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.

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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Werewolves in Norse Mythology



You can watch the video about this subject in here: [Werewolves in Norse Mythology]


There is this idea that werewolves are exclusively from eastern Europe, but I’ve collected a lot of tales about werewolves from places I wouldn’t even imagine that such tales were part of the local folklore. But then again, it’s not surprising, because at some point in prehistoric times, our ancestors’ spiritual practices were very much connected to animal totems, the power of animals. As I’ve said before, in Europe, the animals connected to royalty, courage, the warrior spirit and such, were the bear and the boar. These two animals were the most representative creatures of every European culture. And then there was the wolf. The wolf was something else entirely. 
Beyond the borders of the villages and the boundaries of our familiar world, there lies vast, wild and solitary landscapes. When night comes, those places become a scenery of dark and gloomy shadows. In the deep forests the famished wolves roam and hunt, howling in the cold winter nights. Howling at the moonless sky. Their eyes glitter in the dark as if they burned with a foul fire. 
The human being has always feared the unknown, and in ancient times, these landscapes beyond their villages, were terrible places of both mystery and death, few were those who dared to venture into those places, so such places became the scenery of many fantastic tales and the wolves became a symbol of terror and power. These animals were considered to be the wildest beings on earth, always searching for the kill, so it is perfectly natural that these natural facts led to so many folktales about werewolves and other mythical creatures. 

Now, let’s focus on werewolves for Northern Europe. We have many mythological accounts about werewolves in ancient Scandinavia. Let's start with one of the most famous tales. The tale of two men, Sigmund and Sinfjötli, who one day find a house in the middle of the woods with men under a sleeping spell. These men had enchanted wolf-skins. Sigmund and Sinfjötli steal their wolf skins and put them on. The moment they do this, they transform themselves into wolves and can even understand the wolf language. Then, after a few adventures and killing other men, things go wrong and one wounds the other, apparently a mortal wound. But things turn out for the best and the two men survive and take off the wolf-skins and destroy them. 
First of all, these two men were in the woods because they were outlaws and lived from robbery and other activities against the law. They were outlaws. In ancient Scandinavian societies, the outlaws, murderers, defilers of temples and thieves, were given the name of Vargr - they were the Vargar - which means wolves. Such people weren't killed by their actions or arrested, they had a worse fate. They were expelled from the community or the tribe and were left in the wild landscapes, as an animal who now needed to survive alone or in a group of people in equal circumstances, just as wolves do. Everyone could kill them, hunt them on sight, with no penalty nor punishment, because the Vargar were animals now. No one considered them as humans; they were mere beasts. 
Another aspect, they came upon other men in a remote area, in the wilds, away from civilisation, who possessed enchanted wolf-skins. Now, we might be in the presence of individuals who are also outlaws, and as such, they are Vargar, or we are in the presence of shamans. Shamans also lived outside the communities, far away in the wilds. But they didn’t live as beasts. They had their own dwellings and most survived because of the offerings the community gave to them in exchange for their power, their assistance in a variety of fields, from healing, to divination, and so on. In the history of shamanism we see many parallels with this aspect. Shamans living outside the communities, being both feared and revered; no one wants them close, but at the same time they need them. There are other tales similar to this one in the northern European countries. In Finland for instance, there are tales about men stumbling upon other men under a sleeping spell. Men with great spiritual power and can even turn into animals, mostly wolves. 
So the two men stole these enchanted wolf-skins and turned into wolves. They either accepted their condition as outlaws, or precisely due to the fact that they lived in the wilds, they encountered a spiritual path, they had contact with a shamanic perspective of life. To our ancestors, spiritual power came from the wilds, away from civilization, going out these to seek knowledge and power. We see this in shamanism, isolation as a shamanic technique to induce trace. The boundary between civilization and the wilds is a parallel to the boundary between sanity and madness, and it’s precisely with that balanced state that shamans do what they do. 
There were also tribes of shaman warriors, which could take the form of wolves in their trance journeys, and they acted like wolves, these shamanic mysteries were preserved as hereditary traditions among some families. These shamans at their initiation rites to become wolf-warriors, would go into the swamps, the most dangerous and wild places of the world, and left their clothes behind, symbolically this is the abandonment of the human form and the identity as a member of a community. These people would live their lives out of the civilized world and learning from the wilds. These people were called wolfmen or werewolves. 

