Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Runes Language

Runes Language Image
Runes: A magical language from Pre-Christian Europe.

The issue of a magical language for the Neo/Pagan community has been debated for some time by the memebers of the Wiccoid Pan Paganites. Some feel quite comfortable using the Quaballistic system of the Judaic peoples. While others feel that this system is infused with thousands of years of patriarchy which taints it in the minds of those who do not desire to use it.

There have been a number of languages that have been uncovered in the past century. Ogham, the Celtic written language is one choice, but using this system is problematic because the tradition it came from (as with many of that time) was oral and the Druids (teachers of the Ogham alphabet) were destroyed along with the Library at Tara by the overzelous St. Patrick. The information surviving to this day on the Ogham alphabet is mostly recreated by people who do the most with what they have...but the inner knowledge of the Ogham system has been lost.

The runic language, however, was created by the Teutonic peoples of the Continent and Scandinavia was able to last as a magical system alive and intact because the Christian influence came at a later time and those people were not destroyed but rather were converted.

The Teutonic Runic system was used by the Goths, the Visigoths, the Vandals and many other Teutonic Tribes of the era of the fall of the Roman Empire, the Norse/Vikings of the 10th through the 12th century, the Saxons who invaded the isle of Great Brittan, and many tribes of Teutons not known to history for their military expeditions. By this we see that the runic system was in use from approximately 500 c.e. until at least 1,200 c.e. and there are many examples of runic talismans from which to investigate.

Other examples which aid in a good understanding of what the rune system was and how the magical archetypes were fused both in the minds of the Vitki (the name of a runic magician {Thorrson1}) and in the shapes of the runic staves are a wealth of writings from those who used the system (the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda) and from some of the Roman historians Tacitus, Virgil and others. These two main sources give an perspective to the study of the runic system. That of the participant and that of the observer. One who is interested in working with the any magical system is both of these a participant and an observer.

There have been a number of revivals of the runic system in modern times. Both occured in Germany, the center of the Teutonic tribes. The first was an intellectual/magical revival in which a number of occultists worked with the system and added to the available knowledge though innovation and study of folklore and history. The second was a manipulation of the archetypes of the runes to control a population, popularly known as Nazi Germany. The Nazis used ideas, archetypes, and the pride of the Teutonic peoples to control them magically. This is not to say that the German people are no responsible for their actions is not the point I offer. Rather that some of the runes that were used by the Nazis will be seen in the runic system and that one should attempt to disinherit the short and horrid imposition from the beauty and power of Nature that is inherant in the symbols and has been for hundreds of years.

The last of the runic revivals is the current one. The interest in
the runes has increased vastly in the last ten years. One of the reasons is the writings of Edred Thorrson, and the institution by him of the Rune Guild. The books written by this man are heavily researched and relatively easy to read and follow. There are other writers on the runic system, but they are all different, using different runic alphabets, and seem to be a mish-mosh of the four different runic alphabets. The amount of work to be done on the runic system is great, but the rewards of working with the system are as great, enlivening, and exciting.

There are four basic runic alphabets. The Elder Futhark, Younger
Futhark, Anglo-Saxon Fothark, and the Frisian Futhark. The most complete of the forms is the Elder Futhark, of twenty-four staves. The other forms either are missing staves or have staves that are mixtures of two staves. Think of the scientific Table of the Elements. The form that has the greatest number of the most basic forms is the best place to start because you can make as many combination from these with great
understaning of what forces are at work in the compilation.

The Elder Futhark also is the oldest form known as being a complete alphabet. There are some earlier examples of the use of the runic
symbols, but 500 c.e. is the earliest compiled,complete futhark.

The studying this author has done on the runic system has been with the Elder Futhark, using Edred Thorrsons's books. They are a great
beginning although being a bit on the patriarchal side for my taste. He offers a wealth of information which any user of magical formuli can combine and find further understanding of the runes. I recommend his books highly as a resource from which to do one's own research. I also recommend reading the Edda's and writings by Virgil, Tacitus and other Roman historian on the subject of German/Teuton society.

The amount of information available about the runes for the pagan
who is seeking a magical alphabet with which to scribe, cypher, or to expand consciousness is exceptional for an ancient lettering. Unlike the Quaballah it is not connected with the Judeo/Christian reality, but unfortunately is connected with patriarchy.

The breakdown of the dieties in the Teutonic/Norse tradition is
reflective of the history that is shared by almost all of the religions in Europe. The earliest god/desses of the region were originally thought to be from the Lake Van in Anatolia (where modern day Turkey is). The pantheon of dieties was known as the Vanic dieties. This was basically a Nature based religion common in Europe before the patriarchal era began.
Many of the goddess and god names are recognizible as being a part of the Aesir. Goddesses like Freya, Iduna, Sif, Hella; and the god Frey are all names I had heard before I read my first book on runes.

The group of dieties usually attributed to the Norse/Teutonic
people are the Aesir. The well known pantheon of Odhinn, Thor, Tyr, Loki, The Fenris Wolf, the Giants (thurs'), and many more. The accepted historical explination of the change is the invasion of the Scandinavian areas by the Teutonic Tribes of the Continent. Many of the god/desses were eliminated from popular practice and relegated to less visible and less important realms of influence. The most powerfull god/desses were married into the pahtheon of the Aesir, Freya (meaning "Lady"), Hella, Iduna, Frigga (an alternate personality of Freya), Frey (meaning
), and others.

The historical change from a Goddess based nature religion to a
martial God based religion had very a very strong impact on the region.
The change in concepts aided in the justification of the raiding and invading of various Teutonic tribes throughout the first and second centuries of the Common Era (C.E.). It also spread the runic system throughout Northern Europe and England.

The negative side of this warlike attitude is the desire of many
Pagans to use a system for the spreading of peace and of the healing of the Earth Mother. Much of the information in the texts available deal with the battles and conquests of the Teutons and their God/desses, not quite the place for a peace- loving pagan to find power and solace.
However the main battle in the runic sagas (Eddas) is the battle between conscious action and non-conscious action. The Aesir and Vanir in
alliance against the Thurses or forces of chaos. The law and chaos dealt with are not the social "law" and anarchy that most of the status-quo fear, but rather the law of the natural order and the chaos of
non-natural or artificial destruction of the natural law for reasons with no wisdom.

It seems to this author that the "battle" engaged in the mystical
realm of the Norse/Teutonic multiverse is closely alligned with the battle that we face today against the wholesale corporate destruction of the ecology of the planet which I think we can all agree is a plan
without wisdom.

With a good deal of hard work and perseverence with the runic
system, it seems that the Vanic God/desses can be reintegrated into the system. A rebalancing of the pantheon to allow for the modern view that the god and the goddess influence should be in perspective...even.

