Bragi’s Corner – A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru by Patricia Lafayllve

Bragi’s Corner – A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru by Patricia Lafayllve
Based on the 2013 Print Edition


This book was on my wishlist awhile, but like my fellow heathens, Ive read quite a few beginners books and they all focus on the same thing. After becoming Asatru in 2007, I can recite every story of the gods from memory and essentially give everyone a 5 minute run down on every Aesir, Vanir and Jotun, so I waited to buy this book.

Now I have to say, there are many beginners books – the most popular being Essential Asatru by Diana Paxson and Asatru for Beginners by Erin Lale. Both are great, well read, informed and friendly authors that offer worlds of information on their books. Lafayllve’s does as well. Patricia’s edge is how new it is. Asatru is evolving every year with new academic research and many people joining the faith. Patricia’s book kicks up the basic information into a more intermediate level with a large focus on wights and alfs. The background on heathen worldview is VERY well worded and presented, allowing many who are entering Asatru from other faiths such as Wicca and Buddhism to get a grasp on how Asatru (and Germanic heathenry) views the world.

My only gripes about this book are how a “majority” or “most” heathens don’t honor Loki or Jotuns outside the Aesir/Vanir innangard. If you go to AFA or Troth events, Loki is either forbidden or subjugated to a Ve dedicated to him. The appendix in the back of Patricia’s book is a good addition, but entirely too short. Loki in today’s modern Heathen world is draped in dogmatic Christian baggage that he is a Satan character to Odin’s Yahweh and Baldr’s Jesus. This goes against idea of a world accepting view and one that the past is fixed and influenced the present which creates the future (as Patricia’s book states).

And the 2nd gripe – the afterlife. More than once Patricia mentions how Heathens are not so concerned with what happens in the afterlife. This couldn’t be further from the truth. So many heathens scream – SCREAM – Victory or Valhalla! Or even press the opposite, we’re all going to Hel (Helheim). The gung ho heathen Viking crowd is the most vocal and recognized as Asatru by the world as how we are, because they glorized carrying heavy axes, mail, helmets and seem to be overly obsessed with death. This is an extreme focus on a single aspect of Odin which appears in the Sagas written about times when open war was an every day thing. If you compare the Eddas to the Sagas, Odin rarely ever is as blood thirsty as his followers in VICTORY OR VALHALLA groups portray him to be. I do agree that what happens after we die weren’t as a huge a “deal” as many heathens make it be today, and that’s because Valhalla-ism is a Christian left-over. And most heathens will not be going their.

Each chapter in the book cites their sources, which makes the reader’s adventures into further works and academia easier. And also sample rituals, and ritual/holiday breakdowns are available at the end of chapters and even a chapter on our holidays. The gods and wights have meditations at the end of each chapter as well. Reading this book, I can easily see it expanding into a library for Patricia, especially into Seidr.

I dont practice Seidr, or Galdr but the books I’ve touched on that want to teach people are heavily mixed between Wicca influenced MUS (no offense, but a lot is MUS) to well documented accounts of Seidr practice in modern times by respected members of the community balanced with Academia. Patricia touches on Seidr and her honesty that one cannot learn it from an intro book is very true. I would love to see a more in depth Seidr book from Patricia. Hopefully it will be cultural and not multi-cultural (influenced by non-continental Shamanistic peoples/tribes).

Patricia’s book NEEDS to be “required reading” for many new heathens entering Asatru. The book balances academia and modern practice perfectly and offers information available out there for heathens to find, but nothing really “new”. And one shouldn’t expect it to give some all-revealing information lost to us about Germanic heathenry. What this book DOES do, is break down the basic information, with modern educated sources by a modern practitioner in clear wording that is not flowery of Norse-wrapped Wicca. I skipped the first few meditations/rituals (because I do my own private ones), but I went back over a few and these will really help people. I honestly would dump the Hammer Rite.

The book only lacks in Loki information and condemnation of Nazi bastardization of our symbols. I would say the latter NEEDS to be addressed in any academic or devotional work, as many casual or new readers could stumble across an Othala symbol and become confused.

