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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Bad Ancestors

FAQ: I want to be a good heathen and honor ancestors but my ancestors were bad people. Who can I honor?

Related FAQ: I'm going to be attending a sumbel in which there will be a round toasted to the ancestors, but I was adopted and don't know my ancestors' names. Who can I honor?

My answer: One can honor Askr and Embla, the first man and woman according to heathen mythology (made by Odin and his brothers.) One could also honor any gods that appear in one's family tree. According to heathen mythology, everyone is descended from Rig, whom most Asatruars consider to be an aspect of Heimdall, thus, anyone could honor Heimdall. There might also be other gods one could include among ancestors, depending on one's family line. I have honored Lollus as an ancestor.

You don't have to honor your literal biological ancestors to be a good heathen. When the sumbel horn is passed in the ancestor round, you can honor the mighty dead whom you admire whether you are lineally related to them or not. You can honor your personal heroes, the elders of your path, a writer who influenced you-- that's my personal hope of ever being remembered, since I have no children. You can honor the founders of your nation, city, profession, or art. Honor your spouse's ancestors. Toast your favorite childhood teacher, the composer of your favorite song, or anyone with whom you have an emotional connection.

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  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    Victoria Wednesday, 14 August 2019 · I honour the mothers and fathers of my ancestral lineage. Heathens get too wrapped up in in

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
“Wise Woman’ By Jane Brideson. 
Used with permission

She sits on the windowsill above my altar in a gold frame. The image is entitled ‘Wise Woman’ painted by Irish painter Jane Brideson entitled. The Wise Woman is sitting by her kitchen table burning something in a small copper cauldron from which the smoke swirls and wafts up and around her.

There are images in the smoke, a hare under a waxing moon, a croft with a thatched roof, smoke trailing out of the chimney. The cottage has two windows on its whitewashed front which I want to peer through, the paint of the front door is probably peeling in several places, to reveal a rainbow of colors which span decades. I imagine what it might look like inside, maybe like the Irish croft my Great Aunt Mary lived in, a wise woman herself who never married and worked the farm alone and traded for most of what she needed. The third swirl of smoke holds the scene of a cauldron pot over a fire, next to a large kettle.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Flowers in Amber

The ancestors are still speaking.

One of our very greatest inheritances from the forefathers and mothers is language. If we listen closely, we can hear their voices today.

2500 years ago, the ancestors bound their thought together with alliteration, what we may think of as initial rhyme. Many of these phrases—hundreds, if not thousands, of years old—are with us still.

 

Might and main. “Might” is physical strength; “main” (OE megn) is non-physical (psychic, spiritual) strength—“soul-strength,” one might say. To do something with all one's might and main means to use all one's available resources. Those seeking a word for “energy” that doesn't reek of patchouli may wish to consider “main.”

Kith and kin. It's interesting how frequently these inherited alliterative phrases refer to a totality. “Kith and kin” means “everyone”: both those that you're related to (kin), and those that you know (kith). Preserved like a flower in amber, the ancient word for “know personally” also survives in “uncouth,” originally meaning “unknown.”

Bed and board. Tables take up a lot of room. In the houses and halls of the ancients, where interior space was at a premium, at mealtimes it was customary to set up trestles and boards to eat from. Hence, board, pars pro toto, came to be short for “table.” (“Table” is a French word. The Normans, of course, were the aristos; they could afford to have tables sitting around, uselessly taking up room. Every word's a story.)

Bed and board,” then, means home: where you sleep and eat.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for the House and Home paragraph. I have a house but it is not yet home. I have often caught myself saying "I want to

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_DragonRose1.jpg

 

The dragon woke up! Having a high standard is lovely. … Being a perfectionist isn’t lovely. 

 

A few years ago, I had to cut back a wild rosebush because it was threatening the wiring on a utility pole. I seasoned some of the wood, for talismans.

 

The other day, I looked at a crooked stick of wood from that culling and saw a dragon. 

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  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Your creativity just amazes me, Lady.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Arwen, Thank you so much!! Coming from you, that means the world to me.
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    That is an awesome dragon.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Tyger, thank you very much, I appreciate that bunches.
  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    These are great! Thank you for sharing. That dragon is especially amazing.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Remembering Father Pagan

His parents named him Richard, but he called himself Gandalf.

We knew him as Father Pagan.

He'd been a Catholic priest for decades, but late in life he studied his way out of the church and into the Craft.

Being a man of integrity, he went to his bishop and offered to resign.

“Look,” said the bishop, "There's a shortage of priests anyway, and you're just a few years from retirement. Why don't you hang on for a little bit longer?”

So that's what he did. He lived a life of service to others all his life, and priesthood, after all, is priesthood.

In those days, here in the Midwest, the Craft was a religion of the young. Gandalf was one of the few elders that we had.

At his first pagan festival, a young woman approached him one night after the big ritual. “Can I talk to you in private?” she asked.

Gandalf was amazed. He'd heard stories about wild pagan women, but this seemed pretty direct.

Together, they went off to the woods.

“Can you hear my confession?” the woman asked.

Gandalf laughed.

“I don't really do that kind of thing any more,” he explained, “but if there's something you want to get off your chest, I'll be happy to listen,” he said.

She was only the first. Down the years, his gentle humor and quiet wisdom would enrich, and deepen, us all.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Seed Charm for the Ancestors

Seed Charm for the Ancestors

This charm is for honouring those that have passed over, it can be for humans or animals.   The seeds are grown in memory of your loved ones.

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Dining with the Ancestors: A Modern Minoan Rite

We're approaching Samhain here in the northern hemisphere, so my thoughts naturally turn toward the Ancestors. The Minoans didn't celebrate Samhain - it's a Celtic festival from a time many centuries after the fall of Minoan civilization and a place a great distance away from Crete. But the Minoans did honor the Ancestors and the spirits of the dead. In fact, as far as we can tell, that's something all ancient cultures did in one way or another.

The Minoans appear to have performed dining rites, something along the lines of a Dumb Supper, a meal where the spirits of the dead are invited as honored guests. The image at the top of this blog post is a fascinating terracotta model from the Minoan tholos tomb at Kamilari. It depicts four people in a dining shrine, seated with little tables in front of them. Two of the tables hold what appear to be loaves of bread. In front of the tables, two human-like figures are rising up out of the floor: the spirits of the dead.

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