Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Europe's last Pagans": The Mari

"The republic of Mari El is situated 800 kilometers east of Moscow. People of Finno-Ugric origin live there, divided into two main groups — lowlanders and highlanders. They speak different languages and live in different regions of the republic. But there is one thing that unites Mari El people – faith." A twenty-five minute documentary on the Mari people and their religious practices can be viewed at

Penda the Pagan: Royal sacrifice and a Mercian king

"Penda, a seventh-century king of Mercia, was a noted regicide. Indeed, his other achievements – his military campaigns and a crafty and unlikely alliance with the British king Cadwallon were instrumental in carving out Mercia as an independent kingdom and establishing it as a power to be reckoned with – were almost completely overshadowed by his reputation as a slayer of kings. As Penda was a pagan, and his alleged victims all Christian, it comes as no surprise to find that medieval chroniclers, mostly monks or Christian nobles, viewed his reign and deeds with horror and denigrated him at every opportunity. The reputation of his ally Cadwallon, himself a Christian, suffered by association: in his Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, written in the early eighth century, Bede of Jarrow describes him as ‘a barbarian more savage than any pagan’ with ‘no respect for the newly established religion of Christ’ [1]. Bede’s invective was not tempered by the fact that Cadwallon was a Celt."
The full article by Alby Stone originally published in Mercian Mysteries, may be read in full on At the Edge.

Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink)

"Kvass (kvas, quass) is probably a bit of unusual drink to this part of the globe.

Indeed, if you read ingredients list: dried rye bread, water, sugar and yeast – it probably will not strike you as something delicious. However this is one of soft drinks which is, according to Wikipedia, popular in Eastern Europe countries, especially Russia, since ancient times."

A full recipe, with step-by-step instructions for preparing this traditional Russian drink, may be found here.


From Wikipedia: "Romuva is a Baltic ethnic religious organization, reviving the religious practices of the Lithuanian people before their Christianization. Romuva is a folk religion community that claims to continue living Baltic pagan traditions which survived in folklore and customs.

Romuva primarily exists in Lithuania but there are also congregations of adherents in Australia, Canada, the United States, and England. There are also Romuvans in Norway, for whom a formal congregation is being organized. Believers of Baltic pagan faiths also exist in other nations, including Dievturība in Latvia. Practising the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practising traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainas or hymns and songs as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places."

An introduction to Lithuanian Paganism may be found here, with a version in English here.

Hunter Yoder on Fracking

Hex sign artist Hunter Yoder talks about the upcoming May 2012 show by Brian Spies at the Hex factory in Philadelphia's Fishtown:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Viking Women: A Reinterpretation of the Bones

"According to a new journal article by Shane McLeod in Early Medieval Europe, the concept of the male Norse invaders migrating across England in the 9th and 10th centuries CE is potentially biased. He argues that based on burial evidence, females were equal in number if not outnumbering the males, leading to a new interpretation of the Norse migration. Textual evidence of the Norse invasion into Britain notes the presence of women and children in some of the invading groups, but primarily they focus on the high number of male warriors. McLeod argues that there were more women than previously thought based skeletal analysis, and this requires a reinterpretation of the Norse invasion."
Read the full article at Bones Don't Lie.

Viking Ethnicities: A Historiographic Overview

Courtesy of
"The ‘Viking Age’ is well established in popular perception as a period of dramatic change in European history. The range of viking activities from North America to the Middle East has excited the interest of many commentators. Vikings are variously regarded as blood thirsty barbarians or civilised entrepreneurs; founders of nations or anarchic enemies. But how cohesive was the identity of the ‘Vikings’ and how did they see themselves? In recent years the answer to this question has been evaluated from a range of perspectives. Established paradigms (often situated within a nationalist framework of thought) have come under greater scrutiny and new ideas have entered the debate. This paper will review some trends in the historiography of viking ethnicities and cultural identities in the period 800–1000 AD. This overview also highlights the value of comparative analysis of human migrations to the field of Viking Studies." The full article by Clare Downham of the University of Liverpool, originally published in History Compass, Volume 10, Issue 1, may be read in PDF format at the Wiley Online Library.

