Lessons from Loki – Article 1 – Baldr’s Death

Lessons from Loki Article 1
Baldr’s Death from The Gylfaginning in the Prose Edda (Snorri’s Edda).

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For my first article, I wanted to tackle the first part of two stories from beginning to end of Loki’s “fall from grace” of the Aesir to his binding before Ragnarok. The first part is Baldr’s death and the events leading up to it and the action. The second part is Lokesenna, Loki’s flyting of the gods in the hall of Aegir after Baldr’s death. I see the two linked canonically.

The story of Baldr’s death starts with his dream. Baldr is the most beautiful and beloved of all the gods and when Odin & Frigga pressed him of his worries and heard of his dream, she immediately went out and demanded an oath of all things large and small to not bring harm to Baldr. She took the oath from all things, save one small spring of mistletoe which she believed too small and young to be of any importance. The gods put this to the test and began to hurl things at Baldr which fell to the ground harmlessly before striking him. It had become a game to the gods to throw rocks, spears and other heavy, deadly objects to see them fall.

Loki saw this and took the form of a woman and questioned Frigga of the oaths and learned she had not taken an oath from the mistletoe. He made off and took a branch of it to make a dart. When returning to the hall, the game was still on, and the gods continued to throw objects at Baldr. All except Hodr, his blind brother. Loki approached Hodr and had him throw the dart at Baldr, guiding him. The dart pierced Baldr’s chest, killing him and Loki ran.

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Odin knew of the prophecy to have a child with the giantess Rindr who would have a son named Vali, to grow to an adult in a single day, to kill Hodr to avenge Baldr. Vali was born and he killed Hodr. Baldr was put to a sea funeral, with Odin’s ring Draupnir. Nanna, his wife, died of sorrow and was put to sea with Baldr. Baldr, Nanna and Hodr reside in Helheim. Frigga asked of the gods that one would be rewarded her love if they could go to Helheim and retrieve Baldr. Odin’s other son Hermod stepped up and traveled to Helheim upon Odin’s mount Sleipnir, which can travel between realms. Hela said she would allow Baldr to return if everything grieved for him and all things did, save a single old giantess in a cave who said what Hela has, she should keep; and Baldr was not able to return. This old giantess was Loki in disguise. Baldr had Hermod return Draupnir to Odin and continues to reside in Hela’s hall until the end of Ragnarok.

What can we possibly learn from this?

Frigga, wyrd, her oath and attempt at changing destiny. The way wyrd works may seem like pre-destination. Wyrd is like a brick wall. Each brick is put there by us and our actions. Our combined orlog is to build a wall. The wall might not be described as a “good” or “strong” wall. Our actions are the brick and mortar. Actions that could weaken it, effecting the wall, but we still build it. Inaction is also action – if we know we are to build a wall, no matter what, it will happen – but the quality of the wall might (and probably will) suffer. Odin knew of the wyrd that Baldr was to die by Hodr’s hand starting Ragnarok, and Frigga knows what Odin does. As a mother she attempted to either stop or forestall this by her oath-taking from all things in creation.

There is five lessions to be taken from this:

1.) The belief that you can take EVERYTHING into account for your own desires is false. It’s a Sisyphean act (impossible) act, as proven by Frigga not taking the oath from the mistletoe, and the actions of Loki and Hodr being their own orlog, weaving the wyrd of them all leading to the death of Baldr

2.) The gods loving Baldr so much they became upset over his death. Baldr is the most beloved of all the gods. But when Frigga took her oaths and they saw the result, instead of being prudent, they made a game of throwing objects at Baldr. This is the same as playing with fire. It’s also overconfidence in themselves. The gods are not above wyrd. Over-reliant on their actions, they threw caution aside and made little of the predicament.

3.) Follow through with all your words and actions. If Frigga took the time and effort to take an oath from every thing in creation, why would she skip the mistletoe? Doubtful she was being lazy. She just took an oath from everything in creation! This is obviously a lesson based in arrogance in the Aesir’s believe of absolute supremacy.

4.) Loose lips sink ships. Loki came to Frigga as a handmaiden to gain information about her travels in taking oaths. This was obviously a HUGE deal resulting in Frigga traveling all of creation with the serious business of taking oaths – a pillar of heathen life. Oaths were not broken easily, if at all. Many oaths were to the death and after! Why would Frigga give someone she either didn’t recognize, or recognized in disguise Loki and regarded? Again, over confidence.

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and finally…

5.) Wyrd will not be denied. Baldr’s death and remaining in Helheim is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Odin and Frigga learned of Baldr’s death, they sought to avoid it by their actions and then became over confident in themselves. Loki saw this and took his own action against them – be it personal, moral or immoral – and in his actions ended up in the death of Baldr. Again, when they tried to change this, Loki again stood in the way by not shedding a tear as Hela demanded to release Baldr.

Each person in this prophecy has a place in fulfilling it:

A.) Baldr’s dream of his death.

B.) Odin learns of what starts Ragnarok

C.) Frigga’s oath-taking, which leads to the gods over-confidence creating the situation of objects being thrown at Baldr.

D.) Frigga letting important information be known about the mistletoe to Loki (an agent of Chaos/Change/Possibly). All based in over-confidence in her lack of follow through.

E.) Baldr being killed

F.) Ragnarok

G.) The return of Baldr

Odin is no more important in this chain than Loki, Frigga or Hodr.

