Pagan Wedding Rites

Have you ever wondered how pagans get hitched? If so, read on to find out!

The modern pagan wedding ritual is known as ‘handfasting’. This custom began with the ancient Celts, but many other pagan cultures throughout Europe also adopted a variation of this ritual. ‘Handfasting’ is so named because of the way in which the hands of the couple are bound together, to signify the everlasting commitment they are making, and the love they have for each other. Very little records have survived the intervening centuries, but the modern handfasting ceremony is based in what we do know about ancient European pagan marital rites.

Interestingly, handfastings were originally just one part of a marriage ritual which could last up to a year. It was traditional in those times for most marriages to be arranged by the couple’s respective families. To avoid any undue misery to the bride and groom, the handfasting would be performed as soon as they came of age (usually sometime between the ages of 12 and 16). The couple would then have a sort of trial marriage, living as man and wife for up to 365 days. Once they were sure that the match was a good one, another ceremony would take place in order to seal the deal.

A modern handfasting is performed by an officiate, who can be a pagan priest/priestess or ordained minister. The officiate will usually ask the witnesses (guests) to stand in a circle around the couple, sometimes linking hands in order to form a flow of energy. Handfastings are usually performed outdoors, often at sacred pagan sites or within nature, but they can also be done inside.

A typical handfasting will go something like this:

1. The officiate will welcome the couple and their guests, and explain a little about the ceremony.

2. The officiate will then say a few words regarding the lore of the particular type of paganism that is being used, or perhaps some poems/passages of the couple’s own choosing.

3. The couple will have their hands bound together with cord of their own choosing, braided by themselves before the ceremony.

4. The couple will say their vows (these can be vows they’ve written themselves, or traditional pagan ones).

5. The officiate will close the ceremony, and bless the newlyweds.

(Please note: this is a VERY simplified and brief version of events. Every handfasting is unique, and there are unlimited variations depending on the couple’s preference!)

Even Christians can have handfastings. Some Christians like to have their own form of ceremony as an addition to their traditional faith wedding. They just change the words!

The word ‘honeymoon’ hails from 5th century pagan marital rites. Newlyweds would drink mead (‘honey’) during the first ‘moon’ of their marriage. Mead was believed to possess aphrodisiac qualities, which was thought to aid fertility and form the basis of a strong and happy relationship. Back then, pagan cultures used moon cycles as a calendar.

I may write a more in depth article sometime, so watch this space! Hope you enjoyed reading!

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Norskk: Keyboard Warriors of the North (Part 2)

Most of you will probably remember a post I wrote last year about the so-called ‘Viking’ wannabe organisation, Norskk. In my post, I explained how the pathetic pigs who run the group bully and belittle anyone who crosses their path, and spew their racist, misogynistic bile, protecting themselves under a shroud of anonymity.

You may also remember that they challenged me – a woman – to a ‘Holmgang’, and posted my name and photo all over their social media pages so that their followers could bombard me with insults (if you can really call ‘fat whore’ an insult – its hardly original! Haha).

Anyway, once all this died down, I simply gave Norskk a wide berth. There’s no point attempting to fix stupid, is there? Well, I’m writing this post to inform you all of some extremely interesting information I’ve recently discovered concerning Norskk… I don’t expect you to agree with me without doing your own research, but I’ve heard this information from multiple sources, which leads me to believe that it is indeed true; take from it what you will.

1. Norskk is NOT the massive corporation it portrays itself to be – it is in fact ran by one man (along with a couple of his cronies): Christophe Fragassi (although he calls himself Christopher Bjornsen in a lame attempt to sound Norse).

2. Norskk is NOT based in Scandinavia as they claim; they are in fact based in Canada. On social media, Norskk lists addresses for their headquarters, which change fairly regularly. Last year, they listed an address in Iceland. An Icelandic follower of their Facebook page visited the address, to find that Norskk was not there. Another address in Oslo (Norway) turned out to be a pub!

3. Despite preaching about masculinity and how homosexuality goes against it, Christophe Fragassi (or should that be ‘FAG-ASSi’? Sorry, couldn’t resist!) is in fact in a gay relationship. There’s nothing wrong with that by the way, I’m just trying to show the hypocrisy of this vile man.

4. Despite claiming to be involved in the military, Fragassi is supposedly NOT a member of the armed forces.

So, to sum up, my earlier theory appears to be correct: Norskk is nothing more than a fake, scam organisation ran by a pathetic little man with a tiny cock and an over-inflated ego he uses to compensate for the aforementioned miniscule phallus. He clearly has a lot of unresolved mummy issues, as he has an obvious vendetta against womankind. Or perhaps too many girls laughed at his small member? He also appears to be uncomfortable with ‘coming out of the closet’ so to speak, as why else would he basically insult gays despite being one himself? I’d imagine meeting him would be a psychiatrist’s wet dream.

