Tīw- the Anglo-Saxon Sky Father, God of Justice and War

Tīw was obviously an important god to the Anglo-Saxons. They named a day of the week after him, and several places in England were named after him. Tacitus lists him as one of the three most important gods (along with Wōden and Thunor) to the Germanic tribes that would later become the Anglo-Saxons. So it may be surprising that we know so little about him. By the time the Norse myths had been written down, his Norse cognate Tyr barely ranked much mention beyond the stories where Fenrir bites off his hand and him accompanying Thor to Tīw’s Jotunn father. So what else can we deduce from him using the reconstructive methods we Heathens are best known for?

The Sky Father

As usual, I would like to start with the linguistic evidence. Tīw descends from the Proto-Germanic *Tiwaz, which descends from the Proto-Indo-European *deywos, which is derived from *Dyeus, the Sky Father of the ancient Proto-Indo-European pantheon. The fact that his name in Proto-Germanic literally means The God is an indication of the importance this god had in those days. His linguistic tie to Dyeus indicates that he, too, was the sky father of the Proto-Germanic pantheon.

A sky father, in comparative mythological studies, is the consort of the earth mother. Together they exercise parental roles of some kind to their pantheon of gods. Just as the earth mother is the earth itself, the sky father is seen as being the sky itself. In the Anglo-Saxon pantheon, the earth mother is Eorþe (or Eorthe), also known as Folde and sometimes thought to have also been called Erce from the prayer to her in the Acerbot Charm.

Based upon my understanding of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European pantheon, Tīw also has three children with Eorthe. We have the twin siblings Sunne the sun goddess and Mona the moon god, and their sister the dawn goddess Eostre.

The sky father is also generally the king of the gods (Like the Baltic Dievs, the Greek Zeus, and the Roman Jupiter), or at least the original king of the gods. This is not always the case, as Dyaus in the Hindu pantheon was the father of the gods but not the king of the gods.

Another attribute that the sky father tends to have is being all seeing, or at least seeing all that happens outside under the sky or in view of the outside (like seeing things through open windows). For example, Zeus was seen as having this attribute. This is an extension of him being the sky. If he is the entire sky, he can see all that happens under the sky. Most polytheists don’t believe in any of the omni attributes traditionally associated with the Christian god (omnipresence, omnipotence, etc), but I can see this all seeing attribute applying to a deity who is the sky. This attribute would also be a big aid to Tīw as being the god of Justice (see below).

The Greeks used to swear oaths under the open sky for this reason, so that it would be witnessed by Zeus. I feel this would be appropriate to carry over with Tīw.

The God of War and Justice

In Tacitus’s Germania, Tīw is associated with Mars. Mars was the Roman god of war. He represented military power as a means of securing peace. He was also seen as the father of the Roman people, because he was the father of the divine twins Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Another connection between Tiw and Mars is the fact that the Anglo-Saxons named the third day of the week (Tuesday) after Tīw and the Romans named this day after Mars. Due to this connection with Mars, Tīw (as well as Tyr) is seen as a god of war. Tacitus also states that he was one of two gods that the Germanic tribes would appeal to for military victory (the other being Woden/Odin).

As a side note, Mars was also an agricultural god. If Tīw is the sky father, this would also make him a god important to agriculture.

Tīw is also associated with the Þing. This is because of an inscription that was found on Hadrian’s wall that reads Mars thincus, meaning Mars of the Thing. The Thing was a Germanic assembly that met to make laws, but who’s primary function was to settle disputes. This makes the Thing a precursor to modern courts. Due to this connection, Tīw was also seen as a god of Justice. These two aspects, war and justice, may seem contradictory to modern audiences. However, war was the primary means of achieving justice from foreign powers. Remember, Mars was seen as the god of military power to secure peace, unlike the Greek Ares who was seen as primarily a god of war for war’s sake.

The One Handed God

The story for which Tīw’s Norse counterpart Tyr is most known for is the story in which he sacrifices his hand for the safety of all the gods. This duty of sacrificing oneself for the protection of his people would have usually fallen to the king. While this is not evidence for Tīw’s kingship, it does give us another lead to try to further flesh out Tīw.

There is another god who loses his hand in another Proto-Indo-European mythology. It comes from the Irish, who were Celtic. We find in this mythology the god Nuada. Nuada was the first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, which was a tribe of Irish gods. He leads his people to their new home, a divine land. In the war securing this land, Nuada loses his hand. He temporarily loses his throne due to this war injury, but is soon restored to the throne. He later passes on the kingship peacefully but continues to reside over the royal court.