The Lesson:
Our actions and words, like everything, should be measured and acted out with intent and completed to the absolute best of our ability. Loki saw this when he saw the gods making game of trying to harm Baldr by throwing things at him from blades to stones. We can see the over confidence here on the side of the gods, and how this is the wrong action. Caution should always be taken in people’s homes, as described in the Havamal and one should never mock death when one has taken it so seriously as Baldr’s dream was. Loki then saw it again and acted when Frigga told him of the mistletoe shoot. She didn’t follow through completely with her oaths. She saw worthiness in her work to take oaths but then stopped at one final thing she didnt feel was worth due to it’s size and age. Her lack of action (follow-through) resulted in Loki taking the dart and guiding Hodr’s hand in killing Baldr.

Over-confidence should never blind one’s true intent and hamper their actions.
Follow through with all your words and actions.
Wyrd will not be denied. You alter the path, but not the destination.

 

 

 

 

Article and work (c) 2014 Matthew Thomas Barker, American Asatru Association & Heathen Hall
American Asatru Association and Heathen Hall are trademark Matthew Thomas Barker
Artwork taken from hurstwic.org.

Bragi’s Corner – Loki Bound Between Fire and Ice by Bryan Wilton

I originally published this on Amazon.com in review of the book and shared that review on AAA’s Facebook.

 

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Based on the advanced digital copy provided to AAA by the author for review and consideration.

Bryan Wilton is an 8-state folkbuilder for the AFA – a Folkish Asatru nationwide organization. I run the American Asatru Association – a fledgling Universalist-Asatruar group. We have different ideologies and opinions, so I will review this book on merit and what I felt when I read it.

I was given a digital copy of this by the author, as we are professional friends and he supports what I do with my group and I go to him often with questions and advice. Bryan is an intelligent man and author and very devout to the cause he belongs. His opinions and advice mean a lot to me, as I have gone to him regarding Lokeans and other Heathen issues. Even though I do not agree with his level of devotion to speak out against Loki and Lokeans, I can take what I need from his advice and see where he is coming from.

Loki is a book not written on academia but on experience. Like Bryan, I have come across Lokeans and Rokkatru people who are a bit “edgy” and narcissistic. He uses the word “fringe” and if you encounter these type of Lokeans, they would be considered “fringe”. I know many who are extremely intelligent, helpful and have earned my respect. But like all groups within groups, they have extremes. Some Odinists are misogynists, some Thorsmen are He-Man macho types, and many of all groupings have racist/racial issues. Many heathens consider racist and folkish to go hand in hand, which is incredibly wrong. Loki focuses on the issues of good and evil in Asatru, focusing on Loki as an evil figure.

While reading this book, and speaking to Bryan, I felt he was writing this on his personal beliefs and experience at gatherings and in social media. Lokeans generally stick to their own groups and Universalists groups and find themselves mocked, belittled and chased out (or even shunned) from Folkish gatherings. The Troth has them in separate areas on their gatherings, the AFA forbids mentioning him at celebrations, many Folkish kindreds (AFA or not) shun Lokeans or Rokkatruars. They all speak from “experience” with the Lokeans and with the god himself, Loki. Almost all of these arguments (including this book) are based on one thing – Snorri Sturluson’s portrayal of Loki. There’s mention of Tacitus and Saxo, both being biased authors. Snorri was an Icelandic poet, patriot and Christian. He had a love of collecting the stories of his people, but he was still Christian and elements where written into his work(s). The introduction to the Prose Edda (aka Snorri’s Edda) basically says that the tribes became lost and forgot of God (Christian God) and made up their own gods and ways. The mention of Loki’s children – Jormungand, Fenrir and Hel tend to be very shallow as no other academic source was used to form an opinion. Fenrir is the victim of a circular self-fulfilling prophecy, Hel is tasked with an extremely important task – the care of the dead who come from sickness and old age and Jormungand is basically ignored. Sleipnir isnt mentioned anywhere, and he’s the child of Loki and an “evil” giant. Yet Sleipnir is vital in Odin’s travels and Hermod’s journey to Helheim to retrieve Baldr from Hel’s realm.

The other sections involving ego do have merit – we’re human beings, ego is part of us. As humans we create our own issues and since Asatru and Northern European religious practice is fractured and being reconstructed, we tend to ignore the modern and favor the ancient, which is a true shame. Modern is mostly labeled (negatively) as “fluffy” or “Wiccan” or “UPG” and mocked by many Heathens.

The AFA does publish much material involving Asatruar and Heathen subjects but their practice mostly reflects on Snorri and other non-Heathen ancient author’s works. This is different interpretation of works adopted by many groups/kindreds. Is it wrong? Many would disagree, but who doesn’t disagree regarding religions?

The problem here is Bryan labels ALL Lokeans with issues – essentially calling them and Loki unworthy. This is the problem many heathens have as much Loki academia is NOT in English and many Heathens in America do not read/write/speak any other language.

This book offers nothing new academic – sources from H R Ellis Davidson’s Road to Hel and the Eddas. To compile an opinion based on the most basic of work speaks much of this work. I enjoyed the book, it reflects someone’s experience with the “fringe” element of what the author considers a “fringe” element. Using this logic, racist Odinists can be considered “fringe” elements of a “fringe” element (religion); as not all Odinists are racist, or Folkish.

I would recommend this book to anyone of the same mindset and beliefs as Bryan Wilton, American-Folkish and the AFA. Universalist-Asatruars, Pagans, Eclectic Pagans, Lokeans and Rokkatruars are going to dismiss it or openly condemn it as it really doesnt delve into modern information from peer-reviewed academic sources to draw an informed academic opinion. But as I stated, this book is not academic, but someone’s opinion based on experience.

~Thorendahl

Amazon Link:

Thought of the Day 7/1/2014 – Fenrir was framed!

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Thought of the Day for July 1st, 2014… Fenrir was framed!

