Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Welcoming the new season

 It's like one of the gods just turned down the thermostat about 15 degrees. All of a sudden, the days are cooler, the nights almost cold, and my kitchen is aglow with the oven. It's time for me to begin baking again.

I first started baking a couple years back when I was looking for a winter activity that didn't involve lots of money, lots of alcohol, and/or lots of ice. In this part of the world, there's not a whole lot to do outside of that. My first few loaves of bread were...learning experiences. Since then, I've practiced and learned, and can now make some pretty amazing breads when I have the time to devote to it.

As I've stepped into Heathenry, the emphasis on the natural world, self-reliance, and self-motivation has been a big plus for me. The gods don't look out for us, they expect us to look after ourselves. And so having a skill like baking, being able to produce food for myself, is important. 

The Norse Goddess Sif is most often associated with bread and baking, though there is also Freyr who overlaps with her in representing the harvest and grains. For me, baking feels like it falls more in Sif's realm. I feel calm and focused when I'm kneading the dough, feeling the tension build between my hands, and I feel satisfaction instead of excitement when I see my dough spring up in the oven and turn beautiful shades of golden, brown, and yellow. For some reason, I was thinking of Sif today when I was folding my dough before letting it prove.

As we slide into Fall, I feel like the Gods and Goddesses are more connected to us now than at any other time of year. From now until the Winter Solstice, their presence and the presence of the landvaettir are more and more obvious to me.

Bless my hearth and home, oh lady Sif! May you bring us bounty and joy, and gift us with abundance this year! I offer you bread and wine as an offering to you, Lady of the Golden Hair, and hope that my gifts will bring you joy.





Thursday, August 26, 2021

On self-reliance

 From the beginning of my journey into Norse Paganism and Heathenry, I've been interested in the values that are placed at the center of this belief system. One of those values is self-reliance.

I've wanted to write on this topic for a while, but it never seemed to be the right time. There were other things going on that seemed more important, and I put it into the "I'll get to it eventually" category, right along with my breakdown of the Havamal and building a shrine in my house.

Then I lost my job.

This sudden shift in my lifestyle and identity has caused me to re-think how self-reliance works in my personal life. It's been less than a week since this happened, and I'm just now starting to come out of the fog that gripped me in the beginning. I want to take this opportunity to forge a closer relationship with the earth, the gods, the spirits, and turn that into a new path for my life to follow.

I'm sure different people have their own views on what "self-reliance" means. For some, it may simply mean financial independence and security. For others, it may mean cooking meals instead of ordering out, or hunting/fishing to provide for yourself and your family. And for others, it may mean complete self-sufficiency, growing or raising all your food and being completely cut off from the outside world.

For myself, I fall somewhere in the middle of the grand continuum. While I am by no means completely self-sufficient, my wife and I have spent that past few years striving for a more sustainable lifestyle. We have our chickens, who provide us daily food. We have our garden, from which we get vegetables. And we have a local CSA, where we get fruit and even more vegetables.



Before I ever took an interest in Norse Paganism, I was interested in being self-sustaining. I learned to bake, to cook, and to perform basic maintenance on the machinery and tools I have around the house. I learned that I could accomplish a great deal on my own, and didn't need others to help me.

One of the great notions that is presented in Norse Paganism is that the Gods want you to rely on and support yourself. You are not required to ask for their help or guidance. They don't care if you are struggling. In the end we are made stronger by the fight, by the daily challenge of maintaining and growing what we have. I don't mean wealth or power or objects. Self-Reliance requires us to strip away the things that are not essential to our lives, and focus on the things that truly matter.

I don't expect the Gods to provide. I don't expect gifts. I expect that I will be working harder and longer to achieve  my aims. And that is exactly what the Gods expect of me.


Monday, August 16, 2021

Community, Then and Now

The modern Heathen community can be found online.

One of the central themes in Norse culture was the idea of community. This went beyond just your blood relatives and family, and generally included others you relied on for survival. Friends and neighbors were just as important in many ways as those who lived in the same home. 

It's hard for us to fully grasp the culture that persisted in Scandinavia during the Viking Age and earlier. Even with written and archaeological records, there are significant gaps and things we just can't understand. What we do know is that these people had a very different view of the world, who they were and how they fit into it. We can imagine our ancestors sitting around a fire, listening to stories of spirits and gods who performed great deeds and whose presence was felt all around them as an integral part of their lives.




