The Feast of Váli

The Norse Mythology Blog | Interview with M ...

Have you been shifted into buying chocolate confectioneries , aesthetically perfect roses and hopeless romance cards for your significant other once again yet? Today is Valentine’s day after all, another old pagan holiday masked in Christian taboo and modern consumerism. But were you aware that this day was a special feast day to our Germanic ancestors, before it took its modern form? It was called the Feast of Váli. Far from being an awkward attempt to rekindle passion with your lover, or have a night of abandon in casual encounter, this day long before the time when the two martyrs whom the name Valentine comes from is actually a sacred gathering. It fell on the 22 of the older calendar in the month of Sokkvabekkr, and is a.k.a. the Festival of the Kin. In the North it is also called All Heart’s Day (Allrahjartudagr /AlþrurhertudagaR). Váli was the God worhsipped and toasted to on this day, because he represented loyalty to family, friendship, and the protector of the familial group.

Váli is the son of the god Oðin and giantess Rinðr, as well as the brother of Balðr, Þórr, Höðr. In the mythos Váli was one of the Gods who survived Ragnarok, he was a light bringer, and avenged his brother Balðr when he was struck by the mistletoe by Höðr. This can be seen mytho-poetically in the sense that Baldr was a son (sun), and was full of light and virtue, alike to the broadleaf trees, who is killed at his weakest point, when Höðr attacks him with the mistletoe. The mistletoe finds the crutch of the solar tree in the time of least light, during the polar midnight, and parasitically drains its vigor. The sun is killed in the arctic for three days and everyone weeps for Balðr’s death. Váli, out of honor, avenges his killer and takes care of Höðr. So this day could be seen as the day when revenge was paid and balance restored in the world of men, when the dark resentment of the death of Baldr, was lifted by the selfless act of Vali, for rightful vengeance and the boon for the rest of his people. It would be equated to ridding a murderer from modern day society that poses a threat to your people. In old honor cultures this is how it worked, to show resilience to slight and betrayal made you a hero, and to neglect this would make you a coward or less of a man. These matters mostly concerned men, as feuding, holmgang and the Ting were the main devices to settle disputes, law, outlawry, and revenges. So today we honor Váli as a man who did what needed to be done out of love for his brother. He represents love in a broad, the love between friends and couples. Not necessarily overtly-romantic love.


In the Poetic Edda, Váli is depicted shooting arrows, much like the contemporary Cupid in Roman myths, and he has parallels with the god of love in Greek lore, Eros. So Váli is the Northern European counterpart, which has been again adopted into a religiously branded confusion. Now the modern society has made it about over indulgence in sweets, and putting on a kind of performance for your partner, or ironically for a complete stranger in an effort to get them into bed, for pleasure and selfish means, even if such relationship is not healthy to begin with. In fact I have witnessed many relationships take the opposite turn of what is intended for Valentines day. For those of heathen ilk, this is a time to invite someone over you love, or are close friends with, or maybe a cousin, family relative, member of a community you belong to, etc. and truly honor them. Offer to make them dinner, make toasts to each others bonds, have as much fun as possible, and celebrating each persons presence and empathy. It is a time to ‘make time’, and have ‘quality time’ with those people who appreciate most, even if you can just call them, for lack of geographical closeness. Unfortunately we do live in this segregated age, where social media has made us farther apart and we do not always live in close proximity of our true friends, our real tribe. If you can gather any of them to you, then you should make it a priority for today. Enjoy feasting, eating well, partake in something you would normally only do with your best company, bring out your finest ales.

Most of all put away any resentments, hatreds, or longings you have and make a ceremony of the love that does live in your current life. Even if that is just self-love, you start there, it emanates outward, and others will attract to it. For me, I’m cooking up my rainbow trout, wild rice, and sending my heightened thoughts and intentions outward to my comrades amongst me, my empowered sisters, new friends and my prodigy, my 12 year old brother. I also think of those kind women who have loved me through the years, and unveiled new depths to my being over the years. Try listening to some Norse/Germanic inspired music named after Vali, with a softer acoustical atmosphere to create a lovely evening for this occasion.

Vali’s music





Our Teutonic ancestors called this day in time, Thor’s day. The god of the common man, a strong farmer, warrior, and something of a peasant shaman. Thor is the enigma of a truth that can only be known through mythology, and a cognitive system that allows us to follow suit with such a belief system, but on a more practical level I find there is a deeper reality in this honoring of Thorsday.