This book easily scores a 4.5/5 for a beginners/intermediate work for Asatruars. A well versed, long time heathen will probably take little to nothing from the book, but from what I’ve seen a majority of heathens NEED this book.

Thought of the Day – 11/9/2015 – So Twinkies…

Let’s set the stage…

3 years ago, Hostess went bust. Hostess was the maker of baked goods from bread to Twinkies. They had a large plant here in Orlando, FL. Driving by this plant and smelling baking bread is probably one of the happiest memories most Orlando, Floridians have and many tourists have mentioned it as well. It employed 200 people.

Hostess Twinkies

Hostess Twinkies

In WWII, Twinkies were given to our soldiers to remind them of home. Twinkies originally had banana cream inside them and it was replaced by vanilla whipped cream because bananas were also given to Our Boys as a little piece of home. Twinkies are a staple in today’s culture, mostly as something that lasts forever (when actually shelf life is 3 weeks and that’s if they’re not kept outside and dry).

Twinkies actually went for hundreds of dollars a box here in Florida. People stood around the block to get into the Merita plant’s store to buy bread and Twinkies because the iconic confection was going away.

I was lucky enough to locate some. Yes, Im a large guy and I have eaten Twinkies. Not too much growing up (I was a pecan tart man myself) but they became a snack in my lunch box when I worked security. I honestly havent had one myself in quite a while now. But when they were rare I managed 2 boxes from the local Walmart. And yes, I gave some to Sunna as an offering, and not in exchange for anything. And when I was disabled from acute tendinitis where I couldnt walk and had to miss work and goto the doctor, I gave some to Eir for help (and this was like 2 weeks after being hobbled).

And I honestly believe Eir helped. Do I think she likes Twinkies? I honestly have no idea and it’s foolish to think she’s in Asgard munching on a the two I offered or offended by them.

The point was – the sacrifice. I gave something of value (personally and monetarily) in hopes of an exchange with the gods.

I have not given any since because Hostess was bought out and Twinkies are readily available everywhere from Walmart to a mom ‘n pop gas station in BFE. But groups and people like to attack people on social media aka “ad hominem”. Attacking the person, not the work. Well, people Im sorry but giving baked goods does have cultural and historical meaning.

This image was sent to me by Bryan Wilton.

This image was sent to me by Bryan Wilton.

Baked goods have/had meaning in offerings to the gods. At harvest/Winter Nights/Freyfaxi, barely cakes are given to The Harvest God (in Asatru that being Freyr). I have given baked goods to the gods before, be them homemade, purchased at the store or given to me as gifts. I have also given pecan tarts in remembrance to my father, who my fondest memories of are going on Saturdays to the concrete batch plants he worked at to do some overtime and he would treat me to a pecan tart and Dr. Pepper.

So there you have it.

~Matthew Thomas Barker aka Thorendahl Freyrsson Songhammer

Bragi’s Corner – The Terrible One’s Horse: Revealing the Secret of Norse Myths by August Hunt

Bragi’s Corner – The Terrible One’s Horse: Revealing the Secret of Norse Myths by August Hunt
Based on the October 2012 Print Edition

August Hunt’s book has been on my to-read list for nearly 2 years. Sadly, it always fell down the list, or went into the “Later Bin” when I needed a break for the constantly influx of PDFs and academia around Asatru and Germanic Heathenry. Not to mention the scores of UPG and spiritual workings of those who work with the gods.

A lucky week in Amazon allowed me to pick up a few books of Asatru I’d been wanting to read for awhile, and Mr. Hunt’s work was included with some cultural, spiritual and academic Heathen books.

First, and sadly, I’ve never had a lengthy exchange with August Hunt. I would like to after reading his work here, which is what it appears to be a collection of online essays and/or blog posts based on his beliefs on cultural and spiritual workings of Germanic tribes.