There are other accounts of werewolves in the Norse tradition, such as Ulf Bjalfason, a character in the Egil’s Saga. As soon as night approached, his mood would darken and he had to get away from everyone and being isolated. People started to be suspicious and began to wonder that he might be one of those who changes his skin. People started to call him Kveld Ulf (night’s wolf), cool nickname. We can see in here the similarities with the previous account. Isolation and to become a skin-changer. 

I’m sure you were already thinking about this. Obviously, in Norse mythology, we have the Great wolf Fenrir, son of Loki. Fenrir will kill Odin during the events of Ragnarök. Eventually I shall speak about Fenrir in another time. But Fenrir symbolises the wilds, power, chaos, the other side of things that oppose order, but must exist to create a balance. The wild side of nature, its cruelty and destructive power. As we have seen before, people sought knowledge in the wilds, spiritual knowledge, the knowledge that can only come from the dead, from what is chaotic, untameable, and people have always had this need to try to tame the untameable in order to survive. It’s interesting to see that Fenrir will kill Odin. Odin being the personification of wisdom and power, but Fenrir is also power, the other side of power, the wild power. Two opposites against each other and it’s the wild power that will eventually succeed but ultimately be consumed and fail. Just as we have seen with Sigmund and Sinfjötli, they enjoyed their time being wolves, but could not control the power and the wild side took control of them and one ended up killing the other, 
but taking their wolf-skins off, they became men again - civilized. Fenrir might be the remnants of a prehistoric tale about those who are skin-changers that take the form of wolves and live their lives according to their wolf-totem. Every tale has a moral, and this one would probably be that seeking power is healthy and wise, but be careful to not let yourself be consumed by such power and let it control you. Fenrir also has two sons: Sköll and Hati. One chases the sun and the other chases the moon, every day, like a shadow. Darkness seeking to overcome balance and nature itself. We have the same principle as with Fenrir. 

We know of two other wolves. Geri and Freki, the wolves of Odin himself. There is a great possibility that these two wolves are not just pets, two animals akin to dogs and Odin just likes to have them near, pet them and feed them his food under the table. It’s possible that Geri and Freki represent skin-changers, and that in fact these are two people. Maybe Odin’s own bodyguards, or two chosen warriors of his utmost confidence; the best of the best, the perfect loyal soldiers. There are many archaeological finds depicting figures wearing wolf-pelts.  
In Scandinavian societies, the tales of wolves went further than the mythological tales, there was the existence of the elite warriors called Úlfhéðnar (Ulfhednar) people who went to war dressed with the skins of wolves, and were also warriors with immense strength, who sometimes fought naked, without showing that they were uncomfortable with the cold weather, or the landscape itself, adapting perfectly to the harsh environment just like wolves. These warriors went to battle in some kind of a trance and did not have the need for weapons, they could kill with their bare hands or bite just as a wolf does. In fact, that is what they were, people with the shapes of wolves, who thought that they were wolves themselves and acted like the creatures. There is a great possibility that before battle, they consumed some kind of hallucinogenic, entering in a trance-like state, psychologically they could feel the difference. It's just like if someone asks you to lift a table, and you don’t have the strength or the strength fails you and it's hard, but when you are angry, you gain strength and you can lift and throw the table with no problem. People sometimes go beyond the limitations they think they have, when they are physically and psychologically affected, when people are pushed into certain situations, the need to survive comes to the surface and the wild and savage feelings hidden within us appear, almost feral. Of course these accounts may be exaggeration, but the fact is, we find representations in archaeological excavations, so people probably believed in this and these warriors were actually part of a cult which involved hallucinogenic-drugs and pushing people to their limits, inducing rage, anger, inducing a state of uncontrollable mindless violence – being feral. These people were represented as wolves, from a cult which goes far back before recorded history. To the prehistoric shamanistic communities of wolf-men, or werewolves. 

