Publicada por Arith Härger / 9:22 PM /
Continuing with the theme of the previous post, now it is time to write about the places of interest in Vanaheim, at least those most run in to.
Njord might be the most famous deity ofthe Vanir, as well as his children, Freyr and Freyja of course. After the war between the Aesir and the Vanir came to an end with a draw, the two tribes of deities exchanged members of their own tribes end sent them to the oposite side to ensure that peace was kept. Njord was one of the Vanir who was sent to the Aesir, however, he still visits his homeland and has a home in Vanaheim. Its name is Noatun, a white arched and very tall building that lies on the north-eastern bay of Vanaheim.
Njord is married with Nerthus, even if it was only a ceremonial wedding, but she is the mother of Freyr and Freyja. She is the high priestess of Vanaheim. As their wedding was only for ceremonial purposes, they do not live together. She lives on an island in the exact center of Vanaheim, where her house, sacred grove and temple are.
Freyr, being a Vanir, of course he has a home in Vanaheim, although, he also has many other homes in other places, for he is a very important god and is needed in many places. Strange as it might sound, he does not have a home in Asgard, while there, he stays at his sister's hall, Sessrumnir, the hall of Freyja. Half of the year he goes to Asgard, the other half he returns to Vanaheim, however, while he must spend his time in Asgard due to the after-war peace arrangments, he seldom is there, he passes most of the time in Alfheim in his own house. His hall in Vanaheim lies in the Borri woodland which I have written about in the previous post. There he lives with his wife Gerda, in the hall with the roof made of golden corn and woven straw.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 4:22 PM /
Vanaheim is the realm of the Vanir deities of the Norse Pantheon. This race of deities and spirits are linked to agriculture, their main focus is the fertility of both the earth and living creatures. Their connection with magic and Seidr is exclusive, it was they who taught the other deities and mortals, how to work with this kind of magic.
Vanaheim lies to the West, below Alfheim and Asgard. It is unknown the origin of the Vanir race, they came before the Aesir, however, they have only established their settlements and lives in Vanaheim after the Aesir already had their home in Asgard.
As I have told you before, in my point of view, these worlds are in fact one huge world, and a shaman in his/her journey doesnt actualy go on foot, he appears in a place and travels, and then in an other journey in trance or an out of the body expirience, he will appear in a completely different place, which lead people to believe, they are actually traveling into other worlds, but in truth, they visit realms in that same world, so Vanaheim is no exception. There is a feeling that the world is below Alfheim and Asgard, because the best fields for agriculture, are plain fields, in woodlands etc. below the mountains, and because the way to Alfheim is up, it gives that feeling that Alfheim is a vast world above Vanaheim and on the other hand, Asgard is up into the mountains on the other side. So now that I have given you my point of view, you can understand this better, lets get back to the subject.
Vanaheim is indeed a perfect realm for agriculture, it has the four seasons perfectly balanced, and the weather is propitious for the growth of whatever someone might plant in order to harvest it later. Suffice to say that Vanaheim has the best weather and climate of all the nine realms.
Vanaheim is a smaller continent compared with the others, a giant island in the middle of the ocean, not linked by land to Alfheim or any other continent. The central area of Vanaheim is filled with hills, meadows and pastureland. There is a lot of woodland, but not vast areas of it, small woodlands "sprinkled" throughout the land. The coastal areas vary, depending on the zone, some are open beaches, others are rocky cliffs, to the north the snowy mountain chain sinks into the ocean and the beaches there are covered in snow.
The main profession in Vanaheim is Fishing and Agriculture in this green continent with the most fertile soils of all the Nine realms. It is from Vanaheim that most agriculture products come from, Vanaheim has a few ports to trade with all the ther realms.
The Vanaheim inhabitants are scattered and organized into small villages, there are no cities, nor a place where all the Vanir deities live all together. However, the gathering of the deities and the representatives of each village (when these aren't Vanir deities) happens from time to time, in different places, to discuss different subjects concerning all. Villages are built around a sacred grove, small houses and halls are usually the type of villages built in these areas, some of them have buildings for respective religious purposes.
