Publicada por Arith Härger / 8:01 PM /
The Afterlife has always been a subject of many studies and doubts, mankind seeks to know and understand what's behind the veiled curtain between this world and the next, we have been seeking it since we exist. The ultimate fight against the greatest fear we have, the fear of death.
In this post i will talk about the Afterlife as it is seen in the Northern European Paganism, the vast realms, different from one to another and the purpose of each place.
All living creatures have a soul, it is real and it is as free as any of our dreams, the only thing which is indestructible. Free as we are, the Afterlife as a variety of possibilities and most of the time it's a matter of individual preference.
The most famous place in the Norse/Germanic Afterlife is Valhalla, in Gladsheimr in Asgard, the halls of Odin, were the bravest of all warriors go after death carried by the Valyries, where they spend eternity fighting and feasting, preparing for Ragnarök the last of all battles. Well, fighting everyday and feasting all night for eternity, would soon become a painful and cruel life rather than a pleasant one, because in truth, Valhalla is not only about the handling of weapons and warfare studies, it is a place of personal growth, the continuous evolution of our soul, of ourselves. Most of the time, the Afterlife is seen as a beautiful place where we can be in constant peace, walking in green gardens, doing nothing, well in the first years that would seem great, but we would soon be extremely bored, becoming ignorant for the lack of things to do and too lazy. So Valhalla is the place to continue our studies, evolving the mind, learn new things, the place to study and gain knowledge of all the things we did not have the time to learn while we were attached to our mortal bodies, a place to expand our wisdom, to become better and most people don't realize that, especially the younger ones who are just now discovering this pagan strand through music, for those people, it is all about feasting, drinking and fighting, that would turn us into hollow beings, ignorant and all that we learned or should have learned in this life to become better persons, would be in vain, and we would be worse then ever. See Valhalla as a great beautiful city where we can learn all that we wish if we are willing to work hard to gain knowledge and wisdom. But not all go to Valhalla, there is also a similar place, Fólkvangr the halls of the goddess Freyja and there are many other places and halls to where we can go after death, a person might be connected to a god or a goddess for some reason, they might be a priest or a priestess of a specific god, and they can go to the halls or realms of those gods, for exemple a Thorsman can go to Thruthheim, or if a person is more connected to the Vanir gods, they can go to Vanaheim, there is also the possibility that a family might be connected to some god, and all his family goes to the same place where that god or goddess lives, linking us to our ancestors, being part of a great family group that works with a specific god.
There is also that old story of Helheim, the ream of Hela/Hel the goddess of death, the place from where christians made their Hell, the place for punishment and torture for all those who have sinned, but in truth, Helheim isn't such a place like the Christian Hell, in fact it is a very a pleasant and cheerful realm, where the dead go too, a realm divided for the needs of each group of people or how they behaved while alive, for exemple, where Hela lives, that is the place for all of those who have suffered greatly, with diseases, whether physical or psychological, which changed their minds giving them paranoia, emotional breakups, depressions, nervous breakdowns well.. all the psychological problems which exhausts the brain and people live in constant fear and sadness, Helheim is the place to be healed, mentally healed. There is also the place of where murderers and oath breakers go, Nastrond, no matter how evil you might have been, there are places to learn how to become better, of course for these people, rehabilitation is not a pleasant job, evil people get what they deserve, but they will not be tortured for eternity, that would just made them even worse, they can become better. In the Norse/Germanic Afterlife, there is also lots of villages and towns and even cities where people live, i could say all over the nine realms, but some places aren't safe unless you have friends there or if you are used to go or somehow you might be protected by the connections you make in your journeys. There is also the possibility, that a person might choose to stay near or with their families, in the vicinity of their graves and burial mounds and also in the house, watching over their decendents, helping and taking care of them, also if they had farms and the family keeps working the land, people can choose to stay there and help in every way they can, and the decendents after their death, can stay there also, near by doing the same kind of help their ancestors were doing. The soul or spirit is free, and most of the time is a matter of personal choise to where we can go after we die, death is seen as a natural part of life, a continuation of our being, constantly evolving and learning new things.
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Publicada por Arith Härger / 11:31 PM /
Well, now that the spring finally came, i had to talk about Skadi, the Norse goddess of Winter, as in a farewell to her powers, while she can take some rest. I will not hide that my favorite season is Autumn, when the world is changing in flaming colours, the preparation for winter, another season i love so much and my spirit is comfortable with.
Skadi is the Norse goddess of hunt, winter and archers, the queen of ice and frost, fair and cold as the chill winter winds. The wolves howl calling upon her while the snow falls from her mantle which brings arsh blizzards and storms.
One interesting thing, is that people don't know much about giants, or the Jotun folk, but one of the most famous giants of all time is Skadi, the frost-giantess, not only for her greatness and her powers, but beause she gained her place among the Aesir gods. She is the goddess of winter, and she is often seen as a huntress, with bow and arrow in a sled pulled by while wolves in the cold regions. She is the figure which gave inspiration to so many writters while speaking of the Winter Queen of the Frost maiden.
Skadi is the daughter of Thjassi the son of Olvalde, the one who captured Idunn and he was killed during the event of her rescue. The story of Thjassi is an unusual one for a Jotnar, apparently he was married with one from the Aesir, but he didn't came to Asgard to live with her, she went with him, living in his fortress in Jotunheim, but she died of cold and being the husband of an Aesir, he cold go to Asgard, claming his position, but he hasn't done it, however, his daughter, Skadi, claimed that estate for her own even not having any connection with the dead Aesir wife of her father, and she also did that when her father was killed. She marched to the gates of Asgard fully armed, ready to take her vengeance for her father's murder, she demanded a reward, her father's inheritance and a husband. She wanted Baldur to be her husband, but some say that Odin blindfolded her and made her choose an husband from all the unmarried males in Asgard, by feeling their feet, others say that all of them hid behind a curtain with only their feet showing, and she had to choose by looking at them. Whatever was the way to choose an husband, she chose the one with the finest feet believing he might be the beautiful god Baldur, but it was Njord, the Vanir sea king. They married, but after some time together, they came to the conclusion that they were not made for each other. Skadi's dwellings made Njord uncomfortable, in her homeland Thrymheim in Jotunheim and in place she got in Asgard, were both in the mountains, these where the places she preferred to live in and Njord couldn't stay so far away from his own dwellings, he couldn't stand the cold, the snow nor could he sleep with the holwings of the wolves, on the other hand, Skadi wasn't comfortable where Njord dwells, his home in Asgard, Noatun, by the sea and also in Vanaheim on the other side of the ocean, she was always complaining about the noises of the sea-birds and the sound of the waves. The two separated after a time but Skadi got her place in the council of Asgard, the first Jotun to do so.
