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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in vanatru

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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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • 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 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_main_joy_0.jpgThis post is for Week 1 of February's The Pagan Experience: "What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions?"

I was told by my Vanic spirit companions and other Vanic contacts that initially, elves and giants used to be the same species, and there was a split, mainly disagreeing over how to deal with humanity – those who became "Jotnar" saw the humans as prey, those who became "Vanir" (the "ur-elves", from which the Ljossalfar and Dokkalfar are both descended) saw the humans as kin and felt compelled to help them. Following the split, energy modifications were made in both species, which is why (as one example) elves tend to be allergic to iron/steel (with exceptions) and giants regard it as a power source (i.e. the Iron Wood). There are a few Eshnahai (Vanic) tribes which have counterparts in the giants’ Otherworld, such as the Wolf, Raven, Eagle and Serpent tribes, and serve as a reminder of when they were one people, even if the tribes have differing customs (and perspectives) now. A couple of the Vanic tribes, such as the Serpents and Ravens, have cordial relations and an exchange with their Iron Wood counterparts.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_imbolc.jpgThe last holiday of the Vanic year (as the Vanic new year is the spring equinox) is called Rasthuas Ja'enladata (RAHS-thoo-ahs JIGH-en-lah-dah-tah) [in Eshnesk, the language of the Eshnahai, or citizens of Vanaheim) - translated as Lights of the Winter Storm, observed in early February, where lights are burned through the worst winter storms of the year as a reminder that soon the spring will come.  This is the holiday where the Queen's half of the year and time of influence begins, power rising again in anticipation of the spring.

The Queen arrives at the ritual site at the capital, wearing a crown with unlit candles.  A representative from each of the twenty-four tribes wields a wand and draws down light from the stars to light each candle. When all the candles are lit in the crown, the Queen lights a candle for each of the tribes to bless them, as the King dances around the Queen, spinning fire, a token of offering his power so that the Queen's power may rise. When all of the tribal candles are lit, the Queen removes the crown and places it on the snow, and the King and Queen mate ritually on the stone table in the sacred circle; the first sign of green growth appears, rising up in the circle of the crown, which will survive the rest of the cold season.  The mating of the King and Queen empowers the candles with light and life and the gift of joy.  When the mating is done, the tribal representatives take their candles and each tribal candle is used to light a candle for every individual within that tribe, so the Queen's light is given to all of Vanaheim and the land can begin to thaw from the winter and people's spirits can be lifted in hope.

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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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