Publicada por Arith Härger / 7:43 PM /
(It's gona be Legen... wait for it... dary!)
In European cultures there are many myths of shamans and shamanic adventures. Ceridwen was a great Celtic Shaman who brewed a magic potion to confer infinite knowledge on her son. However, it was inadvertently tasted by her kitchen boy, who thus acquired all her wisdom. During a shapeshifting chase to catch him, she became a hen and he a grain of corn.
Ceridwen are the corn and became pregnant with the Celtic bard, Taliesin.
In the Arthurian legends Merlin possessed divinatiry powers and could shapshift, commune with animals and spirits and travel to the otherworlds.
Odin, the chief god of the Aesir in the Scandinavian Pantheon, was another famous shaman. He gave up one of his eyes in return for a drink from the well of mimir, the water of which was the source of all wisdom. He also sacrificed hilself on the world tree to learn the wisdom of the dead, bringing back runes from the underworld.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 7:31 PM /
These altered states of consciousness could also be induced by a shaman seeking to go on a journey. The drum was a very powerful shamanic tool, seen as a mode of transporting the soul in its regular beat as it opened gateways for the shaman. Dancing was another method employed to achieve a trance state, usually to contact a specific animal spirit. By moving the body in a way that mimicked the animal in question, the shaman became that animal and was able to relate directly to it. Costume was also important in this respect and the use of feathers, skins, bones and significant desings was seen as a way of linking with spirits and journeying to other dimensions.
Sacred plants have a long history of being used as a means of accessing the spirit worlds. In Europe, fly agaric, psilocybe mushrooms and doses of helmlock were all used as vehicles by which a shaman could enter an altered state of consciousness. In Mexico, the peyote cactus was, and still is, eaten i na ritual taht takes many hours. The trance state it induces brings the shaman into contect with the spirit of the universe, who grants visions and gives knowledge.
In South America the principal sacred plant is the banisteripsis vine, which has also been used for a long time. The plant is brewed into a drink known as ayahuasca or yagé, which is drunk in a ceremony. It induces similar affects of those of peyote, inducing visionary trances and heightened telepathic abilities which allow the shaman to "tune in" to the different levels of creation or travel to otherworlds.
Because of the powers of these sacred plants, they need o be aproaches with respect. Their gathering and preparation involves a lengthy ritual incorporation prayers and offerings to the spirits of the plants that can take many hours or even days.
Shamans, then, held a position of influence but also oe of great responsibility. The people would turn to them first in matters of importance, and the shamans would use their abilities and powers to find a satistactory outcome.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 7:14 PM /
When communities were much more isolated and self-reliant than modern society is, shamans played and integral part in their cultures, performing numerous and specific dduties. They practised healing in cases of sickness and injury, but they were not specifically healers. Although they cummuned with ancestors, spirits and gods, they were not exclusively priests, and while they offered wise counsel to their communities, they were not solely sages. Rather, they fulfilled a combination of these roles and others besides.
The Shaman Role
To understand the function of a shaman, it is necessary to adopt a world view relative to traditional peoples. Typically, older cultures more in touch with the natural world have been animistic societies. Animism is a term derived from the latin anima, which means soul, and these older cultures held the belief that all things possessed a soul or spirit. The fundamental role of the shaman was to atct as an intermediary in relating to the other spirits of the earth: the animals, the land, the rain, the crops and so on. Because humans were so dependent on the forces of nature and the other beings of the planet, communicating with them was seen as a way of predicting problems of finding a way out of them. The shaman could send his or her soul out on a journey to meet with these other spirits and ensure a successful hunt or determine why a crop was failing, or if there would be a drought. These journeys of the soul could also lead shamans to other dimensions where they would commune with gods, find special knowledge or aquire powers which gave them an advantage when living in difficult times or healing the sick.
It was this ability to travel at will to other realms that marked out the shaman. Very often it was unlooked for, with visions occurring spontaneously, or caused by traumatic experiences such as severe illness or injury. What is iften termed "madness" in modern western society was seen as being "touched by the gods" by traditional people. Shamans usually lived somewhat apart from the rest of the community, because their powers made them diferent from other people. However, individuals who were able to hear voices and experience realities beyond the normal scope of perception were regarded with respect and awe.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 2:23 PM /
Shamanism is essentially a state of mind, a way of viewing life as a whole. The shaman gains insights and wisdom by connecting with other parts of creation and healing the divisions that exist between the saparate pieces. Such divisions can occur anywhere: within the self, within groups, between people and environment, and so on.
The word shaman comes from the Tungusic dialect of the Ural-Altaic tribes of Siberia. Shamans were the priest-doctors of the tribes, responsible for officiating at ceremonies and rituals, tending the sick and caring for all aspects of the spiritual wellbeing of the people.
