Tag Archives: Christian

Ponderances on Christianity

Solholder_02

As a young man learning for the first time of the history of Germanic belief in fine detail, and straight from the mouth of Euro-Christianity’s monk-scribe and historians at that, I once felt a lot of hostility toward Christianity … which sometimes burned so hot that I attributed it to “the anger of the ancestors”. And yet no sooner did the thought of “burning down a church” cross my mind, at least in any serious manner, ie. that might actually be acted upon, that the question of doing so was re-framed in terms of my own Christian family, friends, or folk. Would I do it to them? Would I suffer it to be done to them by another “Heathen”? Does such a question even make any sense within a indigenous Germanic paradigm; in which blood-relations were held as sacred such that even the law had no business infringing upon them?

Certainly not.

Of course, our families today, after some 1,400 years of Christianity, et al., are not the close-knit kindreds of old. And experience, hindsight, makes for a good teacher. We know things today, about Christianity, that our ancestors didn’t; such that a bi-polar leap from “murderous intent” to “unconditional love” is not at all warranted. At least not by wisdom’s decree. But these are the two poles, the Muspel and Niflheim, of the equation we are dealing with here, between which Creation ultimately emerges and evolves.

Lately, with all of this Globalist and Islam-nonsense the West has been experiencing, I’ve found myself in an ever-stronger sense of alliance with Christian folk … beyond that of my family and neighbours. And there is a reality to that that needs to be respected. But that is not the totality of reality, and that needs ever to be remembered lest we find ourselves moving, historically, from shit to shit, as we have done over the past few generations, and missing the window of liberation all together.

An Abrahamic belief is an Abrahamic belief is an Abrahamic belief; though I’ll let the Jews slide on that since they practice the ethno-cultural beliefs of their own people and never had any desire to universalize an inherently local phenomenon and attempt to convert the world … whatever else they might believe about the rest of us goyim. And of course, as said above and in regards to Christianity, my NW Euro-descended ancestors and folk are my NW European ancestors and folk. And we are just a tad bit integral with modern Christianity. Indeed, there isn’t a lot that went on in history that we didn’t do to ourselves. No non-Germanic ever forced Christianity down any other Germanic’s throat. We did it to each other and ourselves. And of course, it was those same “Christian era” ancestors that struggled under 1,400 years of brutal Abrahamic theocracy, and eventually forced it off our backs and into it’s proper place as a marginal and declining force in Western society; though piss on us for embracing this secularized monstrosity, ie. “globalism”, that has issued from it’s loins.

Speaking of Globalism and the modern Left, who else do we know that wants to guilt you for things that had nothing to do with you? To mischaracterize your ancestors as hateful and immoral? Who imagines their ideology is infallible and inherently upright, such that even the worst of people who accept it are better than even the best of people who do not? Who imagine that humanity is (or at least should be) one big happy family and that we are all interchangeable? And who are happy to tax the Hell out of you to serve their own “elitist” ends … or else?

So, while I’m happy to give Christians a pass, to even embrace them, I am, like King Penda of Mercia, under no illusions as to the hypocrisy so endemic to this faux “universal” religion or anything that even vaguely resembles it, ie. we have the one and only truth, which is the only hope of salvation for all of mankind, and in the face of which an outsider is at best ignorant and misguided and at worst the very epitome of evil against whom any and all indecency is completely justified. Personally, I don’t particularly care about what words in some “book idol” say. Long before we today heard anything about the “religion of peace”, ie. Islam, I heard ALL about another “religion of peace”, having been born and raised in its midst, which, at least in action, looked unsurprisingly identical to the other. From Clovis to Ongentheow, the Christians and Christian missionaries were received with open arms among whatever Germanic kingdom or tribe they went to. And the same could be said for the Scandinavias as one moves into the Viking Age; though by that time the 8th century had happened and the cat was out of the bag. The missionaries were taken in, given freedom to practice their religion, given the freedom to win converts, given the king’s hospitality and protection. And how did they reciprocate? You know, how did they reciprocate once they got their hands on the ring of power? The “ring of power” having been their primary goal and focus in the conversion of the Germanic peoples, ie. to convert the kings and carry out a top-down, “progressive and enlightened” state vs. “deplorable” folk, conversion. They repaid kindness, curiosity, and right good will with gross intolerance. Rulers showed personal favouritism toward fellow converts. The Christian elites advised their convert “kings” to destroy holy places while advising their missionaries, in letters written and sent at the same time(!) to, instead, make use of the temples and cultural patterns of behavior; to be weeded out over time of course, one freedom at a time, like slow boiling a frog. They drafted laws regarding the formation of “raiding parties” and made such lesser crimes for Christians. And they made the practice of the elder rites, be it the worship of the gods, burial practices, mathematics, etc. — to say nothing of failure to submit to baptism and observe Church customs — a crime, with penalties ranging from fine (earlier) to death (later). And without these measures, the people of NW Europe would not be Christian today.

