Publicada por Arith Härger / 8:44 PM /
Shamanism has been a spiritual practice that accompanied Mankind throughout history, since pre-history. However, such practices ended in most countries, but there are still a few shamanic tribal societies that kept these traditions going. In some of these societies, there is a preference for the practitioners to be female. There are lots of evidence abiut this fact, including in archaeological findings in Czech Republic, indicating that the earliest Upper palaeolithic shamans were in fact women and not men. Descriptions of female shamans describe these women as invokers of spirits of the gods, earth and ancestors, as well as being healers, herbalists, oracles, ecstatic dancers, diviners, shape-shifters, priestesses and shamanic journeyers. Female shamans or shamankas, are located among the Tungus people, the Buriats, Yakuts, Ostyaks, and among the Kamchadals.
In the steppers and central regions of Siberia, the female shaman(s) possess greater power than the male shamans, or so it is believed. In general, the feminine element plays a very important and prominent role in terms of magic, sorcery, at least it is so among the Yakuts. Female shamans are dominant in some cultures where they ate to the forefront of the cult practice. Whether in ancient China or Japan, or Korea, South Africa, Okinawa, the Philippines, from northern California to southern Chile, female shamanism is a widespread tradition.
Archaeological findings show us that all over the world, the female shaman was very important in the old societies. Such findings go all the way from the mediterranean, to scandinavia, far into the east of Siberia and down the southern hemisphere. For instance, the Ekven burial of a female shaman was found at Chukotka on the Russian side of the Bering Strait. A 2000 years old grave of an elderly woman with a wooden mask at her knees as well as other ritualistic and shamanic artefacts. Recurrent artefacts and examples of female shamanic practice are amulets, medicine bags, mirrors, and head-dresses shown by excavated regalia, as well as drums. Examples can be seen in southern Chile where female shamans of the Mapuche Nation use drums called kultran. Korean female shaman drummers use mudangs. Drumming would be accompanied by chants and invocations as is shown by the Mexican Indian shamans. An other example, during the Mesolithic period, it was found an interment at Bad Durrenberg which occurred 8,500 years ago. It was a woman around 25 years of age accompanied by a child of some 6 to 12 months of age. The grave goods and artefacts comprised those assumed to have a ritualistic and shamanic function.
Evidence of the primordial origin of female shamans is shown by the excavated burials during the archaeological works all over the world. Such burials have been found dating from the 5th century before our common era. These include the Priestess of Ukok ( as well as remains from south Kazakhstan, and the basin from the Ukraine to the Tarim. Archaeologists have determined that these ancient female interments in central Asia were shamanic priestesses. The mummified remains of a female shaman was from the 5th century BCE, and a kurgan of the Pazyryk Culture of ancient Altai. A Mummy of the Ukok princess was discovered and excavated in 1993-1997, and she has been dubbed as the Siberian Ice Maiden. This woman is also variously known as the Princess of Ukok and the Altai Princess, or Ochy-bala after the Altai heroine.
The burial of a female Natufian shaman was discovered in a cave site at Hilazon Tachtit ,in Israel, was dated to circa 12,000 B the common era. The Natufians of the southern Levant of 15,000 to 11,500 BCE were a nomadic people who lived along the east Mediterranean. The excavated remains were those of a diminutive, disabled ‘shaman’ woman of advanced years, in a specially constructed grave. The interment represents the ritual burial of one of the oldest human spiritual figures. There are many interments that show rituals and techniques, indicated by shamanic burials with especially placed animal bones, and in same places tortoise shells as well, and some times feathers.
Among north Amerindians, medicine women are as common as medicine men, especially among the Dakotas and the Creeks, with both occurring among the Inuit. As it is with shamans, the medicine woman and their healing practices, are not restricted to members of the male gender.
In ancient Greek mythology, in the temples of Argos, the goddess Hygeia was the daughter of Aesculapius. The fact that the great Mother Goddess Hera, as Lucina, propitiated at or presided over childbirth, and that the original goddesses were probably real medicine women. In remote antiquity women were engaged in the practice of medicine. In central Australia, the medicine is ranked equal to the medicine man just as the female shaman is the equal of the male shaman. Shaman women as medicine women, propitiated the spirit world and practised the healing arts towards their own sex. Medicine women were thus equal to the medicine man. Not only in the way they became, but also in social status, their role and function, but in all other aspects.
