Tag Archive | Vanir

The Indo-European Trinity and How it Relates to Heathenism

I got into a really interesting conversation with Allen Alderman over in the Asatru and Heathen community in Google+. We discussed the Indo-European trinity. This is a really important metaphysical concept that seems to weave it’s way through all Indo-European based spiritual traditions, including Heathenism. I already covered one aspect of this concept in a previous post:

Allen Alderman: I read your post on the trinity in Heathenism. I would also enjoy discussing your views on Dumézil’s trifunctional hypothesis – which I, personally, think he just nabbed from much older thinkers – but I should probably save that for a comment on the post itself.

Volmarr Wyrd: *laughs*. Yes already had the discusion with someone who brought up Dumezil. I of course believe that most things end up dividing into 3 but the nature of what each part of that 3 is differs in each circumstance, it is rarely the same set of 3 things. Though I have not studied Dumezil, my understanding is he reduces all 3-fold divisions to the same one, but that is where I disagree with him. Three is metaphysically a natural division for most things in the universe, but there is not a fixed nature of everything being the same 3 things everywhere.

Allen Alderman: I was pointing more in the direction of the theory of guna in Samkhya philosophy. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? If you haven’t give it a good mulling over before discarding it prematurely (i.e. don’t just read Wikipedia’s treatment). There is a wealth of very old insight stored in that particular theory. You might find parts of it interesting, particularly in connection with what remains of Germanic lore.

Volmarr Wyrd: Yes the tattvas from Hinduism as you pointed out. In astrology they have this same concept with the cardinals, fixed, and mutable signs. In Hinduism there is Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. In Christianity there is Father, Son, and Holy-Spirit. It is the idea that all things have a creation, solidifying, and releasing aspect. In some ways many thrinities do fall into this division but it seems not all. But I agree with what you wrote elsewhere that studying other things, in particular Hindu stuff since it is an intact older Indo-European spiritual system gains one a much greater understanding of Heathenism. I studied Hinduism a lot as a matter of fact for many years.

Volmarr Wyrd: Even in alchemy is sulfur, salt, and mercury.

Volmarr Wyrd: Also Theosophy, that last 19th century and early 20th century spiritual movement which is the foundation of the modern New Age movement gets into this trinity a lot in their writings.

Volmarr Wyrd: Those Theosophists were heavy into Hinduism. They mixed Hindu Jnana Yoga with with western Spiritualist tradition ideas to come up with the tradition basically.

Allen Alderman: You might already know this – I’m not sure – but the theory of guna reaches a lot deeper than the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – which is a comparatively late development. The part of the theory which interests me most is their function in metaphysics and the theories which that idea later inspired in Hindu practical disciplines – especially medicine. But, essentially, it has to do with the Harmonic, Dynamic and Static principles in nature. I’ve always considered it a nice way to explain the relationship between the Vanir, the Aesir and the Jöttnar. That is to say, whenever someone contrasts the Vanir and the Aesir, there’s a voice in my head which says “You know, the Jöttnar actually belong to that particular trinity.” I usually bit my lip, however. :)

Volmarr Wyrd: I should look deeper into the gunas! Got any books to recommend? So which of the three races of divine beings do you relate to each of these principles?

Allen Alderman: Good books are always hard to find. My introduction to Samkhya philosophy was Nandalal Sinha’s Samkhya Philosophy (1915). Short but generally accurate treatments can be found in the shorter introductions, like M. Hiriyanna’s Essentials of Indian Philosophy (1948). A slightly more materialistic presentation, but valuable nonetheless, can be found in S. Dasgupta’s History of Indian Philosophy (1922). (The latter work, which can be found online at archive.org, is quite good at giving a broad but detailed overview of Hindu philosophy, Vol. I particularly, despite its typically late 19th century, “ancient philosophy can be harmonized with modern science” approach. It’s helpful to view Samkhya in its context, as that allows the reader to smooth over the personal preconceptions of the author.) Other than that, it has taken me years of reading in a variety of sources to recognize how all-pervasive this theory was and continues to be in weird and wonderful ways – several of which you mentioned in your comments above.

As for your second question: Well, it’s actually slightly more complex. None of the gunas are found in their pure state in anything manifest. Everything has all three in varying proportion. Thus, all three races are Dynamic, for example, but in varying degrees. For me, the Vanir are, by and large, the prime embodiments of the Harmonic principle, the Aesir embody the Dynamic principle, and the Jöttnar embody the Static principle. “Static” can be a bit misleading, as the original tamas (literally “darkness”) actually refers to a kind of “drawing down” or “drawing away” of energy, a destructive, sometimes lethargic tendency.

Just so you know, I’m not an “archetypal” Heathen, either. I consider myself as close to “hard” polytheism as a rational person can get.

Also, it might help to compare what you read on the gunaswith their analogy in Vedic medicine, the three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. These were directly inspired by the theory of guna, and if you are versed in alchemical tradition, you might find that interesting, as well.

Volmarr Wyrd: Nice! My guess for the 3 races of spiritual beings was the same you mentioned. So static in that sense is like the primordial dark womb of creation? Kabbalah has these three as well. The pillar of mercy is dynamic. The pillar of severity is static. The middle is harmonic. Also we can see this in the creation story. Fire is dynamic. Ice is static. Where they meet in the middle and life is created is harmonic.

