Wight of the Nine Worlds


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.

Working with the Gods: Skadi

Winter finally came and why not begin this journey with the northern goddess of winter? It seems to me appropriated.

Who is Skadi?

Skadi is the goddess to whom bowhunting, skiing, winter and the mountains are associated with. She is of the Jotnar kin.
The Aesir gods have been at war with the Jotnar kin for many generations and one of the casualties of that war, was Skadi's father. To have her vengeance, Skadi went to Asgard to kill the god Odin for killing her own father. Odin instead of a having a brutal combat with her, he offered her wealth in all sorts of manner and she could even pick a husband from among the Aesir gods, but those would be behind a curtain, so she had to choose by looking at their feet. In this way, she chose to be her husband, the god of the seas, Njord, she was deceived, because Njord's feet were so beautiful, not like the rough feet of Tyr, used to walk in all sorts of battle fields, or Thor's feet, full of scars for having fought the giants most of his time, by looking at Njords feet, she thought that those belonged to Baldr, the most beautiful of all the gods.
Njord and Skadi had so many differences, she loved the mountains and the cold wind, the howl of the wolves and hunting in the shadowed woods and skiing in the frozen lakes. Njord was fond of the sea, hearing the sound of the waves, sitting on top of the rocks at the beach with the salty wind gently touching his face, the sound of the seagulls and the merry singing of sailors near by or at his halls. So Skadi and Njord would have to divide their time and share the likings of each other, Skadi would pass some days of the week at her husband's halls and Njord would pass the rest of those days of the week in her Wife's Halls, so in this manner, they could be together and share the places each one loved and do the things they would feel most happy to do. But Skadi wasn't happy when she was by the sea, the salt scorched her skin, the crying of sea birds ritated her, the sand of the beach bothered her, for eating was always seafood and she hated it and the sun saddened her. On the other hand Njord felt sick with the cold of the mountains when he was at his wife's halls, he couldn't sleep with the wolve's howls, the land was covered with snow, ice and frost, it was a wasteland of sadness to him, no bird singing and it was always meat for dinner. With all these inconveniences, they had no time nor the mood to give love and attention to each other and so they split up because together, they had no happiness.

Working with Skadi.

Skadi loves animal fur, especially white fur skins to wear ( this is because she lives out there in the cold mountains, and in those places, only animal fur will keep someone warm enough to survive). She likes cold drinks and wine. Be very polite to her and courteous, she likes strong and respectful people. She preferes to work with a female spirit-worker,  but she takes both gender, as long as the person is ready to go off with her into the snow. She preferes to come during winter time or if you live in a cold area which has snow most of the year, she will also come.

Jólablót Poem


Cold nights finally came
the wind moans outside
the hearth burns in red flame
my spirit goes far and wide

Frozen trees bore no leaf
darkness falls harsh and cold
snowstorms filled with grief
mountains moaned ; forests groaned

Golden halls full of light
merry singing and tales of old
joyful ghosts came through the night
reminding us of our own folk

Wolves howl upon the gale
and ravens took their flight
we lift our spirit with ale
the land withers in icy blight

Candles lit in the room
rain and snow ceased
darkness dwindle in the gloom
our voices were released

Arith Härger

Cσρуяιgнт © 2012™

Jólablót - 21st of December

Most of you may think that at the 21st of December of 2012 is the end of the world, but i must tell you, it is just an other winter Solstice.

This is the day of the celebration most commonly known as Yule, or for the northern peoples of Europe, the Jólablót, Jullblot or julofferfest. A celebration held for some millenia, well carved in the history of mankind.
This is the day of the year when the night is longer, darkness prevails over the land, but after this day, the sun and its light will return and the days will gradually grow. This day is associated with rebirth, after the darkness, the sun will return and its light will spread all over the land, the fields will be ready to sow, and this union of the sun with the earth is something we all should celebrate. After an entire year of planting and harvesting to gather food for the comming winter, the trials of the year will come to an end, and a new year will begin. This is not only the rebirth of the sun and the earth but also of their children, plants and animals, the sun will help in the fertility of the soils, animals will wake from their slumber and hibernation and we humans will have joyful days when the sun and its warmth will touch our very souls. All of us know that the cold weather and the gloomy atmosphere of winter, leads us to a state of depression which is associated with the absence of external stimulations, and the coming of brighter days and the light of the sun and a warmer weather will give us joy, motivation and inner strength, now imagine how the northern people would feel, they have more cold and snowy days than others, so the coming of the sun, it was a real blessing, and would ensure their survival since it would be easier to plant in soils that would not be burned by frost. So this was also the rebirth of the human soul. In this day, people would gather and celebrate the end of the year and the coming of the new one, oaths were taken at the beginning of the year, and now that it came to an end, oaths were renewed, people would thank the gods and the spirits of the land, who helped them to survive and to ensure the survival of their loved ones, and thank to the ancestors for the protection and good advices. People at this night would also ask the gods for a good harvest in the next year. In the darkness of the year's longest night, the fires burned bright and hot, the fires of each one's house and the inner-fires that we all have, fires of love and friendship.

