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Jól and Odin’s Hunt – Winter Celebrations

This time of the year, across many cultures, celebrations abound. Many were to wish the sun strength and a return once again, some welcome a new year, and most involved friends, family, drink and games and warm fires. Saturnalia, Christmas, the Winter solstice…. And of course the Norse celebrated Jól. Attested in the Heimskringla, in the Ynglinga saga, and even the Poetic Edda, among others, Jól is one of the most attested main Blóts. It was so important that in the Saga of Hákon the Good, while Hákon was a Christian himself, much of the country was not. So, he shifted the dates to align Jól with Christianity. Before that, it was celebrated mid-January. It’s clear it was a three day celebration – or, well, the party lasted until the beer ran out, anyway. Since every man under Hákon at least had to make beer to contribute to the celebration, even with the copious quantities drank I can imagine it lasted quite a few days indeed. Today, Jól would begin on Jan 28, ending the night of the 30th, in the month they called Jólmánuður.

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Norse Tradesman Genuine Viking Drinking Horn Mug – 100% Natural Beer Horn Tankard w/ Ring Engravings | “The Eternal”, Polished, Large

But what was Jól? It was a midwinter celebration, but there’s also some evidence it was a blot for crops to grow (check out the Ynglinga saga). It was a time to celebrate being halfway through the winter – and there was gift giving, celebrations and of course, much drinking 😉 It’s said, for a King who followed Frey, there were oaths sworn on the bristles of a boar (Hervarar saga, chapter 10). And Jól was a time for peace, according to the Poetic Edda – after all, winter is foe enough.

Regarding Jól and Christmas, by the way, there’s actually some crossover between Santa and Odin. There’s some support for it; there’s some dispute of it, too, of course. Between the gift giving, and association with eight, and the name of the All-father Jolfaor, or “Jol Father”…. well, what do you believe? Of course, he’s not as Santa Claus is portrayed today, yet there may have been some threads that wound them together. And speaking of the All-father – should you hear dogs, or horses, be wary. The Wild Hunt rides in Midwinter. Any man caught out of doors could find himself caught up and carried off by the Hunt. Common throughout Scandinavia, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon, tales advise casting oneself to the ground or tossing bread for the dogs.

Asgårdsreien [The Wild Hunt of Odin] (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

So how is Hrafnarfjall celebrating Jól? Of course with drinking, food and celebration! Believe me we’ll be giving thanks that we’re halfway through the winter – I’ve said before winter no joke in Minnesota, still fully in Skaði’s grip yet for months to come. We’ll also be giving a blot for a good season, and good year to come. We’ll be exchanging gifts, of course – and while we won’t be swearing vows on a boar’s bristles this year, well, who knows…. Next year maybe 😉 Anyway, as always, if you would know yet more about Hrafnarfjall: http://www.kohrafnarfjall.org

ReferencesHakon the Good: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/heim/05hakon.htm Aldsidu.com Yule https://www.aldsidu.com/post/historical-heathen-yule. Odin and Santa https://historydaily.org/odin-and-santa#:~:text=Santa%20Claus%20has%20many%20names,primarily%20known%20in%20many%20countries. Jackson Crawford Jól https://youtu.be/UUloIBXFOQE Jackson Crawford Odin Isn’t Santa Claus https://youtu.be/_o5ih9WuCxQ Wiki on the Wild Hunt: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Hunt. Norse Mythology https://norse-mythology.org/the-wild-hunt/

Divides in Norse Paganism – On The Folkish Path

Given the state of affairs currntly in America, it’s evident that there unfortunately exists a similar divide among Norse Pagans as there does in the greater United States. This divide could be unique and problematic to the United States, reflecting the general situation in the United States at large, but at least among American followers there are some who believe that in order to practice Ásatrú, Norse Paganism or Heathenry, one must be of Norse blood. This ideology is known as “Folkish”, and it is not in line with Hrafnarfjall’s ideals.

Why? First and foremost, Hrafnarfjall is in Minnesota. Winters last 8 months of the year. When you’re facing 8 months that can reach -30 f or WORSE on a bad year, not counting wind chills, you’re seeing snow that can fall in every month but August, sitting at USDA gardening zone 3B with 3 good growing months, you don’t have room or time for worrying about someone’s skin color or if they maintain some percentage of Norse blood. We all freeze and starve just the same. If you think our ancestors gave a shit staring Skadi in the face, here is a modern day association to assure you the only thing that they worried about was staying alive. If you don’t know cold like this, let me tell you, it changes things real fast. If you don’t experience it, you won’t understand it, it’s okay. Take my word for it though.

