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.

The Mesolithic Lunar Calendar

The other day i have been writing about the Moon and its importance for our ancestors in ancient times and today i came across a very interesting article about an archaeological finding which comes to prove what i have writen, about our ancestors guiding their lifes through the phases of the Moon rather than the Sun as we do today.

We often hear the words Ancient Astronomy, and we quickly associate that with Stonehenge, or the ancient pyramids of Egypt or even the Mayan stone calendars, which isn't incorrect, however a recent discovery in Scotland shows that these type of ancient calendars are from an early period when compared to these new discovery. In Aberdeenshire in Scotland it was found in 2004 ( however only recently after many years of research we know its true secrets ) a very sophisticated calendar construced by the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers living around 10.000years ago, which consists in twelve pits dug into the earth perfeclty aligned with the lunar progression through the year, this enabled people to determine accurately the Moon's progress by moving a marker post along the arc of the pits, interesting to see that the variable depths of these pits enabled people to measure the cycle of each lunar month, the pits themselves were arranged in a shallow arc, possibly trying to symbolize the movement of the Moon, those pits at one end starting small and shallow, then increasing in diameter and depth towards the middle of the arc, before deminishing in zise again at the other end. This arrangement divided each lunar month into three ten day weeks, representing the waxing moon, the period around the full moon, and the waning moon. There is also an alignment of the midsummer solstice, this might helped people "recalibrate" their lunar calendar. The calendar was still in use around 8.000 BC still in the Mesolithic era to around 4.000 BC the early Neolithic, this might had been the calendar that helped people gaining their knowledge to create other astronomical monuments in the late Neolithic era including Stonehenge.
This is a very interesting archeological finding, showing that in this period that was already an astonishing sophistication in these hunter-gatherers, and their everyday life was probably more nocturnal rather than a diurnal life, the opposite of us nowadays.

As I have writen on another post, to these people the nocturnal life would have been easier for them to hunt, or to move from one place to another without being seen by other rival tribes, the phases of the moon marked the time they spend from one place to another, or how many phases of the moon or how many moons whould have to pass to go from a neighboring village and back. As the moon also has an influence in the tides, by knowing its phases and how it moves across the sky, was vital for these people in relying on the sea for their food, people could predict when the tide would be out and when they should coordinate their gathering of crustaceans, seesnails, limpets, clams and other shellfish species, or they would also know when the ocean itself was far less tormented and could go out fishing.

Taking into account the size of this calendar, it was probably consulted by the entire community as it happens in Stonehenge, there might have been the existance of a spiritual leader, a shaman, with special knowledge about the spiritual world, designing and operating the calendar, these spiritual practitioners may have been women, as it was among the Norse/Germanic communities, with their menstrual cycles adhering to the cycle of the Moon.

Note: 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

Freyja the Goddess of Love and Fertility

The goddess Freyja is one of the few Norse Deities i haven't talked about much, which is a major flaw from my part because she is a very importante goddess, and she is more than just what people are used to hear about her, the goddess of Love, Beauty and Fertility.
Freyja is the current female ruler of the Vanir tribe of gods and all of Vanaheim, along with her brother Freyr, the lord of both Vanaheim and Alfheim. It is true that Freyja was once married with her own brother Freyr, the union of the two deities of fertility, together they ruled not only over the land and its fertility which is a major need to the Vanir gods for they are bound to the very earth and work hard in agriculture, but also with the fertility of all living creatures. After the war ended with the Aesir agaisnt the Vanir, Freyja, Freyr and their father Njörd, were fostered to the Aesir as hostages in Exchange for Honir and Mimir that went to the Vanir side, an agreement of peace between the two tribes, after this a new law was established by the Aesir gods, that the marriage between siblings would come to an end, and so to Freyja and Freyr new marriages were arranged. She was married with the god Odr to whom she bore two daughters, Hnoss and Gersemi.

