Saturday, 1 August 2015

Happy Lammas

Today marked the start of the month of Weodmonath in the old Anglo-Saxon calendar, and with it today what should have been the festival of Lammas which in Old English was known as Hlafmas, (Loaf-Mas.)

Hlafmas was the first of two Germanic harvest festivals which come each year. Weodmonath literally means plant-month, Weod being the root for the modern English word weed. The reason for its name is obvious, traditionally when we all lived in an agrarian society, we would all be out in the fields harvesting the grain, and later ploughing and re-seeding the Earth for next year. It was not an easy time of year by any stretch of the imagination for the country folk, so the celebration was likely as much religious as it was a morale boost for the coming hard-work. It might also have been a great celebration because many communities would have run out of grain entirely by this point in the year, and they'd soon be able to enjoy fresh baked bread once again!

Obviously different weather conditions each year meant that the 1st of August was not always doable, but as society has moved forward with standardised time, rather than seasonal, the date has become fixed.

Unfortunately, the Saxon celebration of Lammas today has come to be interconnected with the Celtic festival of Lughnasadh which was celebrated around the same time. Considering that the two peoples resided on the same island, it goes without saying that the two tribes would have harvested the first crop at very similar times of year. Despite the two separate cultural identities, after Christianisation it makes sense that the Church would have not seen any difference between the old ways of the Germanic villages and the old Ways of the Celtic ones. To them it was part of the same "devil worship" which was to be amalgamated into the Church calendar in order to appropriate it to the new Christ God. As time went on, Lughnasadh and Lammas have essentially merged into the same festival to the point where even many scholars today speak of the two terms inter-changeably.

So we know that Hlafmas was Christianised in England, hence the name which is clearly not Pagan in origin. There are various references to the festival in Anglo-Saxon literature such as bede, but not enough information to really get a grasp about what the pre-Christian belief must have been. Unfortunately it's impossible to ever truly know the rituals performed before Christianity got in the way - but being a reconstructionist we can look at the fragments that we have left and try and re-build from what we do have.

It is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon book of charms that at Lammas a loaf would be baked from the first batch of grain, blessed and split into four parts. Those four quarters would be placed in the four corners of a silo or barn where the grain was to be stored, and was said to protect the grain over the coming months. Obviously, to simple peasants living from the land, a problem with your grain could be a death sentence for your entire community over the winter months, hence the reason, even if it's just psychologically, that people would feel the need to use ritual use of folk magic. Even after conversion to Christianity.

The sad thing is that today, where we do not live in an agrarian society we have lost what is sacred and important. Most people no longer feel any connection with the land in which our life sustaining food grows in, or the importance of the changes of season. To most, food is simply something we buy in bulk in Tesco, something to gorge on without a second thought and throw most of it away at the end of a meal. I'm not saying that I myself don't fall into that trap for the majority of the year, but this is why I believe harvest festivals, even today, are vitally important to us.

In a world which is increasingly being overpopulated whilst poisoned by pesticides and subjected to genetic engineering, the next generation need to understand exactly what food is and where it comes from more than ever. Today many children cannot even identify what meat comes from what animal, let alone the processes which enables us to produce flour. We are a society that no longer knows how to look after or feed itself, and because of that it is on a constant threat of collapse. The number of lives which would be lost if computers suddenly failed is simply apocalyptic, and a reason why not only children but adults too, should take stock exactly what food really is.

So how can we reconstruct an Old-English Pagan festival when the only remnants we have left are Christian?

I'm sure not everyone will agree with me on this, but paganism in general - and Odinism especially, is based on actions, not thoughts alone. We can argue until we a blue in the face about what constitutes the 'right' ritual to use. We could track down archaic textbooks until we are old and grey and perhaps still not be any closer to finding a workable way of reconstructing the old religion.

My personal belief is to use the clues we have left, but use intuition to fill in those gaps that we have left staring at us in the face. The important thing is not in how we honour and give thanks for the food that sustains us, but the very action of doing so. After all, would our Gods not be more appreciative of a simple offering done in an informal fashion, than for us to simply shrug our shoulders and admit that we don't have enough anecdotal evidence for how it used to be done? The truth is that despite being called the old way, it is still very much a living religion - so it is better to breathe new life into an old tradition than morbidly trawl through archaic textbooks.

But aside from honouring the Gods and the ancestors for a moment, the whole point of this this time round is more for ourselves. We have lost a very important reality check when it comes to our own needs. To stop appreciating food as a society is really, really unhealthy - and that realisation is only going to come from adults who understand that a real shift in mentality needs to occur.

