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A Heathen’s View, For What It’s Worth: George Floyd and Riots

A Heathen’s View, For What It’s Worth: George Floyd and Riots

“There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down”

For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield, Lyrics by Stephen Stills

George Floyd’s Death Was Wrong

If you even pay attention to the news in a small way, you know the current riots have been precipitated by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for minutes even after he gasped, “I can’t breathe.” This post has to address that incident before I can get to the issue that also needs addressing: riots. I’ll say right out that cops have some of the most thankless jobs, and most are good people. There are black cops, Hispanic cops, and cops of various minorities. But, there are bad cops too. The police force is made up of people. Some people are good; others bad. It’s just what it is.

That being said, what those Minneapolis police officers did was wrong. Floyd may have resisted arrest that warranted him being in restraints, but there was absolutely no reason the officer in question should have put his knee and body weight into the Floyd’s neck, especially after he stop resisting. The neck, as anyone with medical, or even martial arts, experience can tell you, is particularly delicate and harbors the trachea and critical blood vessels. Take out the windpipe and there’s a good chance for asphyxiation. Block off the carotid and jugular, and you can cause brain damage or death.

You can argue that the drugs in Floyd’s system may have contributed to his death. Granted. But cops restrain people who have done drugs all the time without resorting to kneeling on their necks. Yes, we haven’t seen what led up to the arrest, but seriously? The end shows us the guy’s final minutes of life where he wasn’t struggling. There was no excuse for killing Floyd. Period.

Peaceful Demonstrations Versus Riots

Naturally, there have been protests. But there have also been riots. A lot of them even in cities where there are black mayors and black police chiefs. The peaceful protests, I get. Really. It’s our Constitutional right to protest peacefully. It’s the riots that have me scratching my head.

While I can’t say with certainty that there are two different groups at play here, it does seem like it. There are the peaceful protesters who march during the day, and the rioting and looting people at night. Now, I get that people are angry. I’m angry too. But destroying one’s neighborhoods and the your neighbors’ businesses have always been counterproductive. We’ve seen that in the 60s and 70s. It solved nothing except bring anarchy. More people get injured and killed. More tensions. The question that I have to ask is, what’s the end game here? Justice? How will more death bring about that?

Why Do We Have to Go Through this Again?

I grew up when the nightly news was filled with race riots and protests over Vietnam. By the late 70s, early 80s, I thought that people had finally accepted that people of different color were entitled to the same treatment. I made the (stupid) assumption that because I harbored no ill will towards minorities, very few other people harbored ill will. Apparently, I was naive and wrong in my early adulthood. I apologize for my gross assumption.

At the same time, I have to ask myself why the fuck do we have to go through this yet again? Why are there people who insist that being prejudice is really the way to go? Do we really have to devolve to the point where we’re treating people according to the color of their skin? And why is it that people insist on rioting whenever there are protests? It really boggles the mind.

A Heathen Perspective

If you’re anywhere familiar with our gods, you know that the Aesir welcomed other so-called “races” into their pantheon. They accepted the Vanir after ending the war with them. They accepted the Jotun who were willing to join them. How many gods took Jotun consorts or were the result of a Jotun and Aesir coupling? We can look at the gods and goddesses and find tolerance even when it came to Loki (at least for a while). When someone in higher authority such as a police officer kills another human being under his control, does that anger you or make you fearful? It should. It shouldn’t matter whether the person is black, white, yellow, blue, or purple. Intentionally or not, it is murder. If you are white, and the roles were reversed, would you feel angry if a black cop did that to a white suspect? (If you aren’t as angry about Floyd’s death?)

We are all human. At some point in our ancestors, we all had black ancestors.  The white coloring occurred to adapt to the less sun of the northern latitudes. A simple genetic adaptation to enhance our Vitamin D production has somehow made some people think they’re better than people who aren’t in their ethnicity. Ludicrous.

This is why we can’t allow folkish and prejudicial attitudes to stay in Heathenry. When you start segregating our one species into colors and deciding who is better by the arbitrary decision, we get what we see in Minneapolis.

Just something to think about.

