Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This I believe, initial offering...


I'm in the process of trying to figure out how scatter-shot my web presence is...pulling things in from elsewhere.

Posted this on my FB wall today.


This I believe.

I will never be confused with a warrior.

I have been soldier and security guard, trained to arms and duty.

I have been poet and caregiver.
I have been cook, brewer, and dishwasher.
I have mopped floors and raked lawns.
I have mended shoes and made clothing.

I have soothed Kin and Kith in their dark times, and have been succored in return.

I have celebrated with Kin and Kith in their happy times, and been celebrated a bit.

I seek to build bridges and find fords between myself and others.

I try to approach with curiosity, courtesy AND caution.

I ask, tell me your story.

I am a man who tries to do his best to leave a good Name behind, as my family gave to me.

I try to earn every day the Worth to have Warriors guard me.

I remember to be truly grateful for them.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Hammer Project - Military Family Spport

I am at heart a soldier still
I hear the Call across the years
It stirs my soul and thoughts well up
Of duty done, and friendships made
Stave 209: Ye Piparskeggrsmal

Hail all;

As a veteran, albeit peacetime Guard and Reserve duty, I look upon those days with fondness and realism.

The Hammer Project, which is supported by the Asatru Folk Assembly, is an outreach project to support service members and their families.

One aspect, which is of growing importance. . .getting recognition that a symbol for Asatruars who have died as active warriors, or as veterans back home in the community they defended, deserve to have the choice of a symbol of Faith on their gravestone just as much as any other man or woman of Faith who has carried the Burden of Warding he Commonweal.

Please go to the site, which is linked to the subject header and read it over.

Also, there is a link to follow on the site for the purpose of signing an online petition in suport of the Hammer Project's goal of gaining the aforementioned recognition.

Thanks in advance - Pip

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Thoughts on Asa-clergy

There has been a community-wide discussion, sometimes hot and heavy, about the nature of any certification program and who could or should be "Godfolk."

As we grow, we will all have to address the idea of Heathen clergy, professional and/or otherwise.

Just another stone in the wall of the Innangard ,-)


If I may?

A little meandering of thought...I am not a man whose mind is brimful of Lore, nor do I have skill in elder tongues. Nor can I list great learning of other sorts. Nor have I as broad a range of gatherings in which I have taken part as have others.

I do, however, know a few things about Lore and Words, Learning and Life.

I am grateful that there are those who think me a speaker of good rede and a wordsmith of note.

Throughout my life I have met many Godfolk, of many beliefs. The best of them have neither been bookish, nor hard minded, nor ruthless in manner.

One can take from their skill in the back and forth of sharing thoughts that they are well read and learned folk. Their ideas about life and faith are well spoken, well chosen.

In every one of them, as I have found them, it has been their faith, their beliefs and their troth with the Holy as they knew it, which goaded them to learning.

Their wanting to do good in the name of the Holy is what drove them to become better.

One starts life knowing nothing, believing nothing. With every breath, one learns and becomes closer to mind full; a state of being, which one (hopefully) never reaches. With mind fullness, one has a tool chest. Knowledge is only that, a set of tools. But, such a set of tools: sharp, shining, ready to work rightfully for kin, kith and clan.

With every breath, one also learns heart feeling, which one must always try to keep growing larger and larger in one's inner store.

Underlying all, though, must be (as I alluded to above) a bedrock layer of faith fullness.

I call myself Heathen first and foremost because I believe and have faith in the Holy Ones we have come to know as the Aesir and Vanir.

What I have learned over the years, from the little bit I knew in 1989 until now, has just deepened that Bond of Troth with which, I believe, I was born.

My beliefs were shaped by those of my kin and kith. They were further formed, I readily admit, by learning from others and their beliefs. I grew into my faith.

What I seek in Godfolk is fully grown faith foremost. I seek beliefs,which are alike to mine. I seek one who is learned, but uses knowledge for wisdom's sake.

To my mind, Our Way should be one strengthened by wisdom, rather than bookishness. It should be clear that I do find learning of great worth. I am bettered by the knowledge gleaned for me by those who can and do mine the Lore and history.

Would a great sage be the Godman I need?
Would a deeply holy man be the Godman I need?
Would one whose beliefs are in lockstep with mine be the Godman I need?
None of these are enough on their own.
And one who has not lived enough of life would be of little use, either.

Just a few thoughts from my mind fullness.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Orlog and Wyrd - another nonscholarly view

Orlog and Wyrd, such small words, with such big, big meaning.

Not being a bookish man, I'll keep my thoughts writ small ,-)

Orlog (Orlay) and Wyrd (Weird) are two distinctly different things in one's spirituality.

One's Orlay is formed by one's Words and Deeds falling into The Well. Depending upon the significance of these; the Layers (the root of both Orlay and Law) are gathered deeply, becoming strong influences or are blown away like a morning mist on the surface of a pond.

The strength of one's Orlay shapes one's Wyrd, for what we have done is what we shall become. The Past increases, the Present is where we are (always) and the future is being shaped, is never sure.

This is reflected in the lack of a "true" future tense in English and other Germanic languages, unlike Latin and other non-Germanic languages.

Amo, amat, amas (if I recall correctly) - I loved, I love, I will love. The English is a compound verb, composed of a varient of "to be" and the object action.

Which shows me that the Germanic - English - Nordic worldview does not concentrate on That Which May Become, but on That Which Became (the bulk our Orlay) and That Which Is Becoming (the further building and strengthening of our Orlay).

Our Wyrd is shown in That Which Is Becoming, moved to one outcome or another by our Orlay, and by our free will.

Our Wyrd is never fixed in stone, it is constantly being affected by our Orlay, plus the Orlay of our Kin, our Kith and our Community...

Then we could start dragging in Might, Maegn and Luck; but that another kettle of fish entirely.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Amable Allard of Cohoes and Troy, New York


Always looking for family info:

Amable (aka Anabel or Mable) Allard (poss. Allord) was my paternal grandfather's maternal grandfather. He was born in Canada about 1834 and was Canadian French, possibly a Metis, may also have been originally from northern New Brunswick.

At the time of the 1880 US Census he and his family were living in Cohoes, NY. His job is listed as blacksmith.

Family at the time: Mary (aka Philomine, wife, age 39) who was also born in Canada and was possibly a French speaking Mohawk, Daughters - Louisa (21), Mina (19), Emma (14), Elmira (aka Mammie, 7), Mary (4, my great grandmother), and Gracie (1). All are listed as being born in New York.

The 1879 - 1898 city directories have the family living in the Mohawk St. neighborhood. He is listed as a machinist.

He moved to Troy after the 1898 directory was published and is listed as living there in 1899 on River St.

In the 1900 Census, his name is misspelled as Mable and his wife's name is listed as Philomine. Theie wedding year is listed as 1857.

I suppose this is the same time frame for their leaving Canada for New York.

OK, nuff fer now.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Answer to a question on Folk

Many Kinlores - One Heart (18 August 2001)

In many clans and many lands
My forebears walked and lived right well
Called Holy Ones by Many Names
Spoke many tongues and sang their songs

On mountain high and river swift
On tree girt hill and grassy lea
On frothy deep and arid steppe
They made their lives and built their homes

They left no writ or left a bit
Some lore is gone and other bent
A poem here a carving there
Honored grave sites and customs old

And craftsmen too did leave their lot
In buckle gold in ashen harp
In woolen cloak with copper clasp
In all the things of Home and Hof

The many tribes of elder kin
Their paths would cross sometimes in war
Clash and bluster blood and fire
And new lords sat on lands new-named

But of times would a new line start
When Man and Wife would join in Bond
From strife or trade would come this pair
And families would grow and build

Upon this earth I walk their road
Tis broad and long tis short and sharp
My forebears old and still alive
Do live in me and I in them

Which Holy Ones do hold me close
Is art of mind and heart and soul
Always the North beckons as Home
In chill and wind in rock and stream

Though North is Home still walk I do
To seek in full my Kinlore broad
In depth of Well and Kinnish Wyrd
No man can say the right for me

In many clans and many lands
My forebears walked and lived right well
Called Holy Ones by Many Names
Spoke many tongues and sang their songs


Health and Luck All,

Europe is my Mother and my Father, as surely as my eyes are brown and my hair is turning grey. Europe is my Heart, my Soul, the Center of my Being...

