Wight of the Nine Worlds

welcome

I welcome thee free spirit, which thou shalt come with an open heart, open mind and an open soul, for what you are about to read can only be understood by the wise who are eager to learn and to embrace the roots deep and forgotten in the hearts of the free people of Europe, by accepting who you are and where your roots lie, is half way into the great road of life. We will journey unto where our spirit takes us with the knowledge we gained. Learn and teach.

Ragnarök in the Bible?



You can watch the video about this subject in here: [Ragnarök Video]


Let’s start with the most obvious question: What is Ragnarök? If we want to have a shallow idea of what it is, well, it’s simply the end of the world as we know it. But of course I’m not here to give you a simple explanation.

For some people Ragnarök already happened, if we understand that after this chaotic event, a Golden Age will begin, an age of peace and compassion, the rebirth of the earth and a new prosperous world. More or less 10.000 years ago the Ice Age finally came to an end, and we progressively stopped being hunters and gatherers and began to tame the land through agriculture and pastoralism. Controlling the earth and flora and the domestication of the fauna, was a great step to the so called progress of civilization, and our dominion over the earth is leading to its destruction and the extinction of many species. In the long run, this is Ragnarök, a battle of more than 10.000 years. Humanity versus nature, and we are actually winning and accelerating our doom, but intelligent as we are, we are finding better solutions to reduce the stain upon the earth that we left, so in other words we are now progressivity walking towards a Golden Age.


This is just one perspective of what Ragnarök might be if we take a look at our nowadays reality.

Due to the popularity of Norse mythology and the history of the Viking Age, today in the movies, television, literature and games, many people who until then did not know the myths, or knew little about it, became more interested in the subject. So before I jump to something a little bit more complex, I'll first try to give you a simple and straightforward comprehension of what Ragnarök is.


First things first, Ragnarök is a myth of Nordic origins, created by the peoples of medieval Scandinavia. It might be a myth with older origins, but as it reach us today, the whole concept seems much more medieval than prehistoric. In the middle Ages, between the V and XI centuries, between the Vendel Period (V-VIII) and the Viking Era (VIII-XI), the Norse mythology took shape and was developed into the perspective we have on the written sources. The Medieval interpretation of Ragnarök refers to future events in an unspecified period of time, in which catastrophic events will occur that will profoundly change the world as we know it. All stories must have an end, but just like in every mythological account and also religious interpretations, Ragnarök isn't the end of time, rather it's an event with a purpose, a period of change.


We must not forget that the written sources we have to read about Ragnarök, were sources written in medieval Iceland during the thirteenth century, a period in Iceland's history already greatly influenced by Christianity, and the entire idea of Ragnarök seems a lot like the "End of Times" Prophecy as it is written in the Bible. So let's take a look into some similarities:
Before Ragnarök actually happens, there will be a great winter that will last three years. In here we can see the Icelandic perspective of things. A great portion of mythological accounts are shaped by the geographical realities people live in. So a world of Ice and frost is a harsh reality for Scandinavian peoples, especially during medieval times. Iceland itself all around is filled with glaciers and volcanic activity, so fire and ice is the perfect combination for the end of times in an Icelandic perspective.


But after this long winter, humanity shall rise up and fight each other, great and terrible wars, in the Bible that’s what happens before the end of days - War on a large scale (Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:4.). If you study military medieval history, you know that the greatest fear of war during medieval times wasn’t the war itself but famine which led to an increasing of crime (Famine: Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:5, 6.; Increase of crime: Matthew 24:12.) Before Ragnarök the survivors of the great wars will only have morning dew to feed on (Vafþrúðnismál). During this time the Prose Edda speaks of incest as one of the things that will occur, “siblings do incest”, and also in the Völuspá speaks of the sons between brothers and sisters that will stain kinship, as we also have in the Bible during the “end of days” – “Breakdown of the family, with people who have “no natural affection”” (2 Timothy 3:2, 3.). Then we have great earthquakes also in the Bible (Luke 21:11.) and in the Prose Edda as I will quote: “The whole surface of the earth and the mountains will tremble so that the trees will be uprooted from the ground, mountains will crash down”. In the Völupá a fear will quake all when Heimdall blows the great horn Ghallarhorn, and Yggdrasil itself shakes. We also have this reference to earthquakes in the Poetic Edda. I could go on with more similarities between the Bible’s “End of Days” Prophecy and the Norse Ragnarök, like that part when the dead will walk the earth again as it says in the Bible, and during Ragnarök the great ship Naglfar will come, built with the nails of the dead, and possibly bringing the dead along, because the dead from the realm of Hel will also be in great activity during these catastrophic events. And as I’ve said, mankind in its process of civilization and the attempted to control the earth is destroying the earth itself, it’s a point which isn’t referred in the Nordic sources but it’s referred in the Bible - The ruining of the earth by mankind (Revelation 11:18.).