Reprinted From the Winter Solstace Will and Word 1990 EV



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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

God Balder

God Balder Image
Balder is Odin’s and Frigga’s son and is very wise. Known for his eloquence, friendliness, and handsomeness, he is also renowned as a great victor on the battlefield. For all these great attributes, the story of Balder is a sad one for his death shocks the Gods and he is greatly grieved by all creatures.

Baldur's name means "warrior" and he seems to have epitomized the best aspects of the warrior class. He is the most fair of aspect, the most beautiful god. He is one of the wisest and most eloquent, and none are able to pervert his judgements. He is friendly in nature, and no impure thing is able to enter his realm of Breidhablik. He is married to Nanna. He was killed by a plot of Loki's (as part of a deeper plot of Odin's to ensure the continuity of the world past Ragnarok) who guided the hand of a blind god to hurl at him the one weapon that could kill him. He was then forced to remain in Hel by another trick of Loki's. It is notable that Baldur goes to Hel and is then forced to remain there, for it is the one place that will be safe from the ravages of Ragnarok. Indeed, because of this the Voluspa tells us that after Ragnarok Baldur will return and take the dead Odin's place. Every treachery of Loki's ends up ultimately to the benefit of men and gods both, for this is Loki's nature. Because of this, and because Baldur goes to Hel rather than to his father's own realm of Valhalla, which would seem much more natural, most Asatruar see it as part of Odin's eternal struggle to stave off Ragnarok, and to preserve something through it, by sacrificing his own son for the benefit of all the worlds. (Some scholars thus try to see Baldur in a very Christ-like light, but this is error. The sacrifice is coincidental and has more to do with reincarnation doctrine than redemption.) And note: BALDUR IS NOT A SOLAR DEITY. There is a lot of misinformation floating around out there about this point, perpetrated mostly by scholars overly influenced by Frazer and his like who got "solar deity happy" and tried to see every male deity as a sun god. But Baldur's death and eventual return is clearly spoken of as part of a world-cycle, not a year-cycle.

Balder, attaining his full growth with marvelous rapidity, was admitted to the council of the Gods, and married Nanna (blossom), the daughter of Nip (bud), a beautiful and charming young goddess, with whom he lived in perfect unity and peace. He took up his abode in the palace of Breidablik, whose silver roof rested upon golden pillars, and whose purity was such that nothing common or unclean was ever allowed within its precincts.

The God of light was well versed in the science of runes which were carved on his tongue; he knew the various virtues of the simples, one of which, the camomile, was always called “Balder’s brow,” because its flower was just as immaculately pure as his forehead. The only thing hidden from Balder’s radiant eyes, at first, was the perception of his own ultimate fate.

“His own house
Breidablik, on whose columns Balder graved
The enchantments that recall the dead to life.
For wise he was, and many curious arts,
Postures of runes, and healing herbs he knew;
Unhappy! but that art he did not know,
To keep his own life safe, and see the sun.” - BALDER DEAD (Matthew Arnold)

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Friday, August 31, 2012

God Vidar

God Vidar Image
Vidar is Silent God. Also the god of the really big shoe. He is the son of Odin and the giantess Grid. He never speaks, and has a giant thick-soled shoe he got from his mother. This is made from the scraps that are discarded when humans make shoes and is continually being added to. The shoe is so that when Odin is killed by the Fenris wolf at Ragnarok Vidar can avenge his father by tearing the wolf's jaw off by bracing against it with the shoe. Thus all who love the Aesir must take care to discard scraps from shoe-making, rather than saving them for future use.

Odin once saw and fell in love with the beautiful Grid, who dwelt in a cave in the desert, and, wooing her, prevailed upon her to become his wife. The offspring of this union between Odin (mind) and Grid (matter) was a son as strong as taciturn, named Vidar, whom the ancients considered a personification of the primeval forest or of the imperishable forces of Nature.
As the Gods, through Heimdall, were intimately connected with the sea, they were also bound by close ties to the forests and Nature in general by Vidar, surnamed “The Silent,” who was destined to survive their destruction and rule over the regenerated earth. This God has his home in Landvidi (the wide land), a palace decorated with green boughs and fresh flowers, situated in the midst of an impenetrable primeval forest where reigns the deep silence and solitude which he loves.

“Grown over with shrubs
And with high grass
Is Vidar’s wide land.” - NORSE MYTHOLOGY (R. B. Anderson)

This old Scandinavian conception of the silent Vidar is very grand and poetical indeed, and was inspired by the rugged Northern scenery. “Who has ever wandered through such forests, in a length of many miles, in a boundless expanse, without a path, without a goal, amid their monstrous shadows, their sacred gloom, without being filled with deep reverence for the sublime greatness of Nature above all human agency, without feeling the grandeur of the idea which forms the basis of Vidar’s essence?”

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wicca Religious Freedom

Wicca Religious Freedom Image
You know, it seems to us that people--especially those in the Wiccan/pagan community--don't understand the term that serves as the title of these thoughts. Religious freedom means that you have the one and only right and true path... for you. And it means that you are allowed to pursue the path of your choice without let or hindrance--so long as you obey the secular laws of the land.

It means as well (here's the corollary) that you do not have the right to criticize anyone else's path or to try to amend it. You've got freedom? They've got freedom. Yet we witness such leaning-on behavior ad nauseam; it seems to be a pervasive culturally-inflicted trait in luckless individuals whose minds have been twisted into knots. Leaning on other people is not a duty and it is not a right. Such a mindset is an intrinsic part of the duality attitude of ethnic monotheism. Black and white, good and evil, either/or, no gray scales, and (god forbid) no color. Yvonne sometimes wishes (vainly, of course) that freedom of religion could also mean freedom from religion.

In India there are literally thousands, if not millions, of gods and goddesses. A famous sage once said there are 330 million gods and goddesses in India because, given 1 billion Hindus, you can imagine that a few of them have overlapping ideas of "god". In other words, throughout the length, width, breadth, height of India there may be three people who share the same or a similar idea of what a god or a goddess is.

You can contrast this with Pakistan, where a Christian woman is due to be hanged next week for "insulting" the memory of Mohammed. She stepped out of bounds by criticizing someone else's high mucky-muck. Granted, hanging is a little severe; such an offense normally earns only a public whipping. In a state where true religious freedom reigns, she would not criticize somebody else's sacred icon but instead just follow her own path in perfect freedom. Of course her sentence of hanging offends our American standards and we decry such severity. By the way, in Pakistan there are almost ten percent Hindus and two percent Christians.

These thoughts apply to Wiccan/pagans because every day we hear of some new attack by one group on another group. God(ess) damn it, good people! Follow your own path. Take pleasure in it. Know it and know its natural follow-ons well enough to know why you follow it. Look at other paths and see whether there is anything you like--even if they do it differently. Whatever you do, don't criticize them. After all, they may be right... Another famous Hindu belief teaches, Everyone is right.

