Thursday, December 28, 2006

Germanic And Celtic Religions

Germanic And Celtic Religions Cover The only real differences between Germanic and Celtic religion seem to be the names by which the Gods are called. A viking of the tenth century would likely have felt quite comfortable in a Celtic ritual among the Gauls a thousand years earlier. Celtic religion deviates from the "Asatru norm" no more than do, for example, a priestess of Freya in Iceland and a warrior pledged to Wotan in Germany in Herman's time. Indeed, one is inclined to say that there is only "European religion" - and that the Germanic and Celtic beliefs are two expressions of it.

So what are the implications of all this? Well, it means that the Irishman need not feel out-of-place calling on Gods more often associated with Norway's fjords than the Emerald Isles hills and valleys. Ultimately all us Northfolk are spiritual as well as genetic kin.

Also Celtic-Germanic unity flies in the face of the sometimes-herard assertions that since Europeans often boast roots in different countries we're somehow mixed ancestry. How often have you heard someone say "I'm a Heinz 57 blend...part Irish, part Swedish, with some Englis h and German thrown in?" Clearly that's not mixed at all, because the Northern peoples are essentially one, in both their physical aspects and in their ancient relgiions. We musn't let people divided us on the basis of superficialities!

Thirdly, the catalog of our similarities measn we can use the one to fill gaps in our knowldge of the other.l As we reconstitute the tapestry of our ancient Asatru beliefs, there will be holes where the moths of time and persecution have done their work. But if we know the common pattern and how it's woven in the Celtic material, we can patch the holes with greater confidence.

Enough! All this scholarship makes thirsty work! I'm going to pour a fine bottle of Guiness into my mead horn, and toast all things Celtic/Nordic...Skoal, and Slainte, to you!

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

How Neopagans Celebrate Yule

How Neopagans Celebrate Yule Cover As forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these Representations can vary considerably despite the shared name. Some celebrate in a way as close as possible to how they believe Ancient Germanic pagans observed the tradition, while others observe the holiday with rituals culled from numerous other unrelated sources including Germanic.

MonteAltopotbellie An altar dating to 1800 BC within an astronomically aligned Monte Alto complex in Guatemala.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia

Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia Cover

Book: Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia by William Alexander Craigie

The native religion of the ancient Scandinavians was in its main features only a special form of that common to all the Germanic peoples, and this again was only a particular development of primitive beliefs and practices characteristic of the whole Aryan race. It is impossible to say how far back in time the special Germanic and Scandinavian developments of this religion may go, and of their earlier stages we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what may be doubtfully reached by the methods of comparison and inference. Even of the later stages our information is much more scanty than might be expected. Among the Goths, the southern Germans, and the Anglo-Saxons in Britain, paganism gave way to Christianity at so early a period, that very few details relating to it have been recorded by the civil or religious historians of these peoples; they were indeed more inclined to supress than perpetuate any lingering knowledge of this kind. The absense of such information is a great bar to the proper understanding of many points in Scandinavian religion, which, instead of being thus illuminated from without, has continually been forced to throw light on the heathen worship of the other Teutonic peoples.

In the following account of the ancient Scandinavian religion, an attempt has been made to exhibit what is really known of the religious beliefs and practices of the people as distinct from the mythological fancies of the poets. With the evidence which we possess, it is impossible to determine how far the latter ever formed any part of a real popular relgion: in some respects there seems to be a decided opposition between the two. The mythology, as it is found in the old poems and in the Prose Edda, has been the subject of much learned speculation, and various theories as to the original functions of the different Gods and goddesses have from time to time been advanced, and have met with more or less acceptance. Much has also been written on the question how far the original conceptions had been modified under classic and Christian influences even before Christianity was finally accepted in the north. All discussion of these matters is here omitted in favour of a more direct investigation into the purely religious aspect of the old faith, so far as the existing materials admit of this.

Download William Alexander Craigie's eBook: Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia

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Monday, December 18, 2006


Oestara Image
It is no coincidence that the name for this sabbath sounds similar to the word 'Easter'. Eostre, or Ostara, is an Anglo-Saxon Dawn Goddess whose symbols are the egg and the hare. She, in turn, is the European version of the Goddess Ishtar or Astarte, whose worship dates back thousands of years and is certainly pre-Christian. Eostre also lives on in our medical language in the words 'oestrous' (the sexual impulse in female animals) and 'oestrogen' (a female hormone). Today, Oestara is celebrated as a spring festival. Although the Goddess put on the robes of Maiden at Imbolg, here she is seen as truly embodying the spirit of spring. By this time we can see all around us the awakened land, the leaves on the trees, the flowers and the first shoots of corn.

Oestara is also the Spring Equinox, a time of balance when day and night are equal. As with the other Equinox and the Solstices, the date of this festival may move slightly from year to year, but many will choose to celebrate it on 21 March. In keeping with the balance of the Equinox, Oestara is a time when we seek balance within ourselves. It is a time for throwing out the old and taking on the new. We rid ourselves of those things which are no longer necessary - old habits, thoughts and feelings - and take on new ideas and thoughts. This does not mean that you use this festival as a time for berating yourself about your 'bad' points, but rather that you should seek to find a balance through which you can accept yourself for what you are.

There is some debate as to whether Oestara or Imbolg was the traditional time of spring cleaning, but certainly the casting out of the old would seem to be in sympathy with the spirit of this festival and the increased daylight at this time encourages a good clean out around the home.

by Kate West

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Baldur Dream

Baldur Dream Cover

Book: Baldur Dream by Wh Auden

Baldrs draumar (Baldr's dreams) or Vegtamskvida is an Eddic poem, contained in the manuscript AM 748 I 4to. It relates information on the myth of Baldr's death in a way consistent with Gylfaginning.

Baldr has been having nightmares. Odin rides to Hel to investigate. He finds the grave of a volva and resurrects her. Their conversation follows, where the volva tells Odin about Baldr's fate. In the end Odin asks her a question which reveals his identity and the volva tells him to ride home.

The poem is one of the shortest Eddic poems, consisting of 14 fornyrdislag stanzas. Some late paper manuscripts contain about five more stanzas, those are thought to be of young origin. Sophus Bugge believed them to have been composed by the author of Forspjallsljod.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pagan Theology Paganism As A World Religion

Pagan Theology Paganism As A World Religion Cover

Book: Pagan Theology Paganism As A World Religion by Michael York

In Pagan Theology, Michael York situates Paganism—one of the fastest-growing spiritual orientations in the West—as a world religion. He provides an introduction to, and expansion of, the concept of Paganism and provides an overview of Paganism's theological perspective and practice. He demonstrates it to be a viable and distinguishable spiritual perspective found around the world today in such forms as Chinese folk religion, Shinto, tribal religions, and neo-Paganism in the West.