Add Coronavirus and Mix

To make matters worse, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Which means we are probably going to see a resurgence of COVID-19 again. The virus doesn’t care about black or white—all it does is infect. I fear deeply that we aren’t dealing with the real enemy, which is one that doesn’t discriminate.

Back to the Riots

People are going to have their own opinions—and surprise! Some people you’re just not going to agree with. Just like you’re not going to agree with everyone. Hel, you may not agree with me. I won’t go and riot about it, if you don’t. The problem with the riots is I don’t think they’re the protesters. I think the rioters are people who have the most to gain from civil unrest. Namely the extremists on both the right and the left. When you watch what’s going on, keep this in mind. And in the immortal words of Buffalo Springfield, “It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound. Everybody look what’s going down.”

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

“We fear change.” — Garth, Wayne’s World.

I’ve realized I’m at a juncture with The Rational Heathen. I’ve gone from a blog to a very popular blog. A popular blog with growing pains. Which means I need to start changing it a bit to keep it fresh and more popular.

Now, before you freak out, this isn’t going to be massive changes. These are changes that I believe are necessary to grow. I’ve done a lot of thinking, and a lot of consulting with my various deities. I’m pretty sure I know what direction it needs to continue in. And there is a necessity for doing so. The Rational Heathen is a great blog, and I want it to continue to be a great blog. So, these changes will just make it better for all of you.

Open for Submissions!

Don’t worry! The Rational Heathen isn’t going anywhere, and my focus and opinions aren’t changing. If anything, I’m coming up with plans to add more content, which means I’m looking to add a group of like-minded writers to the mix of my writing. So, if you’re a Heathen, and you like to WRITE and GET PAID, you need to message me on my Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/rationalheathen). I can’t promise a lot of money up front. Right now, I’m thinking $5 a blog piece, but that will increase if the site grows with more patrons.

Going to a Monthly Plan

First, let me say that there will be plenty of free content for readers. That hasn’t changed. That being said, I have to change around my Patreon plans. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time, but as wonderful as the per-piece Patreon plan for premium content has worked out, the uncertainty leaves many potential patrons at a loss as to how much they’re spending. Going to a month donation will keep it simple, and people can budget for it. As much as this first month is going to hurt me–because my patrons have been switched to a month-only plan–I think in the long run, this is the right step. Time will tell.

On a negative side, if you’re donating less than $5 a month, you won’t have access to patron-only content any longer. Sorry. Sign up for the $5 a month patron scale to get access to your freebies again. But, chances are you were already donating that amount or more each month, which makes the flat $5/month a real bargain.

BTW, if you mean to donate MORE money (and by the gods, I won’t discourage that!), sign up for one of the higher tier plans and you’ll get some nice goodies, too.

Become a Patron!

The Monthly Patreon Plans

$5/month plan — all posts, patron-only content, and patron-only forums.

$12/month plan — Everything above, plus a 3-Rune Reading (for entertainment purposes only). And a free sticker after 3 months.

$25/month plan — Everything above, plus shout-outs and a free month advertisement on The Rational Heathen. Plus a free mug after 3 months.

$50/month plan — Everything above, plus free Heathen artwork for your phone/computer background/screen saver. Plus a free t-shirt after three months.

All of the deliveries of the plans will be after the first billing, with the exception of the merch.

Trusting in the Process

This is a gigantic step for me. It will no doubt piss off some of my patrons, but you can probably see that this may actually SAVE you money in the long run. No more “am I getting billed $5 or $10 this month?” or “I can’t figure out how much she will actually produce, or how much it will cost.” Instead, a clear-cut figure. No guesswork.

I have to trust in the process and take the hits as they might happen. Yeah, the small amount to buy in was attractive, but it could be deceptive. So, I’m being more upfront on this.

Please feel free to let me know what you think of this. Oh, and while you’re at it, support this blog on my Patreon page! Become a Patron!

 

ETA: Changes in plans due to merchandise. Yes, it costs me money!

