Norse Witch: You’re NOT doing it wrong!

Claiming the Heathen [Heidhrinn] heart – you aren’t doing it wrong

Norse Witch_Connla FreyjasonThere 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 BM Believemixed 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.

BM BalanceThe 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.

BM RitualOne 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

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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.

Wrap Up

BM WyrdOverall, 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.

 

Norse Witch by Connla Freyjason can be ordered on Amazon.  View more of Connla’s writings and artwork at Iaconography.  Look for an upcoming interview for the podcast.

The Heathenry 50 Challenge

Blog component to Gifts of the Wyrd

As I pass the two-year anniversary of the Gifts of the Wyrd podcast, I am very grateful for the wonderful from all who listen join me on the podcast.  It is indeed an honor and joy to be able to have such a wonderful way and opportunity to share our gnosis and experience with our practices and relationships to the Gods, Ancestors, Wights, and other Beings.

What I intend to do is to join the #Heathenry50 to start the process and get into a habit of writing pieces on a regular basis.  These are just my experiences in my practice. They may resonate with the experiences of others, the will not with everyone. That’s ok.  That is what vibrant, living relationships with our Gods, Ancestors, local nature wights, and people around us are all about.

What is the Heathenry 50 Challenge?

That is a good question! It can mean many things but it is a writing project begun by an Anglo-Saxon Druid. The challenge is to write 50 blog posts, one a week for a year. The challenge has 50 topics lined up as a starting point for thoughts, studies, gnosis and experiences about the subject.

I saw him post something about it, likely on a common Facebook group, and decided to join him and use this as the impetus to expanding the content and adding a writing component of inclusive, modern Heathen practices and topics.

I want to thank Matty for announcing the project and inviting other heathens to take part. His blog site is at Meade and Mistletoe where you can read more about why he started the challenge and what he is learning. To share on social media, we will be using the hashtag #Heathenry50.

Why Heathenry 50?

For me, this seemed like a challenge that I would have a difficult time to defend not taking up.  With the interest in doing some writing as a blog, this provided me with 50 topics out the gate. And I can do it along with at least one other person.

I write and edit for my day job, so sometimes the last thing I want to do is add more writing to the day. This gives me a head start on what to write about. Now I just need to compile my thoughts about the topic and how I implement ritual, meditation, magic, and other practices. This will assuredly give me reason to read more books (something I love to do).

There are some really good topics coming up and I look forward to exploring them, exploring how and why they are a part of my practice and learning some new things. Not only in my own research, but in the reading of blog posts after I write mine.

The biggest challenge? Being consistent with a weekly write-up.  But I will do my best to make it happen.

Gratitudes

Thank you, readers and listeners of the podcast. We are in the 21st century on a journey together. We are long separated from a continuous practice and have a heavy background and societal influence from a dominating religion that suppressed relationships and interaction with the Gods and Goddesses of many cultures for a long time.  As Heimdallr’s children awaken to the calling of the Northern Gods (or Others) we restore those relationships to humanity while building a ritual and relational practices that work for us today.

I have been encouraged by many people and thank them all for their many ways of getting me out of my headspace and into action. Among them are two who came into my circle via Facebook. Tonya Threet and Connla Freyason.  Tonya’s album Võluspá has really brought that piece alive for me in a great way. Connla, from Iaconography, has become a really great friend – even though we have yet to meet in person.  He has reminded me not to be too hard on myself and to not listen to the negative feedback that likes to crop in and demoralize our efforts.

Connla’s artwork and upcoming book, Norse Witch, are great connections from the past to the modern spirit.

I am grateful to my mother for teaching me to be kind, giving, fair, and open minded.  And I thank my soon-to-be husband for his constant support and love.  He is a grounding influence that helps keep this airy Aquarian from bouncing like a ping pong ball on a concrete surface.

Let’s Get Started….

And with that, I end the introduction to the challenge and will get started on the first topic and get it posted soon.

Frith Forge Recap: Episode 16

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Episode 16 cross posts an episode from The Troth’s Podcast in which Jan interviews Frith Forge co-organizers Robert Schreiwer (Troth Steersman) and Amanda Leigh-Hawkins (International Relations Committee) for a recap of the Frith Forth conference held in October 2017. The conference was a collaboration of the Troth and the Asatru EU Network. The European co-organizer was Haimo Grebenstein of Verein fur Germanisches Heidentum e.V.

