Norse Influences on the English Language 

In the latter end of 2017, the idea of England still bearing a huge legacy passed down by viking invaders 1000 years ago may sound laughable to some people. But the truth is, there are literally hundreds of clues in English language, place names and even politics, which clearly show the influence that Norse people had on our small island nation!

Language:

Many every day words in the modern English language are actually derived from Old Norse. These include: berserk, ugly, muck, skull, knife, die, cake, trust, though, and, it, at, that, odd, likely, same, their/they’re, they, gift, thin, wrong, thrust, club, ransack, slaughter, bylaw, heathen, hell, husband, law, sale, skill, steak, Yule, thrall, thrift, bug, bull, reindeer, skate, wing, sleuth, snare, fog, bleak, flat, rugged, dirt… plus many, many more! The Gaelic languages spoken by Irish, Welsh and Scottish folk are also closely related to Old Norse. 

Place Names:

There are lots of places in the British Isles who’s names are derived from Old Norse; many were even named by the vikings themselves! Such locations include: Hulme, Towton, Octon, York, Whitby, Sheffield, Harrogate and Scarborough to name but a few! Place names ending in ‘-by’ and ‘-gate’ are particularly reminiscent of Old Norse. Such names are most common in the north of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall, although what little is left of England has also been forever changed by the vikings, just in a less noticeable way! 

Politics: 

In England – and more or less every other country in modern Europe, and indeed further afield – political procedures and traditions stem from pre-Christian Scandinavia. What began in Norway and surrounding nations was then continued in Iceland (where it progressed into a friend more recognisable form of parliament at the ‘Allthing’, held regularly at Thingvellir). It was then implemented similarly all over Europe. 

There are so many other examples that I could mention, but suffice to say that the UK is very much true to its viking roots even after all this time! You certainly don’t have to look very far to discover the evidence…

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The Aryan Misconception 

Whilst perusing the heathen/pagan pages on social media, as I often do, I seem to come across the term ‘Aryan’ a lot. Usually, it’s being used by so-called Folkish heathens to describe their ethnicity, closely followed by a bunch of white supremacist bullshit. Seeing these people use the term ‘Aryan’ to describe their own ethnicity makes me laugh every single time – and here’s why…

Most people seem to think that ‘Aryan’ is a by-word for ‘white’, and indeed, it’s often used to describe people with white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. But this is not truthful to its origins!

‘Aryan’ is a word first used to describe Indo-Iranian people living in India during the Vedic period (Iron Age). It is derived from the place name Aryavarta, from whence these people came. Originally, the term ‘Aryan’ simply referred to a person’s geographical location, and also hinted at nobility. The main thing to take note of here is that, even during those ancient times, it was never used to describe a race – instead, it was a word to describe the culture, language and religion of that particular part of the world.

Another huge misconception is that Adolf Hitler pioneered the idea of ‘Aryan’ being used to describe race… Actually, this ideology was started by Arthur de Gobineau – a 19th century French aristocrat who decided that white, blonde Europeans were some sort of ‘super race’, who’s gene pool was gradually being depleted by mixing with people of other ethnicities. He labelled these so-called perfect specimens as ‘Aryans’, and it was his written works that greatly influenced Hitler’s opinions on race around a century later.

When you know the origins of the term, it quite frankly sounds ridiculous when modern ‘heathens’ (I use that term as loosely as possible) use it. Yes, as a Folkish heathen you may have certain preferences – such as choosing only to mate with others of your race – in which case, the modern definition of ‘Aryan’ probably suits you. If so, that’s your prerogative.

But considering that Ásatrú is basically a reconstruction of ancient beliefs and culture, falsely using an ancient term in the wrong context seems pretty hypocritical if you ask me!

The Viking Afterlife 

Where did the vikings go when they died? In this post, I will explain that the Norse afterlife is not as simple as it may seem! 

When a Norse person died, they would have ended up in one of the following places:

Valhalla: this is the most known about of all the realms of the viking afterlife, but in reality, only the warrior elite could ever hope to go there! Predominantly full of men, males would become Einherjars – warriors training and preparing for the final great battle of Ragnarök. The few women who resided in Valhalla were known as Valkyries, and they would gather fallen warriors from the battlefield and bring them to Odin in Valhalla. 

