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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Lindenfest is a festival in Geisenheim, Germany centered on a large, old linden tree. They decorate the tree with lights, do folk dances around it, and celebrate for 3 days. It's also a holiday my kindred will be celebrating this year.

In ancient heathen times, trees of particular note were often associated with gods and were part of their worship, for example: Thor's Oak. Linden trees are associated with the goddess Frigga, and in particular with her handmaiden Lofn, also known as Minne. My kindred is celebrating Lindenfest as a holiday for Frigga and Lofn / Minne. We will be drinking linden tea. As Geisenheim is in the Rhineland, noted for its wine, and a holiday in summer has the character of a harvest festival, many of the festival-goers in Germany drink wine. We might drink some wine too, but tea first.

We're not trying to replicate what they actually do in Germany, since we can't dance around the actual linden tree there. We can bring the spirit of linden to our celebration with linden tea, though. Perhaps we will even manage to do a folk dance, although there is very little overlap between my kindred and the old dance group that was destroyed by the lockdowns, just me and one other person. We don't have a linden tree to dance around, but maybe we could dance around the teapot while the tea is brewing? As the Minne aspect of Lofn is also associated with mermaids, after our tea party we'll also be going for a swim, continuing the mermaid theme for the summer.

We're starting with the idea of Lindenfest and making our own celebration out of it. It's going to end up being quite different from the original version, and that's OK. Most of the holidays we celebrate in the USA are very different from their original versions, and most modern pagan and heathen holidays are celebrated differently from the originals, even the ones for which a lot of careful reconstruction was done. Change is OK. That's how culture operates. Lindenfest in Germany is 3 days, the second weekend in July, but ours will only be 1 day, on July 11th 2021. 

Info on Lindenfest as it is currently celebrated in Germany:
https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Lindenfest

Info on Lindenfest as a pagan holiday:
https://journeyingtothegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/goddess-minne/

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    The associations are from another website and are being currently practiced. I am describing modern practices. I made it clear in
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    There is zero evidence that Linden trees were associated with Frigga or with Lofn, there is nothing in the Norse or Germanic lore

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Oops I Accidentally Led a Bardic Circle

I attended virtual Trothmoot even though I'm not a Troth member for two reasons. Firstly because they not only got rid of their Loki ban but were having an official Loki blot (ritual), and secondly because they were making their festival / convention available online. Both of those are things I want to encourage.

Trothmoot was 3 days of rituals, workshops, and virtual fire circle chatting. I had technical difficulties several times, and was pretty overwhelmed by the end, but overall it was a very positive experience.

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This is a question posed to me on Facebook. Here's my answer: Excellent question (puts on professor glasses. stretches fingers.) So.

In the Stone Age there were these people called the Battle Axe People. They had double headed axes. Knapped from stone. Tools, not massive weapons, and so not really that big. OK so picture those. Now fast forward to the Viking Age.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    Also likely a personified thunder god or connection between thunder and the hammer/axe existed during the Battle Axe culture/Boat

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Organic and Non-GMO Food

There is no religious requirement to eat certain foods in Asatru. However, some Asatruars observe personal taboos. These personal taboos are based on personal gnosis or group gnosis, which are just as valid for determining an individual person's religious path as the teachings of the wider tradition of which they are a part. There are also traditional foods and beverages associated with holidays and sacrifices to specific gods in Asatru and other heathen sects, both in the Lore and in modern practice based on personal and group gnosis.

Some modern devotees of the goddess Sif avoid buying GMO wheat or GMO corn. This is a personal or group taboo observed as an act of devotion to the grain goddess. This practice is not about what the person eats, but about what the person supports with their purchasing power. Those who follow Sif can eat whatever random grain they are given or provided. When they have the opportunity to buy wheat products or corn products with their own money and make their own purchasing decisions, they will buy non-GMO wheat and corn if it is available. If certified non-GMO wheat and corn products are not available, it is also acceptable to purchase the waste products of a bakery, factory, or store, usually termed day-olds, markdowns, bakery leftovers, outlet goods, damaged, expiring, etc. The point is not about healthy eating, it is about refusing to support the damaging agricultural practices of GMO factory farming with one's money. Monsanto may be gone as a separate company, but everything it was still exists within the agricultural economic sector.

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Adapting a Toasting Ritual for Pandemic Times

Usually the sumbel ritual we do in Asatru and other forms of heathenry involves passing around a horn. My kindred usually has two horns, one containing alcohol and one containing a non-alcoholic beverage. The cow's horn honors Audhumla, the Sacred Cow. We not only drink from the horn, but when we pass the horn, the horn is like a talking stick that tells us whose turn it is to make a toast.

These days we're using individual cups for everyone, for the sake of pandemic safety. We're also standing farther apart. Normally if we're outside standing around a bonfire we'd all pack in closely in a circle, or if we were inside we'd be sitting at a dining table, also fairly close together. Someday we'll return to passing the horn as a talking stick, because it's a lot easier than having the ritual leader call on people to ask if they want to make a toast. I think we might keep using individual cups to actually drink out of, though. Now that we're all aware of the germs that might get passed around along with the horn I don't think we'll go back to actually all drinking from the same horn. In the future we'll pour into the horn and then pour from the horn to cups or to each person's personal horn.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I receive written letters in the mail from prisoners asking questions about heathen practices and asking about Asatru resources and books. (Most people who read my writing and want to contact me do so on the net, but prisoners often don't have access to the net.) I've received a few such letters recently in reaction to my latest article in Witches & Pagans Magazine, which was the Heathen Vs. Hate symbol guide designed to enable people to tell the difference between heathen symbols and hate symbols.

When I was asked to write the symbol guide, I was chosen because I had already done a lot of work on that topic for the Trollslayers' Guide, an internal document for the admins and moderators of my forum, the Asatru Facebook Forum. The article was an interesting challenge to write because the editor wanted a symbol guide without actually showing any of the symbols. The reason for that was because having a hate symbol like a swastika appear in the magazine would get the magazine censored and removed from places like prisons and schools. Print magazines and print books are some of the few resources to which prisoners have access, so making sure the magazine didn't get disallowed is important for that population. So, I had the constraints of prison censorship in mind when I was writing the article, and I'm pleased that some prisoners found it useful.

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Heathens in historical times did not have godparents. But that doesn't mean you can't. Although it's not based on historical heathen customs or rituals, there are Asatru organizations and individuals who do have godparent rituals. There are baby blessing rituals online that include godparents. You don't have to copy one of those, though. Pretty much any ceremony you want to do is going to be fine. The godparent part of the name giving ritual was made up, so you can make up your own version.

Like a lot of rituals we do-- I'm planning my kindred's Ostara egg hunt now-- godparents were included in that modern name giving ceremony because people wanted them, because the wider culture has them and it's a cultural expectation. The wider culture has godparents because the wider culture is Christian. If you want them, go ahead. There is no historical heathen ritual to follow for that. So just do it however you want.

If you prefer a more historically based version of Asatru, then design your name giving or baby blessing ritual without godparents. You can include adult friends, relatives, and kindred members in your child's life without having to copy a special type of relationship from Christianity.

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