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Paths Blogs

Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.

Combining Traditions: MMP at the Pagan Buffet

These days, we in the Pagan community have many choices in terms of traditions and paths to explore and practice. Most of the folx I know include more than one tradition in their regular spiritual practice.

How does that work, and what happens when you have traditions whose calendars don't fit with each other?

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Novel Gnosis part 40: Yggdrasil

Yggdrasil is the World-Tree in heathen mythology. It grew by itself in the deeps of time, before the worlds came to be. The worlds are the fruit of its branches. Some art of the World-Tree depicts all nine worlds in the branches, while some depicts the worlds of fire and ice below the Tree with the Tree's roots going down into them. That image references the story of the birth of the universe in which the magically charged void divided into two main powers called fire (energy) and ice (patterns.) The dynamic combination of those two powers gave rise to matter and everything else, including the Tree, the Sacred Cow that woke up the gods and the giants, the Well at the root of the Tree, and all the raw materials from which our world was made.

Throughout most of the retellings in Some Say Fire of the stories collectively known as The Lore, the World-Tree is pretty much as described in the mythology. During the parts of the story that take place during Ragnarok, though, the main human character P sees Yggdrasil from the deck of the Naglfarr, the boat made of nails. She is basically in space, but also in a higher dimension, and the boat is not as it seems. It’s not literally a Viking longship despite how it appears. The view she has of the Tree is meant to be literal within the story, though. And the Tree is rotted in the heart-wood, hollow, and the Well below it is on fire. This shows how messed up everything is, and how much Ragnarok is needed by that point. At that point in the story, someone really needs to push the reset button on the universe and make a new one, because the old one is no longer sustainable.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    It's interesting to see how the myths of my ancestors are interpreted in a different country. The Norse gods appear in Oh, my God
Novel Gnosis part 39: Wolves Ravens and Brothers

Continuing my series on novel gnosis, that is, religious insights I gained via writing my unpublished novel Some Say Fire, today I'm talking about Odin and the number 3. Three as a sacred number recurs in many stories in heathen mythology, that it, the mythology of the pre-Xian peoples of northern Europe. It also occurs again and again in the broader context of pagan mythology in the rest of Europe and related cultures. Odin's symbol the Valknut is a set of 3 interlocking triangles.

In the Fireverse, the universe of Some Say Fire, Odin’s 2 wolves Geri and Freki are generated out of Odin. Like his 2 ravens and his 2 brothers, he creates them by dividing himself. He has the power to divide himself into 3 parts and he does it 3 times: once each to create the wolves, the ravens, and his brothers.

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Novel Gnosis part 38: Voluspa

The Voluspa or Prophecy of the Seeress is one of the stories in the Poetic Edda. It predicts Ragnarok, the end of the world, and the universe, and the gods. Scholars of heathenry note that it bears a strong resemblance to the Book of Revelations in the Christian Bible. Some Asatruars believe in the Prophecy and some don't. Among those who believe in it, some place it in the future as written, and some place it in the past.

The Voluspa is a major plot point in the Fireverse. Early on, Odin receives this Prophecy and writes it down and it’s in a book in his library. He spends a lot of time and effort trying to make the next universe come out right, and he tries to follow the Prophecy, embracing prophecy rather than trying to change it. A lot of his actions result from his desire to make the next universe better than this one and set up things in this universe that will result in a better starting place for the next one. Loki reads this book while he’s still a young god and is horrified, but eventually he accepts his role and the necessity of what will happen. He has a chance to derail the prophecy by leaving Asgard before the binding takes place, but he chooses not to, because by that point in the story he has accepted Odin’s viewpoint that the events described in the Prophecy are necessary to make the next universe come out right.He remains in Asgard knowing he will eventually be bound.

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Novel Gnosi part 37: Valkyries and the Afterlife

Valkyries are psychopomps, beings who carry the dead to the afterlife. They are called choosers of the slain, because they select warriors who die in battle to bring to Freya in Folkvangr or to Odin in Valhalla. Freya is the leader of the Valkyries and gets first pick. When the Valkyries are not attending a battle, they are found with Odin and the Einherjar, Odin's chosen warriors, in Valhalla.

The Fireverse Valkyries mostly have war duties. Although any of them might serve someone a drink in Valhalla, it’s not really exclusively Valkyries who do that. Odin has many dead humans for servants, and some of them are dead women who are basically Valkyrie themed waitresses rather than actual Valkyries. The actual Valkyries are unearthly powers.

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Novel Gnosis part 36: Vali

There are two gods named Vali in heathen mythology, Vali Odinsson and Vali Lokisson. Or are they really the same god?

Vali Lokisson

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Novel Gnosis part 35: Ullr

Ullr in Norse mythology is a god who hunts with a bow in the winter on skis, and so, his distinguishing characteristics are the same as Skadhi's. Many heathens consider Ullr and Skadhi to be a couple or at least counterparts.

In modern times, Ullr is still a popular god. Ullr medallions are still worn by skiers for protection, even skiers who are not heathen or pagan. There is a brand of schnapps named Ullr which is marketed to skiers.

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