Shamanism does not recognize age, gender, race or religious doctrines and so is available to all. Indeed, many people have shamanic experiences without labelling them as such. It could even be said that some important scientific discoveries have been instigated by shamanic experiences. Humans are a part of creation and shamanism is our way of connecting with the whole. It is a fundamental part of our heritage and, although the connection my be weakened by modern life, the ability to connect, and the inclination to do so, is still present.
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Publicada por Arith Härger / 2:24 PM /
The Midsummerblót is a Northen European Pagan Tradition, that was held at the same time of the pagan festival of Litha. This festivity was not just to celebrate the coming of the sun and brighter days, it was not just the time to start reaping the crops, it was the time to honor the fire and the nordic sun goddess called Sunna or Sól, although some say that Sól is the mother of Sunna.
For the Northen people, the coming of the sun and warmer days was also the coming of happiness and hope, for in Northen Europe, the winter is longer and colder, and surviving it was a trial of courage and strength, was the prove of hard work through the year, storing food for this great winter battle of Men vs Nature, under the snow, traped at home, with fire the only ally to keep them warm and alive.
At the Midsummerblót, is also important to honour the landvaettir, the spirits of the land, they could be spirits that take care of the crops, take care of the soil, and help mortals in the crop fields, helping establish order and harmony in the land, making the fruits grow, or they could be the ancestors of someone whose land belonged to, and was still there to ensure the survival of the family and their descendants, giving them the opportunity to have a rich and fertile soil.
The fire has always fascinated men, and this element has always been in the celebrations through the year, whether a fire, a candle or just symbolically.
A curious thing is, that the Northern Goddess of the sun was called Sunna or Sól. and the English name for the sun comes from Sunna, and the Nordic names for the Sun, such in Norway and Sweden, are Sol, even in Portugal and Spain, the name for the Astro King is also Sol.. and then again it may not be so curious at all, for the Sun and the fire has always been the most worshiped element in the world, so it is obvious, that the same names were much known for the Europeans.
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Publicada por Arith Härger / 1:54 PM /
Litha is a pagan festival that was practiced all over Europe at this time, today it is still practiced but with chirstian saints' names. This is the festival for the Summer Solstice, these are the longer days of the year, but not the hottest though, the nights are too short and brighter then normal, if you can go into a place withouth the lights of the city, a completely wild place, you will notice in the sky more starts then usual, you can even see clearly the milkyway.
People used to make huge bonefires, dancing around them, and jumping over them, as a test of courage and adulthood. This was also the time to shear sheep, the wool is great to mae every kind of cloth for the winter, and at this time the sheep "thank" for doing that, because it is too hot for a wool "coat" all over them, it is also the time to start the reaping of the crops, which will help people to survive by storing food for the next arsh season of Autumn and Winter.
This festival was a very popular one all over Europe as i have said, the coming of the sun and brighter days, always gave people happiness and streanght, and in anciest times, surviving the winter was very hard, so the summer was really the glorious season of all, where the strongest could enjoy it one more time, after all the "trials" of winter.
The element of fire can be deadly dangerous, but also a useful ally, and at this time, it is the fire's season, it is time to honour it.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 3:02 PM /
I have done this illustration for you to understand better how this method works. But even if you can't read it well, i will write it in here.
The Square of Nine Method
This arrangement of rune stones is an elaboration of the three Norns method and deals with the past, present and future.
However, it also takes into account people and events that you may not be aware of and their bearing on the matter in hand.
This reading also reveals your desires and unconcious attitudes.
This method is particularly interesting because it involves the use of the "magic square". This pattern is a 3x3 grid that in orther European and Middle Eastern forms of mysticism is called the "square of Saturn". It also turns up in the traditions of orient, while the pattern additionally forms the basis of "Compass School" Feng Shui.
As with the nine-rune cast, choose nine runes at random from your pile. These should then be laid out in order, according to the positions given in the above diagram.
Position 1 : The past and its bearing on present events.
Position 2 : Your future state of mind and attitude to the outcome.
Position 3 : Influences on the matter in hand that you may not be aware of.
Position 4 : How these hidden influences will affect the outcome.
Position 5 : Present circumstances.
Position 6 : Your memories of, and attitude to, past events.
Position 7 : Your present viewpoint.
Position 8 : Hidden influences on past events.
