The arts of Viking age Healing part #1

“…the læknir, who is not a special someone who sits in a special room all day but is probably a real person with a real life and a real farm who has inherited medicinal knowledge.

The læknir is probably weeding a garden or something when Hiccup arrives, rather than organizing herbs or something…”
~Dyanne

Healing was not a profession for the majority of the Viking Age, and it certainly was not a profession in small, rural areas for any of it. Healing was practiced by people who did other things, like farm or build ships, but had inherited some medical knowledge from their mothers and fathers. Most people in the Viking Age relied on a local person who knew a little but not a lot to help them when they were sick or injured. Medical specialty was rare.

There were some whose medical knowledge and skill was greater than the average person, and these people would have been called for larger injuries like broken legs, large puncture wounds, and so on.

Viking age Healers were both men and women, so the notion “a village healer was ONLY the Witch in the cottage on the outskirts.” is a misnomer. However women did tend to be the ones who took up this important skill set, seeing as Mothers tended to the well-being of her household, knew plant values, and of course were very much in control of child birth!

The Óláfs saga helga is very specific regarding the gender of the healers tending to Þormóðr (who we all remember as the man who ripped an arrow out of his side, exclaimed over the amount of fat around his heart, declared that the king kept his people fat and happy, and promptly died). The healer in this instance was women.

We do know, however, that toward the very end of the Viking Age, that healing did emerge as a profession and that some men did go into it. And I mean the very end. Like, 1043. In Magnúss saga ins góða, twelve men are chosen to tend to the wounded, they gain reputations as healers, and their descendants become very famous 12th century (note that this is no longer the Viking Age) physicians.

So with that said, let’s look deeper into Viking age healing arts:

~What kinds of illnesses were prominent in Viking times? What kind of medical knowledge was available and what used to treat various illnesses?~

Good health was seen as an extension of good luck. So preventative medicine consisted primarily of chants and charms that would maintain one’s good fortune. The eddaic poetry is full of charms for the maintenance of health in daily life, such as those in Hávamál.

Runic inscriptions were used as magic to maintain health. Chapters 73 and 77 of Egils saga Skalla-grímssonar tell how a young woman’s health was first ruined through the use of improper runes, and then restored by correct runes. The runes were carved on a whalebone placed under the woman’s bed.

In addition to magical arts, the medical arts were also practiced in the Norse era. Classical herbal remedies appear to have been known, along with local herbs specific to the Norse region. Medical treatments consisted of: lancing; cleaning wounds; anointing; bandaging; setting broken bones; the preparation of herbal remedies; and midwifery. The 13th century Icelandic law book Grágás says that one must hold harmless a person who bleeds or cauterizes someone for the good of their health [St364], suggesting those techniques were also known and used.

Studies of skeletal remains from the Viking age show evidence of fractures that have healed in ribs, and bones of the arms and legs. The stories also provide evidence of broken limbs that were manipulated to allow the bones to knit more satisfactorily. In chapter 10 of Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu, Gunnlaug’s ankle was twisted out of joint in a wrestling match. Later, his foot was bandaged and the joint re-set. (Þá var vafiður fóturinn og í liðinn færður.) In Íslendinga saga (which takes place after the Viking age, in 12th century Iceland), it is said that Loptr broke his leg one summer (chapter 40). When it was set, Loptr thought it too weak to stand on. He had the leg broken a second time and instructed how it should be set. When the leg knit a second time, Loptr was not very lame. In chapter 45 of Eyrbyggja saga, Þóroddr was wounded in the neck. As the wound healed, his head drooped to one side. He asked Snorri goði to reopen the wound and reset his head straighter.

In the early part of the Norse era, most of the population had to rely on themselves or on local people with special abilities. Educated medical specialists were rare. Chapter 6 of Eiríks saga rauða tells of an protracted period of disease at Lysufjorður in Greenland. The sick lay in bed in the hall, while the healthy helped them prepare for death.

An inured person sought a healer (læknir) for medical assistance. In chapter 6 of Þórðar saga hreðu, Indriði suffered gaping wounds during a battle. When asked if he might pull through, he said, “I think there is some hope of it, if a healer sees me.”

Archaeological evidence from grave sites shows that surgery was performed from time to time, some of which was successful (i.e., the patient lived for a time after the procedure). In addition, some of the late literature (e.g., Biskupa sogur) suggests that surgery was occasionally performed.