Second, the book has only one real flaw – it’s loses some of the points of the author with massive amounts of academic “jargon” to make the author’s point. While I look for a balance in work (academic AND spiritual), August Hunt’s work starts with a proposed idea, academia to support his idea and a conclusion which sometimes seems lost (especially his chapter on Solar/Lunar & Berserk/Ulfheðnar). I will admit the sheer amount of C&P from sources makes chapters seem a bit bloated.

This book does offer IMHO some of the best researched interpretations of cultural and spiritual beliefs of the Germaic people. While I don’t agree with all of them, the book does in many areas nail down the author’s point and delivers it with clarity. The subject matter covered from Nazi perversion of our symbols to the meaning of the Valknut makes this book a MUST HAVE on any Heathen bookshelf. The chapter on modern faerie belief really needs to be posted on every social media source available.

Ive noticed many books published by self-publishing applications seem to be collections of blog posts, essays and social media posts of the author or author’s friends. While this is great, and these ideas should be preserved, there are reasons editiors will proof read work and sometimes not even publish a novel or book. Of the self published books Ive read, Mr. Hunt’s book offered some difficult times on the eyes and mind when I was seeking the point of some of his chapters, but unlike many self-published books, Mr. Hunt does not fall into the habit of fluff. He does not interject page upon page of lore from public domain sources, or unsupported UPG being presented as fact.

The Terrible One’s Horse offers a etymological & academic take on the author’s own views of Germanic Heathenry and does it in a way where critics cannot call it or him “fluffy”. And this is a plus. The book is not a devotional to Odin, or any of the gods, nor does it try to take the reader down a made up path practice based on nothing. I can honestly say the book is extremely honest, well thought out and put together, and only suffering from some lack of professional editting.

This is bring my largest critical complaint – the focus on solar/lunar on essentially every aspect of spirituality. It seems this is the main idea of everything for the author. Odin, Slepnir, Yggdrassil – it’s all solar/lunar and symbolism. The gods and the lore are essentially all tools to express life/death/rebirth/solar/lunar/changing of the seasons. This would be IMHO the only UPG from the author.

This review is hard to type, as Ive own the book for awhile and have had to start re-reading it a few times and re-read chapters. There are times a heathen wants a work to be based not on PDFs, academics and the study of names and places. This book will leave you hungry for spirituality, but offer you great insight on some of the most commonly used imagery in modern Heathenry and that makes it essential.

~Thorendahl Freyrsson Songhammer




Ask someone how they interact with the gods, and by whichever god they chose to venerate, you’ll get a dozen stories. Odin’s followers share stories of knowledge and strength; Tyr’s of bravery; Freyja of love and joy. I as a follower of Freyr find my moments with The Brightest God in the quiet moments outside, especially in fall (early winter) – a time here in Florida we are many months away from.

To me, Freyja and Freyr being of the Vanir, share a relationship with the changing of the seasons. Hodr and Baldr are “The gods of..” Winter and Summer respectively, but the transition between those are times of Freyja and Freyr – Spring and Fall.

The beginning of the year starts at Yule, which in most of the US is the dead of winter. Cold, snow storms and a time of our ancestors to sacrifice to the coming return of the sun. It is also a dark time, and the dark is colder. Darkness like blindness is of Hodr. The sun returns and Freyja accompanies it. The bright vibrant sun, as we on Midgard shift the axis and find ourselves returning to its warm. Flowers bloom, sun showers, milder temperatures getting higher. The return of plentiful crops. Freyja gives way to the beaming sun of summer and Baldr. All life is in bloom and thriving. It is hot, but the sun brings life to all. And being a cycle and related to Hodr, death comes as well. The cycle.

We spend the summer doing as we wish be us adults or children. We also spend much time preparing for winter. In the US many folk do not fear winter as our ancestors did. And we do not rely on local crops to survive. We cannot hold a candle to what our ancestors did with crops and livestock to survive many months that would make a Floridian like me wish to move to Mercury! But we do remember. We observe special days during the year and still give to our gods.