And without the peoples of NW Europe, Christianity, for better or for worse, would have ceased to exist … not unlike we see in the original homeland of Christianity. And to boot, without the people of NW Europe, our spirit, our cultural character and disposition, the West would still be living under a rabidly intolerant Abrahamic theocracy. A Abrahamic theocracy that was happy to make women second class citizens; that was happy to execute queers for being queer; that was happy to control the market and milk as much taxes out of the population as possible; that was happy to execute you for thinking or expressing “unsanctioned” thoughts and opinions. Etc. There is a lot of history that “historians” leap over to get at what they want, eg. the ancient Greek philosophers. But for others, for those devoted to the ethno-cultural beliefs/identity of their people — which neither begins nor ends with things that might be considered “properly religious” and in the province of priests — what we want is the story of our people. And not some nonsense told by the slanderous tongues of a people who’s explicit intent and only interest in our folk was to undermine and undo our story and make us over in their own idolatrous image. And regardless of politics or religion, it’s ALL our story. So while we might “leap” as much as anyone, to revitalize ourselves with contact with our roots, we are inevitably led back to the rest of the ever-evolving tree of our folk … to what in the Norse-Icelandic Eddas is called “MjotvidhR” (ie. the Measuring Tree/Stick).

Here are a few choice quotes from the history that everyone likes to “leap” over, but which we would be wise to never forget …

