Monday, January 3, 2011

Survival: A Heathen's Prospective- Hunting

Hail and a Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed the Yule season!

I had the pleasure of interviewing a good friend of mine about hunting. His name is Joe Mandato and I would like to thank him for taking the time and doing this interview.


Hey Joe, how are you?

I’m doing very well, Wayne, thanks!

Let’s start with your hunting experience:
How long have you been hunting?

I’m 36 now, and I got my first hunting license when I was 12. I got my first kill when I was 13 (a pheasant). I started deer hunting in my late teens, but didn’t get my first deer until I was in my early 20’s.

What are some of your methods on tracking your quarry?

For me, tracking my quarry starts way before a shot is actually fired. I am lucky in that I hunt on my own property (my father and I have adjoining land in upstate NY), so I am able to scout for months before the hunting season. I can identify which game trails are active, and which spots are hot at a given time of day. Once I have an idea of where the most activity is (by actually seeing deer, finding droppings, and later in the season, scrapes and rubs), I’ll put up a trail cam so I can lock down exactly what time they’re in the area. A trail cam also helps you determine exactly how many different deer you have on your land, so you don’t overhunt. I’ll record all of this information in a notebook, and then when the hunting season comes, I can decide where on the 70 acres I can hunt. Proper scouting makes it easier to be in the right place at the right time.

How difficult is it to hunt? Can anyone pick it up?

Absolutely anyone can pick it up. I don’t consider it to be difficult, but I judge “success” not by what I’m able to bring home from the woods, but if I have a good, safe time, and I leave the woods with that feeling of connectedness that keeps me coming back year after year.

What are some of the basic rules one has to follow when hunting?

They vary from state to state, and sometimes from season to season. Happily, every state will publish the rules and regulations (in print and on the web), so everyone has an opportunity to get familiar with them before going out to hunt. As an example, the NY State regulations are here:

Now let’s talk about the type of prey you’ve hunted:
What are some of the prey you’ve hunted?

I’ve successfully hunted pheasant, turkey, whitetail deer, mule deer, antelope, squirrel and fox. I’ve hunted other animals like (everything from grouse to black bear and coyote), but haven’t actually gotten any.

Are there different methods and precautions you take when hunting different prey?

Wow… so many differences.

For pheasant hunting, you typically use a shotgun and go out with a dog (to point and retrieve).

For turkey, you want to pay a LOT more attention to camouflage, because they have color vision. You’ll also use a turkey call to try to bring them in closer to you. There are many different kinds of calls, but I use a box call. Generally, you’ll want to get yourself set up in a nice, well camouflaged ground blind, and try to get the birds to come to you. If you’re hunting on public land, you need to make extra sure that the “turkey” you’re calling in isn’t just another hunter with a boxcall!

You can hunt whitetails out of a treestand, a ground blind, or you can stillhunt (stillhunting isn’t very “still” at all… it means you stalk around the forest, trying to find the deer, rather than waiting for the deer come to you). Sometimes, you’ll change your tactics as the season moves on. Three weeks into the whitetail season, deer might not move be moving around a lot, so pussyfooting around the woods might be your best option, as you have a chance of kicking one up. Groups of hunters can also set up a “drive”. That’s when one group of hunters walks through the woods making noise, hoping to push game towards another hunter or hunters that are set up to intercept.

I’ve gone mule deer and antelope hunting in the wide open expanses of Wyoming. Your shots are MUCH longer out there because of the wide open spaces, so you’ll want to practice shooting at 200 hundred yards, at least (conversely, almost every shot I’ve taken in NY has been under 50 yards). You drive around until you can spot a herd in the distance, then you try to intercept, and then you finish the stalk on foot. I got my mule deer by using a hill for cover, and then marine crawling up it through a few inches of snow to set up for a 150 yard shot.

To hunt a fox, you just have to find out where the squirrels and other rodents are hanging out (usually near a food source), and you wait for the fox to come in to go after its prey. You can hunt coyotes over at the gutpile of a recently killed deer, or use a call that sounds like a high pitched rodent squeak that can bring them in. The laws are VERY permissive for coyote and fox hunting – you can even legally hunt them at night using a light source in many states. Just a note on predator hunting – I generally don’t shoot anything that I don’t intend on eating, but the fox and coyote population has gotten out of balance in recent years, and the animals have been coming onto our property and attacking our livestock, as well as our neighbors’ livestock, so the numbers really need to be culled.

Do you set up snares to help you in the hunt?


How difficult is it to hunt Black Bear or Wild Boar?

I think it really depends on the area you’re hunting. Down south, wild boar are considered a nuisance animal, and hunters are encouraged to kill as many as they can due to overpopulation. Up where I hunt, they just opened up the bear season a few years ago, and there isn’t a huge black bear population. I haven’t seen a black bear, or any sign of one, in about two years.

Equipment used in hunting:
What weapon do you personally use when hunting?

It depends on the game. I use a 12 gauge over and under Browning Citori for turkey, a Remington .25-06 bolt-action for whitetail, and a 7mm Remington bolt-action I use for longer range hunting. I have an Excalibur Equinox crossbow, too. I’ve gone bow hunting before, but in recent years, I haven’t had as much time to practice as I’d like, so I wouldn’t go out again unless that changed.

What are the advantages and disadvantages in hunting with a bow or crossbow?

There are a lot more disadvantages. Bowhunting must be done at short range. A 25 to 30 yard shot is the sweet spot, but an above average bowhunter (and I’m not among them!) could go out to 40 or so with accuracy. You have to compensate for wind more with a bow than you do a rifle at the same range. Because an arrow isn’t nearly as fast as a bullet, a deer can actually dodge an arrow, turning a lethal shot into one that simply wounds the animal.

A key advantage is that bow season (in NY, as well as most other states I’m aware of) occurs before rifle season, so the deer are more plentiful and less spooked. Also, a bow is a lot quieter than a gun, so if you miss a deer with your first shot you can sit tight and wait for another deer to come in. If you miss with a gun, all the game in the area knows it!

