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Mjollnir
January 13th, 2005, 05:44 PM
Heilsa All,
I would like to inform you all that Rick has graciously accepted to join me in restarting the Heathenry class that aefentid had started. I guess you all know that I would like to start doing a little review of the classes held so far before continuing. I hope everyone has a good time and I know we can learn a lot from each other. I would like to let you know I am planning on keepping the topics Norse based as that is what I practice and the discussions and classes will reflect that.
Wassail!!
Gary

Mjollnir
January 16th, 2005, 11:09 AM
Anyone have anything to comment on/discuss from the first lesson that we can review before we continue with the review of the other classes?

Nantonos
January 17th, 2005, 02:37 AM
Something I didn't fully understand last time round - wights. Are they

a) non-deity otherworldly beings
b) minor or localized deities, not including the Aesir and Vanir
c) all non-human beings

In other words, are deities wights or not, basically.

Nantonos
January 17th, 2005, 02:40 AM
What is the earliest historical period when something recognizable as Heathenry (with the same or similar deity names) was practiced? Was it in the migration period, or earlier? And what are our sources for that? I am aware of Tacitus, but also aware that he does not seem to be describing Heathenry as such.

Mjollnir
January 17th, 2005, 11:47 AM
Something I didn't fully understand last time round - wights. Are they

a) non-deity otherworldly beings
b) minor or localized deities, not including the Aesir and Vanir
c) all non-human beings

In other words, are deities wights or not, basically.

Yes and no.........

Alfar & Disir, being the male and female ancestral spirits respectively which are honored by our kindred not only at Winternights and Yule but at each blot we hold. Our blots consist normally of three rounds, first one to the deity being honored, the second round to ancestral spirits and the third round being open when any other deities and orlandvaettir are honored.


The light alfs of Alfheim nor the elves of darkness who live in Svartalfheim...the Svartalfar are often identified with the dwarfs and are hard to distinguish from the Döckálfar which are the earth-dwelling ones... participate in any of the events described in the Norse myths. It is well known that they do have parts in the literature of some of the other branches of Indo-European mythology.


house wights, landvaettir(land wights)...I have never had the chance yet to deal with house wights much but I do wish to start but the landvaettir I do honor on a regular basis as I hunt and have had many dealings with them in the past, usually with something of a short reflection while sitting on stand, after the taking of an animal or just out and about in the woods or when I am at home as I am fortunate to have a huge maple in the yard and when we libate after a blot it is usually done there. I would like to do more but since I hunt on federal land it is difficult to have mead with me as the area is patrolled by Rangers.

I hope this helps.

Rick
January 17th, 2005, 12:26 PM
What is the earliest historical period when something recognizable as Heathenry (with the same or similar deity names) was practiced? Was it in the migration period, or earlier? And what are our sources for that? I am aware of Tacitus, but also aware that he does not seem to be describing Heathenry as such.
Thank you for mentioning Tacitus. I can get my opinion of him on record & out of the way here early on.

Tacitus portrays the 'German barbarians' in much the same way that Western dime novels portray the 'noble red savages'. That said: Tacitus can't be ignored as a source, but I'd advise to take him with the proverbial grain of salt.

I'll have to do a little research on the rest of your question... damn! I hate when people make me think... it wrinkles my brain all up... :hehehehe:

KellyP
January 17th, 2005, 05:12 PM
Something I didn't fully understand last time round - wights. Are they

a) non-deity otherworldly beings
b) minor or localized deities, not including the Aesir and Vanir
c) all non-human beings

In other words, are deities wights or not, basically.

An interesting question that led me to digging through some of my web sources and looking through some etymology. The word wight is defined as "a living being; a creature" (www.dictionary.com) with the etymology leading to Old English wiht and further back to the IE root wekti. I could not find a reference in my IE language sources to the root wekti but did find that Old Norse vaettr is the cognate. Makes sense as landvaettr is often translated as land wights. I also saw references to husing as house wights. Vitr appeared as the Old Norse word for wise, often in a compound word as the adjective. The term vaihts (an apparent cognate or alternate spelling of wights) was found with little information in the surrounding text. I never encountered a clear definition of the term as used in Heathenry.

So, I passed my search on to the folks in the Mimir's Well group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Mimirs_Well/) on Yahoo!, of which I am a member. Here is the reply I received from Alfta.