I do have a touch of Vinlandic Woodland tribesman in my blood, but that touch is light.

I know who and what I am. I know That Which Is True for me and mine. As a man, it is my duty to my Kin and Kith to have that Knowing. I am rueful for those who lack the Knowing.

That being said ,-)

Race, as a social construct DOES in deed exist in my opinion. It is a natural outgrowth of the unnatural Church-State suppression of Tribal Bonds.

My forebears were Marsi, Etruscan, Latin, Goth, Lombard, Allemanni, Dane, Belarusian, Gael, Gaul, Mohawk, Miqmaq and more; men and woman of Sib and Clan, not of any Nationality.

If we are strong and proud in this Knowing, we need not hang head before anyone.

If we are strong and proud in this Knowing, we shall show others that Knowing is good.

If we are strong and proud in this Knowing, we shall show even those who are of Two hearts that they too can Know.

Sib and Clan build in three ways, I think: Birth, Wedding and In-Taking...

Through all this, Our Folk will not just Be, but Grow!

May the Holy Æsir and Vanir smile on our efforts.
May the Holy Forebears of our Kinlines nod in approval.
May we be of Worth to our fellow Heathens.

In Frith under Troth
Stefn Ullarsson Piparskeggr
also called - Skjaldberi Ullar

Catamount Grange Hearth - Husband
Oak Shadow Kindred - Skald

"Heartfelt mindfulness of one's Kinlore and Forebears is not hatred of others.
If you can not tell that Goodheart and Hardheart are unlike, I can
not help you."
- Pipsbók

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Poetry IS devotion

Connecting to the Holy is a powerful Gift with which we have been blessed.

Poetry is one such method I use. It is also my main way of gaining understanding of the Aesir, Vanir and other Wights seen and unseen.

As always, 1st stave is repeated as the Burden. This poem was sparked
by photos taken by a friend of a storm off the shore of Argentina.


Storm Jarl

Tales are told of, mighty Holies
Born of forces, far beyond ken
Strivers, thinkers, seekers, do-ers
Thor is one such, Warding All Worlds

O'er the whaleway darkness rises
Stars are blocked out, stormheads growing
Roiling upwards, from the wavetops
Clouds of battle; waging ever
- Burden -

Midnight's silence, air is heavy
Mood is heavy, steps are heavy
As I walk slow, upon the sands
At the edge of Aegir's Seaheim
- Burden –

I turn my face into the wind
And feel the sting of salty spray
Upon my face and in my lungs
It heartens me and gives me strength
- Burden –

Sight is eerie, golden flashes
Lightning dances, in the distance
Striking crosswise, striking downwards
Into my ears, there comes no sound
- Burden –

As I look on, wonder begins
All is too calm, thunder's sleeping
Bursts like Noonday, over Midgard
Lighting my steps, across the dunes
- Burden –

Flame bright sword tongues, split the darkness
Within my heart, and on my skin
I feel the heat, as the flashes
Touch the wavetops, and cook the air
- Burden –

Comes a rumble, low and far-off
Great the distance, storm it must be
Like the roar of distant cannons
Which I heard when young man I was
- Burden –

O'er the whaleway darkness rises
Stars are blocked out, stormheads growing
Roiling upwards, from the wavetops
Clouds of battle; waging ever
- Burden -
- Burden -

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

What A Folk Is...

[[One of the list to which I subscribe discusses the modern worship of the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus. They has been a discussion on the attitude of native Hellenes towards their religion and heritage. - Pip]]

If I may?

I am here (and in Nova Roma) because part of my heritage lies amongst the Latin, Italic and Hellenic peoples. Therefore, I do give some of my honor and respect to the Capitoline Holies and to the Olympians.

I am a follower of Asatru (the belief in and giving of worship to the Aesir and Vanir of the northern Germanic - Scandinavian peoples) because most of my heritage is of these northerly climes. Also, the voices of the Northern Holy Ones sing loudest and most true in my heart.

A Folk is defined, to my mind, fairly simply by four commonalities: language, customs, history and boundaries.

The first is somewhat easy: Germans speak German, Italians speak Italian, Chinese speak Chinese, and so forth; as their cradle tongue.

I speak a little (a very small remnant from my elementary and secondary school years) of both French and German.

Knowing the language did not make me become either.

My cradle tongue is Standard American English - Massachusetts dialect - Southern Connecticut Valley variant.

Thus, by language alone, I am an American, most particularly, A New Englander, subtype Shaysite.

Customs and history are of necessity intertwined almost inseparably. The formation of the former springs from the thoughts and deeds of the latter.

An origin of the custom (taboo) against eating swine flesh amongst some Middle Eastern peoples does have some basis in historical happenings.

Swine and humans have very similar taste in foodstuffs. As the forests of the "Golden Crescent" dwindled, desertification occured and it became harder to produce crops. Why then have an animal around, which would eat into those crops meant for human consumption? As the fodder for swine became more and more orts and offal; well, who wants to eat part of the "sewer system?"

The customs and history, which influenced me most were those of Western New England. This reinforces my cradle tongue, making me more solidly a New Englander.

Boundaries can be, as man is a migratory beast at times, a little more amorphous.

In any atlas, New England is Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Pretty cut and dried: the St. Lawrence River to the north, the Atlantic to the east, Long Island Sound to the south and the New York border to the west.
But, if one throws in language, customs and history, a case could be made for including northern New York and the Maritime Provinces of Canada in that equation.

A long-winded way of getting to the next point...

How does a Folk truly grow?

It grows by Birth, Wedlock and Adoption.

Birth is easy; it is the ONLY way to be fully sure that one is of a particular Folk.

Wedlock and adoption are likewise pretty straight forward.

In either of these some Oath is made tying the lives of those involved together.

For spouses, some thought must be made as to which partner's Folkway will predominate.

This is a natural human process, for as I have learned over the past 25 years, marriage is NOT a 50 - 50 proposition; compromises are made.

The Folkway in which my wife and I live has become that of Midwestern America; while remembering our New England roots.

An adoptee definitely becomes part of that Folk, which took them into their family.

Can one adopt oneself into a Folk, which is not of one's cradle tongue, customs, history and boundaries?

I tried, several different "paths" over many years of seeking. I came to know I was an outsider in these Folkways.

In Asatru I found something deeply embedded in the heritage of my family line.

As for others; I am no one who will be a naysayer; Good Luck and Gods Speed.

Is God an invention of man's mind or true being?

A short essay in reply to the question on another site...

I have no proof, no shareable knowledge that the Holy exists.

What I have is an absolute, unshakable Faith that an Ultimate Source is there beyond me.

The ultimate truth for me is that the Holy is ultimately Unknown and Unknowable by the mind of man. The Romans (part of my ancestry) would label this Numinism. Though, I do not follow the Religio Romana.

I am Asatru. That is, I have plighted my troth to the Aesir and Vanir; Gods and Goddesses worshiped by my northern European ancestors.

I firmly believe that I have had personal experience of the Holy as I understand it. Uller, Odin, Thor, Eira, Nerthus and Others have communicated with me in ways that have confirmed my belief that Holy Powers do, indeed, exisit and live.

I do not, however, claim that They speak to me in any conventional meaning of the word.

Is God (aka That Which Is Holy) a True Being? Yes.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A reply to a nonHeathen

Hail all;

I originally sent this on 12/31 to the "Spiritual Deism" discussion list. It was in response to one correspondant thereon mentioning Heathenry in one of his posts, particularly the "Jungian archetype" way of looking at the Gods.


