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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_rain.jpgIn the eight years that I've been actively involved with the Vanatru movement, I've met a number of Vanatruar, and in talking with other Vanatruar, I've found we have a lot of diversity of experience and practice - what Vanatru is, will differ from practitioner to practitioner. With that said, one of the things that does seem fairly common amongst the Vanatruar I've met (though this certainly does NOT apply to all of us) is a lack of formality.  The Powers of Nature, Gods of the World tend to attract... well, practical, pragmatic followers.  We tend to be very down-to-earth people, even those of us who are creative and eccentric in some way (as many of us are, myself included).

Over the last few years devotional polytheism has become more common, and I myself identify as a devotional polytheist.  However, there has been an expectation over the last while that the "proper" way to honor the gods is to be on your knees praying several times a day, with flowery adorations.  I don't do this. I know very few Vanatruar who do this.  I do know a few Vanatruar who do not do formal devotion and have expressed guilt and the feeling that they're "doing it wrong" because this has been presented as the standard for polytheistic practice by a number of people, including some from the Northern Tradition.

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  • Molly Khan
    Molly Khan says #
    I find the wide variety of expressions of piety in devotional polytheism as a whole, and Vanatru specifically, to be fascinating.
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    yeah

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Paganism and Problem Solving

I’m absolutely thrilled to be writing for PaganSquare. My blog here will focus on topics of leadership, community building, and facilitation skills for classes, rituals, and meetings, as well as the personal and spiritual growth work beneath all those skills and tools. My goal is to help more people become the leaders and community builders who can help foster more sustainable groups.

Why do I write about these topics? Once upon a time I realized that I wasn’t a very good leader. I enjoyed the energy of being with a group but when things fell apart, I was intensely frustrated. Since I like organizing events and big projects, I figured I should learn the skills and tools to do that well. I didn’t plan on teaching leadership, but after I began training in the Diana’s Grove leadership and ritual arts program, I noticed how few groups seemed to have access to those tools. I started teaching at local Pagan events, and then at festivals, and then I started writing.

When I went through a painful blow-up of a Pagan group, that further inspired me to teach tools that will hopefully help others from having to go through the same thing I did. When I travel and teach leadership, I hear from so many people who have faced problems in their groups. I want to help people to build stronger communities.

It’s true that these can often be uncomfortable topics, but I feel they are crucial to explore in order to build healthier communities. There are a lot of ways that we can work together to build the kind of magical and spiritually fulfilling groups that will serve us and empower us.

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  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Rick, you're very right about that. Volunteer management is absolutely different. I can certainly do a post about that, though I k
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    One of the topics I might suggest is the art of managing volunteers. It is so much different from managing people you are paying!
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Thanks! I've been writing on topics of Pagan leadership and community building for a while, and I hope that these articles offer s
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    So looking forward to more. The problem in our area is relationships between the groups. It has caused a lot of people to go sol
  • Sheilia Canada
    Sheilia Canada says #
    What a great article. I look forward to learning more leadership skills & suggestions. I run an open Pagan Community group & hav

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Breaking The Mother Goose Code

Imagine... What if Mother Goose was the ancient European Mother Goddess in disguise, hidden from the patriarchal, monotheistic church that took over Europe, appearing in print just as the Inquisition and Witch-hunts drove anything non-Christian underground? What if the Mother Goose “nursery rhymes” taught to children over the last few centuries were a way to pass on an encoded pre-Christian worldview? Are fairy tales the carriers of the Pagan values of ancestors who had to disguise them as “peasant imbecilities” to keep them in cultural memory in a stratified society, of which the hierarchical authorities wanted to eradicate their egalitarian, animistic, and earthy worldview?

These questions are explored in Jeri Studebaker’s new book, “Breaking the Mother Goose Code: How a Fairy-Tale Character Fooled the World for 300 Years” published by Moon Books. I was excited to read the advance copy I asked for, since folklore and fairy tales have always fascinated me, and I really love reading about history - especially Pagan history. I know I’m not alone in these interests, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the book after reading it.

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  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    Dear Lia, Just got Studebaker's book. Great read! Plus she wrote another book that i just love "Switching to Goddess" I recomme
  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVbB1tkKkFg Dear Lia, Go to this video that I made about The Real Mother Goose if you want to see
  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    Thank you for sharing your video, Constance. The intriguing artifacts like the goose boat and the chariot pulled by geese were coo

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_The-Veiled-Virgin-Marble-Statue-3.jpgThis post is for The Pagan Experience: "Deity and the Divine- This will be the third week’s topic every month and an opportunity for you to share with everyone those who guide, inspire and inform you."

Nerthus is the twin and consort of Njord.  She lives alone on an island in Vanaheim that none are allowed to visit except Njord, sometimes her children, and her priest; she leaves the island once a year, to travel throughout Vanaheim and Midgard and bless the land with her presence, a time of merry-making and letting go of grudges and regrets, celebrating abundance and family.  

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_11-25-10catnecklacegrove059-2.jpgMost of the Vanatruar I know, myself included, are not reconstructionists - each of us seems to have our own idiosyncratic way of relating to the Powers, much like bio-regions differ from region to region, the Vanic path will vary from person to person.  I do not believe that reconstructionism is superior, nor do I believe that modernism is superior: in Vanatru, there is no one true way of doing things, we recognize that diversity is organic and natural, responding to the needs of different situations and relationships. With that caveat...

One of the questions I am often asked is "where do I start? how do I begin?"  If you are new to Vanatru, you may feel overwhelmed by the very do-it-yourself approach found among much of Vanatruar.  Sometimes people need a point in some direction, even if they choose later on to do things differently.  In my book Visions of Vanaheim (paperback | PDF), I look at some older practices connected with the Vanic cultus - such as the wain processions of Frey and Nerthus - and how one might adapt these practices for the modern day.  One of the rites of the elder Heathen that we know about is a ritual called blót.  This word means "blood" (ETA: see clarification in comments re: the meaning of the word)

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  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    The Old Norse word blót does not mean "blood". That is the ON word blóð. Blót means "worship, in particular pagan worship involvin
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Thank you for clarifying! Do you know if they're cognates, by any chance? (Asking out of linguistic curiosity.)
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Doesn't seem to be, although it's a common enough folk etymology. Old Norse blót derives ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bhlā
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Thank you!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_greenwoman.jpgThis post is for The Pagan Experience: "Deity and the Divine- This will be the third week’s topic every month and an opportunity for you to share with everyone those who guide, inspire and inform you."

She walks in beauty, like the night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 
And all that’s best of dark and bright 
Meet in her aspect and her eyes; 
Thus mellowed to that tender light
 Which heaven to gaudy day denies. 
-Lord Byron   

While the subject of Jotun-worship still remains a controversial and polarizing issue within modern heathenry, there is some evidence of it being part of elder heathen practice. The most famous mention of Gerda is of course the account of her marriage to Frey as given in Skirnirsmal as well as the Prose Edda. I personally believe Gerda is one and the same as Thorgerdr Holgabrudr, sister of Irpa, a goddess mentioned in three different Sagas.  

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b2ap3_thumbnail_away-207525_640.jpgThis post is for Week 2 of The Pagan Experience, on Personal Practice: “Share your favorite spiritual/magickal practices."

On the Vanic side of my spiritual life, one of the most meaningful and nourishing things I do is also one of the most simple, something that may not look outwardly like a spiritual practice: going for walks.

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