norse) has bee en replaced w with the sav viour Lord Christ C to achi ieve the sam me ective power rs for the we earer of the helmet. Polli ington 2002). ET. ha as the ability y to glow due d its golde en brist tles which ar re represented in the An nglian depic ctions. Fig. In contrast to the e bronze and d silver boar rs of the othe er helm mets the Wo ollaston boar r is a single e iron rod b bent and split to form a very “mod dern” lookin ng strea amlined figure. D. OSH HERE. 1 Co . the Holy Spirit. Lor rd Ing. “in the nam me of our Lord L Jesus. there is also a gro oove running along its back b which is belie eved to have e once held real bristles s. Amen n. Christ” (trans. SPS. The use of real r bristles. It can be observed th hat the defen nder “Ingwe e-Frea”. AMEN N. S God a and all. we pray.

se ðe on heaum hofe hord beweotode (Dragon ruled. Within the Staffordshire Hoard are a number of items which have been identified as ridge terminals and that are in the form of dragon heads. The examination of the protective symbolism on protective head gear of the Anglian Heathen people illustrates an interesting point. The eyebrows themselves are glittering boars with silver bristles looking out to the sides of the wearer’s head. The dragons found on helmets are guarding the “mound” of the helmet as the two examples. the moustache and the eyebrows form a bird flying up to meet the crest dragon. and enters the poem directly after the death of the last survivor. Between the clear figurative art such as the Wollaston boar and the complex twists and turns of classic Anglo-Saxon zoomorphic artwork is the Sutton Hoo helmet which contains the boar and dragon examined above in both clear and hidden form. The Face The Bird or Winged Dragon The Boars The Dragons or Wyrms Fig 2. If we remove the moustache and eyebrows we find another dragon or wyrm matching the longer ridge creature. . on one eye they have a reflective foil backing on the other eye they do not making one eye shine brightly while the other remains dull. Here we have a face of a man which is a bird flying upwards containing the boar of Ing. When an Anglian Heathen warrior went to war he put his trust in the mythical dragon and Ing which is quite different to the modern idea “Odin’s warriors”. From front to back lays a dragon which looks down onto the face. one arching over each eye. which in high hall treasure watched) [Beowulf 2211-2212] Dragons are the enemy of warriors and the downfall of Beowulf but are apparent in the iconography of helmets too. Imagery contained in the Sutton Hoo helmet “face”. also being consumed by greed. The dragon in Beowulf mirrors Fafnir. Looking up from the face is another head. lay over the front to back ridge. Sutton Hoo and Coppergate. protectors of a mound and its treasure. Woden. the Sutton Hoo has a second dragon hidden within its design. The final piece of the riddle are the garnets beneath the boar eyebrows. This head. this is a double headed protecting the wearer from the front and rear. or maybe a dragon in flight. The dragon Fafnir from pan-Germanic lore was once a dwarf but became a dragon after donning a magical helmet and being consumed with greed. Woden is only present in the very highest status armour and then not prominently. the human nose. These two defensive boars over the eyes are echoed as dragons in the later Christian Coppergate helmet. the dragon defenders of barrows and in the right light is shows the face of the ultimate warrior god on the battlefield. Much of the Sutton Hoo helmet iconography is bound together in a visual riddle which on first glance appears to be a human face.Óðrœrir 27 draca ricsian. the mead-hall of the dead. An examination of the eyebrows reveals they terminate in the heads of boars. It is not unlikely that the early medieval audience understood this as the warrior becoming a dragon to guard his people’s treasure in the barrow mound. The Coppergate has two additional dragons. Both Beowulf’s dragon and Fafnir are guardians.

The eagle therefore is both a potent political symbol as well as an effective protective totem. Härke’s typography (rationalised by Dickinson) is very useful in understanding this imagery: Description type Aquatic Creatures single-surface fish. shields also do not carry boars associated with Ing.Óðrœrir 28 Moving away from helmets the most common protective tool of the Anglian warrior was his shield. It is an eagle at the top of Yggdrassil that sees all and warns the gods of danger. Dickinson says: “The consistently and clearly hooked beaks identify all these birds as raptors not scavengers like ravens (which have a thickened.” In Scandinavian and Icelandic lore Oðinn can and does take the form of an eagle. within and without the Empire. Some have argued that they are hawks or falcons. however. given its pre-eminence in nature and role as the symbol of Roman power. which undoubtedly influenced post-Roman iconography. creatures more usually associated with dwarves and giants.” The eagle is also the favoured form of other powerful shamanic or sorcerer figures. mainly resembling pike a aquatic creatures. as with the helmets. this would be the wrong interpretation. which are found on every Heathen period helmet in England. symmetrical and/or mutli-surface b Predatory Birds i single-surface predatory bird ia bichrome predatory birds ib composite bird ic Dragons ii Quadrupeds v Symmetrical Cruciform i Discoid (including geometric designs) ii Again. the collector of the fallen. in the guise of a wælcyrige. flat-topped beak). and accompanying Saxons and Jutes. were systematically replacing the Roman military order with their own rule which gives a good clue as to why the eagle was used. Furthermore the raven. A much better explanation is given by understanding the politics of the time and what was trying to be achieved by the men carrying these shields. this was often highly decorated with metal mounts and a disc on the boss some in excess of two inches in diameter. but an eagle is more plausible. it is the goddesses that have the “falcon cloak. The Angles. the range of possible iconographic meanings is wide. we do not find ravens or wolves which would normally in modern thinking be associated with Woden. The vast majority of shield mounts are either fish (pike) or eagles. Nonetheless. as a metaphor for celestially-derived qualities and earthly power. Eagles are active killers and when displayed with dragons and the predatory creatures from under the water (the pike like creatures of Type i) they give a message to the enemy . is the bringer of doom and death.

These were not the plain domes of the Viking age. looking closely at the eagle you find in the garnets on the bird’s thigh a human face. creatures that no living man would wish to encounter. Again the Sutton Hoo shield boss is special. however. others spiralling or crouching. These creatures can be seen as representations of the otherworld. not the modern lens of interpreted lore. The shoulder clasps that accompany the helmet and shield both display boars. These garnet boars are in pairs facing away from each other and overlapping. fish and mammal heads. there are tails and wings mixed together which when quickly viewed give the impression of human body parts. An impressive disc was found at Barton Seagrave in Northamptonshire (Middle Anglian/Mercian) which depicts seven different beasts writhing around in a circle. The disc was not devoid of decoration. most were the complex carinated shape ending a disc or button. This interpretation is backed up by the triangular garnet and copper-alloy buckle from Sutton Hoo mound 17. some back biting. Alternative reading of beasts 2 & 7 creating a one-eyed human face crossed by a raven over an eagle. At the centre of every shield is the boss. while behind these longer arms stretch out ending in eagle heads. though some latter examples were conical or sugarloaf shaped without the terminating disc. At either side of the dragon heads short arms project ending in boar heads. Where the boars overlap the shoulders are filled with blue and black glass that give the impression of bee’s wings. Fig 3. The disc measures 50mm diameter by 2. the front legs finish off the insect shape into a butterfly. The magnificent Sutton Hoo shield displays on the front both a dragon and a huge eagle. but on first sight this insect images falls outside of this male dominated world of war. possibly Woden taking on eagle form.Óðrœrir 29 that death is near. these beasts have bird. many display the most complex designs found from all shield fittings. Generally the pattern described is one of zoomorphic disjointed beasts or beast men. The stringer terminates at both ends with dragon heads matching the helmet. As these designs sat on the warrior’s shoulders it is possible that the . On the reverse the stringer and handle also display animal imagery. five radiating out from the boss disc and five facing in from the boss rim. Barton Seagrave shield boss disc zoomorphic beasts (after Dickinson) One more example of animal imagery is of interest to this brief overview and is again from Sutton Hoo. feet and claws. it is fitted with ten dragon heads. hands. Looking at the imagery through the eyes of the ancestors. gives a much more sinister and potent meaning to these thirty inch diameter linden boards and importantly removes any notions of the user turning to giants for assistance. This combination of defensive and offensive creatures should be seen as a sign of battle strength and magical protection as well as royal majesty.5mm deep and is finished in gold. The boar images on the shoulder clasp can be understood in the same way as the helmet boar crests. all of these are gilded. which depicts a horse’s head with a more obvious butterfly motif in the centre.

