A while ago I ran into the little book The Icelandic Rune-Poem (1998) by R.I. Page and later I bought his book An Introduction To English Runes (first published 1973, revised and republished in 1999). Page is a rune-scholar. In both books he writes about what he calls “cryptic runes”, runes in code. I have looked around a little and noticed that there is not much information to be found about this subject on the world wide web. There is a very short article about “Cipher Runes on Wikipedia and a handfull of references to it. The article does not say all that much though, nor does the rest of the information that I found on the internet. I do not claim to make a definate article about the subject, but I will at least give a bit more information.Read More »Fiskrúnar, suínrúnar, skiprúnar
In this article I want to say a thing or two about a few interrelated ‘processes’ in the Medieval Germanic society. How groups form and how they are maintained and how ‘mechanisms’ such as honour and feud work. These at first sight varied subjects will prove to be interwoven.
For this article I have used a few books that you will find listed at the bottom. All authors more or less treat parts of the whole, but from different perspectives and speaking about different societies. It seems as if all of these kinds of works owe a great deal to Willam Miller’s Bloodtaking and Peacemaking which is one of the books that I used. Miller is mostly concerned with Medieval Iceland. Another author I consulted is Jos Bazelmans who dived deeply into the Beowulf story and therefor Anglo-Saxon culture. Another Dutch author, Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld wrote a book about gift-giving mostly concerning people and the Church in the late-medieval Netherlands, a period in which little empires started to arise and this lord-civilian bond is also very present in Bijsterveld’s book. Further I used two articles and last but not least, the inspiration to start this little investigation came from Han Nijdam’s excellent Lichaam, Eer en Recht which is about Medieval Frisian society, with many references to Medieval Iceland.Read More »Kinship, gift-exchange, honour and feud in Medieval Frisia and Iceland
I have said on countless occasions that Dumézil and his theories are not very popular among scholars nowadays. I have read arguments against his tripartite system that were sometimes convincing, sometimes not, but no scholar who disgards the hypthesis of Dumézil presents a workable alternative. Currently I am reading the book The War Of The Gods by Jarich Oosten. The book is of 1985 so the criticism is not just of today. The book is subtitled The Social Code in Indo-European Mythology. Some of you might now know what sort of book this is, but only when I started reading it, I learned that this book is written from the (cultural) anthropological viewpoint. Not completely my thing it seems, but the author writes fairly clearly and he takes a couple of pages to say something about Dumézil and his tripartite system which is worthy to think over. I will quote the mentioned book extensively.Read More »Arguments against Dumézil
I am currently reading a very interesting book about “Compensation Tariffs” in medieval Frisia. Of course I will review the book when I finish it. The book speaks about the “feuding society” in which honour is of high value. The author explains the ancient idea of honour very well.
Compensation systems, of which the Old Frisian penalty lists are an example, appear in many societies. […] The meganism flourishes in a society without a strong (central) authority – in which the government has the monopoly of violence – and where free men form a constitutional state. Such a society is often typified as being a feuding society. In a feuding society an insult or physical violence (sometimes) leads to revenge and revenge (sometimes) to a feud. The state of enmity that rises between two groups of people can be reconciled, compensation plays an important part.
p. 53 (my translation from Dutch to English)Read More »On honour
Many times I have thought about the subject and recently there has been discussions about it: does the focus of many European “pagans” not lie too much on the North? Does the term “Asatru” not refer to much to the god of the ancient Scandinavians? Why do we refer to “Odin” and “Thor” and not to the same gods in our own tongue? What actually do we really know about these local versions of the old faith? I have tried to to make some sort of inventarisation and initial investigation into a subject that proves to be quite difficult.Read More »Regional religious history
Der Germanische Schicksalsglaube by Walther Gehl (1939)
A couple of things made me want to have a look at the explanations that I was offered of the terms “Ørlögr” and “heilagr” and this book was suggested. I got a copy through my library, so I had only 3 weeks to study the book. The Germanic Belief In Fate is a very interesting work, offering tons of information about the subject. Gehl does not really work towards the explanations that I was after, but there are things to work with. I want to introduce you to this book and because this text is too lengthy for a book review, this turned out to be an ‘article’. Of course I read the book with a certain idea in mind, so this review may turn out to be a bit onesided.Read More »Germanic concepts of Fate
I had plans to write about the subject for a while. There is a small group of people familiar with a particular line of thought. Current events (summer 08) make that these ideas may fall victim to forgetfulness, so I decided to speed up my plans somewhat. On the other hand, there seem to be people who think that Traditionalism and “paganism” is a combination growing in popularity in certain music scene circles. I personally have my doubts about that. In any case, what you will learn below is a hypothesis of its own. I do not intend to display a complete system. I only want to present a hypothesis (or a few if you like), a line of thought so to say and in the process introduce the English speaking world to a couple of books that are only appreciated by a few and completely unknown to many which… Read More »Traditionalistic Asatru
Last week I ran into the “blog” of Mark Sedgewick, the author of Against The Modern World, a scholarly investigation of Traditionalism that I haven’t read. On his “blog” Sedgewick puts novelties, thoughts, new leads, etc. One of these new leads is what he calls “music scene Traditionalism”, of which he writes “It is one of the most important and fastest growing forms of Traditionalism in the West today.” In the course of his investigation, he ran into an article with a similar subject in a new periodical called Journal for the study of radicalism (see volume 1, issue 2) which is published by Michigan State University. Apparently it is under editorship of Arthur Versluis who is also one of the editors of the esoteric publication of the same university (some university!). In the second volume of the Journal for the study of radicalism is an article by Stéphane François… Read More »“Music scene Traditionalism”
Today I ran into the review of the Tyr Journal on Northvegr. In quite strong words the reviewer Ári Óðinssen takes distance from the content of this journal. we should not be allowing the voices we hear in this publication to be the only voices pushing the edge of philosophy in this age. They are, by our silence, representing us. I repeat this to make it clear: they are, by our silence, representing us… Óðinssen seems to think that Tyr stands for a radical traditionalist form of “Asatru”, while in my own idea, Tyr is a “radical traditionalist” publication (as an umbrella term) with here and there a ‘pagan edge’. Óðinssen fears that Tyr tries to make some kind of extremist system of the ancestral faith. I doubt that this is the aim of the authors and I personally never saw the publication that way. The interest of the editors… Read More »Heithni
A few months ago I had a little talk about the story of Thor and Loki who travel to Utgarda Loki for a selected group. This little talk took a couple of months in preparation and I have yet to start working on the reworked version of the in depth analysis, but I thought it might be nice for you to show a few aspects of the story here. The story The story in short goes that Thor and Loki (for an unknown reason), decide to travel to Utgarda Loki, which is both the name of a kingdom, as the name of its ruler. In the beginning of the story, Thor and Loki need a place to sleep and they find a farm with a family that is willing to let them spend the night. For dinner, Thor slays his two goats and tells the farmer to throw the bones… Read More »Thor and Loki in Utgarda Loki, an interpretation