In more densely settled areas, such as trading towns, epidemics must have been occasional occurrences. Smallpox, dysentery, and leprosy are recorded in the literature. The Norse must have faced these with resignation, since little could be done to control them. The attitude towards the sick is reflected in an incident from chapter 28 of Ljósvetninga saga. Már booked a passage from Iceland to Norway on a ship. While the captain waited for favorable winds, a boat drew up to the ship and asked if Már was aboard. The boat carried Már’s kinsman, Þorvaldur the leper, and the men in the boat insisted that Már take his sick kinsman with him. Már took Þorvaldur back to shore and returned to the ship without him, telling the crew he had made arrangements. Later, it was discovered Már had murdered his kinsman to avoid having to deal with him.

A mass grave at the winter camp of the Viking Great Army in Repton (England) suggests that the people buried there succumbed to an epidemic of some sort. Of the several hundred individuals buried there, most were adult males with no indications that they died of battle injuries. The Viking invaders wintered over in this camp during the winter of 873-874.

Skeletal remains show that at least some people lived to old age in the Viking era, but they also show that degenerative joint disease was common in old age. The stories tell of other conditions due to old age, such as blindness and deafness. Egils saga (chapter 85) says that when Egill was an old man, he grew frail, with stiff legs, and that both his vision and hearing failed. His skill in composing poetry seems to have been unimpaired, based on the poetry he composed mocking his infirmities in old age. He was more than 80 years old then.

Next time we will discuss the healing given to the other cause of mortality in the Viking age: Battle wounds.

March Full Moon Rite.

As the saying goes, March rolls in like a lion, and if we’re really lucky, it might go out like a lamb. It’s the time of the Storm Moon, the month when Spring finally arrives, around the time of the Equinox, and we see new life begin to spring forth. As the Wheel of the Year turns once more, heavy rains and gray skies abound — the earth is being showered with the life-giving water it needs to have a fertile and healthy growing season. This is also a time of equal parts light and darkness, and so a time of balance.

Depending on where you live, this moon may be called the Seed Moon, Lenten Moon, or Chaste Moon. Anglo-Saxons called it Hraed-monat (rugged month), or Hlyd-monat (stormy month). A stormy March was an omen of poor crops, while a dry March indicated a rich harvest.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this month’s moon is sometimes called the Full Sap Moon and the Worm Moon — and no wonder, since after a storm, there are worms all over the place!

As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation.
As the weather can be anything but predictable, the month of March in your area might not see the same weather as other locations, because your environment depends on a number of factors.

Correspondences

Colors: Use green, yellow, and light purple to represent the colors of the season. This is a great time to explore magic with pastel colors.
Gemstones: Bloodstone and aquamarine are often associated with early spring, the vernal equinox, and the month of March.
Trees: Dogwood, honeysuckle, lilacs, and cherry blossoms are just beginning to bloom this time of year in many areas, so find a way to incorporate them into your workings as needed.
Herbs: High John, pennyroyal, wood betony, and apple blossom can often be found during this season, depending on where you live.
Element: Water is the element most closely associated with the Storm Moon — after all, it’s one of the wettest time of the year, thanks to thunderstorms rolling through.

Storm Moon Magic
Use this month for magical workings related to rebirth and regrowth. New life is blooming during this phase of the moon, as is prosperity and fertility. Here are some things you can do this month and plan accordingly.

Begin planning your magical herb garden for the year. What would you like to grow? Consider whether you want specifically medicinal and healing herbs, or if you’re going for a variety of magical purposes.
Are you thinking about making a change in your career? Now is the time to tidy up that resume and get it up to date. Start researching the companies you’d really like to work for and figure out what you need to do to make it happen. Make phone calls, network, send in applications, and take control of the reinvention of your career.

Got a storm rolling in? Place a jar or bucket outside so you can gather rain water for use in ritual (bonus magical points to you if it’s collected during a lightning storm!).
Spring tends to be the time of year to begin thinking about going back to school in the fall — partly because for many colleges and universities, this is the season when acceptances are finalized. If you’re thinking about continuing your education, get those admissions forms completed.

If you’ve ever thought about changing your life (haven’t we all?), especially by making big changes, now is the time to plant the seeds for those efforts.

Place your magical tools outside for cleansing during the Storm Moon.

Keeping Track of the Weather
If you don’t have a copy of the Farmer’s Almanac, it really is worthwhile to invest in one — they’re less than $10. You can also visit their site online and see what the weather and agricultural markers are for your zip code on any given date.

