I have known, over the years, some folks who identify as Vanatru where the only real distinction between them and Asatruar (or other cultural-specific branches of heathenry) is that they focus on the Vanir gods, and usually the most well-known - Frey, Freya, Njord, maybe Nerthus... but their practice otherwise looks like standard heathenry, doing blót ritual.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. This is actually how I got my start in Vanatru, back in 2004, and this was the way I did things for a number of years... and I still blót, on occasion.
On Fiery Tuesday, the PaganNewsBeagle focuses on issues of activism and the Element of Fire. Today we have stories on civic invocations (aka prayers); crowdfunding site Go Fund Me bans "sorcery," fiery photos from Burning Man; a prominent Heathen speaks out about racism in his community; and the Pagan Environmental Coalition of New York visits fracking sites in Pennsylvania.
Now that "civic prayers" have been ruled legal by the Supreme Court, who gets to give a prayer before government meetings? Patheos blogger "The Friendly Atheist" writes about his experience in this post.
Byggvir and Beyla. Byggvir possibly means “barley”, and Beyla means “bee”. Whether these two names translate exactly or not, They are a couple who travel with Frey, and are in charge of taking care of his household and are servants of his. Gnosis says that Byggvir is Bull tribe Vanir, and Beyla of the Bee tribe.
The Vanir are one of three groups of gods in the Germanic pantheon (the others being Aesir and Jotnar/Rokkr), originating from the world of Vanaheim, and commonly holding domain over nature, fertility, and magic.
Freya was the first deity I ever connected with in a meaningful way, back in 1996. Coming into Germanic paganism via Freya, I took things at face value and without a deeper look at the history and the context of archaeology until many years later when I did so out of necessity to shed some light on things I was experiencing. Most forms of Germanic paganism treat the Aesir and Vanir as a package deal with heavy emphasis on the Aesir.
So for many years, I attempted to reach out to the Aesir because I thought I "should". From the get-go, the Aesir were... not really a good fit. The gods that interested me all had ties to the nature and the land, and the Aesir... mostly didn't. Sure, Odin is connected with wind and its fury, and Thor is thunder, but... no. The macho-war energy surrounding the Aesir (while this is not all they are, obviously) did not feel like "my gods". Yet, I spent years trying to connect to the Aesir, with crickets, mostly, and occasional blips on the radar, until finally, some things happened where I was told to stop.
From 2007-2010 I was one of the leaders of the Vanatru movement under the name Svartesol; in 2009 I put out a book called Visions of Vanaheim which was considered the essential Vanatru text (which has in 2014 re-released in a revised and expanded version, available in paperback and PDF). A rising star, I burned out pretty quickly, not having the interpersonal skills and boundaries that I have now… and when I burned out, I tried to walk away from the Vanir for awhile. One of the reasons why I call this blog Roads to Vanaheim isn't just because it's a catchy title within the limit of 18 characters, but because my own path with the Vanir has been a long and winding road – I've found myself lost a few times, I've been tired… but your heart knows where home is, and so it is that I keep crossing the ways into Vanaheim to know them, and invite them here into this world as well.