The Elder Futhark: Algiz or Elhaz

The Elder Futhark: Algiz or Elhaz

The fifteenth rune in the Elder Futhark, and seventh rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Algiz or Elhaz, which corresponds to the “z” sound in the English alphabet. This powerful rune is the rune of protection and defense.

In Anglo-Saxon, Algiz is spelled Eolh. In Old Norse, it is Yr. Algiz is the rune of the elk; that is, in North America, we call it the moose. Algiz takes on the properties of protection and a shield, which makes it a powerful rune to use in bind runes when you want to protect something. Algiz is the rune of the elk/moose, and takes on the strength of that animal. Moose are known to be incredibly aggressive at times, and often attack by stomping and using their massive horns to defend themselves. Having the power of such a strong animal as protection can be a good thing.

Divination with Algiz

When you get this rune in a casting, its meaning depends a lot on the position it appears in and what runes surround it. Since it is the rune of protection and shielding, it could mean you’re protecting or shielding something and you will fight to keep it safe.

Should you get this rune in your castings, it can be either good or bad, depending on the placement. It means there is a shield, or needs to be a shield around something. For example, if you get Algiz in the current spot, it suggests you or someone else has a shield up or you might be looking for protection. If you receive it in the spot in a casting which offers advice, it recommends that you or the matter in question should be on guard. You may need to look at the runes around it to understand what is influencing that rune. Remember, the runes don’t stand alone when doing a cast. Algiz is influenced by the runes around it, as well as it being able to influence the runes cast with it.

Some Final Thoughts on Algiz

When Algiz appears in a spread, you can assume you need to be on your guard with whatever you’re asking about. It might mean you have or need a shield. Or you may offer protection to someone. Or someone is guarding something from you. In some ways, it can feel negative, but it can serve as a warning in the future spot to guard yourself and be prepared to take action to protect yourself or whatever it is Algiz is shielding. I haven’t had issues with this rune, per se, when it shows up in a cast. Usually it tells me to be careful and not always take things at face value. It offers advice to protect whatever it is I need to.

A huge thank you to Sarah Keene and Roland Lock for making this post possible! They are my patrons on Patreon.

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Summer Solstice 2022

Summer Solstice 2022

Summer solstice is one of those days that our ancestors celebrated that sort of annoys me. Not because it’s a solstice per se, but because I hate the heat and it heralds the beginning of summer. It’s also a time when we have the most daylight, although to me it feels like the days don’t shorten fast enough afterwards.

I know I’m in the minority on this, but I am pleased to say that’s just how it is. Oh yeah, and for those in the Southern Hemisphere, a Happy Winter Solstice!

Roundup of Solstice Articles

This year I’ve come up with a roundup article of summer solstice themed articles I’ve written in the past. Check them out:

Yeah, you may have noticed, I don’t exactly write enough about the summer solstice. Maybe I’ll change that in the future.

Have a terrific summer solstice. Stay cool! (Or if you’re celebrating winter solstice, stay warm!

A huge thank you to Sarah Keene and Roland Lock for making this post possible! They are my patrons on Patreon.

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As the Summer Solstice Approaches

As the Summer Solstice Approaches

Exhausted. You wouldn’t think that the summer solstice would cause me to become exhausted, but the reality is there’s too much to do now that summer is striding towards us. I can feel its touch, even though the relentless rains are turning everything into a lush, green carpet.

Heralding the Winter

Summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and the daylight will give into night bit by bit after the solstice passes. The days will shorten again, but the hottest days are still to come. Sometime around July 1st, the rains will stop and the land will dry out. We won’t see much rain until September.

It is a time when I must plan for the upcoming fall. Hunting season is just around the corner, relatively speaking. Planning comes during this time because the temperatures are too hot to do much else. I hope we have a typical summer, and not a global warming summer. I can handle the 80s–not so much temperatures in the 90s and 100s. At this point, I’m imploring Skadi to make it an early winter.

