New Ásatrú Temple

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Author: Dove
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In 1000 C.E.Iceland converted to Christianity as a nation. Leaving Sweden to be the last hold out to the ancient faith until the year 1085 C.E. Now for the first time in over 1000 years a temple to those ancient Gods has been built, the first Ásatrú temple.

Ásatrú (Belief in the Gods) is based off of the surviving historical record. The Ásatrúarfélagith (Icelandic Ásatrú Society) was founded in 1972 by Sveinbjörn Beintersson. It was originally called Vorsithur (our custom). Iceland is 80 percent Lutheran with another 5 percent of the population identifying as Christian. Ásatrú is the largest non-Christian religious group and is the fastest growing religion in the country.

One of the reasons Norse Paganism was able to stay relevant is through “sacred persistence”. As defined by Jonathon Z. Smith a religious historian, sacred persistence is when there are collective activities to preserve and sustain cherished forms of approaching, understanding, and experiencing the sacred.”

Christianity was adopted in 1000 C.E. for political and economic purposes (Strmiska 2000). Icelandic Christianity was built upon the previous pagan beliefs. Iceland never really lost its pagan roots. They did not experience the burning times, and many of their place names hold pagan roots (Strmiska 2000). The Eddas are the most respected representation of Iceland’s cultural heritage, and are a focus point of Icelandic nationalism, though they have become less of a priority in recent years (Strmiska 2000). Norse Mythology and the practices of the Ancient Norse were recorded almost single handedly by historian and mythographer Snorri Sturluson in the 13th Century.

Thangbrand, a Saxon priest and missionary, brought Christianity to Iceland under the direction of Norwegian King Olaf Tryggvason. Thorgeir a heathen Priest said to Iceland in Njal’s Saga: “We cannot live in a divided land. There will never be peace unless we have a single law. I ask you –heathens and Christians alike–to accept the one law that I am about to proclaim. Our first principle of law is that all Icelanders shall henceforth be Christian. We shall believe in one God–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We shall renounce the worship of idols. We shall no longer expose unwanted children. We shall no longer eat horsemeat. Anyone who does these things openly shall be punished with outlawry (Outlawry meant that you lost all protections from the law and were thus exposed to theft and murder. (Ashliman 2001)), but no punishment will follow if they are done in private (Ashliman 2001)”. This prevented civil war, and made for a much smoother transition.

Now in 2015, the first Ásatrú Temple is being built.  The temple was designed with the principles of nature in mind. The temple is built into the side of a hill. One wall is the natural stone within the hill. There will be a skylight allowing for natural lighting, waterfalls that end at pools within the temple itself, and the golden ratio was used throughout to give it a pleasing look (McMahon 2015). This is all we know, finding information on the details of the Temple is a challenge. Maybe once it’s been built, its mysteries shall be known to only those who have have stood in its halls.

 

Sources

Ashliman, D.L. “Iceland Accepts Christianity.” Iceland Accepts Christianity. 2001. Accessed May 8, 2015.

McMahon, Neil. “Iceland’s Asatru Pagans Reach New Height with First Temple – BBC News.” BBC News. February 14, 2015. Accessed May 8, 2015.

“Religion in Iceland.” Wikipedia. April 25, 2015. Accessed May 8, 2015.

Robinson, B.A. “Asatru: Norse Heathenism.” ASATRU (Norse Heathenism). February 6, 2011. Accessed May 8, 2015. http://www.religioustolerance.org/asatru.htm

Statistics Iceland. April 1, 2015. Accessed May 8, 2015.

Strmiska, Michael. “Asatru in Iceland: The Rebirth of Nordic Paganism?” Nova Religio 4, no. 1 (2000): 106-32. Accessed May 8, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nr.2000.4.1.106.

“Quick Facts.” Quick Facts. Accessed May 8, 2015.

 

Today’s Tarot: Knight of Wands

Knight-of-WandsRW-171x300

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Author: Misty Talen
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The Knight of Wands rides out of the deck at full tilt, almost knocking my coffee off my desk in its exuberance to be out and about. This is the energy of the Knight of Wands.

Like most knights in any deck,  he is astride a powerful horse and wand raised high. This horse is usually in motion, and the figure riding him is a headstrong youth whose heart calls for knowledge and adventure for no other reason than the journey getting there.  This figure can speak of a need to follow our passion instead of the well-beaten path.  He can speak to us of new changes, adventures and moving. This willful energy is just dying to come out and DO SOMETHING – anything – because you know… it “seemed like a good idea at the time.”