Something I like about this group is the invitation to (what I remember as) good debate on topics of interest, plus the devotion to what I see as a purposeful provision of information on Spiritual Deism.

I'll speak up as one of the Heathens on the list.

I use the name Asatru for the faithway/belief system in which I live. It is a deceptively simple word; a 19th century literary construct meaning having faith in the gods. As an Asatruar, I have plighted mytroth to the holy Aesir and Vanir.

Opinion of the nature of the gods and goddesses worshipped historically and currently is very wide-ranging. We have atheistic Asafolk (there were those called 'Godless" in the Sagas) at one end ofthe spectrum and those who believe they have seen the Holy Powers fully personified in their individual lives at the other.

Jungian archetype folk are a part of this picture as are Campbellians, Dumezellians, Rydbergians, Simakicists, Grimmists and so forth.

I am likewise a part of this picture. I suppose one could think of me as a man who has "seen" the Holy Ones in a personal way (reacting to both Genius and Animus); much of my poetry is inspired by this interaction and my worship is conducted by speaking to them as individuals.

I am also Numenistic in my approach; feeling their Power in the "footprints" they leave in creation; again, poetic inspiration....and yes, I do take some of my inspiration from the philosophy of the Religio Romana of some of my ancestors.

I am also somewhat Deistic (panentheistic) in my thoughts. For me,the question always remains, what is/was the Initial Causation? What set the Dance of Fire and Ice in motion to fill Ginungagap and start Life in its course? I think that this Ultimate Source is both Unknown and Unknowable, to large extent, by the mind of man. But, the individual gods, goddesses, giants and heroes, descended from this Ultimate, are in some part known and knowable.

Otherwise I suffer from neither heterodoxy, orthodoxy, heteropraxy nor orthopraxy, just being myself in my understanding and worship ,-)

--May the Holy Aesir and Vanir strengthen us. May our Blessed Forebears see us as worthy. May we ever build for Kin, Kith and Community.

In Grith under Troth - Stefn Ullarsson Piparskeggr
Catamount Grange Hearth - Husband
Oak Shadow Kindred (an independant kindred) - Skald

Asatru Folk Assembly - Folkbuilder
IL, IA. MO, WI, MN, east NE, east KS, west KY

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Monday, January 21, 2008

On common places and one of my purposes here

Part of the Town Common in my home town, part of the history of which is explained here: http://tinyurl.com/2tr7ms

Community is very important to me, though I am fairly solitary by nature.

I've described myself as a traveler amongst the differing Asatru, Odinist, Heathen, Theodish and other tribes within the Reawakening to the Faith in and Worship of the Holy Powers of the Northern Folk.

I have used the analogy of being a roving warder from the wilderlands. I ave described myself as one who comes into the main community to lend a hand when needed, then goes on about his own business until his hand is useful again joined with others.

I think my hand is useful to this work of building community (particularly within the Asatru Folk Assembly), of trying to gather those who hear the Northern Wind in their hearts.

In my home town of West Springfield, MA, our original Town Common is a carefully preserved, and wisely used, area at the heart of the town's first settled area (mid 1630's). The first European settlers in the area were John Cable and John Woodcock of Plymouth, who encamped on the west side of the Connecticutt river in the fall of 1635. They moved to higher ground on the east side of the river upon the advice of friendly Indians, becoming two of the founders of Springfield in 1636.

West Springfield's oldest surviving house is adjacent to the East Common.

The oldest part of the Day house was first built in the mid 1640's, a woodframe house; it is thought to have been West Springfield's first parsonage. The brick Saltbox-style front of the house, which was thought to be the old part, was added in 1754. The day family occupied the house until the turn of the 20th century, when the house was obtained for preservation by a local historical society.

Having a common area is important to a village or town. In older times it was a place used as grazing land for the yeomanry's livestock, where the town militia would drill, where the Town Crier would report news of significance, where travelling orators would propound...it was a good place to be in the center of things.

It is important for Folk to have a Good Place.

It is a place for lovers to stroll...for mothers and fathers to watch their children run and play in joy and safety...for memorial stones to the honored war dead...to have memorial stones about historic events...for band concerts and town festivals.

It is a special place to those who hear the call to community and the neighborliness one finds therein.

I hope this blog can be a place where we can "sit on the grass and talk and plan and dream," whatever our ideas of an Heathen community may be.

One of my goals as an Asatruar is to build up places, many places, from all Heathen intentional communities to "Little Trondheims" in larger towns and cities, to kindred and hearths and fellowships.

We are the shapers of that which is becoming and that which may be.

Well come one and all, be right well come.
May the Holy Ones smile on our efforts.
Piparskeggr - Commons Walker

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hammersign in Asatru Ritual

The "classic" Hammer Sign is a modern construct in the opinion I've formed over the years.

Does this diminish it's meaning?

I think not.

I am of the opinion, for modern Heathens, that which aids us in being able to bond with the Holy Powers is in fact, good.

I use a variation on the "traditional" Hammer signing.

I start with my hand raised to Asgard as I face North, feeling the touch of the Holy Powers upon me.

I then clench my fist and bring it to my forehead, while saying "Odin;" to the middle of my chest - "Tyr;" to the base of my chest - "Uller;" to my left shoulder - "Thor;" to my right shoulder - "Frey;" and back to the base of my chest - "Balder."

For me this acknowledges: Wisdom - Law - Guardianship - Strength - Prosperity - Hope.

I find that using this Hammer Sign gives me comfort and eases me into a state of mind, which opens a "path" to feeling the Holy Powers when I am Standing before Them to Offer Words, Drink and Spirit.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

A poem about my favorite pistol - Jeff Cooper's Gunsite

"The Pistol. Learn it well; wear it always!" - Jeff Cooper

The blued-steel Colt
The new steel Colt
She runs to stunts erratic
For she's a darn
Tough arm to learn
This Army automatic.

Yet when you get to know this arm
And how to coax and pet her,
She'll do her duty like a charm
No Gun will serve you better

She'll stick right closely by your side
And as the fight grows hotter
And you are caught in battle's tide
--You'll thank your stars you've got her.

The lusty Colt, The trusty Colt,
The weapon democratic,
Whose vicious might
Makes men one height
--The Army automatic.

--Songs of the Training Camps


I am a firm believer that the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America is simply written and clear in meaning: the individual citizen has a Gods-given right to obtain, keep and bear arms (suitable to service in the militia) and to receive proper training in the safe, effective and lawful use thereof from the State.

The collective duty of community defense springs, I think, from the individual right to defend oneself, one's family AND one's property.

When governments, which are established to protect the interests of individual citizens, strive to restrict Rights and turn them into privelages...well, the wisdom of those who are supposed to control the government (you and me folks) is called into question.

That's all for now - - - Pip

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

An Uller song

Hail all;

I am in the habit of writing a new Uller song every September for I stand Offering to the Bow Lord at the beginning of each hunting season.

Here is last year's effort. The first stave is repeated as the Burden (chorus) of the song.

I write in blank verse mostly using Long Meter to give some order to the words. The cadence I use is very similar to Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha " when I recite, rather than sing. I do have a tune for this one worked out.

This song is a little changed from my ususal style, a mix of Long Meter and lines of 6 beats per measure; being a return, from looking at my body of work, to the first few songs I wrote 8 - 9 years ago. The 1st stave is repeated as the Burden of the song.