Using the Summer to Prepare

One pagan whose blog I’ve read said that summer solstice is a time to pause, because the crops have already been sown and the harvest isn’t until fall. Ah, but that is only part of the summer. Work isn’t done especially during summer. It’s a preparation for the cold nights ahead. Berries and edibles need foraging. Dairy animals need milking. Cheese needs to be made. Young animals need caring for.

The sun’s return heralds the shift in daylight. Sunna says, you’re already late getting things done for winter. Hurry up! Sure, there were idle hands, which meant families sent their restless sons and daughters to go Viking during that time. But being a Viking didn’t always mean raids. It meant trading as well. Some Vikings traded for goods from the south and east, using the waterways as highways.

Fall Meant Harvest

Image by CANDICE CANDICE from Pixabay

Our Northern ancestors only recognized two seasons: Summer and Winter. Everything else was just shades of those two seasons. Summer was a time for planting and harvest; winter was a time of slaughtering animals and putting up the food for the long nights. It was vitally important to work now so you could survive the winter.

Which was More Important: Summer or Winter Solstice?

Image by Berdan Mardinly from Pixabay

I’m sure our Northern ancestors celebrated the summer solstice, but the winter solstice was probably more important. The winter solstice was the return of the sun; the sunlight’s return was vitally important. And given that the sun’s warmth wasn’t always a given, (as witnessed from two volcanic eruptions in the 6th century), our ancestors naturally celebrated when the sun came back. The two volcanic eruptions in the 6th century caused widespread crop failures, famine, and probably contributed to the plague pandemic at the time. The sun had been noticably dim and there was widespread drought throughout the world. The winters and summers were colder and millions of people died due to the brutal conditions.

These two volcanic eruptions began the Late Antique Little Ice Age (LALIA). The loss of sun, crop failures, and relentless cold must’ve made it feel like fimbulvetr had indeed arrived. So, the return of the sun’s light was vitally important to our ancestors.

Summer Solstice and the Death of Baldr

I have pointed out quite a bit how the story of Baldr’s death is actually a metaphor for the summer solstice and the upcoming winter. Baldr is the god of the summer sun; Hodr symbolizes winter and cold. On the summer solstice, Hodr slays Baldr, but Baldr rises again on winter solstice. An excellent tale.

Have a bit of mead this summer solstice! Be safe!

A huge thank you to Sarah Keene and Roland Lock for making this post possible! They are my patrons on Patreon!

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The Magic of Everyday Things

The Magic of Everyday Things

I was reading a post by John Beckett how Neil deGrasse Tyson told people that the lunar eclipses are unspectacular and he should just let people enjoy them. I happen to like listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s podcast, and I like watching him on TV. While I haven’t verified Dr. Tyson’s comments, on first blush, I’d agree with John Beckett. Lunar eclipses, while fairly common, are indeed beautiful, and are part of the magic of everyday things.

The Magic of Everyday Things

But the post got me thinking about all the special things that happen day-to-day that we take for granted. Most of the time, we tend to use the words, “magical” to describe something special. Whether it’s a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a natural place, or some place out of the ordinary, we are quick to state there’s something “magical” about it. And while I’m not fond of the m-word, as many of my readers can tell you, I think it might be correct to use the term “magical” to describe that.

What is Magical?

At this point, you may ask what is magical? Do we simply swap the word “special” for “magical”? I don’t know if that’s appropriate or not, but I think it might be the case. While you and I can argue over the existence of magic, in the long run, it may be semantics. What I consider nature, you might find magic in it.

We can, however, agree that some things are indeed magical in appearence. A sunrise or sunset. A special place within nature. Or maybe a lunar eclipse. Does it matter if we understand the underlying cause for what we find beautiful or awesome? I still get amazed by the rainbow or by the night’s sky, nevermind that I know how a rainbow is formed and what makes up the night’s sky. Knowing that the sun’s particles hitting the Earth’s magnetic field doesn’t make me want to see an aurora any less. There is  beauty even when we know about the thing.