Allen Alderman: Exactly. Glad to have found someone on the same wavelength. ;)

Volmarr Wyrd: Indeed is nice! Yimir was very static and sort of taking up a lot of space in the middle of existence and thus is why Odin and his brothers needed to kill him. The material from that which is static is that which is needed to make stuff, thus his body became the Earth. Ever since there is an ongoing cold-war between the dynamic and static forces. The only ones somewhat outside of that tension is the harmonic forces. Notice how in the story of Ragnarok Njord withdraws his forces from the battle before it really begins. By the way the Kabbalah is 3×3+1. That 1 is the result of energies moving through all of the 3×3 in order from most abstract to most formed. I am also as well very much a hard polytheist. I strive to get to know the gods and goddesses of the Vanir and Aesir on as personal of terms as I can, with my biggest focus tending towards the Vanir.

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Book review of Sea Sky Soil

For those interested in learning some very interesting theories about the hidden aspects of the Vanir I recommend the book Sea Sky Soil. This book is based on the Vanir Theory. It basically deconstructs the theoretical hidden Vanir deities on an archetypal level using the theories expressed by the Vanir theory. This book is like looking at the bones of what makes up northern European Paganism, but outside the level of particular names or traditions. It’s spiritual dissection of the essence of things.

From my own personal work with the Vanir the ideas expressed in this book totally make sense and are important for understanding about the greater whole of the Vanir which the lore does not describe. In the least it does offer up potential avenues to pursue in pathworking attempts at contacting these other hidden Vanir.

Waincraft is a tradition the authors of the book and others have made based on these archetypes they have derived from their work. I see Waincraft as more of a loose theoretical framework that is useful for people practicing Heathenism or Norse-Paganism. People could if they wanted practice Waincraft on it’s own as a religious tradition, but by itself it is very barebones and abstract in nature, very dispersonal. It’s true value comes out when used as a way to gain a deeper understanding of northern European Heathenism/Paganism (that has more of a Vanic like slant to it).

The section of the book that talks about spirit animals from a Northern European slant is amazing and perhaps the best writing anyone has made in making them clear to understand and have a deeper sense of meaning. When comparing the ideas there to the common Native American based concepts of the various spirit animals I can see some similar aspects for some animals but some totally different aspects for other animals. Of course it has animals listed with are not common or important for Native American traditions but are of importance for Heathenism or Norse-Paganism.

For anyone following any shamanic oriented northern European Heathen or Pagan practices this book would be totally invaluable since it provides a complete and detailed and I feel very accurate cosmology. There is no practices here though, it is merely like a catalog of concepts, but a very well done one.

Anyone that is looking to more deeply understand the nature of northern Heathenism or Paganism should get this book. It is ideas which are brilliant and totally ahead of their time. To make use of this book you need to be practicing some path of Northern European Paganism/Heathenism or be someone that prefer something that is very abstract, but the concepts here will vastly enhance your understanding of any northern form of Paganism/Heathenism you may be following.

The Vanir Theory…

The Vanir Theory, this is something I very strongly believe in. I am someone that as a Heathen has a primary focus towards the Vanir, and I too have experienced from my own personal spiritual experiences that what this article is saying is accurate, and extremely important for understanding the Vanir.: http://waincraft.org/world-view/the-vanir-theory/

Volmarr’s Heathen Wulpurgis Night Ritual April-30-2013

Need:
• drinking horn
• mead (or beer or wine or even can use juice)
• spring water in small bowl
• fresh pine twig
• offering bowl
• candles
• wand (if you don’t have one you can use your fingers instead)
• Thor’s Ritual Hammer (optional, can use it for the Hammer Hallowings)
• red candle
• white candle
• any symbols of spring
• any symbols of witches and magick
• a representation of Freyja

This ritual, as are all Heathen or northern rituals, is done while facing north, except where otherwise noted. The altar should be such that it is in front of you when you face north.

If you don’t know how to pronounce the runes see my webpage on how to pronounce them here.

Put spring water in small bowl. Trace 3 Laguz runes over it.:

Laguz

“LAGUZ… LAGUZ… LAGUZ”

“From the Well of Wyrd does this water flow, and to the Well of Wyrd does it return”

Make Hammer Sign at item and then splash each ritual item with blessed water using the pine twig and for each item say:

“I bless this ______ with the waters of the Well of Wyrd”

Now trace Hammer Sign at person being blessed and/or self and splash them with water using twig.

“I bless ______ with the waters of the Well of Wyrd”

Use twig to splash ritual space with water.

“I bless this space with the waters of the Well of Wyrd”

Few silent deep breaths.

All stand in Elhaz position.

Elhaz Position 1

“Bi-Frost’s rainbow light shine down upon this space and myself so that I may form a portal between the worlds of Asgard and Midgard”

Few silent deep breaths.

All face north and trace the Hammer Sign while chanting:

“Hammer in the north hallow and ward this stead”

All turn east and trace the Hammer Sign while chanting:

“Hammer in the east hallow and ward this stead”

All turn south and trace the Hammer Sign while chanting:

“Hammer in the south hallow and ward this stead”

All turn west trace the Hammer Sign while chanting:

“Hammer in the west hallow and ward this stead”

All return to north and look up and trace Hammer sign while chanting:

“Hammer above hallow and ward this stead”

All look below and trace Hammer sign while chanting:

“Hammer below hallow and ward this stead”

Return to facing north and all stand in the Elhaz position and chant:

“Around me and within me Asgard and Midgard”

Dagaz Position 1

and move into the Dagaz position in the end.

