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Taking stock, Part Two

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  • Ann Sheffield
    [More of my thoughts on the story so far...] Part Two: Intermediate level and beyond. Things are much less concrete here, and we haven t addressed the
    Message 1 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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      [More of my thoughts on the story so far...]

      Part Two: Intermediate level and beyond. Things are much less concrete
      here, and we haven't addressed the question of various levels and goals
      within the broad "Intermediate" category, but a few ideas have
      nonetheless emerged:

      A. Course on Wyrd and its implications for ethics, including the ideal
      of Frith). Suggested texts: Wax, Bauchatz.

      B. Language studies, or at least resources for language studies. This
      group contains people who might be able to do this for German and
      Anglo-Saxon.

      [Some further suggestions:

      -"Myths of the God/desses II", which introduces the major primary
      sources (example: for Frey, read Svipdagsmal, the stuff in Snorri, and
      the euhemerized stuff in Ynglingasaga). Could be followed by higher
      level, specialized courses that deal with fewer deities at a time and
      introduce some of the more obscure lore. Example: course on the Vanir
      that, for Frey, includes Hrafnkel's saga, Vatnsdalasaga, the piece of
      the Flateyjarbok version of St. Olaf's saga that describes the Frey
      procession around the countryside, etc., etc... You can probably tell
      that a) I've been reading up on Frey a lot lately and b) this is the
      kind of course that I personally would like to work on.

      -Course on Indo-European comparitive religion.

      -Course on Viking culture. Ditto Anglo-Saxon and continental Germanic
      culture.

      -Course on shamanism (in global anthropological context; evidence for
      shamanic elements in Norse culture; modern experiments in seidh, etc.)

      The possibilities for this level are vast; what we actually get done may
      depend critically on what people are most motivated to work on.]

      Wassail,

      Groa

      Ann Groa Sheffield
      Medoburg Kindred
      asheffie@...
    • Manny Olds
      On Tue, 2 May 2000, Ann Sheffield wrote: ) -Course on Indo-European comparitive religion. Shorter Eliade and Puhvel. Also (I think) something good on folklore
      Message 2 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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        On Tue, 2 May 2000, Ann Sheffield wrote:

        ) -Course on Indo-European comparitive religion.

        Shorter Eliade and Puhvel. Also (I think) something good on folklore
        transmission and diffusion--have to think which one hits the right level.

        I also think a pan-Germanic/Celtic cultural overview would be good to
        include. As in, what are the relationships between all the groups that are
        more or less Germanic?; what is the difference between them and the
        Celts?; What about all those "Saxons"?; how do the Romans get involved in
        this; and what about those darned Tokharians and Finns?

        (Notice how we are all like coins going through one of those sorter
        dingies--each of us falling into our own little slot.)

        ) -Course on Viking culture. Ditto Anglo-Saxon and continental Germanic
        ) culture.

        Don't forget the Gothic Gazebo!

        ) The possibilities for this level are vast; what we actually get done may
        ) depend critically on what people are most motivated to work on.]

        I think that this may be the level for the Women and Feminism (Then and
        Now) course that (I'm betting) there will be a strong demand for. This is
        *not* the same as a Goddess course, blast it! I think the Larrington
        "Feminist/Women's Companion to Mythology" and Jochens or Jesch.

        Somewhere, we need to have a "nature of the gods, wights, etc" unit that
        goes into things like what are alvar, what is the difference between them
        and the disir, are the gods archetypes, and so on. I know that the answers
        are somwhere in the vicinity of "We don't know" and "It depends on who you
        ask", but I think that you can cover a lot of good ground getting there.

        And what about death and the afterlife? It ties into Wyrd, but I think it
        merits a standalone. And we know *who* has an outline and reading list on
        this handy.
      • Ann Sheffield
        ... Or maybe gender more generally, so that we tackle the issue of (modern) homophobia and the problematic understanding of ergi . I was thinking that some
        Message 3 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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          Manny Olds wrote:

          >
          > I think that this may be the level for the Women and Feminism (Then and
          > Now) course that (I'm betting) there will be a strong demand for. This is
          > *not* the same as a Goddess course, blast it! I think the Larrington
          > "Feminist/Women's Companion to Mythology" and Jochens or Jesch.

          Or maybe gender more generally, so that we tackle the issue of (modern)
          homophobia and the problematic understanding of "ergi". I was thinking
          that some reading from Jochens or Jesch should be part of the "Viking
          Culture" course anyway, but that certainly doesn't preclude a whole
          course devoted to the issues of sex roles and gender identity.

