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Valarie Wright

§cholar & §eer . ∀uthor & ∀rtist . §eiðu & §haman

Ұule ~ Ŋinth Ŋight ~ Ħealing

FT pic

Again, following an older Pagan calender, I have decided to dedicate the Ninth Night to Healing. You can read last years post here.

Since then, I have published my book on Healing: Forn Þreifa: Ancient Healing Touch.  It is the only book to focus on the original energy healing techniques of Old Europe, while exploring the herbs and stones, Runes and Galdr, that the Healer would have employed. Yet, as ground-breaking as this is, modern-day Asatruers, without ever reading it, will bash it as “new age” or “wiccan”.

Which is just one of the reasons why I stepped away from that group, to not only better focus on Old European Heathenry, but to contribute in the healing of Heathenry overall. You see, my folkway is not limited to a Scandinavian box, or one brimming with hate, which further breeds narrow-mindedness. My practice is a Healing one, for it seeks to repair the physical, emotional, and intellectual facet of Being and Becoming.

Time and again I hear both Asatruar and Heathens alike use the word “hail”; little realizing that this stems from Old English hale and whole, holy and hallow .. and health. Yes, health is integral to the ordinary moments equally as it is to the sacral ones. All the more reason to celebrate it .. to learn about it .. to better apply it to every level of our own being.

As a Heathen I choose to be Happy, Healthy, and Wholly Holy .. which makes for a powerful bindrune.

healing-bindrune

Would You Know More, And What?

Ұule ~ Эighth Ŋight ~ §olar §hip

sun-ship-2

Without a detailed account of how the Twelve Days of Yule were celebrated (let alone that any given day had specific emphasis), I have chosen to write on these days as a way to discover Old European Heathenry. Last year’s post was also on the Solar Ship; a subject Tacitus mentions among the Germanic Suebi .. from Germania 9:

Pars Sueborum et Isidi sacrificat:
unde causa et origo peregrino sacro,
parum comperi,
nisi quod signum ipsum in modum liburnae figuratum docet advectam religionem. Some of the

Suebi sacrifice also to Isis.
I cannot determine the reason and origin of the foreign cult,
but her emblem,
fashioned in the form of a Liburnian* ship, proves that her worship comes from abroad

*Modern-day Croatia; a Slavic tribe

Ship rock art is found at several locations in Old Europe, mostly dating to the Bronze Age (3d millennium BCE). Generally, these depictions detail the journey of the Sun as it ‘navigates’ the Milky Way, or ‘heavenly highway’ of lore. The sheer number of ancient stone sites that precisely mark the equinoxes and solstices is enough evidence to affirm the Old Europeans as #SkyWatchers, and by extension – and documentation – superb navigators. The stars and constellations found along the Milky Way’s undulating contours were well known to the ancestors of yore. And if I were to freely interpret here, I would compare the Milky Ways’ center, with its radiating spokes, to the spinning wheel upon which the Goddess Frigg weaves the Wyrd of Life itself.

Another interesting perspective is the idea of the ship as lineage. Hávamál 10 and 11, for example, are what I refer to as “companion verses”, in that they have identical verbage, acting as a continuation of an idea. Further, they are examples of Galdr.

In these verses the word ‘lineage’ is *byrði, which means both “birth, descent; lineage”, and “board side of a ship”. Overall, there are eight references to ships in Havamal (that I have been able to identify).

Now, from a cultural perspective, there are numerious historical references to the cradleboard, where a child was swaddled, and to burial-boards being used in death rites. Freely considering the ship imagery on runestones and carved on wooden objects at burial sites, the board as lineage could easily be representative of life’s journey from cradle to grave – born upon a ship’s board, perhaps as a solar symbol (akin to the Sun Chariot).

If so, not only is this a lovely idea to consider .. but quite fitting on this Eighth Night of Yule.

Would You Know More, And What?

~ ~ ~

sun-ship

Photos: Fossum Panel, and Trundholm Sun Chariot, Nordic Bronze Age, Denmark

Ұule ~ §ixth Ŋight ~ Дark ℒord

frey-cern

Last year, for Sixth Night, I wrote on Mother Earth. However, I understand this tide and time of year to be more male than female, so I want to talk about the Dark Lord.