Regrettably India itself has been polluted by the disease of monotheism, so now you can find Shivites who criticize followers of Vishnu. In classical times this would never have happened because Shivites are polytheists. (Shiva has many varied aspects.) So if I say "Shiva is not the dancing god of creation and destruction..." in a presentation, and someone in the audience says, "Oh, no! He is." My response should be "That's right." Then there can be no argument.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Tiwaz Rune Of Battle Conquest And Victory

Tiwaz Rune Of Battle Conquest And Victory Image
Another rune to add to the list of magical occult symbols is Tiwaz. This rune is the rune of the norse god Tyr and its main meaning is of Victory, conquest or battle.

"Image - As you can see from the image to the left the rune Tiwaz much represents a spear pointing up.."

It is said for magical use, people would carve the symbol on weapons such as swords, axes or spears. It is believed that it would improve accuracy, fighting ability and increase chance of victory.


As like with all runes, if used properly they bestow magical benefits on to the user. Using Tiwaz in jewely or in a tattoo's is a common way of drawing its power. Commonly in Modern Usage, the Tyr rune, Tiwaz is commonly used to symbolize veneration of the god Tyr.


Winning-runes learn,
if thou longest to win,
And the runes on thy sword-hilt write,
Some on the furrow,
and some on the flat,
And twice shalt thou call on Tyr..

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Friday, July 27, 2012

About Goddess Hel

About Goddess Hel Image




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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Asatru Black Sheep Of The Pagan Community

Asatru Black Sheep Of The Pagan Community Image
You don't run into a lot of Asatruarar in the Pagan community these days. Well, actually you don't run into much here in the North East except shamanic Wiccans, but we'll let that stand for now. Asatru is the modern revival of the ancient German, Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, and Icelandic Pagan religion. It's been around for almost as long as public Wicca, but it has grown at a much slower rate and is rarely seen interacting with the "normal" Pagan community.

The word Asatru comes from the roots "As" a God who is a member of the Aesir, and "tru" which is from the same root as true or troth and means loyalty. We are those persons who are loyal to the Aesir or more likely to the entire Norse pantheon. Some Norse Pagans will use the word "Odinist" to describe themselves, but in America the largest group using this term is a white supremacist front. The Asatru Free Assembly and now the Asatru Alliance have used Asatru to indicate that their members are those Norse Pagans who concentrate on the religious aspects of Norse Paganism rather than those who use it as a political tool.

Race is the one item which you will hear come up most in discussing Norse Paganism. The Nazi party was very strongly pagan oriented, not only using Germanic magickal symbols such as the swastika, but also using folk festivals and other items of pagan Germanic culture to unify their population. Some groups have continued this practice and use our religion as a front for political action. In addition "real" Asatru has largely been adopted by working class people in conservative areas of the country such as the south and southwest.
Just as many Wiccans, well educated and brought up in liberal areas, espouse progressive political ideas, many Asatruarar espouse conservative political ideas including a latent racism. (You might also want to note that a lot of Wiccans from similar backgrounds are also racist. The educated probably are as well, but they're good at hiding it.) At this point in the development of Asatru, race is an issue which sits in a very tightly lidded pot on the back of the stove. It's influence seems to be slowly lessening. As one person put it
"Adolf is out and the Eddas are in." The religion is the main focus and many Asatruarar, including myself, simply ignore the racists knowing where our own hearts are.

Race is hardly the only difference between the Wiccan community and the Asatruarar. The entire range of values is extremely different. I suppose I should apologize for lumping all the beliefs of the Wiccan community into one, but the fact that I would need to apologize says a lot about the differences between the two religions. Asatru has a certain set of values and beliefs and establishing and discussing what values are appropriate for Asatruarar is a common practice. This is not to say that there are rules to Asatru. Quite to the contrary, Asatru, like Wicca, believes in total human freedom. However, Asatru feels that freedom must be checked from within by a strong sense of values and personal honor. Wicca espouses a lack of beliefs and reliance on personal conscience. It is, in fact, taboo to discuss "Wiccan values." In practice Wiccans tend to mirror the values of the hippie counterculture. However, these values are social rather than theological. Asatru goes back to the Sagas and the Eddas to seek its values. What emerges is a philosophy very close to right wing libertarianism. Asatru posits strong men and women with a hard and fast code of honor who are free to affect the world around them without outside restrictions. Like the political philosophy of libertarianism this has the downside of abandoning those who are for one reason or another less able. The particular issue of where one persons freedom ends is one that has yet to be addressed by Wicca because the personal philosophies and liberal conscience of most Wiccanshave made the issue academic.

Theologically there are extreme differences between Asatru and Wicca. Most importantly Asatru is a form of classical age Indo-European votive religion, where Wicca is a private religion based on the shamanic and ecstatic practices of the pre-Indo-European peoples such as the Picts. It's not just Wicca done with Norse deities and a different form of circle. The entire method of "doing religion" is different. For example, a great deal has been written about "Pagan" religious practices such as trance, magick, etc. However, these are more appropriately the functions of a mystery religion. The original forms of Pagan religion had these aspects, but they existed within a greater system of religion, just as modern religions have inner orders such as monastic paths within an open Christian church. For example, the basic Asatru ritual involves pouring a "blot" as an offering to a God or Goddess. In essence it's not a real "exciting" ritual. There is little or no chanting or consciousness alteration. In many ways there is very little difference between the ritual and a mass in a mainstream church. You believe in this God or Goddess and you need their favor, so you pour some mead in their name.

That is not to say that there are not mystery religions or magickal practices within Asatru, but these are more properly paths within the whole of a religion rather than the main focus of a religion. Rune magick is a common practice in Asatru as is Seidhr, a Norse shamanic practice. However, these paths occur within the greater whole of Asatru and there are many people who merely attend the regular blots as they would attend church services in other religions. In fact, there are many people within Asatru who are distrustful and made nervous by the whole idea of magick!

One of the features of the classical age temple religions in contrast to Wicca is that we have a written mythology. There are a few pieces of written lore in Wicca such as the "Descent of the Goddess" and "The Charge" but they are few and far between. Asatru, thanks to the tolerant people of Iceland (which became a Christian country largely for trade reasons), has the most complete body of Pagan mythology outside of the Greco-Roman. This has both good and bad sides. A set of lore to look to can provide a great comfort. It gives you something to do on those long cold nights i.e. read it. However, there is also the temptation towards ossification and even Asatru has a few "Eddic Fundamentalists" who insist if it isn't in the Eddas, it isn't "correct." The differences in a path with a written mythology cannot be overestimated. It lends an entirely different flavor to the religion and has many effects which are not immediately noticeable.