While adherents to many of these traditions do not use the word "pagan" to describe their beliefs or practices, York contends that there is an identifiable position possessing characteristics and understandings in common for which the label "pagan" is appropriate. After outlining these characteristics, he examines many of the world's major religions to explore religious behaviors in other religions which are not themselves pagan, but which have pagan elements. In the course of examining such behavior, York provides rich and lively descriptions of religions in action, including Buddhism and Hinduism.

Pagan Theology claims Paganism's place as a world religion, situating it as a religion, a behavior, and a theology.

Some books are meant to be read by all while others are scholarly texts that are written to augment our basis of knowledge. This book falls into the second category and Mr. York has done his homework. Pagan Theology is a thesis on the Pagan Religions, not a work that teaches us or presents us with entertainment or tradition.

Mr. York has gone into depth exploring the vast patchwork that is the Pagan Path. Mr. York argues the path as a valid religion and explores the theology and the modern practices. He then compares them to other religions to validate our presence as a religion.

Mr. York argues his point well and very thoroughly. I am impressed with his research. The book is a wonderful textbook for those who study comparative religions and would make a great addition to college classes on the subject.

But it is a textbook, not a casual read. Anyone who has gone through text books on theology would agree that they are not meant for a lazy afternoon. And this book is not for everyone. While it would be good for those who are looking at a Doctorate in Theology or a good reference book for their term paper on comparative religions, it would not interest the casual beginner. Mr. York is a good researcher and worked out the book well to present his point; but it can be dry in spots. That is a characteristic of any text book, I'm afraid. Good material, but sometimes long and tedious if the material is not what you are looking for.

This book should be recommended to teachers at the College level for addition to their curriculum or as a study aid for comparative religion studies or theological research on general pagan studies. It should also be recommended to clergy who would find it of value in their own studies of comparative religions.

Buy Michael York's book: Pagan Theology Paganism As A World Religion

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Walking Dead Draugr And Aptrgangr In Old Norse Literature

The Walking Dead Draugr And Aptrgangr In Old Norse Literature Cover

Book: The Walking Dead Draugr And Aptrgangr In Old Norse Literature by Anonymous

For the Vikings, the concept of the afterlife was often much more immediate than glorious skaldic tales of Valholl or the Christian's Heaven: once the dead body was placed within the grave, it was believed to become "animated with a strange life and power" (Hilda Ellis-Davidson. The Road to Hel. Westport CT, Greenwood P., 1943. p. 96). The dead person continued a sort of pseudo-life within the grave, not as a spirit or ghost, but as an actual undead corpse similar in many respects to the "nosferatu" or central European vampire (Ellis-Davidspn, Road to Hel, p. 92).

Much like the ancient Greeks, the Vikings had neither a positive or negative view of the afterlife. They believed for the most part, the dead, if they had lived an unexceptional life, would travel to a place called "Hel" (which is where the modern word "hell" comes from) which lies far to the north and under ground. It was a thought of as being a cold and damp place where the spirits of the dead continued in a dreamlike form of existence. It was not particularly happy, but it was not torturous and was viewed as a long sleep. There were other ideas of an afterlife that were believed as well. There was another realm beneath Hel, where people who had lived bad lives were gnawed upon by a serpent called "Nidhoggr". They slept in a hall that was made of snakes and dripped poison. This place, called "Nastrond", was located on the shore of an ice cold subterranean sea. Those who lived exceptional lives in a positive way could expect to travel to "Asgard", the home of the Gods. They would spend the afterlife in happiness. The exact dwelling that was given to these people depended upon their lives. For example: hero's who died in battle would go to "Vahalla" the "Hall of the slain", and live with Odin the king of the Gods. Here they spent all day fighting each other, only to rise from the battlefield in the evening healed of their wounds and then spent the rest of the night feasting. The main theme of the afterlife seems to have been repetition. It was not however, believed to be eternal. They believed that the world of both the living and dead, gods and monsters would one day be destroyed and the universe would begin anew.

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Sunday, September 3, 2006

Shamanism Defined

Shamanism Defined Cover Shamans are the keepers of ancient techniques used in healing. They are often referred to as ‘witch doctors’ by societies that don’t understand them. Shamanism requires the desire to lift all restrictions from oneself, time, space, and fear, are a few of the restriction that usually hold humans to this Earth and Existence.

It is important to mention that Shamans don’t refer to themselves as such; the title is a label attached to them by others. Shamans are healers, energy workers, elders, and guides among other things. Labeling oneself as a Shaman would be to assume a title and thus separateness from the oneness that is everything; that would go against the basic philosophy of their beliefs.

Shapeshifting is a practice used by Shamans for many things including healing, it is knowing and acknowledging your oneness with everything else. It is not easily learned and definitely requires a teacher and supervised guidance. It also requires much dedication and years of work.

Shamanism and shapeshifting is about recognizing our true oneness with everything else. Separateness is an illusion. When one shapeshifts into what we call "the other", one is manifesting that philosophy of oneness on a physical plane. Along with that, one has to surpass and forgive hopelessness, bitterness, cynicism, anger, denial, and fear in order to find ones true soul and its connection with the oneness.

From the shamanic perspective there is no differentiation between body, mind, and spirit. Illness can be brought about by thought, unresolved emotional duress, and lowering one’s life force with the constant use of alcohol, drugs, or other poisonous substances. These intrusions that bring about illness are not evil since they don’t have their own personality; they simply believe they are at home within us and don’t like to leave. We allow these intrusions to transform us and thus to make ourselves ill. When removing intrusions one does not kill, destroy or damage them, one simply asks that they be neutralized and their power used in a more constructive way. Then one fills the voids that remain with positive Universal Energy and continues with what Shamans call “soul retrieval”. Soul retrieval is when the shaman leaves ordinary consciousness, journeying to the spirit world, and retrieves the lost soul particles.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Doctor Beowulf Guide To Runes

Doctor Beowulf Guide To Runes Cover

Book: Doctor Beowulf Guide To Runes by The Troth

The Troth is a religious organization, dedicated to exploring, practicing and promoting the pre-Christian religion of the Germanic peoples, who include the English, Norse, Icelanders, Swedes and Germans, among others. Our religion today is known by various names, including Asatru, Heathenry, the Elder Troth, Theodism, and others. Although there are many variations in beliefs and practices within this faith, we all share a defining personal loyalty to, or "Troth" with, the Gods and goddesses of the Northlands, such as Odin, Thor, Frigga, and many others; a deep respect for our Germanic religious, cultural and historical heritage; and a strong determination to practice the moral principles followed by our noble predecessors.

