Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Everyday windows to the past

Recently, when traveling down the coast along Hwy 1 in San Mateo County, I noticed two small reminders of what seems to have now become something from the distant past. Off to the side of the highway was a restored Airstream travel trailer. The vintage silver and round trailers, apparently most associated with the 50s and 60s; although they actually go back to the 30s. Back to the decades when average working class Americans were first exploring the western states from east of the Mississippi, or from coastal California eastward. I don't know if any documentaries have been produced about this period, as the memories are basically within families and individuals.

Manufactured in Ohio, Airstream was one brand, but there were probably others. I can recall the times when my father rented a camper for six-week vacations to the Midwest in the 70s and 80s, and although it wasn't silver and round... the Airstream is still the initial symbol of that road spirit of travel. A smaller Airstream would have been very affordable I think. Wealth and class can be a matter of perception, as when these trailers first came on the market, even poor families (the norm in the 30s and 40s) usually owned a house, had at least one automobile, perhaps seven or eight or more children... and got by on one modest income! Where I live today, the average cost of a small studio apartment is about $1,700., which means that someone would need to net an income of about $5,700. per month to pay this rent on the government recommended 30% income for rent!

Many aspects of the quality of life were better then I think; and many of those family memories would be attached to vacations and these trailers. We all have looked at old family photographs of our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents by their old home, vintage vehicle, or even an antique gas pump. I can even recall early memories of spending vacations at our family cabin in Lake County, California during the 70s. At that time, rural areas were much more behind the times than today, and I can recall a few of those old rounded red gas pumps--such as Texaco--which were still operational.

These vintage gas pumps--often red or green--look beautiful when restored. Very close to where I saw the Airstream trailer, I got gas as a Valero station right off Hwy 1 where they have restored one of these antique gas pumps for display inside. The category for this area of collectibles is called "Petroliana." I find it odd that the more technologically
advanced society becomes, the less stylish it looks. However, I see where many cities are frequently going back to the old street lamp styles along business districts and on certain roads. Also, the results of very sightly home building materials now very affordable and available.

It must be humbling to many that the (new) "Oldies" are music from the latter-60s, 70s, and 80s. Yes, the 80s are now "Oldies!" Still, if something is quality, it will always be noticed. Such as the sub-trend among many young adults towards 70s music. It's not unusual, for example, to hear a Patsy Cline song in some small store perhaps. She died young, before I was born, but her music is still largely familiar.. and not demotingly "old."


Monday, April 27, 2015

Ancient Aliens - 'The Viking Gods'

ANCIENT ALIENS - THE VIKING GODS - Alien/UFO... by artforall101

This episode of the History Channel's 'Ancient Aliens', from 2014, focuses on the Asatru/Odinist belief system. Mostly on "the gods." Even if one doesn't find this applicable in this context, there is still some interesting information. Actually the pantheon and mythology of Asatru is not only "Viking," but the Odinic historical story was very prevalent among the Teutonic cultures of central Europe, and beyond. For example, there were Odinic cultures in southern and eastern Europe. Technically, they aren't "Norse gods" as much as they're "Germanic gods"; in the same way as Roman Catholicism isn''t "an Italian religion." The Icelandic name "Asatru" is merely the name agreed upon. Also, there was at least Odinic cultural/spiritual influence; such as if you search this blog for 'Odin worship of the Lombards & Benevento': Part 1 and 'Odin worship of the Lombards & Benevento': Part II.

The wonderful Odinic "hof" portrayed in the TV series 'Vikings'

Romans and Vikings

On the PAL blog, the Romans are a common subject due to their tremendous and undeniable influence on was to become "the northern nations" or what the Romans called "Gallia Cisalpina." On this blog, the Vikings are a common theme due to the fact that they were such a big factor in Europe and beyond; combined with the fact that they were the last of the European pagans. The last European pagan nation, and a powerful nation; right at the time when Christianity was engulfing the continent by force and coercion. The only downside to that is that Asatru is commonly thought of as "a Viking religion," rather than a European culture.

Both the Romans and Vikings have held a certain fascination for people today; perhaps the reason for so many depictions in movies. Both good and evil are projected. In think in both cases, their "gods" are a source of wonder. The Roman Empire projects strength even today. For example, important governmental buildings, courts, and monuments still are constructed in the Greco-Roman style. The Roman society was organized, had beautiful architecture, and could also be brutal. The Viking ship is still a symbol of awe and fear. The concept of fierce pagan warriors invading Christian civilization is still in the psyche of the West.

