Doing it wrong with meaning: Etymological Fallacy

By Chris Doty PHD   If you’ve read anything about heathenry, up to and including Culture of the Teutons, you’ve undoubtedly come across a writer talking about language. Whether it’s modern Icelandic, Old Norse, Old English, or something even more obscure (anyone know any Old Frisian?), the languages of our ancestors and our current coreligionists often crop up in discussions about topics as diverse as community and death. There are…

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The Hammer Rite – A History of an Outdated Practice

When I first became a Heathen in the days before Facebook and a plethora of digital archives, the Hammer Rite was a staple of Heathen ritual. Most, if not all, of the blots, fainings, and sumbles I attended were began with that familiar call of “Hammer of the North! Hallow and hold this holy stead.” I have fond memories of my own rites as a new Heathen, and the excitement…

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The Ale Glad Collection: Advice for folks new to Ásatrú

The following essay was originally published on AsatruBlog.com on July 11, 2013 and is republished here with the permission of the original author.   So you’re new to Ásatrú and you’re extremely excited to find something that finally speaks to you in a way that nothing else ever has. Heck, it’s like you finally found that one missing thing that makes the world seem not so scary and makes you…

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From the Crow’s Nest: Feeling Lost

This is not a blog post for the general Heathen community. To be frank, I am not sure if this is a blog post for anyone but me, but these are the thoughts that I have been considering over the past week. It’s hard truth time, folks, and time to admit when you aren’t doing it right, and I’m not doing it right. I’m struggling, and this is a weakness…

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From the Crow’s Nest: Of Thralls, Members, and Terminology

My dear friend Alvidar once said to me once that joining a kindred was not unlike how marriage was perceived before romance became the driving factor. It is a joining of people into a family that creates familial bond of mutual benefit, and often includes a strong emotional bond in the process. When someone joins Black Bear Kindred, they hold the status with other oathed members as family. To most…

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The Ale Glad Collection: Things to Consider about Oaths

Oaths are a tremendously important matter in Heathenry. While an oath may be simple, it should never be “easy.” The worth of an oath, and the honor it brings for completion, is directly linked to the benefit fulfilling the oath has for the clan. If it is easy then it is also not particularly worthy. While I do not hold to the strict sense of communal luck held in Théodish…

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The Ale Glad Collection: Being of Worth

The following essay was originally published on AsatruBlog.com on March 28, 2013 and is republished here with the permission of the original author. All wretched is no man, | though never so sick; Some from their sons have joy, Some win it from kinsmen, | and some from their wealth, And some from worthy works. -Hávamál In my conversations with folks who have recently come to Ásatrú, I have regularly…

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The Ale Glad Collection: Holy Worth

The following essay was originally published on AsatruBlog.com and is republished here with the permission of the original author. In ancient times we didn’t have a written moral code. Instead, each tribe and clan relied on their own norms of behavior and customs to determine whether someone was behaving in a good and right fashion. There are clear commonalities of behavior shared within the Nordic, Anglo-Saxon, and Teutonic cultural groups…

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From the Crow’s Nest: The Freedom of Community

I am free because I am bound to a community. It almost seems contradictory. How can someone in modern society consider themselves free when they intentionally bind themselves to the good of others? This comes down to a clash of the Heathen worldview and the overculture’s ideals of how a person should live. The Heathen worldview is transgressive to modern society, but ultimately the most freeing. Modern American culture has…

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The Heathen Mind: Construction & Transgression

The following essay was originally published on AsatruBlog.com and is republished here with the permission of the original author. Originally Published on June 6, 2015 by Ale Glad. Heathenry is constructive. It compels us to create. It compels us to build a legacy to pass down to future generations. The Heathen mindset is one of investment in the system in both terms of identity and physicality. The Heathen mind cannot abide tearing down the system. It…

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“Prayer” in a Heathen Context