Foxfire and Ancestral Knowledge

Foxfire and Ancestral Knowledge

Disclaimer: The Foxfire books I show have links to Amazon when you click them, where you can buy them for a mere 99¢ each for the Kindle edition. These are affiliate links, and I would sincerely appreciate you use them to buy these books because a small portion of the sale goes to me, the Rational Heathen, to support this website and to keep me writing. Thank you in advance if you do make a purchase through my links because you’re supporting the Rational Heathen.

Today I thought I’d talk about ancestral knowledge and the Foxfire books. If you haven’t heard about them, or haven’t had a chance to read some of them, you’re in for a treat.

Like many of you, I’ve been staying around home, even more so than normal with the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Even though my state is loosening up the orders, I’m determined to pretty much not go anywhere except for food and necessary items.  After all, the less I intermingle with the masses, the less I’m likely to contract—or spread—the contagion. Which means I’ve been trying to make money, plus research things. Which brings me to the Foxfire books.

What are the Foxfire Books? (And Why You Should Be Interested in Them)

Way back when I was a kid (oh gods, she’s starting with THAT again), I heard about a series of books that students in the Foxfire School at the Rabun County High School in Georgia published. These books contain the oral history, knowledge, and legends of people in southern Appalachia. These books were an attempt to talk to the “old timers” who had knowledge passed down to them. Their parents taught them; the grandparents taught the parents. And so on. It’s a rich history with legends and folklore.

The reason you should consider reading them is that because the Southern Appalachians were so isolated (until the mid-20th century), they kept their own culture and their own folklore that had been handed down to them from oral tradition from their ancestors. Some of it has certainly changed over time, but if you look hard enough, you’ll see medieval culture and traditions of common folk in these books. It’s worthwhile checking out.

Where the Ancestors of the Southern Appalachian Peoples Came From

“The early settlers were primarily Scotch-Irish Presbyterians from northern Ireland and Palatinate (west Rhine) Germans,” says the National Park Service in their publication, Mountaineers and Rangers. These people came to the region mostly between 1720 and 1760 to escape poverty and religious persecution. They originally settled in Pennsylvania, and then headed west and south as the newly fledged United States added states and territory to its holdings. Many of the people who traveled through the southern parts of the Appalachians didn’t stay. They moved west into the Ohio Valley, settling in places like Arkansas and Missouri. But there were a group of people who loved the mountains and decided to make their home in the Southern Appalachians.

I can’t help think that some of these people were in the same group that the Pennsylvanian Dutch come from. The Pennsylvanian Dutch settled in Pennsylvania between the late 1600s through the early 1800s. It’s just these people decided that, for whatever reason, Pennsylvania wasn’t home for them. So, we can safely assume that their culture was a mix of Irish, Scottish, and German.

Fast Reads and the Price is Right on Kindle

I have a confession to make: when the books came out oh-so-many-years ago, I had little desire to read them. Why? Well, I spent several years on the East Coast while growing up and country things were looked down on back then. In other words, if you weren’t with the hip crowd, you were redneck. Or hillbilly. Or whatever. In other words, I caved to peer pressure from idiots I couldn’t care less about. Plus I had enough to read and pay attention to during those years, which pretty much kept me from delving into one more interest. I had always meant to look up Foxfire on Kindle books, but again, time and the attention span of a gnat failed to get me to even enter the word “foxfire.” No, I was looking for some other books when Amazon had a bunch of recommended reading for me. And the Foxfire Americana books popped up. And the price? 99¢ each!

Okay, the Americana series is a shortened version of the full series, but the price was enticing.  So I bought one and became enamored with the information, that I bought several. And I’m reading them and enjoying them. But I am looking at it from a cultural perspective: where did this or that idea come from? Was it something that came from hard lessons learned, or was it something people did in Europe at that time with maybe a few changes? The clues are in the stories.

Granted, if you really want to read the full versions, they’re available, but they are expensive. The entire 14-book Foxfire Series will cost you around $245.50 USD, which is pricey. But hey, if you want to buy them, use the link I’ve provided.

But Foxfire isn’t Heathen! Or is it?

