The tradition of magic among the native Icelandic population goes back to ancient times. Magic was an important part of life, and mastering it was vital to interacting with nature and controlling one’s destiny.
Jochum M. Eggertson (better known as “Skuggi” meaning shadow) collected these spells into a book called the Galdraskræða. The first edition of this book was published in the year 1940. It was only published in a limited edition of 150 copies. The book contains nearly 200 spells and an ensemble of runic letters. Since there were only a few limited editions of this book sold onto the market, the book was very difficult to find for several years.
The book has been republished recently with easier to read designs drawn in red (in order to represent blood).
Purchase The Book (Note, it is written in Icelandic)
Megan Löwe plans to write a book on Sacred Pagan Sites and places of power in Northern Europe. An obvious example is Stone Henge. Yet Megan is also interesting in compiling information on lesser known places in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Austria. Of course, in order to gather information, she needs to actually go to these places and talk to to people – which involves that thing we’d like to call money.
If anyone here is interested in Megan’s project, you can check out more details HERE at GoFundMe
Megan describes her project more on her blog page.
Also check out Kraftorte to read more about recognizing natural landscapes of power.
Pentacles of Pride is a Non-Profit that seeks to help provide support to community centers and aid to children in times of need.
They will send a free pentacle to anyone who needs one.
They are also hoping to provide resources to help fund temples, retreats and public service.
It’s good to give a shout out to a Pagan Organization that is trying to spread good in the community.
On the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan there is a happy tribe of Animists called the Kalasha.
They are said to be descendants from Alexander the Great’s army who settled down in Pakistan.
Despite their war mongering ancestry, the modern day Kalasha are a peaceful people.
The very colorfully dressed women are sexually liberated and choose who they want their mates to be.
The Kalasha people celebrate several seasonal festivals and have a very happy life overall.
Much applause for the Norse Myth Blog! Last year they completed a survey of Heathens around the world. The results are that the most Heathens live in the United States and that Iceland has the highest density of heathens (not surprising for a place where many of the people believe in elves).
However, I must caution, when looking at survey results you must remember that it is a study of the people in the survey pool – not everyone in the world. There is a slight bias in this survey, given that it was administered by a blog based in America written in English. Of course there is Google Translate and fun stuff like that, but if the blog were based in Norway or Iceland, the results may have been slightly different.
But I digress. These survey results are still very significant because there are few major attempts to represent the actual number of Heathens world-wide. Most surveys on religion lump Heathens into broad categories like “New Age,” “Pagan and Wiccan” or “Other.” It would be very interesting to see more detailed survey results in the future. What are the average jobs, hobbies and marital status of Heathens?
Thank you for this survey Norse Mythology Blog!
Last week the website Norsemyth.org posted a Heathen Census.
Here are the results so far. You can also see them Here.
Remember, there is a strong survey bias to this survey.
These results tell a story about the people who took the survey, not all Heathens.
It is possible that Norsemyth.org is more popular in the US than other countries.
Also, the results will continue to be updated until the census closes on December 31st.
Why Take a Census? Much of the information we have on the existence of Heathens, how many there are world wide, and where they are located is limited. Most religious surveys commit the fallacy of lumping Heathens in with other Neo-Pagan groups or an “unspecified” category. Many Heathen survey takers even get lumped in with Wicca, which is a completely different practice. Therefore, for the sake of having accurate information that is specific to Heathens, this survey would be very helpful for the Heathen community. Taking this survey will probably only take a small amount of time of your time, but have positive results for your community at large.
Who counts as Heathen? The site issuing the survey decided to go with the term “Heathen” since it is the most general of the Germanic/Norse religions. A term like Odinist or Asatru is much more specific. But who counts as a Heathen? According the survey site:
- Anglo-Saxon Heathenry, Ásatrú, Asatro, Firne Sitte, Forn Sed, Forn Siðr, Germanic Heathenry, Germanic Neopaganism, Germanic Paganism, Heathenism, Heathenry, Norse Paganism, Norse Religion, Northern Tradition, Odinism, Old Way, Theodism, Urglaawe, Vanatru
How does this census work?
- “The census has been designed to be (1) anonymous and (2) easy. Simply scroll to the bottom of this post, select your home country from the pull-down menu and click the “submit” button. That’s all there is to it.”
So please, take the survey and spread the news.
On Saturday, September 28th, “The Warrior’s Call” took place.
It was a world wide pagan anti-fracking ritual.
300 bodies were present at the ritual and 1500 people around the world were there in mind and spirit.
The ritual was mainly facilitated by members of OBOD.
The intention of the ritual was to cast a sphere of protection over the Earth to protect it from fracking.
Brazil has one of the largest Black African Populations in the world.
Yet by the power structures and religious oppression that has existed for years, you wouldn’t know it.