The Wonder of Our World

When I look at our world, it brings me all sorts of wonder. We’re special when it comes to our universe. Our universe had to have just the right laws for stars, galaxies, and life to form. A little too much gravity, or changes to the mathematical constants, and we wouldn’t exist. It’s kind of like our planet. We know life came about because certain factors came together to produce it.

Scientists can only speculate why things happened the way they did. As pagans, we accept that the gods have had a hand in things, because we essentially won the lottery when it came to existence. Of course, if we didn’t exist, we wouldn’t know we lost, so the point is moot.

But the world wasn’t created for us to enjoy–we benefit from the gods’ desires to create. We know that we aren’t the only lifeforms in this world–that we share with other creatures, both sentient and nonsentient. We understand that what we do affects our world in some way. And as we continue to grow and become greater in our mastery over our world, we recognize that we can improve or damage nature and our world–a world we did not create.

Do I Believe in Intelligent Design?

The word “intelligent design” is a concept that the Christians use for belief in their creation stories. While I believe that the gods may have had a hand here and there tweaking our world, I believe that we evolved from lower forms of life. I don’t for a second believe that the gods came from the ice rime licked by a cow, unless somehow this is a metaphor for what actually happened. I don’t think Odin and his brothers fashioned humans from fallen logs, unless you think of it as some metaphor for evolution. We have so much garbage in our genetic code and many serious genetic issues that it certainly doesn’t suggest that anyone intelligent actually designed us.

So no, I don’t believe in intelligent design, even if our gods set forth the laws and the mechanism  behind evolution. Call my cynical.

But Life, Itself, is Magic

As creatures of this world, we can’t help but look around us in wonder. Whether you see the glorious mountains, a stormy sea, a brilliant blue sky, or a meadow full of wildflowers, each are a gift for us to marvel at. Have you ever been somewhere that was so perfect in your mind that you couldn’t help but stand back in wonder? Maybe it was the feel of the breeze on your skin, the melody of the birds, the scent of wildflowers, or the stillness of the forest. That moment when you felt it: wasn’t it perfect? Yes, if you’ve felt it, you know what I’m talking about.

So, enjoy the lunar or solar eclipses. Welcome Mani at night and Sunna during the day. Wonder at the rainbow. Watch the stars and pay attention to the meteor showers. Connect with the other denizens on earth — the plants, animals, and everything else. Because there is magic in that. Magic in living.

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The Downfall of Roe v Wade and the Concept of Soul

The Downfall of Roe v Wade and the Concept of Soul

The leak that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v Wade has left me wondering where the America I grew up in has gone. I remember when the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Roe v Wade case. I was just a kid at that time. The year after abortion became legal, I ended up going to a Catholic school where all I heard about was how evil abortion was.

And the bullshit lies they told me about contraception, sex, and other things.

Now that I am past the age of having children, I am not personally affected by the upcoming Supreme Court ruling, but I am terribly incensed. It will have profound affect on women in our society, and will throw us backward into the darker days when women were forced to carry to term or go to back alley doctors to get an abortion.

Women as Baby Makers

The whole right-to-life stance makes women into baby makers and not individuals. Think about that. If you believe the sole purpose of a woman is to be a baby incubator, then you’re an asshole and part of the problem.

The far right will tell you that isn’t their argument at all, but don’t believe their rhetoric. They claim they are worried about the souls of unborn children, which isn’t correct. But for the sake of argument, let’s explore that.

The Concept of the Soul

Christians believe that we are all gifted with a soul that is born and sent to heaven or hell, depending on how one lives their life. In our Heathen belief system, we have multiple parts to our “soul” that makes up who we are. These include:

  • The Hamr or our bodies. Appearence.
  • The Hugr or our minds and thoughts.
  • The Fylgia or our spiritual fetch. A part of us that can travel outside our bodies.
  • The hamingja or luck.