The largest woodland is called Barri and lies to the east of Vanaheim, closed to Jotunheim. Filled with trees of golden leaves, that grow higher than anyother tree in those parts. Some say that these trees came from Jotunheim, which isn't strange because as a matter of fact, there aren't anyother trees like these in all of Vanaheim. This is the very woodland where the god Freyr met his bride Gerda.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 5:00 PM /
Most neo-pagans who practice or are fond of/linked somehow, to the Northern pagan traditions, are only concentrated in the existance of on typo of deities, one specific group of gods. It is important to understand that the Norse pantheon has more than just one group of deities, it isn't only the Aesir, but also the Vanir, there are of course other deities and spiritual beings who belong to neither of these two groups and are often divided into many "categories", but the main objective of this post is to talk about both the Vanir and the Aesir in a very short text, or I would have to write a book about it if I really wanted to go deep into the subject.
The divinities of order are divided into two main "families", the Aesir and the Vanir.
In the myth, it seems that the Vanir deities came before the other gods. Pastoral deities associated with harvests, fertility matters, of both humans and animals, and also the very earth, healing, peace and also linked to magic and spiritual work. In our own world this can be explained by the fact that when we humans found that it was possible to create our own food and we stoped being hunters and gatherers and settled to become farmers and shepherds, the main deities we turned to, were the deities linked to what we needed the most, which I explained above, and before that, we lived in small communities with at least one spiritual guide (a shaman) who helped the community in spiritual matters, magic, communicate with the spirits of this world and the beyond, so it is natural that the Vanir or any other deities of other cultures linked to these matters, were he first ones to appear. However, further in history, few were those Germanic peoples who worshiped these gods by the time the Romans launch their invasions. We can see in the book "Germania" by Tacitus, that the Germanic tribes worshiped the warrior gods who came before the ones linked with the earth and magic, because it was a warrior society, and by that time, agriculture was seldom made by any one in the Germanic tribes, they were more concentrated in making war and hunting. We can see clearly that the deities linked to fertility, harvest, magic and such, were forgotten by many, put aside by those societies, and the warrior deities ruled. The warrior deities were so much worshiped, that there was the thought that the warrior deities came first, in the case of the Norse/Germanic peoples, the Aesir came first, and when things started to settle in Europe and the Roman empire started to fall, the the Norse/Germanic tribes turned to agriculture again and thus the earth deities were reborn. So it seemed that (in the case of the Norse/Germanic peoples) the Vanir gods came after the Aesir, but in truth it wasn't such. The Vanir deities are also linked to rebirth, the rebirth of all things in nature that die and go back to the earth to reborn again, and even in History we see this rebirth in the cultures of Europe.
The most notable of all the Vanir deities, are the children of Njörd. The twins Freyr and Freyja. As I have written before, the other dynasty of deities are known as the Aesir. Headed by Odin and his wife Frigga. Among these deities we find the most famous gods, such as Thor and Tyr, who left their marks because of the reasons I have stated above, when the Germanic/Norse tribes turned to these warrior gods and spread terror all over Europe and among themselves. Thor and Tyr aren't the only sons of Odin. The king of the gods has many sons, such as Baldr and Hodr(Hodur), representing light and dark. This myth is the reflection that many Norse/Germanic chieftains and/or Kings needed many sons to continue their father's legacy, to replace him in many deeds, to be the head of different armies and rule over different lands. Among the Aesir, there is also Heimdall, guardian of Asgard, again one of Odin's sons, with one of the nine daughters of the ocean god Aegir. Heimdal is the god "who stood between", the ancestor of humankind who revealed the secrets of the runes to his mortal descendants. As might be expected, he figures largely in runic symbolism, having associations with no fewer then five runes out of the twenty-four in the rune sequance.
In the Vanir side, we have Njörd, god of the sea, to whom the Norse/Germanic peoples turned to when they started fishing and raiding, a god that was both needed before and after the coming of the Aesir in the cultures of these people. Freyr and Freyja, linked to fertility and magic, much worshiped by the shamans of the Norse/Germanic tribes (the seiðman and siðkona), much needed before the coming of the Aesir, and unfortunately put aside since then.
Many are the deities of the Norse/Germanic pantheon, but keep in mind that the Aesir are not the most important, nor were they the first to appear.