What are the advantages and disadvantages in hunting with a shotgun or rifle?

Shotgun range is short – a 12 gauge can get out to 40 or maybe 50 yards reliably. A rifle can obviously shoot a lot father. One of the reasons I use my 7mm for longer range is it´s very flat shooting (little drop off between say 200 and 300 yard shots). The main benefit to a shotgun is the spray pattern you get when using birdshot – you don’t need to be as precise, which is great for shooting birds in flight, for example.

Do you use tree stands or do you hunt on the ground?

Both, but I have a strong personal preference for hunting on the ground.

What are the advantages and disadvantages in doing either?

You get a much better view from a treestand, but can’t really adjust yourself too much (so if a deer comes in from behind you, you won’t have a shot at it). A deer might have a harder time scenting you if you’re up in a tree, but there’s also the threat of falling out of the tree – more accidents are caused by falling out of a treestand than anything else.

Do you use animal scent products to attract your prey? If so, how effective are they?

I do. I use doe urine (specifically Code Blue’s Doe Estrous), and will create a couple of scent trails in the area, but not leading right up to my blind, of course. I’ve had great results from these. One other trick is that if I get a doe early in the season, I remove the tarsal glands from her rear legs, and drag those through the woods to lay a scent trail.

Safety Rules and Regulations:

Can you tell me briefly what some of the safety rules and regulations are when hunting, how practical they are, and if all hunters abide by them?

I’ll give you the one safety rule that my dad drilled into me every day in the woods when I was a kid. Treat every gun as a loaded weapon. Never point your weapon at something you don’t intend to kill, even if you think it is unloaded. Heck, even if you’re SURE it isn’t loaded. It is just a good habit to get into.

I’m lucky in that I’ve always hunted with people who are incredibly safe, but there’s obviously a small minority of hunters out there who don’t fall into that category.

What is field dressing an animal, and why does it need to be done on the hunting ground?

Field dressing is the process of removing the internal organs from a deer you’ve just killed. There are two main reasons to do this. First – many of those organs are filled with waste and bacteria – you’ll want to carefully removal the viscera to get it away from the meat you intend to eat. Second, opening up the body cavity helps cool the body more quickly - this also minimizes the possibility of a bacteria problem.

Is there anything else you can add that might be useful to the readers?

Focus on enjoying your time in the woods, and don’t worry so much about whether or not you’re going to be “successful” in bringing game home. You can’t control whether or not you’ll see a big buck on a hunting trip, but if the simple pleasure of enjoying nature puts a smile on your face, then EVERY hunting season will be a success.

Thanks again Joe for the interview.

I hope you readers enjoyed this look into hunting, and stay tuned for my next article

In Frith,

Ragnar Valfrekr

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Het Bier Zal Weer Vloeien by Heidevolk

Hear is another awesome song by the band Heidevolk. Also note that I will be back to posting next week. Until then...

Het Bier Zal Weer Vloeien

Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
In ons Gelderland
Op winst in de strijd
Op vlees en jolijt
Kom laat ons nu drinken
Op ons Gelderland

Duizend duistere nachten doorstaan
De diepste dalen doorkropen
Eenzaamheid in ons bestaan
Door nachtelijke wouden geslopen

Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
In ons Gelderland
Op winst in de strijd
Op vlees en jolijt
Kom laat ons nu drinken
Op ons Gelderland

Het koudste ijs is betreden
De sterkste stromen doorwaad
De grootste vijand bestreden
De zwaarste storm is doorstaan

Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
In ons Gelderland
Op winst in de strijd
Op vlees en jolijt
Kom laat ons nu drinken
Op ons Gelderland

Ver weg van ons huis en haard
Het land door ons zo bemind
Smachtend naar ons Gelderland
De zeilen staan strak in de oostenwind

Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
In ons Gelderland
Op winst in de strijd
Op vlees en jolijt
Kom laat ons nu drinken
Op ons Gelderland

Ons doel is de horizon
We reizen de zon achterna
Verlangend naar de geboortegrond
De Rijn leidt ons nu huiswaarts

Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
Het bier zal weer vloeien
In ons Gelderland
Op winst in de strijd
Op vlees en jolijt
Kom laat ons nu drinken
Op ons Gelderland


The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
In our Gelderland
On winning the battle
On meat and delight
Come let us drink
On our Gelderland

A thousand dark nights are
Crawled through the deepest valleys
Loneliness in our lives
By night crept forests

The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
In our Gelderland
On winning the battle
On meat and delight
Come let us drink
On our Gelderland

The coldest ice is accessed
The strongest currents forded
The greatest enemy contested
The heaviest storm has passed

The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
In our Gelderland
On winning the battle
On meat and delight
Come let us drink
On our Gelderland

Far from our homes
The country we loved so
Longingly at our Gelderland
The sails are tight in the east wind

The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
In our Gelderland
On winning the battle
On meat and delight
Come let us drink
On our Gelderland

Our goal is the horizon
We travel, chasing the sun
Longing for the homeland
The Rhine will lead us home

The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
The beer will flow again
In our Gelderland
On winning the battle
On meat and delight
Come let us drink
On our Gelderland

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Ragnarök: What would you do?

About this time last year, my friend Darvin posed a question to my friend Chin Linsing and I that went something like this:

So imagine the world ended tomorrow. Not ended as in it exploded but ended as in society was suddenly pitched into chaos. Limited cell phone coverage, no TV or radio, failing utilities. What would you do to protect yourself and family? What is your plan? What weapons or gear do you have on hand that can help you?

You probably know how I would respond to this based on my previous post. I was thinking about it today, and I want to get a discussion going on in the comment section. I would like to see how everyone would respond to this. This post and the comments in it will be open forever, so fell free to leave your comments and responses to comments below.

Happy Frigg's day, and I will see you on Máni's day.

In Frith

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Battle Call by Hilla Hamasdohtor


Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, loudly they blow
Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, your liege-lord has need.