Asatru is a religion which concentrates very strongly on a single path. Wicca has been applied to every pantheon and culture under the sun from Celtic to Santerian and many groups mix and match favorite deities from different mythos into a "pantheon" specific to their coven. On a purely utilitarian level, I would argue that if you work with a specific pantheon and cultural mythos you will get greater results because the symbol set matches completely. When using say Celtic and Greek deities together you need to make the choice as to whether you will use the three Celtic worlds of land, sea, and sky or whether to use the mediterranean four element system. In Asatru, you don't need to make these choices. It is a singular religion backed up by many written sources. The adherence to a singular cultural metaphor is very important to Asatruarar. There are boundaries on where our religion extends. This is one of the reasons that you don't find many Norse Pagans at mainstream gatherings. Many do not think that the Wiccan community has much to offer them. (Another large reason is hostility based on the assumption that all Norse types are automatically racist.)

There is a movement within Asatru to bring the movement closer to the mainstream Pagan community. One part of this is that there are now a sizeable number of Asatruarar who were once Wiccans and we have roots in the mainstream Pagan culture. Another important reason is the rapidly growing volume of poor quality "literature" being released by the mainstream occult press about Norse Paganism. Many of us would like to correct some of the stereotypes of Norse Pagans and make people aware that there is an alternative to Wicca with Norse deities. Right now the Pagan community is extremely mono-cultural. As Norse Pagans become more involved it will be a true test of "diversity" as many cherished but flawed stereotypes get smashed against the huge hodgepodge that is Paganism.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

He Came With The Blessing Of The Geats 8

He Came With The Blessing Of The Geats 8 Image
Modern Heathens take great pride in personal independence, refusing to bow before distant authorities or divine masters. This is not surprising, many who follow Heathen practices do so out of personal choice full well knowing their decision will push them to the fringes of modern Western society. The choice to follow any polytheistic practice, in an age when monotheism is the norm, is a small yet fundamental act of rebellion. For whatever reason the initial decision is made those who continue on a path that guarantees social marginalization at best do so because their existential needs are not served by modern, conventional spirituality. This same spirit of defiance sounds out strongly in Heathen lore. The duty to resist oppressive circumstances is a powerful theme in Germanic Lore.To first understand the importance of resistance and rebellion one must first examine the cyclical nature of Germanic cosmology as presented in the Eddas. In the beginning of the sagas there was nothing but fire, ice, and a great void. One day the fire and ice boiled out into the gap, collided, and from the primordial void and chaos a new order emerged centered on Ymir. When Odin and His two brothers, Vili and Ve, struck down Ymir They used his body to create a new order where the Gods and humanity would flourish. Throughout the sagas They do battle with destructive giants and monsters like Fenris and the Midgard Serpent to keep Midgard and the Nine Worlds safe. In the Final Battle of Ragnarok the Gods take the field against their old foes one last time in spite of their pre-ordained doom. From the destruction of Ragnarok, as it was when fire and ice collided and Ymir fell, a new bright world will come from the ashes of the old.In each cycle of destruction and rebirth new, more prosperous worlds are built from the bones of the old ended in chaos and destruction. The new worlds are born because of an upset of the existing status quo. The great yawning void, which had existed for time unknown between the realms of fire and ice, had been the center of the existing order until the great elemental forces poured in and filled it. Ymir and the frost giants had lived in relative prosperity unchallenged until Buri's grandsons Odin, Vili, and Ve struck him down and used the body to create a new world(1). Ragnarok begins with a three year ice age ending with Surtr's immolation of the World Tree. Every great cosmic change is catalyzed by disruption of the existing order. These changes are used as the means to initiate greater, more meaningful transformation.Cosmic change does not come about for its own sake in the lore. While the lore is silent on the Gods' motives for slaying Ymir we can make some inferences from the lore. The primordial world in which the sons of Buri lived is described as extremely bleak. All that existed was Ymir, the cow Audumla who fed the giant, and a lot of salty ice(2). The new order built from Ymir's body is lush, fertile, and full of promise for the Gods, humans, and wights(3). Whatever the motive the end result was replacing the old, stagnant order with a new, more beneficial one for the Gods and the inhabitants of the Nine Worlds.

Beowulf's saga shows the same theme of liberation from oppressive circumstances. Following Grendel's first attack on the hall of Hereot the Ring-Danes did whatever they could to fight back and repel new attacks4. Conditions became quite grim:

"All were endangered; young and oldwere hunted down by that dark death-shadowwho lurked and swooped in the long nightson the misty moors; nobody knowswhere these reavers from hell roam on their errands."(5)In spite of all this they never stopped their war with Grendel, who "ruled in defiance of right"(6).When Beowulf left Geatland he did not come seeking wealth or riches but to volunteer for the battle with Grendel(7). He came with the blessing of the Geats(8) only requesting of Hrothgar that he do it himself with his men(9). The same theme re-asserts itself at the end of the saga when Beowulf, in the twilight of his years, personally seeks out and slays a dangerous dragon menacing his people at the cost of his own life.

The history of the people of the Old North is rich with stories of resistance and defiance of the mighty. The first and best examples come from the days when Rome ruled the world. In the first century AD Hermann of the Cherusci organized a coalition of tribes in defiance of Roman colonization of their lands. At Teutoburg Forest they destroyed the Roman army ending the first and only serious attempt by the Empire to conquer Germania. In the centuries that followed the Germanic tribes refused to let Rome rest fighting a series of bloody wars with the Empire. These were wars fought not by wealthy warrior-aristocrats or professional mercenaries but farmers, artisans, and merchants defending their homes and families. It is doubtful they had any serious hopes of destroying the Empire, a monolithic entity that cast a long shadow over the Rhine and Danube for centuries. What is clear is the fallout of the Empire's presence in the form of forced tribute, slave raids, punitive expeditions, and Rome's proxy wars reached a point where they could not be tolerated. In the face of deprivation, war, and slavery the Germanics consistently chose the risks of resistance over the certainty of submission.

The same defiance of oppression stands strong from the Empire's fall to the final Christianization of Scandinavia. Germanic tribes, facing conversion by force and coercion, refused to give up the old ways. With the exception of Iceland's conversion in 1000 AD every attempt to impose the Cross on the people was met with dogged, bloody resistance. From the Saxons' defiance of Charlemagne's invasion to Svolder when a coalition of Danes, Swedes, and Norse brought down the Christian tyrant Olaf Tryggvason and Stiklestad when an army of free common folk ambushed and slew the Christian king Olaf II the folk never gave up without a fight. When "conquered" they rebelled fiercely and often.