Wight is a term that means basically "creature or living being." Douglas Harper's Online Etymoglical Dictionary of English (http://www.etymonline.com/) states:

O.E. wiht "living being, creature," related to Ger. Wicht "creature, infant," with a slightly dim. sense, from P.Gmc. *wekhtiz. Cognates in other Gmc. languages often refer to demons or elves.

As such it can be used to describe any living creature. Its Old Norse cognate is vættr (pl. vættir) which is used to signify what we would call a supernatural being, i.e., landvættr, "land-spirit". However, in the Heithinn worldview there was really no supernatural/natural distinction as we now understand it modern society. There were simply other beings. Wight then can be used to signify god, man or what we would call spirits. i.e, any living being. Having said that, in Heithin circles I see it used a lot in the same way we would use the word spirit.

Alfta's initial comments regarding etymology and cognates match what I had seen in general references. FYI, Alfta is on the Board of Directors of the Northvegr Foundation as well as Editor and Art Director of the Northvegr Foundation Press (www.northvegr.org).


KellyP
pot-bellied, heathen-ish druid of the prairie

Mjollnir
January 17th, 2005, 05:24 PM
I frequent Northvegr and post on their boards and Alfta is amazing. I agree with the assesment that Heathens today generally use it to describe spirits although I do agree also that it can be used to describe the beings inhabitating the land as well.

KellyP
January 17th, 2005, 05:39 PM
I felt a critical point was made by Alfta when he stated
in the Heithinn worldview there was really no supernatural/natural distinction as we now understand it modern society.

To approach life as a Heathinn would have or in fact does today, I must not think of the gods, landvaettr, disir, etc as somehow separated from myself. The house wights are not in a different realm, they are in fact in my house. Since I cannot see or touch them I tend to assign them the role of "otherworldly". However, in doing so, I build a distinction between them and myself in my thoughts.

Definitely something I need to consider in future meditation and study.

mothwench
January 17th, 2005, 07:16 PM
kellyP, that is an astoundingly good thought. i have to steal it from you, sorry, can't help myself, i'm thinking it too already. :spinnysmi

thanks for starting this thread mjollnir. i'll go and re-read lesson and discussion one and see if there are any questions of mine left unanswered.

KellyP
January 18th, 2005, 12:56 AM
What is the earliest historical period when something recognizable as Heathenry (with the same or similar deity names) was practiced? Was it in the migration period, or earlier? And what are our sources for that? I am aware of Tacitus, but also aware that he does not seem to be describing Heathenry as such.Wow! Another fascinating question.

To look for the first examples of Heathenry with your desired identifier being "with the same or similar deity names" is something of a challenge. Two primary hurdles immediately leap to the fore: Germanic peoples did not form images of their gods prior to contact with Mediterranean cultures and writing (using runes) was also a somewhat late introduction. With these two, we are unlikely to fine early figures inscribed with deity names as we know existed for other cultures.

The earliest reference may in fact be the inscription on the Negau helmet. Todd, in The Early Germans, notes that one inscription may refer to Teiva as a Germanic god of war. Runes of Tyr are also mentioned as appearing on weapons. These finds all date from [before] the migration period.

KellyP: edited to correct my statement ... the Negau finds pre-date the migration period

Anyone have something earlier?

KellyP
off to find out who this Teiva feller might be

Rick
January 18th, 2005, 02:23 PM
Teiva probably=Teiwaz=Tyr (bearing in mind that in many of the Gremanic-based languages, the sounds for "w" & "v" seem virtually interchangeable)... There is a school of thought that the first peoples that wandered up onto the European continent came "out of Africa" through Eurasia (what we now call the Middle East), westward along the Mediterranian coast, north along the Atlantic coast, then generally eastward. These probably were (or their descendants became) the Monolith People; I've also seen them referred to as the Alpine People (although they might have been offshoots of a later 'wave'). These were the peoples that were eventually displaced by the later migrations that came from the east. Most likely they were (mostly) animistic in their spiritual views, but it is also most likely that their stories were the stories of Ymir & Burri & Zio & Thrym & Nerthus (& probably even older versions than those) that were later overlaid with the Indo-European stories of Odin & company.

Nantonos
January 18th, 2005, 02:45 PM
Wow! Another fascinating question.

