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Heathen/Pagan Newcomers > Anglo-Saxon Heathenism

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message 1: by Ancestral (last edited Oct 12, 2012 12:29PM) (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal (gaidheal) " Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Magic " by Bill Griffiths;
" The Northern Tradition " by Pete Jennings;
" The Poetic Edda ";
"The Prose Edda: Tales from Norse Mythology" by S Sturluson;
" The Way of Wyrd " by Brian Bates;
"Understanding Wyrd: The Norns and the Tree - An Introduction to the cosmology of Northern Europe spiritual practice" by Jenny Blain;
" Wights and Ancestors: Heathenism in a Living Landscape " by Jenny Marion Margaret Blain;

and the following should then be undertaken:

"Beowulf: A New Verse Translation" as translated by Seamus Heaney;
" Dictionary of Northern Mythology " by Rudolf Simek;
"Eyrbyggja Saga";
" Elves, Wights, and Trolls: Studies Towards the Practice of Germanic Heathenry: Vol. I " by Kveldulf Gundarsson;
"Germania" by Tacitus;
"Gods and Myths of Northern Europe" by Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson;
"King Harald's Saga: Harald Hardradi of Norway from Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla" by Snorri Sturluson, Magnus Magnusson, and Hermann Palsson;
"The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe" by Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson;
"Northern Mythology: From Pagan Faith to Local Legends" by Benjamin Thorpe and Jacqueline Simpson;
"Njal's Saga";
"Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney"
"The Saga of Grettir the Strong";
"The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki";
"The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer";
"The Vinland Sagas: The Norse Discovery of America: "Graenlendinga Saga" and "Eirik's Saga.

If members have other recommendations for newcomers, please list them on this thread.


message 2: by Bryn (last edited Mar 07, 2012 02:16AM) (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments Can I seek opinions on this book?

The Asatru Edda: Sacred Lore of the North, by the Norroena Society

I'll link to Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/%C3%81satr%C3%B...

and excerpt from a review there by a person involved with the book:

"The Asatru Edda" is the very first attempt ever at creating a sacred text for our faith... piecing together every sacred text and epic that is connected to our faith in chronological order, we finally have a body of lore that we can call our own. The Asatru Edda connects our ancient fragments in their original forms like a giant puzzle...as a RELIGIOUS text, unlike anything any of us have ever seen...the favorites are here: Völuspá, Hávamál, Sigrdrifumál, etc. they are simply presented in a new light, in a way that strives to mimic the lore as our Odinist/Asatruar ancestors saw it. We have removed Christian misconceptions and mainstream academic biases, we have reached as far back as we could go...The purpose here is not to create an Asatru "Bible" in the sense of a dogmatic doctrine, but rather to revive our holy storytelling traditions without Christian taint or academic bias.

I'm curious enough to have bought the ebook (can't hurt, it's cheap). Most of the contents I have in scholarly versions and I want them that way; but this project seems worthy to me, and worth a go. Highly contentious, I don't doubt. Interested to hear any thoughts.


message 3: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I'm curious too, but mustn't become too distracted from editing at the moment. I hope you post your own thoughts when you've delved a little.


message 4: by Ancestral (last edited Mar 08, 2012 02:55PM) (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal (gaidheal) I see some review have been posted here at Goodreads for The Ásatrú Edda: Sacred Lore of the North , but have noted references (here and elsewhere) to the inclusion of UPG within the text, perhaps this was done as a replacement for the xian influences which are extracted?


message 5: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments A review here says the book is terrible for what it does with the texts - its changes and its 'paraphrases'. Still, I read the introduction last night and they didn't lose me.

I think they'd have done themselves more justice not to use the word 'paraphrase': the attempt is to get to the bottom of texts that were written in a Christian society. Beowulf, of course, needs much excavation to find a story layer from before Christianity; which is a different thing than 'paraphrased' or 'based on'.

I am ignorant, I simply like the tradition and the poetry; those who worship and know more might either love or hate this one.


message 6: by Tim (new)

Tim Hodkinson (timhodkinson) I'm currently reading The Lost Gods of England . Seems pretty good so far.
The Lost Gods of England by Brian Branston


message 7: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I've added it to my TBR shelf - thanks Tim.


message 8: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments Tim wrote: "I'm currently reading The Lost Gods of England"

I have that. From memory - it's been years - I was a bit dissatisfied, simply in that there wasn't enough. Still, flicking through my copy, I made a lot of marks in it.


message 9: by Jaye (new)

Jaye (xaaniko) I recently read Living Asatru, which was a great introduction to the old ways, a very useful starting point for anyone wishing to explore this topic.