But a recent religious poll has shown a sharp uptick in the number of people who call themselves “Candomblé.”
Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religion similar to Yoruba.
There is an incorporation of Catholic saints and a belief in one powerful deity who is served by lesser deities.
People are beginning to bring the practice out of basements and into the streets.
However, a large part of the Brazilian population is also becoming Evangelical. Hopefully the Candomblé can continue their religious practices without too much pressure from the Evangelical Christians.
Was the Ancient World all flower power?
Maybe the sacrificial victims were crowned with flower garlands before they met a bloody end.
People assume that Matriarchal authority is a peaceful affair.
Yet the Ancient Queens of Peru beg to differ.
A contemporary garden created in honor of a Powerful Celtic Goddess
There are parallels between this Garden and Brigit’s cross.
Much like Brigit’s cross, this garden was created with four aspects: the four aspects or four seasons of the year.
A public garden devoted to an Ancient Goddess would be unthinkable a few decades ago.
In the modern era, much reverence for all things Pagan has taken place at home altars or secretive groups. Yet as pagans come out of the broom closet and make their way into everyday life, there is becoming more tolerance for projects like this, for our ability to create public spaces which revere the ancient Gods.
Much of modern life is very linear and we mainly focus on progress. Yet the purpose of this garden is to attune visitors to the cyclic aspect of life, to attune the visitors to nature. Nature is a wheel and the most ancient representations of the divine, whether it be Brigit’s Cross, a sun wheel, (or the Hindu Swastika that later became controversial), depict all life as a sort of sacred spiral, an eternal cycle.
[Fun Note: One of the people in the slides is someone I’ve met in person at a local Druid Seed Group. Small world]
This article in the Examiner discusses the rise of Paganism in Britain.
However, as Pagans, we must be careful not to be sensationalists.
I did a previous article about the rapid rise of Paganism HERE.
The problem with the Examiner’s article is that they don’t actually link to a poll with real statistics and numbers. Their “poll” link just goes to a series of Examiner’s British articles.
They say that 38% of British people don’t believe in a Christian God, but that doesn’t automatically lump these British folk into Paganism. That’s like saying all people who don’t like Vanilla Ice Cream automatically love Chocolate – a gross over simplification of the facts. Many of these Non-Christians could be Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists or Muslims. As Pagans, we are definitely a rapidly growing demographic, but our numbers are still quite small for now.
Also, it is a well discussed fact that the number of Pagans has doubled in many polls since the 90’s. Yet part of this recorded growth simply be because more Pagans are coming out of the broom closet so to speak. The internet has also played a liberating factor here. Before the internet, many Pagans practiced alone and generally didn’t discuss their practice with those in their community – if they couldn’t find an appropriate coven/group. Yet the internet has drastically amped up Pagans’ abilities to meet those with similar beliefs in their area.
We can recognize that there have been gradual changes in society that reflect our growing numbers: such as the increase in workplace rights for British Pagans, a recognition that students and workers should be allowed to take off on Pagan Holidays and symbols like the Norse Hammer and the Wiccan Pentacle have been accepted as symbols of faith in the U.S Airforce. The growth of our numbers and acceptance in society makes my heart swell. But let’s be careful to depict the facts of the matter accurately please.
Picture Source Fuck Yeah Paganism (Great site title too!)
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
Don’t bust out the mead yet! Pagans are still a very small minority in comparison to both U.S Religions and World Religions at large. If you read the 2008 “United States Census Bureau Abstract on Self Identified Religious Populations”, the number of Pagans and Wiccans combined still only results to 0.3% of the population (which means that 3 out of every 1,000 people you meet will be Pagan). However, that number doesn’t account for people who classify as spiritualists, Unitarian Universalists or non-classified.
I do often bump into people at Pagan meets or New Age shops who do not like to call themselves “Pagans,” but rather “Animists,” “Druids,” “Asatruar,” “Heathens,” “Shamans,” etc. The war over what gets lumped into the pagan category and what doesn’t wages on, but I bet many of these folk filled in the “non-classified” space rather than “pagan” on their Census Bureau survey. Personally I prefer to think of Paganism as a system that seeks to revive an ancient system of Earth Based Values – but not everyone shares my definition.
The statistical number of Pagans is probably much smaller than the real number. There are definitely more Pagans than what is represented on a survey. Pagans are still a persecuted minority in many ways, so a lot of us tend to be private about our beliefs to the point where we wouldn’t even write it down. Also, the 0.3% number is from 2008. There has obviously been growth in 5 years time, so the current number could be anything from .5 – 2%.
But don’t despair, there is good news! Even though the numbers are small, Paganism and Wicca are still growing at an incredibly fast rate.