All this to tell you that the perspective we have of Ragnarök was greatly influenced by Christianity, when the old pagan world started to be forgotten and a new spiritual reality was being formed, adopted by the pagans, and in most cases forced by the social, political and economic circumstances of Medieval Europe.

We humans are prone to see patterns in everything, but I must tell you, even if there are clear influences of another religion into pagan mythological accounts, we must take into account that this is a tale that was around before Christianity and even before the written word. In Christianity mythology the world will be destroyed once and for all and historical time is abolished. But in the tale of Ragnarok we see a very different message. 

The accounts of the destruction of the world in the Old Norse primary sources are immediately followed by accounts of its re-creation. There is no end of the linear history. What Ragnarok describes is a cyclical end of the world, after which follows a new creation, which will in turn be followed by another Ragnarok, and this will keep happening forever. This specific point makes all the difference between the two religious realities. Christianity that does not accept reality and there must be an end and it's all over, and the Norse paganism that accepts reality and that life will go on no matter what, but there always must exist a balance, order and chaos, creation and destruction, life and death.

The Autumn Equinox



Hello friends! Speaking about the Autumn Equinox, Mabon and Haustablót, always with a personal perspective on the subject. Enjoy dear friends :D





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The Runes: Thurisaz ᚦ


I know it's been awhile since the last video on the runes, but better late than never :p I do hope you enjoy this video dear friends.




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Dísablót- in honour of the Dísir, female spirits



You can watch the video about this subject in here: [Dísablót]


The Dísablót is a blót or a festival (sacrificial holiday) which is held in honour of the female spirits called Dísir. There isn’t a specific day for this celebration. We know that it was held during winter. In some accounts it was in the beginning of winter, during the time of the winternights, but in some places this holiday was by the end of winter, to celebrate the revival of nature.

Suffice it to say that this celebration was held at some point during winter – the exact timing differed widely across Germanic and Norse lands. In Norway and Iceland, for instance, this festival was known as Dísablót, “a sacrifice to the Disir,” and took place at the beginning of winter. It could be held in either a private house or a formal temple, and unlike Álfablót, this was a public celebration. In Sweden, the Disting or dísaþing, which means “Disir-Assembly”, was held at the beginning of February. To the Anglo-Saxons it seems this celebration was called Modraniht or “Mother’s Night”, which took place around the New Year and probably has connections to the Germanic and Celtic “matron” cult. The “matrons” are female spirits who are very much like the Disir; fertility spirits, guardian spirits, warriors, and so on.

But what exactly is this festival about?

From the name of the festival, we understand that the principal ritual act was a sacrifice, and from historical sources we know that there was a banquet, probably after the sacrifice, as it was normal. Possibly consuming the meat of the sacrificed animals. The main purpose of this festivity was to honour all the female spirits, the female ancestors, the goddesses and other female beings such as the Valkyrjur (Valkyries).

During this festival and the days that followed it, people worship female goddesses for the fertility of the fields, to have order and peace at home, and to receive that motherly touch of motivation. The care and love that is unique in the female spirit. The Dísir are not just the goddesses of the Northern Pantheon, but also the Vættir, the wights or nature spirits that may help with the fertilization of the land, for good crops, healthy cattle and a proper soil for future plantations. In this group of female spirits are also included the female ancestors of each family, because in the northern traditional paganism, it was believed, when people died, they might choose not to go to the other world just yet, but to stay a little longer to help their descendants in their daily works. They stay to ensure that their families are safe and sound, in happiness, joy, health and wealth. They might help in the planting season and in the harvest, or taking care of the house, keeping the peace and order and unite each member of their family, to keep the family bonds strong.

We are used to the idea that the northern peoples of Scandinavia used to burn their dead in the long boats, along with their earthly goods, but there were other ways to bid farewell. One of those ways was to place their dead in some sort of a burial mound made with stones, built in a way that would resemble the “deck” of a boat, and these sacred places where built near the farmstead. This was often done in private properties by those who either had no wealth to possess a boat, or simply did not wish to destroy their boats. Boats in Scandinavian societies were so important that they represented power and wealth. Boats were the principal means of transportation and the booster of the economy of Medieval Scandinavia. The importance of boats to the Scandinavians is reflected on these grave mounds in the shape of boats. Burning a boat wouldn’t last long, but building one in stone and covering it with dirt, would last forever and the memory of the ancestors would endure. And of course, building burial mounds is an ancient prehistoric tradition, using such constructions as markers of private property.