The Troth publishes a quarterly magazine, Idunna, along with other writings on heathen belief and practice. We serve as a networking organization for individuals and kindreds, and we try to assist our members to form local groups to practice our religion and make it more widely available. Once a year, the Troth sponsors a major gathering, Trothmoot, at which members and interested folks conduct workshops and ceremonies, and discuss and demonstrate their many skills and practices. The Troth also operates a clergy training program, incorporating both academic study of lore and theology and training in ceremonial practice, group organization, and counseling. We are incorporated as a non-profit religious corporation in the state of Texas, and are recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt religious organization.

The Troth believes that the Gods call whom they will—regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender, or sexual orientation. To hear their call is a joy, an honor, and also a duty. If you hear that call, and if you are willing to live by our values and honor our Gods, then we invite you to take your place among friends and kin, and bring new honor and strength to our ancient Heathen faith.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ash Tree Magic And Folklore

Ash Tree Magic And Folklore Cover
In Norse lore, Odin hung from Yggrasil, the World Tree, for nine days and nights so that he might be granted wisdom. Yggdrail was an ash tree, and since the time of Odin's ordeal, the ash has often been associated with divination and knowledge. In some Celtic legends, it is also seen as a tree sacred to the god Lugh, who is celebrated at Lughnasadh. Because of its close association not only with the Divine but with knowledge, Ash can be worked with for any number of spells, rituals, and other workings.

Some traditions of magic hold that the leaf of an Ash tree will bring you good fortune. Carry one in your pocket - those with an even number of leaflets on it are especially lucky.

In some folk magic traditions, the ash leaf could be used to remove skin disorders such as warts or boils. As an alternate practice, one could wear a needle in their clothing or carry a pin in their pocket for three days, and then drive the pin into the bark of an ash tree - the skin disorder will appear as a knob on the tree and disappear from the person who had it.

The spear of Odin was made from an Ash tree, according to the Norse poetic eddas.

Newborn babies in the British Isles were sometimes given a spoonful of Ash sap before leaving their mother's bed for the first time. It was believed this would prevent disease and infant mortality.

Five trees stood guard over Ireland, in mythology, and three were Ash. The Ash is often found growing near holy wells and sacred springs. Interestingly, it was also believed that crops that grew in the shadow of an Ash tree would be of an inferior quality.

In some European folklore, the Ash tree is seen as protective but at the same time malevolent. Anyone who does harm to an Ash can find themselves the victim of unpleasant supernatural circumstances.

In northern England, it was believed that if a maiden placed ash leaves under her pillow, she would have prophetic dreams of her future lover.

In some Druidic traditions, it is customary to use a branch of Ash to make a magical staff. The staff becomes, in essence, a portable version of a World Tree, connecting the user to the realms of earth and sky.

If you place Ash berries in a cradle, it protects the child from being taken away as a changeling by mischievous Fae.

Source: Patti Wigington

The Celtic tree month of Ash, or Nion, falls from February 18 to March 17. It's a good time for magical workings related to the inner self.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Cosmology Of The Rigveda

The Cosmology Of The Rigveda Cover

Book: The Cosmology Of The Rigveda by Horace Wallis

THE object of this essay is not so much to present a complete picture of the Cosmology of the Eigveda, as to supply the material from which such a picture may be drawn. The writer has endeavoured to leave no strictly cosmological passage without a reference, and to add references to illustrative passages where they appeared to indicate the direction in which an explanation may be sought. In order to avoid any encumbrance of the notes by superfluous matter, references which are easily accessible in other books, such as Grassmann s Lexicon, are omitted, and those references which are intended to substantiate statements which are not likely to be the subject of doubt, are reduced to the smallest number possible. The isolation of the Eigveda is justified on linguistic grounds.

On the other hand, the argument which is drawn from the Atharvaveda in the Introduction is based on the fact, attested by the internal character of that collection and by tradition, that the Atharvaveda lies apart from the stream of Brahmanic development : on the testimony of residents in India to the Superstitious character of modern Hindoos : and on the striking similarity of the charms of the Atharvaveda to those of European nations. If, as eems most probable, the cosmological passages and hymns of the Eigveda are to be classified with the latest compositions in the collection, the conceptions with which the essay deals must be regarded as belonging to the latest period represented in the Eigveda, when the earlier hymns were still on the lips of priests whose language did not differ materially in construction from that contained in the hymns which they recited.

The writer desires here to express his sincere gratitude to those teachers who have assisted him in his general Sanskrit studies, Professors E. B. Cowell, R. v. Roth, G. Biihlcr, F. Kielhorn, and K. Geldner, some of whom have also kindly suggested corrections in this essay while it was Passing Through the press. Above all, his thanks are due to that Trust which, in the first place, rendered it possible for him to devote himself to the study, and now has undertaken the publication of this book.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Goddess Recipes Oils Perfumes Etc

Goddess Recipes Oils Perfumes Etc Cover
[From 'The Witches' Goddess by Janet & Stewart Farrar (C) 1987
and published by Phoenix Publishing Inc., Portal Way, P.O.
Box 10, Custer, Washington USA 98240. Presented here to help
encourage the continuance of The Craft and to encourage those
who find it of interest to acquire the books written by the
selfsame authors. Uploaded Into computer BBS circulation by
the MYSTERIA MAGICIA BBS of Des Moines, IA.]


1 Drop Queen of the Night Oil
3 drops rose oil
1 drop lemon verbana oil
4 fl. oz (120cc) white spirit
Blend the three oils in a bottle. Add the white spirit, and shake all vigorously. A cologne can be made by adding another 1 FL. oz (30cc)
of white spirit and 3 fl. oz (90cc) of distilled water.


1 fl.oz (30cc) lemon verbana or Lime oil
2 fl.oz (60cc) coriander oil
1/2 fl.oz. (15cc) camphor or myrrh oil
1/4 fl.oz. (7cc) white spirit
3 3/4 fl.oz. (105cc) distilled water
Blend the oils in a bottle, add the spirit and water and shake all
vigorously. Increasing the myrrh oils gives a darker perfume; increasing the camphor, a lighter and more spicy one. All perfumes 'behave'
differently on different skins, so it is worth experimenting to find your own balance.