There were representatives from organizations from the U.S. and Europe as well as folks who wanted to connect with other leaders and have a good experience.  Links to the organizations can be found on the Frith Forge event page. Scroll down to the Participants section and click on the logo to conect to a website.

IASC_Logo.pngThe Asatru Summer Camp will be held 28 July – 4 August in Gerolstein, Germany. Please see the IASC website for information and booking details. Attendance for the 7-day camp is as low as 230 Euros including accomodations at the youth hostel where it is held.  Workshops, blots, activities, and most of all – connection with other inclusive Heathens in a fun and comfortable setting.

Frith Forge was sponsored by The Troth.

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Thanks for listening

Visit the following Social Media for The Troth:  Twitter: @AtTheTroth     Facebook: TheTroth1 Website: TheTroth.org   Troth Blog: The Troth

Music:  Intro to episode 16: Stanza 31: Valkyries Assemble from Voluspa by Tonya Threet. available on CDBaby. Facebook page: Tonya Threet

Intro to the Troth’s podcast:  To Hear the Trumpets Call by Hauk Heimdallsman Hauk’s only link is currently on Bandcamp but you can find him on Facebook @HaukMusic. John Hyatt has some copies of the album featuring this song. email at giftsofthewyrd@gmail.com

Outgoing piece from Voluspa by Tonya Threet.  Track 10: Stanza 19 Yggdrasil

All music selections on this podcast are written, produced, and copywritten by their respective creators/owners. They are used with permission.

Teutonic Religion by Kveldulf Gundarsson will be released in Spring 2018 by Saga Press. Facebook: @therealsagapress. www.sagapress.ca

Notes and announcements:

Pantheacon is an inclusive pagan convention welcoming all paths and the people who practice them. It is held in San Jose, CA over Presidents Day weekend and hosts workshops, rituals, discussion, music, vending, new releases, and more. In addition to the official program, groups and organizations open hospitality suites to welcome those interested in learning more about a variety of paths and subjects.

In addition to being safe spaces for conversation and a break from the intense schedules and fun, the suites may also have concurrent schedules of workshops, crafting, and ritual.

The Alliance for Inclusive Heathenry hosts an amazing suite and has a Facebook group @inclusive.heathenry.

Wyrd host, Jan, hosts a suite for divination and oracle practices. Facebook – @divinationsuite  both groups have gofundme pages to help costs for the service to the community.

Check out the Tarot Visions podcast for delightful cinversations with Jaymi and Rosered about Tarot and other divination. Tarot Visions is available on podbean  their Facebook page is: @tarotvisionsus

Runes of the Northern Lights by Paola Tartara. Deck with Runes depicted in a delightful retro style. Beautifully colored. This deckis now available and can be ordered from Llewellyn by your local book shop.

Völuspá cd by Tonya Threet is now available. Tonya sets stanzas of the Völuspá to music. I have a copy of this and really enjoy it. Tonya will be on an upcoming episode.  available on CDBaby. Facebook page: Tonya Threet

Check out The Cartomancer magazine. The Cartomancer is a quarterly journal featuring original content in the form of articles, reviews, artwork and more. The main focus is cartomancy in all of its forms; especially tarot, Lenormand, and oracle cards (including runes).

Housekeeping:

Gifts of the Wyrd contact: Twitter: @WyrdGifts  Facebook: @GiftsoftheWyrd Email: GiftsoftheWyrd@gmail.com

Please leave feedback on iTunes. This helps the podcast to be found easier.

Interested in a rune consultation or bindrune? Email me for availabilty and pricing. GiftsoftheWyrd@gmail.com

Logo Created by Xander Folmer of Huginn’s Heathenhof. Contact Xander for logo designs for all your needs. Logo based on a boar design created by Vanatru Priestess, Ember, to represent the Vanatru tradition.  See episode 7 for an interview with Ember and visit her blog, Ember Voices for more about Vanatru.

Studio recordings by Zencastr and Audacity.

Frith Forge 2017 and Germany Sacred Sites Tour

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Frith Forge 2017

I am so excited about the opportunity to attend The Troth’s first annual International Heathen Conference, Firth Forge 2017!!