The only things this prick has going for him are that he is obviously clever enough to design websites with international domains, and fool a lot of naive people into supporting him.

If you read this, Norskk: I’m not scared of you. Challenge me to a ‘Holmgang’, put me on your stupid list, whatever. I’m really not bothered. One day, you’ll get your comeuppance.

You can keep kidding yourself that you’re ‘Viking’ (which by the way is impossible, unless you’re a modern day pirate. Then again, I suppose you do fit the bill, as you take people’s money under false pretences). Eventually, that shroud of anonymity will fall, and you’ll be exposed for what you really are – a coward and a fraud. One day, you’ll piss off the wrong person, and it’ll all come crashing down around you.

I have no way of knowing if every single fact I’ve written above is 100% true, but I’ve heard it from multiple sources who bear no relation to each other, so personally I’m inclined to believe it. You guys can make up your own minds.

A Comparison of Norse and Slavic Paganism

Although I am predominantly a Norse heathen, I must admit that I do feel a bit of a connection to the Slavic gods. Perhaps this is an ancestral thing, or maybe it is simply because there are so many similarities between the religions in the two regions; hence why I decided to write an article comparing them! I have done plenty of study, but sadly I have discovered that there is very little reliable information published about Slavic paganism that has been translated into English. Therefore, please forgive me and do let me know if there are any mistakes! Enjoy!

Alternative Names

Norse paganism: Asatru (Icelandic, meaning ‘faith in the gods’) / Heathenry (‘heathen’ was once a derogatory term used by Christians to describe pagans, but modern Norse pagans have adopted it as their own).

Slavic paganism: Slavic Native Faith / Vedism / Orthodoxy / Old Belief / Rodnovery (this term varies depending on which Slavic country you happen to be in, but it is believed to be derived from the words ‘rod’ – meaning ‘ancestral’ or ‘indigenous’ – and ‘vera’, meaning ‘faith’ or ‘religion’). Rod is also the name of the supreme god in Slavic mythology, so it could also be translated roughly as ‘faith in Rod’. Interestingly, many who follow Rodnovery avoid labeling themselves as ‘pagans’, instead preferring to class themselves as followers of an ‘ethnic religion’.

Core Beliefs

Norse: followers of Asatru (the modern reconstruction of ancient Scandinavian pre-Christian religion) believe in living their lives – and dying their deaths – honourably. They do not bow down before their gods, but instead ask them for guidance and pay homage to them in a variety of ways including (but not limited to) prayer, rituals, sacrifices etc. They are fiercely proud of their roots, and pay as much respect to their ancestors as they do their gods.

Slavic: followers of Rodnovery (the modern reconstruction of ancient Slavic pre-Christian religion) believe in restoring national spirituality. In fact, many would argue that theirs is NOT a reconstruction, but rather a modern movement based on the folklore and old traditions of their region. They pay homage to their gods, and live rather conservative and traditional lives. They are proud of their history, and wish to uphold the traditions of days gone by. As with Norse paganism, there are also elements of prayer and ritualistic practices.

Both religions are polytheistic, meaning that they recognize multiple deities.

Deities

Norse: Odin, Thor, Freya, Loki, Tyr, etc.

Slavic: Rod, Belobog, Chernobog, Perun, Svetovid, Lada, etc.

It is very intriguing to compare the gods and goddesses of these two pantheons, as they bear striking similarities. For example:

Both Odin and Rod are the ‘chief gods’ of their respective pantheons.

Thor and Perun are both gods of thunder.

Freya and Lada are both goddesses of fertility.

Tyr and Svetovid are both gods of war.

However, one of the differences between the two pantheons is that the Slavic deities tend to have polar opposites of each other. For example:

Belobog (black god) and Chernobog (white god).

Dazhbog (sun god) and Jutrobog (moon god).

There is also a strong concept of the ‘heavenly’ masculine deities, and ‘earthly’ feminine deities (similar to Wiccan teachings).

Mythology

Both Norse and Slavic mythologies speak of the ‘Tree of Life’/’World Tree’.

Norse: Yggdrasil, a colossal ash tree which holds the Nine Worlds. There are also many mythical creatures and beings scattered about the tree.

