When we become completely consumed by the very essence of something, it becomes us, we become it. Radicalism in religious setting is a touchy thing. Being very devoted to your God(s) is not wrong. Devotion is a good thing, a healthy thing, if the practice itself is of good nature. There is however a very fine line between being devoted and conscientious of how your actions will affect others around you (Which is why having respect for others beliefs, and letting respect exist in general, is necessary) and being so radical about what you’re doing, that you find nothing wrong with raping, murdering, harming others, in the name of your cause.
My wife posted an article to her Facebook that I read today. It caused me great hardship, and put a very bad taste in my mouth. The story is about the fall of a Syrian Pagan. Not just one, but many. The story mostly focuses on a Syrian girl named Yana. In as much detail as it could offer, the article describes the interrupted contact between her and the rest of the world, as Radical Islam Extremists began purging non-Islamic believers. He brother betrayed her, selling her out to the extremists, who raped her, and killed her.
How can these people say that their faith is beautiful and just? If raping women, little girls and boys, and killing them for not being Islamic is the only way to get people to convert to your religion, there is a problem. I am confident that Yana’s brother feels that he is a true believer, that he did the right thing, that he is championing for Islam, for having his “heretical” sister punished for disbelief in Islam. Does this make him right? Does this make his religion look better? Does it do their god any justice?
On all accounts, no! If that is the Islam that we are to accept as the only one, we are definitely better off without it. This extends to more than just that, though. This is about how important it is to have your religious freedom, freedoms as a person in general. Here in the United States, we have a lot going for us. We however do not appreciate it at all, when comparing ourselves to other nations.
Look at how we treat religious beliefs. How often do you hear about people in the States being raped and murdered for practicing various beliefs? I cannot say that I have really, if at all. In other countries that are not so fortunate to have the same protection as we do. We can freely practice our beliefs without the fear of being persecuted, and in our comfort, we forget about securing our foundations, and ensuring that we truly understand the scope of what we are doing. In countries without this protection, they die daily to try to live as we do, believe as we do.
What do we do with our abilities? We allow people to shit on them. Freedom of speech and belief is 100% necessary, and must exist. Things like this should not happen. Religion, as I see it, should be a healing tool, a learning device, a thing of spiritual connectivity and revitalization, of support. Not a weapon of hatred, ignorance, and discord.
In my travels, I am beginning to see other portions of the world, and how they live. We are truly in great wealth of privilege in the U.S.A, we just take it for granted. Being able to wake up every morning with no fear of being killed, raped, or otherwise harmed as soon as we leave our home (for religious beliefs. There always will be a chance that someone will do something crazy, and hurt others) is fantastic. I wish that it could be that way for those “over-there”.
These people endure things that we don’t see, for the most part, in the states (and if we do, it’s not as heavy-duty as what they put up with). It’s not just religious warfare that they tackle daily. It’s lack of food/starvation, real civil-war, conflict over resources, age-old battles, no rights, no freedoms.
I am not the best at writing articles, but I am trying my best to get better at it. Now that I have internet back, I will be posting as regularly as I can.
In whatever way that we can, we must find ways to support these people. In the above article, the writer documents organizations/groups that need support; Such as “Doctors Without Borders.” Please, read the article, and give as you can. These people need help, they need their freedoms.
As for my heavy talk about the states, to add to that; Shame on everyone in this nation who does not appreciate what they have. You can do better, be better, so get to it. Rudely, fuck your apathy, quit being lethargic, find your heart and fight with it.
This kind of living must end.
By Asbjørnsen & Moe [See movie trailer at the bottom of the article]
THERE was once, as well could be, a king. He had two daughters, who were mean and ugly, but the third was as fair as sweet as the bright day, and the king and all were fond of her. She once dreamed about a golden wreath, which was so lovely that she couldn’t live unless she got it. But as she couldn’t get it, she began to pine and could not speak for sorrow. And when the king found out it was the wreath she was grieving for, he had one made almost like the one the princess had dreamed of, and sent it out to goldsmiths in every land and asked them to make one like it.
They worked both day and night, but some of the wreaths she threw away, and others she wouldn’t even…
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I’ve been meaning to get to this post for a long time. I’ve already touched on this in other posts, but I think it’s time to devote an entire post to setting the record straight regarding some odd things that are going around about Vanatru and Vanatruar.
Please note: I can really only speak for myself and my own experiences. Please keep this in mind as you read this.