  • “… let those who burn grain where there is a dead man for the sake of his health and household do penance for 5 years.” — Penitential of Theodore
  • “If however a freeman works in the forbidden time (Sunday) he is liable to his healsfang, and the man who reports it is to have half the fine and half the work” — the Laws of Wihtred
  • “If a man sacrifices to devils without his wife’s knowledge he is liable to pay all of his goods” — the Laws of Wihtred
  • “a child is to be baptized within 30 days; if it is not, 30 shillings compensation is to be paid” — the Laws of Ine
  • “Church-scot is to be given by Martinmas; if anyone does not discharge it he is liable to 60 shillings and to render the church-scot 12 fold.” — the Laws of Ine
  • “he who is accused of (taking part in) the raid of any army (36+ men) is to redeem himself with his wergild (life payment) or by (an oath equal to) his wergild. 15.1 – with communicants, the oath shall be only half as much” — the Laws of Ine
  • “From Worms he marched into Saxony. Capturing the castle of Eresburg, he proceeded as far as the Irminsul, destroyed this idol and carried away the gold and silver which he found.” — the Royal Frankish Annals
  • “Then all the Saxons came together again, submitted to the authority of the Lord King, and surrendered the evildoers who were chiefly responsible for this revolt to be put to death—four thousand and five hundred of them. This sentence was carried out. Widukind was not among them since he had fled to Nordmannia (Denmark). — the Royal Frankish Annals
  • “If any one of the race of the Saxons hereafter concealed among them shall have wished to hide himself unbaptized, and shall have scorned to come to baptism and shall have wished to remain a pagan, let him be punished by death.” — the Capitulary on Parts of Saxony.
  • “If any one, in accordance with pagan rites, shall have caused the body of a dead man to be burned and shall have reduced his bones to ashes, let him be punished capitally.” — the Capitulary on Parts of Saxony.
  • “in the summer he led an army into Saxony and deported all Saxons living beyond the Elbe and in Wihmuodi with wives and children into Francia” — the Royal Frankish Annals.
  • “They were sometimes so much weakened and reduced that they promised to renounce the worship of devils, and to adopt Christianity, but they were no less ready to violate these terms” — Einhard
  • “The war that had lasted so many years was at length ended by their acceding to the terms offered by the King; which were renunciation of their national religious customs and the worship of devils, acceptance of the sacraments of the Christian faith and religion, and union with the Franks to form one people.” — Einhard
A choice selection from the “Index of Superstitious and Heathen Practices (8th century) …
  • “1. sacrilege at the tombs of the dead.”
  • “2. sacrilegious funeral songs made to the dead.”
  • “9. sacrifices made to some saint.”
  • “25. Those who carve images for dead persons whom they say are saints.”
  • “The following are capital offenses … sacrifices to the bodies of the dead or over their sepulchers” — the False Boniface
  •  “Now King Olaf entered into the temple with some few of his men and a few freemen; and when the king came to where their gods were, Thor, as the most considered among their gods, sat there adorned with gold and silver. The king lifted up his gold-inlaid axe which he carried in his hands, and struck Thor so that the image rolled down from its seat. Then the king’s men turned to and threw down all the gods from their seats; and while the king was in the temple, Jarnskegge was killed outside of the temple doors, and the king’s men did it. When the king came forth out of the temple he offered the freemen two conditions, — that all should accept of Christianity forthwith, or that they should fight with him.” — Heimskringla
  • “Early in spring (A.D. 998) King Olaf went eastwards to Konungahella to the meeting with Queen Sigrid (of Sweden); and when they met the business was considered about which the winter before they had held communication, namely, their marriage; and the business seemed likely to be concluded. But when Olaf insisted that Sigrid should let herself be baptized, she answered thus: — “I must not part from the faith which I have held, and my forefathers before me; and, on the other hand, I shall make no objection to your believing in the god that pleases you best.” Then King Olaf was enraged, and answered in a passion, “Why should I care to have thee, an old faded woman, and a heathen bitch?” and therewith struck her in the face with his glove which he held in his hands, rose up, and they parted. Sigrid said, “This may some day be thy death.”” — Heimskringla
  • “The Emperor Otta (Otto) was at that time in the Saxon country, and sent a message to King Harald, the Danish king, that he must take on the true faith and be baptized, he and all his people whom he ruled; “otherwise,” said the emperor, “we will march against him with an army.” — Heimskringla
  • “When Harald Gormson, king of Denmark, had adopted Christianity, he sent a message over all his kingdom that all people should be baptized, and converted to the true faith. He himself followed his message, and used power and violence where nothing else would do.” — Heimskringla

 

And sadly, such quotes fill the history books and shape our attitudes toward our own ancestors today, while such quotes as Alcuin of Yorks, “If the light yoke and sweet burden of Christ were to be preached to the most obstinate people of the Saxons with as much determination as the payment of tithes has been exacted, or as the force of the legal decree has been applied for fault of the most trifling sort imaginable, perhaps they would not be averse to their baptismal vows.” or Adam of Breman’s, “Although even before receiving the faith, living after a certain law of nature, they had not differed much from our own religion.”, are too few, far between, and as historically irrelevant as anyone’s preferred selection of Bible quotes.

What will save Europe? Christianity??? Please.

Nothing short of a reawakening in the hearts, the souls, and in the minds of Euro-descended people to their innate value AS SUCH will save us. And that requires a Penda-like putting of Christianity (or any other similar minded belief, eg. Leftism) in it’s place, ie. “I shall hate and despise…”.

Once again, without NW Europeans and the indigenous culture and cultural disposition of NW Europeans, Christianity would not exist. And it certainly wouldn’t exist in the form it exists today, as found among the people.

“One’s own home is best. To each, home is hall. Though he own but two goats and a thatched roof, it is better than begging.” — the Havamal

Our Story

Indigenous Germanic belief was never so sharply compartmentalized a thing as we think of today when we think of religion. Certainly, our ancestors had their notions of what might properly be thought of as religious … those things “set apart” in dedication to the gods and their worship, and which were mostly the preoccupation of the tribal priests and/or head of household … but those beliefs impacted all other aspects of their culture. Language, poetry, mead, farming practices, battle formations, social institutions, tribal land masses, etc. were all ascribed sacral origins by our ancestors. There was no sacred-profane dichotomy, but rather a “trichotomy” of the sacred (wih), the blessed community (holy), and everything else outside of that (unholy, ie. not whole, not integral to the community).

