This is a book I have been trying to get my hands on for nearly five years while I perused the amazon market and found only overprices used copies and out of print stock from foreign distributors. As part of the old Galgragildi curriculum, it is one that intrigued my interest early on when I first forayed into the schools of heathenism and proto-European study. It is published by the Journal of Indo-European studies, written by Kris Kershaw.
The One Eyed God (referring to Odin), is a dense and academic work focusing on the central tenets revolving around the myth of Odin (wodanaz) and the various symbolic attributes that are ascribed to or involved with him, mainly speaking, the male oriented cult of initiation, the Mannerbunde. The archaic rites and rituals of the Mannerbunde are observe first from Scandinavian and European sources, in the gangs of Berserker and Ulfhednar, and then further into the Greek, Roman, Latin, Celtic, and Indo-Aryan sources, as well as the cults of Vedic-era India. Kershaw mines into great detail using heavy notations, and sourcing of scholarly works sourcing several languages and often referring to many at once in each sub chapter, this makes it a challenging read, but there is a conceptual and organized arrangement of the multi-faceted aspects of his central theme. To get an idea of some of the headings assuming the subject matter of each chapter, are; ‘The Einheriar, Furor Teutonicus, The Vratyas, Odin Analogs, warrior brahmins, Rudra, darkness dogs and death, and so forth.
After starting with the Indo European sources discussing early brotherhoods, the wild hunt, agrarian rites of sacrifice, old customs and beliefs, he branches further out into the greater European sources, talking about ancestor cults, the formations of cities like Roman by theriomorphic demigods and roving bands of outlaw men, and then further back into the Indian texts, and information about the Saivites, the Aghori, the soma cults, etc. There is much to digest, and I would suggest reading slowly. The book can be hard to follow at times with the constant language switching and annotations, so one might find themselves glossing over words or sentences that can be hard to comprehend. But this is a purely scholarly work, and contains such a wealth of information for those who are truly seeking to understand more about the paradigms of the mannerbunde, male cults, the wild host, and these early Odinic wolf god attributes of pre-Christian Europe. The parallels with other mythologies are extremely valuable as well, and Kershaw does a good job of drawing the comparative similarities of customs and traditions over spans of time that the student with only a surface interest of these subjects would probably not associated as potentially linked. The implications of the continued tradition and roots of the mannerbunde is fairly intriguing though I don’t agree with all of it. For the serious reader, who wants to implore the mysteries of the proto-cultic brotherhoods and early gang mentality of the early European empire, this is a solid read.
We have few real rites of passage in our western civilization. When we are of the age of sixteen in Ontario, one can acquire a drivers license, and two years later, are of legal age limit to drink. At twenty we are generally considered an ‘adult’ and are given new responsibilities but what are we doing to attain these rites of passage and new privileges? I would argue, not a heck of a lot, and though rites of passage, ceremony, and ritual is a topic that is dear to my heart, one I can write at length about, I will just give an annotated version of what that means for me.
People believe that things acquire for free or gained without effort intrinsically do not have value. To simply reach a certain age is not a requisite in my opinion of having reached a personal stage in ones maturity and development where they are capable of taking on new roles, embodying man/womanhood, gaining new privileges that may or may not be reliant on a persons emotional intelligence, behavior, skill ability, and common sense. The majority of people between 18-40, don’t know how to handle their drink, because they were never taught how to, as banal as that sounds, and the sense of entitlement that young adults feel still eschews so many juvenile and immature tendencies as to wonder, how they were given certain autonomous ‘rites’, and responsibilities. This is because we lack the proper techniques of rites of passage and coming of age rituals in this age. Fortunately there are some cases where these tenets have been preserved still. The training of a hunter and fisherman.
Most folks I know who hunt, and fish have it in their blood. Their father taught them from young how to cast a line, how to reel in a big one, how to skin small game, or fillet a fish, how to stalk, track and spend days out in the woods at camp, hunting dinner with old school weapons and your wits. This aspect of the hunting and fishing world always appealed to me, that there is still a sense of tradition, even if it may not be as savage as it once was, there is a continuity of practice, a lineage, it’s the art of manliness, man as hunter/provider, and allows a boy to become born in his hero/fathers image as he takes up a shotgun/bow/baitcaster, and goes out into the wilderness to procure himself a lot more than just dinner, but his reputation as a independent, and also aid to his legacy. Hunter education in the 21st century can be fairly cut and dry but there is also a wealth of practical insight, application and first hand knowledge from real world hunters. The outlet has changed, learning in a workshop or classroom, maybe not from your blood born father or grandpa, but someone’s for that matter, and one who has lived the reality and walked the talk before teaching you. It is still much like a guild in that sense. Here we have something called the Ontario Federal Anglers and Hunters Association, which is first a group of hunters, but largely a large conservation act, which ties in the natural truth that humans are part of natural ecology just as much as a moose, salmon, or deer can be.