This celebration begins at Mōdraniht, or Mothers Night, at the sunset of the winter Solstice, the longest night of the year as i already said, and it ends twelve days later on the Twelfth night. You may see some similarities with the christian christmas, but that is the part of the history that most people aren't interested in.

When christianity came into Europe, they tried to erase these ancient celebrations, and turned them into "christian celebrations" that did not existed, but would appear with the same similarities as the old celebrations so that the peoples of Europe wouldn't feel much of a difference and could become christians in a peacefull manner, either that, or they would be forced to become christians, but this propaganda of all these celebrations thing, was indeed a successful plan to bring the pagans into the christian fold. The birth of the sun was replaced by the birth of Jesus, which back then no one knew when he actually born, so by the night of 24th to 25th seemed to be a good day, and this was actually the night when Odin, the all-father of the Germanic people, would come to earth with other spirits and ancestors, to give presents to the humans, and so in this way, father christmas was born. Twisting the old celebrations into new ones of an other religion, didn't turned out good, people were used to celebrate all the feasts which their ancestors also celebrated in their own manner, people didn't want to hear about such new things, about repentance, to save the soul or anything that christianity brought, people just wanted to be free and live happy under the laws of nature, with the company of their gods who were more friends than anything else, this new god, the christian god, would take their freedom away, and in truth that was what happened, not a god taking away their freedom or tell them to do things they didn't want of course, but people who were constantly speaking and acting in his name.

With all of this, i just want you all to remember, that christmas is not about presents or the birht of Jesus, its meaning goes deeper in our European roots, it is about family, and the warm connections we have with our friends, our family members and our ancestors, to remember the deeds of the year and to try to make the next year even better, it is about love and after all the trials of the year, have a little peace with those we love the most.

Happy Yule to all.

( read this before the world comes to an end :P )

If you need more information or if you want to check my works, take a look at my Facebook page and make a like at --> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger 

Yule - 21st of December (introduction)

Yule is the pagan celebration held at this day (21st of December) for at least 2000years before de common era, it was probably celebrated in a even more remote time.
The name "Yule" means "wheel", most likely refering to the wheel of the year and all the celebrations, and Yule being the last one to be held, but its meaning is also connected to the sun that for millenia its symbol was a wheel.
This is the day of the year when the night is longer and the darkness prevails over the land, but it is also the day of the rebirth of the sun. After the long dark days, the sun will "revive" and the days will be longer, light will fill all the corners of the land and with it, joyful days will come. This is also the rebirth of the earth itself, the fields will be ready to sow, the sun and its rays of light on the gradual growth of days will help in the fertility of the soils. But this rebirth is not only about the sun and the earth and their union, this rebirth is also seen in their children, plants and animals and the warmth of the sun will also give light to our own souls, and a new year will come and all of us must be ready for it.

I will write about this day in more detail in the post called "Jólablót" in the "Northern pagan traditions" lable. If you want to know more, check it out.

Fire in Shamanism

Man has aways had a special relation with the fire element. It was through the light of fire, that man saw for the first time his reflection, the shadow of his own body reflected in the walls of the caves, he mistook it as the first hypothesis of this being his own soul. This shadowed reflection might have been one of the reasons that led the early human to start having another point of view about the world, and made him want to paint on the rocks his everyday activity and his relationship with the divine.

In this time, fire started to be the source of heat and illumination in the cold and dark days of winter, it was also the perfect element to change the raw animal meat into a new source of nourishment. Radical changes happen with the coming of fire, changes in their food, in their daily works, to explore new dark paths, to give light in the caves so they could paint and make other kids of art, to wander in the night and also a great change happened in terms of spirituality. Fire helped people to gather around it, and in this way, tribes were formed, and communities start to evolve and spread through the landscape. Mastering the art of the fire was a proof of passage to adulthood and a proof of survival. This also led to the sacred gathering of shamans around the fire, to discuss events and work together.
If we take a look at these shaman gatherings that still happen today, we can see how fire is important in this kind of situation, inside any Yurt, Tipi or other shaman tent. It is the fire that feeds the heat inside the tent, the sound of the crackling fire and the smoke, the first inducing process which heps in the altered state of consciousness or what we call, shamanic trance.
In shamanism, it is believed that the fire is the natural element which helps us to communicate with the spirits and our ancestors, because if you listen close enough, you might hear them speaking to you or with each other, and so the shaman before starting his work, he lights the fire. It is also in the heat of the fire, that the shaman prepares his drum, stretching the animal skin enough so that when hitting the drum, the sound may be similar to the heartbeat.
Fire was the first element that helped in the creation of the universe and our own world, fire was and still is one of the most important elements.