Spring Full Moon Ritual Basics:
Celebrate the seasonal full moon with a water-themed ceremony.

Each participant should bring a cup of water, and you’ll need a flower cutting to symbolize the spring.
Include this as part of a larger celebration, or simply hold it as a single, short blot for yourself.

Along with the sun, water helps bring life back to the earth. It is the source of much of our existence and helps to cleanse and purify us. It can both destroy us and heal us. In ancient times, the well or spring was often seen as a sacred and holy place — a place in which we could truly bathe in the touch of the Divine. To celebrate the arrival of Spring’s full moons, we acknowledge and honor the many aspects of Water.

Before You Begin

If you cannot do this outside near water you may wish to have ambient Nature sounds playing in the background that include water sounds — a trickling stream, a waterfall, the waves of the ocean — but this is optional.

You’ll need a small bowl of water, a large empty bowl, a cut flower of your choosing, and a horn/cup of water for each participant.

For this ritual, you’ll want to go ahead and set up your högar/altar in a manner appropriate to this season. Add things that represent this time of year, like spring flowers, fresh cuttings from the garden, or packets of seeds. You’ll also need a small bowl of water and a large empty bowl. Ask each participant to bring a cup or jar of water from their own homestead, representing a place that is life for them. Finally, you’ll need a freshly cut flower (if you can’t find one, or if your flowers haven’t bloomed yet, a sprig of grass or a clipping from a newly blossomed shrub is a perfectly good substitute).

If in your practice you to cast a circle, you may do so. Although this rite is designed for a small group, it can easily be adapted for a larger group or even for a solitary practitioner.

1) Hold the small bowl of water to the sky, facing the moon, and say: The moon is high above us, giving us light in the dark.
Mani illuminates our world, our souls, our minds.
Like the ever-moving tides, Mani is constant yet changing.
Mani moves the water with his cycles, and so water nourishes us and brings us life.

With the divine energy of this sacred element of water, we stand within this sacred space.

Dip the cut flower in the blot bowl of water, and sprinkle it on the ground, on the högar, and on any items near the högar.

2) then say:

Spring is here, and the earth is bursting with new life.
Mornings begin bright and sunny, and afternoon gives way
to blustery showers of wind and rain.
We as Living Heathens welcome the water when it comes,
because it nourishes that which has yet to bloom.
We welcome the water from all around,
from places far and near.

3) take the large empty blot bowl and walk around the space. Approache each participant and pause so that they can pour their water into the bowl. As they do, invite them to share where the water has come from, and why it is special:

This water is from the ocean, from my last trip to the beach.

or

This is water from the creek behind my grandmother’s farm.

When everyone has poured their water into the bowl, use the cut flower once more, stirring and blending the water with the stem of the flower. As the water is mixing together, say:

Listen to the water, coming together,
the voice of the moon from up above.
Listen to the voices, growing with power,
feel the Old Magics and life and love.

4) Empower the Participants by taking the blended bowl of water and invite each participant to step forward. As they do, flick the water on them and say:

May the light and wisdom of Mani guide you through the coming cycle.
May the waters of our homesteads continue to give your family refreshing life.
May the Wisdom of the Ancestors reach you through the Well of Urd.

5)Take a few moments to meditate on the magical power of water. Think about how it flows and ebbs, changing all in its path. Water can destroy, and it can bring life. Consider how our bodies and spirits ebb with the tide, and how we connect to the cycles of water, of the moon, and of Jords returning cycles. Remind everyone that we are all traveling in the river of life itself, and while we may have different backgrounds, goals and dreams, bit we are all seeking the divine in ourselves and in those around us through Living Heathenry. By embracing the power and energy of water, we are able to welcome a pool of sacred space — ever constant, yet ever changing.

When everyone is ready, end the ritual. You may wish to move on to a Sumble Ale ceremony, or drawing down the moon for Spá.

Venerate the Spring!

As we approach the spring equinox, many Recon Heathens refute that to honor Springs arrival at the vernal equinox is somehow a “Neo-Pagan” holiday,(it’s NOT) and a “Heathen” shouldn’t honor that auspicious shift from winter to summer known as Spring.

I personally think this notion is limiting and silly.

I am an Animist, and everything I do reflects my veneration of Jord, Her cycles, and the wisdom and power I gain from uniting with all Her cycles; especially seasonal changes on my Homestead.