Notice how well this story jives with the picture of Tīw we’ve painted so far. He leads his people into war (Tīw is the god of war), and loses his hand securing peace for his people (as Tyr does in the story with Fenrir). He is the first king of the gods. He resides over the court even after he retires from the kingship (bringing to mind Tīw’s role in leading the Thing).

The only other major story we get of Tyr in Norse mythology has him taking Thor to see Tyr’s father (who is a Jotunn) in order to secure a cauldron large enough to prepare a feast for the gods. Tyr is also called “son of Odin” as an epithet by Snorri, but I believe this is simply a reference to Odin being the All Father. Tīw being the son of a Jotunn jives with the worldview that many Fyrnsidere have (based upon comparative mythological studies of other Proto-Indo-European pantheons) that the first generation of the gods were born to the chaotic Ettins, and separated themselves from the Ettins in order to establish the order of the universe.

Is Tīw still the King of the Gods?

The question of whether Tīw is still the King of the gods or whether he was succeeded by Wōden (as in Norse mythology) is debated among Heathens who hold to Tīw being the Anglo-Saxon cognate of the Proto-Indo-European Dyeus. (There are also Fyrnsidere [Anglo-Saxon Heathens] who do not accept Tīw as being a sky father deity, or ever being the king of the gods.) The Fyrnsidu (Anglo-Saxon Heathenry) Discord server that I’m on is divided in their opinions on it. I plan to do a blog post about this at a later date, but I will give my opinion and a brief summary of why I hold that opinion here.

I believe that at some point Tīw retires from being king of the gods, and hands the throne over to Wōden. My reason for this belief is as follows:

  • Tacitus tells us that Wōden (who he calls Mercury) is worshipped above all the other gods.
  • By the Anglo-Saxon period, Wōden is listed as the divine ancestor of the royal families in 6 of the 7 kingdoms of the Heptarchy (the seven major kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons). So it appears that the Anglo-Saxons connected him to kingship.
  • Both of the major sources of Norse mythology that we have also has Odin as the king of the gods (both Snorri [Icelandic] and Saxo [Danish] affirm this).
  • In the myth of Nuada, Nuada ends up retiring as king but continues to hold court (this is separate from the time after losing his hand and being forced to step down. He ends up regaining his throne after getting a silver prosthetic hand, but then also later retires from being king).

Taken separately, any of these points can be explained away. When taken together, however, I believe it paints an overall picture of Wōden being the current king of the gods.

Conclusion

Putting all of this together, I believe that Tīw is the first king of the gods. He led the first generation of the gods out of the primordial chaos and away from the chaotic Ettins they descended from. He leads them to where they establish Osgeard (Asgard). In the battle to secure Osgeard from the Ettins, he loses his hand but emerges victorious. During his reign, he establishes the Thing (assembly) of the gods. At some point, Tīw steps down from being king and passes the throne on to Wōden. He continues to preside over the Thing.

Tīw is the husband of Eorthe, the earth mother. Together they are the parents of the sun goddess Sunne, the moon god Mona, and the dawn goddess Eostre.

Tīw is the god of the sky, and so is important in agriculture. He is the god of Justice, and the god of just war. He represents law & order, so is a good deity to appeal to in legal and political matters. Many modern Heathens also see the fight for social justice to be within his domain.

Eostre- the Anglo-Saxon Dawn Goddess

According to my reconstructed Anglo-Saxon Calendar, the fourth month, Ēosturmōnaþ, began last Tuesday (April 13, 2021). Bede tells us it was named after the goddess Ēostre. Like Hreðe, the only thing we know about Ēostre from attested sources is her name and the month she was worshipped in (roughly corresponding to the month of April), and again Bede is our source. He tells us in chapter fifteen of The Reckoning of Time:

Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated ‘‘Paschal month’’, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month.

The Reckoning of Time, the Venerable Bede, Chapter XV

Like Hreðe, her name provides the clue to figuring out who she is. Unlike Hreðe, however, her name ties her to related goddesses in neighbouring cultures. We can use these related goddesses to flesh out more details about her.

