Category Archives: Wicca

Marvel’s Female Thor and the Asatruar Reaction

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.

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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.

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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.

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~ Aelfwynne ~

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Witchdom of the True – Book Review

Review of Witchdom of the True by Edred Thorsson

Witchdom-of-the-True-Thorsson-Edred-9781885972125There is much less published on the Vanatru side of Germanic paganism than on Asatru. Whereas Asatru means true to the Aesir (Odin and the gods of Asgard), Vanatru means true to the Vanir (Freyr and Freya, and the gods of Vanaheimr).

The author studied both Germanic and Celtic philology at the graduate level and earned a Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Medieval Studies.

Despite his impressive credentials, this book is incredibly accessible and written for a general audience. However, due to his credentials, this author is generally considered reliable with his presentation of history and expected to have done his research.

It is understood that Wicca is a contemporary religion influenced by ancient ideas  rather than actual representation of indigenous European religion.  Yet, Thorsson asserts that  Wicca actually may actually draw upon Vanic traditions. He postulates that Freyr and Freyja are the actual Wiccan Lord and Lady based on the etymology of their names (Freyr and Freyja literally do mean lord and lady).

Now, whether Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca, had this in mind when he created his religion, we can’t say. This theory may seem suspect to some considering that mainstream Wiccans typically place emphasis on the Celtic pantheon.

The Wiccan emphasis on all things Celtic is dubious when one considers that the word Wicca is of Germanic origin.  One may also find it mysterious that Ostara, a goddess of the Germans on the continent was grafted into the Wiccan wheel of the year. Even her counterpart in the British Isles, Eostre, is an Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) goddess.  While some examples of the “Wheel of the Year” use the Irish Lughnasadh, others use Lammas.  Lammas was an Anglo-Saxon holiday. The Wiccan calendar also celebrates Yule for winter solstice, another Germanic holiday.  The Celtic winter solstice is Meán Geimhridh.

So, considering Wicca uses a Germanic name and has such precedent of inserting Germanic tradition into their religion, one might consider the Lord and Lady may have been meant to be Frey and Freyja in Gardner’s thought process.  Or it might simply be an alternative way of viewing the religion to make it more palatable to people who value historical precedent in their religious practice.

Anyway, this book is not about Wicca. It’s about interpreting the Vanir through the eyes of a former Wiccan who’s personal practice evolved as his knowledge of ancient history deepened.  This book will not tell you how to be a Wiccan. But for some Wiccans it may open the doorway of new insights and interpretations of paganism.

While this book is highly recommended for Wiccans looking to deeper their study, it is also recommended for other pagans and Heathens interested in the Vanic gods.  This book provides a foundation of understanding the history of the Vanir, and the connection between Vanir tradition and witchcraft.  It discusses underground survivals of witchcraft and its revival.  It also gives a rudimentary introduction for the Norse/Germanic practice of Seidr (spelled Seith by the author, the ð symbol can be translated as “th” or “d” and the “r” is often dropped in translation).

seidrI have to apologize to any of you reading this right now. I bought this book a few years ago, and as I’m finishing up this review, I’m realizing it has gone out of print.  I’ll leave it in our Amazon bookshop anyway in case some reasonably priced used copies turn up. At the least if you click on it in our store, Amazon should suggest similar titles and books by this author.  Or, maybe you can find it used with another bookseller!

Anyway, I quite enjoyed this title, and I hope some of you will be able to get your hands on it.

If you are interested in Seidr, we have added another book on it to our shop.  “Seidr; The Gate is Open” is a title I haven’t read personally, but it comes highly recommended by other readers.

~ review by Aelfwynne ~