Fate And Choice

People often contemplate Wyrd, Ørlög, Fate or Destiny in Norse Heathenry.
Is our life locked into a defined path that we cannot change? How do we reconcile this notion of a fixed destiny with the freedom of personal responsibility? Hopefully I can share with you my beliefs.

When I think of “fate”, I think of it in terms of two distinct concepts - livstråder and skjebne. These are the terms that are relevant to my own practices but others may know them as Wyrd, Ørlög or other names.
Livstråder means “life threads”.
Skjebne means “destiny”.

To help with my explanation I will use an analogy.
Imagine a roadmap.
I think of the livstråder as a series of concrete roads, all of the possible routes imaginable, between the starting point of your journey (birth) and final destination (death). Roads are fixed in place and to move forward in life from your birth to your death you must travel along them. They are already laid out in a predetermined layout.
Then the skjebne is the route which you personally choose to travel. You may encounter speed bumps, traffic, collisions, roadworks and dead ends depending on your route but you are free to turn around or steer your own vehicle and take whichever path you wish from your available options.

To me that is how I can explain two different concepts of livstråder and skjebne and how they combine to govern the overall destiny.

Ånd

I would like to talk about my beliefs regarding the concepts of the ånd or ‘essence’ as it is may be known in English. Hopefully, I can get these idea’s across clearly and in simple terms so they are easy to get.

Imagine the earth, the universe and all living things as a vast bank of life-force. Every living thing carries a fragment of that life-force or “essence”.
A mother and a father join together and their DNA mixes to create the physical building blocks of a new human. That human also receives the spark of life-force (ånd) from both parents that will become their own.

As the mother consumes food, she breaks down and passes yet more life-force from these living things (the “essence” that was part of plants and animals) to her unborn child, almost as she does the nutrients. After birth, the child continues to consume the life-force from other living things to sustain and grow. Eventually that child grows to adulthood and then eventually dies, at which point the life-force is stripped from the shell (body) as it decomposes or is absorbed and returned to the great universal bank for re-use by flora and fauna.

So if you think of any living thing, from the smallest single cell amoeba up to a high order animal, all creatures and vegetation in our world, they all posses a borrowed portion of this universal life-force (otherwise known as the ånd or essence). This life-force exists within every cell of every organic thing. And when those cells are broken down (by whatever process), that life-force returns back into the care of something else in the eco-system.

This is why we believe that all living things are connected. We are all of one essence. We are merely the caretakers of that essence for our short time on this planet before we hand it on to the next caretaker, whatever or whoever that may be. And our children all carry forth a portion of our essence. And our ancestors all gave us a share of their own essence.

All things connected, one universal soul, forever changing hands and always just one stitch in a larger tapestry.

randalf66 asked:

With the Fall Equinox approaching I'd love to hear your take on heathen traditions, feasts, etc. that coincide with this time of year. Im interested in historical celebrations as well as current ones. Thanks for all your work, you run an excellent blog!

Hello friend and thank you.

There are both historic and modern heathen celebrations during the close of summer and through autumn times.

Personally, I only celebrate ‘Winternights’ (also known as Vinternatt, Vinternettene, Vinterdag and Høstblot) as a matter of course.
In Norway, they have a set date for the annual ‘Winternights’ which is held 28 days after Autumnal equinox (14th October for the Northern Hemisphere).
It is regarded as the first day of Winter and in past times, when the Scandinavian people marked the date on a primstav, it would signal the time to swap sides on the primstav from the summer side to the winter side. Winternights was always marked with the image of a mitten.

It doesn’t necessarily have to have a set date in modern Heathenry and can vary dependant on location (ie. it will be celebrated later in a country with a longer warm season) and personal preference. Many people celebrate based only on when they feel the shift to very cold weather occur. So they read the land and wait for the sudden temperature drop that usually occurs in late September or early October (for Northern Europe) and use that as a sign that it is time to honour the powers.

The Winternights blot is usually specifically dedicated to the Diser (Dísir), Alver (Elves) and Ancestors.

den-frusna-eken has a list of Heathen Holidays that it would be worth taking a look at if you are interested in other festivals.

Til Års og Fred

Statement From Ásatrúarfélagið

To clarify their position on certain issues, the Ásatrúarfélagið has issued the following statement:

"We always welcome visitors from abroad, as well as Icelanders, with an interest in our cultural heritage and spiritual traditions. We respect everyone‘s interest in the Ásatrúarfélagið and our religious traditions, but we do not necessarily agree with every visitor’s ideas of the form that Ásatrú should have in our modern world. Visitors should not assume that we automatically agree with or endorse their own views and practices.

