Irminfolk Coins – A giant leap forward in Odinist Community Building.

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thor-copper-coin

The artist rendering for the engravers to follow when cutting dies for the coins. (we are aware of, and have corrected the Typo in Mårten Eskil Winge’s name).

As one of our cornerstone tools of community empowerment, raising awareness of Odinism, and promoting a barter economy, the Irminfolk is rolling out its own alternative community currency.

As far as we can tell, this is the first time an Asatru group has issued its own currency. It is a major step toward the establishment of a strong folk-community. Not much else says “Established Community” like a currency program.

We are launching this project with several facets in mind: As a collectible medallion series; as a means of investing in precious metals; as a fundraising measure for the Irminfolk; and as a means of allowing valuable exchanges among people. This physical metal medallion program is a voluntary system of barter and exchange that acts as a complimentary community currency. It does not compete with or replace the US Dollar at all. Continue reading

IrminShire: The land and Hof project

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The IrminFolk Odinist Community is proud to announce its ambitious new land and Hof initiative: IrminShire.

This 30′ Stone circle was built in just 8 hours in preparation for the Irminfolk’s Midsummer celebration. The altar weighs over 6,000 lbs.

The Irminfolk has become what it set out to be; a thriving and dynamic Folkish community with many children and successful people from all walks of life. In and of itself, that’s nothing to shake a stick at. But there is one very important feature we lack. We don’t have a central point to convene, and to build in our own image, and to call ours. We don’t have a Home.

Yet.

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The Nature of Wyrd and Harnessing Possibility

By: Luther Kovac

“The Norns bestow good fortunes and other noble gifts, but frequently also calamities. Their decrees are invariably irrevocable: ‘No one can withstand the word of Urdhr, even though it be spoken to one’s destruction.’ They furthermore accompany man through all the vicissitudes of life. They assist women at childbirth, keep watch over the new-born child, and weave its destiny.”

- The Religion of the Teutons, By Pierre Daniël Chantepie de la Saussaye p314

Is our fate predetermined? Do we have free will or does it just seem that way? There are no simple answers, and moreover, what do the questions mean? Fate, as a concept, has meant different things to different people. Our ancestors had their own way of looking at the past, present and future. They called it Wyrd.

The Odinist concept of Wyrd roughly corresponds to “fate” or “destiny,” and like many things originating from the Old Religion, it shares similarities with current ideas but does not have a definitive modern equivalent. Wyrd is as much about the past as the future. To better comprehend Wyrd we need an understanding of the world-view of our ancestors, and the origin of the word itself.

The modern term “weird” is derived from Wyrd, and has come to mean “strange.” Unfortunate but fitting, since the old ways have come to be strange to modern people. This usage is thought to originate from Middle English as a result of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, in which the Norns were referred to by one of their other names, the Weird Sisters, and were portrayed as frightening or odd-looking. Wyrd itself is derived from the much older, Proto-Indo-European term Wert which means “to turn.” The following description is from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

“weird: Old English wyrd (n.) “fate, destiny,” literally “that which comes,” from Proto-Germanic *wurthis (cf. Old Saxon wurd, Old High German “fate,” Old Norse urðr “fate, one of the three Norns”), from PIE *wert- “to turn, wind,” (cf. German werden, Old English weorðan “to become”), from root *wer- (3) “to turn, bend” (see versus). For sense development from “turning” to “becoming,” cf. phrase turn into “become.” – Online Etymology Dictionary (http://www.etymonline.com)

Wyrd is a variation of the name Urdhr, the eldest of the Nornir (Norns), the three goddesses of fate; who are considered by some to be the goddesses of death because they decree when both gods and men alike will die. The Norns (Urdhr, Verdhandi, and Skuld) were sometimes called the Weird Sisters long before Macbeth was written. So Wyrd is both the name of a goddess, and also describes what she creates when she weaves the threads of fate.

“Linguistically, the words urdhr (ON) and English wyrd (weird) are identical (the loss of the initial w is the result of the same regular rule that turns Wõdhanaz into Òdhinn).” Runelore: The Magic, History, and Hidden Codes of the Runes by Edred Thorsson (1987) p126

Each of the three Norns were roughly associated with an aspect of the flow of time: Urdhr (Urd, Urðr, Urth, Urdar, Wyrd) the past, Verdhandi the present, and Skuld the future. Yet Urdhr seemed to be the most powerful and influential in regard to fate, which is logical since the past is the foundation on which the future is built. They dwell beneath and care for Yggdrasil, the tree of life, sprinkling it with water from the nearby well of Urdhr (the Well of Wyrd). They were not subject to the rule of the other gods, who had no influence over their decrees. As they weave the threads of destiny, they are always making adjustments, a single thread affects the others and in return it is also changed. Our Wyrd is determined not only by our own actions but affected by the actions of others, and many other variables that are inevitably out of our control.