The raven rides on wrathful wings--
Black wings, and beacons of baleful doom
Flash and flicker, flame on the mountains.
Hateful the howl of the hoary wolf
Feasting on friend and foe alike.

Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, loudly they blow
Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, your liege-lord has need.

Many the men in the mead-hall gather,
Called by their king, called by duty.
Word-bound brethren, bold without fear
Answer sworn oaths, all remember
To liege and lord and land their pledge.

Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, loudly they blow
Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, your liege-lord has need.

Shoulder shields now and sharpen bright blades.
Against ancient evil, iron and steel--
Helm and hauberk, hale to keep them.
Bold the banner, borne high and proud
Midrealm's Dragon, dauntless it flies.

Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, loudly they blow
Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, your liege-lord has need.

Rise now, rise up, ride to battle,
Fear no foemen, fear no evil,
Brandish fierce blades; our banner flies now.
Hear the horncall, heed its music:
Forth now, dear friends, to the field of war!

Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, loudly they blow
Hearken, now hear the horns are calling
Listen now listen, your liege-lord has need.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: Tool Logic's Credit Card Companion

Hail and welcome to another wonderful review. Today I will be reviewing Toll Logic's Credit Card Companion: Tool Logic CC1SB.

Let me start off by saying that this is just one item among many that I think people should have. At only $15 on Amazon ( device comes with a small push knife with a serrated edge (very sharp I might add), a combination bottle opener/can opener/flat head screw driver, a pair of tweezers, a sturdy plastic tooth pick, a small compass, and a magnifying glass. It is about as thick as four credit cards and may feel bulky in your wallet. It can easily fit into you pocket, though I would advise you not to try to board a plane with it.

Now what can this small multitool provide for the survivalist as well as an average everyday bloke or lass? Well to start, the knife (my favorite part of the item) has multiple uses; from self defense to, using it to cut cords, to stripping a twig for tinder. As I said before the blade is pretty sharp. This shouldn't be your primary knife, but works as a spare. The serrated edges can be used with a fire steel to start a fire, and the knife can be used to help clean and field dress an animal. As I said before, this shouldn't be your only knife; it helps to have a spare though.

The second item is the bottle opener/can opener/flat head screw driver. Bottle openers and can openers may not seem like something that an outdoorsman would need. However, imagine that you come across a food source that happens to be in cans, or a few cases of Pepsi or Coke or beer (the most important out of the three ;)) in bottles; it'll be better to have something that would give you access to the food/drink than not to have it. Also the can opener has a shape edge to it, and can be used to skin an animal. The flat head screw driver can be used to fix another tool or pry something open. The tweezers can be used to remove ticks and splinters. And the toothpick can be used as a hook to catch fish.

There is also a small compass on the card. This should by no way replace your main compass. It is good to have if you don't have your primary compass with you. For example, if you are driving from a friend's house and you get lost and your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, you can use this to get you basic bearings.

The last part is the magnifying glass. This is used to catch the rays from the sun and start a fire. It's not the most efficient way of starting a fire, but it gives you an option.

All in all I think that this was $15 well spent. I wish there was a fire steel included in this model; there are other models that have the fire steel included. I like the sleek black design, and I like the way everything fits together. I give it *** out of ****.

Thanks for tuning in.


Song For Óðinn by Karl Donaldsson

Song for Odin

I sing of the tales of The Wanderer
The rider of Yggdrasill
He gave up an eye into Mimir’s Well
Where deeply, he drank his fill.

For nine long nights, Old Hárr, hung he
In search of the spoken spell;
The Runes that he found drew sounds for man
And down, from The Tree, he fell.

A snake, he slid through Gunnloð’s court;
The Mead of Poetry sought;
Three sips, and he fled as eagle’s wing;
By Suttung, was never caught.

Two sticks on a beach Hárbarð had found;
His brothers heard his call;
He gave his own breath and his blood to the wood
And told them of his hall:

“Valhalla holds the Einherjar
who’ll fight on Vigrið plain.”
As Fenrir sinks his fangs to the bone
The life of Odin will wane.

Fear not, my kin, of the Ragnarók,
For Fimbultýr truly has won;
He saw his own death at the end of time
And whispered this to his son.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Survival: A Heathen's Prospective-Water

Water is the essence of life. In a survival situation water is your most essential tool; without it you will become dehydrated and eventually die. It is said that a human should not go a full day (24 hours) without hydrating. An adult human can go 72 hours without any intake of water, but will be close to death (if they are not already dead). Here are the following symptoms of water dehydration starting from mild to severe:

Mild Symptoms

Loss of appetite
Dry skin
Dark colored urine
Dry mouth / Cotton mouth
Fatigue / Weakness
Head rushes

Moderate Symptoms

Increased heart rate
Increased respiration
Decreased sweating
Decreased urination
Increased body temperature
Extreme fatigue
Muscle cramps
Tingling of the limbs

Severe Symptoms

Muscle spasms
Racing pulse
Shriveled skin
Dim vision
Painful urination
Difficulty breathing
Chest and Abdominal pain

In a wilderness situation a water source is key to survival. The important thing to remember however is to hydrate with sterilized water. If you drink from an open source like a creek, stream, or river; you risk drinking in parasites. Diseases from viruses, bacteria, and protozoa such as: Salmonella, E. Coli, Cholera, Cryposporidum, Giardia, Hepatitis A, Norwalk, and Polio to name a few can lead to vomiting and diarrhea which will further dehydrate you. Some of these parasites could lead to death or serious and permanent injury.

So how does one sterilize their water? Well the basic way of doing this is boiling your water. To boil your water you will naturally need a fire source and a container to boil it in. I would suggest carrying around an aluminum or stainless steel water bottle; it'll last longer than the plastic ones, are safer to drink out of, and will not melt when placed over a fire. The other way of sterilizing you water is by using chlorine or iodine tablets. One of these tablets will sanitize one liter of water, and will take 30 minutes to an hour before its safe to drink. The longer you let the water sit with the tablets, the safer the water will be to drink.