I’ve also heard other Heathens talk about other parts of the soul, including munr (memory, emotions), and Óðr or divine spark or inspiration. I’ve even heard other Heathens talk about the soul having six to nine parts.

The Afterlife and the Soul

My opinion is it really doesn’t matter. We’re a complex organism and we have multiple souls just like we have different systems in our bodies. Some of our souls die when we die. Some are passed onto others. Still, other souls go to the afterlife, wherever that will be.

It’s interesting because I’ve read that some of our souls don’t leave until the Hamr decays or is sufficiently destroyed. It may explain why ghosts stick around their graves. Or maybe there’s another part of our souls that stick around our graves. I’ve heard paranormal people call them “echoes,” which makes them more or less impressions of the actual person. Again, I don’t know.

What Has the Soul to Do with Roe v Wade?

The Catholics (and the Right-to-Lifers) believe the moment of conception the soul enters the few cells or protoplasm. Philosophers, scientists, and religious people across time have struggled with understanding when life begins. Some have said it begins when the baby draws its first breath. Others believe it is when the fetus is viable. Still others believe it is when brain activity occurs. Nobody has the answer, assuming there are souls.

When the Soul Occurs for Heathens

You have your opinion when the souls enter one’s body. Maybe it’s when the Hamr is fully formed. Maybe it’s when the Hugr begins. Or maybe it is some other time. That is between you and our gods. Odin and his brothers didn’t create Ask and Embla until they carved the ash tree and gave it thoughts, feelings, and the spark of life. Before that, the empty shell that looked like a human wasn’t human.

This would suggest that without those things, one wouldn’t be considered “alive.” But that aside, we can debate when a fetus becomes something that contains a soul, or becomes something that is human, and we just don’t know. Nor do I think that it is something another person should decide for the woman who is carrying the fetus. I believe that is up to the woman to decide–not the politicians.

The American Public’s Opinion

The American public agrees with me on this. 70 percent of the US population are strongly for keeping Roe v Wade in place. How we got to the point where a bunch of right-to-lifers decided to vote with their religious beliefs and not support law is a rat’s nest I don’t feel like untangling in this post.

The Republican Party Isn’t What it Once Was

Suffice to say, the Republican party isn’t for the rule of law and the separation of church and state any longer. They are the party of neo-Nazis, theocrats, oligarchs, and fascists. The Republicans would rather win by lies and put their totalitarian thug in power. They are the party of whack-job conspiracy theorists. They are not rational. Therefore, I simply can’t support them. In the past, I would’ve considered myself conservatively fiscal and probably centric when it came to social issues.

Changes in the Republican Party

But there have been a lot of changes in the Republican Party that made me realize how dangerous the alt-right is:

  • Failure to support science
  • Preferring to avoid masks, vaccines, and other methods of preventing more people from dying in this pandemic
  • Insistence that this is a “Christian nation” and only Christianity should be considered the one religion here
  • Insistence that schools teach the Bible creationism instead of science
  • Embracing neo-Nazis and white supremacists
  • Attacks on women’s rights, including abortions
  • Desire to treat LGBTQ+ people like second-class citizens
  • Lending credence to whacko ideas such as those espoused by QAnon
  • Attempt to overthrow a presidential election

I could go on and on, but I think I’ll stop my rant. I’m not even warm to the Democrats because of their political leanings, but right now, they appear to be the sane ones. (And from me, that’s saying a lot!)

After the Supreme Court Overturns Roe v Wade

If you’re not pissed off that the Supreme Court has thrown out a woman’s right to choose, you’re part of the problem. Conservative states are poised to make abortion illegal, which will only allow those people who can afford to travel to a pro-choice state to have and abortion. The so-called pro-life states will ban abortions even in the case of incest, rape, and when the woman’s life is in danger. But given that Roe v Wade’s foundation was on privacy, you can bet other bans will go into effect, such as birth control, sexual preference, and gay marriage. Even witchcraft, magic, and paganism. Think about that.

