Welcome!

This is the post excerpt.

Hello! I’d like to wish you all a very warm welcome to my blog, Modern Norse Heathen.

I am a 24 year old woman who lives in the UK, who was raised to be a Norse heathen.

I have always rejected the idea of organised religion, and instead prefer to practise heathenism – a belief system which allows you to follow your own path, rather than bow down before one deity.

I hope that this blog will help quel any negativity surrounding the heathen faith, and provide you with facts and interesting reading material on the subject.

Feel free to leave feedback in the comments – constructive criticism is always appreciated!

Also feel free to share my posts if you wish. 

Faithless Heathen

I found this interesting.

mainer74

Odin PictureOne of the hardest concepts for me to adjust to when I came to Heathenry was the growing fear that I was doing it wrong, as the deeper into Heathenry I went, the less faith I had.  Now for those of you who are assuming that I was growing to trust the teachings of Heathenry less, or hold our gods in lesser reverence, I think it important to take a second to talk about the definition of faith that we inherit from a Christian European tradition.
Faith, in religious terms is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as follows:
a (1) :  belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) :  belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

b (1) :  firm belief in something for which there is no proof clinging to the faith that her missing son would one day return (2) :  complete trust

There is a…

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An Extract from ‘When the Ice Thaws’ – Chapter 2

“How could you, father?!”

Gyda’s exquisite hands were curled into fists as she glared at the back of her father’s head.

“You know how much I despise that bastard! How could you betray me so?”. King Harald was facing away from his daughter, because he could not bear to look at her. He could tell from the sound of her voice that she was fighting back tears, and it pained him to know that he was the cause of her distress.

Looking down at his own hands, gnarled and knotted like the branches of an ancient ash tree, he replied quietly: “Please do not make this any harder than it already is. You are the most clever of all my children, you of all people understand the pridicament I find myself in. Offering you to Andrei is the only solution, and the only way of avoiding war. Surely you can see that, Gyda?”

Harald could feel Gyda’s eyes boring into the back of his skull. Gyda had been the only one of their six children to inherit his beloved wife Gudrun’s eyes. Harald wondered vaguely if that was why he favoured Gyda more than her siblings.

He did not have the courage to turn and face her, for he knew that if he did she would weaken his resolve. Gyda, and her mother before her, were the only two people in all of Midgard who had ever been able to change the stubborn king’s mind. 

“Do not speak ill of your future husband. He is not a man who takes insults well, and we do not want him to think that you are a disobedient wife. You must make a good impression at all costs. If you love your family and your kingdom, you will make this sacrifice glady. Goodnight, daughter.”

With that, Harald swept from the room, his bearskin cloak trailing behind him. Left alone in the dimly lit room, with only the shadows eminating from the flickering firelight for company, Gyda fell to her knees in despair. 

As her slim frame shuddered with every sob, the young girl felt more lonely than she ever had in her entire life. Every fibre and sinew of her being was screaming, crying out at the injustice of it all, but Gyda knew better than to continue the argument.

Her father had spoken, and that was that. 

Extract from Chapter 1 of ‘When The Ice Thaws’

The fury of a northern winter was always a formidable experience, but the winter of the year 1056 was particularly harsh.

Howling, icy winds tore through delicate human flesh, penetrating the very bones; days were short, and when the brief rays of sunlight succumbed to the darkness once more, the nights were bitter and black. 

Even the most hardened of men were struggling to survive, and many poor farming folk had already perished due to a shortage of crops that year. Even meat was now a rarity, thanks to diseases amongst livestock and now the crippling winter which had felled both beast, and now man.

There were whispers that this was the beginning of Fimbulwinter – the precursor to Ragnarök – which was causing widespread uneasiness and fear all over Denmark, as well as further afield.

Even King Harald was not immune to this harshest of seasons. Indeed, it was the worst he had seen in all his days. But it wasn’t only the weather that was making Harald shiver…

Word had reached him around the end of Autumn, warning him of the colossal temper of King Andrei of Gårdarike (Russia). Andrei was a tyrant who had already exerted his terrible wrath all over Europe, and now he was apparently turning his attentions to Harald’s small nation, which would be easy prey for the bloodthirsty brute of the east. 

Had Harald still been a young man, he might have risked a war with Andrei. But now he was old, and his only wish was to placate his biggest rival. Harald had already converted to Christianity, much to the surprise and disgust of his late wife and subjects. Jarls from all over his kingdom had expressed their disdain for the conversion, and from his many spies Harald knew that they all thought he was growing mad with his age. In actual fact, the king of the Danes was just as sharp minded as he had been in his youth. 

