My grandfathers; my heroes.

A rather sentimental and slightly personal piece on ancestral veneration and pride in modern times.
By Einar Valur Bjarnason Maack, skáld at Hvergelmir International
A large part of the Heathen worldview and faith is that of loving where you come from. Ancestral veneration. Appreciation of your roots and the people whom have affected your life.

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Sidus and Worldview of Sáuilaþiudōs Haírþō

Alþeis Sidus: Suebo-Visigothic Heathenry

This section is but an early formulation of my ideas on Hearth Cult as Sáuilaþiudōs Haírþō (formerly Sunnōniz Fulka Herþaz or Sunfolk Hearth) practices it. A term with a “*” before it is almost always a reconstructed Gothic word. Some of the reconstructed words are my own work, some I found in Himma Daga‘s Gothic Edda poems and the rest I borrowed from  Gutiska Haiþnis Galaubeins. The terms between “#” are intended to be translated into Gothic as soon as possible.

Last Update:  4th July 2017.

1. Our Heathenry

Basically Heathenry, according to the practice of our *hairþō (hearth), is based over what was transmitted to us through several historical documents of many Germanic peoples. I decided to use this broad, but not so broad, approach to a more vivid practice. As time passed, I realized that many customs were more common than peculiar…

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Hawking/Falconery In Viking age Scandinavia.

Written by Frans Stylegar at Hvergelmir International.

Hawking as an aristocratic and royal hunting technique is an established fact in the Viking Age. But direct archaeological evidence for hawking are relatively scarce, not least in Scandinavia. A number of small copper alloy bells found in both graves and settlement contexts might provide a clue, however.

In Scandinavian contexts, iron bells of various types are known to have been part of the horse equipment. For bells made of copper alloy, however, the interpretation differs – and varies. Small bells or rattles of type Rygh 593 were found in 11 different graves in Birka. In 5 of these the bells seem to have been associated with the clothes of the deceased. Gräslund interprets the bells as resulting from East Baltic influences, but she also mentions parallells from Frisian burial finds. Among the Latvian tribes, small bells could be hung from the copper alloy chains attached to the women’s costume. Copper alloy bells of similar types have also been used as part of the horse harness in the Baltic area (incidentally, a small copper alloy bell of type R 593 in the Borre ship burial seems to have been associated with a horse’s head gear).

Reconstructing the original function from grave finds is one thing. Recently, however, small copper alloy bells have been found in settlement contexts in Scandinavia. The finds in question, from Uppåkra and Järrestad, both in Scania, seem to suggest a link between the bells made of copper alloy and hall buildings. This link points towards some kind of connection between the bells and aristocratic life. One possible connection is found in aristocratic hunting practices.

Some copper alloy bells known from the archaeological record have been interpreted as hawking bells, i.e. bells attached to one foot of a falcon or a hawk used for hunting purposes, and designed to make it easier to find the bird if it is tangled up in a bush etc. during the hunt. For instance, it has been suggested that the small copper alloy bell from the Sutton Hoo ship burial was worn by a falcon or hawk. The bell finds from Fröjel have been discussed in a similar way, while Maria Vretemark discusses the possible link between small bells and falconry in a more general way.

Nicholas Orme, writing of the education of the medieval Englisk kings and aristocracy, says that hunting came second only to fighting as the most prestigious physical activity. The earliest record of falconry in Anglo-Saxon England was the dispatch by St Boniface of a hawk and two falcons from the continent to King Æþelbald of Mercia in 745-6. Hawking as a highly developed form of hunting was established in continental Europe around AD 500 already, as evidenced by various Germanic laws. It was no different in Viking Age Scandinavia, where written sources record hawking in several instances. Thus, according to Frankish sources, Godfred, the early 9th century king of the Danes, was killed by his own son while out hunting, just as he was about to release his falcon from its prey. According to the Norse sagas, earl Håkon had to pay 100 ‘marks’ of gold and 60 hawks or falcons as tribute to Harald Bluetooth. Olav Tryggvason, on the other hand, is said to have plucked the feathers off his sister’s hawk in a fit of fury. The latter examples are from the 10th century. By the mid-11th century at the latest hunting falcons were being exported from Norway to England, as evidenced by mentionings in the Domesday book.

Judging from finds of bones from birds of prey in cremation graves, however, hawking seems to have been practiced in Scandinavia almost as early as on the Continent. Lavishly furnished graves like Vendel III and Valsgärde 6 contains birds of prey, as do at least 14 other Swedish graves, dating from the late 6th to the 10th century. There are also a number of Continental finds of birds of prey in graves. In a cremation grave dating to c. 800 from Hedehusum/Süderende on Föhr, bones from a man, his dog and his falcon was salvaged. In a somewhat earlier grave from Staufen in Dillingen, a man had been inhumed along with rich furnishings, including a hawk or a falcon placed at his right hand.

Pictorial evidence for hawking in Scandinavia includes the 11th century picture stones from Alstad, Toten (Norway), and Böksta, Uppland (Sweden), both of which show a mounted man with dog(s) and bird(s) of prey. The tapestries from the Oseberg ship burial (dated dendrochronologically to AD 834) also include a scene with a mounted man and two birds of prey, interpreted as either falcons or hawks.

Political power and military potential in Roman period Norway

Written by Frans Stylegar. Archeolog and director of Varanger Museum In Norway, at Hvergelmir International.

The court site (tunanlegg, ringformet tun) – i.e. a number of houses placed side by side in a circle (or circle segment), each of the buildings featuring an entrance in the short wall facing the open courtyard in the centre – is a well-known type of site in Norwegian Iron Age archaeology. More than 20 court sites dating from the Early Roman period and later are found along the Norwegian coast from Agder in the Southeast to Troms in the North. In the following text, I put forward some arguments for interpreting these monuments as being integral to military organisation in Roman period Norway, and suggest a connection with the so-called ‘Illerup horizon’ in the Danish bog offerings. Continuar a ler

Weapon graves in Iron Age Norway (1-550 AD)

Written by Frans Stylegar, Archeolog and director of Varanger Museum In Norway, at Hvergelmir International

The present paper deals with a minority of burials in Roman (B-C) and Migration period (D) Norway, namely the ones containing weapons. Its aim is two-folded: 1) to present an overview of this material to non-Norwegian colleagues, and 2) to discuss the significance of the weapon burial rite in its Scandinavian and North European context. Regarding the first, I intend to focus on the chronology, regional distribution and typology of burials with weapons. As for the latter, the emphasis will be on weapon graves as evidence both of the militarisation of barbarian society in general and more specific of warlike relations between the Roman Empire and the northern Germans, particularly the question of Scandinavian auxiliaries in the Roman army.

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Wyrd, the Will and the Choice

By George Herda, Vitki of Hvergelmir International, shared with permission

“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

— Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)

Does it seem odd, that I start a discussion on Wyrd with a quote from a work of fiction? And yet, what comprises lore? Fiction — stories — comprise lore. To say otherwise, would infer that Non-fiction — references — comprise lore. It would lead to largely unsupported claims, such as claiming that mythology contains falsifiable facts as well as poetic truth.

And, what comprises scholarship on Wyrd? I daresay, lore comprises much of it. And J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the above quote, researched some of it. At least, he researched some Anglo-Saxon aspects of it, and this discussion carries an Anglo-Saxon bias.

I found a webpage early in research for this discussion, and speaking honestly, it provides basic insights for those with basic questions about Wyrd.

Read it, consider it, and if it satisfies your questions about Wyrd, then you need not persue this discussion further.

For those with further questions, read on…

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