Cold changes things REAL fast. This storm cost us 7 birds and a rabbit. Best believe, if we are sharing living space with them, we’re just happy to share with a person. Lol
Closer to usual visibility for comparison….that snow was thick!

Unfortunately, the Folkish ideology (and some ideologies even worse) is becoming mixed with the Norse paths in the public view. The Folkish path is a – problematic – practice at best when we consider the idea of excluding anyone based on blood percentage. This becomes especially so when one considers that as a result, some people claiming that path use the concept to tell people with melanin in their skin that they can’t practice, because of course it’s impossible they could actually have Norse blood.

We see, however, Norse blood in almost any culture of any part of the world (exceptions being some of the most isolated, naturally) but in discussions I’ve seen and been part of with those following a Folkish belief, I have heard Folkish followers say ” ‘They’ have their own beliefs, let ‘them’ follow their own ways”. This is in disagreement with Hrafnarfjall’s stance, which is that we don’t have any right to tell another what path to follow (provided it is an open path). I’ve then seen the discussion turn to what are called closed paths, such as Native American, asking why it’s ok in their paths to exclude people. I can’t speak for those paths. What I do know is that the Norse associated closely with other cultures, and they learned, and adapted, and we at Hrafnarfjall respect that practice. We believe diversity is strong. Adaptability is survival.

We believe that to close the Norse ways would cause them to stagnate for a reason that has no historically accurate basis to begin with. Some claim a tracing of humanity back to the gods from the Old Norse, but even then, the Norse blood had, since long before our time, spread through so many peoples of so many cultures and continents that by now I fear to count the descendants. The Norse themselves saw to that, being unbelievably widespread travellers (for many reasons, good and bad). They eventually figured out trading was a better and safer occupation than raiding 😉 Their trade routes were expansive, detailed and frankly impressive. We see their routes and their goods and find goods from quite distant places in Norse lands. Their trade routes were so expansive they tied into the Silk Road (though they themselves did not venture that path).

The Norse trade route – Byzantium and Baghdad http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/Towns.htm

The Norse shared customs with Ahmad Ibn Fadlan (yes, yes – ignore the 13th Warrior crap and read)….and we know inter-cultural marriages occurred. The culture one was of, one’s tribe, held more significance than the color of one’s skin. Thus I do draw a distinction between “Folkish”, and “Tribalist”. Anyone has the right to walk any oath they choose, right up to the point they are discriminating based on blood percentage or skin color, and putting emphasis on one skin color above the other. For examples of such, do see the Ásatrú Folk Assembly, NORSKK, and their branch, Forn Sidr America. Their webpages and Social Media make their true ideologies clear. They are why I believe Hrafnarfjall’s stance on such ideology must be clear: We avoid Folkish ideology because it provides too great an opening for determination of worthiness to walk this path being made based on skin color. Simply, because we believe anyone who wishes to may follow this path, as long as they respect it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmad_ibn_Fadlan

Ultimately, I’ve heard it put best this way. If the Gods call someone to walk with them who are we mere mortals to tell them that they can’t? I choose to put who someone is – their spirit, mind and heart, their willingness to respectfully learn – above such trivialities as skin color, or whether they have Norse blood. My Co-founder and I have thus modeled Hrafnarfjall’s policies and stances to reflect that ideology. Misinformation and misuse of education merely hurts us all. Ultimately, this divide is greater than any one group to heal, but to ignore it allows it to fester and certain stances to spread. So we choose to make clear our stance, share our thoughts, and trust that in time, the hurts will heal.

If you would learn yet more, please see us at http://www.kohrafnarfjall.org

Citizen vs Citizen…and a Nation on it’s knees…

Hrafnarfjall watches the state of affairs right now in America and our hearts go out to her citizens. Facing such turmoil, divisiveness and confusion, perpetuated by the American government and mainstream media, America has shown itself to be a government in such dysfunction that its own citizens stormed their Nation’s Capitol. We can certainly understand the anger and resentment and confusion of her Citizenry. This is an ultimate failure state for a government, perhaps the greatest failure in a long list of failures by the American government.