Working with the gods: Mimir

Knowledge is the most precious thing one can possess, besides love. Your home can be lost, loved ones can go away, wealth, power, health, also could be taken from you, even your own freedom and your own life... but no one can take away the things you know, the knowledge you gained with time, that is a treasure well preserved and no one can get that from you unless you give it to them. But with all that knowledge, you have to use it well, with great purposes.

In the Norse pantheon, there is a god, whose gift is, knowledge it self. His name is Mimir, the oracular god who dwells in the sacred well Mimirsbrunnr in Jötunheim. The god gives great wisdom to those who seek him, but nothing of what he gives is free, even the gods must pay a price to learn from him, for instance, Odin gave his own eye to earn Mimir's wisdom.

People speak about Mimir in two different myths. In one, he is a mountain giant, guarding his sacred well. For too long he stood still that he grew with the mountain and became part of it, and in this way, he was turned into a guardian of living stone.
In the other myth, he is brother to Bestla, mother of Odin, Vili and Ve. He was the keeper of the sacred well of wisdom, and whomsoever drank from those waters, gained great mental powers. When his sister married into the tribe of the Aesir, he was also welcomed there. After the war with the Aesir and with the Vanir, both sides agreed in exchange hostages, so Odin sent two gods to the Vanir, Mimir and Hoenir, the Vanir were not pleased with this, and decapitated Mimir. Odin took Mimir's head and cured it with magic and herbs, and brought it back to life. This last myth has two versions. In one, Odin is carrying Mimir's head with him and consulting it for advice, in the other version, Odin droped Mimir's head into the Sacred well of Wisdom, Mimirsbrunnr, and whenever Odin is wandering, he goes to the well and asks Mimir for wisdom and in one time he asked for magical gifts, and so Mimir gave him two ravens, Huginn and Muninn ( Thought and Memory) and what he asked from him in turn, was to dig out his own eye and drop it into the well, in this way, Odin lost his eye and ever since Odin was one-eyed. This shows the importance of wisdom, that one might even lose something of great value in exchange for knowledge, for knowledge might also bring other things of great value if it is used with wisdom.

Mimir does demand offerings in exchange for his wisdom or for some answer to a question you might ask him. He has the power to go into the depths of the sacred Well of Knowledge, but he always wants something in return. He may ask for a lot of things from your part, all sort of things. Sometimes he might ask for a drop or two of blood (your own), and some times alcohol or perhaps a deed that you must perform before he will give you your answer. Be certain of this, that even if the deed sounds easy, when you actually are in the verge of doing it, it will be difficult. Mimir wants to see you work for it, because knowledge never comes for free, you know that, even in your daily life, you have to study or pass through certain happanings in your life, to learn from life it self, and sometimes it isn't pretty.
Another possible offering to him is to offer to be his eyes for a day. If things come up to this, then for one entire day, everything you see, he sees as well. While he may request that you make an effort to observe certain things, he is more likely to let you choose and then see what you pick. He will judge you on what you choose to show him, and he may reject it if he feels that it was not worth the answer.

Working with the gods: Forseti

All of us are looking for justice or trying to see it around us in this cruel world. Seeking this in the natural course of life, some times life it self isn't fair, or the evil deeds of some, may prevail over the weak and defenceless and that has a certain effect on us, and we want to be the judges. Not always are our thoughts righteous, no one can see the sides and the ends of all things.

In The Norse Pantheon there is a god for these affairs, Forseti, the god of justice, judgment, reconciliation and mediation. Son of Baldur and of Nana, this god is the judge of Asgard and he deals with all kinds of subjects, even the mortal ones. His hall is Glitnir, the hall of Justice, with golden pillars. All kinds of folk would come to Glitnir for mediation of their problems, some say that no one came out dissatisfied by Forseti's judgment.

People can call upon Forseti, to help with legal problems or problems with the law, if the one who calls upon him is certain to be in the right side of the law, and if there is injustice working against that person. If not, that person has to make sure that is willing to make amends but only if those amends, are more fitting than any other judgment. Forseti can also be called, when two or more sides are in disagreement, when people must calm down and learn to listen to the other's thoughts, so Forseti may be the mediator in this. Forseti also comes to the lawmakers and lawspeakers, to remind them that their positions of authority must remain fair, and righteous. All laws change with the course of time, all laws shape and adapt to the current needs, and unfair laws must come to an end, and new laws that give equality to all, must be made.

Note: The artwork to illustrate this post is a painting of Forseti, made by me. If you want to see more of my artistic works, check my Facebook page and if you can, make a like here: http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger

The Yurt - In Shamanism

When talking about a Yurt, we automatically think of the Mongols and their round houses built in a peculiar way, but if we look into the ancient peoples of Europe, more specifically the Celts, they also had round houses with a pillar in the middle of the house, especially in Old Lusitania, where the European country of Portugal is now placed. Also the American Indians have that costum, they haven't made their houses in a round shape, but they had the same pillar in the midle, or far into the northern landscapes of Europe in Scandinavia, the Saami people did the same. All of these coincidences have an explanation, but we must go far into the past, when humankind used shamanism as a spiritual guidance and to communicate with the spirits and gods and for my explanation, i will stick to the Yurt, as an exemple of a tribal building with spiritual connotations and an early form of architecture, which revolutionized our ways to build.