For modern Heathens, community is especially important. Having grown up in the Christian tradition, the grassroots feel of modern Heathenry was shocking at first. Part of me enjoys the freedom of being able to do my own thing without worrying that I've got it wrong. On the other hand, there's limited access to a broader community in my area to make sure I've got it right.

Enter Youtube.

One of the first things I discovered was the myriad channels of modern Heathens, describing their practice and faith for the broader community. There are recordings of rituals and gatherings, explanations of certain aspects of the faith, and lots of discussion about various topics that can be hard for the newly initiated to wrap their heads around.

From there, I found blogs, websites, and other online resources that helped educate me about the values and principles of Heathenry. In addition to the books I've purchased, these have informed my views of the gods and spirits. There is also a great deal of history and investigation that has helped me understand the context of the original faith.

Then there's all the music, stories, poetry, and images people have created and put out in the public sphere. During my time as a Christian, I remember feeling profoundly uncomfortable with modern Christian music. Old hymns were okay in church, but the new stuff felt wrong somehow. When I discovered the modern music that is being produced by Heathens, it was an entirely different experience, not least because the style and substance is inspired and (possibly) closely resembles the music of the Viking era.




Does this cheapen the experience? Does using a digital medium to connect to a community that was once defined by proximity somehow detract from it?

Yes and no.

There is no substitute for being with people who share your beliefs. Heathenry is a religion of action (I'll post on this more another time). It is more valuable to be connected personally with the world around us, and to others, than to stay indoors and read off a screen.

But that doesn't mean the digital medium is worthless. Far from it. In fact, it's how I first became aware of Heathenry. It has been a wonderful source of information and inspiration. It's a curious dichotomy that the internet has become the medium of a religion that emphasizes connection to the natural world. Still, by using digital platforms, the expansion of Heathenry continues, and the community grows stronger as a result. 

Monday, August 9, 2021

Book Review: Ásatrú for Beginners

 


I recently ordered several books on Ásatrú, Heathenry, Paganism, and History as a way of providing context for this new ideology. Because there is no "holy scripture" in Norse Paganism, and because the expanding of knowledge is highly valued, it makes sense that modern Pagans will read and research a great deal.

The first book I finished was this one, Ásatrú for Beginners. I chose this book because it has sections on a variety of topics, is a quick read, and is written by a modern practitioner of Heathenry, not just a researcher.

The books begins with a brief historical overview (something included in many books of Paganism). From there, it offers brief but informative chapters that cover a wide variety of topics.



The chapter names may seem a bit redundant, but each one gives valuable information to anyone who is just starting out on their journey in discovering Ásatrú. Starting with the names and descriptions of the core deities, then discussing the values that are most important, followed by discussion on rituals, holidays, and ways of celebrating the faith.

This book is very readable, and is well laid out. However, the information provided is very basic. I've been studying the Norse Pagan religion for just a few months, and I felt that there was very little new information here. The most valuable sections for me came at the end, with the chapters on rituals, modern practice, and so on. 

I would highly recommend this for anyone who has just been introduced to Ásatrú, and for any family or friends who may have questions about it. It offers a clear, comprehensive explanation of modern Paganism, and acts as a great introduction to the faith.


Friday, August 6, 2021

Navigating Resources

 




When dealing with anything from ancient history, a lot of what we have to go on is fragmented, contradictory, and confusing. Despite some valiant efforts, there are significant limits to our knowledge of what life was like before modern times.

Archaeological evidence gives us some insight, but when it comes to the Norse culture and religion, some of our greatest resources are written accounts. There are many of these floating around out there, and many versions of the same source, so the whole mess can seem a bit confusing.

This has been described as the "religion with homework," a belief system that not only values personal knowledge and investigation, but requires a degree of research in order to fully understand the tenets and views of the faith we are trying to emulate. The good news is there are several texts that have survived that help teach us what we want and need to know.

The bad news is that all of these resources date to long after the Viking Age that gave them birth. Most were written down by Christian monks who were removed both generationally and culturally from the source. Because of this, nearly every piece of historical literature must be taken with a huge grain of salt.

That's not to say that these works are irrevocably tainted. There is ample evidence that they are accurate in many ways. And since they are all we have, it's what we must content ourselves with. But it is worth approaching with caution.