My friends, this is just the beginning.

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Beltane – ish or the May Pole

Beltane – ish or the May Pole

Putting up the May Pole.

Beltane is a Gaelic observance that occurs on May 1st each year. It is to herald the arrival of summer. As a Heathen, I hardly notice that May 1st is here, but I don’t necessarily begrudge the Celtic pagans and the Wiccans their holiday.

However, we Heathens apparently have something that overlaps Beltane, and that is, the May Pole or Midsummer Pole.

Celebrating the Solstice

As Heathens, we tend to celebrate the solstice rather than Beltane. The summer solstice marks the longest daylight hours, and the ongoing darkness. After the summer solstice, daylight starts waning. In the North, it can be very obvious. In the North, our ancestors tended to think in terms of Winter and Summer. The rest of it was simply transitional times, with special events marked, such as Harvest and Entschtanning.

Those horses look bored. Why are these guys playing with their pole?

But then, there’s the May Pole. Which is sort of an oddity that Northern Europeans seem to have inherited from pagan times. Different regions have different observances, from nothing to partying, drinking, feasting, and dancing.

But What About Beltane?

An erect May Pole.

I look at Beltane as one of those holidays we can certainly celebrate as Heathens. According to the Wikipedia article, herdsmen would drive their cattle between bonfires that the druids built to bless them and prevent disease. While I realize that Wikipedia can have errors, it at least sounds good to me.

People nowadays light bonfires, party, and feast. Probably some debauchery along with that, but hey, whatever floats your boat. I’m reminded of the song, “The Lusty Month of May” from the musical “Camelot,” whenever I think of May 1st and Beltane. Go figure.

May Day and the May Pole Weren’t Celebrated in the United States

Young pole dancers. Just saying.

In the United States, the whole May Pole concept got nixed by the Puritans, who figured it was one way to celebrate pagan gods and commit debauchery. So, when the International Worker’s Day thing started in 1889, Americans already had Labor Day, which came about in 1882. And since the May Day thing was linked to the Labor Movement, which was linked to Communism when I grew up, I knew damn little about its pagan roots.

The fact that the two celebrations are completely unrelated was somewhat confusing to me as a child, and I never really paid much attention to it.

Plus, unless you were into pole dancing, it seemed kind of lame.

Every day is May Day in a strip club.

Phallic Symbols and Walpurgis Nights

Well, okay then. We all can agree that the May Pole may have to do with phallic imagery. Apparently, in Bavaria, young men try to steal the May Pole after it is erected in April. If they succeed, then the town which has had its pole stolen must buy the other town beer on May 1st. I’ll leave your active imagination to work with that one.

According to Wikipedia–which isn’t the authority on the matter, but I’m lazy–May Day was celebrated as Walpurgis Night to celebrate the canonization of Saint Walpurga. Apparently, the Roman Catholics still had to change May 1st to venerate Mary with flowers, because Walpurgis Night wasn’t cutting into the communist celebrations of International Worker’s Day.

Celebrating the May Pole

They’re thinking free beer.

At this point, I can say with some certainty that May Pole celebrations are probably Heathen, or at least pagan, in origin. There are enough traditions throughout Europe of jumping over fire and dancing around an Axis Mundi to accept that this is a legitimate celebration that came before Christianity. Some scholars have linked it with the Irminsul, which is the World Tree. So, maybe it is something worth celebrating.

At least we should consider going to the neighboring village and stealing theirs.

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Technology and Magic

Technology and Magic

I finally acquiesced to being old. Okay, maybe not that far, but I realize I need help. I can’t write as fast as I used to. That’s probably because of accidents I’ve had in my misspent youth, which means that I can’t really type that fast.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve always been a slow typist.