Few silent deep breaths.

(Highly recommended optional casting of the rune ring)

(face north and trace the rune shape in the air before you using your wand and loudly chant: “FEHU!”)

Fehu

(face north-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “URUZ”)

Uruz

(face east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “THURISAZ”)

Thurisaz

(face south-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “ANSUZ”)

Ansuz

(face south and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “RAIDHO”)

Raidho

(face south-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “KENAZ”)

Kenaz

(face west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “GEBO”)

Gebo

(face north-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “WUNJO”)

Wunjo

(face north and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “HAGALAZ”)

Hagalaz

(face north-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “NAUDHIZ”)

Nauthiz

(face east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “ISA”)

Isa

(face south-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “JERA”)

Jera

(face south and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “EIHWAZ”)

Eihwaz

(face south-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “PERTHRO”)

Perthro

(face west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “ELHAZ”)

Elhaz

(face north-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “SOWILO”)

Sowilo

(face north and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “TIWAZ”)

Tiwaz

(face north-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “BERKANO”)

Berkano

(face east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “EHWAZ”)

Ehwaz

(face south-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “MANNAZ”)

Mannaz

(face south and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “LAGUZ”)

Laguz

(face south-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “INGWAZ”)

Ingwaz

(face west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “DAGAZ”)

Dagaz

(face north-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “OTHALA”)

Othala

(Few silent deep breaths)

Hold up the bottle of mead:

“I now brew the holy mead of inspiration. Won by high Odin long ago!”

Chant into the bottle of mead:

“Odhroerir! Son! Bodhn!”

“Now I hallow this drink with staves of light!”

Chant and trace these runes over the bottle:

“Othala”

Othala

“Dagaz”

Dagaz

“Raidho”

Raidho

“Ansuz”

Ansuz

“Raidho”

Raidho

“Isa”

Isa

“Elhaz!”

Elhaz

All say:

“Hail Odhroerir!”

Few silent deep breaths.

“Hail Freyja! Daughter of Njord. Sister of Freyr. Descendant of the Vanir. Possessor of Brisingamen. Od’s wife. Vanir-bride. Teacher of seidh. Love goddess. Gold-thirsty one. Queen of witches!”

“Hail also the unnamed disir of the Vanir, goddesses ancient and powerful. Please be here at this ritual of spring-time transformation.”

Few silent deep breaths.

“The Norse divide the seasons into two, winter and summer. Now is a shifting of energies, the unstable energies of change. It isn’t winter anymore now, but it isn’t yet summer. This is a border state time, a time between a time.”

“This time of year is traditionally associated with witches since witches, and wizards too, are people that live with a focus on those border states, as their focus is effecting change and transformation. ”

“Seidh is a form of magick related to Norse witchcraft. Seidh and many forms of magick are done by going into a trance state. Trance means altered state of conscious. People are often in trance state when in any border state, time between sleep and waking, meditation, magick rituals, intense pain states, near death state, etc. ”

“Battle trance is a state in which one struggles with life or death through physical combat. During battle is a powerful time to do spells due to this. Fight or flight is an altered state of consciousness. Spiritual rituals too are a border event. Also physical workouts too can be border states.

“Sex is a border state. Sex is one possible tool to use to do seidh and other forms of magick. Being sexually aroused is a border state. Freyja is always sexually aroused, thus she is a goddess always in the border state. ”

“Border state is fire. This is why Freyja is associated with fire. Fire is the energy of change. Conventional consciousness state for mortal humans is ice. Ice is the energy that keeps things as they are. Life force energy is fire though, because living beings can and do constantly change their environment.”

“Gods and goddesses have more life force than mortal humans, thus they have more magick. Deities can cause more, bigger amounts of change. By becoming attuned and one with the natural cycle of the seasons we increase our own life-force and fire and become more powerful. When we do devotional rituals to gods and goddesses we slowly move our own energies closer to the divine and become progressively more than just human. This is how we add divinity to our soul. By becoming more divine like this we increase our abilities to effect magick and create positive change for ourselves and others. ”

“The more we become divine the higher our personal consciousness frequency is and the more we are able to access a greater amount of knowledge, wisdom, awareness, and the stronger access we have to life force. This also causes our spiritual luck to improve. Rising one’s consciousness frequency is the key to making spiritual progress. By rising our consciousness frequency then we can become closer to the gods and goddesses as we are then like one of them.”