Now you ask: Who or what exactly are the Dísir?

There seems to be a lot of speculation about what exactly are the Dísir. The sources don’t help much in answering these questions. Why did the Norse differentiate a group of female spirits from the rest of female beings?

I think it’s important to separate the Dísir from other kinds of spiritual beings, because sometimes the Dísir seem to be all the female spirits recognized by the ancient Norse peoples, but other times the Dísir seem to be a group of female spirits different from all the other spiritual beings and other female spirits. We might find some answers if we look at the Valkyries. They are depicted as being female helping-spirits of the god Odin. They are referred to as “Odin’s Dísir”. Both the Dísir and the Valkyries are depicted as being warlike spirits, but also protective. Resembling the nourishment and protectiveness of a mother, and a mother’s love can sometimes turn women into fearsome warriors when it comes to protect their children.

The Disir are often portrayed as being guardian-spirits of either a single individual, a group, or guardians of a location. They don’t seem to be distinguished from other guardian spirits such as the Fylgjur – guardian spirits of an individual; Hamingjur – entities of an individual or a group of individuals; Landvaettir – spirits of the land or of particular locations. In terms of land spirits, known in Old Norse as Landvættir, when they are female they are sometimes called Landdísir in certain literary sources and place-names in Iceland and Norway. The Disir are also often depicted as being the spirits of dead female ancestors.

Still feeling confused? You still don’t know what exactly are the Dísir? That’s alright! No one can answer that question.

Unlike other religions which have a doctrine and tell us “what is what”, the Norse pagan tradition as always been a living spirituality to this day. It’s open to interpretation and it’s free from the bounds of religious laws, regulations and dogmas. The concept of Dísir, much like any other spiritual being of this pagan tradition, varies from account to account, location to location and from time to time. To the pre-Christian Norse there was never the need to formulate a religious doctrine to make people worship in a single manner. So, the Dísir may be the female ancestors, or a particular group of goddesses, or specific spiritual beings. From source to source what they have in common is that they were female beings and important enough to make a festivity in their honour. The Dísablót might be the remnants of a prehistoric cult to the mother goddess and her helpers. A festival to honour the fertility of the land, to call for protection, nourishment and the love only a mother can give.

In the end it doesn’t really matter who the Dísir are. What is important to remember is this concept of honouring your female ancestors, remembering them and their deeds, how they fought to keep the peace, love and order in the family. Never forget their importance, because you, one day, shall joined them and become an ancestor of someone, and you too will want to be remembered as a great figure and an icon of love, honour, strength and wisdom, according to your deeds of course. Also, honour the female members of your family that are still alive. Keep them proud, give them love, attention and respect, so in turn you might also receive their love and respect. Try to take the essence of this festivity into your everyday life. Make all days great days full of joy and love!

By: Arith Härger

References:

Almazan, Vincente, (1986). Gallaecia Scandinavica.

Bellows, Henry Adams, (Trans.), (2007). THe Poetic Edda, The Heroic Poems.

Dasent, George Webbe, (2014). Popular Tales from Norse Mythology

Mitchell, Stephen A., (2011). Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages

Örnólfur Thorsson, et al. (eds.) (2000) The Sagas of Icelanders: a selection. Penguin Books

Pires, Hélio, (2017). Os Vikings em Portugal e na Galiza: As incursões Nórdicas Medievais no Ocidente Ibérico

Price, T. Douglas, (2015). Ancient Scandinavia: An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings

Simek, Rudolf, (2007). Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Translated by Angela Hall

Sturluson, Snorri, (1997). The Prose Edda. University of California Press. Translated by Jean I. Young

Turville-Petre, E.O.G., (1964). Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia.

Álfablót – a sacrifice to the Elves



You can also watch the video about this subject in here: [The Álfablót]

 
In northern pagan traditions there is a celebration called Álfablót – a sacrifice to the Elves. This was a celebration held at the end of autumn, but we have to take in mind that to our Norse ancestors autumn did not count as a season. There was spring, a short summer and a very long winter. After the end of the harvesting season, when all the crops were reaped and the animals well fed, it was time to go indoors. The long winter and harsh weather forced people to shut themselves in. Just as nature would sleep beneath the cold mantle of winter, all birds ceased to sing and a dead silence fell upon the world, so did humans retreated to their dwellings and spent the winter indoors, surviving by feeding on the stored food. 
 
