Claiming the Heathen [Heidhrinn] heart – you aren’t doing it wrong
There are many in the Heathen community who are very quick to pronounce “you are doing it wrong!” Especially when it comes to practices of a magical, modern, or “not found in the lore.” What those attitudes fail to recognize or acknowledge (in their own idea of what heathenry was) is that in the random time period they select as THE point for all things heathen/asatru is that even at that point – they were practicing UPG (unverified personal gnosis), modern practices, and WITHOUT the “lore”.
In this book, Freyjason has created a dialog and sacred safe space in which those who feel the call of the Northern Gods, Goddesses, and Beings can practice in a modern context in ways that they sense those same Gods and Beings are leading them. Freyjason has a very deep connection to many of the God/desses with very intense and personal relationships as well as knowledgeable foundation of the lore, sagas, Old Norse language, and archaeological findings.
This foundation is a great starting point to bring what we can know from the past, even mixed with the suppositions and practices that have become established from hopeful surmisings, and provides a way that one with whom this resonates can implement in their day to day practice. The end goal of the book, in my first reading, seems to be that the most important thing to do is connect with Them on a level that you can. Regardless if it was practiced 1500 years ago, 1000 years ago, 500 years ago, or 30 years ago (regardless of the source of the practice – verifiably historical [rare] or reconstructed (from lore sources) or imagined [what they think how viking-era people should have practiced]).
Establishing a solid foundation
Norse Witch sets out to reclaim the Heathen (or Heidhrinn) HEART. This is accomplished in a writing style that makes the reader feel like they are sitting in the same room with the author and hearing the experiences first hand. Freyjason cuts through the distance with a writing style that engages on many levels during the experience and entices the Heidhrinn heart to wake up and move forward with how the God/desses are interacting with them.
The interesting way the book is structured is a very layered style. It’s not necessarily a progressive A-Z manual of steps, although he has certainly put forth early on very key basic information. What he does do is intertwine the knowledge based information (such as who the Gods are, the nature of the Nine Worlds, basic concepts such as good versus evil etc) with experiential exercises. Such as how to meet and get to know the God/desses calling or one wants to meet.
The first 11 chapters or so I think prepares someone who may be newly experiencing the Northern (Norse) “exposure” of the Nine Worlds and helps them to establish a grounding and center for their exploration. Although I moved through the book at a regular reading pace (I have been a practicing Heathen for over 10 years), I recommend someone newly exploring Norse Witch (Heidhrinn) to move at a slower read and to meditate and explore the referenced companion resources (listed in the back of the book under each chapter) as well.
The remainder of the book goes to a bit more next level practices including Rune work, wight-walking (spiritual walking amongst the realm of the animal and nature spirits – vaettir), deeper manifesting work, and the God/desses who are not as proactive in human activity.
One of the best features of the book is the plentiful amount of rites, invocations and meditations. While most have a similar structure, including using the same openings and setting of boundaries, this is very good to establish a familiarity with how to set and maintain well sacred space and activity within it. This will help it become second nature so that as we grow and progress, we can alter and add different elements, poems, incantations, modes and Beings to work with.
Some “cherries on top”
Artwork throughout and the beautiful cover
Poetry by the author or friends he knows
Freyjason translates his own passages of the Eddas and Sagas used in the text
Traveler’s notebook for the Nine Worlds
Qualities of the Book
Stylistically, the book is a reference volume. It is sized to carry in a backpack or satchel, but at slightly over 400 pages, it is slightly heavy. This may deter from everyday carrying around and light reading, but when taking a long ride, a trip to a quiet place to read – it’s a great size. The dimensions of the book (6 x 9) are just a good size to hold in the hand. The print size and font is extremely friendly on the eyes and throughout the book (including the gorgeous cover) is artwork by the author himself.
Some of the paragraphs could use some breaking into additional graphs to avoid long stretches and the conversational style occasionally seemed to drift before getting back to topic but they weren’t enough to derail the reading experience.
Overall, this is a book of introduction and connection to the [Heidhrinn/Heathen] heart. It will be a very good resource for a small study group of folks who can experience, read, discuss, and encourage each other along the path. Some may find it too basic depending on their style of Heathen practice or length of time practicing. But it is a book that can benefit many who are truly seeking to connect with the Northern Divine culture, called to the magical practice of a Norse Witch, and desire to make that a daily experience to enrich their relationships with Them (Gods/Goddesses/Beings) for a spiritually awakened life here on Midgard.