In several posts on my author’s page, I mentioned Him as the ‘Horned God’, and it has been expressed to me that, to some Heathen ears, this sounds ‘wiccan’ or ‘new age’. To them I counter: ‘Or perhaps you have become too Christianized and/or sanitized in your Heathenry.’

Frey’s name is rooted in Old English hlāfweard, meaning ‘loaf-ward’; making him a lord who both guards and dispenses resources to the folk. As the lord of horse, boar and stag – recall his horse Freyfaxi – he represents sexual virility (and there are accounts of a horse’s penis being used as an object of worship). During Yuletide, oaths were sworn in Frey’s name as ‘Tusked God’, and specifically as Hjörtr-got, ‘Stag God, Horned God’, for he gave up his sword to gain the love of a woman – the beautiful Gerðr, a Gygjar – and from that day forth fought with a stag’s horn. Frey is then, Heathenry’s Horned God.

As Ing, which is Old High German for Freyr, who represents ‘all men’; and from Grímnismál 5, we learn his is King of Elfheim (Elf Home). The Rune ingwar is named for him, and coupled with its #SeidrRune, ard, represents the connective threads between ancestors and men.

He sits upon Hliðskjálf, oaths are made using his name, he rides at the forefront of the Wild Hunt (atop Gullinbursti), traverses all worlds in a ship, and goes to battle with a stag’s rack. Far from a ‘lord of peace’, he casts quite the formadible and chthonic Wildman image – capable of both violence and frith. All of this, and much more, make him the most viable candidate for what would survive as the Horned God of Old Europe (similar to both Cernunnos and Herne).

Whatever the case, I choose to see him in this way, and have for many decades; so upon this Sixth Night I will raise an Oath Ring and call His name aloud, and in so doing, my voice will ring true amongst the Altmag!

Would You Know More, And What?

frey-herne

Ұule ~ Fifth Ŋight ~ ₸radition

yule-table

Last year, on Fifth Night, I wrote about the Mothers. Because of calendar reckoning, I did that yesterday; so today I will look at traditional food and drinks.

We each have our own unique Yule (Christmas) memories. I grew-up in a folkloric family (Celtic, Theosophist, and Masonic) .. brimming with rich traditions, each with a meaning ready to be discovered. But the kitchen at Yule! Roasted Goose and Cranberry Bread with fatty hand-churned butter, Mince Meat and Spiced Beef with wild harvested Juniper Compote! As the decades have flowed, I remember the scents and laughter, not the presents. Ahh .. memories can be wonderful things.

Today, I still relish traditional recipes. I scour the minds of elders, equally as I surf the internet looking for recipes from Old Europe. For me, Yule is not a standard American table of turkey and/or ham with mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and the questionable greenbean casserole (all of which resembles Thanksgiving Part II). No, my table varies widely. Ive prepared Irish and Norwegian meals, Russian and Bulgarian meals, German and Italian meals, and more – all from top to bottom, or from main dish to dessert to everything inbetween.

This year, because of a delightful find at a local international market, we are preparing a Moroccan meal: Camel Stew, Traditional Fruit Couscous, and Flaky Flatbread. Which doesn’t mean we have left-off the traditional things we enjoy, like Mince Meat Pie – with its shaved butter crust from a Medieval recipe; just that we are ever discovering new additions like Cardamon Citrus Cheesecake (a bit of a homage to the Moroccan meal), and Chocolate Coconut Butter Pistachio and Cranberry Bites (a new endeavor).

My point here, on this Fifth Night of Yule, is that traditions are the cornerstone of being Heathen, equally as the making of new ones!

Would You Know More, And What?

yule-cheesecake

Pic: The Chocolate Cardamon Orange Ginger Cheesecake!

Ұule ~ Fourth Ŋight ~ M̪others

mothers

Many Heathens today celebrate Mother’s Night either before, during or after Yule. Other than seeing this as ‘confusion’, I tend to see it as the good folk today trying to reintroduce this Old Way into their daily life.

Last year, I wrote about Mothers and Mother’s Night .. you can visit that here.

Mōdraniht – Old English ‘Mother’s Night’ – is an Anglo-Saxon celebration. We know this because the Venerable Bede, a Medieval English Historian, left us an 8th century record. This account, De temporum ratione, is a valuble treastise on the reckoning of time; as a #Seidwoman, I am particular concerned with Mundalfari’s Wanderings.

