Monday, December 26, 2005

The Story Of Riger

The Story Of Riger Cover One day Heimdall left his place in Asgard to wander down upon the earth as the Gods were wont to do. He had not gone very far ere he came to a poor hut on the seashore, where he found Ai (great grandfather) and Edda (great grandmother), a poor but worthy couple, who hospitably invited him to share their meager meal of porridge. Heimdall, who gave his name as Riger, gladly accepted this invitation, and remained with them three whole days, teaching them many things. At the end of that time he left them to resume his journey. Some time after his visit, Edda bore a dark-skinned, thickset male child, whom she called Thrall.

Thrall soon showed uncommon physical strength and a great aptitude for all heavy work; and having attained marriageable age, he took to wife Thyr, a heavily built girl with sunburnt hands and flat feet, who labored early and late, and bore him many children, from whom all the Northern serfs or thralls are descended.

“They had children,
Lived and were happy;
. . . .
They laid fences,
Enriched the plow-land,
Tended swine,
Herded goats,
Dug peat.” - RIGSMAL (Du Chaillu’s version)

Riger, in the mean while, had pursued his journey, and leaving the barren seacoast had pushed inland, where ere long he came to cultivated fields and a thrifty farmhouse. He entered, and found Afi (grandfather) and Amma (grandmother), who hospitably invited him to sit down and share their plain but bountiful fare.

Riger accepted this invitation also, remained three days with them, and imparted all manner of useful knowledge to his hosts. After his departure from their house, Amma gave birth to a blue-eyed sturdy boy, whom she called Karl. He soon revealed great skill in all agricultural pursuits, and married a buxom and thrifty wife named Snor, who bore him many children, from whom all husbandmen are descended.

“He did grow
And thrive well;
He broke oxen,
Made plows;
Timbered houses,
Made barns,
Made carts,
And drove the plow.” - RIGSMAL (Du Chaillu’s version)

After leaving the house of this second couple, Riger went on until he came to a hill, upon which a stately castle was perched, and here he was received by Fadir (father) and Modir (mother), who, delicately nurtured and luxuriously clad, received him cordially, and set before him dainty meats and rich wines.

Riger tarried three days with them ere he returned to Himinbiorg to resume his post as guardian of the Asa-bridge; and the lady of the castle bore a handsome, slenderly built little son, whom she called Jarl. This child early showed a great taste for the hunt and all manner of martial exercises, learned to understand runes, and lived to do great deeds of valor which brought added glory to his name and race. Having attained manhood, Jarl married Erna, an aristocratic, slender-waisted maiden, who ruled his household wisely and bore him many children, all born to rule, the youngest of which, Konur, became the first king of Denmark according to this tale, which is illustrative of the marked sense of classes among the Northern races.

“Up grew
The sons of Jarl;
They brake horses,
Bent shields,
Smoothed shafts,
Shook ash spears.
But Kon, the young,
Knew runes,
Everlasting runes
And life runes.” - RIGSMAL (Du Chaillu’s version)

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Book Of The Sagas

The Book Of The Sagas Cover

Book: The Book Of The Sagas by Alice Hoffman

Look at the map of Europe. In the north-west you will see the island of Iceland. The great oceans are wide around it on every side; its northern coast is just touching the Arctic circle. How far off and apart from all the world it seems! How out of touch with the enterprise, the commerce, the strife, with all the activities that make up our ideas of a living national life!

To most people the Iceland of to-day is little more than a name, and the Iceland of the past is entirely unknown. Yet the little island in the far north has a special claim upon all Northern peoples, for she has preserved a literature which is the record of a race whose blood runs in their own veins, and which was written in the language that was in the days long past common to all of them. In the course of years this one language developed into many languages, through the influence of different conquering races in the different lands; but the little island still kept the old language untouched by foreign invaders, for the rigours of her climate and the wide seas around her made her unattractive and dangerous, and thus protected her. And not only was she able to preserve the old language, but also the character and Traditions of her people. And language, character, and traditions were enshrined in a Literature which in beauty and in human interest is as rich as any of the classic literatures of the world.

Let us see how this Literature arose. It was not until the end of the ninth century that Iceland became the home of a settled population. Before then it was probably uninhabited, except for some few holy men who came from Ireland seeking peace and solitude in the lonely island, and for a few fishermen who came yearly from Ireland and Scotland and dwelt, during the summer season, on its coasts pursuing their industry.

Years passed on and the stories and songs were at last written down, most of them between the years 1140 and 1220. Some have been lost, but many still remain, and it is from these that the stories in this book have been taken. In one group you will read of the ideas held by this ancient people regarding the making of the world, the wonders of nature, and the mysteries of life. In those early days they were not Christians, but worshipped many gods, of whom Odin, the All-Father, was the chief. Other Stories deal with their chieftains, with the Kings of Norway, and with their heroes, both actual and legendary. Perhaps the greatest of the legendary-heroic stories is the Story of the Volsungs. The story of its hero, Sigurd, is found in many forms in many Northern lands: in Germany it is the subject of Richard Wagner’s great music drama of “Siegfried."

The stories that are collected in this book are few in comparison with the many that still exist, but it is hoped that they may arouse an interest in this old and wonderful Literature, in the people who produced it, and in the land which has preserved it.