If you’re new to Heathenry—or new to the Rational Heathen—you might be thinking I’ve lost my mind on this. Well, you’d be right to say I’ve lost my mind, but not on this topic. You see, the Foxfire books are about preserving the knowledge of the past—or, of ancestors, if you prefer. Now, they may not have been my ancestors, or your ancestors, but they were people who were related to the Northern peoples of Europe. And while their lineage most likely didn’t come from nobility, but from common folk, their stories are no less important. And as the good Doctor says, “We are all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.” (There’s your Doctor Who reference for the day!)

Heathenry is about ancestors, as well as the Northern gods. On a basic level, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our ancestors. We know from epigenetics that our ancestors’ experiences changed their DNA, which has changed ours as well. And our experiences will no doubt change our DNA for our descendants. By understanding the history and traditions of our ancestors, we learn how the lived their lives, and what was important to them.

PS: I’m thinking about writing reviews about these books. Let me know if that interests you in the comments.

 

5 Great Things to Heathens Can Do to Celebrate Eostre Anytime (and While Under Quarantine)

5 Great Things to Heathens Can Do to Celebrate Eostre Anytime (and While Under Quarantine)

Okay, by now you’re all probably sick and tired of the quarantines and stay-at-home directives. It’s no big thing for me because I’m a writer, and more importantly, an introvert. (Gosh, a writer with a scientific degree? An introvert? Unheard of!) Anyhow, while the Christians are bemoaning they can’t go to mass for Easter, we Heathens can still celebrate the month of Eostre. Even if you’re the sole Heathen among people of other faiths in your household, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy yourself during this time. Here are five ways you can celebrate the Feast of Eostre (whether or not you believe she is a goddess):

1. Dye Eostre Eggs with Your Own Natural Dyes

This one takes a little bit of work and some ingredients, but the colors are spectacular and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try it at least once. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your refrigerator or pantry. Here are some links to recipes for dyeing your eggs with natural ingredients that are completely safe (unless you have an allergy to particular food ingredients):

  • Kitchn has some eggcellent recipes for dyeing your eggs colors such as blue, pink, lavender, yellow, and orange. They tell you what your eggs will look like if you use white eggs or brown eggs. (Hint: use both and have a host of cool colors!)
  • Good Housekeeping has similar recipes, but includes a way to make your eggs dark blue. I like their suggestions.

Dyeing eggs with your own colors is more fun than using tablets out of a package. And you’ll probably like the results better.

2. Eostre Egg Hunts for the Kids (and Pets)

This one doesn’t have to be for kids only, but if you’re alone or staying home with your significant other and no one else, this isn’t probably as fun as it could be. Naturally if you have a yard, hiding eggs becomes easier, but you can also hide eggs in a specific room. If you hide eggs inside, be sure to have an egg count, otherwise you may be in for a nasty surprise (and smell) in a couple of weeks. And while you’re at it, if you have a pet, you might want to hide some treats for them and show them the first few treats, so they might get the idea of searching for treats. Dogs can usually figure this out, but I’m not discounting cats.

3. Have a Feast in Honor of the Gods and Goddesses of Spring

Whether or not you believe that Eostre was the Anglo Saxon goddess (or Ostara, a Germanic goddess) of spring and fertility, we can always hold a feast in honor of the gods and goddesses of spring. Roast a pig or ham in honor of Freyr, and dedicate the feast in honor of him, Freyja, Thor, Gerdr, Sif, and Idunn, among any other gods and goddesses you’d like to include. Even if you’re a solitary Heathen, you can make yourself some pork and make an offering or blot to the gods.

4. Get Your Garden Planted

Whether you live on a farm, in the suburbs, or in the city, you can have your own garden, even if it is only a container garden. In most parts of America, it’s warm enough to start seedlings outdoors, and for those of us who live in the colder climates, we can start them indoors. Not sure what to plant? Start with herbs. Most are easy enough to grow, and you can dry them and use them in a number of recipes and in rituals. Container gardens are great for apartment dwellers because they take up very little room and they are portable.

5. Meditate Outdoors

It’s springtime, which means that you should probably enjoy the outdoors. But with the quarantine, you may be pressed to find a spot where you can enjoy yourself. With meditation, you don’t need a big place to get away: your balcony or backyard will do. Or, if you’re not under a strict stay-at-home order, find a quiet place in a park or forest where you can be away from people and simply meditate. Never meditated before? Check out Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. Meditate on the season and the world around you. It will help ground you as a Heathen plus put you more in touch with the gods and goddesses of Heathenry.