While, in the past, Christianity came to replace the theological aspects of our indigenous beliefs, it did not mark the end of our beliefs from a properly heathen point of view. Ideology does not define our folk in the same way as it does universalists. The conversion was not the end of our story. Our languages continued, our folk cultures continued, our cultural perceptions and biases continued … not only to BE impressed, but to IMPRESS itself upon Christianity … and our blood continued.

Our story has continued, as ever, to grow and evolve in accordance with our historical experience … in accordance with our native notion of law, of precedent. Our Christianized ancestors of yore, for better and for worse (but mostly for worse), laid down a new precedent … and we have laid down other precedents since … the Eddic “laying of layers” … that have enabled us “heathens” to arise again and lay down a new precedent of our own, which is itself an old one … that recognizes our sacral origins as a people and the value of who we are. But it is all our story as the offspring of NW Europe. There is no Christian history or Heathen history. There is only European history, Germanic history. Our story.

Personal Reflections: My First Years as a Heathen and the Lessons Learned

My return to the native gods of my Germanic ancestors came back in 1983/84 when I was 12 years old, appropriately enough. I had fallen deathly ill for a 3 month stretch … in and out of the hospital on a weekly basis … test after test after test … the doctors at a loss as to what was wrong with me. The “geniuses” ultimately figured out, thanks in no small measure to my mother, that the medication that they had originally given me for whatever was initially wrong with me was in fact what was continuing to make me ill. But during that time, well, it was a lot of time to sit and ponder … a lot of different things, but most poignantly, my own mortality.

You know, a straight up and no-nonsense, “Am I dying?”.

Now, I was baptized a Catholic, went to Church with my father a few times before he carried on his merry way never to be seen again, was placed in Sunday school for, I dunno, a couple of weekends by my recently single mother, and went to Church on the very odd occasion with my maternal grandfather as a family thing. You could say I was “pop Christian” or “folk Christian”. I believed in a “higher power”, in God, and that being a good, believing human being pertained to one’s relationship with that higher power and one’s fate in the hereafter, but I was by no means “hung up” on religion … like some of the more hypocritical twigs of my maternal kindred — my grandfather not among them — who were the first to run to Church on Sunday and the last to do a good deed any other day of the week.

My religious worldview of the time consisted of various forms of Christianity, atheism, or “heavy metal Satanism”, incidentally. I had not even heard of Wicca, to say nothing of Asatru … a knowledge of which would not reach me until something like 1991, give or take a year.

So anyway, there I was, moderately Christian, 12 years old going on 13, wondering if I was going to outlive this illness or simply die a slow, completely miserable death. So, naturally one might think, I prayed to Christ … to be healed, to be saved, for mercy. I mean, I was a kid. I hadn’t ever done anyone or anything any kind of grievous harm. I was good-natured. And I was a believer to the extent that I understood it. So, why wouldn’t Christ heal me??? But he didn’t. And during this time I was also evolving a growing awareness of “the viking gods” as I called them at the time … enough to know that at one point in time these were considered real gods actually worshiped by men and not just … comic book characters or something. So I prayed to Christ “to find out”, ie. internal self-dialogue, if it was okay with him for me to pray to them. And in this internal dialogue the “pop opinion” came out as response; NO! And so as “prayers” of this nature continued over the days and weeks, moving through all that “it’s God’s will” nonsense, ie. that you suffer in your illness and maybe die from it, the threat of eternal damnation was ultimately introduced … and that was pretty well the straw that broke the camel’s back for this suffering little wretch. I’d had enough. It was wrong … this intimidation, this egotism, this sheer pettiness. And so, While I had by no means magically transcended the sheer terror of the threat of eternal damnation, which my long illness had given me something of a taste of, I was nevertheless resolved; and so I decided to pray to Thunor, whom I called by his Anglicized Old Norse variant, Thor, at the time. It was the same deal, this prayer, ie. internal self-dialogue, and I asked the Thunderer if I’d go to a good place when I died if I worshiped him. He told me, no … that one’s place in the hereafter has nothing to do with who one believes or does not believe in. And that only one’s deeds shall earn one Heaven or Hell. And on that note, still no more certain that eternal damnation didn’t still await me, I forsook Christ and swore myself to the native deities of my Germanic ancestors. And soon after, the cause of my illness was discovered and I began to get my health back in short order … though I milked the entire affair for the next five years so as to avoid going to school as much as possible … running with the tough crowd for the first few years, but going it more-or-less alone, as relative to my former “privileged” position, for the next few. Truth be known, I had very little structure and authority, ahem, “weighing me down” through it all and I ran as wild and as beset as a lone wolf; guided only by the warrior ethos of our ancestors as embodied in the myths (Eddic) and legends of our folk (eg. Walter of Aquitaine, Deitrich of Bern, Hrolf Kraki); which indeed, in hindsight could hardly have been more ideal in these modern times and those earlier years of the Reawakening. And needless to say perhaps, there were a lot of very important, very hard lessons learned during that stretch … about who was and who wasn’t “tough” for starters, starting with myself, and moving on to the nature of violence, hardship and adversity, and the true value of violence, hardship and adversity; not to mention getting real about the entire “quest for Valhalla” romanticism, which certainly has it’s place, I suppose, as relative to age-set and then profession, but for most of us the process flows from boy to wolf to man.

