Friday, August 5, 2011
The Troth of Northern Europe
Diana Paxson, Citadel Press
Along with the exponetnial growth of Wicca and Neo Paganism there has been an upsurge of interest in the Norse Gods and their mythology. Those that follow the Norse ways are often identified as heathens. Heathen do their best to reconstruct rituals from Norse sources such as the Edda and the Younger Edda. Diana Paxson give forth a great over view for the newcomer and a good refresher for someone more advanced in their studies. Hence it also makes a great reference.
Europe has had the same population for thousands of years. DNA tests show that most Europeans are inter related and there has been little change in the population. As Glaciers melted various tribes settled in the European continent. As the climate would get colder the Germanic tribes would move further south, over taking the Roman Empire and reaching as far south as North Africa. In prehistoric times Indo European tribes moved into Europe from India. They believed in three gods; sovereign magic god, war god and the agricultural god. These people were known as the Kurgans and their buried their dead in mounds. they also had a sect that wore animal skins and would act like these animals on wild hunts. They did not impact the genetics of Europe but their culture made a profound change.
Most Europeans descend from seven women who in turn descended from 23 women that came out of Africa. These twenty three are bre from the original Eve. In the beginning there was probably a mother earth goddess and maybe a sky god. The Romans recgnized the Earth Goddess as Nerthus but no Norse text suports such. According to the mytholgy the Fire world and the ice world came into contact with each other. This created Ymir and a giant calf. The giant calf licked the ice world and created Bor. Later Bor's children would slay him and use his remains to make the world in which we live. From the Giants came forth the Gods. Odin , Vili and Vi tied together three types of tree and Odin breathed life into them. This there is als0 a description of festivals, blots and sumbles.
Magic is not all that central to Heathen but it is their. There are three types the first being Rune magic where in something is inscribed with Runes to give it magical properties. There is also spoken magic where a rhyme is recited for magical effect. Lastly there is Seid or trance magic.
The book is concise and easy to read. I found it enjoyable, exciting, comphendable and informative. This book is a must read for anyone just browsing into Norse Heathenism or someone just starting out. Five hammer out of five.
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