          > Somewhere, we need to have a "nature of the gods, wights, etc" unit that
          > goes into things like what are alvar, what is the difference between them
          > and the disir, are the gods archetypes, and so on.

          Someday I may even have this figured out for myself... I continue to
          find alfar, landvaettir, dvergar, disir, norns, swanmaidens, valkyries,
          Uncle Tom Cobbley and All a hopeless tangle.

          > And what about death and the afterlife? It ties into Wyrd, but I think it
          > merits a standalone. And we know *who* has an outline and reading list on
          > this handy.

          Joe Mandato??

          OK, OK, I'll do it, though I intend to try to persuade Joe that he wants
          to do it with me. And, I get to do the Vanir course first - I'm
          teaching a course on Frey at Starwood and so have an actual deadline.

          Wassail,

          Groa

          Ann Groa Sheffield
          Medoburg Kindred
          asheffie@...
        • Manny Olds
          It occurs to me that the Vingolf booklist is already broken down along topical lines: Primary mythological sources Sagas Women s studies Mythology and
          Message 4 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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            It occurs to me that the Vingolf booklist is already broken down along
            topical lines:

            Primary mythological sources
            Sagas
            Women's studies
            Mythology and anthropology (Religion in cultural context)
            Runes and magic
            Asatru (specifics on the modern religion)
            Asatru and the law
            Fiction
            Children's books
            Religion in general (comparative, sociology)
            Ritual design and engineering
            "Oh, okay--some Viking stuff"

            If anyone would care to have a look:

            http://www.vingolf.org/booklist.html.


            Manny Olds <oldsma@...> of Riverdale Park, Maryland, USA

            "Share your loot with your band." -- Dirk Mahling
          • Swain Wodening
            ... Well, I am not sure where we should put them in relation to each other, but to me any basic course in Asatru must contain: 1) The Gods 2) Wights 3)Wyrd
            Message 5 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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              >
              > Somewhere, we need to have a "nature of the gods, wights, etc" unit that
              > goes into things like what are alvar, what is the difference between them
              > and the disir, are the gods archetypes, and so on. I know that the answers
              > are somwhere in the vicinity of "We don't know" and "It depends on who you
              > ask", but I think that you can cover a lot of good ground getting there.
              >
              > And what about death and the afterlife? It ties into Wyrd, but I think it
              > merits a standalone. And we know *who* has an outline and reading list on
              > this handy.


              Well, I am not sure where we should put them in relation to each other, but to
              me any basic course in Asatru must contain: 1) The Gods 2) Wights 3)Wyrd
              and Frith 4) The Soul and the Death and afterlife 5) Ethics. I think those five
              things are pretty necessary to basic understanding anyhow. Now how we
              handle those with in the program I don't know. All I do know is they need ot
              be on the most basic level.

              Frith!
              Swain
              -----------------------------------------
              Hammer of the Gods Records
              http://jove.prohosting.com/~dosenhof
            • Manny Olds
              On Tue, 2 May 2000, Swain Wodening wrote: ) Well, I am not sure where we should put them in relation to each ) other, but to me any basic course in Asatru must
              Message 6 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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                On Tue, 2 May 2000, Swain Wodening wrote:

                ) Well, I am not sure where we should put them in relation to each
                ) other, but to me any basic course in Asatru must contain: 1) The
                ) Gods 2) Wights 3)Wyrd and Frith 4) The Soul and the Death and
                ) afterlife 5) Ethics. I think those five things are pretty necessary
                ) to basic understanding anyhow. Now how we handle those with in the
                ) program I don't know. All I do know is they need ot be on the most
                ) basic level.

                I think that you get a spiral on each of these: start small, central,
                basic. As you go to more advanced and specialised classes, you take in
                broader and vaguer areas of the subject. And I don't see how any class on
                one of those topics could *avoid* some coverage of the others.