The Capitol building under siege https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/6568975002

Of course the citizens are angry. And this anger and resentment has naturally boiled over in many ways. Riots, protests, and attacks on the Capitol – America is sick. All of that is merely symptomatic of a disease that has been left to spread untreated for years. Whether the fever showed in outrage directed at the brutality of the police and a lackluster response, or justifiable frustration at a corrupt government, the ultimate end result of this fever (like many fevers left unchecked) is a system shutdown. The American government has become an organ that is no longer performing its function for its citizens; they are not heard. It does not respond; it simply does not care. But this illness is even worse. Like a virus takes over cells in its host, this sickness has taken over the people, and uses them to spread and replicate itself – but in so doing, this creates the worst symptom of all. This sickness is such that the people no longer even care for each other, so now the virus has only one hope: to spread to another host before this one dies.

America is sick, and we must not let it spread.

This is a warning, Hrafnarfjall. We must not fall victim. We watched this rot spread even as we formed this new nation, and we designed it to be autonomous for that very reason. This is why we all must, always, maintain as our highest burden of citizenship the duty we have to each other as citizens. It is simple truth that we rise together, or we fall together. If we allow ourselves to fall so far that we no longer feel in our hearts that we are all *people*, deserving of respect and compassion, we fail – not just as a nation, but as human beings. This is exactly why hate has no place in Hrafnarfjall. Ever. It weakens us all. It weakens the nation. We, the Crown of Hrafnarfjall, have now watched as that lack of simple consideration for one another has taken a nation and cracked it in two, its people left squabbling, bickering, hurting and confused. Quite simply – we won’t see the same occur here.

When a government is so far gone that its citizens can believe that it would orchestrate a mass fraud to keep one man from being re-elected, and storm the Capitol in protest, it has failed. When the populace of a nation are left believing that because of the color of their skin they are treated inferior, as a matter of its systemic function, it has failed. But, folks, when its people hear their own citizens say to each other that they don’t care what they think, or how their actions hurt other citizens of that very same nation – it is not just the government that has failed. Its own citizens have failed. They failed themselves when they allowed their own GOVERNMENT to foster such a lack of compassion and empathy for their fellow citizens that the nation itself broke under the weight of the blame, confusion, and blatant hubris.

Can anyone heal the damage done to America and her people? Only the people themselves can do that. Healing can sometimes only come from the ones who delivered the hurt. This situation, however, highlights the true strength of a Micronation. A Micronation’s citizens know each other, care for each other, and respect each other – and part of the function of its government is to ensure just that. Make no mistake, we will do just that, too, because that is why Micronations succeed where large nations like America (and like Rome before) suffer these systemic attacks, and ultimately fail and die. It is why citizenship in Hrafnarfjall isn’t merely a word – but rather is something earned, and felt, by all her people. Including us, the Crown.

Micronations, if divisiveness games broke a huge nation like the United States, we would all do well to heed the warning. Stop tolerating bad behavior from those who only seek to foster toxicity, turmoil and trouble. Those types only attract spectators and the same poison. We aren’t in a position any longer to give away the greatest strength Micronationalists have. Unity. Compassion. Togetherness. It’s time to grow up. If you will act like children, then stay among the children at the children’s table and quit bothering the adults.

Welcome to The Kingdom of Hrafnarfjall

Hrafnarfjall and Permaculture

One of Hrafnarfjall’s ideals is sustainability and self-sufficiency. In 2016, 3/4 of the way through my Horticulture degree, I took a course in Permaculture Design. Honestly, it wound up being one of the best courses in the entire degree at Oregon State University. By the time I bought the 40 acres that would become Hrafn Mýrar, I knew that Permaculture and Hrafnarfjall went hand in hand.

Hrafn Mýrar’s coop and gardens

What IS Permaculture? The definition is in the name – permanent culture of the land. Permanent cultivation. It’s utilizing a variety of techniques that work with the land, the environment, and its existing features, and which improve on those features by creating an ecosystem. It’s knowing your microclimates, and using them, via rain gardens or being able to grow a crop where it may be too cold usually. Permaculture is closing loops – e.g., plants feed chickens, which fertilize the plants. WE of course then benefit, via produce and eggs and chicken to eat. The idea is, with those closed loops, that there is as little put into the system as possible. It’s working with nature, for instance, using polyculture (growing a variety of various crops), each which benefit each other by creating an ecosystem together.

