Skip to content

Heidnisches Jahrbuch

Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2012 * Holger Kliemannel (editor) (2012)

The Heidisches Jahrbücher usually appear early in the year, but the sixth issue had quite some delay. In look and size (440 pages) the 2012 edition is like that of its predecessors, but then of course with the new publisher’s logo (Edition Roter Drache) on the cover. As always there is a variety of subjects, ranging from history and text analyses to contemporary heathenry and more or less related topics. The yearbook opens with an article about mushrooms and other lucky symbols. This more or less goes over in a lengthy article about the Wild Hunt(er). The article of Christian Brüning starts with much well-known information, but lateron gets freer. The same I can say about Peter Hilterhaus’ text about Freyja. It starts with nothing really new, but works towards some of his own theories. Painter Voenix wrote and illustrated a text about Bragi and then we leave for Russia to read about Baba Yaga and other witches of the woods. Next up is a subject that some think is related, but I personally miss that link: fantasy literature. A text about Frau Holle, an interview and an essay about divinity in materialism is followed by an extremely long and completely unreadable text about tree-souls. Ulrich Holbein uses a pompous writing style that may be amusing to an extremely well-read native-German speaker, but I missed the point of his many pages completely. As always there are book- and musicreviews and a calendar at the end. Like the previous issues, the sixth Heidnisches Jahrbuch is a varried and nice read.
2012 Edition Roter Drache, isbn 393945964X

Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2011 (2011)

For a moment it seemed that this project would stop after the fourth publication. Editor and publisher Daniel Junker decided to abandon the project, but fortunately co-editor Holger Kliemannel carries on with the project and since he is connected to the order of the Dragon Rouge he managed to have the publishing house of the Germany branch, Edition Roter Drache to not only republish the sold out earlier editions, but also to publish the Heidnisches Jahrbuch 5. Number 5 is again a 450+ pages publication. There are 10 essays, so you immediately know that there are a couple of long ones. Number 5 opens impressively with an article of Günter Stienecke who writes about Cult and magic with the Hittites (Hethitern). This bronze age folk lived in the near East and supposedly left not only more, but also older Indo-European writings than the Vedas. The idea is highly tentalising, particularly because many ritualistic texts have been perserved. This is definately something to look into further. The next essay is again a lengthy one. Barbara Beyß gives some detailed information about the three-mothers cult of the Matronen. In doing so she walks numerous (historical) sidepaths. An article with a high level of information. Another interesting article is Bil Linzie’s Was there a Germanic belief in reincarnation? (translated from English). However he starts with quotes from sagas and other texts that suggest there was, he works towards the conclusion that there was not. Thomas Lückewerth reports of his visit to the Swedish island of Gotland with its many runestones and other heathen remains and Haimo Grevenstein and Hermann Ritter have been to a Catholic convention about Right-wing extremism, Satanism and new-Heathenry. A humerous report from lion’s den. Less interesting were Clemens Zerling’s retelling of the story of the film Agora, Christian’s Brünings rant agains monotheistic religions, Vicky Gabriel’s shamanistic psychotherapy and Wolfgang Bauer’s natural relationships which may give some food for thought about how we deal with nature, but the essay is way too long. Towards the end there are some book and filmreviews and, reintroduced, the calendar of heathen activities in Germany in 2011. The firth ‘heathen yearbook’ was again a nice read. Some writings are more of my liking than others, but that is to be expected. I have now read four Jahrbücher in a row and it is time for a pause, but I do not expect issue 6 to be out before 2012 so…
2011 Edition Roter Drache, isbn 9783939459521

Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2008 (2008)