Fólkvangr: this realm is ruled by the goddess Freya, who chooses half of all men slain on the battlefield and brings them to Fólkvangr. Odin takes the other half to Valhalla. 

Helgafjell: translated to ‘holy mountain’, Helgafjell was supposedly a place of great merriment and warmth. It was also a sacred place, where the dead would live lives very similar to the ones they’d left behind. 

Hel: ruled by the goddess of the same name, Hel is a place for those who have died of old age or disease (or pretty much anyone who did not die in battle). Most sources are quite contradictory regarding what Hel would have been like, with some claiming that it was a horrible, forboding place, such a terrifying prospect that men would pierce themselves with spears in an attempt to convince Hel that they had indeed died in battle, and therefore avoid going there. Other sources state that there were lavish feasts, so it may not have been as bad as it is sometimes portrayed. 

I aim to write a longer post about the Norse afterlife very soon, so watch this space! 

Norskk: The Keyboard Warriors of the North 

Those of you who are active on social media may have come across a page called Norskk – an organisation who claim to offer viking style combat training, amongst other things. 

When I first discovered Norskk a couple of years ago, I initially agreed with the majority of their posts. But over the course of that time, they gradually began to irritate me with their increasingly misogynistic posts. 

I’m no feminist. I don’t believe that women should be given any special treatment simply because they don’t have anything hanging between their legs. But a while ago, Norskk posted a rather derogatory post about females in the viking age.

According to Norskk, females would never have had any combat skills, and basically only had four uses: cleaning, cooking, fucking and breeding.

I politely pointed out that, logically, most women in the viking age would have known at least some basic self defence – after all, while the men were away raiding distant shores, their homelands were vulnerable to attack. But the admins of the Norskk page threw their toys out of the pram as usual, and instead of disagreeing with my argument using facts, preferred to simply insult me and challenge me to a ‘Holmgang’!

First of all, Norskk, it’s the 21st century – nobody does Holmgang anymore. Secondly, threatening a woman and attempting to humiliate her over the Internet is hardly the viking way!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bothered on a personal level, as I’m not easily offended. But plastering my profile picture all over your page for your loyal band of fuckwit followers to make crude insults in the comments, all the while hiding behind your anonymity, is pretty pathetic!

I’m only writing this post today because I’ve seen several other posts from people who have also been victimised by Norskk. It seems that the admins simply cannot stand other people disagreeing with them, and definitely can’t handle others being more knowledgeable!

They are misogynistic, borderline racist cowards who stain the viking name.

Their ‘Holmgang Register’ on the official Norskk website is a rather amusing (and pathetic) joke, and I’ve been told that the address listed at the top of their page is actually fake – it’s supposedly the address of a care home for elderly people!

When anyone speaks out about their ridiculous behaviour, they are threatened with legal action.

The day I take their immature threats seriously, will be the day that they finally come out from behind their computer screens and show themselves, and reveal their true identities. But I suspect I’ll be waiting a long time for that!

If you are truly dedicated to studying the ways of the vikings and/or paganism, avoid Norskk at all costs. They are nothing but a bunch of fraudulent bullies.

Rise of the ‘Christian Pagans’

‘Why on earth is a heathen blogger writing a post about ‘Christian pagans”, I hear you cry…

Before I begin, I will warn you that what you’re about to read may be quite controversial (or at least it has been a taboo subject if my many debates on social media regarding this subject are anything to go by). I don’t expect you to agree with me, but I do ask that you read this post right through until the end before commenting, and that you respect my right to have my own opinion.

I first came across the term ‘Christian pagan’ in a book about Wicca, which my curious 10 year old self purchased from a secondhand book shop many years ago. From what I remember, the book stated that many Wiccans also combine elements of Christianity into their personal faith. 

If you are one of those people, then fair play. You have a right to practise your faith however you want. But to me, this is nonsensical and borderline ridiculous.