As it is often heard, she is indeed the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. Love and beauty are often linked, for love is the primary force, the greatest feeling in which we can see beauty in the things, or people, or animals we love, she often shows people the worth of love and how it is crucial to achieve it, and she encourages people to also love themselves the way they are, but not just sticking to that, because some people don't like the way they are and start giving up and with time they will not love themselves, they will just get used to what they are and forget about the rest, and being used to something or someone, isn't love, love is about caring, taking care, is about the deepest feeling for someone but without forgeting ourselves, and loving ourselves isn't getting used to the way we look, is about taking care of ourselves, doing exercise, eating healthy, and it isn't agaisnt nature to put a bit of color in you, beautiful clothing, makeup, jewelry, to enhance your beauty, that is something that we human being do for at least 36.000 years.

Freyja is often called to help with fertility problems, and she does when it comes to us human beings, but she is more turned to the fertility and fecundity of animals and the land especially. However she helps with the fertility of us humans that are in need and ask her that, she is closely connected with all female aspects, be that human or animal.

Freyja is also associated with magic and the old spirituality of the Norse people, Seiðr, we can see this association because she owns a cloak made of falcon feathers which allows the wearer to fly in the form of a falcon, this shows her connection with shape-shifting magic, the kind of power a shaman uses while in trance, animal forms to better adapt to whatever environment, landscape or weather when travelling in the spiritual world. She also has a connection with Horses, she has a title which is "Mare of the Vanir" connecting her to the horses but also emphasizing her role as a fertility goddess.

This goddess is also associated with war and death, such as Odin whose Valkyries/Valkyrjas choose the slain from a battle and carrie them to Valhalla, Freyja keeps half of the slain in her own Halls called Sessrumnir in Folkvangr.

Neo-Pagans nowadays who follow the Norse culture and beliefs like to call themselves Asatru while not knowing the full meaning of the word, Asa comes from the norse word áss which is the word for god and aesir for plural, but the word is associated with the Aesir gods only and Trú means faith or religion in the old Norse, so basically this is the worship of the Aesir gods, not including the Vanir or the deities of the underworld and other beings, and often these Neo-Pagans talk about Seiðr, the magic, spiritual and shamanic arts of the Norse people, but Seiðr is an exclusive art that comes from the Vanir gods and Freyja is the goddess more connected to that and she is the one who teaches that to people and to the other gods, so when people want to practice Seiðr, they are forced to worshiped Freyja and the other Vanir gods, of course that people can only worship those and call themselves Vanatrú, but in my point of view and personal experiences with the Norse deities and spirits, and with shamanic practices, all deities are equally importante, there isn't the existance of a good god or and evil god, all of them have their own skills, area of expertise, flaws, good aspects, and so on, with very human emotions and behaviours, there isn't perfection, there is the importance of being balanced between all things and express ourselves through our honorable acts.

Note: The artwork to illustrate this post is a drawing of Freyja 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

Cult site to the God Ullr

Nowadays it seems that the Norse paganism and all the stories around it gained new fans, after too many centuries veiled under the purple cloth of christianity. Unfortunately people can't name 3 gods that aren't Odin, Thor or Loki, and even those they don't know that well, apart from being some Marvel Heroes, it is interesting to know that people nowadays are talking again about Vikings, and the Norse gods, and the Norse traditional paganism and so on, but only few are really connected with these traditions, only few make of this their true spiritual beliefs. Today i will write about a god that it seems to be forgotten for too long, even by those who closely work with the Norse pantheon, his name is Ullr, God of skiing, hunting and the wild cold forests, once a very powerful god, worshiped as much as Odin or Thor was, perhaps even more, this god may have been one of the most important gods to the Norse/Germanic cultures, for there is a tale that he sat on the throne of Valhalla, while Odin was expelled for a crime, and even after his return, Ullr sits on that throne always when Odin is out, to maintain order and to rule over the people of Asgard.