Outside of Loki, the most popular and worshipped of the etins or Rokkatru “pantheon” is Fenrir, the son of Loki and Angrboda. The giant wolf, so strong most fetters could not hold him. So fierce, he lived outside of Asgard and only Tyr, the bravest of the Aesir, had the fearlessness to feed him.

Odin was told the prophecy of the Volva, that at Ragnarok, when the sons of Muspel and fire giants came over the Bifrost, destroying it and Naglfar, the ship commanded by the dead of Helheim came captained by Loki, that Jormundgar the Midgard Serpent and Thor would kill each other, Garm the hound of Hel would kill Tyr, Heimdallr and Loki would kill each other and Fenrir would kill Odin – the world would end. Vidar would kill Fenrir by ripping his massive jaws open. Also in this prophect Magni and Modi would inherit Thor’s hammer, Baldr and Hodr would rule Asgard, human life would continue on, Gimli would be the hall they reside, Hoenir would also survive and so would Yggdrasil. No mention is made of Freyja and her chosen dead.

But Fenrir up to this point in survivng lore had not moved against or broken the unsteady frith between the Aesir and himself. He lived, and ate and grew in the woods outside of Asgard. The prophecy told to Odin said he would kill the Allfather at Ragnarok. No mention of why he would want to do this is mentioned.

Some people believe Fenrir was just evil, the spawn of the flawed evil Loki who wanted to destroy Odin and the gods because it was his nature. Some think there’s a reason and we just dont know it. If the reason was known, wouldnt it be mentioned in the stories that contains Ragnarok and his binding? The binding is mentioned many times, in many different tellings and none mention why Fenrir would do this. Past deeds and earned names were commonly used in poetry.

So why would Fenrir do this? Because the gods caused it themselves.

WHAT?! The GODS did it? Think about it.

Odin consults the Volva, who only tells him Fenrir would kill the Allfather and describes the other battles, deaths and rebirths of Ragnarok. Some parts were added later that do no appear in the Eddas (like Loki even being present…). She does not tell him why Fenrir would kill him. And as we can see by the lore, Fenrir had no past attempts at harming the Allfather, or the Aesir. Crimes in Asgard, and in Scandinavia, are not punished pre-emptively and there are no “extenuating circumstances”, as Hodr was still put to death by Vali for his hand being the one that throw the mistletoe dart that killed Baldr even though Loki was the architect of this (and even that is in question, but I dont agree in either side, I see a third). Fenrir wasn’t killed outright because he had NOT committed the crime of killing Odin. Killing him would be a spot of dishonor.

Fenrir was chained, twice unsuccessfully and finally by Gliepnir, a bind made by dwaves, made of the roots of mountains, sinews of a bear, spittle of a bird, beard of women, a fishes’ breath and the footfall of a cat and he stipulated that if the gods bound him that one must put their hand in his mouth, so if they were not to untie him, he would bite it off. Tyr did this, as the other gods were weary. And since he was bound and they would not, Tyr lost his hand. To further his binding, Fenrir was chained to heavy rocks on and island and a sword placed in his mouth against his pallet so if he bit down he’d get a sword in the brain killing him.

Nc_fenrir

This is an odd sense of justice, even for the Aesir. Some would argue inherent morality. The gods did what they could to stave off Ragnarock and Odin’s death for he is needed there. But Fenrir committed no crime before or at the time of his binding. Fear of what he COULD do is what caused his binding and subsiquent torture (a sword in the mouth while being tied is torture).

So this created a cycle – the gods created their own enemy. No matter his mind, Fenrir did not cross the gods and was a victim of a self fulling prophecy which the gods played their part by binding Fenrir for a crime he possibly wouldn’t of committed without the gods learning the prophecy. The prophecy created the situation which created the prophecy.

The Volva framed Fenrir.

American Asatru Association TM 2013 Matthew Barker
This work is copyright 2014 Matthew Barker
Artwork (c) respective artists:
Image 1: Fenrir by janiceduke
Image 2: Fenrir by Pulse l’Cie

Bragi’s Corner – Asatru for Beginners by Erin Lale

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Review based on the 2010 digital edition

When I decided to delve into Heathen social media and digital sources, the basic Google and Amazon searches brought up 3 books:
1.) Asatru for Beginners by Erin Lale
2.) Essential Asatru by Diana Paxson
3.) The Asatru Edda by The Norroena Society (Mark Puryear & Others)

I purchased the 2nd, burned through it in a couple days and received the first digitally and again burned through it in one night. I had already a working knowledge of the Sagas, lore and myths but was leary to jump into social media because it was rampant (and still is) with white pride/white supremist/white power Neo Nazi groups who latch onto the modern race construct to exclude those who are not white (and ONLY white because ethnicity, heritage and culture cannot be seen on someone’s skin) from practicing Asatru (or any other type of Northern European/Germanic path); or even following the gods.

But I did and this book offered IMHO the best primer for practice and introduction level knowledge of American Asatru. Now there is a difference in American Asatru and Asatru as practiced in Scandinavia, not to mention Odinism, Wotanism, Forn Siðr, Urglaawe and Celtic Paganism. It relies heavily on academia, community interaction online and IRL, UPG, modern lore interpretation and conventional practice with traditional flavors and/or influence.

Erin Lale is a social media friend of mine via Facebook and Ive tried many times to get her to administrate at the American Asatru Association Faceboo page/group, but being a busy author (fiction and non-fiction), her duties do not allow it. But I do goto her often for information and her opinion. She’s extremely approachable and informed. She told me this book was written during a time when heathen information was gathered through actual sumbles and blots and celebrations, MSN groups and websites. There was no social media like Facebook to dive into for information about any subject. And this book reflects that. It offers a basic 101 knowledge of modern Asatru practice in America with information from many cultural aspects of Germanic heathenry. Rituals, names of gods, background, attributes, modern practice and customs. Erin even asked if I would help revise the book for a 2017 edition she hopes to put out. A great honor, indeed.