I will share some articles below about the equinox, and leave you, my beloved Tribe with this opinion: A Living Heathen gets their heads out of the books and gets their asses out into the big wide world to re-learn their place of power and honor within it. That can ONLY happen when one becomes fully engaged in the Earths cycles, weather, wildlife community, and rhythms.

As 21st century domesticated technology dependent creatures, this very lack of the basic Indigenous wisdom we have forgone since the industrial revolution has left us deaf, blind and dumb to the very forces that will help us excel in our evolutionary process.

I don’t celebrate Ostara because She is a Germanic Goddess(read STILL HEATHEN!) and I honor the Norse pantheon. However, I also honor the very cycles of the Earth/Nerthus because Jord is my primary Goddess. Don’t limit yourself and get locked into Dogma my dear readers; re-wild yourselves and do as our Ancestors did; fully live within the atmosphere of Jord, and She will help you flourish just as She helps all of Her Children, great and small!

https://springwolf.net/2013/03/19/ostara-the-spring-equinox/

http://www.heathenhof.com/worship-jotnar/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B6r%C3%B0

https://norse-mythology.org/fjorgynn-fjorgyn/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerthus

https://brewminate.com/the-ancient-celtic-roots-of…/…

*Note, the attached image is from years past, and this years equinox is on March 20!

Drive to remembering

A thirst lingers even when the rainy seasons fall.

A thirst for old ways that seem to be eaten by the rusty splinters of time.

Injected with the last breath, tree gives way to steel, steel gives way to silicone.

I sometimes get in my car and drive as hard and as far away as I can, where stories still linger in old dusty corners, and the quiet nod of the neighbor is the loudest conversation heard all day.

I drive until beauty overwhelms my senses, pull over and exhale. I drink in the mists, eat the landscape, and remember how to pray.

Photo: Willapa Hills | © H a v e n

~Keeping the Arts of the Völva a tradition while keeping it pertinent, modern, and real.

I find myself pondering over the possible answers to the various questions I foresee coming up in a scheduled interview I will be doing next week. I feel anxious as I want to be accurate and culturally correct. I want to pronounce the Norse names properly, and I wish to explain the colorful and richly complex Norse Concepts behind those Scandinavian words with as much accuracy, credibility, and honor they deserve. Most importantly, I wish to convey whatever it is my Ancestors which to say to the descendants who will be listening. Very anxiety-provoking indeed.

I was contacted by a friend that a inspiring film maker is interested in creating a work which will include a character loosely based on a Volva he knew previously in real life. This Artisan approached my friend in hopes of locating a person who could fill him in on the accurate background and general practices done by Modern Day Völva/Seiðkona’s. He is looking for a reasonable representation of what a 21st Century Norse mystic is; a spokesperson if you will. Gulp. “Please try in just a few sentences to describe what a Völva/Seiðkona IS, Mrs. Mulligan. What do you really do, and, oh yes, what exactly again is seiðr?”

Ok, now a bit of anxiety builds as I come to the realization this newly re-claimed tradition isn’t really easily explainable. Its neither a typical, nor a standardize path; even though most of its practitioners adhere to a deep knowing that the true power of this path stems from its Nordic roots, and those roots grew deep: There are certain aspects to this Northern European/Scandinavian tradition which is never to be forgotten nor excluded, not diluted or bastardized, from the core make-up that comprises the practice of this Norse Path. It is also a very dualistic system, as a Norse Völva/seiðkona is very much a communal, cultural, tribal- healing-power archetype who seeks to perform her skills for the betterment of the surrounding community. Yet there is no denying the fact each individual Völva/seiðkona does her work in a solitary manner which is then a lone expression of a singular personal experience of the tapping into ancient kenning/healing power on behalf of others who seek her aid. Alone. Alone to learn proficiency, the deeper aspects of the Norse arts of seiðr and magic, and the parts of self. First and foremost, being a Völva or a seiðkona is mostly a solitary practice, as well as it is a uniquely personal experience that is played out (impromptu and very real) for each Norse Witch or Shaman who privately takes up the Stav, or who regularly does útiseti unseen, or who does spa unnoticed for the sake of the world. No two Norse Witches will do their practice the same, so does this mean somethings wrong? Are we (by the sheer nature of seclusion) “bastardizing” this tradition simply because we must learn/decipher our most important lessons alone and intuitively relying more times than not, on the dreaded UPG for clarification of a theory, mythos, or a healing song?…. Only to find out later a Volva from Norway you meet at a workshop does it the exact same way! There is no ‘wrong way’ to practice the arts of the Volva if you are seriously dedicated to this Path; and I feel this is because of a now-ever-growing data base of accessible, shared, communal interpretation of the Lore, of our Ancestral history, (even as we are a vast and far-flung Tribe) and because of those mentors out there who are actually teaching seekers who ask to know more the ‘hidden’ information discovered by these mentoring folk in the ways with which they re-membered how to work fluently with the ancients energies available to us today.