Musk oil
Patchouli oil
Rose Oil
Blend in equal parts, bottle and shake well.


Rose oil
Blue Lotus Oil
Blend equal parts, bottle and shake well.


Cinnamon Oil
Lemon Verbana Oil
Ylang-Ylang Oil
Blend equal parts, bottle and shake well.


2 fl.oz.(60cc) tincture of myrrh
1 fl.oz.(30cc) oil of cinnamon
1/4 fl.oz.(7cc) Queen of the Night Oil
1 fl.oz.(30cc) oil of rose
Blend, bottle and shake well.


7 drops oil of rose
2 Drops oil of Camphor
2 drops tincture of myrrh
3 drops oil of blue hyacinth
Blens the oils of rose, camphor, and blue hyacinth during the
waxing moon. Bottle and keep till the Moon wanes. Add the Myrrh


This is an individual and personalized incense, for attunement
to your own Dark of the Moon.
1 oz (30gm) sandalwood chips
1 oz (30gm) Dried jasmine flowers or 6 drops jasmine oil
1/2 oz (15gm) dried rose petals
2 drops of your own menstrual blood
Blens and use for private meditation during the onset of your


1 oz (30gm) musk amberette
1/2 oz (15gm) dragon's blood (resin used in violin staining)
4 drops patchouli oil
4 drops civet oil
4 drops of blood from your own finger
Blend at the dark of the Mon, put in a jar and bury in the earth
for 6 weeks (a flower pot of peat in a cool cupboard will do).


The olive is sacred to Athene, so use pure olive oil as an
anoiting oil in particular, rub between the palms of your hands
and annoit your feet, forehead and lips. For the Incense:
1 oz (30gm) cedarwood chips
1/2 oz (15gm) camphor
7 drops musk oil
Female sweat (as much as possible)
6 olives unstuffed and preferabbly black
Blend the first four ingredients well, at the full moon, and add
the olives. Put in a jar and leave for one month to mature. Then
remove the olives (Which will have imparted their essence to the
) and throw them away.
Stuffed olives, both black and green, are an obvious food for
a ritual of Athene, also stuffed vine leaves, a very Athenian dish.
If possible, of course, the wine should be Greek - especially
retsina, though that is an acquired taste.


To cleanse and relax the body before a ritual, and to energize
the psychic centres. Fill small sachets of muslin cloth with equal
amounts of the following herbs:
Basil (for psychic energy)
Borage (to strengthen the inner self)
Lavendar (to banish mental and emotional stress)
Centuary (a traditional witch herb)
Rue (a traditional bathing herb)
Put a satchet into your bath five minutes before you get in, to
give the aromatics time to work.


It is recommended that it be made in the hour and the day of teh
Moon - i.e. the first or eighth hour after sunrise, or the third or tenth hour after sunset, on a Monday.
Thoroughly mix equal amounts of the following:
Gum mastic
Orris root
add a few drops of wintergreen oil and moisten with a little clear
mineral oil.


1/2 oz (15gm) meadowsweet flowers and leaf (gathered when the
plant is in full bloom and dried
1/2 oz (15gm) finely chopped pine needles
1/2 fl.oz. (15cc) lemon verbana oil
By the way, meadowsweet blossom also makes a delicious wine.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Seidr Seid Sol Iss Burs And Nordic Shamanism

Seidr Seid Sol Iss Burs And Nordic Shamanism Cover

Book: Seidr Seid Sol Iss Burs And Nordic Shamanism by Yves Kodratoff

The first part is personal, and it exposes my practice of seidr, by comparing it several times to the one coming from Diana Paxson’s group and in Jordsvin’s papers. I thus recommend to read at first these papers before mine. The second part explains and supports my own practice of seidr, but the facts it contains are independent of any belief. It is subdivided in two sections. The first is a rather scholarly description of the linguistic problems involved with the word seidr in Old Norse, the ancient Norwegian, (and Icelandic, Danish, Swedish) language, used in the sagas and the Eddic and Skaldic poems. The second is an annotated presentation of the runic inscriptions referring or alluding to seidr. (Yves Kodratoff)

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Saturday, July 1, 2006

Romanticist Germanic Mysticism

Romanticist Germanic Mysticism Cover The first modern attempt at revival of ancient Germanic religion took place in the 19th century during the late Romantic Period amidst a general resurgence of interest in traditional Germanic culture, in particular in connection with romantic nationalism in Scandinavia and the related Viking revival in Victorian era Britain. Germanic mysticism is an occultist current loosely inspired by "Germanic" topics, notably runes. It has its beginnings in the Early 20th Century (Guido von List's "Armanism", Karl Maria Wiligut's "Irminism" etc.)

The last traditional pagan sacrifices in Scandinavia, at Trollkyrka, appear to date to about this time.

Organized Germanic pagan or occult groups such as the Germanische Glaubens-Gemeinschaft emerged in Germany in the early 20th century. The connections of this movement to historical Germanic paganism are tenuous at best, with emphasis lying on the esoteric as taught by the likes of Julius Evola, Guido von List and Karl Maria Wiligut.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Origin Of The Names Of The Days

Origin Of The Names Of The Days Cover

Book: Origin Of The Names Of The Days by Aengor

Digging into the history of the 7-day week is a very complicated matter. Authorities have very different opinions about the history of the week, and they Frequently present their speculations as if they were indisputable facts. The only thing we seem to know for certain about the origin of the 7-day week is that we know nothing for certain.

The common Explanation is that the seven-day week was established as imperial calendar in the late Roman empire and furthered by the Christian church for Historical reasons. The British Empire used the seven-day week and spread it worldwide. Today the seven-day week is enforced by global business and media schedules, especially television and banking.

The names of the days are in some cases derived from Teutonic deities or, such as in Romance languages, from Roman deities. The early Romans, around the first century, used Saturday as the first day of the week. As the worshipping of the Sun increased, the Sun's day (Sunday) advanced from position of the second day to the first day of the week (and saturday became the seventh day).

Download Aengor's eBook: Origin Of The Names Of The Days

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Anonymous - The Prayers Of The Elementals
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Valentina Izmirlieva - All The Names Of The Lord
Aengor - Origin Of The Names Of The Days

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Yule Celebrations In Denmark

Yule Celebrations In Denmark Cover Yule or Yule-tide is a winter festival that was initially celebrated by the historical Germanic peoples as a pagan religious festival, though it was later absorbed into, and equated with, the Christian festival of Christmas. The festival was originally celebrated from late December to early January on a date determined by the lunar Germanic calendar. The festival was placed on December 25 when the Christian calendar (Julian calendar) was adopted. Some historians claim that the celebration is connected to the Wild Hunt or was influenced by Saturnalia, the Roman winter festival.

