Friday, January 29, 2010

Berkana Rune

Berkana Rune Cover The original meaning of Berkana is birch. The birch still has a similar name in Scandinavian languages: in Norwegian it's bjork, in Swedish bjork, birk in Danish, birki in Icelandic. Seeing how the birch is a female plant, this Rune is connected to the female energy and female deities like Frigga and Idun. Berkana is the Rune of regeneration, fertility, birth and health, as attested by the Runic poem describing Berkana as a young and healthy tree. The quality of Berkana is connected to everything that's new, young or just growing, whether it's a new tree or a newborn. Fertility is also connected to the process of birth and creating something new, so Berkana can symbolize a new addition to the family or an emerging thought being born in the mind of a scientist or artist. As the Rune of health, Berkana is most often used as a talisman that brings health back to the sick. Beside that, it can also be used for protection, because in the olden days it was planted in front of a house to provide protection to the residents (in Slavic folklore it's the service tree that's planted in front of a house for protection).

Divination:

Positive meaning: renewal, health, regeneration, addition to the family.

Negative meaning: family problems, sterility (in every sense of the word).

Books in PDF format to read:

Lyall Watson - Supernature
Stephen Flowers - Black Runa
Karl Hans Welz - Armanen Runes

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Religion Of Odin

The Religion Of Odin Cover

Book: The Religion Of Odin by Irv Slauson

This is a book about a religion, A religion that was hundreds of' years old at the time of Christ and has had an unbroken, khough often times clandestine, existence from then to our own times. Followers of the swirling and often conflicting groups of the Odinists still number in the hundreds of thousand and very likely in the low millions, In Germany alone about 1935, there were estimated to be 2,000,000 people who adhered to the beliefs of the New Heathen as they were then called.

This book is not secretarian to any of the cults, or cluba that make up todays membership. Although it has been written under the general auspices of the Runic Society of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the opinions expressed are those of the author alone except where otherwise stated, Over a number of years, the author has interviewed members and leadera from Germany to Australia, uaually these interviews have been in person but sometimes they have been conducted by correspondence. Groups exist in most countries of northern &rope, North America, and Australia as well as Iceland, The beliefs, stated dogmas, and opinions have been recorded in these pages as accurately as it has been possible to do so, Diversity of opinion has often been sharp and their are a few groups that have not answered
correspondence, '

The author does not pretend to have written a complete history of the religion, or even to have made a complete survey of its beliefs and customs, Many volumes would be occupied in producing a work of that nature. The author does believe that he has assembled, sorted, and brought together much scattered information on the subject that has never been previously organized. The objective of the book is for the casual! reader to be able to tell what the basic beliefs of the Odinist system of religion really are. Lack of a better name impelled the writer to call the book "A Handbook of the religion of Odin". The religion of Odin is the usual name associated with it because of the exploits, fictional and otherwise, of its most famous practitioner, the seafaring, nation founding, Vikings. We tend to forget that the Vikings were not the only ones who had this faith. The Germans, Dutch, Ehglish, Scandinavians, many of the French, and the Normans all were followers of exactly the same faith before their conversion to Christianity. In anitquity, the name of this religion was the ASTRU, or 'men true to the Aesir'. Most of its present day followers call themselves Odinists, although some still use the old term. Needless to say, both usages are correct.

Download Irv Slauson's eBook: The Religion Of Odin

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Medieval Grimoires - The Red Book Of Appin
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Irv Slauson - The Religion Of Odin

Friday, January 15, 2010

General Beliefs Of Modern Asatruar

General Beliefs Of Modern Asatruar Cover I like to compare Heathenry or Asatru to the Japanese religion of Shinto- for they have many of the same features. Both are ethnic and indigenous faiths, native to a particular landscape. Asatru is native to the vast forests and mountains and sea-ways of Europe from Russia and Germany to Scandinavia, England, Ireland, and Iceland. Germanic culture didn't remain only in these places; the Fall of the Roman Empire saw the seeds of a new Europe sown by migrating Germanic tribes, whose legacy was to create (among others) the nations of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, England, and eventually, America.

Like Shinto, Asatru is polytheistic, honoring the countless sacred powers of this world for what they are- sentient beings with motivations and powers beyond the ken of human beings, but some of whom are friends to man, and crucial to the survival and thriving of human societies. Like Shinto, Asatru also honors spiritual beings that dwell in the land itself, and in all of nature's many expressions.