Erin’s book is one I go back to often for a refresher on basic information. With so much eclectic paganry and Neo-Pagan ideals flooding modern heathen pages and groups, the basics can be lost. Frith is the best example. People’s narrowsighted OPINION of it (because they 99% of the time get it wrong) really murkies the water and makes neophyte examiners of Asatru run.

When I started writing this review, I re-read the book from cover to cover in roughly 3 hours. Not hard to do since I read about Heathenry constantly online and in print. Like most American Asatruars or Heathens, Erin’s views are not shared by all (Shoot, mine, hers and the other admins at AAA – Beth and Shirl – are different lol we all could be different points at the end of a Celtic Cross!). But unlike many (myself included), they are helpful for those just looking into Asatruar for interest or a sincere interest in following the northern path.

Erin’s entries of Freyja are very indepth, as she is Freyja’s Gythia. Also the section on Heathen takes on political and personal issues like abortion, drug testing and politics are different and interesting to read. Many Heathens Ive encountered are staunch conservatives, pro-gun, anti-Big Government, many are Libertarians and then there’s the rarely discussed (because it’s a male dominated faith vocally) abortion (which Ive noticed most are pro-life).

The book is very clean, neat and to the point. As I said, it is a great primer. It is not bogged down with unsubtantiated UPG or spirutual fluff that might tickle the Neo-Pagan newb, and offers a bibliography for academia to back up ideas put forth (so important in books, a bibliography..). The rituals section will really help those who are seeking to learn more of Asatru. Most New Agers come from stables/groups who typically read Raven Kaldera, DJ Conway and seem to rarely (for shame…) touch on Raymond Buckland. Also, I want to mention that this book SHOULD be encouraged by parents for their children to reading if they’re raising their children in Asatru in the USA.

I cannot recommend this book enough. So many new heathens come into AAA and ask what they should do, theyre new and what to read. Asatru for Beginners is what every pagan and/or heathen should start off with.

 

Amazon Link:

Bragi’s Corner – Honey, Grain & Gold

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Review based on the 2010 version

A review of Honey, Grain & Gold by Joshua Tenpenny (with Raven Kaldera, and others) (c) 2010

WARNING: This is NOT an academic book. This work (as warned in the introduction) is UPG. Since I cannot ACADEMICALLY review this book, it’s going to have to be a personal view. I apologize if this offends anyone.

I found this book doing an Amazon search for Frey a couple of weeks ago. After I read Frey, God of the World by Ann Groa, I wanted a book that would contrast or augment her detailed academic based work and balance it out with spiritual devotion and maybe toss in some UPG….

…what I found was essentially a collection of blog posts and excerpts from other work.

I need to say that after I had gotten to the end of chapter 3 (which again the author warns some people might want to skip due to its sexuality), I knew this book was essentially fluff. I rarely use that to attribute to anyone’s work, as I respect everyone’s UPG, but this book makes leaps and assumptions I cannot as an intelligent well read adult recommend.

I need to also point out that this book is a collection of entries from other heathens – most of which are Raven Kaldera, Joshua Tenpenny’s husband/life partner. There are a few entries by Joshua Tenpenny but they’re not heathen-centric. The author and those who contribute the most warn they are NOT heathen, but Neo-Pagan Shamans (with the exception of Krasskova). This is a self-given title with no historic meaning. I personally find the word “Neo-Pagan” to mean “confused”. Look up the word pagan. It’s an EXCLUSION term referring to wild folk no matter what language you use be it Latin or Old Norse.

Normally I just ignore, accept or tolerate other people’s UPG, but how this UPG was obtained, and IMHO without any academic research outside of narcissistic vanity, made me have to balk at the stories in it by Raven Kaldera. I have had no real “connection” the man or anyone he really associates with, but while reading the book a few people I spoke to and reached out to had some not-so-nice things to say about him. The nicest being “fluffy” and the worst being something I cannot say due to possible slander.

Let me point out a few examples..

John Barleycorn. More than once Raven puts this is another name/aspect of Frey. I looked up John Barleycorn on Wiki and Google. It’s a song and an autobiography by Jack London. Neither of which are pagan/heathen. I can only connect it to a barley cake made in the shape of a man after a Celtic end-of-harvest ritual. And a fictional connection to corn dolls made also after the harvest, kept inside during the winter, the basis for The Wicker Man movie. There is a connection to Freyr to the harvest – Lammas – the time of the Harvest, when Freyr is honored many ways (blots, ceremonial plates, etc). And connecting him to the Celtic harvest spirit is something that I can easily see happening, but not the name. I got the feelings Raven and Joshua watched The Wicker Man one night and the name stuck.

Freyr dying and being reborn each year. I searched high and low for a mention of Freyr himself sacrificing his life for the harvest each year and returning in spring. I found none. What I did find was the Yngling dynasty kings, being descended from Freyr (supposedly) being sacrificed by the people if there was drought, famine or a small harvest. This seems like a stretch to me.

God-horse(s). There is a chapter where Raven describes himself projecting through the realms and seeks to speak to Freyr, and is granted audience. He asks Freyr for something but the price is to be Freyr’s horse for a year and a day. So Raven erects a god-pole and Freyr rides him spiritually, but Gerda also wishes a mount, so a female members of the gathering becomes her horse. I can only link this to 1.) Freyr being considered the god of horses and 2.) Freyr’s likeness being taken around in the cart after his death. Again, seems like a stretch.