Terms with an etymological equivalent to “Yule” are still used in the Nordic Countries for the Christian Christmas, but also for other religious holidays of the season. In modern times this has gradually led to a more secular tradition under the same name as Christmas. Yule is also used to a lesser extent in English-speaking countries to refer to Christmas. Customs such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others stem from Yule. In modern times, Yule is observed as a cultural festival and also with religious rites by some Christians and by some Neopagans.

Danes celebrate on December 24, which is called Juleaftensdag (literally, Yule Eve Day), or simply Jul. An elaborate dinner is eaten with the family in the evening, consisting of roast pork, roast duck or roast goose with potatoes, red cabbage and gravy. For dessert is rice pudding with a cherry sauce, traditionally with an almond hidden inside. The lucky finder of this almond is entitled to a small gift. After the meal is complete, the family gather around the Juletrea to sing Christmas carols and dance hand in hand around the tree. Then the children often hand out the presents which are opened immediately.

This is followed by candy, chips, various nuts, clementines, and sometimes a mulled and spiced wine with almonds and raisins called Glogg is served hot in small cups. Following the main celebration of Jul or Juleaften on December 24, December 25 and December 26 are, respectively, celebrated as Forste Juledag and Anden Juledag, both holidays, and are generally filled with relaxed familial socializing and the enjoying of leftovers from the Juleaften meal. Some Danish families also celebrate December 23 as Lillejuleaften (Little Christmas Eve). Traditions for this day might include decoration of the Juletr?, enjoying roast duck, and caroling.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Northern Magic Rune Mysteries And Shamanism

Northern Magic Rune Mysteries And Shamanism Cover

Book: Northern Magic Rune Mysteries And Shamanism by Edred Thorsson

This in-depth primer of the magic of the Northern Way introduces the major concepts and
practices of Gothic or Germanic magic. From Pennsylvania Dutch hex-magic to Scandinavian
runes, Northern Magic explores the folk traditions, ancient lore, Germanic Mysteries, magic,
and wisdom of this ancient Germanic culture.

Another of Thorsson's masterpieces! I strongly recommend this book to all pagans who follow the Northern Way. I don't quite understand the bad reviews about Edred Thorsson being a satanist, he is quite far from it!

This is an excellent book for beginners of Asatru, due to the book wide variations of Norse paganism. This book covers many subjects and customs such as: The Troth, Runes, Hex-signs, Seith Magic, and much more. This book, however, is not in depth in these subjects, but a great Introduction to them. If you are looking for Information on Runes of the Elder Futhark, I wouldn't count on this book, however Thorsson introduces the Younger Futhark and covers them pretty well (one page on each rune, front and back!) I also recommend this book for the advanced, because it introduces new customs as well. Be sure to check out other books by Thorsson.

This is a really good reference for the very busy professional person who needs a clear presentation of ideas in a very short space. It would function as an excellent primer to Runelore and/or Futhark.

This book gives a really good quick overview of the Northern Way as it exists in its present remanifestation. In Chapter III, Dr. Thorsson explains the similarities and differences between the Troth, Rune-Galdor (operative rune magick), and Seith (norse shamanism) in a clear and concise manner.

Chapters IV and V explain Teutonic Cosmology and Theology in a quick, clear, and concise manner.

Dr. Thorsson does make a run at describing the Teutonic "soul" concept, but this is not as satisfying as the foregoing-described concise summaries.

Dr. Thorsson focuses on the younger runes and some home-grown Pennsylvania Dutch magick in this book, which might be interesting to some.

In my opinion, this book is most valuable for the quick summaries, and illustrations accompanying same, discussed above.

Since 1972, Edred Thorsson has been dedicated to the esoteric and esoteric study of the Indo-European, Celtic and Teutonic traditions. He studied Old Irish, Middle Welsh and Indo-European religion and culture at major universities in Germany and in the United States.

Buy Edred Thorsson's book: Northern Magic Rune Mysteries And Shamanism

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Paganism Reader

The Paganism Reader Cover

Book: The Paganism Reader by Chas Clifton

Routledge Press has a strong reputation for putting out fine scholarship and helpful editions for students, scholars, and other interested readers, as this book on Paganism, edited by Chas S. Clifton and Graham Harvey, is no exception to that tradition. This is a reader; it is not a single narrative-strand history nor is it simply a collection of works under the guise of scholarship but really saddled with an agenda. There are three primary sections, largely based on historical division - Part One introduces classical texts from the ancient world, Part Two looks at what are called `proto-revival' texts, and Part Three looks at the revival and diversification of paganism over the past century or so.

The Classical Texts draw on literature from many different cultures (British Isles, Nordic/Icelandic culture, and ancient Egypt as well as the more well-known Israel, Greece, and Rome). There was no one systematic religious framework called `paganism', as these texts indicate, but rather Paganism is a term used to cover a wide range of religious and spiritual ideas. These texts include a diversity of literary forms - autobiography, poems, narrative stories, histories, and even an epistle/letter.

The Paganism Reader is a well put together volume that provides us with material that offers inspiration, gentle teachings and insights into the very nature of our spirituality.

Mr. Clifton and Mr. Harvey have put together various works, classified by the time of their writings (classical, proto-revival, revival and diversification) that touch the heart of what it is to be pagan. The material is fresh for the most part, well chosen for content and it's appeal to the pagan reader in a variety of applications. The material can be read as individual pieces, or taken as a whole. It can be used for private meditation or as a group exercise for study.

The classical is represented by various excerpts; from the 'Book of Jeremiah' to 'Pliny the Elder' and material from the 'Irish Cycles' to Geoffrey of Monmouth. The material covers a wide range of myths and mysticism.

The proto-revival material is characterized by excerpts from "Aradia', Aleister Crowley's 'The Book of the Law', Margaret Murray on 'Witchcraft' and Rudyard Kipling's 'A Tree Song', to name a few.

Revival and diversification contains material selected from the writings of Doreen Valiente, Gerald Gardner, Robert Heinlein, Marion Bradley, Mr. Clifton and others. There is also a 'Further Reading' list that is quite in depth and a well thought out Index.

The material presented is as diverse as the many paths of paganism. The book offers to the general pagan some wonderful material that will provoke discussion as well as contemplation.
A must have book on your library shelf, it should be included in your 'must read' lists and is a very useful tool for any teacher, as well as a book I would consider a primer for anyone looking at the pagan path.