Slavic: ‘World Tree’/’Tree of Life’, a humongous oak tree which represents the worlds’ axis. Many deities and mythical creatures live within the branches and roots of the tree. It’s branches stretch to the heavens, and it’s roots bury down into the underworld.

Afterlife

Norse: Norse pagans believe that those who die in battle ascend to Valhalla – a golden hall in Asgard (realm of the Aesir gods) – where they will feast, drink, fight and die, only to be reborn and continue this itinerary until Ragnarok (the final battle of the gods, and the end of the world as we know it). Odin and Freya choose half each of those slain in battle. Odin’s choices go to Valhalla, whereas Freya’s choices go to either Helgafjell (a mountainous place which is basically halfway between Valhalla and the next place, which I’m about to explain…) or Hel/Helheim (realm of the dead, presided over by the goddess Hel. Not to be confused with the fire and brimstone of the Christian ‘Hell’!). Only the very bravest of warriors can ever hope to go to Valhalla, whereas those who died of sickness or old age were pretty much destined for Hel. Little is known about Helgafjell, but it appears to be a sort of limbo between the others.

Slavic: there is, sadly, hardly any surviving documents pertaining to the ancient Slavic pagan afterlife. Even more sadly, I cannot find any reliable English translations! So, I am going on pure guesswork judging by the minute amount of information I have been able to find online… There are lots of tales of demonic creatures such as vampires and strigoi, which could suggest a rather grim type of afterlife for some poor souls! I have also read theories suggesting that Slavs also had their own versions of Valhalla and Hel, although I haven’t been able to find a completely trustworthy source, so I am reluctant to publicize this as fact. Another theory is that the souls of the dead went to ‘Nawia’ – the ‘land of eternal happiness’, but that they could return to the land of the living several times throughout the year during rituals dedicated to the forefathers (Dziady). This type of ritual is described in the next section.

Religious Practises

Both religions perform rituals to pay homage to their respective gods, and to attain their favour to ensure a successful harvest or good fortunes (for example). They also both celebrate holidays such as the Summer and Winter Solstices, pre-Christian versions of Christmas (otherwise known as Winter Solstice/Yule) and Easter (Eostre/Ostara/Jare Swieto).

Norse: many Norse pagans perform Blots, which are essentially sacrificial rituals. In the Viking era, blood sacrifices were extremely common, but nowadays it is preferable to pay libation in leftover food or drink!

Slavic: similar to Blots, the Slavs also made offerings of food and drink to their gods and goddesses, as well as blood sacrifices in ancient times.

Another similarity between the ritualistic practices of the two religions is the ways in which they conversed with their dead; the Norse celebrated Alfablot, which occurred around the same time as the modern Halloween. They would place offerings and recite poems upon the burial mounds of their ancestors, and they also believed that the dead walked among them during the ritual. Slavic pagans also offered food and drink, and lit fires in cemeteries to celebrate their own ‘day of the dead’ (now called ‘Zaduszki’ in Poland, although it is still celebrated in other Slavic countries under different names). They also placed pieces of wood at crossroads in attempt to point the way to back to heaven, in order that the souls of the dead would not become trapped in the mortal world.

I’m still researching Rodnovery, so once I have some more information, I may write another article! But I hope that you enjoyed reading my comparison. I think you’ll agree, they both have much in common!

 

 

Another Controversial Post

Call me a hypocrite if you will, but I’m starting to develop a real grudge against the Abrahamic faiths, despite previously writing about how we should all try to respect each other.

I am generally an easygoing person. I try my best to be respectful and tolerant of others’ beliefs. But after a number of negative encounters, years of extensive research and much consideration, I am sorry to say that my hatred and disgust has grown far more than I ever anticipated.

Just to clarify, I do not despise every single person who believes in Abrahamism. It is the organised religions that I have an issue with.

As a heathen, my beliefs teach me to respect only those who afford me the same level of respect in return. The majority of my personal experiences with Christians in particular have not shown me any evidence of even one iota of respect. I have been ridiculed, insulted, attacked, and (rather hilariously) feared. I have been judged unfairly, as it seems that being a decent human being is not possible if I happen to be heathen. They are suspicious of me, and aren’t interested in educating themselves.

I find it quite ironic that our pagan religions are even more ancient than theirs, yet they are still living in the Dark Ages if their treatment of us is anything to go by. We have evolved over the centuries, but they are still itching to burn witches.

Countless people have been murdered by the church for suspected ‘witchcraft’ and hereticism over the last 2000 years. Of course, pagans killed Christians too, but I suspect that if the actual statistics were ever known, Christian on pagan killings would be far higher. They preached peace and tolerance, and spoke of our ‘savage’ ways, yet they merrily tortured and slaughtered our kind.