To look for the first examples of Heathenry with your desired identifier being "with the same or similar deity names" is something of a challenge.

Yes. Well, we can assume that Germanic, proto-Germanic, and IE peoples had some religion. What i wanted to know what at what date we have evidence that it was recognizable hHeathenry. Dd Heathenry gradually differentiate out from generic IE religion (if there is such a thing), did it incorporate other elements and if so where from.


Two primary hurdles immediately leap to the fore: Germanic peoples did not form images of their gods prior to contact with Mediterranean cultures
Yes, but since they were contacting Greeks and Etruscans from the fourth century BCE onwards, that stiill pushes it fairly far back.


and writing (using runes) was also a somewhat late introduction. With these two, we are unlikely to fine early figures inscribed with deity names as we know existed for other cultures.
I agree that we do not find stone figures of deities handily labelled with inscriptions except in a Germano-Roman context. However, writing existed before the Roman empire, and visits by other literate peoples provided evidence before the Germans began to write it themselves.
Also, the earliest writing was not runic. It used the etruscan or venetic script (from which runes might be derived).


The earliest reference may in fact be the inscription on the Negau helmet. Todd, in The Early Germans, notes that one inscription may refer to Teiva as a Germanic god of war. Runes of Tyr are also mentioned as appearing on weapons. These finds all date from the migration period.
I disagree with your assertion that the Negau helmet dates from the migration period (third to sixth centuries CE),

ETA: this was a misunderstanding because Kelly had missed out "before" from the sentence.

Todd states (p.12)


The date and significance of this unusual cache of helmets have been much discussed, but many uncertainties remain. The inscription reads from right to left HARIXASYITEIVA///IP (or IL) in a North Italic alphabet which had gone out of use by the begoinning of the Christian era and probably before the first century BC.

A writing system which fell from use in the first century BCE cannot provide a date of 3-6th centuries CE.

More on dating was posted to the cybalist mailing list by Piotr Gasiorowski
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cybalist/message/6175

The Negau Helmet was found in 1811 in Styria among 25 other North Italian style helmets such as were worn by mercenaries. Some date it at ca. 300 BC, but I've been told that it's more reliably dated to 175-50 BC. The inscription on the helmet (HARIGASTITEIVAI[IVT...?]) is in a North Italian alphabet virtually identical with that used for Venetic. It reads right to left and was regarded as "Etruscan" until 1925, when the legible part was deciphered as Harigasti Teiwai (Ti:wai?), variously interpreted but apparently containing a well-known Germanic name plus the dative of "Tiw".

Also , on the Theudiskon mailing list, Alounis wrote:

The oldest Germanic inscription seems to be on Negau helmet (circa
III BC):
HARIGASTI TEIWA

Surely TEIWA is in dative case: "to Teiwaz", indistinguishable from
Wulfila's Gothic; HARIGASTI has HARI- "army" already reduced in
composition (instead of HARIA-).

I would agree with the dative, so its a dedication to a deity, Teiwaz, who later became Tyr in Northern Germanic. The name survives in 'Tuesday', which is from Western Germanic Saxon.

To briefly review the history of relevant writing systems: Phonecian produced Greek; Western Greek was then transmitted to Etruria and became the basis of a range of North Italian or Alpine scripts. Cheif of these was Etruscan, from the seventh century BCE on until the first century BCE. Venetic (sixth to second century BCE) is derived from Etruscan, as is Lepontic, the script used for the first Celtic writing, and Gallic (third to first century), a later derivative
Moving southwards, these alphabets influenced Faliscan, Picene, Oscan, Umrian, and Latin scripts. (So, Latin came from Phonecian via Greek and Etruscan.)
Looking at these scripts, it seems quite likely that the North Alpine scripts influenced Runic.

abstracted from

Boniface, Larissa The Scripts of Italy pp.297-311 in Daniels, Peter and Bright, William (1996) The World's Writing Systems. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

KellyP
January 18th, 2005, 03:03 PM
I disagree with your assertion that the Negau helmet dates from the migration period (third to sixth centuries CE), and so does Todd, who states (p.12) It took me a few re-reads to understand why you were objecting to my statement when I had in fact been taking my material on the Negau helmet from Todd. Then I finally read what I had originally posted.


