This is a hearty hail to Nordic Circle Kindred in Arizona, which was officially founded earlier this year in January 2016. What makes NCKAZ different from other kindreds is that they are actively in the streets passing out food, water and clothing to homeless military veterans. They are a kindred of action or as they would say, “Boots on the ground”. NCKAZ is making a difference! If you wish to make a difference by supporting the kindred’s efforts, or if you want to find out what the kindred is doing; go to their web page. You can call them at 1-800-529-1542. Or you can do as I do and follow them on Facebook. The veterans could use our support. They fought for us, let’s fight for them!
Raise your mead horn with me and give Nordic Circle Kindred a hearty hail !!!!
The Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus, known as Julian, was the last “pagan” emperor of the Roman empire. The emperor Julian attempted to restore Rome’s greatness, by restoring traditional Roman values and religions. Julian was a very complex man, much more so than later emperors. Julian was at times a brilliant military leader, a social reformer, a government reformer, a philosopher and a promoter of neo-Platonic paganism. Christians derisively refer to Julian as “The Apostate” because he had been raised a Christian. Julian did not openly reject Christianity until after he had “taken the purple.”
Julian was born in 331 or 332 in Constantinople. Julian’s uncle was the Emperor Constantine I. When Constantius II became Emperor, he had most of Julian’s relatives murdered. Julian and his half-brother Gallus were raised in exile on an imperial estate. Julian received a Christian education under the Bishop of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Nicomedia. However, when Bishop George of Cappadocia lent Julian books from the classical period, Julian developed a strong interest in philosophy and traditional religions, which Julian knew that he had to conceal.
In 351 Julian studied neo-Platoism under Aedesius and neo-Platonic theurogy from Maximus of Ephesus. In 355 the Emperor allowed Julian to travel to Athens, where he studied philosophy and was secretly initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. Later in 355 Julian’s life made a radical turn, he was summoned to the imperial court at Mediolanum, and Constantius II had Julian married to Constantius’ sister Helena before sending Julian to Gaul as Caesar of the West.
Constantius thought the scholar would only be a figurehead, however Julian excelled in Gaul. Julian quickly adapted to military life and was responsible for winning several military campaigns. Julian’s popularity in Gaul swiftly grew. In 360, while in Paris, Julian’s legions proclaimed him Augustus (Emperor). Constantius maneuvered his legions in the east to meet the threat, but Constantius died before a civil war could begin in earnest. According to Constantius’ writing, Julian was Constantius’ choice for succession.
In 361 Emperor Julian entered Constantinople and began making governmental reforms by drastically reducing the size of government. Julian re-opened closed pagan temples across the empire and removed the advantages the Christian emperors had given Christians over non-Christians. Julian planed to rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, to further divide the quarrelsome Christians further. Julian weakened the power of Christian’s but he generously did not persecute them. Julian passed an edict guaranteeing freedom of religion. Julian addressed the senate, which emperors had not been doing and wrote books and essays in spare moments. Julian was a “hands on” working emperor, which did not endear him to the fired bureaucrats.
Julian began ruling in the style of a Marcus Aurelius or a Hadrian. Knowing that he needed the support of the eastern legions to remain emperor, Julian planned a campaign against the ancient enemy of Persia. A victory would assure his stability, enabling him to complete his reforms with the support of the army. Antioch would be the staging point for the campaign in Persia. After five months in Constantinople, Julian left for Antioch.
Julian’s stay in Antioch was unpleasant for the Emperor and the citizens of Antioch. Although most of the empire was still pagan, Antioch had become strongly Christian, the local temples had been neglected. The citizens of Antioch also expected the emperor to be aloof and follow the whims of the mob, but Julian led an ascetic philosopher’s life and his participation in pagan religious rites stunned them. Animosity grew on both sides. While in Antioch, Julian wrote the book Against the Galileans, which according to Christian apologist Cyril of Alexandria, was the most important work ever written against the Christian religion.
On 05 March 363 Julian happily left Antioch with an army of 65 to 90 thousand soldiers on the march toward Persia. By the middle of May, Julian’s forces arrived at the city of Ctesiphon, where they defeated defending forces in front of the city walls. However, the Romans did not believe they could breach the city walls with the threat of the main body of the Persian army at large. Julian made the decision to bypass taking the city and push with his army into the interior of Persia, in hopes of a decisive battle on Julian’s terms. Julian believed in the transmigration of souls and that he was Alexander the Great reborn.