Weal Warder

Uller, Warder, of Innangard
Woodland Rover, Bright is your Name
Ever trekking, beyond the bounds
Searching for banes, blocking their way

As days grow short, and nights grown long
Thoughts turn to Hearth and Home
To Kin and Kith, who gather round
To wait out winter storms

The longhouses, are snugly built
With firewood laid by
Granaries and, larders are filled
With wealth of harvest time


Evening time is, when all the folk
Sit together at board
Fill horn and bowl, empty them out
Then await story time

Old Skald does stand, before the hearth
His strong voice weaving tales
Speaks of the Gods, and Clan Warder
Woodswise One, Protector


'Twas long ago, and longer still
Before the earth was young
The Giants strode, across the hills
God Kin had not been born

Once time did start, others sprang up
Hallowed Ones of two clans
They had a war, then made a peace
And challenged Giants' reign


Holy Ones saw, some Giants change
They became weal builders
Joined with the Gods, gave Them Kin Oath

One such was called Uller

And then came Man, shaped by the Gods
Odin, Vili and Ve
Man came to know, Hallowing Way
And stories became Lore


Unerring Eye, and Strong of Arm
Swift and silent in stride
He joined Gods' Clan, and made His place
Ranging bounds of their Garth

Away from all, Godly Comrades
Uller did fend for self
His crafty ways, in woods and war
Did grow in depth and skill


Of bowman fine, striding along
Hunters had fleeting glimpse
In deep woodland, just at nightfall
He made not track or sound

He vanished from, their line of sight
Then tapped them on their heads
He'd show them how, to better be
Providers for their folk


They spent two weeks, hunting with Him
Honing the arts He showed
With bow and knife, spear and sling
Body, mind and heart

During the nights, as they rested
Old One would tell them tales
Of banes he'd seen, those he had slain
Of duty to guard weal


Fortnight it was, but one night's dream
Showed them how to improve
They made a vow, to follow through
Become their best as men

As days grow short, and nights grown long
Thoughts turn to Hearth and Home
To Kin and Kith, who gather round
To wait out winter's storms


May the Holy Aesir and Vanir strengthen us.
May our Blessed Forebears see us as worthy.
May we ever build for Kin, Kith and Community.

In Grith under Troth - Stefn Ullarsson Piparskeggr

Catamount Grange Hearth - Husband
Oak Shadow Kindred - Skald




Folkbuilder - Asatru Folk Assembly - IL, IA. MO

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I feel better


It's been awhile.

The hardest part about depression, compunded with a too strong attachment to whiskey, is not to admit that one has a problem, but to believe it.

In many ways, belief come hard for me.

I have always been a thoughtful boy; reading, considering what I have read, walking in the woods, observing the world and people around me...

Alone with my thoughts, so much of the time.

I had contact with others, family members, play mates...

But thinking things out, leads one to rely more on the reasons, than the feelings or beliefs.

Conflict arises then, as I am a deeply feeling person; I'd not be able to write poetry otherwise.

Early in life, I found I had trouble believing in the cradle religion in which I was raised. The stories seemed improbable, though many of the moral and ethical tachings were sound.

Which applies to the above, how?

Knowing a thing doesn't, to my mind, of necessity equate to believing a thing.

Which is where the problem in letting myself heal comes...

Until the past few days, I knew I had a problem, I've discussed it enough over the past few years.

But, I realize I did not Believe that I have a problem.

I do now and I feel better for this.

Now to control the problem instead of letting it continue to control me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Draft Fred Thompson

Be thee all hale;

The secret is out; I'm much more in line with conservative Republican thinking than any other current US politics.

I like Fred Thompson.


This is a URL if you'd like to contribute to the Thompson campaign for President of the USA. The following is a Fred Thompson banner.

I do not know if he's Heathen friendly, but I think he's a fair man.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Been a while!

Good Morning;

Been busy in "offline 'real' life" over the past few months.

I have a few other places besides this on the web in sore need of updating, the My Space in the appended URL being one of them.

I guess this will be good winter work.

Be well - Pip

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Daniel Webster - Liberty and Union

The Second Reply to Hayne - January 26-27, 1830 Source: Shewmaker, 113-121

Mr. President - When the mariner has been tossed for many days in thick weather, and on an unknown sea, he naturally avails himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun, to take his latitude, and ascertain how far the elements have driven him from his true course. Let us imitate this prudence, and, before we float farther on the waves of this debate, refer to the point from which we departed, that we may at least be able to conjecture where we now are. I ask for the reading of the resolution before the Senate.

The Secretary read the resolution, as follows:

    Resolved, That the Committee on Public Lands be instructed to inquire and report the quantity of public lands remaining unsold within each State and Territory, and whether it be expedient to limit for a certain period the sales of the public lands to such lands only as have been heretofore been offered for sale, and are now subject to entry at the minimum price. And, also, whether the office of Surveyor-General, and some of the land offices, may not be abolished without detriment to the public interest; or whether it be expedient to adopt measures to hasten the sales and extend more rapidly the surveys of the public lands.

We have thus heard, Sir, what the resolution is which is actually before us for consideration; and it will readily occur to every one, that it is almost the only subject about which something has not been said in the speech, running through two days, by which the Senate has been entertained by the gentleman from South Carolina. Every topic in the wide range of our public affairs, whether past or present, - every thing, general or local, whether belonging to national politics or party politics, - seems to have attracted more or less of the honorable member's attention, save only the resolution before the Senate. He has spoken of every thing but the public lands; they have escaped his notice. To that subject, in all his excursions, he has not paid even the cold respect of a passing glance...

Sir, let me recur to pleasing recollections; let me indulge in refreshing remembrance of the past; let me remind you that, in early times, no States cherished greater harmony, both of principle and feeling, than Massachusetts and South Carolina. Would to God that harmony might again return! Shoulder to shoulder they went through the Revolution, hand in hand they stood round the administration of Washington, and felt his own great arm lean on them for support. Unkind feeling, if it exists, alienation, and distrust are the growth, unnatural to such soils, of false principles since sown. They are weeds, the seeds of which that same great arm never scattered.

Mr. President, I shall enter on no encomium upon Massachusetts; she needs none. There she is. Behold her, and judge for yourselves. There is her history; the world knows it by heart. The past, at least, is secure. There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill; and there they will remain forever. The bones of her sons, falling in the great struggle for Independence, now lie mingled with the soil of every State from New England to Georgia; and there they will lie forever. And Sir, where American Liberty raised its first voice, and where its youth was nurtured and sustained, there it still lives, in the strength of its manhood, and full of its original spirit. If discord and disunion shall wound it, if party strife and blind ambition shall hawk at and tear it, if folly and madness, if uneasiness under salutary and necessary restraint, shall succeed in separating it from that Union, by which alone its existence is made sure, it will stand, in the end, by the side of that cradle in which its infancy was rocked; over the friends who gather round it; and it will fall at last, if fall it must, amidst the proudest monuments of its own glory, and on the very spot of its origin.

There yet remains to be performed, Mr. President, by far the most grave and important duty, which I feel to be devolved on me by this occasion. It is to state, and to defend, what I conceive to be the true principles of the Constitution under which we are here assembled. I might well have desired that so weighty a task should have fallen into other and abler hands. I could have wished that it should have been executed by those whose character and experience give weight and influence to their opinions, such as cannot possibly belong to mine. But, Sir, I have met the occasion, not sought it; and I shall proceed to state my own sentiments, without challenging for them any particular regard, with studied plainness, and as much precision as possible.

I understand the honorable gentleman from South Carolina to maintain, that it is a right of the State legislatures to interfere, whenever, in their judgment, this government transcends its constitutional limits, and to arrest the operation of its laws.

I understand him to maintain this right, as a right existing under the Constitution, not as a right to overthrow it on the ground of extreme necessity, such as would justify violent revolution.

I understand him to maintain an authority, on the part of the States, thus to interfere, for the purpose of correcting the exercise of power by the general government, of checking it, and of compelling it to conform to their opinion of the extend of its powers.

I understand him to maintain that the ultimate power of judging of the constitutional extent of its own authority is not lodged exclusively in the general government, or any branch of it: but that, on the contrary, the States may lawfully decide for themselves, and each State for itself, whether, in a given case, the act of the general government transcends its power.

I understand him to insist, that, if the exigency of the case, in the opinion of any State government, requires it, such State government may, by its own sovereign authority, annul an act of the general government, which it deems plainly and palpably unconstitutional.