And when winter returns and the sun begins to leave us, before Hodr comes Freyr. The god of the harvest and plenty. The crops all year have been tended and sacrifices made to him. Be them spiritual or true fields to reap or honorably ceremonial, we give thanks and offering to Freyr for peace and plenty. The sun is golden in the sky. Fall’s temperatures can be milder then the birth in spring, but they are so enjoyable. The end of sport seasons, of BBQs and family trips. We settle in for winter and Hodr’s return. Freyr has blessed us with food, and plenty. And hopefully of peace.

Today I stood outside to do some stupid little labor task for my girlfriend and felt the cool wind of early spring. I live in Florida, spring is short! I felt like this wind behind me was a mixture of Freyja and Freyr, being happy and in love with each other and the peace right now being felt by myself and my kin. Spring time to me is the beginning of a great time of the year for travel and expanding my catalog of things Ive wanted to do. I am unsure if Freyja blessed my girlfriend’s seeds she planted. She is not Asatru or Heathen. She earns her returns by her own deeds. But I like to think Freyja looked down on her thousands removed Celtic granddaughter’s little pots that make her happy. The cool breeze felt like some small thanks.

~Thorendahl Freyrsson Songhammer

Bragi’s Corner – Peace and Good Seasons: A Devotional for Frey by Nornoriel Lokason

Peace and Good Seasons: A Devotional for Frey by Nornoriel Lokason
Based on the Sept. 2014 print edition

I ran across this devotional while searching for “Frey” on Amazon. Ever since reading Ann Groa’s “Frey, God of the World”, I’ve sought a spiritual side to her academic work (which I still goto). My first attempt was Joshua Tenpenny’s “Honey, Grain and Gold”. It did not really “do it” for me.

I admit, I’ve never read Nornoriel Lokason until this work. I have looked into Wanecraft and Vanatru, and his name has popped up attached to books I am interested in reading. Nornoriel is a ex-bride of Frey who spent many years as devout priest to him online and offline. This really impressed me, as Ive never spoken or met someone who had ever devoted themselves to a singular Aesir or Vanir.

When the Amazon box arrived, I burned right into it. What I got was a collection similar to Tenpenny’s book, but without the issues that rose from it. Lokason’s book is very personal, and a collection of previous digital publications he had published before. In 2015, many religious books are published in chapters online and this being a devotional is no exception. He is also an authority figure in Vanatru.

I was much more open to the stories inside the work from Lokason. This is a devotional. It’s a book written by someone with intimate encounters with him and I felt that when reading the book. Lokason, unlike Tenpenny (who she dedicates the book to), doesnt spent the words to describe intimate encounters involving god-horses and sex play. There is emphasis on Frey’s presence in the LGBT community. It wasn’t FRONT AND CENTER, like Tenpenny’s, but was mentioned. Frey being attributed to love and loving all life is boldly exclaimed in the work, something I agree with.

It focuses heavily on Frey’s sexual meaning. Frey is also attributed to peace, warrior-kings and the waning light (the sun is gold in the evening, Frey is The Golden One). There is much (MUCH) mention of Frey being attributed to sacrifice and the harvest. I do find myself more drawn to Frey in the fall (early-winter) and harvest time. Halloween and Thanksgiving seem like his domain as they are times of giving, peace, the harvest and the golden times before winter. Lokason’s description of Nerthus, Njord and Frey and their roles in ancient society felt more genuine and more thought out then Tenpenny’s (please understand, I am not bashing Tenpenny’s work, I just didn’t feel it jiving with Frey).

I found myself really drawn into the work, and agreeing with much of it. Lokason’s personal stories, while not mirroring any of mine, added meaning to his practice. The only drawback was the lack of information on Frey as a warrior. I will say it has inspired me to write my own devotional. Lokason’s devotional does indeed fill that empty area I was looking to fill after Groa’s work.

Someone seeking an academic look at Frey, will need to grab Groa’s work and balance it with Lokason’s. I don’t know if you’d call it “reading between the lines”, but the messages of ecology, loving all life, family love and the harvest and Frey’s love without restraint are all prominent and well explained. Lokason’s personal experiences frame them well.