I then came to understand, Modern Day Völva’s and Seiðkona’s might not do every style and step of their practices the same; but there is a shared, identifiable understanding of a skeletal structure that I have witnessed pervades this work collectively; uniformly done by all who are Heathen Mystics. This observation makes me feel assured we are all dipping from the same well of power, and that’s why certain steps or actions will forever remain the same, whether there is open communication amongst practitioners or not..

There are shared common steps Völva’s and seiðkona use to access Yggdrasil and the doorways into the nine worlds, based on the kennings our ancestors left to us. Each step is done uniquely, in a personal style, but always in a similar, consistent way none the less.

Therefore, for me, being a Völva who does seiðr is the path of the Wild Woman, the Wise Crone, and the fearless Priestess- Healer. It is a power generated from the union of the Individual Norse Mystic’s entire self( and all their soul parts) to the surrounding web of life and wyrd around them; with no ritual, spa session or healing, ever being a repeatable or replicated event. It is a series of singular works done as offerings for the gift to be a seiðkona and weave a chant into the web of wyrd. These rites and rituals becomes part of the collective whole thereby leaving us all very much connected and on the same page; albeit we are very different people with very individual ways, locations, languages, and lifestyles when doing our work.

In a nut shell, it becomes evident there are very similar elements that are shared/done/mirrored by all Norse Mystic practitioners universally, which is made accessible to any Heathen upon becoming a serious dedicant to the Norse path of Völva/seiðkona.

I recall that we who are the Wand~Wed and/or the Norse Pathwalkers, Rune Masters and Vitki’s, are all busy re-learning and re-assembling this tradition anew. Each Norse Witch or Shaman is predictably consumed for a time while hearkening to the universal urge of those ancient powers: ”Those which Always Were,” “They who Always ARE,” and “That which Always Must be.” Everyone is immersed in doing THIER Work in tuned with the Norse Cosmology, tirelessly heeding the directions of Those Whom they answer to/o (which in turn collectively effects the great tapestry of Wyrd). Pretty amazing, empowering and even a wee bit humbling yes?

So what am I to say in this upcoming interview???

Could I possibly speak (uniformly) for a demography of kindred who call themselves Heathen Witches and Norse Shamans- those spirit workers who are mavericks, trailblazers, and wise folk?

Nope. I can’t. And I really would rather not.

I can ONLY speak from my perspective, from my own personal experience of what being a 21st century Heathen and Völva has meant for my life. I feel I am attempting to keep a very unique and specific tradition as close to its origins as possible; however, since I wish to see it a viable, useable, and above all an accessible path to any or all who seek its ways. I want it to be passed along, growing it’s vitality by the virtue of some steady stream of adept kindred continually going to the well of Urd, visiting the nine worlds, and giving blot often to our Ancient Ones in our modern day world. There are those of us Heathens who are oath sworn to keep old ways alive, to accepting a role as a steward and a messenger of sorts. And in case you’re wondering, this is not some dream role of a lifetime! One’s life isn’t being like all problem free, just ‘cause your some sort of all powerful, Norse Magician. Oh Hela No! It is a sometimes somber, lonely, maddening path- best suited for those who like the wilderness, don’t seek out tons of creature comforts, and accepts its ok to hear messages on the wind (or in the middle of the night). The adept Volva knows once she sets forth on this path with earnest, her life is very much now HER OWN, AND, YET, she must dedicate her service to Those Who Need Her, or to “Those who Seek Her Services.” ~in Midgard and beyond. There is no such thing as a charmed Norse Witch, as the ultimate test is self-sovereignty. How well do you REALLY captain your own ship? Are you self-sufficient enough to aid the tribe when called upon?

Remembering all this, I feel I am ready for the questions, and I realize I also have a sense of pride, as I am honored and ready to provide some conceptual insight into this powerful, enriching, unique and culturally denoted art of Witch and Shaman. The Völva and seiðkona.