These finds all date from the migration period. Doh! There is an obvious mistake. I had thought to type "before the migration period". Even while I was re-reading it for an error my mind kept inserting the "before".

Sorry, for the confusion, but essentially the point has already been made that the Negau helmet and related finds pre-date the migration period and do refer to gods similar to those worshipped in modern Heathenry.

I have seen references to a Pre-Germanic culture but do not recall if there were any mentions of the religious practices.

KellyP
embarassed by a silly mistake

Nantonos
January 18th, 2005, 03:05 PM
I came across this interesting etymology, the introductory paragraph of a much longer article:
http://marklander.ravenbanner.com/Tiw%20hrothwulf.html


Of all the gods and goddesses of the Anglo-Germanic folk, there can be little doubting that Tiw was amongst the most highly honoured and furthest famed. Places once devoted to his worship can be found spread across NW Europe and include Tysoe, Tuesley, Tislea, Tewin, Tyesmere, and Tifield in England; Tisdorf and Zeisberg in Germany; Tystathe and Tuslunde in Jutland; Tisvalae in Zealand; Tistad, Tisby, Tisjo, and Tyved in Sweden; and Tysnes Island in Norway. Likewise, his name has survived in each of the three major Germanic language groupings (North, West, and South Germanic) and variations include “Zio” and “Ziu” in Old High German, “Tyr” in Old Norse, “Tius” in Gothic, “Tiw“, “Tiu“, “Tio“, and “Tig” in the various Anglo-Saxon dialects, and even “Teiw“ in Primitive Germanic. All of these variants, along with such other words as the Old Norse “Diar” (gods), Old Norse “Tivar” (gods and heroes), Anglo-Saxon “tir” (glory), and Old High German “ziori” (splendour), spring from a common Indo-European root (“deius”) meaning first “heavenly radiance” and then “god”. This same I.E. root also gave us the Baltic “Dievas”, the Latin “Jupiter“ and “deus“, the Greek “Zeus“ and “theos“, the Ancient Hittite “Sius“, and the Sanskrit “Dyaus”.

I would add that the same pIE root *deius produced, in Celtic languagesL Gaulish deuos (god), Old Irish dia, Welsh duw, Old Cornish duy and Breton doue (also doiuis,(goddess)). In other IE languages: Old Latin deiuos, Venetian deiuos, Lithuanian diẽvas, Prussian deiwas (interesting) and sanskrit deváḥ.
Delmarre 2003 p.142-143


All of which seems to indicate that the name simly derives from 'God' and that Tyr was a primary deity in the proto-Germanic, proto-Heathen religion.

Nantonos
January 18th, 2005, 03:06 PM
http://www.radionics.org/Links/runemagick/readings/runegau.gif

(read from right to left)

KellyP
January 18th, 2005, 03:23 PM
I came across this interesting etymology, the introductory paragraph of a much longer article:
http://marklander.ravenbanner.com/Tiw%20hrothwulf.html

All of which seems to indicate that the name simly derives from 'God' and that Tyr was a primary deity in the proto-Germanic, proto-Heathen religion. That is my understanding of Tyr as well. The American Heritage College Dictionary (AHCD) also notes that Tyr is derived from the IE root dyeu. I like the AHCD because it contains the appendix "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans" by Calvert Watkins and the dictionary of Indo-European Roots. They assert that dyeu- is "To shine" with derivatives leading to "sky, heaven, god". This matches well with the apparent importance that a sky god plays in most IE religions. Many researchers have asserted that Tyr/Tiw/Tiwaz was the primary god of the proto-Germans but eventually lost his role to Odin and was reduced to more of a god of contracts/oaths.

I have just finished Shan M. M. Winn's, Heaven, Heroes and Happiness: The Indo-European Roots of Western Mythology. It does an excellent job of tracing the IE religions through comparative study. There are people who have done the same to create an idea of a pIE set of deities that might be helpful to understand for this topic as well.