All of us have the necessity of protection and to have a place to find peace and comfort, and so we built our homes, and turn the inside of those the most appealing and comforting places as possible, a little corner in the landscape where we make our own world, our own strongholds, where evil can not enter. This isn't different in the context when it comes to build an Yurt or any other building with a similar structure in ancient times, in fact, the purpose of building something in this way, had a more spiritual connection to the lifes of the people in those days.

The Yurt is a sacred space, were a shaman calls for the divine forces and the spirits, a place were the shaman plays his drum, and the sound of it echoes all around, like a sounding box. A place that has no time, were the shaman is closed and away from the world outside, with the creaking of fire and the constant rhythm of the drum as a beating heart, which lulls the shaman in a deep sleep and he travels to other realities. The post rooted in the soil passes through the inside of the tent  to expand the hole in the ceiling that opens to the out side, and the roof symbolizes the celestial dome, where the energies from the spirits and the spirits themselves, come through, and all that energy is trapped inside the tent. The Yurt is a perfect place without interference, it is the barrier between two worlds, our own cozy nest and the vast wild landscapes of the world. In ancient times, these kind of buildings were also the gateway to a third world, the world of the spirits, it was not only a place fo live, to cook, to sleep, and to do all the things we do at our homes, but also a place with a great spiritual connection and importance, a place that we must keep clean of any negative energies or activities. The yurt is also a place of freedom, a place that frees us from the problems of the outside world and our own problems, a place where we can actually solve those.

The physical appearance of our homes has changed dramatically over time, but it still has that cozy connection to peace, the place where we run back to hide, after and hard day outside, a place where we can hear our own thoughts, where nothing and no one can break through and bring chaos and change the entire site inside, turning it ino a strange, sad and gloomy dwelling, because that place is our own fortress, and we must defend it agaisnt those negative forces that may bring chaos.

Working with the gods: Mordgud

Mordgud is the guardian of the gates of Helheim, she is the watcher of roads.

She is of etin kind, fierce and with a warriorlike personality, generally dressed in black armour.
She can elude those who come closer, by appearing to them in other forms, to cause terror and fear, such as a skeletal figure or in dark shapes.
She guards the roads that go all the way to the very gates of Helheim, she watches over her tower that stands near the Gjallarbru bridge , built with black stones that are very much common in Helheim and Muspellheim.
None may pass through her without being noticed, she has lots of experience in this kind of situations, that is why she also has great wisdom to share with those who need to be constantly watchful in their lifes.
If you try to go over the bridge, she will hold you and you must state your business there, if you have none, she will put you on the right road to turn back, but if you have a purpose in Helheim, she will demand that you leave something behind as a token of your good will and behavior and you must give to her the most precious thing you have with you. Do not worry, she will give it back to you when you past by that road again to return home. Some people say that she asks for your ancestry before you go through, in case that you don't know who your ancestors were, don't lie, do not make them up, always tell the truth.
She may have some similarities with Heimdal, but she is a deity also turn to the business of the dead and with death itself, one may seek her out for help to know the way of their right place upon death if they feel lost or misplaced. She helps people to pass peacefully into the next life and she also supports those who are waiting for a loved one to pass over.

Like Heimdall, Mordgud also blesses and watches over those who stand guard, such as security guards and watchpeople. However, while either of them will bless any guard, Mordgud has a special place in her heart for those who stand guard in difficult and heart-wrenching places, such as prisons and mental institutions. She can be called upon not only to keep a guardian safe and alert, but to keep them from giving in to despair or hard-heartedness.

Personal Note: Recently someone asked me what does an owl stands for shamanically, and for those who often see many owls and if these birds come frequently to visit, or if people dream with owls, this may mean a lot of things, for the owl is one of the most difficult animals to "translate" as a totem, but one feature that is common in the owl, is that this bird is a nigh-watcher, vigilant, always alert and with a very good night-sight, which means, that the person may have the need to be in constant watchfulness, their friends may not seem what they are, enemies are in every corner. But this also means that, as the owl has a great night-sight and sees what others cannot, this person also may have that gift, to see beyond the veiled darkness between this world and the world of the dead, in connection with the spirits of the dead. It is curious that some peopel in paintings or drawings, make Mordgud with an owl by her shoulder. This only intensifies the bond that she has with death and with vigilance.

The Nine Worlds: Niflheim


The name Niflheim means, The Home of Mists, In the norse mythology and cosmology this is a cold and frozen realm, one of the two worlds that collided and created all the other worlds and life forms, and when i mean worlds, is it because in the myths, there are nine different worlds, but in truth, it is just one, huge enough, with many realms, with different weathers in each one and different fauna, this led people to belive, that there are different worlds, because each realm they visited is so vast, that seems to be a world.  