I would formally like to thank all of the 21st Century Heathen pioneers with this post, the writers and the performers; those who have (and are) paved the way of re-discovering and re-membering much of the-all-most-forgotten-tradition of Heathen Mysticism. Everyone’s penned journeys and the Heathen communities shared sacred collective of re-claiming work over the past 70 or so years, has created many useful off-spurs for the adventurous traveler on the heathen Asatru path to locate. There are too many of these trailblazers to list, but thank you one and all, for writing down, recording or videotaping your odyssey and what you found! ~I especially wish to thank those who I am allowed to call friend and kindred, and who have taught me much!

Without those teachers and mentors who collected, memorized, and shared their collective body of work and their shared kennings of Urd; (massive body of work and growing!) I can safely say I would not be as connected to my Wyrd and my Oorlog as I am now, nor would I be as versed in galðr, the runes, or have such a deep understanding of the obscure meanings of the lore. I have much gratitude that the world is quite small and accessible in my lifetime this trip around; and that good mentors are still out there! It is just amazing this obscure path is roaring to life once again.

How fortunate we can now view a different perspective of another Volva or seiðkona and study their recorded work; thereby giving new seekers varying perspectives on similar concepts when explaining our own. ~Even if the perspectives of others might seem mal-aligned with our own; we are evolved enough that we all can agree to disagree at times! Diversity is what gives all magic’s spice and vitality. Looking back, I smile at the journey of how I got to this place, and I hail all the many beautiful and fearsome Volva’s/Seiðkona’s I have enjoyed meeting or working with along the way. Thank you for inviting strangers to your hof, your hörgr, and your sacred places in the wilderness.

Share on when you are able; so all who dare to know more might find a thread that leads to a large and magnificent tapestry.

May the gods smile upon our endeavors and may the Norn’s grant us few knots in our weaving.

~Ivy C Mulligan

Ash and Elm

Once we sprang from Ash and Elm,

the final children of Jords wonderous realm;

With blessings from the Brothers Three,

we were first admired, then set free.

“What amazing feats wiil these new creatures wield?

“We made them from sea, forest and field!”

“Their blood is warm and flows like sap!”

“All of Jords wisdom is Theirs to tap!”

“Yes, these new creatures are strong and smart,

-choosing sturdy wood was the wisest start!”

So Ash and Elm wandered away,

and the Three didn’t require them to dutifully stay.

The joy of creation is in the thought

Others will benefit from what you have wrought.

A few millenia has passed since then,

looking back from where we have been;

have we become the Three’s finest creation?

Or a plague of destruction beyond imagination?

I’d like to think our magics are real,

~just as I hope we have the sacred kennings to heal.

If the Three who carved us were to meet us today,

I can’t help but ponder what each one might say.

*I.M. 3/2021

~Art by Debra Bernier

Will you know more? Of course!

Today I want to touch on a very true fact that many new to reclaiming Norse Paganism might not know: What you think you understand as “Spiritual Truths” should and WILL change as you mature and grow in your diligent seeking of Forn Sed.

I myself who has been schooled in the History, Etymology, Cultural Heritage, Archeology and Anthropology of Northern European people would stumble upon a theory or a “reconstructed fact” I totally thought was “irrefutable truth” only to find in a couple of days/weeks/months/years later, new evidence or people would merrily show my understanding of a subject was either way off, or merely misconstrued because I don’t fully understand Old Norse as well as I would like….yet!😉

No one person can know everything about any one subject, and especially within this realm of the reconstruction an ancient semi fragmented society; however, there are Master craftsmen in their fields who can aid us in connecting to deeper understanding as they appear.

The biggest thing I feel is even if we ourselves become master craftsmen of sorts, we must be willing to always revisit our “truths” because the joy and purpose of LIVING a lifelong Spiritual path is knowing there is always MORE to learn, more to explore, more to experiment with, and more to master through personal permission of accepting what you think you “know” might not be so much a truth after all!

I don’t understand a Spiritual person thinking the sacred quest of living a magical Pagan life has some sort of endgame other than simply living your path daily.

News flash my beloved readers, you wont get a gold star or a ticket to some cushy afterlife simply because you can prove your historically accurate Personal Gnosis seems authenticated TODAY, because TOMORROW a new “fact” or find will blow your assuredness right out of the water!