You also have to think about how you will carry your water. Having just one container to hold your water will not do. It's always good to have multiple containers for your water. I would suggest two water bottles, and an alternative method of carrying water such as a ziplock bag or even a condom. With these methods you can be a bit more flexible in where you store it.

It is important to find a water source quickly and not to travel too far from it once you've found it. Also don't forget that you can collect and drink rain water as well. To be safe I would still boil the water; though I believe that rain water is safe to drink.

This is the most important aspect in survival. A human can go a month with out eating, but can not go a few days without clean drinking water. Remember to stay hydrated and always think ahead when going out into the wild.

In Frith


Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Christian Fool: The Quran Burning

I learned earlier today that a foolish man by the name of Terry Jones decided to have a demonstration this Saturday-September 11th. This fool has it in his mind to burn hundreds of the Muslim's holy book The Quran. Now to get this out in the open, I don't support Islam nor do I directly oppose people's rights to join that religion. My opposition to Islam is pretty much the same as with Christianity in that both religions seek to force other people to their way of thinking; that they way is the one and only TRUE way. That being said, I don't really care what other people want to believe religiously; I have my world view and I wish to be left alone with it (Do Not try to convert me).

Terry Jones hasn't the foresight to see where his actions will take him, this country, and our troops who are fighting and dying in Islamic lands. While he can go back to his comfortable home and sit in relative safety, our troops will be put at a greater danger because of his demonstration. And here is where my rant comes in. A couple of weeks ago, I made a new friend (Josh Heath, and his wife Kat) who serves in the military. Josh is a Heathen (not a Christian) who has nothing to do with this mad man's rants and Quran burning; yet will suffer because of this man's actions. That one of the problems with Christians; they lack the foresight of their actions and expect their god to swoop in and fix their fuck ups when shit hits the fan. Know this Terry, when you go through with this, not only will folks who don't agree with your viewpoint (e.g. American Muslims, liberals, ect...) hate you for this, but you may find that they will burn down your church. Also you have to realize that once you go through with this, you will have the blood of our soldiers on your hands. Terry Jones, you are a short sighted fool! Your actions do not bring honor to your god or your religion, it has the complete opposite. If my friends suffer for your stupidity, I will hold you personally responsible and you shall have my wrath place upon you! You may fear your god's wrath, but you have yet to see mine! I make no threats here, just know that you will be cursed for your foolishness if you decide to go through with it.

That is all I have to say on the matter. To anyone else who is reading this, use your brain! If you belong to a faith, just worry about yourself and your community. Don't get involved with trying to destroy other people's faith. You wouldn't want someone to do that to you, would you? Live your life right, and try to coexist with folks from different faiths. This isn't a plea for Islam; I could care less about Islam. When a single person's actions effects an entire community however, I will step up an voice my opinion. This is all I have to say on the subject.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hulde Aan De Kastelein

Here's an awesome drinking song. The song is by a band called Heidevolk and here it is:

Hulde, hulde, hulde aan deze kameraad
Wij danken onze goden dat deze man bestaat
Hij tapt ons onze biertjes, van vroeg tot heel erg laat
Hij tapt ons onze biertjes, van vroeg tot heel erg laat

Dank hem, dank hem, dank hem voor al dat blonde bier
Wodka, whiskey, water interesseren ons geen zier
Het goudgeel vocht met witte kraag, dat geeft ons veel plezier
Het goudgeel vocht met witte kraag, dat geeft ons veel plezier

Eert hem, eert hem, eert hem, voor hem heft men de hoorn
Nooit eerder zag men zo een man, zo sterk en stoer geboren
Wij danken hem met heel ons hart als niemand ooit tevoor
Wij danken hem met heel ons hart als niemand ooit tevoor


Homage, homage, homage, this companion
We thank our gods that this man exists
He taps us our beers, from early to very late
He taps us our beers, from early to very late

Thank him, thank him, thank him for all that blonde beer
vodka, whiskey, water, not a whit of interest to us
the golden yellow liquid with white collar, which gives us great pleasure
the golden yellow liquid with white collar, which gives us great pleasure

Honors him, honor him, honor him, for him it lifts the handset
Never before was seen as a man born so strong and tough
We thank him with all our heart and nobody ever
We thank him with all our heart and nobody ever

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Heathens in the Military

Hail to Lord Thor on this bright Thor's day! Today's topic is about Heathens in the military. Now last Thor's day I attended a class at the East Coast Thing dealing with this very subject. The class was run by Josh and Cat Heath, and dealt with issues that a Heathen would come across on and off the field of combat. They also got into the significant other's role in a military family situation, and how to cope with issues that may arise out of dealing with a largely Christian population in the military. Lastly they discussed a program they've designed to gain more rights for the military Heathen community.

As you can imagine, the United States military and it's soldiers are primarily Christian; followed by other Monotheistic faiths. Because of this, folks who are Polytheistic (Heathens in particular) find it hard to have their 'religious' needs met. I know for myself that I felt a new satisfaction after attending ECT (East Coast Thing) and spiritually nourished. When our folk are away from the Heathen community we they need some form of connection to the Gods, Ancestors, and Folk. Although things are suppose to be fair and equal in the U.S. military, often times they are not. With that in mind, we need to take it upon ourselves as Heathens to support or folk in the military; support their 'religious' needs.

Being a significant other in a Heathen military family can be very tough as well. As a civilian, I don't know what military life is like. I have Heathen and Wiccan friends I could talk to or hang out with. My community isn't small or limited to one type of people. If someone like a friend or neighbor decides to ignore me or end out friendship based on my 'religious' beliefs or better yet my world view; I can deal with that easier than someone in a military community who relies on friendly interaction much more than I would. A lot of times this human to human interaction is a necessity for survival in a war torn foreign land. We must keep in mind of the Heathen families who are in this situation. If we can help these folk to build a community, their survivability has increased.