How can you intertwine European paganism with Christianity – a religion which originated from the deserts of the Middle East? In my mind, this is hypocritical and, quite frankly, an insult to those who walked before you.

I shall use myself as an example: I grew up in a predominantly Christian family, although my mother has always maintained a strong connection to paganism, and refused to let my father baptise me. It was her belief (and rightly so) that I should be allowed to choose my own faith, when I was old enough to do so.

I was born and raised in England, but from as far back as I can remember, I have never felt truly at home in this country (nor in this century!). While other little girls were begging their parents to buy them Barbie dolls and princess dresses in the toy shop, I was running straight past them to the viking/knight figurines.

While other children were building sandcastles on the beach, I was standing barefoot in the surf, dreaming of distant shores.

When I was a teenager, and all my friends were planning holidays to New York or sun-drenched Caribbean islands, I was dreaming of the chillier climate, windswept heathlands and dense pine forests of Scandinavia. I longed for nature, and the simplicity of years gone by.

Until I was around 20 years old, I never really understood why. It was then that I researched my family history, and discovered that I have strong roots on the European mainland – in particular, the Germanic/Scandinavian countries. Even in my English family history, most of my ancestors lived in what was then known as Northumbria – an area of the country which was, for a long time, ruled under the Dane Law. 

Even now, despite never visiting the nations of my ancestors, I feel a strong connection to their homelands. I also feel an overwhelming pull towards their native gods, which is impossible to ignore.

Because of this, I simply cannot understand why so many people in the western world consider themselves Christian. Yes, the religion has been ingrained into our cultures for generations, but it is most certainly NOT indigenous!

One might argue that Christianity is similar to paganism, because many so called ‘Christian’ traditions originated from those of paganism. Whilst this is indeed true, for me it is like buying a pair of fake Louboutin shoes: you can kid yourself that they are the same as the real thing, and you may even be able to convince other people, but in your heart you will always know that they are nothing but a cheap imitation.

Another reason why I personally cannot condone the combination of a pagan faith with an Abrahamic one, is because it is a great insult to our pagan ancestors. If you have European roots, the chances are that many of your ancestors were pagan at one time – they must be turning in their graves to think that their descendants are worshipping the god of their enemies! They must also see it as a great insult for a descendant of theirs to be combining paganism with Christianity.

I’m sorry if I’m offending anyone with this post, but I feel that it needs to be said. Being a ‘Christian pagan’ is tantamount to being a European-born person who practises the religion of an African tribe; you can believe in it, and you can practise it, but you can never truly be a part of their faith.

Unless you have a blood or ancestral connection to the land of your faith, or you have lived there long enough to immerse yourself in the local culture, you cannot ever really claim to believe in their religion.

Before I receive the standard death threats/messages accusing me of being a racist, please read more of my blog posts. I am NOT racist! I have the utmost respect for all human beings, as long as they respect me in return. I also believe that anyone should be allowed to practise whichever religion they choose, but I still stand by my previous point – namely, that they can never truly be a part of that faith unless they have a connection!

People say that the vikings were savages, and that they left a trail of death and destruction in their wake as they raided and pillaged their way around the known world; but they fail to see that the Christians were just as bad, if not worse. 

Vikings colonised and visited many different countries, and for the most part they were very tolerant of different cultures and religions… Christians invaded our shores, and gave the pagans two choices: conversion or death.

The thing which baffles me the most is that, a thousand years later, the western world is still very much a slave to the primitive desert death cult which raped our indigenous cultures and beliefs so long ago. Christianity has become synonymous with European culture, and that truly saddens me.

Also, Christianity is monotheistic (meaning that they worship only one deity), whereas paganism is polytheistic (meaning that we worship multiple deities); of course, many will say that it’s acceptable to simply add the Christian god to your list of pagan gods, but for me this is hypocritical and just plain wrong.

Perhaps ‘Christian pagans’ are just confused, as they were raised to be Christians but later realised that Abrahamism wasn’t for them. Maybe they lack the confidence to completely reject the faith they were indoctrinated into from birth, so they prefer to stay in between, just in case they are wrong. Or maybe it is to appease their intolerant families.

