My personal daily practice consists of leaving an offering at my shrine, and taking a meditative moment to connect with the gods. This is, for me, satisfactory, and many heathens do something similar on a daily basis. As a holdover from when I was part of Wicca, I still keep a Book of Shadows, which I use to write prayers and catalog spiritual information. When I travel, this little book becomes my portable shrine. I simply open it to a prayer I’ve written for whichever deity is at the forefront of my mind, and place an offering in a small cup on top of it. (In Sweden, I used paper water cups from the bathroom.)
The rest of my ordinary practice mostly takes the form of meditation, which is often not separable for me from prayer. I have found often that I can slip into a meditative state and have a “conversation” of sorts with a deity in any location where I can sit still and not talk. I have even done this on a public bus on more than one occasion. Sometimes I supplement this process by selecting music for my mp3 player that makes me feel connected to particular gods.
I have never personally worked with any of the deities you’ve listen, but many people find that they feel compelled, or are told directly (depending on how vividly you hear the voices of the gods) to do certain things to honor them. Many of the gods are associated with aspects of daily life that can easily carry over into the modern world. For example, there was a trend awhile back among many of the Thorsfolk to dedicate their daily or weekly workouts at the gym to Thor. If you attend school, you could dedicate your study sessions to Mimir, Odinn, or other gods associated with wisdom.
It all really comes down to how you want to conduct your faith. If you want to stick to more traditional physical aspects of worship, you’re going to be much more limited. I am a reconstructionist myself and find it really difficult sometimes. However, it’s also important to keep in mind the context of original worship. These gods were worshiped most widely over 1000 years ago, and they took daily, active roles in people’s lives. I try to read and research what those roles are, and translate them to a modern context. You can actually see this happening in history as well. The best example of this, in my opinion, is with Freyr. His original domain was grain and harvest, but as people began to sail and trade overseas, his connection grew to coins and money as well. The basic idea (wealth and prosperity) is the same, but the medium has changed.
Hope this was helpful. I feel like I didn’t have much to give you.
Argh! I still have not figured out meditation. It escapes me. I find myself more often building one sided conversations in my head. I suppose I’ll keep trying but my lack of meditation bothers me.
Meditation is a learned skill and it’s not always easy. A good way to practice is to use “guided meditations” You can find a lot of these of various lengths on the internet. You simply put on the audio and follow the instructions. They’re a really great tool for learning and practicing how to meditate.
If you’re having trouble even getting that far, I suggest just making it a daily habit. Sit and let yourself space out for a few minutes. Practice the rhythmic, relaxing breathing without worrying about what your mind is doing.
Meditation isn’t something you can force. It should be a very relaxed state that you slip into, a little like sleep. If you try to make yourself do it, you will get yourself wound up. I think I’ll do and add some guided meditations to the resource page :)#Heathen #meditation
Ah, okay! I am with you now. You’re looking for the historical evidence of norse heathenism. I’m sure you’re already familiar with the major historical sources like Snorri, Tacitus, and Ibn Fadlan. You’re in for a pretty tough time, to by honest. There are no substantial pre-christian written sources for the religious material, because writing is a very late invention in Europe in general, and Scandinavia specifically. (The pre-christian ‘writings’ that we have basically consist of artifacts that have runes on them, but these do not include the mainland rune stones because those date to Christian times.)
An oral Saga culture was considered to be the high form of expression, where epics (such as Beowulf) were recited by practiced Skalds. As I expressed in my Norse Mythology 101 article, we have to accept a pretty large margin of error when we’re trying to reconstruct Norse beliefs and practices. We have two choices: Christian sources written after the fact, and archaeological evidence that is subject to interpretation. In using Snorri, though he was writing after the Christianization of Iceland, it’s also important to keep in mind that the old ways did not die out the day the King of Iceland said everyone had to convert. In fact, there’s a story about Snorri’s father which my mythology teacher shared that drives this home. (I don’t know the source for this, he told us about in class one day.) Snorri’s father was a Lawspeaker, whose job it was to settle cases in the courts based on his interpretation of the lawcode. One day he decided a case against a woman, and she was really angry. She drew a knife from her coat and advanced on him in the public court saying “Now I will make you like the one-eyed god you worship.” She did not manage to put out his eye, but she did give him a scar. While it’s hotly debated whether Snorri himself was secretly Heathen, we have that historical instance which proves that his father was at least rumored to be heathen at the time. The point of this little story is that the religion was in no way dead when Snorri was writing, it was simply underground. There were also several manuscripts going around that all date to around the same time (from which we get the Poetic Edda) which were for some reason or another preserving selected stories. (If you haven’t read the Mythology 101 article, you may want to, as I go in depth regarding the reliability of our primary sources.)
What is likely to be the most helpful for you if you really want something not touched by Christianity will be archaeological resources. Religion tends to be most transparent in funeral practices, and therefore that may be the easiest route for you to take. I wrote a paper “Mortuary Practices in Scandinavia” which covers both the major archaeological cultural changes, and the mortuary patterns over time. You may find some authors in the bibliography to be helpful. What jumps to my mind in particular is the article on stone ships by Peter Skoglund, as he talks about the symbology both of the stone ships, and of pictures on the Gotlandic runestones, which discusses influences in nordic spirituality from abroad- mainly in the form of a ship which carries the sun, a story that is not native to the area.
If you have trouble finding them, I still have most of my sources from that bibliography saved on my computer and I could make them available.#Snorri #Resources #Archaeology #History #QandA