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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Northern Tradition for the Solitary Practitioner

The followers of the Northern Tradition are far and few between. In any given city it might be very difficult to put together a group of people who practice Norse Paganism. Exactly what is is Norse Paganism . Well that can be a broad definition depending on the time and place in Northern Europe where it was practiced. So there is no real definition of what Norse Paganism is. Needless to say under the banner of Norse Paganism there are many fault lines and divisions. There are some who worship Odin while others follow the path of Asatru. Asutru people worship the sky gods of Asgard. One such fault deals with who is a reconstructions and who using reconstruction as a starting point and then branches off on their own. Re constructionist scour the ancient texts and try to piece together the way Norse Heathen used to practice. In short they try to keep it as authentic as possible. On the other side of the spectrum there are those who value private meditation and personal gnosis. After all this is a religion that has been recently revived and the community has to settle on a correct definition. There is a another fault line with regards to who may practice the Northern Tradition. The Folkish Heathens tend to to think that one has to be descended from Germanic or Anglo- Saxon people in order to worship the Northern European Gods. Then there is the question of which gods are to be worshiped. Some heathens worship primarily the air gods and the land gods secondly but not all off them,some worship the Jotnar Gods and the Rokkar gods wha are seen as enemies off the air gods.

The book is filled with interviews with many people. On e of the things they interview people about is devotion. What is devotion. To certain people it may mean one thing while to other people it means something else. To some devotion to a god or goddess may mean doing something that the deity like and doing it well. Many people will choose to use prayer beads with repetitious prayer while others choose to make altars and statues of their gods. If they are able to. May make food offering or animal sacrifices ( the animal is eaten for the most part).

What ever falls under the Northern Tradition there are several salient points. The first is belief in the Ygrdrasil or the universal tree. This holds all he worlds in place. There are three upper worlds, three central worlds and three lower worlds.
The three top worlds are Asgard (home of the air gods), Ljossfelheim (home of the light elves),and Vanaheim ( home of the agriculture gods).

The three middle worlds are Jotunheim ( home of the elemental gods), Midgard ( Home of Men) Muspelheim ( the home of heat and fire)

The three lower worlds are Svartelheim (world of Dark elves and dwarves), Niflheim ( the world of Ice and frost) and Helheim ( world of the dead).

The myth of creation is the same the world of ice and frost collides with the world of fire. From this comes the primordial man and a cow. From them will come the Gods and the men.

The nine virtues of Norse heathen are Courage,Truth,Honor,Fidelity,Discipline,Hospitality,Industriousness,Self-Reliance and Perseverance.

Last salient point is Wyrd. This is sort of like Karma but in way it is also an embodiment of obligation, consequences fro both your life and your family lines life.

This is an over all great book for someone who is just checking out the Northern tradition or someone who is seriously considering that path. I think it is a great book for beginners. They have suggestions for altars to the different deities and what they like. The Norsemen have a strong sense of honor correct actions and keeping ones word are very important. More over it is a new community and the religion is in the process of being recreated.

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.