The first works I looked at were the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda. Written by the Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson in the 1100's, the edda's relate numerous stories pertaining to the Norse pantheon. Their greatest gift, though, is that they are the only place where many of the gods and goddesses are named or described. Without them, the surviving religion would be vastly different. 

Despite Snorri's detailed writings, much has been lost to time. There are references to other stories, gods, spirits, and rituals that we don't have any information on. It speaks to a broader and more intricately woven religion that what we have today. 

After the Eddas, the next resource I found was the Havamal. After the difficult language of the Eddas, I found the Havamal a breath of fresh air. A long poem attributed to Odin himself, the Havamal reads like a work of classical philosophy, laying out correct behavior and social values. This functions as a key to understanding the culture that gave rise to the Norse gods in the first place, and the values that we should strive to embrace in order to truly follow the Norse Pagan faith.

My most recent reading of ancient text has been the sagas, specifically the Heimskringla I, again by Snorri. These read (to me at least) a bit like the genealogical sections of the Old Testament, but with vastly more detail. Laying out the lineages of the great Norse kings, their deaths and accomplishments, with occasional references to supernatural occurrences. Despite the dense style, I've been captivated by these stories. They feel like a way to connect with that ancient world that had all but disappeared.

In addition to these historical documents, there are vast resources from modern authors and practitioners of the faith. I've picked up a number of these books, and plan to write reviews of them as I finish reading. It would seem I've given myself a great deal of homework!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Changing Seasons




On my into work today, I saw the first early signs of fall color. In my little corner of New England, Fall is King. Not only does it represent one of the biggest tourist seasons of the year, but it is the one time of year where everyone seems to feel a strong connection to the natural world around us.

Fall is a time when the rolling green hills come alive with color and life, like a fire that catches and spreads. Down from the peaks and into the valley, the vibrant oranges and reds and yellows fill everything beneath the crisp blue of the autumn sky. It's the time for football, warm meals, pleasant days and cold nights. It's the time of ripening, of harvest, and celebrating the bounty of the earth.

As someone who grew up in rural areas, this is one of the most magical times of year for me, and I feel a strong kinship to nature at this time of year. The spirit world draws close, it seems, and I can't help but imagine the numerous gods and spirits of the earth walking among us. 

Like Spring, Autumn is a time of transition, a time of change. Both represent the cycle making a turn, either towards life or towards death. Light dims or grows, darkness recedes or advances, and we can feel it in a place deeper than our bones that this is a moment of pure existence. We feel a desire to step beneath the trees and into nature, our arms open wide and our souls laid bare to receive the beauty of the true world around us.

Speak to me, great Vanir, Freya and Freyr! Come to me, Sif and Iduna, ladies of the earth and the golden harvest! I honor you and call you to bless the earth, that we may find joy in the coming season! As the sun fades, and Baldr's light recedes from the world, let us find peace in your presence, and strength in your promise of rebirth!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Honoring Frey

Today, I set up my first outdoor altar, and left an offering to Frey, God of the Harvest.

In a corner of my backyard, across from my vegetable garden and fire pit, I have an old stone-walled garden. In the past, I've planted raspberries here, and wildflowers adorn the old collapsed rocks. I cleared the dead leaves from one of the corner stones and set this rock upright on it. 

My offering to Frey included a pair of wild daisies from the rock garden, a pepper and beans from our local farm's CSA, and a tomato from our own garden. I also poured out some white wine over the stone and offering.



while giving this offering, and speaking to Frey, I felt a profound sense of peace and connection. I was surrounded by my familiar backyard, the trees and plants, wildflowers and rocks. Yet somehow, I saw it fresh and new, and felt immense peace. I noticed the dozens of bees gathering pollen, the soft wind in the branches overhead, and the smell of rich, wet earth.

Praising Freyr

Freyr, Lord of the Harvest, I bring you this offering to honor you and your gift of the earth. With this offering, I ask that you bless our garden, our home, and our bodies with health and wellness. I honor you with food from our garden, and our local farm, to ask for your blessing on our crops this year. I bring you flowers to honor the beauty and life you have brought to the world around us. I bring you wine to celebrate you, great Freyr!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Lammas/Freyfaxi/Freyblot/????