Northern Wisdom - The Havamal, Tao of the Vikings

YouTube trailer for Eoghan Odinsson's new book, due out 27 February. For more information, visit his site.

What did Old Norse sound like?

Readings by Jackson Crawford of UCLA from Völuspá, Hávamál, and Grímnismál. For further inforamtion, visit  his blog.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Remembering Eyvind Kinnrifi

On this day, 9 February, many followers of the Northern Traditions remember Eyvind Kinnrifi, a Norwegian noble landowner who was tortured to death on orders of Olaf I for refusing to abandon his ancestral faith and convert to Christianity. Some accounts say he was drowned, but most say he was instead tied to a table and had a brazier of hot coals placed upon his belly, which eventually burst open from the intense heat.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


This story has begun to circulate recently:
"A video was recorded this weekend of what may or may not be the legendary Lagarfljóts Worm — Iceland’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster.
The video was taken of what looks like a giant, icy swimming snake in the Jökulsá í Fljótsdal river, which runs in to Lagarfljót. The unexplained creature, or phenomenon, appears to be swimming upstream, against the current." Read more, with link to the video footage, at Ice News.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hearth Cooking: An Ancient Cooking Technique Revisited

National Park Service
As this is the time when some honor the Hearth Wights and Goddesses, this seemed an appropriate link to post.

"Hearth cooking is an ancient and wonderful craft. It is the craft that stands at the center of European cuisine. With few exceptions, all recipes that originated in Europe were first created on an open hearth and only adapted comparatively recently to the modern kitchen."

Read more at Mother Earth News.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Urglaawe Altar

More on Urglaawe as practiced in the Pennsylvania Dietsch area, courtesy of YouTube:

Charming of the Plough and Disting

Detail of the Gefion Fountain (1908) by Anders Bundgaard, Copenhagen. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

"For many pagans, this is the time of year where they honor and celebrate Imbolc one of the eight sabbats that comprise the Wheel of the Year. For those of us in the Northern Tradition however, we have our only celebrations known as holy tides (from the Old Norse hátíðir) that we may currently be celebrating instead: Charming of the Plough or Disting." Read the full article at Pantheon.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More Facebook Fun

Researchers collect DNA from men with possible links to York’s Viking past

(Thanks to Christy for finding this.)

"Men with Viking surnames filled the meeting room of New Earswick Folk Hall and queued to help research into the ethnic origins of the British people.

Academics were collecting DNA from men with Viking names to see if they are directly descended from the Scandanavian traders and seaman who once ruled York and Yorkshire."

Read the full article at the York Press.

Der Ewich Yeeger

As we come to the time when the Wild Hunt traditionally returns home, this video on the Pennsylvania Deitsch and Urglaawe take on the Eternal Hunter seems appropriate. From the uploader's comments:
"Der Ewich Yeeger, known also as Ewicher Yeeger and the Eternal Hunter, is credited with saving the early Deitsch settlers along (and north of) the Blue Mountain ridge in Pennsylvania. He and his pack of hounds are still heard in the villages along the Ridge. Urglaawe celebrates His fame and deeds in November."

A Heathen family Devotional: Odinism Begins at Home

"A Heathen Family Devotional promotes the idea that the family is the answer to our problem. The Divine is nurtured by our devotion, our prayers, and our sacrifice. Families turn into kindreds, kindreds turn into clans, clans turn into tribes, tribes turn into nations, and nations turn into homelands. Society must be organized from the bottom up not the top down." This new book by Wyatt Kaldenberg is available from Amazon.

For the Wagner fans, - Jay Hunter Morris on playing Siegfried

 F. Paul Driscoll talks to tenor Jay Hunter Morris, who had a last-minute success in the title role of the Met's new Siegfried in October. This month, Morris sings Siegfried in The Met: Live in HD presentation of Götterdämmerung . Full article at Opera News.