The message of resistance and rebellion is a powerful theme in the lore of the Northern world. When faced with oppressive conditions heroes, Gods, and ancestors alike pushed back, refusing to submit in the face of near-certain defeat. Many times when they made this fateful choice it was not with the certainty of victory behind them but as a challenge of impossible odds. Whether it is the Gods at Ragnarok, Beowulf facing the dragon, or the Cherusci at Teutoberg they chose defiance over submission and surrender.Also published at Ryan's Desk

1. Gylfaginning V, trans. by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur2. Gylfaginning VI3. Gylfaginning VIII-IX4. Beowulf 170-178, trans. by Seamus Heaney5. Beowulf 159-1636. Beowulf 1447. Beowful 194-2018. Beowulf 415-4189. Beowulf 431-432

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rune Meditation

Rune Meditation Image
One form of meditation I would like to share is a form I like to call Rune Meditation. Similar to other meditations it involves focusing on breath, sitting upright with the added difference of using the runes once the mind has been quietened.

The use of runes is different to many forms of magic, they are tools of the mind and spirit and allow us deeper communications and meanings beyond what we see. In a way they are a way of us communicating better with our inner self or spiritual self.

Meditation is one way of initiating this form of communication.


In order to practice Rune Meditation firstly find a quiet place where each day you can meditate for more than 15 to 20 minutes, free from stress and daily thoughts. Then make a comfortable spot in which you can sit for longer than 15 to 20 minutes sitting upright..

Spend that time meditating for at least 20 minutes like I say, do this by relaxing and focusing on a relaxed breathing pattern. Do not force your breathing instead take steady long relaxing breaths that are comfortable with you..

Consciously as this happens slowly allow your body to fall deeper and deeper into relaxation until you are in a more quietened state of being. In another word a meditated mind.. When in this state pick one rune at random without looking from the rune bag in front of you until you find the rune that feels right. Select it and then take from the bag or from where the runes are located in front of you.

After picking relax and go further into the meditation while also focusing the mind on the rune in hand. While holding let yourself go deeper into meditation and allow images or visions to flow that may be caused by the rune, in another way allow the rune to con-veil messages to you about your spiritual path. This maybe in the form of images or visions, meaning of the rune chosen on your path to self discovery. It may be a premonition, it maybe about change, it maybe good news or bad, each meaning and interpretation is a inner viewing of your path in a way to your spiritual self.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rune Powers Affects The Creative Energy

Rune Powers Affects The Creative Energy Image
Rune sorcery is nothing but invoking the energy from Nature that surrounds us and manipulating it to a sorcerer's desired effect. It is the science of magic, using the human mind. It differs from spiritual magic in that, spiritual magic deals with the unnatural knowledge of the Spirit world. It varies from divine magic as the latter focuses on the powers drawn form gods/goddesses.

A sorcerer aiming to employ rune sorcery may do so in two ways. The first is by using the knowledge of the runes to create sentences called castings. Casts are usually flexible, thus powerful. This may be difficult to master and takes a lot of time. The second way is by formulating a spell that can be used only for one intended purpose. Its inflexibility renders its less powerful. But this is easy to master. Learning spells can be comparatively easier than casting a new sentence. Due to this spells can be learnt from someone who is familiar with them or from books too.

A rune spell is cast by using the elements of the runes, based on which the power of creation exists. Without using at least one of the elements of the runes, rune sorcery cannot be carried forth.

Rune sorcery is an ancient form of sorcery that has evolved from the Norse deities of Ancient North. But it also incorporates the preceding forms of sorcery and is based on the 'younger futhork of the 18 Runes.' It was created by the Nordic masters. It now exists in the quantum ocean and is open to all who wish to learn it.

As much as the history of the runes is important, the ways of incorporating rune energy into our everyday lives is equally important. This is so because rune powers affects the creative energy found around us, and it can create an impact on the health, wealth and emotions of people, and change it for the better.

Rune sorcery is very similar to rune magic as both these help to empower the personality. The 'younger futhork of the 18 runes' is known to be the most powerful rune. So how does one go about exploring this kind of sorcery? The answer is quite simple. Simply combine the wisdom of the runes with the present laws of quantum physics and you will find the desired result. A profound experience with rune sorcery may also create a connection with the Norse gods.

Runes may be invoked in many different ways. Some of them include speech (in any or many languages), song (the most common way; instruments may of may not be used), writing (on special parchment or in dirt or in the air by using enchanted wands), gesture, dance, pictograms, manipulation of rune-marked stones, etc.

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Germanic Deities

Germanic Deities Image
Frigga is the All-Mother, wife of Odin. She is the goddess of the home, family, fertility, love, motherhood, domestic affairs and ease of transition (dying.)

Frigga is as powerful as Odin and is the only god/goddess allowed to sit in Odin's high seat Hlidskjalf when he is not there. She can look out over the whole universe from there. There is nothing she does not know. But she is called the silent Goddess for she does not speak of what she knows.

* Frigga's name means LOVE.
* She lives in Fensalir which means "Marsh Halls.
* Frigga's children are Thor, Balder and Hodar.
* Her stepchildren are Heimdal, Tyr, Vidan and Skljoldr.
* Her magical tool is the distaff.
* Her animal totem is the goose.

Frigga's Handmaidens are:

* EIR: Goddess of Healing.
* HLIN: Goddess of Protection.
* GNA: Messenger Goddess.
* FULLA: Fertility Goddess.

The constellation Orion's Belt is known as Frigga's Distaff. The rotating stars at night are her spinning wheel. It is said that Frigga uses her spinning wheel to weave the clouds. She also sits at her spindle weaving the destinies of men and gods alike at the beginning of each new year.

If you wish the ask Frigga about your destiny, first build a rapport with her and her Berkana rune. She may tell you. But be careful. She knows all the destinies of men, women and gods. She knew the destiny of her son Balder. She knew he would die, and try as she would, with all her powers, she could not stop it. Do you really want to know your destiny? Ask her.

Frigg was a goddess associated with married women. She was called up by women to assist in giving birth to children, and Scandinavians used the plant Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum) as a sedative, they called it Frigg's grass).

In Scandinavia the blessing of Frigga is still invoked for birthing women with a white candle, with the Berkana Rune etched in its side. The candle is used as a charm to ensure a safe delivery.

Source: Ellis Peterson

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Annual Read Out And Ur Rune Codes

Annual Read Out And Ur Rune Codes Image

The White Rhythmic Wizard, Kin 214, 2011-2012 is the penultimate year before the great changing of the Aeon. This will be unprecedented, dramatic and climactic for many people for many reasons.

In terms of the Bolontiku, the nine Sirian Lords of Time and Destiny - this year represents the eighth "lha" or time lord, Awesome Blowing Six Turquoise Winds. As the name of this" lha" implies, its creative power is an unparalleled capacity to cleanse the world not only from the four cardinal directions, but from above and below as well. This represents an unprecedented cosmic cleansing of the Earth. But these are also turquoise winds - turquoise is the color of the dawn, so it is a cleansing in preparation of the dawning of the new Aeon.