London. York. and its holder brought with him command of the monsters of water with the aid of warrior magician Woden. His shield was both defensive and offensive. Bibliography Dickinson. Suffolk.org/ Royal Amouries Museum. England – Wollaston helmet http://www.yorkshiremuseum. in Medieval Archaeology 21 pp166-167. 2002 Pollington. His helmet was a symbolic barrow under which was protected his treasure. England – Coppergate helmet http://www. 2005 Foster J.Óðrœrir 30 butterfly shape was a talismanic device to encourage his arms to move lightly and freely in the manner of a butterfly. the bee is called “sigewif”: a victorious woman. R.uk/coresite/html/WPM.royalarmouries. England – Sutton Hoo helmet and shield http://www. however this image is not the carrion picking chooser of the slain but a battle ready fighter. his life. Symbols of Protection: The Significance of Animal-ornamented Shields in Early Anglo-Saxon England. Notes and News. T. Northamptonshire. T. Early Anglo-Saxon Shields. The English Warrior. 2008 Pollington. England – burial ground with reconstruction of the ship burial http://www. This brief examination of the animal symbolism of armour gives definite signs of the Anglian warrior’s religious beliefs and the magic he wished to carry into battle. It is equally possible that we should focus only on the blue bee’s wings and here we find a direct representation of the wælcyrige. S. I.org/ Weston Park Museum. Wayland’s Work. I..museums-sheffield. S. An Introduction to English Runes. which can be understood as an analogy for a wælcyrige. 2010 Underwood. England – Benty Grange helmet http://www. Leeds.britishmuseum. Old English Rune Poem (quoted lines translated by J Wills) Suggested places to visit: British Museum. it carried a symbolic message of impending doom to those who faced it. Metrical Charm 8: For a Swarm of Bees Anonymous.org.org. An Anglian Warrior Burial from Wollaston. in Medieval Archaeology 49 (1) pp109-163. Anglo-Saxon Weapons and Warfare. here she is a proactive killer striking down her enemies with her “sting” and seated on the warrior’s shoulder she can guide his spear arm. 1992 Meadows. 1999 Anonymous.asp Yorkshire Museum and Gardens. H and Dickinson. R.uk Illustrations copyright John Wills 2011 . This connection between the bee and the wælcyrige shows her not as the reactive hag walking through a field of corpses as does the raven. wrapped with dragons and watched over by the warrior defender god Lord Ingwe. 1999 Pollington.org/ Sutton Hoo. Anglo-Saxon Burial Mounds.suttonhoo. 2004 Page. Sheffield. 1977 Härke. S. Beowulf (quoted lines translated by J Wills) Anonymous. In Metrical Charm 8: For a Swarm of Bees.

The Franks.9 It is for this very reason that any serious Frankish enthusiast must accept that much of what defined this people was influenced by this Franco-Gallo-Roman admixture. although the generally accepted origin of frank is found in the Germanic root *fr-k.’ 1 This etymological connection leads us to speculate that by some austere quality of their constitution. These may not be to the extent of the Scandinavian sources of the same periods. London 1880 p. however. 680  7  Tacitus. Kern. historical texts and comparative etymology is worthy of note. the Franks were an ethnic blend of West Frankish Germanic tribes. in my opinion. I have also heard the argument “We don’t have enough information on them so we do it our way. a factual representation of what we do have on the subject.560. right’4 and early Welsh ‘rightful. However A. Saracens and Franks: Karnak: London. trans. but what we do have in the form of archaeology. The Celtic World: Routledge. Celtic culture: A historical encyclopedia V. Avner.H. 1: ABC‐CLIO. protervus. the worldview of those they have chosen to emulate. they were truly Celts or of a Celtic nature.C. Italo‐Celtic origins and prehistoric developments of the Irish language: p. 1362  6  Green…p. procax’  3  Green. Furthermore.C. were not a homogenous Germanic tribe but rather a confederation of no less than eleven groups. entitlement(s). despite popular belief the Franks have left us many. This is based upon the linguistics of both these tribe’s names: Usipete translates as Celtic for ‘well-horsed’3 and Tenctari may be related to the Old Irish téchtae ‘proper. 59  . A. It is not sufficient. John T. it has been my explicit goal to reconstruct the worldview of this motley confederation of Germanic and Celtic tribes to better understand how they reckoned the world around them and what form their relationship with the holy powers may have taken.” This is not. Germany and Agricola of Tacitus: P. procax. as well as Celts. This is not 1 2  Hessel. through research and experimentation. Santa Barbara 2006  p. Norman and Belgian) ancestry. Murray takes the position that such distinctions between the ‘German’ and ‘Celt’ were largely fabricated upon political agenda and information from the likes Ariovistus’ soldiers and that the trans-Rhenish cultures were fairly homogenized late La Tène8. New York 2006 P. forward and wanton.’7 One could therefore conclude that due to the Usipetes and Tenctari’s non-germanic custom of farming and their tribal names. Frederik Herman Henri. they came to be known to others as the “bold.’ 5 By Julius Caesar’s account these two tribes were by their very nature agriculturists and occupied a region which was among the Ubii who ‘were accustomed to Gaulish manners. to simply raise a toast to Merovech and call myself a ‘modern Frank’. many clues into their lives. There are plenty of heathens today who take up the name and identity of a particular cultural group without putting the effort into understanding.”2 As a modern heathen reconstructionist with primarily French (Burgundian. ca. there is much evidence that particularities of their law codes found analogues in Roman tradition. which relates this word intimately to the Old English frec. 128  5  Koch. 102  8  Murray. 680  4  Kortland. Miranda J. Cornelius. From the moment Clovis I conquered the vastness of Neustria and Aquitaine. To deny is illogical.’6 Ceasar also states in Bello Gallico that Germans are not ‘studious of agriculture. Even the origin of their name has been hotly debated. as it is highly improbable to untangle what we now label as “Germanic” from the “Celtic” concerning this folk. 2010  p. Old High German freh and New High German frech as well as the Old Saxon frôcni ‘audax.Óðrœrir 31 Frankish heathenry: An overview Erick Lacharity Who were the Franks and what were their pre-Christian roots? This is a question that has caused confusion and headache among those searching for the answers. 560   (Hk)… p. H.Germanic Kinship Structure: PIMS Toronto 1983 p. two of which are greatly suspected of being of Celtic or of a celticized origin: the Tencteri and Usipetes. protervus. J. Lex Salica: Murray. 471. ‘audax.45‐6  9  Falk.