I also recently read Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia, which was Vikernes' own interpretation of the Norse poem Völuspá and what theories he has developed from it. It was interesting, especially for me as he is quite infamous, but I wouldn't attempt it unless you already have your own opinions about it. However, a few things he said did make me think and one even totally changed how I viewed something I never questioned before.

I hope this is useful to you.


message 10: by C-Cose (new)

C-Cose Daley | 75 comments Ancestral wrote: ""
Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Magic
" by Bill Griffiths;
"
The Northern Tradition
" by Pete Jennings;
"
The Poetic Edda
";
"The Prose Edda: Tales from Norse Mythology" by S Sturluson;
"
The Way ..."


Greetings Ancestral :)

I noticed that quite a few of these are coming up as incomplete records in the GR database. If you don't have librarian status, would you mind forwarding the relevant details--title, author, publisher etc.--so that I can complete the records ... I have that "prized" status and would enjoy the work ... lol?

They look quite interesting :)


message 11: by Ancestral (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal (gaidheal) C-Cose: I edited the post to correct the oversights. If you find any more, please let me know to which books you are referring.


message 12: by C-Cose (new)

C-Cose Daley | 75 comments Ancestral wrote: "C-Cose: I edited the post to correct the oversights. If you find any more, please let me know to which books you are referring."

Xclnt Ancestral :)

I'm hoping that I can actually find some of them from a local source ... hence my request :)


message 13: by Ancestral (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal (gaidheal) C-Cose wrote: "...I'm hoping that I can actually find some of them from a local source ... hence my request :) "

Well, some of Jenny Blain's can be purchased direct from her website (I think her author page here at GR links to her blog, which links to the appropriate pages). Many of them can be gotten quite cheaply, secondhand, from various websites and some I managed to mooch (free), such as the sagas.


message 14: by Anna (new)

Anna | 1 comments Hi all. I'm taking a course on anglo saxons and their early literature. Beowulf is required reading :) so i've ordered the seamus heaney version. Do people think it's the best one? I got it because it has the old english text on one side so i can attempt to read the original. We will be looking at pagan beliefs and the transition to christianity in a few weeks so i may just get a couple of the books on the above list to further my knowledge. I am always seeking to strip back the layers of christian influence and discover our true british pagan legacy so am excited to know more about the anglo saxons. A people i knew little of up until now.


message 15: by Old-Barbarossa (last edited Sep 30, 2012 12:50AM) (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments The most recent one I read was the Heaney one and I enjoyed it, but think it's a matter of taste.
It's not too heavy on the old heathenism, not an Anglo version of the Eddas.
You say, "I am always seeking to strip back the layers of christian influence and discover our true british pagan legacy..."
I don't know if there was a "british pagan" tradition, I think there were probably thousands of local ones though.

A couple of easy reads that will give some context to your studies:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/86... (mentioned above)
and
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21...


message 16: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Joyce | 78 comments What great resources, everyone. Thank you!


message 17: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments The Viking Way: Religion and War in the Later Iron Age of Scandinavia, 2nd Edition That does sound great material, Svana. Out March 30 2014. Do you expect it to be seriously expensive?


message 18: by Bryn (last edited Nov 06, 2012 03:23AM) (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments On Neil Price, I just got hold of another book edited by him, The Archaeology of Shamanism. Looks great: "focuses on the Northern hemisphere with case studies from Greenland to Nepal, Siberia to Kazakhstan."


message 19: by Lee (new)

Lee Broderick One thing to bear in mind with Oxbow is that if you don't need the book straight away they often reduce the book heavily on their own website after a year or two. I have several on my shelf that I bought from them reduced by more than 80%.


message 20: by Bryn (last edited Nov 16, 2012 02:27PM) (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments Useful to know, Lee. As a non-academic who buys a lot of academic books. The publishers Brill are active in my areas and Jesus they're pricey.


message 21: by Nell (last edited Nov 17, 2012 01:54AM) (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Has anyone read Beowulf & Grendel: The Truth Behind England's Oldest Legend? I've read the preview and am sorely tempted.

And if there's a librarian around, it would good to change 'scared intoxicants' to 'sacred intoxicants' in the GR blurb.


message 22: by Lee (new)

Lee Broderick Bryn wrote: "Useful to know, Lee. As a non-academic who buys a lot of academic books. The publishers Brill are active in my areas and Jesus they're pricey."

