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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in wights
A Pleasant Disquisition Upon That Inveterate Haunter of Pagan Homes, Known Otherwise as the Altar Creep

We come now to that inveterate haunter of the pagan household, known since antiquity as the Altar Creep.

Authorities agree that the wight known as the Altar Creep takes the form, variously, of a small, round man (or woman) dressed in ritual robes. Whether seen or unseen, it manifests in its actions, to whit: the unfailing tendency of any otherwise unoccupied vertical surface in a house to turn into an altar.

It is said that a certain pagan family in Devon awoke one morning to find that, while they slept, every flat surface in their home had undergone such a transformation.

More often, this process of altarization is a gradual one, but the end is never in doubt: that in time, the house becomes unlivable, since no profane space remains on which to do the practical work of living: exemplo gratia, the preparation of food. This point reached, the sole possibility remaining to the unhappy inhabitants thereof, is to remove to another habitation.

It therefore behooves the pagan householder to avail him- or herself of these powerful prophylactics against said Altar Creep, to whit:

  • Item: The maintenance of a number of flat, unoccupied surfaces in the home, on which no item is permitted to rest for more than a brief time.
  • Item: That such altars as are to be found in the house be faithfully maintained: kept tidy and clean, and in good repair, with offerings duly made and cleared away.
  • Item: That such altars be not suffered to remain ever unchanging, but be constantly renewed and rearranged as the Wheel shall turn.
  • Item: Do not feed the Altar Creep. This is best accomplished by not acquiring more pagan  chatchkes than your immediate environment can bear.

This rune is said to be sovereign against the Altar Creep and is best pronounced while dis-assembling an unintended altar:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
When the New Gods Fail

The 1860s in Sweden saw a disastrous series of failed harvests.

The good farmers of Tisselskog, Dalsland repeatedly went to church and pleaded for divine assistance, but none, apparently, was forthcoming. Each subsequent harvest was worse than the one before.

What do you do when the new gods fail you?

Of course, you turn to the old.

 

Tisselskog is home to one of west Sweden's richest collections of Bronze Age rock art. More than 50 rock panels are covered with thousands of carvings of footprints, warriors, Sun wheels, and ships. Common also is the cupmark, known rather more poetically in Swedish as an älvkvarn, an “elf-quern” or “elf-mill.” Those who wished, in the skald Sighvatr Þórðarson's words, to “offer to the elves” would place their offerings—milk, a coin, a little smeared fat—in one of these elf-querns.

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  • Christianne
    Christianne says #
    It's always a pleasure spending time with Juleigh in Cyberspace - for now it's where we meet - and getting more of the full pictur

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Draugatrú: Or, Undead Religion

The old Norse didn't believe in ghosts per se.

Instead, they knew of a being called a draugr: a revenant, an un-dead, an animated corpse that will not lay still, but instead walks, wreaking ill, to trouble the lands of the living.

The Norse said DROW-ger. In Iceland today, they say DROY-goor. If (there's no evidence that they did) the English-speaking ancestors had known of such wights (or rather, un-wights) and had called them by an equivalent name, we would today name them drows (as drowse).

When the southron shavelings came in and started vaunting about their new god, you can't tell me that people didn't nod in recognition and say: Aha.

Come to think of it, this actually explains quite a bit about the history of the last thousand years, and (alas) much ill-wreaking that still goes on today.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Fairy Folks Are in Old Oaks

It's well-known in Iceland that elves make their homes in certain boulders.

Some years ago, a certain farmer near Reykjavik resolved to blow up a particular boulder in order to make room for a new henhouse. With this in mind, he went out and bought some dynamite.

From that day, his hens began to lay fewer and fewer eggs.

Every day there were fewer eggs, until finally there were none.

The farmer called in the vet. The vet examined the chickens. The chickens were in fine health; nothing was wrong with their feed. There was no organic reason why the hens should not be laying.

The farmer decided not to blow up the boulder after all. He gave the dynamite away.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
When the Wights Are Angry

Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, floods.

I'm not really saying that Republicans are responsible.

Not really.

We would say: climate change.

Traditional societies would say: the wights are angry.

(Wights: literally, “beings”: also, elves, fairies, huldrefolk, land-"spirits", etc.)

Two ways, perhaps, of describing the same thing.

Why are the wights angry?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I would say that the wights are the "interiority" of things. They're those Other People that inhabit the Land, that go by many nam
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    What is the definition of a Wight?
  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    A couple years ago at the Irish Fair, I talked with Daithi Sproule, a traditional Irish musician who was retelling the old tales.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I thoroughly agree; they seem to me like two different ways of observing the same phenomenon: one from without, one from within.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember reading an article on Shamanism.org about the author's encounter with an angry cloud being. It seems the cloud being w

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Elf-Shine

They call it “elf-shine.”

I've seen it; I'm sure that you have, too.

It's the beauty that shines from someone in those moments of great joy or deep understanding: an illumination from within.

The ancestors of Northwestern Europe accounted the elves as the most beautiful of peoples, and so this beauty is named for them: for the shine of elf-shine—in Old English, ælf-scýne—is kin to German schön, “beautiful.”

“Beautiful as an elf,” the ancestors used to say.

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