What does it mean, and what does it imply to the average man, who must face the same set of challenges, tribulations, and confrontations of a life in Midgard. Personally speaking, it helps me to humble myself to my own abilities and limitations in this world, and then to understand that even these constructs are not concrete, and are greatly altered by the power of the will. One is ushered to deal with the implications and surmounting responsibilities of his own work and wyrd, and in honoring the hail of Thor, a subjective evolution must take place in one’s own spirit.

Strength must be the ideal, for this is the hammer’s intentions, and we must be forged in the stoutest of fires, and tempered by the finest hands and muscles if our form is to be as impeccably wrought as we compel it to be. For Thor is a God of more than Man himself, he is of the quintessence of Man becoming great. When a man comes to terms with his own incredible nature, and seeks to exploit it for it’s full worth while here in time, he makes a testament to his species of his ability to conquer weakness. When I think of Thor, on this day, I must face my own inedible frailties, and see through them to the other side, to a point in my being in which these are no longer relevant, and I come to bear runes of victory for my success.


Today we hail Thor, because he is representative of our slumbering primal masculinity, and we acknowledge the wild, yet ordered energy that erupts from our souls, when we hear the sound of steel, or run freely through the wilderness of our own souls.We wear the scars of our past as experiences and lessons, not of weaknesses and failures, and we come to bear the task of the hero, to fight against our own psychological and physical in order to see the golden sublime that awaits us in Valhall. The work of this Man then becomes not of doing, but of becoming, for anyone can simply react, but to actively participate in the formulation of our own heroic ideals, we are THOR, and the only reality is what we do here and now!

Heathen Pilgrimage ch.2: Skåne og Uppland

Taking the ferry from Helsingor to Helsingborg, and arriving by sea, to Skane marked my first movements in the territory of Sweden. A new flag to fly on my global journey on this heathen pilgrimage, and what I hope to be, worldwide travel. Though these events happened over a month ago, I am now writing these from the other side of the Atlantic back on the shores of Canada, with time for reflection, and digestion of my experiences in this Scandinavian second home.

Naturally, any ‘pilgrimage’ to the sacred sites of our pagan forefathers must include the kings graves at old Uppsala, I have purveyed a more spiritual account of this in an earlier post, so I shall keep the information here limited to the how and why I came here. Originally a planned visit to Omberg, a mountain in the Ödeshög municipality was intended, but troubles on the road encouraged me to pass blithely on the highway, for lack of adequate transportation. Instead, with all intentions set on the Uppsala graveyard, I took a train from the modern city, a fairly pleasant university center with a high uppsalapopulation of youth, and canals snaking through the town. Uppsala is bordered with Lake Mälaren, and the river Fyris. Nearby historic town of Sigtuna is said to be where Odin himself lived, with Uppsala is where Freyr settled, and owned the land. At Gamla Uppsala, I encamped myself in the nature reserve near the Eriksleden OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtrail. For two nights I slept near the mounds and read the runes on the rocks, sat by the river Fyris, and watch the golden fields of wheat bend and sway in the breeze. I talked to a local farmer with special black breed chickens who told me of an ancient Viking settlement just beyond his small farm. Two terraces were also located near the mounds, probably the sites of two longhouses, like those found at Lanse aux Meadows, Trelleborg, or elsewhere in Scandinavia. The place carried a certain bioregional energy about it, and though the scenes from Vikings did loom in my mind, of the dark temple on the hill, through deep broadleaf forest, from the walking trails of the reserve, this picture was not so far off and made me think of just how elusive this place was. The last reserve of the pagan faith. The mushroom told me things about the Gods, and their ways, that I believe are reserved to those only who sit on the mounds, and with that, I fled with this mead of knowledge.

