On the morning of December 13th most Swedish people, in one way or another, take part in a celebration of Saint Lucy, or “sankta Lucia” as she’s called in Swedish. Surprisingly, this celebration seems to have little at all to do with Saint Lucy, with traditions that likely predate the arrival of Christianity.
In a recent interview, Nordiska Asa-Samfundet’s (NAS) Spokesman, Stenar Sonevang, claimed that the NAS is entirely non-political and open to anyone who wishes to explore the faith. Unfortunately, this narrative quickly crumbles upon close inspection. HHH has uncovered shockingly unsavory ties to some of Sweden’s most radical underground groups.
I’ve recently come home from a heathen festival in the UK, the Asgardian. It was a fantastic experience and we had wonderful weather with barely a drop of rain – which I believe must be some sort of record for England. There were interesting lectures and workshops covering topics from an in depth analysis of the Wild Hunt phenomenon to magical music among finns, sami and norse peoples. There were vendors selling a lot of good stuff, a couple of food vendors with really good food, and a tavern that was well frequented.
The name Forn Sed, Old Norse “forn siðr”, appears in Snorri’s Heimskringla: “Í Svíþjóð var þat forn siðr” which translates to “in Sweden there were the old ways”. Forn meaning old – in contrast to new way of Christianity – and siðr meaning custom, tradition, practice, moral, way. What we do, our sed/siðr, is far more important to us than than exactly what and how people believe.
Midsummer in Sweden is a big thing. It’s such a major thing that it was seriously suggested to be made into Sweden’s National Day. It has a long history and is mentioned briefly in the Sagas of the Icelanders, in connection with Olav Tryggvason, though with no mention of how it was celebrated. There are written sources that give us important clues though.
Families aren’t perfect. Not everyone in a family likes or agrees with one another, and everyone has at least one relative who has actively harmed the family in some way. However, we’re Heathens. Ancestor veneration is a key part of our spiritual practice. So how do we honor ancestors who have hurt us? And, how do we begin to heal the damage to our family’s wyrd?