Temple of Uppsala and Dísablót by Freyia Völundarhúsins (Lady of the Labyrinth)

Uppsalasweden

 

The building in the background is an ancient Christian church.  The earthen mounds are Viking era burial sites.  Many people think the Temple of Uppsala stood were this church now stands.  The Christians had a habit of razing Heathen temples and building churches over the site as a sign of victory.

uppsalachurch

 

uppsala

Medieval drawing from Adam of Bremens description of the Heathen temple

Temple of Uppsala and Dísablót

The Temple of Uppsala

Around the year 1070, Adam of Bremen described the great pagan cult centre of Uppsala, Sweden in his work Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, the most famous source to pagan ritual practice in Sweden. It was written with the agenda of showing how barbaric and immoral were the practices and religion of the pagans, in defense of the still somewhat fragile position of the Christian church in Sweden at the time. Thus it cannot be read as an objective source to paganism, but rather as a strongly biased attack on paganism. Yet it is one of the only sources we have, and must make do with. The temple of Uppsala is described in the fourth book, chapter 26:

“This people have a widely renowned sanctuary called Uppsala. By this temple is a very large tree with extending branches. It is always green, both in winter and in summer. No one knows what kind of tree this is. There is also a spring there, where the heathens usually perform their sacrificial rites. They throw a live human being into the spring. If he does not resurface, the wishes of the people will come true.

The Temple is girdled by a chain of gold that hangs above the roof of the building and shines from afar, so that people may see it from a distance when they approach there. The sanctuary itself is situated on a plain, surrounded by mountains, so that the form a theatre.

It is not far from the town of Sigtuna. This sanctuary is completely covered with golden ornaments. There, people worship the carved idols of three gods: Thor, the most powerful of them, has his throne in the middle of the hall, on either side of him, Odin and Freyr have their seats. They have these functions: “Thor,” they say, “rules the air, he rules thunder and lightning, wind and rain, good weather and harvests. The other, Odin, he who rages, he rules the war and give courage to people in their battle against enemies. The third is Freyr, he offers to mortals lust and peace and happiness.” And his image they make with a very large phallus. Odin they present armed, the way we usually present Mars, while Thor with the scepter seems to resemble Jupiter. As gods they also worship some that have earlier been human. They give them immortality for the sake of their great deeds, as we may read in Vita sancti Ansgarii that they did with King Eirik.”

Fourth Book, chapter 27:

“The sacrifice happens as follows: Nine live beings of the male gender are sacrificed, their blood is used to mollify the gods.

For nine days they celebrate with banquets and such sacrifices. Every day they sacrifice one man – together with other living beings, so that within nine days 72 living beings are sacrificed. This sacrifice takes place in connection to the spring equinox.

The bodies are hanged up in a grove close to the temple. This grove is so holy for these heathens that they think that each individual tree inside it has become divine through the death and decay of the victims. There hang dogs and horses together with humans. A Christian told me that he had seen 72 such bodies hang there, animals and people together. As usual with such sacrificial acts, many songs are sung, they are indecent and ought to be concealed.”

Read the rest of this very interesting article here.

Daily Hávamál from Huginn’s Heathen Hof – Stanza 8

daily-8

Original-
Hinn er sæll
er sér of getr
lof ok líknstafi
ódælla er við þat
er maðr eiga skal
annars brjóstum í

Translation-
It’s a fortunate man who
earns the respect of others
through his own deeds.
It’s more difficult
if you must rely on the words of others
to build your reputation.
-Hávamál: Stanza 8

Read more here.

Seidh and Modern Heathenry …

What we know, what we don’t and what do we do about it?

[Seidh (Seiðr). Was a type of sorcery that was practised in Norse society during the Late Scandinavian Iron Age. twayneheeter note]

Andrew Nixon

Written by 

Gothi Andrew Nixon @ Facebook

In another post on this page someone stated that Seidh is, “the biggest ball of made up shit in heathenry today” then going to state that we know next to nothing about Seidh other than it existed.

In some aspects this is true, much of the mystical aspects of Heathenry have been lost. Both Galdr and Seidh have next to no written examples of them in what we have access to. However, does this mean that we just ignore the fact that seidh was once practiced because we have no contemporary comparisons to compare to or do we in fact try to rebuild what was, or at least seek for new answers?

This is where it can get convoluted. We of course do not want to bring in other aspects of other faiths so as not to water down what we do believe, however, how do we rebuild what we once had to gain further knowledge? We especially do not wish to become what Wicca has as a, “Do whatever you want I am sure it will work” faith. So what do we do?