I recently passed my hunter education and firearms safety course. Though the firearms training portion I have levied to take at a later date to get a pal license (license to acquire firearm for hunting), the rites of this particular course will open me to more freedom of acquisition of meat, fish, and game. While I intend to start with more intimate/primitive/skillful hunting using a bow, as the years progress I see myself opening up to using a shotgun or firearm for longer range and bigger game hunts. The course itself was engaging and laced with many relevant stories, comprehensive educational photography, tool/equipment handling, and thorough rules and regulations. As a celebration I cooked up a nice rainbow trout, with its brilliant red striping of scales for a reward to myself.
I have wanted to move into the hunting world for two years now and finally made the dive, after over a year of research, exposure, and dabbling with various hunting modalities on the fringes. To start I will probably save money for a used bow, and begin with small game, or deer hunting. I have always seen the deer as an icon of the wild, and it is one of my favorites animals, and venison, one of the tastiest protein rich meats in my opinion. I already feel very close to this animal, and the symbol of what it represents, to take the life of one would be hard, but also exhilarating and ancient feeling. From the forest to the table, this is where I believe our sustenance of meat should come from. Supplement mountain/lake/field, for this wild range, whence the living and breathing beasts of the land, share this space with us, and us them. We are all the descendants of hunters and gatherers, and this is the biologically appropriate diet I have come to realize we should be eating, as conscious omnivores. Knowing where your food comes from, and how it came to your hands, how it was slaughtered, and ultimately realizing that it too lived a full life, and life feeds on life. This is the first rite of passage in many that becoming a hunter of the land entails, and a ceremony of age that is determined by a keen sense of maturity, discernment, embracement of ones place in the universe, and awareness of our impact on the earth. To be a more sustainable human being, and actively involve ourselves with the nature around us, the way we always have from the time we peeked out of our caves, to the times of now, when we track, trail, and trust our instinct, that our instinct will not fail us, and in the end the encounter of predator and prey is the only thing that exists, and it is a fair hunt. It is there we realize just who we are as mortal creatures, and hunt to face another day.
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. If his comrades have no more experience than himself, they will shake their heads dubiously and dose him with strong physic. But the hunger will continue and become stronger; he will lose interest in the things of his everyday life and wax morbid; and one day, when the emptiness has become unbearable, a revelation will dawn upon him.
This revelation my friends, is one that has been a blooming seed, a fermenting loaf, and ripening fruit of solar fire that is becoming a new internal locus of mine. A grand importance. One that is not sudden and abstract, but like the fermented goods which needs a starter culture, and time to live freely at first, or the completeness of a single Yew tree which started with one rotting berry on the ground releasing its seed. It is the story of the fool who follows innocently and passionately on a blind trail, until he maps out the territory in which he finds himself in and begins to judge to correct place to build his home, in his true kingly habitat. Well, besides the metaphors, Jack London spoke this (probably out loud before he wrote it), as the first passage of Son of the Wolf, a seminal meditation on Nordic frontier living, hardship, rite of passage, manhood, and mans relation to the woman. Several of my ‘tribe’, my brothers are older than me, and have come to these same revelations right around this time in their life or even earlier, when there was no substitute for sating the hunger of finding the archetypal sex feminine, to help him become the holistic man he is destined to be, and thus help her become empowered in her own womanly role. Not travel, power, wealth, business, drug, or casual romance can supplant the morbidity that London describes, and it is at this time, usually a man in his mid-late twenties in this western and European society at least that he then settles to find good land, and seeks out his queen to build a thriving family clan unit.
And this is exactly where I find myself, drawing on a nomadic transient existence for just shy of five years, as a wanderer, lover, warrior, magician in the world. I have embraced these archetypes as I have learned their lessons and moved through them. The icelandic term :eigi einhamr: applies here, not of one skin. These were the required prerequisites for coming to the mountain which I look up now, the one that entails a hard and steady climb to becoming autonomous, building a family, packaged with all the mating and dating rituals, and ceremonies that come with it. Seeking a few acres to tend, to turn my external locus of gratification and knowledge pursuit from the novel world of change, wanderlust and abandon to one internally focused on nurture, settlement, and a conviction for life that allows the hard work to purvey itself to the coupling seekers. In simple english: To earn land, woo a woman with similar dreams, persona, beliefs, and attractive force, decide to go steady, marry in a traditional sense, to mate and create the family thereafter; romance, children, mutual friending, the growth from the soil, life plans, investments to spirit, these come naturally from the natural selection of HER.