Asatru believes in a sturdy and simple code of noble living and behavior which is seen as ideal for human beings who wish to live a "Godly" life, or a life in which humans can live up to the example of the Gods- beings who are powerfully creative, self-sacrificing, and protective of goodness and rightness. Like Shinto, Asatru honors the Ancestors as sacred beings who lived long ago- or not so long ago- and whose ongoing spiritual Participation in the world can still be sensed and integrated into our lives for good ends.

Asatru believes that the world and the universe moves through cycles of existence, coming into existence from natural, sacred processes, lasting for many ages, and finally falling apart and falling out of the order we know it in now, before it is regenerated and reborn. All beings- Gods or humans or animals or any others- are part of this great natural process of formation and re-formation. In the life, death, and rebirth of the cosmos, which has happened many times before, and which will continue to happen forever, humans and other beings that we know now and share our World With will all live and live again, as will the Gods.

During the ages of the world, Gods and humans strive to preserve the good things about the world and their respective societies, always working for the well-being of other kinsmen and other life. Asatru also believes in something that is deathless within mortal beings- the Spirit of the Gods- and in a life or a form of existence after the death of the body. Asatru, drawing on many Historical sources, has a belief that how a person lives helps to shape their destiny in life, in death, and beyond. It is to each person's benefit to live well, live bravely and with nobility, with loyalty for kin and friends and with hospitality, generosity, and reason.

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Anonymous - The Emerald Tablet Of Hermes
John Moore - A Modern Master Extract
Solomonic Grimoires - The Emerald Tablets Of Hermes
Allen Greenfield - The Secret History Of Modern Witchcraft
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Goddess Skathi

Goddess Skathi Cover Skathi originates outside of the Gods and Goddesses but by marriage to Njord has joined the Aesir and Vanir. She is known as a Goddess of winter and lives in her hall in the gold mountains. She has a grim nature, and she is known to be fierce. Her strong side is evidenced in her skills with weapons of war. Skathi went to the gods seeking vengeance, but Loki prevented this by making her agree to drop her claim if he could make her laugh then tying his balls to the beard of a goat (rightly judging she was a wight who could appreciate the humor of pain). She became a goddess by marrying Njord, but they were unable to live together, as he preferred the sea and she the frozen mountains. She is said to have later married Ullr, with whom she had more in common. She is a goddess of hunting, and skiing, and the winter.

Books in PDF format to read:

Anonymous - Confessio Fraternitatis
Franceska De Grandis - Be A Goddess
Franceska De Grandis - Goddess Initiation

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bertha Perchta And Huldra

Bertha Perchta And Huldra Cover Scholars are as sure as they can be that Bertha, Perchta and Huldra were different names in different places for the same goddess. The names and Traditions also seem to all be descended from the traditions of Nerthus, the oldest birch goddess (or Eartha or Jordh as her name is given elsewhere). So what do all these birch goddesses have in common? What things do we know that would, when put together, enlarge our Information of the birch goddess?

1)All these goddesses have processions. Huldra, Bertha, and Perchta are said to lead the Wild Hunt. Nerthus has her twice yearly processions to bring fertility to the earth.
2)All are birch goddesses. All have functions related to fertility.
3)Huldra's procession includes the huldrafolk, land-wights. Odin's Wild Hunt is said, in many, many traditions, to be hunting the huldrafolk, or hunting alfs, in an effort to eradicate all of them. These land-wights are often identified with plant-life.
4)Odin's Wild Hunt includes hounds or wolves. One of the most common elements associated with birch goddesses is the hound or wolf. In both these cases this is because there is a close symbolic Connection with the hound or wolf and the dead.
5)Bertha and Perchta are spoken of as goddesses of those not yet born.

Putting all these elements together gives us the following picture:

The birch goddess is the earth, married to Odin. At the break of summer, at May Day, she brings forth life on the earth. She processes, travelling across the earth to do this, following after Odin. But all things die, and the harvest must come at last. At this time her consort, Odin goes amongst the dead. When harvest happens, the birch goddess has nothing more to give. Then the spirits she brings to the earth are dead, and have no benefit for mankind. This must be why Odin seeks to kill them, and only does so during the winter. He is the psychopomp, and they must be brought back to the realms of the dead, and as Drighten of Draugs he leads the forces of the dead on a hunt across the earth, seeking the birch goddess and her people, to bring them where they belong. This is the meaning of the leading position of the Wild Hunt given as both Odin and the birch goddess. Odin is Master of the Hunt. The birch goddess is its quarry. At this time of year she also takes Ullr as lover, as he is god of winter. He eventually overtakes them, and kills them. Then it is the goddess who descends into the world of death. She is reborn (possibly due again to Odin's aid, as psychopomp). She is then the nourisher of life again, and as mother of the unborn and, by extension, of reincarnation, she can bring back her folk as crops and trees and grasses again. She is then in a position to bring Odin back, and take him again as consort.

