Tag Archives: Germanic paganism

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part XII:
Sigurd’s First Initiation into Runelore

Sigurd and the dwarf Regin forge a sword, from the portal of the stave church of Hylestad, Setesdal, Norway c. 1200.

3,469 words

Part I here, Part XI here

In our last installment, we saw how Queen Hjordis, pregnant with Sigurd, is taken in by King Alf, son of King Hjalprek of Denmark. Before his death, Sigmund had prophesied that his son “will become the greatest and most famous of our family.” Sigmund also entrusts to Hjordis the fragments of his sword, broken by Odin. “Take good care also of my sword’s fragments,” Sigmund tells her. “A good sword can be made from them, which will be called Gram, and our son will carry that sword and do many great things with it which will never be forgotten. Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part XI:
Concerning Queen Hjordis and King Alf

Johannes Gehrts, Sigmund’s Sword (1889)

2,334 words

Part I here, Part X here, Part XII here

After many twists and turns in the story of the Volsungs, Sigurd, the greatest of them all, is about to burst onto the scene.

In our last installment, we saw Sigmund taking a second wife, the beautiful Hjordis, daughter of King Eylimi. But another man desires her, and is enraged when her marriage to Sigmund takes place. Read more …

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Guide to Kulchur, Episode 22
Midsommar

134 words / 1:14:56

After a summer hiatus, John Morgan and Survive the Jive join Fróði Midjord on the latest Guide to Kulchur to discuss Midsommar, a recently-released movie about a group of American anthropology students and a deeply traumatized woman who visit a neo-pagan cult practicing a faith based on the ancient Nordic religion in present-day Hälsingland, Sweden, where they discover that the cult’s interest in them goes far beyond the merely academic. Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part X:
The Deaths of Sinfjotli & Sigmund

2,519 words

Part I here, Part IX here, Part XI here

Chapter 10. The Death of Sinfjotli

In our last two installments, we explored the fascinating digression – the “saga within the saga” – that is the story of Helgi. Read more …

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Helgi: The Return of the Dead
An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part IX

Ernest Wallcousins, Helgi Returns to Valhalla

5,344 words

Part I here, Part VIII here, Part X here

In our last installment, we explored the career of the legendary Norse hero Helgi. Chapter Nine of the Volsung Saga is devoted to Helgi, and it constitutes a rich and entertaining digression from the main story. At one time, Helgi must have been a very important hero. The anonymous author of the Volsung Saga draws on two poems concerning Helgi compiled in the Poetic Edda: Helgakvitha Hundingsbana I (The First Poem of Helgi, Killer of Hunding; henceforth HH I), and Helgakvitha Hundingsbana II (or HH II). Read more …

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Helgi: The Saga Within the Saga
An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part VIII

Arthur Rackham, The Valkyrie

3,502 words

Part I here, Part VII here, Part IX here

In our last installment, we saw Sigmund and Sinfjotli (the product of Sigmund’s incestuous union with his sister, Signy) return to the ancestral lands of the Volsungs. Many years have passed since the entire clan left there, and, in the meantime, a pretender has claimed the Volsung kingdom. But Sigmund and Sinfjotli drive him out, and Sigmund becomes a great and powerful king, “both wise and well-advised.”[1] He decides to marry a woman named Borghild, and they have two sons together, Helgi and Hamund.

Read more …

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Edred Thorsson’s History of the Rune-Gild

2,835 words

Edred Thorsson
History of the Rune-Gild: The Reawakening of the Gild 1980-2018
North Augusta, S.C.: Arcana Europa, 2019

Edred Thorsson is one of a small handful of serious characters I am proud to know. To many, he appears to be an odd combination of “contradictions” (though these are only apparent, as I will explain at the tail end of this essay). First, he is a goði and Runemaster who speaks Old Norse with a Texas twang. Read more …

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What Does It Mean to be True to the Aesir?