What Bede tells us about Mother’s Night:

Incipiebant autem annum ab octavo Calendarum Januariarum die,
ubi nunc natale Domini celebramus.
Et ipsam noctem nunc nobis sacrosanctam,
tunc gentili vocabulo Modranicht, id est, matrum noctem appellabant:
ob causam et suspicamur ceremoniarum, quas in ea pervigiles agebant.

Beginning the year on the 8th calends of January [25 December],
when we celebrate the birth of the Lord.
That very night, which we hold so sacred,
they used to call by the heathen word Modranecht, that is, “mother’s night”,
because (we suspect) of the ceremonies they enacted all that night.

In that ‘mothers’ and ‘foster mothers’ are mentioned frequently in Heathen Lore, its easy to ascertain the Germanic Matres and Matronae, the Nornir, Gygjar, and powerful Seidbearing Foster Mothers who were held in high esteem by the Germanic tribes – who were further known in Scandinavia as the Dis, and who clearly are celebrated at Disting, or the Dis’ Thing (“assembly”)

Speaking confidently, I am part of an annual Thing / Assembly of women, so can attest, at the least, several aspects of this rich female tradition live on. Further, to my knowledge, I was the first to suggest that Hel / Helja be honored during blot; an idea considered quite blasphemous at the time (circa 1980), but today, thankfully, is openly considered and/or practiced. In any event, I am not suggesting that my Germanic ancestors worshipped a sovereign, nurturing and maternal earth goddess, as popularly seen in Neo-Paganism. What we know is that there is a rich tradition of Huldrefolk – mostly dark, aluringly beautiful, black veiled, and dangerous women who often used Seidr. These ‘hidden women’, such as Helja and Frau Holle, Hludyn and Gullveig-Heid, were particularly targeted by the Church; who wanted their pale ‘virgin’ alone, to rule the minds of men.

The Heathen tribes knew that women, are anything but pale or virginal, weak or unfulfilled, ineffective or vacous. Our Goddess’ are wild and fierce as storm clouds, savage and unforgiving ocean waves, passionate and Wise Women who weld Seidr as a sharp sword. Equally as they were the undaunting defenders of hearth and kin, working tirelessly to feed their family, heal them with herbs and stones, and #galdr the Gygjar to aid them in their daily lives.

Yes, these are the gusty women of Heathen Lore who should be remembered on this Fifth Night. A handful of these Women include:
Alusneihae, mother who ‘sings of sacred words’, and
Aufanie, the ‘generous ancestral mother’.
Friagabis, the ‘generous, open-handed’ mother, and
Garmangabis, the ‘richly giving’ mother.
Nehalennia, the ‘death mother’, and ‘seafaring mother’, and
Saitchamiae, the ‘mother of magic’; who all #Seidbearers should know.

So on this night, hail the Mothers and Strong Women – equally your mothers and wives, daughters, sisters, and aunts.

Would You Know More, And What?

gullveig

~ ~ ~

Primary Art:
The Matronae, A Print by Monica Sjöö

Art art bottom:
Original #SeidrArt,
V. Wright

Ұule ~ Þird Ŋight ~ ƑƑƑ.ƑƑƑ

ffffff

There are not many details regarding the Twelve Days of Yule. I don’t think there were specific days for specific things, probably just the many activities in the twelve days allotted. Today, some have questioned the number of twelve days, but even today I see this in Europe, where many will go on vacation for 12-14 days, seemingly all at once. For example, I’ve seen German towns virtually close for ‘vacation season’. Whatever the case, if we are wondering and searching for things to do – for Yule Traditions – then these twelve days becomes an opportunity to explore the many ways our Altmag found wunjo.

For this Third Night then, I would like to focus on the Six Fehus; namely, Ƒlag, Ƒolk and Ƒamily, Ƒlax, Ƒodder and Ƒrith.  (Last year’s Third Night post)

Flag is short for ‘flagstone’. The oldest form of this word is from Indo-European (f)plak-, meaning ‘flat piece, stone layer, flat sea’. Not used today, a flag was the flat stone used as the frontal portion of a fireplace. Later still in Middle English, the word became hearth, as in hearthstone, or the floor of a that extended into a room. This same word is rooted in heathen, for Heathen means, ‘folk of the hearth; folk of the heath’. Yet another meaning of flag is ‘cut piece of sod’, which was a portion of earth that was removed to build an outdoor fire, or to swear an oath under. The ancient Heathens routinely swore oaths standing beneath a flag.

