Hel is frequently presented as a dreary, gray realm; ruled by an unforgiving goddess of the same name. A cold and thankless land for those who die of old age or illness. There’s even a pit where the vilest souls who enter that domain are kept. Firmly undesirable real estate, to say the least! There’s just one problem. There is only ONE source for this narrative, and it conflicts with just about every other source we have….
Category: Ranting Recon
After our previous article on reconstructing historically accurate Pre-Christian runic magic, I got a lot of requests for a follow-up. Our ‘practical application’ section on that article was pretty short and simple, and a lot of our readers really wanted to see that section expanded with more detail. So today I’m going to apply the theories explored in part 1 to an example piece, showing three different approaches to creating the same object!
It’s no secret that the subjects of magic and mysticism are a bit of a hot-button topic among Heathens. Arguments for or against aside, one thing I think most Heathens of any persuasion can agree upon is that there is a LOT of poorly researched, misunderstood, or outright BS sources out there on the subject of “Rune Magic”.
Last time we covered the Elder Runes, which are the ones most people learn first. This is primarily because they have enough characters with similar sounds to function as letters in modern English. The Younger Futhark runes were developed between 700-800 CE, right near the beginning of what we often call ‘The Viking Age’. The vast majority of rune stones, and inscribed ‘viking’ swords you’ll likely ever see are going to be written in this text. If you want to write Old Norse in runes, the Younger Futhark are what you would use!
Many aspects if our tradition end up getting oversimplified into easy to swallow ‘Christianized’ binaries. This is most evident in the modern concept of Valhalla. I so often see Valhalla, or in Old Norse: Valhöll, described as this kind of glorious “Heathen Heaven”; a golden hall in Asgard where every day is filled with Fighting and Feasting and Fff….’Frolicking’… The idea of Valhöll goes so much deeper than that, and it’s such a shame to see this fundamental part of our tradition’s worldview so often be either misunderstood or blatantly misrepresented.
The Elder Futhark are the runes that just about everybody learns first, and they’re what you’ll see on just about every set of divinitory runes you’ll likely ever see in a shop. We’re going to take these on first because, quite frankly, they’re the easiest to learn.
Heathenry has always had a fascination with wolves. From ancient sagas to modern Facebook groups, the image of the wolf is ubiquitous. Among most modern Heathen groups the wolf is often seen as a symbol of strength, willpower, and fierce loyalty. However, while the wolf as a symbol might be a constant in our traditions, its meaning is not. Far from being a positive totem of our community, the wolf was the quintessential ‘monster to the ancient Germanic cultures. So in a community that’s rather focused on preserving the old Lore, how and why did this shift manage to occur?