It seems that shortly after this, she had an ill-fated affair with Loki. Some sources claim that Odin sent Loki to her in order to cement her bonds with Asgard; others merely suggest that the opportunistic Loki saw a chance to take advantage of the depressed Skadi. Apparently she had fallen into sadness, and Loki decided to cheer her up by making a spectacle of himself. He tied his testicles to a goat, and let the goat pull him around screaming and staggering, much to the amusement of the onlookers. At some point the rope snapped, and he fell headlong into Skadi's lap, and she laughed, finally. This rite is echoed in legends of sacrificial rites to the cold, implacable death goddess, where a man is castrated and flung bleeding into her lap, with the idea that only blood, not semen, can fertilize a death goddess. It may be that Loki was deliberately mimicking this rite as a way of offering himself to Skadi. At any rate, she seems to have taken him more seriously than he took her, for they had an affair that did not last, and it filled her with a rage against him so bitter that when he was caught and bound after Baldur's death, Skadi placed a poisonous serpent over his head, to drip venom onto him until he was released. One senses not only the wrath of a woman scorned, but that of a priestess/goddess who was cheated.
Hunters and Archers can pray to her to gain, maintain or improve the skills in that matter. A person might also call upon her to find his way back home when lost in the wilds, to survive the cold weather and the arsh trials of winter. Having been married with Njord, both of them help in terms of divorce, keeping things at peace and revolving it the best way possible without many problems, annoyances, discussions or disputes. Skadi also helps women when they pass through difficult times, keeping a sane mind without losing their nerves.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 9:20 PM /
Dreams are an important part of our lifes, the realms of fantasy, the places where our most wildest dreams come true. In dreams we are free, such as the shaman is when freeing his/her soul in a altered state of consciousness, sometimes all of us do the same, but we aren't aware of that and most of the time we can't perceive or distinguish what is a dream and a journey of the soul, it all seems the same, nonetheless dreams helped us understanding the world around us, they give us the imagination to create art, they even give us clues to understand the most complex scientific matters, when we reflect on something and fall asleep with those questions in mind. As dreams are an important thing is our daily lives, there is a Norse goddess for dreams, her name is Niorun.
From the old Norse lore, practically nothing is known about this goddess, actually i had a difficult time trying to search something about her, for i am a dreamer and personally i have lots of great stories and journeys to talk about since i was a baby, but this post i will dedicate exclusively to this goddess and a special thanks to Raven Kaldera, whithout him, i wouldn't get much of the information i have about this goddess and i wouldn't share with you how important she is.´
Niorun or Njorun, lives in Svartalfheim, and she is an important goddess of dreams and of the night to the Duergar ( the dwarves ) and to the Dark Elves, from whom most of the knowledge about this goddess, comes. Svartalfheim is a dangerous realm, if one must cross it, there aren't much places to hid, or get shelter, a safe place.. traveling fast, straight to the destination is the best thing to do, however, where Niorun dwells, is the only place one might find peace and stay without being chased, haunted or stalked by anyone. They might find protection there, although, as soon as anyone leaves the place, that protection is over and they must carry their journey on their own again. Her face is seldom seen, she walks in her halls as a shadowed figure, she speaks with people of course, but most of what she says, no one can remember ( for me that wouldn't be a surprise, most of the deities i speak with, i can rarely remember what they told me, fortunatelly i remember everything else and i learn valuable lessons just with the things and places they show me ) it is like living a dream inside those halls, and it can be dangerous to fall asleep. She can be called to have prophetic dreams, to find answers while you sleep, but those dreams might not be clear, but at least you might learn something new, something that might prove useful in your life, the dreams can inspire you in all the you do.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 11:09 PM /
In a previous post i talked about Mengloth, the goddess of healing in the Norse pantheon and her handmaidens. This post will be about those nine handmaidens what what are their healing expertise for those who sick the specific kind of healing of each one. To have an idea what i will write about, i advise you to read the previous post.
Who is Hlif?
Hlif is one of the nine handmaidens of Mengloth, the Norse goddess of Healing. Her name means "Help", she is specialized in women's problems. She works with all the women who are pregnant, or those who unfortunately are unable to become pregnant and want to and all problems that might appear in women's reproductive organs. She can be invoked for a safe birth, and she is extremely protective when it comes to infants, she can also help women who became recent mothers, in those early stages of the baby, when he/she is too fragile and needs the best care and nourishment possible.
Who is Hlifthrasa?
Her name means "Help-Breather", and as the name suggests, her speciality is the respiratory sistem. She can be called upon those who have any kind of problem in the lungs or other difficulties associated with the lack of oxygen. She helps people with colds, coughs, lung cancer, she also helps people who are trying to heal their lungs when they quit smoking after so many years, but also if people were expoused to any kind of chemical, pneumonia, tuberculosis etc.
Breathing is the natural impulse which gives life to our body by letting the air flow in it. without this natural element the functions in our body are not the same and we wouldn't be alive.
Who is Thjodvara?
Thjodvara's name means "Folk-Guardian", her expertise involves all the physical mechanics of the body, bone, muscle and tendon. Her skills and knowledge are about physical therapy. She can be called to those who might have any kind of bone diseases, or in the movement of the body which helps the external and internal body by exercising the limbs. She also helps with skin problems.
Who is Bjort?
