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The Anglo-Saxons

Anglo-Saxon Culture

The Anglo-Saxons were Germanic barbarians who invaded Britain and took over large parts of the island in the centuries following the withdrawal of the Roman Empire. They were initially less gentrified than other post-Roman barbarian groups such as the Franks or Ostrogoths because they had less contact with Mediterranean civilization. The Anglo-Saxons were originally pagan in religion. The main group, from northwestern Germany and Denmark, was divided into Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. German tribal affiliations were loose and the original invaders included people from other Germanic groups as well. Although some of the early Anglo-Saxon invaders had Celtic-influenced names, such as Cedric, the founder of the house of Wessex, the Anglo-Saxons had a pronounced awareness of them-selves as different from the peoples already inhabiting Britain. Their takeover led to the integration of Britain into a Germanic world. Unlike other groups such as the Franks they did not adopt the language of the conquered Celtic and Roman peoples, but continued speaking a Germanic dialect.

Continue reading about Anglo-Saxon culture here.

Anglo-Saxon Paganism, Festivals & Rituals

Anglo-Saxon Paganism

It is possible to reconstruct what little we know about Anglo-Saxon beliefs by using a wide variety of literary sources and place-names. What comes to light is an image of a people and a religion in a symbiotic relationship with nature, the powerful, uncontrollable and life-giving forces upon which their existence depended.

From the Roman historian and scholar Tacitus, we learn that Germans in the first century AD worshiped an Earth Goddess called Nerthus. Tacitus also mentions two war gods: Odin (or Woden) and Tyr. The great Viking scholar Magnus Magnusson claims that Woden was one of the chief gods of the Anglo-Saxons. Woden was so important to them, in fact, that most of the early Saxon kings claimed descent from the god as proof of their right to rule. Magnusson also identified the Saxon god Thunor, God of Thunder, who was known as Thor by the Vikings. During times of Viking settlement, Thor was revered above Odin in daily life.

But the strongest evidence for the identity of the Anglo-Saxon gods is found in place-names. Using this evidence, scholars have been able to add Tiw and the goddess Frig to the list of deities the Anglo-Saxons were known to worship. In addition, the Old English word “lea” added to many place-names in Europe is thought to be evidence of places of worship, as it refers to a clearing in the forest. These “sacred groves” were very important to the practice of Anglo-Saxon religion. There is also evidence of worship of the Sun and the Moon as deities, both in charms that have been preserved and in the names for Sunday and Monday.

Festivals

The regular practice of the pagan religion in Anglo-Saxon times involved several seasonal festivals. Nearly everything we know about the religious festivals of the pagan Anglo-Saxons comes from a book called De temporum ratione (“The Reckoning of Time”), written by a Christian monk known to us as the Venerable Bede. In his book, Bede describes the yearly calendar of the Anglo-Saxon people, which usually consisted of twelve lunar months, much like our current calendar.

According to Bede, the greatest pagan festival was Modraniht, or “Mother Night,” which was held on the winter solstice – about December 25th. It is thought that this Yule festival, as it is also known, involved decorating with evergreen branches, the burning of a Yule log, and a feast centered around a boar’s head. Modraniht marked the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon year.

The next festival Bede talks about is in Solmonaþ, the Anglo-Saxon name for February. This festival involved baking special cakes that may have had symbolic significance, not so much in ingredients, but in shape. According to Bede, these cakes were offered to the pagan gods.

March was the time of year Anglo-Saxons would make sacrifices to the goddess Hreda, but the more important spring festival appears to have been Eostur-monath Aprilis, a festival dedicated to the goddess Eostre. Celebrating spring and new life, the festival of Eostre would likely have involved flowers, dancing, and feasting.

Although Bede does not mention a midsummer festival, it is a common celebration that took place throughout Europe – and continues even today. Bonfires were a key component of these festivals, and it is thought that people would dance around or even jump over the fires, while casting herbs into the flames to ward off ill health and misfortune.

The month of September was known as Halegmonath, or “Holy Month.” While little is known about the origin of the name, it is thought that a festival was celebrated at this time of year, and likely included feasting in celebration of the harvest. Owen also proposes that the mythical figures of Sheaf and his son Beow (barley) were once associated with this festival.