This is the sum of what I understand from him to be the South Carolina doctrine, and the doctrine, which he maintains. I propose to consider it, and compare it with the Constitution. Allow me to say, as a preliminary remark, that I call this the South Carolina doctrine only because the gentleman himself has so denominated it. I do not feel at liberty to say that South Carolina, as a State, has ever advanced these sentiments. I hope she has not, and never may. That a great majority of her people is opposed to the tariff laws, is doubtless true. That a majority, somewhat less than that just mentioned, conscientiously believe that these laws are unconstitutional, may probably also be true. But that any majority holds the right of direct State interference at State discretion, the right of nullifying acts of Congress by acts of State legislation, is more than I know, and what I shall be slow to believe...

This leads us to inquire into the origin of this government and the source of its power. Whose agent is it? Is it the creature of the State legislatures, or the creature of the people? If the government of the United States be the agent of the State governments, then they may control it, provided they can agree in the manner of controlling it; if it be the agent of the people, then the people alone can control it, restrain it, modify, or reform it. It is observable enough, that the doctrine for which the honorable gentleman contends leads him to the necessity of maintaining, not only that this general government is the creature of the States, but that it is the creature of each of the States severally, so that each may assert the power for itself of determining whether it acts within the limits of its authority. It is the servant of four-and-twenty masters, of different will and different purposes and yet bound to obey all. This absurdity (for it seems no less) arises from a misconception as to the origin of this government and its true character. It is, Sir, the people's Constitution, the people's government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people. The people of the United States have declared that the Constitution shall be the supreme law. We must either admit the proposition, or dispute their authority. The States are, unquestionably, sovereign, so far as this supreme law does not affect their sovereignty. But the State legislatures, as political bodies, however sovereign, are yet not sovereign over the people. So far as the people have given the power to the general government, so far the grant is unquestionably good, and the government holds of the people, and not of the State governments. We are all agents of the same supreme power, the people. The general government and the State governments derive their authority from the same source. Neither can, in relation to the other, be called primary, though one is definite and restricted, and the other general and residuary. The national government possesses those powers, which it will be shown the people have conferred upon it, and no more. All the rest belongs to the State governments, or to the people themselves. So far as the people have restrained State sovereignty, by the expression of their will, in the Constitution of the United States, so far, it must be admitted. State sovereignty is effectually controlled. I do not contend that it is, or ought to be, controlled farther. The sentiment to which I have referred propounds that State sovereignty is only to be controlled by its own "feeling of justice": that is to say, it is not to be controlled at all, for one who is to follow his own feelings is under no legal control. Now, however men may think this ought to be, the fact is, that the people of the United States have chosen to impose control on State sovereignties. There are those, doubtless, who wish they had been left without restraint; but the Constitution has ordered the matter differently. To make war, for instance, is an exercise of sovereignty; but the Constitution declares that no State shall make war. To coin money is another exercise of sovereign power, but no State is at liberty to coin money. Again, the Constitution says that no sovereign State shall be so sovereign as to make a treaty. These prohibitions, it must be confessed, are a control on the State sovereignty of South Carolina, as well as of the other States, which does not arise "from her own feelings of honorable justice." The opinion referred to, therefore, is in defiance of the plainest provisions of the Constitution...

I must now beg to ask, Sir, Whence is this supposed right of the States derived? Where do they find the power to interfere with the laws of the Union? Sir the opinion which the honorable gentleman maintains is a notion founded in a total misapprehension, in my judgment, of the origin of this government, and of the foundation on which it stands. I hold it to be a popular government, erected by the people; those who administer it, responsible to the people; and itself capable of being amended and modified, just as the people may choose it should be. It is as popular, just as truly emanating from the people, as the State governments. It is created for one purpose; the State governments for another. It has its own powers; they have theirs. There is no more authority with them to arrest the operation of a law of Congress, than with Congress to arrest the operation of their laws. We are here to administer a Constitution emanating immediately from the people, and trusted by them to our administration. It is not the creature of the State governments. It is of no moment to the argument, that certain acts of the State legislatures are necessary to fill our seats in this body. That is not one of their original State powers, a part of the sovereignty of the State. It is a duty which the people, by the Constitution itself, have imposed on the State legislatures; and which they might have left toe performed elsewhere, if they had seen fit. So they have left the choice of President with electors; but all this does not affect the proposition that this whole government, President, Senate, and House of Representatives, is a popular government. It leaves it still all its popular character. The governor of a State (in some of the States) is chosen, not directly by the people, but by those who are chosen by the people, for the purpose of performing, among other duties, that of electing a governor. Is the government of the State, on that account, not a popular government? This government, Sir, is the independent offspring of the popular will. It is not the creature of State legislatures; nay, more, if the whole truth must be told, the people brought it into existence, established it, and have hitherto supported it, for the very purpose, amongst others, of imposing certain salutary restraints on State sovereignties. The States cannot now make war; they cannot contract alliances; they cannot make, each for itself, separate regulations of commerce; they cannot lay imposts; they cannot coin money. If this Constitution, Sir, be the creature of State legislatures, it must be admitted that it has obtained a strange control over the volitions of its creators.

The people, then, Sir, erected this government. They gave it a Constitution, and in that Constitution they have enumerated the powers which they bestow on it.. They have made it a limited government. They have defined its authority. They have restrained it to the exercise of such powers as are granted; and all others, they declare, are reserved to the States or the people. But, Sir, they have not stopped here. If they had, they would have accomplished but half their work. No definition can be so clear, as to avoid possibility of doubt; no limitation so precise, as to exclude all uncertainty. Who, then, shall construe this grant of the people? Who shall interpret their will, where it may be supposed they have left it doubtful? With whom do they repose this ultimate right of deciding on the powers of government? Sir, they have settled all this in the fullest manner. They have left it with the government itself, in its appropriate branches. Sir, the very chief end, the main design, for which the whole Constitution was framed and adopted, was to establish a government that should not be obliged to act through State agency, or depend on State opinion and State discretion. The people had had quite enough of that kind of government under the Confederation. Under that system, the legal action, the application of law to individuals, belonged exclusively to the States. Congress could only recommend; their acts were not of binding force, till the States had adopted and sanctioned them. Are we in that condition still? Are we yet at the mercy of State discretion and State construction? Sir, if we are, then vain will be our attempt to maintain the Constitution under which we sit.

But, Sir, the people have wisely provided, in the Constitution itself, a proper, suitable mode and tribunal for settling questions of Constitutional law. There are in the Constitution grants of powers to Congress, and restrictions on these powers. There are, also, prohibitions on the States. Some authority must, therefore, necessarily exist, having the ultimate jurisdiction to fix and ascertain the interpretation of these grants, restrictions, and prohibitions. The Constitution has itself pointed out, ordained, and established that authority. How has it accomplished this great and essential end? By declaring, Sir, that "the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme law of the land, any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

This, Sir, was the first great step. By this the supremacy of the Constitution and laws of the United States is declared. The people so will it. No State law is to be valid which comes in conflict with the Constitution, or any law of the United States passed in pursuance of it. But who shall decide this question of interference? To whom lies the last appeal? This, Sir, the Constitution itself decides also, by declaring, "That the judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States." These two provisions cover the whole ground. They are, in truth, the keystone of the arch! With these it is a government; without them it is a confederation. In pursuance of these clear and express provisions, Congress established, at its very first session, in the judicial act, a mode for carrying them into full effect, and for bringing all questions of constitutional power to the final decision of the Supreme Court. It then, Sir, became a government. It then had the means of self-protection; and but for this, it would, in all probability, have been now among things which are past. Having constituted the government, and declared its powers, the people have further said, that, since somebody must decide on the extent of these powers, the government shall itself decide; subject always, like other popular governments, to its responsibility to the people...

I have not allowed myself, Sir, to look beyond the Union, to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs of this government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union may be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it should be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before our children and us. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind! When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, not a single star obscured, bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as "What is all this worth?" nor those other words of delusion and folly, "Liberty first and Union afterwards"; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all it sample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart, - Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Some Thoughts on the State of Things I Think

The original of this was written in January of 2003. –

There are things that have changed, so this essay has been rewritten to bring it up to date with my current thinking.