The Persians used slash and burn tactics before the advancing Romans depriving them of food supplies. The Persians also employed attack and run tactics against the weakened Roman army and avoided an all out battle. On 26 June 363 near Maranga, Julian’s column was attacked at the Battle of Samarra. In a hurry to inspire his troops to counter attack, Julian leapt upon his horse with his sword, leaving his armor in his tent. In the mêlée that followed, Julian was struck by a lance piercing his liver and lower intestines. Julian was quietly removed from the battle, but the word that he had been seriously injured quickly spread. Although Julian received immediate surgery, he died in his tent three days later. One of Julian’s Christian generals “Took up the Purple” and became the next emperor. The hope to restore the greatness of Rome faded away.
Immediately it became hazardous to have been a friend of Julian and they began to disappear from public view. Julian’s religious reforms were undone. Many of Julian’s books and essays were destroyed as blasphemy. As an enemy of the church, Julian became almost the devil incarnate and so he remained until the renaissance. However, since the time of the renaissance, Julian has become the subject of researcher, plays and novels. His reputation has been revived in certain circles.
Although Julian’s book Against the Galileans was destroyed, fragments of the book were quoted by Christian apologist Cyril of Alexandria in three books he wrote (Contra Julianum)in an effort to refute Julian. What fragments remain of Against the Galileans is available on the internet or in book form available from Ostara Publications.
Additionally, Adrian Murdock published the book The Last Pagan, which is available through Inner Traditions. The Last Pagan is a very easy read and the writer may give a brief review at a later date. This writer also recommends the historical novel Julian by Gore Vidal. Vidal’s novel brings the characters to life and he had his own ideas concerning the death of the Emperor Julian.
People such as the Emperor Julian and Hypatia of Alexandria are all but forgotten. They should be remembered for the resistance they gave to a universalist, centrist controlling religion.
In Heathenry or Asatru, August 9 is generally recognized as a day of Remembrance for King Radbod of Frisia. Koning or Duke Radbod lived from 680-719 succeeding Aldgisl. Radbod was an enemy of Charles Martel and the Franks and was resisting efforts to Christianize his kingdom. However the struggle with the Franks was wearing Radbod down and some believe that Radbod believed if he accepted Christianity some of his problems with the Franks may have been somewhat alleviated; and so he allowed the Christian missionary Wolfran into the kingdom.
Wolfran was attempting to convert Radbod to Christianity and Radbod had agreed to the rite of baptism. The story goes that Radbod had one foot in the baptismal font and he began to have reservations. Wolfran was trying to urge Radbod on when Radbod asked the question, “Where are my dead ancestors at present?” Wolfran replied, “In hell with all other unbelievers.” Radbod angrily replied, “I would rather live there with my honorable ancestors to go to heaven with a parcel of beggars!” Radbod expelled Wolfran and resisted Martel and Christianity the rest of his life. The story of Radbod illustrates the premise that our ancestors and honor are central to the practice of native European religions.
On August 9, let us raise our mead horns and exclaim, “Hail Koning Radbod!”
This writer would like to give a very heart-felt hail to Alice Karlsdottir. Ms. Karlsdottir has been active in asatru for over forty years as a gythia and a Master of the Rune Gild. Ms. Karlsdottir’s work has appeared in “Gnosis” magazine, “Our Troth” and her seminal work “Norse Goddess Magic: Mythology, Ritual and Transwork” is possibly the most extensive and widely read practical work on Norse Goddesses. Ms. Karlsdottir has also focused her attention on the nefarious Loki.
Ms. Karlsdottir was a featured vocalist on the album “Birdking” by Fire+Ice, as she sang her song, “The Lady of the Vanir.” Ms. Karlsdottir also sang on the album “North Country” with the group Verdandi. Despite the fact that Ms. Karldottir works full-time and is a stage actor, she makes time to mentor selected apprentices in the Rune Gild. Ms. Karlsdottir took her valuable time and mentored this writer through the Doors, for which this writer is very grateful. Ms. Karlsdottir maintains a presence on Facebook and a blog at https://mad-alice.blogspot.com. This writer believes a fitting tribute to honor Ms. Karlsdottir are her own words:
The Lady of the Vanir
There came a lady fae the west
Who left not one cold man here;
She smelled of trees and ocean breeze,
The Lady of the Vanir.
She kissed the pollen on the rose,
She kissed the golden corn ear,
She kissed the seed within the womb,
The Lady of the Vanir.
She went forth from the towers of light,
She felt no sorrow nor fear;
She went to seek the heart of the night,
The Lady of the Vanir.
She found the cavern dark and deep,
All filled with gold and jewels dear;
She found the small men at their work,
The Lady of the Vanir.