If a priest wears a dog collar, his flock somehow see him as saintly and without fault. So what if he sexually assaults little children? Of course, not all priests are pedophiles, but many are protected by the church, and never face justice for their terrible crimes. If a nun wears a habit, she can enslave unmarried mothers and sell or have their infants killed. Again, she will forever remain saintly in the eyes of the church, and she herself will sleep soundly believing that she is righteous and untouchable.

Please don’t assume that my harsh judgement of Christianity/Catholicism is based purely on my own experiences – it is also based on cold, hard facts.

I have just finished reading a book entitled ‘The Baby Snatchers’, which recounts the harrowing tale of what an unmarried mother in 1960s Ireland suffered at the hands of the Catholic church. The pain and degradation she experienced was truly horrendous; sadly, she was one of thousands, if not millions who’s lives were ruined, babies were stolen and who’s hearts were ripped out by the church. Many women who found themselves in the same situation were raped, but they were still labelled as whores.

As well as physical abuse, mental abuse is rife within the church. I’ve met many people who escaped the evil clutches of the faith they were born into, only to suffer a lifetime of guilt for doing so. They were disowned by their families, forced to live in exile, still tortured by the remnants of years of indoctrination. They are helpless, unable to fend for themselves, and find it incredibly hard to adapt to life on the ‘outside’.

How can anyone of sound mind study the Abrahamic religions, and fail to notice the sheer hypocrisy? And how can they not see the blatant plagiarism of pagan faiths, which they claim to hate so much, and which existed long before their own?

The church is purely a business. They may play the part of the charitable good-doers well, but at the heart of it all, its a clever money making scheme.

The Pope gives sermons on how we should all fight to end world hunger and poverty, yet he doesn’t give away much of the church’s vast wealth. The Vatican Archives houses thousands of priceless artifacts, along with documents pertaining to heresy and science which they want to remain locked away from their flock. If they don’t agree with something, they destroy or hide it.

It is mass brainwashing… And quite frankly, the sheer scale of the problem is terrifying. Poor, blind lambs trustingly following their rich, smiling leaders to the slaughter, nourished by an ever flowing sour tasting milk of lies and deceit.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t believe in god; if the Christian god calls to you, I have no issue with that. But I would urge you to avoid subscribing to any kind of organised religion.

Organised religion leads to extremism. I am even wary of certain ‘pagan’ groups, who also spread falsities and extremist propaganda.

How can our species continue to evolve and, more importantly, survive if a large percentage of the earth’s population are unable to think for themselves?

Apologies for the rant, but I had to get it off my chest. Feel free to comment with your own opinions, even if you disagree. This is purely my own personal viewpoint.

My Thoughts on the US Military Allowing Heathens to Have Beards

Source: https://americanmilitarynews.com/2018/04/a-us-soldier-who-worships-the-norse-thunder-god-thor-just-got-permission-to-keep-his-beard/?utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=alt&utm_source=militaryworld

I’ve just read an article regarding a Norse heathen member of the US military being allowed to have a beard for religious reasons.

I must confess, I’m in two minds about this… On one hand, its great that the US military are more accepting of pagan religions nowadays than they were previously; but on the other hand, having a beard is not a religious rite for a heathen.

Nowhere in our historical texts does it claim that a heathen man MUST have a beard. There is absolutely no religious reason why any man should or should not have a beard.

Therefore, in my opinion, a heathen soldier demanding that he needs to have a beard seems a little petty, not to mention irrelevant.

What are your thoughts on this?

My Moravian Adventure

Hi all, I thought I’d write a small post while I have WiFi!

As you may know, I’m currently on holiday in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic (as that’s where my fiancé is originally from). We are staying with his family, and I’m having a great time exploring this beautiful but underrated country.

When most people go on holiday to the Czech Republic, they tend to go to more ‘tourist friendly’ places such as Prague. However, I’m currently living in a real Czech house, with Czech people, and their traditional food and drink. Its so much better than the typical tourist experience (in my opinion anyway!).

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much food, or drank so much beer in my life – let’s hope I don’t get stranded here, as I’m not convinced I’ll be able to fit into the seat on the plane home!

The people are all so friendly, and the pace of life here is so much slower. There’s amazing history and architecture everywhere you look, and even in big cities such as Brno (the biggest city in this region) you are still surrounded by nature.