I’d like to point out that I try to balance academia with literal lore and objectively looking at the lore. It’s really hard with bridges between the three are erected with nothing to really support them. This is the problem many people find with UPG, and I understand it. These are Raven and other’s personal experiences, but when the experience tries to link actions to something that our ancestors did or wrote about in some round-about way, it becomes questionable. I’ve used the example before – about some (unfounded) UPG of Odin sacrificing his eye to see into the future. Odin constantly wanders to gain knowledge. He hung for 9 nights on Yggdrasil to gain the Runes. He sacrificed his eye for a swing of the water at Mimir’s Well for wisdom to temper this knowledge and use it wisely. Some farfetched connection between knowing everything and knowing the future (as he visited the Volva and learned the prophecy from Ragnarok) just does not hold up. Again, I’ve read fiction of (The Morning of Time by Cynthia King) that asserts fiction to bind the myths chronologically that Odin saw the Volva first, and travels the world to gain wisdom how to prevent Ragnarok.

This is a devotional book, which is in the subtitle. The book contains many rituals and recipes (ritual and otherwise) which are handy. Also it contains some beauty poetry. The UPG sections are a mixture of new age spiritual enlightenment and questionable experiences. I am not discounting these, as they are Raven and Joshua’s personal experiences, but the experiences are going to confuse other people. The largest oversight leading this confusion is any lack of a bibliography.

The book is a collection of work from people such as Raven, Joshua, Galina Krasskova and other authors I’ve yet to encounter (mostly the poetry). But reading Raven’s experience and contrasting it to Galina’s (which I agree with about 75% of the time from her blog posts), it’s like reading fiction (on Raven’s part).

Personally, I found the book disappointing. The poems, recipes and rituals are nice, but the rituals have no historical meaning – meaning they’re made up by the author(s). The recipes are actually quite simplistic and the poems well written but if you’re seeking some information about ancient practice, or how it could be adopted or adapted to modern practice, you’ll be disappointed.

It really isn’t the type of balance I was seeking opposite of Ann Groa’s Frey, God of the World.

Amazon Link:

Thought of the Day – RE: “Frith does not mean peace”

AAA / Heathen Hall response to Kenaz Filan’s “IMPIETAS III” & Galina Krasskova’s “Frith does not mean peace.”

When the lay person, or uneducated or ill-educated Heathen looks at the word frith, their mind goes to a few different places.

1.) The “hippy” definition is that peace is the groovy kind with everyone loves each other. Put down the weapons and share in the common bond between all men.

This is not frith. This is a new age ideal of forgiving all grievances for the “greater good” that supposedly all parties are supposed to be striving for and already in some sense agree to.

2.) The Christian definition of turning the other cheek. Love thy brother. An eye for an eye and the whole world is blind. Notice how folks always skip the last part of this? Eye for an eye does not mean if someone hurts you, hurt them back, it means be a Christian and make peace, that this eye for an eye attitude will hurt EVERYONE involved.

This is not frith. This is a Christian concept like the one above, but more an attempt at control. Stop fighting and look at the bigger picture. We’re all men under God and should no longer fight, but work together.

3.) The common Heathen definition of “right action” meaning kicking ass when someone wrongs you. No forgiveness. ONLY the inner guard matters. The attempt to look semi-enlightened of “speak softly and carry a big stick”. You killed my brother, we goto the Earl and I get 5 goats and 50 gold pieces and you get exiled. Or I’ll kill you myself!

4.) The true meaning of frith; that peace (frith) is an earned outcome of action(s) in direct response to an upsetting or destructive force against a previously established order (peace).

This is frith. So many people either refuse to see it, or just choose not to see it. “Right order” is correct. But if you’re “righting” an “order” that was disrupted, that means it was at one time ALREADY “right”. If everyone is “right” (or justice, honorable, working) then it IS peace, and it is frith.

Galina Krasskova’s response to Kenaz’s article (which I read, twice and found it noting to be anti-hero avenges himself and others against the villains) is correct but looses focus about half way through.

“Our communities”. We tote that word around and apply it to our family, extended family, kindreds but always shy away from the community we belong to, owe some frith to but seem to want to ignore – the world community. This starts at the town/city level, moves into counties, states, countries. We belong to communities that make up other communities. We owe them SOME frith (right action). We owe them our ability to follow the law (and challenge it if we find it unjust – LEGALLY challenge it), we owe them our tolerance of others – be it religion, their own non-harming actions or speech. If we did what Heathens on social media want us to do – kill, maim or expel all non-Heathens from every country that isn’t 90% desert – we are breaking frith with a community we work with and in for our own sake. Hypocritical since these Heathens claim Christians did it 900+ years ago, and now want to do the same.

There’s always this tone of separating ourselves from Christian influences. I understand and agree with this, but so many people take it from separation to segregation to ignoring and persecuting anyone of the Christian faith(s). Have you ever seen someone openly call for or mockingly speak up about or endorse KILLING or HURTING Christians? Either because the vocal Christian media machine has done something incredibly stupid, or for what Christians did 900+ years ago?

Guess what – you just broke frith. Why who? Your ancestors. Every single Heathen alive and dead has Heathen AND Christian ancestors. And living Christian relatives. Unless these Christians are breaking into your home and forcibly baptizing you or trying to hurt you, you calling for their death, harm on them or removal of any of their rights is breaking frith – with them, with the community you live, your Christian relatives and maybe even your family who might not share you bigoted hatred of someone else’s faith who you think wronged you 900 or so years ago in which you had no ties until you sought out your lost Heathen heritage.

How does a Christian in 1098 CE who might’ve worked with forcibly converting Heathens to Christianity re-establish frith with you? They cannot. There can be no “right action” in this circumstance. And trying to take it out on their 45th generation removed children who share the same faith is breaking frith (the peace) with someone who could possibly accept, or at least tolerate a non-Christian practicing their faith.

