Freyja Runes & Seidr - first edition March 1999 Imbloc

           Freyja Runes and Seidr

                       This page is dedicated to Freyja & all her folk                                      

 The Goddess Freyja


he Northern Tradition has been, and indeed remains still very much the poor relation of many forms of paganism currently being revived in Britain, especially when we consider the hold that everything “Celtic” has upon the pagan imagination.  To write about an even less well-known subject within what is termed the Northern Tradition due to a serious lack of any substantiated Oral Tradition may therefore give rise to some controversy as to who is right about what? There exist unfortunately in Britain today a massive boundary between the real, serious magical groups whose restriction of membership of their order is limited to the more promising and talented individuals.  This unfortunately leaves the rest of fragmented British “pagandom” with the same boring undemanding public events run by “ego trippers” who encourage those taking part in these events to imagine that they are actually "involved" in "real magic" without the risk of being frightened by actual contact with the Gods.  Another of the problems is that many of those seriously working with the runes have researched their material thoroughly and know it well.

Original Edition of Freyja, Runes and Seidr

As a result of this is it really that surprising on having reached a higher level of understanding about the runes and of their reputed magical applications, these individuals are seldom willing to communicate it to the lay person at grass roots level. Yet another problem surrounding runic scholars is that they feel that they can only communicate or converse with other rune academics of equally high standing, perhaps believing that those not on an equal footing to themselves are not worth talking to anyway. What you have in essence is that at one end of the scale runic inner lore seems to remain within the jealously guarded framework of self-styled nutty occultist, neo Nazi Armanen Orders or “Black Lodge style” secret societies, most of which have some self-proclaimed rune experts within their ranks who see them selves as the sole guardians of their faith.  What is worrying is that they actually believe in their own self-importance.

In his book entitled, The True Believer, subtitled Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements Eric Hoffer ( )  stated:

"Unless a man has the talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden...We join a mass movement to escape from individual responsibility, or, in the words of an ardent young Nazi, 'to be free from freedom.' It was not sheer hypocrisy when the rank-and-file Nazis declared themselves not guilty of all the enormities they had committed. They considered themselves cheated and maligned when made to shoulder responsibility for obeying orders. Had they not joined the Nazi movement in order to be free from responsibility?"

The True Believer is still among us. Read Hoffer's book and decide for yourself who he --or she-- is today.

Looking at the other end of the scale, many of the remaining elements of Odinic reconstruction groups have tied themselves down with inflexible dogma and sectarianism, content to score points against other perceived rival Northern Tradition groups.

Focus seems to have shifted to the messenger rather than to the value of the message?

We have also to consider the strong personalities, which the Northern Tradition seems to have attracted with the obvious Ego led ”My gang is better than your gang” consequences as a result.  The fact remains that an excess of male “born-again” warrior stereotypes tend to dominate the religion and has hampered the revivalism of Odinism in Britain.

Drunkenness, grown up males waving swords, spears and mead filled horns in Pub Moots screaming, “Odin!” or “Thor!” can put out the wrong idea to an ever growing Politically Correct general public awareness view about Odinism as a valid religion and is a poor representation of the vast scope of the Northern Tradition in all it’s vast varied forms.  This further reinforces the image problem, which the Northern Tradition and Teutonism in general suffers in the eyes of the public Worldwide, that is to say their Nazi associations. Unless this imbalance of machismo is redressed within British Odinism, I fear that the feminine aspect of goddess energy cannot manifest and take the religion forward with certainty.  It must be said however; although minor by comparison to male interest that there has been an upsurge of female interest within the Northern Tradition, which I fervently hope, will continue.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Odinism has faired better courtesy of a few inspired North American “Germanics” in the form of Asatru. In 1972, after a long campaign by poet and modern day Gothi Svenbjorn Beinteinsson, Iceland once again has recognised Nordic paganism as a legitimate and legal religion, now called Asatru or Odinism.  (Asatru translates to Faith in the Aesir and Vanir). Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, the son of the farmer Beinteinn Einarsson from Litlabotni-on-Hvaljardsbeach and Helga Pétursdóttir from Drághals in Svindal, was born on Apr. 4, 1924. He died on the 24th of Dec., 1993,  from heart failure. In 1972 he founded the Ásatrúarfélag, the Icelandic heathen organization, of which he was the chief góđi until his death.

Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson

Völuspá performed by Sveinbjörn Beinsteinsson in old Icelandic.

Hlióđs biđ ek allar     helgar kindir (For silence I pray all   sacred children)
meiri ok minni,    mögo Heimdallar (great and small,        sons of Heimdall)

Although debate exists on the actual usage of the modern terminology of Asatru, the followers of Asatru consider it a real religion in every sense of the word. It is an "officially" recognized religion in The United States, Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, England, Ireland, Austria, and Australia.  It is not connected to, or derived from, any other religion. By whatever name seems appropriate, this faith of our forefather's is for anyone who wants to live with honour and worship the Eddic Gods.  Anyone who wants to become a heathen or Asatru can, regardless of gender, race, colour, ethnicity, national origin, or any other divisive criteria. I no longer hold with the modern claim that Asatru is derived from Norse origins from the Danish word Asetro. It was first seen in 1885 in an article in the periodical "Fjallkonan". The next recorded instance was in "Heioinn siour a Islandi" by Olafur Briem (Reykjavik, 1945)." The title means "Heathen traditions in Iceland." Members of Asatru refer to themselves as Heathens, not pagans.