In Skåne, I took a coastal route through Lund, Malmö and Höllviken, visiting the picture stones once observed by the 17th cent. Danish physician and antiquary Olaus Wormius. From the Hunnstead monument, once located in Ystad, carved at a time that Scania belonged to Denmark. 600px-hunnestadsmonumentet_skane_ole_wormThey were the largest and most famous monuments of their time. Some of the stones were destroyed during for bridge and house building during the modernization of Scandinavia, so it is an amazing piece of historical heritage to even glance at these stones now. One of the runestones shows a man from the Varangian guard, dressed in a longcoat, with the latinized rune inscription. Another one shows a cross, and the other most interesting one shows a hag riding a wolf creature, who is also holding two snakes. She is believe to beOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe giantess Hyrrokin, who appears in the mythology as she who pushed Baldr’s funeral ship into the sea. These were the most fascinating pieces of Nordic art I had witnessed since seeing the Gotlandic picture stones about a month before. Located now at the Kulturen museum, outside, were also three rune and picture stones, one picturing a lion. Lund had several runestones located in the Lundagård, one depicting an interesting picture of two wolves, wearing both shields and swords on their bodies. There is also a mound near the old King’s house in Lund with 6 runestones. After visiting Lund, my count of authentic runestones visited throughout the world probably peaked 20, but of course there are hundred more in the countryside I have yet to see.

After staying in Malmo for two weeks, I went to volunteer in the Foteviken Viking reserve, choosing to live the days in an Iron age setting. I learned how to make traditional flatbread, amber carving, tin smithing, and basic blacksmithing. When the Foteviken reserve was closed, I combed the beaches at Maklappen watching rare seabirds, and seal colonies, and hunted for amber at the Falsterbo peninsula. For a week I lived in a thatched wooden Viking house, on the bay of Foteviken, from my window and across the waters was Copenhagen, and about 500 feet from my door was the mound of the battle of Foteviken. I soon left the Scandinavian shores, it seems as I was just getting my teeth sunk in. The German chapter will have to wait to be written for future travels.


Heathen Pilgrimage

This one has been kept a bit secret for awhile but in traditional fashion I would like to write here a little about my recent foray into the world. This time on a self styled heathen pilgrimage though the whole of Scandinavia, from Iceland to Faroe Islands, Denmark onto Sweden and Norway, Gotland and Finland. This will be the first part of a several chapter diary of my experiences through some of these countries, some will remain only spoken in the oral tradition to those I meet along the way, for I see no purpose in documenting every minute detail. The focus of this trip is to visit sacred sites, cultural landmarks, Runestones, Viking settlements, ancient ruins, and Iron/Viking age museums, to learn and experience as much as I can.

On the Danish chapter, my heathen foray began in Copenhagen as do most trips, I stayed with some old acquaintances along the canal. I was to meet an artist at a local tattoo parlor for a tattoo of the runic futhark, but this fell through, so I was not in the city for long. The next day I traveled to the open air museum in Lejre. Here volunteers lived in different periods re-enacted villages, from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, and Viking period. A traditional lifestyle was brought to fruition in the open heath of the countryside. This was set near a few ship barrows and the burial mound of the Egtved girl.  It was fascinating to be standing on the grounds that this young girl was once buried, her body now lies in the Copenhagen museum. Several modern rune and pagan stones were carved in the landscape. A farm with traditional livestock like heritage pigs and boar also existed here. I met a father who was teaching his young son the art of smithing, and met other modern day Vikings who travel to different villages like myself.

From here I took a train to Slagelse and Hyllinge to walk at the Trelleborg Fortress on the island of Zealand. This was ordered by Harald Bluetooth in 980 to be constructed. The circle fortress would have kept 16 longhouses within its bounds, and it is the best preserved of the other Trelleborg that exist in Denmark and Sweden. It has been fully excavated, so I had the chance to see the relics of the foregone place, lain in the ground for hundreds of years. Seeing the skeletons of actual Vikings that lived, raided, farm, and loved is something I can barely wrap my head around, seeing their weapons and ships is another thing but their bodies, and for that matter, those of their animals is a truly connecting experience. In the higher mounds, horsemen were found, while there may have been Christian influence in the smaller graves. One woman carried pearls, game stones, a wooden casket and a bronze bucket. Several domestic items were also found like whetstones, utensils, combs, scissors, needles, locks and keys. It only shows, that our lifestyle is not so different. Some of the men in the graves were even from what is now Poland! This Trelleborg was known as a stop of Ibn Fadlan on his journey out of the east, and naturally marked a place of extreme curiosity for me since readings Ibn’s account of the Russiyah.