Okay, so now you have some things to do for celebrating the Feast of Eostre. Go, and have fun. And stuff yourself with chocolate bunnies, because I said so. Next post, I’ll give you ideas for keeping yourself and the kids busy while indoors.

Disclaimer: This post contains links to affiliates that give The Rational Heathen a small stipend if you purchase from them. I would encourage you if you’re going to buy these products to purchase them here so you support this blog. Thanks!

Celebrating Spring with the Gods Despite the Coronavirus

Celebrating Spring with the Gods Despite the Coronavirus

It’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere (finally), even though in many parts of the world, we still have winter weather. During this time, our thoughts normally turn to the more pleasant weather and outdoor activities. This year may be a bit different, though. I’ve promised myself to not make every post about the 800-pound gorilla in the room (Coronavirus/ COVID-19), but talking about celebrating spring is going to be tempered with what we’re dealing with. So, if you’re looking for great things to do while still being mindful of the pandemic, I’ve got your ideas right here.

Enjoy the Weather

Just because everyone is distancing doesn’t mean you can’t do things. Just don’t plan on crowd activities or activities with anyone other than those who live with you. Instead, try getting out to wild places like National Forests and Wilderness areas. Try to go places where you know you won’t have to deal with other people. Can’t get away or too far to avoid other people? Have a picnic in your backyard or on your balcony.

Get Out and Hunt or Fish

If you hunt or fish, check out what season it is for hunting certain game, or fishing. You might want to try your hand at other types of hunting that you haven’t done in the past, largely because of other commitments. Who knows? You might find a new type of hunting you enjoy?

While you’re at it, offer blots to Skadi and Ullr, because they are the goddess and god of hunting. And if you’re into fishing, a blot to Ran and Njord might work well.

Offer Blots to the Gods and the Local Wights

Eir is the goddess of healing, and a Valkyrie. Making offerings for healing both humans and the world is not a bad idea at this time. Give offerings to the gods and goddesses of spring. Include Freyja, Freyr, Eostre, Sif, Gerdr, and Thor in your blots for a prosperous and healthy spring. Be sure to include animals and new plantings so that there are good harvests in the fall. I talk about making an outdoor altar HERE.

Don’t forget the local wights. Although I am agnostic when it comes to them, I admit that I offer the local landvaettir something to ensure they are happy. They can make a difference between positive experiences and negative ones.

Get Your (Container) Garden Planted

I’ve talked a lot about getting closer to your Heathen roots by planting gardens, even if it’s a container garden. Now is the time to do it, if you have good weather. Even apartment dwellers can plant container gardens and enjoy them. I recommend planting seeds for vegetables and herbs because they’re useful and you can use them in cooking, but you can choose whatever you’d like. Maybe some flowers that will make your place look beautiful?

Read Those Books You’ve Been Meaning To

If you’re like me, you have a gazillion books on the shelves that you haven’t read. Time to dust them off and start reading them. Or if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber like I am, you can read as many books as you care to for $9.99 a month with Kindle Unlimited.

Do Some Spring Cleaning

Frigga and Frau Holle will be delighted if you decide to do some spring cleaning. Anyway, you should be disinfecting things because of the virus, but this gives you an excuse to finally get all those dirty dishes out of your sink.

 

Just Have a of Coffee or Tea, and Enjoy the Weather

Okay, if you can’t get to your favorite coffee shop, brew up some coffee or tea and sit on the porch or on the balcony and just enjoy the weather. Don’t get too enamored with the Internet, because yes, it will rot your brain. Okay, I don’t have any proof of that, but seriously staying online all the time isn’t good for you. Sit and enjoy the weather and the coffee (or tea). Meditate. Thank the gods you’re not sick, or if you are, do what you can for a speedy recovery.

Quick disclaimer: there is a link to Amazon that gives me a little bit of money and supports this site if you choose to purchase something from it. I’d appreciate it if you did because you support this blog and keep me writing. Thanks!

