As Vice President of The Asatru Community and owner of the 21st Century Heathen,
I will be sharing interviews with Scandinavian heathens whom I have come to meet, as both friends and mentors along this path of what I call “The Old ways.”
I have come to find as a self taught American heathen, Gythia and Volva, somethings about this ancestral path I struggled to learn, as some of the etymology and customs of the old Norse was at times hard for my 21st century English mind to grasp until I gained clarification and guidance form these wonderful Scandinavian heathens.
It wasn’t until I actually began to work with those kindred of people who actually live upon the soil of my ancestral homeland, that many of the deep secrets eluding me within the lore began to whisper to me the true meaning of the Runic magic all the nine words and its inhabitants have to offer.
I came to find these Scandinavian heathens, via working in an intimate way with not only The Gods who walked the land where they reside had at times a keener insight to these mysteries of the Lore. Was it due to understanding the original etymology better than an English speaking Heathen? Perhaps; but I also feel, by the fact they are living along side and working DAILY with the landvættir and energies of the place where the Ancient magic has, for the Millennium, seeped deeply (through sacrifice and blood)into the rocks, mud, streams and mountains; they take these magics into their bodies, on a daily basis.
Make no mistake here: I am not saying living in Scandinavia (or Iceland for that matter) makes you a more authentic or valid follower of the Old Norse ways of Paganism known as Heathenry. What I am saying, is if you, like myself, are truly adept and have dedicated your life to this path as I have done, there is a deeper, richer kenning to be gained; a more thorough understanding if you will, of the obscure telling of the Old Norse myths and concepts. By speaking with the indigenous people of Scandinavia,and hearing in their own words those fragmented stories of Old, the mythology comes to life in a new and deeper way. Once one begins speaking with (and working along side) the Natives of that environment, you can’t help but have your practice enlivened and enriched.
I wish to share some basic questions I have asked them, as well as their biographies. In doing so, I hope to help explain the differences (if any) that by living where they do, how the demography and topography brought them closer (and with less struggle) to a deeper understanding of reclaiming this path of Norse paganism than I myself have experienced. ~Since I am a few generations removed physically from the place of my Ancestry, these questions for me, were personally very much real and valid questions.
I will share four separate interviews: One with a life changing personal mentor, Gythia and Volva Inger Johanne Syverud from Norway. I hope to share her experience as a God-woman and Seer who travels to the US on occasion and gives workshops.
In another interview, I will also ask a spiritual and well known “soul singer” of Heathen Folk based music Lindy-Fay Hella, as she epitomizes for me the power of magic held within one of our most ancient arts and tools; our voice, and the power of enchantment through song.
I also will ask Lars Magnar Enoksen, a Master Runologist, Author, and Gilma instructor the deeper and often missed questions and understanding to rune work and Galdr that only someone with the understanding of the native Norse language can truly unlock. Lars opened the door for me to the profound understanding of runes and Galdralag. I feel if he wasn’t living where he does, nor if Lars didn’t have such a deep understanding of the language, my insights gleaned from his vast runic knowledge would not have been possible.
And finally I will ask Jean Lauridsen who runs multiple online groups for Old Ways education, to show how his Scandinavian Heathen life might differ from a US Heathen life even while being influenced by technology in a similar fashion as everyone around the world is influenced by it. By viewing how his Scandinavian lifestyle is impacted within this very modern world of easy access to millions of people and vast amounts of information; we can see by his answers he learns to balance both the old and the new. Jean is in service consistently to the Old Ways, and his story of being a Lore Keeper, wedding the Ancient to the Future, is a vital role in our modern Heathen world.
I hope you enjoy these short interviews and come to see the amazing treasure that I have discovered in coming to know the talents of each of these amazing 21st Century Heathens living in the Homeland of the Norse Gods..
I’m a Dane I live here in a town named Esbjerg in Denmark, have done that all my life.
It is very close to Ribe only 30km apart that’s the town the Vikings went out from when they went to Lindisfarne, Ribe is the oldest city in the North it’s from the year 710 so it is more than 1300-year-old an amazing town.
I’m 47-year -old 48 next January, I am married to Charlotte for 5 years now, we have been together 8 year in a month or so. I have 8 kids with 3 different ladies + 4 grandkids, family is everything and a big part of my life. I have 6 girls + 2 boys age ranging between 16 to 25 3 are named after the old ways Freja, Røskva and Tjalfe.
My grandkids are 3 boys and the latest arrival is a little girl named Luna 😊
3 years ago I started my education I am on at the moment still have 11 month left so school is also a big part of life right now, I needed to figure out something to do, I used to be an offshore welder but a motorcycle accident destroyed that Job for me, my shoulder wont allow me to do it anymore it is kaput, I hitted a light pole drove way to fast idiotic right I know 😊 so I went jobless around for 18 years living of the state because that’s how long it took me to get back and feel good again ready for new challenges. We have an awesome welfare system here in Denmark that takes care of people when shit like my accident happens, I even get paid right now for being in school do I need to say I love Denmark with all my heart.