“19. An ash I know, | Yggdrasil its name,
With water white | is the great tree wet;
Thence come the dews | that fall in the dales,
Green by Urth’s well | does it ever grow.

20. Thence come the maidens | mighty in wisdom,
Three from the dwelling | down ‘neath the tree;
Urth is one named, | Verthandi the next,–
On the wood they scored,– | and Skuld the third.
Laws they made there, and life allotted
To the sons of men, and set their fates.”

-Poetic Edda, VOLUSPA 19,20 (Bellows translation)

The three sisters are described as goddesses, but sometimes as giant kin, and are said to have a different origin than the gods. Besides the three principle Norns, there were many others, of much less importance. They seem to take the form of guardian spirits, and were usually present at events such as marriages, births, and deaths. They were thought to give gifts to their favorites. Also the Valkyrs, the choosers of the slain, were sometimes called Norns or wish maidens, and were at times led to battle by the goddess Freya or Skuld.

The three principal Norns are similar, but not identical to the Greek Fates. The biggest difference being the nature of predestination. The Norse/Teutonic people did not believe that destiny was linear; instead, they believed in potential possibilities that were determined by variables in the past and present. Different actions would result in different future potentials, but the past and present determined which choices, if any, were available; and under most circumstances someone’s personal perspective and social situation led to which choice they would make. So while the future holds different possibilities, it tends to flow in a predetermined pattern. They also believed that the nature of the universe was cyclic, that in many cases the past has already determined what will be.

“The Norns sometimes wove such large webs that one of the weavers stood on a high mountain in the extreme east, while another waded far out into the western sea. The threads of their woof resembled cords, and varied greatly in hue, according to the nature of the events about to occur, and a black thread, tending from north to south, was invariably, considered an omen of death. As these sisters flashed the shuttle to and fro, they chanted a solemn song. They seemed not to weave according to their own wishes, but blindly, as if reluctantly executing the wishes of Orlog, the eternal law of the universe, an older and superior power, who apparently had neither beginning nor end.

Two of the Norns, Urd and Verdandi, seemed very beneficent indeed, while the third relentlessly undid their work, and often, when it was nearly finished, tore it angrily to shreds, scattering the remnants to the winds of heaven. As personifications of time, the Norns were represented as sisters of different ages and characters, Urd (Wurd, weird) appearing very old and decrepit, continually looking backward, as if absorbed in contemplating past events and people; Verdandi, the second sister, young, active, and fearless, looked straight before her, while Skuld, the type of the future, was generally represented as closely veiled, with head turned in the opposite direction from that where Urd was gazing, and holding a book or scroll which had not yet been opened or unrolled.” – Myths of Northern Lands by H.A. Guerber (Published 1895) p155

Wyrd is similar to the term Orlog (Old Norse: fate), and some people use them interchangeably, but they have also been used to describe different aspects of fate. As the quote by Guerber suggests, Orlog is basically the way things work and interact. It includes physics, cause and effect, probability ratios and even the strange behavior of matter at the quantum level. Wyrd is the progression of events based on the laws of Orlog. If Wyrd is a possible path (future potential), then Orlog is the reason that particular path exists, and others do not. Within the Elder Futhark Orlog is symbolized by the Pertho rune.

 perthro_reversed

“This is the most guarded of the runes. It is the cultic symbol of the secret of Ørlög – the mystery of wyrd. This is the power of the Nornir and one that complements the force of consciousness present in the Æsir. The runester must learn to investigate the way of wyrd that he may understand it and, when need be, overcome it. (This is the great Òdhinic accomplishment at Ragnarök.)” Runelore: The Magic, History, and Hidden Codes of the Runes by Edred Thorsson (1987) p125

How can one overcome fate? According to the Poetic Edda one cannot. However, the Norns are constantly reweaving the threads of Wyrd, so there can be more than one potential fate and, as Thorsson’s quote conveys, understanding Wyrd can help which fate “becomes.” Without this understanding, our actions will likely be determined by emotional responses or social expectations, and the result will be highly predictable. What is not clear in the quote is how challenging overcoming this can be; but, although it is difficult, it is not impossible.