Principles of Permaculture https://medium.com/land-and-ladle/the-12-design-principles-of-permaculture-as-rules-of-living-e9fc0176dd16

Diversity is key in permaculture. By using a variety to provide a variety of targets to pests and disease, to ensure some survive to provide a harvest with a greater variety, there is a greater chance that one variety or another will prove to have a greater resistance to the pressure of pests or crops. Permaculture is using NATURAL methods to resist disease and pests. In short, Permaculture is enhancing nature’s existing properties in such a way as to enable it to flourish and provide for us with as little of our interference as possible. Permaculture is something that is utilizable whether you have a balcony or 400 acres. It’s scalable, and adaptable. This is just a brief skim of what I learned over 12 weeks, to discover that Permaculture is knowledge gained over a lifetime.

So, when I saw Hrafn Mýrar for the first time – with the home oriented facing southeast, to catch the sun best in winter, with a forest to the Northwest, to shelter from the winds, raised garden beds, a chicken coop already on site and raised garden beds with a water catchment and a well already established, I knew it was for us. We have added to it – have implemented it by raising crops, fertilized by our chickens, ducks and rabbits, which then get supplemented by the crops. We eat the surplus chickens and ducks, and save the wool of our Angora rabbits for use. I harvest seeds, developing a land race. We have protected our wildlife corridors, and enhanced it with an orchard, which adds to our harvest.

Hrafn Mýrar’s duck mob, one part of how we implement Permaculture techniques

In addition to crops, I harvest and grow herbs, which I process and store as well as the crops. Future plans include establishing a pond and planting nut trees, and beekeeping. We’d love a cob oven, and horses to help till so we can grow our own grains for bread and beer. We are considering goats, if we can sustainably do so, with a heritage breed, for milk and cheese. In time, we hope that the land we leave behind will be better than we found it for generations to come. Honestly, the applications of Permaculture are limitless, and are incredible. What we can do with it is only restricted by our imaginations. If you wish to learn more, please do look into the references below. And as always, learn more about Hrafnarfjall at http://www.kohrafnarfjall.org

And check out Wayfinder, my Permaculture Design Consultation, if you would know how you can implement Permaculture for yourself! https://wayfinderpermaculture.com/

I’m on Instagram as well. @wayfinderpermaculture. Install the app to follow my

References

Why Hrafnarfjall has Co-Sovereigns: The Queen

Queen Laura

Hrafnarfjall is fairly unique among new Nations as being a Co-Founded, Co-Sovereign, equal Monarchy. This can and has led to some confusion, especially as Tom (with currently more available home time) takes on the tasks of diplomacy. We both knew we needed something different in this world, and in 2016 I came to realize how it could come about. As an active duty Coast Guard member, I was ready for a change, but I’d been saving some of my (limited) salary almost since I’d joined. Tom introduced me to Micronationalism, and once I was sold, it seemed a perfect use for what I’d saved. So I agreed to use it as a down payment to put a new nation on the map and buy property. Finally, in 2019, my Active Duty contract was up, the King and I were actually in the same country (and thankfully the same house even if I was renting), and so I financed the purchase of 40 acres – today, Hrafn Mýrar. But it’s not just the land. I financed the Homestead, too, the rabbits, the chickens, the orchard, the plants for the garden, tools and implements. Half of the King’s flight to move here, and the Fiancé Visa application, the marriage license, the Customs and Immigration Services fee for the King’s permanent resident status and the subsequent re- application for the King’s permanent resident status…it went on.

But more – my knowledge and expertise, after graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in Horticulture and possessing a Permaculture Design Certificate, developed Hrafn Mýrar. I develop the rotation plan, start and tend seedlings, plant and harvest crops, and provide the expertise and assistance on the animal care. I grew up raising chickens and rabbits for 4-H, assisting my mother gardening, my and grandparents on their farm – a 180 acre cattle farm- and spending my summers on my dad’s 20 acre horse farm. Their efforts towards sustainability influenced me, and have thus influenced the design and implementation of Hrafn Mýrar. We moved in in 2019, and have, twice now, had a respectable harvest, including apples, raspberries, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, kale, rhubarb, carrots, potatoes and parsnips. This is a harvest which will grow in the future to include providing for the brewery, and enable us to provide for ourselves. Even now, we are just waiting on the grapes, asparagus, cranberries, cherries and apples to come in this Spring, along with eggs, chicks and ducklings, and baby rabbits!