THE ORACLE: WHITE RHYTHMIC WIZARD KIN 214I organize in order to enchant

Balancing receptivity

I seal the output of timelessness

With the rhythmic tone of equality

I am guided by my own power doubled "Do you suppose that you will enter the Garden without having suffered like those before you? They were afflicted by misfortune and hardship, and they were so shaken that even their messenger and those believers with him cried, 'When will God's help arrive?' Truly God's help is near." (Qur'an, Sura 2, verse 214)

Everything is occurring as prophesied. This verse from the Quran sums up the dire stress the world will undergo during the 2011-2012 solar galactic cycle of kin 214. But it also says, "God's help is near." Look to the skies for the Interdimensional assistance now on standby for Earth's great crisis.

This year's oracle is guided by its own power - Timelessness - doubled - so it might well seem like forever. Wizard represents the lost planet Maldek, and it could be that world events are now reflective of both this planet's end and its spiritual resurrection. But the Wizard also represents enchantment and receptivity. These are clues for how to survive and even transcend the world stress. Don't resist; be receptive. The enchantment of the world lies in the codes of the synchronic order, the fourth-dimensional order of reality that characterizes the new time that is dawning. So if you know these codes, practice them with a sincere heart and know you are opening the door to 2013 - the garden of enchantment of the new Earth.

The Rhythmic Serpent is the analog partner in this oracle while the Rhythmic Seed is the antipode. This means that the life force is to be maintained and cultivated in order balance and support the process of transformation. The challenge is to prepare the seeds of the new while so much of the old is collapsing and in chaos.

In the occult position below is the Blue Galactic Hand. The Blue Galactic Hand is guided by the Blue Galactic Monkey. This means the hidden powers to be drawn on are Galactic Accomplishment and Galactic Magic. These are signs of the Force that is now getting ready to come to the assistance of the Earth Wizards and their embattled planet.

The Day Out of Time, White Rhythmic Mirror, Kin 58 (29 x 2), is of course the second of the Clear signs on the sarcophagus lid of Pacal Votan and signifies the disincarnation of the great time traveler in AD 683. That it is the galactic signature of the Day Out of Time, July 25, 2012, symbolizes completely the death of the old 12:60 order. The fact that the 2013 Gregorian new year's day will be Kin 218, White Planetary Mirror, the galactic signature of the discovery of the tomb of Pacal Votan in 1952, signifies the resurrection into the new time that will occur by the mid point of the following Blue Resonant Storm Year, Kin 59, 2012-2013. Incidentally on Resonant 16, January 25, 2011 it was reported that the lid had been replaced on the sarcophagus of Pacal Votan, restoring it to the state it was when discovered in 1952. This event signified that the purification of the Earth was now in full force.

A note about the 20 Tablets cube position.

In the 20 tablets of the Sixteen Year Cube of the Law we are in the fifteenth (Eagle) position, the third stage of the Mystic Altar. We have left the Mystery of the Stone and are sailing by our own power into the ocean of cosmic consciousness. The Eagle represents the solar prophetic visionary power of the great planet Jupiter, characterized by the creative power of the mind. Identify with the Eagle, the archetypal Seer, who holds the third power of the Telektonon - Ton - the power of sound to become vision. This is an important clues for the possibilities of the supernormal powers aroused by our awakening into the higher, supermind of the cosmic reality of the Noosphere.

Rinri Code for the Eagle Cube position: Faith leads to success; fear and doubt lead to failure.


Red Eastern Quarter: Way Of Wielding Power Descends To Earth

Codon 23, Mind's Release - Seventh Stage Of Way Of Wielding Power

This Rune resembles the Elder Futhark Rune, Elhaz, the Act of Making Sacred. As the seventh of the eight stage process of the Runes and Codons, Way of Wielding Power Descends to Earth represents (as do the other three Runes for this year), the first phase of the binary synthesis of the four CA Rune strands, in this case the third, Way of Wielding Power.

In this Rune, orange in color, we see a central staff with two side prongs at the top, similar to a trident. Such staffs represent a type of power as in the god Neptune, symbolizing his rule of the Oceanic realms of the cosmic unconscious. In the Hindu tradition, the Great Lord Shiva is often depicted holding a type of trident, and likewise in the Tibetan tradition the trident represents the spiritual conquest of the three egoic demons - ignorance, passion and aggression - and is often depicted in representations of advanced yogis or the wrathful forms of the Buddha.

In this case the central staff is conducting energy downward and the two prongs serve as supports that help transmit energy back into the Earth. The meaning of this is that all power, insofar as it is Earthly, comes from the Earth and should return to the Earth. This is the Act of Making Sacred, the investiture of power that maintains the Earth as the sacred vehicle of life as a cosmic phenomenon on this planet.

Codon 23, Mind's Release: Here we have the Temple/Meditation triplet in the position above, while the space (Earth) triplet is below This is an unusual circumstance where the one upward moving yang line is at the top, about to be released, and the five yin lines predominate. This is why the codon is called Mind's Release, for it refers to the release of the mind into space, bringing about a profoundly receptive situation.

In terms of the binary letters we have two space letters in the bottom and middle positions and a mind letter on top. When space is between space and mind it creates Mind's Release. This represents the mind arising from and being released into space - above the Earth. This is appropriate preparation for the changing of the Aeon.

White Northern Quarter: Cosmic Awareness Establishes Binary Order

Codon 31, Mind Attracting - Seventh Stage Of Way Of The Transcendent Fourth

In this Rune we see two luminous green parallel vertical lines contained within a circle representing the whole order of cosmic time. This image signifies the arising of the binary order of reality - yin and yang, mind and matter, night and day, male and female, etc. Here it is the power of transcendent consciousness that conceives the very basis of a continuous cosmic self-creation. So we perceive the intrinsic binary nature of reality as a complementary set creating an integrated whole, illumined by and taking multiple forms through time itself. This represents the first of the two-phase binary synthesis of the fourth UR Rune strand.

Codon 31, Mind Attracting: Here we have the Mountain Temple/Meditation triplet (above in Mind's Release) now in the lower position, while above in the telepathic dimension is the Joy (Ocean) triplet. This creates the image of a lake on top of a mountain, always an awe-inspiring phenomenon (as in Crater Lake, Oregon), or of the serene joy arising from the meditation that occurs in the temple. Meditative calm symbolized by the serenity of the mountain top lake is intrinsically mind-attracting, that is, conducive to contemplation and deep reverie. This characterizes the attitude we need to cultivate as we enter the ever-stormier waters of the Gregorian year, 2012.