I personally feel the reward one gets from pursuing Old Ways for New Days is the joy found in the DISCOVERY of what was, but more importantly, to rework it into what can be. Don’t be afraid to constantly go back to the roots of it all, back to YOUR drawing board of why you choose to live a Pagan life in the first place. And mostly, don’t cling to “truths” you think you might have and be more than open and willing to discard those “beliefs” that suddenly you understand are wrong for your way of living Forn Sed as you evolve in understanding!

As someone who works tirelessly as a competent Spiritual “sherpa”, I learned repeatedly new and better trails can be found when I accept I’ve gone too long traveling the well worn long way around to the Summit. But I can only discover these new trails if I’m willing to accept my own personal map is suddenly outdated, there are other sherpas who can be indispensable to my quality of guidance, or my glasses need replacement, and undoubtably new equipment can make the journey waaayyyy more comfortable.

The Old Ways be always be there and will never change, but what does change is our willingness to embrace the fact we can always know more about these ways.

To thrive and be fulfilled as 21st century Living Heathens we must continue to be Tru, to ourselves, our Traditions, and our Ancestors. That happens when you live boldly as you embrace the understanding you can always change your ultimate vision (views) as well as the trails you use to witness your Spiritual vistas.

Welcome to our Guild!

Its a tragedy of the first magnitude that millions of people have ceased to use their hands as hands. Nature has bestowed upon us this great gift which is our hands. If the craze for machinery methods continues, it is highly likely that a time will come when we shall be so incapacitated and weak that we shall begin to curse ourselves for having forgotten the use of the living machines given to us by [the] God[s].

Mahatma Gandhi

We are a Guild of craftswo/men who use our Indo-European heritage of not only mastering our Indigenous Spiritual pursuits, but just as importantly for mastering material craftsmanship handed down through many generations to design and create Living Heathenry.

Our processes, our methods and mission is to keep these traditions, practices, rites, and crafts alive and well. In this high-tech age, our traditional Forn Sed craftsmanship is roaring back to life; as well as beginning to flourish.

We use our Ancestry, our history, our cultural heritages, and our hands to learn, master or re-create things that will live on through our descendants born into a strange new future. By telling our Ancestral stories and teaching Forn Sed, this knowledge becomes living Heathenry in the hands of the craftswo/men teaching these arts, but more importantly for the people who will come after us.

Each course that we within the Guild create, is born with proficient magic, useful energy and Old World personality set in modern days. I promise you, a love and care for the Old Ways will be felt by each seeker through our craftsman; and this resonance stems from the heart of Midgard.

Large followings are not our goal within this Guild. All of our courses are created by dedicated Norse Pagans who use equally traditional methods and techniques where located along side of modern methods where applicable. Each craftsman is working from his or her own Ve, located in her or his own homeland.

Our focus is on authenticity, personal uniqueness and quality, not quantity. We want to help 21st century people to remember how to tap into their own Indigenousness, to unite with the forces that make up life on Jord, to use their hands once again, and to re-relate to their own human energy to take their lives back to a more Holistic, sustainable path.

We seek to aid an apprentice or Guild member to achieve the true joy of Living Heathenry by reclaiming something from our Ancestral humble beginnings, just as we have.

In today’s throw-away society, we craftswo/men of The Guild of Forn Sed Hearthfire are building a way of life that needs reclaiming, and a way of Living Heathenry that will last and tell their stories about us long after we are gone. 

Our traditions we teach within this Guild, from Seidr to Blacksmithing; -walk hand and hand together. We are uniting and preserving our history, traditions and craftsmanship on one platform – The Guild of Forn Sed Hearthfire.

Welcome Kinsmen!

~ Honor the Elders and teach the young!!

The Importance of Initiatory Rites in a Modern World.

21st Century Heathen

Initiation takes many forms, it may consist of an individual submitting to a chosen Deity or new spiritual path, to undergoing a rite of passage that marks a point of reference from where the initiate can or will never be the same mindset than before entering the ritual or initiatory rite of passage, such as marriage, graduation from a civil or military organization or a rite of passage from a boy to manhood/girl to womanhood.

The importance of Initiation Rituals to 21st century heathens is a subject which I would like to address today; for just as it was of importance to mention time and again in various ways throughout Scandinavian, Germanic and Sami/Finnish folklore, to our Norse Ancestors, a profound change or awakening of understanding into the deeper mysteries of seiðr or elite warfare (and its effects on the psyche or consciousness of the practitioner) can only be entered…

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The Importance of Initiatory Rites in a Modern World.