Bjort is the old Norse name for "bright", and this goddess is very concerned with the body temperature, this might seem familiar, when we have the fever the first thing we check is the body temperature. But it's more than that, because too much heat or too much cold in the body, might affect the tissues, not only of the skin, but also of our internal organs, and it can complicate diseases. Like everything else, there must be a balance between these things, and Bjort can help with that. Think of it as the heat or cold therapies, the ones today and those of our ancestors, like saunas for instance, the purification of the body, the physical body, its welfare reflects in the state of the mind. Like the Heat of the sun, it has certain effects on people, the kind of natural energie the body needs, not excessively of course, but always trying to keep the balance.
Who is Bleik?
As i have spoken about purification in Bjort, well.. Bleik is the handmaiden in charge of purification. Her name means "White". She helps with the detoxification of ills in the body, of all organs. She works with the different ways to cleanse to body and the purification of the same.
There are many ways for the body to be intoxicated or poisoned, but the most obvious way is the problem we all face in modern times, the mass pollution everywhere in our daily environment.
Who is Blith?
Her name means "happy", this goddess' expertise is with the brain and all mental problems. She helps people with mood disorders of any kind, even grief. She also helps those who can't sleep, because of insomnia or because other problems in the brain such das epression, or even physical pain, she helps those people to have a good sleep, for the lack of sleeping only worsens the other mental disorders.
Who is Frith?
Frith is the goddess in charge of integrating the systems of the body, helping people to find the inner balance, or what is out of balance and putting it right. Her name means "peace" or "order", so by this you can already see the connection of the name with the problems of the body. She is the figure who finds out what people have and diagnoses the patient. Everything in the body must have a balance, however, it may not be the perfect balance, but some times the organs or anyother thing in the body is so out of balance, that help is needed, and she can link things, so the body might work naturally healthy.
Who is Aurboda?
Aurboda is married with Gymir, they are the parents of Gerda, Freyr's wife. Aurboda's speciality is the compounting of medicines and she has the knowledge of their effects and the effects of each substance has on the body. The powers of each herb, which is something our ancestors worked with, the traditional medicine. When people take any kind of remedy, all sorts of questions pop out in their heads, if that will actually help? what are the side effects? for how long will we have to take that? if it causes any kind of pain? and so on... well Aurboda knows about it all, her vast wisdom helps in these cases, when so many doubts in healign terms affects us. She is Mengloth's Delivery Woman, carring herbs to so many in need. She reminds me of my grandfather's (from my mother side ) grandmother, or shall i say, my great-great grandmother, she had the knowledge of so many herbs, and she knew where to catch them, for what purpose, to heal what and what were the effects, she know how to brew each of them in the specific manners required.
Who is Eir?
Eir might be the same healing goddess of Asgard, she is not only Mengloth's handmaiden, but also a very powerful colleague, helping Mengloth in Jotunheim, as Mengloth might also be called by Eir to assist her in Asgard. Eir coming from Asgard, the realm of warriors and gods associated with war, it isn't a surprise that her specialty is surgery, healing and taking care of physical wounds, flesh wounds from the battlefield, in other words, she knows how to open the body and repair it, healing the massive injuries that constantly happen in a battlefield. She is the goddess with the tough job of making the fast decisions in all the situations a patient is between life and death, much like any surgeon, people who have to face the most terrible and frightening sounds. She can be called upon those people in a very bad state, almost dying, when life is hanging by a thread, but she can also be called upon all those who are there to help healing the wounds, we might see her as the patron of surgeons.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 9:14 PM /
We are used to hear about gods of healing in many religions and spiritual paths, they have always been important, because our fragile mortal body can be sick and get a lot diseases, not only physically but also psycological.
There is a goddess in the Norse pantheon who is an expert in healing, many gods are in their own ways, even healers of the land, of the soul, mind and body, but this goddess is the right one if you have any problems of the body or mind, her name is Mengloth.
Mengloth is the Norse goddess of healing, although being a minor goddess, she is very important and powerful. She is the healing goddess of the Jotun people, so do not confuse her with the healing goddess of the Aesir called Eir. She dwells in the mount Lyfjaberg in Jotunheim in a fortress called Gastropnir, and the gatekeeper is her own uncle Fjolsvid, a very large daunting giant, but friendly, enjoying a good conversations with those who come to and fro. Mengloth is married with Svipdag son of Aurvandil and Groa.
People used to pray to her for healing and left offerings by her shrines, she helped in any health issues, she also wanted to give her knowledge to mortals, however, it wasn't anyone at random, she would only take as a student, someone sent by an other god or goddess she trusts, so people would actually had to make a close contact with another deity, ( possibly a deity with healing powers or connected with Mengloth somehow ) before they could learn from her.
The best gifts someone can give her, is jewelry, especially when those objects are made with materials that can't be mined, or are hard to mine, in her homeland.
Working with her, she has nine handmaidens, whose names are Hlif, Hlifthrasa, Thjodvara, Bjort, Bleik, Blith and Frith ( who are twin sister ); Aurboda ( Mother of Gerda, Frey's wife ); and Eir ( no one is certain of she is the same healing goddess of the Aesir who serves Frigga ). These nine handmaidens help Mengloth in all sorts of healings needed, they are some kind of specialists in a certain area, if anyone has a problem which lies in one of those areas of expertise, they might want to go to the specific handmaiden who can treat the problem with more competence.
I will write about each of these nine handmaidens at another post.
You might think that nowadays medicine is very advanced, the doctors are more competent, know what they are doing and medical research, is constantly evolving, well fortunately that is true and great, but Mengloth is known to be a goddess of healing called by the desperate, she doesn't waste her time in those who can be easily healed or those who can get help elsewhere, this is why her fortress is in a high place, in a mountainous path, well guarded, difficult to reach, because only the really desperate will pass through so many difficulties to heal themselves or those they love. Mengloth will only help when all other healing options have been exhausted and excluded, however, her handmaidens will help people less desperate.