As has been shown by both female shamans and medicine women in many times, climes and cultures, it's not infrequently the idea that the female shamans prevails to such an extent that the most powerful shamans are women. The antiquity of the shamanic role of women is illustrated by the evidence of surviving rock and cave art which can be interpreted in terms of shamanism, fertility ritual, and rites of passage. Rock art in southern Africa can be analysed from two approaches, one that incorporates women issues within a framework of shamanism, and secondly, one that treats it as outside the understanding shamanism. Depictions on cave walls can be interpreted in terms of the shamanistic nature of the puberty rites of girls. A distinction has to be made between the meaning of the terms ‘shamanic’ and ‘shamanistic’. The word ‘shamanic’ refers to the practices and experiences of shamans, whereas ‘shamanistic’ refers to general beliefs and practices. The analysis can be, and have been, extended to an interpretation of cave paintings claiming that the art was the work of women. A recent study produced results, indicating that prehistoric female artists also helped create the famous ‘spotted horses’ cave mural and various others. The hand prints on the mural were dated to 25,000 BCE. Many of the hand prints were smaller than female hands as established by analysis of digital ratios.The evidence appears to show that a large number of Upper Palaeolithic cave artists were women confirming that the women’s role in prehistoric society was much greater than previously thought. It is most likely, considering the role of women in primordial society as shamans, that ancient art was mostly the work of women. Hand prints on cave walls were analysed and show us that there was a gender difference between relative lengths of fingers. Men and women’s finger lengths are different. Even though another theory claims the hand prints may be those of adolescent boys, but some 75% of cave art hands are female.
Examples of hand print art in caves have been found in southern France, in Australia, Argentina, Africa and Borneo. In northern Spain hand prints were believed to date back to 40,800 years old, where of 32 hand stencils, 24 were female. Hand stencils support the theory that, not only were women actively involved in cave art, but that they were in their role of shamans leaders in ritualistic, fertility and magical practices as well, and many of which were also linked to rites of passage for other members of the community.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 6:40 PM /
A 10th century Viking artifact resembling the Hammer of Thor was discovered. This discovery has solved a long mystery surrounding more than 1.000 ancient amulets found all over northern Europe. These relics, known as the Mjöllnir amulets, appear to depict hammers, which historians have linked to the Norse god of thunder, Thor. However, this could not be concluded with certainty as their shapes are not conclusive, and none of them contained inscriptions revealing their identity.
Another similar pendant has been found in Købelev, on the Danish island of Lolland, which is the first one to be discovered with an inscription. The runic text reads “Hmar x is”, which translates to “this is a hammer”. Cast in bronze, and likely plated with silver, tin and gold, the 1,100-year-old pendant shows that Thor’s myth deeply influenced Viking jewellery. It seems that his is the only hammer-shaped pendant with a runic inscription (so far found). This is a good indication tha the pendants are in fact depicting hammers.
According to the Norse mythology, (which I have mentioned countless times in this blog) Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, friendship, honour, the protection of mankind, healing and the fertility of the land along with his wife Sif. Thor is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, to the tribal expansions of the Migration Period, to the high popularity of this deity during the Viking Age, when, in the face of the process of the Christianization of Scandinavia, the Mjölnir amulets were worn in defiance and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity. In fact, Thor was much more worshiped than his father, Odin.
Featuring an interlacing ornament on one side of the hammer head and the short runic inscription on the other, the newly discovered Mjöllnir amulet is believed to have been made by a local craftsmen. Fragments of silver needles and a mould for making pendants indicate that the jewellery was produced in a silversmith’s workshop on Lolland island.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 8:19 PM /
Nowadays we often use the word "Berserk" or "to go berserk" to label any person in a irrational state of mind, or a person who isn't able to control his/her actions because the rage is such, that the person enters a frenzy, lunatic state, a destructively person or frenetically violent. The word Berserker or Berserk, comes from the old Norse word "Berserkr", which means "a wild warrior or champion". These warriors wore hides of bears, which might explain the origin of the berserkr as a compound of "Bera" - Bear, and "Serkr" - shirt or coat. These were the fierce viking warriors who were known for battling in an incontrolable trance-like rage, and were alleged to be able to perform seemingly impossible super-human feats of strength, akin only to a wild beast.
In the medieval history and folklore, of both Norse and Germanic, the berserkers were described as members of an unruly warrior band/gang, whose main devine cult was the cult of Odin, the king of the Aesir tribe of gods. The berserkers were also commissioned to royal and noble courts as bodyguards and special elite troops, who would strike fear into all who encountered them.
It wasn't hard to struck fear into the hearts of the enemies, as the berserkers behaved like an animal, roaring, grunting and howling, entering in a state of uncontrollable rage. Most of them would leap towards the enemy, biting shields and gnawing upon the skin of their enemies.
Dating back as far as the ninth century, the berserker Norse Warriors were said to be able to do things that normal humans could not. According to ancient legend, the berserkers were indestructible, and no weapon could break them from their trance. They were described as being immune to fire and to the strike of a sword, continuing on their rampage despite injury.