A good place to study how Wyrd influences our actions and destiny can be found in epic poem Beowulf. The classic text was almost certainly written by Christians, but was also written in the ancient poetic tradition of the Norse/Teutonic people and contains much of the worldview held by our Pagan ancestors. Beowulf has been used as a reference for the concept of Wyrd by several experts for over a century. Wyrd can be said to be the background theme for the entire poem. I particularly liked King Hrothgar’s tale of Finn’s treachery in chapters 16 and 17 (Raffel translation) which described, in retrospect, a chain of events that inevitably resulted in death and bloodshed (not an uncommon ending back then, or now). In his book Cause and Effect in Beowulf, Martin Puhvel describes the complex meanings and possibilities behind even simple sounding statements and actions in the poem. The influence of Wyrd plays a powerful role in the actions of the characters.

I have found that our ancestor’s view of predestination is better represented in modern, secular arguments about free will than in modern theology. Some neuroscientists theorize that since people are made up of chemicals and electrical impulses, any action that they commit to will be a complex result of their biological process, and that the more we understand that process the more predictable their behavior will become. Others in their field disagree, stating that our minds are advanced enough to override our impulsiveness or genetic predispositions.

We’ve all experienced situations where what we feel like doing, and what we should do, are very different things. I’m not referring to a person’s moral perspectives, but pointing out that the most effective action to achieve any goal is often not the one that we would prefer to take. This seems like basic common sense and you might be thinking that everyone already knows this, but from the way many people act it doesn’t appear that they are applying that knowledge. I can’t think of a single time that screaming profanities at a judge during a trial or shoving a police officer during a traffic stop resulted in a positive outcome, and yet these and a million other self-defeating actions are taken all the time by people who afterwards seem surprised by the results. The justification for their ineffective behavior usually sounds something like “I’m right and I’m not afraid.” Unfortunately, being right has little to do with winning, and I’m not questioning their courage, I’m questioning their judgment.

There is a strong possibility that when people try to vindicate their unsuccessful behavior it is to compensate for their lack of self-control, or in this context, their willpower or “free will.” Even when people know a course of action is self-defeating they seem compelled to do it anyway. It could be said that it was their Wyrd to behave that way but, true as that may be, the consequences will not change because they couldn’t control themselves.

How could I find someone responsible for actions if I believe that they had no control over them? Quite easily, the natural consequences of an action are not determined by free will, but by cause and effect. Understanding someone’s motivations can help us predict what they will do, but once an action is taken it is the consequences that the rest of us have to deal with, not the “why” behind them. Hence the old saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” or in some cases a lack of foresight, and bad judgment.

Because we will inevitably be affected by the actions of others, it is wise to learn what motivates people, and how they will usually react to something. It helps us plan ahead and prepare responses to the more predictable outcomes we will encounter. Understanding our own motivations and reactions protects us from manipulation. A strong awareness of cause and effect will help us choose a course of action that will better achieve our goals. Whether or not the neuroscientists are right about free will, simply having that knowledge will automatically influence our thought process, and our Wyrd.

There are people who seem to be magnets for trouble or always seem to fail, and for the most part it is not luck, but their own behavior that causes their situation. On the other hand, I have met talented or charismatic individuals who already seem good at getting what they want. Unfortunately some of those people also excel at making enemies and alienating their friends; however, others manage to get the same things with little collateral damage and have their allies benefit as well. I’m reminded of the old cliché “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Exploring better ways to do things is never bad if done cautiously, and how our actions are seen by others will influence the overall result. A perfect outcome to our efforts is usually unrealistic, but a better outcome is often possible. Not always, but often enough to make it worth trying.

Whenever we try to determine a possibility or probability, we are trying to understand Wyrd and Orlog whether we realize it or not. These ancient concepts are broad and strong enough to provide insight even to modern situations.

As an exercise we can examine the Eastern concept of Karma through the framework of Wyrd and Orlog. Karma states that good or bad deeds will eventually cycle back to you in some way, restoring a type of spiritual balance. I freely admit that this is a gross oversimplification on my part, but it will do for my example. By the time we reach adulthood we realize that the more favors you do for others, the more likely you will get a favor in return. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it does often enough to make doing an occasional favor worthwhile. The same type of reciprocation can be seen when you hurt or cheat someone else, although people do seem more likely to remember you if you hurt them as opposed to helping them.