The fact that only those who are willing to go through difficulties to be healed or heal their loved ones, reminds me of a true story, when my great-grandparents ( from my mother side ) made everything to save my grandfather. They lived in a small village in a valley, surrounded by thick forests and mountainous paths, and my grandfather was very sick, dying as a matter of fact, they had to go to a hospital in the city, and it was far off and in those times very few people had cars in the early XIX century. My great-grandparents had to make it on foot through the forest with my grandfather at their back, a dark and cold forest at winter, filled with wolves and wild boars. They reached the city, safe and sound, and my grandfather was saved. Today when he goes to sleep, he can still hear the sound of my great-grandparents' accelerated breath, while they ran fast up the steep paths to reach the city in time.
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Publicada por Arith Härger / 11:22 PM /
Those who know me, are aware that i'm a practitioner of the Northern-Pagan Traditions, the spiritual paths of my ancestors from my mother side, both Germanic and Nordic, however, from my father side, there is a mixture of both Germanic and Celtic blood and also Lusitanian blood, so i feel the need to write in here who the Lusitanian people really were, in honor of those people who are my ancestors also. I am a walking cocktail of European bloodlines, with Nordic blood, Celtic blood, Lusitanian blood, some drops of Germanic blood and possibly some Latin blood. But enough about me, lets start our History lesson.
The Lusitanians were a group of people from a Celtic tribe which came to the Iberian Peninsula along with other Celtic tribes when the Celts started their migrations around 3000 B.C.
The Celts origins are where Czech Republic and Germany are today, and they started a huge migration in all directions in Europe, one of the first places they settled, was in the Iberian Peninsula where the countries of Portugal and Spain are today, many tribes of Celts came there, one of those were the Lusitanians, some Archaeologists and Historians think they where the Celtic tribes who came from the Helvetic mountains in modern Switzerland.
The Iberian Peninsula had its inhabitants along the coast of Spain from the east side, they were called Iberians, and the South of Portugal was inhabited by Phoenicians and people from northern Africa and from Carthage, along the coastline to the west by the Atlantic ocean to the modern capital of Portugal ( Lisbon ) it was inhabited by Greek colonies, so the center of Portugal all the way to the north and most parts in the north of spain, were in this time, almost empty. So it was easy for the Celts to settled in those parts, and they took the lands with no problems, what is today Galicia, northern Spain, all the way to its center and northern Portugal till Lisbon, was Celtic territory. The Iberian Peninsula had a very fertile soil, not only for agriculture but it was also rich in ore, all kinds of metals, and the Celts were very good in working those metals, this was the Bronze age, and now they had access to such a huge quantity of metals, they had everything they wished for, their wealth increased, and they prospered. Of all the Celtic tribes in the Iberian Peninsula, only one grew in such a way, that they formed the first nation in Europe ( The Romans did not existed yet ), they were called Lusitanians, and they had the largest Celtic territory of all, all Center of Portugal and parts of Spain was theirs, they had the best lands for agriculture and they worked the metals like no one, the tools, weapons and objects they made were so beautiful and well crafted, that it was coveted by all Europeans and people from all over the place in Europe, from North, East and South, came to Lusitânia, to exchange and buy the things the Lusitanians crafted. These Celts and the other Celtic tribes in the Iberian Peninsula, were the first people to literally make trade routes, the first to make roads, unlike it was said for so much time, that the Romans were the first to build roads, the Celts made them before, the Romans just re-built roads on top of the already existing ones. The Lusitanian people were the strongest and most powerful people in the Iberian Peninsula, they had the most fertile lands, thousands of cattle, the best weapons and the largest villages, towns and strongholds. The Romans gave them this name, Lusitans/Lusitanians, from the word Luso, which was a Roman god, thought to duel in those parts and the Lusitanians were his children. However, the Lusitanians were Celts and they worshiped Celtic deities obviously, their language was the Leukaeke, a Celtic dialect, unfortunately, like the Cornish language of Wales, the Leukaeke was completely lost, 1500 years earlier than the Cornish, the last words of Leukaeke were spoken in the V century A.D. although many people are trying to bring it back in a modern way, the neo-lusitanian language called Leukantú, notice that this language is not similar in any way to the Portuguese language. The Lusitanians called their land, Leukitanea, the land of light, so probably these names came from their celtic tribe name.
These Celts were much feared and also respected and time passed and they lived wealthy, happy, joyful and increasing their lands, they even went to Great Britain with other Celts, when they started their migrations to those lands, but most of the Lusitanians went to Irland, so many people in Irland are related with the Lusitanians. But the Romans were growing in numbers and in strength and they had a nation of their own and soon they started conquer other lands in Europe, increasing their empire. The wealth and power of the Lusitanians soon came to the Romans' ears, and their lands were so rich in everyway, that the Romans really wanted them, it would increase their wealth, because the Celtic Lusitanians had a lot of gold also, strategic lands to plan invasions into other countries, extremely fertile soils, because they were also a possible threat to the Empire and because the very lands of the Lusitanian people were thought to be divine, made by the gods, a place where the gods could rest.. and that turned to be true, because when the Romans took those lands, they add the Lusitanian gods to their list of gods, these Celtic-Lusitanian gods were much feared and respected and also too powerful and great.
The lands of the Lusitânia covered much of what Portugal is today and a part of Spain. Now you may be thinking, why the Portuguese and Spanish people share the same language base of the French and the Italian, ( the Latin ) if they were Celts, with a Celtic and Germanic language? Well that is simple, those were the first countries to be conquered by the Romans, and the people of those places stood too long, under the Roman influence, the Romans had time to build a lot of cities, impose their culture, building their temples, making their own trade routes, and the native people of those countries, were either slaughtered or became romans and adopted the latin as their main language as an easy way to exchange and trade products with the Romans and survive. So the latin became the main language, and when the christian faith came, latin was still the main language for many centuries.