My Lammas Offering

So I'm sat here this evening after writing the preceding part of this post, with the rising moon light flooding into the upstairs landing. Seems a perfect picture out of my window right now for a Lammas theme - the full moon lighting up pale fields of stubble as far as the eye can see. Sounds like I'm making this up for effect but its true.

So talking about offerings, its obvious that even after Christianisation the old folk magic still existed and in simple terms an offering was still being given to ward off (presumably) evil spirits or fungus that might spoil the grain in storage. Obviously I don't have such worries, but I'm simply giving thanks for the food we eat over the year.

I've baked a loaf of bread from spelt flour, an ancient kind of wheat which was before mankind had managed to properly create a high yielding 'domestic' version. It doesn't have to be spelt but I figure that it would be recognisable to more of our ancestors than ordinary bread flour. I also substituted the water in the recipe for milk, which provides a symbol of life sustaining energy - which is important givem its ritualistic use. The bread was marked with a Fehu rune, a symbol associated with wealth, food and abundance. I've cut the loaf into slices to take to a small piece of local woodland tomorrow morning.

I could have given the whole loaf as an offering, but thats the sort of wasteful behaviour we need to turn away from. In the Havamal it is Odin who says that it is better to not offer anything, than to offer too much. So how I interpret that is that essentially, do not offer too much food or resources up in religious ritual, if it makes your own life harder. Granted, this is just a loaf of bread - but why give more than is needed?



Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Jötnarjäger Returns

It's been almost a year since I last posted on this blog. In that time a lot has changed for me personally, and I've had a lot of new experiences which have influenced me and will therefore influence my writing over the future. 
So why did I stop writing in the first place?

Well in December my significant other gave birth to our lovely daughter. I'm sure anyone will attest the stress that one gets whilst approaching the due date is palpable, and therefore I really had other things on my mind other than writing and keeping a blog up to date.

Secondly, I had a falling out with a heathen organisation with which I was previously involved with. I won't go into the finer details, but lets just say that I was picked apart by the group's leadership for daring to suggest some different methods of achieving some community plans. Needless to say, the feeling of betrayal had knocked me back somewhat, and it's taken me a while to feel confident enough to put my feelers back out there into the heathen community.

So as it stands, I'm now ready to re-start this blog with the intent on exploring heathenry and Northern European culture.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Wayland Smith Day

This week marks the custom of 'Thanksgiving' within North America. Tomorrow, on the 27th of November, Christians all over America will sit down to eat meals with their families in what is is essentially an end of harvest festival.

 I must confess, until I sat down to do a little bit of research for this blog-post earlier in the week, I was in complete ignorance as to what exactly Thanksgiving was, and it seems it has its roots in English puritanism. The reason why I started reading into the history was because in America, many heathens celebrate what is known as 'Wayland Smith Day' in place of the Christian Thanksgiving. 

It seemed a bit perplexing to me. Why on earth would they be celebrating a blacksmith God (or Demi-God depending on your interpretation) on a day traditionally to do with the end of harvest? I tried asking a few American groups, but got no answers, and was struggling to come up with the reason. Traditionally, Thanksgiving conjures up the image of Pilgrims and Native Americans peacefully sitting together, the story of Wayland Smith is not a pleasant story, in fact it is probably the darkest tale in all our lore.

The story of Wayland Smith is probably more known to you as the 'lay of Volund' if you've read the Poetic Eddas. The name Wayland has evolved over language variations over the centuries, but at one time the tale of Wayland Smith was common knowledge all over Northern Europe.

I suggest reading the poem here but I shall give a brief synopsis;

Whilst Wayland is waiting alone for the return of his Valkyrie wife, Wayland is abducted by King Nidud. His knee tendons are cut to prevent him from making an escape, and he is placed in a forge on the island of Sævarstöð. There he is forced to work and forge items for the King against his will making fine treasures and weapons .

Wayland's prize sword is taken by King Nidud, and his wedding ring given to Nidud's daughter Bodvild as a prize, and when Wayland see's this when they visit him he plots his revenge.

The rest of the tale goes into detail about how Wayland manages to enact his vengeance. When both Nidud's Son's come to visit the island in secret on the false premise that Wayland would give them some gold, he cuts off their heads and turns their skulls into works of art. 

Later Bodvild comes back to Wayland's Smith to ask of him to fix her (or rather his) ring as she had broken it. He plies her with alcohol, has his way with her, gets her pregnant and then becomes able to fly (presumably by being able to shape-shift into a swan like his Valkyrie wife) and makes his escape.

