Vinternettene (Winternights)

God Vinternettene!
Happy Winternights!

En Skål (A Toast)

La oss feire og drikke for godt år og fred
En skål for Odin, visdom og kunskap,
En skål for Frigg, familie og venner,
En skål for Tor, beskyttelse og styrke,
En skål for Frøy og Frøya, for fruktbarhet og kjærlighet,
Og Brages skål for edle bragder,
La oss feire og drikke,
En skål to a godt år og fred!

Let’s celebrate for a good year and peace,
A toast to Odin, wisdom and knowledge,
A toast to Frigga, family and friends,
A toast to Thor, protection and strength,
A toast to Freyr and Freyja for fertility and love,
And Bragi’s toast to noble deeds,
Let’s celebrate,
A toast to a good year and peace!

Photography by kjellsai

Vinternettene (Winternights)

God Vinternettene!
Happy Winternights!

En Skål (A Toast)

La oss feire og drikke for godt år og fred
En skål for Odin, visdom og kunskap,
En skål for Frigg, familie og venner,
En skål for Tor, beskyttelse og styrke,
En skål for Frøy og Frøya, for fruktbarhet og kjærlighet,
Og Brages skål for edle bragder,
La oss feire og drikke,
En skål to a godt år og fred!

Let’s celebrate for a good year and peace,
A toast to Odin, wisdom and knowledge,
A toast to Frigga, family and friends,
A toast to Thor, protection and strength,
A toast to Freyr and Freyja for fertility and love,
And Bragi’s toast to noble deeds,
Let’s celebrate,
A toast to a good year and peace!

Photography by kjellsai

A Heathen’s Battles

Not every battle that we face in life is of the literal kind. Every day people fight terminal illnesses, fight oppression and fight many other battles, with bravery and every ounce of their strength, despite knowing they will one day lose those battles and pass from this realm.

I like to believe that those people, not only warriors in the traditional sense, will also find a place in the halls of Asgard for their bravery in fighting that which will one day destroy them.

As I march toward my final battle,Clarity in my mind,And peace in my soul,I know, with Óðinn’s will,That I may find my way home,As I march toward Valhalla,Or where else the fates would take me,That I lived my life with honesty,And faced my foes with bravery,As I march toward my Ragnarök,I fear not for my fate,I fear only that I held myself,With enough to pass through that gate,As I march toward my ancestors,My comfort is in their honour,That future generations may recall, My name as I embrace eternal slumber.
Words by hedendomArtwork by chrisra

As I march toward my final battle,
Clarity in my mind,
And peace in my soul,
I know, with Óðinn’s will,
That I may find my way home,
As I march toward Valhalla,
Or where else the fates would take me,
That I lived my life with honesty,
And faced my foes with bravery,
As I march toward my Ragnarök,
I fear not for my fate,
I fear only that I held myself,
With enough to pass through that gate,
As I march toward my ancestors,
My comfort is in their honour,
That future generations may recall,
My name as I embrace eternal slumber.

Words by hedendom
Artwork by chrisra

Að stúlka unni manni
"To get a girl", this magical stave is used by a man in love to gain the affections of the object of his desires (slightly creepy, yes I know).
The process is to make a small cut or pin prick at the very tip of the thumb on the left hand. The blood that issues forth should be used to draw the stave onto the right palm. One would then take the girl by the hand and recite the incantation:
Legg ég lófa minn í þinn lófa, minn vilja í þinn vilja. Verði þér í beinum semþú brennir öll nema þú unnir mér sem sjálfri þér. Svo heit verði þér orð þessi, svo megn og sterk, sem eilífðin er. Allir töfrar og fjölkynngi fjandans villi vit þitt til ástar og elsku við mig og allar þær vættir sem í jörðu búa séu mér liðsinnandi á þessa leið.
English translation:
My hand I lay in yours, my will in yours. May your bones burn lest you love me as much as I love you. These words shall be as passionate and powerful as eternity. All magic and sorcery turn your mind towards love of me and may all those vættir (earth spirits) who inhabit subterranean abodes assist me in this.
Part of a series of Icelandic Magical Staves

Að stúlka unni manni

"To get a girl", this magical stave is used by a man in love to gain the affections of the object of his desires (slightly creepy, yes I know).

The process is to make a small cut or pin prick at the very tip of the thumb on the left hand. The blood that issues forth should be used to draw the stave onto the right palm. One would then take the girl by the hand and recite the incantation:

Legg ég lófa minn í þinn lófa, minn vilja í þinn vilja. Verði þér í beinum semþú brennir öll nema þú unnir mér sem sjálfri þér. Svo heit verði þér orð þessi, svo megn og sterk, sem eilífðin er. Allir töfrar og fjölkynngi fjandans villi vit þitt til ástar og elsku við mig og allar þær vættir sem í jörðu búa séu mér liðsinnandi á þessa leið.

English translation:

My hand I lay in yours, my will in yours. May your bones burn lest you love me as much as I love you. These words shall be as passionate and powerful as eternity. All magic and sorcery turn your mind towards love of me and may all those vættir (earth spirits) who inhabit subterranean abodes assist me in this.

Part of a series of Icelandic Magical Staves

The Lagarfljótsormur is a legendary water serpent that is said to inhabit Lake Lagarfljót, Iceland. The earliest recorded sightings of the Lagarfljótsormur date back to the Icelandic Annals of 1345 and have continued to this day.

In their book “Icelandic Folk and Fairy Tales,” folklorists May and Hallberg Hallmundsson describe the origin tale of the beast:

At one time, long, long ago, there was a woman living on a farm in the Lagarfljót district, close by the stream where it broadens into a lake. She had a grown daughter. Once, she gave her daughter a gold ring. The woman instructed her daughter to catch a snake and keep the gold ring underneath it in her linen chest (as, apparently, one did long ago in rural Iceland). She did so, but when the girl went to look at her ring again, the snake had grown so large that the chest was beginning to come apart. Then the girl was frightened and she picked up the chest with everything in it and threw it into the lake. A long time passed, and gradually people became aware that there was a serpent in the lake, for it was beginning to kill both people and animals crossing the waters. 

In 1963, the head of the Icelandic National Forest Service, Sigurður Blöndal, reported seeing the giant worm and in 1998 a teacher and students at Hallormsstaðir School also claimed to have witnessed the legendary creature.

In 2012, an amateur cameraman, Hjörtur E. Kjerúlf, accidentally caught what is thought to be the Lagarfljótsormur on camera. The Icelandic government set up a commission to determine whether or not the footage (shown above) was authentic and in September 2014 their report concluded that the footage was, in fact, genuine and recommended further investigation and research into the Lagarfljótsormur.

This video features a recital of the introduction to Völuspá in Old Norse (with new English translation) and Kargyraa (throat singing) performed by noted Norwegian author Maria Kvilhaug.

Völuspá is perhaps the most well known poem from the Poetic Edda. It takes the form of a Völva (seeress) telling Odin of the creation of the world and how it will be destroyed.

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.