Sunday, November 20, 2022

Ásatrú Heathenry Paganism Dec 127, Viking Relgion What Is It?

Asatru, big focus on Family, Ancestors, Gods, Earth. 
Pic: Trapped in a Rock, charged stone by  RetroChaletStudio

What is Ásatrú?

Some of the blog will be filled with useful information on Vikings. You can't have Vikings in Maine blog without understanding some of the ways and customs of Vikings.  Ásatrú, is one area of religion of the Vikings which we will talk about more here. 

Please keep in mind my idea is to simplify this so that even the beginning reader can understand the overall concept, and I mean no disrespect to the Elder Asatru community in doing so.  For the easiest explanation to the average reader, I will first tell you the word itself, Ásatrú,  means, generically translated in Old Norse, "Belief in the Gods." yet taking it even further, from Old Norse Icelandic roots when broken down as such: 

 ASATRU = AS meaning "Æsir " and the TRU meaning "belief in"
grammatically putting it together, "Belief in the Aesir" = "Belief in the Gods. " 

Note the plural GODS. Vikings where were indeed not Christians. 

Meditation Rocks
Connection to Earthly Elements Pic: RetroChaletStudio

Vikings Heathens, Polytheism, Pagan What Do All These Terms Mean?


Vikings were involved in polytheism, belief in more than one God. According to Asatru Alliance | Questions and Answers about Asatru  it has some great information on the religion itself, suggesting this religion dates back 40,000 years, way back before Christianity.   I will write more about this topic later. 


In a nutshell, when Christianity conversion and widespread belief came, the golden rule is you can only worship one God, of the Bible.  If you weren't on that bandwagon, or did not convert, you were labeled a Heathen.  Heathen has many meanings, and was used loosely, categorizing people who did not worship the God of the Bible. These people may have been called Gentiles, Athiests, Pagan etc in historical terms.  For simplification here, in a loose way of thinking, it was a term given to those who did not believe or care to be involved in Christianity.  


Pagans, the word itself is more of a slang term, or demeaning term which the Latin word  pāgānus or Paganos, and was used in the end of the Roman empire to talk about those who didn't go to church and stayed in the towns, or did not practice the mainstream religion at the time, or perhaps worshipped more than one God.  Again, a slang term that encompasses many people.  Sure, all Heathens could be Pagans, and all Pagans could be Heathens in generic terms. Now let's focus on the topic at hand. 


I will simplify here of course, the key components and values of this religion is a true balance of several components: there is focus on maintaining a strong and healthy relationship between onself , family, community, the divine and ancestors.   Balance of all of these things comprises Asatru.  The religion itself was not limited just to Vikings, but overlapped and impacted other early Germanic tribes, and shares similarities with some Celtic religion beliefs. 

Breaking down these key components further: 

  • Having upmost respect for the ancestors, (not necessarily worshipping them, but realization of your ancestors or forebearers or forefathers if you call them, have passed down just who you are and a part of divine knowledge to you) . 
  • Belief and worship of the Gods, many for different reasons, and realization that these Gods may answer you, speak to you, and have provided things for you.  Nature is very important in the sense that this too has been gifts of the Gods.  Objects may have been infused by the Gods. 
  • Core values in strengthening community and family and mental balance of oneself. 
To break this down further there are three areas that are key to worshipping the "Gods":  

The Aesir are Gods of the Clan representing the leadership, (example: Odin & Thor) as talked about in most every Saga, story, reference.  

The Vanir are associated with the clan representing all things earthly, wisdom, fertile, and nature,  (example: worshipping and offerings Freyja to bring birth of children or good crops).  

The Jotnar whose rough and often disputed translation as "frost giants" perhaps should be looked at not in literal form, but for what they stood for.  In this sense, largely reeking havoc on the Aesir, or bringing harm to the Gods.  Although many skeptics say they were not in the form of literal giants, and that the word may refer to other creatures such as elves, trolls, all seemingly agree that the Jotnar loose term was symbolic of the opposite of good and those who wishes to interfere and do harm to the Gods.  Perhaps the most talked about one of the Jotnar was Loki, who had formed a bond with Odin and was able to walk among the Aesir.and from which we learn most about in the Sagas. 

So, with most religions, you have Good, Evil and all things in between.  

Rune Readings


It is written that Odin hung himself from a tree for nine days without food or water, just to learn about the runestones and the secrets therein. 