As you can imagine this tale is somewhat... questionable in its morals, and I couldn't for the life of me work out how it tied in with Thanksgiving, until through reading various material on the internet I came across the similarities with him and a Christian Saint, St Clements. St Clement is a patron saint of blacksmiths, and it is said that it may well be a Christianisation of the legend of Wayland. His day is celebrated on the 23rd of November, which is a stones throw away from thanksgiving, hence Vinland Heathens have merged the two in order to keep involved with the wider society.

When I stop to think about the lessons taught by the poem of Volund and the term 'thanksgiving',  it does eventually once you take stock still make sense. Volund didn't start with any disagreement, but he certainly finished it. In keeping with the harvest theme, you reap what you sow. Moral of the story is don't act a cunt, and people will have no reason to treat you like one.


Wayland Smithy

The Wayland Smithy, a neolithic tomb situated a mile or so from the Uffington White Horse in Wessex, and literally a stone's throw off of the old Roman road (called the Ridgeway) has some beautiful folk lore surrounding the place.

It is said that if you leave an unshod horse next to the stones with a penny at night, by the morning the horse will have been re-shod. 

A Heathen group that I am in affiliation with have experienced strange encounters with someone who can only be explained as a 'wanderer' up at the Smithy whilst camping on the site. I do not wish to retell their tale as it would not be my first hand account (and besides I have not asked their permission to do so) but I will say that my money is on either Woden or Wayland himself making himself known to those he chooses to be worthy.

It really is one of the last places in England to still have its air of mystery about it.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Einherjar Day

Its often quite difficult to rekindle old traditions, that is of course if you can find a traditional from the old ways at all. The problems with a reconstructionist faith is that whilst the basics may be more or less laid down from historical accounts, the smaller customs are more or less left to the imagination.

How the Valkyrie plan on hauling him
out of the battlefield, I don't know. 
In an ideal world, we would try and weed out any of these old traditions by way of studying history and any lore that we have access to, but even that still leaves great holes in our way of life that in reality need filling with something. My argument, although not ideal, would be to start new customs wherever there is one of these holes. Anything that our young folk can carry forward into the future is a bonus, so long as the custom has a meaning, a story or moral to go with it.
I already wrote about the recent holy times we have recently witnessed through October. About the Winterfinding, Halloween and how Guy Fawkes night in the UK is likely a perversion of a Halloween fire rite. That is all past us, and now we approach another date in the British calendar which this year happens to fall on Sunday the 9th of November. That day is Remembrance Sunday.
Remembrance day today is there to mark and respect the Allied fallen in the two World Wars. This is of course a recent commemoration, although it is hard to imagine a time where nations and folk have not held some sort of vigil for their fallen warriors in the past.

Within the Heathen community, Einherjar Day has become a recognised holy day. (The Einherjar are those who have died in battle and joined Odin's hall in Valhalla.) Whilst there is no consensus within the 'Old Ways' (be it Asatru, Odinism etc) as to what this date should be, in the USA and the UK it seems most logical to place it at the time at which the rest of society marks the death of their soldiers.

This however means that we respect all of our folk, from all across Europe who have died in battle. From the first Saxon folk who took up arms against the Wīlisc defenders, to the Luftwaffe pilots who bombed London in WWII, to our young lads who served in the Middle East all the way up until the present day. To the Heathen mindset, there is no longer tribal differences between kin at Odin's hall.

I implore you then to remember the fallen, as all do at this time of year. Do not mourn though. Eat well, and raise a glass to them. Remember them as young men and women, prepared to risk their lives in the line of duty, and prepared to do battle once more in the twilight of the Gods.


Blódhláf: Or, if you prefer it, Blood Loaf.
Like all traditions, the best ones are ones which can be passed onto our young folk easily, and in a way in which they can remember easily too.

This is not in any way a tradition which I've picked up out of any book or any of our lore, but I'm prepared to share this as a great way of passing the meaning on to children. With my first child on the way, I'm already starting to think of things like this which can be used for future generations.

I came up with something I call blood loaf for the occasion. I'm not going to teach you how to suck an egg, so I won't include cooking instructions, but I will tell you what's added to make this special.

Instead of using all water to mix the flour into a dough, add beetroot purée (blend up some pre-cooked, vacuum packed beetroot into a paste.) Finally, after the loaf is in the bread tin and ready to go, add some poppy seeds on top.

The message is painfully obvious: The loaf is blood red to represent the blood lost in battle, the poppy seeds on top are of a more modern meaning, and are a nod to the 'Poppy Day' that is acknowledged now throughout many countries.

This particular loaf pictured above is made with spelt flour, so is much darker in appearance, but with ordinary white flour I'm sure the red colouring is much more prominent and striking.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

998th Ashingdon Memorial

The Ethnic English movement has come on leaps and bounds over the last decade, and with it events such as Battle and Stamford Bridge have grown in prominence. In Essex however where the local population remains largely ignorant of our history and heritage, there remains very little activity despite it being one of the most heavily populated areas in England.

