Sunwait – A Countdown to Yule

Yule is one of our most sacred times of the year. Not only do we have the twelve days of Yule usually bookended by Mother’s Night and Twelfth Night in our observances, we also have other celebrations like Krampusnacht (and with it the rebranding of Saint Nicholas’ Day as Oski’s Day), Lussinatt, and more throughout December and through the wassailing season, which concludes by early January. So many folk customs have persisted from what were once surely pre-Christian practices, that we get excited to have so much we can sink into as we celebrate the holy tide. We also are opportunistic, seeing traditions from mainstream religious observances around us and deciding to do our own thing that speaks to our own religious pathways.

In modern times, heathens have created a new tradition in the 21st Century known as Väntljusstaken (literally, candles we light to wait) or Sunwait. Sunwait began specifically in Sweden, and it quite intentionally was started to echo Christian advent style countdowns towards Christmas. Sunwait starts six weeks before the winter solstice, and is an anticipatory lead-in towards Yule. One candle is lit per week leading up to Yule. Each candle is also symbolically tied to the first few elder runic letters: ᚠ – Fehu, ᚢ – Uruz, ᚦ – Thurisaz, ᚨ – Ansuz, ᚱ – Raido, ᚲ – Kenaz. Traditionally Thursday evening’s at sunset is when each candle would be lit, but others have created timings that work for them instead. Some decide to have it coincide with Friday’s because of work schedules, or choose instead to have each week fall on the same weekday as the winter solstice does in that given year. Still others opt to observe it on Sunday, since that day of the week is named for the solar goddess Sunna.

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Iðunn – Norse Goddess of the Apples

While it may not feel like autumn yet in Texas, I always in particular venerate Iðunn (or Idunna), an ásynjur (one of the Norse Goddesses). Her most well-known story involves her abduction by a giant, which causes the gods to age thus revealing her important ties to vitality. Iðunn is known within Skáldskaparmál as the Gods’ Lady, and indeed this is because the vitality (and therefore immortality) she provides is gifted to all of the Gods and Goddesses. While she is part of my regular praxis throughout the year, I always feel her most strongly in autumn through the winter. I decided to do an exploration into her heiti and kennings. There’s a lot to unpack here, and I feel like there’s much more that I’ll be musing upon for a long time to come too.

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Open Halls is Shutting Down

Husband and wife, Josh and Cat Heath, who have long been the operating force and co-directors behind the Open Halls Project have announced that they are shutting down. For those unfamiliar with the Open Halls Project, Josh Heath was on active duty in the US Army from 2006 to 2011 (deployed 2008-2009 In Operation Iraqi Freedom). He saw a need and decided to act upon it. He wanted to make it easier for military heathens to find heathens wherever they might be posted, both civilians and other active duty or veteran military heathens. That included penpals, care packages, connecting heathen clergy, kindreds and other believers. It evolved into making resources for military chaplains available. It had been an over decade fight by others (including the Heaths) to get pagan and heathen symbols approved for veteran tombstones. There was a national rally on the Washington mall in DC on July 4, 2007 towards this end. The pentagram was added in 2007, and the mjollnir added in 2013. (You can view the symbols at the official Veteran’s Affairs emblem database).


The Heaths decided that they wanted to tackle getting the religion added to the US Army. On June 16, 2011 they put the call out seeking US Army soldiers (past and present) who identify as asatru or heathen, as they were working with other organizations to get heathen/asatru added to the religious preference list for the US Army.

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The Holy Tides – Hlæfmæsse and Freyfaxi

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When it comes to religious, pagan celebrations most people are familiar with the eight holy days or sabbats that comprise the Wheel of the Year, such as Lugnasadh. In the Northern Tradition, we do not call these celebrations sabbats. Instead, based on words (like the Old Norse hátíðir) used to describe the most holy of these celebrations (like Yule) as high tides, we tend to call the various religious celebrations we recognize today as holy tides (since not all of the holy tides are considered high tides).

