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Tomorrow we've got the Frigga study, which I'm looking forward to. Frigga is probably the deity I find most problematic to deal with personally (I guess it's inevitable that when you've got a pantheon, there'll be one that's harder to relate to), which I know means that I ought to focus on her more, not less. :)

Tonight I'm working on a quilt, and having myself a little 1930s Mummy marathon, starting with the 1932 Boris Karloff version.
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I made a chocolate cheesecake last night, and I've just finished printing out the "Frigga Fact Sheets" for tonight's study, so I am pretty much set now.

Edit: Okay, that sucks. I've just noticed that I totally left out (because I'm also covering Frigga's maidens) the bit about Gefjon and Zealand and the plow thing... Well, I'm not reprinting, I'll just make sure to mention it.
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The girls went back to school today, in theory I should be getting a lot done (well, I sorted laundry, and the sorting in their room is always an accomplishment...).

I've just realized that I haven't really gotten much done since early October. Mid-October I got sick, and had no appreciable improvement until the end of November. And by then of course it was December--Yule, younger daughter's b'day, Giftmas, New Year's Eve (December is the insane month around here), and nothing else.

Now I am ready to get back into the swing of things. (I hope. Knock wood.)


Dec. 5th, 2005 01:02 am
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December 4 Yule quilt progress: 28/64!

I just realized today that I have less than two weeks to prepare the blots for Yule (blot to Frey, blot to Odin, ought to prepare something brief for sunset and sunrise but I do have things from past years that we could use).

Snow warning from now until tomorrow night, supposedly 3-7 inches tonight and another 5-10 tomorrow, so not a huge storm.


Nov. 12th, 2005 04:11 pm
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I made it through the night in bed last night (no more comfortable than the couch, also no less) and was not evicted, so I guess I can stay :). I really think the coughing has lessened. Still sleeping a lot. Still can't seem to get my lungs full of air but I imagine that will pass as well.

I hung a Thor's hammer in my car this afternoon, have not yet poured out a bottle.

Today I'm working my way through the soul complex discussion in Coulter's Germanic Heathenry. I'm still hoping to find something clear (the discussion in the new Our Troth was iffy in that respect--althouh nice that they had sections on the Anglo-Saxon and the Norse views) and coherent. I'd be happier still if I had good original sources for this stuff.


Oct. 22nd, 2005 01:56 pm
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Still sick, just online for a moment to write down my rune-a-day. Actually the main reason I came downstairs at all is because my blood pressure meds are down here, else I'd probably still be in bed :).

I do need to go to the other computer and format the Freyja Fact Sheet for tonight's god study. Then I can go lie down.
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In no particular order because I'm probably going to mix it up...

Subjects of study:

High days
Nine worlds
Parts of the soul

My day

Aug. 27th, 2005 03:33 pm
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This afternoon: gathering Frigga lore.
This evening: margaritas!
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Project for today: look up lore references for Sif and Skadhi.
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So what do you consider the difference between the lore in the Eddas and the lore found elsewhere (I have specifically the sagas in mind), in terms of how much weight you give to particular tales? I'm thinking that I've always considered the Eddas to be more...well, "trustworthy" isn't really the word because I think you always need to be looking carefully at these texts, but I can't think of a better one. But I know that that may be my own bias in favor of texts having more to do with tales of the gods.

In particular I'm thinking of Gautrek's saga, the part where Thor and Odin take turns establishing Starkad's future (Odin giving him good things, Thor giving bad ones), and also including that wonderful bit about the "symbolic" sacrifice to Odin (heh!).


Apr. 25th, 2005 04:17 pm
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Okay, so obviously I started with the easiest (and least pressing) thing on my To Do list and have just finished compiling the info for the Heimdall lore fact sheet.

So the thing to do with these is present the information and just the information. Commentary is all right if it helps to clarify facts (usually it's not necessary), but should not include my personal take on the lore. Didn't think this would be a problem.

And then I started on Rigsthula. Yeah, yeah, this is probably the most problematic piece of lore out there--not in terms of interpretation (although that's always something of an issue) but in terms of general ickiness to the modern egalitarian American mind. So the message is really hard to put a finger on because of cultural background.

Anyway, just a quick gripe before I get back to work. (No cold medicine today, only one dose left of the Dayquil and I'm saving it for if I get worse.)
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And I ought to be working on the Mayday blot to Freyja (because that's in two weeks), but instead I'm working on the Thor fact sheet for the next god study group.