There are some claims that 'Asatru' has its origins in the late 19th/early 20th century C.E. This primarily derives from the assertion that the Nazi-affiliated "Thule Society" incorporated, or at least was similar to, more recent 'Asatru' ideals and beliefs. This is unproven, and the evidence is against such an association since the term itself is of much more recent provenance, and the Thule Society does not even vaguely resemble any modern northern European reconstructions faith system in any way, ideologically or otherwise. Other than that dubious idea, people sometimes attempt to use shoddy points of 'evidence' directly derived from nationalist propaganda common in the 19th century within northern Europe; again, this is not a real connection nor a viable lineage with modern 'Asatru',

Others whom I personally know prefer the term Heithni which comes from the Old Norse word heiđni. This is a word that was used in Elder times to describe the pre-Christian religion of the Northern European peoples. The word Heithinn comes from the Old Norse word heiđinn which we use as an adjective to describe Heithni ideals (ex. Heithinn ethics - those ethics which conform to Heithni), or as a noun to describe those who live by the ethics and world-view of Heithni (ex. He is Heithinn, those people are Heithinn.

With reference to a general idea of what northern Folk believed in; one has to be careful here, though, because there does not seem to have been much of a conscious collective 'ideology' or terminology for Heathenism within Elder Northern Europe until Christianity arrived, Which necessitated having the two faiths be defined so as to have demarcation lines of ideology and beliefs between the two for the purpose of common understanding and knowledge. So... in essence opinions suggests that the term 'Heiđni' (heithni in English orthography) is more historically accurate in referring to any sort of continuation and/or reconstruction of the various beliefs in Elder Northern Europe before the Christian invasion.

Being of European ancestry is not necessarily a requirement.  In the Northern faith, celebrating holidays or rather Holy days and cycles of the year, naming, profession, coming-of-age, marriage, and death ceremonies is practiced within the religion of Asatru. Death is not viewed as an end to all existence. Their view is focused on nature itself, which shows us the continuing cycle of composition, decomposition, and re-composition  (Birth, Death, and Rebirth).  We see that the life we lead should be held with dignity, respect, and energy.

Freyja is often mistaken as a goddess of love, this is certainly inaccurate. She is actually a goddess of sex and wanton as well as a battle goddess. Loki accuses her in the poem Loksenna of sleeping with all the gods.

Valhalla, the "Hall of the chosen slain Warriors" is not the only place of the afterlife contrary to popular Viking stories.  There are many other halls of the Gods and Goddesses where one may dwell after death such as Sessrumnir means “Many Seated”, the Goddess Freyja’s Hall.  But there is also Hel, the home of the goddess Hella who is one of the children of Loki the mischief god. 

At Aegir’s (Lord of the Seas) banquet, Loki is depicted here driven out by Thor for his insults.  Painting by Constantin Hansen Royal Museum of Fine Arts Copenhagen

Baldur lies Dead

Saxo Grammaticus tells the interesting story of how Odin in disgrace is forced to leave his position as a `God', to be replaced by another man who assumes the identity of Odin, only to later, having `payed his due', return and reclaim his position as Odin. Saxo CE.1150–c.1220,was the first important Danish historian. He was in the service of Absalon, archbishop of Lund, at whose suggestion Saxo wrote the Gesta Danorum (or Historia Danica). The first nine books, translated (1893, repr. 1967) Danish History, are mostly composed of oral tradition and legends concerning the early Danes, including the story of Hamlet. The remaining seven books, dealing more with contemporary events, are an extremely valuable source for Danish history. The cognomen grammaticus [learned] was probably bestowed on Saxo after his death.

This is part of the story of Odin's son Balder, in a quarrel with the Swedish chieftain Höder (Hod) over the woman Nanna, which ends first with Balder's death and later the revenge of Balder by Odin's newborn son Bue. It is when Odin seduces the Russian princess to conceive Bue that he disgraces himself, and so badly that `the Gods seated in Byzans' demand Odin's abdication in order to preserve the proper respect amongst the people for the gods. (Odin goes to a lot of trouble and in fact rapes the daughter of the Russian king when she refuses his proposals, which results in Bue.)

The man is banished and forced into exile, whilst another man, Oller, takes his place, as well as the name - Odin. Later, the judgement is revoked and the original Odin is reinstated and Oller seeks refugee in Sweden but is killed by the Danes. The Gesta Danorum is divided into sixteen books, of which the first nine contain mainly mythological and legendary material, which is presented in uncritical fashion. The last seven, however, relating the events nearer Saxo's time, are historical, and are believed to have been written first. For these he relied on oral communication, especially on Absalon's own reports which, so Saxo tells us, he accepted like a Divine revelation. For the first nine books dealing with Northern antiquity the sources are old Danish poems, Runic inscriptions, and Norwegian-Icelandic sagas. These books possess a special interest for us on account of the ancient legendary material preserved therein, much of which has come down to us in no other form.

The Danish History, Books I-IX by Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")fl. Late 12th - Early 13th Century A.D.

Music:- Parchebel's Canon. Artist: Angels of Venice

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