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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Northern tradition

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Unlike Greek mythology and even Egyptian mythology, the Gods and heroes and lore of northern Europe appear rarely in books aimed at children. This is unfortunate, as Norse mythology is rich with wondrous tales, grand adventure, amazing Gods, and tragic but noble heroes. There are several picture books that I recommend though, as well as chapter books and teen books and a few activity books; there are also some general mythology books which feature good sections on Norse lore. These would all make great additions to the private libraries of Heathen families, or even lending libraries maintained by particular Kindreds.

There are several picture books which the youngest children will enjoy; some retell a single myth while others focus on a specific Deity or hero. First is Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Norse by Leonard Everett Fisher* which features short, encyclopedic entries on the Deities along with beautiful full-page chalky illustrations, a map, and a pronunciation guide. Iduna and the Magic Apples by Mariana Mayer and Laszlo Gal, which I profiled in a previous column, retells the story of that Goddess's kidnapping and rescue. The Adventures of Thor the Thunder God by Lise Lunge-Larsen (author of the wonderful Gifts From the Gods) and Jim Madsen, is a humorous and exciting collection of that God's most well-known stories, while Shirley Climo and Alexander Koshkin's Stolen Thunder: A Norse Myth focuses on Thor's quest to reclaim his lost hammer from the Frost Giants. Leif the Lucky by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire is a biography of the famous explorer, while Sister Bear: A Norse Tale by Jane Yolen and Linda Graves is a folktale featuring a spunky heroine, an adorable dancing bear, and some terrible tattooed trolls.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Shirl: if I missed any good ones, let me know. … Like I have any room on my book shelves ….
  • nolongerhere
    nolongerhere says #
    Thank you for this treasure trove of words and pictures, and the recommendation for Willy Pogany's work for those who don't know i
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Tim: glad I could add to your father-son reading list. If you have any favorites that I missed, please let me know.
  • Tim Schneider
    Tim Schneider says #
    I have been reading d'Aulaire's Book of Norse Myths with my son. He looks forward to it each and every time. There are tons of

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

When I started to wander out into the brick-and-mortar Pagan community, I noticed that there were a lot of people who believed in Norse mythology and Pantheon. Some Asatru, some called themselves Heathen, some Northern Tradition, etc.    And when I'd talk about how I wanted to find out more about how Pagans relate to music, especially if any relate to Classical music, I found that some Norsefolk liked metal and Beethoven, and others liked Richard Wagner.  Richard Wagner, for those who don't know, is hailed as having "revolutionized" music during the middle of the 19th century, and he did this via writing operas about Scandinavian 'sagas' and the 'Nibelungenlied.' I wouldn't be surprised if Wagner was the origination for a connection between Norse/Scandinavian spirituality and anti-Semitism.

I am against the man and his works.  Alright, maybe not.  Maybe I am confused and heartbroken that someone who could write such beautiful and moving music, on such a thoroughly Pagan basis, was a megalomaniac, an abuser, and a bloodthirsty anti-Semite.

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  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    I happened to come across the following article today, and thought of your post:
  • Robert Brown
    Robert Brown says #
    This is an individual question, and an important one. Have you seensome of Hitler's art? He was an awful, terrible guy. Some of

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Deity Centered Polytheism


I just returned from a creative retreat where I spent the better part of the week blade-smithing and oil painting and I intended to move on to issues other than the current 'pop culture vs. devotional polytheist' Pagan debate. Upon returning, however, I found this brilliant post: by Anomalous Thracian, and realized that I wasn't done yet. In light of some of the comments there, I think that perhaps I need to articulate where I'm writing from a little more clearly. Because one thing that's getting lost (purposely, I think) in this debate is that what it really comes down to is those whose practices are devotionally centered on the Holy Powers (Gods and ancestors) and those for whom the human experience, human emotions, human society,  the human mind. and most of all human comfort is centric. I actually think that this is the heart of many of the misunderstandings that we're seeing. We're not speaking as one community. We will never speak as one community so long as devotion to the Gods is being marginalized. We will never speak as one community so long as devotional polytheists are expected to accept a certain homogenization of our beliefs, predicated on acceptance of attitudes and practices that to those of us who prioritize the Gods are objectionable. We're not speaking from the same place. We're not even speaking the same devotional language. Instead, we're each fighting to wrest the roots of our various traditions from out of the other's hands. 

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  • Marie Dees
    Marie Dees says #
    One of my teachers in my spiritual path was Hindu. I remember that he had a great devotion to the goddess Durga. Devotion is recog
  • Betty Prat
    Betty Prat says #
    I support you and agree with you 100%. These people are just causing dissension because they have nothing better than to slander g
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    Byron, thank you. That means a lot right now. thank you. and looking forward to chatting with you next Wed on the show.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Yes, me, too. I will give thought to this month of silence but doubt that I, since I'm traveling so much, will participate. But pe
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Because it is planting season--at last!--here in the southern highlands, I have missed much of this ongoing pissing contest betwee

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Meditations on Hávamál, 15-18

More in this continuing series on the poem of gnomic wisdom from Old Norse: this entry focuses on courage and wisdom as well as how travel broadens the mind.

Þagalt ok hugalt
skyli þjóðans barn
ok vígdjarft vera;
glaðr ok reifr
skyli gumna hverr,
unz sinn bíðr bana.

Ósnjallr maðr
hyggsk munu ey lifa,
ef hann við víg varask;
en elli gefr
hánum engi frið,
þótt hánum geirar gefi.

Kópir afglapi
er til kynnis kemr,
þylsk hann um eða þrumir;
allt er senn,
ef hann sylg of getr,
uppi er þá geð guma.

Sá einn veit
er víða ratar
ok hefr fjölð of farit,
hverju geði
stýrir gumna hverr,
sá er vitandi er vits.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

While my spiritual path is Hellenic and I primarily honor Greek Deities, I nonetheless am fascinated by the many, many different traditions out there that fall within the large Pagan tent (or set up camp right next to it). As a result, I have a pretty sizable personal library of books on other-than-Hellenic traditions. 

Northern Traditions, and especially the Goddesses honored by those traditions, are a particular favorite subject.* I am always on the lookout for new books on Frigga or Freyja or Epona or Skadhi or Medeine.**

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    "Roles of the Northern Goddess" is the only book by Ellis-Davidson that I have read, to date, so I included it in my list. Are the
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Alas, HR Ellis-Davidson is a wonderful author, but you've listed her last and least fact-based book. I'd put anything else she's w
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Kalyca: I love hearing from librarians! There are surprisingly few really good books out there about the Norse Goddesses. Please
  • Kalyca Schultz
    Kalyca Schultz says #
    Thank you for this book list! I look forward to dipping my toes into some of these, especially the ones about Freyja. Just publish

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