In this frozen realm, glaciers and mountains were once solidified a long time ago by a great river called Elivagar, the meaning of its name is, icy waves. This great river crystallized all things into frost, and thus, everything turned into ice. When Muspelheim collided with Niflheim, fire and frost, the ice in Niflheim began to melt away in the southernmost areas. By this time, the first being was created from this union, Ymir the frost-giant.

 Time and Seasons: 

There are a few seasonal changes in Niflheim, but those are very similar to any artic area of our own world. For those who live in the artic reagions, it is easy to them to know which season the area might been in, but for those unfamiliar with that, it might just be winter all the time because snow and frost covers everything. The days are long and the nights longer and at winter, the night doesn't seem to have an end. 


Half of Niflheim is covered in snow and ice, and it will never melt and the weather is often cloudy, one of the reasons that turns to a difficult work to know in which season this realm is, because the sky is covered most of the time. It is easy to get lost in here, since the landscape is covered in fog many times and blizzard conditions with lots of snow falling, the cold is terrible and deadly, this may be the last place you want to get stuck in. Towards Svartalfheim, the landscape turns more mountainous and the ice starts to melt there. In here, the land is nearly all water, with some mountaintops here and there, forming islands. The water that floats here is freezing cold, running with icebergs.

If you are looking for shelter in Niflheim, it's vain to look for any kind of building, if those ever existed, they wouldn't survive the storms. All the inhabitants burrow underground in caves. Frost-etins have made a lot of cave-tunnels, but if you try to get shelter in those, that is a mistake.

The most important geographical feature in Niflheim, is probably Hvergelmir one of the sacred wells. Unlike the other wells that are small, Hvergelmir is an enormous hot-spring of turbulent water from which many rivers flow. Hvergelmir is located near the gates of Helheim.


In the Frozen area of Niflheim, none dwell, but there are some plants near the islands and in the tundras.


Like our artic places, in Niflheim there are some artic-type animals close to the snowy rigions, there are also seals and other cold-water mammals. 

If you need more information or if you want to check my works, take a look at my Facebook page and make a like at --> www.facebook.com/ArithHarger

Working with the gods: Loki

Those who work with the god Loki the Trickster, said to be a very hard god to work with and to handle. The first thing you need to have in mind if you are a spirit-worker willingly to work with this god, is that Loki will likely do things to the spirit-worker, that he/she will not like or expect. The knowledge i have earned with the shamans i speak with and an important friend who is also a shaman ( RavenKaldera ), it was told to me, that when working with this god, it is important to have an other god as your protector, to set limits when working with Loki, so you dont end up "bad" or doing things that goes beyond your likings. Also this god may not stick to the agreement and the rules you may have had and stipulated, before you started the spiritual work.

When inviting this god to work with, you dont have to worry about which food he might like, he will eat all kinds of stuff, but that doesn't go the same way when dealing with drinking, in that he will prefer alcoholic beverages with cinnamon and red pepper in it if possible.

Don't forger and always keep in mind, that if you will work with Loki, you best be prepared for the ways and doings of this god, and it is always better to work alongside with an other spirit-worker who already has a good relationship with Loki or perhaps if you work with Hela, in case you need to protect yourself, you can always call upon Loki's daughter to calm him down.

Ancestors' Blót - 11th of November

Normally, the ancestors day is held at the 1st day of November in the case of the celtic old pagan beliefs, after Samhain at the 31st of October, or in the midle of October with the Dísablót and the Alfablót, which are specific celebrations for the ancestors in the old traditional paganism of the northern lands of Europe.

But in the northern neo-pagan beliefs and germanic reconstructionism there is the existence of the Ancestors blót at the 11th of November, which consists in a celebration, or a blót, to the ancestors, as the name indicates. This celebration is different from the old celebrations to the ancestors, when these feasts were just a family gathering, at the farmsteads, honoring the dead, offering food and drink to the gods and the landspirits, feasts that would also take place at the sacred mounds of the family, and only family members could be around, no other person was welcomed. The celebration of the 11th of November is also a gathering, but in these times of change, all are welcomed to join the feasts and remembering the ancestors of each family, in fact, the main objective, is to remember the ancestors as a whole group of people who used to live in this world, and take care of the land. Today this celebration is turned to nature and to the landspirits living in it, and how we need to protect our surroundings as our ancestors did, and still do. Unfortunately we are living in a time, were we are ruining the planet constantly, but on the other hand, we also live in a time, were communication with other nations, is easier, and it is also easier to alert people of what is happaning to the world because of our deeds, trying to change things and make this world a better place to live again.