The Roskilde fjord was my next sojourn, but before this I took a side journey to Faxe, a place known for it’s brewery and lime quarry, but less know for the mythology behind the name. In Norse mythology Faxe means the horse’s mane, while Skinfaxi and Hrímfaxi are the horses of the day (dagr), and they pull the chariots of the day, while his mane lit up the sky and midgard. The name of Faxe comes all the way back from a poem called Vafþrúðnismál, but I digress, there was no Viking presence in this town that I know of, but I spent one night at a lime quarry before getting back to Roskilde. During the afternoon, I met some of the tradesmen working in the boatbuilders guild who were re-constructing the Viking ships at the harbor, then I was able to go out into the fjord on a sailing in a replica clinker built ship, seating fourteen, while rowing and gaining some experience about working the mast. The museum located here also housed five original Viking ship remnants, the infamous Skuldelev’s, which were sunk into the fjord to prevent access from a raid on Roskilde. There are 9 other ships ranging from the Iron age and medieval age found in further excavations. They were ranging from the clinker war ships, cargo boats to simple fishing skerries. Roskilde was of course a Viking trade town in league with other Scandinavian cities and foreign ports like Birka, Trelleborg, Ribe, Bergen and Dublin.

This marked the first part of my Danish adventure in the island of Zealand, but I am dreaming up further travels in Odense and western Denmark for the future, to visit such towns like Jelling, Jutland, Aarhus, Ribe and Hedeby. Next time I will talk about my travels in Uppsala and Skane in Sweden.

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The Valhalla Project

Sooner than later, a man needs to think about his family. The Valhalla project is about building something much larger than your own ego. So this is also something dominating my mind lately which I have been keep quiet for awhile, save for between myself and my closest allies. Now there is need for me to share this dream with others, so I may be able to rouse momentum and movement to the project, which has been a closely tended seed in the ground for over a decade.

Over the summer I will be returning to some of the Scandinavian countries, namely Iceland, Faroe Islands, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, and I will be actively seeking others tribal minded ilk to ally with, for future collaboration on a land taking in the lower Hordaland valleys of Norway. By the European winter next year after my work in Australia I yearn to have some direct roots in these Norselands, and a small collective of people to start work on farming and building on a piece of communally owned property. Taking a pre-Christian, Viking era approach to agricultural life With a 5 year aim of raising several different native livestock, maintaining a perennial permaculture garden, and growing a wide range of food in Norway’s ‘fruit basket’ near the Hardangerfjord. I want to establish local trade with the Bergen businesses, and organizing local farmers markets. The farm will be directly rooted in traditional European practices, and incorporate a Northern Germanic spiritual aspect into everyday routine.

  Hardangerfjorden in Norway – Lofthus,  Hordaland,  Norway

I envision a small hamlet of families in the growing tribe. While first starting humble, solo, with a wife or a few allies and hangers-on to test the dynamics of group sustainability. It will grow and ferment into something much more socially and bio-dynamic. Norways fjord climate creates their own weather system, and Hordaland is known as one of the most fertile places in the world for it’s sun balmed summer mixed with the monsoon season. I’m thinking in the line of a fusion of integrative modern perma-culture systems like rain catchment, work animals, solar/wind/wave energy, biofuel, and earthship principles with a traditionalist guise.  Scandinavia style architecture, Germanic language dialect, heritage reconstruction, and ancestral spiritual practices. Each member of the community would hold their place in the tribe, and in addition to a Longhall, the Farm, and a workshop, there would be several outbuildings for animal accommodation, blacksmithing, several outdoor Ve, and old style houses modeled after Icelandic/Faroese/Norwegian homes from the Viking-Medieval age. In time there could be larger community involvement from volunteers, courses in building, and a teaching center, but the focus will always remain for a self-reliant traditional community, paying homage to an older way of life, living more in contact with the earth. This is something I want to get the word out to those who are truly and deeply moved to also live a life in the country, and provide a useful place in a society that preserves honor and integrity and spirit into the daily routine of life. If we are thinking big, it takes more than one body and mind to kickstart the regeneration after the Ragnarok the rest of the world is going through.


Palms Unfurled

These lines, he said… they are very strong, I have them too. You are a natural born storyteller, and they are the same on this hand, very defined. And this line is your love, you have many lovers in life but not necessarily all at once, they come and go. You are able to make people love you.

“These are earth hands” she said, as I unfurled my knuckles outwards, and she took my palms in hers, then showed me to her tipi.

