Publicada por Arith Härger / 11:57 PM /
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.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 10:05 PM /
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
Cσρуяιgнт © 2012™
Cσρуяιgнт © 2012™
Publicada por Arith Härger / 1:16 AM /
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 )
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Publicada por Arith Härger / 12:05 AM /
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.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 8:53 PM /
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.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 12:03 AM /
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.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 1:52 AM /
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
Publicada por Arith Härger / 12:26 AM /
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.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 8:51 PM /
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.