Who is Her? Well, I mean the woman of Frigga, the one who is my reflection, as the title eludes, the nourisher, nurturer, one who can bear daughter and son, she is no longer a maiden but a wife, goddess of love, crafter, kitchen witch, healer. The woman who can match her man who is a provider, hard worker, one who can fight to protect what he owns and what he loves, the primal archetype of manliness, not only a good man, but being good at being a man. This is the distilled essence of what I seek out in a partner, and it is at this time that the ground is being cleared for such a union to take place. Rather than to shamelessly put myself out in a compromised way, and simply settle for less, for temporary love, it is here where the journal of my life is shared that I make it known. To come to conviction of this truth is one thing, to openly waylay it for those to see is another, and needs an intimate and empathic understanding of the nature of why I write this, and the what for?
“The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place.”
:Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
We are spun in a locus of cycles, like the plant, or the crystal deposit, a mare and its calfs, a generation, a species. The individual human must become conscious of this and know when it is Time. When is the right timing for being alone, for being with others, for being with the other on their own, and being in the world completely. The wife-finding time is part of the quest, so is the child-rearing time, and land-tending time, and the time to settle, all seasonal aspects of thriving existence. Now is my time, and something I have been sensitive to for awhile now, while I carefully surveyed the scene and asked myself the questions of when, what for and how. We can not expect to find our life partners just waiting around for us to bump into them in our own city or some chance encounter online. I think this is unrealistic and counter-intuitive to think our own true soul mate is walking around somewhere on this planet of eight billion. Instead I believe one should seek someone appropriate, but not look too hard, and cultivate the passion and bonds within that connection. In traditional times and still in many less modern societies, the idea of marriage was a more practical pairing, and was based on what the two could offer each other, whether in terms of skills, land, animals, family lineage connections (inlaws), exclusive sex, children, etc. The modern dating culture is primarily based on surface appearance rather than deep substance. I want a highly attractive partner, but this is definitely not a qualifier on its own. I have my own persona, power, skills, experiences, history, that would need to match, and the metaphysical aspects of belief, ideas, life stage, sustainability.
It means commitment to the bad weather, and passing the stages of euphoric bliss that entail the first encounters. I think of love as worship, to look into your significant others’ eyes and see a world of potential, happiness, experience, and providence. As a male moving strongly into my provider, primal masculine, protector role, what I need from the embodied female is the nurturer, mother, home keeper, dedicated, with her heart in the right place.
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.
Hew wood in wind, sail the seas in a breeze,
woo a maid in the dark, — for day’s eyes are many, —
work a ship for its gliding, a shield for its shelter,
a sword for its striking, a maid for her kiss;
Drink ale by the fire, but slide on the ice;
buy a steed when ’tis lanky, a sword when ’tis rusty;
feed thy horse neath a roof, and thy hound in the yard.
Hey brother, we knew each other for almost five years, drank mead and fireball like wolves on the solstice nights at ‘the spot’ by the lake, hiked the woods of Rattlesnake Point, and walked beside the Credit River. The women came and went, and we stayed true to brotherhood in the end. We went to every metal gig in Toronto we could manage, and had some mutual friends. Our ways branched off in a tree planting camp several years ago, when I went back to Texas, and you went home. Wondering if you still live in the province, Ryan Pryde? What are you doing with your life?
Unless you’ve been to the Asiatic steppe of Mongolia and Tibet, you may not know what a yurt is. Actually they have been a primary dwelling space even back when Genghis Khan ruled the Mongol emprie, and they are round, made of indigenous materials and can be built down and transported across the land, hearkening back to the times when the Kazakh hunters and nomadic Mongolian peoples roamed across the land with their camels, yaks, and few possessions. These beautiful curved structures have no corners and only one wall that surrounds the circular space within. The walls are made of heavy canvas, traditionally probably made of leather pelts, inside is a think felted wool of sheep, with the inside braces hand cut of wood, tied with camel rawhide, held together with horsehair around the perimeter of the wall, on top the urgh which is a weather protective cover is painted with the unending knot, one that weaves into itself, and the interior yurt poles are also painted with designs of dunes, clouds, waves, and flowing steppe grass, at least these are the images I see. It is held up in the middle of the hut by two beams, almost like an Irminsul pole. They are functional in four seasons, are elegantly beautiful, they also have a propensity to increase dream frequency.