In Portugal today, most of that Celtic anf Germanic heritage was lost, and the Lusitanian spirit and their gods are now hidden throughout the beautiful landscape, even knowing that other germanic tribes came and settled, the Wandalns the Swabians, the Visigoths, the Vikings and so on, but the christian faith was too powerful, and brought down all of them.. This is a pity, for Portugal was forged by great cultures and has an extremely rich cultural past. All those cultures fought to survive and to maintain their gods, their beliefs, their way of living, people often talk about what christians did in other countries of Europe, bringing down ancient pagan temples, forests, slaughtering everyone, trying to wipe out those ancient pagan European beliefs, but the Iberian Peninsula suffered greatly with that and amazing cultures almost disappeared. Today, some people are trying to bring all of that, back, awaking the old gods, its hard to pick anything to start, for the romans and christians did a great job in cleaning those beliefs, but i hope, with my contribution and the contribution of such others, we might bring it all back again. There are still some many Germanic and Celtic descendants in Portugal, who have no clue of their ancestry...
In other posts, i will talk about the daily lives of the Lusitanian people, heroes, their gods and their culture, from spiritual beliefs to rituals and sacrifices, to the language and form of writing.
If you have any questions for me or if you want to see my artistic works, check out my Facebook page and make a Like if you can by following this link --> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger
Publicada por Arith Härger / 2:31 AM /
Bragi is one of the gods that i feel more connected too than all others, he is the lord of skalds, god of poetry, music, eloquence and the speaker of peace, however, these aren't the reasons that lead me to be connected with him, although i was a musician, but that is another subject, the reasons that lead me to be connected with him, are of private matter. Bragi is one of the sons of Odin, the eldest after Thor, he may not be as famous as his brother is around us humans, but certainly he is known throughout all the nine realms.
Who is Bragi?
A long time ago, the giant Suttung guarded the Mead of Poetry in a cave under his house, and his daughter, Gunnlod was its guardian. This mead has a long history, a bloody one, for the mead was made of the very blood of the Vanir god, Kvasir, maybe sacrificed on purpose for this event. The powerful and sacred mead was a subject of conversations all over the nine worlds, and this got to the ears of Odin. After many adventures, Odin finally reached Suttung's cave, and he stole the mead by becoming the lover of Gunnlod. She kept him for three nights, and Odin drank from the sacred mead and gave a son to Gunnlod. Odin returned home with the mead and kept it there safe, after some years, Gunnlod sent their son, Bragi, to live with his father in Asgard, and Odin made him the skald of Asgard, for Bragi was very eloquent, with a great talent for music and a beautiful singing voice, his very presence was pleasant and enchanting. However, Bragi doesn't stay in Asgard all the time, it is said that he is one of the few gods to be welcomed anywhere in the nine realms by any people, this is due to the fact that he isn't a warlike god, he is the symbol of the opposite of that. Bragi is the bringer of peace and a diplomat. There are many reasons why all welcome him so happily and joyfully, in their halls, his voice is beautiful and he sings and tells stories when he his welcomed by his hosts and all take pleasure by hearing him, after living the places to wander off, he leaves people with words of wisdom, of peace and cooperation. Bragi is married with Idunn, the goddess of orchards.
It is interesting to know that Kvasir was very much the same as Bragi, a peacemaker, loved by all, welcomed in every hall, and some say that the spirit of Kvasir himself entered the mead of poetry, and by doing so, when Odin drank from it, Kvasir spirit entered in Gunnlod's womb, and so Bragi is in fact Kvasir reborn, there is no way to know if this is true but the coincidences are interesting nonetheless.
Bragi is the only god of Poetry, but also of inspiration and creativity, the god of Bards and Skalds, so obviously he will help all those who work with the power of words, if they ask for it, he will also help singers and musicians, to get inspiration but also the strength to continue the hard work to become better, not only with the words but also to make the kind of music that doesn't touch the mind, but it touches the heart. His name comes from the Norse word "Bragr" the art of poetry, and the word "bragarfull" which is the cup of mead passed in the hall, probably came from him and his connections to the story of the mead of poetry.
Note: The artwork to illustrate this post is a drawing of Bragi made by me. If you have any questions for me or if you want to see my artistic works, check out my Facebook page and make a Like if you can by following this link --> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger
Publicada por Arith Härger / 12:57 AM /
Some days ago i wrote about a goddess which i thought to be one of those goddesses people don't talk much about and few know, but in this post i will talk about a goddess even more unknown than the previous one. Her name is Hyndla, and she is the Norse goddess of bloodlines and family trees, she is directly connected with the ancestors.
Hyndla lives in the deep northern mountains of Jotunheim in a frozen cave, this giantess-goddess is a very wise spirit who has the knowledge of bloodlines and family trees and also genealogy. Bloodlines and the history of every family is very important, the best way to honor our ancestors is to know who they were and what they did in life, all their deeds, learning from the steps each one of them took, they are the first figures in our lifes to give us the inspiration to build up our own personality. We might act in some things the way they did, and we can also learn from their mistakes and do differently. We can't forget that someday we will become the ancestors of our decendents and they too will learn from us, in this way we have to show them the best of us. Hyndla is the right goddess when we need to know everything about our kin, she can see into the bloodline of everyone of us all the way back to the beginning. The other gods consult her when they need to know how someone might be related to someone else, or to know about the decendents of their mortal children and i mean this literally, the various sexual interactions the gods had with mortals. People consult her to discover unknown ancestors, where their family came from, what steps they have taken, but also to help figuring out genetic disorders and blood-illnesses. Hyndla also helps those who are adopted, if they desire to know their parentage, and those who are trying to find out about their ancestry. She knows everything that is to know about blood and she can help to get genetic illnesses diagnosed, however, she is not an healer, but she knows if that illness may be passed down through the blood to any child that might come from the person whose blood has any kind of illness, so people who might want to have children and are worried with this matter, they can speak with her.
Most of the time, Hyndla is sleeping, well.. what seems to be a very long slumber, actually is her way to send her mind into places she can't physically go, a form of trance, spiritual journey. Hyndla appears as an old woman, very place with a long grey hair, and for a giantess, she is small, human-sized.
For those who can travel to the place where she is, it is often difficult to see her, like i said, she is "sleeping" most of the time and her cave is guarded by very faithful etins, so one might get the chance to see her and speak with her, when she is awake to eat or stretching her legs. She keeps hounds and wolves to make her company, large ones, there is even a tale of Freyja that comes to Hyndla riding a boar and asks Hyndla to accompany her in a ride with one of her wolves, in a discussion about genealogy.