Finally, November was known as Blod-Monath, meaning “Blood-Month.” The festival of Blodmonath was, according to Bede, commemorated with animal sacrifices, likely oxen. This practice likely served a dual purpose – both as an offering to the pagan gods, and as a source of food for the coming winter. Bonfires were likely a feature of this festival as well, since we have illustrations in late Anglo-Saxon calendars of revelers tending to fires.

“From this brief survey of the pagan year, we can see that the people in general would have been closely involved in these festivals, raising crops and animals, baking cakes, collecting fuel for bonfires, flocking to see images or wagons carrying the gods and joining them in procession. Above all they feasted, enjoying the fruits of their own labour while propitiating the deities” (Owen 19).

Runes

Runic writing was widely known among the Anglo-Saxons. They were believed to be magic symbols that, when carved into wood or stone, possessed mystical properties. The Runic alphabet is also known as Futhark, , a name composed of the first six letters of the alphabet. Why the letters were ordered in such a way, no one really knows.

Rituals

Marriage, Ceremonies

Anglo-Saxon marriage was nothing like the marriage ceremonies of today. When a man wished to marry, he would bring a dowry to her that consisted of oxen, horses, shields, spears, and swords. If she accepted him, she would then “gift” these items back to her new husband. It is also thought that swords were used in the marriage ceremony itself. According to Owen, the bride and groom would each lay their hands upon the sword “in token of their heroic duty” (61). Swords may also have been symbolic of fertility.

Ritual Drinking and Gift-Giving

Among the more important rituals associated with the mead-hall, ritual drinking had great significance to the Anglo-Saxons. Hosted by a lord or king, an organized banquet would be prepared for guests or favored retainers. Women played a ceremonial role at the banquet, carrying the ceremonial drinking vessel to the king and each of his guests in the hall. There was usually only one cup, which everyone shared. Making speeches (boasting, or “oral resumes”) and gift-giving often went hand-in-hand with this ritual. The lord or king would often bestow gifts and praise upon his valiant warriors through a very ritualistic reward system. Young men, those yet untried in battle, would receive weapons as gifts which they would then be expected to use in defense of the gift-giver. These kinds of rituals helped to maintain hierarchy and allegiance in Anglo-Saxon society.

“Thus the Anglo-Saxons lived their lives, cozy in their brightly lit halls, cheered by feasting and music. They placated their gods with sacrifice and strove to keep out the hostile creatures who lurked in the outer darkness. They enjoyed formal ceremonies – pledging of oaths and speechmaking – and superstitious rituals, like the casting of lots, decided the major issues of their lives. The ritual which was perhaps the most important of all came, however, at the end of life. The pagan funeral ceremony…honored the achievements of a lifetime and, it was hoped, equipped the dead one for the afterlife” (Owen 66).

Funerals

Anglos-Saxons clearly believed in a life after death, because they provided their dead with objects that they felt might be required. A man might be buried with his spears, while a woman would be wearing her best jewelry and costume. The higher status a person had in Anglo-Saxon society, the more elaborate the burial, and the more affluent the grave-goods. It is because of this practice that researchers know as much as they do about the Anglo-Saxon people. Source

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Introduction To Finnish Mythology

Finnish mythology dates its animistic and shamanistic beliefs of nature spirits to 3,000+ years ago. The objects of nature (sky, sun, moon and stars) are all considered distinct entities and deities. The earliest written accounts are from Bishop Mikael Agricola (1551), Gabriel Mexenius (1733), Daniel Juslenius (1745), Zacharias Topelius (1822), and then later Elias Lönnrot (1849) in the Kalevala.

Finnish mythology is from the close geographic region as the Norse pantheon (Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark) yet is distinctly different. Where the Norse mythology influences are Germanic and Indo-European, the Finnish mythology stems from eastern Finno-Ugric languages. Interestingly, the Finnish legends go back so far they don’t even mention Swedes, Germans or Russians which is one of the reasons the poems are thought to be at least 3,000 years old. They may have originated during the time before the Finnish people separated from the Hungarians.

From Runo 9, The Healing Of Väinämöinen

“I myself know iron’s birth,

I can say the start of steel:

Air’s the first one of the mothers,

Water, oldest of the brothers,

Iron, youngest of the brothers,

Fire, the brother in the middle.”

The land of Finland and its climate are reflected in the poetry and folklore of the myths. Finland is a places of mountains and marshes with lakes, rivers, seas and islands that often figure in the stories. The climate is cold and winter lasts a minimum of seven months. It is not surprising that their more prominent god controls snow, ice and hail. Due to the long winters, there is more focus in the myths on hunting, fish and herds of cattle rather than agriculture or fields, especially compared to other religions. The mythical beings focus on nature and not the realms of human emotion; there is no specific attention paid to wisdom, justice or law and even love is given to the realm of a forest demon.