Thanks to the widely cited and quite unattested etymological work of Hendrik Kern. Hessel.1 : p. 2010  14  Thierry.H. This seems to stem from two underlying factors. 171  13  Falk. It is best to retain the character of the Frank for what he was. Avner. Saracens and Franks: Karnak: London. Charlemange: The Formation of a European Identity: Camberidge UP 2008 p.. Obviously the first step in reconstructing a Frankish worldview is to sift through the many clues found in their gravesites. their barbarous and bizarre aspects are how we have come to paint them’. Terence. may use comparative sources from other neighboring tribes and their linguistic similarities for reshaping a long gone or forgotten worldview in as much detail as our research may afford. Augustin. or have entered the Anglosphere through assimilation and any roots leading to France (or any “Romance” peoples) is largely undesirable. Rosamond. when modern heathens were clamoring about hypothetical “Norse roots” to justify their interest in heathenry. such as the Native American and French folk roots. deep and unbiased look into the extant vestiges of their pre-Christian roots.15 who dutifully researched the etymology of ten collected manuscripts of the law code by J. such as that of Childeric I and other archaeological artifacts. we may extrapolate further knowledge from these reconstructed Old Frankish words and definitions. as Reconstructionists.fr search will show. namely the subjugation of the Saxons. but that of the Franks has been largely untapped. I sincerely hope that this interest is sparked among the modern Francosphere. as their history books have sold them short on the Frankish branch of their ethnic tree in preference of a highly romanticized and mythic portrait of the noble gaulois as the progenitors of the French people. more modern heathens will take up this endeavor. None dedicate their heathen efforts to the Germanic peoples of their own ancient past. Gallo-Romans and their classes as well as with the world around them. Celticism: Radopi B.V.Óðrœrir 32 surprising as their confederation dates to as early as the 3rd century and that at various times the tribes that made up their numbers were Roman foederati. an unfavorable view of the Franks by modern heathens today. Hopefully with a better understanding of who the Franks were and a critical. The first is the disdain for anything related to Charlemagne. that we find the most pertinent information concerning the relationships between Franks. Georgia 1996 P. Yet to do so would be akin to trying to reconstruct the Canadian choosing to focus on only English customs at the expense of any other influences that have shaped this identity. the majority of modern North American heathens are of English speaking (or other Germanic tongue) descent. The law of the Franks after the conquests of Clovis remained largely Germanic with a substantial subset of Roman influences and it is through this law code. the Lex Salica or more properly the Malberg (forum). finalized in 803. Some reconstructionists would attempt to try and sift through the whole of the Frankish people to remove what is wholly Germanic and elevated above other ‘impurities’. 4  15  Hessel (1880)  .11 Secondly. Récits des Temps Mérovégiens V. where Reconstructionists are turning the tide. as a quick google. What to accept as a plausibly Frankish artifact and where to look for such a thing is also highly important. due to his conquest and forcible conversion of other heathen peoples nearer and dearer to the modern Anglosphere. which we push aside without any scruples…their shocking savagery. as can be evinced by the lack of modern pagan websites and/or organizations in France dedicated to their understanding. The ability to do so means that we. Authenticity must be determined by the presence of a historically recognized population centre or trade route such as 10 11  Murry…see vicini   McKitterick. Most of these websites are dedicated to l’Asatru and les peuples du nords. the mores of these destroyers of Rome. There has always been. 12 13 In the words of Augustin Thierry ‘This period [Merovingian] is that which we most gladly abridge. a cultural melting pot of Germanic hereditary law and Roman influenced proprietary law10. It must be stated that a modern þéodisc practice as well as heathen reconstructionist philosophy has taken many decades to evolve in North America and hopefully the same will transpire among the French.14 This sentiment has found detractors for the most part only in Québec. from observation. There was a time in the past decades. In time this gave way to an acceptance of more Continental heathen worldviews. 255  12  Brown.

there is nothing decidedly Christian about the description “domus in modum basilicae factus super hominem mortuum” which translated is “a basilica in the shape of a dome built over a dead man”. it is hard to imagine what form the earliest Frankish Christian worldview took. most notably the Anglo-Saxons via the Saxon.’22 It may be a stretch to make such a comparison.A. Kern compares this idea to the word stûpa ‘tope’ or caitya in Sanskrit with the meaning of ‘that which is worthy to be gazed upon. and tales of miracles purportedly performed by the saint aided in his decision to convert. 172   Yorke. the exchange between Rome and Francia did not solidify the position and integrity of the Church’s canon. George Henry.17 leading to a need for mutual intelligibility on a merchant level. More often than not. So. In Kern’s work on Old Frankish. Christian Pilgrimage in Modern Western Europe: North Carolina UP. N. the relics coming in to Rouen led the population to believe that they had in their presence the actual power of the saints to heal the sick in a physical tangible form. The Cult of Kingship in Anglo‐Saxon England: California UP: Berkley. Celtic and Roman) cult sites being re-appropriated under a thin veneer of Catholicism. but the fact that this word basilica has been used to designate a reliquary or perhaps a grave mound brings to mind the idea of the king’s mound or cenotaph. Swabia (ca 481-507) and to a lesser degree Burgundy (ca 534) though keeping in mind that this last one was largely Burgundian territory16 prior to Frankish rule.1990 p. Clovis was enamored with the cult and power of St. The many cults of the saints can at times be tied to ancient pagan (Germanic. Carolina p. the French historian and archaeologist. It is also possible that elements of their language were exchanged through the well developed trade route with Kent or that at this time their early Germanic tongues had no real differences to speak of. William A. Christian theological doctrine had to be reshaped by their indigenous culture so as to be palatable and easily digested by the lower class Franks. Neustria. Such practices however were widespread across Europe at the time and not isolated to Merovingian Gaul. London 1877 P. Barbara. Martin of Tours. Martin A. which helped the new cult gain wide acceptance20 throughout the realm(s) to the benefit of the nobility at times more than to the Church itself. Seaby: London.21 It is this need for a physical concentration of holy power which leads me to conclude that much of this practice was a common holdover from their pagan roots. It is not impossible. 1986 p. however. Mary Lee & Sidney. Aquitaine. 1970 p. Although the Franks officially became Christian via the baptism of their king Clovis I in 496. It may have been no more than the common Frank or their kings putting most of their eggs in the basket of Christ. 26  18  Nolan. 96  . for power and glory over pious supplication. 331  19  Claussen. I seriously doubt the piety and monotheism of the early Frankish Church. to consider evidence of a Frankish adoration of relics as a heathen attribute.N.19 If this was so true for the eighth century Catholic Church under such a staunch Catholic as Charlemagne.Óðrœrir 33 those in ancient Austrasia. though highly controversial. 350‐750: The Conversion of Western Europe: Pennsylvania UP. the very center of early Frankish Christianity was worship of relics of saints. pg 19  22  BRITTANICA Online  23  Chaney.23 This is further 16 17  Townsend. Celts and Romans all shared some form of holy adoration of sacred implements and localities. The Reform of the Frankish Church: Cambridge UP. Manual of Dates: Warne. The linguistic record may enjoy greater liberty in the comparison of a reconstructed vocabulary with other closely related tribes. just where these pagan roots lead is a rather unanswerable question as the Germans. Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anblo‐Saxon England: B. he notes that in the Lex Emendata there is reference to the word basilica. According to Camille Jullian. Angle and Jutish migration route(s) through territories occupied by tribes making up the Frankish confederacy. Christianity and Paganism. as the coveting of relics and pilgrimages to cult centers of various local saints betrays in them a truly polytheistic worldview. which held cultic appeal among the Anglo-Saxon folk. 7  20  Hillgarth. It is known that the strong kinsmen relationship between the courts of Kent and Neustria through intermarriage and possible Frankish overlordship allowed for a constant exchange of goods and artistic styles from Francia to the British Isle. 19  21  Claussen. J. According to the writings of Nicetius of Trier and Gregory of Tours. New York 2004 p.18 Even throughout the Carolingian rule of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious. However.