Also in America, the 11th of November is the Veterans' Day, remembering those who fought and died for the country, so the Heathen communities and the neo-pagan groups linked to the northern pagan traditions in America, celebrate this day as the Feast of the Einherjar. The Einherjar are the warriors of Odin, the best and bravest of all the warriors that go to Valhalla, the most skillful and the protectors of the innocent, so at this day, it is a good combination to remember those who gave their lifes, for noble causes, i am not talking about wars with other countries, nor political interests, not even talking about specific soldiers of any country, i'm talking about those who fought and died to protect the innocent, each day, those of our ancestors and all the others who were there as a beacon of light and protection, watching for the people who aren't strong enough to protect themselves, for exemple.. a policeman, a fireman, doctors etc. all those who gave their attention and care, and helped the ones in need. This is also what this day is about, remembering the great deeds of others, and try to take similar paths, to become better persons.

If you need more information or if you want to check my works, take a look at my Facebook page and make a like at --> www.facebook.com/ArithHarger

Working with the gods: Hela

Hel or Hela, is the goddess of death and of the underworld in the norse pantheon, i have talked about her in a older post, i will not delve into the subject of who is she and her purpose as a goddess, nor will i talk about her gifts. I will write about her in a different matter. How to work with her and a spiritual manner, of course to those who already know her, it will be easier to interpret.

 Hela is a different kind of deity, while the other gods and goddesses are a symbol of light and we see in them that light which brings us joy and bliss, Hela is the opposite, a darkness that can absorb the light, maybe this is one of the reasons that brought people to fear her, and often mistake her with an evil being, because she also lives in a gloomy place, and with christianity, the term Hell for the underworld, came after her. As you may read in other posts about the gods and mytholgy, you know it isn't such, but it is very hard to work with her, and the spirit-workers working with her, are few, not all have such honor, but those who have, can teach us to think in a different way, and let go all the mysticism and lies that were created around many pagan gods.

Working with Hela:

When meeting with Hela, she likes to drink tea or dark coffee. She also likes alcoholic drinks, but she prefers something that has been home-brewed. Food is rarely important to her.She likes to wear long simple robes of black or in tones of grey. Some Spirit-workers like to paint half of their faces with a "skull-mask" shape in her honor. One of the things that she likes, is to wear a ring on every joint of every finger of the left hand, in order to mimic the feel of hard bones. She may give her left hand to people to kiss. She never holds out her right hand to the living, only to those who have passed on, or are at the moment of dying a physical death. Hela usually works with female spirit-workers, but occasionally, it is possible for her to also call of male spirit-workers.
Hela walks with a limp, slowly, is quiet, and extremely still. When she is speaking, her hands may move and gesture, but the rest of the time she is still as a statue when sitting or standing. She speaks in a hoarse voice, and she is very direct and to the point. If she grips someone's hand or arm in order to say something important to them, some say her touch can burn flesh. 

Suported by Ravenkaldera.

Note: The artwork to illustrate this post is a drawing of Hel made by me. If you have any questions for me or if you want to see my artistic works, check out my Facebook page and make a Like if you can by following this link --> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger

Viking Burial Customs

Much of the knowledge we know about the Viking societies and other northern people from Scandinavia, comes from their burial rites.

After death, it was belived by the Vikings, that they would go to the realm of the their gods, to a place where they would continuing to do their works, their crafts, making battle, hunting, fishing, studying, farming, and all those things people do in this world by that time. As such, they would need in the afterlife, all the tools for each profession, and all the other objects they used in their mundane life, so these things they would take with them to their graves. All the important things of a person, would be taken to that person's burial, in this way, we can actually know what kind of people they were and what things they would give importance to. Imagine yourself, what would you take to the afterlife? I bet nowadays, i wouldn't be something as simple as the things in those times were. Maybe your computer?!

Generally, men took their weapons and other tools of their trade, if they were craftsmen, or blacksmiths, they would take the tools of their work, farmers would take utensils of agriculture and in some cases, dead farm animals would also go. Women were buried with domestic equipment, their jewellery.

We have that common idea. that these burials were made in boats or even ships, and that is true, but not all would be in such matter. Those who could not afford these burials in burning boats, would be buried in land, in mounds, surrounded by a ring of stones, laid out to make a shape of a boat. Also in these cases of burials in land in stone rings, could also be mounds of more than one person, a family burial mound, built near the family's farmstead, so in this way, the family members could visit them and celebrate with them throughout all the celebrations of the year, especially in the celebrations of October, like the Dísablót, Alfablót and the Vinternatsblót, celebrations more turned to the ancestors.

Of course to make a great journey, and one as important as this one, the final journey to the afterlife, food was needed, so in this matter, food was also something of great importance, that these people would take to the after life in their burial. Depending on each one's wealth, all sorts of food would be put in their burial, the food that the northern peoples were used to eat, most of it was seafood and meat, but also fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese, and because food also  requires drinking, cider and mead were the main drinks.
Food is always important for one's nutrition, and in these times, food was even more important than nowadays, it was scarce, and most of the food existed in specific months, such as the fruits, it was important to conserve food for the coming winter, and there were many techniques to do such. Winter was always a trial, and those who had a great year of harvest, and could store food and had time to dry the meat and smoke the fish, would pass this battle against winter, and be happy to see another spring. This was why the food was so important, and as i told you, the northern peoples would only take with them important things to their graves.