Most anthropological and psychological studies indicate that the Berserkers simply worked themselves up into a self-induced hysteria before fighting, that was part of the cult to Odin, very violent. They would act like animals, abandoning their clothes and dress with animal pelts, an initiation process to leave behind the human condition and become an animal. Other researches indicate that the consumption of drugs or alcohol, or even mental illness, could be the key to understand their behaviour. Some botanists have claimed that berserker behaviour could have been caused by the ingestion of the plant known as bog myrtle, one of the main spices in Scandinavian alcoholic beverages.
Other more esoteric theories surround supernatural beliefs. For instance, some scholars have claimed that the Vikings believed in spirit possession and that berserkers were possessed by the animal spirits of wolves or bears. According to some theorists, berserkers learned to cultivate the ability to allow animal spirits to take over their body during a fight (an example of animal totemism) that also involved drinking the blood of the animal that they wished to be possessed by.
Speaking in a more esoteric term, there are some theories surrounded by supernatural beliefs.For instance, some scholars have claimed that the Vikings believed in spirit possession and that berserkers were possessed by the animal spirits of wolves or bears. According to some theorists, berserkers learned to cultivate the ability to allow animal spirits to take over their body during a fight, an ancient cult of animal totemism linked to shamanism, that also involved drinking the blood of the animal that they wished to be possessed by.
In 1015, Jarl Eiríkr Hákonarson of Norway outlawed berserkers. The Grágás, the medieval Icelandic law code, sentenced berserker warriors to outlawry. By the 12th century, organised berserker war-gangs had been completely disbanded.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 11:37 PM /
As I have written the other day about this norse goddess, this post will be only about making offerings to her. Summarizing, Angrboda was the first wife of the god Loki. That is how she was entitled as a goddess thereafter, foe being connected with another deity. This doesn't mean she had no power before, on the contrary, she was a powerful figure in Jotunheim, chieftain of all the tribes of Jotnar. Such power she had, that Loki himself felt drawn to her. She is also the mother of the death goddess, Hel, or Hela, as well as the great sea serpent and the wolf Fenrir. Angrboda's marriage to Loki produced three children - Hela, who became the goddess of Death; Jormundgand the Great Serpent who surrounds and protects all of Midgard; and Fenris the wolf-shaped God of Destruction who was chained.
In the previous post about her, I wrote that she will not work with anyone, her choices in spiritual-workers are very specific. Whoever she chooses, she will protect the person if she considers him/her to be a member of her clan.
In Ironwood, as well as in most places throughout Jotunheim, she is known as the Wolf Mother. This shows her matriarch personality. This title "Wolf Mother" is actually relevant for this post, because most want to work with her but can't, so in other to help her or give her offerings indirectly, you can help the wolves of your country, those animals are an endangered specie in all the countries which they are native. Helping the wolves, in whatever kind of job is needed in the centres that protect them, is actually hard work, and Angrboda appreciates the tough ones.
Most people only know Angrboda by her marriage with Loki and for being the mother of many of his children. The lore speaks of such things but not how to work with her and what is her real purpose. Through time, many spiritual-workers gave us the knowledge of the things that don't come in the lore.
She is a strong figure, violent, passionate, very protective like a wolf mother to her cubs, and also much wise. She as a reddish hair, a brown hair with a mixture like copper and red, or the color of dried blood.
As i told before, she is a very strong mother-figure, not in terms of nurturing or tender love, but in terms of motivation, support and advice, she takes special care to those who are "different", who have physical anomalies, people who also need love and care and need a mother-figure to guide them and to tell them they are also beautiful, as long as they are strong inside and never give up.
To work with her indirectly, you don't need to just help wolves, but also people with physical and mental disorders. As I have said before, she requires a strong spiritual-worker, capable of leadership, determined, wise and inclined for more primal aspects of life and human behaviour. Take note that she only works with female spiritual-workers, but once in a while a male spiritual-worker might also be summoned.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 11:05 PM /
Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology (IAE) in Szczecin discovered a meteorite fragment inside the remains of a Neolithic hut dating back more than 9,000 years in Bolków, northwest Poland, according to a news report in Naukaw Polsce. Academics believe the object was recognised as being ‘not of this world’ and was used for shamanic purposes.
Archaeologists had been carrying out excavations on the banks of Swidwie Lake in the West Pomeranian region for several years before discovering an unusual rock last year measuring 8cm in height and 5.3cm in width. The fragment was cylindrical shaped, porous, and unusually heavy, but it was not until recently that it was identified as a meteorite fragment.
