New Ásatrú Temple

Bringing you News and Notes from Pagans worldwide.
Author: Dove
Original Post at:

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

Bringing you News and Notes from Pagans worldwide.
Author: Misty Talen
Original Post at:

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

Bringing you News and Notes from Pagans worldwide.
Author: Misty Talen
Original Post at:

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.