Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Exploring the Northern Tradition: A Guide to the Gods, Lore, Rites, and Celebrations From the Norse, German, and Anglo-Saxon Traditions

Exploring the Northern Tradition: A Guide to the Gods, Lore, Rites, and Celebrations From the Norse, German, and Anglo- Saxon Traditions by Galina Krasskova

This is a good introductory book on the subject with also some insight into the modern manifestations of Heathenry, as the tradition is now often known. There is a section on cosmology according to this system. There is a long section on the different gods and goddesses. I especially enjoyed the later sections on the ideas of fate and the soul matrix.

I learned some interesting new terms like:

frith (right order/harmony/peace) and frith-weaving responsibilies

hamingja (luck, also ancestral/tribal - increased by honorable acts)

wyrd (dynamic interaction of fate and choices akin to fate weaving)

orlog (one’s individual strand of wyrd, also there is tribal orlog)

maegen (vital force linked to hamingja)

It is suggested that our ancestral memory (part of our soul matrix)actually resides in Urda’s well outside of time and this well is what nourishes the world-tree (Yggdrasil) - remarkably present throughout the pan-arctic and Eurasian shamanistic traditions perhaps from neolithic times as a foundation for our world and as a gateway beyond it. The three Nornir - special goddesses of past, present, and future guard the well and weave the fates. To me the strong connections between memory, choices, luck, and vital energy are quite similar to the explanations given in the
Indian meditative traditions about how karmic imprints are seized by the stable all-base consciousness - to simplify - our choices affect our memory which affects our karmic tendencies (which we often see as luck - and hamingja as explained seems more like luck based on past action, ie. karma of result) which finally affects our prana activity.

Having had a few friends in this tradition I now understand and appreciate much better it’s inner workings. Of course, this trad comes from a tribal warrior culture where one’s military prowess was highly regarded. Warrior frenzy, as in berserker, was practiced. Nowadays, the cultivation of courage and honor can be done in less dire situations but is no less important - perhaps only less dangerous and more complex. It is said to affect one’s “Worth” and the balance and interplay of Worth (might) and Frith suggests a yin-yang style of duality in balance. In rite to drink from the horn is to drink from the well and here oaths and boasts can be woven into the strands of fate.

Ancestor veneration is important in this trad. This can be odd in this day and age of religious and cultural diversity and non-closeness to one’s ancestors. Praying for the well-being of all and one’s well-known close ancestors I can understand. Part of the magickal tradition here is a ritual interaction with one’s blood ancestors so one can work more directly with one’s family and tribal karma (and hamingja) issues. Interesting indeed.

One typically runs across Heathen and Asatru folks at the pagan fests so in a sense there is some cross-cultural and tribal interplay with neo-pagans although according to the author there are those that prefer to stick with the “inner” tribe of less eclectic folk.

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