The Creation myth, and the nature of the divine as it pertains to the world of men, that I grew up with from 12/13 years old onward corresponded with my experience of life; each coming to inform the other as “resonant reflections” of the other. The belief that the Tivar are NOT all-powerful or all-knowing, any more than they are all loving or accepting. There are many, many other “spirits” in the Germanic cosmos afterall, spirits of nature, some of them quite powerful and all but heedless of humanity, breeding in me the understanding that a Germanic person would never ask in the wake of a natural disaster for example, “How could God allow this???” Rather we would thank the gods that, for all those that might have perished, so many yet remain. Indeed, the Norse-Icelandic Creation myth has it that the gods were not the Alpha. Nature just began to evolve, as the inevitable result of one of the infinite possibilities contained in the “pregnant void” called Ginnungagap … ultimately giving raise to it’s own polar opposite, as per the general pattern of Eddic evolution, in the birth of divine consciousness … as the end result of this aconscious process, to get all “Thorssonian” with you. But before that there was the birth of Ymir (Noisemaker) — Father Nature, as contrasted with Mother Nature/Nurture as embodied in the Eddic cow Audhumbla (Nourisher) — who’s multitude of offspring are said to be the very embodiment of hardship and adversity as found in nature. And it is from the synthesis of adversity and nurture that glory is born … glory being all but synonymous in the Indo-European tongues, and certainly the Germanic tongues, with divinity, with divine consciousness; from which Creation, as a thing distinct from “objective existence”, evolved.

In Germanic philosophy, the woes of life, the forces of adversity and transience, are a given. They might conceivably have to do with a god, sometimes, but this is not at all necessary or even common. They are simply the orlaeg of human existence within nature. For the most part, gods do not care about individual humans, save as they prove themselves to be exceptional and of benefit to the tribe, the evolution of the tribe being their only real concern … for the same reasons, I’d guess, that a farmer cares more about the well-being of the herd than any one animal within it (with the exception of what the pagan Roman’s called the “victim” of course, ie. the one set part by the gods). And really, from the native Germanic standpoint, the gods gave us the breath of life, creative consciousness, goodly form, the gifts of language and art and culture … the fundamentals and basic framework to handle our own affairs in this middle realm.

It often seems to me that people ask and expect too much of God/s, while at the same time dismissing or simply ignorant of the sheer abundance they have long since heaped upon us and which has served us well down through the ages and unto this very day. Prayer and sacrifice, as with magic and charms, are supplements to action, not substitutes for it. And bad things happen … because the universe is an inherently hostile place. From the smallest micro-organisms to the most humbling of inter-stellar phenomenon and at all points in between. You either rise to the challenges of existence … or you get crushed under them. There is no wishing them away.