                Manny Olds <oldsma@...> of Riverdale Park, Maryland, USA

                "Share your loot with your band." -- Dirk Mahling
              • Swain Wodening
                ... Very, very true, they all overlap in places. Frith! Swain ... Hammer of the Gods Records http://jove.prohosting.com/~dosenhof
                Message 7 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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                  > On Tue, 2 May 2000, Swain Wodening wrote:
                  >
                  > ) Well, I am not sure where we should put them in relation to each
                  > ) other, but to me any basic course in Asatru must contain: 1) The
                  > ) Gods 2) Wights 3)Wyrd and Frith 4) The Soul and the Death and
                  > ) afterlife 5) Ethics. I think those five things are pretty necessary
                  > ) to basic understanding anyhow. Now how we handle those with in the
                  > ) program I don't know. All I do know is they need ot be on the most
                  > ) basic level.
                  >
                  > I think that you get a spiral on each of these: start small, central,
                  > basic. As you go to more advanced and specialised classes, you take in
                  > broader and vaguer areas of the subject. And I don't see how any class on
                  > one of those topics could *avoid* some coverage of the others.
                  >

                  Very, very true, they all overlap in places.

                  Frith!
                  Swain
                  -----------------------------------------
                  Hammer of the Gods Records
                  http://jove.prohosting.com/~dosenhof
                • Lissa
                  ... Don t forget Christine Fell s Women in Anglo-Saxon England. It is lamentably oop, but still very good. Be well, Lissa who will comment on other stuff when
                  Message 8 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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                    > I think that this may be the level for the Women and Feminism (Then
                    > and Now) course that (I'm betting) there will be a strong demand for.
                    > This is *not* the same as a Goddess course, blast it! I think the
                    > Larrington "Feminist/Women's Companion to Mythology" and Jochens or
                    > Jesch.

                    Don't forget Christine Fell's Women in Anglo-Saxon England. It is
                    lamentably oop, but still very good.

                    Be well,
                    Lissa

                    who will comment on other stuff when the headache goes away...
                    qibhom@...
                  • Ann Sheffield
                    ... Hmm, I don t find Ethics separable from Wyrd and Frith. There s also some messy overlap between Wights and the Afterlife, but I think that one is
                    Message 9 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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                      Swain Wodening wrote:

                      > Well, I am not sure where we should put them in relation to each other, but to
                      > me any basic course in Asatru must contain: 1) The Gods 2) Wights 3)Wyrd
                      > and Frith 4) The Soul and the Death and afterlife 5) Ethics. I think those five
                      > things are pretty necessary to basic understanding anyhow.

                      Hmm, I don't find Ethics separable from Wyrd and Frith. There's also
                      some messy overlap between Wights and the Afterlife, but I think that
                      one is manageable.

                      The other thing I think we have to build into the basic course is
                      something about ritual and practice. It seems a common phenomenon for
                      new people who are learning the lore to get frustrated with the pure
                      head-work and want to _do_ something.

                      Wassail,

                      Groa

                      Ann Groa Sheffield
                      Medoburg Kindred West
                      asheffie@...
                    • Cynthia Haywood
                      ... And at a rushing waterfall speed to this slow nickel. (Personal life in a minor cyclone, and trying to deal with pink eye) Myths and folklore, and (less
                      Message 10 of 15 , May 2, 2000
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                        Manny wrote:
                        >
                        > (Notice how we are all like coins going through one of those sorter
                        > dingies--each of us falling into our own little slot.)
                        >

                        And at a rushing waterfall speed to this slow nickel. (Personal life
                        in a minor cyclone, and trying to deal with pink eye) Myths and
                        folklore, and (less so) Germanic culture catches my eye; but I have
                        been trying to put myself back in the position of being a total
                        newcomer again, too, to see what would have struck me as being
                        most useful then.

                        Right off the top of my head: a brief example of "Good book, Bad
                        book" on the myths, modern Asatru, to go in either the beginner or
                        intermediate level.

                        Hmm. Maybe a lesson on how to check a book's sources?

                        Cyndy

                        ~!


                        "The right to be heard doesn't include the right to be taken seriously."
                        -- Hubert Humphrey
                      • Teleri K. Schakel
                        ... (Then and Now) course that (I m betting) there will be a strong demand for. This is *not* the same as a Goddess course, blast it! I think the Larrington
                        Message 11 of 15 , May 4, 2000
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                          --- In Asatru-U@egroups.com, Ann Sheffield <asheffie@a...> wrote:
                          > Manny Olds wrote:
                          >
                          > >
                          > > I think that this may be the level for the Women and Feminism
                          (Then and Now) course that (I'm betting) there will be a strong
                          demand
                          for. This is *not* the same as a Goddess course, blast it! I think
                          the
                          Larrington "Feminist/Women's Companion to Mythology" and Jochens or
                          Jesch.