Once a proud pagan and viking, he had only converted to help further his political influence and status. He knew that his small country was vulnerable to attacks from their neighbours, and that having himself baptized was a brilliant way to keep Denmark in the rest of Europe’s affections. Shrewd Harald was content to let his contemporaries and subjects believe in his supposed weakness, for now at least.

He knew that waving one’s axe in people’s faces was not the best idea, particularly when one was growing old and only ruled a small nation who’s inhabitants were now starving and freezing to death.

In order to succeed in politics and kingship, one had to know how to play this elaborate game – and Harald was a master. He knew that once the rivers and seas thawed, and conditions were more favourable, Andrei’s men would make the long journey northwards, and inevitably end up on his doorstep.

Despite his already considerable wealth and status, he was not content. As was typical of Harald’s nature, he always wanted more. That the king of Gårdarike had set his sights on Denmark had rattled the old man.

As he gazed intently at the fire crackling and dancing in the hearth of his opulent home, listening to the sound of the roaring wind and lashing icy rain beyond the ornate wooden doors, Harald finally came up with a plan which he believed would not only gain him yet more fame and fortune, but would also help to deter the advances of the ruthless King Andrei. 

He decided that he would offer his youngest daughter’s hand in marriage. Andrei had already shown a keen interest in the beautiful, but feisty and spirited, Gyda. With her piercing blue eyes and reddish blonde hair, she had attracted the attentions of many men already, much to the annoyance of her father. 

Harald loved all his children, albeit in his own rough way. But his Gyda, his youngest child, was his pride and joy. He had already successfully negotiated the marriages of Gyda’s siblings to noblemen and women all over Europe, but Harald had chosen to save his precious sixteen year old daughter for a higher goal – royalty. 

Offering Gyda to Andrei sounded like an almost foolproof plan, but little did Harald know that this final act of greed would ultimately lead to his undoing… 

Not Relevant, But Maybe You Can Help…

Hi everyone, 

My name is Karen Simons, and my father Robert Simons is currently suffering from advanced prostate cancer. This devastating disease is often difficult to spot until its too late, either because symptoms aren’t as severe or because many men simply refuse to go to the doctor. 

Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men in the UK, which is a massive statistic. 

Sadly, in my dad’s case, the cancer has spread to his bones and is slowly making its way to other parts of his body. For him, this illness is incurable. All we can do now is try to make him as comfortable as possible, and enjoy whatever time we have left with him. 

But in many cases, prostate cancer is treatable. I am hoping to raise money to allow Prostate Cancer UK to help other men who are facing this horrible disease, and hopefully fund further research which could help future patients. 

I aim to walk 100 miles in 2 months with my ponies, Ruby and Freya. We may also incorporate carriage driving into our mission. 100 miles may not seem like much, but for little ponies its quite a distance! 

Please donate using the link below to help me reach my target, and hopefully exceed it – even just £1 can make a difference!

I will post regular updates on this page, as well as my main page (Charity Pony Walks). 

Feel free to share this post to help spread the word. Its time to kick cancer’s ass! 

http://www.justgiving.com/ponywalkforprostatecanceruk 

#ProstateCancerUK #prostatecancer #cancer #charity #challenge #fundraising #equestrian #horses #ponies #walk #trek #kickcancersass

Why We Shouldn’t Rely on Material Possessions 

Our species has always been materialistic to an extent, wanting fine clothing and jewellery to show off status etc. But in 2017, materialism has reached a level which I find extremely unhealthy.

Now, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon up my arse. I wasn’t raised in a piss-poor household, but we certainly weren’t rich by any means. I was lucky enough to grow up with horses, but only because my parents worked very hard doing physical jobs to be able to afford them. They taught me the value of money, and the importance of a good work ethic. If I wanted something, I had to earn it. Some of my fondest memories are of being taken to charity shops to see what secondhand stuff I could buy for £3 or less. I was also a regular at car boot sales, and even now have hand-me-down clothes and equestrian equipment. 

Even if I am lucky enough to have a decent amount of money in my pocket, I still can’t kick the habit of going to secondhand or discount stores. 

I’m not interested in keeping up with fashion, or following trends. I’ve got my own style, and I only buy something if I need/want it, not just because some rich celebrity in a magazine tells me I should buy it. 

