‘No less holy are the Asyniur, nor is their power
less’ Gylfaginning [19-20]1
Thorshof would like to promote research into the true nature of the
goddesses (Asyniur) of the North and encourage folk to feel free to express the
devotion felt for them and therefore is setting forth the concept, for
interested twentieth century readers, of a ‘virtual guild’ for modern heathens.
The name has been taken from the name Snorri Sturluson gave for the communal
hall for the goddesses, as opposed to the individual goddess halls he also
named, within Ásgard:
‘… in the place called Idavoll … They built
another hall, this was the sanctuary that belonged to the goddesses, and it was
very beautiful. This building is called Vingolf’.2
This then is the archetype for the modern “virtual” sanctuary for
adherents of the Asyniur. This virtual guild, as opposed to the average
organisation, has some notable characteristics:
* There is no meeting place or formal organisation – it will simply exist
through the hearts of those who love any of the Asyniur.
* You can ‘enrol’ simply by sending an email to Thorshof and stating your
interest. Please let us know what information you would like to see on this
website and feel free to contribute any articles, poems or stories.
E-mail address: email@example.com
Or write to Vingolf at PO Box 16071, London, SE16 3XJ, England.
* A number of suggestions for appropriate ways of honouring your patroness,
or any other Northern goddess with whom you wish to work, can be found below.
This website has an index which lists a number of the native goddess of the
North, and the areas where they are known to have been worshipped (or, because a
number have only survived in the writings of Snorri, simply been listed as
‘Scandinavian’). There are also a few articles on this site about the major
goddesses in the North for your interest.
VVG : TO HONOUR THE GODDESS
The following suggestions are ideas from various people, inspired by hints
of traditional devotion accorded to the Asyniur:
1) Dedicate a tree, pond (water area) or stone in your garden to the
goddess. If you have not been blessed with a home that includes a garden,
dedicate a small shrine to her. This could include such items as a candle,
blessing bowl, fresh flowers, incense or perfume burner in a secluded spot such
as a shelf, dedicated corner on a small cupboard to act as an altar (harrow) or
even an entire room as sacred space (to be a Vé or a mini hof).
2) Perform an act to honour your patron goddess on a regular basis. This is
only limited by your imagination – a simple act would be to light a candle and
sit quietly in meditation for a while. Friday is most appropriate day for this
day is actually named for a northern goddess in the English speaking world:
‘Frige-daeg’ or Frigga’s day. It was likely known as day of the goddess
throughout the Indo-European world as the Roman name for Friday was ‘Venus
dies’. It should be remembered that for Northern folk the day began on the
evening before the morning so when Thursday evening has grown totally dark could
be the start of your devotion.
3) Take up an activity strongly associated with the goddess such as
* Being a Parent – Though this is not something that can simply be picked up
and put down as you desire and is probably more accurately described as a
vocation or lifelong role rather than an ‘activity’. Especially relevant to
mothers though men should not be excluded from the ways of the goddess. An
essential role in all societies which should be honoured and the ‘Mothers’ of
the North, such as Frigga, are a great aid to the folk who have embarked on what
will hopefully be a lifelong duty and reward.
* Spinning & weaving – These are crafts strongly associated with the
goddesses through folklore and can be seen on one level as being the creation of
useful and beautiful artefacts out of base material. Traditional crafts should
not be despised because our current society’s technology allows us to live
without having to learn the old crafts. That said, any suggestions for a modern
equivalent skill to these older ‘technologies’ would be gratefully listened to.
* Gardening/Pot Plants/Herblore – A number of goddesses are often associated
with fertility and healing, nurturing aspects. Not least of which is Jorð/Nerthus
(Mother Earth) herself.
* Magical Crafts – This is a sub-section within itself and includes
Hexcraft : This tradition has been especially retained amongst American
settlers of German extraction (the Pennsylvanian Dutch or ‘Deutch’). These are
complex and carefully designed pictures and/or traditional signs within a
Runecraft : Despite accounts of the god Óðinn being the deity who
hung in self-sacrifice and seized the runes, there are historical accounts of
women called Haljarunae or those who ‘runed to Hella’. Seiðr : A
shamanistic skill described in as being carried out on a raised platform, with
at least one member of those gathered around the volva, singing the song to
summon the spirits).
Soulcraft : This is what Tony Lindsell defined as psychology and magic and
there are suggestions that both written and chanted magic was practised in the
North. Spaecraft : Divination or ‘far-seeing’
* Guthcraft : This is Old English for ‘war-like power’. The goddesses were
not only nurturing, loving and magical beings – they could also be extremely
martial. There is the Scandinavian huntress Skaði who stormed into Asgard
in full battle-gear to demand her rights when her father was killed and the
vanic goddess Freyja who went onto the battle-field to pick her dead.
1 Snorri Sturluson (Anthony Faulkes trans.), Edda, (Everyman 1992) 2 Snorri
Sturluson, ibid., (Everyman 1992), Gylfaginning