This reconstruction certainly fits everything we know of the birch goddess(es). It is also consistent with many other Indo-European traditions, which involve a yearly descent of a goddess into the underworld (such as Persephone or Innana). Myself, I worship the birch goddess as Nerthus, wife of Odin (and Ullr alternately), sometimes chasing him, sometimes fleeing him. This gives me a whole picture that relates Odin, Nerthus, the year, the crops, other gods, the dead, etc. into one story. It may never have been practiced exactly this way by anyone at anytime. But I think it does reflect accurately an assortment of practices. And our tradition is living, not dead. It changes as the world does, as our cultures do.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Zoroaster - The Chaldean Oracles
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Sea Witch Sewitches

Sea Witch Sewitches Image
For centuries stories of sea witches have predominately enhanced British folklore. The tradition, and legends, of Sea Witches surrounds experiences of seafarers and beachcombers as well as others in the sea faring trade. These legends with the aid of imagination, and frequently superstition, have produced tales of phantoms, or ghosts of the dead allegedly possessing supernatural powers that control the fate of seafarers on the waves.

However, the tradition of the Sea Witch still exists. Sea Witches focus on Moon lore, the tides, and weather magicks. From these elements came the Witch tradition of women who could raise wind and cause storms, which even 200 years ago could send them to the stake.

Currently the path of the Sea Witch is one chosen by few Pagans. The Sea Witch works with the chaotic forces of nature. Many term chaos evil, especially those enthralled with the powers of light. Here the Sea Witch differs, she or he recognizes that chaos, if evil at all, is a necessary evil because the chaotic climatic elements are part of the environment of the sea. Thus, the Sea Witch does not just use "white magick" and/or "black magick," but "gray magick" because the person deals with all elements at her/his disposal when maintaining a balance between light and dark powers. Not many ordinary persons can manage such a feat, which is why most Sea Witches are solitary, working alone and by themselves.

Sea magick pertains to magick performed involving the element of Water, usually performed by the seashore; however, in modern times, depending on the location of the Witch, substitutes such as a lake, river, pond, or bath tube can be used. Even placing a bowl of salt water on an altar with the proper intention will suffice. The magick is usually sea related. Although several types of magick may be performed, the most common is weather magick since precipitation is water related. Such activity stems from old traditions when sea witches were called upon to control the weather to insure seafarers safe voyages. Related to Sea Magick is Moon Magick since the Moon controls the tides of the sea.

According to legends witches were believed to be able to control the wind. One method was with the use of three knots tied into a rope, or sometimes into a handkerchief. When the three knots were tied in the proper magical way, the wind was bound up in them. Witches gave, or sometimes sold, these magic knots to sailors to help them experience safe voyages. The release of one knot brought a gentle, southwesterly wind; two knots, a strong north wind; and three knots, a tempest. In the folklore of the Shetland Islands and Scandinavia, some fishermen were said to have commanded the wind this way. The belief in controlling the wind by tying it goes back to the legends of ancient Greece; Odysseus received a bag of wind from Aeolus to help him on his journey.

In other legends the activities of witches and sorcerers have been confused, which is a common practice even today. For example, Sir Francis Drake is said to have sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a skilled seaman and admiral. The Devil allegedly sent Drake sea witches, who raised a storm that helped him to defeat the Spanish Armada in 1588. The battle occurred near Devil's point, overlooking Davenport, which, by some, is still considered haunted by witches.

In summary, Sea Witch magick strives to achieve a balance between light and dark powers; the Witch does not focus more on one than the other. The reason for this is that the Sea Witch realizes such a balance is maintained throughout the continuum of life, even in oneself, just as it is in the environment of the sea. She/he experiences emotional depression and optimism at times, neither are harmful for short durations and both help establish personal emotional stability. When understanding this the Witch, or person, is more complete and better able to deal with life's situations.

"The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft"

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