I also train a lot 5 days a week love it, a big part for me as Asatru’er is to always try to improve myself in every aspect of life bodybuilding is just one way I do this, studying is another way. Taking around looking at all the sites we have from before the Viking age and to the end of it is also something, I do a lot.
I also do a lot of visiting all the different Viking markets we have here in Denmark, last summer I spend the weekend at Jim Lyngvilds market in a tent that was awesome we had a Seidr there after closing hour in Odin’s temple the temple Jim build in honor of the gods Inger Johanne Syverud was the Volva an amazing experience once again 😊
Been on the heathen path as an Asatru as long as I can remember back, still wear a Mjølnir I got at the age of 11 – 12 year old by my mom I actually wear 3 the one I got from my Mother and oe I got from my daughter + the big one I bought myself when I was on a date with my wife so all 3 means a lot to me even though it is kinda overkill to wear all 3 I do because I simply can’t chose and I feel naked when I’m not having them around my neck I never take them off only to clean them.
For many years I was a solo practitioner I did not realize the fact that there was a lot of others out there with the very same belief as me. And I was all in all happy with just being alone, however I must admit looking back I was happy because I did not know what I was missing out on being alone in the path, after I started the whole Facebook thing I realized there was many out there and I connected with them first online then later in real life.
Haven’t been this dedicated always when I was younger, I did not take my faith so serious it was just something I had, but after that crash I had on my bike (crotch rocket) I started to feel I needed more in life, more in my path so I started to read up on all the sagaes the Eddaes and everything I could get my hands on I truly figured out this path was what it’s all about if I wanted to be happy again that helped me mentally to overcome the fact I lost everything in that accident, the Norn’s sometimes spin our tread very strange.
Some years went on here on Facebook were I learned people with the same faith a myself to know, started with my friend Alex to drive to Roskilde Zealand were we had found a group of awesome people, that invited us into their circle and had Blòt’s with us that was the exact moment I knew I was not going back to be solo practitioner again.
Alex and I went over there some years in a row, 4 times every year, then we decided it was time to start our own kindred so we did, and that has been an awesome journey, we started Blòtgruppen Sol Esbjerg that’s the name or kindred have, first time we had a Blòt we were around 15 people that attended so it took of very well, there was a need for one here in Esbjerg where we live, and now we have members from all around Denmark. So that was a huge success and people seems to enjoy the group very much and that makes me happy. The place were we do our rites and rituals are an old Iron age area (homestead) with a lot of energy the gods are truly present there, it’s in a forest just outside our town were we have been allowed to borrow the place for our Blòts of the city council. It is an area were there are 4 shelters to spend the night in with room for around 6 – 8 people in each, and there is a huge space for people to set up tents we normally take an entire weekend at midsummer blòt out there Friday to Sunday, and just enjoy being with equals.
The first year I had the role as the kindreds Gothi. This year Alex is the Gothi so we both can take all roles and do the ceremonies.in case anyone get sick so the Blòt’s still is on and we do not have to cancel.
I am a member of Forn Sidr the official recognized Asatru society here in Denmark have been a member for some years now, Asatru is a recognized religion here in Denmark and in the North in general.
Asatru here in Denmark is not looked down on because most people understand instinctively that this is what created the north and the north men and we also learn about the old gods from early age as kids in our schools, it is a huge part of our culture, the Viking age even a bigger part I think.
This year I also joined in with the Swedish Nordiska asa-samfundet so I am also a member there. I joined them because they are more around in all of the Northern countries. + I learned some awesome people to know that was in NAS when they visited Forn Sidrs Althing (that’s where everything in FS is decided) last year so I wanted to be a part of that as well. Forn Sidr and Nas is trying to get a union up and running a connection between the Nordic Nations asatru’ers we still need some from the other countries to join in, but it is a start.
I have met some incredible awesome people on this path true the years and hope to meet even more to connect with. Because the more we are the stronger the faith will be.
Til árs ok friðar
What is Ásatrú, or Heathenry mean to you?
Jean: Simple answer it means everything for me😊
Asatru is a way for me to connect with the gods and goddess those my ancestors believed in by doing this I also feel closer to the ones that came before me with out them there would not be any me so I respect my ancestors very highly and I do remember them in times of celebration. Asatru is a nature religion mostly for me almost everything I do within Asatru is outside out on the places my ancestors walked, we have many old places here in Denmark places that still today have the energy of those that were before. It is a nature religion and that’s where I do all rituals outside in nature that’s also were, I feel closest to our gods and goddess.
How did you discover this path?
Jean: Been on it as long as I can remember, grew up with a mom that was culture Christian and not really believed in anything, and a Dad that believed in the old ways the old seed. Here in Denmark the old ways never left we have so much that are directly connected with it, in our language names, roads are named after the gods etc. we also learn about the old gods in school so I think it’s just what came most naturally for me to be Asatru. And I have never doubted that this was the path for me to be on, + it was the believe of the ancestors and that matter to me. I have never seen the idea of the dessert religion even though I’m married to a Christian woman we still respect each other’s right to have our own paths.
