Valkyries aren’t your “babes”

Women are sadly accustomed to being sexualized to ridiculous extremes, seemingly everywhere. For those of us who (aren’t imbecilic womanizing wannabes that) identify with the religious practices surrounding Northern Tradition Polytheism, we know that women held (and should still hold) power and respect.

Despite such a rich background, it never ceases to amaze me the ridiculous attitudes that propagate within our religion, carry-overs of bigotry and sexism from the culture at broad. Some will refer to these men as Bro-satru, typically characterized by those who play fight and talk of being warriors and being waited on hand and foot by valkyries who are little more in their minds than mead-bearing tavern wenches around for eye-candy and pleasure toys. (insert heavy sarcasm and eye-rolling here): Like they’re so amazed by your warrior prowess they’ll just fuck you right there: Hardcore! In the mead-hall.

A prime example is a “valkyrie decor plaque” I recently stumbled upon an ecommerce shop online. Since I think it’s pretty reprehensible, ignorant, and just plain tacky, I am NOT publicizing where I found it, let alone the name of the artisan behind it. Clearly we see a dehumanized woman, her only worth is in her breasts and between her thighs. She can’t have a face or head because then that means she has a brain and she starts to become a real representation of a human being with arms and legs. Limbs she can use to avoid or fight the warrior-wanna-bes who have no idea what it means to sacrifice a limb, let alone a life to protect their community including the women who they should have been raised to respect as far more than sex objects. This plaque is nothing more than a masturbatory visual aid for use.

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The Holy Tides – Yule, its traditions, and religious observances

Just as our pagan cousins celebrate the eight major sabbats that comprise the Wheel of the Year, for those of us in the Northern Tradition we too have somewhat similar key celebrations that we call holy tides (from the Old Norsehátíðir). Some of these celebrations are more significant and special than others, and these especially important holy-days are known as high holy tides: such as Ostara, Winter Nights, and Yule which is now upon us.

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Honoring Our Mothers [Redux]

Sometimes the perception other pagans and polytheists have of the Northern Tradition is that we are focused on a patriarchal system due to the overwhelming popularity of Gods like Odin and Thor, but the truth is simply that all powers, or Regin, were respected and honored, including those mothering and protective spirits or wights known as the Disir.

When looking up the etymology and usage of the word wight, I discovered it was used not just to describe land wights, but also for ancestral spirits, and the Gods and Goddesses, and even the genius loci. So it was an umbrella term used to describe anything that was numinous, or not of this world and therefore not wholy human.

I think in the early foundations of the religious practices, there wasn’t a great deal of distinction made between the types, anything that was supernatural fit as they all held sacred roles we mortals should respect and there were regional variances and regional preferences for each geo-socio-politico community. Therefore it is my belief that overtime more of a tiered, hierarchical structure emerged in human civilization, and thus we begin to see more of a separation of ‘ranks and tiers’ between Gods, the ancestors, the land wights, etc.

In Guðrúnarkviða, the text calls the valkyries “Odin’s Disir”, and we also see in Reginsmal and Krakumal more connections to the valkyries. We see in another text, Atlamál, that they are specifically referred to as being dead women. 

In Hamðismál and Grimnismal the disir appear to be synonymous with the Norns. All throughout the lands of ancient Germania the archaelogical record is full of more than 1000 found votive stones and altars erected to the Matronae (The Mothers), and within that vast number we find groupings of stones in specific regions to specific deities, such as those honoring the Austriahenae. Suggesting, and to my mind proving, that there existed genius loci or a region specific variety too. But as the term Matronae/Mothers alone suggests, they also have associations with fertility as well.

As such, Goddesses, Norns, valkyries, genius loci, as well as female ancestors comprise the Disir, or Idis. While that can seem a bit overwhelming to wrap your mind around, at the end of the day the Disir embody the protective and beneficial female spirits that look after individuals, their families, and the tribe or community.

The Disir or mothers were so revered that they had their own celebrations within the Northern Tradition umbrella, with regional variance. The Anglo-Saxons had Modraniht (Mother’s Night) during December, the Swedes had Disting in February, yet texts like Víga-Glúms and
Hervavar show celebrations in the Autumn instead.

In modern times Northern Tradition polytheists will also use Mother’s Day as another opportunity to honor the Disir.

So on this Mother’s Day…

Let us honor our Mothers, who through joy and suffering endured so that their children, and their children’s children might not just survive, but thrive.

I call to our mothers, the light and the life bringers who have guided us from darkness onto the paths our ancestors have traveled, and now the paths we walk down.

All-mother Frigga I hail thee, and I thank thee. For the immeasurable blessings, your guidance and your wisdom. You see all things, even if I may not know them. May your counsel follow me into the year ahead and be the compass from which I navigate.

May the blessings of the Disir be upon you all.

Correcting Common Misconceptions – Freyja & the Valkyrie

I am human, and therefore like so many others I have my personal ticks and pet peeves. Among them are common misconceptions that somehow seem to multiply faster than dirty laundry & dust bunnies, or the spam messages in my inbox.

Somehow, once upon a time someone first said that the Goddess Freyja was a Valkyrie, and since then that concept has been reiterated innumerable times across websites, and a plethora of books. While not trying to be disparaging of those who are not focused in the Northern Tradition, it seems that many of the problematic texts were written for a broader crowd who might mix and match their deities from across various traditions. I can only imagine that this misconception has occurred and been perpetuated so greatly because authors didn’t realize that the research they were using was faulty since they lacked a specialized knowledge as it relates to Freyja and the related deities and culture found within the Northern Tradition.

So allow me to say clearly and once and for all that the Goddess Freyja is NOT a Valkyrie.

So why all the confusion?

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Freyja by Relotixke

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