 August 1, or thereabouts, is the time for the festival devoted to Frey, the Norse God of fertility, farming, and the harvest. One of the unique aspects of Norse Paganism is the multifaceted aspects of each of their gods. Frey, for example, represents agriculture, male fertility, the male aspect of marriage, land, harvest, and love. That's a lot of ground to cover. It's also worth noting that there is significant overlap between the gods and what they represent. So much has been lost that the specifics are hard to interpret.

This is also why there are multiple names, traditions, and histories for this and many holidays and festivals. It seems true in nearly every religion. As time goes on, stories and histories become warped, or lost, and traditions change. In the age of Paganism, there was also the effect of regional differences. With less connection between various groups, each developed their own traditions which were similar, but not identical, to each other.

The festival of Frey is the first of several harvest festivals that take place from end of summer through the New Year. A celebration of the first harvest, it involves baking a loaf of bread to sacrifice and eat in honor of the harvest god. While direct evidence is scant, it makes sense that our ancestors would have taken special notice of the first harvest. This is when abundance of the land is reaped, when food becomes plentiful, and when the preparations for the winter must begin. 

For me, this year's festival of Lammas will mark the first event that I plan to practice in the faith. Having recently decided to follow the path of my ancestors, I am both excited and nervous to see how this experience goes. Personally, I have always felt a strong connection to the natural world, and have a high degree of respect for those who work the land, farmers in particular. Growing up in an agricultural area, I know the hardship that that life brings, but also the immense satisfaction of providing directly for one's family and community. In the Norse Pagan faith and society, those who work the land are held in high regard. They are the ones who nourish and support their communities, the ones whose toil means survival for their kith and kin. This view is at the very core of the Norse Pagan faith.

So I'm looking forward to this festival. As an introduction to the Norse Pagan faith, I feel it will be a good experience, without any major demands (another reason I love this faith!). 

Honor to you, Frey, God of the earth's bounty! Bless our fields and bring forth the sun so that our tables shall be full through the long dark! Please help us to embrace the earth as the source of all life, and show honor to it and you with how we choose to nourish our bodies! 


Friday, July 23, 2021

Thor's Welcome



My decision to embrace Norse Paganism is a relatively new one, stemming from months of research and reading into various cultures, religions, and peoples. Like I said in my previous post, I have always loved studying history (really, learning in general). It took me some time to discover Norse Paganism, and to realize how much it resonated with me.

The first thing I needed was my own altar. There are myriad resources online, mostly recent but some historical, that discuss shrines. For me, this transition is made a little more awkward by the fact that my wife has not taken the journey with me. In an effort to make her more comfortable, I decided against an indoor shrine for now. Instead, I ordered one of these:

Pocket Altar by Awaken the North


The altar comes in a small tin like an Altoids container. It includes a small candle, scented matches, a Mjolnir, and several prayer cards depicting and describing some of the chief gods and goddesses. 

I chose this option because it is portable, cheap, and includes everything I need to get started in one place. I also picked up a copy of their Pocket Havamal. The Havamal is a series of philosophical writings attributed to Odin, which form a key basis for modern Norse Pagan practice.

The day I received this, a huge thunderstorm rolled through. Listening to the thunder roll across the sky, I scooped up the dog and we headed out into the yard. To the north, heavy gray storm clouds were boiling across the sky and wind lashed at the trees surrounding me. Looking up, I saw swirls of lighter clouds twisting and opening out like fingers against that slate gray backdrop. Thunder pounded against the hills, echoing through the valley.  

In that moment, I felt as if Thor was welcoming me to the faith, was bringing the storm to announce his presence. It was a profound feeling, and I couldn't help but smile.

Mighty Thor, God of the Storm and Lord of Lightning! Your awesome power inspires me! I drink to your strength, to your courage, to your loyalty! 


Monday, July 19, 2021

Why Norse Pagansim?

 In my previous post, I talked a bit about the values and concepts that I like in Norse Paganism. I want to dive deeper, though, and really explore what sets this religion apart from others that I've studied.

I'll be doing a lot of comparisons here to religions that I've followed/studied in the past. If this comes across as judgmental, well...maybe these things should be judged...


1. Values

This is a tricky one, because different sects have different views on moral and ethical issues. Generally speaking, though, Christianity focuses on a few key rules (10 commandments). For the most part these are pretty universal ethical guidelines: don't kill, don't lie, don't commit adultery, etc. This problem I have with Christianity is not the rules, it's the premise that we must seek forgiveness for sin. The concept of eternal damnation for failing to lead a blameless life strikes a discord in my head.