Now, helping everyone seems nice but let’s say that you have limited resources to help other people, because that is more likely to be true anyway. By choosing to do favors for people who have shown themselves to be more likely to return a favor, you will greatly increase the probability of getting something back for your efforts. Doing favors for people who are in (or will be in) a position to help you will more often result in getting the type of help you need. Helping people with similar goals can help your broader interests even if you do not gain from it at a personal level. Helping people who you are never going to see again who also disagree with your worldview will probably gain you nothing. Using your limited resources in a way that maximizes potential future help is manipulating your Wyrd, and the Wyrd of others whose threads cross yours. Is it Machiavellian? Yes it is, but it is also true. Odin sacrificed his eye for knowledge, and for us the sacrifice is often our innocence. The All-Father has set a good example; I would rather be successful and wise than unsuccessful and naïve.

Our Wyrd affects the Wyrd of those around us, and their Wyrd affects our own. This is why we are reminded when we gather, and make boasts, that what we say affects everyone present.

“Well have we fought
on slaughtered Goths we stand,
on those fallen by the sword,
like eagles on a branch,
Great glory we have gained,
though now or to morrow we shall die.
No one lives till eve
against the Norn’s decree.”

-Poetic Edda, Hamdismal: The Lay of Hamdir 31(Thorpe translation)

Eventually enough threads will cross and our allotted time will end, but we can make the most of the time we have by understanding our Wyrd and respecting Orlog. Perhaps our legacy will contribute to something greater than ourselves. As a good friend once said to me “Our Wyrd is not for us to choose, but we will not know the possibilities unless we try.”

 

References:

The Religion of the Teutons, By Pierre Daniël Chantepie de la Saussaye p314
Runelore: The Magic, History, and Hidden Codes of the Runes by Edred Thorsson p125,126
Poetic Edda, Bellows translation
Poetic Edda, Thorpe translation
Myths of Northern Lands by H.A. Guerber (Published 1895) p155
Beowulf, translation by Burton Raffel p47-51
Cause and Effect in Beowulf, by Martin Puhvel
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
Online Etymology Dictionary – http://www.etymonline.com

The Rune that Never Was

The Rune that Never Was

By : Luther Kovac

Some commercially sold rune sets and books about rune casting include a “blank rune” that is supposed to represent Wyrd or “unknown destiny.” What some people new to the subject do not realize is that there has never been any evidence that such a rune ever existed. It is a modern invention that was added to the Futhark without regard to tradition or historical accuracy. Even the concept of a “blank rune” is an oxymoron, Runes are primarily defined as symbols that represent ideas and the “blank rune” is not a symbol at all, but a lack of one. Wyrd is an important concept for us, but could not have been represented by a rune that never was.

It is easy enough to refute the veracity of the “blank rune,” but to fully comprehend why it is so misguided we need to examine where it came from.

The idea of a “blank rune” can be traced to a book published in 1982 called The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum. In chapter two (p28) he admits that the “blank rune” was never part of the Futhark. The author claims to have purchased a rune set from a woman in Redhill, England which contained a “blank rune” that she described as “Karma” (p29). Blum decided to integrate it into his own system of rune casting based on his sadly limited knowledge of the Futhark and its history. Karma isn’t a Western concept, and while we may have certain parallels, it is not ours to take and shouldn’t be associated with the Futhark. Blum substituted Wyrd instead of Karma, but applied his own interpretation to that concept as well. He may not be the original fabricator of the “blank rune,” but he is the one primarily responsible for promoting it.

The “blank rune” was not the only problem with Blum’s book; there were other significant deviations from tradition and the worldview of our ancestors. He used the “I Ching” to help him understand the Runes, he tries to switch the focus of the Runes to new age concepts, and he rearranges the order of the Runes and the Aettir. His rationalization for this is disturbing. Perhaps the best way to convey why is with the author’s own words:

“When I began to work with the Runes, I had never seen a runic text, so I did not realize that I was breaking away from the traditional sequence of Freyer, Hagal and Tyr probably used by the early practitioners of runemal. But function determines form, use confers meaning, an Oracle always resonates to the requirements of the time in which it is consulted. I had to rely on the Runes themselves to establish their own order and to instruct me in their meanings.” (Ralph Blum, The Book of Runes p28-29)… “Now and then, when the flow dwindled, I turned to the I Ching and asked for a hexagram that revealed the essence of a particular Rune. The spirit of some of those readings is incorporated into the interpretations of the Viking Runes.” (Ralph Blum, The Book of Runes p31)

In other words; he was too lazy to do even basic research about the Futhark before he began his work, so instead he used an ancient Chinese divination system to gather the required information. He then justifies this by telling us the world has changed. So instead of following the Old Religion and the traditions developed by our people for well over a thousand years, we’re supposed to do it his way based on his ignorance and a Chinese Oracle.

