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A practical guide to the magical history, customs, and practices of pre-Christian Northern Europe • Details the everyday magic of the Northern Tradition, including household magic, protection spells, and the significance of the days of the week • Explores direct natural magic, such as shapeshifting and soul travel, and talismanic or sigil magic, including runes and rituals to unlock the power of crafted objects • Explains how many of these customs continue to the present day In the pre-Christian societies of Northern Europe, magic was embedded in the practical skills of everyday life. Everything in Nature was ensouled with an inner spirit, as was anything made by hand. People believed in magic because it worked and because it was part of the functionality of their day-to-day lives. Many of these practical observances and customs continue to the present day as rural traditions, folk customs, household magic, and celebrations of the high and holy days of the calendar. Exploring the magical pagan traditions of the people now called Celtic, Germanic, Scandinavian, Slavonic, and Baltic, Nigel Pennick examines the underlying principle of the Northern Tradition--the concept of Wyrd--and how it empowers the arts of operative magic, such as direct natural magic and talismanic or sigil magic. Through direct natural magic, individuals can shape shift, journey out of the body, or send one of their three souls (fylgia or “fetch”) ahead of them. Sigil magic involves the powers contained in objects, which can be channeled after the appropriate ritual. Runes are the most powerful sigils in the Northern Tradition and were used to ward off illness, danger, hostile magic, and malevolent spirits. Emphasizing the importance of the cycles of Nature to the tradition, Pennick explores the eightfold sun dials and the four ways the solar year is defined. He looks at the days of the week and their symbolic association with different deities as well as why particular acts are performed on certain days and what the customary lucky and unlucky days are. He also examines sacred spaces, household magic, protection spells, and the role of music in the Northern Tradition. Explaining all the traditional holidays and activities necessary to honor them, Pennick shows how anyone can participate authentically in the magic of the Northern Tradition if they take care to do things properly, with respect, and on the right day.
The ancient origins and divinatory power of the runes • Uncovers the original divinatory meaning of each rune through the myths of its corresponding Norse god or goddess • Includes beautiful full-color illustrations of the runic gods and goddesses • Presents rune-casting spreads for divination and character analysis • Explores the controversial history of runes from the Paleolithic Stone Age to today Invented long before the appearance of the runic alphabet Futhark less than two thousand years ago, the runes were originally created as symbols for specific deities. Representing the twenty-four Norse gods and goddesses from the Vanir and Aesir pantheons, the runes provide a way to establish direct contact with the divine shapers of fate. Based on the work of Austrian mystic and runologist Guido von List and anthropologist Marija Gimbutas as well as the oldest rune artifacts to survive from pre-Christian Europe, this book reveals the long history of runes from their appearances in Paleolithic cave paintings through their rechristening in Medieval times to their modern resurgence as a popular tool of divination. It uncovers the original names and divinatory meanings of each rune by exploring the myths, personality traits, astrological periods, identifying colors, and gemstones of the rune’s corresponding god or goddess. It also illustrates and explains five ancient rune-casting spreads used by Norse adepts for divination as well as character analysis. By renewing their link with the divine, Gods of the Runes shows how working with the runes can be a genuine mystical experience, enabling a personal connection with the gods and a rediscovery of their perennial truths.
A guide to the festivals, traditions, and sacred days of the year.
Here the alphabetical systems of the West, including Hebrew, Greek, Runic, Celtic, Medieval, and the Renaissance alphabets of the alchemical tradition are examined in depth. Explains the numerological significance of the various alphabets, andprovides exciting evidence for the widespread influence of Runes.
