Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Heathen Festivals of Spring

Although the beginning of the heathen year is back at the start of Yule, this is the start of the growing year.  Hávamál advises us not to praise the day till evening – when it is over and the new one beginning. We’ve made our way through the dark days, the evening and the night of the beginning year, and now here is the sunshine of morning.

The most important spring festival among pre-Christian Germanic tribes was dedicated to the goddess Ostara, whose name means, east, dawn, or morning light.

Ostara (also Eostra, Eostrae, Eostre, Eástre, and Austra) is the Germanic Goddess of Springtime. Her festival or blot, is celebrated anywhere from the modern first day of spring, the equinox, to mid to late April. April, in Anglo-Saxon, is Esturmonath, Eostre or Ostara's month.

The name of Ostara's festival was transferred to the celebration of Christ's resurrection when Anglo-Saxon and German heathens converted to Christianity. The English and German words for Easter derive from the name Ostara.

English and German Christians still attach the name of a heathen goddess to their most sacred holiday: Easter or Ostern. The veneration of rabbits and hares and the decoration of eggs also comes from the pre-Christian festival of Ostara.


One of the very first Heathen celebrations I ever participated in was a blót for Eostre. My offerings to her were spring lamb, goat cheese, spring greens and baby spinach, tulips, dark ale, strawberries and painted eggs, along with a Cape Primrose for good measure.

Another spring festival from Iceland is Sigrblót held the first Thursday after April 18 which corresponds to the first day of summer in Iceland or Sumardagurinn fyrsti. This point serves as the divider between the two Old Norse seasons of winter and summer. The timing of this varies naturally from place to place, and in the heathen period would more than likely have varied from year to year as certain weather-signs were observed, or certain spring plants began to sprout, signalling the time for the observance.

Sigurblót which translates as victory sacrifice or sacrifice for victory, is usually associated with the gods Frey and Freyja. It is a time to wish for success in the coming season – sigr means victory, so it obviously had great meaning to the the coming growing season, but it could also have meant success in other endeavours, like the trading and viking excursions and wars that would take place during the summer.

This bronze figurine, with prominent phallus, a fertility symbol, is generally accepted to be a representation of the god, Frey, from the National Historical Museum, Sweden.

Monday, March 17, 2014

T-Shirt Snapshot!

I sell my designs on Red Bubble as well as directly through me. Some lovely staff member at Red Bubble saw one of my Woden shirts rolling off the dryer in their Colorado office and snatched a photo for me.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Viking Style Longhouse

The Crow's Fjord is a term created from one possible meaning for my last name, Crawford. I use it for my Norse / Anglo-Saxon style design work and anything else related to my interest in Germanic Mythology. In this blog I will discuss more of what interests me about it. I am a member of a Asatru/Heathen kindred called Cliffside Kindred, based in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.

We at Cliffside Kindred are planning on putting up a 12 x 16 foot viking style longhouse at Gus and his son KC's new wilderness acreage, named, Goodright Farms. The name comes from a story Gus told KC as a boy about their hometown of Scarborough, Ontario being 'the good right arm' of the nation, for its honest hardworking blue collar type residents. KC grew up with a great attitude about working hard and living a humble life living off the land the way he did growing up. Goodright is Gus's second opportunity for living offgrid, the first being when KC was a child. Below are some images I'd like to get ideas from for structuring the new longhouse.

This first one is taken from the Ribe Viking Center website. Would sure like to visit this place! It shows a nice sized interior of a longhouse with a central hearth fire and people in the photo to get an idea of the roominess inside. Not sure of the square footage for this longhouse. Will see if I can find it. Its probably 15 - 18 feet wide at least. Ours will be slightly smaller.

Another I found from Hrafenka on deviantART is apparently portable and can be assembled in 3 hours with two people, although its quite small. They use it for vending at Medieval festivals during the day then close it up and sleep in it at night.

Another from deviantART with an exterior and an interior view. This one, by EvilAndy, is a traditional Viking house at an open museum near Stavanger in southern Norway. I like the sod roof and the wattling.

Here's one taken at a Viking Festival on the Isle of Man, 2007 by photographer bombyaker, also from deviantART. It nicely shows the interior hearth that we are looking for with the opening in the roof above.

This last one is the interior of a reconstructed Viking house at L'anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

It seems to be roughly the right size and shape for what we want to build!