This is wrong on so many levels that it is difficult to confine my response to the space available. I’ll start with using the I Ching as a tool for interpreting European Paganism. I have no problem with the I Ching and I actually have a healthy respect for Taoism. Its practical application can be seen in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and the basic logic can be effectively applied across the boundaries of culture and time, but its spiritual significance is something else entirely, and the accuracy of its Western interpretations are suspect.

The I Ching is a product of a different people and a different culture, so understanding it necessitates understanding when it was written, who it was written by, and how their specific circumstances affected their worldview. Unfortunately most Westerners fail to take this important step; instead they butcher the Asian concepts then try to squeeze them into the framework of modern social theories. This is why I always preferred discussing Eastern philosophy with my Asian martial arts instructors instead of the European ones, the difference in their perspective was pronounced. The same problem is occurring with European Paganism. It seems bizarre that anyone can truly believe that Odinism was about political correctness and pacifism, but the idea is being pushed in much the same way that they force it onto Eastern philosophy.

Ralph Blum mentions the I Ching repeatedly and also promotes the concept of the “Spiritual Warrior,” which appears to be constructed using aspects of Buddhism along with other Asian ideas that Westerners frequently misinterpret. To the best of my knowledge the Vikings were not Buddhists, so this approach doesn’t impress me. If we are serious about understanding the Runes, from either a historical or religious perspective, it makes more sense to do so through the worldview of the people who created them.

The spiritual aspects of the Runes are just as important as the historical. In reconnecting with the ways of our ancestors we hope to better understand ourselves, and to fill an emptiness caused by the shallowness of modernism. While the ways of other folks can contain logic and wisdom, they are unlikely to help us find the soul of our own people. Like other elements of European Paganism, the Runes are our own; a part of us in a way that the traditions of outsiders could never be.

One excuse used by people who alter our traditions is that there are gaps in our knowledge about Norse/Teutonic Paganism. While there are certainly things that we do not know, that is no justification for changing the things that we do know about. As far as making substitutes for what might be missing, there are a couple of things to consider. First is whether or not the information is truly missing. There is more information available than most people realize. Once the nonsense is sifted through (there will be a lot of it), then acquiring access to old books and corresponding with experts might be necessary. Not all of the information will be available in the languages you are familiar with, but that obstacle can be overcome.

Another option is exploring the Pagan traditions of kindred European folk. There was a lot of overlap between Europe’s various people and many traditions have similar origins or parallel meanings. If borrowing a concept or ritual is necessary it should be taken from a kindred people who were close to us and had shared experiences, not from some far away people with a far different history. It is also worth researching Pagan European practices that were stolen by monotheists in order to see if they might be reclaimed, but the first step should always be a very serious attempt to research Norse/Teutonic tradition for what you are looking for. Much was lost, but much has also been recovered. Inventions like the “blank rune” are unnecessary as well as disrespectful. If one believes that there is power in the ancient ways and symbols of our ancestors, then fabricating them should never even be considered.

Blum’s book is primarily about using the Runes for divination, which is a very personal experience. It is certainly possible for someone to come up with a completely unique system that they are comfortable with, but like the so-called “blank rune,” it would not be part of Odinist tradition. If someone is looking for something in addition to the basic Runes, there were other ancient symbols used outside of the Futhark; for example, the Valknut and several types of Sonnerad (including the Schwarzesonne). The Runes are also the foundation for symbols that expand into different concepts, such as the “Vegvisir” and variations of the “Aegishjalmur.” The lore is available; the concepts more familiar than we might realize. Our ancestors are and always will be part of us, and our culture is still rich in their history and tradition.

Ales Stenar, A Legacy of Stone

Ales Stenar, A Legacy of Stone
By : Luther Kovac

During a gathering, I had a conversation with one of the Folk about ancient ruins that I saw in Europe, and was told that many of the Norse structures were gone because they were built with wood. This is something that I had suspected but hadn’t given a lot of thought to. Always interested in the ways of my European ancestors, I decided to look into it.

I found some very interesting things, not the least of which was that the Norse were far from the only civilization on the continent whose structures were erased by time. England’s Stonehenge is perhaps the most famous stone circle in the world today, but few people know that evidence of a of a timber circle was found approximately 1.2 miles northeast of it and is referred to as Woodhenge. Only the foundation remains. Like other sites throughout Europe, the wood has long since returned to the earth.