Odin’s Love Travels: a Personal Romantic Myth

I don’t know how long i’ve been on this journey for. Sure, it has been nearly two and a half years of meeting Odin at the tree and following in his footsteps, but is this the only measurement of my time out here in Midgard. I’ve been here before, and the Gods have known me by name. The other day, whilst sky gazing from a small cottage in the Icelandic wilderness, I re-viewed that this entire journey has been formed by love and for love, and often chasing love. Everywhere I have wandered has been for some medicine woman or another, a goddess, a healer who would take me in, a pure spirit of the feminine, Freya’s daughters have eluded me over and over again. This sounds familiar then, to Odin’s love journeys, three intoxicating nights with Gunnlöð, a sacred marriage with Frigg, his concubine with Freya, not to mention what might have been included with her handmaidens, Fjorgyn, Idunn, his love in with Skadi and not to forget the other Asynjur. Freyr and Njordr have had their own shares of love dramas. These divine women inhabit far away halls, and a man doesn’t travel to others worlds to simply ‘check it out’.
Love has brought me halfway across the world, into the Atlantic islands, where the bonds were shattered by a cheating heart, leaving this one to starve, over thee ocean to overwinter with a sweet mother in her woodland homestead, deceived and told to leave, lured by the deep southern into the arms of a lover, a sacred bond to be destroyed by fear, and doubt, then seduced by a magic mistress in the northern states, only to be taken down from the clouds by the black magic of a younger witch in her tipi. These relationships all have something in common, and I can only admit these personals because of a new found openness and honesty. Judgement, distance, and age. Though I do not prescribe to the idea that age is a factor of loving someone, for surely it has not been. Thee women I have loved have been older, but it is this, the age old myth, that he takes, the man, Odin, the hero, in his quest for love. Some may become a Goddess to him, his one, only to reveal they are not who he thought, but this is not always bad, rarely the case. I have found these women, for the same reason every man on a journey has, these medicine healers, mothers, sisters, dreamers. Because I have had to. For the rainbow light is reflected in all colors, so the bands of love take many forms. Man needs his woman, as Jack London in Son of the Wolf knows:

“Man rarely places a proper valuation upon his womankind, at least not until deprived of them. He has no conception of the subtle atmosphere exhaled by the sex feminine, so long as he bathes in it; but let it be withdrawn, and an ever-growing void begins to manifest itself in his existence, and he becomes hungry, in a vague sort of way, for a something so indefinite that he cannot characterize it”
Odin goes on a quest for love, and has many lovers, sisters, and wives, he learns his shamanic wisdom and prophecy from the Volva, the Runes from modir Jord, his seithing abilities from Freyja, his storytelling from Saga, a thing or two about the household from his loving wife Frigg, and I would maybe say his medicinal knowledge from Eir. Would Odin be the man we know him as without the women in his life? I can ask the same question of myself, for I would not be where, who, what I am without those in mine. For the woman is a perfect manifestation of beauty, teaching, healing, love, she is Berkano in the Sun, she is the Goddess of the crops, she is the sweet Lover through the dark cold nights, she is the caregiver to a rambling soul, the loving mother of the world, the powerful seeress and we are lost without them.
I would never choose to live without women in my life, and this journey’s steps have not yet been accompanied by a second pair of feet. Simply, I have not been with a woman who can keep up, is there any who can? Is there any who will face this wide garden of the world the same way I have? Now, my sweetheart lives apart from me, and tomorrow is the day of one year, our lunarversary if you will, for it is also thee blue moon, and yet I will be alone, sitting quietly in this wooden cottage in the shadow of icelandic cliffs, moon gazing, remembering, thinking… I try to understand, what is this new medicine, it is far more powerful than anything I have had before. How to mend this distance, these miles of space, or maybe it is not as it seems, another delusion of the heart and mind? Sometimes I don’t know, but it’s not the unknowing that causes me to pine, the myths are never known for sure, that is why they are myths, that is why they are us. I pine because I know what happens to those who don’t love. If my heart was the only thing I had left, I would be a rich man. My sisters of this world family, some of them call me by name, and I know a love with them. It is strange how they turn up, how they reveal at the right times, to answer the questions I have for Freya. And perhaps, her daughters will be kind, as they have before, and welcome me in their arms when the moon rises, and the hours of the night are my only solace.

