Friday, March 23, 2007

Asatru As An Ethnicity

Asatru As An Ethnicity Cover For some, Asatru has come to take on an entire ethnic identity. We have come to see ourselves as a unique ethnic/national element in the world like many other ethnicities. This identity is based on a number of common identity factors such as common religion, societal values and ideals, common Historical origins, descent, mythology, folklore and literature, common language, cultural Symbolism and conceptual encoding. These things provide a Powerful and unique identity among Asatru’s followers. As a product of these commonalities a growing sense of people-hood has arisen among many Asatruar. This is the essence of Folkish Asatru. Among Folkish Asatruar, this is seen not only as empirically obvious, but an ideal which is to be promoted. To Folkish Asatruar, their ethnicity is deeply tied to belongingness based on religion, culture and ancestry.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Troth Aor - Odinism What Is It The Odinic Rite
Reeves Hall - Asatru In Brief
Miac - Asatru And Odinism

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Short History Of Asatru

A Short History Of Asatru Cover Heathenry or Asatru (pronounced OW-suh-troo) is a modern name given to a living ethnic religion which embraces the indigenous polytheistic spiritual beliefs and sacred cultural formations of Pre-Christian Northern Europe. The first historical Heathens didn't have their ultimate origin in Northern Europe, but were parts of the great Indo-European family of cultures which all began somewhere in the steppes and river valleys of the Eurasian continent, north of the Black Sea.

That family of people would eventually migrate away and settle in ancient Europe, Iran, and India. Once long ago, these dynamic and world-affecting people all embraced similar Gods and sacred cultural institutions. Over time, cultural differentiation, migration, and diffusion of the Indo-Europeans led to the formation of groups recognizable as "Germanic" or "Teutonic" and "Celtic", as well as Roman, Greek, Slavic and many others. Asatru, as a term, is from the Old Norse and Icelandic languages, and it means "Belief in the Gods". The real seeds and root-impulses of Asatru go back as far as the Bronze age, as the symbolism and mythology of the religion reveals.

Asatru today refers firstly to the survival and revival of the belief in the Gods of the Indo-European peoples of Northern Europe. Secondly, it refers to the modern life-ways engaged by people today that draw their form and inspiration from what we know the ancient pre-Christian Northern peoples were doing religiously and how they lived, under the guidance of their cultural beliefs, institutions, and sacred stories.

Asatru was last practiced, in a form close to its present shape, in Iceland, up to the year 1000. In that year, the Icelandic assembly voted (under severe political pressure and threat of isolation from the Christian nations of mainland Europe) for the entire island to become Christian. Making offerings to the Old Gods and honoring the Ancestors was not immediately outlawed because of this ruling, but it became so later. It is believed that the practices and beliefs of the Old Way persisted behind closed doors (a great possibility in tolerant Iceland) until 1973 when the Icelandic Assembly recognized Asatru as the traditional indigenous faith of the people, and bestowed legal status and protections upon it. Asatru Hofs or temples, as well as cemetaries specifically for those who died in the faith, now exist in Iceland and in other places.

From Iceland, and on the heels of some of the earlier attempts to reclaim the old Heathen faith from continental Europe, Asatru spread out and new groups of people called back to the old faith began to appear. The various historical cultural sub-divisions of the Northern peoples- Angle, Saxon, Jutish, Norse, Swedish, Danish, Continental German, and others- have all been given both scholarly and poetic/spiritual attention in the last decades and have been successfully and respectfully tapped as sources for reborn Heathen religious and cultural lifestyles.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Allen Greenfield - The Secret History Of Modern Witchcraft
Martin Van Buren Perley - A Short History Of The Salem Village Witchcraft Trials
Stephen Mcnallen - What Is Asatru
Samuel Croxall - The Secret History Of Pythagoras
Allen Greenfield - A True History Of Witchcraft

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Goddess Freya

The Goddess Freya Cover Freya was a warrior goddess, a Valkyrie, and also the goddess of sensual love. Though this captivating goddess had numerous lovers, she was the wife of the mysterious Norse god Od. Freya was a spectacular beauty known for her appreciation of romantic music and stunning floral arrangements. That was her softer side; she was also known as the goddess of war and death. As leader of the Valkyries, she had considerable power. She had the right to claim half the souls of the bravest warriors who died in battle. Actually going onto the battlefield, she would gather them up and take them back with her to spend the after-life in her home in perpetual rest and recreation. A sweet and generous woman, she always invited their wives or lovers to come and live with them.