Scandinavia has its own stone circles, or “stone ships” as some variations are called. Overlooking the Baltic Sea rests Ales Stenar, also referred to as Ale’s Stones. Set in a scenic spot with impressive cliffs, the site has been called the “Stonehenge of Sweden.” Some claim that the site was constructed 5,500 years ago, and some tests concur, but other evidence leads most experts to agree that it is younger, either 1000 or 2500 years old. Fifty nine huge boulders, up to 1,800 Kilos each, form the outline of a ship 67 meters long. Local lore tells us that the place is the burial ground of the Legendary King Ale. According to the tales, King Ale (also known as Ole) of the House of Skjöldung ruled in Uppsala for 25 years until he was killed by Starkad the Old. Events related to this story, referred to in English as “Starkad’s Vow,” is told by Saxo Grammaticus in Gesta Danorum.

In recent years, evidence of a burial site was found near the center of the stone ship. It was thought to be the remains of a dolman, a Neolithic burial chamber consisting of several upright stones with a horizontal boulder on top. Thousands of dolmans can be found throughout Scandinavia. It is also interesting that this part of the site was estimated to be much older than the surrounding structures, roughly corresponding to the 5,500 year estimate of the original dig. Since dolman sites were often deconstructed in later ages to build churches and other structures, it is possible that stones from the older burial site were used to build part of the stone ship, providing a reasonable explanation for the conflicting results of the dating tests.

Some claim that Ales Stenar might have been inspired by Stonehenge, but I disagree. We have no way of knowing if the creators of Ales Stenar even knew about Stonehenge, or whether Stonehenge was still standing when material from the dolman was incorporated into the stone ship. They had other, more plausible templates to refer to if the need arose. Structures similar to stone circles or ships were not uncommon throughout Europe, and while many have been rediscovered, we have found only a fraction of them.

When I was visiting Stockholm I was lucky enough to see the famous 17th century ship at the Vasa Museum. Even with constant preservation efforts the wood continues to deteriorate. Compared to wood, stone is resilient; but time is a ruthless and relentless adversary, and left unchallenged can easily scatter the bones of the Earth. As with wood, many ancient stone structures are also lost to time, and will never be found. However, Ales Stenar is not alone, there are stone ships, stone circles and runestones surrounding the Baltic Sea and in other places in Europe. In this respect Odin’s people have left their mark as their kindred Europeans have. Other sites of interest are the Glavendrup, Anundshög and Jelling stone ships, and the Gettlinge and Hulterstad grave fields, to name just a few.

Evidence suggests that the stone ships are early burial sites, and this is supported bySnorri Sturluson in the introduction to the Heimskringa: “As to funeral rites, the earliest age is called the age of burning; because all the dead were consumed by fire and over their ashes were raised standing stones.” Traditionally stone circles were used as meeting places or places of judgement (Domarringar/Domkretsar – judge circles or Domarsäten – judge seats). Over time it is thought that the stone ships became meeting places as well.

For those of us who follow the Old Religion, it shouldn’t matter if Ales Stenar is 1000 or 5500 years old. We may not know everything about the stone ships or monoliths, or how their cultural significance evolved over the centuries, but the sites themselves tell us they were important. No one in those times moved tons of rock into predetermined designs because they were bored. The amount of effort and resources spent on these projects, in an age where survival was a constant and brutal struggle, make it obvious that they had a deep meaning to the people who built them. The remaining sites are more than just curiosities, they are connections to our ancestral past. They represent the flow from which we come and the efforts of our ancestors, not only to survive, but ensure the survival of their people. These places are sacred to us because they were sacred to them, and without the efforts of our ancestors we would not exist. In such places, if sought, one can feel the soul of the Folk.

References:

Links:
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/swedish-stonehenge-tomb-ales-stenar-chieftan_n_2000936.html

National Geographic News: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070112-stonehenge.html

Books:
Stonehenge and Timber Circles, by ALEX GIBSON
Tempus. 2005 (Second edition). 189pp, ISBN 0 7524 3350 4

The Swords of the Vikings, Stories from the Works of Saxo Grammaticus by Julia Davis Adams copyright 1928 Dutton (1 edition)

The Heimskringla Vol. 1 Snorro Sturleson (alternate spelling), translated by Samuel Laing, ESQ. from The Heimskringla Vol. 1 page 212. Published 1844.
Quote from page 212

IrminFyrd Kit : The Fenix LD20 (R5 LED) 6-Setting 180 MAX Lumen 2AA Flashlight

After some training Drills during daylight hours and a Successful Overnight Recon Mission, the IrminFyrd learned that the flashlights which we initially deemed as worthy, were unable to lend us the needed luminosity, be it weak or great. We shortly thereafter discovered Fenix’s LD series!

