Five items you feel are sacred. Go! (These could be on your altar, items from your ancestors, texts by you or someone else, etc)
Family pictures: I spoke in an earlier prompt on my loss and eventuall rediscovery of some of my precious family pictures – long story short, there was a flood that destroyed my Mom’s photo albums, but I found some film negatives in her belongings after her death – I was able to recover about 150 images from my past, in rural Kansas, including pictures of my Grandparents and me as a child. My plan eventually will be to have an ancestor place where I pray to some of these, but that have not gone much further than a simple idea.
My Grandfather’s Military briefcase: Somewhat like the above, I am in possession of my Grandfather’s military briefcase including his Army yearbook and some of his miscellaneous paperwork, as well as knives, watches and other knick-knacks. yeah, some of it is obviously junk that he threw into the trunk, and other pieces seem to be things my grandmother tossed in after his death (like old checkbooks) but even the smallest thing like a book of Korean words (He was a vet of the Korean War) is an awesome glimpse into the past.
My Music: I am an avid music fan, and a big part of what brought me into paganism, in the first place, is music. Some of my favorite memories from last year were the concerts I attended – those more than a lot, felt like “church” to me. Seeing Bands like Arkona and Metsatoll live were amazing experiences in 2019. I no longer buy a whole lot of physical media due to alack of space, but what I do have, tangible or ephemeral digital items, are sacred to me. I have music for any occasion, any emotion, and any problem I might be having.
My Books: As above, I have a book collection, some rare books, mostly not. As Odin strived to gain as much knowledge as he could, I try that myself to varying degrees of success. Yes, I sometimes buy more books than I’ll likely ever read, but it feels good to have a big healthy library to meet any occasion. Some of my faves are books from Anathema Publishing – rare limited edition occult books like The Hanged God, especially. another was a copy of a Grimm Brothers folklore set that has only been released once in English over 40 years ago and never since.
My altar goods: I don’t have much of this stuff yet, but what I do have is awesome. things like pieces of reindeer horn or runes, oils, and types of sage are always things I enjoy having. I have some statues, and other art pieces as well, all things that truly help me communicate with The Gods.
What’s on your agenda to learn more about? What topics are interesting you lately?
This is actually something I try to do a lot, Ever since I left school, I have vowed to never stop learning – to gather as much information and experiences that I can to better myself, and hopefully help enrich the lives of others as I impart some of my knowledge to them. I need to organize this better TBH, but I can come up with a rough list of five topics I am currently into and am actively trying to find out more on…
I am trying to learn Norwegian – I am truthfully not certain where my Scandinavian portion of my ancestry is from – I did not know my father, but I know he was from Wisconsin at one time, so he likely was either part Swedish or Norwegian. This largely wasn’t why I started this, but I felt like it helped me along the path to choosing a new language to try to learn. I could have done German, but it seemed too hard LOL! A few months ago, I decided to dive into Duolingo’s Norwegian class, and it has been pretty fun. I’ve heard its one of the easier languages for English speakers to learn, and can help with understanding Danish and Swedish as well, so I figured it would be beneficial.
I had, at one point, wanted to get back into Spanish as I had taken two years of it in High School, but honestly its really hard, and its been too long so I would have to start from scratch more-or-less. My ultimate goal for this is to read some Historical books from Scandinavia that may not be translated over here, and perhaps travel there one day.
I am currently really into learning about the Neolithic and Bronze Age – I chalk this up to me seeing a Stonehenge exhibit last year in Kansas City, reading a book about it, and playing Farcry Primal on PS4 all at around the same time.
Once I have time to re-arrange my books (currently dealing with repairs due to water damage) I want to create a nice reading area in my downstairs area. Perhaps I can get back into my 1 book a week reading schedule that I once had. Some books I plan to read soon are above.
I am trying to study some lesser-known Gods –This one is tough if you want to read well-researched books and monographs that go in-depth with some of these figures. Sure you can jump on Amazon and find books on Deities like Hel, for example, but you have like a 50/50 chance that the book is a cheap, poorly researched mess by a racist.
I want to learn more practical Magical work – One thing I also need to implement more is magical work. This will come along as I start working more on my altar, and my goal is ultimately to have a daily practice that I do – something to focus energy on, and hopefully help sway the Gods towards me. Its hard to find things that have been settled on as “official” Norse Pagan rituals, as a lot of the magick we do is honestly Wiccan magic due to the almost complete loss of source material on what actually was practiced, but its a start.
and finally –
I am trying to seek out more Viking and Pagan comic books – One of my hobbies is comic books and graphic novels, so I have been trying my hardest to find ones that deal with the themes of ancient Pagan Europe or Paganism in General. Luckily with a renewed interest in Vikings (for better or worse) this has lead to more choices. I am trying to get to where I have a pretty good idea of Vikings in sequential art, maybe start blogging more about it – who knows.
So there we have it, that’s what I’m currently trying to learn and work on – what are some things my readers are learning about or working on? Please let me know in the comments!
One of the hardest things for me when I followed the path of Gnosticism was the vague notion of how to achieve “Gnosis”, or what that even meant. Most people did this by taking drugs such as ayahuasca to see the Gods, or spirits of the other side. Not even knowing how to procure something like that in a safe manner this side of booking a vacation to South America seemed highly unlikely and who knows if that’s even what the ancient Gnostics were talking about. This confusion was aggravating and a bit disheartening, and seemed like a way for people to take the personal side of it away from the layman. This is one of the many reasons I left Gnosticism.
So what does speaking to the Pagan Gods entail? Is it just as vague and troublesome? A bit of “Yes”, but mostly “No” thankfully, as we know that there are many ways to communicate with the Gods, few of which are explicit as “you better see a God and talk to them!” To me, it seems like this can be achieved through many means including the aforementioned drug trips, trances, hypnosis, and small things like divination, offerings, even scrying through fire or a black mirror. Who knows what will work until you try it – and thats where I am – trying to find what works for me.