I have talked about this god at another post, so today i will give you one more proof that this god was one of the most worshiped at the time, by the archaeological findings of Bro, Uppland, outside Stockholm in Sweden. In this area it was found a well preserved archaeological finding, in a place called Lilla Ullevi, or Little Ullevi meaning "place that is sacred to Ullr" and what was found actually tells us precisely what the name implies. The site includes remains from different periods in time, to the 5th century extending to the 17th century, but the collection of stones are from the Vendel and Viking periods. An huge plataform with two stones where a large wooden construction once stood there, and it was also found 65 amulet rings.
It is possible that these rings were used and throwed there to swear oaths, for Ullr is the god of oaths also and he was called upon to witness the oaths, or to forge alliances, or even in terms of trials, if someone was convicted of a crime but if someone had any proof that the person was inocent, he or she would swear and oath to bear witness that the person that was being judge hadn't committed any crime, and the oath rings were cast into Ullrs shrine so the god could help in these moments of trial.
Ullr belongs to the tribe of the Aesir gods but he also has affiliations with the Vanir, he is a god that goes to and fro from tribe to tribe, easily welcomed by boths sides, it is possible that he may be another diplomat of the gods such as Bragi, but with more power and respect, sent by the gods or going willingly in diplomatic affairs with great importance. 

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The Powerful Bear in the Northern Tradition

As the other day i wrote about the Boar as a very powerful symbol in the old European Traditions, i wouldn't want to left another powerful animal behind, which is the Bear, strongly worshiped by both Europeans and the indigenous inhabitants of northern America and Alaska.
For many cultures, Bears were the kings and queens of beasts, the rulers of the wild, the animal on the top of the food chain, for animals such as lions or other fearsome large felines didn't exist in these areas, well in truth they did but it was so long ago and for a short period of time in the early human lives, that people gave more importance to the Bear, for that animal accompanied the lives of human beings for much longer The Bear was also considered to be the old, wise and wild brother of us humans, as Bears can stand upright like we do and walk if only for short periods. For this reason, the Bear was thought to be the mediator between us humans with the spirits, and there was much respect for this animal, caves were found, containing arranged Bear skulls, in honor to these creatures, as altars from the Paleolithic era, a cult to the Bear that dates from at least twenty thousand years ago (20.000).
Bears used to be all over Europe, from the far shores of the Mediterranean Iberian Peninsula, all the way up to the North of Scotland, to Scandinavia and the Eastern regions of Siberia, unfortunately nowadays we can only find these creatures in the cold north regions, and the tales about bears from the people living in those regions are many especially from the Finns, Saami and the Siberian tribes.
The bear wasn't just a sacred animal to these people, it was also the source of food, even to the Saami before they had learnt to have reindeer herds, but the respect for this animal wasn't less just because of that, as a matter of fact most animals that were sacred were also eaten and there was always respect for these creatures and there was always special rituals to hunt an animal, to honor the spirit, the life and to thank them for their purpose. In the case of hunting a bear, it was always done during the hibernation of the animal but it was always awakened first, because killing a bear during their sleep, was considered to be dishonorable for both the hunters and the bear, and cowardice for the hunters, after the successful killing of the animal, the hunter or the hunters had to pass through many rituals in order to be safe for the hunters to get in the village, so people could be saved from the spirit of whom the hunters had killed, to keep the spirit from having its revenge upon the tribe, or to keep the spirit of the Bear King or Queen from having its revenge for killing one of its children. During the time of the rituals, no one could look the hunters in the eyes nor talk to them, only the hunters could butcher and cook the body and no one else could come near it before it was ready to be eaten. Before the feast began, a speech of apology and thankfulness was given to the bear, and afterwards the bonés of the animal were buried in a sacred place. These king of acts are still very common amoung shamanic tribes that still exist today, the so called taboos among the shamans and their families, and everyone must respect that and the spirit of the animals in order to safeguard the families and have prosperity and happiness.

To the Norse people the Bear was also a very powerful symbol very much attached to their beliefs and their warrior cults. People believed in many gods but there was always a group of people, a cult, dedicated to just one specific god, and in the Norse culture the warriors dedicated to Odin were called Berserkers, whose name comes from the word Bersark which means literally bearskin, which they wore for magical purposes and to honor the strength of the bear and become like him, fierce, strong, ferocious, violent in battle. These warriors would enter in an altered state of mind and call upon the spirit of the bear, becoming a bear themselves so they would not feel any pain during the battle, in order to keep the fight longer, roaring, putting fear upon their enemies. There are many accounts of this, of these warriors taking the amanita muscaria mushrooms, to enter in trance, and go completely crazy, becoming beasts ( this is from where and why the English word Berserker, or to go Berserker, came from ) wearing bear skins and nothing else, and sometimes even totally naked while going to battle and use their own hands and teeths to kill the enemies and tear off their armour and break their shields.