The proto-revival texts include texts that reawaken to a celebration of the natural world and the spirituality inherent in it during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Again, the motivations are diverse (Romantic views of nature, a disillusionment with progress and urbanism, etc.) as well as the types of literature - included here pieces from Rudyard Kipling, Robert Graves, Aleister Crowley and Kenneth Grahame, among others. There is also the entry written by Margaret Murray for the 1929 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica on witchcraft, a rather sympathetic account of the history of witchcraft, making it something very different than it is popularly envisioned.

The third part explores twentieth century scholarship as well as works written by and for Pagans. Some of the tensions that exist in the diversity that is Paganism have to do with the emphasis on nature versus the emphasis on the self and personal reflection/discovery. Another tension has to do with hierarchy - are there those with power and position or not? Among the many titles given to Pagans today are Witches, Druids, Shamans, Eco-activists, Goddess worshippers, and several others. Magic sometimes plays a role, but not always. Paganism is far from the kind of devil worship sometimes portrayed by church hiearchs.

In the introduction, Clifton and Harvey clearly state that it is not the intention of this collection to steer the reader in any particular direction regarding this texts; to that end, the introduction is but a few pages long, and the list of further readings is quite generous at the end of the book. Clifton does contribute a few articles in Part Three, on nature religion and Western shamanism.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Living Paganism Beyond 101

Living Paganism Beyond 101 Cover

Book: Living Paganism Beyond 101 by Shanddaramon

First Shanddaramon led seekers down a path to attaining higher spirituality in his book Self-Initiation for the Solitary Witch. Now, with Living Paganism, he gives readers the opportunity to not only advance in their self-initiated training, but to literally live Paganism.

You have studied books on Paganism. You do rituals at home or in a group. You search for information about Pagan thought and practice but, somehow, it doesn’t seem enough. You want your life to reflect your Pagan values. You don’t just want to do Pagan things; you want to live your Paganism everyday and through everything you do. That is what a truly spiritual person does and, as a deeply committed practicing Pagan, you can learn to let your spiritual practice become more a part of your life. It can be the essence of who you are.

Living Paganism picks up where Shanddaramon’s last book left off and leads the practitioner to determine how to be more fulfilled through connecting spiritual practice to the many sacred cycles of life. In this book, you will learn how to develop Pagan spiritual goals that are balanced and meaningful. Then you will learn to observe and become an active participant in the cosmic cycles of the universe so that you may learn to honor and use those cycles to live your Pagan values. Every day we experience the cycles of Earth, the moon, the sun, and the changes in life. By connecting your practice to these sacred cycles you will learn to create a meaningful and magical life.

Basic guidelines for personal goal setting by incorporating the qualities of the elements and Spirit and life's cycles into daily living. Once you understand his concepts of Expression and Envelopment, you're on the path to touching every aspect of Living Paganism, within and without.

Shanddaramon's LIVING PAGANISM: AN ADVANCED GUIDE FOR THE SOLITARY PRACTITIONER tells practitioners how to use connecting spiritual practices to become more connected to cycles of life. From learning how to develop Pagan spiritual goals to becoming an active participant in cosmic cycles, LIVING PAGANISM continues Shanddaramon's teachings, begun in SELF-INITIATION FOR THE SOLITARY WITCH.

Living Paganism enables you to experience more advanced and fulfilling training in your quest for adeptness.

Shanddaramon is He is the author of Self Initiation for the Solitary Witch (New Page Books) and is a regular contributing writer for PagaNet news. He is a writer and artist living in Durham, North Carolina where he teaches art and music, does pastoral and divinatory advising and listening, and teaches Pagan studies classes. He is a founding member, brother, and ordained minister of the Sacred Order of Living Paganism—a fellowship of brothers and sisters dedicated to deep Pagan learning, practice, and service.

Buy Shanddaramon's book from Living Paganism Beyond 101

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Rabbi Michael Laitman - Attaining The Worlds Beyond
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Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Pagan Spirituality A Guide To Personal Transformation

Pagan Spirituality A Guide To Personal Transformation Cover

Book: Pagan Spirituality A Guide To Personal Transformation by River Higginbotham

In a world filled with beginner books, deeper explanations of the Pagan faith are rarely found. Picking up where their critically acclaimed first book Paganism left off, bestselling authors Joyce & River Higginbotham offer intermediate-level instruction with Pagan Spirituality.

Respected members of their communities, the Higginbothams describe how to continue spiritual evolution though magick, communing, energy work, divination, and conscious creation in a pleasant, encouraging tone. Learn how to use journaling, thought development, Visualization, and goal-setting to develop magickal techniques and to further cultivate spiritual growth. This book serves to expand the reader's spiritual knowledge base by providing a balanced approach of well-established therapies, extensive personal experience, and question-and-answer sessions that directly involve the reader in their spiritual journey.

The initial chapters of this book explore the theories of Ken Wilber, a spirituality psychologist. His ideas are related to Pagan spiritual development in a way that the non-scientist can understand. The authors explain how a person progresses from infant to young adult and beyond the young adult stage into stages of more wisdom and self-reflection. The authors liken one's spiritual growth to the changes one goes through when going from helpless infant to someone who can run marathons.

In all there are nine developmental "spaces" and four different quadrants that readily conform to a Pagan world outlook. Joyce and River take the reader on a tour through each space and each quadrant with exercises, meditations and other activities.

The book is set up as a teaching guide, and would work best for a group situation, although the authors do include notes on how to make the contents work if you happen to be solitary, which a great many Pagans are.

Each chapter of the book is beautifully designed to make navigating through the book as easy as possible. Each chapter has section headings such as Questions to discuss, Exercise, My Journal, or Visualization. At the beginning of the book the reader is encouraged to create a spiritual progress map listing things that he or she wishes to accomplish in the coming year. The following chapters build on this map by returning to it and checking on progress toward the goals set forth in it. Each chapter builds on the lessons learned from the ones previous.

Chapters focus on different aspects of growth, both of the individual self and the way in which that individual interacts with the greater Pagan Community, the mundane world and beyond to the spirit world. Chapter titles show what the reader can expect to find with such descriptions as Growth and Magick from the front end of the book to Energy Work from the back end of the book.

This book would be most useful to a shop that gives classes or a coven leader working with beginners that have progressed beyond the basic Wicca 101 level. It would also be a perfect workbook for a group of new seekers that are forming their own study group. Pagan Spirituality builds on the lessons and explanations found in the authors' first book, Paganism, and the authors suggest reviewing their previous work before tackling the projects of this one. I haven't read their first book, but on the basis of my reading of this one, I will at some point.