This has been somewhat covered in previous prompts, but the sort of it is that I pray, give offerings, and make promises to the Gods to hopefully raise my standing with them and show that I am serious in my devotion to them. My biggest issue right now is that I have yet to fully get in the groove of having a full-on daily practice that I adhere to. That is one of my ultimate goals, thus hopefully leading me to the sort of unverifiable personal gnosis (UPG) that most spiritual people crave.
I have had a few small showings in this regard, but I have yet to be able to have an elaborate dream or somesuch that seems to be the most clear connection to the Gods. I need to work on getting back into meditation or self-hypnosis for this to likely happen. I’d love to get some binaural drum beat recordings and attempt to put myself into a trance sometime next year, I have some friends that are more in-tune with this and I hope to experience it without having to take a mind-altering substance (boo! work dis-allows it).
I also need to attempt divination at some point, as you may have seen, I read books on runes and rune divination a lot, but have not had the time to set-aside to memorize the meanings of them in order to incorporate that into my daily practice – yet another goal for 2021 I presume.
If anyone reading this has any ideas, feel free to shoot them my way, I’d be willing to give it a shot. I’ve done things that are basically guided hypnosis meditation, and they really make you feel great sometimes, if you know of a good one, let me know.
I have an affinity to knowledge Gods, so when I initially embarked on this path, I saw myself drawn towards Odin quite a bit, much in the same way thaat I was drawn to Thoth when I was dabbling in Gnosticism and Hermeticism, some have even tried to link the two in various ways. Now, I am honestly searching for my patron deity more and more. I always hear about issues with being a devotee of Odin, and need to look into some of the other knowledge gods even more. However, my search my bring me back around to the Allfather, if it does I will be satisfied.
As I stated more eloquently in my previous post about prayer, I feel that Thor has been watching over me this year, as he does with most common people. I like his way of helping people, even at the risk of being a bit rash. Not sure this fits my personality a bit. I have also been looking into both Hel and Tyr as gods that I like aspects of. My plan for 2021 is to really nail this down and let myself become a true follower of a God that truly represents me.
AD 970. Gunnar Thangbrand, eager missionary of the Danish king Harald Bluetooth rages on the coasts of Norway. His goal is to convert the pagan Norwegians to Christianity, to make them faithful citizens of the Danish Empire. But the Norwegians resist bitterly and fight back the Danes. Gunnar, the only survivor of the danish mission, flees from the vengeful Norwegians to the east. To Sweden, Where the Prayers of the bloody Fertility God Yngvi-Freyr are living.
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The Wife of Freyr: Chapter 1: Yngvi-Freyr (2019) Is an inexpensive historical comic you can find on Amazon that is based on an Icelandic þættir, or short story in the Sagas, called Ögmundar þáttr dytts ok Gunnars helmings which loosely translates to “Ögmundar’s death and Gunnar’s half” (or somesuch). This comic is based entirely on the second half involving the character of Gunnar Thangbrand. An English translation of this Icelandic Saga can be found here for free, if you would like to read it to compare.
In both this and the original story, Gunnar has been suspected of murder and has fled to Sweden, where pockets of paganism still persist, especially fertility cults devoted to Freyr. He has gone there to convert any Pagans he finds to the ways of Christianity for King Harald Bluetooth. Rumor has it, that the Swedes have appointed a young and beautiful woman to serve the fertility god, and Gunnar becomes “acquainted” with this young priestess. He helps her drive Freyr’s wagon with the god effigy in it which angers Freyr. Freyr attacks Gunnar and he has to make a promise to become Christian when he returns to Norway in order to fight against it. He is able to win, and decides to dress as Freyr since the battle had destroyed the wooden statue.
There is more to the story, but that is all that is covered in this chapter.
The artwork in this book is pretty good, you can tell that the author, Volkmar Fleckenstein, is a pinup artist of some degree. I especially like the details he puts into facial expressions and emotions, seeing the various bits of character design is awesome. The comic is in a grayscale color palette, which is in no way bad, it almost gives it an old-school barbarian comic vibe ala Conan or Red Sonja. It’s done digitally, and has a bit of simplicity to the style, but the linework is crisp and dark, so it all fits together very well. The lettering is organized well, and everything is easy to read with no spelling or grammar issues that I noticed, granted I wasn’t scouring with a fine-toothed comb of nitpicking, but everything seemed above-board.
While I did enjoy this (quite a bit, actually), I felt as if the story is presented in a way that makes Gunnar Thangbrand easily one of the least likable protagonists I’ve ever read or seen. He basically runs around murdering anyone that isn’t a Christian at a breakneck pace for about half of the book. Limited to a small page count and a moral disconnect from how things were in past, one has to take a step back reading something like this because a person seen as a noble hero of the past, could easily be seen as a demonic monster by modern standards. Many of the Sagas are like this, for example it is very hard to find ANYONE in Njal’s Saga that isn’t pretty terrible by today’s modern standard.
It would be wrong if I did not point out that this book has a bit of adult content inside. It is not, by any means, the focal point of the story, but once the Freyr fertility cult is shown you can imagine what is shown in the pages. For those wanting to see this as a pure historical item need to be careful – its not really suitable for kids.
While this can be seen, by pagans, as a story of one of the last vestiges of the old ways being trampled on by the Church, as a historical piece this is pretty cool. I really want Mr. Fleckenstein to do more of these if he ever gets the chance, as I would love to see more Saga literature getting translated and re-imagined like this.
As of this writing, Mr. Fleckenstein has posted a campaign for volume two of this story to Kickstarter as seen HERE. There is about a month left, so hopefully this happens!