“Negativity, limited thinking, negative energy, bad energies, unhealthy food, unhealthy habits such as smoking, being around negative people and lack of faith in the gods/goddesses, all serve to drag down our energies and pull us away from the spiritual. Drinking in a way in which we don’t have any self control over is very destructive and pulls down our energies. Drinking alcohol is not bad, it actually is a strong part of the Heathen path, what is bad is drinking to an extreme and not being a responsible drinker. These things suck the spiritual life force out of us and reduce our fire. It is very important on the spiritual path to learn how to shield your energies against negativity and limit any interactions with negative people. ”

“The greatest tool for keeping energies consistently at a more positive spiritual level is regular daily spiritual practices. Enlightenment is not something that happens once and then you are cured for the rest of your life, it is an ongoing quest, even after achieving some measure of spiritual success all that has been gained can be lost if efforts are not kept up to keep things going. Magick is a tool to use to transform the self so that you can stay more often in a higher enlightened consciousness state that is closer to the level of the gods and goddesses. By maintaining a higher state of consciousness and a greater level of awareness and personal power we attract the interest of the gods and goddesses. By building a devotional practice towards a patron deity, matched by working on yourself using magick for self transformation directed towards a greater and greater spiritual self awareness, we move ourselves closer to achieving final rest from incarnation in the physical world, and moving on to reside in the hall of our patron deity at the time of our death. Working on the self to the point that we are ready to join our patron after we cross over from this world of the living to the next world is the main point for any more advanced level Heathen.”

“Now is the time during these changing energies to look for opportunities to bring positive changes in our lives, a powerful time to effect improvements in our lives. Now with the increase in physical activity in the rhythm of nature, is a excellent time to focus on getting into better physical shape by doing a regular fitness routine, if we don’t already do so. It is a good time to look at ways we can work on improving our health, both mentally and physically. This time of year is a good time to consider getting books about helpful methods of self improvement. It is a good time to brush up on any spiritual or occult knowledge areas we may already possess and perhaps looking too at ways we can expand such areas of knowledge. All these things which involve self improvement are connected with transformation and is oriented towards the type of energies of witches and wizards and of this general time of year. We are moving away from the inward focused energies of winter to the outward flowing energies of summer. The energies are shifting outward now towards vitality and renewal. ”

“At this time of year the sexual energies of nature are at their strongest point. Now is the time to enjoy any opportunities that are presented to express those sexual currents with others. Sex is a good way of celebrating the current natural cycle. It is a way to make offerings of joy and pleasure to the spirits of nature. Sexual expression is a way to honor all goddesses associated with this time of year, both hidden and known.”

“The Vanir are the Norse deities associated with the border time energies of the seasons, both with the spring when nature’s vitality increases, and in the fall when that which has grown is harvested. Vanic deities are strongly connected with the sexual currents of nature. Spring is the season for the goddesses and fall the season to enjoy the blessings of the Vanic gods. Spring is female, and fall male. Spring and fall are not seasons proper for the Norse, but times of transition between winter and summer. Freyja as goddess of sexuality and witchcraft is a goddess of the spring whose energies reflect this time of year. There are also hidden goddesses of the Vanir who help to bring forth the energies of this time of year of the cycle and we must honor them too. ”

(If there is any magick spells you wish to do for the purpose to better yourself in some way, now is a powerful time to do them. You may either do them at this point in the ritual or in a later ritual. )

(Light red candle)

(Fill drinking horn with mead and hold filled hold up)

“Freyja please present to me opportunities to take part in the increased sexual energies of this current time of year. Also please oh lovely goddess show me any ways that I may improve myself and help me with opportunities to do so. Please oh pretty goddess help me to flow with the changing energies of this time of year. You who are helpful seidh-witch and lover to all, help me to bend the life currents to my advantage. Thank you radiant Freyja. ”

(Drink some of the mead and pour out rest to offering bowl for Freyja)

(Light white candle)

(Fill drinking horn with mead and hold it up)

“Hidden spring-time goddesses of the Vanir may your energies be strong so that this season may be a wonderful one filled with positive vitality for all lifeforms. I thank you oh lovely hidden goddesses for all you do for us who take part in the seasons. Hail all hidden life-force goddesses of the Vanir! ”

(Drink some of the mead and pour out the rest into offering bowl for the hidden spring-time goddesses of the Vanir.)

Use the pine twig to splash a bit of the liquid in the offering bowl on yourself, on any others in the ritual with you, on your altar, on the ritual space, and in all general areas of your dwelling as well. Does not need to be much splashed around, just a little is fine. This helps to imbue more of the energies of the ritual on you, and others who may also in the ritual with you, and to your place.

“Now my rite has ended. May all gathered here fare well on their return to their home places. And may the bonds of frith between us grow, gods, wights, and humans alike. Until we meet again.”


Pour out the offerings from the offering bowl outside:

“A gift for a gift”

Trace gebo at spot offerings were given to.

“GEBO!”

Gebo

Pour out remaining blessed water outside.

“I pour the sacred water back to the Earth so it may find it’s way back to the Well of Wyrd”

Now at this point it is very important to ground your energies. This should always be done after every ritual. Not doing so can lead to problems in the long-run. Grounding is like shifting gears in a car, except it is the process of shifting brain states. During rituals you create a trance like brain state, which is desired for during rituals or for during any spiritual practices. But trance states are not good for doing everyday mundane things. You need to return your mind back to the normal state of consciousness after the ritual is finished. That is what grounding is.

The most simple and common method to ground is to visualize yourself as a tree and see roots growing into the ground from the base of your spine and going down into the earth. Sometimes rituals require industrial strength grounding as they can really create some intense energy. In that case you can try the following triple grounding method.:

First visualize your chakras. You picture in your mind closing first the top one and then seeing a sort of lid closing over it, then proceed with the net lower chakra and so on. You want to leave the bottom most chakra, the root chakra fully open as this is your connection to grounding. Don’t be concerned about having the others closed, the normal proper function of them is that they open and close as needed. Problems with being ungrounded happen when one of more of them are stuck open. Only the bottom one is to be left open at all times.