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The Boar - A sacred animal

The Boar was once considered a sacred animal, as well as his domestic descendant the Pig, not just in to the Norse/Germanic peoples, but to many other European peoples, such as the Celts, the Lusitanians ( which in fact in todays Portugal is still an animal much honored by the neo-pagans ), the Gauls and so on. The Boar is a very intelligent animal and was the sacred animal of the Gods from many pantheons, but speaking of the Norse/Germanic Deities, they hold this animal in a very high esteem, a noble animal renowned for his intelligence, fighting spirit and its delicious flesh. For example, the God Frey rode the golden boar called Gullinbursti and his sister, the goddess Freyja rode a similar mount called Hildisvini.

In many old pagan religions throughout Europe the boar was a symbol of courage and strength to the warrior class, and also the symbol of ultimate sacrifice, giving himself to death so others could eat and survive, the same way as a warrior gives himself to death to protect those he loves to protect his home, the sense of duty, but he doens't give himself so willingly, he will fight fearlessly, testing his enemies and take some of those with him. The Boars blood was often used to purify and sanctify temples and sacred places and even the body.

In other places and cultures, the Boar was the symbol of Death, not just the Boar but all the other animals from the swine family, for Boars and Pigs devoured the crops, livestock animals, children and some times even adult humans, the Boar is so strong so feared, that the devouring demons from many mythologies were seen with huge boar's tusks.

The Boar is an animal who likes to live in the deep forest, near swamps and pools, places seen by ancient folk as the very entrances to the Underworld, the border between civilization and the cosy places of the human communities, with the untamed wild, mystical, mysterious, the place of the Gods and the spirits and the Boar was its fearsome protector.

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We often hear about the animal spirits that live in the great world tree of the Norse Mythology, Yggdrasil, the Eagle at the top, the Dragon at the bottom and in the middle the Squirrel named Ratatoskr/Ratatosk, which is said that he carries messages and ocasional insults between the Eagle and the Dragon and to many other inhabitants of the area and also to the rest of the Nine Worlds.

Ratatoskr knows all about Yggdrasil and its surrondings, and also knows about all the hidden places in the Nine worlds, all the passages from one realm to another. This animal is a powerful symbol in the Norse Shamanic practices of old,  it is the symbol that links each sacred being in the Norse mythology by peaceful means, avoiding trouble, avoiding unecessary danger, he is also the symbol that links each realm, just as the Squirrel moves from one tree to another, silent, watchful, without drawing attention, discreet, always with eyes open, so too the Shamans of the Norse/Germanic peoples must do that when travelling between the Nine worlds, but also a lesson to take by all the others who must travel in this mortal realm, searching for food, a place to live, hunting, or whatever one must do into places he or she doesn't know and where extra careful is necessary, always attentive, alert, for possible dangerous threats.
In ancient times people often adopted the behaviours of animals so that they could better adapt to the dangers of living in the wilds, and the Squirrel was one of these animals, having the ability to avoid trouble, hid, blend in the surroundings, a constant struggle to survive, always watchful.

Also Ratatoskr represents a guiding spirit who helps shamans and shamanic practitioners to walk between the Nine realms, teaching to think first before acting, when people are in places they don't know of, its best to assume that it is a dangerous place, and the best thing is to be attentive, avoiding any kind of trouble whenever it is possible.

Note: 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

The Male Moon and the Female Sun

The Moon has always been of great importance since time long lost in memory, while humanity was still young and looked at the skies for guidance, not only with their deities but also as something to mark the passing of days so they could move from one place to another and count the distance by the passage of the moon. The moon was the first thing to be used as a calendar, in a time when agriculture didn't exist yet, so there was no need to relie on the phases of the sun, the Sun calendar only came during the Neolithic era, when it was requeired to mark the time for planting and harvest, thus beginning the agricultural cycle, that is why that the Moon was the first thing to mark the passage of time, because before agriculture was invented, humans were hunters and nomadic, they moved from one place to another most of the times during the night, avoiding being seen by predators or other humans from other tribes that may attack them. We know this because the oldest lunar calendar ever discovered yet, dates to the Aurignacian period during the Paleolithic era, around 32,000 years ago, the item has a series of Moons, from crescent to full, carved in a snakelike line on a piece of bone, it might have been a portable calendar that would have been carried by hunting trips or in great journeys, as in a way to know how much time had passed, or how much time it takes from one place to another.