                          <grin> why do I get the impression that you're bored with the
                          beginner
                          stuff, and just can't wait to sink your teeth into the meat of it???:)

                          As far as it goes, I DO think an ASYNJUR course might not be off base
                          for the newbies, and that it might be a good idea to carry this as a
                          separate course from the one on the gods. <and no, I'm not talking a
                          Goddess course either, "blast it"> I just happen to feel that,
                          especially for women breaking away from subservient roles foisted
                          upon
                          them by alien patriarchal religions, it may be of importance to carry
                          a course featuring the many strong roles feminine figures carry in
                          Northern traditions. I realize that the drawback is of course the
                          paucity of detail in the Eddas and other primary sources, but I think
                          the strong females portrayed in the sagas compensate adequately, if
                          worked in the right way, and might be a good platform from which to
                          launch readership of those sagas.


                          >
                          > Or maybe gender more generally, so that we tackle the issue of
                          (modern)homophobia and the problematic understanding of "ergi". I
                          was
                          thinking that some reading from Jochens or Jesch should be part of
                          the
                          "Viking Culture" course anyway, but that certainly doesn't preclude a
                          whole course devoted to the issues of sex roles and gender identity.
                          >
                          > > Somewhere, we need to have a "nature of the gods, wights, etc"
                          unit that goes into things like what are alvar, what is the
                          difference
                          between them and the disir, are the gods archetypes, and so on.


                          I think we can at least provide standard definitions for these
                          entities and others early on...
                          >
                          > Someday I may even have this figured out for myself... I continue
                          to find alfar, landvaettir, dvergar, disir, norns, swanmaidens,
                          valkyries, Uncle Tom Cobbley and All a hopeless tangle.

                          Personally, I think your mastery of their right names betokens more
                          knowledge than a tangle. At least we don't have the legions of Irish
                          Fey types to contend with! Though you're right, Northern folklore
                          reveals almost as tangled a the Irish!
                          >
                          > > And what about death and the afterlife? It ties into Wyrd, but I
                          think it merits a standalone. And we know *who* has an outline and
                          reading list on this handy.


                          >
                          > Joe Mandato??
                          >
                          > OK, OK, I'll do it, though I intend to try to persuade Joe that he
                          wants to do it with me. And, I get to do the Vanir course first - I'm
                          > teaching a course on Frey at Starwood and so have an actual
                          deadline.

                          At Starwood, huh? I haven't been to one in years and really haven't
                          much desire to return, but a good course on Frey might just convince
                          me otherwise. Do you care to share any details? He and Odin together
                          are my male deific influences, and Freya of course is the feminine.

                          Are you going to go into the "barrow god" aspect of Frey? This has
                          always seemed to me most relevant to his role as ruler of the alfar...


                          Sorry, you piqued my interest...


                          In Troth,

                          Teleri
                        • skfmyers@aol.com
                          Teleri K. Schakel writes: I just happen to feel that, especially for women breaking away from subservient roles foisted upon them
                          Message 12 of 15 , May 4, 2000
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                            "Teleri K. Schakel" <teleri4411@...> writes:

                            I just happen to feel that,
                            especially for women breaking away from subservient roles foisted
                            upon
                            them by alien patriarchal religions, it may be of importance to carry
                            a course featuring the many strong roles feminine figures carry in
                            Northern traditions. I realize that the drawback is of course the
                            paucity of detail in the Eddas and other primary sources, but I think
                            the strong females portrayed in the sagas compensate adequately, if
                            worked in the right way, and might be a good platform from which to
                            launch readership of those sagas.

                            Jenny Jochens' work, if you haven't read it, might be a good model for such a course. She emphasises the role of women without the ahistorical wishful thinking that permeates so many works on "women in heathen times" and the sloppy scholarship of many others, including HRED'S Roles of the Northern Goddess (her worst book ever - if I wanted to be charitable I would say it was written by a student, and her name was put onto it). If you're looking for egalitarian historical models, there aren't any.

                            And before anyone makes the error of accusing me of "woman bashing" again: I am one. I do resent the fact that writing about women one now has to be twice as rigorous to be taken half as seriously because of the egregious flaws in so many books on "women's history."