For all its claim to empiricism, popular opinions remain barriers to reconstructionist Heathen practice. Whether through misunderstanding, poor scholarship, or emotive clinging to attitudes from previous religious engagements (example: Christian-themed cultural baggage), these opinions tend to shape the growth of Heathen religious traditions for years. In some extreme cases – especially in the wider Contemporary Pagan community – the conflation between practice and and this emotional baggage results in the…

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Behavior, Promises, and Social Inversion

The following essay was originally published on AsatruBlog.com and is republished here with the permission of the original author. Originally Published on January 11, 2016 by Ale Glad. A common trope in media today is the use of embarrassment of an individual as a reward for the audience in assisting with the completion of a goal. I find this to be an interesting use of Shame Culture principles. Let us…

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Thinking Heathen: Changing Behaviors, Attitudes, and Concepts

  The following essay was originally published on AsatruBlog.com and is republished here with the permission of the original author. Originally Published on February  11, 2016 by Ale Glad. In July of 2013, I wrote a piece on false kinship. “Don’t Call Me Brother” has received more commentary than any other article I’ve written, both positive and negative. My argument was that the use of kinship terminology by those who…

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Dear Asatru

Dear Asatru, We need to talk When I got involved with the greater Heathen religious movement in the early 2000’s, Asatru was the preferred nomenclature for anyone who didn’t identify as Theodish belief. It didn’t matter if you were Germanic, Anglo-Saxon, Norse, or Icelandic, you were Asatru. I can only speculate as to why that was, but I strongly suspect a good deal of it was a lack of access…

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A Line in the Sand

The Asatru Folk Assembly is a pustulant cancer on the body of heathenry, and must be excised. A little direct? Well, I thought I would return the favor. After all, they’ve recently been very direct with the rest of us in their statements on their organization’s feelings about race and gender normativity. This isn’t the first time, either. In January, while still under the leadership of Steve McNallen, this appeared…

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The AFA: It’s that time again.

Well the reins have changed hands and, with a change of leadership the AFA has decided to embrace the ideals they’d only skirted in the past. Last time the AFA leadership stuck his foot in his mouth I wrote about why he was misguided. I issued an invitation to come on the show and clarify and I weathered the insults and virulence that the myopic followers of that man brought…

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More on Siblinghood and Kinship Bonds

The following essay was originally published on AsatruBlog.com and is republished here with the permission of the original author. Originally Published on July 29, 2013 by Ale Glad. Siblinghood terminology has been greatly devalued in our society. Kinship has meaning and abusing kinship terminology simply isn’t acceptable to me. If I don’t know a person, it doesn’t matter what common interests we share, I don’t know that person and they…

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Don’t Call Me Brother: False Kinship and the Inappropriate Assumption of Familiarity

The following essay was originally published on AsatruBlog.com and is republished here with the permission of the original author. Originally Published on July 17, 2013 by Ale Glad.   I’m going to warn you right now, this is a pet peeve post. Generally, I try to avoid writing these but this has been something that I’ve been meaning to address for some time now. There is a common behavior that…

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From the Crow’s Nest – Action and Frith

In Culture of the Teutons, Groenbeck describes Frith as a deep, abounding love for kin. He points out that one of the most beautiful poems that has survived the pre-Christian era, the kennings in Egil’s Saga, is about the deep love of kin. It’s a beautiful example of what ideally Frith should be – a deep emotional bond in families. However, Frith is not the cultural norm anymore. Many of…

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Sin, Thew, and the Bones of Innangearde

Does sin have a place in Heathenry? For newer Heathens, surrounded by false information that strips Heathenry of meaning and overwhelmed by books penned by authors with no interest in the truth, the answer may seem to be ‘no’. Due in no small part to a disturbing trend focused on solitary practice and rooted in new age mysticism, one of the most common misconceptions held by Heathens is that they…

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The Delicate Drihten of the Hashtag Hall: An Update on The Asatru Community, Inc.