If you need more information or if you want to check my works, take a look at my Facebook page and make a like at --> www.facebook.com/ArithHarger

Working with the gods : Idunn

Who is Idunn / Iduna?

Idunn is one of the Asgard deities, a goddess who is seen most of the time as a youthful and beautiful maiden, and hard-working. She is the goddess who takes care of the orchard of Asgard, she takes care of all the fruits for the Aesir gods, and of course, including those very special golden apples so familiar to all of those who know the myths, the golden apples that give eternal health, youth and immortality to the gods.
Idunn/Iduna is a goddess of health and rejuvenation. As a hard-working deity, she believes taht physical labor, is one of the best things you can do for your health, especially working the earth.
This goddess teach us, that the best thing for our health, is to have the proper nourishment. She belongs  to the group of the agriculture and healthy food gods, she is the only such deity who is one of the Aesir.

She is married to Bragi, the norse god of Poetry, and like her husband, she is a peacemaker rather than an affiliate of war.

Idunn can be called when there are any health problems, to get back in shape, over food issues, eating healthy food instead of the so called fast food/ junk food, and as it is expected, to bless those who possess orchard or any other fruit trees.

To honor this goddess, you can make offerings of cider and various fruits, as well as herbs. Taking care of trees, working in gardening, it doesn't have to be your job, but an hobby, taking care of the earth is a great way to honor her and other agricultural gods, as well the landvaettir ( the spirits of the earth ) and a great way to do a regular exercise which is good for your health. Making your own garden, planting and harvesting. eating more fruits and vegetables, without the overuse of pesticides that takes away the very health of what you plant and it takes away yours as well.

Samhain - 31st October to 1st of November

Samhain is the Gaelic Irish word which means "November", in the Scottish Gaelic is means "all hallows", were the "all hallows eve" has drifted, and later it came to be the Halloween that everyone knows about.

This is the time which is belived that the dead spirits and all the ancestors can come to this world again, visiting us, passing through a tiny gap that is open, a door between this world and the world of the dead. The living can also travel there and be in contact with not only their ancestors, but also the gods and other spiritual beings. This is also a time, when many spiritual beings come into this world, to "hunt" for souls of those who are lost, or to those who have been chosen to take their part in this "hunt".

Also this is a time to celebrate the last harvest of the year for the Celtic peoples of Europe, making great feasts and sharing their food with the communities and with the dead, making offerings of wine, meat, milk wheat and other farm food. This food would also go into the ground or the people would put it in the forest, as a gift to the gods of the wilds, of nature and also to help the animals storing food for the coming winter.

This celebration spread throughout the world, and today most people celebrate Halloween, although, most people dont know the origins of this time and why people dress themselves with horrific costumes, but this is because the Celts would wear masks, with the aim of not being recognized by the spirits of the dead, in fear to be taken to live in their world, but also because in this way, both sides, the living and the dead, would wear masks, and no one would know who the spirits and the living were, in this way, everyone could enjoy this time and the feasts of the last harvest of the year, for a new year was coming, winter was the symbol of the end of that great year of harvests, a trial to every living creature.

Samhain was and still is a time to honor our ancestors, to remember them, getting the family together and share the food, tell old tales, remembering the ancestors by their deeds, their actions, and be inspired by what they were.

Note: If you want to know more about the Masks used in this time and why and their origins, you should check the post of 28 of October 2012 called " Spirit Masks in the European Paganism.

Spirit Masks in the European Paganism

You may ask yourself, why do we dress in spooky costumes at Halloween, where did this tradition came from? I'm about to answer that.

You may have heard about Samhain, the festival that takes place at the 31st of October to the 1st of November, a pagan festival that dates to a time before our common era (B.C.E.), an harvest festival that the Celts and the Gaelic peoples used to celebrate, it was thought that in this day, the spirits of the dead and our ancestors could come back to us, visiting the world of the living. The Celts both honored and feared this time, afraid that the dead and other spiritual beings who weren't that "kindly", might take them to the other side, so the celts would put masks on their faces so they couldn't be recognizable. The spirits of the dead would do the same, and everyone could enjoy this time and this festival, dancing and chanting, no one could guess who were the spirits and who were the living ones, because all of them were wearing masks. But this is a subject for a later post.

Wearing masks is in fact a tradition that goes far beyond the emergence of the Celtic culture in Europe, it is indeed a tradition used all over the world that has at least 30.000 years old. In a time when shamanism was practiced all over the world and was a profession that needed to exist and all the community in a certain area, needed a shaman, a person who could teached about the human existance and the meanings of the natural world, a person who also could taught how to respect all living creatures, a healer of both body and soul, a person who could speak with the world of the spirits and the spirits of the land, by means of entering in trance, lets just say that a shaman, was a person with many teachings, knowledge and professions concentrated in just one mind.