It took quite a while to read this Heidnisches Jahrbuch. This is because it is the thickest so far (500) pages, but also because there are some very long essays in it which are not all too interesting. Perhaps it is also because of the fact that I read three of these Jahrbücher in line, so perhaps I got a bit Jahrbuch-weary. I am glad that Editon Roter Drache took over the publication of the defunkt publisher (and editor) Daniel Junker, because I missed this third edition. Like the other issues, this third volume is about contemporary heathenry, but mostly contains investigations of contemporary heathens. There are articles about the problems of reviving a broken tradition, the study of paganism (or pagan studies), Slavic poetry, the Wessobrun prayer, ‘the last journey’ and Franz Xaver von Unger. The articles that I remember better are Hermann Ritter’s Von Ausen Gestellte Fragen An Die Edda a perhaps not overly scholarly essay, but a nice personal text of a person who looks at the Eddas and comes up with all kinds of “why”s, “how”s and “what”s. Nicely critical, sometimes slightly provocative, showing that the Eddas are not exactly books that one should take literally. A very long, too long in fact, essay is about honour in Germanic society. I have read a few similar texts in the last year. Christian Brühning does not really come up with anything new and he jumps to sidepaths a bit. Not uninteresting though, since it brings a few things to think about. A text that I already got from the author a few years ago is Holger Kliemannel’s short text about Johannes Bureus (and “gothicism”). Kliemannel is a member of the Roter Drache, just as Thomas Karlsson who wrote several books and articles about Bureus, so Kliemannel naturally refers to texts of Karlsson that I never heard of, but he also knew my article. Kliemannel’s article is but a very rudimentary introduction into Bureus. A nice article is about werewolves (by Peter Hilterhaus) in which he goes from modern (film)versions to Männerbünde and a lot in between. The article is not groundbreaking, but a nice read and he critically refers to Kershaw on a few occasions, which is not entirely unjust. Towards the end of the book there are book-, film- and musicreviews.
The third Heidnisches Jahrbuch is not the best one, but like the other three, it is nice to read something written by ‘fellow heathens’. The fourth volume was announced to be the last one, but when I was looking for the cover of number three, I found out that volume five is also available!
2008 Daniel Junker Verlag / 2010 Edition Roter Drache, isbn 393945947X

Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2006 (2005)

When I found the publication, there were three volumes available. Based on the tables of content, I decided to order volume 2 (2007). Only when the fourth issue (2010) came I did I think to try to get the rest as well. Volume 3 (2008) was already sold out, 4 was sold out in no-time, but volume 1 was still available. In the meantime, the original printing is sold out as well, but fortunately another publisher republished all four issues. I hope that this also means that issue 4 will not be the last. In any case, the first “Heathen Yearbook” is not the best. With projects such as this I imagine that some people have a lot of material available, too much for a normal magazine and then decide to make it larger and the result is a book. It is not really that this is a compilation of great articles. In fact, the first heathen yearbook is not even as much focussed on practical Northern-European paganism as the later volumes. There are some quite new-agy articles, Middle-Eastern heathenry and purely historical texts. In the opening article Baal Müller wonders what neo-paganism actually is. An expected and nice opener for the series. A very long, and mostly historical, article is about “Arbogast, the forgotten hero”. After an article about the belief in wonders another lenghty article about “Erfahrungsreligionen”, or “religions of experience” follows, an approach to paganism that is to become a red thread through all future volumes. Vision-quests, shamanism, investigation of regions of the brain from which out-of-body-experiences can be forced, articles that did not really catch my attention. More interesting was the article about Hermann Hendrich. For the rest there is an investigation of “Grottis magical mill” and texts about the freedom of a heathen, runes and the original language and wolf-men. Book- and musicreviews and a calendar for 2006 close off the book. An interesting start of an interesting series of publications, but looking back, not the best volume. Fortunately available in reprint, so you can get it and judge for yourself.
2005 Verlag Daniel Junker, isbn 3938432020, 2010 reprinted by Edition Roter Drache, isbn 3939459437

Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2010 (2009)

In 2006 the first Heidnisches Jahrbuch (“heathen yearbook”) was published. In 2007 and 2008 the next two followed and now in 2010 the last. In the preface the editors Daniel Junker and Holger Kliemannel say:

When the idea for this project was born five years ago, we could not imagine where we would stand today with the means available. The idea was, to give the contemporary heathen movement [neuheidnischen Bewegung] an academic voice, in which we succeeded. Many university libraries in the Federal Republic, Austria, Switserland all the way to Princeton (USA) have subscribed to the yearbook and therewith making it available for investigation. The academic discourse was enriched with a pagan voice.