Runestones were used to conjure messages from the Gods, and usually by a Shaman or Volva (female Shaman practitioner of magic) who advised the Elder or the Chieftan, or King (or however you want to refer to the Viking in charge of the town.) The runes are mostly associated with the Elder Futhark language, each rune symbolizing a message from the Gods.  Viking graves found unusual items buried with a Volva, here.   

Since there's no key book, and many stories and sagas have written about Asatru, it has been left it up to modern day practitioners to piece together bits and pieces of how this religion should be maintained. You can learn a lot from ancient books and sagas such as the Prose Edda and Codex Regis.  

Most important for me to mention the Ásatrúarfélagið  , the official Icelandic religion officially "unified" in 1972.  It was co-founded by Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson - Wikipedia  whmo, in 1944 was a humble sheep farmer who also wrote and sang rimur (poetry).  His writing and singing would eventually gain him so much respect with people around the world, that he would be instrumental in founding this official "Fellowship of Aesir Faith" in Iceland.  If you follow his works, he was always searching for more knowledge of the religion, but was instrumental in gaining recognition by the Althing, which is the official parliament of Iceland. Some of the Asatru community believe him to be the founder of Asatru in modern day culture, and date his founding to 1945.


Herein is where the problems occur.   For simplicity's sake I again use a comparison: look at modern day Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, who all have their own little core set of values stemming under one blanket, Christianity.  Same with the modern day Asatru Community has different groups or sects, with their own key and core values. Let's move to America.  There are many groups of Asatru belief.  

The AFA, or Asatru Folk Assembly, founded by Stephen McNallen (some sources say 1994, but their website claims 1995) is based out of California, set up communal style worship but would branch with places of worship (hofs) into other states such as North Carolina and Minnesota. McNallen has claimed he practiced Asatru in the late 1960's and claims he dubbed "the father of Asatru revival. " It should be noted that he grew the organization largely and rapidly in the 90's also authoring many books. Problematic at best are the facts that the group's white supremist beliefs.  

He also founded the Viking Brotherhood, which currently consists of purchasable books and courses by McNallen.   Unfortunately, the group has been closely associated with McNallen's own personal white supremicist beliefs on what Heathenry should be (white parents with white children).  This spawned a shakeup in the Asatru community which came up with Declaration 127 (named after "misdeeds" from the Havamal, considered to be written by Odin himself) of which was enacted by the Asatru community to not embrace such hatred. McNallen did step down in 2016, but the controversy surrounding it remains, or simply put the damage has been done.


With all things bad, stems something good. All the publicity (both good and bad) surrounding it brought the word Asatru to light. Sometimes the bad publicity does nothing but peak public interest. It created widespread publicity for the religion in the United States and more and more people to learn about it, and some now practicing it. It caused different organizations to repeal their ties with the AFA and let them stand alone.   Here are some links to read: 

Declaration 127 (  - The Astarau community  explains more here

Go Heathen - Go Asatrú    Go Heathen website offers a lot of useful information about the religion and is out of Texas. They are also non racist and open to educating others. 

The Asatru Alliance Homepage outlines Kindred spirits and had ties to AlThing 


Unfortunately, the AFA itself also caused a lot of turmoil in the Heathen community of what was and what should be. Many feel that they have tried for so long to bring their communities to light only to have the AFA associate it with hatred, which is not what some organizations in Heathenry stand for. 

More on that later. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Vikings in Maine , Appleton's Maps


Vikings in Maine
The Map from an old book I bought, HEIMSKRINGLA or The Lives of the Norse Kings 

The Map, The Book, and Markland

Anyone who is interested if the Vikings came to Maine should read everything and anything they can on Vikings, primarily to gain information on Markland and Vinland, to look for clues. I was lucky enough to score a copy of this book, Heimskringla dated 1932, or, as we have translated it, from publisher D. Appleton of New York, "The Lives of the Norse Kings."  I was interested primarily to read of Olaf Haraldsson, called Olaf the Peaceful,or referred to Olaf the 3rd of Norway, to tie him into the Maine Norse Penny (The penny that was unearthed in Maine and would have come from the time he was King.) I must admit, once you research one thing, it leads you into something else. 

The original book was compiled by Snorri Sturluson  (often called Snorri the Skald) however sources argue that it was not original works, and there is much debate over the book. After reading all I could about said problems, I can clearly see it was Snorri's compilation of many previous stories (and tales) compiled into one book.   This makes literary sense, if you have ten stories from ten Kings and want to transfer the tales into one book, this is considered a condensed version or compilation version in today's literary society.  