Discover the untamed paganism of the Vikings and the Germanic tribes prior to the complete Christianization of Europe • Explores the different forms of magic practiced by these tribes, including runic magic, necromancy (death magic), soul-travel, and shape-shifting • Examines their rites of passage and initiation rituals and their most important gods, such as Odin, Loki, and Thor • Looks at barbarian magic in historical accounts, church and assembly records, and mythology as well as an eyewitness report from a 10th-century Muslim diplomat • Reveals the use and abuse of this tradition’s myths and magic by the Nazis Before the conversion of Europe to Christianity in the Middle Ages, Germanic tribes roamed the continent, plundering villages and waging battles to seek the favor of Odin, their god of war, ecstasy, and magic. Centuries later, predatory Viking raiders from Scandinavia carried on similar traditions. These wild “barbarians” had a system of social classes and familial clans with complex spiritual customs, from rites of passage for birth, death, and adulthood to black magic practices and shamanic ecstatic states, such as the infamous “berserker’s rage.” Chronicling the original pagan tradition of free and wild Europe--and the use and abuse of its myths and magic by the Nazis--Hans-Peter Hasenfratz offers a concise history of the Germanic tribes of Europe and their spiritual, magical, and occult beliefs. Looking at historical accounts, church and assembly records, mythology, and folktales from Germany, Russia, Scandinavia, and Iceland as well as an eyewitness report of Viking customs and rituals from a 10th-century Muslim diplomat, Hasenfratz explores the different forms of magic--including charms, runic magic, necromancy, love magic, soul-travel, and shamanic shape-shifting--practiced by the Teutonic tribes and examines their interactions with and eventual adaptation to Christianity. Providing in-depth information on their social class and clan structure, rites of passage, and their most important gods and goddesses, such as Odin, Loki, Thor, and Freyja, Hasenfratz reveals how it is only through understanding our magical barbarian roots that we can see the remnants of their language, culture, and dynamic spirit that have carried through to modern times.
An in-depth study of the sacred meanings behind ancient and enduring symbols • Explains the multiple forms and uses of symbols from ancient times to the present day, reflecting their roots in folk magic and the Western Mystery tradition • Examines more than 40 glyphs, such as the cross, fleur de lis, and pentagram, as well as several families of symbols, such as craftsmen’s marks and runes • Includes more than 300 unique woodcuts, drawings, calligraphy, and photographs--many never before reproduced From ancient rock and cave art to the contemporary brand logos of politics and business, human beings have always created symbols to denote specific ideas, groups, or important objects as well as to convey deeper information than can be communicated in words. Many glyphs have retained their meanings over millennia whereas some have modern meanings vastly different from the original connotation. In this study of symbols, Nigel Pennick explores glyphs as agents of higher consciousness and ports of access to the collective unconscious, acknowledging the continuity of tradition, both deliberate and not, as well as how interpretations of some symbols, such as the swastika, have changed dramatically. With more than 300 unique woodcuts, drawings, calligraphy, and photographs--many never before reproduced--Pennick examines ancient and enduring glyphs in detail, such as the circle, cross, eye, pentagram, fleur de lis, tree of life, and horseshoe, as well as several families of symbols, such as craftsmen’s marks, runes, symbolic beasts, human heads and skulls, and the sigils of Mammon. The author explains the multiple forms and uses of each from ancient times to the present day, reflecting their roots in the Western Mystery tradition. He explores the symbols of high magic such as the glyph of John Dee’s monad, those of folk magic such as the traditional cock on the weather vane, and the creation of modern glyphs such as the peace sign and the anarchy symbol. Contrasting the hi-jacked use of power symbols in modern advertising with the vital role of symbols in traditional arts and crafts, Pennick reveals how symbols link the cosmic with the terrestrial and allow us to infuse the mundane with the numinous.
Reveals how Christian mythology has more to do with long-standing pagan traditions than the Bible • Explains how the church fathers knowingly incorporated pagan elements into the Christian faith to ease the transition to the new religion • Identifies pagan deities that were incorporated into each of the saints • Shows how all the major holidays in the Christian calendar are modeled on pagan rituals and myths, including Easter and Christmas In this extensive study of the Christian mythology that animated Europe in the Middle Ages, author Philippe Walter reveals how these stories and the holiday traditions connected with them are based on long-standing pagan rituals and myths and have very little connection to the Bible. The author explains how the church fathers knowingly incorporated pagan elements into the Christian faith to ease the transition to the new religion. Rather than tear down the pagan temples in Britain, Pope Gregory the Great advised Saint Augustine of Canterbury to add the pagan rituals into the mix of Christian practices and transform the pagan temples into churches. Instead of religious conversion, it was simply a matter of convincing the populace to include Jesus in their current religious practices. Providing extensive documentation, Walter shows which major calendar days of the Christian year are founded on pagan rituals and myths, including the high holidays of Easter and Christmas. Examining hagiographic accounts of the saints, he reveals the origin of these symbolic figures in the deities worshipped in pagan Europe for centuries. He also explores how the identities of saints and pagan figures became so intermingled that some saints were transformed into pagan incarnations, such as Mary Magdalene’s conversion into one of the Celtic Ladies of the Lake. In revealing the pagan roots of many Christian figures, stories, and rituals, Walter provides a new understanding of the evolution of religious belief.

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