though he did not accomplish his task to the fullest extent. such conclusions are but mere speculation and require further research to determine such a possible link if one may be found. At this point in time. Martin of Tours on his travels throughout Burgundy in the fourth century and Christianity itself. hair of St. Folklore du Nivernais et Morvan: Thoreau. Rolland’s famed sword Durendal. du-Chêne. Jean. which he derives from a misinterpreted and wrongly transcribed chreobardio. Winfred Phillip. According to his research presented in Folklore du Nivernais et Morvan. Meyer Paul. Netherlands 1986 p. blood of St. such a practice of grave mound cultic activities may well have been common place and may have aided in the eventual adoption of reliquary cult practices.netcom. contained in its hilt a tooth from St.lv  27  Lehmann. through comparison.32 names translating to Our Lady of the Elm.htm#relics  31  ibid  32  Drouillet. burial mound’27 and OF burgisli. Concerning the cult of St.ix. Martin of Tours. OS hlēwe ‘grave.186  28  (Hk)…p.lv  29  Longnon. Given the sufficient references to grave mounts among the Franks and how such mounds were regarded among other Germanic peoples at the time. Kern also sheds some light on the etymology of *chreoburgio.26 It is clearly a compound of two words which find their related forms in the OE hlæw. This is proven by acts of the Matter of France being adapted to the Norse Karlamagnús saga for King Haakon V of Norway. Raoul de Cambrai: Meyer. If we compare this to the Norse cults of the mound as related to the king. Minneapolis 2008 p. An Analytical Dictionary of English Etymology: Minnesota UP. Denis and a piece of Mary’s garment.Óðrœrir 34 demonstrated by the Germanic root *stuppa. OE byrgen ‘sepulcrum’. but they do show. Auguste. Anatoly. -Frêne and du Charme. London 1993 p.which finds its modern English descendent in ‘stub. 202   Davidson. Some of these various Notre-Dames (Our Ladies). leave us with information on such notable Late Frankish characters as Rolland.25 we can see a similarity in the halig of the dead heathen king and the sacer of the early Christian saint’s relics which received a wide cult status and were looked to as a source of health and betterment to the folk.com/~kiyoweap/myth/arms‐weap/durendal. Paris 1877 p.104  26   (Hk)…p.31 In other versions stretching from Norway to Germany and beyond. Peter. The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe: Routledge.’24 So a further understanding of basilica in this context can be ‘a protruding mount (dome) which covers the remains of a dead man’. these cults to the Virgin Mary are a syncretism between the pagan cults encountered by St. He then puts forward the definition of ‘tumulus over the bones of a dead man. relegated to trees were named Notre-dame-de-l’Orme.30 Some of the key heroic figures contained within the many tales are proof of the high popularity of Northern European heroic characters among the many royal courts. In this same work it is mentioned that as recently as 1832 there were still many locations in that region that called men and women to place images (idols) at the foot of these trees and talismans as well as phylactery (in the sense of a protective charm or amulet) in the branches in hopes to improve their lives. The many Chanson de geste or Songs of Heroic Feats of the French Middle Age. stump. with honour. Ogier. as these poets’ craft filled a similar function to the skalds. These tales were the French answer to the Norse saga. relics and names are slightly different. This does not give us any insight into the early Salian Frank’s mythology. taking on characteristics of the various peoples who perpetuated these tales. 330‐33  .363  30  http://home. 24 25  Liberman. He apparently tried fervently to eradicate these cults to female tree-powers among the locals. Hilda Ellis. Basil. Gothic Etymological Dictionary: Brill.’28 This could lead to the conclusion that the basilica refered to in the Salic law is ‘mound built over a dead man’s bones which is worthy to gaze upon’. and Galan29 (Völund). what the later Carolingians identified with and appreciated from their 12th century Northern neighbours. La Charité‐sur‐Loire 1959 P. it is possible to get an idea of the indigenous cults of the Franks (and possibly Burgundians as well as some Gallo-Roman influences through vestiges of the Ædui) by investigating the various cults of what Jean Drouillet identified as Les Vierges sylvestres (the Virgins in the trees). written by courtly poets known as troubadours. ‘durable scimitar’ (ON Dyrumdali ‘precious valley’).

the Ash and the Hornbeam. having complained “…And why do such wretches come to church? And why did they accept the sacrament of baptism. Murray (Germanic Kinship Structure. Even to the present day. 89  36  ibid… p. we find France with a total of thirty percent of all these sites in Europe. Hendrik Kern (Lex Salica) and others have only begun to scratch the surface of what is available for our understanding. while Germany has 25 percent and Italy 1936. which may demonstrate that the highest count of tree cults are found in areas of historically greater Germanic concentration. 2009 p. the Eschenfrau (wife of the Ash) in Germany. The forest in Folklore and mythology: Dover: New York.”38 Their language. By far the most widely distributed cult was that of the oak tree with 99 percent of the 276 similar cults and once again France leads with a 34 percent share. For Spain we count 17 percent. Pagan survivals. if afterwards they are to return to the sacrilege of idols.37 I would think that there is no denying that well into Christian Merovingian Gaul.Óðrœrir 35 the Oak. men drove their livestock through hollow trees and woman not wishing to produce viable offspring would insert the semen of their husbands into dead trees. Askafroa (Ash Lady). Given these examples.328  35  ibid… p. The new Christian religion.C. 148  38  Ibid… p. some of those early customs persist in modern French and German law and the holidays celebrated by their Germanic ancestors are still strong. superstitions and popular Cultures: PIMS. however pious it was meant to be. heathen practices survived. Katherine Fischer Drew (Law of the Salian Franks). though this may also have been influenced by a Gallo-Roman element provided by synchretism.34 Of the countries that hold the largest amount of these cults. and another. Though the majority of available written sources are in French. West Germany comprises 28 percent. this is to my mind no excuse not to do proper research before proclaiming one to be a modern heathen of the “Frankish type” or to prevent curiosity. James Wallace-Hadrill (Frankish Church). Icelanders. having evolved from a congruence of Vulgar Latin with Frankish. Toronto 2005 p. Alexander. there are many tree and/or grove cults which are attributed a special sanctity located directly at a Christian shrine or reliquary. while surprisingly Italy (north-western boarder)35 is in first place with 31 percent of the pie. In the case of Our Lady of the Ash we find a cognate in Sweden. 91  . Is it so much a stretch of the imagination to consider the Franks having venerated at one time a cult of the ash or some other species of tree(s)? As is demonstrated in the Vita Eligii of the Carolingian era. the study of the Franks for the purpose of reconstructing their worldview is no less laudable than that of the Anglo-Saxons. 93   (N)… p. Gaulish and Saxon words did not wipe their heathen worldview from within their being. Normans and others. could not stem the old customs and not even Cæsarius of Arles could do so.328  37  (F) Filotus. Authors such as A. Such changes were fluid and organic taking hundreds if not thousands of years to occur. 33 34  Porteous. Ian Wood (Franks and Alemanni). After Rome’s Fall). Cults of trees were quite common among the early heathens and these modern holdovers are seen all throughout Europe.33 On the Continent. respectively. so its quality would suffer. Bernadette.

