Contemplating Differences and similarities…
I am a silent watcher. I like to see, feel, and know what is going on around me. I have always been this way. It is how I have learned so much of the world that I lived, witnessed, embraced and what has also brought me great grief. I still remember being criticized for knowing beforehand and seeing too much with mundane eyes, when I was really, merely sensing. I am highly sensitive and I trust in my intuition, even though from abusive conditioning, I was shamed for using it. Just when I think I have transformed myself from old ways and habits of thinking and living something else makes its presence known that requires me to learn to detach from. Sometimes, when these lessons make their presence known, I sigh knowing I have work to do and I am tired. My soul is old, very, very old.
From all my watching, seeing, feeling and knowing I easily accept the differences of others. Different strokes for different folks, right? Yes. I am a pagan. I am not Wiccan, even though I have spent many years studying different types of Wicca and witchcraft and other spiritual practices from the Eastern world. I am a modern day Völva and Seidr that is of the Asatru practice of Heathenry. It is one of the most different forms of pagan spiritual practices and one that I feel completely whole in. To those that look from the outside into our world, it would seem that our ways are backwards, but these are our beliefs, our practices, our traditional ways…the ways of our ancestors, whose energies, encouragement and guidance runs through our veins. We may be different but similarities can be found within our values, principles and with our outlook towards ourselves, others and the rest of the world. Throughout various texts created many moons before our current modern age, there was evidence describing the peoples that we call Norse. What is Norse? What does this name mean? According to Wikipedia,” Norsemen refers to the group of people who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language between the 8th and 11th centuries. The language belongs to the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages, and is the earlier form of modern Scandinavian languages.
Norseman means “man from the North” and applied primarily to Old Norse-speaking tribes living in southern and central Scandinavia. In history, “Norse” or “Norseman” could be any person from Scandinavia, even though Norway, Denmark and Sweden were different sets of people by the Middle Ages.
According to Diana L. Paxson, in her book, Essential Ásatrú Walking—the Path of Norse Paganism,” Ásatrú as a religion is both old and new. Its validity depends on a firm foundation in the lore, meaning information that can be proven or convincingly hypothesized based on historical or scientific methods and criteria using data from literary sources—the Eddas and sagas, ancient historians, and to some extent folklore. Secondary sources such as contemporary historians and scholars are useful understanding the older material. Where available, archaeology can also increase our understating.”
Typically the term Norse refers to the West Norse, meaning mainly Norwegians when reading about settlements in and colonization of America, Normandy, Iceland, Greenland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides, the Faroe Islands and Mann. In some other historical references, the term may also refer to the East Norse, meaning mainly Danes and Swedes, for instance, Cnut’s Empire and Swedes adventures East.”
The Norse Scandinavians established states and settlements in England, Scotland, Iceland, Wales, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Ireland, Russia, Greenland, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, and Canada as well as southern Italy. For more reading on the Norse in detail, visit as a start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norsemen
Within the Asatru practice there is a moral code that distills wisdom to all that are part of the Asatru way. These virtues are: 1. Courage 2. Truth 3. Honour 4. Fidelity 5. Discipline 6. Hospitality 7. Industriousness 8. Self-Reliance and 9. Perseverance. Each virtue is meant to boost these next aspects of our whole self and of our soul: Orlog, Wyrd, and Hamingja. “Taken together, wyrd and örlög are similar to a tapestry—one set of fibers is horizontal, the other vertical, and they are so interwoven that they form a larger picture. This tapestry, if you will, has a beginning, but is constantly being woven at the other end. Örlög, which translates as “ur-law,” is the point at which all things begin. Ur roughly equates to ”first,” or “primal,” and means precisely that—ur-law, then means the first or primal law by which we all are bound.”—A practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru, Patricia M. Lafayllve.
I look at each of these virtues and I know I have lived my life by each one, toiling through struggles and the many trials of life that I tumbled into and out of. I am able to admit that some of these virtues at different times were weak, but they were there nonetheless. I have learned the value of breath work as I embrace each new unknown direction. I am a pagan; a heathen: I am a modern day Völva and Seidr. I come by most of the skills for both naturally and I have trained myself over the years as best I could. I enjoy the rituals and ceremonies I do, evoking and invoking the spirits needed for each one with gratitude. I admittedly do not regularly perform or practice blots. Mostly because I do little ones each day. Through my practice, I have come to understand that the spirits do not need everything to be exact and if we do not have a certain item, we can easily visualize it while at the same time, making a verbal and mental note of being unable to attain it to the spirits. Just because we are unable to see them, doesn’t mean we are to overlook common decency and courtesy. Now, in the case of making potions or similar creative practices, we do need to have all necessary ingredients or something that will suitably take the place of the one we don’t have on-hand.
