Another in the occasional series on contemporary accounts of events in the history of London.
Early Anglo-Saxon London, or Lundenwic, which was situated immediately without the walls of the old Roman city of Londinium, and to the west, between Aldwych and Westminster, became subject to increasingly frequent and savage raids by the Vikings by the ninth century. According to the “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”, in 839, “… there was great slaughter in London … ”, and in 851, “ … came three hundred and fifty ships came into the mouth of the Thames; the crew of which went upon land, and stormed … London … ”. Then, in or around 867, the city was actually captured and occupied by the Norsemen under Halfdere, who installed a garrison there (and a mint). Its strategic significance was such that it was vital for the Anglo-Saxons to recapture it as soon as possible…
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I’m a little annoyed at the response to the share of the female Thor petition.
Listen, People. Some people care about this, others don’t. Someone asked us to share, we shared for those who DO care. I already pointed out in the corresponding group for this page that not only did Thor cross-dress in the lore, that gods changed gender as they evolved over time and cultural boundaries. So on one hand this is really no big deal.
That said, Asatru will never be afforded the same rights and considerations that main stream religions, and even minority religions like Wicca have recently won, by sitting quietly and never making any noise.
This is not a cut and dry issue. On one hand, it’s no big deal. On the other hand, it absolutely IS. It IS difficult to be taken seriously as a legit belief system when one of your main deities is a cartoon character. Or – at least in the mind of the general public, as that is their only familiarity with the subject.
I am in no way saying to ban Marvel Thor. But, I am saying these topics are worthy of discussion. AND, even if it isn’t that big of a deal, it’s still worth making some noise so that Marvel gets the message that Asatru exists.
As someone else pointed out, political correctness should be applied to ALL or to no one at all. If a “living mythology” like Hinduism had its deities cartoonified, gender switched, and so forth, there would be some holy hell raised.
Someone else pointed out a black Jesus is about to be aired on Comedy Central, and if that’s ok, then so is this. Um, first of all, I would say, it ISN’T ok to be purposely poking at Christians and trying to get a reaction (yes, we ALL know Jesus wasn’t “white,” at this point, before the geniuses point that out. But, he also wasn’t black. He was a Middle Eastern Jew. Duh).
The last cartoons about Mohammad caused the cartoonist’s door to get axed down by a crazed Islamist who was trying to kill him and his wife. The guy needed to hire 24 hr body guards. So how did the West respond? By being too chicken to ever depict Mohammed ever again. Yet we continuously mock Jesus. Yes, Christians make noise about it, but they don’t go axing the artists’ doors down.
Yet, I’ve noticed that these pansies who claim to take such pride in their Viking heritage can never take a stand and fight for their belief system when push comes to shove.
You don’t think it’s a big deal? Fine. I’m really not that concerned about it either. But I AM concerned at sarcastic and negative responses by those who would condescend those who DO think it’s a big deal.
And, I don’t see much hope for ever being taken serious as a minority religion (again, the geniuses will pop up arguing it’s not a religion – semantics), if there is such major division amongst adherents who refuse to support one another, and no one is willing to go out on a limb to make our presence known.
Whether female Thor is right or wrong is irrelevant. The point is to let corporate giants and the wider world know that Norse Mythology isn’t just a dead religion, but a living one and people DO honor this pantheon, so be conscious of it.
And think about this – No Viking ever fought alone. They stood shoulder to shoulder as brothers in arms (and sisters! Not forgetting the shield maidens!). If Germanic warriors had been more united, they might have stood a better chance against the onslaughts of Charlemagne, the Northern Crusades, and the many forced conversions of the Northern people. This divisive and negative attitude and unwillingness to support fellow Asatruar is a problem that should be considered if this minority religion (way of life, whatever you like to call it) ever wants to be respected the way that other religious groups are.
~ Aelfwynne ~
Nice post on Thor by a Dutch pagan blogger
On Tuesday I wrote about the power of imagination. Today I write about its limits. There are some places my imagination does not wish to go. Donar (West-Germanic cognate to Thor) is one of the gods I have difficulty imagining. I admire oak trees. And I enjoy being out and about when the summer storms rage. And he is one of the few gods of whom scholars are certain he was revered in these lands, thus part of this land and of my ancestral heritage. Yet Donar does not come alive in my mind.