The Moon was of such importance for early humans, that there has always been Moon Deities, since the discovery of the oldest archaeological sites that had marks, monuments, paintings etc.. about the Moon, every religion and every pantheon, before the coming of the religions based on abrahamic beliefs, had a Moon deity. According to the old beliefs and shamanic practices of old, the Moon deity is Male, of course there are as much Male Moon deities as there are Female ones, but in most religions from different parts of the earth, the Moon is Male.
Nowadays we are used to see the Moon Deity as Female, but that is because of the link between female menstrual cycles and the lunar cycles and modern pagans associate the moon to the female energies, but this also happens due to the cultural subjects that Wiccans adapt to their beliefs, for the first pagan religions to be study after some centuries hidden under the Christian veil, were the Greco-Roman beliefs, assumptions about the male side being rational and the female side being irrational, wild, and Wicca being the most popular neo-pagan religion these days, the Moon tends to be seen as Female.

In the Norse/Germanic pagan beliefs things are inverted, the Male deities tend to be more aggressive and wild, acting without wasting time thinking about the consequences, more passionate, aggressive, for example Odin as a god of war, wrathful, offensive, or Loki who does things without thinking in the consequences that might come from his actions, too impulsive, some times not knowing why he did the things he often does, or the god Freyr, with much passion, losing his mind for those he loves, doing everything for them, while the female side is more civilized, thoughtful, self-contained, more concerned with the welfare and good nutrition of their children, but they can also be very cold and protective.
In the Norse/Germanic pagan beliefs, Sunna is the Goddess of the Sun, casting brightness, the oposite of her Brother Mani, the god of the Moon, which has a more obscure behaviour, but he is also very enthusiastic with a playful spirit, however that isn't often seen.

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Bindrunes (Bandrùnar)

I have been talking about the runes and the power and purpose of each one of them as you may read all about the runes in the Lable called "Runes", where you actually have to go after you read this post to know each one of them so you will be able to make Bindrunes if you don't already know them and how to work with the runes.

What are Bindrunes? Well, as the name indicates it is the union of the runes in one specific symbol in order to bind the power of those runes together so they may work and help in specific tasks instead of having separate runes. Normaly, and what is most seen, it is the binding of 2 runes only, but it is possible of course to bind more than just two, in some cases you can even bind 9 to 13 different runes.
Bindrunes are very easy to make, if you have a specific wish, if you need to protect someone you care for, if you need inner strength, or whatever you might need, be that strengthen the mind and help in memory, logic, emotion, enlightenment, strength of will, courage, clarity of thought and so on, you can make your own bindrune with the specific runes for those purposes, of course you need to take into account, that you may only ask for the power of those things that will help you to become a better person, keeping your freewill, because no rune will help you in any task that you might have ahead of you, no rune will make things for you, asking for protection for a loved one or yourself is one thing, asking for wealth, great power and an easy life or easy work is another, you only get those wishes if you work hard, if you have the strength to carry on, the will, the spirit, the intelligence, you may only ask for the simple things to help you achieve what you really want, having those, it is up to you to know how, when or with whom will you use the gifts given to you. Also another thing that you have to keep in mind is that Bindrunes can only be used to help people, not to harm them, trying to harm someone with bindrunes it just doesn't work.

You can make a drawing, a painting or carving the rune in any item you want, a piece of paper, or wood, even at the walls of you home, you can carry the bindrune with you and hope that is will help you in this things you wanted, after you have carefully chosen the runes you want for the purposes you need, so before you do any bindrune, you need to know each one of them and what are the powers, the gifts of those runes. Bindrunes might work after you creat them, but of course there is always the need to "awake" those powers, like in ancient times, when shamans used chanting to cal upon the powers of the runes or the bindrunes.