Painting credit: The black swan of Tuonela, the realm of the dead in Finnish folk mythology. Painting by nationalist painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

Further Resources:

http://www.finnishmyth.org/FINNISHMYTH.ORG/Welcome.html?fbclid=IwAR1swOR0pSMzEPHYR98XAFnYVqbhvIA7N-warNUSW57AYqUsI_M0iZnOufM

https://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/kvintro.htm?fbclid=IwAR2wSE6lUzszAZismW1nsrQCN_q0msKNLs1p7jmt-6UGCQVZr1bmTXBQZyw

https://www.angelfire.com/ca2/IsisShrine/Finnish.html?fbclid=IwAR2UWL9dRucW7hwCVQSd3E_ctwwtAYJZOYAMU0BJkgZ3OzcKZMkJP-Vlf-c

http://zeluna.net/finnish-mythology.html?fbclid=IwAR2xHKjtoetkSI9iHBvAz0QM3hLEPYtn2CddlyvYeMZo1yIkAGQt10T61zQ

https://goldisblood.net/FinnishMythology?fbclid=IwAR3aqjRxa28lrzGffCqmg4eVlGFoyOKNfzgwA3JBU_bfp_k844h2BC-Pa6w

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Tengriism: An Ancient Native Religion

For many years I have been fascinated with the ancient history and culture of Mongolia, specifically regarding the great Genghis Khan and what he created. Along my reading and watching documentaries about Khan I came across the native religion of Mongolia and the Asian Steppe known as Tengriism. Khan himself was a Tengrist. It was the major belief of the Xiongnu, Xianbei, Turkic, Bulgar, Mongolian, Hunnic, and Altaic peoples before the vast majority accepted Buddhism, Islam, or Lamaism. Primarily it revolves around the “Sky God”, known as Tengri. Tengri embodies the “celestial sky” who is timeless and infinite. However Tengriism is far deeper in its complexities and is in no way monotheist. In fact there are many other deities, spirits and other creatures in Tengriism. One of the most beautiful things about Tengriism is how openly welcome the people of this native faith are regarding other native faiths (Paganism/Heathism).

Another observation of mine are some striking similarities I noticed between Tengriism and Norse Paganism such as the complexities of their Gods and Goddesses as well as the absolute passion they have for their traditions, kinship and rituals. A dear friend of mine who is a Völva in Iceland goes to a large international festival every year where representatives of native religions from around the world are invited to and as she has shown me in photos, the Norse Pagans are always mingling with the Tengrists from Mongolia. To go even deeper into my own resonance with Tengriism and Mongolia itself, I discovered going way back through my own bloodline someone at some point had relations with someone native to Mongolia.

I even went so far as to make a personal wall altar dedicated to Tengriism and its Gods and Goddesses which you can see lower down in this post.

The Turkic/Tengri (Mongolian) Gods and Goddesses

Major Gods and Goddesses

Gok Tengri – God of Sky. Creator of everything. Tengri was the main god of the Turkic pantheon, controlling the celestial sphere. And this god is Mongolia’s traditional god.

Kayra (or Kaira) – Supreme God of universe. He is the Spirit of God and creator god in Turkic mythology. Son of the sky deity (Gok Tengri).

Erlik or Erklik-Erklikhan – God of the dead and of the underworld. One of the original gods in the pantheon, he kept his existence in Tengriism, as the evil deity (Like in Zoroastrianism).

Ulgan (or Ulgen) – God of benevolence. Son of Kaira. He is a Turkic and Mongolian creator-deity.

Mergen – God of wisdom. Son of Kaira. He is a Turkic deity of abundance and knowledge.

Kyzaghan – War god of the European Huns. The first Turks did not have a war god. Kyzaghan is the son of Kayra and the brother of Ulgan.

Umay or Umai – Goddess of fertility. She is the goddess of virginity and as such related to women, mothers and children.

Kubai – Goddess of birth and children. She protects women who give birth. She gives the children souls.

Koyash or Kuyash – Sun God. Koyash is the son of Gok Tengri “Sky God” and the Earth Goddess.

Ak Ana – Goddess of creation. Ak Ana, is the primordial creator-goddess of Turkic people. She is also known as the goddess of the water.