The Dead Type Faster Than I Do

This guy types faster than I do.

I had a coworker once claim that the only people who can type slower than I can, is the dead. And since I’m not a necromancer, nor do I know any necromancers around, I can truly say that that has never been tested. So, I constantly say that the dead type faster than I do. It elicits chuckles, but it is a definite problem when you’re a writer.

Being a Slow Typer and a Prolific Writer

You would think that being a slow typer and a prolific writer would be mutually exclusive. Au contraire. The truth is I never had a typing course. Of course, my mom wanted me to take typing in school, but I decided that taking a typing course in high school was the equivalent of acquiescing to a secretarial job. That was something I had no desire to do.

But, I didn’t really think about how much I would type as a software engineer, which was originally my chosen profession. If I had been thinking straight — and who think straight when their 15 to 18 years old? — I would’ve realized that taking Typing I would have been useful for writing programs.

Sending Typewriters to the Graveyard

Welp, my typewriters were never this bad.

Furthermore, as a budding author, I had already burned up at least two home typewriters. It got so bad that my dad ended up getting an old style IBM Selectric. (Not the cool IBM Selectrics that we still see occasionally in offices. Oh no, this was one with a movable carriage return. If I had thought it wasn’t cool at the time, it still managed to outlast my budding attempts at authorship. It managed to survive at least one poorly written novel, and maybe another one. I don’t remember, because it was that long ago.

Word Processors and Computers

The goddess of obsolescence and all the computers my coworkers bought for thousands of dollars.

You would think once I was out in the real workforce, I would buy a computer. Ah, you’re assuming that I actually lived during a time when computers were relatively inexpensive. Ha!

As a software engineer, I was making $27,000 a year, which was average for a new hire. IBM ATs, and eventually XTs, ran in the thousands of dollars. Like four or $5000. If you compare what I made to how much a brand-new IBM would cost, which didn’t have any of the nifty apps that we have nowadays, and had to be programmed in Basic for the most part, you can see my reticence for purchasing one.

I think you could also program them in assembly language, which wasn’t particularly fun to do. Plus quite honestly, why the fuck would I program at home, when that was what I was doing at work?

So, when Brother word processors became a thing, I wrote several articles and even a couple of books on one.

Why I’m Telling You All This

Dragon explaining how I’m doing it wrong.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why I’m taking you on a boring trip down memory lane. It’s because after several times of using Dragon NaturallySpeaking on various computers, I’ve ended up with a subscription on an app on a tablet.

And it seems like fucking magic. Except when you try to have it say the word, “Fuck.” Dragon NaturallySpeaking seems to have an aversion to swear words. Which is bucking cool. Buck buck buck. — See what I mean?

Dragon NaturallySpeaking used to be meh when it came to figuring out words. Now, it’s positively brilliant.

And this is when technology has bridged the gap to magic.

When Technology can be Mistaken for Magic

Just me taking my Orcs out for a walk.

At this point, you’re saying that magic is magic and technology is technology. I’d agree with you, except throughout history, humans have always depicted their gods with the same technology they use. Case in point: armor, weapons, clothing, and household goods. Our gods’ abilities seem to coincide with ours, with the exception of “magic.”

Could it be, we depict our gods’ the way we can only understand at that time given the current level of technology, and not really how are gods are? It’s an interesting thought.

When we depict our gods, we depict them as creatures from a thousand years ago. And yet, are we to say that we as humans are more technologically advanced than the Nordic gods? That are gods don’t have access to technology that we do? Do we depict Thor with Viking weapons and armor, or maybe it would be better to depict him with full battle-rattle and an AR-15? Mjolnir as a rifle? OMGs.

To take this further — are Idun’s apples are actually some type of longevity medicine? Do the gods ride in cars instead of chariots? Freyja in a Jaguar; Thor in a GTO? Hugin and Mugin are drones for Odin? I mean, I can go on and on with this.