Too bad that these line are preceeded with a short announcement that this fourth Heidnisches Jahrbuch will be the last, due to personal and business reasons. That is really too bad, because the Jahrbuch is a very praiseworthy project. Starting around the same time as Tyr Journal with a similar setup and more like the recent The Journal Of Contemporary Heathen Thought, the Jahrbuch is (of course) a heathen, annually published collection of shorter and longer essays presented in the form of a book of 350 pages. This last volume is very well printed too. One of the reasons that I ran into the Jahrbuch is because it deals with contemporary paganism. Not that all articles are musings about daily life of contemporary pagans, but at least the writing are both by and for heathens and some are indeed about daily life. What you get in volume four is an article about the veneration of wells (Celtic and Roman), an introduction to the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet: Bön, an article about Medusa (giving Celtic leads), an article about the traditional martial art of GlÍ­ma, a provocative essay of the American investigator of contemporary heathenry Michael Strmiska called How to give the blót the blood back, a personal search for the God Delling, a nice article about Galdr based on the history of music, a thorough investigation of the Húsdrapa of Íšlfr Uggason and then come book-, music- and filmreviews. In the bookreviews section the background of this Jahrbuch becomes a bit clearer. However the Jahrbuch is not connected to any group or movement, the magical order of the Roter Drache seems to have a voice in it and there are book reviews of the Roter Drache publishing company, a book about modern magicians and other magical works.
Especially regarding the articles, the new Heidnisches Jahrbuch is an interesting read. I noticed that they sell very well. When I was looking for previous editions, I did not find a copy of volume 3 and Amazon Germany has volume 4 currently listed as “temporarily out of stock”, but it seems that there is an Edition Roter Drache reprint available (in fact, the Roter Drache seems to have reprints of all Jahrbücher). So if you want to get yourself copies, be quick and/or look around well. Mind -though- that this is not a cheap publication. The prices differ from € 30,- to € 35,-, which with the current exchange rate, means $ 40,- to $ 50,- excluding shipping. I have seen the books on secondhand websites for much higher prices too. I have a copy of volume 1 which will be reviewed when I finish it and now I found out about the reprint, there is a copy of volume 3 on its way.
2009 Daniel Junker Verlag, isbn 3938432101)

Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2007 (2006)

Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2In several regards this German publication is like the Tyr Journal. An anual publication with three issues available in the form of a 450 page well-printed book with essays of different authors about paganism and related subjects and book and music reviews at the end. Those are the similarities, because there are of course more differences. The nice thing about the Heidnisches Jahrbuch is that is deals with contemporary paganism and its problems. No investigations of archeological evidence and myths to contruct a theory, but writings about how pagans of today can fill in their faith and practises. However the Jahrbuch does not come from a certain organisation, the authors seem to agree on two points: paganism is polytheistic and paganism is democratic. I personally disagree with both which makes it ‘difficult’ to follow reasonings here and there. The first article About the reception of germanic neopaganism in Germany nowadays is a nice piece about how different media report about paganism. Of course they display a lot of ignorance and prejudice. A critical article follows about the fact that people say: “but the Eddas say…”, while Kurt Oertel displays how flawed our sources and their translations are. For the rest: textual investigations, modern runestones, Frau Percht and the Perchten-movements that are popular today, headhunters; a whole range of subjects pass. The interpretation is often very philosophical or scholarly. One subject that one of course cannot avoid when talking about contemporary paganism is the link with conservative politics. The last and longest article takes about 80 pages to distinguish “völkische esoterik” from “germanic heathenry”. Pages and pages are filled with the history of prenazi “völkish” groups, antisemitism, racism all to prove that the supposed ‘pagan’ ideas of people from the past and present with these ideas are in fact Christian with a pagan varnish and not the least bit based on a polytheistic religion.
Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2007 was a nice read. There should be more publications about contemporary paganism, so I support the initiative. I have not seen the other two volumes of this publication yet, so maybe it was just this issue, but all three Heidnisches Jahrbücher are well available (through for example), so if you can read German and are prepared to pay a relatively high price for a publication like this, these series could be something for you.
2009 verlag daniel junker, isbn 9783938432068