I shouldn’t be surprised. In Internet time, a week is a year, and to this old heathen, it certainly feels like an apt metaphor for the last week. Since publishing my article, TAC has refused, by policy, to comment on anything we at Heathen Talk have written, but when questions are raised, they demand answers, and TAC has found themselves forced to respond to our criticism whether they liked to…

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TAC Logo with Question Mark

The Asatru Confidence Game

#ItsTime to reexamine its leadership I will make no effort to hide my distaste for the Asatru Community. From my very first interactions with them, they have never failed to disappoint me with their attitude and behavior in the face of even the most basic of challenges.  They epitomize a self-important, undeservedly self-entitled, and outrageously empty “spiritual not religious” attitude that is so pervasive in general paganism and something that…

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Heathen Talk Network Summer Internship

Do you love podcasts? Are you crazy about Heathenry? Think you are a master at social media? Heathen Talk Network is looking to hire a summer intern with just those qualities. This is an exciting opportunity for someone interested in either podcasting or Heathenry to get a first hand look at the operations of Heathen Talk Network. You will learn the fundamentals of audio editing, podcast network operations, social media…

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Heathen Networking 101 – Starting a Meetup

In my last Heathen Networking 101, I discussed finding other Heathens. Now, I am going to go a bit more in depth with the idea I touched on at the end – starting a group. The very idea of starting a group strikes fear into the heart of even the most outgoing person. What if no one shows up? What if they are all crazy racist asshats? These are thoughts…

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Heathen Michigan

Heathen Networking 101: How to Find Heathens

One of the most common requests in this sub is “are there any Heathens in XYZ?” When you are in a minority religion that doesn’t often have formal meeting places, it can be intimidating to find others. However, it is not impossible or even terribly hard once you know your resources and how to search. The first step you should take is to search Facebook, Google, and Bing for “Asatru…

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How White is Homegenizing Heathenry

We often have conversations about our ancestors, our elders, matriarchs, and death. We often refer to the arch-heathens, and attempt to explain the worldview of heathenry as a revival of the worldview of the arch-heathen. This always comes back to a mention of your tribe, or an ancient tribe, or in many cases a confederation of ancient tribes. When we talk about the arch-heathens we are always talking about groups…

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Anonymity

The following is a reposting of an older post from my original blog. I am currently working on a series that isn’t quite ready, I hope you will forgive the reposting and enjoy the post.   Heathens horde reputation like Christians horde converts, and what better way to build reputation than the internet. This space is perfect for sharing ideas, and pushing your own ideals. When we use this tool…

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This Week on Heathen Talk

We are excited to have Steven T Abell on the show this week. Steven is the author of Days in Midgard: A Thousand Years On, a modern retelling of the myths of the vikings. He also blogs at Letters from Midgard on Patheos. Join us at 9 Central/7 Pacific on Wednesday, March 16, for our live show! Chat with us in our IRC channel and ask questions of our guest…

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wolves

Wolves: Choosing to be fáh

Have you referred to yourself as a wolf recently? We’ve all seen the memes that read or imply that the sharer is a “wolf of Odin” or would rather be a wolf than a sheep many of us have shared some of these. They are often seen as embracing strength, and honor, and pack (tribal) ethics, but is that what the wolf represents to the heathen? I don’t think it…

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© OnceAndFutureLaura at https://www.flickr.com/photos/laura-kali/14024116069/

Toby’s Answer: On My Death

NOTE: During tonight’s LiveCast of Heathen Talk, a question from our IRC came up, asking whether we wanted to be cremated or buried. I promised to publish this short vignette from the Asatru Subreddit from September 2014. While, as I said in the podcast, my personal theology has changed since this was written – I would prefer that I would be cremated, for example, the overall narrative of what occurs…

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© OnceAndFutureLaura at https://www.flickr.com/photos/laura-kali/14024116069/

The Wild Hunt Shows That Proper Journalistic Ethics Is For Other People

I am very proud of our founder, Josh White. He has consistently shown maturity and courage in the face of pretty awful things said about and to him. He stood up for something that took courage, and continues to take courage to keep going on. Which is why when I see others attempting to steal the credit he deserves, I become agitated. Josh spoke up during the time when it…

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Why It’s Not the End of The World As We Know It

Time, Ragnarok, and Doom as a function of Wyrd and Orlæg As we have seen, Wyrd is an ever-becoming action, a way of interpreting cause and effect, action and reaction. Orlæg is a function Wyrd. It is the limits of what is possible within Wyrd, defining what possible shapes the pattern might take. Orlæg determines what is possible and impossible. There are questions, however, that challenge this interpretation of Wyrd…

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The Blot Shirt is here!

