Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Northern Lore Book Review by Freya Aswynn

Book Review by Freya Aswynn

[Author of Northern Mysteries and Magick: Runes & Feminine Powers, Power and Principle of the Runes, Songs of Yggdrasil: Shamanic Chants from the Northern Mysteries, and more]

This book comes 3 parts each containing 3 chapters [9 chapters total] this format in itself is  magical and keeping within the traditions of sacred numbers in the Northern Tradition.
This book is the single most comprehensive guide to various branches of the Northern Tradition.

Part One is named: Mind of the North.


Chapter One introduces the legacy of the North, giving a brief summary of the history of the Norse peoples and various influences.

The first thing which strikes me about this book, is the writing style, easy and unpretentious, simple and straight. No waffle anywhere. The first chapter especially is written with a enthusiasm for the subject radiating of every page. I especially noticed that it would be very very suitable for kids. Especially young boys who can identify with ‘Viking’ and Anglo/Saxon 'Warrior' culture.

It should be introduced at schools. So many of books on this subject, mine included, would be ‘boring’ for kids, this is written like and adventure story of discovery. If I wouldn’t know anything about the author I would surmise from his writing that he’s a Teacher at a secondary school and a bloody good one. I wholeheartedly recommend Heather parents and groups to use this book as a teaching for school kids. It's just right, not to complicated and not boring, and with lot's of visual delights!

The Second Chapter is about the Runes. A wonderful and well written overview of the meaning and usage of Runes, their history in so as known, and the various systems all with wonderful illustrations this makes it a really accessible book on runes for the beginners.

Wonderful information on the deeper meanings of the Runes and their relation to the Northern Mysteries as well as a good look at the Northern Gods and Goddesses. A high quality book. Odinsson has introduced all subjects in an approachable way. Although it is academically responsible and accurate he avoid overly scholastic style but rather a gentle introduction for beginners.

The Third Chapter is about weather lore. Very detailed quotes and folk lore pertaining to the weather.. I loved this folklore, weather proverbs and yes, even quotes from the bible. This if nothing else show a broad minded approach to this subject. Also referred to are old wives tales, genuine observances and solid science.

Part Two Body of the North:


Subjects discussed in detail are Stav, a Northern Martial Art form involving Runic positions. Rune yoga is also included with clear photographs and detailed instructions as to how.

Next section of the book is occupied with healing and herb lore, derived from original source material mostly Anglo/Saxon. Wonderfully balanced and backed up by tradition and comparisons with other healing traditions. Recipes of herbs and remedies for a variety of conditions are detailed described from traditional lore but also it's chemical compositions.

A sound reference for home made remedies for small ailments. All with beautiful illustrations.
The next chapter is about tradition Viking cooking! And brewing mead! Very important.
This makes it a book for all the family or Kindred and will appeal to people from all walks of life be they interested in this material for either religious or cultural reasons.

Part Three: Spirit of the North:


This is the largest section of the book and Odinsson gets really down to business!
Starting with a very fine re telling of the creation Myths and it's attended Cosmology including the Nine Worlds, Then it's to the gods and goddesses. Each one is accurately profiled and their functions explained again accompanied with the most wonderful illustrations and quotes from Saga's and Edda's.

The remaining two chapter 8 and 9 respectively are dedicated to Spiritual issues and practices.

Chapter 8 is Aptly named: Tao of the North.

It opens with a discussion and interpretation of Havamal. Of great spiritual and practical value.... The whole of Havamal is reproduced at the end of the essay.

The last chapter, 9, discussed the Runes as a working tool for divination it lists general accepted meanings of the runes and gives examples of casts. It also includes the Anglo/Saxon Rune poem which clarifies and elucidates the meaning of the Runes. The information supplied is sufficient for anyone who has a natural affinity to the Path of the North in any of it's aspects to practice Rune divination.

This chapter ends with a discussion of the fylgja or fetch and includes a guided meditation make contact with this being.

It's an honest book, quotes from other sources have been properly accredited, and this book contains a substantial bibliography.
It's an excellent addition to any library.
Freya Aswynn, May 9'th, 2011
Get a Copy of the Book on the Author's website

northern lore by eoghan odinsson
Freya kindly pointed out 2 errors, which were faithful reproductions of the quoted material, but opinions have changed in the last 150 years or so since some of the quoted authors had lived. 
In Myths of Northern Lands, H.A. Gureber says "...Delling, who was of the race of the Aesir.." and 
From his essay Old Northern Ethics for Life, Patrick Lafcadio Hearn says "...when for one moment England and Sweden were one kingdom."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

TreeStory: how-one-tree-can-change-your-life

Please check out the video in the link below. I absolutely LOVE trees, and feel an incredibly strong connection to all trees. In Norse mythology Yggdrasil, the world tree, unites and connects the multiverse.

Thanks to Fred Bower for sharing this link with me.

"TreeStory is an innovative film with an ambitious plan to reconnect people to nature. Using a timeless form of activism: story-telling, it will explore the dramatic changes that can happen to people thanks to an experience with one important tree in their life."


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quantum Physics is Wyrd (weird?)

Ok, firstly, I am NOT a Physicist. I did take a Physics class at University, but that's was years ago, and not my area of expertise. So please take what I say with a grain of Salt, and feel free to set me straight if I'm off base.

For those of you who are new to the Northern Traditions, Wyrd is somewhat like fate. The word “Wyrd” is cognate (related) to many words in the Germanic languages and roughly means "to come to pass, to become, to be due".

Wyrd is not your fate or destiny carved in stone, we are not trapped by Wyrd, but our lives are shaped by it. For example, suppose you were born with no legs. Would that mean you would be fated to never run a marathon? Certainly not. It would make it a big challenge, but with today’s technology could be over come – via prosthetics for example.

So Wyrd sets us on a certain course, but we have the ability to alter course, and change our lives – so our forefathers believed.

My thoughts one day happened on Wyrd, and my belief in it. From time to time I like to consider what I “believe” in…..we all change, and sometimes it’s good to re-examine old beliefs in light of new experience, evidence etc.

Here’s where we get to the Scientific stuff (cover your ears if you must).
The Physics our grandfathers learned were heavily dependent on the works of Sir Isaac Newton – you know the guy who thought up gravity after being hit on the head by an apple . So we know that branch of physics as Newtonian Physics. I like Newtonian Physics; it’s neat, tidy, and certain. You can calculate things, and know what to expect.

If the multiverse were governed purely by Newtonian Physics, then the Universe should be totally predictive...that is, if I had all the information, I could predict any event with 100% accuracy. So life would be pre-destined, which would contradict our understanding of Wyrd - which we can influence. Hmmm….so do we throw out the concept of Wyrd in favour of Newtonian Physics? Not yet.

Quantum physics or mechanics, tells us that there is no certainty, only probability (things exist in multiple states simultaneously), there can be no prediction of a single outcome, all outcomes are viable, and do occur. So we likely have layers of realities - multiple universes, or the multiverse – a bubbly frothy foam of possibility.

So actions I take, according to Quantum Physics, will affect things in a way nobody can predict ahead of time. We can only talk about probable outcomes. So then my “fate” is not set in stone! My “Wyrd” is mine to manipulate, and even the Gods don’t know where I’ll end up.

So, Quantum Physics gives me faith in Wyrd!