Since we practitioners of the Northern Tradition are dealing with a general umbrella culture that existed in vast plurality we look to ancient Germanic, Scandinavian (Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, etc.) and Anglo-Saxon sources. It is important to understand that these ancient cultures reckoned time in different ways in comparison to one another or to the modern world. They existed in different latitudes, lived amongst different types of geography with unique climate conditions that affected the local agricultural cycle. This means that sometimes the timing between when one group would celebrate and another would celebrate a similar type of holy tide could be several weeks apart.

Sometimes we can see an obvious and clear link between these cousin cultures to a specific holy tide like Yule, in other cases things are a bit less clear, or the celebrations of the different groups can sometimes seem vastly different even when they have a similar root, or some celebrations may be unique and not echoed in extant sources elsewhere.

Hlæfmæsse translates in our modern English tongue to Loaf-Mass, and is sometimes also called Lammas, we have numerous instances in Anglo-Saxon literature that talk about this particular Christianized celebration and some of the traditions attached to it. Since mass denotes a Christian ritual, some have theorized that the pre-Christian name for this holy tide may have been Hlæfmæst (feast of loaves), and for this reason some Heathens will use this name instead. That theory may not be far off reality. The ninth century text, Old English Martyrology, refers to August 1st as the day of hlæfsenunga, which translates to ‘blessing of bread’.

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Interviewed in The Wild Hunt’s story – No Hate in Texas group continues to protest and speak out

The Wild Hunt came to the June 26, 2022 protest of Stedfast, my not so friendly neighborhood cult that wants so many people to be dead. The Wild Hunt covered the effort of the group I am in No Hate in Texas. I knew ahead of time I was going to be interviewed, so I represented as an ally in my rainbow attire, my mjollnir (Thor’s Hammer) a symbol both of my heathen faith but also a symbol of protection against foes, and my gallehus horn replica pin. Because when we speak in ritual over the sacred horn or cup, our words fall into the well of wyrd, and our words have power to shift outcomes for good or for ill. So, such words need to embody both troth and frith. It was a quiet nod of the seriousness I take to my words in that moment, but also that speaking out even if not in ritual, is still a powerful and important thing. Hate is a virus, it spreads if people won’t take a stand against it. ✊️

That news story was released on July 3, 2022 by The Wild Hunt with both a print and a video component.

The Hate Cult of Stedfast has moved to Watagua

And so it begins again, this morning we kicked off another round of protests, the first in Watagua.

Stedfast Baptist Church shares a doctrine of belief with Stephen Anderson, founder of the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement. Both Anderson’s home church of Faithful Word and Stedfast are listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. Stedfast is anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ+, misogynistic, racist, and the pastor likes to burn books and bibles while the kids toast marshmallows in the flames. They do more than just hate others, but their speech is full of violence and the wish of death for those they hate. You can read more about them here. Their last landlord in Hurst, Texas took them to court claiming the church violated the terms of its lease, which prohibits threats and violence. The judge, upholding an earlier verdict with a jury trial agreed with the violence inherent in Shelley’s words, granting the landlord the right to evict from their previous Hurst, Texas location. But they’ve now found a new home in Watagua, Texas.


Stedfast is part of Anderson’s network, and their pastors have all been ordained by him. As concerned citizens we worry about how their message of hate can propel someone to act in violence. A concern that is not unfounded. In 2009 Anderson prayed in church for the death of President Obama, the next day one of his congregation members was arrested with an AR-15 assault rifle at an Obama appearance.  The same gun behind the recent and tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, and behind other such tragedies as Stoneman Douglas, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Pulse Nightclub, San Bernadino, and Sandy Hook.

In fact Stedfast first became infamous for their atrocious comments in the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

Referring to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting “These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles and they are the scum of the earth and the earth is a little bit better place now.”