Download Alice Hoffman's eBook: The Book Of The Sagas

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Odinism In Prisons

Odinism In Prisons Cover Odinism is playing a larger and larger role in prison culture. White supremacist groups have historically seen and used prisons as recruiting grounds—an already largely segregated population is an easy target for racial supremacists. Add to this a religion promising racial superiority in addition to a mystic and warrior mythology, and it creates an almost prefect storm for racial Odinism to prosper. Adding even more fuel to the fire is the growing push for more inclusivity of religion in government entities—a 2005 Supreme Court case ruled that prisons must be more accommodating of minority Religions (more Information here and here).

Odinism has had a prison population since at least the mid-1980’s, but really began to surge in the mid 1990’s, bolstered in part by the sudden explosion of white supremacist music and a movement for more tolerance of non-mainstream religious practices. As of 2007, at least 15 states had laws explicitly allowing Odin worship to take place in prisons, and The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that right-wing racist Odinism within prison populations is the fastest growing Odinic sect in the world.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Power And Principles Of The Runes

Power And Principles Of The Runes Cover

Book: Power And Principles Of The Runes by Freya Aswynn

For centuries the Northern Tradition has illuminated the way for many seekers. Based on her initiations into the powers behind the Runes, Freya Aswynn opens the path for those seeking to start their spiritual journey. Principles and Powers of Runes comprehensively covers the history and Development of the Runes. The runes are much more than a simple device for making predictions, but are also a powerful tool for magic and self-development. Aswyn reveals how to understand each Rune sign and comprehend its spiritual and mythic background. She shows how to use the runes to find your life destiny, unlock your latent psychic powers and to heal.

Principles and Power of Runes provides what a beginner needs to know to tread this path, while at the same time giving much needed and previously unavailable Information for experienced practitioners.

Freya Aswynn has a very outspoken and vibrant style, with vocabulary and personal comments uncensored. This makes her books more adult-appropriate but also brings her personality into her writing, making for an enjoyable read of what could have been a dull scholarly subject. This is not the first of her books I have read, nor will it be the last!

Buy Freya Aswynn's book: Power And Principles Of The Runes

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Monday, December 5, 2005

The Deeds Of Beowulf

The Deeds Of Beowulf Cover

Book: The Deeds Of Beowulf by John Earle

THIS translation was originally made from the Fourth Edition of Moritz Heyne's text. His Fifth Edition came out in 1888, and I think I have used it enough to become acquainted with all the changes that Dr. Adolf Socin, the new editor, has introduced. Where they have appeared to me to be improvements, I have modified my translation accordingly.

My theory of the origin of the poem, which is given in the Third Part of the Introduction, though not absolutely new, because not now published for the first time, is so considerably expanded as to present a new aspect. It was quite new seven years ago when it appeared in THE TIMES. The expansion of my theory has been so spontaneous in its growth as to be in itself, to my mind, additional evidence confirmatory; because as the new proofs have fallen in my way almost unsought by me, so they have seemed to come in simply through the natural affinity of all things for harmonizing with the truth.

I cannot put this book out of hand without once more acknowledging my debt to Mr. H. N. Harvey, who, in the generous office of a friend, has transcribed my purblind pencil work.

Download John Earle's eBook: The Deeds Of Beowulf

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Saturday, December 3, 2005

Asatru Faq Part 6

Asatru Faq Part 6 Cover Why do we need Asatru? Aren't most people who want religion satisfied with Christianity or one of the other "established" religions?

People are attracted to the better-known religions because they have genuine spiritual needs which must be filled. People are looking for community, fellowship, and answers to the "big questions": the purpose of life, how we should live it, and what happens after death. For many people today, the so-called major faiths do not have answers that work. Asatru does. Once seekers realize that there is another way - a way that is true to our innermost essence - they will not be satisfied with anything less than a return to the Way of their ancestors.

Why is the religion of our ancestors the best one for us?

Because we are more like our ancestors than we are like anyone else. We inherited not only their general physical appearance, but also their predominant mental, emotional, and spiritual traits. We think and feel more like they did; our basic needs are most like theirs. The religion which best expressed their innermost nature - Asatru - is better suited to us than is some other creed which started in the Middle East among people who are essentially different from us. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are alien religions that do not truly speak to our souls.

Wasn't the acceptance of Christianity a sign of civilization - a step up from barbarism?

No. The so-called "barbarians" who followed Asatru (the Vikings, the various Germanic tribes, and so forth) were the source of our finest civilized traditions - trial by jury, parliaments, Anglo Saxon Common Law, the right to bear arms, and the rights of women, to name a few. Our very word "law" comes from the Norse language, not from the tongues of the Christian lands. We simply did not, and do not, need Christianity or other Middle Eastern creeds in order to be civilized.

You say Asatru was the religion of the Vikings, among other early European cultures. Weren't they a pretty bloodthirsty lot?

Modern historians agree that the Vikings were no more violent than the other peoples of their times. Remember, the descriptions of Viking raids and invasions were all written by their enemies, who were hardly unbiased. Both the Islamic and Christian cultures used means every bit as bloody, if not more so, than the Norsemen. It was a very rough period in history for all concerned!

We keep talking about the Vikings. Does this mean that Asatru is only for people of Scandinavian ancestry?

No. Asatru, as practiced by the Norse peoples, had so much in common with the religion of the other Germanic tribes, and with their cousins the Celts, that it may be thought of as one version of a general European religion. Asatru is a natural religion for all people of European origin, whether or not their heritage is specifically Scandinavian.

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