You have been waiting forever to get your hands on the most amazing Heathen T-shirt, and Heathen Talk delivers! Originally designed by Brian Smith and used with his permission, Heathen Talk is now offering the only way to get a white on block version of this design. Never will you have to explain how to perform a blot again at tribal functions! It’s as simple as 1-2-3! Order Now!

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Heathen Blog Roundup For January 22

It’s been an interesting week in Heathenry. Here is the best of the Heathen Web. Heathen Blogs Tyr’s Good Hand holds their first thing (which was covered here on Marc’s column Word Salad) Jön Upsal’s Gardener writes about a lawsuit filed by an Asatruar prisoner Over on Agora, Wyrd Words writes about the incompleteness fallacy regarding Heathenry. While Happily Heathen discusses her approach to offerings for the Goddesses and Gods….

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Want to Win a Book? Name Josh’s snake

We are giving away a copy of Ben Waggoner’s Norse Magical and Herbal Healing to the person who comes up with the perfect name for Josh’s new rescue snake. It is Xantic Ball Python, less than 3 years old. His nickname was Mr. A, so Josh is giving preference to names beginning with the letter A!   Norse Magical and Herbal Healing was written in Iceland around the year 1500,…

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Word Salad: Birth of a new Thing

Nestled deep within the hills of Eastern New York something new has just formed, and I was fortunate enough to observe it.   It began with an invitation and a Sunday ride northward.  It was a pleasant one, although truth be told it would be far more enjoyable in the warmer months.  State Highway 22 makes for a great motorcycle route, and it is not too busy compared to some…

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Dear Auntie Helga : Explaining My Child’s Soul

Dear Auntie Helga, What is the best way to explain to un-Heathen family and in-laws that our new baby really isn’t a full human being for first couple of weeks to a year of their life? Sincerely, New Dad in Dallas Dear New Dad, Explaining the intricacies of the Heathen soul to non-Heathens is a tricky task. You can go with the historical approach of the practicality of sometimes having…

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Heathen Blog Roundup

Tyr’s Good Hand gives a good explanation of wearing a Thor’s Hammer An Asatru Blog posts an amazing article about Behavior, Promises and Social Inversion A Heathen Naturalist writes about her intentions for the coming year Happily Heathen writes about the Heathen spiritual experience. Other Blogs of Interest Viking Archeology Blog talks about the experience of Viking slaves  

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Dear Steve McNallen

Both Steve McNallen of the AFA,  and Joe Bloch from Jon Upsals Garden have responded to criticism, by myself and others, of McNallen’s now infamous freikorps comment: Both of them are under the strange impression that I am criticizing the call for Germans to defend themselves. Allow me to clear that up here, loudly and publicly. The recent attacks on German women are horrendous, it is my belief that all…

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The Reputation Narrative

Unlike my co-workers, I am not a writer, unless you count lines of code. I am more of a speaker – a storyteller. My element is in front of a microphone, not a keyboard. However, when there is something I feel passionate about, I feel that I have an obligation to put fingers to keys, especially when it is something that is not as widely discussed as I would like…

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A Brief Response to Ill Words

[EDIT: An earlier version of this article did not contain the full quote from Steve McNallan. We regret the error and have updated the quote in line. We do not feel the misquote fundamentally changes the nature of our criticism and still stand by the rest of the article. — HeathenTalk] I had intended to write about the nature of the wolf, however as I sat down to write it,…

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Wyrd, Orlög and Predetermination

The two important things when thinking about the concept of predetermination in heathenry are Wyrd and Orlög. These are two concepts that it is essential to understand to think like a heathen. To understand those you need to understand the way we look at the past, the present and the future in general. This may be a bit of a long post, so I apologize for that in advance.  …

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Why Animal Sacrifice?