Let’s begin with the pronunciation of Ēostre. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, it’d be written as /ɛːɔstrɛ/. The first e is pronounced like the ey in they, the o is pronounced as the o in not, and the last e is pronounced as the e in red. So it would be Ey-os-tre. It appears to be connected to the Old English words ēast, meaning the cardinal direction of east. The word east ultimately traces back to the Proto-Indo-European word *h²ews, which means dawn. Makes sense, considering at dawn the sun rises in the east.

The name Ēostre traces back to the Proto-Germanic *Austro(n), a reconstructed Proto-Germanic goddess, and can be further traced linguistically to the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *H²éusos, the reconstructed goddess of the dawn whose name literally means the dawn. (For convenience, I will refer to this goddess as Heusos, with the 2 removed, which really only means anything to PIE linguistic scholars anyways). Other than Ēostre, many Indo-European goddesses are linguistically derived from Heusos, including (but certainly not limited to) the Hindu Ushás, the Lithuanian Aušrine, the Greek Eos, and the Roman Aurora. All of them are dawn goddesses, and the meaning of their names in their respective languages are connected to either the east or to the dawn.

I will be basing my reconstruction of Ēostre mainly on the reconstruction of Heusos, which was made by scholars who compared all the goddesses derived from her in the PIE cultures and found the commonalities that likely descended from Heusos. I will then try to flesh her out a little bit more by looking at the Roman Aurora, the pagan culture that the pre-Christian Germanic tribes had the most contact and thus the most likely to trade ideas about deities with. (The Anglo-Saxons would have also had extensive contact with the Celtic inhabitants of Britain at the time of their migration, but by this time the Britons would have been Christian for a couple hundred years.) We will also look at what the timing of her festival can tell us about her.

In the reconstructed mythology of the Proto-Indo-Europeans, Heusos is the daughter of the sky father and earth mother. In the Anglo-Saxon mythology, Folde (also known as Eorþe) is the earth mother. Tīw (known to the Norse as Tyr) linguistically traces back to *Dyeus, the PIE sky father. Heusos was the sister of the sun goddess and moon god, who in Anglo-Saxon mythology is Sunne and Mona respectively. She wakes her sister every morning and rides ahead of her to clear the way for her daily trek across the sky, though sometimes she does it reluctantly. She rides ahead of Sunne until the sun is fully risen, then goes on her own way.

The Roman Aurora is an eternally youthful goddess, and has many lovers. Some of her lovers are Titans, some are gods, and some are humans. With so many lovers, she’d obviously be a goddess of passion.

The month of Ēosturmōnaþ, which roughly corresponds with April, begins in winter but ends in spring (remember, the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons divided their year into only these two seasons). It is during the full moon of Ēostre’s month that summer begins. Going by the day-year analogy which sees winter as night and summer as day, this month would be the dawn of the year. Ēostre the light bringer would then also be the life bringer as life began to return to nature. In this way, Ēostre would also be a spring goddess, and a fertility goddess.

So, let’s put together all the pieces of the puzzle that we’ve assembled and apply them to Ēostre. Much like the other Indo-European goddesses that she is cognate to, Ēostre should be understood as the daughter of Tīw and Folde, and the sister of Sunne and Mona. As a dawn goddess, she wakes her sister every morning and clears the way for Sunne to rise. Once Sunne has risen completely, Ēostre goes her own way.

Ēostre is also a passionate and ever-youthful goddess. She presides over the dawn of the year, bringing life back to the natural world after Hreðe has defeated winter. As a life bringer, she would also be appropriate to petition for matters regarding the beginning of life: in matters of conception, pregnancy, and birth.

So what about the feasts held in Ēostre’s honor this month that Bede mentioned? We’re not really sure of the dates or number of feasts that were held this month in pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon England. In modern times, Anglo-Saxon Heathens tend to celebrate the beginning of summer on the full moon of Ēosturmōnaþ, and celebrate Ēostre’s role as life bringer, and bringing the summer in. The traditions that Anglo-Saxon Heathens observe on this day can be numerous and varied. But that is a blog post for another time.

I want to end this blog post with a prayer to Ēostre I have written. This short prayer is well suited for offering to her in her month:

Hail Ēostre, the light bringer!

Winter has been long, it has been dark.

But you have returned to us, bringing the light of summer.

I give you thanks for the light and the life that you are returning to the earth. With gratitude, I give you this gift of [mead/salt/eggs/etc] for the gifts you have brought to us.

May it be well received. A gift for a gift!