The meteorite was discovered among a large group of sacral objects, including an amulet, a so-called ‘magic staff’ fashioned from antlers and decorated with geometrical motifs, and an engraved bone spear. The meteorite was brought to the shelter as a special object, not of this world, which must have been obvious to the contemporary men, knowledgeable of stone raw materials. The thing became an object of belief, and maybe even shamanic magic.
The discovered fragment is surprisingly heavy. In addition, the side profile shape suggests various associations; the original finder millennia ago probably saw in it shapes of a mysterious world of spirits. Close to the remains of the Neolithic hut with the meteorite, archaeologists found a second, almost identical dwelling in a peat layer. The central part of the huts contained the preserved traces of a hearth.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 11:35 AM /
The 3,000 years remains of a baby has been found at a site in Ireland that is believed to be the birthplace of Halloween. Studies show that the fully intact skeleton belongs to a 7-10 month child. The remains were unearthed during a three week excavation at Tlachtga, on the Hill of Ward near Athboy Co. Meath. One of Ireland’s most enigmatic sites, the Hill of Tlachtga features impressive circular earthworks which are best seen from the air. Medieval texts link the site to Samhain, the ancient Celtic Festival which is the precursor to modern Halloween.
The skeleton was found on the bedrock at the base of a 1.5m (3-foot, 28-inch) ditch. It may never be possible what caused the death of this child. Excavation and surveys carried out using airborne laser, revealed the area was a key ritual site. This same site, has several different phases of monumental enclosures and it is believe that those are associated with festivals and rituals potentially dating back as far as 1,000 B.C.
The Hill of Ward and Tlachtga, is a site steeped in folklore. According to Irish mythology, it got its name from the daughter of the powerful druid named Mug Ruith. According to legend, the remains of the druidess, who is said to have died on the hill after giving birth to triplets, are buried there. Tlachtga is also believed to be the site of the Great Fire Festival in which sacrifices were offered to the gods on Samhain eve. All hearth fires throughout Ireland were extinguished and then lit again from a central fire on the hill.
As I have written before about Samhain, I will quickly write about what it is, to place this post into the context. Samhain means "Summer's end", and it was the great festival of the dead. This was a time when the doorways to the otherworld, or a gap between worlds, opened and journeys through both realms could be made from one side to the other. This means that people could visit their ancestors, the deities and others beings, and vs versa. What goes in, also comes out. The veil between the worlds of the living and the world of the dead was believed to be the thinnest on October the 31st, a day which lies exactly between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice.
The excavation revealed the monument of Tlachtga is actually the last of at least three phases of enclosure on the hill. There is at least one small enclosure, about 15 inches in diameter, enclosed by a very large, tri- or quadrivallate enclosure, about 650 feet in diameter, which was replaced by the monument we may see today. The excavations also brought to light evidence of burning, which could have been ritual fires or the result of glass-making.
It is believed that the child was most likely not the victim of any human sacrifice on the ritual site. The remains have been taken to the School of Archaeology at University College Dublin for further examination.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 8:53 PM /
In Jötunheim, the land of giants, lies the most famous forest of all the nine norse cosmic worlds. Jarnvidur is its names, or commonly known as "Ironwood".
Angrboda (Whose name means "the one who brings grief") is the leader of all the Jotnar tribes living in Ironwood. According to the spiritual workers of the northern shamanic traditions, this goddess prefers female attendents, in other words, feminine spiritual workers. But she doesn't work with any who wants to work with her. In physical terms, she prefers tall women, strong, capable of enduring every trial Angrboda might have for them. However, she also preferes to work with older women, and in such cases, it doesn't matter their physical aspect. Only the young ones must be strong, willing to work with her. She doesn't work with teens for example, only adult women with some authority.The weak and delicate are not welcomed by her.
Angrboda is one of the oldest deities in the Norse cosmology, she was worshiped in prehistoric times, as such, she doesn't like to work with spiritual-workers who come clothed with something that may hold movements. Come to her in your natural form. That is part of the psychological profile of the spiritual-workers she likes to work with, without cloths that may hold the movements, is a metaphor for a person who moves with confidence and unconcern. If you must wear any type of clothing, choose a tunic or something made out of leather or animal skins. She likes women who have a warrior spirit. She is not a sweet deity, neither kind nor patient. Although, she is very kind to those who are physically different.
Note: When I've written that she likes clothes of animal skin, it would be absurd to assume that she likes to wear those just as a fashion, after all, she protects the wild animals, especially the wolves. She is a figure of ancient prehistoric cults as I have said, to be more precise, from the Neolithic period; she has been worshiped for a few millennia. Just as the humans once needed animal skins to warm themselves and to protect the body against the cold winter, she also needs them, for Ironwood is in Jotunheim, a hard place to live for those who aren't used to its weather. The best place in this world you might compare to it, are the thick shadowy and cold forests of Siberia.