Position 9 : The best possible outcome.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 2:21 PM /
I have talked about this subject some times, and i have clearly distinguish the differences between Norse paganism and Nazism. For those who do not want to take the trouble of seeking my writtings at the blog, i will show you an other prove that nazism has nothing to do with norse paganism. Sure they used the rune equivalent to the letter "S" in their special assault forces the SS, and the nee-nazi people use the rune Othila equivalent to the letter "O" , a rune that symbolizes nobility and kingship, a rune of power and connected to Odin, also the swastika, as i told before, it is a very old symbol, as old as mankind, the smbolizes the sun and the ligh in shamanism and in may cultures through the centuries. But that's it, neo-nazis mistake the old symbols of the norse paganism, with this political strand, because the commander and very faithful political "adherent" of Hitler's party, Heinrich Himmler, was very interested in the occult, and was inspired by the old ways and old costumes. So the Nazis did not worship any pagan god, in fact, hitler was very much christian, but suffice to say and it is more correct to declare that the chief deity in nazi germany was not Odin, but Adolf Hitler himself.
Lets see the following passage that shows Hitler's Opinion very clear:
"What nonsense! Here we have at last reached an age that has left all mysticism behind, and now he [Himmler] wants to start it all over again. We might just as well have strayed in the church. At least it had tradition . . . . Isn't it enough that the Romans were erecting great buildings when our forefathers were still living in mud huts; now himmler is starting to dig up these villages of mud huts and enthusing over every potsherd and stone axe he finds. All we prove by that is that we were still throwing stone hatchets and crounching around open fires when Greece and Rome had already reached the highest stage of culture. We really should do our best to keep quiet about this past."
(reported by Speet 1970)
In fact nazi decoration and architecture make it clear that Hitler's greatest inspiration was not ancient germanic culture and scandinavian beliefs, but Imperial Rome.
Few talk about this but, those pagan germans who did not supported the Nazis, went to the concentration camps with the rest of the "misfits".
There is no relation between then Heathen spirit and Norse pagan Beliefs, with the Political Strand of the Nazi party and the neo-nazis of today. If people think otherwise, they are ignorant, and if neo-nazi think of it as well, its even worse, and they are more ignorant, because they haven't study their history well enough, and know nothing about their own political beliefs. There can't be a mixture such as this.
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Publicada por Arith Härger / 1:35 PM /
Charlemagne was the king who helped christianity spread more quickly through Europe, by force, by his armys and slaughtering many who wanted to keep their old faith and the beliefs of their ancestors. After his death, the empire that Charlemagne created, started to fragment, and so for a time people stood still and there was a considerable peace, the Frisians had been converted to christianity and the Franks had their own empire by the cost of many inocent lifes. There was peace now in the countries of scandinavia.
Along the ninth century, churchmen were afraid from the people of the north that still remained faithful to the old gods, and so they prayed to be relieved and be guarded from the fury of the vikings, that to these churchmen, the peoples of the north were even more terrifying because they weren't christians, they were heathens, and for the church, these pagan people worshiped the devil and themselves were demons.
As the north countries and its people began to settling instead of raiding and pillaging, the church saw this as a good opportunity to bring the new faith into their northen neighbors, and many norse princes that were in refuge from the wars with the south and with the christians, saw this as a good opportunity as well, because they realized that conversion to the religion of the kings with whom they had taken refuge, could win them suppot and alliance.
Denmark was the first country to fall under the new faith, king Harald Bluetooth took christianity and imposed it to his people, those that did not want to embrace this new faith and refused the orders of Harald, were forced to do so.
In Norway, at this time, an other king called Harald Hairfair, remained heathen to his death, however, he had many sons who fought over the kingship and sometimes they found in the christian alliances a very useful tool to ascend the throne.
The oldest of his sons, Eric bloodaxe was baptized with his wife, during their exile in the viking lands of England. Harald's youngest son, called Hakon, was fostered by King Aethelstan of England, who raised him as a christian. Harald's great-grandson, Olaf Tryggvason, was introduced to christianity, when he was still a very young man, when he took refuge in Russia. After taking power in Norway, all these kings tried to impose the new religion to their countrymen.
Hakon was the only one of these kings, to be tolerant, and the only one to be called "the good". Hakon was called to the throne by the heathen jarl, when his older brother, Eric, proved to be a tyrant, so king Hakon was indeed a good king, he respected the rights of his own people. When he told his people that they should be converted to chirstianity, they responded that they thought he was bringing them freedom, but now he wanted to take them prisoners into a new and strange religion, and made them forget the beliefs of their ancestors. The people had so far tolerated their king's strange ways in a strange new religion, but wanted him to join them in the autumn feasts, and so he did, a christian amoung pagans, being friends and sharing the heathen drinks to Odin. So Hakon kept the loyalty of his people. He was such a great and good king, that after his death in the last battle, the skald Eyvind sang in the old faith about Hakon and his deeds in the poem called "Hakonarmál".
