The establishment of a Sedian Orthopraxy, as laid out by the sources left to us, is pivotal in the work we are doing, for it allows us to have a firm foundation for the beliefs we hold dear. The idea is to have a litmus, a true north if you will. Otherwise, your beliefs become subject to either an uneducated mob, or can be led by grifters seeking fame or wealth, who have no idea what they are doing. The days of developing half-baked “programs” for people to become spiritual “leaders” in our faith should be over, and with the work we are doing we should be able to properly train a priesthood, or Goðorð, in the true practices of our religion. In order to do so, we must first establish what is true, and why this is so. In order to do this, we first look at the laws set forth by Óðinn himself, as we find in the Ynglingasaga (ch. 8):
[1.] Óðinn setti lǫg í landi sínu, þau er gengit hǫfðu fyrr með Ásum. Svá setti hann, at alla dauða menn skyldi brenna ok bera á bál með þeim eign þeirra; sagði hann svá, at með þvílíkum auðœfum skyldi hverr koma til Valhallar, sem hann hafði á bál; þess skyldi hann ok njóta, er hann sjálfr hafði í jǫrð grafit: en ǫskuna skyldi bera út á sjá eða grafa niðr í jǫrð.
Óðinn established law in his land, to those who walked previously with the Æsir. So he set that all dead men should be burned, and their belongings laid with them upon the pile, and the ashes be cast into the sea or buried in the earth. Thus, said he, every one will come to Valhǫll with the riches he had with him upon the pile; and he would also enjoy whatever he himself had buried in the earth.
[2.] En eptir gǫfga menn skyldi haug gera til minningar; en eptir alla þá menn, er nǫkkut mannsmót var at, skyldi reisa bautasteina; ok hélzt sjá siðr lengi síðan.
For men of consequence a mound should be raised to their memory, and for all other warriors who had been distinguished for manhood a standing stone; which custom remained long after Óðinn’s time.
[3.] Þá skyldi blóta í móti vetri til árs, en at miðjum vetri blóta til gróðrar, hit þriðja at sumri, þat var sigrblót.
On Vetr there should be blót for a good year, and in the Miðvetr for a good crop; and the third blót should be on Sumarr, that was Sigrblót.
[4.] Um alla Svíþjóð guldu menn Óðni skatt, penning fyrir nef hvert, en hann skyldi verja land þeirra fyrir úfriði ok blóta þeim til árs.
Over all Svíþjóð (Sweden) the people paid Óðinn a scatt or tax — so much on each head; but he had to defend the country from enemy or disturbance, and pay the expense of the sacrifice feasts for a good year.
This final law, as we shall see, involves the payment of the Hoftollr to the local temple or Hof, which is a requirement of any community developing a religious complex that must be maintained and the sacrifices paid for with the money given. The money itself becomes a form of sacrifice, and recognition for the help for the maintenance of the Hof should always be recognized.
These are the laws of Óðinn himself, and although they are given in a euhemerized context, we can see them as intrinsic to the faith, for the practices given are seen throughout the sources and in archaeology. It is easy for us to see that in following these laws, the Lagasetning Óðins, we are in accordance to what we have in our sources and can demonstrate that what we are following is Odinic canon.
There are some who have sought to make the case that any formal organization of our religion is a fallacy and should not be taken seriously. There might be accusations of subversion or ignorance, when in fact the information presented here is not only accurate to what we know, but was also banished by the Church within their legal codes. In the Indiculus Superstitionum et Paganiarum much of what we are describing within this text was made illegal and other law codes reflected this as well. This means that these practices were so widespread, and the people so adamant in following them, they had to be made illegal in order to get people to stop. Here is the full list of banished practices within this text, which you can compare to what we present here:
1. Sacrilege at the graves of the dead.
2. Sacrilege above the dead, that is dadsidas.
3. Pollutions in February.
4. Huts that are sanctuaries.( Blóthús )
5. Sacrileges in churches.
6. The sanctuaries of the forests what they call nimidas.
7. Those things which they do above rocks.
8. The sanctuaries ( or perhaps, sacred rites ) to Mercury ( Ódinn ) or Jove ( Þórr).
9. The sacrifices they perform to other saints.
10. Amulets and ligatures.
11. Sacrifices at wells/springs.
12. Incantations ( Galdr).
13. Augury on the dung or sneezing of birds or horses or cows.
14. Prophets or fortune-tellers.
15. Fire rubbed from wood that is nodfyr ( Need-fire ).
16. Brains of animals (probably as part of the sacrifice).
17. Pagan service in the hearth, or in the beginning of any business (Húsblót).
18. Uncertain places which they worship as sacred.
19. Asking (for that) which the good call holy Mary’s.
20. Festivals (Veizlur) which they perform for Jove (Þórr) or Mercury (Óðinn).
21. The eclipse of the moon, which they call Vinceluna.
22. Tempests, horns, and snails.
23. The furrows around farms.
24. The pagan course which they call yrias, with torn cloths or shoes.
25. That they imagine any dead men are holy.
26. Idols made from moistened flour.
27. Idols made from cloth.
28. Idols which they carry through the fields.
29. That, which they believe, that women command the moon, so that they can take away the hearts of men according to the pagans.
This list, banishing much of the religion of the Saxons, demonstrates how prolific these traditions were, and gives us an understanding of exactly why the Christians would need to outlaw such practices when the people refused to give them up. Much of this list may seem cryptic to present at this point, but it is important for us to establish exactly what practices were banished, in order to lay the foundation for what actually occurred in the polytheist beliefs. As you progress through this book, you will find much of these practices developing as our investigation continues.
When we make comparisons to Tacitus’ Germania to the above list and even to the later Sagas, we find these same practices occurring throughout the Teutonic realm. Tacitus wrote his book in 9 AD, and the Sagas were not recorded until about the 12th or 13th centuries, giving us a span of over 1200 years where we still find the traditions extant. Traditions such as sacred processions, using twigs for divination, burial goods, sacred groves, and so on were a part of an ongoing system of religious observance that would have been impossible to upkeep for such a long time unless people were commanded to do so by ordinances of the faith. The idea that these traditions could have been maintained without any such decree, that somehow people just made things up as they go and somehow kept these customs alive is absurd and should be ignored.
The fact is, our Gods are Gods of order and law. Their very first action in the creation of the worlds was to establish a Þing or legal assembly by which they could bring about that order.
Our religion is supposed to manifest our own version of that order in the best possible manner, giving us a link to the divine against the chaos of the Jǫtnar. By mimicking order, we bring order into our life, by mimicking chaos we bring chaos into our life. This is a simple formula for us to use in building a spiritual system by which we can live and prosper. It is the idea that we follow ǫrlǫg or destiny and reach to the Gods for strength and guidance in living an ordered life. Rejecting their order is rejecting them, and appeals to chaos are the foundation for world-ruin, which cannot be seen as some romantic “dark” gesture within some fantasy setting.
Chaos is murder, it is rape, it is pedophilia, it is pain and suffering, decay and death made manifest, and should not be seen as some toy to play with or some game to enjoy. Reach towards light, towards goodness, and see good things into your life that will uplift you, inspire you, and strengthen your spirit. That is the will of the Gods, and that is why we must bring order to our religion as an authentic expression of our ancestral beliefs.
- Excerpt from Æfinrúnar book 1