Initiation takes many forms, it may consist of an individual submitting to a chosen Deity or new spiritual path, to undergoing a rite of passage that marks a point of reference from where the initiate can or will never be the same mindset than before entering the ritual or initiatory rite of passage, such as marriage, graduation from a civil or military organization or a rite of passage from a boy to manhood/girl to womanhood.


The importance of Initiation Rituals to 21st century heathens is a subject which I would like to address today; for just as it was of importance to mention time and again in various ways throughout Scandinavian, Germanic and Sami/Finnish folklore, to our Norse Ancestors, a profound change or awakening of understanding into the deeper mysteries of seiðr or elite warfare (and its effects on the psyche or consciousness of the practitioner) can only be entered I feel, after a person underwent a classic “Initiation experience” shared by ALL indigenous pre-Christian spiritual paths worldwide.


Just how important is an initiation ritual to contemporary Heathens who take up the Stav and follow the occult path of seiðr?
Important enough to show up in varying descriptions within the motif of not just Norse and Northern European mythology, but in all the ancient Indo-European worlds descriptive stories; understood in the three levels of execution which Joseph Campbell writes: Separation-Initiation-Return.


Our Ancestors understood to properly wield a deeper and more specialized form of magical craft which they viewed impacted the entire community as a whole, (both in seiðr and the magics of the elite warrior) these skills took not only training and preparation, but also a willingness to commit oneself fully to the trials and tribulations that would arise within the training process towards mastery of such deep, powerful and sometimes frightening, esoteric skills. But I hear you say ‘that was then, why do we, as intelligent and rational people need to submit to arcane, and perhaps what some may view as outdated or obtuse actions? What significance if any do they hold?’


This issue of Initiation, its meaning and importance, is as relevant today (perhaps more so!) than in the past. Our global society, ever expanding, becoming spiritually homogeneous in nature and activity is more concerned with the acquisition of material and the temporal satiation of the five senses than the search for meaning and its own soul.


I would submit that this moment in history is more important than any before as a society once divested of its soul, its roots, becomes dangerously unsustainable and has the potential to destroy itself through ignorance or imbalance. In my 30 plus years of doing Northern Esoterica; I hold the strong opinion Seidr and all old Norse occult arts (when seen as a truly ancient mystery path) must be the vanguard of protecting its deeper workings from those not awakened to the deeper kennings and power these paths hold.


Believe it or not, there ARE many 21st century Völva’s, Seidkona’s, vitki’s, seidmen, trolldómr, bersrkr’s (“bear-skins”) or ulfheioinin’s (“wolf leathers”), and Galdur Runur, who are NOT online sharing everything they discover and practice within their esoteric heathen occult work.


Like in ancient times, it is still believed by many that if a powerful Ancestral path is taught, it is to be taught only to those of either the trusted family line, or to someone willing to undergo a rigorous initiatory experience to prove the many years of dedication wouldn’t be wasted or squandered, or worse, used in ways it wasn’t intended.


Even in this 21st Century world, there are those who are still known to practice Forn sed with the steps involved of teaching these arts within the framework of Joseph Campbells epitome of the stages (as well as importance) of Initiation Rites, enable contemporary Norse Occult members that ever powerful transformational step from the mundane to the awakening stage; providing them with a positive sense of validation, worth and of value.


Indeed, initiatory training and the ceremonial observance of its stages of compleation, when properly functioning and executed, sustains its initiates and the society in which they operate. These types of rituals can be done within groups or alone, created by many or one in a setting of the participants needs, likes, or choosing the main thing to come away with by this post is that not only are initiation rituals very traditional and necessary today just as they were in the ancient past; moreover, they are very fulfilling and complimentary to a rich deep practice of reclaiming Forn sed authentically and personally in the very social and homogenized, disconnected Spiritual world of today.


SEE: https://mardallar.wordpress.com/

https://www.duo.uio.no/bitstream/handle/10852/40714/Haggerty-Master.pdf?sequence=1

https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-ancient-traditions/mystery-school-0013599

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_ritualshttps://erenow.net/ancient/ancient-greece-and-rome-an-encyclopedia-for-students-4-volume-set/390.php

https://www.adf.org/rituals/norse/general/sol-template-art.html

https://www.vikingmartialarts.com/viking-man/2017/3/4/viking-man-viking-rite-of-passage