“Frith Forge is the space and time on an international level to build alliances, understanding, and friendships among us instead of compartmentalizing further in an industrialized world. Let’s learn from each other with respect and fellowship to forge frith among us. Together we can enjoy this opportunity to discuss inclusion in religion and to promote cultural, religious, and educational exchange.” – from Frith Forge’s Facebook page.

This  looks to be a wonderful 2 full-day conference with presentations by representatives from Heathen organizations from Europe and United States. The conference will be held just southwest of Berlin and will be a great opportunity for socializing and great discussion. If you are able to get to Berlin for this weekend event, please consider stopping in. You can select price from full weekend inclusive of food and lodging, or day attendance options only.

Check out the information on the Facebook page or by emailing: IREP@thetroth.org

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Niederdorla Altar, Opfermoor Museum

German Sacred Sites Tour

Following the Frith Forge conference is an exciting tour of sacred sites and monuments of Germany.  The tour will begin on Sunday from the conference site and return on Saturday 14 October. The last location visited will be north of Hamburg at Haithabu.

“It is intended to be Frith-building and not rush through as many sites-to-look-at as possible. We will have sufficient time to spend at the sacred sites and other places we will visit, to view and “receive” them in a spiritual way,” — Tour organizer Haimo

Tour costs include lodging and some meals. You can do both or one of the two events.

Check out the website here.

I hope to see some there, but if not – there will be follow up on future podcasts.

Hail the Gods, the wights, and our ancestors.

Jan

Wyrd Updates

The last few months have definitely been hectic and have kept me on the move.  In October I went to the Netherlands and had an amazing trip with my partner.  Showing him the land of my ancestors and my homeland was really fun and exciting. It feels wonderful to be back in the country that is a second home to me.

Nehalennia votive stone Leiden NLA wonderful part of the trip was to travel to Leiden to see the Nehalennia votive stones at the Rijksmuseum Oudheden. The stones were carved by merchants to honor her and thank her for their safe travels. Nehalennia is a Goddess of the region and is likely associated with the Vanir. Temple of Nehalennia - Colijnsplaat NL

We later traveled to Colijnsplaat to visit a temple that is maintained on her behalf.  Unfortunately it was closed and we could not find the caretakers, but it was wonderful to make the trek, leave some offerings, and see the temple in person.

 

After returning to the States, I completed some episodes for podcast and in January, we adopted two kittens from the local shelter. They had been there for a while so were a bit wild and in a flurry one day crashed the computer hard-drives. We spent a couple weeks recovering data and then had just raw data (sometimes 3 or 4 copies) but no directory files. So they are just files that are not organized and the recovery often just renumbered the file and did not preserve the file name.  So we are still going through – separating photos from documents and placing them into new folders.

Along with that, a program I use for recording skype calls failed. Fortunately, my friend Lonnie at Weird Web Radio found a very good replacement.  Yeah Lonnie!!!!

Work has had me on travel and some family illness and death have kept me travelling and pre-occupied that I haven’t been able to sit down and work with the new program and get a new episode out.

This podcast will continue and I appreciate your patience as I work on these issues and get order restored. I am in contact with some very cool people about coming onto the podcast and getting back to a regular production schedule.

Thank you again for your continued support and patience.

May Braggi guide the podcast and may Nehalennia watch over our travels.

Jan Tjeerd

Vanir Challenge Coins

Being a veteran of the military, I love challenge coins. They are great items to share with others and have a bit of camaraderie with others of similar experiences. The coins are great collectible items to exchange or give out as a token or reminder of something special. They are usually brass and about 1.75″ in diameter. Some are designed with colors as well.

Last year, I thought it would be great to have a Heathen challenge coin. I decided to honor the Vavanatruboar_fixnir using the Vanatru Boar designed by Ember (interviewed on episode 7 of the podcast). The Vanatru boar is based on an image she found that was discovered on a coin in an archaeological find. She stylized it for use to represent today’s Vanatru movement.

On the reverse I placed the elder futhark runes in circle and created a bindrune talisman for propserity. It is Elhaz bringing the blessings of the Gods into Ingwaz for fertility to go out into Fehu – prosperity.

If you are interested in a Vanir Challenge coin please contact Jan at giftsofthewyrd@gmail.com. $10 for each coin which will pay for manufacturing and shipping in the U.S.  Any proceeds support the podcast and other inclusive Heathen organizations.