The only down side of the book for me was the repetitiveness of the various visualizations, but since each one builds on the last, I understand the reasoning behind the repetitions. If the reader were using the book as a lesson plan meant to encompass a year's study, this slight flaw most likely would become an attribute instead. This is a book I definitely recommend to anyone wishing to deepen their connection to the spiritual side of existence.

Buy River Higginbotham's book: Pagan Spirituality A Guide To Personal Transformation

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings

Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings Cover

Book: Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings by Bil Linzie

I don't consider this volume to be any great piece of research. There are plenty of researchers out there far more knowledgeable than I, and I have no problem with that. I don't consider these books revolutionary in any way either; I seriously doubt whether they will change the practice of Asatru in the modern world. What they are is an Asatru man's view of the world after having been Asatru two years short of a full third of a century. They are my views.

I loved that book and read it cover to cover at least four times a year for the next 3 years. My Grampa Jack was “Linzie religion” and so was I, but I belonged to the Asa-Faith as well. I later bought a second printing of the book and still enjoy it. After 30 years of
Asatru the book has begun to even take on the smell of that original I once held in my hands.

I love the fact that I am a 3rd generation German-American. I now live in the southwest in a predominantly hispanic community and enjoy enchiladas y tamales as much as I do Sauerkraut mit Schinken und Apfeln, but I never mistake where I came from. I read a lot more now than I used to and move a little slower than when I was still chasing Laura (and I do mean chasing—she was fast). I have a family of my own and I am 30+ years and 2000 miles away from the place of my upbringing, but I feel more a German-American now than I did growing up. I wrote this book as an expression of thanks, I suppose.

This book came together over a period of 10 years. I started in 1990 (the year that our town's electricity went out on Superbowl Sunday), and I lost the first thirty or so pages to an old, borrowed Apple IIe. Fortunately, I still had the original handwritten copy. Since that time, I've gone through 3 computers, Windows3.1, Windows95, Windows98, and now Linux/ FreeBSD; countless rewrites, and have lost half my hair, grown long in the tooth, became a Grampa, and got remarried only to have two more sons (one of whom is “Jack” born 99 years and 9 days after his namesake and founder of the 'Linzie-religion'). A lot has happened in those 10 years.

The book actually started out as a 5-page essay but quickly took on a life of its own sprawling out well beyond a ream of paper. The topics wander mainly because I like it that way. It starts with the individual who slowly discovers his relationship to the world. It starts at the center of the universe, i.e. me–(yes, I'm slightly narcissistic), and then looks out, then up, then down, and then further out. It is not an instruction manual, but rather a record of learning. I've put in beaucoup quotes and named the Authors and their books as well. There are plenty of personal observations in here (actually, the bulk of what's here is personal observations–I just 'scotch-taped' the personal observations together with quotes).

I put this book out for free. I did that for a reason. If you find that some of my ideas are good, fine, they are there for the taking. Information is really no different from fiddle tunes in my mind. They are both there to be taken–enjoyed. I don't figure the book's a top-seller anyway, so I prefer to give it away. The way of life that the Asa-Faith offers is an enjoyable thing, and this is my way of giving-back. One other thing: I believe that the Asa-Faith should be free and personal. No one can tell another how to experience life, and certainly, no one should pay to learn about how to experience life. I am not against people coming together for Asa-Faith holidays, but I still don't like organized religion any more than Grampa Jack did. I wrote The Asatru Folk Manifesto 1 in honor of him. He was my greatest inspiration, was a family man, and farmer, an upstanding member of our little community, a regular at the Grange, and the best of Grampas.

Download Bil Linzie's eBook: Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings

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Bil Linzie - Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Pagan And The Pentagon

The Pagan And The Pentagon Cover He comes home with briefcase in hand from a long day "in the trenches." His wife and boys greet him at he door. They sit and exchange the events of the day in their Coca-Cola decorated kitchen. But before he heads upstairs to change out of his "blues" he stops by the altar, lights a candle and thanks the gods for his beautiful family. He then releases the stresses of the day with a quick glance at a wooden pentacle.
Air Force Major Anthony Gatlin, chief of the Military Personnel Division for the Secretary of the Air Force at the Pentagon, is not only a proud member of the U.S. Air Force, but also a Practicing pagan.
The Dictionary defines pagan as a follower of a polytheistic religion, as in ancient Rome. Modern day pagans define paganism as an eclectic, nature-centered religious movement that encompasses polytheistic and magical religions. Many beliefs labeled paganism are characterized by the honoring of pre-Christian deities, lack of institutionalization, a quest to develop the self and acceptance and encouragement of diversity.
"Ive been pagan all my adult life, but didn't realize what exactly that was until about a year-and-a-half ago. It had truly been an awakening, a 'coming home,'" said Gatlin.
Gatlin and his wife of 15 years, Sheila, talked many times about their beliefs and tried several churches together but, "nothing felt right", he said.
"Over the years, our spiritual lives suffered because we found nothing to nurture them," he said.
Through much research, study and discussion the Galtlins discovered what they were searching for.
"The particular pagan path that we most identified with is of the Wiccan tradition, which is a revival of ancient Celtic tribal religions. Its an Earth-based religion that follows no set scripture, but attunes the mind, body and spirit with the forces of nature," said Gatlin.
Time passed and Gatlin became more and more comfortable with his new faith. He felt it was time to "come out of the broom closet" and not hide his religious beliefs, he said. He didnt know at the time that his next few actions would have an affect on the entire Pagan Community in the Air Force.
"I had reached a point in my life where I wanted to become public with my religion. I figured a good place to start would be changing my religious preference on my dog tags and my personnel file," said Gatlin.
At that time, the Air Force didnt list any earth-based religions as religious preferences. Pagans, of all paths, either chose "no religious preference" or "other."
"I first listed my religion as 'other' but, as the days went by I just felt like that was more and more offensive," he said.
Gatlin began to ask why his religion, and the religion of more than an estimated 15,000 people in the military, wasnt represented. He started doing research on how to add a religious preference to the list. He spoke with chaplains and worked with the Air Force Personnel Center to coordinate a staff summary sheet. In March 2001 the package circulated for signing. Gatlin could only hope and hold on to his faith that the change would be approved.
"No one ever said you can't do this. No one was ever verbally against it. It was more bureaucracy and red tape that held up the process," said Gatlin.
On March 15 the change was approved and Pagan, Shaman, Druid, Wicca, Seax Wicca, Gardnerian Wicca and Dianic Wicca were added to the list of religious preferences in the Air Force Personnel Data System.
"I was proud to be the first person to register my religion in the system," Gatlin said, "and I hope others will be too. I want the world to know Pagans are not just a bunch of fringe lunaticswe are military members, husbands, wives, parentsregular people with hopes and dreams who want the freedom and tolerance to practice our religion just like anyone else."
More than 50 service members registered as one of the newly listed earth-based religions in the first six weeks after the change. Gatlin hopes the numbers will climb as the word gets out of the latest options, and the new Air Force Personnel System, MilMod becomes fully functional.
Gatlin said he will continue to work towards mainstream acceptance and tolerance among all religious communities, but feels that all pagans must take part in this move.
"We need to do a better job with public relations. We are hampered by our own communal mistrust and fear of persecution. We need to get the collective chip off our shoulder and work together to further out position in the community," he said.
Recently Gatlin and fellow members of a Pagan study group were hiking in western Virginia. The group stopped along a rocky pinnacle that looked out over miles and miles of sky and earth.
"As I stood at the edge of this cliff looking hundreds of feet below, I was approached by a man who asked me about the shirt I wore, which proudly displayed our groups logo and name, the "Potomac Pagans," Gatlin said. "He clearly was taken aback merely by the word Pagan. He identified himself as Southern Baptist and asked how I could not believe in God."
"It was very surreal standing on the edge of a great precipice defending my religion, but I explained that I very much believe in the Devine Spirit and that his God may very well be my God; its just that I choose a different way of looking at it," Gatlin said.
The man then said to Gatlin, "Its like this mountain, its the same mountain, regardless of which path you take. It may look different from all angles, but that doesnt change the essence of the mountain."
"I knew then I had made my point," Gatlin said.
From the outside, the Gatlins, with their two-story house decorated in pop-culture knick-knacks and pet dog Ringo, look like the "typical" American family. But in a county, dubbed a melting pot, what is that exactly? Maybe its a family who lives true to their heart, believes in tolerance for other cultures and religions and realizes the true value of the freedoms we each are given.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Practical Guide To The Runes Their Uses In Divination And Magic