One of the things that Josh and Kat discussed was an Open Halls program that will help get a Heathen Chaplain in the military. It will help network other Heathens who are in the military who would otherwise not know that other Heathens were in their unit. This program can help provide blot services and in the worst case scenario an individual's wishes for funeral arrangements. I'm not in the military, but I believe in this program. I think that we as Heathens should get behind this project. The registration for the Open Hall can be found here:;

To Josh and Kat Heath, I wish them both Luck. Josh may Thor watch over you while you are on the field of battle; and if you may fall, may you find your way to the Halls of your Fathers.

In Frith!


Edited: Here is a link to the podcast done by David and Sandi Carron of Raven Kindred North and their channel Ravencast:…tary-heathenry/

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stolen Child by W.B. Yeats

This is a poem about the Fae folk. This poem is one of my favorites:

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Survival: A Heathen's Prospective-Shelter

Before I start this section on shelter I would like to edit my previous statement about the order of importance Fire, Water, Shelter, and Food come in. Previously I stated that Fire is number one on the list, then Water, then Shelter. After doing some serious thinking, I want to edit my statement and place Shelter as number one on that list.

In any survival situation and during any time of the year, shelter is the most important key to survival. It is possible to suffer from hypothermia in the middle of the summer. You have to think about keeping your core body temperature when out in the wild. Your clothing will only take you so far; and especially in winter conditions, too many layers can contribute to hypothermia when traveling on foot in the wild. This is because regardless to how cold it is, your body still generates heat during strenuous activities like walking, running, building a shelter. Your body will produce sweat, and if you have too many layers on, that sweat gets trapped and your clothing will be wet. Once that happens, your bodies core heat will begin to drop and hypothermia can set in. One way to prevent hypothermia is to build a shelter.

A shelter can be anything from a house or cabin, tent and sleeping bags, tarp and space blanket, to some basic brush and forest debris. The first in this list is pretty obvious; a house or cabin is the best form of shelter to get you out of the elements. A tent and sleeping bag is great for campers to keep warm and out of the elements. Tents are waterproof and great to use in a survival situation. They can be erected pretty much anywhere (though you may want to think of a strategic place when setting it up). Next on the list is a tarp and a space blanket. These are what most backpackers and survivalist taking a back country hike should carry with them. The tarp is light weight, waterproof, and pretty cheap ($15 for a 12X16 feet piece). The space blanket can run you about $5 and can fit in your pocket. It is also made of a reflective material that can be used as a signaling device (remember to find multiple uses for you gear).

The last thing on the list is a last resorts method- using brush and forest debris. If you are ever in a situation where you you have become stranded in the wild with no camping equipment, tarps, sleeping bags, ect; this is a neat trick to learn. The best type of shelter you can find will be in the brush or wooded area. If you can find a hanging branch (not a broken branch, but one that has grown in a hanging position), cave (beware of bears) or some other shelf that has potential to place brush and debris on, you should be in business. You can then take a few branches (shown in the link below) and create the frame of your shelter. Bush brush and forest debris can be used as insulation and roofing material.

The key to building a shelter is to get yourself out of the harsh elements and to keep yourself warm.

Next time I will be discussing water.
Thanks for reading.
In Frith!

Here are the Youtube links:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Survival: A Heathen's Prospective-Fire

There are four basics one needs for survival in the wild
1. Fire
2. Water
3. Shelter
4. Food

Today I will talk about the first thing on the list. It may be argued that Shelter should be the first thing on the list, and in may ways it it should be. I've decided to place fire at the top of the list because of all the various uses for it. I'll talk about how to start a fire, what materials you should have on you to start one, and the uses of fire.
So what should you carry. In an wilderness setting you should have various ways to start a fire. I believe in the five step plan when it comes to starting fires. They are:
1. Lighter
2. Matches
3. Fire steel
4. Magnifying lens
5. Knowledge of how to make fire with Two pieces of wood.

Lets start with the lighter. A lighter has fuel that when introduced to the spark caused by the flint and steel ignites. This is the simplest way of starting a fire. What is needed is tinder to catch the flame from the lighter and fuel (other pieces of wood) to feed the fire. Lighters are cheap and easy to obtain in an urban setting. Even if you don't smoke, having a lighter on you is quite useful. The problem with the lighter is that eventually, your lighter fluid will run out. Even if this happens, keep the empty lighter; the flint and steel still works and can still aid you in making a fire. If you don't have a lighter then you should have...

Matches! Matches are easier to obtain and in most cases are free. There are several kind of matches that you can use, but the worst kind are the cardboard match sticks. These are terrible to try to light anywhere but indoors. However you can harvest the sulfur tips which can act as tinder. You have the box of wooden stick matches. These are better than the cardboard matches, but still may be difficult to light up outdoors. Also if they get wet they will be rendered useless. If you have any of these, put them in a ziplock bag to keep them dry. The last type of matches are the military grade waterproof matches. For about $5 you can get a box and they will light up even in the rain. Okay so you didn't but the waterproof matches, your books of wooden ones are soaked, now what to do?

Well if you don't have one of these handy you may be screwed. It's called fire steel or flint and steel. They can range from $8-$30 and is your best friend in any survival situation. I personally like to use something that doubles as a multi-tool like Tool Logic's Knife, fire steel, LED signaling light, and signaling whistle in one (see image in the upper right hand corner of the article). Using a fire steel requires you to have a tinder (including sulfur heads) to start the fire. You strike down upon your tinder with the fire steel which will cause sparks that will ignite your tinder. You then feed your small fire fuel. Tinder can be anything from saw dust and wood shavings to Trees bark and brush; hell you can even use the lint in your pocket as tinder. Improvise when you have to. Use anything that you have on you and around you to survive. I also learned that digging out an "X" in the ground(several inches deep, and maybe a foot across) allows the flow of air to feed the fire. Doing something like this will give you a healthy fire.