Do you like what you’re reading on The Rational Heathen? Want me to continue to give you great content? Support me on Patreon for just $1 a post. My Patreon supporters get cool, exclusive posts and other freebies. Check it out!

 

The Month of Gói or Women’s Month

The Month of Gói or Women’s Month

Sorry I dropped off writing about the months. I’ll pick up now with the month of Gói, which is the fifth winter month in the Norse calendar. We don’t know a lot about the traditions of this particular month, except that the Norse named it after the daughter of Þorri, or Thorri. The month of Þorri precedes Gói, and is most known for its Thorrablot. Thorri is a winter spirit, akin to our own Jack Frost. Farmers held a blot to Gói in this month to welcome her. Tradition states that this month was the month where men took care of their women more. I can totally get behind that.

Weather During the Month of Gói

Gói runs somewhere between mid-February to mid-March, so there’s no doubt that even if the Spring Equinox is just around the corner, the weather during Gói was daunting during Viking times. The temperature in Norway was probably high 20s to low 40s Fahrenheit during the month, with occasional drops below zero. Sure, there were thaws, but the weather was too cold to consider planting, given that you could have some pretty nasty freezes. I suspect that farmers welcomes Gói because of the signs of an upcoming spring (even though they had only two seasons: winter and summer). Maybe Gói was considered a herald for summer when the farmers could plant their crops? Regardless, it’s unlikely anyone farmed during this time.

What Did People do with All that Winter?

At this point, you’re probably wondering how people didn’t go stir-crazy with all that winter. There were plenty of things to do during winter, especially crafting and repairs. People had to keep their livestock alive, which meant proper care for them in the winter so they would have wool, fiber, meat, and milk for the rest of the year. There was hunting, if you wanted fresh meat. They also played games, sang, told stories, and prepared their tools and weapons for the upcoming summer. And they had skis and ice skates to get around on the snow and lakes.

Food was what they preserved over the summer and fall. The cold, dry air allowed them to dry fish and other meats using a brine to help preserve them. The only fresh food was the meat they could hunt and catch, and perhaps milk, if their cows or goats started to calve or kid.  As a side note, you know all about the Christmas fruitcake, made from dried fruit and nuts. Well, I suspect these cakes come from earlier times as a way to provide a treat with fruit, even when the fresh fruit was out of season.

New Life

About this time, the livestock would start giving birth to their offspring. I know, because that’s how my goats are, if I breed them. The Viking farmers would’ve kept their calves, kids, and lambs inside with the other livestock, possibly in a birthing pen so the little ones could stick around their mom and not get trampled by the rest of the herd. They would’ve taken the extra milk to make cheese or use in cooking after the young ones had eaten their fill.

So, the month of Gói was largely spent in preparation for summer. In a few weeks, I’ll talk about the next month, Einmánuður.

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The Elder Futhark: Hagalaz

The Elder Futhark: Hagalaz

The ninth, and first rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Hagalaz, which corresponds to the “H” sound in the Latin alphabet (the alphabet we use).  This is a probably one of the most negative runes you can get, whenever it comes up. It does occasionally have positive sides, but I’ll talk about that later. It is the rune of disruption, hail, natural destructive forces, and uncontrolled chaos. Where Wunjo is an excellent rune to get, Hagalaz is the exact opposite. When I see Hagalaz in a reading, I take a deep breath and know that it’s going to get rough for a while.

Hagalaz‘s Meaning


In Anglo-Saxon Hagalaz is spelled Haegl, and in Old Norse it is Hagall.  Hagalaz is the rune of hail–a destructive and uncontrollable force in nature.  No doubt hail wreaked havoc on our ancestors, damaging crops and homes, and possibly causing injury if you were outside in it.

While today, we understand that hail comes as a results of convective forces in large thunderstorm cells. The water droplets freeze at high levels, fall, and then updrafts carry them upward with more moisture to freeze again, larger and heavier. The most powerful the updraft, the greater the number of times the hailstone is carried higher to gather more ice. Eventually, it gets heavy enough where even the updraft can’t carry it, and it falls to earth as hail.