Alternatively, the ethics of Paganism are rooted more in honor, truth, family, and self-reliance, as opposed to adherence to doctrine or a deity. The focus is not on correcting human behavior, but accepting and celebrating ourselves and the world we live in. 

I have always felt a strong desire to become more self-reliant, more independent. I have always dreamed of living a simple life, farming for my food and homesteading in the wilderness. Supporting myself and my family are at the core of Norse Pagan ideology. 

Lastly, there is the devotion to one's ancestors, those who came before us and begat us, that is a central pillar of this faith. Though their names are lost in time, my ancestors are deserving of my respect and devotion. While other faiths essentially disregard those who have passed on, Norse Paganism reveres them and honors them alongside the gods.

We are not born sinful. We do not need the absolution of God to reach the afterlife. If I am honest, strong, welcoming, charitable, and upstanding, then I will find favor with my gods. 


2. History

I've always been very interested in the origins of things. Ancient history is a vast unexplored chapter in our life on this planet. For Christians, they can date their religion back 2000 years. Judaism is another 1200 - 1300 years before that. Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam all date to this period.

By contrast, Pagan religions date back even further. One of the most prominent pagan sites, Stonehenge, was first built around 3100 BCE, and there is evidence of pagan rites and religions dating even further back. When man first formed the concept of beings greater than themselves, those beings were part of the natural world.

Just as our physical biology is based on our prehistoric lifestyle of hunter/gatherer, so too is our "spiritual biology" is rooted in these old ideas of animism. By returning to these old ways, I feel that I am embracing a spiritual tradition that is ingrained in me.


3. Polytheism vs. Monotheism

One the issues I always had with the Christian faith, and Buddhism to an extent, was feeling that the singular god model is too limited. One of the great goals of any religion is to feel kinship with your chosen deity, and feel a personal connection with them. When there's only one god, that can be difficult, since your emotions and interests may change.

It also bothered me because it meant that there was only one right way. It's ironic, too, because the Christian god is so contradictory much of the time that you could argue there are at least two of them. Wouldn't that be interesting!

By contrast, I find that Norse Pagan gods are so diverse and relatable that there is always one for me to speak to, no matter my need. If I need comfort, I speak to Frigga. If I need to be strong, I call on Tyr. If I wish to celebrate life and nature, I lift a glass to Odin. Polytheism allows me the freedom to feel how I will, and find a god or goddess who responds to that. It comes back to one of the core concepts of Norse Paganism: It's okay to be flawed, because the gods are, too!


4. No Rules

    Not really, but the lack of a central doctrine is something I highly value. Currently, there's estimated to be less than 30,000 Norse Pagans worldwide. However, a recent study showed that between 1 and 1.5 million Americans identified as practicing Paganism or Wicca. What does that mean? That Paganism in general is a highly diverse religion, and does not easily fit into a single mold. And that's the whole point.

From a historical perspective, early pagan religions were likely extremely diverse. After all, a society in the south of Africa is unlikely to worship a deity devoted to winter. That diversity continues into today. Modern Paganism has no central tenets, no required rites, rituals, prayers, or practices. Each Pagan can forge their own path to the Gods.

Contrast this with Christianity, Buddhism, or really any other modern popular religion. Often there is a set of required holy texts, deemed to be divinely inspired, that require all people to observe their faith in the same way. It makes sense, considering the monotheistic nature of these religions, that all people are told they must follow the same protocols. The only way to deviate from that is to create or join a new faith with different concepts, hence the multitude of denominations that can be found globally, each one spouting a nearly identical message in almost the exact same way.

In Paganism, the focus is on one's personal relationship with the Gods. While finding a community of believers is great, each person is free to study and explore as they see fit. In fact, most groups don't have an established leader, and if they do that leader or council is seen more as a facilitator to other people's faith than an authority that should be obeyed.


5. Equality

This is in the same vein as values, but I feel it deserves its own section. In every religion I've studied, there are two things that have always bothered me: setting oneself above others, and disrespecting the beliefs of those who do not share your views.

Look at the havoc that the doctrine of religious superiority has wreaked upon the world. War, persecution, ethnic cleansing, all stemming from the concept that "We're right, you're wrong." Most every major religion will discriminate against others to some degree. Anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-medicine, creationism, anti-evolution, racism, sexism, ageism, all of these things can be found in religious practices.