Mannerbunde Mannaz

The Mannaz rune at this specific time stands for the Mannerbunde, as I peer inwards from outwards and judge the caliber of my being, am I good enough? A testament to the clan, and camaraderie. The tendencies steering my into the sphere of the secret society. The Mannerbunde, the hard hearted and toughed hessian men who’s actions, deeds, rites and philosophes are concealed from non members. An esoteric warrior band, versus the rest of the world. I took my lot of the :M: rune at an according time, when my worldview of sexual dynamic also is shifting from 0b6124e93b23eab372891a9cdb1242a0hedonistic poly-amorous relationships to exclusivity, in the way an alpha wolf will fight for his she-wolf and stay loyal to her until death. Not to be understood in a Kristjanized way, but more akin to the Wolfpack. The mating ritual, and mutual interchange of two dynamic beings the enhance, not complete each others lives, because I don’t need completion from others. My view of woman has melded with a more ancient understanding of the bonds between two lovers. A bit more Jack London ‘Son of the Wolf’ ilk, when he speaks about Man’s inheritance and valuation of the sex feminine.

Mannaz, the essence of Man, is my role to take on within the folk community. Sloughing off old behavioral patterns with far less appeal to the effeminate qualities, and deeper connections to the atavistic man of elder times. Cultivating the traits of hardness, industriousness, rugged, warrior-ilk, strong, loyal, doer, maker. The man I see in my reflection of a quiet lake, or a dark window, is not my face or clothes, but the Man beneath the skin. Forging ahead, in front of his counterparts, because he is better, stronger, more able, and well ready for the next circuit of his existence. The elite initiation of what it means to be the living and becoming man.Indian-Warriors

Valdr Galga

A friend of mine recently drew a Tarot for me. Not in the traditional way. He lives on the other side of the world, by an 8 hour time difference, but ritually enacted all the same, drew a card which coincidentally been the only Tarot I am familiar with. I am as you know, a vitki, and I study the runes as the main praxis for my magic and divination. However I have had recurring thoughts this last month about this figure and wanted to include this writing from our discussion about it. The Tarot source information is not original.

“The Hanged Man is the only Tarot card visibly based on a mythological figure. He is Odin, the Norse god who hung from the World Tree for nine days to earn the knowledge of the Runes. Of all the cultures who embody the search for knowledge in their myths, only Odin carries out his quest without moving, at least in the physical sense. The true quest is seeking within, not without. This may be confusing at first, but only because the Hanged Man is the card of the paradox. The Hanged Man’s mysteries are some of the oddest yet most 12_The_Hanged_Man_largeenlightening the Tarot has to offer, and they cannot be learned by searching for lessons in the physical world – you must turn within.

Even the appearance of the card is paradoxical. Simple in design, it is one of the more complex Arcana. The lessons it offers are easy to understand but hard to accept when they apply to you. The most obvious answer to a problem may be the simplest, but it is rarely the best. To admit that you are afraid will give you the strength to conquer your fear. When you relinquish your desire for control, everything begins to work as it should. In a world in which you must run as fast as you can to stay where you are, the Hanged Man tells you to stop struggling – and you can move forward. Tell this to others and it seems obvious; try to do it yourself and it will become impossible.

Why is this? Telling others that they have to hang from a tree is simple, but no one wants to hang himself. The Hanged Man, however, has hung himself, and see how much wisdom he has found! Despite his obviously uncomfortable position, he is often pictured as smiling, and with a golden halo around his head to show divine inspiration and power. He is totally vulnerable to the world, and in his vulnerability he has found strength. The sacrifice he has made is his own freedom and power in the physical world; in exchange, he is granted real freedom and power on the spiritual plane. He gives up his old ways of looking at things and is blessed with new eyes.

Not all sacrifices have to be like this, of course. Each moment of your life you make sacrifices. By choosing to eat with a friend rather than eating alone, you sacrifice your solitude. Choosing to play a sport professionally means that you cannot play another as frequently. Choosing one job means that you have to sacrifice any desires for another job, at least for the time being. The only thing in common between all sacrifices is that you give up something you have in exchange for something you want, of equal value. The sacrifice is meaningless unless there is balance and purpose behind it. To give without intent is worse than giving too much or too little.

As the card of the paradox, the Hanged Man also urges you to look at things in a new and different way. If your mind is yelling at you to do something, then doing nothing could be the best thing to do. If something is important to you emotionally but it no longer serves a purpose, you might want to think about letting go of it. And don’t try to force anything to happen while the Hanged Man is about. By trying to force changes, you ensure that they never happen. Relax and let things happen instead of trying to interfere. Instead of fighting against the current, let it take you wherever it is flowing.