Ay Ata – Moon God. According to the mythology, he is a moon god and he have been living in sixth floor of the sky with Gun Ana.Gun Ana – Sun Goddess. She is the common Turkic solar deity, treated as a goddess in the Kazakh and Kyrgyz mythologies.

Yel Ana – Goddess of winds. In Hungarian folklore she is referred to as the “queen of wind” too.

Yel Ata – God of winds. In Hungarian folklore he is also referred to as the “king of wind”.

Burkut – Eagle God. The eagle god Burkut symbolizes the sun and power.

Öd Tengri or Öd-Ögöd – God of time. İs seen as the impersonation of time in Turkic mythology. Generally seen with the horse of time and Ödlek.

Boz Tengri – God mostly seen as the god of the ground and steppes.

Aisyt – Goddess of beauty. She is also the mother goddess of the Yakut people from Siberia.

Su Ana – Goddess of water. Su Ana is said to appear as a naked young woman with a fairy-like face.

Su Ata – God of water. He appears as an old man with a frog-like face, greenish beard, with his body covered in algae and muck.

Od Ana – Goddess of fire. Also referred to as goddess of marriage. In Mongolian folklore she is referred to as the “queen of fire”.

Od Ata – God of fire. In Mongolian folklore he is referred to as the Od Khan “king of fire”. He is a fire spirit in the shamanistic traditions of Mongolia.

Yer Tanry – Earth Goddess / God. As a fertility goddess, she was recognized as the giver of crops and abundance.

Etugen – Earth Goddess. Her name originates from Ötüken, the holy mountain of the earth and fertility goddess of the ancient Turks.

Hurmuz or Kurmez – God of souls. Also he is a god in Mongolian mythology and shamanism, described as the chief of the 55 gods.

Jaiyk – God of rivers. He is a god in Turkic pantheon, previously known as Dayık in Altai mythology. He lives at the junction of 17 rivers.

Alaz – God of fire in Turkic mythology. Also known as Alas-Batyr or sometimes Alaz Khan.

Baianai – Hunting Goddess. She is also the Yakut goddess of forests and joy.

Other Gods and Goddesses

Adaghan – Mountain God. He protects the mountains and the creatures that live there. His name means sacrifice acceptor.

Akbugha – God of medicine. He is the god of health and healing in ancient Turkic tradition. He has a white serpent.

Shalyk – Hunting God. He was the Turkic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness and protector of forests.

Inehsit – Goddess of childbirth and labour pains. She was the divine helper of women in labour has an obvious origin in the human midwife.

Qovaq – God of the sky. He brings up a new sun every day; for that reason, he is hunted by Yelbehen to stop her and cause total darkness.

Uren – Goddess of the harvest. She presided over grains and the fertility of the earth.

Zarlık – Goddess of Judgement. She was the goddess of justice, fair judgements and the rights.

Zada – Wind God. He is the ruler of the winds, and owner of Yada Tashy (Wind Stone).

Ukulan – Water God. He is the chief of the rivers, springs, streams and fountains.

Izıh – God of wild animals. He is especially the god of freed animals.

Chokqu – Goddess of good wishes. She fulfills wishes.

Talai or Dalai – God of Oceans. He was the personification of the World Ocean, an enormous river encircling the world.

Creatures/Spirits

Äbädä – Spirit of forest. It is an innocent spirit in Tatar mythology, that looks like an old woman. Äbädä also is represented in mythologies of Siberian peoples. He protects the birds, trees, and animals of the forest.

Al Basty – Female daemon spirit. She is an ancient female spirit, the personification of guilt, found in folklore throughout the Caucasus mountains, with origins going as far back as Sumerian mythology.

Archura – Forest monster. Archura usually appears as a man, but he is able to change his size from that of a blade of grass to a very tall tree. He protects the animals and birds in the forest.

Ardow – Spirit of water. Ardows are spirits of human souls that died drowning, residing in the element of their own demise. They are responsible for sucking people into swamps and lakes as well as killing the animals standing near the still waters.

Azmych – Road spirit. He is an evil-spirit that causes disorientation and leads a person aimlessly around and round. The term also refers to lose one’s way.

Basty – Spirit of nightmares. Basty is best known for its shapeshifting abilities and it is an evil spirit or goblin in Turkic folklore which rides on people’s chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams (or “nightmares”).