This codon consists of the space binary letter below a time letter in the middle and a radiance letter at the top. When time is between space and radiance, that is mind attracting. Cultivate the mind; open your time to the inner space of the higher mind.

Blue Western Quarter: Cosmic Order Returns To Heart Of Heaven

Codon 39, Heart's Discipline - Seventh Stage Of Way Of The Irresistible Fifth

Here a small cross or plus sign is enclosed by a larger circle of time, both dark green in color. This seventh stage synthesis UR Rune is a signal of the elevation of the Cosmic Order into the "Heart of Heaven" - the Hunab Ku. This represents a release of the time of the present order of reality, dissolving it back into the galactic core, so that a new level of the Cosmic Order might descend. To experience this as a whole being requires the heart's discipline.

This quarter's Codon 39, Heart's Discipline, marks the first full quarter within the 2012 year. The Meditation/Mountain triplet appears yet again, and, as with the previous Codon, in the lower sensory position. Above is the Heart/Moon triplet that also represents water or flowing. This signifies the elevation of the heart through the process of meditation so that it becomes quiet and a purely reflective telepathic medium, receiving the commands of the Heart of Heaven. This discipline of the heart - the reining in the emotional body - is critical in a time of great transformation, assuring an absolute clarity of mind concerning what is going on and to keep from acting on any impulsive or conditioned emotional behavior patterns. This is the essence of self-cultivation.

In terms of the binary letters, this Codon is constructed of a space binary letter below, a radiance binary letter in the middle and another radiance letter on top. When radiance is between space and radiance, this is Heart's discipline. The meaning of this is that when the heart becomes disciplined by the power of space, an inner radiance arises, providing an illumination that is evident in the outer being.

Yellow Southern Quarter: Dynamism Resolved As Architectonics

Codon 47, Calling The Source - Seventh Stage Of Way Of Dynamic Construction

Here in the first stage of the binary synthesis of the sixth way, the dynamism of the image characterizing the first six stages becomes stabilized into an image resembling the capital letter "H." The whole process of dynamic construction has now become transformed into a highly balanced and architectural structure, hence "dynamism resolved as Architectonics." This signifies a whole new way of life based on balanced order, harmony, justice and a perception of universal symmetry. The first stage of attaining this new condition is "calling the Source" in order to receive the energy of the New.

The Codon 47, Calling the Source, as with the Codon 31, has the Joy/Ocean triplet in the upper position, the telepathic dimension, while below is the Moon/Heart triplet, moved back down into the sensory dimension, its natural position. In the traditional interpretation this represents water leaking out of a lake, hence the idea of exhaustion and of the necessity of staking one's life on one's will and destiny. While this might apply because of the exhaustion of the old order at the end of the Aeon, the higher interpretation is that of the heart deep within the ocean of consciousness. Here in the primal depths of the mind there is a calling out to Source, otherwise known as a "turning in the deepest seat of consciousness." This means that if one wishes to discard the old self, one must go into the depths of consciousness to effect a transformation in accord with the Great Change now occurring. This is a definition of spiritual survival for this time.

The codon is constructed of binary mind letters at the bottom and in the middle and a concluding binary radiance letter at the top. When mind is between mind and radiance that is calling the source. From within our mind we must ascend to the higher mind and there experience the luminosity and radiance of the original self, the Source of all creation.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Comparative Religion

Comparative Religion Image
The study of comparative religion and appreciation of all faiths is my passion. I devote a lot of my time to do my personal research on the topic although this has nothing to do with my academic career. I'm a graduate mechanical engineer and now doing my masters by research in the same area. I believe that there is Truth in all the traditions and faith system. Its just veiled by the man made dogmas and wrong perceptions. If we turn to see the history of all religions we can see that this disharmony among religions started only when the original teachings of the great enlightened teachers were wrongly interpreted by later "so called" 'followers'.

This happened from Buddha to Moses to Jesus Christ to Muhammad (peace be upon all of them). We as a human race failed to give proper value and respect to their extra ordinary brilliance, intellect and inner understandings.

We now live in a time where certain faiths are tagged with certains conceptions or perceptoins which are mostly misconception. I would love to devote next few posts on the more common Misconceptions about Islam.

:: Misconception 1 :: Islam is `the religion of peace' because: the Arabic word Islam is derived from the Arabic word "Al-Salaam" which means peace.

It might seem strange to think of this as a misconception, but in fact it is. The root word of Islam is "al-silm" which means "submission" or "surrender." It is understood to mean "submission to Allah." In spite of whatever noble intention has caused many a Muslim to claim that Islam is derived primarily from peace, this is not true. God says in the Qur'an (translated):


The text of the Qur'an makes it clear that God has clearly intended the focus of this way of life to be submission to Him. This entails submission to Him at all times, in times of peace, war, ease, or difficulty.

:: Ref: Image courtesy. Tag: Islam, Spirituality, God, Quran, Misconception, Comparative Religion[+] Please visit MysticSaint.Info For full multimedia experience and enjoy special music.


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Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Asatru Kindred

The Asatru Kindred Image
Collegiate Dictionary defines Kindred as: A group of related individuals; Of a similar nature and character; Of the same ancestry. I would agree with that definition, but it is only partly true. The Asatru Kindred is the foundation for the new Asatru Nation, and as such, is the testing ground for the new tribes of our Folk. In the near future, the Kindred will prove to be the living entity that will survive the onslaught of Ragnarok.

In ancient times, our people survived as an extended family. As populations grew, these extended families joined together to form tribes. This tribe was, in essence, a group of extended families. Over the years they developed their own unique traits, value systems, heritage, traditions, religion, and other vital characteristics. As time wore on, and the people grew larger in numbers, these tribes joined with others of similar character and formed Nations. Again, this method served the people for many years.

During the late Viking Age, and with the coming of Christianity, things changed. The Christian Church was only able to assert its authority over the people by either bribing certain leaders of the Nations with promises of unlimited power and authority with the promise of Kingship, or they obtained the same ends with the use of force and treachery. So, one by one, the Nations submitted to absolute control of the Church through the clever manipulation of Kings.

To further assert this absolute control over the people, countries were formed. These were nothing more than geographical areas defined by lines on a map. They were, in effect, the geographical areas where the new Kings could wield absolute control. Any farther than that was claimed by a neighboring Kingdom. Over time, this led to the formation of towns and cities of such size that large numbers of people were needed just to serve the infrastructure of the Kingdoms. People left the ancestral farmlands to live in the cities and serve the Kings and their armies. Once the Folk lost their natural bond with the land, they lost their souls, and the power and influence of the Kings and the Church was absolute.

The ties which bound the tribes together common ancestry, religion, heritage and social structures were meaningless in the towns and cities. All that mattered is that you swore allegiance to the King and the country which he led. It goes without saying, that the great fratricidal wars of Europe and America could not have been fought without this artificial form of political control wielded by the Church and State.