Olaf Tryggvason came to power, throughout these years, any men had allowed themselves to be baptized, in order to trade with the Christian Europe, or agreed to do so when they were forced by a christian overlord. Many chieftains welcomed christian missionaries and built churches to encounrage christian merchants to come and trade with them, but even baptized, the norsemen still returned to their old ways. King Olaf resolved to put an end to that, the people should be entirely christians, or no christians at all, the old gods and old faith, should be forgotten. Those that weren't persuaded by threats or promises, he slew them, some he maimed, and some he drove away from the land. Olaf Tryggvason pillage the heathen temples and destroyed the images of the gods, those people who were considered to do magic, he drowned, or killed them by setting a bowl full of hot coals on their belly, for exemple, there was a chieftain who was killed by being forced to swallow a poisonous snake.
In the years that followed, the new religion was very much implemented on the land. Churches had been built on the old sacred places and above the mounds of the dead, on the sites of demolished pagan temples, and bishops became powers in the land. The holy feasts became saints' days.
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Publicada por Arith Härger / 4:03 PM /
Most of us love to hear music, any kind any genre, and it helps us to relax.
One of the ways for a shaman to enter in trance, is with music, the beating of the drum and the rhythm it produces, i have talked about this too many times so i will not give too much importance to it now. But imagine how it all began, how the musical instruments were found and made, by the bones of animals to make flutes, the sound of the bow to start making harps and lyres, the drums made of wood and animal skin. Music started with a very close connection to the natural and animal world, and together with the human skills, it was created the first sounds of music in the world that made people laught, dance, entering in bliss and ecstasy. But the rhythm has started long before the human beging made musical instruments, it has started with the beating of the heart, that is similar to the beating of the shaman drum, constante, and that may be the sound that made our ancestors creating an artificial instrument to make the same sound, because as you know, the beating of the heart is relaxing, and babys in their first months in the world, still like to hear it, to calm down and sleep.
But my purpose in this post, is to let you know my first expirience with music in a way of dreams and visions.
I have been a musician for a long time now, at the moment i have stop playing, but i hope to return soo. I have played many instruments and about 2 years ago, my girlfriend bought me an lyre, the sound is beautiful, and as a musicion, it was a great gift and i love to play it. But the first expririence i had with music in the way of having dreams and visions while listening a musical instrument, was with this lyre, i have played a lot on it but my girlfriend one day started to play on it for me, i was lying on the bed, and i was relaxed, my entire body longed for rest, and the beautiful sound of her fingers hiting the strings, well... i felt like a baby in a cradle. So my eyes were half closed, but between the view of my room and my grlfriend playing, there was a secound image, saw i was seeing two things at the same time, and it wasa forest, a very deep forest, and i was standing between the border of the forest and a large valley, with tall grass, very green and fresh, the sky was grey and the weather was wet. and i saw the grass moving, there was something in there that i could not see, coming towards me, and then it was closer, i closed my hands, ready to atacke whatever it was that was coming so fast in my direction, then when it was about less then one meter of me, it got out of the grass and looked at me, a wolf, with black fur, all in black but with kind eyes, it was looking at me and i to him, and then it turn his head to his right looking deep into the forest, and i have also looked, and there was a great mound and a huge rock on it,, and a very tall figure dressed in animal fur, with long black and brown hair, but a shadowy face. I heard in my head, his name was Dagda, it was a man, i hear the wolf speaking to me while i wasn't looking at him, he told me this and it was he who told me to look. then this misty view was gone and i could see my room and my girlfriend playing the lyre without this vision in front of them, blocking half of the view.
You know i study hard the Norse ways and the Norse gods, you can read this in my blog, that i am very into this matter, int othis subject, it is the religion and beliefs of my ancestors, and i keep going with it, but i didnt knew who this Dagda was, so i went searching, and i found that this name was real, those familiar with the Celtic Gods know it better, and it seems that Dagda is a very old gold, as old as the very first Celts at 1500 B.C/B.C.E.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 1:43 AM /
The Nine-Rune Cast Method
This is a method that is very close to the classical rune-casting written about Tacitus. Although there is no formal arrangment of the runes in this method, it is nevertheless a very revealing way of consulting the mysteries of fate. Although your intuition is the most important factor when consulting the runes in this way, there are certain rules that will help you to make sense of the fall of the runes. The best way to do this is to make a note of each rune in turn and possibly also to sketch their relative positions in your notebook.