A Practical Guide To The Runes Their Uses In Divination And Magic Cover

Book: A Practical Guide To The Runes Their Uses In Divination And Magic by Lisa Peschel

EIHWAZ the yew, URUZ the wild ox, KENAZ the hearth fire. Created by the Nordic and Germanic tribes of northern Europe, the runes began as a magickal system of pictographs representing the forces and objects in nature. This guidebook will help you discover the oracular nature of the runes and how to use them as a magickal tool for insight, protection, and luck. Practical and concise, this book includes:

- Complete descriptions of the twenty-four runes of the Elder Futhark, plus WYRD, the blank rune
- The differences between bindrunes and runescripts
- Four rune layouts and detailed rune interpretations, including reversed position meanings
- How to carve runes and create talismans
- Meanings and uses of the runes in magick

As a beginning rune caster (coming from a good Understanding of tarot), I find this book very helpful and very clear to understand (as opposed to a guide that came with purchased runes, which were too vague and hard to interpret.) Not only does it help to make solid associations with each rune, it also explains how to make your own runes and talismans and includes lots of other useful information, including suggested reading. I'd imagine this is also a great book for someone who is experienced with runes.

This book is perfect and easy. The explanations of runes within its pages are perfect for the beginner as well as the veteran. The refrence tables in the book for magick works are also one of the best I've seen so far. Though small and compact, this book holds a king's ransom in runic knowledge and no one should pass up the opportunity to get it. The author gives you a good Introduction with a style that reminds me of Scott Cunningham, its easy to read and has room for individuality. All at the same time remaining for the most part historically accurate, I think that the only thing that isnt accurate is the blank rune, which has little to none signifigance to the Elder Futhark and i would reccomend getting rid of it (like another reviewer said, "tear it out! ". Otherwise this book is one of the best Introduction books on runes that i own. And i would reccomend this to anyone interested in runes.

Buy Lisa Peschel's book: A Practical Guide To The Runes Their Uses In Divination And Magic

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Runes Around The North Sea And On The Continent

Runes Around The North Sea And On The Continent Cover

Book: Runes Around The North Sea And On The Continent by Jantina Helena Looijenga

Het onderzoek naar de oudste runeninscripties van het Europese continent, Engeland en Denemarken voerde onderzoekster van Liverpool aan de Ierse Zee naar Constanza aan de Zwarte Zee; van Zurich naar Bergen; van Parijs naar Stockholm. In dit enorme gebied kende men reeds bij het begin van de vroege middeleeuwen het runenschrift (rond 500 AD). Ergens in dit gebied moet een kern gelegen hebben, waar het begon - vermoedelijk in de eerste eeuw AD. Het localiseren van dat oorsprongsgebied begon me in de loop van het onderzoek te intrigeren.

Het doel was in eerste instantie het inventariseren, het beschrijven en analyseren van runenteksten uit de oudste periode: 150-700 AD. Als onderzoekscorpus waren de runentradities rondom de Noordzee en van het continent uitgekozen. Het uitgangspunt was nadrukkelijk niet Scandinavie, zoals bij runenstudies meestal het geval. Ik meende, dat een verandering van perspectief nieuw licht op oude runologische vraagstukken zou kunnen werpen - en daardoor wellicht bijdragen tot oplossingen. Bovendien wilde ik me niet op een land of traditie vastleggen, maar door middel van het vergelijken van diverse runentradities proberen meer inzicht te krijgen in doel en wezen van het runenschrift. Waarom ontwikkelde men dit schrift, met welk doel werd het gebruikt, en door wie? Om dit soort vragen te beantwoorden, was het nodig om inzicht te verkrijgen in de cultuur-historische context van de inscriptiedragers. Archeologie en historie bleken onmisbare informatiebronnen; ook de (plaats)naamkunde leverde belangrijke gegevens ten aanzien van het relatief enorme aantal namen in de runencorpora.

Runologie heeft in principe twee poten: paleografie en historische taalkunde. Eerst inspecteert men persoonlijk de objecten en hun inscripties en vervolgens ontcijfert men de runen. Daarna verkrijgt men een of meer lezingen, weergegeven als transliteraties, die dan taalkundig worden geanalyseerd. Deze teksten kunnen niet zonder hun archeologische en historische contexten begrepen worden, vandaar de titel ‘Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent AD 150-700;

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