Bichura – A household spirit in Tatar / Turkic folklore. Traditionally, every house is said to have a Bichura. It has also been said that Bichura can take on the appearance of cats or dogs. It wears red dresses.

Cadı – A witch or a woman who practices witchcraft. The stereotypical Cadı is commonly portrayed as wicked old woman who has wrinkled skin, pimples, and pointy hats. They also have warts on their noses and sometimes long claw-like fingernails.

Chak – A folk devil. He was specifically busy corrupting peasants. While sometimes shown in any rustic setting, he was usually pictured standing on or near a willow tree at the edge of a swamp.

Chesma iyesi – cat-shaped spirit that lives in wells or fountains and tempts youths to drowning.

Çor – A jinn-like creature, responsible for mental disorders.

Erbörü – A creature like Werewolf. It is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or an therianthropic hybrid wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse or affliction (e.g. via a bite or scratch from another werewolf).

Erbüke – A creature like Shahmaran. An Erbüke is often depicted as a wise and benign man with the features of a man above the waist and those of a serpent below the waist. He is held to be king of the snakes.

Hortdan or Hortlak – A monster, who goes out from graves. The Hortdans are creatures of Azerbaijanese mythology, as a representation of evil spirits, the spirits of the dead.

Irshi – A fairy-like spirit. She is generally described as a beautiful girl) appearance and having magical powers. Although they are often depicted as young, sometimes winged, tall, radiant, angelic spirits.İye – A spirit assigned to a specific element, animal, lineage or place.

Karakoncolos – A malevolent creature. Bogeyman. According to Ottoman Turkish myths, they appear on the first ten days of ‘the dreadful cold’, when they stand on murky corners, and ask seemingly ordinary questions to the passers-by.

Kormos – ghost of the deceased

Khyrtyq – A female swamp demon. In Turkic mythology she is known for being malicious and dangerous. She was said to live in thickets near rivers, streams and lakes.

Mhachkay – Akin of vampire. It is a creature a bit similar to vampire in Turkic (and especially Tatar) folklore. People who were born with two hearts and two souls were believed to be Mhachkay.

Neme – A spiritual being. They are mythical creatures originated in Turkic folklore. Nemes are elves very similar to other ones but they keep watch over forests, mountains, caves and underground.

Orek – Animated corpse like zombie. In Turkic folklore it is an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft.

Shurala – Forest daemon. According to legends, Şüräle lives in forests. He has long fingers, a horn on its forehead, and a woolly body. He lures victims to a thicket and tickles them to death.

Susulu – Mermaid in Turkic mythologies. She is a legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. She is the daughter of the Sea King.

Ubir – A monster like vampire. It is a mythological or folkloric being in Turkic mythology who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether it is undead person or being.

Uylak – A witch or spirit, that infested with people. An Uylak can turn into any animal or any object. He is capable of shapeshifting into a horse, a moth, or a wolf. He is also resistant to Archura’s enchantments.

Yarbogha – A creature like bull. Yarboghas are half-man, half bull; having the torso of a man extending where the neck of a bull should be. They were said to be wild, savage, and lustful.

Yaryond – A creature like Centaurus. The centaurs are half-man, half horse; having the torso of a man extending where the neck of a horse should be. They were said to be wild, savage, and lustful.

Yuxa – Queen of serpents. According to popular beliefs, every 100-year-old snake is transformed into Yuxa. In fairy tales, Yuxa is described as a beautiful damsel who would marry men in order to beget offspring.

Zilant – Serpent-like dragon. Since 1730, it has been the official symbol of Kazan. This winged snake is mentioned in legends about the foundation of Kazan. Zilant should be distinguished from Aq Yılan (White Snake), which is the king of snakes.

My personal Tengriism wall altar I made

Further Resources:

https://www.discovermongolia.mn/blogs/the-ancient-religion-of-tengriism

http://ringmar.net/irhistorynew/index.php/welcome/introduction-4/from-temujin-to-genghis-khan/tengrism/

https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Tengriism

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The Wolf – The Folklore and Myths

