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The Lesser Known of Odin: Two Books

Today’s blog post I want to briefly discuss and share with you two books from my personal library that dive into the lesser know side and path of Odinn the Allfather of the Norse Gods and Goddesses. A lot look at Odinn as either this fierce warrior God or the cloaked wise old wanderer. Many tales of his light wisdom can be found in the words of the Hávamál and other works. What seems by most to be ignored or perhaps just not recognized is the “dark” or left-hand side of Odinn. This does not mean bad or evil but more of the other side of the path most cringe from. The more chaotic and primal side, which is where I am spiritually primarily. So when I came across these two books below I was absolutely fascinated by them both. They only gave me a deeper understanding of my nontraditional spiritual path specifically with how I have understood there was a side of Odinn I needed to dive deeper into. I have spoken on this for many years and that is the essential of balance in spirituality. If one only basks in the light they will be blind in the dark. To only remain in thee dark one will be blinded by the light. So learning this side of Odin and reading other’s perspectives regarding him is one I always highly recommend.

My personal copy of The Hanged God

The Hanged God:
Óðinn Grímnir
by Shanti Oates

Challenging former atrophied or outdated knowledge regarding Óðinn’s acquisition of the runes and the mead of poetry, this extensive and intense study revisits Hávamál, Vǫluspá, Skáldskaparmál, Grímnismál, Heimskringla and Ynglinga Sagas specifically, to unravel and reconnect crucial factors that collectively reveal a magical formula for rebirth and resurrection. These kennings have preserved the threads of mysteries pertaining to Rúnar entrenched in Taboo. Óðinn’s quest of discovery takes him through three historically attested trials as Rites of Passage that find parallel forms in other animistic traditions. His ordeals of Mound, Tree and Sacral Kingship together with an articulation of the role of Hamingja are hitherto connected. Continue reading HERE.

Get your copy at ANATHEMA PUBLISHING LTD.

My personal copy of GAP.

Gap: At the Left Hand of Odin by Askr Svarte

This Path is different from the standard, main-stream Right-Hand approach to Paganism because it does not recognize the positive evaluation of modern times and the modern reality surrounding us: its negative impact on the state of Norse traditions and its worldview is excessively large. This new Path does not accept the trunk of the teachings belonging to the Right-Hand Path, although without denying their expertise and contribution to the common cause. Thus, the Left-Hand Path attempts to open and question all that which until today has not been open to our tradition, that which is in the shade and is closer and deeper to the Iron Age we live in. This vision is based on known historical heritage and traditions, contemporary thinking and experiences, including some pretty interesting attempts to describe the Left-Hand Path in Oðinnism in the West since the mid-twentieth century.

Gap: At the Left Hand of Odin consists of three Mal (sayings, speeches from the Eddas):

• Sayings of the Gangraðr, on behalf of Oðinn Gangraðr – Advisor in the Path. In these speeches it is revealed the promise and the doctrine of the Abyss in Oðinnism, and we deal with questions of thinking and transgression.

• Sayings of the Vegtamr, on behalf of Oðinn Vegtamr – Accustomed to the Path. In these speeches instructions are given about the ritual practice in line with the spirit and the promise of teaching.

• Sayings of the Kvasir, in honor of the wisest of men. In these speeches one will find the texts that are not included in the main body, but that are one way or another connected with the Path, such as dreams and thoughts.

I purchased my copy published by Fall of Man and I believe is out of print which means you would have to find a second hand copy.

The history of occultism, magic and superstition behind the Left Hand Path. Arith Härger has a great Youtube channel.

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The Legendary Viking Berserkers

One of the most well known yet still much unknown warriors of ancient times are the Berserkers (Berserkr) of the Viking Age. These fierce warriors said to go into an animalistic rage and even trance like in ferocity would bang their axes against their shields and would even chew on their shields whilst gnashing their teeth. They are mentioned in the Sagas and even an account of one famous Berserker who held off an army at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. So let us now dive into the what is known and what is thought of these ancient Special Ops warriors of the North.

Hrolf’s Saga tells of the hero Bjarki, who takes on the shape of a bear in battle:

Men saw that a great bear went before King Hrolf’s men, keeping always near the king. He slew more men with his forepaws than any five of the king’s champions. Blades and weapons glanced off him, and he brought down both men and horses in King Hjorvard’s forces, and everything which came in his path he crushed to death with his teeth, so that panic and terror swept through King Hjorvard’s army…” (Gwyn Jones. Eirik the Red and Other Icelandic Sagas. NY: Oxford Univ. Press. 1961. p. 313).

Another Óðinnic quality possessed by the berserk is a magical immunity to weapons. In Havamál, Óðinn speaks of spells used to induce this immunity:

A third song I know, if sore need should come
of a spell to stay my foes;
When I sing that song, which shall blunt their swords,
nor their weapons nor staves can wound
….
An eleventh I know, if haply I lead
my old comrades out to war,
I sing ‘neath the shields, and they fare forth mightily;
safe into battle,
safe out of battle,
and safe return from the strife.
(Lee M. Hollander, trans. Poetic Edda. Austin.
Univ. of Texas Press. 1962. pp. 44-45)

The berserk was sometimes inherently possessed of this immunity, or performed spells to induce it, or even had special powers to blunt weapons by his gaze. Many tales say of their berserkers, “no weapon could bite them” or “iron could not bite into him.” This immunity to weapons may also have been connected with the animal-skin garments worn by the berserk. As we saw above, while in animal form, “blades and weapons glanced off” Bodvar Bjarki. Similarly, Vatnsdæla Saga says that “those berserks who were called ulfhednar had wolf shirts for mail-coats” (Ellis-Davidson, “Shape Changing,” p. 133). This concept of immunity may have evolved from the berserker’s rage, during which the berserk might receive wounds, but due to his state of frenzy take no note of them until the madness passed from him. A warrior who continued fighting while bearing mortal wounds would surely have been a terrifying opponent. SOURCE

The mushroom Amanita muscaria is known to have hallucinogenic properties and is theorized to have been consumed by Berserkers.

Viking berserkers may have used henbane to induce trance-like state

It tells of the exploits of King Hrolf and of his famous champions, including Bodvar Bjarki, the ‘bear-warrior’
The Lewis Chessmen, discovered in Scotland but believed to be Norwegian, date to the 12th century and include a number of pieces showing wild-eyed berserkers biting their shields.

Further Resources:

The Viking Berserkers Were Norse Warriors Who Entered A Trance-Like Rage During Battle

Berserker: Norse Warrior

Viking Age Berserkers

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Norse Talk: My First Episode

Last week I joined as a guest for the first time on a live Tiktok known as Norse_Talk and the discussion was the Havamal stanza’s 19-22. After that we had an open Q & A with the viewers and it really went great! They have a Youtube channel which the lives are uploaded and are filled with great people I know. I definitely plan to be on more episodes in the future.

Havamal resources

Hávamál
The High One’s Words
A STUDY GUIDE

The Hávamál

Hávamál – The Sayings of Hár

Norse_Talk Youtube Channel