Today’s column comes to us from Karl E.H. Seigfried, goði of Thor’s Oak Kindred in Chicago. In addition to his award-winning website, The Norse Mythology Blog, Karl has written for the BBC, Iceland Magazine, Journal of the Oriental Institute, On Religion, Religion Stylebook, and many other outlets. He holds degrees in literature, music, and religion, and he is the first Ásatrú practitioner to hold a graduate degree from University of Chicago Divinity School. Our weekend section is always open for submissions. Please submit queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The phrase “book-loving Pagans” may be redundant. With that in mind, here’s another edition of the Pagan Bookshelf – a roundup of recent releases. * Dancing with Raven and Bear: A Book of Earth Medicine and Animal Magic by Sonja Grace (Findhorn Press, 144 p.)
The Norse god Odin has his two ravens, Huginn (who represents thought) and Muninn (memory). Writer, storyteller and healer Sonja Grace, whose heritage includes Norwegian and Native American roots (Hopi, Choctaw and Cherokee), has her own ravens. “As a child I drew Ravens,” Grace writes in her book Dancing with Raven and Bear: A Book of Earth Medicine and Animal Magic.
[Today’s column comes to us from Luke Babb. Luke Babb is a storyteller and eclectic polytheist who primarily works with the Norse and Hellenic pantheons. They live in Chicago with their wife and a small jungle of houseplants, where they are studying magic and community building – sometimes even on purpose.]
The old man likes to corner me. I worked for a while in high end kitchen retail – the sort of small business that can only exist in big cities, where the wealthy come to buy designer pots and “give back to the community.” One of those stores that really wants customers to access those ancestral memories of the general store they saw on Anne of Green Gables as a kid. Playing into that hometown feel, once a year this store participates in a neighborhood street festival and sells something that is only available on that weekend – apple pies.
For three days beginning on July 13, Atlanta hosted Mystic South: Theory, Practice, and Play. According to the convention’s Facebook page, the Pagan event “highlights the Southern flair and mystic spirit of our own part of the country.”
Headliners this year included John Beckett, Ivo Dominguez, Yaya Nsasi Vence Guerra, Sangoma Oludoye, Mama Gina, and the Night Travelers. The conference schedule included rituals, workshops, papers, panels, presentations, and a live podcast. Several events centered on Norse material and Heathen religions. To get a sense of the conference from a Heathen perspective, I spoke with Ryan Denison of the Mystic South organizing committee.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Odin, Freya and Loki must be jealous. In the new “Gods of the Vikings” exhibit in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot in Disney World, it was the slightly larger-than-life bust of Thor – especially the Norse god’s hammer, Mjolnir – that was getting the most photo-opp attention during a visit by The Wild Hunt. People young and old, and speaking numerous foreign languages, clutched the imposing, 18-inch Mjolnir as friends or family took photos – perhaps an indication of how the Marvel Comics movie franchise has made Thor a rock star beyond the community of practicing Heathens and followers of Ásatrú. Five feet from the Thor bust, however, was another Mjolnir, one less than an inch and a half long: an authentic Thor’s hammer pendant, made circa 800-1000 A.D. The artifact is on loan to the exhibit from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.