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 – Scouting for Pagans…

As American as apple pie and baseball, are hallmark institutions like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. Most Americans have been exposed to both of these groups through their lives. Whether through active enrollment for a time in such a program, or from their friends being involved in the program, or the annual fund-raisers and volunteer projects in the community that scouts participate in. Of course, while we think of these organizations as uniquely American institutions, the fact is … [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...]

A Samhain Dream

A very close friend of mine once shared a beautiful dream that she had, a dream that we both felt was more than just an ordinary one. She was an immensely devout devotee of Loki.  He was her sustenance, the witness to her life, her God, her Lord, her deepest love. Throughout her life, He guided and cared for her in a way that she felt palpably all the way to the end of her life. I was recently looking over some letters that she had sent me, for we often exchanged old-fashioned correspondence, … [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...]

Wyrd Designs – Finding the Music…

When it comes to religious expression and the religious experience it’s easy for us to think of rituals and prayers… but there’s so much more available to us as well. Many philosophers will speak of the power of words… but even beyond mere words there is an inherent power in music that can move our souls to joy or to tears. Music can be shared as an outward reflection of our religious choices. Sometimes we enjoy the music because it’s merely entertaining and fun, and in other circumstances that m … [Read more...]

Wyrd Designs – The Holy Tides – Winter Nights

Just as our pagan cousins celebrate the eight major sabbats or holidays 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. Some of these celebrations, like the one now upon us known as Winter Nights, are more special than others and these are known as high holy tides.Some practitioners of the Northern Tradition are celebrating Winter Nights around now, the time of the autumnal equinox so it is … [Read more...]


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