Wyrd Designs – The Holy Tides – Yule

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 Norse hátíðir). 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.Of these three documented High Holy Tides, it is Yule t … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – Deck the Halls and Hearth!

The Yuletide is just around the corner... and for those of us in the Northern Tradition, this is one of our most sacred holy tides of the year. Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, many of us are gearing up to Deck the Halls and Hearth. As a child, I recall helping my mother make all sorts of 100% natural decorations. One of the staples were applesauce & cinnamon ornaments. They are deceptively easy to make, and can be used for anything from decorating the tree, used in a wreath or garland, … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – the Yule log

Most folks have heard of bonfires as part of solstice celebrations, in the Northern Tradition we also have traditions concerning the yule log, as well as the ashen faggot which was a collection of bundled branches that were burned instead. We see in the Christian practice of Saint Lucy's Day, what I feel is a pre-Christian practice of bringing light on the darkest and longest of nights.Among English sources, we know that remnants of the previous years yule log, was used to help light the next … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – Veterans & Einherjar

Within the Northern Tradition there is a deep respect to those who serve in the military. While Veteran’s Day is intended to first and foremost honor those living Veterans from past military service, it is also used to honor those currently serving, and to a lesser degree those soldiers now dead. Some Heathens will be observing rituals to honor the Einherjar: the battle-slain warriors who are taken to Valhalla. Of course, not all of the battle-slain go to Valhalla some also go to Freya’s Hall, bu … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – Understanding the Words – Fylgja

For those familiar with Irish folklore, you may have heard of tales about meeting a fetch. In these tales, a fetch is a person's own doppelganger. Usually the seeing of one's fetch portends one of two things in Irish folktales:  if one sees their fetch in the morning (i.e. your own image) it means you have a happy long life ahead, but if you see your fetch in the evening your death is very near.The word fetch also appears to be the Old English word equivalent to the Old Norse word Fylgja. In … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – The Walking Undead

The crisp cool air of autumn is in the air, and with Halloween around the corner the airwaves are full of stories about vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts and zombies (and oh how I have been waiting for AMC’s Walking Dead series). Of course the cultures that comprise the Northern Tradition were certainly known for their own stories. Even quintessential American literary classics like Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow have their roots in Germanic folktales and beliefs. There is som … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs: Understanding the Words – Asatru

A factoid that not many outside of the Asatru faith realize is that the term Asatru is entirely a recent invention. The ancient followers and believers of the old Gods of Germany, Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxon England did not have a name that they called their religion because their religious identity was simply part of their cultural identity. It wasn’t until Christianity encroached on these ancient polytheistic cultures that the term Heathen (used by the 4th Century Christian Goth Ulfilas in his … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – The Nine Worlds

In Heathenry, our cosmology is comprised of nine worlds. Unfortunately, descriptions of the nine worlds don’t appear all together, but rather stretched out over a variety of sources in the lore (such as: Alvissmal 20, Volupsa 2, Vafþrúðnismál 43, Gylfaginning 34). By lore sources alone we are given two different lists of the nine worlds. This makes it difficult to try to piece together or visualize how these worlds interact with one another.Adding to this problem are little nuances to trans … [Read more...]

The Promise and Perils of Heathen Prison Ministry: An Interview with Gythia Jane Ruck

I have been involved with prison ministry for several years now. For many years prior to that, I’d resisted doing this type of work. It was the hard work and shining example of Heathen gythia (priest) Jane Ruck that inspired me and eventually encouraged me to move past my initial resistance. Jane’s work on behalf of incarcerated Heathens has been ground breaking and in light of the current battle between Patrick McCollum and the CA prison system, I sought Jane out and asked her a few questions ab … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – Radical Protesters at Veteran Funerals…

I think in all the recent attention to politician Christine O’donnell, we’ve overlooked another equally important news story, one that hasn’t just appeared out of nowhere but that has been an on-going plague of religious fundamentalists protesting at the funerals of U.S. veterans for years. At the moment the Supreme Court is reviewing a case concerning free speech as it applies to a lawsuit filed by Arthur Snyder, father of a deceased soldier against one of those groups: the infamous Westboro Bap … [Read more...]


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