One of the most important battles in our Anglo-Saxon past was fought in Essex, though most would not likely know anything about it. At Ashingdon, Edmund 'Ironside' fought the Danish King Canute and lost in a terrible defeat.

Eadric Streona, England's greatest traitor, led away the English men under his command mid-battle when he saw that Canute's forces were beginning to struggle. In what was likely a pre-arranged agreement between Eadric and Canute, he sold England out for a place at Canute's council. It did not do him much good however, for within the year he would be executed under Canute's orders for his treacherous nature.

Speaking from a Wodenist perspective, all of our actions (or in-actions) can affect a vast tapestry of wyrd beyond which we can even possibly hope to comprehend. To use a more modern analogy that those rooted in popular culture may grasp, it is the butterfly effect. It is this knowledge of cause and effect that spurred our ancestors on to always consider doing the heroic deed. By striving to be great and to do what we feel is the correct course of action, even if it means standing alone, is to live forever in the physical world through those deeds. 

The Battle of Ashingdon then, from the English perspective was almost like someone had cut a huge hole in the English people's web of wyrd. The ability to pursue our own destiny has been stifled ever since that fateful day in 1016, and although most would attribute that loss of liberty with 1066, without the fateful events at Ashingdon, there may never have been a battle of Hastings. Without Eadric's betrayal, our history as a people may have been completely different, and so we must all take this as a lesson always to consider folk before all else, and the rightful loyalties that you have to that folk.

When Canute effectively broke the house of Wessex, there was constant feuding over who was the rightful King of England for decades. Long story short, it was the culmination of this feud that saw Harold Godwinson in 1066 (himself Son of Canute's sister-in-law) facing 

Harald Hardrada's Danish army in the North and William the Conqueror's Army in the South within a matter of a few weeks.

The church which now stands on the battle site. 
Last Saturday I thought I would remedy the lack of local remembrance of this battle, and place a memorial of sorts at the site of battle.

Before I begin, it should be noted that there could be two possible locations of the battle. The most favoured site is the village now known as Ashingdon near Rochford, although there is a chance that it may well have been Ashdon near Saffron Walden. 

Whilst some may take the view that holding memorials whilst the battle site is still debated, I on the other hand think that simply holding it, even if it is in the wrong place, is better than it going unnoticed.

Information board, flowers and candle left in memory of the men
who died at Ashingdon.
A few days before I had informed the local news paper, the Evening Echo to meet me at the site which since 1020 has been a church yard, and got there early in the morning to set out the white wyrm flags and information board.

I placed some flowers and a candle with the information board facing east towards the rising sun. Whilst I set out some of the flags, a small man who was clearly a history buff looked about at the flags and the board which I had set out and we spoke for a while about the battle. It seems he was on some form of historical pilgrimage as I was.

The photographer from the local paper turned up, took some photos, but unfortunately for whatever reason those photos never ended up being published. 

Whilst on the face of it, this may have all seemed a bit of waste of time, I believe this is just the very beginning. The local Parish is likely to have some form of event in 2016 celebrating the 1000th anniversary, and the English community can press some larger presence at Ashingdon in 2015, perhaps we will have some form of influence on the way in which the 2016 event plays out.

We can only hope, but if we can do the right thing and persevere, the web of wyrd with weave in the way we wish it to.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


It's getting to that time of year once more, past the equinox and into the darker times. This time of year to our ancestors was a very holy time, and it's relevance still echoes today in more modern life, although we may not always see it.

Winterfylleþ was our Anglo-Saxon ancestors word for 'winterfinding'. As you may gather from the timing of this post, it occurred each year in what is now the month of October and it traditionally marked the start of the winter period at the October full moon.
This whole month (and the beginning of November) is a time of remembrance and honouring of our ancestors, giving thanks to their lives and memories, and a time to reflect on our own lives.