 Rider-Waite tarot Deck, public domain

Rider-Waite tarot Deck, public domain

Here we see the Knight of Wands almost fighting with his horse who is in a rampant position. In the language of Heraldry, this position bespoke of action and power.  The knight has his wand raised, and you can see the wand is spouting! You can feel the energy become manifest. THIS is that burst of energy a seed feels when it shucks its shell for the damp warm soil of the earth before reaching out for the sun.  You too may need to break out of your shell.

In the Rider-Waite deck pictured above, he is also wearing a tunic with salamander designs. Salamanders are closely associated with the element of Fire which is were the Wands suit sits as well. Instead of plumes of feathers atop his helmet we see the curl of fire.  Wind is also seen here as the tunic’s edges are tattered and ragged. The barren landscape behind him gives way to three pyramids.  These pyramids could symbolize the mysteries we pursue, the path to enlightenment, or knowledge (those who have more Egyptology background than I, please comment! I’d love to hear your two cents).

The energy of the Knight of Wands can manifest in a number of ways through your own inclinations and/or the people around you, showing you a mirror to what you need to address within yourself.

Have you ever met a young man or woman who is inspiring yet utterly frustrating all at once? They hold no regard to the future and rush into situations that seem designed to bring them crashing down, but somehow always manage to land on their feet.  To me, this kind of person is the Knight of Wands in human form. They do not care much for the power that their adventure brings, they simply want to be out there doing things and having new experiences.

Regardless if the Knight of Wands calls to mind a person or a state of being within you, one thing’s for certain.  Keep both (three?) eyes open. While it may seem like a great idea, remember the infamous Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”  This degree of independence is not for everyone, and it’s not forever.

Fires do burn out if they are not tended and fed well.  Take a moment to look around you and see where your creative fire wants to burn and instead of letting it overwhelm your entire existence like a forest fire burning out of control; let it instead be given boundaries that are functional enough to keep you safe, but relaxed enough to let you bloom into being.

Dancing Tarot, public domain (https://www.pinterest.com/dancingtarot/free-tarot-deck-no-copyright-wands/)

Dancing Tarot, public domain (https://www.pinterest.com/dancingtarot/free-tarot-deck-no-copyright-wands/)

Here we see Dancing Tarot’s take on the Knight of Wands as Mic Jagger who  embodies rampant energy, creativity and getting burned.  So remember: get some satisfaction, bank your fire and let it burn. It will lead you to where your passion lays.

 

 

 

Today’s Tarot: The Magician

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Author: Misty Talen
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The Magician card in Tarot has been interpreted many ways by artists over the years. It is always fascinating what symbolism resonates with the artist and how it is transferred onto paper.

The Magician card from the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck.

The Magician card from the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck.

Here we see the Magician in one of his documented appearances from the Visconti-Sforza deck commissioned and published in 1400s. We see a man dressed in Red, Green and White seated before a table containing tools. You sense the opportunity for creation, building a skill or a masterpiece.  The colors seen in red and white often represents polarity: good and evil, male and female, light and dark.  This figure comes to the table with the possibility to be constructive or destructive. In addition, he comes to his work wearing a touch of green, potentially to represent the fertility of creation.

In modern tarot the Magician is master of all Elements.

The cup represents water and emotion.

The blade represents air and intellect.

The coin represents earth and our physical world.

The rod represents fire and action.

With all of the tools laid out evenly on the work surface, the Magician begins his work. He can create out of these elements wonders or tricks. As with any element of the human condition, there are two sides to every possibility. The Magician, Wizard or Mag as he is known in other decks around the world, is also known as a trickster or a charlatan and takes your money by sweet promises, he is about flashy shows all without substance.

In this way, the Magician warns us of empty vanity.

He is closely tied to his role in guiding the Fool on his journey. The Magician stands at a crossroads, and until now the Fool has moved forward based on his instincts alone. The Magician opens the Fool’s eyes to the possibilities before him on his journey.  The Magician moves between worlds, and this is where his correlation to Hermes can be found.

Hermes, the Psychopomp, moves anywhere He wants. Into worlds, out of worlds – above as well as below. He is a traveler and an excellent messenger. He also makes an excellent property redistribution specialist.  We also see this aspect reflected in Coyote from Native American lore.  The lessons of Hermes, Coyote, or the Magician as we know Him in tarot can be expressed through misdirection and manipulation. However, it is through this forging of self that we find aspects of ourselves that we were previously unaware we possessed. There is strength in that mastery.

By no means am I suggesting we take the hard road every time, but know that somewhere along the way you spoke with your inner or outer Magician (guide) and you choose to take the path you are now on. You can either harness the elements before you and create, or you can let it slip through your hands and go back to the earth.

The choice is entirely yours.