Whatever the reason, I completely disagree with it. I explored and studied many different theologies – including Abrahamic religions – before deciding on Ásatrú. But once I’d decided, I devoted my life, heart and soul to it. For me, there is no in between.

Combining different traditions and beliefs is natural progression for humankind, yet to me it seems very unnatural.

One thing is for sure – ‘Christian pagans’ don’t stand a single chance at getting into Valhalla, no matter how brave or valiant they are!

Thank You! 

As I write this, I currently have:

• 398 likes on my Facebook page

• 409 followers on my Facebook page

• 43 followers on my blog

• 100 post likes on my blog

• 84 followers on Instagram 

Thank you to everyone for all your support! I only ever intended Modern Norse Heathen to be a personal project for my own pleasure, but having such a big (and rapidly growing) following is inspiring me to take things further! Great things are on the horizon… Watch this space!

Please continue to like & share my posts, blog and pages! Thank you and skål!

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Why are so many people drawn to the ‘Old Ways’?

Heathens, pagans, wiccans, witches, even Buddhists – they all firmly reside in the category known as ‘the old ways’.

 As the name implies, these faiths are all based upon ancient beliefs, practised by our forefathers long ago; so why have we seen a resurgence in their popularity in recent years?

For a lot of people, sadly, it is simply a trend. It is deemed highly fashionable to practise elements of Buddhism for example, hence why I mentioned it above. Yoga, meditation and powers of the mind are all ‘buzz words’ within certain social circles in our society.

Often, its the same with pagan faiths – people think that it makes them sound cool and interesting. 

But what about the majority of us – people like myself who feel a genuine connection to days gone by?

Perhaps this is purely my own opinion, but my best guess would be that the modern world has overwhelmed us as a species. The human race is ill-equipped to deal with the constant stress, lack of proper exercise/mental stimulation, lack of real socalizing and artificial diet, etc.

All of the above can have an enormous impact on a human being, and not just in terms of our health, but also in terms of our souls. Before you assume that I’m going to start telling you a bunch of hippie mumbo-jumbo, please read this right through until the end!

As a heathen, and also as a human being (as a species sometimes we feel a need to believe that something will ascend from our mortal shells and continue our lives elsewhere), I believe in the concept of a soul. It is comforting to think that there is another life beyond this one, although I guess this could be considered a weakness rather than a blessing depending on how you look at it. But anyway – back to my main point!

If we can’t make our souls happy, then it stands to reason that we would feel a sense of yearning and loss. Its as if we have almost completed the jigsaw of life, only to find that there is one crucial piece missing.

Financial and material gain may ease the burden and stress, but if we take all of that away, what are we left with? The answer is, sadly, nothing. We have evolved, far surpassing our ancestors in terms of technology, but we are still slaves to our primal instincts. In most people these instincts have been dulled, but even deep within the subconscious of a very materialistic, wholly modern person, they still exist.

You can train a dog to be obedient. You can even teach it to perform tricks on cue. But they will still bite you if those animal instincts kick in! We humans are no different. 

The social and technological whirlwind of modern mankind’s own creation is an overload to our delicate senses. Deep down inside of all of us, our souls are screaming. There will always be a yearning – an urge to revert back to the age of simplicity, to go back to our true, feral selves.

A great example of this is in a movie called The Village. Yes, its just a movie, but the sentiment is very much relevent. It definitely strikes a chord within me, anyway.

The elders of the village were once high-flying businessmen and women. The hustle and bustle of life in New York City eventually became too much for them, so they clubbed together to buy a plot of land in the middle of nowhere. They then began to live like their ancestors would have in the 16th – 17th century, and raised future generations to do the same. Their lives became simplistic and relatively stress-free. 

I’m not saying that we should all run away and cut ourselves off from the rest of the world – as much as I’d love to! – but I do believe that we should all take time out of our busy lives to reconnect with our primitive selves. 

Go camping or hiking in the wilderness, or even just switch off your phone for a day! I promise you, it will definitely help you to quench the thirst for the ancient times.