I have made one of these small yurts my winter home and have now been in the northern Ontario forest for almost a month, lending my two hands and the fire of my accumulated skill and luck to some new friends who are trying to get off grid, and gather a small hamlet around them while subsisting off the land, and growing their own family. My good friend who owns the yurts is also a herbal maiden, mother, yogi, ex-midwife, she hunts with a shotgun, and is a pretty good kitchen witch. I have come to know her as a sister of the tribe, and we have made some very important realizations about the future of this place. These nordic winter days wane early, and leave just the prime of the morning and afternoon for any real progress on the land, but we have been able to tackle a few projects, and initiate the land clearing deeper in the bush for the eventual spring move of the yurt farm. So far we have installed a new chimney in the sauna, where on especially cold nights it is favorable to sweat by the infrared heat of the flames. We built a deluxe dog hotel, for three German Sheppard’s, waterproofed the one man yurt, and are currently renovating a tiny home on wheels for winter sleeping spaces. Tombs of seasoned wood have been split by the cord, stacked, burned and cooked over, trees have been felled, and the wild hunts have brought us out on the land to stalk rabbit and partridge. We’ve fired no shots yet, but we did find the home of two such porcupines at a crystal vein on the ridge of a small cliff, where we built an inuk’shuk, and made offerings to the old Gods.
Time spent in the yurt is usually focused on preparing the next meal; bison burgers, hearty chilies and stir fries, pancakes, homemade pizza, locally caught fish, hunted partridge, lots of root veg, and the meat of the free range animals that lived and were harvested on the farm itself, both from this property and the first location in the south. This means, thick slices of bacon, and organic chicken. The food has been abundant and healthy. We’re also roasting our own coffee beans and brewing some kombucha, and making just about everything from scratch. In the mother yurt there is electricity, but in the one man where I live, there is no wired connection, only a solar panel on the outside of the yurt, enough to power an l.e.d. for about 3 hours, or charge my camera once. There is no running water which makes simple things like doing dishes or heeding nature’s call rather different than living in a normal home. Having to divorce one’s feeling from constant comfort, waking in the middle of a -25 night, stoking the fire over again and walking through two feet of snow to get to the outhouse is a kind of raw connection with place in the most humble of ways. Wifi signal is weak if at all on says when it snows, and I use a solitary beeswax candle for my primary light source in the morning when I groom or at night for brushing up on some books. Primitive housing is not unfamiliar to me, but these conditions are the ways in which I prefer to live. In touch with what is real, and stripped down. Lacking the material excess of modern consumer lifestyle, where everything one owns must have a multi purpose or it is in the way, and creates clutter. When you live in a yurt of only twelve foot diameter floor space, everything places therein takes on a kind of zen-like quality, to be placed aright, even the way the wood is stacked up and the orientation of the bed, I have my head to the west with the setting sun, the door of the yurt is low, facing the east, which encourages the guest to enter and leave with grace. I try not to bring any negative energy into the space, whether it be behavioral, emotional or electrical. In the morning I have been making chaga, and at night reading a Saga or verses from the Havamal. Sometimes the snow piles high at the threshold of my door then freezes it shut in the night, which can be a interesting lesson on the trickiness of winter weather. On clearer nights I can see the moon through the vinyl sky windows.
In the meanwhile we are working hard on a tiny home that will be moved further into the bush to become off grid, and more autonomous. Tiny homes are gaining popularity in Europe and North America, this one has a barnhouse style and will provide the basic sleeping quarters. Life in the yurt can be challenging as privacy is compromised, and space is limited. The facilities are rustic, and are grounded in a more humble mode of life. There are the boasting rites as well of saying you live in a Mongolian hand-built home, shipped from the other side of the world. There is another yurt farm about two hours from here with buffalo, and living in the round seems to be gaining intrigue amongst old worlders, and it beats living in a box with four walls and corners, in my honest opinion.
This full moon: Tiusto’s day; Black Frost moon or the moon of Þorri, was simply amazing. The shadowy woods, the bright, milk-silvery Máni shield, and the smear of gossamer clouds across the sky. It was an evening of shadow, halo, and flame, where arthritic trees danced in an entropic frenzy whilst the crisp air and misty-mouthed galdr of night animals rang and sang throughout the hills. The Old Man stirred within the stone of my heart, and an emanating ripple of the ride opened the horse-doors within the sky. A halo of the shadowed rainbow glowed ’round the bright eye of the moon.
Something I have never seen before in my 27 years in Midgard. Unfortunately my camera is not equipped to take adequate night photography, but this image is as close to what was observed above the land of these Northern Ontario forests. It is known as a ‘glory’ and surely the Gods were a bit closer to us this night.
After a long hiatus and some adjustments to the site I have reopened my Mimirs Head bookstore, with updated information on the titles, and new Scandinavian design. In the plans is another book of collected essays and transmissions from my other authored blog: zeitgeistoftheubermensch.wordpress.com Check out Mimir’s Head bookstore for a selection of my self-published books, and written gild works. Orders can be made with paypal or bitcoin.