The 9 Noble Virtues; I could not recite more than 2 or 3 of any such list.

-- on soapbox --

I am Asatru. I am not defined by my participation in discussion lists; I am defined by my life, my thoughts, my beliefs, my words, and my deeds.

I am Asatru. I am fully aware of how Oaths affect my Orlay and my Wyrd. I am Oathed to no one, save the Holy Ones and my Wife.

I am Asatru. I am an American (sometimes referred to as Vinnish or Vinlandish) Heathen. I live within the Folkway born of those of my Forebears from Europe, particularly those of the northern, western and Atlantic island peoples.

I am Asatru. I am Steven, known as Piparskeggr, son of Stewart, son of Harold, son of Lewis, son of Mikhail, son of… Knowledge of who I am must include knowledge of those who have become me.

Overall, ladies and gentlemen, we are a young, human endeavor. We are still learning to walk after creeping about for a while. Many of us within the Northern Folkway are older than this stage of the Reawakening.

I believe that I have been Heathen all my life. My upbringing, my parents, the structure of my extended family are all Heathen; coated with a wash of Romanitas from the Catholicism, which has been the family religion for any number of years, and the southern European heritage from my mom’s side. The ethic and worldview of this Clan and culture is what shaped me as I am.

Stephen McNallen, Valgard Murray, Else Christiansen, Ymir Thunarsson, Thorsteinn Thoraninson, Garman Lord, Diane Paxson and all... These men and women are the First Folk of the Reawakening, amongst the First to know that they were Awake to the Music of the northern Wind in their hearts.

I'm at the tail end of the Second Wave of Wakers, I believe that I consciously awakened in July 1989 and having found "organized" heathenry a few years thereafter was relieved to know I was not alone.

I would venture the guess that I have a better grasp of Kingship, Thew, Oath and Tribe than quite a few Asafolk, and a better idea of the same than some Theodish Folk (Greater, not High).

But, I am still Asatru.

I respect Garman like I do my Drighten (Stephen McN.), but I have no Oath to him (or Steve for that matter). Though, I am probably one of the more Theodish Asamen you will meet. I set great Worth in Community and Tribe, and Chieftainship and Oath, Forebears and Kinlore.

I am a Hope for Asatru, for I also understand Poetic Significance. This being an Idea I learned from my Theodish Friends. Should just 2 Asafolk learn from my example (and I'm seeing signs of more than 2), then I have done my Duty and my Life will have been worthwhile. Not all who pretend to Heathenry will get it; be it Asatru, Theodism, or what have you. We who do get it will always be a minority, in any community; 'tis part of our burden to bear, for the community.

I had a “Seeing” of That Which May Become. Heathenry will not just survive (which condition is unacceptable to me), but will grow: Garman will see many more Midsummers, Stephen McNallen will see more Gatherings of the Tribes, Valgard Murray will see more Alliance Althings, Travis Alderman will see a 20th Virginia Thing...

[[Garman has absented he and those closest to him from most contact outside their Theod, Travis has “gone Theodish,” but I think the Seeing mentioned will pan out in the end in some good form.]]

The “marginal characters,” the "crusts of the bread," as you will, the parts that many discard, or use for crumbs. We will always have "crusts" and "heels" on our "loaves" so long as we "bake."

Build, my friends; look to your Garths and Folk. Others will stand or fall on their own merits or demerits.

-- off soapbox --

There I go again...

Be Well and May the Holy Ones smile on thee and thine - Pip

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Unlawful strangers in my homeland

     This poem by Kipling speaks to some of the feelings I have towards those who are unlawfully invading the land of my birth.  All of my folks came here to make better lives for themselves and their descendants.  They all sought to become Americans, to help build a better America, to strengthen America; they all came here legally under the methods of their times.

The Stranger - Rudyard Kipling

The Stranger within my gate,
    He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk—
    I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
    But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stock
    They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wonted to,
    They are used to the lies I tell.
And we do not need interpreters
    When we go to buy and sell.

The Stranger within my gates,
    He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control—
    What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
    Shall repossess his blood.

The men of my own stock,
    Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
    And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
    They think of the likes of me.

This was my father's belief
    And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf—
    And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
    By bitter bread and wine.

     Some modern eyes and sensibilities look at Kipling as “racist.”  I find this trend to look at the past without looking at the context of the times to be extremely myopic.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

One Mans Non Scholarly View

One Man's Non Scholarly View

Here's an essay I wrote in late 1999.  I have rewritten it a little to bring my thinking more in line with life as it is now.  I think it pertains to understanding our goal of striving to build Heathen community:What is a Tribe, a People, or a Folk?

I'll regale you herein with my understanding.A few things can be given as part of the truth: a common tongue, shared customs & traditions (the Thews, which bind the community), the retelling of tales & tall tales which speak of & reinforce one's Heritage, and even a shared sense of space & time.
The 1st is the easiest point to take.For much of my readership, American Standard English is the cradle language in which they were reared (within the various regional dialects, of course). This tongue has its roots in the word-hoard of the Anglo-Saxon tribesmen who immigrated into and invaded the island of Great Britain.  This Anglic, aka Old English or Anglo-Saxon, has absorbed a lot of verbiage over the centuries: Norse, Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Dutch, Hindu, Arabic, Swahili and so on.  It has also undergone modifications in pronunciation, spelling, declension and so forth.  But, the Tongue remains English (kind of like the US frigate "Old Ironsides" absorbing the pounding from British cannonballs and going on to win the battle).  If one tries hard, one CAN speak and write using only English/Germanic words.Most of our important ideas/words come from the Northern Elder Heritage: read, write, law, freedom, husband, wife, home, land, right (as in correct AND inalienable), wealth, work, beer, bread, meat and so forth.  The idea that Freemen come together to make the Law is deep within our Kinlore (the New England town meeting form of government being a holdover of this).   Freemen sitting as jurors in trial to decide upon violations of that Law, this also is ours.Tribe isn't one of our words.  It comes from the Latin: tribus, a group descending from a common ancestor.  The idea, though, is as much ours as the words mother, father, sister, brother, kin, kith, friend, in-law, foster and folk.  We, in a healthy society, hold to our own first, last and always, held together by the words of our common tongue.As children, our mothers, fathers, other kin and kith showed us by word & deed to say & do that, which is right.  We learnt about goodness, being that which helps our family and community.  We learnt early on that one's Word has Worth & Meaning, and should never be tainted by falsehood.  We learnt to share, to depend upon those we can trust (which we learnt by seeing who our Kin & Kith entrusted).  We learnt that one must work for Land and Wealth. We learnt to respect the right of others to that which they have earned.  We learnt to try and cause no harm.

All this we learnt before we became aware of the much broader world around us, and its codification of behavior: religious and secular.A Thew I'll expand on a little is self-reliance, being one's own man.  In Asatru, much is made of the “rugged individual,” a “stand-alone” character, falsely thought to need no one else.  A self-reliant man adds to the community strength, as he is no one’s burden and can help increase the commonweal.  A self-reliant man will also be unafraid of seeking new ideas or new ways (or even Old Ways).  This is especially noteworthy, seeing as modern Asatru would not be if we had not struck out from home, and the bonds of past thought.  The safe course is always to keep with that which is familiar, staying in the fold.  It is hard work to keep Frith with Blood Kin sometimes when one is out of the comfortable garth in which one was born and raised.  Keeping Trú, standing before the Gods and Men as your own man is hard and Worth the venture. Sometimes those who are closest by Blood will not accept this freedom of thought and deed.  You move on with life.
Is there anyone amongst us doesn't enjoy a good tale or tall-tale?