Next step is to picture a ball of pure white light above your head. Now let this white light slowly descent downward into your body and slowly move lower. As it descends it takes with it any unneeded, old, and negative energies. It is sort of sweeping downward through your energies taking all you no longer need with it. Once it reaches your feet let it move lower till it passes down through the floor. If you are on an upper close let it pass all the way to the ground. Let the earth take this energy to recycle it.

Now final step is to do the traditional grounding. Picture yourself as a tree. Visualize roots coming out of the base of your spine and going down into the Earth. Feel the calmness of a tree, the rooted solidness.

If after these three things you still feel hyper or spaced out you can either eat some food, or put a small amount of salt on your tongue. Another thing you can do is prostrate down to the ground, placing your head on the ground and stay like this for a few moments.

Feel free to copy and use this ritual so long as you acknowledge the source.

Download this as a OpenOffice Doc – Volmarr’s Heathen Walpurgis Night Ritual April-30-2013

You might be oriented towards the Vanir if…

You love sex. ✓

You have a foot fetish. ✓

You like ships and boats and being near or on water. ✓

You like nature. ✓

You tend to be polyamorous. ✓

You like peace and harmony. ✓

You like things of beauty. ✓

You tend to prefer natural and healthy foods. ✓

The Norse Viking Concept of Right vs Wrong..

The Norse Viking concept of bad wasn’t so black and white as many people nowadays tend to think. It is more the idea of someone either being in frith with their family/tribe/group, vs going too far and being too wild in their actions and being outlawed and considered dangerous basically. Loki is a good example of this. He isn’t evil really, just sort of one who was all about testing the limits of social order and bringing in new ideas. For a long time he was a mix of both positive and negative in regard to his value to the Aesir, until he eventually went too far and also by this taunted his wyrd to go down a darker path that threw him out of being in frith with the Aesir. Norse concepts of right and wrong and righting wrong are more about balance and restoring balance, than about moral judgment or condemnation, which is a Christian cultural influence and way of thinking. Sadly many Heathens are still far too tainted by Christian thinking and this creates a environment of discord and a general lack of frith in the Heathen scene in general. Generally speaking proper Heathen way of thinking is very open minded and accepting that others outside ones family/tribe/group will have different ways of thinking. The greatest value for historical heathens when it came to actions was to take actions that upheld the frith within their family/tribe/group. Even frith between groups was important as addressed by the codified system of weirguild, and addressing actions with similar counter actions when actions throw out of balance frith. A good example of how what is considered proper differs between each family/tribe/group is that for the Vanir it is considered proper and normal for sisters and brothers to have sex with each other, and even the Aesir do not judge the Vanir for doing so within their own group as they see that as what is proper Vanir behavior, but the Aesir would not allow that kind of behavior by members of the Aesir as that is not proper Aesir behavior. This concept of differences of what is considered proper behavior I feel also applies with regards to those who follow different gods or goddesses as their patron. Like what is proper behavior for an Odin follower, I feel is not the same as what is proper behavior for a Tyr follower, or a Freyja follower. I feel that this concept of proper behavior for each depending on whom they connect with spiritually applies not only in regards to types of actions not allowed or considered taboo, but also in regards to types of behaviors that should be done. For example Odin followers should be into runes and should study magick, and a male follower of Odin having sex with women outside of his marriage (so long as his wife is ok with him doing so) is also acceptable as that is part of honoring the ways of Odin. One who follows a god or goddess that has a more strict code of conduct has to be more strict about their actions and behaviors as this reflects the values of the god/goddess they follow. Acting in ways that respects the value of the god/goddess you follow is the act of staying in frith with your patron and respecting the concepts they stand for. Of course I feel that when you are part of a group you should honor the rules the group has for actions when dealing with the group, it’s members, or doing any activities which represent the group; this is staying in frith with the group. Staying in frith with your group as well as with your patron god/goddess is very important I feel. Actually it would be considered more worse in the Norse concept of morality to harshly judge others as this is harmful to frith. Unless the other person is directly living within your family/tribe/group it would be considered wrong to judge someone else unless that person takes some action which causes harm to your family/tribe/group/friends/allies/gods/goddesses. judging others without cause is actually harmful to the frith of your own family/tribe/group/friends/allies as that invites conflict that often times will have a negative impact on all those you hold troth with. The most important thing for proper actions in all cases is to act in ways that uphold frith, honors your troth connections with others, and upholds any oaths you have made. If you keep in mind these three things then you should be making the best possible actions for all situations.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about frith:

Frith is an Old English word meaning “peace; freedom from molestation, protection; safety, security”.

In terms of Anglo-Saxon and post-Anglo-Saxon culture, the term has a considerably broader scope and meaning. Frith has a great deal to do not only with the state of peace but also with the nature of social relationships conducive to peace. Moreover, it has strong associations with stability and security.

The word friþgeard meaning “asylum, sanctuary” was used for sacrosanct areas. A friþgeard would then be any enclosed area given over to the worship of the gods.

Frith is also used in the context of fealty, as an expression of the relationship between a lord and his people.