The other half of the heroic warriors, who belonged to Odin, would be gathered up by the Valkyries and taken to Valhalla where they were able to live in comfort and honor. She was also called upon to comfort those who were dying, to ease their transition into Valhalla (the "otherworld"), serving as a guide and companion on the journey to Valhalla for many Viking heroes who had died nobly. When Freya and the Valkyries rode forth on their missions, their armor caused the eerily beautiful flickering light that we know as the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

Freya's name was "The Lady" or "mistress", and may be the source of our name of the fifth day of the week, Friday. With her twin brother, Fryr ("The Lord"), these divine twins were the Norse deities of untamed nature. Freya had many other lovers, although she deeply loved her consort Od. (Remember, monogamy had not been invented yet and infidelity was the social norm.) Aphrodite's amorous escapades pale by comparison with those of Freya, whose unbridled sexuality was legendary.Usually depicted as a strawberry blonde with stunning blue eyes, none could resist her. To make matters even worse, like the Greek goddess Aphrodite, she possessed apparel that made her irresistible to men. . . a magical necklace reputedly made of amber and rubies that was called a "brisling" or "brisingamen".

Freya chastised Thor soundly one morning for awakening her from her beauty sleep with his boisterous and noisy preparations to "go fishing" for a sea dragon. While he was on the way to his fishing spot, Thor kept hearing lovely song-like noises that seemed to be lulling him to sleep. Stopping to investigate the source of the odd sounds, he found them coming from a nest of mewing blue kittens being tended by a tomcat. The sound that Thor had heard was the male cat singing to the kittens, "Sleep, sleep, my dear little ones". Thor suggested (in forceful terms) that the cat stop singing the lullaby and the cat sassed him back, suggesting that Thor had no idea how difficult it was for a single-parent male to rear his children and asking if he knew any women who would be willing to take them in.

Immediately Freya came to mind, and Thor agreed to take them to her. Like all cats, this one was not quick to show appreciation and added that, being blue, they were very unique cats and deserved an especially fine home. Thor took offense at the comment and thundered back at the cat who, not the least impressed, bared his claws and then turned into a bird and flew away. Kindly Freya was enchanted with Thor's present and did the kittens honor by letting them accompany her on her daily rounds across the sky.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Austin Osman Spare - The Focus Of Life
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa - The Third Eye
John Earle - The Deeds Of Beowulf
Antoine Fabre Dolivet - The Golden Verses Of Pythagoras
Morwyn - The Golden Dawn

Friday, March 16, 2007

Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia

Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia Cover

Book: Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia by William Alexander Craigie

The native religion of the ancient Scandinavians was in its main features only a special form of that common to all the Germanic peoples, and this again was only a particular development of primitive beliefs and practices characteristic of the whole Aryan race. It is impossible to say how far back in time the special Germanic and Scandinavian developments of this religion may go, and of their earlier stages we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what may be doubtfully reached by the methods of comparison and inference. Even of the later stages our information is much more scanty than might be expected. Among the Goths, the southern Germans, and the Anglo-Saxons in Britain, paganism gave way to Christianity at so early a period, that very few details relating to it have been recorded by the civil or religious historians of these peoples; they were indeed more inclined to supress than perpetuate any lingering knowledge of this kind. The absense of such information is a great bar to the proper understanding of many points in Scandinavian religion, which, instead of being thus illuminated from without, has continually been forced to throw light on the heathen worship of the other Teutonic peoples.