I have signed the Declaration of Deeds

As long as I have been a Heathen, Heathens have been complaining about Declaration 127. Rightfully so, as it is entirely inadequate as an inclusivity statement. It’s a condemnation of a racist organization- the Asatru Folk Assembly. That is admirable, but it’s not an inclusivity statement. Inclusive Heathenry has been trying to shoe horn into something it’s not.

Beofeld, author of the Anglo-Saxon Heathen blog Wind in the Worldtree, has written such an inclusivity and non-bigotry statement. Called the Declaration of Deeds, it makes clear that there is no basis in Heathenry for prejudice based upon things outside one’s control such as race, sex, gender identity, etc. It is a much stronger and better defined statement of inclusivity and non-bigotry for Heathenry.

I want to declare that I agree with and am in support of Beofeld’s Declaration of Deeds. I have signed it, and I encourage all of my readers to give it a read and to sign it if you agree with it. This is a grassroots movement, but together we can accomplish something great- steer Heathenry away from the Folkism that so many non-Heathens assume all of us Heathens belong to. Join us in our bid to make Heathenry inclusive to all!

RuneTyper 0.3.1 released

I’ve added an Old English keyboard to RuneTyper. In addition to all the runes, it should have all the letters you need to type in Old English, including Ƿ, Þ, Ᵹ, Ð, Æ, ⁊, and Ꝥ. It has two function keys: SH toggles between capitalising and lowercase the letters, while ALT adds the bars over vowels to make them long, and the dots over c and g. Check out the screenshot below:

It still has all the features of the older versions as well, with:

  • Keyboards for the Anglo-Saxon runes (Futhorc), Elder Futhark, and the two variants of Younger Futhark (Long Branch and Short Twig).
  • Whatever you type into the text input box can be copied to your phone’s keyboard, and used in any app that supports Unicode (which includes Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, and probably many more!).
  • Easily Clear the text input box with the Clear button, and backspace with the left pointing arrow will remove the character behind the cursor (by default, the last character in the box.

This app is 100% free. There are no ads or in app purchases. There is a donation button in the settings menu, but it’s purely to show your appreciation for the app if you so choose. It doesn’t unlock any new features.

Screenshots of the various keyboards are below:

I’m working on getting it up on the Google Play Store, but have ran into some snafus getting my Google Play Console account set up. It may take a while to get it resolved, but there’s no need to to wait until then to get the app. You can download it below!

Download RuneTyper 0.3.1 here!

Releasing RuneTyper 0.2.0: Four Rune Sets are now in the App!

Three days ago, I published an apk of my RuneTyper. It’s an app that allows you to type in runes and copy it to your phone’s clipboard so you can post it to other apps. Any app that uses Unicode (which is every social media site I’ve tried it on, so far). The last version only had the Anglo-Saxon runes available, but I’ve now updated it to also include Elder Futhark and both variants of the Younger Futhark (Long Branch and Short Twig)!

My next goal is to put it on the Google Play Store. I’m going to need a Google Play Developer’s License, which requires a fee. If you’d like to help offset the cost of the license, please consider donating to my Ko-Fi !

Download RuneTyper 0.2.0 here!

Introducing RuneTyper 0.1.1

I created an app that uses Kivy/Python to be able to type Fuþorc runes (also called Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Frisian runes) and copy it to the clipboard so that you can paste it into other apps. It’s currently only available for Android at the moment.

Here’s a screenshot of the app. In the text input, the screenshot has Wes þu hal (OE for Hello) written in runes: ᚹᛖᛋ᛫ᚦᚢ᛫ᚻᚪᛚ᛬

Screenshot for RuneTyper 0.1.1

I have big plans for this app. An ambitious plan is to allow one to switch between the various rune sets for the keyboard, but currently only the Fuþorc is available in the app. I also plan to release Windows and Linux versions, but need to add keyboard support first. If you can think of any other features that you’d like to suggest or run into any problems, post a comment below. If you enjoy the app or have any constructive criticism, please let me know in the comments as well!

If you want to download it, click on this link. I’m currently hosting it on my Google Drive, but will be starting a Github project for it soon. I will include the source code there as well when I get it set up.

Download RuneTyper 0.1.1 here!

Mægen for Spēd: A Framework for Understanding Offerings

A question that a lot of newcomers to Heathenry might wonder is What’s the point to offering to the gods? They may wonder how pouring some alcohol into a bowl is helpful to the entity that you are offering to. They may also wonder how it’s going to benefit them. The gifting cycle (basically, a gift demands a gift in return) is fundamental to not only Heathenry, but to most European pre-Christian spiritualities. But how is pouring an offering into your offering bowl actually giving to the gods?