Randomly pick nine runes from your pile. Hold them in your hands while allowing a question to form in your mind. When you consider yourself to be in a receptive mental state, cast the nine runes onto a white cloth. You will find that a number will land face upwards, while other will be inverted. Those that are upright should be read first (remember to make a note of them in your rune notebook). These runes will reveal the situation that you find yourself in, as well as showing the factors in the past that have led to it.
Once you have done this, look at the runes that lie face up at the centre of the cloth. Runes in the centre are very important, and you should take your time interpreting them. They may advise you on what decisions to make, warn you of future pitfalls or reveal hither to unknown influences in your life.
Now look at the runes that are lying face up on the edges of the cloth (if some have left the cloth entirely, their importance is diminished to the point at which they can be ignored). The general rule is that the further a rune is from the centre, the less important it will be. These runes will show the influence of others on your question.
Now look at the runes that have landed face down. These represent the future and should be read in the order that you turn them over, ensuring that they remain in the same position relative to the other runes. You will find that another level of reading is now possible because the individual runes will form groupings. Some will be found in pairs, others singly or in threes. You can then apply the rules of the single-rune and three Norns methods to find out more about the hiddden meanings of the runic symbols.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 6:55 PM /
This method is named after the three goddesses of fate and involves drawing three runes in precisely the same way as for the single-rune method. The three are then placed side by side and read in order that they were drawn. As the casting's name implies, this method gives a specific reading relating to the past, present and future. The runes of the three Norns method are traditionally read from right to left.
Click the image to see the exemple. If you can't read, i will just write it in here.
Position 1. The place of Urd
A rune in this position reveals events in the past that have direct relevance to the present situation and form the foundations of the future.
Position 2. The place of Verdandi
This rune refers to present circumstances and will point out any choices that will have to be made in the very near future.
Position 3. The place of Skuld
This is likely to be the most difficult rune to interpret because it relates to the veiled future. It may reveal an aspect of your fate that is as yet unknown. It may equally either show the outcome of current trends or provide a possible future scenario that is dependent on the choices that you make.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 6:29 PM /
This type of divination is the simplest of all runic readings. It involves quietening the mind, allowing a passive mental state to occur and then choosing one rune to answer a specific question, or, if used daily, to provite a subject for meditation.
You could also choose a rune before going to bed to reveal what the events of the day meant for you. However, there are considerations to be aware of when using this method: remember that the runes are never flippant and a single rune may highlight a particular issue whithout revealing either the answer to a question ot the outcome. If you are a novice rune reader Odin's rune method as the background to a more general reading rather than as a reading in itself.
The rune drawn was Tiwaz, showing that a firm conviction that the enquirer is doing the right thing, acting with honourable intentions and being ready to play fair in all dealings is the only sure way to win success. Legal decisions will also tend to favour the enquirer.
You can check in the lable called "Runes" to have all the information of all the runes for your readings and devination.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 6:07 PM /
Sigyn is a Norse Goddess who is the second wife of Loki the Trickster God. She is best known for her faithfulness during the period when Loki was imprisoned in a cave, tormented by a terrible venomous serpent. She is a goddess of loyalty and compassion, perhaps the most compassionate deity in the Northern Tradition. This shrine honors her in all her aspects - innocent child-bride, faithful wife and nurturing mother, and mourning mother as well.
The two sons of Loki and Sigyn were named Narvi and Vali, and both met tragic ends. When Loki was hunted down for the death of Baldur, the Aesir transformed one of his sons - Vali - into a ravening wolf and forced him to attack and kill his brother Narvi. Loki was then bound by Narvi's intestines during his imprisonment. Sigyn, having lost both her children, became a goddess of grieving as well as nurturing, and many modern folk have found Sigyn a wellspring of help for those who are also broken and grieving.
This story is for remembering the fates of Narvi and Vali, and all those who are unjustly killed or driven into mental illness by unfair circumstances beyond their control, and may they find help by praying to this goddess or to her both sons.
Sigyn may come in one of two ways - as the child bride, or as the adult woman who has been through Loki's imprisonment. For the first type of spirit-working, dress the (female) spirit-worker in flowing dresses of lavender and pink, and lay out dolls and toys and cake. For the latter face of Sigyn, dress her in browns and give her bread and butter, and fresh milk if you have it.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 5:25 PM /
Yule, the longest day of winter, was her holiday, and until recently she was one of the Christmas gift-givers in parts of Germany. There she was pictured as a red-cloaked witch on a broom who would fill children’s shoes with goodies and then move on. German children left milk and bread for her, in hopes of better presents.
The earlier myth had her leading a Wild Hunt at Yuletide, rife with the howling spirits of her aforementioned dead children, quite different from Odin’s Wild Hunt with its dead warriors ... yet, to my thinking, even more horrific. A Middle Dutch term for the Milky Way was Vroneldenstraet, the highway of Frau Hulde.