In my personal opinion, knowing who our ancestors were, is a fundamental key to choose a very good path in our lifes to start our own big journey, and i have always been particulary interested in my own bloodline, which is in fact something that i'm very proud of in some parts, but that is a matter for another time. I feel somehow connected with Hyndla through my mother, in fact it is from my mother side that i have ancestry of both Norse and Germanic blood, but that is not the thing that connects me with this goddess, it is also and unfortunately because of my mother's blood illnesses, that were passed down by my grandmother and grandfather, however, it affects women more than men and probably i also may have some of those diseases, but not that strong, in fact, i alway feel very healthy, but the problem is, that i am afraid that those might pass to my children but i think those illnesses in the blood didn't came to me, only the future might tell, at least for now, i am fine.
If you want to see my artistic works or if you have any question for me, you might want to check my Facebook page and make a Like ( I would be very happy for your help ) in here: http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger
Publicada por Arith Härger / 1:36 AM /
Those who practice the Germanic/Norse paganism, Northern-Tradition Paganism or whatever spiritual path linked to the Norse gods, seek in all the stories, myths, the gods themselves and their tales, examples in how we should run our lifes in a global view for all who follow this religion, the ethical principles and how they might help us in our daily lifes and how we can solve our problems. There isn't the existance of religious laws or commandments in this spiritual path, in fact, that doesn't exist in any other pagan belief, as we are free to shape our lifes and choose our own beliefs, there isn't the need of any kind of obligation that binds us to that religion like chains and we have the duty to do certain things against our will in order to save our souls. In this religion, we don't have the need to save our souls, all we need is the free will to live happy and healthy, doing whatever we can to protect others, giving to them our love and sharing wisdom. But there is the need to find balance in that freewill, we may be free but eveything has its boundaries, with our freedom, we can't forget that it might do harm to someone, we can't be selfish, we have to learn how to live with each other in harmony. So to set some limits in our behavior and our actions towards others and the world, instead of having sins, there are virtues we must follow. Well, we are all grownups, so we know the difference between right and wrong, what we must do and what we mustn't, we know the sence of justice, order and honor, so there isn't that need to have a list of sins, a childish manner which tells us how to behave. Knowing how we have to act, all we need is to become better in our actions. From the old lore, we extracted a set of guidelines, known as the Nine Noble Virtues, which are very useful and there isn't that feeling that we are bound to them. These Virtues are: Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity or Loyalty, Self-Rule (Discipline), Hospitality, Industriousness, Independence (Self-Reliance) and Steadfastness (Preserverence). These are the nine virtues, but some add to them, Friendship, Strength, Equality, Kinship, Wisdom and Generosity.
Speaking about each virtue, the first five is the kind of work each one does to obain an heroic soul, to grow as a strong individual. First of all we begin with Courage, the kind of thing we are used to hear about in the old lore and every warrior must have it. This is not only the kind of courage to face enemies, armies and dragons and such things, this is also the courage eveyone must have, to face all the problems that life brings us, all the challenges through life, we must face them with bravery, sometimes we find ourselves in a corner, there is no way to run, no way to leave behind all the problems we got ourselves in to, and instead of despair, we have to face them, resolve all those troubles, and live life the best we can, knowing that we won over all the challenges we continued to persist. To live this life with bravery, we also need the second virtue which is, Truth. This means, that we must speak the truth, or at other times, the truth of things lead us to take counsel with ourselves till we can speak or till we are certain in what actions we must take. Being honest with people and with ourselves. Courage and Truth are linked, because it takes courage to tell certain truths to people even if we know it might hurt them, but everyone deserves to know the truth, or even telling something about us, a deep truth we may be hiding, and it's killing us when we close ourselves, trying to hid that truth, afraid of the judgement of others, especially when it's a family business. We must be honest with our dealings with others, and with that, comes the next Virtue, Honor. To be a honorable person isn't an easy task, sometimes it means following rules, even if those are inconvenient, to obey someone in a status higher than yourself according to the law, people will trust you, not because you are good in following orders or to obey, but because they know they can count on you. Acting honorably, will show others the way you are, and they might act likewise, in order to gain an healthy and trustworthy connection with you. Acting like this will also help building your reputation, how others see you, a person they can trust, and they will soon turn to you for help, this also means when you are doing you job, if you are the person in command, you don't have to obey to someone but you have to follow the code of conduct, being honest when people ask for your work, like so, they will contact you again because they trust you and they will tell others, and your reputation will grow in the best possible manner. This brings us to the next virtue, to prove your honor, you will show Fidelity or Loyalty, obviously this isn't just about being faithful to your loved ones when you take the vows, but also to be faithful to your convictions and beliefs, to who you are, being true to your word, only making promises when you know you can and you will fulfill them, people will believe in you and your word has the power to build bonds between people or to break them. This also means being faithful to your spiritual beliefs, trusting in your gods and their wisdom, and above all else, trusting in you and having some faith towards others. Keeping our word is important to others, when we offer them protection, love, friendship, help and whatever they may need or ask of you. To have all the virtues from before, you will need the next one, Self-rule or Discipline. Well this can have many understandings, avoiding problems, keeping your temper when provoked, waiting for the right moment to strike, with the right words of your own wisdom, making your own plans and executing them successfully, ration and conserve resources, having the true profile of a leader, and if you can lead, people will respect you, they will come for you when they need help, and you will always be that humble but always alert person, trustworthy, honorable, transmitting security, strength and greatness. Having Discipline, will help us acting courageously and honorably when we have to make the hard choices, even when we are afraid. As i have written in the beginning, we have our own freewill, there isn't such thing as "it was written" or "the fate is fixed", because we make our own fate by the choices we take in life, and it is with Discipline that we will make good choices. So as you could see, the first group of virtues focuses on the individual behavior, so the next virtues (four) are more concerned with our relationship with others. This brings us to Hospitality, a virtue which is a very ancient qualitie in many cutures, that can be both an obligation and a privilege. We have to think about those very ancient times, when people had to travel from one place to an other, searching for a better place, there wasn't such thing as hotels or inns, and speaking of inns, those that existed, were too few and with miles of distance from one to another, so most of the time, the survival of someone or a group of people, depended in the generosity of those who had a safe place to share and sufficient resources to offer. For what good is it, being so wealthy, if with all that wealth you don't help those in need, the most disadvantaged and the poor? Imagine yourself, traveling for days, a great deal of miles, in harsh weather, your resources are depleting, and you wish there would be an house near by with someone willing to open the door to you, sharing some food and the cosy heat of the fireplace, where you could rest and find peace till you have to do your journey again. Hospitality is also about respecting others, how they are and their beliefs, of course guests also have to respect and be humble, it is a sharing of good feelings and kind acts, and the person you help today, might save you tomorow. In order to give hospitality, you must have resources to share, an house good enough to shelter someone, for that, you need to work and work hard, like so, this leads us to the next virtue, Industriousness, working hard and well is not only a virtue but also a quality, this reminds me of the counsel Odin gives "Seldom does a lying-down wolf get the lamb, or a sleeping man victory." Of course, not all work is to earn money, there are many works that the community needs, like the work of a volunteer, you help others, you grow in reputation, wisdom and discipline. Working, having an house, a family, an entire life built, is having another virtue, Independence. Not only in these terms, but also an independent spirit, free from corruption, creased with a unique and secure personality. Being independent doesn't mean we don't need others, but it certainly means that we are self-reliant, being able to make our own choices and capable of actions of our own, supporting others, helping them and ourselves, not only monetarily, but also in relationships, providing love, care, protection and confidence. When we come to our own conclusions, we are growing and maturing, that is also a form of Independence, thinking for ourselves, also taking our own conclusions when it comes to a religious or spiritual belief, not following what is told to us like sheep.
