The Walking Undead in the Northern Tradition

The crisp cool air of autumn is in the air, and with Halloween around the corner the airwaves are full of stories about vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts and zombies. Of course the cultures that comprise the Northern Tradition were certainly known for their own stories. Even quintessential American literary classics like Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow have their roots in Germanic folktales and beliefs. There is something about that tale in particular which seems to derive from an aspect of the Wild Hunt afterall, which is said to roam in some areas from the time of Winter Nights (which is upon us) to Yule.

There are numerous accounts in the Eddas and Sagas that talk about the undead, and attacks by them which intensify as the days shorten and the nights lengthen.

Draugr by JFoliveras
Draugr by JFoliveras

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An Open Letter to John Halstead

There is power in words, so many traditions speak of the efficacy of speech, how when things once spoken became so, those words exhibited a magicoreligious quality. [For the curious and the Hellenics out there, I’d recommend reading a very fascinating academic text entitled Masters of Truth in Archaic Greece by Marcel Detienne that talks in part to this]. But when you have people who steadfastly adhere to their ignorance to use words in ways they were never meant to be used, you don’t add to the discourse of a community, you only add to the confusion, and water down what those words truly mean.

Within the religious community at the moment, there’s a lot of various individuals, and sometimes even groups actively redefining the terms in ways that are simply  inaccurate.

I could call a mountain a star fish, but that doesn’t mean that it is, and the continuance of those who willfully and erroneously choose to do so, only demonstrates ignorance and a lack of critical reasoning of the very words they are trying to use in the conversation. Do we need to buy these people a dictionary or two?

I think Ossia Sylvia states it best here, in her letter to one of the current, very public roots of this problem.

Source: An Open Letter to John Halstead