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
Publicada por Arith Härger / 4:18 PM /
The Valknut is probably the most known and used symbol (as well as the Mjölnir) by the neo-pagans who follow and practice the old Norse pagan traditions. However, most people don't know it's meaning, sadly. The word Valknut is a neologism, created in modern times, formed by the combination of "valr" (the dead or the slain" and knut (knot). This symbol has many connections with the other symbols I have written before, this is a symbol of three interconnected triangles. These triangles may be joined in two ways, and I will place images below.
It can either be as Borromean:
Know that other types of Valknuts that you may encounter, different from these two, were never used in original Viking ornaments. Only the two designs above are genuine Viking Valknuts, keep that in mind. The Borromean triangles type can be seen in the Stora Hammer Rune Stone (below).
Right above the Valknut, we can see a raven, obviously Odin's symbol. Below the symbol, probably a burial scene or even a burial mound, it is obvious that it is something connected with death. A dead person, probably a warrior, is placed there by a figure with a spear and accompanied by another raven, probably Odin himself, since the two ravens are his symbol and also the spear, Gungnir, his famous weapon. To the left, it seems that there is someone hanged on the tree, which is another symbol for Odin, for he is also called Hangadróttinn (Lord of the hanged) and Hangatýr (God of the hanged), but I am not sure if that is a hanged person, so I leave that to the experts in Rune stones. One thing is certain, all these symbols are around the Valknut, which is in the center of all this scene, this means that all the symbols point to death and that Odin is also the god of the slain warriors.
The unicursal type of valknut (which can be drawn with one stroke) appears on Tängelgarda stone (below):
Other instances of the valknut in Viking ornaments are Lärbro stone, River Nene ring and a bedpost found on the Oseberg ship.
The Valknut as a symbol linked to the slain, isn't the only possible interpretation/explanation. This symbol is also caled Hrungnir’s heart, based on the descripion found in the Prose Edda.
It isn't clear the true function and meaning og the Valknut. However we do know that it is also linked to the slain and taht the number three is a very common magic symbol in many cultures. In Scandinavian context three multiplied by three might designate the nine worlds, which are united by the Yggdrasil tree. In modern times, the Valknut, such as the Triquetra and also the Horn Triskelion whih I have written before in another post, is often interpreted as a symbol pointing to heathen convictions.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 1:23 PM /
When we are familiar with the Norse/Germanic tribes of old, we have the perception that the most worshiped deities were those linked to war, conflict, protection, fortification and all the things linked to combat. If any of you has read the book "Germania" by the Roman Tácito (if you haven't, you should, for it is the best and most complete historical-ethnographic treatise of antiquity) you see that the Germanic and Norse tribes did little work of agriculture, and even with the Baltic sea at hand, they also did little fishing and invasions by sea at that time. Works of magic and spirituality were left to the prophetesses and the slaves would perform the dangerous work of giving themselves to a deity as gifts in certain times and to certain deities. So the most worshiped deities were the ones linked to war and battle, the earth deity mother of all gods and living things, and in some cases, certain prophetesses were worshiped as living godesses.
A little history doesn't harm anyone, but all this to say that certain deities weren't there since the beginning, at least not with the names we know nowadays and not with the powers atributed to them. Nerthus and Njord are the Norse deities of the ocean, of the northern sea, they began to be worshiped in a late time and only nowadays ,with the spiritual work increasing, we know more about these deities and their true powers.
When working with Nerthus, Njord's wife, we do know that she prefers female spiritual-workers. No one is able to see her face, it is always covered, only a person who has become a priest or a priestess of the Vanir tribe, can see the face of this deity, otherwise a person that hasn't this job or any link whatsoever with the Vanir, must be killed if by any chance sees her face. So those who work with this deity are always female attendants, it is really rare to see any male working with Nerthus.
Njord prefers male spiritual-workers, they can be of any gender, but he really prefers male spiritual-workers and if any of those have the chance to have any kind of meal with this deity or be invited to a feast, be ready to eat a lot of sea food. If you want to gift Njord with food, his favorite is salmon.
Such as the post I have written about Freyja as being one of the few deities we know which colors she prefers, we too know the colors which her father, Njord, prefers, and it isn't hard to figure it out since he is a god of the northern sea and his halls are filled with those colors, white and the many tones of blue.