Some scholars equate her with Perchta, another Germanic goddess with similar attributes, but much crueler and bloodier. Some of the worshipers of Perchta say the two are the same, but some (especially those who work directly with Perchta) say that they are two separate goddesses who happen to have overlapping areas of expertise.
Third, Holda is a goddess of witches. While many modern Pagans find this to be an insult, created by medieval churchmen who tried to vilify an old and revered goddess by associating her with witch-cults, I am not so sure that this is an insult. Certainly as someone who is a kitchen witch myself, and a former British Traditional Wiccan, I find Holda’s patronage of witches to be comforting and a great honour. During the Middle Ages, instead of leading her Wild Hunt made solely of dead children, she added the ride of the flying witches to it, along with other random heretics. They may either have been the last survivors of a Pagan tradition or simply rebels against the restrictive medieval church, harking back to a more magical time that still bubbled in their blood.
Accounts of these witches claim that they used various methods to leave their bodies and journey to Holda’s mountain, where they hailed her as their queen. In this, we can see that Holda is a goddess who can be called upon for aid in journeying, faring forth in trance. She is also associated with the witches’ work of knot magic (sacred fibre arts), potions (sacred cooking), and shapeshifting into cats or livestock. Every kitchen witch who has found magic in the normal arts of domesticity has entered into Holda’s realm.
Fourth, Holda is a goddess of the Underworld, but despite what some scholars claim she bears no resemblance to Hel. The myth of Frau Holle shows her in a mysterious world reached by falling down a well; other myths show her inside a mountain. This is not Underworld as Realm Of All The Dead, as ruled by Hel, but of a very specific sort of underworld. Both Holda and Hel were associated with the Elder tree, Hollebier and Holantar in German, whose spirit (also seen as a dignified old woman) is said to guard the road to the Underworld ... be it quiet Helheim or Holda’s magical realm. The Elder tree was known as the“medicine chest of the common people” because its leaves, flowers, stems, and berries were all useful for different ailments. Like the Elder spirit, Holda was also associated with bodies of water such as fens, bogs, springs, wells, and ponds. Newborn children were said to have been pulled wet from Holda’s pond. Her Underworld is more easily achieved by falling through the water than walking the road of the Dead.
If anything, Holda’s underworld realm bears more resemblance to the faery realms, the People Under The Hill. This brings us to another point: Holda is a goddess of the faery folk. At least one race of faeries, the Huldrefolk, may be named for her. They were woodwives, fair maidens with cow’s tails which they endeavoured to hide from potential human suitors. In other folktales, Huldrefolk included a number of different sorts of elves and faeries, all under Holda’s protection. In medieval times, faeries were often thought to be the reborn souls of dead unbaptised infants, which brings us back to Holda’s retinue again. Indeed, she is said to ride in another kind of procession, dressed in grey and holding a milk bucket, at the head of a flock of Huldrefolk. In this aspect, she has a special sad music that is sung for her, known as huldreslaat.
Holda certainly has this love of wagon processions in common with the Vanic Gods, who were also often carried about in wagons. Also similar to the Vanic Gods, Holda’s mortal processions sometimes carried either a plough or a ship to symbolize her help in both agriculture and navigation, reminding us or Frey and Njord.
In Nordic literature, there is a giantess named Hulda in Sturlunga’s Saga who may be related to Holda (or may be Holda). In the Ynglinga saga, the Völva and Seithkona named Hulla may be related to Holda. She also may be related to a woman named Hulda who was said to have had an affair with Odin, bearing the goddesses Thorgerdhr and Irpa who appear in various Germanic sagas. They may have been local land-goddesses in Germany, giantesses who had cults in their own right.
Holda is a magnificent Goddess who managed to hold her own throughout the darkness of the Middle Ages, a versatile lady with many different sides to her worship, who deserves all due credit.
Supported by Shannon Graves.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 5:23 PM /
Holda is a Germanic goddess with many interesting characteristics – maiden, mother, hag, spinner, stormbringer, ruler of the Wild Hunt, protector and thief of children’s souls. She was usually seen dressed in snow-white with white or silver hair, regardless of whether she appears as young and beautiful or as an old hag. In this latter form, she is said to have crooked teeth, a big nose, and one foot flatter than the other from working the spinning wheel. She wears keys at her belt, the sign of the lady of the house.