If us here in the western world experienced a cataclysm, which is quite possible in the near future, people would be too busy crying over their shattered iPhones and ruined designer clothes to care about food or water. On one hand, this is a good thing – natural selection, survival of the fittest and all that jazz. But on the other hand, its a sad testament to how truly egotistical and materialistic we have become.

When Ragnarök comes, our fancy clothes, jewellery and gadgets aren’t going to save us. And even if that doesn’t happen in our lifetime, when our time on Midgard comes to an end, all these things will be meaningless. In the end, the only things we will care about are the memories and the things we regret. 

Let materialism NOT be on that regret list. Live your life, learn how to survive without the need for new technology or extortionately priced fabrics. Don’t be a slave to your ego. 

Follow your own path, not a celebrity’s. 

4 Things You Can Do to Aid Your Journey into Heathenry 

Many people from all over the world, especially Europeans (for whom heathenry is an ancestral pull), decide that they wish to be heathen. Although this is half the battle won, particularly if you have had to extricate yourself from a web of lies and brainwashing, it can be very daunting for new heathens who are entering into a belief system which they may know hardly anything about.

So, I have compiled a list of things you can do which will ultimately help you on your journey. Enjoy!

1. Read. I cannot stress this enough! Reading, both physical books and the material that one can easily find online through a simple Google search, is the easiest and best way to learn about heathenry. From the sagas and eddas, to the Havamál, and right the way up to blogs like this one, there’s a huge wealth of information right at your fingertips!

2. Immerse yourself in nature. Our gods are most easily found in the wilderness or forests. Being outside in nature is also a great way to combat depression and help to keep us both mentally and physically healthy.

3. Think long and hard. Is heathenry the right path for you? Some people change their minds when they do more research on the subjects, so before you commit to our gods and our ways, its worth being certain (especially if it will cause family problems because of it!).

4. Join Facebook groups/online forums. Meeting other like minded people is a great way to make new friends and learn more about your new path! But its also worth mentioning that you should be extremely careful when doing this – some groups are not as innocent as they seem!

I hope this helps! 

What Makes a ‘True’ Heathen?

Recently, all I seem to read are posts regarding ‘true heathens’. But what exactly would one define as the traits of a ‘true heathen’?

This phrase provokes two very different definitions in my mind:

1. The person could be implying that only certain types of people can call themselves heathen, and that others are not ‘true’.

2. The person could be making a reference to the fact that many people, sadly, fake being heathen because they think its ‘cool’.

To be honest, I think this phrase needs a bit of careful thought. Rather than making people feel excluded, maybe we could start using a catch-all alternative?

We are all invididuals, and that’s great, because that’s how the gods designed us to be. Some people are born into heathenry; others choose to follow that path.

Different people have different interpretations of what it means to be truly heathen, myself included. I’ve had many arguments with self professed ‘true’ heathens who refused to accept my own personal interpretation, nor the ways in which I choose to honour the gods. But is this really such a crime? 

My faith is personal, and I alone decide what I do and how I do it. Some people build shrines to the gods – I prefer to feel their presence when immersed in nature. Some people choose to follow a set path that people on the internet or in books recommend – I choose to forge my own path. Just because someone doesn’t agree with the way you do things, doesn’t mean that you – or they – are doing it wrong.

Sadly, many people seem to think that wearing a Mjölnir pendant and growing a beard makes you a ‘true’ heathen automatically. I’m not trying to judge these guys, they are free to do as they wish, but this can be very misleading to others who instead prefer to practise their faith quietly and more subtly.

Perhaps I’m just thinking too much into this, but I’ve seen far too many new heathens being put off by that phrase. Think before you speak/write is all I’m saying! 

15 Things We Can Learn From Our Heathen Ancestors

I could probably write tons more, but here’s a list of the main things we can learn from our heathen ancestors:

1. Always fight for justice, no matter the cost.

2. Always seek, and tell, the truth.

3. Never back down – stay true to yourself and your beliefs.

4. Honour your ancestors and gods.

5. Learn from your mistakes.

6. Study your enemy – know their weaknesses, and use them to your advantage.

7. Never fight unless you stand a good chance of winning – its always better to retreat, and live to fight another day.

8. Stay loyal to your spouse, family and friends.

9. Love with a passion.

10. Protect those you love.

11. Work hard.

12. Take care of nature.

13. Never show your weaknesses – you never know who’s watching.

14. Take pride in everything you do.

15. Don’t fear death – when your time comes, embrace it!