Heathens want to research and honor their ancestors. It’s a rather large part of our Heathen faiths. But many want to ignore 1000 CE until their most recent relative who sought to reclaim their Heathen heritage or were at least known to them in a favorable light.

WE DO NOT PICK AND MIX OUR ANCESTORS. Our heritage is not bought and sold at Woolworth’s.

Frith IS peace. It is “right action”. If everyone is working well within your community (be it your family and/or kindred), then you are at peace. There is no conflict, no disruption. Life’s day-to-day challenges or common family disputes are not breaking frith. Your daughter wanting the new cell phone and whines, your son wont goto bed and wants to play his video games – these are not breaking frith. Now your children stealing your car and getting drunk and hurting someone – frith is broken. It needs to be made up for. Punishment and reparation. And the people hurt, their frith with your family is now frith and YOU owe them reparations.

Peace is an earned outcome of action(s) in direct response to an upsetting or destructive force against a previously established order (working frith). You start with peace, it is challenged, you return to it. You start with frith, it is damaged, you work to restore it.

Frith is peace.

Bragi’s Corner – Frey, God of the World

Frey God of the World by Ann Groa Sheffield (2007)

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Review based on the 2012 printing, same title.

Since becoming a full-fledged Heathen in 2007, I typically rotated towards three gods – Freyr, Heimdallr and Baldr. They adorn my altar, I am a devout Freyrsman and I find myself drawn more and more to the lore surrounding Baldr and Heimdallr – most of the time wishing for more.

Last year, I discovered a short 80 page book devoted to my god Freyr (Frey). Ann Groa Sheffield in 2007 wrote this short yet detailed and information packed book that takes the reader from the mythical lore to the sagas of Sweden to academia of the more community known sources for Frey, and Aesir association in general.

First, this book contains rarely any UPG (unverified personal gnosis) if any. If one wants to consider small personal conclusions as UPG, then at most 5%. If not, this book is AMAZING for anyone who wants a purely peer-reviewed academic view of Frey. This book offers ZERO fluff and takes the time to educate the reader about every possibly point with well documented sources.

Second, this book will introduce the most lay person interested in Frey to the world of the Sagas. Most people who are interested in Scandinavia Heathenry, Asatru or Forn Sidr are going to go for the Eddas and get a good baseline of who the gods are, alon with some practice of our ancestors to venerate the gods. But the real examples are in the Sagas. The Sagas are long, detailed accounts of heroes, kings and families from Iceland to Sweden and some further south and north. This book will touch really on one – The Yngling Saga in the Heimskringla.

If you’ve read the Yngling Saga, the validity of the first kings of Sweden who start the dynasty (Odin, Njord and Freyr) are questioned, but even if you discredit them being human as described, the story of the Yngling dynasty and attestations to Freyr cannot be written off. Asatru is more than just reading of the gods’ trials and myths, but also about those who came after them and who claim kinship. The kings of Denmark claim direct from descendance from Rig (Heimdallr, or Odin depending on your interpretation), the Yngling of Sweden claim from Freyr (by way of Odin, then Njord first). How these gods were worshiped and the kings after are important to Swedish national heritage.

Frey, God of the World will also look at the academia surrounding Freyr as a pure fertility god first and everything else second, exploring the ideas that he is a battle god and one for royalty. Freyr is described as The Brightest God, and he does ride a battle boar (Gullinbursti) and at Ragnarok is supposed to die in battle with Surtr.

The book tells a story based on the sagas and myths. It does not rewrite them for fluidity, but takes them as they are and dissects what is academically believed to be who Freyr is. It is not a spiritual devotion book, as it contains no prayers or incantations to Freyr. That’s not it’s purpose. Asatru, along with other Scandinavian Heathen faiths, are constantly being reconstructed but a lack of material lost to time, passed down orally or destroyed by Christians during the migrations and forced conversions from 1100 CE (AD) on.

As a publication, the book reads extremely well and is easy to absorb and finish in one sitting. Like most word dense academia, some parts do through much at you in terms of terminology, different spelling of names for Freyr and what is attributed to him and the kings associated with him.

Every Heathen library should contain this book, for it is THE go to book if you want to seek out the most current (as of 2014) information on Freyr distilled from academic sources (also modern and 20th century) and the Eddas. I can only hope that as more academic research is done on Freyr, the author updates Frey God of the World with updated editions.

I highly recommend this book as a primer for Freyr on an academic level and as a tool for research and a source for others to publish material on Freyr.

Amazon Link:

Asatru 101 – Where are the realms? (Part 1)

Asatru 101 – Where are the realms? (Part 1)

As explained in Asatru 101 – What real do we live in? I theorized that we live on a celestrial body called Midgard, that is in the universe called Nifheim which is a universe residing next to another universe called Muspelheim. That covers 3 realms, but there are six more:

Asgard, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Jotunheim, Svartelheim and Helheim.