Stories usually help to create a lively image of a god. But perhaps, in the case of Donar/Thor, it is exactly the amount of information available that restricts me in this regard. He is well represented in the Eddas and works of art. He has always been popular and even has his own jewellery line…
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This iron helmet is the only one that is found in Scandinavia dating back to the Viking Age. Why are not more found? (Photo: Museum of Cultural History, Oslo)
In 1943, extraordinarily rich finds from the Viking Age were made in Haugsbygd in Ringerike, Eastern Norway. The finds included – among many other objects – the only helmet dating back to the Viking era found in Scandinavia.
Helmets are described in the Norse Sagas, and almost exclusively in association with chiefs and kings. Illustrations from the Viking Age are almost non-existing, but in some cases where the Vikings are depicted with ships, it looks as if they are wearing a helmet. Or is it really helmets? It is suggested that the Vikings actually wore pointy hoods as protection from the weather.
March 30 1943, during World War II in Nazi-occupied Norway: On the farm Gjermundbu in Haugsbygd in…
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A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick
Excerpt from Chapter 11 – Paganism Reaffirmed (p196)
The High Medieval period (950-1350) saw the militant monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam, imposing their influence on the rulers of Europe, so that the official religions of the emerging kingdoms and empires became monotheistic and in practice androtheistic, referring to their supreme deity only in the masculine gender.
We have also seen Pagan practices and beliefs continuing here and there, unnoticed by official sanctions, and also being incorporated into Christian practice as this developed. In that sense the Pagan outlook and deities remained, shaped in the form of Christian society which overlay them, and were available as a living tradition to be recognised and reclaimed by later investigators in an age of independent thought.
In Islamic areas of Europe, the situation was different. Islamic doctrine did not compromise with Pagan values (indeed, the famous Satanic Verses of the Koran were almost immediately repudiated by Mohammed as an attempt by the Devil to incorporate the three goddesses of Mecca in the celestial hierarchy), and Islam remained militantly anti-polytheist.
Get the book:
Right on, this book tells it like it is! Yes, Christianity was militant… BUT it made a lot of accommodations for paganism that Islam did not.
There is this myth that Islam was in a golden era during the Middle Ages while Christianity caused Europe to rot. This myth paints Islam as this beautiful, peaceful religion of enlightenment and tolerance, while Europe, saddled with Christianity, is depressing, ignorant, intolerant, and lost in a fog of darkness. It’s not that simple.
As many scholars in their papers, books, and documentaries are showing, there was a lot of intellectual work going on in Europe during the so called Dark Ages. Yes, Islam did preserve a lot of Greco-Roman knowledge and were especially good with mathematics. Bravo, Islam, you get a cookie. But they fervently attacked native neighboring religions with gusto from day one, and continue to do so now.
Was Christianity perfect? Nope. But if it’s a contest on which religion is the biggest asshole…. Islam wins hands down. Don’t get me wrong, they were both assholes. But, Islam takes the cake.
No more false histories and misrepresentations, please. Stick with the truth, even if you have to play hardball. People cling to what they’ve been told and what they want to believe.
This is excellent, well thought out and well written. I probably won’t follow the CNN belief blog, but if they continue to feature well spoken representatives of Heathen and Pagan faith, then I may…
Do some religions support racism in their holy texts? Absolutely. But there is no one holy text adhered to dogmatically in Asatru. Followers of Asatru (called Asatruar or Heathens) look to the old legends and lore (found in the Norse Eddas and Sagas) for wisdom and understanding of the Old Religion. And these texts do NOT underscore race or encourage “purity” in any way, shape, or form. If someone inserts that into the religion, they do it of their own volition.
There is still much about the Ancient Norse People that we do not know, so much of our current information is an attempt to fill in the gaps (since the Vikings did not write down their history and the Christians destroyed much of their existing culture). History becomes a guessing game where modern day people impose their fantasies and longings upon the past. Some of these fantasies imagine a place where every woman is a blonde haired vixen with a pointy helmet and a chain-mail bra, smashing through the faces of her enemies with sword in hand. Fantasies on the other end of the spectrum paint a picture of a male dominated society where all men fought glorious battles and women existed as mere prizes to be won.
(Very practical battle armor)
The truth is much more nuanced. Not all men fought battles and not all women had a specific…
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