Kelly
hoping I didn't make any disastrous errors in this post _whistle_

Nantonos
January 18th, 2005, 03:59 PM
That is my understanding of Tyr as well. The American Heritage College Dictionary (AHCD) also notes that Tyr is derived from the IE root dyeu. I like the AHCD because it contains the appendix "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans" by Calvert Watkins and the dictionary of Indo-European Roots. They assert that dyeu- is "To shine" with derivatives leading to "sky, heaven, god".
Yes, that agrees well with what Delmarre says. I wish these experts would all use the same system of orthography though :)


I have just finished Shan M. M. Winn's, Heaven, Heroes and Happiness: The Indo-European Roots of Western Mythology. It does an excellent job of tracing the IE religions through comparative study. There are people who have done the same to create an idea of a pIE set of deities that might be helpful to understand for this topic as well.

Sounds very interesting. Ouch, £42.00 in paperback. Thats €61 or US$ 79. Amazon uk notes it as 'hard to find' and gives 4-6 weeks ie they will say its unavailable after 3 months. Is it still in print? Checks abebooks ....

mothwench
January 18th, 2005, 05:56 PM
nantonos, kelly, quite a fascinating conversation you're having over here. :kooky: i'll try and join in when i've digested everything you've written so far. :foh:




Anyone have something earlier?



does it have to have references to deities to be considered heathen? i have some information about some astrological tools and other artifacts that are in fact very old. if you're interested. :sunny: i just don't want to kill the conversation about the helmets.

mothwench
January 18th, 2005, 08:12 PM
http://www.radionics.org/Links/runemagick/readings/runegau.gif

(read from right to left)

why from right to left? :huh: is that common with runic inscriptions?

Nantonos
January 18th, 2005, 08:21 PM
why from right to left? :huh: is that common with runic inscriptions?

Its not runic. Its right to left because most North Italic or Alpine scripts went right to left.

mothwench
January 18th, 2005, 08:34 PM
i know it's not runic, the site i looked up said it's etruscan, and they also say the runes were probably derived from the etruscan alphabet. (more likely than from the latin one) so i was wondering whether it was the same for runes. :) sorry, should have been clearer on that.

btw, that site also stated (it's german, but here's the link anyway: http://www.geo.de/GEO/kultur_gesellschaft/geschichte/2002_01_GEO_01_runen/?SDSID=28522100000021051547248 ) that the inscription meant: harigasti (name) priest of god. dunno how accurate that is, though.

Nantonos
January 18th, 2005, 09:55 PM
btw, that site also stated (it's german, but here's the link anyway: http://www.geo.de/GEO/kultur_gesellschaft/geschichte/2002_01_GEO_01_runen/?SDSID=28522100000021051547248 ) that the inscription meant: harigasti (name) priest of god. dunno how accurate that is, though.

I don't see where they get 'priest' from. Harigasti could be a personal name, it also means 'the army' or something. Tiwaz is in the dative, so 'To Tiwaz' ie, a dedication. So its either Harigasti (dedicated this) to Tiwaz or, possibly, the army was dedicated to Tiwaz (sacrificing vanquished foes? claiming protection? whose army ...)

mothwench
January 19th, 2005, 07:22 AM
or harigasti (one person) was dedicated to tiwaz. i guess that's probably where they get the interpretation of "priest" from.

mucgwyrt
January 22nd, 2005, 11:17 AM
OK, I'm going to compile a list of questions from the many posts...

1a) What are "orlandvaetti"?
1b) Regarding Winternights; I have come accross no evidence thus far that this was practised in Anglo-Saxon britain. Do you know of any, offhand? Also, for that reason I haven't looked into it yet (I prioritise :T ) - can you tell us a bit more about it?

2a) Can you give us a good 'demonstration' of a blot and a symbel (go on, you know you want to :heybaby: ).
2b) As I understand it, the anglo-saxons also practised blots and symbels?



To approach life as a Heathinn would have or in fact does today, I must not think of the gods, landvaettr, disir, etc as somehow separated from myself. The house wights are not in a different realm, they are in fact in my house. Since I cannot see or touch them I tend to assign them the role of "otherworldly". However, in doing so, I build a distinction between them and myself in my thoughts.

Definitely something I need to consider in future meditation and study.



I agree wholeheartedly. In what dealings I hae had with wights, I realise them to be no more or no less "magical" than we are; they consider themselves "normal people" just as we do, if that makes sense :)



...Mediterranean cultures and writing (using runes) was also a somewhat late introduction. With these two, we are unlikely to fine early figures inscribed with deity names as we know existed for other cultures.