We strongly oppose any attempt by individuals to use their association with the Ásatrúarfélagið of Iceland to promote attitudes, ideologies and practices rejected by the leadership of the Ásatrúarfélagið. We particularly reject the use of Ásatrú as a justification for supremacy ideology, militarism and animal sacrifice.

It should also be known that visitors have no authority to speak on our behalf. There is no advisor to the Ásatrúarfélagið and there is no spokesman other than our allsherjargoði. We respectfully request that visitors not claim any such authority based on their association with us.”

Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, the head chieftain of the Ásatrúarfélagið, spoke candidly with Vísir about white supremacist groups who evoke elements of Ásatrú, such as runes and Norse mythology:

“There are groups to the right of Hitler who in some cases use Ásatrú as a pretext,” he said. “We do not want our name used to give these beliefs any kind of credence.”

The Ásatrú Society of Iceland rejects racism, and has no association nor affiliation with any racist organisations.

Norwegian Pirog aka “Troll Snacks”
These savoury pies, made with fillings such as Jarlsberg cheese, ham and other Norwegian regional favourites, are known as “Troll snacks” in and around Gudbrandsdalen, Norway.
The region is recorded in folklore as the setting for the famous folk tale of Per Gynt, who takes on many great adventures, rescues dairy maids from trolls and defeats the giant worm-troll, Bøyg!
It is said that by offering a few of each batch that you bake you will stop unwanted attention from trolls and stop them interfering with your home and family.

Norwegian Pirog aka “Troll Snacks”

These savoury pies, made with fillings such as Jarlsberg cheese, ham and other Norwegian regional favourites, are known as “Troll snacks” in and around Gudbrandsdalen, Norway.

The region is recorded in folklore as the setting for the famous folk tale of Per Gynt, who takes on many great adventures, rescues dairy maids from trolls and defeats the giant worm-troll, Bøyg!

It is said that by offering a few of each batch that you bake you will stop unwanted attention from trolls and stop them interfering with your home and family.

fuckyeahnorsemythology

fuckyeahnorsemythology:

I thought that you would all be interested in what they had to say to me. I plan on researching more on this topic for you as well.

"Sure I can provide basic info here.
Well Snorri’s version of Völuspá talks of Norns as many with the three listed as the most important of many.
In Fáfnismál,…

Sorry for the very casual tone. The conversation was about the way in which many make the assumption that there are ONLY three Norns because three main Norns are mentioned in the historic Icelandic texts.

For Mímir…

For Mímir, I will value all lessons I have learned, all wisdom I have collected and all truth that I know. I will remember those who have wronged me and the lessons that wrongdoing has taught me. I will remember those who have shown me kindness, warmth and compassion and those memories will strengthen me.

For Mímir, I will seek to be knowledgeable and gather what information I can to better inform my choices. I will accept new knowledge where others are kind enough to share it and share my own where others may need it.

For Mímir, I will speak and act wisely. Wisdom that springs from education, experience and honesty. The honesty to know when I know little, the willingness to accept new evidence and the receptiveness to consider different viewpoints.

For Mímir, I will inform my decisions with lessons of the past and aspirations of the future. I will gather knowledge to aid myself and others. I will offer council to those who seek it and seek out those who know more.

Hail Mímir!

Lásabrjótur (Icelandic Magical Staves)
Known as the “Lockbreaker”, this stave can be used to open locks. You must begin by drawing the sigil onto paper, then you must place the paper onto the lock and breathe on it until the water vapour from your breath dampens the paper enough so that it sticks. Finally, to activate the magical stave, you must recite the following chant:
“Tröll öll taki í mellu, taki í djöfull svo braki.””May all trolls take the bolt, pull so that the devil will squeak.”

Lásabrjótur (Icelandic Magical Staves)

Known as the “Lockbreaker”, this stave can be used to open locks. You must begin by drawing the sigil onto paper, then you must place the paper onto the lock and breathe on it until the water vapour from your breath dampens the paper enough so that it sticks. Finally, to activate the magical stave, you must recite the following chant:

Tröll öll taki í mellu, taki í djöfull svo braki.”
May all trolls take the bolt, pull so that the devil will squeak.”