 

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Let’s start with Jotunheim as we briefly touched out in previously. Bergelmir and his wife had escaped the conquering of their land Ymir on Midgard by the Aesir and settled in a land, or another celestial body, called Jotunheim. It in the lore, it’s stated that Jotunheim lies east. As the Aesir had no created man yet, we could assume that the land of Ymir existed as a large part of a continent, possibly Pangea. Northeast on Pangea is where Asia was placed, cold high mountains and snow. There are stories of the tribes in the East as attested to by the Arab travelers of giants living in the north. Most likely this is wear Bergelmir and his wife settled and the Jotuns came about. Where are these giants now? The lore tells us the giants did breed with man and gods. Odin’s mother is a giant, so is Thor’s mother, Tyr’s parents, Mimir (theorized), Skadi & Magni, Modi and Thrud’s mother was a giant. Even non-Heathen sources attest to giants among men, those men called Nephalims who were born of Angels and men. There are giants that we see in cinema and read about in fiction, and there are those that are still honored today. Giants on Midgard are more nature-aligned than the brutish beings we see in Sinbad movies or in video games. Mankind is loved by Thor, the strongest of the Aesir, who regularly challenges those Giants who try to bring chaos. And not all Giants are evil. Jord, Jarnsaxa, Gerd, Skadi and many others are either neutral or considered in the innerguard of the Aesir. The Giants live in the land with nature. A species that has evolved over eons to be symbiotic with the Earth. The Giants of Jotunheim are not the Frost Giants of Marvel’s comics. Frost Giants reside on the ice fields of another celestial body in Niflheim.

Midgard is the Earth, and also the name given to the land that was once Ymir. This land would most likely be on Pangea where Africa was formed. Life began in many places and the war with the Giants most likely lasted a long time. It is unknown if Aesir-Vanir War was before or after the creation of the hominid species that would become man. But as the Vanir are considered elder, most likely it was during the time man evolved from this hominid to a cruder primate that the war happened. In which case Heimdallr coming to Midgard would mean he came to Africa after the continents had begun to separate and enrich our evolutionary line with his seed. It is said he traveled down the river and stopped three times, spending the night with and mating with the woman of three couples, each seemingly more human, or evolved, then the previous until we could most likely say Homo sapien sapien. Each time he visited, these evolving hominids would migrate, populating Midgard (Earth) and all its lands, resulting in the variations of our species in structure down to genetic levels. Geographical landmarks would alter things such as bone structure, skin color, hair, immunology, blood gases and chemistry, etc etc.

Asgard is attested to be in many places throughout the lore. As the city of Troy, as a type of land above Midgard, or a heavenly land, another realm of dimension, or Mt Olympus. It is stated in the lore that after creating Midgard the gods created Asgard for themselves and left Midgard over the Bifrost. We also know from the lore that the gods helped create cities for mankind, and it’s stated in Heimskringla that Odin, Njord and Freyr were the kings of the Sweden for many years. Their reigns each ended with them getting old and sick and dying. This would contradict the gods being living beings, in the land of Asgard, but we also need to realize that these stories were written down after being handed down orally and by the family’s themselves. We all know history serves the victor and many cultures have attempted to link their blood lines directly to the gods to affirm their lineage as holy. While we might disregard the Yngling Saga, it does state that the gods Odin, Njord and Freyr upon death were believed to goto Asgard. This would be put Asgard in another realm of existence then Midgard. This would mesh with Mt Olympus, being only mentioned in the lore due to the age and I believe Snorri’s attempts to reconcile many pantheon under the influence of his own faith – Christianity. Asgard does not exist in the same universe as Midgard, but it’s own separate realm. To access Asgard, and vice versa Asgard to Midgard and lands upon it, the gods have developed the Bifrost, a rainbow interdimensional bridge. This bridge also extends to Muspelheim. Sleipnir (Odin’s horse) and Thor are able to travel between realms without the Bifrost due to their biological nature.

A word on Niflheim & Helheim. As I stated Niflheim is our universe. In it exists many of the realms which many reside on Midgard – Jotunheim and Svartelheim (mentioned later). The lore tells us that Niflheim is also the realm of Ice Giants, and that Helheim exists into Niflheim; that Niflheim itself is a land, or continent or celestial body. I believe Niflheim to be our universe, and like Midgard, Helheim exists inside Niflheim but separate from our realm of Midgard. And the Ice Giants of Niflheim mentioned in Gylfaginning and are called Rime-Giants and they are of Ymir. As mentioned previous, Ymir is not a being but a land. This would make the Ice Giants (Rime-Giants) actually Jotuns/Giants of Jotunheim, the race of Bergelmir and his wife. Rime-Giants and Jotuns would be the same. We do know that Jotuns goto Helheim and that Helheim has lower levels, an a hall on a land inside it. The Rime-Giants of Niflheim would be those Jotuns of Jotunheim on Midgard who have died and gone to Helheim. Then where does Helheim exist? In Hrafnagaldr Odins it is stated that Niflheim exists near the Sun. Since Helheim exists in Niflheim, as does Midgard, but they are separate, I see this actually being Helheim, not Niflheim. As we cannot see Helheim with a telescope (unless it rotates at the same speed on the same orbit as Midgard opposite the sun – but that’s stretching it), I see it as outside our universe, in it’s own dimension.

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Part 2 will discuss Svatelheim, Vanaheim and Alfheim

~Thorendahl

Asatru 101 – What realm do we live in?

Asatru 101 – What realm do we live in?
4/4/2014 by Matthew “Thorendahl” Barker
(c) 2014 American Asatru Association & Heathen Hall

As we all know, there are 9 realms:

Niflheim – a land of eternal ice, filled with ice covered mountains and permafrost. The home of Ice Giants. And Nidhogg, the dragon who gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil.
Muspelheim – a land of eternal fire. The home of Fire Giants, and Surtr, who is to burn the realms to ash.
Asgard – the home of the Aesir. Containing 12 halls of the most prominent.
Midgard – the home of mankind and the ancestral home of the Aesir.
Vanaheim – the home of the Vanir, a race of fertility and magic-using elder gods.
Alfheim – the realm of Light Elfs, fae and wisps. Ruled by Freyr of the Vanir.
Jotunheim – the home of giants. A wild place of forests, rivers and sharp mountains.
Svartelheim – the real of the dark elves, or Dwarfs, said to be deep in the bowels of Midgard
Helheim – the realm of Hela, caretaker of those who died of old age and sickness. Lower levels of the unworthy dead.