And if I’ve made your brain hurt, that’s okay. Because what the flock? Uh, I mean…buck. I mean FUCK!!

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Happy Zombie Jesus Day

Happy Zombie Jesus Day

I had forgotten it was Easter last week until my spouse told me they were off work Sunday for the holiday. So, I knew I had to write something about the stupid thing because Christianity still has a stronghold in the United States. Even though nearly one third claim they don’t belong to a religion.

Zombie Jesus Day

I was debating whether to call up my siblings and wish them a happy Zombie Jesus Day, but I figured it wouldn’t go over that well. And one of my siblings still hasn’t sent my Yule…er, Christmas…presents yet from last year. So, I spent the day working and my spouse hunted bear, which was all okay, because neither of us care about such silly things as Easter.

Eostre Posts

I’ve written about Easter and Eostre over the years, so you’re welcome to read the following pieces:

Eostre and Spring: Is Easter a Christian Holiday?

Four Ways to Make Easter Not Suck

How Heathens Can Celebrate Easter with Christians

Eostre: Was Easter Appropriated?

5 Great Things Heathens Can Do to Celebrate Eostre Anytime (And while under Quarantine)

Hail the Goddesses and Gods of Spring

They’re fun pieces, and you’re sure to find something to celebrate the Month of Eostre/Ostera in it. Sure, the Christians have one Sunday in March or April*, we’ve got an entire month! (April is the Month of Eostre.)

Did you forget it was Easter on Sunday, too? If there’s good news, Easter candy will be half off on Monday! Woo Hoo!

*Unless you want to call Holy Week theirs too, but it’s full of depressing images.

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Slavic Heathenism or Rodnovery

Slavic Heathenism or Rodnovery

Part of being a heathen is understanding that while our gods are indeed our gods, there are gods of other pantheons that are similar to ours, such as in Rodnovery or Slavic Heathenism. Sometimes called Slavic Native Faith or Slavic Neopaganism, I considered writing about it after the war in Ukraine started.

Praying to Slavic Gods, or How I Got a Kick in the Butt to Write About Them

I knew I had to write about the Slavic gods when I came across an article by another pagan who wondered if we should consider praying to them for peace in Ukraine.This is an interesting idea, but one I am ambivalent about. Not because I think it’s cultural appropriation, but more because of the lack of familiarity. I believe that establishing a relationship with a god or gods is important. Like us, gods seem to prefer to work with the people they know, rather than total strangers.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say an old friend contacts you to help him. Chances are, you would go out of your way to help, especially if this person was asking for something that was in your power.

Now, let’s say a total stranger sends you an email asking for help. The help is something you could do, but would you? Unless you’re really into opening emails from someone you don’t know, you probably would delete the email and move on with your life. Maybe if the favor they ask for was simple, like voting for a their pet or something in a contest, but if it were more than that, probably not.

This is how I see the gods. They are busy doing whatever they do, so they’re more likely to listen to those they know better than those who first contact them. Yes, there are exceptions. But in many cases, a god or gods will pay more attention to a human with whom they have a relationship. It just makes sense.

So, What About Slavic Heathenism?

Slavic Heathenism is a rich religion and one I believe all Heathens should study, simply because it has some amazing folktales and beliefs. As far as I can tell, the Ukrainians and Russians worshiped the same gods, although with the Vikings invading and trading in what is now modern day Ukraine, I suspected our Northern gods were also worshiped by those in the area. Case and point, Perun is very similar to Thor, which makes me think that Perun took on attributes of the Thunderer when he became the head of the pantheon. I talk about Perun in this post, so check it out.

Interestingly enough, Slavic Heathenism is both polytheistic and pantheistic. They have many gods, similar to Heathenism. However, they believe that the gods are all aspects of their one god, Rod. Rod is the original god in their pantheon.