Although it's possible we'll be doing that this weekend (next month if not), don't know yet. (The beauty of a small group is its flexibility.) I'm through the elder Edda, working on Snorri's now, writing capsules of the Thor stories. Damn, Thor is in a lot of stories! Which, of course, I knew, but still, damn! I should have no problem getting through the rest of Snorri, but beyond that might be a crunch.

Edit: Made it through Snorri! Actually I am considering the usefulness of including only info straight from the lore. Although I may be considering this only because it's 2 in the morning... :)
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So anyway. I've started catching up on some of my email lists for the last week or so (longer in some cases :)) and came across some discussion on one list about oaths, and the idea that just how binding an oath actually is can depend on who the oath is made to. It's not the first time--although it's likely the most glaringly weird example--I've seen some heathens use the innangardh/utgardh (sorry for any misspellings there) thing to justify treating non-heathens differently.

And obviously it's not something I agree with--I can't imagine that your Wyrd would suffer any less because of who you behaved dishonorably toward--but I'm wondering whether there are any stronger sources for this. The main lore-based precedent I've seen cited is the dealings of the Aesir and the giants, specifically the tale where the Aesir contracted with a builder to build a giant-proof wall around Asgard, agreeing to pay him the sun, moon and Freyja if he could complete it within the time limit because they thought he couldn't, turned out he could, Loki got them out of it, yadda yadda yadda. Anyway, I'm looking in Snorri's Edda now, and here's what he says specifically about how that all ended:

And when the builder realized that the work was not going to be completed, then the builder got into a giant rage. But when the Aesir saw for certain that that it was a mountain-giant that they had there, then the oaths were disregarded and they called upon Thor and he came in a trice and the next thing was that Mjollnir was raised aloft.

So that before they knew he was a giant, they had stuck to the letter of the agreement and their efforts to escape giving him payment amounted to going between the lines (probably fair enough since the builder himself had an advantage in his mighty horse that he did not let on to the Aesir about, so that neither party was totally open to start with), but when they found out that he was a giant, all bets were off.

But I don't think that's strictly a matter of one of us/not one of us, and doesn't really indicate that it's acceptable to cheat those who are not in the innangardh. The relationship between the gods and the giants was explicitly one of enmity, not simply of being different tribes--the giants were working toward specifically different, in fact opposing, goals.

So what I'm curious about is whether there is anything else in the lore that might support the us-vs.-them thing that you sometimes see. I mean, it's got to be based on more than just the story I mention above, right?

Thor info

Apr. 11th, 2005 03:09 pm
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Today I am working on putting together a "Thor Fact Sheet." We had our god study group last weekend, and apparently all the available lore was a bit overwhelming. We're going to be discussing specific Thor lore next month (everyone being responsible for a particular story--an excellent idea from one of our kindred members), but I'm also putting this together. Heck, it'll be good for my own reference as well. :)
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We continued with our Voluspa study last night. Spent almost two hours discussing about ten stanzas. In some detail, obviously :). Well, Voluspa is pretty detail-heavy.

As for using the Chisholm Edda as one of the translations, it seems to be a pretty good one as far as the text goes (and the bias in the notes isn't too hard to detect).

Here's our favorite quote from the notes, btw, referencing Skirnismal:

Hlithskjalf is Odin’s seat in Valhalla. From on high Odin looks out over the nine worlds. He watches the nine worlds from the nethermost regions by means of the eye he sacrificed and left in Mimir’s well as pledge in exchange for a drink from this well of mead. Frey ascended the throne and looked out over the world and saw sights he was not prepared for, including the giantess Gerth. Though this poem is the telling of a spring renewal myth, it has an initiatory meaning.

Frey is not an initiate of Odian magic and so unprepared to see so widely and deeply. As a result he became so disoriented and depressed that he was unable or unwilling to speak. We might say that he was unable to handle the powerful visions, the inspiration, and the madness that came to him on that seat, and went mad.

I'm afraid that none of us found this at all convincing :).

We were talking later, though, and I find it interesting that I'd assumed--that several of us had--that a religious translation of the Eddas (one done by a heathen) would inevitably be superior to one done by academics. I think it does add an additional element, but I'm finding that I don't wonder any less about the translator's bias--in fact, in some cases I would have more concern that the translator might be reading into the text what isn't clearly there because it supports a particular piece of theology. I suppose this should have been self-evident, but I found myself surprised. (Also found myself thinking that all religions should make a point of having their sacred texts translated by people who are non-adherents, at least for the sake of comparison. :))

I'm also (at the moment :)) all enthused about learning Old Norse--not to attain fluency, but to be able to read it. I was looking through our Old Norse grammar book and it looks similar in enough respects to German that it should be doable--same four cases used, gendered nouns and associated word endings (although the addition of strong and weak forms will make it a bit more work).