When the Hanged Man appears, know that greater wisdom and happiness is at hand, but only if you are prepared to sacrifice something for that wisdom. Sometimes it is something physical you must be deprived of, but in most cases it is a perspective or a viewpoint that must be left behind. For example, a fantasy that you can never fulfill, or a crush on someone who’s out of your reach. Inevitably, sacrificing something you value will always lead you to something even more valuable. In the wake of an unattainable dream you will find something else within your reach. Forgetting about one love will allow your heart to open to someone else.

:Valdr galga: Ruler of the Gallows

It seems the only Tarot card I would thinking fitting for me, Woden has taken up presence within my hamr (shape), and continually tests me with his paradigms and tribulations, and initiations. I used to think that a true heathen worshiped Woden, and perhaps that can be said with some truth, but I do take it on a more metaphysical level. I don’t merely worship him, I am Odhin/Wodhanaz, his name is derivative of madness, like that of the poetry writing skalds, divine inspiration, and berserkerdom (his mannerbunde clan).

Yes, alas I have my own theories and conclusions about the tarot, one of them a general criticism I carry for a lot of religious and neo-spiritual phenomena that I think have pseudo meaning, and lacking in any authentic praxis and observable magical value. It is called the Forer effect, which is simply “the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people”. But those are opinionated based ideas, my own, and of course Tarot can be used as a valid tool.

WOlOdinHangingI can see this writing has taken a lot of influence from the Germanic psycho-social complex as well in describing the hanged man as the paradox. There is not much to presume in a man hanged, by or not of his own doing that suggests paradox but it is Odhin’s other characteristics and his works within the nine worlds and his past times on Middle Earth that give him the kenning of the paradoxical Ase (god). I follow the Odian path of self sacrifice everyday, which means I must always slough off the skin of my old self with each waking, and become a new. I create my own archetype, whose name in this narrative is called Odhin/Wotan/Wodanaz etc. and progress onwards and upwards to meet the new reality I create for myself as godhead. I can not simply rest, because Woden is a chieftain, he has things to do, and people to see, and values to uphold as an example to the rest of his kin. I do though see the vital importance of material sacrifice as a heathen. Learning not just what you can offer out of respect, but what you can learn to live without. The gods do not actually favor meaningless sacrifice, especially mundane items without any essential or sentimental value to them, but giving up something to recognize that even all that you have built up and hoarded or given life to is impermanent and the Gods will break them and laugh. Odin ripped out his own eye, and through it in the black waters of Mimir (memory?) so he can see all the things that mortal man could not. Into the past and the subconscious, the dark mind map drawn as a labyrinth (A germanic symbol cut into fields and carved in tombs).

The hanged man picture intrigues me, because I have also seen an Ogham (old Druid/Celtic language) variation applied to the hanging man motif. It was a modern interpretation, but mind you still had innovative purpose. After some study on Thursatru and the anti-cosmic deities, I came to thinking that Odin may have hung himself upside down. True, in most pictures his beard covers his neck and he is called the god at the gallows, but in others, as well as the prose depictions of Odin, they never talk about a scar on his neck. I personally think he became tricked by Gullveig, or was sitting at the Yggdrasil tree, which I take to be a Yew rather than an Ash, as was traditional for shamans of the time and meditating to attain Seidr powers. If the tree was built on a howe or mound and some of the Icelandic sources suggest, he could have been trying to raise the dead through necromantic acts, while intoxicated and hallucinating on the Yew leaves which are poisonous and contain a near deadly alkaloid. Then hanging himself upside down, like the Hanged Man of Tarot here.

Woden’s deeds often seem impossible, outlandish, or too immoral for the normal capacity of a human being. It is because he has tapped into his TRUE self, which is lawless, a causal, and potent. Enlightened by runa, the secrets/whispers coming from within, and their symbolic staves observed in phenomenal nature, when he ‘snatched them up’, out of the void.

Winternights Ritual

We started the day by starting a fire and processing acorns. All of them foraged from a fair size oak near one of Coventry’s parks. Sitting by the flames and going about the meditative work, freed my mind to ponder what how my ancestors used to live, and hunter-gatherer clans, when almost nothing was so openly available. Everything would have to have be foraged or killed for a proper meal. The slow, passive work is something that could have been done at any time of the day, during a storm or at night when other physical activity was impractical. I went out to a nearby stream for the leeching process, and made efforts to be more in tune with the more un-urbanized settings. Being temporarily in a city, the focus on spirituality, and ritual seem to diminish in exchange for mundane routine and responsibilities. I performed a hardy workout in the woods to commemorate the hyper masculine season of the hunting moon, and the coming hard times of winter.