The last two are the most difficult ways of obtaining fire. Both require skills, and the right conditions. The first of these two is using a magnifying lens to bring a beam of concentrated sunlight to ignite the tinder. Obviously you will need sunlight to do this. If you have an overcast, this will not be an option. The second, and last resort on my list is the Native American way by rubbing to sticks together. There are various methods in doing this and I will have a post dedicated on these methods. The reason why this would be a last resort for me is because it is the hardest way of starting a fire. It expends energy (energy that you need to conserve especially if there is a lack of food), and you will need relatively dry conditions in order for this to work. You will need dry tinder, two dry pieces of wood to start the friction, and a dry surface to work on. It also takes patiences and skill to succeed in doing this. The basic idea it to conserve the energy that you have when you are in a survival situation.

Now that you have your fire, I will explain why it is number one in my list. If dressed appropriately you will be fine in the environment for a while so shelter gets bumped down to number three on my list. What you need is a water source and a way to purify your water. Without iodine or chlorine tablets, you are taking a risk by drinking water from a wild source like a river or stream. Boiling your water is the best way to purify your water. You can't do that without fire.

Fire will keep you warm and help prevent hypothermia. A lot of people don't know that you can die from hypothermia in the middle of the summer. Without shelter or a heat source the elements can claim your life (I'll get more into that when I talk about shelters). Although you will have a shelter up in and around the same time as you have a fire going (especially if there are others with you) Building a fire first will help you to place your shelter strategically.

Fire is also a way to cook your food once you get it. Fire can also be used to sterilize material used for first aid, and can cauterize wounds if necessary. Finally, fire can keep predators away and can be used in defense against a predator.

All in all, Fire is one of the most important tool to use in wilderness survival.
In Frith

(As a side note to my readers: I know I said that I will have these articles strictly for Mondays, but I have a lot of information to put out there. Until further notice, I will be doing the Survival tips and guides five times a week. Thanks for reading!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Survival: A Heathen's Prospective-How useful are these tips really?

So the question came up: How useful are these survival tips anyway?

The answer to this question is pretty simple; VERY! I don't claim to be a master of survival, but I do pass on the knowledge I gather from various sources. As explained in the first post about survival; having this knowledge can save your life.

For example, lets say you are coming back to Philadelphia from Virginia. You are driving down a dark road in the middle of the night, with no traffic around you. Out of the tree line a 300 lbs Buck hops in front of your car, you hit it at 70 mph, skid off the road and into a tree. The air bags deploy and you sustain minor injuries. Your passengers however are worse off and unconscious. What do you do? What do you have that could be useful in your car? Is your cell phone fully charged? Do you have a signal out there? Was the phone damage? How far were you from the nearest town? These are some of the questions that you need to ask and have answers for if caught in that situation.

I just believe in being prepared, and I want other people to get into that mind frame. Hope for the best but prepare for the worse.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Survival: A Heathen's Prospective-The Essentials

When thinking about the essentials one needs for survival, what comes to mind? Food and water, a place to stay,a heat source (especially during the winter seasons). What else do you think you need? In this post I will explain some of the essentials that you will need to survive.

The first thing that tends to happen during a survival situation (Urban or Wilderness) is that we panic. It's a natural human emotion. We are taken out of our relatively safe condition and placed into a situation we are not use to; and more often than not, unprepared for. Because of this we, will have one of three reactions: Fight, Flight, or Fright. Those who fright will freeze up, do nothing to preserve their lives, and end up seriously hurt or dead. Those who take the flight approach to the situation could run into a more dangerous situation and also end up seriously hurt or dead. Those who choose to fight are the ones with the higher chance of surviving the crisis.
So the first essential in survival is not to panic. You need to have a clear head when faced with a survival situation. Observe your environment, take inventory on what you have, what's useful in your situation, do you have means of communication, how are you conserving your resources; these are some of the things you have to think about. You will be able to better organize these things if you are thinking clearly and rationally. Lastly, having a stable mind is key to survival. Morale can make or break a person. Those folks how keep a positive attitude are the ones who tend to survive.

The second essential when found in a survival situation is a compass. Having an idea where you are, in a wilderness setting as well as an urban setting is key for survival. I would also add a map and a GPS locator to this list. The problem with a GPS locator is that it requires power to operate it. If the battery is dead, the GPS locator becomes useless. It can however give you your current location, and can be used along side your map and compass. Learn how to read a map and a compass, and again conserve the battery life of your phone or GPS device. Use your head, make sure that any electronic devises you have is insulated from the weather. It's also a good idea to have your maps laminated.

The third essential you should have is a first aid kit. I will have a separate post dealing with first aid, but I will touch on it now. Injury can occur and to survive, you have to be able to treat that injury. Infection will be your number one enemy in these type of situations. In the wild, you will be away from any immediate help, and in an urban setting the quicker you are at treating the injury, the more likely the chance of survival will be. In a later post I will talk about what items you should have in your first aid kit.

The fourth essential you should have is a shelter. This can be anything from a sleeping bag, to a tent, to gathering brush and forest debris and making a shelter out of that. A shelter will get you directly out of the elements and will keep you relatively warm and offer some safety. Being in constant rain or snow, or being in an open plain where the temperature drops; especially when you're sleeping increases the risk of sickness and eventually death. Find means to keep yourself dry.

The fifth essential is water. You need to find a good source of drinking water, and you need to have a way to purify the water. You can buy iodine tablets that with purify the water, but makes it taste like shit (It'll cost you about $10). The second option is getting a water purification system that can cost up to $400. The other option you have is to boil your water. One interesting thing I seen on Survivorman, was how Les Stroud used a soda can to boil his water. If you have some items like this, make sure to save them. Having clean drinking water is one of the most important essentials. You may be lost, you may not have shelter, you may not have a food source yet, and you could survive a few days without that; but without water your body could shut down in a 48 hour period. Clean water is a must because if your water is polluted, your survival rate will drop considerably.

The sixth essential is fire. Fire will serve as a heat source, a way to cook your food, a deterrent for wild life, and a way to boil your water if you lack the iodine or water filtration system. I would suggest the following: learn how to build a fire, carry matches or a lighter, and when that fails or becomes expended have other means of starting a fire. I once seen someone use a cotton ball and petroleum jelly as kindle. You could carry something like this in a small ziplock bag and use it and flint and steel to start your fire. The idea is to have a multi-layered plan to start a fire. For example if you have a lighter or matches and the lighter fluid is used up, or the matches got wet, you'll need to have an additional plan to get things working. Always prepare for the worst.