She put her arm about the East,
And found a thought so light and clear;
She breathed forth song and melody,
The Lady of the Vanir.
She put her tongue about the South,
And in her breast a flame did sear;
She shouted forth her battle cry,
The Lady of the Vanir.
She put her leg about the West,
And felt her Mother’s breast near;
She gave her heart to all the world,
The Lady of the Vanir.
This writer would like to spread the word that Brad Taylor-Hicks has a new blog called “The Cunning Rustic- Folkways in the Wolf Age.” The blog looks good and this writer encourages all to visit. The blog is about art, craft and tradition. You can’t go wrong with that. I have included a link to Brad’s blog in my blog roll.
I would sincerely like to thank the team at NRR (Northern Runes Radio)- International Podcast Network for allowing me to become a Network Partner. I am personally a subscriber to NRR through Podbean. I stopped wasting my drive time listening to talk radio and use my downtime listening to Northern Runes Radio. All the broadcasts are good, however, my personal favorite broadcaster is Wodenson.Wodenson has an excellent Esoteric and Runic series of broadcasts; which is why I have recommended him in previous posts. It is obvious that Wodenson is no novice, his broadcasts exhibit a depth of knowledge that can only be obtained after years of study. You might prefer “Chat by The Fireside” or “Hugin Hof Kindred on the NRR”or other fine broadcasters, but you won’t know if you don’t listen.
The word clan comes from the Scottish Gaelic word Clann, which essentially means offshoot. Therefore a clan is made up of individuals who have a direct or perceived kinship to a common ancestor. However, one might marry into or be adopted into a clan. There were several Scottish highland clans and Scottish lowland families that were descended from Scandinavian settlers, who were usually called “Danes” regardless of their actual origin. Highland clans such as Gunn, McDonald of the Isles, MacLeod, MacQueen and MacAuley claim Norse descent.
The northern most Scottish clan, Clan Gunn, has traditionally, if not mythically, claimed descent from Sweyn Asleifsson, the ultimate Viking of the Orkneyinga Saga. Sweyn Asleifsson was born approximately in 1116 and was killed in 1171 while fighting in Dublin Ireland. Sweyn’s grandson was Gunni. Gunni’s wife was Ragnhild, whose grandfather was St. Rognvald, Jarl of Orkney. In 1198 on the death of Ragnhild’s brother, Harold Ungi Jarl of Orkney and Caithness, Ragnhild inherited most of Orkney and Caithness. Ragnhild and Sweyn passed their holdings on to their son, Snaekoll. The folk that were to become Clan Gunn were at the height of their power in the thirteenth century, a time of which little is known about the Gunn’s history.
It appears that Scottish kings, in an effort to increase their power on the northern edge of Scotland, began to give land grants in northern Scotland, to loyal nobles, depriving the Gunn’s of their good farmland. In 1586 the Sinclair Earl of Caithness and the Gordon Earl of Sutherland formed an alliance against the Gunns. In the middle of the fifteenth century George Gunn of Ulbster, also known as the crowner (Am Braisdeach Mor), was the first truly “Scottish” Clan Gunn chief. George Gunn and four of his sons were killed in battle against Clan Keith. George Gunn’s three surviving sons would be the genesis of the three branches of the clan (the galley on the Gunn arms has three masts, the supporters are a Viking Warrior and a Pic Woman).
James (Sheumus) took lands in Kildonan, Robert took lands in Braemore and John took land in Cattaig. James’ son would be known as the MacSheumas Chataich and would be the progenitor of the MacKeamish
Gunns. The Gunns were involved in many battles with neighboring clans, through the years and over time they did not fare well. During the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, Clan Gunn was led by the MacKeamish with approximately 120 men, on the Hanoverian side of the conflict. The Gunns were attached to the Earl of Loudon’s regiment, but as a unit they were not present at the battle of Culloden. After the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s forces at Culloden, laws were passed to incorporate the Scottish Highlands into the rest of Great Britain. Scottish clans were essentially made illegal. In 1746 parliament passed laws banning Scottish Highland attire and bagpipes, except for those serving the in British military.
In 1780 the eighth MacKeamish, William Gunn, was killed while serving with the British army in India and the chieftainship passed to William’s brother, Morrison Gunn. Morrison Gunn, the ninth MacKeamish, died without issue serving with the British army at Gibraltar. Back in the highlands, the Countess of Sutherland determined that the Gunns, who resided on her lands needed a chief, who would assist her in clearing the clansmen from her lands to make room for sheep. At that time the demand for wool in Great Britain made sheep on the land more profitable than tenant farmers.