Misconception #1: In order to be Vanatru, you must only honour those deities considered Vanir (usually Freyr, Freyja, and Njord) all the time.
While some may choose to exclusively honour deities they consider to be Vanir (whether by birth or marriage) this isn’t a requirement. You may primarily honour one of them, or you may simply have one of them as a fulltrui (although, people in this last group don’t usually identify as Vanatru).
Misconception #2: Vanatru is just another name…
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The word rune comes from the Norse rún which means mystery. No one knows exactly when, where or by whom the runes were invented. The only thing archaeologists can confirm is that the oldest runic inscriptions we know of are about 1700 years old found in Denmark and Norway.
The runic alphabet was used within Germanic languages – but primarily in the Nordic countries. It was a writing system where each character marked a certain sound. The alphabet is called Futhark after the first six runes. (An observant reader count seven letters in the name: The reason is that th is a diphthong – the same sound as the English sound th in thing). The original name is spelled fuþark.
Runes could be written in both directions from right to left or left to right. The runes could also be inverted or upside down.
The elder Futhark…
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Galina Krasskova, famed author, priest, and theologian, is hosting a new Heathen podcast on Pagans Tonight Radio Network every first and third Wednesday of each month. If you missed the premiere episode on ancestor work that aired on the 6th of February, you may watch it here (the show begins 60 minutes into the recording, after Pagan Warrior Radio’s podcast). The next episode airs on the 20th of February at 10 PM EST. You may read about the podcast schedule and upcoming guests here.
Re-blogged from my wife’s blog. This is a rather handy resource right here, and thus I feel it should be showcased appropriately.
Hello once again, gentle readers! It’s your friendly neighborhood Medievalist and former Classical/Near Eastern Studies-ist Sarduríur Freydís Sverresdatter, here with some tips regarding proper sources, academic discernment, and citation. Now in a super-informal colloquial format! Huzzah!
Historical research is a major part of many Polytheist communities. Whether a Revivalist or Reconstructionist, to a lesser or greater degree, we all turn to the written word of History at one point or another. History is the backbone of all we know and understand about ourselves as literate, self-aware creatures. However, many Polytheists have not had formal University training in the professional field of History to any extent. Quite a number of Polytheists, both seasoned practitioners and “newbies” alike, feel lost in the stacks — whether they care to admit it or not — and don’t know where or how to begin to sift through the thousands of publications on any given subject.
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It’s a long night. I cannot find it in me to sleep, and hours of going through Facebook have left me weary from nostalgia. I have found it in me though to write something for the blog, as I have perhaps a month before I leave for most of the year. Now that I have my laptop fixed (Parts came in yesterday, swapped them out myself, all better! A few keys here and there still don’t work, but I’ll figure that out as I go) I’ll be able to take my laptop with me here and there and write as I go. I’ll also be able to have it with me on deployment now, which means a TON of writing on my hiatus from the states. Nostalgia brings me to my topic, Awakenings.
Not everyone shares the same theories on subjective matter. A truth, however, is that there are things that happen to us that others are able to relate to. I have been an Ásatrúar for around seven years now (2005 – present) and have found few others that relate their ideas on subjects such as Ragnarök, the meaning behind Loki, Fenrir and Tyr’s relationship(s), etc, the same as myself. Often times my views have been deemed ‘heretical’. With all bias put aside, there has been one common feature that I’ve been able to share with most of the Heathens/Pagans I have come into contact with, and that is about our ‘awakening’.
My awakening was during the summer of 2005. I recall having just gotten out of school for summer break, around June fifteenth, or the twentieth. During my sleep I dreamed that I was riding horseback with two characters that I couldn’t name immediately. We were traveling through a forest similar to the dense forests of Washington State (where I lived when this all occurred). It was night-time, and we had traveled for what felt like hours. The only thing for me to tell time by, or guess rather, was the giant silver moon hanging high in the sky, piercing the dark veil of the tree tops. The company that I was following were discussing something in a language I could not understand, nor can I remember what it sounded like they were saying. At various points either of them would look back at me, and I would watch their eyes as they regarded me for unknown purpose.