Old Norse vetrnætr or winter nights was a  time of year in medieval Scandinavia marking a transition of a time of plenty to a time of ration and sustenance. Sacrifices were performed to the gods for the coming winter.

from wikipdia and the sagas
“Þá skyldi blóta í móti vetri til árs, en at miðjum vetri blóta til gróðrar, hit þriðja at sumri, þat var sigrblót”
There should be a sacrifice at the beginning of winter for a good year, and at in the middle of winter for a good crop, the third in summer day, that was the sacrifice for victory.
Specific sacrifices held at the beginning of winter during the Old Norse period were álfablót and dísablót. Of these, dísablót came to be a public sacrifice, according to the Ynglinga saga performed by the king of Sweden; it may, however, at an earlier time have been a sacrifice reserved for women and performed by priestesses (c.f. mōdraniht). By contrast, álfablót was a sacrifice held at each homestead separately for the local spirits, under the explicit exclusion of any strangers.The meat I wanted to use originally was rabbit, but because most of the farmers do not want the hassle to take the game anymore, I was able to pick up venison meat and sheep hearts, both of which I have never tried before. I used these for their dark cooked flesh, and strong flavor. The buck/stag symbolizes the hardiness through the winter, the quintessential animal of the hunt, and the masculinity of fauna. Despite being stalked by predators like coyotes and wolves, and man for that matter, they are quick to evade and are prime survivors in northern landscapes. They don’t hibernate, and even though they must ration for the available forage, and the biting cold, they manage to survive. The fur of the winter deer becomes thicker, and they learn to alter their diet slightly to cope, and better their woodland hideouts. The sheep heart is the tamer, domestic animal. By taking of the heart flesh, cooked and eaten primitively. My inner wolf which devours the tendency towards mildness and weakness. The wolf toughens itself up for the winter, and thrives in the cold season, when domesticated animals like the sheep/lamb must be kept indoors.I used the runes of Elhaz (protection), Isa (snow and ice), Uruz (Ullr’s primal skills and brute strength), Jera (passing of climactic cycle), Kaunaz (flame and sacrifice) which being vegetarian was one of the most powerful runes I galdored this night, the meat was taken as a privelage) Naudir (nauthfyre, and resources needed during winter), Ingwaz (sacred animal meat/spirit from Ing, and the inverted Algir (organic death cycle and hunt).

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Offerings were made to the Disir, Frigga and Freyja for the successful forages, and harvest of the solar seasons. As they joined our feast and made frith amongst our company. As well to Thor and Ullr for their skills and primal actions, the will embodied in the winter of the mind. In honor of the troth, we hailed with mulled cider from horns, and partaken the eating of homemade acorn bread, from Ratatoskr’s store. Sitting around the fire waiting for the meat to cook was very special indeed. It took me to a mindset of how it would have been to eat, say during the Neolithic or Bronze Age. The men would boast of their hunt, and where they stalked the deer, and what finally brought it down. While the women who talk about their day in the village, and trade stories. Looking at the pictures in the flames, and anticipating their next meal as a community. In those cases it would likely have been an entire carcass or several small game to feed their clan. Then they would consume the food, along with whatever had been prepared in their shelters and the whole meal would have taken on a ritual quality to it. I think this is almost entirely missing in contemporary society, and people’s diet. There is no anticipation left for food, when you can buy anything at anytime of year from your nearest market. Most of which takes only minutes to prepare, with minimal effort, and has been so heavily processed that you are left hungry again afterwards. The food ritual has diminished into consumerism and instant satiation. This is one primary reason I try to make my food from scratch whenever physically possible. If I can’t afford something, I try to find it, If I can’t find it, then I can ask a friend if they have some of the ingredients and offer to share it.

The hunting moon was full on this hunt, and a fog was starting to veil it in the orange tinged sky. I was submerged in a light trance after the ritual listening to the frequencies of Animist and Halo Manash, and pulled ever further toward the earth. This was a special night spent in good company in the early morning hours. We feasted, and drank, and conversed and slept the night off in the tent.