When considering forn sidr, the Old Ways, there is nothing more important than the flag, for this is where folk and family gather – to warm themselves, to tell stories or relate the events of their day, to learn of the Old Ways, to cook and eat hearty and healthy food. Flag is the heart-space of every home, the ‘domestic sun’ of vibrancy and vitality. In Heathenry this is the Lady, the inner sun of every family, for in Heathenry, the sun is female – the primal warmth of transformation and purification.

Folk means ‘people or tribe’, specifically, the Old European tribes. From Indo-European pele- meaning, ‘plenty, accomplish, full’, and is even related to the Hindu word poori, which is a flat bread made at the hearth. Folk are the originators and carriers of custom and law, tradition and belief, from the household to the ruling court. We see these words today in: folk lore, folk wisdom, folk music, folk tale, folk life and folk art – all things that Heathens draw upon to further their Folkway.

Family is an Anglo-Saxon word and means, ‘related by blood’. Likewise, the maxim ‘blood is thicker than water’ is Anglo-Saxon, and means ‘it is better to seek kindness from a kinsman than from a stranger’; or, where water soon evaporates and leaves no mark, not so blood. Within Heathenry family is the smallest unit of measurement, for ‘no man is an island’.

Flax too has Indo-European roots – (f)plek- means ‘flax, pliant, braid, weave, entwine’. Native to Old Europe, flax is a slender plant with beautiful blue flowers and has been used for countless generations as a fiber and food seed (yielding linseed oil). It was the primary cloth among the ancient Heathen tribes, used in the making of linen. In my book, Völuspá: Seiðr as Wyrd Consciousness, I describe the primal grandmother, Bestla, who is the ‘woody fiber’, the “food-conducting fiber, used in the weaving of rope, baskets, and hair” and fetters. Flax is a tool of prosperity, lineage and the Summer Solstice. It is health, beauty, spiritual viability and the comprehension of morality. Finally, flax is the bringing together of a man and woman – the binding thread of a Handfasting – for where Frey is the spear, Freyja the spindle, where Frey is the leek, Freyja is the linen.

Fodder has an Indo-European root and means ‘to protect, feed, protector’; which includes Forn Threifa (‘ancient healing touch’). It is also seen in the Anglo-Saxon word foster which was a common practice among the Old European tribes. To foster someone meant to feed and clothe them (in flax / linen), to teach them, to protect them, to care for them as your own. Being or becoming a foster in Heathenry – as of old, so today – means to be trothed to someone, something that, historically, was considered just as reliable as family, or ‘related by blood’.

Frith means ‘free from conflict’ and is from the Indo-European root pri-, meaning ‘free, not in bondage’; in Old English fraien means ‘free from disturbance’; and Old High German fridu means ‘safety, compound’. Other definitions of frith include:
-Free from being subjected to others, not restrained;
-Free to determine one’s own actions, at liberty;
-Not confined or imprisoned;
-Clear of offense or crime, without guilt.

The closest ideas we have to this word are: familiar, sincere, faithful, certain and honorable, and a word commonly heard in Heathenry today: troth. Most scholars today believe the staff or wand to be a symbol of frith. In Heathenry the word Völva means ‘staff bearer’, and certainly we have all seen pictures of witches on broomsticks. The staff is a medium of freedom – free from the constraints of establish society, not subjected to another via the might provided by the Lord and Lady, free to determine one’s own actions, to bend and shape will to one’s own measure.

Clearly, these are more than ancient ideas; these six are so important that most of us are familiar with them even today, in any number of combinations:
-Faith, Folk and Family;
-Flags, Flax and Fodder; and
-Flax, Fodder and Frig. (Frig is tha Germanic goddess; also known as Freyja);

In all, these six create a powerful Bindrune, one that captures the very essence of Heathenry and the Old Ways.