Self-Righteousness is not a Pagan Value

PaganEarth1

Bringing you News and Notes from Pagans worldwide.
Author: Belladonna Laveau
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In Wicca, we understand that everything happens for a reason.  We believe that the Goddess has her own plans, and when things happen that we don’t understand or like, we look for the positive.  We strive to see our lesson PaganEarthin the issue and grow from it. We do not blame others for our problems.  We do not attack those who are different from us, or with whom we  do not agree.  We rejoice in the diversity and variety of life, knowing that each individual makes the web stronger.  We appreciate that others have different lessons from us and different strengths and each of us focuses on being the best we can be to make a better planet for all of us.  Essentially, we strive to make lemonade out of the lemons of life, knowing that the Goddess gives us what we need, even if it’s not what we want.

It’s not easy being Wiccan.  Many people coming to the path feel like all they have to do is change their clothes, maybe join a Facebook group or twelve, and there you are.  Wicca is a way of life.  It’s easy to talk about principles. It’s harder to incorporate them into your character.  It’s really hard to practice them yourself, especially when things aren’t going your way.  Your character is not tested in the happy times.  Your character is tested in the difficult times.  Your character will be shown in how you react after you feel wronged, when things don’t go your way, or when you feel you have lost the battle.  Your character is not defined by the mistakes you make or the challenges you are faced with. Your character is defined by the way you react to your challenges and mistakes.

Which brings us to the subject at hand – Self-Righteousness.  Let’s first define Self-Righteousness.

    • (also called sanctimoniousness, sententiousness, and holier-than-thou attitudes[1]) is a feeling or display of (usually smug) moral superiority[2] derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person. Self-righteous individuals are often intolerant of the opinions and behaviors of others.[3]Wikipedia
    • confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.  Dictionary.com
    • having or showing a strong belief that your own actions, opinions, etc., are right and other people’s are wrong.  Miriam-Webster’s

 

There’s this current trend of “calling people out” for their behavior, but there are consequences to slinging the mud.  My beautiful and beloved people, this is just RUDE.  Please don’t do it.  A wise old man once told me, “I can’t sling the mud without getting the mud on me.”  That’s stuck with me – like mud. Maybe because I liked to sling it.  But, I asked myself what that meant and really examined that thought.  I CAN’T point out the ugliness of others without getting some of that ugliness on me?  OK, so, let me get prepared to take a shower, after I write you this article, and lets look at the mud we have slung all over this community.

 

You’re mad at Suzy? Whatever it is about Suzy that you don’t like can be found in your very own mirror, and maybe your critical eye would be better served looking within, where you can actually make a positive change.

The Goddess and I think you’re perfect, but that doesn’t mean you’re better than anyone else.  We are ALL extraordinary and unique individuals, http://shaktiwomyn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Shakti-Goddess-Dancing.jpgdoing our best every day to make the world we experience a better place to be in. We all have different mastery and we all have different challenges.  It aggravates an already difficult issue for someone to sit in judgment and point out the flaws of a person already in crisis.  It not only doesn’t help.  It’s hurtful.  We as Wiccans strive not to be hurtful.  Harm NONE, right?  You CAN’T talk about others on Facebook, at a party, or in the privacy of your own home without being hurtful. Don’t let yourself do it.  Notice who’s stirring the shit, and refuse to participate.

Self-righteousness is a sneaky, shadowy bastard that infects our minds and affects our communities insidiously.  It can happen to you before you even know it.  You have to examine your thoughts, behaviors, actions, and words.  You must catch yourself on those times when your good intentions have you retelling a story about a friend’s plight without thinking of the consequences, or your moral compass has you enraged at the actions, deeds or opinions of another.

Facebook makes a great place to share your feelings and ideas.  It’s also a great place to sit safely behind a computer monitor, get half a story, pass judgment and say things to people that you would never have the courage to say to their face.  It’s completely okay to disagree with someone.  It’s not any of their business if you don’t agree, and they probably don’t care.  So, instead of taking off on a rant that might destroy someone’s day, or self-esteem, or even their life, why not just read something else?  Does it makes us feel powerful to rip someone to shreds?  Is that ok?  Are we just avoiding focusing on the things we need to work on?  More importantly what are the karmic backlashes to that, and what does that behavior do to our community?

We are ALL working on our issues.  We all have problems.  We all have shadows, and light.  We are ALL whole beings with good and bad things about ourselves that we do and don’t like, and that others do and don’t like.  Pete said something to me one day that brought all of it into focus.  He said, “Bella, It took me 70 years to realize that what people think about me is none of my business.  If you can get that in 40, you’ll be 30 years ahead of the game.”  I took that to heart.  But, there’s a whole Pagan community that hasn’t learned that yet.  There is also a whole Pagan community who thinks their particular take on life is better than everyone else, and it’s their personal crusade to let others know it.  Unfortunately the ATC is not immune to this, even though we have had the benefit of Pete’s wisdom to learn from.