First, she is a goddess of the domestic arts – spinning, cooking, cleaning, and child care. She is a patroness of housewives, and what she values above all is industriousness. There are many legends of her rewarding diligent female workers and punishing lazy ones. She would rock cradles while exhausted mothers slept, and her preference for hard workers is reflected in the German folktale of “Frau Holle”, where a young girl falls down the well into a strange underworld. She helps every creature she meets, and willingly cleans for the old woman in her cottage, after which the old woman sends her back with a gift – a gold piece falls from her lips every time she speaks. Her mother, amazed, forces her lazy sister down the well; the sister refuses to help anyone and the old woman sends her back with a different gift – instead of gold, toads drop from her lips when she says anything.
She was especially stern when it came to women who were lazy about spinning, which was her specialty - particularly the spinning of flax. One legend has a peasant man stumbling into a cave in a mountain where Holda is seated enthroned with maidens clustered about her. She offers to give the dazed man a gift; humbly, he asks for the cluster of blue flowers in her hand. These were the flowers of flax, which according to the tale was unknown in that area at the time. Holda gave the man some flaxseeds, and eventually taught his wife to ret, scotch, break, and spin flax, thus giving us a myth about the beginning of flax culture. Holda was implacable about using her gift properly; hard workers who fell asleep over their work would awake to find their spinning done for them, while lazy women would find their spindles broken or burned.
She was also a protectress of children, although some of her myths might seem quite the opposite at first glance. It was said that Holda collected the souls of dead children, usually infants who died too soon – before being christened in Christian times, before being named in the days before that. In pre-Christian times, children were named at nine days old, and before that were believed not to be attached to the ancestral tree. If they died before that time, Holda would take them on instead of their ancestors. She also took children of other ages, for various reasons. The darker side of her myth had her stealing the lives of otherwise healthy children. She was said to travel as an old woman in a wagon, flanked by a procession of childrens’ dead souls.
Second, Holda is a goddess of Winter. She was said to bring on the first snowflakes of the year; they were referred to as Mother Holda plucking her geese, or shaking out her goose-feather pillows and comforters until the down flew. She is the White Lady during this time, the silver-haired goddess who knits the white blanket of the snow. She was also associated with other weather phenomenon –when it rained, Holda was doing her washing; lightning was her scotching the flax; the fog was the smoke from her chimney. Her association with Winter ties into her craft of fibre arts; winter was the time when people stayed inside and turned the summer’s wool and flax into clothing.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 3:24 PM /
None at all in the frozen areas, except for cave lichens. There is some scrub on some of the mountain-islands in the watery areas. Supposedly there are some powerfully healing tundra- type plants on the islands, but they are hard to find. Their main powers seem to be that they are adaptogenics - helping the body become stronger and more able to cope with stress.
There are a few arctic-type animals in the snowy regions, and there are seals and other cold-water mammals in the watery region. They can be hunted, although you ought to make sure that you are not hunting on the territory of a hungry frost-thurse. If one does show up while you are standing there with your kill in hand, offering it to them as a gift may get you spared.
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Publicada por Arith Härger / 3:17 PM /
Niflheim means, literally, the Home of Mists. It is a cold and partly frozen realm, one of the two primal worlds that collided and created the basis for all the others. In this freezing realm, glaciers and mountains of ice once solidified long ago from an ancient river called Elivagar, meaning Icy Waves. It was a river of poison, of a sort which crystallized all things into frost. When Muspellheim collided with Niflheim, the frost began to melt in the southernmost areas, and the first being, Ymir the frost-giant, was formed. Elivagar's drops are still present in Niflheim, although they are spread throughout the world, but even their diluted form is enough to keep this world cold-to-frozen.
Time and Seasons:
There are seasonal changes in Niflheim, but they are similar to that of an arctic area in this world; in Greenland, the Inuit might easily be able to figure out what season a snow-covered country might be, but it would all look like winter to those unfamiliar with the area. The days are long, several days' length in our time, and the nights are longer, and they extend even further in the winter. Since the skies are rarely clear, it is difficult to tell anyway.
More than half of Niflheim is covered in snow and ice that never melts. The weather is often cloudy; it is not named the Land of Mists for nothing. Typical weather might include dense pea-soup-thick fogs that roll over the land, or blizzard conditions, or fog with snow in it (lovely combination for a traveler to get lost in). One might even see thunderstorms with snow. The cold in these areas can be brutal and bitter, and it is best to wear warm clothing. As the Home of Cold, this world does tend to suck the heat out of even stalwart types. It is a very dangerous place to get stuck.
Towards Svartalfheim, the terrain gets more mountainous and the ice melts; here the land is nearly all water with random mountaintops forming steep islands. The waters float with icebergs, so boaters should take care. The water itself is near-freezing cold.