What we do know is that seidh had to do with the spirit and will of the individual, as opposed to galdr which was based in the temporal aspects of Midgard. Trance vs. Runes for instance. We also know that many shamanic, European not native American, aspects were used within Seidh. These are within the account we have from Tacitus.

What we do not know is how these things were woven together to use seidh. We do not know anything as to the invocation, nor as to any form, if any were used, of ritualized style were used. Was it on the fly? Was it an invocation? Was it a school of learning? Was it intuitive? These are things we do not know. This has led many to disdain anyone who attempts to practice seidh, mainly due to the boastful claims made by those who do claim to practice it. Often great deeds of seidh are spoken about by the boastful few, but never have we seen these workings.

What do we do about it and how do we reconstruct it? This is where is gets simple, but also messy and problematic. We can extrapolate that those who first started using Seidh were not taught by anyone, other than the Gods. (More on how that becomes problematic later) So, what we can understand from this is that there was a time that Seidh was unknown to mankind as most of it is today. There had to be a starting point which mankind started using Seidh and this is pretty much at the point we are now.

(Side Note: Seidh, as we understand it, is NOT magic in the sense that wiccans speak about it. It is NOT spells for money and love. It is NOT used for personal gain willy-nilly. If we look into the Lore we see that all knowledge and gifts come with a price, so this goes to show that any seidh used would have to come with a price. Our ancestors knew this and we should understand this as well)

If we compare the regions around what would have been the Heathen world at the point before and during the “Golden Viking Age” our ancestors would have been surrounded by other peoples who also would have had a Shamanic Tradition, though it would have varied from ours so we cannot use them as a guide. However, we can see in the traditions of the Saami and the Druids similarities in many of the most basic forms of Shamanism. From this we can also extrapolate that in any mystical tradition there would be run over, however, not in worship or in conjunction with other divinities.

We can also extrapolate that ancestral contact would have played a part in this as the ancestors, both dead and undead, are often mentioned in the lore. This coupled with the fact that in most shamanic traditions also paid homage to the land spirit, or as we know them Vaettir.

We see hints of Seidh all throughout the lore and tales. Enchantment, speaking to the dead, divination and various other aspects. This shows that there is a rich tradition of Seidh in our heritage, but once again, how do we get back there.

The simple, and once again problematic, way is to start small. Trance work, either through using a tool such as fire or music, would be the first step. Allowing the spirit to wander the worlds and the self. Seeking answer from the Gods and working constantly to understand their will. Comparing what we find against historical and archaeological finds. Comparing notes with others and removing the dross. Doing it not for our own glory, but to understand the Gods and help the folk.

The problem is there can be no prideful self gain in working with seidh and where many lose their way is they see it as a form of prayer such as the Christians use. Asking for things, or to better their situation. This is not the purpose of Seidh, not even slighty. Remember, there is always a price for a gift from the Gods, always.

Small steps and only through working with that which we do know, and comparing it against the little knowledge we have, can we gain a better understanding of this lost art. Step by step application of the little bit we have can lead us to rebuilding our understanding of the mystical along with the tempora.

Heil the Gods!
Heil the Ancestors!
Heil the FOLK!

 

‘Tonight I fear not the Vikings’…

An Early Irish Poem

viking-longboat-art-by-david-seguin

(art by David Seguin)

Fullscreen-capture-26012015-125407

The poem along the top margin of an 9th century Irish manuscript (source)

‘Is acher ingáith innocht .

fufuasna faircggae findḟolt

ni ágor réimm mora minn 

dondláechraid lainn oua lothlind’

(The original Irish text of the poem.)

‘Bitter is the wind tonight

It tosses the ocean’s white hair

Tonight I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway 

Coursing on the Irish sea‘

(A translation by Kuno Meyer)

This anonymous poem underscores the dread people of those times felt about Viking raids.  Monastic communities were the first places the Northmen would raid.  The unarmed monks offered no protection for the gold and riches that were collected there.  A stormy night on the sea would, for the time, ensure a safe nights rest.

This poem is written in the margins of an Early Irish manuscript that now resides in the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. Most likely dating from around 850 AD, the text may have been complied in a northern Irish monastery such as Nendrum or Bangor (both in Co. Down).

Source : Irish Archaeology

Huginn and Muninn

Huginn (from Old Norse “thought”) and Muninn (Old Norse “memory” or “mind”). These names are sometimes  anglicized as Hugin and Munin.

The ravens of Alföðr (Allfather) go out every morning and fly over the 9 worlds and at evening fly back to Alföðr and report what they’ve seen and heard.

It is said, that in Odin’s wanderings among humans during Yuletide, Hugginn and Muninn discover which children are naughty or nice.

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