The seventh essential is food. MRE's or Made Ready to Eat are military rations that provide the nourishment you would need, especially in a wilderness survival or state of emergency situation in an urban setting. For about $70 you get a twelve meals pack, from anything like beef stew and soup, to cheese steak sandwiches and chicken. This however is only a limited resource, and you will have to find food on your own. I would suggest that you learn how to hunt, trap, and fish. I would also suggest that you find books on flora (plant life) and see what's eatable, and what is not.

These are a few things that you will need to survive. Education is the primary tool that you can acquire. Learn now while you are in your comfort zone, and if the occasion arises, you will be prepared.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Runes: The Heathen way vs The Wiccan way

So yesterday I was surfing through Youtube when I came across a few videos on Rune reading. Two of these videos stood out for me. One was done by a heathen (User Lurch579) here's a link to his channel: In his videos he explains what each rune means, the pronunciation of the runes, the numeric order and what ætt the the rune belongs to. He describes what value it will have in a divination reading (if you're into that) and how it can be applied in everyday life. I found his videos to be helpful in explaining a complex subject such as this.

The other video on the Runes was done by a Wiccan (User CharmingPixieFlora) here's the link to her channel: . In her video she struggles to explain what the Runes are, how to use them, and even butchers the pronunciation of the word Futhark (I actually cringed when I heard her). She had no experience with or understanding of the Runes, and pretty much picked them up as a plug and play system of divination. She suggested "Rune Cards" which are like Tarot cards for those interested in trying it out. She used some chart that was suppose to have the meaning of each Rune listed, but it was more like a poor mans job at best. With little to no understanding of the Runes how can she use them efficiently?

That brings me to my point, and perhaps the issue many heathens have with Wiccans in general. Heathens do a lot of homework; many of us jokingly call it the religion with homework. Research is a large part of what we do. If we don't have enough information on a particular subject we won't present it to others. We don't believe in the plug and play method either. To say that the Runes are interchangeable with the Tarot is not only wrong, but insulting as well. Wiccans can't seem to grasp this, thus the rift between modern heathens and neopagans exists. The young woman in the video may not have intended to insult Heathens; she may have been seeking alternative ways of divination. Seeking alternative ways of divination is fine, but please know what it is that you're getting into. If you want to use the Runes, learn about them, know where they come from, know about the lore. To simply Google the work Rune, pick up some Cliff note meanings, and work it into your Rune casting won't work.

I for one am still learning about the Runes. I have yet to do a Rune reading for anyone besides a sample reading I did for myself. I have always approached Galdr with reverence and caution, much like the way I approach the use of a gun or bow when hunting. Such tools must be use with extreme caution. The way Wiccans approach power is quite reckless. Now not all Wiccans are this way, but many of them are. I view many of them like children who get their hands on their parent's gun, and way it around like it's a toy. Folks please know what you are getting into!

I don't know if this young lady will ever read this, but if she does I will suggest that she should pick up a few books on the subject, learn about the Runes, and shoot a follow up video.

Well that's my little rant for the day. I will see you next time.

In Frith!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Year of Viking Rituals by Scott Mohnkern

This is my review of Scott Mohnkern's book "A Year of Viking Rituals". Every Tyr's day (Tuesday) I will try to review a book, movie, or video game. Some of the reviews will be none heathen. You have been warned. Now to the review:

I few months back I was listening to Raven Radio's Podcast( and tuned in to a conversation with Raven Radio's cast and Scott Mohnkern. Scott was promoting his book: "A Year of Viking Rituals". Listening to the podcast I thought that the book would be full of fluff. I decided to pick up the book to judge for myself.

In this book there is a brief description of the Gods, a hammer rite to set up sacred space, the invocation, and the libation in each section. The book has 172 pages broken down into twelve sections. Each section deals with a individual God, and has recipes and feast ideas for each blot.

Lets start off with the cons of this book:
Each section deals with a month in the year, and a God that corresponds with that month. Each section has a very brief summary of the God/Goddess in question. I would have liked more of a description on each God/Goddess, their attributes and domains, and samples of what one might blot to the Gods for.

The second issue I had with the book is that it is too short. I would have love to get more information on the blot structures, more examples and stories on blots that he participated in, and more Gods and Goddesses.

The third issue was with his sources. I notice that he referred to Wikipedia a lot in his foot notes. In the heathen community, using Wikipedia as a source is laughable. I couldn't take his sources very seriously.

The last issue is a preferential one. It has to do with the hammer rite. To me, the hollowing of space, making the sign of the hammer, calling the corners seem more like a Wiccan or Christian rite than a Heathen rite. This came across as a little fluffy to me , and I know that other heathens will see it that way.

These issues are something that will stop your educated heathen from picking this book up to add to their book hoard.

The pros to this book are minor:

Although this book comes across fluffy, it will give new members of the heathen community ideas for performing their own blots and sumbels. There is also a brief section in the back of the book that talks about the structure of a heathen wedding, and professing yourself to the Gods.

The other good quality of this book are the recipes that are found in each section. However if you are looking for recipes for your blots and sumbels, look no further than here:

Overall the Cons outweigh the pros for this book. If you are looking for an okay starting point, or are stumped for blot ideas, pick this up; it may spring board some creative ideas. If $15 isn't a lot for that, then feel free to pick it up. Otherwise don't bother with this title.

I will be posting some ideas for blots on this blog, so save your money. This book gets ** out of ****.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Survival: A Heathen's Prospective

I have decided to make Monday's theme on survival. Each Monday I will go into the how's and why's on surviving. I'm writing out my opinions on general survival for both an urban and wilderness setting from a heathen prospective. I am new to the survivalist lifestyle, and as I gain knowledge in this, I will share it with my readers.