Between 1990 and 2000, the number of Wiccans in the United States increased from 8,000 to 134,000 according to the United States Census Bureau. That’s an increase of 1600%! Between 2001 and 2008, the number of Pagans over all (Wiccans included) doubled, so that’s a growth rate of 200%. That’s an increase greater than almost anything seen among the other religions! The number of Christians overall, in comparison, only experienced an 8% growth rate between 2001 and 2008, which is actually a decrease when you account for population growth.
However, one must note that the number of Evangelicals doubled between 2001 and 2008. The number of conservative Christians such as Mormons and Baptists have also increased while the number of Liberal Christians such as Presbyterians and Lutherans have decreased. Therefore Christianity is shrinking, but it’s also radicalizing in the process.
BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS
Population of Non-Abrahamic Religious People in U.S. in 2008 (U.S. Census Bureau)
Native American Spirituality: 186,000
Non-Wiccan Pagans: 340,000
Non-Pagan Spiritualists: 426,000
WHY THE RAPID INCREASE?
There are a number of possible factors
- Increased Tolerance in society for diverse religious beliefs. As a result, more Pagans are coming out of the broom closet.
- The Internet: Possibly one of the greatest catalysts of social change to happen in the 90’s and 2000’s. Before the internet, many people chose their faith by the community they lived in. If you were a Pagan in a pre-internet world, it was probably very difficult to find others with similar beliefs unless you met them at a New Age shop or had an acquaintance who happened to be in the occult. In the same way that drugs and rock and roll music sparked a social revolution in the 1960’s, the internet is opening up new gateways for social thought and experimentation.
- A Growing Discontent with Christianity: Generation Y is much more comfortable with homosexuality and women’s rights than their parents were. As a result, a religious book that promotes the stoning of homosexuals – or the silence of women in a place of worship – is becoming increasingly antithetical to the morals of today’s more progressive youth. Many of these young people still thirst for a spiritual connection, but are no longer willing to attain it from the Church.
- The Desire to Reconnect With a Feminine Force of Power: For the last 2,000 years, Christian Patriarchy has robbed the world of Feminine Power. Is it any wonder that more slavery, wars, holocausts and environmental destruction have happened in this time period than any other? I’m not saying that the Pagan Past was a bed of flower power and hippies, it was definitely brutal and bloody, but that society has increasingly become unbalanced as the Goddess has been circumcised out of the religious equation. Even patriarchal empires like Ancient Rome and Greece understood the need for a Female Deity.
- A Desire to Reconnect With the Earth: In a world that is becoming more material and corporate, there is a yearning for something authentic and organic. This explains the growing popularity of Farmers Markets, green movements and the growth of vegetables on roof tops in Urban Centers. If we are to save the Earth, we must fall in love with the Earth. We must have a spiritual relationship with the Earth. The Earth cannot simply be an abstract ideal – it must be as an actual family member that we keep in our thoughts and wishes.
GROWING A COMMUNITY
The number of Pagans is indeed growing very fast, but we are still a very small and misunderstood minority. If you would like there to be more Pagans in the world or less misunderstandings, you should come out of the broom closet and be more open about who you are – and what you belief – unless you live in a town where you could get beat up or killed for your beliefs…then that might not be such a good idea. But I also encourage you to blog, make music, make art, write stories and spread your ideas so that the Pagan community may continue to grow and evolve.
Congratulations Heathens and Asatruars!
The Hammer of Thor (also known as Mjölnir) has been added to the list of approved Air Force Symbols for memorials, headstones and graves.
The last Pagan Symbol to gain approval was the Wiccan Pentagram (which got approved six years ago).
In the same way that the hammer brings Heathens and Asatruars closer to their Gods, let this latest development bring Pagan Folk closer to the freedom they need to live by their principles without constraint.
Workplace rights mean being able to practice your religion at work.
Examples: A christian wearing a cross and taking off for religious holidays.
A Sikh being allowed to wear a turban, grow a beard and have long hair.
A Muslim having time to pray 5 times a day.
Pagans should also be allowed to wear religious insignia and take off for holy days.
Such rights are starting to take off in the U.K.
Disclaimer: I try not to be too commercial on this blog. However, I am posting this information as a service to the arts and craft makers of the Pagan community.
Comment if there is a shop you love that you would like to suggest.
An Internet Store for Norse Goods. Has a comprehensive list: Everything from Candles, Shirts, Pens, Drinking Horns, DVDs and Mead.
Mainly a site for those interested in Medieval Weaponry, but also contains clothing and other cultural items of interest.
Another Norse Site. Redistributing Norse Culture through craft.
For those interested in the Divine Feminine.
Has a wide variety of Goddess items: African, Aztec, Egyptian, Hindu, Celtic, Norse etc.
For those interested in connecting to their European heritage.
Contains Celtic, Norse, Slavic and Sumerian Cultural Items.