When you are in utter darkness amidst the owls and a full moon, at midnight as the fog rolls in and a light dew waxes your skin and clothing, you think to yourself that the conditions are perfect for a Recon Mission. Having a flashlight which will coöperate within those parameters is essential. You don’t want to be left able to read your map, as your targets watch you from afar; giggling. Continue reading

IrminFyrd: Community Safety Program. Things to consider before a storm.

From time to time, you will find yourself in the forecast impact zone of an approaching storm. What follows is a list of things that the IrminFyrd suggests you should take into consideration before the storm arrives.

Be prepared for the power grid to fail.

Storm winds often uproot trees, And trees mistakenly believe that people put power lines up to catch falling trees. Often, this results in power outages, which can sometimes last for a week or more. Prepare for the worst, it can’t hurt.

After the power goes out, ensure that your important appliances are unplugged or shut off at the breaker to prevent them from becoming damaged by surges. Leave one light on so you know when the power comes back on.

Gas pumps won’t work in a blackout.
Before the storm hits you should fill up your car’s gas tank.

Remember, if you must drive during a blackout, you must think like a pilot. Only travel as far from a working gas station as a little less than HALF of your tank of gas will take you, so you have enough gas to make it back.

If you own a generator, make sure it has enough fuel to power your essentials for at least several days.

If you own a chainsaw, make sure you have enough 2-stroke oil for it in case you have to clear downed trees. A chainsaw is good to have anyway, in case of downed trees along your evacuation route, or along a route you need to use to get to a person you care about.

Kerosene lanterns offer a full evening’s light on one filling. Half a gallon of Kerosene will be plenty for one lantern for a week. They are relatively cheap at most camping stores and online. Just be careful using them indoors as burning Kerosene emits carbon Monoxide. Use common sense and stay safe.

A small, portable camping stove is important for boiling water and cooking if your home stove is electric or if you have to evacuate.

Use common sense when storing and handling fuels.

Water distribution may become unreliable

If you are on well water, your well pump will stop working as soon as the power fails. Unless you have a generator, or an alternate pump (such as a hand pump) you will have no water. In areas prone to flooding, the water supply can become contaminated. Sewers may even back up into town aquifers.

Before the storm hits, put away at least one gallon of drinking water per person in your family for each day you anticipate being effected. Empty 2 liter soda bottles work well for this.

Clean your bathtub, and then fill it up with water. Scoop water out of the tub to wash dishes and to take “bird baths”. Do not wash directly in your water supply, take out what you need.  Keep a bucket or a pot in the bathroom to fill your toilet’s tank from the bathtub.

Do your laundry before the storm hits.

ATM machines run on electricity;

Go take some money out now. You might need it and it does no good stuck inside a dead bank machine.

Stores will probably close

Sadly, without a cash registers to tell them, many cashiers cannot figure out how much change to dispense. Most stores just close when the power is out.  The few stores that remain open will run out of essential supplies very quickly.

Stock up on Non perishable food. Canned food, things that do not go bad. At least 3,000 calories per person, per day. Cases of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are a convenient way to stock up on emergency food stuffs. They last approximately 60 months if stored properly. The cases fit nicely under a bed and provide peace of mind.

Your refrigerator will stay cold for approximately 24 hours IF you do not open the door. Remove anything that does not absolutely need to be refrigerated. Bottles of soda, for example. Otherwise, you can’t have them until it is time to “break the seal” and open the fridge.

If your stove is electric, you might want to cook before the storm hits and put the food in the fridge or a cooler with Ice.

Medicines will be hard to re-stock during an emergency. If you are caring for someone who is on vital medication, ensure there is a good stockpile. Persons on oxygen should request extra deliveries of bottled oxygen.

Child care supplies: Make sure you are good on diapers, wipes, formula, and some toys for entertainment.

Pet care: Food, medicine, travel carrier in case of evacuation.

Make sure your flashlight works and you have at least 2 extra sets of batteries. It will be the first thing you look for when the lights go out.

If you do not own a solar battery charger,keep in mind that solar garden lights contain at least one AA rechargeable battery. You can use the path lights as emergency solar chargers for your flashlight and radio.

Prepare a first aid kit and learn how to use it properly.

When the power goes out, usually so does your heat. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, make sure you have dry wood for it. Also, make sure each person has a warm blanket or sleeping bag. This is especially important if evacuation is necessary.