The true essence of paganism is to celebrate life; to cause facilitate well-being to the family and the community by working together. Each individual plays an important part in the welfare of the community. But the Álfablót is a different celebration, not like the other blóts or other pagan celebrations and festivities. This is a small celebration that can be made by one individual or one family. It was a local celebration at the homesteads of each family, and it was administered by the lady of the household. During this time, strangers were not welcomed near the homesteads when the celebrations were being held, because this is a private blót, a private sacrifice, a moment to be shared with the ancestors and honour them at their burial mounds. A celebration that focuses on the particular affections and love that people feel for the family members that are already dead. 
 
This celebration is not only to honour the ancestors, but also all kinds of other spirits, such as the Elves and the Landvaettir (Spirits of the Lland). The Elves are seen as spirits closely connected to the fertility of the land but also in contact with the dead. They are a source of spiritual power and through them people can communicate with the dead and the gods. 
 
Much like the Celtic belief in faerie, the Norse/Germanic peoples also believed that they were always surrounded by entities of great power all over the land. Gods and Goddesses, land spirits/landvaettir, Alfar (Elves), Duergar (Dwarves), ancestors, Trolls, Huldrefolk and so on. Every entity lived in the land, on trees, rocks, streams, in animals etc. and helped the people in their daily needs, mundane life. They would also help giving guidance and wisdom, or for some, giving a hand in magical works.  People lived in close association with these spiritual entities, and the connections and friendship between both sides were forged through a series of ritual actions. The most important ritual or celebration in this matter was the Álfablót. 
 
The Álfablót was a celebration held during or after the Winternights/Vetrnætr (the three days which mark the beginning of the winter season). The aim of this celebration/sacrifice was to help the participants connecting with the local spirits surrounding their farmstead, and to begin to 
Formatada: Tipo de letra: Itálico
establish the relationship of mutual trust, respect, and support with them. As I've said, strangers were not allowed near the farmsteads during these times. We can assume to know why strangers weren't welcomed and why this celebration was a local family thing, because those that did not belong to the family and had no close connection with the deceased members of the family, couldn't possibly have any link to the feelings shared by each family member towards their own ancestors.  
Strangers should be at their own homes with their own families – this was the main rule. To the Norse, their property wasn’t just their home and farm, but also the place where they would bury their dead. The family’s grave mound was built within the property; the same concept of a sepulchre. It was believed that the spirits of the dead occasionally wandered near their burial mounds, so during the Álfablót the celebration was also held near or on top of the burial mound.  It was important to maintain the bonds of love and friendship with the deceased family members, because the living ones would someday join them. This reinforces the privacy of such a celebration. 
 
This celebration is still held nowadays in many places. Today you can invite whoever you want, because the main objective of this celebration is to be connected with the sSpirits of the Lland. For instance, in Iceland, people still honour the local spirits of the place where they live, and ask them if they can build their home in the area, because the human presence may not be welcomed at such places by the local Spirits of the Land. 
 



References:

Bellows, Henry Adams, (Trans.), (2007). THe Poetic Edda, The Heroic Poems.

Dasent, George Webbe, (2014). Popular Tales from Norse Mythology

Mitchell, Stephen A., (2011). Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages

Örnólfur Thorsson, et al. (eds.) (2000) The Sagas of Icelanders: a selection. Penguin Books

Simek, Rudolf, (2007). Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Translated by Angela Hall

Sturluson, Snorri, (1997). The Prose Edda. University of California Press. Translated by Jean I. Young

Turville-Petre, E.O.G., (1964). Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia.

The Bear - Symbology During the Middle-Ages


A video a little bit different than usual. The symbology of the bear during the Middle-Ages. How it turned from a pagan symbol to a christian symbol of evil and the representation of the victory of the divine forces over chaos, in the early European medieval times. Enjoy! :D





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Summer Solstice - The Celebration of Fire


Whatever it is you want to call it, Midsummer, Litha, Midsummerblót, Saint John's Day and so on, the Summer Solstice is the celebration of the sun and the fire element. Never forget your ancestors and how important fire was to them. There were times when fire was the only ally our ancestors had, which helped them to get warm and to survive. Great celebration to all of you and may the sun bring you happiness and spiritual strength.





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