Bindrunes are very special because they are of our own creation, of course there is the possibility that another person might have a similar or equal symbol, that is common when binding 2 runes, but the more runes you bind and creat a new symbol, the less it is likely that someone else has the same symbol.

For a bindrune to work properly some people still use chanting, they cal upon the name of the 2 or 3 or more runes, each of the name chanted for a few seconds, a long sound, or chanting the initials of each rune creating a name for the symbol, for example, you are trying to bind the rune Algiz with Berkana, so you will chant the name of the first rune and after that you will tell the purpose of it, what is that you want from it and tell it that you will bind it with the other rune and you say the name, after that you chant the name of the next rune and you do the same process, after you have finished in telling what you want from those runes you chant in the end the initials of each rune so it might sound like Alg.... Ber... or Algi...Bera... and thus you creat a name for it and in your mind you visualize the binding of those runes in just one, you visualize the symbol you have created while calling upon the runes. Of course there are other ways, but this one is the easiest, the safest and more personal, and i'm not here to make things hard, my purpose with this post is to reach everyone and try to explain things in a way that everyone will understand.

There are also very personal bindrunes, where you bind the runes equivalente to the initials of your name, to reinforce your personality and emphasize the positive qualities and skills that you have.

If you are not sure how to bind runes and for what purposes, i will give you an example, someone that you love or care about and that person will travel and you want the person to be safe, you might use the rune Raido which is the rune for travelling and you can combine it with Berkana which is a rune of protection, of course there are other runes of protection, but some are for female, othets for male, others give protection in specific cases, so you have to be careful when choosing the runes to bind.

Note: The image to illustrate this post is a photography work taken by Ana Teresa, you can see more of her works here --> https://www.facebook.com/AnaTeresaPhotography

Note2: 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

Póvoa de Varzim - Norse Pagan Past

It's no news that the Norse and Germanic culture spread so wildly throughout Europe and even got to Portugal, the last European country by the sea. For obvious reasons Portugal as always been the favorite European country for all the Europeans to settle and make a living, since the neolithic times that many diferente peoples from Europe went there, fertily soils for agriculture, warm weather, during the winter too harsh to the north but nothing that the people weren't used to, great strategic places, soils filled with diffrent types of ore, abundance of wildlife and game, rivers filled with fish and by the sea for fishing, a rich land where Celts, Iberians, Lusitanians, Swabians, Vandals, Vikings, and so on settled and prospered. Portugal has deep roots in the Celtic, Germanic and Norse culture, and the people lived with such culture and religious beliefs for almost 2500 Years before christianity conquered the land, possibly more, for the historical records began in a time where Portugal was already with such cultures in the ancient past of the land.

In this post i will talk about the Portuguese past with the Norse/Germanic culture, because in most historical maps, i have seen the routes of the Norse people voyages, but seldom do those routes pass in Portugal, and today i will show you one more proof that the Norse/Germanic peoples came there, settled, built, traded, farmed, lived and left a lot of descendants.

Póvoa de Varzim is a city in northern Portugal with a rich past, a place that has been permanently inhabited since pre-historic times, where the inhabitants of that área used to live in the mountains, protected from agression of other tribes, but the need for food was great, for in the mountains with nothing but cold, snow, frost and harsh storms, it is hard to farm and hard to hunt, so very early in history, the people from that área settled near the sea and small fishing villages started to apear. This place was Celtic land, and later the Swabians settle there also and centuries after the Vikings arrived. The norse writing system ( the runes ) was the first thing that was passed down to these people, in a period even before the vikings, more than 1500 years ago. In this reagion of northern Portugal the people adopted the runes not only as a form of writing but also to mark each family, instead of having a coat of arms, they had runes and other runic symbols such as the combination of runes. as you can see at the right of this post, the first image shows some of those runes and combination of runes that were also to represente spots, houses, family names, fishing tools and all kinds of stuff in a community. In the past, these were used to remember things and were known to be the only writing system that the people of Póvoa had, because many inhabitants did not knew how to write in the Latin alphabet, for the northern regions were hard places to get to and the Romans had much trouble going in there. These symbols had great utility, even merchants used it in trading, to mark an event, a selling, and so on, and these were read and recognized like we today read and recognize names written in the Latin alphabet.