Lets just take a look at a few modern day continuations of our ancestors beliefs:

You would be right in thinking that Halloween today encompasses these themes, but from my Heathen perspective the Halloween that we see today is quite an affront to the original in-depth meaning. Halloween today is more of an amalgamation of European ancestor tribute with Latin American influence in there for good measure. Halloween's re-discovering in the last few decades is nothing more than an American import to the rest of the World, and it's simply there to sell novelties and sweets.
When you really think about it, todays consumer-based attitude to all religious festivals is bad enough, but the Halloween period happens in my opinion to be the worst of all. The idea of profiteering off of a festival that is meant to be for remembering loved ones who have passed on just seems wrong to me.
The Christian church also took the Halloween period and incorporated it into the church calendar all across Europe. All Souls Day in England is not considered a major festival, but essentially it is simply a Christian version of the older Pagan festivals that had preceded it.
In the UK of course we have Guy Fawkes night, when a 'Guy' (an effigy of Guy Fawkes) is symbolically burnt upon a bonfire. Officially this is meant to commemorate the thwarting of the 5th of November bomb plot on Parliament, however it doesn't take a genius to realise the timing of this is far too coincidental. Bear in mind that at the time of the bomb plot, there was a serious puritan ideology within Government that even outlawed some aspects of Christmas celebration (which may explain the bomb plot in the first place.) Parliament in 1605 in the aftermath designated the "Observance of 5th November Act 1605," and from then on bonfires were burnt to celebrate the death of a terror suspect. Seems daft to think that this wasn't simply a case of changing the meaning of an already existing custom though.
Finally, we have remembrance day every year in Commonwealth countries where we remember our fallen soldiers during the wars. Whilst the date set for remembrance day could be entirely coincidental, it is pretty strange how it coincides so well with the themes for the time of year. As such, many heathens today celebrate the 'Feast of the Einherjar', around about the time that remembrance day is observed.

Winterfinding Blot

Lantern and the full October moon rising behind.
So on the night of the full October moon, the sky was clear and although quite cool, was a perfect setting for a woodland blot by my lonesome.

I headed down to a small woodland that acts like my own personal hearth with nothing more than a candle lantern for light and a bottle of decent dark ale. Walking down the single track lane in the dark, holding out a lantern with a jumper hood up, I couldn't help find the funny side when a passing cyclist seemed rather bemused (scared) of what he was seeing.

Easing my way into the woods over a ditch with nothing more than a candle to find my way was a little tricky, and with some stumbling about tripping over leaf litter and bits of branch, I finally made my way to the foot of the largest tree in the small wood. The tree incidentally is that of a great old Oak, surrounded by Horse Chestnut.

Falling over my words at first, I eventually gave thanks and honoured the ancestors, thanked the Gods for blessings that I currently have in my own personal life, and made commitments to my own family in front of the Gods and my ancestors. The beer came out and was again offered to the Ancestors and the Gods.

Thereafter, I sat quietly for a while, wondering whether anyone up there would have a message for me in return. A minute or so later, sitting in the peace and quiet, my eyes now adjusted to the moonlight seeping through the browning foliage above, I caught glimpse of something bright moving at speed through the woods. It was as bright as a torch, and roughly the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Something had sent a message after all. I took it to be either a land Wight or perhaps the spirit of someone who had come to give me re-assurances, but whoever or whatever it was, it was certainly good timing. Satisfied I returned home.

Monday, 13 October 2014


Welcome to Jötnarjäger!

This is just a quick explanation of who I am and what I'll be writing about, so I won't go on too long. Now I'm sure the articles going into the future will be more than enough to give you an explanation into what sort of person I am and what I'm interested in, but for the moment, there aren't any articles to gauge, so this is just a fill in for now.

Quite clearly, my real name is not Jæßun, but if you have half a brain you can probably work out what my first name actually is. There will invariably be folk out there who seem distrusting of anyone who doesn't use their real name for blogging or personal correspondence over the internet, but it is for good reason that I use an alias.

I am what the "progressive" left wingers would call a far-right extremist. I don't agree with the world that our un-elected social engineers are busy building behind our backs, and that makes people like me a threat to their system. When people, such as myself, begin to grow a thick skin to accusations that we are racist or a fascist for sticking up for traditional values, the only solution they have left is to start ruining lives. Many a man or woman has had their career destroyed because they dared to speak their mind, many even have served prison sentences. I can deal with that. However myself and my significant other are set to start a family very soon, and I cannot risk losing children because of a real fascist nanny-state.

I can't tell exactly what my articles will consist of, but keep in mind that I'm an English Nationalist who follows the Germanic/Norse Gods and also has an interest in geo-politics and science. I enjoy the outdoors, camping, survival stuff and hiking are all good, and I enjoy airsoft when I get the time to do it too. History is also one of my favourite topics, as is topics of a more esoteric nature. 

I'm looking to fund-raise and support the English community going into the future, and well I'm just a bit of an odd-job when it comes to activism too which will no doubt lessen in frequency as time gets taken up by family.

Most of all, I'm writing because I have a passion for writing and exchanging ideas, so if you have any comments on any of my posts please feel free to write one below.

(For anyone wondering, Jötnarjäger is a fake word made up of the Danish word for Jotunn, and the German word for hunter.)