I can believe that. I understand why academic books are so expensive (niche market, limited print run, etc.) but it's probably fair to say that most academics buy theirs either in sales or else at conferences where there are discounts.


message 23: by Ancestral (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal (gaidheal) Not to detract from this group, which has blossomed in recent years, but I noticed a group has opened up for heathens who consider themselves Odinists here at Goodreads: Odinism and Odinist Books, Websites, and Videos, which might be worth checking out if you are new to the scene.


message 24: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Joyce | 78 comments Thanks for the heads-up about the Oddinist group. Odin kept trying to contact me as my patron god, which I kept avoiding listening to because I thought he was just a patriarchal war god. But he kept kindly calling me, so I found some Heathens and asked about him. This one gent who'd read everything about Odin assured me Odin has this important aspect of poet and seer. After that conversation I saw three men, in three different places, each man missing one eyes. I also remembered my own grandfather only had one eye. So I finally accepted his Call to me. Kindof funny as the Heathen guy pointed out because Oestara is my Matron goddess. And I'm a Wiccan which makes it all even a bit funnier.


message 25: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments Ancestral wrote: "Not to detract from this group, which has blossomed in recent years, but I noticed a group has opened up for heathens who consider themselves Odinists here at Goodreads: Odinism and Odinist Books,..."

Quote from the group rules from their page:

"This is a folkish Odinist group, and our religion is very traditional, so anti-white racist attempts to make our native religion non- European, or to use it to advance certain Zionist agendas, or gay rights, are not something we are interested in. These aims were never part of our religion. "

Some points worth considering before looking further at it.
Also, it appears to be an invites only group.
Won't be touching it myself...


message 26: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Anti-white racist sounds like an oxymoron to me. I've encountered Heathens with this sort of stance before. Had a right doozie of an argument with one after he kept on about 'purity of race'. Not my cup of tea either.


message 27: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Joyce | 78 comments Little wrote: "Anti-white racist sounds like an oxymoron to me. I've encountered Heathens with this sort of stance before. Had a right doozie of an argument with one after he kept on about 'purity of race'. Not m..."

Regarding "anti-white racist" alas this does happen. I live in Miami I'm very fair skinned, blue-eyed blonde. The Miami sun bleaches out my hair. (My husband is Latin.) I've been subjected to a quite a bit of racism because of my looks from Latins and from some blacks.
My house was egged. A kid peed in my window air-conditioning unit. And kids would sit in a line in my drive way and chant anti-white racial slurs. I've been refused service in restaurants since I don't speak Spanish. (I'm awful with languages.) If my husband and I need to buy a high-ticket item I have to go in first, make my choice, meet out of sight with my husband to tell him my preferences as we discuss what to buy, and then he has to go in buy himself with me now around to buy it. If I am there the sales people hike the price up a lot. Since I went to a Jewish University, I met a lot of men who would not date a non-Jewish woman. When I lived in Santa Fe, the Indians there (Indians I have met insist they rather be called Indians than "native Americans") resent that white people have taken so many of their cultural ways (usually without understanding them very well)and using them for white culture things. (For instance the New Mexico flag uses a symbol for the sun that is an Indian symbol. This is resented mightily. Some Indians feel white people should not use their religious beliefs for a sort of shopping cart spirituality. Therefore, to me the feeling some Heathens have that there gods are particular to their ancestry is more of a "We have an ancestral religion of our own, so we need not shopping cart others' ancestral beliefs." Because the Odinists want to keep their religion "in the family" as it were does not necessarily mean they hate other groups. Surely one should be cautious and find out if they are racist, but automatically assume they are racist? Well, eh hem...


message 28: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Good points.:) The man I argued with is very racist, with or without his faith I suspect. I'll admit I'm a bit touchy about the subject, as my grandfather was a Nazi, and of course the purity of race bit was an integral part of that. I have no gripes with Odinists at all, just those who use it as an excuse for racism.


message 29: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Gear (wmichaelgear) | 35 comments Personally, I kind of like "shopping cart" spirituality. Those I've encountered who have an eclectic sense of the sacred tend to be tolerant good people just trying to find their way. I think each person has to decide what beliefs--no matter their source--help to lead in a positive spiritual direction.


PJ Who Once Was Peejay | 336 comments I have a rather eclectic blend of beliefs myself and think it's enriched my spirituality rather than detracted from it. However, I rather see the point many Indians have about whites who borrow their beliefs. I used to make sacred objects based on Native American beliefs, taught to me by an Indian teacher who thought it was acceptable for whites to do this as long as it was with respect. But I no longer do that. Too many others thought I was disrespecting their ways just by doing the art.

I poured a lot of energy and spirit into my pieces, but the clincher for me was when I had a "vision dream" about a medicine shield, made it, and gifted it to the person I felt it was meant to go to. He was actually embarrassed to receive something from a white girl and put it away somewhere where it wouldn't be seen by his Indian friends. It hurt—but it mostly hurt because my epiphany with that piece was that I needed to channel my spirituality elsewhere. Find my own way instead of borrowing someone else's way.