To enter in trance and speak with the spirits, ancestors and to the gods, the shaman used many techniques, many are not "recommended" because it involved an extreme detrition of the body and physical health. But there were other techniques, more peaceful and less stressful and exhausting, such as the rhythmic percussion of the drum, frenetic dance and chanting, and the use of a mask.
The shaman used the mask, so when working with the spirits, he couldn't be recognized by an evil spirit who could try to make him harm, and the use of the mask, was also a symbol of the body changes the shaman could pass through in the other world, becoming a better being. Most shamans all over the world use this spirit mask, and sometimes the spirits are so used to have the presence of a particular shaman, that he will always use the spirit-mask they are used to know, otherwise, they will not know if that is the same shaman, and will run away from him.

As an exemple, the spirit-masks of the Siberian shaman, is called abagalei, made of wood and Squirrel hair implants as beard and eyebrows. The mask is a symbol of the spirits inside the shaman, and he wasn't himself anymore, he was now "vehicle" that could be used to communicate with the spirits and with the gods.
An other exemple is Odin himself, the King of the Aesir gods in the Northern pantheon, he is the most famous shaman and he is also called Grimr which means "the masked".

These traditions were taught from generation to generation, till the coming of the Celts, who left much of their traditions, culture and art, well rooted in Europe, and so the people, till nowadays, still use many masks at the day of Samhain, because in a way, it is still the day when the dead can return and communicate with the living and vice versa, although most people dont know why, but in many countries, there are still many festivities were the use of masks still symbolizes the ancestral traditions of working with the spirits and be in touch with the divine forces.

If you need more information or if you want to check my works, take a look at my Facebook page and make a like at --> www.facebook.com/ArithHarger

The origins of Werewolves

We have always heard about werewolves, many tales from different places, most of them from European folklore and medieval stories... but do we actually know where it all began?

What i will write about, isn't to feed any fantasy into the hearts of those who read, rather i will tell about the origins of these creatures, the mystery behind it and in terms of history, how people came to fear, respect and honor it.

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 at the cold winter nights in 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, was a terrible place of both mystery and death, few were those who dared to venture in those places, so this became the scenery of many fantastic tales and the wolves were the symbol of terror and power, these animals were the wildest beings on land 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. However, the tales of the werewolves and lycanthropy goes beyond the ancient Indo-European cultures, for exemple, the Indo-Iranian clans of the Haumavarka, which means, the wolves of Haoma who worshiped the wolves and acted like like them, Haoma is one of the names for the muchrooms called amanita muscaria, which is said to have a lot of psychotropic substances and it was used by the shamans since times long forgotten before any historical record, in a time when the human being still nomad and lived in caves. These muchrooms can lead people to enter in trance, and a shaman can travel into other places far beyond the limitations of the body, and can travel in the form of an animal. In many cultures, the best travel form was the wolf, fast and accustomed to run in several wild landscapes, so many clans and tribes worshiped the wolf, it was a sacred being. These teachings have gone through various generations, from place to place all over the world, such as the northern European lands, where people worshiped many gods, one of those was Odin who had two wolves called Geri and Freki, and of course one of the children of the god Loki, was Fenrir the bringer of destruction.
In the northern lands, the tales of wolves went further than the mythological tales, there was the existance 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 uncomfortable with the cold weather, they 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. In fact, that is what they were, people with the shapes of wolves, who thought that they were wolves themselves and act like them, this was because before battle, they consumed drugs, to be more precise, they consumed amanita muscaria, these people weren't in themselves, they were in trance, psychologically they could feel the difference, it is just like if someone asks you to lift a table, and you dont have the strength or the strength fails you and it is hard, but when you are angry who gain strength and you can lift and throw the table with no problem, people sometimes go beyond the limitations they know they have, when they are psychologically affected, when people are pushed into certain situations, the need of survival comes to the surface and the wild and savage feelings hidden in us, appear, almost feral, such as we were in ancient times and we born as such.
Such as the Ulfhednar there were also the warriors called Berserkers or Berserks, who fought nearly uncontrollable, with trance-like fury who also consumed these kind of drugs that led into a different psychological effect.
Also in the Northern lands, the outlaws, murderers, defilers of temples and thieves, were given the name of Vargr which means wolf. Such people weren't killed by their actions nor arrested, they had a worse fate ( at least for these times ), 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 the wolves do. Everyone could kill them, hunt them on sight, with no penalty nor punishment, because the Vargr were animals now.

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 as a wolf warrior, would go into the swamps, and left their clothes behind, symbolically this is the abandonment of the human form and its identity as a member of a community, living now out of the civilized world and learning from the wilds. These people were called wolfmen or werewolves.

If you need more information or if you want to check my works, take a look at my Facebook page and make a like at --> www.facebook.com/ArithHarger