Carolina Porteous. Gothic Etymological Dictionary: Brill.1990 .A. Mary Lee & Sidney. 350-750: The Conversion of Western Europe: Pennsylvania UP. A. Terence. New York 2004 Davidson. Raoul de Cambrai: Meyer. Anatoly. Pagan survivals.. London 1993 Drouillet. Santa Barbara 2006 Kortland. Charlemange: The Formation of a European Identity: Camberidge UP Murray. Netherlands 1986 Liberman. J. Auguste. Koch. H. The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe: Routledge. Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anblo-Saxon England: B. Italo-Celtic origins and prehistoric developments of the Irish language: Lehmann. Avner. George Henry. Manual of Dates: Warne. 2010 Filotus. Winfred Phillip. Celtic culture: A historical encyclopedia V. Minneapolis 2008 Longnon. 2009 Tacitus. Meyer Paul. J. The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England: California UP: Berkley. Hilda Ellis. Lex Salica: Murray. Germany and Agricola of Tacitus: Thierry. Cornelius. New York 2006 Hessel. Barbara. Christian Pilgrimage in Modern Western Europe: North Carolina UP. An Analytical Dictionary of English Etymology: Minnesota UP. Miranda J. Kern. N. Jean. William A. Seaby: London. superstitions and popular Cultures: PIMS. The Celtic World: Routledge. Paris 1877 McKitterick. Alexander.Óðrœrir 36 BIBLIOGRAPHY Brown. The forest in Folklore and mythology: Dover: New York.V. Celticism: Radopi B. 1: ABC-CLIO.Germanic Kinship Structure: PIMS Toronto 1983 Nolan. Frederik Herman Henri. Toronto 2005 Green.H. Georgia 1996 Chaney. Récits des Temps Mérovégiens V. London 1877 Yorke. Bernadette.N. Saracens and Franks: Karnak: London. 1970 Claussen. The Reform of the Frankish Church: Cambridge UP.C. John T. Martin A. Folklore du Nivernais et Morvan: Thoreau. Rosamond. Augustin.1 : Townsend. La Charité-sur-Loire 1959 Falk. Christianity and Paganism. London 1880 Hillgarth.

It was about two years ago that my wife and I moved into our new home.40. vangr and vin (often referring to sacred grounds). So what exactly is a grove? Or a sacred space for that matter? What did it mean to our ancestors and what does it mean to us? We know                                                               Lee Hollander. In the grove are also two mounds underneath which are offerings that were given during a Winternights celebration held here along with us and the members of Laerad.9. I am happy to say that that a godpole has been carved. As heathens.39.  Hyndluljoth Stanza 10. Tacitus. Prior to that I made an oath that within one year of us moving in a godpole would be carved and erected on the property we were looking at. Inside this grove. bordered by a rock wall on both sides and a rather large deadfall pine in the back is the Freyr godpole. horg (heap of stones). Some of the words you might hear used to describe these spaces are lundr (grove). groves and sacred spaces are one example of the many places in which we worship that is substantiated both in the history of our ancestors1 and in the practice of modern heathens today. my wife and a handful of heathen friends. Poetic Edda. Voluspa Stanza 7. Germania Ch. ve (shrine). Vafthrudnismal Stanza 38. a carved Thor godpole as well as a ve’ onto which offerings are poured. The purpose of this essay is to shed some light on both the historical as well as modern day examples of groves and sacred spaces and how they are used.Óðrœrir 37 Groves and Sacred Spaces in Germanic and Scandinavian Heathenry Gary P Golden Jr. in honor of Freyr. and it is not only “in” the ground but in a grove on our property that was prepared by myself.  1 .  7.

 22  5  Terry Gunnell Hof.”3 There is also a similar expression from early Northumbrian law. groves of trees or cleared out areas where worship took place. In some of these places votive offerings such as food. Halls. sacrificial pools and hills.   Guta saga Ch. Goðar and Dwarves: An Examination of the Ritual Space in the Pagan Icelandic Hall” these offerings to local natural features also seem to have been a private place of worship as the key cult activities mentioned in the sagas do not seem to have taken place at these sites.Óðrœrir 38 from both literary as well as archeological evidence that our ancestors worshipped indoors as well as out. In Guta saga the word “stafgardur” is used for a fenced off area of worship “people believed in groves and mounds. This is not to say that groves were the only places where worship or offerings left outside took place as we know of other natural features where these events occurred. shrines and stafgardur and pagan gods. Another man made offerings to “one of the rare woods in Iceland”.”4 There is an instance where an Icelandic settler gave offerings of food to a waterfall near his house. referring to a fenced area containing a rock. 4 & 5  4  Kormaks saga Ch. then you’ll recover. these groves were usually marked off by stones or a fence which would underline the concept of an “inner” and an “outer” with the former being more sacred or “off bounds”2 .5. redden the surface of the hillock with the bull’s blood. in which elves live. It seems that groves were exactly that. In Kormak’s saga after a duel between Kormak and Thorvard in which Thorvard was seriously wounded he was advised by a witch woman: “There’s a certain hillock a short way from here.100 tiny golden miniature boats found in a moor near Nors in Jutland and deliberately broken weapons found from other Danish moor finds have been found to have been deposited there. “fridgeard”. 39 & 40. tree or spring. Halls. You are to take the bull that Kormak killed. Because of this his sheep greatly increased because he made good decision as to which were slaughtered and which should be kept. According to Terry Gunnell in “Hof. According to Chadwick it seems that for the Germanic tribes the groves which their priests presided over were tribal sanctuaries and it is probable that tribal meetings be they emergency or ordinary were                                                              2 3  Tacitus. rocks. Some other natural features where worship/offerings took place consisted of waterfall’s. The man continued to trust in this spirit until a Christian bishop dropped holy water on the stone and drove it away. Goðar and Dwarves: An Examination of the Ritual Space in the Pagan Icelandic Hall’  . and make the elves a feast of the meat. Germania Ch. It is the outdoor places of worship and leaving of offerings I wish to discuss here.