This blog post is my attempt to put into words my understanding of how an offering works. It is by no means the only way of understanding the subject. I’m not sure how widespread this particular viewpoint is, so feel free to sound off in the comments what you agree and what you disagree with.

My understanding is based upon two concepts: mægen and spēd. They’re both Old English words, and I will give a brief overview of what they mean. I will also link to another Anglo-Saxon Heathenry blog that goes into more detail on each, in case you want more details on these words.

Mægen (pronounced my-ehn, as the combination æg made the vowel sound in my and try in Old English) basically means might or strength. But it’s not just referring to your physical might and strength, but also spiritual might and strength as well. We naturally generate mægen, but how well you take care of yourself (in a holistic way, meaning physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually) determines how much we have. The more mægen you have, the more you will be able to do, the more successful you will be in what you do. For more details, check out Beofeld’s page on his blog: More on Mægen

Spēd (pronounced like the modern English word spade) literally means “speed, success, means, substance, power, faculty, ability, opportunity”. The term Godspeed has its roots in this word. It basically means “May God grant you success”. In the context of Anglo-Saxon Heathenry, it means the things “which we are blessed with by the gods.” For more info, check out Spēd, from Wind in the Worldtree.

When we offer an object to the gods, we are literally imbuing that object with some of our mægen. We’ve already given of our mægen for the money spent for the offering (in the case of handmade objects, the money to buy the materials we used and the time and effort we used to make it), as well as the hours of time it took to earn that money. But with our prayers and ritual action, we imbue the object with the spiritual variety of our mægen. The physical and spiritual varieties of our maegen become saturated within the offering object. After the ritual is done, we ritually “destroy” it by removing it from further human use. In a modern context, this is usually done by throwing away or burying the object. When this is done, all of that mægen is transferred to the entity that we offered it to. In a sense, we are nourishing that god or other spiritual being by providing them with strength.

So how do we benefit from offering to these beings? As I mentioned earlier, the gifting cycle forms the basis of Heathen spirituality. We give mægen to the gods in our offerings. They often choose to return the favour by giving us spēd. The form this spēd takes varies, but it’s usually some benefit done on our behalf. It may not even be something that we recognize as being from the gods, as I believe the gods work within the natural order that they help to maintain. For a farmer, for example, it may be just a little extra rain from Thunor over his particular plot of land that helps his crops grow a little bit better than that of his neighbours. Sometimes, it may be something major that we do recognize as being from the gods. I believe that the gods always repay a gift of mægen with spēd though, whether we recognize the spēd or not. I believe it’s part of the order that they established and maintain.

My Reconstructed Anglo-Saxon Calendar for 2021

For details on how I reconstruct my calendar, see my page on the Anglo-Saxon Calendar. I will add a couple notes here, however.

This year only has twelve new moons between the previous December solstice and this year’s December solstice. Therefore, it will not be a leap year, and only have twelve lunar months. If you go by the Metonic Cycle, this year is year four of the Cycle. Leap years fall on years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19.

Each month begins on the young moon, when the first sliver of the moon is visible after the new moon. I estimate this for my calendar by adding 36 hours to the new moon’s time.

The Months

Month NameBegins on
Æfterra GēolaThursday January 14, 2021
SolmōnaþSaturday February 13, 2021
HreþmonaþSunday March 14, 2021
ĒostremōnaþTuesday April 13, 2021
ÞrimilcemōnaþThursday May 13, 2021
Ærra LiðaFriday June 11, 2021
Æfterra LiðaSunday July 11, 2021
WeodmōnaþMonday August 09, 2021
HāligmōnaþWednesday September 08, 2021
WintermōnaþThursday October 07, 2021
BlōtmōnaþSaturday November 06, 2021
Ærra GēolaSunday December 05, 2021

Holy Tides

HolidayDate
ĒastreMonday, April 26, 2021
MidsumorMonday, June 21, 2021
WinterfylleþThursday, October 21, 2021
GēolaTuesday, December 21, 2021

My Hallowing Ritual

Wes þu hāl! When I wrote my blog post about My Ritual Format, I was in a bit of a pickle due to the Hallowing section of it. I had just learned that the Weonde song that I had been using was written by a very unsavory character (Swain Wodening). So I wrote a short invocation to the flame itself asking it to hallow my altar area. It works (fire itself has an intrinsic power in Heathen ritual), but it never felt quite right.