Our ancestors knew none of this. Instead, they probably understood that dark, violent thunderclouds with lightning sometimes brought hail, though why or how was unknown. Instead, they knew it was unpleasant and destructive. It was an uncontrollable force of nature that would not be denied.

Divination with Hagalaz

When you get this rune in a casting, it informs you about destructive events, disruptions in your life or plans, and chaos. If your life is in turmoil and you get Hagalaz in the present position, or the matter being considered, chances are it’s just a reflection of your life or plans at the present moment. Maybe it’s something as simple as you being conflicted over something and it is disrupting your life, because of it. People who pull Hagalaz in the present or past position have been feeling like their lives have been spiraling out of control. If you get Hagalaz in the future position, it suggests your plans and life are going to be disrupted and you’re likely to feel like you have no stability in your life. In other words, hang on: you’re in for a lot of chaos and destruction in your life, physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.

Hagalaz doesn’t seem to have a positive side to it on first blush. Like all runes, the context of the disruption depends on its position and the runes surrounding it. The runes feed off of each other, creating a broader picture for the caster. Should you get this rune in your castings, you may think it is something huge that will disrupt your life. Well, maybe. The runes don’t differentiate between big and little. It’s up to you to determine whether you get pea-sized hail or whopper softball-sized hail when it comes to your disruption. For example, let’s say you get Hagalaz when you cast the runes about your upcoming wedding. Hagalaz may be saying something as simple weather will delay your travel plans. Or, it might say your fiancee will leave you hanging at the altar. See the difference? You just don’t know.

Some Final Thoughts on Hagalaz

When Hagalaz appears in a spread, you may have a sinking feeling. Don’t, even though you may have some rough times ahead, or glitches that show up in your plans. Hagalaz brings change as well as disruption, and change often is for the better.

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What Should a Heathen Do About the Coronavirus Pandemic?

What Should a Heathen Do About the Coronavirus Pandemic?

If you’re like me, you’re probably concerned about the novel coronavirus pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, or the disease it causes, 2019-nCoV. Now with it rampaging throughout the world, and in 33 states in the US, it’s not a matter of if, but when. As a Heathen, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it to ensure you and your family’s safety. What should you do about the possibility of quarantines and restricted travel? Naturally, the Rational Heathen has her own thoughts on this matter.

Panic Bad; Preparedness Good

As one of the…mumble, mumble people…in the age demographic that is more at risk, I’ve been cursing that I don’t have a way to grow younger. But the first thing I understand is that in any situation, panicking doesn’t do a damn thing. If anything, it only makes the situation worse. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared for any possibility, such as quarantines, restricted travel, and possible shortages of supplies when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unlikely we’ll see the same Draconian methods we’ve seen in China and elsewhere in the world, but there is a possibility, depending how bad the coronavirus pandemic  might get.

My husband woke me up this morning to ask me a simple question. He asked me if I thought it was too early to start planting seedlings when the National Weather Service forecasted temperatures to drop into the 20s. I have a tiny greenhouse, but it’s not heated, so I told him yes, it was too early. I figure when we stay at least in the 30s, I can start planting.

Now, he never has been concerned enough about the garden to ask me about it. I had volunteered the other day that I had seeds that I could plant that would give us fresh vegetables, if there were shortages. But, of course, I’d have to actually plant them ahead of time. Not that I’m a huge prepper or anything. Even so, we have game meat and can hunt small game. I have livestock. I can and dry food. It’s convenient to do so. My basic Heathen habits of keeping and preserving food has already gotten us far ahead of the curve.

What Should You Do About the Coronavirus Pandemic?

At this point, you’re probably wondering what you can do. Maybe you don’t have a small ranch and live in the city or suburbs. I get that.  My soil is too rocky for a garden and the only things I’ve gotten to grow in it is mint, oregano, and thyme. So, I do container gardens. And you can, too, no matter where you are. Check out the Homeland Security’s preparedness pages and prepare a disaster kit for yourself and your family. Planning ahead ensures that you won’t be in panic mode should there be something serious happening.