 The original book,(and the sagas or tales that Snorri pulled them from) would have been written in Old Norse, and Snorri's original in Old Norse. later the book had been translated into Danish, then Latin, and English and there have been many revisions, etc.   Even with the help of Jackson Crawford, I cannot get the Old Norse down to the point of reading or writing it, though I am trying. 

The book mentions the word Markland on page 228, and again in a different reference on another page. The fact of the matter is the excerpt on page 228 is in the tales of Leif Errickson. The reason this is so important is two fold, it puts Leif into the Coastline as no one seems to disagree about Markland being this defination: 

FROM WIKIPEDIA:  "Markland (Old Norse pronunciation: [ˈmɑrkˌlɑnd]) is the name given to one of three lands on North America's Atlantic shore discovered by Leif Eriksson around 1000 AD. It was located south of Helluland and north of Vinland Markland is somewhere NORTH of Vinland and south of HELLULAND based on the tales. "

My book ,includes fold out maps in perfect condition from the time of each reign of each King, so it really helps me understand more.   If you look closely, I've put tags for modern day Maine and New Brunswick, within the 1932 map. 

Many theories have been thrown around exactly where Vinland was, Markland was, Helluland was, and the land of the Skraeling but that's another post, meant for later.  

Ironically there are also more maps, meant for later. 

I just see plain as day that the Land on the map interpreted by the book publisher as Vinland and Markland is clearly the coast of modern-day Maine. 

I would have to agree with him. 

Thank you for reading my blog.  If you like this post, please share it. 


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Were Vikings in Maine? Let me Map it Out For You...

Were Vikings in Maine


I'll be doing my best from my research to lay out the evidence to make you a believer too.  One thing to keep in mind, are the pieces.  You have to play like a detective (like tiny puzzle pieces) and realize, when looked at individually, alone they may be skeptical at best.  However, when you look at all the pieces together, and start to put them in place like a jigsaw puzzle, then you start to see the whole picture come to life and the amount of evidence is astonishing. 


I was upset that so many people even in the scientific community, downplayed the Norse Penny or the Spirit Pond Stones, as if they were a hoax. Although I don't agree with them, and it is my opinion they rushed to judgement, we first must explain WHY. 

Perhaps at the time these items were found and presented, it was unfathomable that Vikings made it to Maine (before Christopher Columbus).You also have to remember, five decades ago, the world was a different place.  To help you understand, it was a time when all people were not equal. Women were not paid as well as men in the workplace.  Gays had to hide their relationships.  Hair spray was overused.  Doors weren't locked at night.  Cars were big metal things.  They weren't any cellphones. Technology wasn't as good as it was now. It was a world perhaps, primitive in thinking compared to now. 


I talked to a very famous Archaeologist who is no longer with us about making judgements, as he came up with theories that no one else agreed with, and challenged others.  (Rip Jack). Although his research was primarily Native American sites, he explained to me that back in the day, one person came up with the theory, and many agreed.  It was a small community of Archaeologists, and everyone knew each other.  To disagree or challenge a mentor, or elder's well respected opinion or theory, could cost you your career, or be cast out of the clique so to speak.  Thank Goodness old Jack was different, he wrote hundreds of publications about his discoveries.   


Fast forward to the past few decades.  New technology mixed with new discoveries will open people's eyes. Just when will they really start exploring Maine? Maybe when a certain someone gets involved. 
Until then, you'll just have to take my word for it. 


I have been researching this for years.  Going to potential key coastal points in Maine where Vikings could have landed, reading everything I could get my hands on.  Many antique sagas (old tales, prose and stories) and books were written and skate over the topics of Vikings landing and exploring Vinland and Markland (which I believe to be Canada and Maine). 

Now new interest in Viking history thanks to Hollywood and TV shows shed more interest. Emerging Pagan communities have more to say.  Clues lay in the book pages , some of my books' date back centuries, however, I even went further to start to learn Icelandic and Old Norse to find out more clues. Suffice to say, I'm not doing very well in the language learning but perhaps by the time a key archaeologist proves my words true, speaking broken Icelandic won't matter anymore anyways.   


I have to write this blog because I am haunted by Vikings who want their story told. I was born an empath, and although that won't hold up in a professional discussion with an archaeologist as proof, I started on this quest to write my own and to put the truth out there. 

I hope you can say you heard it here first. 

For the Vikings, with Love. 


-----------------------------------------------Evidence Below-------------------------------------------

Maps Of Interest

Books of Interest