Would You Know More, And What?

hoher-muot

Ұule ~ §econd Ŋight ~ ℭalendar ℞eckoning

yule-lussi-rune

Heathens of Yore were #SkyWatchers, building great monuments to chart haven and earth. Far from ‘barbaric’, our pre-Christian ancestors had extensive technical ingenuity and organization, clearly seen in the construction of Megaliths. The significance of which supports the idea of collaborative and supportive communities and cultural identity. The standing stones were:
-Permanent homes for the dead,
-Sites of socio-ritual interactions,
-Complex knowledge of geometrical and astronomical knowledge, that corresponds with seasonal changes,
-Commune with the Otherworlds,
-Mystical and significant symbols – such as ploughs, axes, and cups; representative of the three-levels of society,
-Boats as symbols of passage between Otherworldly realms,
-Color to signify the mystical relationship between the living and their ancestors, and
A message to their children – us – to Re-Remember the #OldWays.

The Solstices and Equinoxes are celestial events, and today, their dates are easily determined. The terrestrial markers are best seen in moon phases, but are likewise used to divide the year into eight seasons. Granted, this rendering is considered modern, but with the greater-eye of history, it is an easy and logical conclusion to arrive at.

This year, Yule – also, Cron Huel, the ‘Dark Wheel’ – fell on Wednesday, December 21st, at 5:44 Eastern Standard Time (EST). This commenses both a twelve-day celebration, and a season. The Season of Yule lasts until February, when the Season of Disting / Imbolg begins. Disting is a terrestrial marker, and its date is not fixed, but determined as the mid-point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. This is why these dates are considered Between Times – for they fall between celestial phenomena.  (Visit last year’s Second Night here ..)

So it is, on this Second Night of Yule, that I would like to explain my understanding of Yule, as I have come to know it via the information taught me as a child, and discovered in my lifelong research and practice of the Old European folkways. For me, this is the Tide of Law / Thew, it is the Womb of Every Holt and the Tomb of Every Hope. Yule is the Black Sun and the Red Earth, and is indeed, Earth Over Fire.

Wild Huntsmen roam the Earth during this tide – both fell and fehu beasts. As such, and in accord to numerous Old European customs:
Lussi Rune drawn upon the hearth, so the Wild Hunt passes over safely (picture above),
-Garnet is worn as a protective amulet,
-Pine resin is burnt in the home to drive out ill-wihts,
-Red threads are tied to animal tails to ward them from injury,
-Rowan bundles are bound with red and green thread and dipped in water, used to sprinkle the hearth and its kin with blessings,
-A Forn Threifa Galdr I learned from my grandmother, and used in blessing:

Speed be to woe
Sickness to wood,
Flesh to stone

-And my favorite: White Tricals drawn in chaulk atop every doorway to protect all who dwell there from harm (picture below).

One can do all of these, one or two of these, or none. I have gathered them from Old European customs used from the Baltics to Germany, from Scandinavia to Ireland, and which remain with us today to re-awaken within us the Old Ways we often bemoan that we lack.

yule-triskel

Would You Know More, And What?

 

 

 

 

M̪y Дark Ƒortnight in Seiðr – Cron Huel 2016

  yule-father

Old English Géol, Old Norse Jol, both cognate with PIE *ghel, “to shine; to be glad; bright and shining, gleaming and joyous; galdr, to sing joyful”. Tis’ the season of Ehre, ‘honor’ according to the Germanic tribes; hence the Yule Log which represents tradition, the Yule Boar which represents fehu, and the Yule Oath which is nothing short of one’s own worth. (Linguistics: Compendium of Anglo-Saxon and English Dialects, 1876CE)

In Yorkshire, England, during the 1700s, there was a custom to visit each church and sing (a call the looks akin to ‘Ullr’):

Ule! Ule! Ule!
A token of rejoicing!
Fat pig to each, and puddings three,
Crack nuts and cry ‘Ule!’
-Itinerary of the British Isles, 1770CE

The Yule Log was laid-out, a fire created and kept burning for Twelve Nights; these celebrations were so significant that one reckoned their age by how many Yule’s they had lived.