Shortly after I wrote that blog post, I discovered the Hallowing ritual used on Wind in the Worldtree blog. I fell in love with it instantly. It was written for outside rituals, so I adapted it slightly for use with an indoor ritual. So without further ado, here is how I do my Hallowing.

You will need two candles. One is your hearth fire, I like to use a votive candle for it. The second candle will be your “torch” candle. I like to use a small taper candle because it somewhat resembles a torch.

Light the torch candle. Holding the torch candle high over the edge of my altar that is opposite me, I say: “May the gods guide us!

Then I move the candle to the edge of the altar that is to my right, and say: “May our oaths keep us!

Holding the candle over the edge of the altar closest to me, I say: “May our deeds free us!”  

Holding the candle over the left edge of the altar, I say: “May our ancestors aid us always!

Then, starting back at the edge of the altar opposite me, I will circle the altar three times with the torch candle, saying this (one line for each rotation):

“May the gods banish from this place all ill and wrong, |
Hallow this space, shield this area from all baneful wights. |
Let the gods’ blessing be over our heads!”

With the torch candle, light the hearth candle. I then place the torch candle in a candle holder that sits next to the hearth fire, and start my prayers.

It’s a simple little ritual, but unlike other Hallowing rituals it is based upon the  Anglo-Saxon corpus. This gives it a little historicity. Beofeld (the author of Wind in the Worldtree) based it upon Lacnunga 133 (an Old English charm against “flying poison“), but  re-heathenized it. It’s worked powerfully for me. If you’re looking for a Hallowing ritual, I highly recommend giving it a try.

I Wrote a Heathen Fable: “The Old Wanderer”

I use to write fiction (mostly sci-fi short stories) quite a bit in my younger days. As I got older and had to spend more and more time doing the whole “adulting” thing, I spent less and less time writing. Until it fell by the wayside almost completely.

I decided recently that I needed to make time to start writing again, and the idea came to me that I should start with a fable. I initially posted this as a Twitter thread, but decided to do some slight editing and post it to my blog as well.

THE OLD WANDERER

An old wanderer came to a prosperous city. He pleaded for a meager meal and somewhere to sleep for the night.

The city folk replied, “We don’t like outsiders. Outsiders are nothing but trouble, bringing crime to our peaceful city. Be gone from us!”

So the old wanderer continued on.

He soon came upon a small town. Again he pleaded for just a meager meal and a place to sleep for the night.

The town’s people replied, “No, we will not give you a meager meal. We shall prepare for you a feast!”

As they ate and drank, the old wanderer told them about his travels, and the many places he had been. In exchange for their hospitality, he taught them many of the folk remedies he had learned along the way. Remedies for every ailment that plagues humanity.

After his meal, they provided him with the best room in town.

A few weeks after the old wanderer departed, a plague fell upon the land. The prosperous city was devastated. Many died.

The small town fared much better. Many became sick, but thanks to the old wanderer’s remedies, they all recovered without a single death. They gave many offerings of thanks to Woden the great healer for their good fortune.

Upon his great throne from which he could see all the seven worlds, Woden smiled as he saw the ‘good fortune’ of the small town that had welcomed him with open arms.

I started out writing a fable about hospitality. I think it does a good job at that, but I’ve noticed other Heathen values that could be gleaned from this as well.

There is a small demonstration of the gifting cycle. The town’s people provided him with a meal, and in return he gave them knowledge that saved many lives. In exchange, they gave him offerings of thanks for the ‘stranger’ that gave them the knowledge that allowed them to survive.

There is the concept of mægen (literally means strength, but it is often used to describe spiritual strength which attracts success and/or luck, and is roughly equivalent to the more generalized Heathen concept of luck) being strengthened by good deeds, and being diminished by evil deeds. The city folk turned him away, and so they did not get the knowledge he could have given them to save themselves. The town’s people welcomed him, and so they got that knowledge and so was able to mitigate the effects of the plague.

I would love to read your thoughts on The Old Wanderer. What did you like and/or dislike about this little story? Would you like to see more such content? Do you see any other Heathen concepts within this little fable? (I see a hint of wyrd, for example.) Feel free to sound off in the comments below!

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