Book Review by Freya Aswynn
This book comes 3 parts each containing 3 chapters [9 chapters total] this format in itself is magical and keeping within the traditions of sacred numbers in the Northern Tradition.
This book is the single most comprehensive guide to various branches of the Northern Tradition.
Part One is named: Mind of the North.
Chapter One introduces the legacy of the North, giving a brief summary of the history of the Norse peoples and various influences.
The first thing which strikes me about this book, is the writing style, easy and unpretentious, simple and straight. No waffle anywhere. The first chapter especially is written with a enthusiasm for the subject radiating of every page. I especially noticed that it would be very very suitable for kids. Especially young boys who can identify with ‘Viking’ and Anglo/Saxon ‘Warrior’ culture. It should be introduced at schools. So many of books on this subject, mine included, would be ‘boring’ for kids, this is written like and adventure story of discovery. If I wouldn’t know anything about the author I would surmise from his writing that he’s a Teacher at a secondary school and a bloody good one. I whole heartedly recommend Heather parents and groups to use this book as a teaching for school kids. It’s just right, not to complicated and not boring, and with lot’s of visual delights!
The Second Chapter is about the Runes. A wonderful and well written overview of the meaning and usage of Runes, their history in so as known, and the various systems all with wonderful illustrations this makes it a really accessible book on runes for the beginners.
Wonderful information on the deeper meanings of the Runes and their relation to the Northern Mysteries as well as a good look at the Northern Gods and Goddesses. A high quality book. Odinsson has introduced all subjects in an approachable way. Although it is academically responsible and accurate he avoid overly scholastic style but rather a gentle introduction for beginners.
The Third Chapter is about weather lore. Very detailed quotes and folk lore pertaining to the weather.. I loved this folklore, weather proverbs and yes, even quotes from the bible. This if nothing else show a broad minded approach to this subject. Also referred to are old wives tales, genuine observances and solid science.
Part Two Body of the North:
Subjects discussed in detail are Stav, a Northern Martial Art form involving Runic positions. Rune yoga is also included with clear photographs and detailed instructions as to how.
Next section of the book is occupied with healing and herb lore, derived from original source material mostly Anglo/Saxon. Wonderfully balanced and backed up by tradition and comparisons with other healing traditions. Recipes of herbs and remedies for a variety of conditions are detailed described from traditional lore but also it’s chemical compositions.
A sound reference for home made remedies for small ailments. All with beautiful illustrations.
The next chapter is about tradition Viking cooking! And brewing mead! Very important.
This makes it a book for all the family or Kindred and will appeal to people from all walks of life be they interested in this material for either religious or cultural reasons.
Part Three: Spirit of the North:
This is the largest section of the book and Odinsson gets really down to business!
Starting with a very fine re telling of the creation Myths and it’s attended Cosmology including the Nine Worlds, Then it’s to the gods and goddesses. Each one is accurately profiled and their functions explained again accompanied with the most wonderful illustrations and quotes from Saga’s and Edda’s.
The remaining two chapter 8 and 9 respectively are dedicated to Spiritual issues and practices.
Chapter 8 is Aptly named: Tao of the North.
It opens with a discussion and interpretation of Havamal. Of great spiritual and practical value….The whole of Havamal is reproduced at the end of the essay.
The last chapter, 9, discussed the Runes as a working tool for divination it lists general accepted meanings of the runes and gives examples of casts. It also includes the Anglo/Saxon Rune poem which clarifies and elucidates the meaning of the Runes. The information supplied is sufficient for anyone who has a natural affinity to the Path of the North in any of it’s aspects to practice Rune divination.
This chapter ends with a discussion of the fylgja or fetch and includes a guided meditation make contact with this being.
It’s an honest book, quotes from other sources have been properly accredited, and this book contains a substantial bibliography.
It’s an excellent addition to any library.
In Myths of Northern Lands, H.A. Gureber says “…Delling, who was of the race of the Aesir..” and
From his essay Old Northern Ethics for Life, Patrick Lafcadio Hearn says “…when for one moment England and Sweden were one kingdom.”