An ancestor's letter rails against some social injustice.  An uncle tells of service in wartime.  Your grandfather describes how his mother would go down to the river for water in the "Old Country”. Your dad speaks of the camping trips he enjoyed as a Boy Scout.  Your sister recounts the details of her perfect Prom date.  You tell about the game-winning homer you once hit in Little League.And then:

Thor fishes for the Midgard serpent.  Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox trek through the North Woods.  "Dime Novelists" exaggerate the doings of Western heroes and outlaws. Fishermen tell of the "Big One" that got away.  Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, swings through the trees.  Buck Rogers fights evil in the 25th century.  John Wayne wins World War II.All of these are worthy of our respect.  Knowing the deeds of our Forebears and Kin show us how to live.  They give us Kin-pride.  The Tall Tales can show us ideals and grand lessons, or entertain us.  They can strive to explain the inexplicable.  They can act as object lesson, or warning.
A common sense of time and space is also important to defining a People.  Night, day, week, month, year, winter, summer, fall and spring are all words of the Elder Tongue, as are then and now.  Future belongs to the Latinate-Levantine world.  We of the North think of that which has been, the Layers in the Well.  We think of that which is becoming, the new layers being added.  From the weight of this, there is that which may become, which is changeable due to then and now, and so, is undefined.  This sense gives us strength to face each day as it becomes, without the need to worry about the undefinable what may be.  We don't ignore that our deeds have results, for we are our deeds.  To remain worthy in our becoming, we strive to do that which is right, as we learned at our mother's knee.
And so we return to the start.  Our Folk are those with whom we share the foregoing.  In breaking from the fold of our Blood Kin, and in reforming Folk and Faith Ways, we find new Kin, new Kith, we find our Folk, Our Tribes.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

What to Offer?

What is appropriate to offer when we Blót the High Holy Ones?

Most usually we do use mead or other fermented beverage.

Sometimes it is a Gods' portion of a meal, sometimes a knife, bracelet, carving or other item of craft.

We are not offering just the drink (or food or other object) we are giving of ourselves: our effort, our thoughts, our skill, our time, our might, our maegn...

Something, which has been made or changed by human hands, is rightful to Give to Them, I believe.

If one is below "drinking age," a Good Gift can still be given.

There have been times when I have purchased raw coffee beans, roasted them, ground them and brewed coffee from them.  I have shared this drink with Uller on cold, wintry  days, and I believe He likes this strong brew of mine.

The key is not so much what is offered as is How and Why.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My Ideas on Sumble

A fellow member of Nova Roma is a Druid, of a tradition it seems, which performs Sumble at Yule

The following is a précis I sent him on my impressions on what constitutes the strictures for proper Sumble.

Sumble is In Deed a Hallowed and Hallowing ritual.

I will take it as a given, as Druid folk are well-read, that Holy Sumble is known to you as one of the mechanisms that add Layers to the Well of Wyrd in my Faithway, which is Heathenry.

I have participated in many Sumbles, some Holy and the rest being what I call Folk Sumble (kind of like a Bardic Circle, with lots of mead ,-)

For Holy Sumble, which is what you are seeking to enact, there does exists a definite structure.

These "rules" are from the historical descriptions of Sumble, such as "Beowulf."

  1. Holy Sumble is performed within the confines of a Hall.  This can be an actual enclosure (dining hall, living room, large tent...) or as happened at the Virginia Thing several years ago, a set piece of the Land was roped off and dedicated as a symbolic Hall.  The participants will sit at Table together.

  2. The Horn should never pass from Man to Man.  In the Anglo-Saxon meaning of the word, man simply means any human. Instead, there is a Hornmay, Valkyrie, Meadwench, or other such styling (depending on Heathen Tribe); that gives the Horn to each speaker as it passes around the hall.  She is also responsible for refilling the horn as needed.

  3. There is a Lord of the Hall, who acts as the chieftain and priest of the gathering and sits with honored guests at a separate High Table.  He makes some opening remarks, asks the Holy Powers to bear witness, and blesses the Drink to be shared, pouring some out to the Gods (this is by means of a ritual bowl, which is emptied in a suitable place away from the Hall, returning the Drink to Mother Earth from whence it eventually arose).  He will also Speak the first words of each round, followed by the others at High Table and then the Hall Folk.

  4. There is a Thyle (thu-luh) who is a sagacious individual who will challenge Horn Boasts, which seem out of order or over the top.  He does this to guard the Luck of the Hall, and so that the Lord of the Hall will enter into no dispute.  He sits to the side of the High Table, closest to the Hall Lord.

  5. There are normally three rounds:
A: The first is to the Holy Powers.  It is a good idea to lay out before hand, which Holy Powers may be invoked in Sumble.  Many Heathens prohibit the mention of Loki in Hall.  All Heathens of my acquaintance prohibit the mention of "foreign" Gods and Goddesses, that is, those Holy Powers who are not of the Aesir and Vanir.
B:  The second is to one's Kin or Kith, or a Hero.  This is most usually a Minnehorn or Memorial round.  Again, beforehand, lay out the strictures of what this round entails
C:  The third is usually an Open Round.  This is the time for Boasts and Oaths, Poem and Song, Giving of Gifts, Stories, Philosophic discourse, Reflective Words...  Again, beforehand, lay out the strictures of what this round entails.
  1. When the Three Rounds are finished, the Lord of the Hall will call an end to Holy Sumble.  Depending on how things are going, he may then declare that Folk Sumble will ensue.

  2. The Holy Mead for the Hallowed Ones is properly poured to Earth.     This is my understanding of how a Formal, Holy Sumble will go.

As I wrote above, this is based upon Sumbles in which I have participated.     Hope this helps.

Hail we Givers, of Word and Drink
Who Stand to Blot, who Sumble Sit
In voices plain, or eloquent
We build Orlay, and fill the Well

Ye Piparskeggrsmal Stave 140

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Finding one's ancestors and faith

I will gladly say that I am a "mutt," a typical American whose family has been here awhile.

My ancestral background is quite a patchwork from across the broad expanse of Mother Europe: Russian, German, Latvian, French, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English, Italian, Greek and Spanish- plus a bit of very early American lineage: Iroquois and Algonquin.

If you look only to the "nation" from which one's ancestors came, the question does become complex.

What I did in my spiritual search (after fumbling around for awhile) was to break things down to a simpler level.

I looked to the pre-national tribes, from which my forebears sprang.

This was sparked in part by the beginnings of my interest in genealogy, combined with my love of looking at history, particularly the movement of peoples across the planet.

As I looked, it became clear to me that the largest numbers of my forebears were of Northern tribes: Germanic, Nordic, Celtic, and Baltic. Of these, the Germanic and Nordic folks were in greatest evidence.

Things came to a head for me near midnight 8 July 1989.

I was participating in a sweat lodge with some SCA friends: a cleansing and seeing ritual as it were.  It was based on a Lakota ceremony, but had been "Germanized" by the lodge leader.

The purpose was to lead into a dedication ceremony, which I had written, for a fighting household we were forming. The household was to be composed of archers, plus sword and spear men, plus the totally necessary non-martial members.

I believe I had my first vision from Uller, who is one of the Elder Holy Ones of the North.

This spurred me to further research.   I found a copy of the "Poetic Edda" with which my Uncle John had gifted me years before. It seemed right to start my search for the meaning of the vision therein.  The references to Uller jumped from the pages.  I learned that He is, amongst many other things, looked upon as Bow Lord and Unerring Archer.

I felt a deep chill, as of a winter wind, come upon me.

November 18th, 1989: The Household is once again assembled and we captains are in sweat lodge again.  I am gifted by Uller a second time (and a few times since) with another visit to the Yewdales and His lodge.  I come away from the experience feeling that I have returned home from a very, confused long journey.

So, that's a bit about how I chose, and was welcomed.    


I'm not an intellectual; don't even play one on TV ,-)

Though, I do consider myself a thinker.

My faith is based upon my belief in the Holy Ones known by my northern forebears, the worldview of those forebears, the “time view" they held, the ways in which they interacted with each other and the rest of the world...