Frith is inextricably related to the state of kinship, which is perhaps the strongest indicator of frith. In this respect, the word can be coterminous with another significant Anglo-Saxon root-word, sib (from which the word ‘sibling’ is derived) – indeed the two are frequently interchanged. In this context, frith goes further than expressing blood ties, and encompasses all the concomitant benefits and duties which kinship engenders.

Frith also has a legal significance: peace was effectively maintained in Anglo-Saxon times by the frith-guild, an early manifestation of summary justice.

Wikipedia page about frith

Troth means loyalty to all those you hold relationships with. Loyalty means to stay by them and to maintain a tie with them and to keep any promises you make towards them.

Here is an online defination of troth:

troth
/trôTH/
Noun

1. Faith or loyalty when pledged in a solemn agreement or undertaking.
2. Truth.

Synonyms
fidelity – faith – allegiance – faithfulness – loyalty

This concept of faithfulness does not mean sexual faithfulness _unless_ it has been specifically agreed that this is part of what it means between both parties. For example Odin is marries to Frigga, yet he has many lovers. He would never consider wishing to leave his marriage to Frigga or having a greater overall connection to other women than he does to her. His other sexual interactions are kept in the context of being not something that competes with the unique relationship he holds with Frigga. Many of the Norse gods/goddesses have sex with others outside their marriages. For some of them this is alright as that is part of the agreed or implied arrangement for those relationships. As well some of the gods/goddesses are sexually monogamous. This really depends on what is the agreed relationship.

Merrian-Webster definition of troth
Freedictionary definition of troth

As you see part of troth is also to keep ones word. Most important is to uphold oaths. Oath breakers are the one type of person in the concept of Viking Norse culture that are totally unforgivable; at least those who intentionally break oaths. Those who purposely break oaths with intention to cause harm are called nithlings and are considered to be worth less than dirt. What this means is that it is important you keep your word. Of course if something happens that you cannot keep your word then you need to own up to this and talk about it with the ones you made the promise to and see if another arrangement can be agreed upon. Keeping ones word does not mean being a inhuman robot, sometimes circumstances do come up that don’t allow someone to keep their word, the point is that the person does their best and communicates with the others involved when they cannot and is responsible for their actions in this way.

In modern heathenism there is something called thews, this it a codified set of principles that it is considered good (by some people) to follow. None of the existing modern thews are actually something written down as principles that one should or has to follow, from the Viking times. They are all modern creations. Many of them are good ideas (at least for some people). The most popular thew in current day Heathenism is the Nine Noble Virtues, but this is not the only one. There is others such as the Anglo-Saxon related Heathenism one called the The Twelve Æþeling Þews. There is also a very nice one associated with the Vanir, the Vanic Virtues (the one I personally follow). None of these thews are in any sense required for anyone to follow who is Heathen. Like mentioned earlier the only basic principles that must be followed by everyone is respect for frith, troth, and keeping oaths (ones word). Really as was discussed earlier, if one does or does not follow one of other more than one of these thews or some other thews of guiding principles should be determined by what agreements any groups you have troth with wish, in combination with and most important of all; what your patron gods/goddesses wish you to follow. For those not connected to any Heathen group than following what your patron gods/goddesses wish is the only factor that matters in deciding which, if any, of the lists of thews is right for you to follow.

The ancient goddess Nehalennia

nehalennia-medNehalennia is a very ancient Vanic goddess. She is goddess of the ocean. She is related to hounds, trade, the sea, ships, and the harvest of the sea itself. She rules over passage from one state to another, such as the transitions from living to death (or my theory is the other way around too), and any journeys by water. She is an ancestor goddess of Njord, Freyja, and Freya. Her nature seems to be calming, gentle and providing, yet wild and untamed, in many ways like the character of the sea itself. She is seen to have very water like appearance. Some see her as very beautiful, with wide bright young eyes like a young girls, a perfect and lean figure, and wearing a hound necklace, being topless and wearing a very tiny mini skirt, and wearing a fishing net as a shawl. Her color is a blue green like the sea. I feel her runic energy for sure is laguz in a big way! Alternate spellings of her name are Nehelennia, and Nehalenni.

Some consider her a goddess of the dead, but I feel that isn’t exactly correct. She isn’t a Goddess that comes to claim the dead, but more one that helps them to safely make their journey to that realm. She basically rules safe passage from one place to another (either places being earthly places or even places as in states of being as in travel from the world of the living to world of the dead). This is more of a protecting and nurturing thing. Not harsh like for example Hel can be at times. Basically the historical offerings to her that have been found, they seem to have found were ones given in thanks for sailors making safe passage. Travel in general is associated in movement from one realm to another. This is connected with the rune laguz. This seems to be her energies. She is very connected to the goddess and female mysteries of helping beings pass from one state to another. Since women are the ones who give birth they rule over this aiding of beings coming from one realm to the other. Birth is a transition from the spiritual realm to the physical realm, in the same way birth is a transition from the physical realm to the spiritual realm. What is interesting also about birth and about the womb is it is a realm filled with water. This is very connected to the mysteries of wells or caldrons in the Norse cosmology. There are three important wells, and it is considered that wyrd (the Norse concept of fate or karma) for all beings flows through these wells. It is of course water that flows through wells so it seems wyrd and water are very connected. Since Nehalennia is a goddess that can be seen as the personification of water itself, it only makes sense that she rules over this mystery of the passage of wyrd or the passage from one state to another or even journeys or movement in general. Another rune connected with this mystery is perthro, but perthro may be considered the captured state of the flow of water in a sudden given moment. Yet Nehalennia seems to be more the open oceans, waters freely flowing without restriction, thus she is more related to laguz, not really to the parts of this process connected to perthro. Perthro is more the well structure itself, the vagina, laguz is more the water contained in it. A vagina is of course a very wet comforting place. ;) These mysteries are very Vanic in nature, since the Vanir are connected to both sexuality and to water and ships.

