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.


Amazon Link:

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.


Amazon Link:

Bragi’s Corner – Honey, Grain & Gold



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.