Rod, also known as Sud to the Southern Slavs, is a god of the family, fate, and ancestors. He is often accompanied by the Rozhanitsy, which are female spirits similar to the Norns. They determine each child’s fate when it is born.

General Beliefs of Rodnovery

Rodnovery tends to emphasize community over individualism (sound familiar?), and while there are certainly lone practictioners, the emphasis is more on group worship. They also emphasize more “traditional” roles and put a strong emphasis on the importance of Slav ethnicity. Reconstruction is important to many practicers of Rodnovery, although given most of the information we have on the ancient practices are according to biased Christian sources, I wonder how much can be reconstructed. I suspect they have the same problems that we do with reconstructing their religion.

Problems with Right-Wing Believers

Rodnovery, like Heathenism and Asatru, has similar problems with white supremacists and other trash that we have to deal with. I guess that’s common in any religion that comes from Europe. It’s also a religion that is considered more conservative when it comes to male and female roles, and also about who may be able to join their religion. Although I don’t have problems with people being proud of their nationality and ethnicity, there are groups within Slavic Heathenism who espouse ethnic purity, ethnic separatism, patriarchy, and traditional families. Certainly not all Slavic Heathens believe this, which is why there are different groups within Rodnovery.

Painting those who worship the Heathen Slavic gods with the same broad brush would be similar to saying all Heathens are white supremacists or all Muslims are terrorists. So, if you decide to study the Slavic gods, keep this in mind.

Should You Pray to the Slavic Gods for Peace?

My thoughts is that if it feels right to pray to these gods, then go ahead. Otherwise, consider praying to their counterparts with our own Northern gods. I don’t think a Slavic god is going to smite you for a request such as peace, but whether they pay attention is a whole other story in and of itself. Certainly the Slavic Heathen gods are well aware what is happening in Ukraine.

I think I’ll probably be covering more about the Slavic Heathen gods in other posts, as well as more about the lesser known Nordic gods. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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The Elder Futhark: Perdhro/Perthro

The Elder Futhark: Perdhro/Perthro

The fourteenth rune in the Elder Futhark, and sixth rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Perdhro or Perthro, which corresponds to the “p” sound in the English alphabet. This powerful and enigmatic rune deals with secrets, magic, and female powers.

In Anglo-Saxon, Perdhro is spelled Peorð. It has no equivalent name in Old Norse. Perdhro is the rune of secrets and mysteries. We can go into how women are mysterious and the sexual connotations of this rune, but I tend to think of this rune more as one of freewill and choices.

Perdhro is an enigmatic rune because it is by its nature unknowable. People who add the blank rune to the Elder Futhark tend to ascribe Perdhro’s meaning to it, which isn’t correct. That’s why I don’t do rune castings with the blank rune.

Divination with Perdhro

When you get this rune in a casting, it suggests there is something unknowable in what you’re asking. It can be helpful in certain positions and annoying as Hel in the outcome or upcoming positions.

Should you get this rune in your castings, it is a sign that right now, the Wyrd isn’t set, and your actions can seriously influence the outcome. This is the part of free will portion of this rune, but it does mean that it can’t advise you what direction you need to take. You may need to look at the runes around it to understand what is influencing that rune. Remember, the runes don’t stand alone when doing a cast. Perdhro is influenced by the runes around it, as well as it being able to influence the runes cast with it.

Some Final Thoughts on Perdhro 

When Perdhro appears in a spread, you may feel frustrated with it, because it says that the path is unknown. At the same time, you can feel secure in the fact you have choices and you need to consider all aspects before starting down that road. Perdhro also addresses magic, that is, of the feminine type. Could be Seidr or another type of magic typically associated with Gythia.

For me, getting Perdhro in a spread is probably one of the most frustrating experiences. Luckily, it usually shows up under the matters under consideration position of the spread, but not always. If it is in the upcoming events or outcomes position, I tend to pull another rune to get a perspective on the unknown portion. The fourth rune usually tells me why it was pulled in that position.

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