Some of these symbols can still be found in the First Church of Póvoa de Varzim (first church since 1757) and in the Lapa church, the chapel of Santa Cruz in Balazar, in some religious places in north-western Iberia to where they went for praying, and are still very lightly used by some families. Thousands of these symbols existed in the former first church of Póvoa de Varzim (until 1757), but these were destroyed with the demolition of the church. The people of Póvoa wrote their marks in a kind of registry when they got married.
The symbols were passed down from father to son. In Póvoa’s tradition that lives until today, the heir of the family is the youngest son and a mark is given, a runic symbol, to the other children it was also given the same mark but with traces, known as «pique». Thus, the older son would have one pique, the next would have two, and so on. The youngest son would not have any pique, inheriting the same symbol as his father. The younger son is the heir because it was expected that he would take care of his parents when they became old. Also, unlike the rest of the nation, it is the women who governs and leads the family, this is also due to the fact that men passed most of the time at sea fishing.

It is importante to remembre our roots, to remembre who we are, and for the people of Póvoa de Varzim, this Norse past is somethign very importante that they hold on to, even today we can still see these markings in the well known
Portuguese stone sidewalk style as you can see below, you might want to click the image to enlarge.

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Runes - The Universal Secret Language

When we talk about runes, the first thing that comes to mind. is associating these with the Germanic/Norse writing, which nowadays for neo-pagans it hadbecame something banal or even funny to write with runes any word in any language. But in reality the runes were used as a system of an ancient language with magical purposes, and not just to tell a story, or to make sence in random sentences.

Naturaly we associate the runes with the Scandinavian and Germanic peoples, for during the time of the Saxons and the Vikings, while they spread terror all over Europe, their culture and ways of writing was also spread into the regions they conquered, and the runes became an exclusive mark of the northern peoples. However, this was so, because Europeans already lived in a time where christianity was spreading and before that, the Romans had invade most of Europe and forced people to their own culture and tradition, and most Europeans forgot and lost their ancient traditions, their ancient religions and magical symbols, because in truth the runes were European symbols not only of writing but also to for different types of religious works, magic and divination, actually, it was seldom used for writing.

The runes are an ancient system of ideograms of sixteen, eighteen or even twenty-four characters, each rune is a combination of straight lines vertical, horizontal and inclined. Tradition tells us about ancient runes as a secret language known only to the initiated in their mysteries. The word "Raunen" associated with the word rune means "murmuring" or "Whispering", making a clear allusion to the transmission of a secret oral knowledge.

Runes are often found in Scandinavia, Great Britain, Germany, and all the other countries where the Norse people settled, but the runes are also found in Central and Northern Portugal, Northern Spain, France, Italy and so on, it is something to be expected because in truth, germanic tribes were in these places, especially in Portugal and northern Spain, because the Portuguese, in ancient times the Celtic Lusitanian people, shared a germanic culture and languege, and in fact they were Celts and Germanic for almost 2000 years, and after the romans came and went, northern Portugal was still germanic for at least 300 more years, so it is perfeclty natural to find runes in these mediterranean regions, but it isn't that natural that these runic symbols are from an era way before the Saxons and the Vikings, like i said, almost 2000 years of Celtic and Germanic culture, the runes in Portugal, northern Spain, Italy and so on, are from a period between 1500-700 B.C. and some runes are even older than that, which we are led to believe, that these symbols might have been used by so many Europeans in times more ancient than what we think, for we also know about the Ur-Runes, runic symbols similar to the runes of the Elder Futhark that we know today, the symbols that preceded those runes.

It isn't hard to know why the runes remained an exclusive mark of the Germanic and Norse culture, because the cold north was the last one to be christianised, and by the time it was, the famous Saxons and Vikings already had spread their culture to a great level, all the other European countries were conquered by the Romans and later by the christian faith and were under the influence of such culture and religion for so many centuries that there was plenty of time unfortunately to forget their ancient traditions and symbols.