We come now to the last virtue, Steadfastness, or being able to endure, to persevere, when all hope is gone, and you clearly know that the challenge ahead is so difficult, it seems almost impossible, you stay, you fight it, you are strong enough to face it with all your might. In your daily lifes, all the tasks tou must do, studying, working, taking care of the house, making food, working the fields, all those endless, exhausting, frustrating, desperate tasks you have to perform everyday, that is what will keep your family, community and yourself, healthy, protected, happy, alive, people will recognize your effort and once again you will get honor and glory and all the other virtues will be directly connected with this one.
Once again this shows that this spiritual path works directly with the needs of mortals, the gods are not our masters, they are our teachers, our friends, our allies, and all the choises we make in life, are always important, because those will help us making our own fate, for our own. We learn to have compassion, justice, equality, and we stay strong, trying to become better and wiser.
If you have any other questions for me, or if you want to see my artistic works, check our my Facebook page and make a like if you can, in here: --> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger
Publicada por Arith Härger / 10:44 PM /
Note: Photo Taken by Ana Teresa, you can see her photography works at this [Link]
There has always been a goddess of the earth in many cultures, or at least in the cultures which are not based in the abrahamic beliefs. The Germanic/Norse cultures also have a goddess of the earth, of the northern land, most of the time people forget about her or do not mention her at all, but she is the morther of one of the most famous gods of the Norse pantheon, she is mother to Thor.
Jord is the Goddess of the Earth, and the living grounds beneath our feet, she gave birth to many children, she gave life to us an all living creatures, the place whence we came and were we will go back some day. She is the very symbol of fertility, however, she is not a goddess of agriculture, she is the goddess of all the place there are not under any human control, the goddess of the mountains, fields, every tree, every rock and moss on it, the verdant meadows and other lands with a pure wild spirit. She is also the mother of the Land-spirits or the Landvaettir. She reigns over all the uncivilized places.
Jord means "earth", and she is the daughter of Nott, the goddess of night which i have already written about her in here. Her powers as you might guess, are connected with the forever fertile soils, from where life emerges and grows, the beauty of nature at it's best. She lives in Jotunheim, and she is the spirit with great fertile powers, even more powerful than all the Vanir gods. She causes the wild fruits to grow and mature, and the seeds carried by the wind with Kari's help, the god of winds.
She is also known as Fjorgyn and Hlodyn, although the first name is sometimes refered to a parent of Frigga, so probably she may be the daughter of Jord, or her father is somehow connected with Jord.
She gives in people, the love for natural things, the happy feeling of freedom, the beauty of all living things and the magical wild world, the love that she instills in people is also the love for our own body, how we are physically, accepting how we are, this doesn't mean of course being in an unhealthy physical state and don't give a damn about it, on the contrary, to love our physical self, we must take care of us, of our own body, eating healthy, exercising the body etc. that is the true love one can have for himself, taking a good care of ourselves. Most of the time Jord is seen as a large woman, physicaly strong, as most goddesses of the earth are seen, but once again, this doesn't mean she is a fat figure, unhealthy and in danger to die because of all the problems obesity can bring to the body, in truth the shape of her body is naturally large because that is her physiognomy, such as a being from the Jotnar kin might be, she is a Jotun, so its natural to see her as a large figure because she is a Jotun of the Earth, a giant. Also she has that physical appearance as a symbol of fertility, to all pregnant women and mothers, or soon-to-be mother and nursing mother, as such, she can be called by those in need of fertility in their own body, in the family, in their livestock, in the garden or land. She can also be called for healing the land and the earth it self. She can be called by the environmentalists to help in their hard work, for the safety of the wild nature and to restore order in places that were badly damaged by us humans.
If you have any questions for me or if you want to take a look at my artistic works, check my Facebook page and make a like if you can in here --> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger
Publicada por Arith Härger / 12:33 AM /
Most of what i have written about shamanism, is either helpful or.. let's just say.. the light version of things, how shamans work, the help they can give, comunication with the spirits and with the spirit world, how they can heal a person in so many ways, their journeys and how they do it and why well and so on... but not everything in shamanism is pleasant or positive.