The drawing I have of Nehalennia is made by Amarina and used with her permission.

More about Nehalennia:

Nehalennia from Wikipedia

Amarina’s experience of Nehalennia.

Another very good post Amarina wrote about her impressions of Nahalennia, and the Vanir as a whole.

Info based on spiritual experiences of Nehalennia on Amarina’s blog.

Info on Hehalennia from livius.org.

She is written about in Our Troth Volume 1, pages 394-395.

She is also in Exploring the Northern Tradition, page 118.

An invocation to Nehalennia:

Hail Nehalennia! Beautiful goddess of the hounds, trade, and the sea! Lost lady of the Vanir! Ancestor of Njord, Freyja, and Freyr!

Very insightful video on elves…

The elves and related being are a very important part of Heathenism. They represent a large variety of beings. The Norse term used for spiritual beings in general is wights.

The Vanic Virtues:

I found these at another site and like them a great deal.:

Beauty
The pursuit of beauty and elegance in thought, form and speech.

Courage/Passion
Zeal, vigor; the strength and courage that comes from a life worth living.

Land-rightness
The recognition of nature and the environment as worthy of respect, care and reverence.

Even-mood
Harmonious and balanced thought and action; tranquility, calm, serenity.

Openness
The quality of being receptive to the world around one, non-judgmental and open.

Wildness/Ecstasy
Music and dance; the nurturing of inner wildness and childlike being, being like the “fey”

Love
The all-encompassing force; love for family, for kin, for humanity, for all beings.

Frith
The peace and goodwill between people bound together; loyalty and the keeping of one’s word.

Faith/Piety
The trust that the Gods exist and are worthy of our worship, and Their ways worth following.

Giving
The binding of two parties into one common bond, generosity and hospitality.

Joy
Wonder and innocence, the recognition that life is worth living, and worth living well.

Brotherhood
The recognition that we – humans, animals, plants, spirits – are all part of the grander scheme of life, and we share a common heritage, as children of the Earth.

Heathen God, Goddess and Wight Invocations

Written by Ingeborg Nordén, Volmarr Wyrd, and Amarina

The following are invocations for Norse gods, goddesses, and wights. Many are based on kennings from the Skaldskaparmal in the Prose Edda. Please feel free to copy and use any of these invocations on your own website or in your own rituals!

Odin

Hail Odin! Husband of Frigg. All-father. Father of battle. One-eyed god. Many-shaped. Wanderer. Hanged god. Raven god. Spear-thruster. Wish-bringer. Galdr-father. Graybeard. Deep hood. Thief of Odhroerir. Kinsman of Mimir. Lord of the Wild Hunt. Yule rider. Finder of the Runes. God of the Gautar. Ruler of Valhalla!

Frigg

Hail Frigg! Wife of Odin. Mother of Balder. Silent seeress. Ruler of Fensalir. Distaff goddess. Loyal wife and mother. Weaver of Mists!

Thor

Hail Thor! Son of Odin and Jord. Father of Magni, Modi, and Thrud. Husband of Sif. Stepfather of Ullr. Ruler and owner of Mjollnir, the Girdle of Might, and Bilskirnir. Defender of Asgard and Midgard. Enemy and slayer of giants and troll-wives!

Sif

Hail Sif! Wife of Thor. Golden-haired. Mother of Ullr. Grain goddess!

Balder

Hail Balder! Son of Odin and Frigg. Husband of Nanna. Father of Forseti. Owner of Hringhorni and Draupnir. Enemy of Hodr. Hel’s companion. Most fair of gods!

Njord

Hail Njord! Husband of Skadi. Dweller in Noatun. Seafarers god. Descendant of the Vanir. Father of Freyr and Freyja. Lover of boats. Fairest of feet!

Skadi

Hail Skadi! Unhappy bride of Njord. Ski-goddess and snowshoe-goddess. Daughter and avenger of Thjazi. Bow-goddess. Loki’s cold-hearted foe. Inheritor of Thrymheim!

Freyr

Hail Freyr! Son of Njord. Brother of Freyja. Husband of Gerd. Trusted friend of Skirnir. Descendant of the Vanir. Harvest god and wealth-giver. King of Alfheim. Blot-god of the Swedes. Possessor of Skidbladnir, and the boar known as Gullinbursti. Beli’s slayer. Enemy of Surtr. Wielder of the stag-horn. Fruitful one. Sure giver. Father of the Yngling line. Lord of the Volsi!

Gerd

Hail Gerd! Daughter of Gymir. Shining-armed bride of Freyr. Bearer of the icy mead-goblet!

Freyja

Hail Freyja! Daughter of Njord. Sister of Freyr. Descendant of the Vanir. Possessor of Brisingamen. Od’s wife. Vanir-bride. Teacher of seidh. Love goddess. Gold-thirsty one. Queen of witches!