The Boar in Celtic Culture




You can watch the video about this subject in here: [The Boar in Celtic Culture]


There are many mythological accounts concerning boars in a variety of cultures throughout the world. Boar hunt, and all its process – from tracking the animal, chasing it and delivering the final blow at the end – as always been a very ritualistic activity, greatly linked to initiation rites, tests of manhood, strength and an exercise to prepare for war. 
Hercules chased and captured a ferocious and gigantic boar; the goddess Artemis sent a boar to Calydon to ravage, lay waste, create chaos in that region because Oeneus, the king of the city, forgot about the yearly sacrificial rituals to the gods; in Norse mythology we have Gullinbursti – the god Freyr’s mount - a boar; In Hindu mythology, the boar Varaha is the third of the ten avatars of Vishnu and under that form Vishnu defeated the demon Hiranyaksha. Well, it’s not my intention to give you a list of mythological accounts about the boar, I just want you to understand that this was an animal of great importance in many cultures, but let’s focus on the Celtic culture. 

Through archaeology we know our ancestors started the process of domesticating animals during the beginning of the Neolithic period. Of course they domesticated animals before this period, but the Neolithic marks a time when Man’s actions greatly changed the behaviour and the physical appearances of animals. Changes in the animals eating habits, changings in the habitats, inter-breading to enhance certain features of an animal – the earliest genetic changes – well, a variety of factors which contributed to change the physical appearances of animals. Boars were domesticated and we have transformed them into pigs, and for millions of years, in general to us there as always been this idea that boars were just wild pigs and pigs were domesticated wild pigs. So there was no great difference between the two. However, to the Celts, a pig was a pig and a boar was a completely different creature. In the Celtic languages there are different words for a pig and for a boar, I mean, the Celts didn’t just refer to boars as wild pigs. The Celts did not identify the two animals as being from the same species. For instance, he word for Boar in ancient Irish and Gaelic-Scottish is “torc”, in Welsh is “baedd gwyllt” and in Cornish “bath”, this shows us the singularity of the boar in the Celtic cultures.  

Both the bear and the boar were considered to be the most fearsome creatures of the forests in pre-Christian times and throughout the early middle ages. The Celts highly respected and admired the capacity the boar had to defend itself when the creature felt threatened. So the boar became a symbol of courage and bravery, and also ferocity in battle. To the Celts and also among the Anglo-Saxons, the boar assumes the zoomorphic figuration of the Ideal Warrior, which is why the figure of the boar appears in decorations of weapons and in the equipment of warriors, most prominent in helmets and shields.  

When the Celts went to war, one of the most characteristic objects they would take with them was the Carnyx, those long bronze trumpets, with an animal head from where the sound would come, and most of the heads were representations of a boar’s head, of course there were other 
animal representations such as serpents, but the boar was the most used representation for these wind instruments. The boar being an animal linked to courage, bravery and ferocity in battle, it’s really interesting to see this very creature represented in these objects emitting a battle chant from the depths - frightening. 

The boar is also associated with certain Celtic deities, such as Vitiris, a Celtic god who was worshipped in the British Isles, a very popular deity amongst young warriors and even roman warriors who adopted this god. And the god Mogons also associated with the boar and Moccus a deity from Gaul, worshipped by boar-hunters. The goddess Arduinna, also from Gaul, a goddess from a specific forest in ancient Gaul, and she is associated with hunt and the boar, she even rides a boar. And in ancient Lusitania, the cult of the god Endovélico involved sacrificing boars, and also pigs. So the boar was one of the main animals used in the cult of a variety of Celtic deities. And we have other spiritual/religious references to the boar, such as some of the warriors from ancient Celtic Scotland wore wild boar skins, or even a Celtic tribe from northern Britain, whose name was Orci which means “tribe of the boars”. And then a wondrous variety of statuettes and figurines of boars, and boars represented in coins. The boar was one of the most represented animals, second only to the horse. 

In conclusion, the boar is one of the most representative animals of the Celtic culture, as a symbol associated with war, but above all, courage and bravery, ferocity in battle, and in a variety of folktales and Celtic legends, even the ones about King Arthur, the boar is also associated with magic and the other world, in Celtic mythology, especially in Welsh mythology, the boar can speak with humans and the creature is able to lead people into the world of the spirits, linking the animal to initiation rites; rites of passage. 

The Valknut is a "Lie"




A video about the term "Valknut" and how it has been misused, applying it to the wrong symbol. A possible name to the symbol in question is a matter of discussion brought to light by our new studies. I hope you enjoy it friends :D --- Aside from the English subtitles, this video also has subtitles in Portuguese, Spanish (American-latin), French and Italian. My thanks to all the contributors.





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