What I know of these is a combination of available documents (both historical and modern), archaeological findings (with varying veracity of interpretation in my view), supposition and inspiration.

I do not know if the Uller to whom I am in Troth bond to is the exact same Uller, as my ancestors knew.  He may well be a younger god, born during the migration of northern folk to this continent. He may well be the same Uller, and I travel to His home in another level of this reality we call life.

I tend to believe the latter, and I can only Know that I Believe.

I also believe that the Ultimate Source is Unknown and Unknowable by the mind of Man.

What set the Primal Fire and ice into motion to fill Ginungagap?

For that matter; what set the Primal Forces in place?

What made Ginungagap?

I believe that the Northern Creation myth is true, in that the worlds and what they contain came from somewhere.

Is it the literal truth?

I don't know, I wasn't there to bear witness.

I believe that Gods and Goddesses are distinct and real beings.
I believe that the Holy Ones of differing tribes are distinct from each other.
I find the comparisons useful, though, as it shows me much of the basic nature of human thought.
I believe that there are many layers to reality, thus the "metaphor" of the nine Worlds.

I don't know, but I believe.

The more I have done comparisons to other beliefs and philosophies, the more strongly I cleave unto That Which I Hold Holy.

Autochthonic faithways do not spring fullborn and separate into the world; unlike Athena from Zeus' brow. They are shaped by the lives of the folk, the land upon which they live, the broader world around them; their inner sight.

It is difficult then, I think, to write “apologetics" for something, which is part and parcel of one's being.

"Revealed" religions, of which faith and belief are parts, can be intellectualized to a much greater degree than the so-called "Natural" religions.

I have read the opinion that if one were to go back in time and ask any tribesman, who was previously unexposed to "religion," what his might be called; a puzzled look would be the initial answer.  One would then explain the concept of religion as a thing separate in one's life.  The answer then would probably be on the order of a shrug with the words,  "I believe what my tribes believes.  I do what my tribe does."

Modern heathenry, being a reconstruction and revival of elder tribal ways, is closer to a "natural religion" than a "revealed religion" in my opinion.

As with any such faithway Ortho- enters the picture in only small ways.

I think the closest thing to Orthoheathenry we have is a largely similar view of the Holy Ones to whom we give worship.  But, this agreement does have built into it various tribal differences.

We also have similar views of modes of worship: Blot (faining, offering, sacrifice...), Symble (ritual sharing of Drink and Words) and Husel (a formalized sharing of food and drink).  Again, there exist tribal differences; some fueled by "modern" sensibilities and interpretations.

We share similar views on the virtues, morals and ethics of a heathen worldview.  Again, there are tribal and intellectual differences.  For example, the "Nine Noble Virtues."  Without a cheat sheet in front of me, I couldn't give you all of any of the several listings I've seen over the years.

I try and keep it simple: do that which is right for family, friends and community, with wisdom, generosity and personal honor.

I'd say that neither Ortho- nor Hetero- are doxies with whom I am intimate ,-)    

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hello again!

Just a short note to let y'all know that I'm alive and well.

More to come shortly - Pip

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Approaching the Holy Ones


On a few of the lists to which I subscribe, the topic of words and actions in  Approaching the Holy Ones has arisen.  Here's one of the replies I wrote in answer on one of the lists, which is populated by many folks not of the tribe to which I believe I belong...

This will be one of my usual non-scholarly views.

I'll go over my background a bit.

I am neither a recreationist, nor a reconstructionist; I am Asatrú.  I use this word in the sense that I am in Troth to the Holy Powers as known by my Northern Forebears.

I read the Lore, think on it, learn what I can and live my life as best I can within a Northern Worldview and Lifeway.

In 1975 I made a conscious decision to leave the innangard of Roman Catholic Christianity, with no thought of entering any other Christian Garth.

My time "in the woods," during this period led me into and out of many garths of thought and belief.  I learned many ways of approaching the Holy, many ways of knowing the Holy, many ways of being...

Nothing in these garths sang true in my heart.  But they helped me mightily in an important area; I unlearned thinking as a "son of Mother Church.

"In 1989, during the High Summer, I first got a glimpse of Uller and the Yewdales during a sweat lodge ceremony.  Not knowing what I saw and goaded to effort thereby; I read whatever I could find about early European history and folklore.  Later that year, in Early Winter, I believe Uller welcomed me by offering me the Oathring.

I found some indications that others believed, as I did, in 1991.

I made first contact with others who believed, as I did, in 1993.

I was alone in my devotions for several years.  This is the base of what I do when Offering Worship to the Holy Powers.

Most of my dealings since 1993 have been with folk who bow before no one, neither Gods nor Men.  This has shaped much of what I do when Offering Worship.

I have, though, been a traveler, guesting with those of tribes not my own.  What I do has been changed by what I have learned from them.

I am especially fond of what I have learned from Théodism about the use of poetry and song in Offering Worship.

We are, by virtue of being human, tribal animals by nature.

Different tribes will have different folkways.  This is a given.

The differing tribes of our Beloved Forebears had different ways of approaching the Holy Ones.

Unfortunately, we have little (relatively) documentation of these differences, or even the samenesses.

Different tribes have, I think, different ideas about what is and is not dignified in approaching the Holy.  Different ideas abound about what is correct in the Approach.

I will stand, sit (always in a chair or on a stool, never on the ground) or go down on one knee as I believe, and feel, honors the moment within the Offering.

There are times in Giving Worship that the moment is just too weighty to stand, so I kneel.

There are times in Giving Worship that the moment is so powerful, I can do nothing but stand there.

There are times in Giving Worship that the moment is so meaningful, I can do nothing but stand there and bow my head.

There are times in Giving Worship that the thoughts flying back and forth are so much like a good conversation that sitting at board with the Holy seems so right.

I have never, though, felt or believed that the Holy wants me in kowtow or to bow AND scrape, within the tribal view I have grow in as a Heathen.

Other tribes have other ways, which is good.

In closing, I'll just offer the old adage:  it takes stones of many different shapes and  sizes to build a strong, lasting wall.

May the Holy Æsir and Vanir smile on our efforts.
May the Holy Forebears of our Kinlines nod in approval.
May we be of Worth to our fellow Heathens.    

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hail all, Many know me as an Uller's Man. So, to...


Hail all,

Many know me as an Uller's Man.

So, to fill in a glaring hole in the Blog, here is a picture of the Bow Lord. And, this is the first poem I wrote to him for use in Blót.  It was written for Fall Turning of the 1000th year of Vinland Reckoning  (The first stanza is repeated as the Burden [chorus] of the song.)

"A Visit"

Sing we proudly, the Bow Lord!
Uller guide hand and eye.
Sing we proudly, the Bow Lord!
His voice in arrow's flight.

Winter is Harsh, weeds out the weak
Lest they be part, of well knit clan
Hearth fires warm, protect them wel
Old ones and young, all of them kin

Homestead is bound, snow piled high
Hunters are home, larders are bare
Bellies are slack, some taken ill
Elders have met, Offering's made

Mead woven tales, deeds of the hunt
Praise for the prey, and the Old One
Words go awing, speed through the air
Fall on sharp ears, rightful plea heard

Snow Sender strides, on boneshoes wide
Hoarfrost glistens, shrouds the woodland
Branch antlered stag, puffs misty breath
Beast Slayer sends, life stealing thorn

Fur Wearer stands, within the garth
Calls to the folk, come take this prize
Man and woman, lad, lass and babe
Sharing the gift, of Forest God

Clan Warder speaks, Blessing to give
Tells of the shoes, deep snow to tread
To help themselves, through mortal deeds
Praises to Him, Teacher of Craft

Across the rime, Leather Clad Os
Strides to the trees, from sight is lost
Clan folk again, turn to the feast
Mead horns are raised once more in praise

Winter is Harsh, weeds out the weak
Lest they be part, of well knit clan
Hearth fires warm, protect them well
Old ones and young, all of them kin

Hail the Holy Ones!  Hail our Northern Folk!