I read somewhere (mind like a sieve, I forget where) that there's good evidence that Runes didn't make it to Britain til the 700s, which is post conversion. I keep meaning to look into it, but never quite get round to it.......


Whilst everyone's talking about Gods -

3a) I've been compiling a list of Gods or dieties we definately know to have been worshipped in Britain by the anglo-saxons (i.e. not ones we think they must have brought with them during their migration from the continent, but ones we have actual evidence of having been worshipped), and thus far its rather small.


+ Frigg (evidence; 'friday')
+ Thor (edivence; 'thursday')
+ Woden (evidence; metrical charms & day name)
+ Ing (evidence; rune poem and place names)
+ Hreþa (evidence; Bede)
+ Eostre (evidence; bede)
+ Tyr; tuesday?

As well as lesser dieties:
+ Mara
+ Occhus Bocchus
+ Occhus Necchus
source; several books (i.e. secondary sources)......... seive seive seive.........


Does anyone want to add any to it or argue with me over it?
I could also do with some more info on Occhus Bocchus and/or Nick; its quite thin on the ground...?

KellyP
January 23rd, 2005, 11:49 AM
OK, I'm going to compile a list of questions from the many posts...

Good idea. While reading the posts from the earlier class I lost track of which questions had been reasoned through and which remained open.


1a) What are "orlandvaetti"?I don't know that I have ever encountered the prefix or- on the term before. Landvaettir of course are the land wights. Do you have a particular reference where you found orlandvaetti? I will dig around in my Old Norse dictionaries and see if there is anything in there.


1b) Regarding Winternights; I have come accross no evidence thus far that this was practised in Anglo-Saxon britain. Do you know of any, offhand? Also, for that reason I haven't looked into it yet (I prioritise :T ) - can you tell us a bit more about it? Ooooooo ... I would love for someone to give me a good description of Winternights. I have tried several times to work my mind around this particular festival and have never come away with a solid understanding.

Mjollnir
January 23rd, 2005, 12:37 PM
OK, I'm going to compile a list of questions from the many posts...

1a) What are "orlandvaetti"?
1b) Regarding Winternights; I have come accross no evidence thus far that this was practised in Anglo-Saxon britain. Do you know of any, offhand? Also, for that reason I haven't looked into it yet (I prioritise :T ) - can you tell us a bit more about it?


I am going to take a stab...seeing as I have not yet come across this term...but I wonder if it may be another word for Landvaettir.
I am not sure either of the Winternights in Britain either.


2a) Can you give us a good 'demonstration' of a blot and a symbel (go on, you know you want to :heybaby: ).
2b) As I understand it, the anglo-saxons also practised blots and symbels?

Blots were offering to the gods/goddesses...blot meaning blood...I will answer this according to what we do now. Each month we honor a different deity, first we begin with a discussion regarding that deity, from what we know of them from the lore and any personal workings or thoughts. The discussion usually lasts an hour, then we move to the actual blot where we start off with a general blessing asking the deity to join us as they are honored followed then by either a hammer rite or Syn rite (our kindred works with her alot) and ask that the space be warded. In some instances, but not always a mead blessing is done prior to the horn being passed.

The first round is done to the deity(number of rounds depends naturally on how many people present) the second round is usually reserved for land spirits, ancestors and the third round is open. In the course of the blot, we make sure that the horn is never emptied as the words being spoken are "in" the horn and it is bad luck to drain it dry since everything is going into the Well and if you do everything is then lost. After the final round whatever mead is left is poured into an offering bowl, we then adjourn outside to libate on the ground. In some cases whoever is libating can either say something about the deity or just libate onto the ground..."From the Gods to the earth to us...From us to the earth to the Gods....A gift for a gift. Hail!"


Symbels are a lot less formal but just as important as this is usually where toasts, boasts or oaths are made/taken. These have no set number of rounds, can be done to the gods, ancestors, land spirits, the community etc. If any oaths are made however you better be damm sure they are kept as they are made with plenty of people as wittnesses, boasts are usually of accomplishments made and toasts, well they are self explanatory.

Mjollnir
January 23rd, 2005, 12:42 PM
Ooooooo ... I would love for someone to give me a good description of Winternights. I have tried several times to work my mind around this particular festival and have never come away with a solid understanding.