A few thoughts on the TV series 'Vikings'

I haven't written anything on season three, which has just concluded, because there isn't a lot to say about it other than it's a good series. It's been renewed for a fourth season. "The Viking religion" was a common theme during season three. It was particularly shown as an influence as they invaded Paris in the 'To the Gates' episode, with Floki asking for favor from his gods. The battle was truly Christian vs. Asatru. As they were starting to lose, Floki dramatically blamed it on not gaining the gods' favor. As the season progressed, the Christian vs. Asatru theme was depicted in other ways; although Viking King Ragnar himself finally converted to Christianity. Floki, the main hardline "Asatruar," murdered Ragnar's Christian friend Athelstan. I still haven't seen the final episode. Some Asatruar online were unhappy with the portrayal of the Odinic seer or holy man depicted as so badly disfigured... presumably because there weren't many other reference points towards Asatru shown. Also, the tradition--in this way--was portrayed as dark, secretive, occultic, and maybe even a bit evil... when in fact it was an open and living tradition just as the other traditions were. I think the popular series will create more interest in the modern version of Asatru/Odinism.

Stephen McNallen
A few good Asatru-related videos

My Christian Testimony and the Norse Gods, by Heathen Voice, is a sincere account of a mans progression from Christianity to Asatru. These accounts can be interesting, and comparative. A recent video entitled Iceland Builds First Norse Temple Since Viking Age!, by ShantiUniverse, is about a news item which is really an important development to Asatru worldwide. Viking Pagan Folk Song - Yggdrasill by Jacob Isenhower. BBC The Viking Sagas, by Valdimar Vilhjálmsson, is a good hour long documentary by the BBC. Asatru - Native European Roots by Splendora; written by Stephen McNallen. AFA Great Northwest Freyfaxi, by Stephen McNallen, was an AFA Odinic gathering last August in the Pacific Northwest. 

Paige Montague
Ancestry and Spirituality... together

On one video by pagan Paige Montague (Sionmach the Celt on YouTube), she spoke with a few pagan symbols around or on her... as well as a Scottish flag in the background. I like the idea of tying those two related concepts together. Both symbols are, I believe, open to the greater idea of themselves... as well as a symbol of how they relate together. That's really what a "native believer" is. They believe in the native spirituality of their ancestors. 

On a separate note, I have no problem with the term "pagan" as something of a catch-all term.. not necessarily even capitalized. The word originally meant "country dweller" in a negative way. One who believes in "the old ways"... and now (in the Middle Ages) relegated or banished to "the country"... with all sorts of negative connotations attached to it. However, those "old ways" were THE ways for 40,000 years or more! Some people and organizations don't like the word.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Daniel Updike on Red Ice Radio

I thought that Daniel Updike would be an interesting interview, but he was all of that and more. Great interview. This is just the first hour, the rest is for Red Ice Radio members, but lots of interesting information. Red Ice Radio is based in Sweden; Northern Runes Radio is based in Alberta, Canada and is associated with the Asatru Folk Assembly I believe.

Daniel Updike/Northern Runes Radio on YouTube

Red Ice Radio on YouTube


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pagan customs of Easter

This video is from an "only things Christian are good" point of view, but give a good short view of some of the main pagan themes.

Easter- pagan customs

From the seekerofyhwh YouTube channel

The winter and spring solstice festivals long before the Messiah and the apostles were celebrated as pagan festivals with pagan traditions. The early church/believers never did Easter bunnies, hot cross buns, eggs, etc. but today these customs have crept into much of the church.

Correction: The early church itself adopted local pagan symbolism to advance the cause of conversion.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Ambrosian Hymn for the Easter Liturgy of Milan - 'Hic Est Dies Verus Dei'

Ambrosian Rite Mass Hymn - Hic Est Dies Verus Dei

From Petrus Josephus YouTube channel

This is the second video I have made from the Ambrosian tradition. It is an Ambrosian Rite (i.e. Milanese) hymn from, I believe, the Easter Mass. It also seemingly Gregorianized. This version seems to use minor lyrical changes, by a different translation, or else it just sounds different because of a accent. The version also ignores the "Gloria Tibi" conclusion. "Michael Vanquishing Satan" by Raphael Sanzio. 

Hic Est Dies Virus Dei is an anonymous Ambrosian hymn which is sung at Matins (Office of Readings) throughout the Easter season in the Roman Breviary.