The main reason I’m writing this post, though, is to point out that heathenry is generally very well accepted here. Despite this being a deeply Catholic country (there are reminders of this everywhere you go), the people here – including the older generations – don’t judge anyone for their religious beliefs, as long as you respect theirs too of course.

A few members of my fiancé’s family were interested in my heathen tattoos, and wanted to know their meanings. Once we explained, they still didn’t think any less of me, which is quite alien to me after living in rather judgemental, intolerant England all my life!

The scenery here is stunning, and despite being most deeply connected to the Norse gods, I can feel the Slavic deities around me. There’s something incredibly spiritual and ancient about this land, and something about it calls to me. Perhaps this is due to some of my ancestors being Slavic, or maybe I just have more of an awareness of such things, I’m not sure.

My language skills are diabolical, but hearing the Czech language all day every day, I’m slowly picking up the basics. Luckily my fiancé is a brilliant translator!

Anyway, sorry for rambling on and on… I hope you’re all having a great time wherever you are. I promise I will post some more articles as soon as I’m home!

Zatím ahoj (goodbye for now)!

Issue 1 of the MNH Webzine Has Been Published (Finally!)

Hi all, just a quick update… If you’re already on the mailing list, Issue 1 should land in your inbox within the next couple of hours! If you aren’t on the mailing list, please send a message to Karen.mnhteam@gmail.com to request your free copy!

I’m still experimenting with software/formats, so I can promise you that future issues will be bigger and better!

Hope you enjoy it! Many thanks to my fellow blogger Paul (www.heathenembers.WordPress.com) for his contribution!

If anyone else would like to contribute – as a one off or regularly, there’s no commitment! – please get in touch!

Why I’m Not A Fan Of ‘Vanatrú’

Recently I heard the term ‘Vanatrú’ for the very first time; I’ve been a practising heathen for over a decade now, and a keen student of all things Norse related since early childhood, so as you can imagine I was curious to see what I was missing out on!

The answer? Not a lot, really. After some investigation, I learned that ‘Vanatrú’ is defined as the religion of those whose patron deities belong to the Vanir (as opposed to us regular followers of Ásatrú – meaning ‘faith in the gods’, or, as some see it, ‘faith in the Aesir’).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but labelling and dividing ourselves into categories seems rather Abrahamic if you ask me!

Who cares which group of deities is your favourite? We are all heathens, we all honour gods from the Norse pantheon, therefore we are the same as far as I’m concerned!

If our community continues to segregate itself, where will it end? Will we be calling ourselves Jotuns? Will we be labelling ourselves in honour of creatures such as Fenrir or Jormungandr? Aside from appearing ridiculous, we also risk becoming disunited, which (as proven by the Abrahamic faiths) nearly always ends in disaster!

We are HEATHENS. We have no need for categories or labels – all we need is our gods, our beliefs and each other!

My Religion Is A Symptom Of My Mental Illness (Apparently)

As some of you may know, I suffer from bipolar disorder. It has caused a lot of issues for me in the past, but I have been coping much better in recent years thanks to medication. My heathen beliefs have also encouraged me to find my inner strength, and to never give up.

Well, I still see my psychiatrist regularly. He was very interested to find out more about my Norse tattoos, and we had an in depth chat about my religious beliefs. I explained to him that I think of heathenry as more of a lifestyle choice than a religion.

He asked a lot of questions regarding how heathenry makes me feel, and how it affects my life. I was honest, and told him that my beliefs have helped me just as much as (if not more than) the medication and therapy.

He changed the subject after a while, and I didn’t think anymore of it…Until I received a copy of my patient care plan (sent from psychiatrist to my doctor, but I opted to receive copies for my own personal records).

In the most recent one, my psychiatrist informed my doctor that I’m suffering from ‘religious delusions of the Norse variety’. I won’t go into too much detail, but he basically seemed to think that my beliefs are all a part of my illness, as many bipolar sufferers have a religion complex, especially when manic.

I’m looking forward to my next psychiatrist appointment so that I can put him straight! Yes, I will admit, I have (in the past) had hallucinations or heard what I perceived to be the apparitions or voices of the gods. I was extremely ill, the worst I’ve ever been, and I now see that it was all just in my head. I may have mental health problems, but I am able to differentiate between reality and fantasy (even if it sometimes takes me a while to come to that conclusion!).

So, I could understand it completely if I’d been showing signs of those previous hallucinations… But I had an open, honest and frank discussion about my religious views. I was not having ‘delusions of the Norse variety’!

I wonder, would he have referred to the religion in such a derogatory way if I’d been Christian or Muslim for example?

Its sad but true: we are rarely taken seriously.