There are no aboveground structures in Niflheim; not that most buildings would survive the dramatic storms anyhow. All the inhabitants burrow underground in caves. The exception is found at the border of Niflheim and Helheim, where Mordgud's Tower stands along the Helvegr. Frost-etins have elaborate cave-tunnels, but wandering into them without invitation, even to get shelter from the weather, is a mistake.
Probably the most important geographical feature in Niflheim is Hvergelmir, the great well called the Roaring Cauldron. Unlike the other two sacred wells, which are small, Hvergelmir is an enormous frothy whitewater hot-spring of roiling, turbulent water from which many rivers flow. It is not safe to be too close to it, as it often overflows its banks and floods the area. Due to the cold, the waters often freeze into ice, and Hvergelmir is surrounded by fantastic naturally-formed ice sculptures like frozen waterfalls. Sometimes one can also see ice sculptures actually created by frost-thurses around the rim; it's one of their favorite art forms.
Hvergelmir is the source of all the rivers in the Nine Worlds, flowing upward through the Tree. Why water flows upward here is uncertain; it is one of the mysteries of Yggdrasil, and reminds one of the old Indo-European idea that fire that fell from the sky and water that bubbled up from the ground was sacred. The major rivers that flow from Hvergelmir are named Svol, Gunnthra, Fiorm, Fimbulthul, Hrid, Sylg and Ylg, Vid, Leiptr, Sid, Vid, Sekin, Ekin, Gipul, Gopul, Gomul, Geirvimul, Thyn, Vin, Tholl, Boll, Grad, Gunnthrain, Nyt, Not, Nonn, Hronn, Vina, Veg, Svinn, Thiodnuma, Slidr (a river flowing with sharp knives of ice and flint whose name means "fearful") and the great river Gjoll, which runs parallel to the Gates of Helheim. As the river Gjoll moves away from Hvergelmir, it goes over an enormous waterfall called Franangr, behind which are a series of refuge-caves that only the brave can reach. One of its claims to fame is that Loki once hid from the Aesir in the form of a salmon beneath Franangr's billows.
Hvergelmir is located close to the gates of Helheim, and next to it emerges the third and lowest extruded root of the World Tree, Yggdrasil. It is hard to envision how enormous this root is. It is the size of a small mountain and runs literally off the boundary of Niflheim and into Helheim; the walls of Hel pass over it like a bump in the landscape. The dragon Nidhogg, a thirty-foot wingless earth-dragon in colors of silver and blue, crawls back and forth over that wall to gnaw at the great root on both sides of the border. Nidhogg can generally be safely observed from a distance; she rarely attacks or even takes notice of travelers.
The watery area of Niflheim is filled with many small islands, like small mountaintops protruding up from the waters. Sometimes they are almost indistinguishable from the icebergs that also float around; sometimes the icebergs collide with them. This area of Niflheim is home to some duergar who have wandered from their native land and dug out the frozen mountain/islands, and their islands actually have the names of the duergar who own them. (There are frost-thurses living on the islands, too, but they don't seem to need to name them.) Courtesy dictates that visitors to the duergar islands find the residents and announce themselves. Some will give you succor, and some will simply grunt and go on their way. As opposed to the family-and- tribe-oriented duergar of Nidavellir, these mostly seem to be antisocial single males, who drifted to Niflheim in order to get more silence and privacy. They don't tend to enjoy visitors, and most prefer to be left alone.
The most famous is Lyngvi Island, which is claimed by a dwarf named Lyngvi, in the middle of a small lake called Amsvartnir due to its dark waters. This island is used by the Aesir, with Lyngvi's permission, to house the most famous current prisoner in the Nine Worlds - Fenris the Great Wolf, son of Loki. The water on the eastern side of the island is stained red; two streams of blood pour forth from Fenris's sword-pinned muzzle and trickle out of the cave mouth and into the small bay. An enormous stone (called Gioll, and covered with protective runes) covers the cave mouth, with just enough room for a person to squeeze through. A hole bored in its center gives forth a magical cord, called Gelgia, woven of the hair of many of the Aesir. It is attached inside to the magical chain that binds Fenris, created sorcerously from the six impossible things. The other end is attached high above to another enspelled stone called Thviti, also covered in runes. The reason that the stones and the cord have names is that they are alive, with guardian wights invoked into them that never sleep.
It is possible to visit Fenris - Lyngvi himself does not think of himself as a jailer and doesn't seem to care one way or the other about the prisoner chained in his basement - but one ought to be strongly aware of one's reasons for doing it. Gawking and mocking at the great beast is not a good enough reason. Fenris may be powerless, but he has relations all over the Nine Worlds who check in on him, and disrespect will get you marked down in a bad way with them. Attempts to free him are futile, as the divine magic that imprisons him is far stronger than even a team of human sorcerers could budge.
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