Which is why, circling back to my original point, that I think eclectic belief systems are good. It helps me find my own way, what is valuable to me, not exclusive to a group or a race.

And Little, I'm totally with you on the sensitivity towards white supremacists, having encountered the buggers in my own family. I want NOTHING to do with them, even a faint whiff of them and their "exclusive" clubs.


message 31: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Joyce | 78 comments W. Michael Gear wrote: "Personally, I kind of like "shopping cart" spirituality. Those I've encountered who have an eclectic sense of the sacred tend to be tolerant good people just trying to find their way. I think eac..."
Actually I agree with you. But there are lots of good, tolerant people who want their spirituality Just as their folks taught it to them. I suspect it is the borowing that is not respectful and not well understand that is what really is bothersome.


message 32: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Joyce | 78 comments Peejay Who Once Was Minsma wrote:
Though my family members all fee racism is as terrible as terrible can be, one of them nevertheless thinks it ok to wear a Confederate flag on his cowboy hat. Oh that makes me so mad! I won't let him bring that thing into my home.


message 33: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments I'm an eclectic too. The funny thing is my ancestry is Anglo-Saxon heathenry. The local Lutheran priest used to pray for my mother and sister when they were little, due to their heathen ways. But I grew up following the Greek pantheon. Now I'm like a patchwork rug, there are holes too and some squares of totally unknown origins. :)

I do understand folk liking to keep to their ways, the Rom being a good example. In my area the local Aboriginal tribes will not discuss their spirituality with others. I understand this too. I can also see how offensive it could be if parts of it became incorporated into the mainstream. It's also easy to misinterpret and cause offense by such misinterpretations and misrepresentations.


PJ Who Once Was Peejay | 336 comments Little wrote: "I'm an eclectic too. The funny thing is my ancestry is Anglo-Saxon heathenry. The local Lutheran priest used to pray for my mother and sister when they were little, due to their heathen ways. But I..."

I wasn't raised in much of any tradition as my family was a bit of a cross-religion muddle. My mom encouraged exploration, though, so I guess I come by my eclecticism naturally. Culturally, I'm probably about equal parts Celtic and Anglo-Saxon, but I've probably paid more attention to the Celtic side. I'm getting more curious about the other guys, though, and may explore that way for awhile.


message 35: by Gavin (new)

Gavin White | 21 comments Many years ago, I was very interested in all things Old English and Viking. I found the works by Stephen Pollington and Kathleen Herbert very well researched and very readable. Its worthwhile checking out 'Anglo-Saxon books'at
http://www.asbooks.co.uk


PJ Who Once Was Peejay | 336 comments Thanks, Gavin. Good reference. I can also recommend Stephen Pollington, but am unfamiliar with Kathleen Herbert.


message 37: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Gear (wmichaelgear) | 35 comments Little wrote: "I'm an eclectic too. The funny thing is my ancestry is Anglo-Saxon heathenry. The local Lutheran priest used to pray for my mother and sister when they were little, due to their heathen ways. But I..."

Well, anthropologists call this a process of 'syncretic incorporation.' In fact, it's been the heart of native American religions--and others--for millennia. Incorporating elements of other traditions, for example Christianity, has given native peoples a way of seeing the sacred that is unique and helps them. It doesn't bother me when people find truths in native traditions and incorporate them into their own spiritual frameworks. How could that possibly be disrespectful?

Sam Gill's books on Native American Christianity are good references.


message 38: by Ancestral (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal (gaidheal) Gavin wrote: "Many years ago, I was very interested in all things Old English and Viking. I found the works by Stephen Pollington and Kathleen Herbert very well researched and very readable. ..."

I must admit when I switched pantheons, the only books I kept from my Anglo-Saxon shelves were the works of Herbert and Pollington. I would definitely recommend them.


PJ Who Once Was Peejay | 336 comments W. Michael Gear wrote: "It doesn't bother me when people find truths in native traditions and incorporate them into their own spiritual frameworks. How could that possibly be disrespectful?"

Well, yes, but... I can understand that many Indian tribes feel as if this is just another form of Colonialism.

Look, I think art is art, cross-pollinated all the time from many sources—it makes for a great fertility and a building of something new. But I am not a member of a minority population who had my land stolen and my culture forcibly repressed for generations. I have the greatest respect, but I personally don't want to add to their pain, so I choose to no longer do Native American-inspired art.

That's my personal choice. Everyone has to make the decision that is best for them.


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