(former) Pastor Donnie Romero, Stedfast Baptist Church

They also celebrated the actions of the mass murdering gunman, and prayed for the death of victims fighting for their lives in ICU. They’ve even marked the tragic anniversary with the “Make America Straight Again Rally”


Concerned citizens starting today May 29, 2022 are protesting them, at their new church home, found in the shopping center where Tandy Leather is located: 6900 Denton Highway, Suite 106 in Watauga, TX 76148. Join us for peaceful protests Sunday mornings from 10am-12:30pm. Stay out of the shopping center’s parking lot (both for parking, or protesting). Local cops have confirmed that our free speech area is the grass verge along the road outside the shopping center parking lot, since there’s no sidewalk. But be mindful not to damage landscaping, or shopping center signage. Please don’t park in any other parking lots with open businesses during protest times, or the church across the street as they need the parking for their congregation. We don’t want to inconvenience the innocent neighbors who had hate move in beside them. We encourage those who come out to use sunscreen, bring water, and you may want to bring a portable chair, or an umbrella for shade as needed.

The property is managed by Crest Commercial Real Estate, if you wish to express your concern about the danger they’ve brought into the community you can call them at 214-696-6677 or contact them through their website crestcommercial.com. The property owner is listed as Cider Property, Inc at 6607 LBJ Freeway in Dallas, TX 75240. Keep in mind, we don’t know if either the owner, or the management company knew of the background of who they were leasing to.

Sigdrifa’s Prayer Bookmarks

In honor of Memorial Day weekend, and in appreciation to those that serve in the armed forces, I am offering once again free Sigdrifa’s Prayer bookmarks. The Prayer is a rare remnant in our lore, as it’s the only non-Christianized, complete prayer that we have from the historical sources. In it’s short simplicity, the prayer found in the Sigdrifumal is a microcosm of the vast macrocosm of Heathen cosmology.

Eligibility

  • Pagan, Polytheist or Heathen (Asatru, Northern Tradition, etc.)
  • Be a veteran or active duty member of the US military (any branch)
  • Have a US mailing address (military APO/FPO addresses count)

To request follow the link.

Murderers Don’t Go to Valhalla

In the wake of the tragic mass shooting at the Tops Market grocery store in Buffalo, New York on May 14, 2022 we have been learning more about the murdering criminal who had perpetrated the attack. He was wearing a sonnenrad (a swastika related symbol), the assault rifle and shotgun were adorned with the Othala rune, and the shotgun also featured a Celtic Cross (which is a variation of our solar cross symbol). He also had references on his assault rifle to five other mass shooters (who I am choosing not to name) behind the following attacks: 2011 Norwegian attacks in Oslo and Utøya, 2011 Tree of life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the 2015 Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the 2019 Chabad Congregation in Poway, and the 2019 Christchurch attack.

He signed off his manifesto with the words “Goodbye, God bless you all and I hope to see you in Valhalla.” Compare it to the manifesto from the shooter behind the 2019 Christchurch attack and there’s lots of similarities (basically plagiarized with slight rewordings) including the sign off “Goodbye, god bless you all and I will see you in Valhalla.”

I’d like to say something for the hate spouting extremists in the back. Murderers don’t go to Valhalla. In fact in our lore we know murderers go somewhere else entirely. In Gylfaginning we are told by Odin (in his guise of Þriði) that those who commit evil go to Nifolhel (Misty Hel). In another section of Gylfaginning, and supported also in Völuspá, we learn that within Nifolhel we have Nástrǫnd (Corpse Shore), and that is where oathbreakers and murderers go in the afterlife. Nástrǫnd is home to the serpent Níðhöggr (Malice Striker) who gnaws for eternity on the corpses of murderers and oathbreakers that have been condemned to the serpent’s hall. We think that Nástrǫnd may correlate to the Old English Wyrmsele, which means serpent hall, it appears in the poem Judith found in the Nowell Codex (which is the manuscript source for Beowulf).