Note: The artwork to illustrate this post is a drawing made by me entitled "The Summoning of Njörðr". 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
Publicada por Arith Härger / 9:21 PM /
Most deities have their own preferences, either in food or drink, even in colors, tools, weapons etc. whatever you can think of. But it is hard to know in detail what are the things they prefer, we just have to be very attentive to the things that surround each deity and the way they behave towards those same things. When dealing with the goddess Freyja, those who do spiritual-work with her or are able to see her Halls, note that the predominant colors in garments, flags, tapestries and so on, are the white, gold, red and green, even those who work at her Hall somehow wear those colors, even Freyja use them. At Freyja's table there is always some kind of food and drink made from fruits, it seems that she prefers food and drink that contain fruit in it. There is also a lot of honey and wine. Since she is a Vanir deity, it isn't a surprise to see pork as the type of meat served at her Halls.
To do spiritual work with her, she prefers female spiritual-workers, most of the information we have about her and her halls, came (and still comes) from women. There are also male spiritual-workers with her of course, but those are too few. Male spiritual-workers are easier to be accepted when these have a warlike background, in this aspect many women are also accepted.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 6:49 PM /
Since we humans have developed the ability to be in contact with the spirit world, we have given names to what we have seen. The first names were given to the spirits of the elements and that isn't different in the Norse tradition. One of the most powerful fire-spirits of the Norse mythology is called Logi. Mythology says that Logi is the second son of the frost giant called Mistblindi or sometimes called Fornjotr. The eldest brother of Logi is a Norse deity called Kari, the god of the northern winds. The youngest brother is Aegir, the king of the sea, older than Njörd.
One of the most heard tales of the adventures of the Norse gods is the one when Thor and Loki go into Utgard and enter different contests with Utgardens-Loki, trying to win against many family members and friends of Utgard-Loki, in a series of random contests. In this story, Logi the fire spirit appears, entering the food contest against Loki and winning. No one knew who he was, but he devoured the meal, the bones, the plates and even the table. Later he was revealed as Logi the old god of fire.
One of Logi's names is Halogi, meaning "High-Logi", it seems that this spirit is very tall. Logi's wife is Glut (glow) and she bore him two daughters so called Einmyria and Eisa, translating to "Ashes" and "Embers". Logi, of course, lives in Muspelheim, the realm of fire.
As it is seen many times in both norse mythology and celtic, there are many deities that come in three, a magical triplicity, such as Odin and his two brothers Vili and Vé, with Logi we also see this magical triplicity with his own brothers and himself, Kari the eldest, Logi and Aegir the youngest, Wind, Fire and Water (sea). These deities are really old, older than Odin. It is possible that there three deities might be linked to the myth of creation, a myth that predates the Aesir and the Vanir.
Logi and his two brothers make the triplicity of the primal elements working in earth, as the sea (water) itself interacts with the earth, and of course the fire and wind that help shaping worlds. These deities no doubt were once linked to the magical quadriplicity of the natural elements of fire, air, earth and water, in a time before the creation of the myth of Odin, in a time before we humans gave an anthropomorphic shape to the spirits.
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
Publicada por Arith Härger / 5:36 PM /
The Horn Triskelion consists in three interlocked drinking horns. It is a symbol such as the Triquetra which I have already written about on another post, and also with another very powerful symbol (Which I will write later about it) the Valknut. These three seem to be closely realated.
The Triskelion symbol or also often called Triskele, is a symbol with three fold rotational symmetry. The translation of the Greek word triskelion means "three-legged".
This symbol is related to Odin once more, and symbolizes the act of obtaining the mead of poetry (The skáldskaparmjöðr) a powerful source of power or the power of the words, speach and knowledge. Summarizing the tale, Odin stood with the giantess Gunnlöð in her cave for three nights and had sex with her. By doing so, he gained access to the mead of poetry which she was guarding. Odin drank three times, three horns filled with the mead of poetry. After drinking the mead, he fled in the shape of an eagle directly to Asgard. The name of the three horns were so called, Óðrœrir, Boðn and Són.
In Norse Viking mythology the mead of poetry is a symbol of wisdom and poetic inspiration. According to the Prose Edda, whoever drinks it, becomes a skald.