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, “Aesir Gathered Around the Body of Baldr” (1817)

3,153 words

“Ásatrú” is a modern coinage meaning “true to the Aesir.” In Old Norse, Aesir is the plural of áss, which is usually translated “god.” In order to understand what it means to be “true to the Aesir,” we must put into question this translation into “god” and “gods.” Indeed, ultimately we must liberate ourselves from the idea of “god” in order to understand who the Aesir are, and our relationship to them. Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part VII

2,900 words

Part I here, Part VIII here

Chapter 8. The Vengeance of the Volsungs, Continued

In the last installment of this series, we learned of the life Sigmund leads in the forest with his son Sinfjotli – the product of Sigmund’s incestuous union with his sister, Signy. Read more …

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Born-Again Paganism:
Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring

4,866 words

The Criterion Collection’s recent release of a comprehensive Blu-ray collection of the cinema of Ingmar Bergman is an opportunity to re-assess the work of this greatest of Nordic filmmakers. Those who seen little of his work (or none at all) usually have the impression that Bergman’s oeuvre is dark and gloomy, filled with existential angst over the “death of God.” Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part VI

2,829 words

Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here, Part V here, Part VII here

Chapter 8. The Vengeance of the Volsungs

In the last installment of this series, we told of the birth of the hero Sinfjotli, product of the incest of the twins Sigmund and Signy. Read more …

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Wardruna’s Skald

The album cover

1,044 words

Wardruna
Skald
Indie Recordings/By Norse Music, 2018

The Norwegian band Wardruna’s latest album, Skald, is a tribute to Old Norse poetry containing ten acoustic ballads performed live by the band’s co-founder, Einar Selvik. Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part V

Sigmund & the wolf.

2,559 words

Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here, Part VI here

In our last installment, we saw that after Sigmund pulls the sword from the tree Barnstokk, Siggeir (who has just married Sigmund’s sister, Signy) offers to buy it from him. When Sigmund refuses, Siggeir immediately begins plotting revenge. On a pretext, he takes Signy and leaves the wedding feast early, inviting Volsung and his ten sons to visit him in Götaland. Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part IV

Willy Pogany, Sigmund & the Wolf (1920)

3,220 words

Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part V here

In our last installment, we saw how King Volsung marries his daughter Signy off to the loathsome King Siggeir of Götaland, a man she “was not eager to marry.” Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part III

Siegmund the Walsung, Arthur Rackham, 1910.

1,890 words

Part I here, Part II here, Part IV here

Chapter 3. The Marriage of Siggeir to Signy, Volsung’s Daughter

In our last installment, we met Volsung (“stallion phallus”), who becomes a great King and sires eleven children: the twin brother and sister Sigmund and Signy, and nine brothers (who go unnamed). Volsung builds a “magnificent hall” around an immense apple tree whose branches weave about the beams of the roof. Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part II

Arthur Rackham, Siegfried’s Death (1924), from his illustrations for Wagner’s Ring

3,283 words

Part I here, Part III here

Chapter 2. Concerning Rerir and His Son Volsung

In the previous chapter, we saw that Sigi, the son of Odin, is the first step in the god’s master plan: the creation of a new race of super-warriors, who will come to be known as the clan of the Volsungs. In order to become a truly great warrior, Sigi must transgress man’s laws and remove himself from society – entering the wilderness where he will live as his own master and create a world of his own. Read more …

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An Esoteric Commentary on the Volsung Saga, Part I

A carving depicting Sigurd sucking the dragon’s blood off his thumb, from a stave church in Setesdal, Norway.

4,517 words

Part II here

The purpose of this essay is to offer an account of the hidden meaning of the Volsung Saga (Völsunga saga). In drawing out this meaning, I will approach the saga from a Traditionalist standpoint, broadly speaking; i.e., from the standpoint of Guénon and Evola. I will touch on some details concerning the relation of the saga to other sources, but I do not aim to provide anything like the sort of account a historian or philologist might give. Read more …

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Video of the Day
Historical Worship of the Norse Gods

39 words / 23:20

Dr. Jackson Crawford, a historical linguist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, discusses the (sparse) information we have about worship, ritual, and prayer in pre-Christian Scandinavia. He is an experienced teacher of Old Norse, Modern Icelandic, and Norwegian.

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