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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_11-25-10catnecklacegrove059-2.jpgMost of the Vanatruar I know, myself included, are not reconstructionists - each of us seems to have our own idiosyncratic way of relating to the Powers, much like bio-regions differ from region to region, the Vanic path will vary from person to person.  I do not believe that reconstructionism is superior, nor do I believe that modernism is superior: in Vanatru, there is no one true way of doing things, we recognize that diversity is organic and natural, responding to the needs of different situations and relationships. With that caveat...

One of the questions I am often asked is "where do I start? how do I begin?"  If you are new to Vanatru, you may feel overwhelmed by the very do-it-yourself approach found among much of Vanatruar.  Sometimes people need a point in some direction, even if they choose later on to do things differently.  In my book Visions of Vanaheim (paperback | PDF), I look at some older practices connected with the Vanic cultus - such as the wain processions of Frey and Nerthus - and how one might adapt these practices for the modern day.  One of the rites of the elder Heathen that we know about is a ritual called blót.  This word means "blood" (ETA: see clarification in comments re: the meaning of the word)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    The Old Norse word blót does not mean "blood". That is the ON word blóð. Blót means "worship, in particular pagan worship involvin
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Thank you for clarifying! Do you know if they're cognates, by any chance? (Asking out of linguistic curiosity.)
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Doesn't seem to be, although it's a common enough folk etymology. Old Norse blót derives ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bhlā
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Thank you!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_greenwoman.jpgThis post is for The Pagan Experience: "Deity and the Divine- This will be the third week’s topic every month and an opportunity for you to share with everyone those who guide, inspire and inform you."

She walks in beauty, like the night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 
And all that’s best of dark and bright 
Meet in her aspect and her eyes; 
Thus mellowed to that tender light
 Which heaven to gaudy day denies. 
-Lord Byron   

While the subject of Jotun-worship still remains a controversial and polarizing issue within modern heathenry, there is some evidence of it being part of elder heathen practice. The most famous mention of Gerda is of course the account of her marriage to Frey as given in Skirnirsmal as well as the Prose Edda. I personally believe Gerda is one and the same as Thorgerdr Holgabrudr, sister of Irpa, a goddess mentioned in three different Sagas.  

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b2ap3_thumbnail_away-207525_640.jpgThis post is for Week 2 of The Pagan Experience, on Personal Practice: “Share your favorite spiritual/magickal practices."

On the Vanic side of my spiritual life, one of the most meaningful and nourishing things I do is also one of the most simple, something that may not look outwardly like a spiritual practice: going for walks.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_cage_by_parablev.jpg

In my last post, I described Neo-Paganism as a modern-day mystery religion.  Historically, initiates into the mystery religions experienced a ritual death and rebirth.  Some Neo-Pagan rituals follow this format.  The idea is that we die to our old selves and awaken to a new, more expansive Self.  In Jungian terms, the Self is the wholeness of our many disparate selves, conscious and unconscious.  But to encounter the Self, we must let our old selves, our egos, die.  This is a psychological death, but no less significant than physical death from the perspective of the ego.  For the ego, the experience can be as painful as dying physically, and some people would prefer physical death.  

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b2ap3_thumbnail_love.jpgWhile love is not a cure for all of the world's ills, I truly believe that many people do things out of desperation and hurt - so many of us carry secret pain, that could be relieved a little knowing we are loved and appreciated by somebody, somewhere. To hold a place in someone's heart, we know we are not so alone out there.  We matter to someone, who would be hurt if we were gone, if we were harmed or harmed ourselves, or harmed others because we acted from a place of loss and hurt and pain.

As with Passion, we live in a world where emotions are not OK, expressing emotions are not OK, everything has to be sterilized and diluted, or conform to some Hollywood ideal of what that should look like.  In a Vanic practice, we become more natural, more organic, as we connect with the Powers of the Land - love is messy, love is complicated, love can be painful, it can make us vulnerable.  And it is necessary.  It is necessary in part because it is so complicated and messy, like so much of the human experience.  Love makes us Real.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_cute-love1.jpgFor each of the Vanic virtues, I have written something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru.  With the seventh and final virtue, Love, I suggest (not demand) that those who want to better cultivate a sense of love do this simple exercise:

Make a list of the people who you love.  Note that this does not have to be romantic/intimate love.  This can be family members, friends.  For each person, list at least five things that you love about them, reflect on these things.  Allow yourself to feel love, how it comes, even if it makes you cry (especially if it makes you cry).  

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The most powerful force in existence, it keeps the planets and stars in their dance, connects us to the surface of our world, and draws hearts together. It should never be scorned or mocked as weak, and when love is returned, all the spirits weep for joy. We are all family on this earth.

(Nicanthiel Hrafnhild from my book Visions of Vanaheim)

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