Eventually we came to a stop, it was here that my companions chose to settle the horses. They spoke to me directly now, though with my not understanding them, the usage of hand signs was necessary. They guided me on how to properly dismount and tie the horse up, and so I did, settling my horse next to theirs by several ancient cedar trees. We were at a grotto that fed into a larger area of water, perhaps a lake, maybe a bay. The moon by now was passing the middle of the sky, leaving me to assume that it was around 0100-0200 or so. Silver light washed the water before us, it bathed the entire area in its color. It was here that I was able to see the two whom I was accompanying. They continued to talk to each other in the light of the moon, looking out toward the water, paying me little attention then. I did not feel neglected, nor did I feel a prisoner. I took advantage of this time to inspect my companions. The first one rode a grey horse with white upon its hooves. This man was of good height, perhaps six-foot, a medium build. His hair was black, bearded, and he bore many scars on his face, namely one upon right eye; which he was missing! The clothing he wore wasn’t poor, he dressed in what appeared light travel armor, mostly leather.
The other was a larger man with red hair, heavier armor, and he openly wielded a hammer at his left side. His horse was dark, a deep brown in color, with black spots upon its body, and over its hooves. I did not recognize the characters, later on though, I would associate them with my depictions of Oðinn and þórr. Having nothing else to do I continued to try to discern what they were saying, because they continued to look at me, and it felt as though they were talking about me. As the night drew towards dawn in my dream, so it did in real-time. As the sun rose into the sky and split the darkness apart, I watched, and as I did so the runes Thurisas, Fehu, and Mannaz appeared in bold red before my eyes. They did not leave my sight as I awoke to normality.
I quickly jotted them down and made every effort to find them. I had no clue where to begin looking for them. All I knew was that they were symbols, easily of my invention. I recalled having seen something like them in the Lord of The Rings series, and began my search there. It was within Tolkien s works that I found he had indeed used what I saw in my dream. They were simply called ‘Runes’ for general purpose, but there were many types. Once I had that in hand I searched further on the internet for Runes. It was then that I came across Sunnyway.org, discovering the runes I had seen in the “The Elder Futhark. A sense of ease settled over me, a wash of the feeling of a good home, as I browsed the site. It would finally sink into my stomach, the feeling of being natural at/with something, when I found Ásatrú.
I’m not sure what the dream was about, but it lead me to Ásatrú, to my first Kindred, my first Blót. I was with the Falcon Kindred for a time, but withdrew due to strange political shifts in the groups structure. Later on in 2010′ my brothers an I would form our own Kindred, Geweighard. We call ourselves the Horn Guard(s), it all began in August of that year, in honor of Freyr; to whom we are his sons. As a Goði of my kindred, it is my job to help others to learn, which explains the site. We have sworn oaths to uphold our brotherhood, our kindred, our learning; I am honoring that oath.
Much is still unclear to me. I will not give up my efforts to advance my knowledge of my religion, of the people who follow with me (regardless of religious sect), or of history in general. It is important to learn, and I cherish what I am able to learn, when I am able to learn. Time isn’t always on my side, and I try to do too many things at once and sometimes get nowhere. Warboar, my wife, is a stabilizer for me in many aspects of my life. Spiritually, physically, religiously. She is so very important to me, I couldn’t imagine being without her. She helps me to stay focused, to think critically, to learn, and she gives me something to build a future for. I can say with confidence that she is my Valkyrie. I’d be lost, and quite alone without her. I will admit that I do not spend a lot of time around others, it is a bad habit, but it has kept me safe and has kept me ‘clean’.
Anyways… emotional spill, over.
Everyone has a beginning, whether it was given to us by our parents as we grew up (as in introduced Heathenism) or that we found it by ourselves, or even a dream guided us to that path. How we treat the path we are on, and how we associate with those that we meet along the way, determines how we’ll interact with other things in our lives. Relationships, money, debates, etc. Everything has basis in our politic, our bias, our personal preference. The entry to my heathendom has been mysterious to me, but one thing is clear, it is home for me. We must take care of what takes care of us, and Ásatrú has taken care of me, my roots have taken care of me. In return I take care of myself, but most importantly I take care of my relationship with not only my wife, but my pantheon of Gods.
I had originally started this post a bit ago, and had to leave to take care of some business, so I lost the thought train I had for it. I apologize! To close this I will say as much as that you shouldn’t take for granted whatever signs your Gods are giving you. Just in the same, you shouldn’t take for granted the things you already have in your life. There is meaning behind most things, and others simply nothing. I feel that more often that not we attempt to make grand everything that happens to us, not everything important is significant, and not everything significant is important!
I’ll edit this once I get my train of thought back…