                            Regards,
                            S.K.F. Myers
                          • Hringari
                            ... I am one. I do resent the fact that writing about women one now has to be twice as rigorous to be taken half as seriously because of the egregious flaws in
                            Message 13 of 15 , May 4, 2000
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                              >
                              >
                              > And before anyone makes the error of accusing me of "woman bashing" again:
                              I am one. I do resent the fact that writing about women one now has to be
                              twice as rigorous to be taken half as seriously because of the egregious
                              flaws in so many books on "women's history."
                              >
                              well said. and very sober. It is always a crime that those who come after
                              have to continously live by the dictates of writers who came before, from
                              Freud to Gimbutas, such writers that are popularized for their extreme or
                              'exciting' new veiwpoints get mainstreamed into being held as perfectly
                              valid, mostly because there were no contemporaries that grabbed as much of
                              the spotlight at that particular time. Even as far as historical data is
                              concerned, one may insist one is relying on such, but one's own viewpoint
                              and conditioning are the very things that make what is produced mere
                              'opinion'. (Witness Thorsson) To counter these 'mass media' imposed
                              paradigms takes a great deal of intelluctual detachment, and sobriety. I
                              find your words refreshing.

                              Ari
                            • Lissa
                              ... I see what you mean. It is tricky. If one separates the Asynjur out, it looks like you are tossing in stuff just to shut the women up. If one integrates
                              Message 14 of 15 , May 7, 2000
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                                > As far as it goes, I DO think an ASYNJUR course might not be off base
                                > for the newbies, and that it might be a good idea to carry this as a
                                > separate course from the one on the gods. <and no, I'm not talking a
                                > Goddess course either, "blast it">

                                I see what you mean. It is tricky. If one separates the Asynjur
                                out, it looks like you are tossing in stuff just to shut the women up.
                                If one integrates the material, it can loose impact, and might be
                                easier to ignore.

                                > I just happen to feel that,
                                > especially for women breaking away from subservient roles foisted upon
                                > them by alien patriarchal religions, it may be of importance to carry
                                > a course featuring the many strong roles feminine figures carry in
                                > Northern traditions.

                                I'm afraid to ask what is meant by "alien" patriarchal religions <g>.
                                I don't recall any green men in my religous upbringing.

                                Change the point, though, to a patriarchal culture, and I'm with you.

                                > I realize that the drawback is of course the
                                > paucity of detail in the Eddas and other primary sources, but I think
                                > the strong females portrayed in the sagas compensate adequately, if
                                > worked in the right way, and might be a good platform from which to
                                > launch readership of those sagas.

                                The primary sources were written by men, and there are plenty of
                                strong women in there, if one pays attention. I once taught a
                                course in women in Anglo-Saxon England, and there is simply tons
                                of good material there. Christian, unfortunately, but one can make
                                the arguement that this carried over.

                                > > Or maybe gender more generally, so that we tackle the issue of
                                > (modern)homophobia and the problematic understanding of "ergi".

                                As near and dear to my heart as this issue is, I'm not sure it really
                                belongs anywhere but, possibly, the advanced stuff. I would
                                suggest contacting Selvarv Stigardh, since I know he's done a
                                great deal of very scholarly work on ergi, if we decide to tackle it.

                                Be well,
                                Lissa


                                Rational, adj.
                                Deviod of all delusions save those of observation,
                                experience and reflection.
                                Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
                              • Manny Olds
                                On Sun, 7 May 2000, Lissa wrote: ) ) As far as it goes, I DO think an ASYNJUR course might not be off base ) for the newbies, and that it might be a good
                                Message 15 of 15 , May 9, 2000
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                                  On Sun, 7 May 2000, Lissa wrote:

                                  )
                                  ) > As far as it goes, I DO think an ASYNJUR course might not be off base
                                  ) > for the newbies, and that it might be a good idea to carry this as a
                                  ) > separate course from the one on the gods. <and no, I'm not talking a
                                  ) > Goddess course either, "blast it">
                                  )
                                  ) I see what you mean. It is tricky. If one separates the Asynjur
                                  ) out, it looks like you are tossing in stuff just to shut the women up.
                                  ) If one integrates the material, it can loose impact, and might be
                                  ) easier to ignore.

                                  I really think that empowering women is quite different from discussing
                                  the goddesses. To me, a woman taking up Odin's spear is a strong
                                  statement, but it has nothing to do with goddesses. And a discussion about
                                  (for example) sifting out clues to lost lore has nothing to do with
                                  hearing anyone Roar in the now.

                                  That is why I favor separate foci on goddesses and on women. Of course
                                  there would be some overlapping. But there would also be overlapping
                                  between each of them and plenty of other topics.


                                  Manny Olds <oldsma@...> of Riverdale Park, Maryland, USA

                                  "I really hate that labor-saving devices for women are called 'lazy Kates'
                                  and 'lazy susans' and that labor-saving devices for men are called trucks
                                  and tractors." -- Ruth Hiebert
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