To speak on the sacrifice of animals one must understand several key principles: The Gift Cycle, understanding Myth, and most importantly the concept of Causality that underpins all of Germanic metaphysics. Underlying those key principles are two themes that I have harped on before: precedence, and reciprocity. In this post I will attempt to explain the theological underpinnings behind the sacrificial act and to explore why, as part of the…

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A Heathen’s Concern for Germania: Understanding Tacitean Historiographical Problems

The Germania (De Origine et Situ Germanorum), penned by Cornelius Tacitus in the closing years of the 1st century CE, has been both derided and lauded since its rediscovery in the 15th century. The discovery, coinciding with the humanist movement within the Renaissance [1], saw a reintroduction of Tacitean rhetorical and historiographical content in the West. It is a central work in the so-called “Silver Age of Latin literature”, and…

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Heathen Blog Roundup – Jan 1 2016

This Week in Heathen Blogs Jon Upsal’s Garden interviews Joe Marik of Gladsheim Kindred Tyr’s Good Hand delivers donations to a local food bank The Troth Blog tells a Story of Mistletoe Freya: The Golden Thread posts about her Yule ritual   Other blogs of interest Jackson Crawford reads from his translation of the Poetic Edda Viking Archeology writes about a rare find of coins and jewelry in Oxfordshire North…

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Carry On Costs Extra

Baggage: Just make it right… I have been kicking this one around for a few days, trying to find the best way to say what I need to say. Hopefully it turns out useful. What is baggage to a heathen? Baggage refers to the left over thoughts, practices, ideological bases, and worldview that we gathered from growing up in a culture influenced by the dominant religion(evangelical Christianity in most of…

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Bifrost Way’s Wintermoot – A Review

The third Midwest Wintermoot was held November 6-8 at Osage Hills State Park in Oklahoma. This yearly event put on by Bifrost Way kindred was eagerly anticipated after Lightning Across the Plains was cancelled this year. As the last festival of the season, it promised to be well attended by Midwestern and Midsouth Heathens. The weather was almost perfect for the event, with highs around 60 and lows creeping down…

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Family Recipes

Josh’s Holiday Berry Sauce 2lbs blackberries fresh or frozen 1lb raspberries fresh or frozen 1lb blueberries fresh or frozen 1lb strawberries fresh sliced 1 stick of butter 1lb of honey 1 cup of brandy   Combine ingredients in sauce pan over medium heat until the blackberries and raspberries have broken down. Cool to serving temperature. Serve over dry turkey, ice cream, shortcake, french toast, thicken with cream and drink it,…

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A Response to Criticism

A blogger has written a very thoughtful criticism of our podcast, and each of us wanted to respond. We are grateful for our listeners and their opinions do matter. Thorin responds: First, let me start off with thanking you for giving us a listen. In a world where anyone with an internet connection can spew whatever they want on the airwaves, there’s way too much stupid out there for someone to…

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5 Yule Myths That Need to End

Tis the season for clickbait articles about religious holidays. The “War on Christmas” morphs into “The Christians stole our traditions!” and then the blog posts and articles come out about the real origins of Yule and the meaning of various traditions. Today, five of these will be examined for historical and lore veracity.Myth #1 – Solstice was a universally important date While we have evidence that many cultures did track…

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Frith – Getting Beyond the Basics

Frith is a tricky subject, its one that comes up often on Heathen blogs, forums, and podcast’s; often it is covered in the most basic outlines. Frith is a familial bond, it’s the basis of the heathen family unit, it is a blood bond(extended to adopted family, which to my mind is blood). So what is it beyond the basic level, surely something so important, something so often discussed has…

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