7 Evidence also exists of whole armies of weapons being committed to marshes. Religious Practices of the Pre‐Christian and Viking Age North  . Munro Chadwick.8 One tradition connected with holy groves was the hanging of the heads and/or skins/carcasses of animals in the branches of a holy tree or the trees of a holy grove and this practice is attested to having been done at the great temple at Uppsala which had an adjoining holy grove. There is also visual support on the eighth century Gotland stones and the tapestry found on the Osberg ship and Latin sources also tell of human and animal bodies being hung from trees in sacred groves. Stone and Bronze Age petroglyphs in Southern and Northern Scandinavia point to regular use of certain outdoor sites for worship from an early stage and as was mentioned earlier. The priests had guardianship of these groves and the symbols and other holy objects contained in them and when the host assembled for war it was the priests who took the symbols and carried thjem into battle. The fountain was kept clean and if anything was thrown in the fountain storms would result. In Hervarar Saga Hlöðr Heiðreksson was said to have been born in a holy wood with weapons and horse.9 The cultic importance of these sites cannot be overlooked and this seems to be reinforced by their location. many of these sites were marked off by stones or a fence which would underline the concept of an “inner” and an “outer”. streams and marshes by writers from the sixth century all the way up to the 11th century. Goðar and Dwarves: An Examination of the Ritual Space in the Pagan Icelandic Hall’  8  ibid  9  Alfta Svanni Lothursdottir. pools and lakes and new archeological finds continue to support this showing that bog/lake offerings in Scandinavia has roots in the Bronze Age with some places being used for over 500 years. They were in a well understood local settlement or region often in borderline areas but in                                                              6 7  H. lakes. In this holy grove hung the bodies and animals and men which had been sacrificed and holy groves were sometimes adjacent to other holy land marks.6 There are also numerous references to sacrifices of humans. animals and objects of worth in islands. There is an account of a rivulet in Livonia which originated in a holy grove and which supplied a holy fountain. Halls. often in proximity to wooden idols. No one was allowed to cut any of the trees in this grove and if someone even broke a twig there they were said to be sure to die that year.Óðrœrir 39 held in these groves. The Ancient Teutonic Priesthood   Terry Gunnell Hof.

Óðrœrir 40 close proximity to key settlements and meeting places where certain groups of people came to their religious centre into contact with their gods to bestow gifts. marsh or waterfall a sacred space? The answer in my opinion would be no. This law applied to the hof as well as the fields that surrounded it. In Vatnsdale Saga it is said that                                                              10 11  Terry Gunnell Hof. land in general is not important but ancestral land is and it is holy sites that are important not just any pile of stones or grove of trees. it is not land in and of itself that is important but land that has been shaped and claimed. Halls. and here is why. Goðar and Dwarves: An Examination of the Ritual Space in the Pagan Icelandic Hall’   Shane Ricks on AsatruLore. It is by the manipulation of gods and men through a reciprocal gifting relationship that these spaces become sacred and the longer this manipulation takes place the better.11 So now that you have this sacred space that you have set aside and cordoned off. pile of rocks. space that has actively been manipulated by offerings what shouldn’t you be doing in it? It would go without saying that the prohibition of violence would be one of the most important rules concerning holy ground and another rule closely associated to this was the bringing of weapons into it. The person who violated this law was called varg í véum (wolf in the enclosure). In Eyrbyggja saga. In order for these spaces to be considered sacred or holy the manipulation of that space must be done by both gods and men. If you look at all the examples we have. The penalty for bringing weapons onto holy ground was some times not as drastic as outlawry. Thorvard considered the fjord where he landed in Iceland so holy that he declared that nothing was to be slain there with the exception of homestead cattle. It also applied to the Thing-place which was regarded as holy while the Thing was being held. from the Poetic Edda. Torslunda (Thor’s grove) and Freysvik (Frey’s bay). Place name evidence further supports this with names like Frosakur (Freyr’s field). the various sagas and archeological evidence the one thing that always seems to be found within these spaces is gifts of some kind. The penalties for those who violated these bans could be quite severe as the penalty for killing someone on holy ground was outlawry. It seems that this was a universal understanding as even Olaf Tryggvason only had his gold mounted staff with him when he entered the temple at Thrandheim and none of his men carried their weapons with them when they entered the temple at Maeri.10 So what is it we now know so far? We know that worship outside was not confined just to groves but also encompassed other natural features as well but what does that mean for us today? Is any grove of trees.org  . pond.

as his name Fridthjof means "peace-thief. The ground there was no longer considered holy because of the blood that was shed there. and moreover none should go thither for their needs. but to that end was appointed a skerry called Dirtskerry. Búi then carried his body out and threw it near the fence of the enclosure. Another prime way of desecrating a sacred space or holy ground comes in the form of defecating or urinating in it. an act that caused the hof to catch fire and thereby he proved that his name was one well deserved. Another example we have occurs in Viga-Glúms Saga. In one instance the deed of burning down of a temple was said by Hákon Jarl to result in Hrapp (the perpetrator) being shut out of Valhalla. Another example of outlawry from violence done on holy ground is found in Kjalnesinga Saga. Fridthjof is outlawed after he entered the Dísir hof and struck King Helgi. Búi crept up to Thorstein silently and before Thorstein could react he picked Thorstein's head up and smashed it against a rock. Because of this the Þingvöllr (thing field or place where the thing is held) had to be moved. It also mentions again in Viga-Glúms Saga about the account of the sanction on Thvera which forbade condemned men to stay there because the place was sacred to Freyr. people who had broken the law also were likewise excluded from the area enclosed by the sacred ropes of holy places. His penalty for this was that he had to give up his valued sword whose name was Aettartangi. A certain Búi entered a hof to find Thorstein laying on his face in front of the statue of Thorr. It was located on the extremity of the promontory of rocks that made up Helgafell. Here Thórólf had established a Heraðs-Þing (district thing). when Fridthjof's men beg him to make amends to King Helge and pray that Baldr would take his wrath for Fridthjof's violating the hofs in Baldrshaeg. He then set the hof on fire and locked the doors. In Eyrbyggja saga Thorolf considered Helgafell so holy a place that “that no men should defile the field with blood-shedding. In Fridthjof's Saga. He eventually had to forfeit his lands as a result of this act.” 12 The Kjalleklings said they would                                                              12  Eyrbyggja saga Ch. 4  .Óðrœrir 41 while Hrafn and Ingimund are walking and involved in a very engrossing conversation Hrafn inadvertently walks into a hof with his weapon. Glúm kills a troublesome neighbor in a field that is holy to Freyr and incurs the gods wrath. Another incident of violence on holy ground occurs at Helgafell. Búi was later outlawed for this act." The gods themselves were thought to avenge these desecrations as is evidenced in Fridthjof's Saga. killing him. After his death some of those who attended a Thing held there relieved themselves on the holy grounds and a battle arose as a result and blood was shed.

We first need to understand the reasons as to why our ancestors did these things the way they did and from there we can put into practice rituals that while not being identical to what they did it will at least be in line with it. This mound sits alongside another mound inside the grove with all of the offerings made to this day. both in the literary and archeological records. the opening of the grove in which offerings were given and again in October at a Laerad Winternights ritual in which offerings were given. This is just a small sampling of some of the references we have in regards to the practices of our ancestors that we have and we as modern heathens should use this information accordingly. burned and a mound placed over them and as spring is here it has Irises sprouting out of it as well as a nice thick blanket of grass over the top of it. It is by using this evidence that we create our rituals because we do not have any evidence of “how they actually worshipped” in their groves but we can reconstruct them based on what was found. It is my goal that this grove area continues to be manipulated by both us and the gods as more rituals take place in it and more offerings are made and that those whom we share it with benefit from it. In the time since the grove was opened back in April of 2010 we have conducted two rituals.Óðrœrir 42 waste no more shoe leather on trips out to the skerry to relieve themselves and because of this a fight ensued and blood was spilled on holy ground.   .

