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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Draugadrottin

Continuing with my exploration of the Names of Odin in alphabetical order, He doesn’t have many heiti, or by-names, beginning with the letter D.  However, the one we'll be discussing today is among my favorites of all of His names anyway because it tells us so much about the essence of who and what He is.  It is generally translated as meaning “Lord of the Dead.”  Lets break it down, though, and see if we can learn more from it than that.

The drottin part of the name means chieftain, or lord, and has a cognate in the Anglo-Saxon drihten. The particular connotation here is that of a military lord, the leader of a war band (from Proto-Germanic *druti). This implies the sort of kingship portrayed in Beowulf, for example; not necessarily a hereditary role, but one decreed by merit and ability, the man who is elevated to kingship because other men look to him and trust in his abilities, the ring giver and keeper of the web of oaths that tie a war band, a tribe, or a people together.

The other half of the name, drauga, means the dead, but here again a particular type of dead person is implied.  In Germanic belief, the “ordinary” dead go to Helheim, where they are perhaps reunited with their loved ones and have a period of rest and rejuvenation prior to being reborn or going on about whatever work lies before them between lifetimes.  Some dead, in my belief, go to the abodes of the gods they have served during life if those connections are strong enough and if the god desires their continued service and companionship.  The Poetic Edda and Snorri’s Edda alike tell us that the battlefield dead are divided between Odin and Freyja, with Frejya getting first pick.  (Ladies first, after all.)

But the draugr (singular) is in a category all his own.  As depicted again and again in the Icelandic sagas, the draugar (plural) are “walkers” or “those who walk again after death.” 

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Money magic: is money the means or the goal?

There's been a lot of talk about money in the Pagan blogosphere in the past week, so much so that I wonder if it would be a service simply to round up those links once in awhile.  I'm barely making my self-imposed "money Monday" deadline this week as it is -- missed it, in some time zones -- so I won't be giving that idea another moment's thought quite yet.

One of the posts that really caught my eye comes from my fellow blogger here, Carl Neal, who cajoled readers to contribute to your favorite Pagan efforts.  One of Neal's personal favorites is the Wild Hunt blog, which is presently running its annual fund drive.  With four weeks left in the campaign, 108% of the needed funds to pay for servers, columnists, and administration have been raised.  In an early thank-you note, Jason Pitzl-Waters remarks, "Fundraising is a spell."  I agree, but I'm not sure it's the kind of spell most people might think it is.

There are many money spells.  Spells to draw wealth, build business, protect the money we already have from thieves and spendthrifts.  Spells to hunt money and spells to protect it from swindlers.  The one common thread that runs through virtually all money magic is that money is the target:  bring it, multiply it, protect it, find it, hide it.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, I frequently read the "Zero Hedge" website. Whilst it has its share of ideologues and cranks, both the articles and the
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Off to check out this website for myself!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I have spent decades talking to Pagans about the perceived “culture of poverty” within the Pagan Community.  That is the belief that “I can’t afford that and I never will be able to” or “I can’t go to that festival for $70, even though they will feed and house me for 3 days.”  I have spent the last year telling anyone and everyone who will listen that the Pagan Community needs a professional media corps.  If you’d like to see some of my arguments for why, check our website – www.PaganTV.org. 

I realized something a few weeks ago.  Pick the euphemism you prefer – “put your money where your mouth is”, “put up or shut up”, or “if you talk the talk you need to walk the walk.”  It is true that I spend a fair amount of money every year attending various Pagan events and festivals.  Like many of us, I also buy plenty of Pagan goodies from incense to altar tools to books, books, and more books.  All of those activities are good for our Community economy but really aren’t enough to help us get to where we need to go.

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  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Well said.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Feast for a Fallen King

Although I have a pretty strong relationship with Odin’s corvid, snake and wolf spirit allies, for several years now He has been urging me to get to know another one of His animal allies, one that people don’t talk about quite as much: Bear. Two of His heiti (or by-names) refer to this ursine connection: Bjorn and Bruni, both of which mean “bear” and derive (like the word “bear” itself) from the Indo-European *beron, literally “the brown one.”  (The Greek word arktos names the bear more directly, but this word is believed by linguists to have been replaced with a euphemism in Northern Europe because of a taboo against speaking the name of this powerful, dangerous animal.) In addition to this linguistic evidence, some of the 7th century valknut picture stones found in Sweden and England depict the valknut, human sacrifice, and other Odinic motifs accompanied by bears, and the name of one of the most famously fearsome warrior corps associated with Him, the Berserkers, or “bear-shirts,” was so named because they cloaked themselves in bear fur as well as for their unyielding ferocity in battle.

Bears have haunted the human imagination for thousands of years, and I am no exception; something about Bear has always called to me, even before I was aware of the Odinic associations.  Unlike social wolves, bears are primarily solitary, except when mating; one of the largest predators on land, they are not physically graceful, but they are swift and very strong, and once they have you wrapped in their embrace they can be deadly. During the cold winter months, they withdraw to underground shelters, caves and burrows hidden away deep within the forest.  It is the bear’s hibernation, I suspect, that has always lent it a strangeness in people’s minds, a mystique: what is the bear doing, during all of that time spent in the dark?  Is he sleeping?  Dreaming?  What does the Bear dream of?  What secrets does he bring back with him when he emerges from his sojourn in the underworld?  If Odin relates to His people much as an Alpha Wolf relates to His pack (a description I feel is pretty apt), and if He communicates much as does a Raven and glides through the worlds very much like a Snake, then Bear is who He is when He is alone, seeking the mysteries; Bear is who He is as a shaman.

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  • Eddie
    Eddie says #
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Makes me more aware of my dreams...in that what we fear and dread facing oft time in our drea

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