For the gods’ sake, don’t overbuy stuff. Get what you think you might need should there be an event that quarantines you and your family at home. Remember there are other people in your community who could use the items, too. And while you might be tempted to go Viking with a credit card, that’s just a form of panic. Get what you need, and you won’t fall over dead when the credit card bill shows up in the mail.

Now that the proverbial genie is out of the bottle, the only thing we can do is reduce our contact with sick people, wash our hands a lot, use hand sanitizers, avoid shaking hands, don’t touch our faces, and by the gods, if you’re sick, stay the fuck home.

What About the Gods and the Wights?

If you’re new to Heathenry, chances are you think that praying to the gods for safety or a cure would be the way to go. I am not discouraging you from doing that, but be aware that the gods are not your bitches. In other words, unlike the white Christ, our gods aren’t vending machines. We can perform blots, that is, give them offerings for safety, but they’ll do whatever the Hel they want. And BTW, I don’t believe in Christ for various and sundry reasons, mainly because the stories are blatant rip offs of pagan myths, and no obvious historian who lived during Christ’s time mentions him. It is only some 70 years after Christ do we have anything written about him.

That being said, our gods expect us to handle our own problems. Whether or not you agree with me, humans to a large degree have brought this virus on themselves due to the failure to control our own numbers through birth control until the carrying capacity of the land starts getting stressed and a pandemic hits. And yeah, eating bizarre wild animals that carry coronaviruses isn’t too smart either. Especially endangered species like the pangolin.

Is this a way the Wights are striking at humanity? As a semi-agnostic Wight believer, I can say with all certainty, I don’t know. But you have to admit that when humans are crowded on top of each other, biologically it never ends well. Larger pandemics have occurred with fewer people. Only our technology and medicine have prevented something like the Black Death from happening again. We never learn from history.

The Rational Heathen’s Conclusions

I feel for all the innocents caught up in what is obviously failings on the part of various countries to prepare for an event such as this. If the corona pandemic subsides during the summer, we can expect it to come back with a vengeance in the fall when the cooler weather stimulates its growth and transmission. We just may be lucky that this virus is comparatively mild to what we could get. Stay safe, practice good hygiene, and above all, stay well.

 

The Elder Futhark: Wunjo

The Elder Futhark: Wunjo

The eighth and last rune of Freyr’s ætt is Wunjo, which corresponds to the “W” or “V” sound in the Latin alphabet (the alphabet we use).  This is a positive rune, whenever it comes up. It is the rune of joy, pleasure, kinship, and harmony. I can’t think of a better rune to cast anywhere, so if you get Wunjo, you can feel good about the casting.

Wunjo‘s Meaning


In Anglo-Saxon Wunjo is spelled the same way, and in Old Norse it is Wynn.  Wunjo is the rune of prosperity and happiness. While some interpretations suggest that too much can be a bad thing, in my not so humble opinion we could all use a bit of joy in our lives. In other words, roll with it.

Divination with Wunjo

When you get this rune in a casting, it talks about happiness, pleasure, and joy. If you get Wunjo in the future position, it suggests good things will come to you in the future. Likewise, if it’s the present or the matter under consideration, it’s talking about you being in a joyful place or seeking joy.

Wunjo doesn’t seem to have any negative side to it. Like all runes, the context of the joy depends on its position and the runes surrounding it. The runes feed off of each other, creating a broader picture for the caster. Should you get this rune in your castings, you should be guarded in your reaction, only because there are small joys and big joys. The rune doesn’t differentiate between the two. For example, you may ask if you’re going to win the lottery and you get Wunjo. Okay, that could mean you get the jackpot of $56 million or $10 from a scratch ticket. See the difference? Both are causes for happiness, but getting Wunjo doesn’t mean it’s time to empty your bank account on the lottery.

Some Final Thoughts on Wunjo

I know that this is a short post, but there’s really not a lot to say about this rune when it comes to meanings. When I cast the runes, Wunjo can be rare for me, and I must take into account the rune, its position, and the runes around it. It’s not that I don’t get the rune in castings, but it can appear elusive at times, probably because there’s plenty of chaos in my life. When you get Wunjo, expect something positive, whether it’s big or small.

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