Communications considerations:

Cell phone towers have emergency backup power supplies. Cell phones will make calls for a few days following a failure of the power grid. Most cell towers will continue to send and receive data (internet).  Make sure you charge your phone before the storm. If you don’t have one, you should get a 12V car charger for your cell phone.

Less and less people still have them, but if you have a land line phone in your home, it will work in a blackout. Just make sure it isn’t a “cordless” phone that needs a power supply. Have an “old school” regular phone on hand in that case.

A good battery powered AM/FM radio is essential for keeping you updated on weather conditions, evacuation orders and instructions.

Irminfyrd Kit: Solar battery chargers

In order to get the fullest potential out of rechargeable NiMH batteries, you will need a good smart charger and a solar battery charger. This will allow you to keep your electronic gear “up” in deep remote areas and after a long duration power failure. The ability to charge batteries should be considered a vital part of ones personal equipment. Flashlights, GPS receivers and vital communication equipment are useless without batteries to power them. Don’t overlook the importance of keeping these items powered up. Continue reading

Irminfyrd kit: Rechargable Batteries

In the pursuit of standardization, the Irminfyrd have chosen the AA battery as the standard size for all battery powered personal equipment. Whenever possible, flashlights, night vision devices, GPS receivers, and hand held radios should all accept AA batteries.

The batteries themselves should be rechargeable so that during a power outage or long duration in a remote location, battery dependent equipment will not become useless when disposable batteries die and replacements are unavailable.

When used in conjunction with a portable solar panel, and a smart charger, rechargeable NiMH batteries will keep your essential equipment “up” as long as you have access to sunshine. New technology in Nickel Metal Hydroxide (NiMH) rechargeable batteries provides many beneficial features: Continue reading

IrminFyrd Kit : The Lensatic Compass

A compass is a necessary piece of equipment for navigating terrain, determining magnetic north, and plotting courses. As part of it’s standard Kit for navigation, The IrminFyrd uses the Military Lensatic Compass. This compass was first introduced right after WW2 and has remained relatively unchanged since.

Lensatic Compass with carrying case

The lensatic compass is made exclusively by the Cammenga corporation and comes in two different types: The less expensive version with phosphorescent (glow-in-the-dark) markings that have to be charged from a light source and will glow for several hours, and the 3H Tritium filled version that uses radioactive decay to cause the markings to glow for approximately 12 years continuously. When purchasing a used 3H compass be sure to check the date stamped on the inside of the front cover to see if it’s half-life is up.

Beware of the very inexpensive plastic Chinese knockoffs, they will not perform the same as the genuine oracle will. The plastic copies are filled with Mineral oil to dampen the needle, and once that mineral oil starts to leak out, an air bubble will form, which will render the compass pretty difficult to use, at best. The real Lensatic compass uses a copper induction dampening ring to slow the needle’s rotation without using liquids, a superior, durable design with nothing to go wrong.

Parts of the Lensatic compass:

a. Cover. The compass cover protects the floating dial. It contains the sighting wire
(front sight) and two luminous sighting slots or dots used for night navigation.
b. Base. The body of the compass contains the following movable parts:

  1.   The floating dial is mounted on a pivot so it can rotate freely when the compass is held level. Printed on the dial in luminous figures are an arrow and the letters E and W. The arrow always points to magnetic north and the letters fall at east (E) 90° and west (W) 270° on the dial. There are two scales; the outer scale denotes 6400 mils and the inner scale (normally in red) denotes 360 degrees.
  2. Encasing the floating dial is a glass containing a fixed black index line.
  3. The bezel ring is a ratchet device that clicks when turned. It contains 120 clicks when rotated fully; each click is equal to 3°. A short luminous line that is used in conjunction with the north-seeking arrow during navigation is contained in the glass face of the bezel ring.
  4. The thumb loop is attached to the base of the compass.

c. Lens. The lens is used to read the dial, and it contains the rear-sight slot used in conjunction with the front for sighting on objects. The rear sight also serves as a lock and clamps the dial when closed for its protection. The rear sight must be opened more than 45° to allow the dial to float freely.

 To acquire a Lensatic Compass:
All versions of Cammenga’s Lensatic compass are acceptable in the IrminFyrd. They can be purchased in many surplus stores and on Ebay, sometimes at very good prices.

Equal or superior compasses are acceptable (such as the Silva lensatic compass) so long as it features both a degree scale, has a sight and sight wire, and uses a copper induction dampener instead of mineral oil for dampening.