Still today, many people associate wolves with the “bad evil wolf” of fairy tales, like the “Little Red Riding Hood”. For the past centuries, wolves were systematically demonized, especially in Europe and North America. It is important to change people’s underlying attitudes if we want to protect wolves in our modern world and since early childhood, people are being shaped by fairy-tales and werewolf movies. The aim of this page is to show the positive image that wolves once had, and still have today, in many cultures, and the important role wolves play(ed) in mythology and religion in various cultures across time and space: from wolves as divine messengers, to the role of wolves in creation myths and even to “wolf gods” that were (and still are) worshiped. Once, when people lived closer to nature, they observed and respected wolves. Wolves were also important as teachers for humanity, telling people how to live as a family, how to hunt and survive, as in this North American quote: “The wolves followed a path of harmony, and they did not like anything to upset their way.” “Wolf was chosen by the Great One to teach the human people how to live in harmony in their families. Wolf was to teach a truth, as each animal… would do also for the humans to survive”. But with increasing urbanization and exploitation of resources, wolves were more and more given the part of the ‘evil’ predator who was competing with humans.

Below you will find the following sections: -Wolves in Rome (she-wolf, Lupercalia, wolf & Mars, etc.) -Wolves in Greek religion (Apollo/Zeus Lykaios; Lykoreia; Leto) -Italic Wolf Cults (Hirpi Sorani; Etruscans) -Wolves in Norse, Germanic & Hittite Mythology-Wolves in Celtic Mythology, ancient & medieval-also Iberia, Scythia & Mesopotamia (Gilgamesh epos)

Click here for 1st page: https://ralphhaussler.weebly.com/wolf-mythology-italy-greek-celtic-norse.html?fbclid=IwAR1NZlxJIyv8JgCDWtXHHaU55Iz-yTT970ELx2DpDTlcC6nInuWKNLB-sKk

On the 2nd page, click here: https://ralphhaussler.weebly.com/wolf-mythologie-creation-japan-americas-inuit-egypt.html?fbclid=IwAR24h7aDDbLnqBJ6OKQRvAO3G-ygZJ6jWAVvWa2qO5c51d6IHBowiFHgbMA

On the second page you will find these myths & cults:

Wolves & Creation Myths (Japan/Ainu, N America, Chechenia, Mongolia/Turcs, Hirpi, Dacians) -Wolves as Divine Beings & “wolf gods”, notably in Japan -“Wolf Gods” in Egypt-Inuit Wolf Myths-and many more.

Further Resources:

https://treesforlife.org.uk/into-the-forest/trees-plants-animals/mammals/wolf/

https://www.learnreligions.com/wolf-folklore-and-legend-2562512

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Learn about Rune Kennings

Rune Kennings are associated with ancient Icelandic poetry but can also be found in such tales as the famous Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf. But they certainly are most prevalent with Runic text of Iceland.

I have studied them for years now and still continue to explore deeper into them even to the point of creating my own.

Two books which you can find a great list of Rune Kennings are Sorcerer’s Screed: The Icelandic Book of Magic Spells and Icelandic Magic: Practical Secrets of the Northern Grimoires.

Learning resources:

Guidelines for translating kennings

https://skaldic.abdn.ac.uk/db.php?id=447&if=runic&num=1&table=doc&fbclid=IwAR2OCtPIlM7pwptkp_EY9IvizjWo7E0OXOscOQtJoaRpbWMgPOMd49QXJHI

The Poet’s Vision: An Overview of the Kenning in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse-Icelandic Poetry

https://www.academia.edu/4661868/The_Poets_Vision_An_Overview_of_the_Kenning_in_Anglo-Saxon_and_Old_Norse-Icelandic_Poetry?fbclid=IwAR2OCtPIlM7pwptkp_EY9IvizjWo7E0OXOscOQtJoaRpbWMgPOMd49QXJHI

The Rune Poems

https://www.ragweedforge.com/poems.html?fbclid=IwAR0yVnlqoPthppR1-1S_ssRUuTJfRbt6uPRRcMRCCs-VYx12w2qpWOHykzY

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The Ancient Celts and their History

The Celts, also spelled Kelt, Latin Celta, plural Celtae were a collection of tribes which it is said originated in Central Europe but quickly expanded from the British Isles all the way to the Mediterranean. They even built a massive and vast roadway system long before the Roman Empire. In fact many of the Roman roads were built over ancient Celt roads. The Celts were not just known as fierce warriors but as amazing craftsman making the most intricate of jewelry, weapons and wares. It is believed they came into existence around 1200 BCE and became a true power throughout Europe controlling the regions of Northern Europe north of the Alps up to Great Britian and Ireland in the 3rd Century BCE.

Below is my favorite BBC documentary series that in my opinion covers the vast history of the Celts like none other.