In the following account of the ancient Scandinavian religion, an attempt has been made to exhibit what is really known of the religious beliefs and practices of the people as distinct from the mythological fancies of the poets. With the evidence which we possess, it is impossible to determine how far the latter ever formed any part of a real popular relgion: in some respects there seems to be a decided opposition between the two. The mythology, as it is found in the old poems and in the Prose Edda, has been the subject of much learned speculation, and various theories as to the original functions of the different Gods and goddesses have from time to time been advanced, and have met with more or less acceptance. Much has also been written on the question how far the original conceptions had been modified under classic and Christian influences even before Christianity was finally accepted in the north. All discussion of these matters is here omitted in favour of a more direct investigation into the purely religious aspect of the old faith, so far as the existing materials admit of this.

Download William Alexander Craigie's eBook: Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Tuesday Lobsang Rampa - Wisdom Of The Ancients
John Opsopaus - Interpretationes Of Ancient Herbs
Irv Slauson - The Religion Of Odin
John Arnott Macculloch - The Religion Of The Ancient Celts
William Alexander Craigie - Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia

Friday, March 9, 2007

Understanding The Galdrabok

Understanding The Galdrabok Cover

Book: Understanding The Galdrabok by Greg Crowfoot

The Galdrabok is a collection of Icelandic grimores, or magical texts, dating from the 16th to 17th centuries. The Galdrabok presents modern-day Rune Magicians with a wide variety of magical designs. Among them are several versions of the famous 'AEgishjalmur', or "Helm of Awe." As a whole, the Galdrabok utilizes traditional Northern symbology combined with a western European influence (which reflects the joint effect of Old Norse and Christian-Era culture upon the history and traditions of Iceland). But the Galdrabok's designs go well beyond those of the traditional bind-rune formulAE we are generally familiar with. Even a passing glance at the spells of the Galdrabok will impress anyone familiar with rune-magic of their high degree of sophistication and the potential power designs like them
could have in magical operations.

Several books discuss the Galdrabok either in its entirety or in excerpts: "THE GALDRABoK" as translated by Stephen E.Flowers, and "NORTHERN MAGIC," by Edred Thorsson.

The Galdrabok (Icelandic Book of Magic) is an Icelandic Grimoire dated to ca. 1600. It is a small manuscript containing a collection of 47 spells.[2] The grimoire was compiled by four different people, possibly starting in the late 16th century and going on until the mid-17th century. The first three scribes were Icelanders and the fourth was a Dane working from Icelandic material.[3] The various spells consist of Latin and runic material as well as Icelandic magical staves, invocations to Christian entities, demons and the Norse gods as well as Instructions for the use of herbs and magical items. Some of the spells are protective, intended against such problems as trouble with childbearing, headache and insomnia, previous incantations, pestilence, suffering and distress at sea. Others are intended to cause fear, kill animals, find thieves, put someone to sleep, cause farting or bewitch women.

The book was first published in 1921 by Natan Lindqvist in a diplomatic edition and with a Swedish translation. An English translation was published in 1989 by Stephen Flowers and a facsimile edition with detailed commentary by Matthias Vidar Samundsson in 1992.

Buy Greg Crowfoot's book: Understanding The Galdrabok

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Anonymous - Understand The Secret Language Of Trees
Rabbi Michael Laitman - Attaining The Worlds Beyond
Aleister Crowley - The Star And The Garter
Greg Crowfoot - Understanding The Galdrabok Part 3

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Worship Of God Vali

Worship Of God Vali Cover Vali is God of eternal light, just as Vidar of imperishable matter; and as beams of light were often called arrows, he is always represented and worshiped as an archer. For that reason his month in Norwegian calendars is designated by the sign of the bow, and is called Lios-beri, the light-bringing. As it falls between the middle of January and of February, the early Christians dedicated this month to St. Valentine, who was also a skillful archer, and was said, like Vali, to be the harbinger of brighter days, the awakener of tender sentiments, and the patron of all lovers.