Guta Saga: The History of the Gotlanders. Christine. 1999   . 8 Aug 2011 Monro. Austin: University of Texas Press.C. Alfta. Terry. Lee. Eyrbyggja Saga. and Paul Edwards. New York: Ams Pr Inc. Web.” Folklore. London: Duckworth Publishers. No 3 (1900): 268-300 Pallson. Chadwick H. New York: Penguin Classics. "Hof. The Poetic Edda. 2007 Collinew W. London: The Viking Society for Northern Research. Halls. J. “The Ancient Teutonic Priesthood. 2006. Goðar and Dwarves: An Examination of the Ritual Space in the Pagan Icelandic Hall. 17 (2001): 3-36 Hollander. "Religious Practices of the Pre-Christian and Viking Age North." New Northvegr Center. 1962 Lothursdottir. 1940 Gunnell. 1989 Peel. Northvegr. 1st.G." Cosmos. 11. Kormak’s Saga: The Life and Death of Cormac the Scald. Hermann. Tacitus Germania..Óðrœrir 43 Bibliography Anderson.com.

Óðrœrir 44 .

Gods and Myths of Northern Europe is an easy to read and concise overview of Heathen religion but it does have its catches and should be taken with either a grain of salt or a lot of additional research. She manages to bring the two together to form a picture of heathen belief and religion from a serious approach. She analyzes the heathen practices of sacrifice over the centuries. or of the Poetic Edda. or as deities of peace have since been disregarded. In general she does a good job of touching on much of the basic facts that outline the myths and beliefs of pre-Christian Northern Europe. of worship in general. and the myths from both Edda’s into a concise and comprehendible overview. In fact. or Odin as a shaman. While it is generally a good overview of heathen myth and religion as a whole. comparisons. ancient accounts. Ellis Davidson: Gods and Myths of Northern Europe 7/10 Gods and Myths of Northern Europe is undoubtedly one of the most read academic books within the heathen circles of the United States. is how reliable is it for students to use in developing their understanding of heathen practice and belief? The book is a beautifully presented survey of the ancient Germanic Gods. The question then. poems. This isn’t a simple retelling of the “myths”. despite the fact that it was first published over 40 years ago. . while the remainder of the book is an examination of their origins. It’s near the top of almost any “recommended reading” list. Having been published over 40 years ago. in 1964.R. Davidson investigates early accounts of the Germanic warbands and the worship of Tiwas and Wodan and theorizes on their supposed evolution into Odin and Thor. drawn from sagas. and it’s widely referenced in many heathen articles and books. the book does present a few issues. it is product of that age in both school of thought and accuracy of information. in 1964. taken explicitly from Snorri’s Prose Edda. Among these. and conclusions should be regarded with a good deal of suspect. but her own theories.Óðrœrir 45 H. their possible evolution. So too is the concept of Thor as a skygod. and how this all relates to the deities. however that should be regarded. concepts of the Vanir as a tribe. and the practice of their worshipers. in a lively and easy to read manner. the first chapter is dedicated to relaying the stories of the Gods. Much of Davidson’s speculations have since become regarded as obsolete in the field of Nordic Religion. and archeology. The strength of this book and the main reason for its popularity is that Davidson has been able to create an overview of the gods as they appear in myth. and how they were worshiped.

He includes a wealth of reliable second hand accounts which he cites. the book functions much like an encyclopedia that delves deeper into concepts than most of the text books found on the expansive subjects it covers. Because it is a translation.Óðrœrir 46 Rudolf Simek. Eddic Lays. but this has caused some irritation when combined with the few instances where he refers to a word as if it is commonplace. votive stones. Some of the internal references are missing. Overall however. The Etymology of names is heavily explored. There is no index since it is a dictionary. . however. Some minor weak points do exist throughout it. and this book is a must have. place names and archaeological finds. It can also be read from cover to cover. Simek masterfully presents the entirety of Germanic belief in a resource book that can and should be used as a guiding map through the wealth of lore that we have available. The entries are cited. and detailed. This all translates into an invaluable edition to any heathen collection. but seems to have no entry for it. Roman authors. the cons pale tremendously compared to the pros. with some revisions by the author. While referred to as a dictionary. places. (more so in this book then any I have seen thus far) providing elements to the myths. as well as a couple sources which he refers to but does not include in the otherwise expansive bibliography. and can easily be tracked back to their primary as well as secondary sources. Dictionary of Northern Mythology 9/10 The Dictionary of Norse Mythology by Rudolf Simek was originally published in German in 1984 and appeared in an English translation by Angela Hall in 1993. In 425 pages he covers the broad spectrum of the mythology of the Germanic people from the gods themselves to ideas of death and the afterlife. magic. this is by far the most expansive. cults. Simek makes full use of information from Christian accounts. ranging from Scandinavian material to information found throughout other parts of Europe. runic inscriptions. and customs. Of the current available reference works that are available on the subject. occasionally the sentence structure or word choice is odd. and characters that would otherwise never be grasped by reading the lore.

With that being said. much of their content is influenced by Christianity (some poems more than others). The collective body generally known as “The Poetic Edda” is split into two volumes in this case. and will likely require a solid grasp of the mythology prior to reading (Kevin Crossley-Holland’s The Norse Myths is highly recommended). and introductions to each poem. It’s an older translation and carries some of that old language. as they were understood in Iceland towards the last days of heathenism. during one part in time. and they help to shed tremendous light on later age Norse mythology. is a collection of folk wisdom that resonates throughout each of the sagas as a deep glimpse into the worldview of the time. they do paint a wonderful portrait of Norse Myths. Of the multiple translations. It’s sometimes said to be the first book one should start their collection with. and possible Christian interpolation. while Volume two refers to the “Heroic poems”. and are used to flag spots in the poem that may have required the translator’s creative liberties. Footnotes help to clarify passages. but it is much more accurate in wording to the original than others. written down by Icelandic Christians. Voluspo depicts the mythological passing of time from the earth’s creation to its end with the burning of Yggdrasil and the worlds contained within. the uses for which range from ceremonial utterances. Volume one contains all of the mythological poems which concern the gods. The opening poem. from Thor’s battle with Mithgarthsorm. and the stories they tell form much of the bulk of what we know about Northern mythology. It is indeed one of the primary sources from which modern scholars understand the myths of Northern Europe. The language itself is difficult to understand for modern readers. Hovamol. As mentioned above. It’s these introductions and an understanding of what the Poetic Edda is that are key to putting the Poetic Edda in a context that is appropriate for helping to reconstruct any form of heathenry. kennings. the Edda requires some review. To this end then.Óðrœrir 47 Henry Adams Bellows: The Poetic Edda 8/10 The Poetic Edda is that single body of literature that seems to stand above all else in modern heathenry. original condition. The Edda is really a snapshot of poetry. However. Each poem is given its own introduction which includes an overview as well as scrutiny into its origins. They also provide us with stories and poetry worth retelling and preserving through our traditions and customs. It is imperative that the poems within be read and internalized with this understanding. let alone what they would have looked like or meant to the Norse heathen is exceedingly difficult . The dialogue is entertaining. It’s the source of quotes. to Loki’s binding. I consider and highly suggest the Dover edition. It also holds a wealth of footnotes. Other poems depict mythological places and events. the Bellows version is ripe with necessary introductions and footnotes that should not be overlooked. The book begins with a lengthy introduction in which the origin of the poems is presented along with an overview of their place in Nordic and European literature. interpretation of their concepts and what they might have meant to the reader of the time. to the scolding of those in need of hearing the Sayings of Har. over 200 years after Iceland’s conversion. especially Lee Hollander’s translation. While they are the remnants of older poetry. this should not be such an inconvenience. translated by Henry Adams Bellows. or the words of Othin. For its price however. and even then they are only a snapshot of a part of Norse myth. The poems contained in the Poetic Edda are beautiful in imagery and composition. as well as the book itself. after the close of the Viking Age.