The Thunder Beckons (written c.1989)

I was lost within a dark yawning void,
the taste of life bitter in my mouth
dreams shattered at an age far too young.
I cried out, but no answered.
For centuries I sat and withered,
waiting for a reply.
Then, just as hope began to fade
a low rumble of thunder echoed in the distance
Lightning flashed revealing a realm of gods, heroes and hope.
Soon, the lightning ceased, the gleaming spires faded from view,
but ever did the thunder beckon me onward!
Always offering the strength, to fight one last battle.
The will, to take one last step.
‘Til I stood at the gates of the Golden Realm.
Armed and gird, in gleaming mail,
And shining with the light of ancestral troth.

The Germanic Hell

Much as with the word Heaven, there is really no need qualify the word Hell with “Germanic” as Hell is a Germanic word … no matter how many L’s you throw in it. As with Heaven, it would be more technically correct to speak of the “Christian Hell”; which itself is properly known as Sheol or Gehenna. Biblically speaking, Sheol is simply the grave, where the dead await the Resurrection and Final Judgement of the Biblical God, while Gehenna (named after an old Jewish garbage dump) is the more familiar “lake of fire” that those who don’t make the cut will be incinerated in and which we commonly association with the “eternal torment of Hell”. There really is no “otherwordly” afterlife within Biblical Christianity, only the “promise” of the Resurrection and Judgement Day, and then the recreation of an earthly Eden which shall follow in its wake.

7. If any one, in accordance with pagan rites, shall have caused the body of a dead man to be burned and shall have reduced his bones to ashes, let him be punished capitally.” (Charlemagne, Capitulary for Saxony)

Hence the Christian contempt for the practice of cremation; which was seen to deprive the Biblical God of his/those in Sheol of their rightful judgement.

As we have it, the word Hell stems from the Old English word Hell (Hel, Helle) and has cognates in all of the Germanic languages from Gothic to Old Norse, all of which stem from a common Proto-Germanic root *haljo, which itself stems from the Proto-Indo-European root *kel(2), meaning “to cover, conceal”. On its most concrete level it refers, like Sheol, to the grave, and on a more abstract to the “underworld of the dead” as portrayed quite explicitly (ie. as Hell) in the Norse-Icelandic Eddas and implicitly in the sagas of the same folk (eg. Helgafell) . To those of our ancestors who gave us the word Hell it was simply “the place where the dead go”, both literally and figuratively, ie. under the earth, and more akin to the Greek concept of Hades then any of our received Christo-Germanic notions.

Of course, when an outsider asks about the “Germanic Hell” they’re not really asking about the Germanic Hell at all. What they’re really asking about is the, ahem, “Christian Hell” and if there is a place like it in native Germanic belief? And the answer of course — given the degree that native Germanic culturo-religious sensibilities have shaped popular Christianity in the West — is yes. Naturally. And our most glaring evidence of this comes from the Eddas themselves, which speak of Niflhel and the grim hall that sits upon Nastrond (the Shore of Corpses),

38. A hall I saw, | far from the sun,
On Nastrond it stands, | and the doors face north,
Venom drops | through the smoke-vent down,
For around the walls | do serpents wind.

39. I saw there wading | through rivers wild
Treacherous men | and murderers too,
And workers of ill | with the wives of men;
There Nithhogg sucked | the blood of the slain,
And the wolf tore men; | would you know yet more? (trans. Henry A. Bellows)

While some like to pass bits like this off as “Christian influence”, similar beliefs can be found throughout the Indo-European world such as in Naraka of Hindu belief and Tartarus of Greek belief; in both cases standing “far from the sun” and places were the wicked are punished. Furthermore, it is a curious fact that in both Old English and Old High German Catholic poetry we find Gehenna being glossed as Wyrmsele (Hall of Serpents) and Wyrmgarten (Yard of Serpents), respectively. As there is nothing in Biblical Christianity that might fuel such a conception of an otherworldly realm of punishment, the “hall of serpents” motif can only reflect one that is inherently Germanic in nature.

Looking at early Germanic culture itself we see an earthly paradigm in Germanic legal customs and the practices of the Thing; where most crimes could be paid for, literally, via fine, but under which some crimes were, naturally, deemed so wicked that they were handled by “the priest-king”. According to Tacitus,

..they may not execute, they may not imprison, they may not even flog a criminal; those are the obligations of the priests alone, who do so not as a form of military punishment nor at the general’s bidding, but in accordance with the will of the god that accompanies them to the field of battle.