Vali, as told in the Skaldskaparmal, is the "son of Odin and Rind, stepson of Frigg, brother of the ?sir, Baldr's avenging As, enemy of Hod and his slayer, father's homestead-inhabiter." We also learn that Vali is among the twelve ?sir seated as judges at ?gir's banquet. He is not only seen as a God of vengeance, but truly one of the ?sir, seated with the others at table and drink. He is referenced for his courage and his accuracy with the bow, and is one of the inheritors of Asgard after Ragnarok.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

William Phelon - Our Story Of Atlantis
Phil Hine - Aspects Of Evocation
Aleister Crowley - City Of God A Rhapsody

Friday, March 2, 2007

The Reality Of The Holy Powers

The Reality Of The Holy Powers Cover What makes us think that the Holy Powers honored by our ancestors actually exist? Here are a few reasons -

1. Our ancestors - hundreds of generations of them - considered the Gods and Goddesses to be as real as their own family, as real as the mountains looming over their homestead, or the clouds blowing through the sky. Of course, it is easy today to say that our ancestors were stupid, or at best ignorant and naive, but can that really be true? The human brain has not significantly changed over the last few thousand years.

In terms of innate intelligence, some of our brighter forebears could have invented the theory of relativity or quantum mechanics a thousand years ago. This didn't happen, of course - because the conceptual foundations had not yet been laid by others, and because our ancestors were busy doing other things, such as growing food and fighting off the tribe from the next valley over. Discovering quantum physics is one thing, but inventing the necessary mathematics and all of classical physics at the same time, while planning raids and sowing the crops, is a little much to ask! Lack of brainpower, per se, was not the problem
2. Tribal Europeans (and just about everyone else in the world) lived in an environment that selected intensely for intelligence and hard-headed practicality. Stupid people tended to make mistakes that got them killed. Impractical dreamers likewise met untimely and tragic ends. By comparison, we live much more protected lives, insulated from the effects of the natural environment and from hostile people armed with axes and swords. Fools, self-deceivers, the gullible, and dreamers did not fare well in early society. The ancient Germans and Celts are not likely to have believed in the Gods and Goddesses unless they had some reason to do so. We on the other hand, living in an environment with much less evolutionary stress, are much more likely to believe in superstitions like dialectical materialism and the good intentions of politicians.

3. The enemies of the Gods - the Christian missionaries and later chroniclers - believed the Gods and Goddesses were real. The Christian kings of Norway, tyrants who made free folk into royal subjects and forced them to give up the old ways or die, met Thor and Odin in mysterious encounters that have come down to us in the sagas. One can argue, of course, that the stories are made up, but the very existence of the stories clearly reflect a belief that the old Gods were real. Nowhere in the surviving sagas do the Christian writers think of Odin, Thor, Frey, or any of the others as delusions. In fact, the oath required of the Saxons upon converting to Christianity specifically renounced the old deities, thus by implication acknowledging their existence.

4. The Gods and Goddesses manifest to living men and women today. The old religion of the pre-Christian Nordic and Germanic lands has been revived in an organized form for hardly thirty years, but the might of the Gods and Goddesses has shown itself many times. These instances are of varying types and qualities. When we make requests of the Holy Powers, we often get dramatic results. In other words, our prayers are answered. People get healed, children are born, difficulties are resolved, the future is foretold, and so forth. In short, the Gods work!

Other times, the Gods and Goddesses (and other entities described in the Nordic lore, for that matter) actually appear to people in visions. You can call these delusions or hallucinations, but they are generally associated with real results that happen, then or later, in the real world.

Finally, there are cases, admittedly rare, when Gods and Goddesses manifest to humans under conditions that do not appear to be visions at all - when they are as real as your house or the rock on which you stub your toe.

Recommended reading (pdf e-books):

Aleister Crowley - The Heart Of The Master
Eliphas Levi - The Key Of The Mysteries