Yellacat Ranch Under a Western Sky

CategoryPagan

Dying into the Mountain

If you learned Old Norse religion from children’s book, as many of us did, you might have a too simplistic idea about the afterlife. Likely, you think most men were warriors so they went to Valhöll, Odin’s hall in Ásgard. Maybe so, but there’s more difference of opinion among scholars than you might know, and there was probably also far more complexity. The stories we have were...

America is a Religion

Just finished watching “Americans Are Religious About America“. That rings some bells. “Basically, American Civil Religion is when Americans are religious about America. The series argues that Americans are being religious when they create and curate American identity and ideals.” Robert Bellah says, “The phrase ‘civil religion’ is, of course...

Pater Aeneas

Sum pius Aeneas, raptos qui ex hoste Penates classe veho mecum, fama super aethera notus. Italiam quaero patriam et genus ab Iove summo. [I am pious Aeneas, who carries my Penates, snatched from the enemy, in my fleet with me, known by my fame above the ether. I seek my fatherland, Italy, and a race from highest Jove.]Vergil, Aeneid 1.378-80. In my undergrad Latin class we translated...

Beyond Nihilism

“In 2011, Dreyfus and Kelly published a book, All Things Shining, which explores how how notions of sacredness and meaning have evolved throughout the history of human culture. They set out to reconstruct this history because they’re worried bout its endpoint in our current era. ‘The world used to be, in its various forms, a world of sacred, shining things,’ Dreyfus and...

Viking Mortuary House

In popular imagination, the old Norse people sent their dead to the afterlife in boats. Sometimes the dead were buried in ships, sometimes buried in graves in the shape of a ship, or maybe had their corpses launched to sea in burning ships. But there were seemingly different customs in different families. Instead of sailing away, the dead might go to live in a particular place. They might even...

A Product of Your Culture

The short version — Nordic Journeys suggests Scandinavian Asatru is a spirituality while American Asatru is a religion. Nordic Journeys, “My understanding of European vs American Asatru“, YouTube (Jan. 15, 2017). The piece that interests me here is his idea that there is a difference of perspective between those who grew up in Scandinavia and those who grew up in America. The...

Warmed by the Sun

One of the things I enjoy about John Frawley is that he is connected philosophically to Neoplatonism, as of course a proper astrologer would be. Not for him the lightweight philosophy of modernism. In The Real Astrology Frawley says, “God too, from enfolding the cosmos, has been pushed out to some infinite distance, where He was soon forgotten. The Sun, symbol of His manifestation, was made...

Seidh is for Women

Sorry boys. Seidh is for women (and gay men). It always has been. I’m always puzzled when I meet hyper-masculine men, devoted to the old gods, leaders in their communities, and then they claim to practice seidh. Doesn’t it seem that if you’re reconstructing an old religion, particularly one that prides itself on its scholarship, you might want to preserve its basics? Even if...

Making Sacred Land

Just the other day I was writing about American pagans tying themselves to ancestral European ethnic paganisms. I expressed skepticism. Surely cultural heritage belongs (mostly?) to the people whose own national heritage it is. More, anyway, than to the people whose ancestral heritage it is. (If you’re not following that summary, this is not the topic for you.) After making this argument...

Sons of Day

The only surviving prayer to the Norse gods appears in the Sigrdrífumál. Hail, day!Hail, sons of day!And night and her daughter now!Look on us herewith loving eyes,That waiting we victory win. Hail to the gods!Ye goddesses, hail,And all the generous earth!Give to us wisdomand goodly speech,And healing hands, life-long. This is Henry Bellows’ 1936 translation. There is some dispute about the...

Yellacat Ranch Under a Western Sky
Justin Swanstrom

Justin Swanstrom

Made in America. Retired attorney. Bookseller at Shining Lotus. No Nazis in Valhalla. He/him.

View Full Profile →

Topics

Blog Stats