. It is strongly suggested that the reader avoid attempts at self interpretation regarding what these poems might have meant for the religion of the Icelandic or Scandinavian heathen.Óðrœrir 48 even for scholars. The subject will likely always remain one of intense debate. but rather to supplement them heavily with the work of academic scholars in the field.

who’s religions we thrive to live. and future with the Norsemen. explains how that vision even came to exist and replaces it with what we actually know. one of the simplest answers is “Eric Christiansen”. but more importantly the social conventions and self awareness of individuals and groups insofar as they are revealed in contemporary sources. present. custom. He presents sketches of the Nordic people that are framed less firmly than usual. Forget those all too available books on “The Vikings” and pick this one up. marriage. No rehashing the same arguments again and again. There are no flowery theories. independent of evidence. But how much of our understanding is not based so much on fact as it is someone else’s theories and suppositions? Where can we look to find what is actually known as it is presented to us. war. Religion and the role it played in their lives. This book is simply a well of facts and information. This presents depictions of the worldview of these people in regards to topics such as poetry. age. He concludes by giving an overview of some of the old and new schools of approach to the field of Old Nordic History. He presents the information we have as it is. He never really goes as deep as is possible in each topic. and even anthropology. suicide. and does something with it that most other historians do not. which only makes sense in a 300 page book that covers every aspect of Norse life. The Norsemen in the Viking Age is one of the absolute best overviews out there regarding the Norse people during the age we have come to dub “The Viking Age”.” He dismantles the romanticized vision we have of the idealized roving Viking warrior. He then proceeds to continue this process throughout each and every aspect of Norse life. The first five chapters are mainly descriptive. Chapters 6 through 9 cover the major topics of politics. connective theories that only harm any attempts at obtaining a true understanding of what we really know about the Norsemen. He concludes with an investigation into the concepts of past. literature. it is our duty to challenge ourselves to make sure we have as solid an understanding of the people and culture’s. They survey the geography and ecology. work. . and emigration. The Norsemen in the Viking Age can get a little dry at times. and sometimes it feels a little piecemeal. is found throughout the entire book and is not given its own section because it simply was not separable from the other aspects. because he does not rely on theorizing or attempts at explanations. It will shatter your preconceived notions and make you realize how wrong you were the Norsemen. homosexuality etc. versus speculation? In the case of the people of Scandinavia during the late heathen period. I pin this on the fact that Christiansen is avoiding flowering it up with exciting. outlawry. He also shoots down wildly popular ones which still exist with the justification that “These fantasies have sucked blood from anthropology and still walk upright. birth-control. Christiansen draws from archeology.Óðrœrir 49 Eric Christiansen: The Norsemen in the Viking Age 8/10 As modern heathens.

It can be noted. Generally this would mean absolutely nothing. and that he inspires others to step up and do the same. is by “implication”. as explained. and concluded with two words of advice. The stories within are mostly modern legends containing projections of Norse Myth. The book opens with the simple question of “Where is it that gods go after they’ve been banished?” The stories contained are Abell’s answer to that question…to a degree. As wonderful as the stories are. Stephen Abell is. or substance as the daily zodiac at the local grocery store. I can only hope that he continues to write. history. and while they do wonderfully as written and privately read pieces. but to be told to an audience. as we have seen plenty of “heathen” literature without about as much culture. Heathens will find themselves understanding and reading into the stories with a lot of “it seems as if…” while an individual without a heathen background might read the stories and come out with something entirely different. as far as this reviewer is concerned.Óðrœrir 50 Stephen Abell: Days in Midgard: A Thousand Years On-Modern Legends Based on Northern Myth 9/10 While I will spend a good few paragraphs dedicating time to this collection of short stories. In his introduction. a collection of short stories. Buy it. though there isn’t really any reason why it should be. They were not meant to be contained on voiceless pages. The book is. in a class of his own thus far. Brilliant. and most have had very little success. It is not a retelling of the Norse myths. as Abell says. that Stephen Abell is. it seems as if there is still room for Abell to grow and develop as a storyteller. or to give them relevance. Stephen Abell is different. and becomes tradition? In fact. Heathenry needs more of this quality of literature. Abell also points out in his introduction that these stories were meant to be spoken out loud. he describes the different elements of myth. it really can all be summed up with one word. I’ve read plenty of short stories and attempts to “modernize” the Northern Myths in varied efforts to validate them. the layers are beautiful. their real magic might well lie in their true intention. in fact. and legend. Isn’t that how lore is born. and the stories beg to be retold again and again. a heathen. all while keeping them very familiar. Either way. . Most of which take place in modern times in settings which Abell brilliantly preserves the anonymity of. Much of what happens. and grows.

“Honor in German Literature” University of North Carolina Press. and worth are returning. So the only cost that we ask.(1966). I am very proud to be a part of that community. When the idea of this journal first hatched. and say that those ancient systems of values. Blessed are the strong. we also have a very real and very healthy modern community of folk who follow those old customs and traditions. However. It was not written to codify a system of morality for the German heathens. The journal is free in that it doesn’t cost a penny to read or to share. for they shall win wealth and renown. and are always developing new ones. or enthrallment. Blessed are they who are open handed. and they shall have honor and glory all the days of their life and eternal fame in ages to come. Thanks for Reading! Josh Rood. Laerad Kindred. Thanks to the unceasing commitment of the countless individuals and groups that have developed and grown over the past several decades. Blessed are they who keep their faith. The present quote is a Germanic parody of the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in Mathew 5:3-12. Upstate New York                                                                1  This is indeed a kenning. for they shall be offended no more.” -George Fenwick Jones. Blessed are they who wreak vengeance. I found it rather fitting as a close to the first issue of Óðrœrir. other than the time it took you to read this journal. please share Óðrœrir with your friends and folk. but to demonstrate the disparity between Christian values and those of the Germanic heathen. We have the remnants that have been handed down to us from the ancient world to look to for information. for they shall find help. for they shall have friends and fame. for they possess the earth and its glory.    . for they shall be honored. and we hope everyone takes advantage of that. may find their own draught of Kvasir’s Blood1. we wanted to put out an easily accessible and academically reliable source on heathenism for those who might be looking for it. Blessed are the warlike. and I would like to thank each and every individual who has taken the time to read our offering.Óðrœrir 51 Afterword “Blessed are the rich. because of how well it expresses the distinctiveness of the ancient heathen value system. Blessed are they with strong kinsmen. I can echo the words of Bil Linzie in the beginning of this paper. for they can conquer kingdoms. relationships. is that you consider helping spread the word so that those who might be looking. If it suits you.

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