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Locmariaquer Menhir

There are some famous megalithic monuments all over Europe, one of those is the extraordinary Menhir of Locmariaquer, the tallest menhir* of the world, in Britain - northern France, just a few miles from Carnac.
Nowadays it is fallen into the ground, it is believed it went down by an earthquake or a lightning strike, and is was broken into four pieces. When it was erected it had 23.50 m high and its thickness was 4m, weighing over 350 tons.
 People can still feel the telluric current in this place, and near this menhir there is also a megalithic construction, which might had concentrated the energy emitted by this menhir. Scientists know today that this menhir was an antenna radiating subtle energies for the dolmens and menhirs around it, such energies so similar to the microwaves that today we know so well. This menhir emits magnetic waves that intersect with the telluric waves in the region, causing plenty of rain in the area that has not always a meteorological origin.

* The tallest menhir still standing nowadays is one near Plouarzel also in Britain northern France, with 12m high.

Leif Eiriksson - The first European in The New World

I know it wasn't Columbus day by the time i wrote this, but its been a long time since i have written about anything related to the Norse culture and history. So i will be writing about Leif Eiriksson, the first European to step into the unknown New World later called, America.

During the Columbus day, we celebrate the great achievements of this man, no doubt about about it, he really accomplished something extraordinary, however, this day also means the extinction of so many people and cultures, or the events that led to that by the Spanish during this time and the years after when the Portuguese found the south America which was a very hard time to all the indigenous inhabitants all over the Americas.
Nowadays we know of a man who step into this new world 500 years earlier than Columbus, Leif Eiriksson, a Greenlandic settler, the real European ( that we know of so far ) to first enter the New World.

Who was Leif ?

Leif was the son of Erik/Eirik the Red ( Erik Thorvaldsson ), the famous Norwegian, outlawed from his native country for manslaughter, and then fleeing to Iceland to escape justice. When Eirik arrived there, he married Thjodhild, who bore him four children, one of those was Leif, before he was involved in other killing acts, and was outlawed once more. By this time, he fled further west into Greenland, where he remained for three years, waiting for his sentence to expire, and he was the first Norse man to make settlements in that land. After those three years, he returned to Iceland, telling other about the new land he found, which led to more settlers to go there and inhabit the territory. He returned to Greenland, where he built a farm at Brattahlíð near Narsarsuaq today.
Like his father, Leif was an explorer and had already sailed by this time to Norway, where he became the Hirðman* of King Olaf Tryggvason. While Leif was in Norway, he was converted to Christianity, haven't he done so, he would probably had an horrible time before he was killed, for King Olaf often tortured those who didn't want to be christianised, or would torture until they accepted. However his father, Eirik, remained pagan till the end of his days.

Leif knew that there was a land far to the west of Greenland, for another sailor called Bjarni Herjólfsson, had seen the sight of it, and of course to Leif this was an irresistible adventure, and so he mounted hos own expedition. According to legend, His father would also join him in his quest if he hadn't fall from his horse when riding towards the ship, he took this as a bad omen and remained in land. 
It isn't clear into which places he first sailed about into this New land, but it is clear that he went to Newfoundland, where he gave the name of Vinland, the place where he and his crew  built a settlement, which was later named Leifsbúdir after him of course.
Leif returned to Greenland with some grapes and also timber, which was scarce in Greenland, and this need of having wood to build, led to many more voyages into Vinland, however no one remained there to make a living, for they always return to Greenland, back to their homes.

Vinland wasn't empty of course, and there are many accounts of interections between the Norse people and the natives of that land, to whom the Norsemen called Skrælingjar. Leif's brother Thorvald is thought to be the first European to initiate contact and of course the first European to kill the people he met.

All of these findings had little importance to the Norse people by this time it seems, however people talked about it, so it is possible that Christopher Columbus on one of his voyages to Iceland, had heard about Vinland and the other lands to the west, and so he decided to start his own adventure.

Leif finally settled on the family farm in Greenland with his wife Thorgunna and their son Thorgil. It is said he was a wise man who spent his days converting people to the new religion, much to the consternation of his own father who was still a pagan man, however, this was of much delight to his own mother, it was she who built ( or asked to ) the first church in Greenland, Thjodhild's Church.

Leif isn't as well known as Columbus, but in many places his voyages to Vinland are celebrated, as Leif Eiriksson's Day

* The king’s Hirðman was some kind of bodyguard and also an adviser of the King, incorporated into the army.

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