Today, as Asatru asserts itself, we must learn from the lessons of the past. And to regain our freedoms, we must work hard to rebuild our ancestral tribes. The Kindred is vital to our success and survival as an indigenous people.

Sadly enough, although Asatru at this time is experiencing tremendous growth, many who return to their ancestral religion don't wish to join or found Kindreds. They prefer to worship the Holy Aesir and Vanir alone, or occasionally with a few others of like mind. They do not want to be bothered with commitments, or they do not want anyone depending on them, or they just do not have time for working with others. This article is not for them. This article is for those who are endowed with the spirit of Tyr and are willing to devote their lives to building the Nation of Asatru and serving the Folk. Sacrifice is what makes you an Asatruar, not convenience.

I hope that this article has been of some help in explaining both what one should do to form a Kindred, but also how an existing Kindred can avoid some of the mistakes that the Founders made back in the days when forming a Kindred was breaking new ground with no one to look to for advice and instruction.

As the Asatru Community grows, and it is at a rapid rate, the Folk will look to the Kindreds to provide them with a place to be with people of like mind and purpose; a place for spiritual growth, and a place to share common social values.

It is up to us to prepare for the future by promoting the formation and growth of healthy and vibrant Kindreds, and thus secure a future for our children on Midgard.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Odinism Image
Odinism is not a universalist religion, but who can deny that the archetype of the father, like that of the mother, is carrion to the organic religious thinking of all times and places? Did the father-god persist from the Indo- European period to the time of Tacitus, suddenly to disappear solely amongst the Germans, as scholars suggest, and to be replaced by a god of war of the same name? Do polytheists recognise only one Sky Father?

Odin is the most ephemeral and intangible of sky gods, the god of the windy sky. Whereas Thor is the transient and violent sky god of the thunder-flash. But Tyr - for Dieus also implies radiance or brilliance - is the god of the bright clear day sky. Just like the sky, Tyr is always there, constant and reliable like a father.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Middle Earth And Scandinavia In Works Of Tolkien

Middle Earth And Scandinavia In Works Of Tolkien Image
In the development of Middle-Earth of the First Age, particularly in his treatment of the race of Men, Tolkien borrowed heavily from Scandinavian culture in the days of the Vikings. The Old Norse -- warriors who went "viking" -- were a violent and tribal people with little centralized power; the culture of Sigurd’s world is one of constant war between petty kings and marriage alliances between these tribal kingdoms. In Middle-Earth, the race of Men are divided into houses, notably the House of Hador and the House of Beor in the Turin tale, but they are also grouped together by the lands in which they dwell (the Men of Brethil, the Men of Dor-Lomin) and it is the race of Elves that have kings and cities, permanence and power. The Elves, although caught up in a time of war, have an established culture of peace that precedes Morgoth’s brutality; Men, on the other hand, came into the world after Morgoth had risen to power and thus, similar to the Vikings, their culture is one of constant warring, strife, and brutality.

Further minor Norse elements appear within this general culture. The concept of wergild, for example, is represented in T'urin's response to the accidental slaying of M'im the dwarf's son. "'I will pay you a danwedh of heavy gold for your son, in token of sorrow, even if it gladdens your heart no more,'" says T'urin to the bereaved dwarf. (H'urin, 132) And M'im, like Hreidmar, is satisfied with this payment.

Scenes of flyting, the ritual of insulting an opponent, aggravating him into a fury before battle, speckle the Eddas and sagas of the Old Norse. The dark, cruel humor of men about to kill each other is a trademark of Norse literature. The V"olsungasaga lacks extended scenes of flyting, but a prototype of the story in verse form found in the Elder Edda contains moments of flyting at its best (featuring Sinfjotli the berserker).Saeros' provocationis similar to the idea of flyting: Saeros, out of hatred for T'urin, heaps racial insults on him, mocks his appearance, and speaks contemptuously of the women of T'urin's people, angering T'urin into drawing his sword against him. This flyting, although the dialogue is one-sided, leads - like most flyting - to the mocker's humiliation and death.

He does so mainly through the influence of the Elves. They represent refinement, wisdom, artistry, and gentleness, and the difference Tolkien points out by contrasting the Easterlings with the House of Hador is that H'urin's people have had contact with Elves. All the great Men of Middle-Earth have contact with Elves in their formative years, including Beren, Aragron, H'urin, and T'urin, who was raised by Elves in Doriath; the Easterlings are an example of Men left to their own devices. Marjorie Burns, in her book Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien's Middle-Earth, draws a connection between the Elves and the Celtic tradition, and from there links them to femininity and to Christianity; indeed, the effect that Elves have on Men is one of "Christianizing" them. The Children of H'urin stands out among other tales of the First Age as one dominated by Men, but the domestication of the Elves is still present, primarily through Beleg. Beleg comes after T'urin and enters the company of the outcasts, criminals, and vagabonds - Men much like the Easterlings, lawless, leaderless, and corrupt - and he gives them lembas, the life-giving bread of the Elves that is much like the bread of Communion, he tends their wounded, and he softens T'urin's proud, hard heart. With Beleg, T'urin leads his band of outlaws in battle against Morgoth's forces, turning them from selfish, ignoble behavior, robbing their own kind, to fight evil and protect their own kind.

Many arguments have been made for the prominence of women in Scandinavian literature and its implications for the role of women in Old Norse society. While calling the Vikings the first feminists may be exaggeration, it is undisputable that the female figure in the Norse world played a more active role than in parallel historical cultures. In the V"olsungasaga, Brynhild the Valkyrie, the warrior-woman whom Sigurd first finds clad in armor, is the driving force of the second section of the story, and Gudrun is the dominant character of the final chapters. In fact, the conniving and magical Grimhild, the fierce jealousy between Brynhild and Gudrun, and the ruthlessness of Signy as a mother make the women of the V"olsungasaga both stronger and more compelling than their male counterparts.

Tolkien is notorious for including few or no women in his tales – there is no mention of a female character anywhere in The Hobbit, and of the five women given any space in The Lord of the Rings (including Ioreth, the bustling healer), only one – Eowyn – plays a part in the main events. But in The Children of Hurin, female characters abound. Finduilas, Morwen, and Nienor play lead roles, but there are others, including Nellas, Melian, and Aerin, the abused wife of Brodda the Easterling. They do not have the same dramatic power as the women in the Volsungasaga – there is no Eowyn, no Valkyrie, no idealized Viking-woman here – and yet their presence is keen and their effects on the male figures of the story are apparent. Melian seems wiser than Thingol on every occasion, Nellas’ testimony redeems Turin, and Turin’s complex relationship with every woman he encounters, hinging on his childhood losses of both mother and beloved, infant sister, is a key element in his psychological makeup.

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