At the bottom are several links as well for reading further on the Celts.

https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/celts

https://www.worldhistory.org/celt/

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Celt-people

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The Scythians: The Nomadic Warriors

The Scythians (pronounced ‘SIH-thee-uns’) were a group of ancient tribes of nomadic warriors who originally lived in what is now southern Siberia. Their culture flourished from around 900 BC to around 200 BC, by which time they had extended their influence all over Central Asia – from China to the northern Black Sea.

The Greek historian Herodotus, in his Histories (Book 4, 5th century BC), wrote: ‘None who attacks them can escape, and none can catch them if they desire not to be found.’ Assyrian inscriptions from the 7th century BC also refer to fighting Scythians, with one mentioning a peace treaty secured by marrying off an Assyrian princess to a Scythian king.

When the Scythians weren’t being hide and seek champions, or being fobbed off with foreign princesses, they even developed a powerful new type of bow which was made from different layers of wood and sinew. It was much more powerful than a regular wooden bow, as the different layers increased the forces and energy when the string was released.

Source:
https://blog.britishmuseum.org/introducing-the-scythians/

Scythians – Rise and Fall of the Original Horselords

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Runes – Types, Meanings, History and more.

A collection of information and references

The first systems of writing developed and used by the Germanic peoples were runic alphabets. The runes functioned as letters, but they were much more than just letters in the sense in which we today understand the term. Each rune was an ideographic or pictographic symbol of some cosmological principle or power, and to write a rune was to invoke and direct the force for which it stood. Indeed, in every Germanic language, the word “rune” (from Proto-Germanic *runo) means both “letter” and “secret” or “mystery,” and its original meaning, which likely predated the adoption of the runic alphabet, may have been simply “(hushed) message.”

Each rune had a name that hinted at the philosophical and magical significance of its visual form and the sound for which it stands, which was almost always the first sound of the rune’s name. For example, the T-rune, called *Tiwaz in the Proto-Germanic language, is named after the god Tiwaz (known as Tyr in the Viking Age). Tiwaz was perceived to dwell within the daytime sky, and, accordingly, the visual form of the T-rune is an arrow pointed upward (which surely also hints at the god’s martial role). The T-rune was often carved as a standalone ideograph, apart from the writing of any particular word, as part of spells cast to ensure victory in battle.

The runic alphabets are called “futharks” after the first six runes (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kaunan), in much the same way that the word “alphabet” comes from the names of the first two Semitic letters (Aleph, Beth). There are three principal futharks: the 24-character Elder Futhark, the first fully-formed runic alphabet, whose development had begun by the first century CE and had been completed before the year 400;[4] the 16-character Younger Futhark, which began to diverge from the Elder Futhark around the beginning of the Viking Age (c. 750 CE)[5] and eventually replaced that older alphabet in Scandinavia; and the 33-character Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, which gradually altered and added to the Elder Futhark in England. On some inscriptions, the twenty-four runes of the Elder Futhark were divided into three ættir (Old Norse, “families”) of eight runes each,[6] but the significance of this division is unfortunately unknown.

Runes were traditionally carved onto stone, wood, bone, metal, or some similarly hard surface rather than drawn with ink and pen on parchment. This explains their sharp, angular form, which was well-suited to the medium.

Much of our current knowledge of the meanings the ancient Germanic peoples attributed to the runes comes from the three “Rune Poems,” documents from Iceland, Norway, and England that provide a short stanza about each rune in their respective futharks (the Younger Futhark is treated in the Icelandic and Norwegian Rune Poems, while the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc is discussed in the Old English Rune Poem).

Continue on to Part II, The Origins of the Runes.

Part III: Runic Philosophy and Magic

https://norse-mythology.org/…/runic-philosophy-and-magic/

Part IV: The Meanings of the Runes

Part V: The 10 Best Books on the Runes

https://norse-mythology.org/…/the-best-books-on-the-runes/

Further Resources:

Types of Runes

http://www.therunesite.com/section/rune-meanings/

The Runic Alphabets

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/runic.htm

How to Write in Old Norse With Futhark Runes: The Ultimate Guide

http://www.vikingrune.com/write-in-futhark-runes-old…/

Runic Magic and Divination

http://www.crystalinks.com/runes.html

Runes – Alphabet of Mystery

http://sunnyway.com/runes/

Which Runes go with which language

The names of runes (Elder Futhark)

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