Looking within, reflecting on your own self, and where you need to grow can be difficult.  People don’t like to do it.  But, witches listen differently.  The things you are complaining about are telling the rest of us the things that you perceive to be wrong with YOU.  You might want to consider the dirty laundry your airing while you’re complaining about Ms. Suzy.  Looking in the mirror and seeing the true lesson Spirit is asking you to learn is a high-level skill.  It takes practice to develop, and a willingness to face some hard truths about yourself.  It is very much worth the effort though, as it gives you the ability to change your world from the place where you have the most ability to effect change, within your own being.

The Goddess tells us that if that which thou seekest cannot be found within thee, then it will never be found without thee.  If you look at someone and see http://www.shop.doreenvaliente.org/a lack of compassion, then maybe you don’t know all the details, maybe you don’t fully understand the problem, but the Goddess is showing you a lack of compassion because YOU need to have more compassion.  It is definitely NOT your place to point out to the person you’re in judgment of that they don’t have compassion.  Maybe compassion isn’t their issue at all.  Maybe they are learning to finally stand up for themselves.  Maybe they are protecting themselves against a bully.  Maybe that man just took that thing away from the other person because it was his to begin with, and by protecting the person that you perceive is the victim you are further victimizing someone else.  You don’t know.

And more than that, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Self-righteousness is not a Wiccan Value.  As our community becomes more and more mainstream, these things must be said and remembered, or we will continue to fall back into the patterns that we were raised under and that we are trying to move away from.  Notice your judgment.  Recognize that judgment does nothing but victimize everyone, mostly you, and just walk away from it.  Not your circus, not your monkeys.  If you can’t walk away from it, go to the mirror and ask yourself: “Why is THIS bothering me so much?  Why is THIS what I’m so focused on?”  And then wait for Goddess to answer you.

Concepts of “right” and “wrong” are Christian Ideals and have no room in the Pagan world.  All experiences have value and everyone has purpose, merit and worth.  The Pagan world does not shrink before the judgments of others, or it would have never come out of the closet in the first place.  So pointing out that you don’t like what Suzy is doing isn’t going to stop Suzy from doing it.  It’s just going to alienate Suzy, and it makes it impossible for you to help her, if you have the ability to do so.  Why would you want to make yourself part of the problem?  If you have a solution, offer it with love.  But don’t be attached to Suzy doing it your way.

Judgment leads to suffering.  Be careful the questions you ask the Universe. When you tell Goddess you don’t see how someone could make the choices they have made, she obliges you by giving you that lesson.  You find yourself all upset about the actions of Suzy that you have decided are ‘wrong’, and then suddenly your life is messed up with the exact thing you judged.  Well, at least now you know why Suzy made the choices she made.  That’s the path.

If you are trustworthy, you will meet those with honor.  The good king does not see the betrayal around him, because he does not have betrayal in him.  It’s a magical principle and a scientific fact.  The world shows you what you are looking for.  You don’t have to believe in it.  It believes in you, and it will cause you to focus on what you need to see and learn, regardless of what is happening in the world around you.

Blaming others, pointing fingers, gossiping, and calling out the bad behaviors that YOU do not approve of in others are NOT Wiccan values. We look in the mirror.  We deal with our own problems.  We see everyone as a reflection of God and Goddess, and we trust that they are learning their lessons too.  Thou art Goddess means I am, you are, and everyone else is too.  Goddess can’t possibly be “wrong”!

http://hermetic.com/information/love-is-the-law/love-is-the-law-desktop.png

Love is the Law.  If you don’t have it, it’s not anyone else’s fault.  As a matter of fact, none of this is anyone’s fault.  You GET to live this amazing life any way you want to.  Create beauty, create love, and create wonderful things.  Let the haters be haters, recognize them for what they are and don’t be one of them.  The ways of the Underworld are not your ways, but they are perfect and they are not to be questioned. That means that difficult, sometimes painful, things happen. But they happen to teach us, and we are supposed to learn from them. Be the solution by being the change you seek.  If someone is having trouble, help them. Don’t punish, judge or condemn them for not having the answers, or for making mistakes.  Shine a light of love, and make the world a better place.

Share solutions, explore ideas for positive change, and figure out how to empower others in the community to find their own divinity.  Strength and beauty, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence –  THOSE are Wiccan values.  Work on incorporating those into your life, and they will lead to your own happiness, and you will be an inspiration to everyone, not just Pagans.

BlessedBe