The same can be seen in the judgement of the missionary Willibrord by the Frisi-King, Radbod, for said missionaries acts of sacrilege on Fositesland. As per Tacitus’ statement regarding capital offense, the judgement was not rendered based on the will of the king, but rather on the casting of lots, ie. the will of the gods. So, as to the notion of “divine judgement” in and of itself in Germanic belief, it is evident enough within the context and actual practices of the Thing. As for punishment, while I personally dislike the notion of active and prolonged punishment — in-keeping with the general legal customs of the Thing, ie. fines — what follows must be acknowledged as what follows. The North Germanic Loki for example didn’t just happen to slip and fall into his bindings in the underworld. He was put there. By the gods. For all that one might argue that, in terms of the concrete practices of actual mortals, we are obliged to ask permission of the gods, legally speaking, in executing our fellow tribes men. But here we carry out the actual punishment, be it execution, imprisonment or flogging.

As for an abode of punishment, I once again refer to Tacitus’ comments on the fate of capital offenders,

Penalties are distinguished according to the offence. Traitors and deserters are hanged on trees; the coward, the unwarlike, the man stained with abominable vices, is plunged into the mire of the morass with a hurdle put over him. This distinction in punishment means that crime, they think, ought, in being punished, to be exposed, while infamy ought to be buried out of sight.

The distinction is pertinent and immediately calls to mind the distinction the ancestors drew between a man-killing and a murder; the latter of which was a far more serious offense and defined as a secret killing, ie. that went unclaimed by the offender. It is also reminiscent of  Jacob Grimm’s assertion in his Teutonic Mythology  that, “it is said of fortunate men, that God saw them, and of unfortunate, that God forgot them“, and the duality of glory/obscurity as expressed in Germanic heroic poetry. And of course this aligns with what the Eddas tell of the realm of the shameful dead as standing “far from the sight of the sun” and existing within the aforementioned Niflhel; itself meaning dark, misty, obscure (nifl-) Hell.

So, we might well say that the bog — or even more poignantly the snake pit, ie. Ragnar Lodbrok — is the concrete reality that the mythical abstraction of “Wyrmsele” is based upon. And that the fate of the shameful capital offender in this world was a reflection of their fate in the after death; even as the “name undying” was a reflection of one’s fate in the after death.

All of this brings me around to my personal beliefs regarding the shameful dead; which, as noted above, do not hinge on any kind of active punishment at all and is more inline with the practices of shunning and moreso, full outlawry. It has often been noted that, among the Indo-European peoples in general, and the Germanic peoples in specific, wretchedness, to be left alone and without a tribe or people, was commonly  regarded as being the worst fate that could befall a man. The pains of wretchedness are laid bare in such painfully eloquent Old English poems as the Wanderer. To be forbidden entrance to the halls of the gods, denied a place even in the halls of one’s own ancestors, and to be left alone at the mercy of the “otherworldly wilds”, to wander wretched and assailed, without respite, until the last vestiges of your humanity is shed and the stuff of one’s soul biodegrades back into the nothingness of Ginnungagap that it, ultimately, issued from … such to my thinking is the fate of shameful dead. No one punishes them per say. They simply lose faith in them and so turn their backs on them. And what follows follows.

I’ll tie this up with a pertinent poem I wrote back in the 90’s,

Oft flies the eagle / beyond the udal of men
seeking those sights / unseen by sons of Ing.
Tired he takes rest / atop a steadfast tree,
Then sails on, skyward, / continues his search.

Hwaet! There is a frozen plain / no joy to be found.
The wind is lonesome, / it wails in wrath,
Stirring up wights, / armed well, and wicked
Who fling into flesh / their fiery spears.

Above, soot-grey clouds / grim the skies greatness
And yonder loom dark peaks / dreadful to behold.
No tirfast sun, here, / shall ever be seen.
No home nor hearth / shall warm your heart.

Here wander the souls / worthless and withering,
Forgotten by men / forgotten by gods.
The wulf in this wasteland / nothing weens
Save evil will / save stagnant wyrd.