Another aspect of this mindset is the concept of mission. Spreading the Word. Conversion. While it may not be as aggressive as it once was, there are still efforts taken by people of some religions to convert others to their belief system. In the past, as now, the argument that an individual's eternal soul is at stake, has prompted some of the most heinous acts in our history as the devout attempt to indoctrinate their neighbors.

Paganism does not believe in proselytizing. It does not believe in forced conversion, mission, or attempts to beguile new adherents to the faith. Paganism is all about the individual, the community of believers. I do not strive to disrespect the gods of another by forcing my views on them. My gods are my own, and that is enough.

In addition, Norse Paganism has equality built right into its history. We know that the ancient people of Northern Europe revered women, and that they were priestesses and leaders. They had far more freedom than any other group of women in that age, and even the religion itself reveres women. Not only that, but modern interpretations seem to suggest an embrace of more diverse sexualities and genders. Effeminate male gods and masculine female deities are found in the Norse Pantheon. While this may not have been the intention of the original religion, it is nonetheless synonymous with the central tenets of the faith: It matters not who you are, but what you do.


6. I can be myself

When I was devoted to Christianity, I felt I had to abandon aspects of myself to follow the doctrines of the faith. Who I was was not good enough. Who I was did not meet the expectations of God, and I had to work harder to make myself better so that I could get into heaven. If I didn't go to church on Sunday, I was bad. If I didn't take communion or pray regularly, that was wrong. If I let myself think or feel a certain way, that was not right.

With Norse Paganism, I don't have to change who I am to appease the gods. As long as I live my life honorably, I can worship the gods however makes sense to me! If I don't pray to Odin every day, that's okay. If I don't present an offering to Thor every time it thunders, that's fine. I won't be damned because I drink a glass of wine (hell, the gods themselves enjoy a good mead!). There's immense freedom in Norse Paganism because I don't feel that I have to change who I am to meet with the approval of my faith family or god.


I know this has been a long post, so I apologize. There's more I could say, but this is a pretty succinct list that covers the major points. Bottom line, Norse Paganism resonates with me and my experiences and values. 

Hail Odin!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Walking through Midgard

 I've lived my entire life (or nearly enough) surrounded by the natural world. Admittedly, the forests and fields of New England are a bit more tame than the wilds of the Northwest and northern Canada, but there is still a primal power that emanates from the land, a power that can be felt when one closes their mind to the busy-ness of everyday modern life and lets themselves feel.

I was raised in the Christian tradition, and though my church was one of the most open and accepting of denominations, I always felt a disconnect to the doctrines of Christianity and the Bible. I studied the eastern religions and philosophies of Buddhism and Hinduism to try and find answers, but never felt a connection with them either.

For several years, I gave up on religion, and instead focused on the spiritual feeling of the earth around me. It took me a long time to find Norse Paganism.

For those just starting out, like me, there can be a lot of confusion about what to call this religion. Asatru, Heathenry, Paganism, Odinism, and other names have been thrown out from different sources, and their meaning is largely debated. For myself, I like to think of this as The Old Ways, a reference to the label that Norse Paganism was given by its late practitioners when Christianization was spreading in northern Europe. If pressed, I would call myself a Norse Pagan. 

The label is secondary to the beliefs, however. Belief in the spiritual power of the Earth,  belief in the multitude of Gods and Goddesses. Belief in the spirits of our ancestors. Belief in the values set down in the texts and teachings that have survived the millennia: honor, family, community, courage.

What first drew me to Paganism was the emphasis on the veneration of nature. All things have spirit, and we choose to honor those spirits, the Landvaettir, alongside the gods. I also feel a profound connection to the concept of honoring ancestors, and the belief that a piece of your ancestor's spirit resides within us, just as a piece of our spirit will reside in our descendants.

With these principles in mind, I have decided to embrace Norse Paganism, the Old Ways, as my religion and faith. I will devote my life to the honor of the Gods and Spirits, to the honor of my family and community. I will endeavor to embody the ideals of strength, courage, and honor.

Hail to you, Odin, All-Father! Hail to Frigga, to Thor, to Tyr! Hail to Freya, Frey, and all the spirits of the earth! 



Welcoming the new season

 It's like one of the gods just turned down the thermostat about 15 degrees. All of a sudden, the days are cooler, the nights almost col...