The heathen afterlife is first and foremost Hel. Hel, is more than just a name. Her name literally is not only the realm of the dead, but etymologically is the very earth where the dead are buried and reside, from the great cairns and graveyards. To speak of Hel is to speak of both the Goddess, Her realm, and all those who dwell there. Sooner or later we will traverse those halls, because as the Havamal states, “cattle die and kinsmen die” because the most fundamental truth of life is that sooner or later we die. From the sources we know that there were certain places or deities within the afterlife of Hel that played host to the dead: Odin’s Valhalla, Thor’s Bilskirnir within Valhalla, Freya’s Sessrumnir, the hall of Vingolf (mentioned three times: once connected to Odin, once to the Goddesses, and once just generally as a place for the dead), Gimlé where the just go, and then we know that the Goddesses Ran and Gefjon also play host to specific types of the dead (respectively those who died at sea and maidens).

One of the commonly misrepresented beliefs of our afterlife is that the end goal is for us all to go to Valhalla, it isn’t. Valhalla is specifically intended for a select few, and only for those that Odin thinks has the right skillset to his warrior purposes and thus chooses. Killing in self defense, or killing in the course of war is one thing. Gunning down a bunch of innocent people in a grocery store makes you only one thing: a murderer, a nīðing (nithling) which is one of the worst labels given to a person, as it means the person has no honor and is a villain.

This gunman doesn’t represent my religion nor my beliefs. In fact both he and the Q-Anon Shaman from the January 6, 2021 Insurrection in Washington DC use the singular Christian god in messaging, but combine it with some of our religion’s sacred symbols and places. This is sadly yet another despicable real world example of what should be sacred being profaned for the purposes of hate. Let me be clear, in the Northern Tradition these are the races that exist: the Giants, the Gods, the Dwarves, the Disir, the Alfar, other vaettir of land and sea, and the human race. That’s it. If you look at our creation story we see that as the Gods create the first people, Odin breathed life into them, Vili granted them intelligence, and Ve gave them their senses so they could see and hear. So whether an individual or any other cultural or religious group believes that or not, if someone believes and worships Odin then to my mind you should believe he is the All-Father of humanity, not the Father of only some.

You would think after decades of being a Heathen and seeing white supremacists pervert the sacred, I’d be used to this. But I’m not. I’m furious. Each time we’re here I’m just as outraged as the last time. So I had to do something, in this case I made a meme. Yes, it is but a small act, but maybe if we can educate there’d be fewer people misusing Valhalla. If we can burst the fantasy bubble around Valhalla, maybe we can start to dismantle part of the appeal in how white supremacists who don’t even worship our Gods use it to galvanize others to hate. Share it, spread it. Let’s make this go viral.

Murderers don't go to Valhalla. 
Valhalla is but one place in the heathen afterlife. It is specifically intended for a select few, and only for those that Odin chooses because he thinks they have the right skillset 
to his purposes. In Gylfaginning, Odin tells us that those who commit evil go to Niflhel, 
and we learn that oathbreakers and murderers go to Nastrond, where the serpent 
Nidhogg gnaws on them for eternity, for they are nithlings lacking in honor. 
Murderers Don’t Go To Valhalla

The Witch Hunt – SCOTUS, Justice Alito, Abortion, Sir Matthew Hale and the Connection to the Salem Witch Trials

70% of Americans support the rights of women to have a choice with her doctor regarding her own medical decisions. And yet many have been reeling since the leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court of the United States that appears to be ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, the court case that gave women the right to have an abortion.

It’s not just abortion that’s on the hatchet block. Roe v. Wade based it’s argument in part upon a case dealing with birth control as a precedence. If Roe v. Wade is overturned then it also weakens the legal precedence for birth control too. And trust me, I’ve seen some crazies here in Texas who think birth control is worse of a sin than abortion. They think birth control kills more babies than abortion. They’re also coming for IUDs, with HB 813 a recent bill in Louisiana that would not only ban them, but subject women to charges of murder for using them.

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May 5th – Murdered And Missing Indigenous Women And Girls

While many associate May the 5th with the celebratory Cinco de Mayo, there are others who instead observe the day in solemnity for the international pandemic of murdered and missing women and girls from across numerous indigenous populations, First Nations peoples, Metis, and Inuit most especially in the United States and Canada. The date was intentionally chosen in honor of the birthday of Hanna Harris, a Northern Cheyenne woman who went missing and was found murdered days later in July 2013.

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