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The lore tells us we live in Midgard, the realm made from the corpse of Ymir by Odin, Vili and Ve. We’ll discuss the construction of Midgard later, but again looking at the lore it states that the cold from Niflheim met the waves of heat from Muspelheim and created rime ice which when melting, dripped a venom filled liquid which formed Ymir AND Audumbla.

What is rime ice? Rime ice is formed on the underside of extrusions of rock. Meaning the liquid must be vapor, gather on the rock which causes it to condense and the tempurature around it causes it to freeze again. If this rime ice was caused from the meeting of cold and heat from Muspelheim and then re-froze, it must have moved either to Niflheim or close enough that it was able to freeze on a rock and the expanding heat from Muspelheim caused it to melt again (heat does expand into areas).

All this is said to have happened in Ginnungagap – the empty space between. But what is “between”? Many heathens state the cold of Nifhheim (and Nifl itself) is the cold vacuum of space and the heat of Muspelheim is the Sun. If this is true, Niflheim would either need to be an asteroid of ice or one containing large amounts which came too close to the sun causing it to melt in which case it could also be a comet. Following this theory, would end up placing the Aesir and Jotuns as space aliens. Or Niflheim is Earth (Midgard) itself.

If we take the lore literally, the Burr was licked free from ice in Niflheim and begot Bor, who begot Odin, Vili and Ve. They must reside on the ice of Niflheim. I highly doubt they lived in the vacuum of space (Ginnungagap) or Muspelheim. Sounds a bit odd doesnt it? Some Heathens hold this theory, some laugh at it. I have a different take.

Niflheim and Muspelheim are universes residing next to each other. Niflheim is old, and it’s energy has expanded and has been spent and contracted, which is why it is cold. Muspelheim is a universe a-new, flush with expanding energies. The Weak and Strong forces draw this universes together and where they touch – a Big Bang happens in Niflheim. This Big Bang is the energies that would create all things – Audumbla.

But Audumbla is described as a cow, and Ymir is said to come first. Audumbla as a giant celestrial extra-universal cow and Ymir a giant so large an entire species of giants evolved from his armpits and body are metaphors. It is said in the lore Ymir sprang forth from pooled venomous water melted of the rime ice, and “straight away” after it melted, Audumbla came into being, and Ymir existed upon the milk of her udders. Does this seem symbolic of the universe, then life evolving?

The heat and embers of Muspelheim are actually the energies created by the Big Bang / Universes colliding via Weak/Strong forces. The melting of the rime ice is actually the creation of the universe as we know it. Energy creates heat. Life evolved – the evolution of the Giants and then the evolution of a similar being we would eventually call The Aesir (some say they are the same species. Discussion later). This does not happen in the space between universes, but in space on a celetrial body, in the realm of Niflheim.

The race which evolved into Giants exists in the realm (universe) of Niflheim. Do they exist on a huge giant? Doubtful. The live on a celestrial body, and on it is a land called Ymir. The Giant species is prosperous and grows. But the energies of the Big Bang (Audumbla) create more life – The Aesir. Burr, then Bor. These are beings that are so old, and evolved that our understanding cannot comprehend how they exist with the universe. We know that Bor took a mate – Bestla, a Giant. Bor and Bestla have three sons – Odin, Vili and Ve. The Aesir and Giants live on either the same celestrial body, or two seperate land masses or areas on a landmass with a mode of transportation (Bifrost or otherwise). Since there is no mention of what the Aesir live on after Bur was “licked” from the ice by Audumbla, the Giants and Aesir most likely lived on the same celetrial body.

It is said the giants are evil, rotten through and through. The Aesir and Giants are constantly at war. Giants are agents of chaos (which would be wild nature & magic) and the Aesir are agents of order. Odin, Vili and Ve lead the Aesir and slaughter all the Giants, save two who escape. It is said they escape on the blood of Ymir. I believe more symbolism isused here, as modes of transport are very strange and different to the Aesir and Giants then we know. Bifrost bridge, inter-universal travel, Thor wading through time and space being too heavy for the Bifrost, flight on chariots drawn by goats, 8-legged interdimensional horses, etc. These survivors are Bergelmir and his wife. They escape to another land or celestrial body in Niflheim which will be called Jotunheim. This leaves the body the Aesir and Giants lived on in the possession of the Aesir.

Ymir is not a being who’s corpse was made into a world or continent; it was land seized by the Aesir, on a celetrial body knowns today as Midgard.

It exists in Niflheim.

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Prayer to Aegir by Adam Worley

A poem prayer to Aegir submitted by Adam Worley

Wes hal Eagor (Aegir), great sea eoten, husband of Rán. I stand before the vastness of the billowing sea with this gift, given with a sorrowful heart and willing spirit. Mighty son of Mistarblindi, who’s hospitality is known throughout the 9 worlds, be attentive to my request. The waters of the mother have become corrupted by the taint of men. It’s purity made bitter by toxic oils and chemicals, plastics and other refuse. We have wrought death upon the many beings that live within the cool depths of your holdings. I seek now to right this wrong and ask for your helping and guiding hand in the tasks ahead. Grant me both the understanding and knowledge that i will need to push back and reveres the tide of destruction. Unbind in me the courage I will need to see my ideals made manifest as I work with others to gain practical and legal assistances in protecting the Oceans and seas that are your abode. Turn the hearts of mortal men and women towards this goal so that I may have an army of help. Incline favourably the ears of people in the halls of power towards my requests. Accept both my offering and this small part of our collective wergeld.

Wes thu hal Eagor!

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by Adam Worley, owned and (c)
Posted by Thorendal @ AAA/HH with persmission