How do you see it being done differently in Scandinavia as compared to the US?
Jean: The biggest difference as I see it from over here, haven’t been to US yet so it’s all only what I see online as for now, is that so many in the US kinda seems to when they find this path they have huge difficulties leaving the old luggage behind their old religion so they kinda mix it up I think that’s because US compared to Denmark is way more Christian than the Danes are most here in Denmark are what we call culture Christians they don’t really believe its more a tradition than a faith to them so that can be a reason that it is difficult to leave it completely behind.
Is there magic in Ásatrú (Heathenry)?
Jean: Yes, defiantly there is: rune magic just as an example + everyone that have participated in a Seidr will say yes there is magic. Go out in nature and try to listen to what it tells you it won’t be more magical than that in my eyes at least it’s also the best place to connect with our god’s I think 😊
How do you personally honor the rites and ceremonies of Ásatrú (Heathenry)?
Jean: I made kindred with my Friend Alex some year back and we keep growing in members in it. We have the 4 season Blòts can’t really describe what we do under those because that’s for our kindred only not that it is secret or anything we just like to keep it in the circle, and we do take on trips to different places we just been to Sweden and Norway with the kindred, next year in February we are heading for US California and meet up with American heathens from L.A. that is also something I find very great to do make connections and get the word out about the gods not exactly a rite but done in that spirit.
I try to do my best everyday in honor of the gods but rites and ceremonies is not something I do in particular everyday I do them when I feel it is the time to do it, if you do it to often you wont gain energy from it but loose energy I think.
Something I have been lucky enough to do is participate in Seidr at Jim Lyngvilds temple Odin’s hof were Inger Johanne Syverud was the Volva. 3 or 4 times I have been there doing this and it is amazing that place have so much energy and so have the people there. Other than that, we sometimes do drum rituals that’s amazing to do also.
How/Why did you become the creator of so many heathen groups?
Jean: Because I was an idiot ha ha and somedays, I wish I had not done it 😊
Short answer I felt the need to do it, just something I had to do back when I started it on Facebook I thought I could do something good with it still think that 😊
It all started when I made my first page “Fuck Heaven And Hell I’m Going To Valhalla” and some of the followers of that particular page encouraged me to make a group were they could learn about Asatru and connect with others with the same faith so I did I made my very first group it had some name changes for different reasons but ended with the name “Path of the raven” when it started to grow and got up around 15k members I gave it to the admins that helped me with it and left it, because I at that time thought it was to big to be funny to have. It got removed by Facebook without any explanation at all. Next was I made Followers of the old ways that should be my little group I had this idea around 5k members would it get and how wrong was I we hitted 75k within the first 6 month I made it for all kind of heathens, pagans, everyone that did not follow the mainstream religions was welcomed. So, we all could get to know each other’s paths. We also have the group for our kindred with a page connected
Which Gods (if any in particular) do you Serve?
Jean: All of them
but some are closer to me than other Freya is very close to my heart I even named my daughter after her 21 years ago. Odin is also one I often send a good thought because without him as an inspiration I would not have started my education in my age.
Loki has always had a place with me as well because without some sort of chaos there would not be anything to learn from situations, we need chaos to grow. But all the gods are very dear to me I love them all.
What would you tell American practitioners about Ásatrú (Heathenry) as it is done in Scandinavia?
Jean: Do not hide who you are be proud of your ancestors and the old gods, to many is paying attention to what the neighbors think and feel , it is not their path it is yours and you should embrace it in all places.
we probably do have it easier over here because here in Denmark no one cares about what our neighbors believe in we do not ask them if they want to share what they believe with us that’s fine but no one really pay attention to others faith.
something I have noticed with many of the Heathens from the US is that they almost try too hard.
Relax do not try so hard the gods are there even when it feels like they are gone. No one expect you to read the Eddae’s daily or the Havamal for that matter, take your time and learn it in your own tempo. Here in Scandinavia I have never met anyone that followed the Nine Noble virtues we really don’t need a set of guidelines like them it is good guidelines but I seriously don’t think they belong in Asatru, our own moral compass should do just fine but to many seems to believe they are the core of Asatru remember they were first put together in the 70’es by some real questionable American folks.
What do you see for the future of worldwide Ásatrú (Heathenry)?
Jean: I do believe it will continue to grow, that there will be many more that will be coming home again, home to the faith of their ancestors. My hope is that all the good people out there starts to show who they are what they are because that’s the only way we can get the faith to be recognized world wide as it is now it’s really only all the rotten apples that show who they are those that give us all a bad name. but I do think more and more are starting to show who they are show the world we aren’t rotten all of us, but we are humans just like the rest of the world.
Til árs ok friðar