In 1803, without the authority of the Lord Lyon, a sheriff’s court was held in Thurso and Hector Gunn was appointed chief of the Clan Gunn. When Hector Gunn died, his son George Gunn became the next chief; although unrecognized by competent authority. The Countess of Sutherland took George Gunn as her protégé, gave him lands and secured him a military commission. Former clansmen from all over the highlands were removed from their ancestral lands and transported to various locations in the British Empire; after being rounded up and their homes burned to ensure they would not return. It was a tragedy similar to the “Trail of Tears” in the United States.
For a long time there was little interest in being chief of a clan that in reality did not exist anymore. Those people who had been betrayed by chiefs, whom they considered to be their kinsmen and leaders, had little interest in renewing the relationship either. However, in time, old wounds slowly began to heal. Sir Walter Scott’s novels and the Highland Society of London began to spark a romanticized interest in all things highland. In 1822 King George IV appeared in Edinburgh wearing a kilt, signaling royal approval of the kilt. Some British lords with highland estates, had kilts made for their male Scottish servants to wear while at work at the estate. Visitors would see the lord being served by men in highland attire causing some in Scotland to view highland attire in a more negative light.
Scots serving in highland regiments in the British army take great pride in Scottish highland traditions and have quietly been a tremendous influence in promoting a positive “highland” culture in Scotland and throughout the world. In 1821, one year before King Edward VI arrived in Edinburgh, The Loyal and Benevolent Society of the Clan Gunn was formed for the relief of poor Gunns displaced by the clearances.
In 1960 the Clan Gunn Society was formed in the U.K. by William Gunn of Banniskirk with Iain Gunn for the purpose of locating a chief for the clan. William Gunn was designated as Commander of the clan by the Lord Lyon in 1967 to lead the clan society, until a chief is found. After William Gunn’s death in 1968, Iain Gunn of Banniskirk was designated Commander of the clan in 1972. Commander Gunn has worked tirelessly promoting Gunn kinship in Scotland and throughout the world with Scottish diaspora for many years.
On 18 July 2015 a Derbhfine or family convention was held in Scotland with Clan Gunn’s armiger members with the purpose of selecting a chief. After debate, Iain Gunn of Banniskirk was recommended to the Lord Lyon. On 16 April 2016 in Merchants Hall in Edinburgh Scotland, Dr. Joseph Morrow Lord Lyon and King of Arms presented Iain Gunn of Gunn a Grant of Arms as Chief of Clan Gunn. Over two hundred years after the death of the last recognized chief Morrison Gunn; Clan Gunn at last has a chief. Clan Gunn could not have done better. Iain Gunn of Gunn and his lady, Madam (Bunty) Gunn of Gunn are both much admired and loved by those who claim kinship to Clan Gunn, including this writer.
Let us charge our horns with good mead and give a hearty hail to Iain Gunn of Gunn- Chief of the Viking Clan- Clan Gunn. Aut Pax Aut Bellum!
On 01 May 2016 the Asatru Folk Assembly Alsherjargothi Stephen McNallen made an announcement on Facebook, that he would be going into a well-earned semi-retirement to spend more time on his personal development. Mr. McNallen’s contribution to American Heathenry since 1972 can not be over stated and his semi-retirement, for AFA members, will be bitter-sweet. This writer will not attempt to list Mr. McNallen’s achievements, that would take an entire chapter of a book. If Else Christensen is the folkmóðir, then surely Stephen McNallen is the faðir of the trufolk movement in the United States and to him we are indebted.
[Ostara in the South 2016 Stephen McNallen and Henrick Palmgren (photo courtesy of Kalki Weisthor- www.kalkiweisthor.net)]
Raise a horn of mead with me and, “Hail Alsherjargothi Emeritus Stephen A. McNallen”
But a noble name | will never die,
If good renown one gets.
This writer is raising his mead horn and giving a hearty “Hail!” to Chris Jacheo of Tier One Viking Radio. Mr. Jacheo is a former Army infantryman- with combat deployments, a protection specialist, an athlete, and an American Heathen. Mr. Jacheo owns a clothing company which sells quality heathen clothing with a military slant called Tier One Viking Wear. This writer can recommend Tier One Viking Wear as he has purchased several of Mr. Jacheo’s items and wears them on a regular basis. Mr. Jacheo’s radio show is an educational, entertaining, no nonsense, salty, approach to American Heathenism that reflects Mr. Jacheo’s military background. The greatest compliment this writer can bestow is to say, “If I was in a dark alley with my back against the wall with several hostiles about to hand me my posterior, I would want Chris Jacheo to be the Q.R. F.”