Heimdall

Hail Heimdall. Son of nine mothers. Guardian of the gods. Enemy of Loki, and recoverer of Freyja’s Brisingamen. Owner of the horse Gulltopp. Bifrost’s watchman. All-hearing one. Father of the three kindreds!

Tyr

Hail Tyr! One-handed god. Feeder of the wolf. Battle god. Sword god. Oathbinder. Lawkeeper. Leader of the Thing. Truest and most steadfast of gods!

Mimir

Hail Mimir! Keeper of the wisdom-spring. Odin’s kinsman!

Bragi

Hail Bragi! Idunn’s husband. Inventor of poetry. The long-bearded god. Son of Odin!

Idunn

Hail Idunn! Wife of Bragi. Keeper of the apples of youth. Captive of Thjazi. Vitality goddess.

Vidar

Hail Vidar! Silent god. Possessor of iron shoes. Enemy and slayer of Fenriswolf. Avenger of gods. Son of Odin!

Vali

Hail Vali! Son of Odin and Rind. Stepson of Frigg. Balder’s avenger. Enemy and slayer of Hodr!

Hodr

Hail Hodr! Blind god. Balder’s slayer. Shooter of mistletoe. Son of Odin. Hel’s companion. Vali’s enemy!

Forseti

Hail Forseti! Fair-minded. Baldr’s son. Settler of strife. Even-handed lawgiver. Warder of the holy spring. God of the golden axe. Dweller in Glitnir. Help of the Frisians!

Ullr

Hail Ullr! Son of Sif. Stepson of Thor. Ski god. Bow god. Hunting god. Shield god!

Loki

Hail Loki! Odin’s blood-kin. Son of Farbauti and Laufey. Father of Fenriswolf, and Jormungand. Comrade and table-companion of Odin and the Aesir. Thief of Brisingamen, and Idunn’s Apples. Relative of Sleipnir. Husband of Sigyn. Enemy of gods. Sif’s hair-harmer. Maker of mischief. Cunning god. Accuser and tricker of the gods. Contriver of Balder’s death!

Aegir

Hail Aegir! Husband of Ran. Ale-brewer. Gatherer of sea-gold. Father of the nine waves. Feast-friend of the Aesir and the drowned. Keeper of the great kettle!

Hel

Hail Hel! Keeper of the dead. Hostess of Baldr and Hodr. Half-living one. Garm’s mistress. Dweller in Eljudnir!

Eir

Hail Eir! Dweller on Lyfjaberg. Best of healers!

Holda

Hail Holda! Dweller in Venusberg. Guardian of unborn children. Maker of snow. Giver of flax. Keeper of the waters of fertility. White goddess. Lady of the wild hunt. Overseer of the distaff at Mothers’ Night!

Lofn

Hail Lofn! Helper of lovers unable to wed!

Var

Hail Var! Witness to all oaths. Foe to all who break them!

Saga

Hail Saga! Benchmate of Odin. Lady of Sokkvabekk. Seer of the times. Talespinner!

Nerthus

Hail Nerthus! Sister of Njord. Mother of Freyr and Freyja. Eldest Mother. Bearer of the Harvest. Hidden Goddess!

The Norns

Hail the Norns! Choosers of lives. Writers of Orlog’s runes. Lawspeakers at the Well!

Jord

Hail Jord! Mother of Thor. First Wife of Odin. Daughter of Nott. Goddess of earth!

Sunna

Hail Sunna! Daughter of Glen. Bright rider in the heavens by day. Driver of Alsvin and Arvak. Wearer of Svalin. Day-star. Ever-glow. All-bright. Wolf-chased. Fair-wheel. Grace-shine. Ensnarer of Trolls!

Mani

Hail Mani! Son of Glen. Bright rider in the heavens by night. Fosterer of Hjuki and Bil. Waxer and waner. Year-counter. Wolf-chased. Gleamer. Marker of time. Whirling Wheel!

Disir

Hail the Disir! Ghosts of our kinswomen. Warders at birth and death!

Alfar

Hail the Alfar! Ghosts of our kinsmen. Freyr’s bright followers. Friends of the Aesir!

Dark Elves and Dwarves

Hail the Dark Elves! Dwellers in the hill and barrow. Dvalin’s kin. Brewers of Odhroerir. Upholders of Ymir’s skull. Shapers of the gods’ gifts!

House Wights

Hail the House Wights! Unseen keepers of home. The small ones. The goodfolk!

Einherjar

Hail the Einherjar! Chosen of Odin. Shield-brothers of Valhalla. Warriors at Ragnarok!

Valkyries

Hail the Valkyries! Shield-maidens. Choosers of the slain. Weavers of the battle-web. Riders of storm-wolves. Victory-givers. Wish-maidens of Odin and Freyja!

Nehalennia

Hail Nehalennia! Beautiful goddess of the hounds, trade, and sea! Lost lady of the Vanir! Ancestor of Njord, Freyja, and Freyr!

Heidh

Hail Heidh! All knowing seeress and volva! Hidden dis of knowledge! Bright one! Daughter of Hrimnir!

Feel free to copy and use this so long as you acknowledge the source.

Download this as a OpenOffice Doc – Heathen God, Goddess and Wight Invocations