Column: Voices from Ice and Snow

There is no denying that the north has always played an important role in the worldview of Europe and the Western world in general. From the Romantics that sung the praise of the wild, Nordic nature at the turn of the 19th century to the current popular entertainment craze spawned by media franchises such as Frozen, Vikings and the like, the north is as relevant as it has ever been. This influence is even more noticeable in regards to the world of contemporary Paganism. Not only has Heathenism experienced a noticeable revival and growth in the past couple decades, but Nordic deities, practices and iconography are routinely found within more eclectic movements as well. However, all things considered, the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and the Faroe Islands) are all relatively small and somewhat isolated.

Quick Note: The Easter Witches?

While the actually holiday of Easter has little to do with pre-Christian traditions, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some unique blending of Christianity and different folk customs over the years. Time Magazine shares one of the more charming in their round-up of “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Easter”. “Many of the things you don’t know about Easter have to do with odd, intensely national Holy Week traditions. So why not start off with the most unexpected one — the Easter Witch. In Sweden and parts of Finland, a mini-Halloween takes place on either the Thursday or Saturday before Easter.

Documentaries of Note

There are two new documentaries being released that should be of special interest to my reading audience. The first is a documentary concerning the legendary occultist Aleister Crowley. The film, “In Search Of The Great Beast 666”, purports to reveal the “shocking facts” about one of the most influential Britons of all time.Surprisingly, it seems that despite the melodramatic press copy, the film is actually pretty decent according to a review at Lashtal (home of the Aleister Crowley Society).”So, what of the film itself? Well, the narration is provided with typical workmanlike skill by Joss Ackland. Rather than following the usual dry format, the time flies past as a result of some really rather impressive reconstructed period interview: actors playing some of the most significant parts.

Asatru Gains Swedish Recognition

Astrid from The Northern Path blog has posted the news that the Swedish Heathen group Sveriges Asatrosamfund has achieved recognition from the government as a registered religious organization. “Sveriges Asatrosamfund has finally become a registered religious body. Of course, we have been a religious body all along. According to Swedish law, a religious body is a fellowship for religious activity, which includes organizing services. Ever since the foundation of SAs, we have been this type of religious fellowship, organizing ceremonies and blots (which qualifies under the legal definition of “services”).