“Just as the Japanese term kami includes the spirits of places and things, in the north anything that has an identity may also have a resident wight, from a ship to a barn.” Diana L. Paxson, in her book, Essential Ásatrú Walking—the Path of Norse Paganism. I find much truth in her words. I am constantly saying thanks to things that outwardly have no heartbeat, including my laptop to the intersection lights, or anything else. I feel that these things and all things have a spirit within them. I am sometimes forgetful on preparing the porridge for the land-wights. Life just seems to distract me lately, but I have been making a conscious effort to change that lately. I also feel I do not need to make any kind of elaborate ceremony in the giving or offering of the porridge, ale or anything else I am sharing with the spirits. Just the act of sharing and the words and the intent behind my words are more than sufficient. I use mental imagery, telepathic communication and my intuition as part of what I do each time I share with the spirits.
Although I will make a conscious effort to make a powerful, and beautiful ceremony/blot during the changing of seasons and I will take part occasionally, but privately in some of the other tides that other pagans refer to sabbats. As a Völva, and Seidr, the majority of my practice is done in quiet solitude. It is hard to make a solid connection with the spirits for healing of me and for those that I come into contact with if I am surrounded by noise and chaotic distractions all the time. It is essential for me to always find time to feel them, to touch them, to smell them, to see them, and to know them in all the ways made possible every day.
It can be difficult to express, using the right words what makes Asatru different from Wicca or Wicca-based traditions. Asatru is almost completely opposite. I have spent many years studying and practicing different forms of paganism and I always knew none of them were me, just an aspect of me learning what I needed to know that would assist me on my own magical journey. I have been called a Heathen since I was a young child by my father. Even though he was joking, he was absolutely correct. I am a heathen and the day I accepted this and let go of the other pagan ways, I felt so free…as light as a dandelion wish moving effortlessly on the current of air. I have been receiving images of runes and other sigils for years now and I have made some note about them, but disregarded them since I was not ready for them even they were ready for me, sent by Odin himself. I have clearly seen Odin, Frigg, Heimdallr and of the Norse deities. One of the norns has visited me, as well as Eir when I ask for her help. Within Asatru, there is so much to learn, so much to embrace and to become part of. I have a staff I have been working on, as Seidr are known for being a staff bearer and having a wand doesn’t attract me. There are a few magically creative projects I am working at completing. It just seems lately I am so tired. Sometimes I must remove myself for great lengths of time from my magical and ceremonial practices.
During one of my studying times, I read a great description explaining the major differences between Asatru and Wicca. I won’t share the whole chapter, but I will share an excerpt: ”The major difference between Wicca and Asatru is that where Wiccan rites may invoke deities from several cultures, heathens stick to gods and goddesses from the Germanic lands. In addition, as where Wicca is usually duotheistic and archetypal, seeing all female deities as aspects of the Great Goddess, divided into the archetypes of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, and all male deities as aspects of the Horned God(if the male principle is even acknowledged), heathenry is a more straightforwardly polytheistic, worshipping a range of gods and goddesses who all come from the same culture, are equal in status if not in popularity, and can stand alone without need for a male or female complement.”- Diana L. Paxson, in her book, Essential Ásatrú Walking—the Path of Norse Paganism
I am at peace with all that I have witnessed in this world and in other worlds. I am currently in a state of indifference to all that has transpired; both good and bad from the path I have travelled here in our mundane world and in the many dimensions and worlds I have visited under the direct guidance and request of the gods. In Diana L. Paxson’s, book, Essential Ásatrú Walking—the Path of Norse Paganism, she says, “Heathenism is a religion that prizes self-reliance and personal responsibility. The gods are our teachers and allies, not our masters. Compassion is not generally listed among the heathen virtues, and yet it is implicit—we must treat others with care and justice to fulfill our responsibilities to ourselves.” I resonate with this statement completely. I do not kneel before any of the Norse gods or goddesses or put them on egotistic pedestals. When I speak to them telepathically and work with them, it is as if I am speaking to a friend whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in awhile or a relative. I may be quiet and tend to my spiritual work in solitude, but I am Heathen, I am of Asatru and come naturally as a Völva and Seidr. Over the years, the Germanic gods have been grooming me, preparing me as it appears to learn and to hone these natural abilities to see, hear, touch, smell and speak with the spirits. It has taken me many years to learn what I have gained, and there are many more years waiting for me to unravel even sweeter mysteries of my path.