From The Troth:
Winternights - in Iceland, this feast was held (roughly) around the 12th-15th of October. The Anglo-Saxons called it "Winter Full-Moon", suggesting that they kept it on the first full moon after the autumnal equinox. Winternights marked the end of harvest and the time when the animals that were not expected to make it through the winter were butchered and smoked or made into sausage. The festival is also called "Elf-Blessing", "Dis-Blessing", or "Frey-Blessing", which tells us that it was especially a time of honouring the ancestral spirits, the spirits of the land, the Vanir, and the powers of fruitfulness, wisdom, and death. It marks the turning of the year from summer to winter, the turning of our awareness from outside to inside. Among the Norse, the ritual was often led by the woman of a family - the ruler of the house and all within.

One of the commonest harvest customs of the Germanic people was the hallowing and leaving of the "Last Sheaf" in the field, often for Odin and/or his host of the dead, though the specifics of the custom vary considerably over its wide range. The Wild Hunt begins to ride after Winternights, and the roads and fields no longer belong to humans, but to ghosts and trolls.

The Winternights feast is also especially seen as a time to celebrate our kinship and friendship with both the living and our earlier forebears. It marks the beginning of the long dark wintertime at which memory becomes more important than foresight, at which old tales are told and great deeds are toasted as we ready ourselves for the spring to come. It is a time to think of accomplishments achieved and those which have yet to be made. Winternights also marks the beginning of a time of indoors-work, of thought and craftsmanship.


If you want personal insights let me know, otherwise I can try to dig up more stuff for ya.

mothwench
January 23rd, 2005, 12:46 PM
i have some info from a german site. i have no books containging info about the festivals, so reference to a website is the best i can do, unfortunately.
it's a good page, tho, and i know the owner from an asatru forum, tho i must admit i don't know him very well.

anyway, here goes:
http://www.asatru-online.org/f_wint.htm

winternights are celebrated on the 2. full moon after the fall equinox. it marks the beginning of winter (not the beginning of fall as stated on witchvox), which is fairly logical considering around this time the ground starts freezing up. (first frost) timing this festival around halloween is a neo-People practice. if you must match your holidays up with modern dates, there is a holiday in sweden called första vinterdag on the 14th of october, which resembles the winternights more than halloween.

like most other fests it is a time of honoring ancestors, but more in a sense of honoring everyone's ancestors, not just one's own kinsmen. in other words: honor the dead.
this can be done by offering a blot to the idisi, the male ancestors have a wreath laid out for them.
leave these offerings out overnight, and leave candles burning.
another important part of the ritual is hailing freyr or thor (probably depending on region and location) so that he may protect you and your kin from the perils of winter.

and that's about all i can salvage from there, the rest sounds pretty much like the guy's own ideas and i really don't want to take them here.

Mjollnir
January 24th, 2005, 09:01 AM
Ok everyone, unless anyone has anything to add about the gods/goddesses I am going to start a thread for the re-review of lesson 3.

Morag Elasaid Ni Dhomhnaill
January 24th, 2005, 10:42 AM
If blot means blood, does that mean these offerings were originally blood offerings? And were they also drunk? Is the form in which they took place ever explained in the Edda's or other lore?

Mjollnir
January 24th, 2005, 10:55 AM
If blot means blood, does that mean these offerings were originally blood offerings? And were they also drunk? Is the form in which they took place ever explained in the Edda's or other lore?


Yes, usually animals were offered to the gods and their blood poured onto a rock.I believe the blood was either sprinkled on/consumed by those present but today the blood has been replaced my beer/mead/juice etc.

Do you mean the "formal" form?? I have yet to see any, I will keep you posted.

Morag Elasaid Ni Dhomhnaill
January 24th, 2005, 11:29 AM
Is there an informal form that is explained then, since you specified.

Mjollnir
January 24th, 2005, 12:19 PM
Is there an informal form that is explained then, since you specified.


I think I used the worng word.....you asked
Is the form in which they took place ever explained in the Edda's or other lore?


I took that as if you were asking if anywhere in the lore was the ritual described in detail, so when I said "formal" form I was asking if you meant "formally addressed in the sagas/lore" as to how they were performed.

Morag Elasaid Ni Dhomhnaill
January 24th, 2005, 12:41 PM
Ahhh, okay. I just got confused. Thanks.