Now blocks to cleave / this time requires
‘Gainst Yuletide for / to make strong fires!
-Poor Robin, 1677CE

On this First Night, Yule Cakes were made from the Yule Dough – used to bundle sweet meats, or veal mixed with dried fruit and wine.  Traditional recipes include Plum Porridge and Mince Pies are still common in Europe today. As to meat, boar is the platter of choice – and judging by the oaths sworn upon both ‘boar and ring’, meaningfully significant:

The boris hed in hondes I brynge,
With garlandes gay and byrdes synynge;
I pray you all, helpe me to synge,
As you all feast so hartily!
-Boar’s Head Carol, 1521CE

Yule Gifts were given to all guests in the hall, even the Carolers who sang at every door.

So on this First Night: Start the Yule Log ablaze, eat rich pork and fruit pies, with hearty mead! For, according to tradition, these rich goods and breaded sweets are meant as a prayer for safety during the dark Winter Nights.

Would You Know More and What?

yule-boar-head

 

 

₸ease the Þread

perception

It’s always interesting when someone tries to convince another that they are wrong.
From a psychological perspective, one’s personal experiences are how idea and
opinion are shaped, so not up for debate. It is quite common to know a truth but
have a different interpretation of that truth. Interestingly enough, when someone
argues that another’s perspective is ‘wrong’ or ‘inaccurate’ or ‘full of shit’, they
are sharing their own uncertainties. As the adage relates: Misery loves company.

To say, for example, that all people of a given time or place were one-thing,
is to neatly place the human experience in a box. It is to rely solely on what
historians tell us. Perhaps when history looks back upon the beginning of this
four year period, they may say “All Americans supported Trump”.
Clearly, living as we are at this time, we know this to be incorrect;
yet those who read the words of historians will consider all of us as a singular mind.

There is no all-or-nothing. The world – let alone humans – are not so ‘neat’,
not so orderly, to be either/or. Simply put, there are those who demand action
over introspection, who demand that others ‘get over it’ and ‘get in line’ with the
general narrative. But what is really being said is that those ‘others’ follow the
neat view of the world; and where they do not, they are deemed ‘trouble-makers’
or ‘idiots’. Some relish labels and boxes moreso than others; always seeking to
define, apply, and stuff into a compartment that which they themselves have
yet to realize. And because such ideas and actions are not truly their own,
feel compelled to defend them by condemning others as ‘outsiders’ and ‘misfits’
by berating them and convincing others to also berate them. (On the internet,
this is called ‘trolling’.)

Speaking personally (as only any of us can), I live in a post-modern and
post-structural world. Human culture is often defined as structured (language, math),
yet is actually fluid. While living in Germany, learning to speak the language,
I came to realize that not all Germans speak German. There exist pronounced
dialects that, even amongst native speakers, are barely recognizable.
So to insist upon the comfort-zone that, in any given time period, everyone
spoke the same language, is irrational. Another example from the world today:
There exist liberal, fundamental, even radical interpretations of Christianity, Islam,
even Heathenry, but does holding any one stance make one any less than that
which is self-identified with?

Teasing out a thread from a tapestry – to call it ‘not part of the whole’ – is
re-acting structurally. Those who choose to disregard other options,
simply need to understand their world in a defined space.
Whereas others have long since realized that such space is confining;
and akin to Plato’s Cave, recognize that commonly accepted education
fails to factor human nature.

As a #SeidHistorian and #SeidWoman, it’s not that I ‘change’ history to
suit my perspective, so much as I am unconstrained by the traditional and
systematized perspective. A narrative I perceive as constraining.
As such, I further recognize a need for a metalanguage, because concepts
do not need to be clearly defined to be meaningful. Consider the #Runes here –
or specifically, the manner in which I read them – they are symbols that represent
(and in some cases replace) words, phrases, and ideas. Simply put:
There are no sharp boundaries, but meanings that flow and ripple off each other.
As much as many tend to adhere to rules, there will always be words that
convey different meanings to different individuals based on their particular experience.

So, where some stand firm on their interpretation, insisting even that others ‘follow suit’
and ‘see the truth’, what they are truly doing is insisting that others accept their personal
authority, and through argumentation, their sense of personal legitimacy.
Meanwhile, those ‘others’ (as a #WolfWoman, I am most certainly Other)
require no external validation to be comfortable with personal experience and interpretation.

~ ~ ~

perspective

Primary Photo: Alice Posluszna

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