The shaman not only has the powers/skills to cure some one but also he/she knows how to curse, they can inflict illness upon an individual, by sending what is often called Spirit arrows while they are in trance. In order to take away these spirit arrows from some one, the shaman must have the knowledge and understand how they work and how they were sent. Once the shamans are able to find it, they will send the curse or the illness back to the dark shaman, cursing them in the same manner they cursed others. This might seem fantasy, a battle between good and evil extracted from a movie, but this is very real, i suppose there is always an evil side in everything as there is a good one, everything must have a balance. However, i may know much about shamanism, but in this dark side of a shaman i'm afraid my knowledge is purely theoretical, but if a shaman can find illness in someone and cure it, i'm sure he/she can do the opposite, i mean.. if shamans can extract malevolent energy, it is likely that they can send it back. Lets put it in these terms, we often defend ourselves from other's and the harm they try to give us, in our defence, we can fight, verbally protest, sometimes with legal acts, when the law is on our side and so one.. so the shamans can do the same, but it is a kind of self defence in spiritual terms, a bit difficult to understand because our minds have been so closed and away from those matters for too long and society is closing it self in a routine quite monotonous and away from spirituality, and we are all running around the same places, doing the same things everyday, in our stressful city lifes. But speaking of self defence in spiritual terms and in shamanism, there is a very good exemple of this in the Jivaro tribes in the Amazon, they would captured the heads of their enemies and shrank the heads in order to trap the soul of that person in there, so the person couldn't take revenge, coming all the way from the other world, more powerful then ever. To them, this is not an evil act or a bad thing to do, it's for their own protection and the protection of their communities, because they could turn quickly into violence.
People nowadays are very curious about shamanism, and we are going back to those studies, gaining knowledge or relearning our ancestral spiritual paths, trying to be more connected with the natural world and with ourselves, making somehow a link that binds our soul with others and with the world, but the kind of shamanism that suits us better is in fact the peaceful kind of shamanism, involving healing, herbs, safe ways to enter in trance, music and the list goes on, which is better in my opinion, because the world had and unfortunately still has too much violance, but lets not forget that shamanism had many sacrifices, and in some places still has, of both flesh and blood, the kind of tribal shamanism has always been that way, brutal, cruel, and it would give the sort of nightmares we don't want to dream about, but this is history and we learn from it, we can't just deny the truth, we have to understand it, go deep into that matter even if it makes you want to puke. Blood sacrifices are extremely common in tribal societies and are often connected with rituals in shamanism, there is a huge difference between our Western practice of shamanism and the darker ways of traditional shamans from these tribal societies, such as trying to put a malevolent soul into the body of an animal so it stops doing harm to the person the shaman is trying to cure, and after that killing the animal to trap that soul, in order to stop it doing evil to others.
So this post was to remind you all that shamanism isn't a trivial thing that you can play with. Lately it has been so publicized and trivialized, that all people think they can practice it and it is very beautiful and healthy. Well in some manners it is of course, and it can actually help a lot, it is also useful for our souls and our minds, it helps us to evolve, but we always have that tendency to cover up the bad side, people need to know the truth always and from there, make their own choices. It is the natural order of things, if a shaman doesn't know how to curse, how does he know how to heal it?
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Publicada por Arith Härger / 8:07 PM /
Few people have ever heard about Kari, but he is one very powerful spirit from the Northern Traditions, he is the god of the North Wind.
Every elemental has its power and importance, i have spoken a bit of each and how it can help us relaxing, but in this post, i will talk about Kari and his teachings and how his very presence gives us the glimpse of the few magic left in this world.
In the Norse mythology Kari is the Norse god of Wind and the oldest son of Mistblindi, an ancient frost giant also known as Fornjotr. Kari is a very powerful spirit, not only of the wind, snow and frost, but also he shows his powers in storms and blizzards. He is brother to Logi and Aegir, the ancient fire god and the lord of seas.
Those who work with him and have actually see him, know that through the year he changes, at spring he starts as a very young figure and as the year goes towards winter, he ages gradually till he becomes an old bearded man. This is a symbol of how the wind also changes from the very light cool breeze of spring, to the warmer soft wind of summer ( speaking of the north countries ), till it changes in the bitter frost howling wind of winter bringing harsh blizzards wearing and killing nature, the natural cycle of wind. In his younger figure, he is like young men (as they used to be, not like nowadays of course ), in love, naive and innocent, cheerful, as we discover the wonders of life. However, he often appears to people in his older form, like a grandfather full of wisdom, but worn with the passage of time. When he is nothing working in what he does best, he is at his home in his cave in Niflheim. He his father to Frosti and Jokul, ( Frost and Icicle ) who is in turn father to Snaer ( Snow ) on of the chieftains of Niflheim. Snaer has four children, one son named Thorri ( Frozen-Snow ) and tree daughters, Fon, Drifa and Mjol ( Snowfall, Snowdrift and Powder ).
Frosti, seems to have married with an Alfar and so he entered into the Alfar family, his son is the half-Alfar Raum, whose son is Finnalf, one of the kings of Alfheim. Finnalf's niece married a mortal descendant of Kari's brother Logi, who was named after the fire-giant.
Kari is also a singer and he helps singers and also people with lung problems. As i have written before when i talked about the Element of Wind, air is a very important element for all living creatures, it is the very life you breath and flows in your body, and a deep long breath always helps to calm down a bit. As a singer, Kari teaches people how to use song as a powerful aid for many psychological problems, such as depressions, sadness etc. when someone sings, the air is inhaled and the voice comes out of our body as if it took out the evil away from us. The universe is an absolute silence, now imagine the first sounds to appear when a new world is formed, fire and ice are not the only fundamental things to create life, but also the sound of things is very important, is gives life and we know about the existance of things by the sound of each creature, each living being, every animal has its own voice, produced by the very air it inhales and exhales and the wind carries it.
You know of what i speak, without wind and atmosphere which retains the sound and spreads it, it was all a very annoying silence such as it happens in the universe, because there is no wind. The wind brings wonderful sounds, the soft breeze is gentle and blows a tuneful harmony, in spring it brings the seeds of plants and carries the singing of birds, it touches the leafs making a very relaxing and familiar sound. As the year approaches winter, the strong wind howls, bringing snow and storms, rain and cold, the sounds are different but magical and relaxing nonetheless.
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