~Thorendahl Freyrsson Songhammer

Thought of the Day – “Eurocentric”

A slight rant based upon my reading of “Where White Men Fear to Tread” by Russell Means. In case you are unaware him, Russell Means was a Lakota civil rights leader, activist, writer, actor and leader. He passed away in 2012.

If you know me, you should be aware that I adore the Lakota culture. My own personal UPG is that Asatru and Lakota spirituality can mix. Iktomi and Loki are the same; Pte Ska Win (The White Buffalo Calf Woman) is Freyja. There’s even mention of a giant – Iya! Mr. Means can easily be labeled as “Folkish”, as his beliefs concerning American-Indians* mirrors the Heathen Folkish attitudes, which I endorse for those peoples personal religious beliefs. Yet his fragrant use of “Eurocentric” as a simile for all white people has been bugging me.

I am not Anti-Christian. I will not judge an entire way of life and personal belief system based upon the extremists or fundies. But whenever I hear/see the word “Eurocentric” as a way to describe how Europeans basically “ruined everything” for the last 1000 years, I want to stand up and and shout “Europe was a victim, as much as you, of forced conversions and invasions!”

I identify as a Universalist-Asatruar. I tell no one how to worship or what to worship based upon their skin color, ethnicity or cultural upbringing. Who am I to tell someone in Honduras they cannot honor Thor, or in China that they cannot devote themselves to Forseti? Faith in the gods is a belief system. The gods do not depend on our faith to exist. If your faith goes hand-in-hand with your blood, I understand it and will openly admit I seek a similar link. But for my *personal*, more intimate, tie to my ancestors. My blood ties are not valid to discredit someone in Nepal from seeking Baldr.

But I am also of European descent. My family is English-Dutch-German (English/German on my mother’s side and Dutch/German on my father’s). Like many American Universalists, or just Americans coming to discover their own European roots, I want something to call mine based upon my culture.

My culture is not white. Behind me is my family and line. I can only see a sign-post linking me to a Christian woman on the Mayflower to my great grandfather. The family I can trace back unbroken was all Christian. Christianity is a foreign religion to the tribes and peoples of Europe – north and south of the Rhine. But it has been embraced by many in Europe for centuries.

But I, like so many, seek another path. The older path. The path of my people before the coming of those devout to Jesus Christ. The way of tribe and family. Hammer and spear. Harvest and hearth. Yet I do not wish to discard 1000 years of history. It is 2014, am I was born & raised in America – a country, like all others, with dark moments in history. I see Mr. Means problem – the entitlement written in The Bible for Christians to save souls and the divine belief that the entire world is theirs! Looking at the past, we can see so much hatred, death and destruction wrought in the Christian God’s name and Europeans were converted, like many others and the powerful embraced it with religious fervor. Conversions (~1100 years ago), atrocities (500 years ago, Spanish Inquisition), invasions (500 years ago, Columbus, Cortez, decimation of indigenous tribes) – all HORRIBLE and all to be learned from. But they are NOT unique to the peoples of Europe. People are capable of horrible things. We cannot blame them on religion, race or heritage. But Christian Europe seems to be the scapegoat for anyone’s ire for the past 1000 years – and applied to any white person.

We are more than 1000 years of Christian-Europe history. We are a people with indigenous beliefs as well. A belief not bent on forcibly converting everyone to believe the same as us, or to outright rob, rape or kill them. Our lore tells us that we were created *of* Midgard and the gods own actions; and protected by the actions of our gods, active and enviromental. It does not tell us to lay claim to everyone and everything, and to force “The Word of the Lord” upon the “soulless heathens”.

We came first. We almost lost something. We are rediscovering it. We learn from our past and can look at it under a microscope. And we can grow. But do not label us.


Amazon Link for Russell Mean’s “Where White Men Fear to Tread”


* – I personally use the term American-Indian like how Russell Means does. Anyone born  in America is a Native American. The Lakota people originally had no label for their peoples, nor a distinction between races; only tribes. Ive been known to use Native American and First Nation, depending on who I speak to, out of respect for their personal beliefs.

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).

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.

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.

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

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

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




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.


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



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.


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



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.


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