Why should someone want to learn this?

Good question. The best answer I can come up with is: it's better to know how to survive on limited to no means and not need it, than to need these skills and not have them. We as a modern society are so use to running around the corner or down the road to the grocery store to pick up our necessities. Are minds are so far removed from providing for ourselves that we wouldn't know what to do if said grocers were destroyed or flooded (Think Hurricane Katrina). How would you survive if your food supply was gone, your gas and electricity (things we take for granted) cease working? How would you apply first aid? Do you know CPR? How do you start a fire (A very important part of survival) without a box of matches, lighter,or gas? How do you obtain clean drinkable water when your main water source is contaminated? These are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself if you are ever in a survival situation. Not having the answers to these questions during a survival situation will increase your chances of not surviving.

Some of you may say "I'll never be in a situation where these skills will come in handy". Think again! I'll give you an example: A few weeks ago in Philadelphia a Duck boat was hit by a freighter in the Delaware river. Two out of twenty died in the river. Each passenger on the Duck boat didn't think that they would be fighting for their lives when they entered the boat that day. Eventually they did, and two of them died. Having the skills to survive, knowing what to do when you have to abandon ship, or knowing how to perform CPR on someone who has taken water into their lungs will not only help you, but others to survive as well.

Let me bring this from a less dramatic angle. Right now or economy is bad. The job market isn't recovering as fast as we need it to, the price of gas, and other essentials are increasing, and the number of lay offs is still too high. We are looking at another great depression soon. How does one survive this? My father once told me that he had family in the south who, during the great depression, didn't feel the effects of it. These folks had farm land, and ended up living off the land while folks in the large cities were struggling to survive. My point is that one of the best ways to survive during these times is to buy land. Depending on where you're looking, acreage is pretty cheap. In Wyoming you can purchase 32 acres for around $19,000 (An acre is about 100 yards-size of a football field). Multiply that by 32, and you've got yourself your own land to grow crops; raise sheep, pigs, and cattle, and build an house on; dig a well, put in a septic tank, and have a propane operated generator. You'll be living off the grid a bit, but you'll have what you need for you and your family to survive.

Survival skills in my opinion is a must! Never fall victim to your own ignorance!

Next Monday's topic will be on Hunting. I will talk about some of the necessary tools for the trade, and the how's when's and why's.

In Frith!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Nine Worlds: Muspellheimr

Darkness blankets the land in a cloud of ash and smoke,
a mountain of fire burns in the distance.
Fiendish cries of black winged beast beat against the howling winds.
The great enemy of the Gods sits on a fiery throne; a great sword of
fire steel grasped in his hands.
None but those born of this place dwell here,
great spheres of fire rain constantly for it's blacken skies.
This is one of the Nine Worlds, this is Muspellheim-land of the fire giant Surtr;
enemy of Asgard.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Nine Worlds: Asgard


Upon a golden sea of wheat and waves of green grass, lay a kingdom so vast and great that none but the Gods dwell there. The Sun's bright ring, the sky's rich curtain of blue crowned with the jeweled sparks of Muspell serves as it's tapestry. This kingdom is called Asgard, home of the Aesir.

The chief of the Gods, Odinn, sits with his wife Frigg on his mighty throne in his hall called Hliðskjálf looking out into the nine worlds. With the help of Huginn And Muninn, news of the doings of all the nine worlds is known to him; and in the evening he meditates on the events of the day.

For the preparation of the great war, the twilight of the Gods- Ragnarök; Odinn made a great hall for brave warriors who died in battle- The Einherjar which means bold warrior. He called this hall Valhalla or Hall of the slain. Each day the Einherjar would go out onto the field and battle to the death; practicing for the final battle. At night the warriors who fell were resurrected and all the Einherjar would feast on Sæhrímnir- a great boar who's flanks would regenerate each day to be eaten yet again. They drank the mead of Heiðrún which was bore by the Valkyrie-choosers of the slain.

In Asgard there is another hall named Fólkvangr, and the lady Freyja rules over it. Rich and plentiful are it's fields, sweet is the wine that flows from the wine vessels. The lady Freyja gains half of the Einherjar and Odinn gains the other half.

Thor, mighty son of Odinn rules in the great hall of Thrudheimr- the hall of Strength and Power. Thunder sings its mighty song across it's plains, and lightning dances across it's skies. Thor sits on his throne with his wife Sif-lady of the golden fields.

Ever vigilant is the God Heimdallr, warden of the Bifrost road. Himinbjorg is his hall.

Asgard is one of the nine worlds and the land of The Aesir, Gods of the Norse.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Upon the North wind rides two terrible twins.
Seekers of hidden knowledge the two fly from frosty peaks into the nine worlds.
The secrets of all things living and dead are uncovered by the two, black are their feathery flanks.
At evening the perch on the shoulders of an old man, sharing the secrets of their findings.
Drinking from a horn full of mead, the old one meditates on the days events as Ragnarök approaches.

Pierced by many arrows Ragnar stand upon a heap of corpses, a mighty gift for his God Ásagrimmr.
Alone on the battlefield with his nemesis, he runs in for the kill.
Death is a guarantee for him, yet he has unfinished business.
His foe's eyes burn with a fire that matches the pits of Muspelheimr.
The clanging of steel rings out into the darkness, and Ragnar's foe drops to the ground;
his head falling separate from his body.
A smile plays on the lifeless head of the fell man's face as Ragnar falls to his death;
a grievous wound struck to him.
The last thing he sees is a winged woman of surpassing beauty kneeling beside him.

Stirring from his meditation, the old man looks up as the great door to his hall abruptly opens.
A red mane woman, clad in bright mail enters; a stout bloody man at her flanks.
"This is Ragnar, the warrior you sent me for" she said with a voice like the sounds of stirring winds and running streams.
He paid no heed to the warrior, nor the Valkyrie, for he saw the a sign of troubled times;
a sign he had feared to see.
The first snow had began to fall on Asgard, and the month was June.