Hey :).

Feb. 21st, 2005 12:54 pm
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Winter Camping is over (last person left this morning) and I guess that means I'm back :). They had pretty good weather for it--the blizzard didn't hit until yesterday, when everyone was taking off anyway--and it seems to have been a success. A lot less stressful on my end as well, since I didn't cook for it this year :).

Next weekend = Frey study group and margarita party.
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Just remembered--we're studying Voluspa this weekend! (I'd gotten thrown off because it's a little earlier, since the Winter Camping thing is later this month and that takes up a couple of weekends including Dan's prep time).

Should be fun, and I need to do a quick reread.

Later in February the god discussion will focus on Frey. I know we'll eventually have some sessions that include more than one deity (I'm guessing we'll pair Skadhi and UllR, for example) and very likely Odin (and possibly Thor) will have two sessions each, simply due to all the stories they have.
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We're starting out our restarted lore study group with Lokasenna tomorrow. I like Lokasenna, it's in my all time top 5 favorite pieces of lore. so obviously I'm looking forward to it. We had some discussion about whether to just dive into the text (I think we'll have at least 5 different translations at the group) or to have some background discussion first, and I think we decided on the latter.

(Lokasenna, for the non-heathen on my FL, has as its basic plot the following: Loki goes to a feast at Aegir's hall. He makes trouble and is thrown out on his ear. He then returns and insults everyone in sight, and things come out about his own ill deeds as well. Finally he leaves, tries to make an escape but is captured and tied to a rock with a serpent dripping venom over his face. That's putting it simply, I don't have an Edda at hand. :))

It's an entertaining read, without a doubt. But the interesting bit to me is how controversial it seems to be within the modern heathen community. It's probably the single most common piece of lore for people to simply discount altogether, and it's not uncommon for people to pick and choose from within it--I've heard folks who insist that everything Loki says about the others is a lie, while insisting equally strongly that everything bad said about Loki himself is true (although certainly Loki isn't very imaginative when it comes to insulting the goddesses, he pretty much calls them all sluts and leaves it at that!).

Personally, I like it, but then I'm not a literalist when it comes to the lore. There's a lot in there, including an interesting take on the difference between Aesic and Vanic morality.
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So Dan came upstairs to wake me this morning (I'd been up way too late playing Scooby Doo Mystery Mayhem on the PS2, knowing as I did that the kids would be taking over the console today! :)) with a copy of Hollander's Poetic Edda. He's reading "Lokasenna" (good thing, since that's what our group is going to be studying next :)). which is actually one of my favorite bits of lore in terms of being really entertaining.

He read Hollander's commentary out loud to me while I was dressing--the heavy-handed assertion that this could not possibly have been written by someone who actually honored the gods in any serious way. ("Lokasenna" is made up primarily of Loki's insults toward all the gods during a feast in Aegir's hall--the gods are accused of various things, the goddesses mainly of sexual indescretions.) Which seems to be a not-uncommon view among heathens as well--either that, or that Loki has got to be lying (despite the fact that some of his accusations are corroborated elsewhere).

My thought here is: why is this so important? Why do folks seem to need to take the mythology so literally? I have what I think is a fairly common view of the myths--that myths tell us something important about the gods, but that they didn't really happen as written (for example, the tale of Pygmalion and Galatea--chances are that no statue was actually brought to life, but that doesn't matter and it's not the point--the point is that the story illustrates something about Aphrodite's essential character). It's what I tell my kids. And I think that most folks do take the myths as symbolic, at least in great part, but sometimes you have to wonder. Like when someone mentions an experience they've had with Loki, and someone else responds that that couldn't possibly have happened because Loki is tied down with a snake over his head and in no position to do so.

Or like when people get all excited about Lokasenna. For example, Njord's line:

Little sin me seemeth, though beside her mate
a wedded wife have a lover

(sorry, all I've got to hand is Hollander at the moment :))

which (to me) seems to illustrate a fundamental difference between the Vanir and Aesir ways of looking at things. But people try hard to discount it, along with the rest, as if the gods should be held to human standards--and not just human standards but a particular set of human standards.
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