So if they aren't explained in the Eddas or the other sagas, then how is it that Heathens came up with a generally agreed method in which to perform them?

Mjollnir
January 24th, 2005, 01:05 PM
Ahhh, okay. I just got confused. Thanks.

So if they aren't explained in the Eddas or the other sagas, then how is it that Heathens came up with a generally agreed method in which to perform them?


Since the original concept was to honor the gods/goddesses we just continued to do so, replacing the animal sacrifice...which is still done by some groups I believe...with the offering of mead/juice etc. I think the way it is done as far as the offering goes is universla it just may differ from group to group as far as the little nuances go.

The same applies to the symbel.

mothwench
January 24th, 2005, 02:12 PM
If blot means blood, does that mean these offerings were originally blood offerings? And were they also drunk? Is the form in which they took place ever explained in the Edda's or other lore?
i think folklore plays a good part in this. near where i live there's a mountain called the juhöhe, and on that mountain in the woods there are some stones. there are deep round crevices in them, and i know of two legends, one is that they are the devil's bite-marks, the other says that heathens used to fill the holes with blood to sacrifice to their gods.

i haven't been there yet, but i really want to go and see it.
i found some pics so you can see what the crevices look like.

creepy looking bunch of rocks

so this is just one example of one little site i happen to know about cause it's near where i live. there's bound to be loads of these sort of places and legends that surround them all over the place.

Mjollnir
January 24th, 2005, 02:22 PM
i think folklore plays a good part in this. near where i live there's a mountain called the juhöhe, and on that mountain in the woods there are some stones. there are deep round crevices in them, and i know of two legends, one is that they are the devil's bite-marks, the other says that heathens used to fill the holes with blood to sacrifice to their gods.

I have never heard the devils bite mark thing but yes, heathens did carve out "holes" to pour the offerings in.

When we have blots at our house we usually pour the mead onto the roots of this big maple we have in the yard. In October for the Idunn blot, we did the ritual under the apple tree in my neighbors yard that has a few limbs hanging into ours so it was extremely fitting.

Morag Elasaid Ni Dhomhnaill
January 24th, 2005, 02:27 PM
Very interesting mothy. Thanks for the pics/info.

I take it your neighbors didn't mind having a bunch of heathens pour out an offering in their yard? I can't imagine any of ours would be so accomodating.

Rick
January 24th, 2005, 02:41 PM
If blot means blood, does that mean these offerings were originally blood offerings? And were they also drunk? Is the form in which they took place ever explained in the Edda's or other lore?
The practice of heathenry never stopped in Iceland (yes, it was officially outlawed for a few hundred years, but it never went away, really never went too far 'underground'... people went to church on Sunday, & to Thor's hof on Thursday... sort of a 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink' situation), so most of the rites have survived as they were first practiced there.

mothwench
January 24th, 2005, 02:49 PM
:idea: oh, yeah... that makes me think of something: look up adam of bremen and the stuff he wrote about the heathen temple of uppsala. that could give you an idea.

tho... bear in mind this is a catholic bishop (i think) and what he has to say is not perty.

Mjollnir
January 24th, 2005, 03:35 PM
The practice of heathenry never stopped in Iceland (yes, it was officially outlawed for a few hundred years, but it never went away, really never went too far 'underground'... people went to church on Sunday, & to Thor's hof on Thursday... sort of a 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink' situation), so most of the rites have survived as they were first practiced there.


I also have a tape home from a NOVA show on the Vikings and in one of the first churches built they had high in the rafters heathen carvings on the beams .

mucgwyrt
January 28th, 2005, 03:14 PM
I am going to take a stab...seeing as I have not yet come across this term...but I wonder if it may be another word for Landvaettir.


I copied it from one of your posts s incorrectly - it was land vaettir. And with the explanation "land wight" comes one of those "well duh" moments :lol: Silly me.



The Anglo-Saxons called it "Winter Full-Moon", suggesting that they kept it on the first full moon after the autumnal equinox.


Probably. Winterfylleþ was the name of a whole month though.



Winternights marked the end of harvest and the time when the animals that were not expected to make it through the winter were butchered and smoked or made into sausage.


Not in anglo-saxon britain I dont think; they did this in november (hence the name "blotmonaþ")

Thanks for the excellent info Mjollnir and Mothy :)