Fresh harvest.

I am, additionally, a developing self taught herbalist, and have provided for an apothecary this year. From colds and flus, upset stomachs and headaches, to cuts and burns, I gotcha covered, from what Hrafn Mýrar provided or I myself grew. Yarrow and goldenrod, basil and sage and lavender and thyme, dill and rosemary, borage and rose – the land provides under my knowledge and guidance. Not to mention, the herbs I’ve grown or foraged have made for some tasty meals. 😉 Much of my effort will, by the way, be going for trade or sale in the future, harvest or herb.

Yarrow, from the land, harvested, dried and processed.

Horticulturalist and Herbalist, I am also a Wordsmith. I tend to write the speeches for us (I write, but Tom’s the speaker), this blog, and short stories for Hrafnarfjall Hearthside.

Hrafnarfjall Hearthside, the creative forum for Hrafnarfjall

I am doing all this while of necessity being the sole provider for us while we wait on Customs and Immigration. I’m also, therefore, working overnights as a Security Guard at a local hospital. I am still a Reservist in the Coast Guard. I run a petsitting business, and a Permaculture Design business. LAURAJ26047, https://www.rover.com/sit/lauraj26047. https://wayfinderpermaculture.com/

The King, while his paperwork processes (since 2018) cannot work, cannot drive. For this and many reasons, Hrafnarfjall clearly *must* be a partnership. We are Co-founders, Co-Sovereign, because the ONLY way this is going to work is by partnership and teamwork. He helps with the harvest, and is handling the animals and I assist him with speeches, laws and edicts, and advise the King. Our skills and strengths differ, but complement, and Hrafnarfjall is, at heart, both of us.

Pitfalls in Micronationalism – National Symbols Using Unearned Decorations and Carbon-Copying

In developing our own Nation, we get to exercise our own creative influence. We can design our own flags, heraldry, and our Nation’s ribbons and medals, orders and awards. This is, undoubtedly, fun for many – a perk – and a point of pride for the new Nation. National Symbols are a part of a Nation’s culture, but they can also be a Nation’s downfall.

Hrafnarfjall’s Middle Coat of Arms – a Nation’s National Symbols are a point of pride

When designing National Symbols it’s important to keep in mind that in many nations, there are laws pertaining to the use of military medals – eg, the United States’ Stolen Valor. In order to avoid such legal consequences, it’s vital there remains sufficient uniqueness in a Nation’s military uniforms, including medals and awards. Quite simply, it’s not worth the legal trouble.

Legality aside, it’s an ethical issue. Such appropriation tells those of us observing that the person is either ignorant of, or doesn’t care about, these laws. It says that they do not hold existing military personnel in respect. Even if the opposite is entirely true and the person does so with intent to honor the military, such copying says exactly the opposite to many people, especially those who have served. When these honors are worn unearned, it is a direct slap in the face to all those who HAVE earned it. There are requirements which are set forth in order to be awarded a specific ribbon or medal by the military service in question, which vary by award. If you have not served in that Nation’s military, you have absolutely not met those requirements. So, to avoid confusion, it’s best to set your own criteria for the award with your own distinct display. Believe me, you really don’t want to deal with an angry, confused Military veteran. Of ANY branch.

Respect the Military. Don’t copy them. Don’t wear their uniform or medals unless you have earned the right.

Appropriation of military honors isn’t the only copycat pitfall. There is a phenomenon called carbon-copying, wherein someone attempts to raise the dead by trying to bring a historical nation back to life. While this can be a fascinating learning experience, this nation existed and in some cases still has living claimants or those with distinct right by descent to claim the Nation – not some random person with no connection or claim. Even when there is no living claimant, one must wonder when there are, say, *Four* New Prussias or three German Empires, or two Soviet Unions. It behooves a person seeking to bring up a past Nation to do some research – find out if it’s already been done, if there are any current potential claimants (I know for example the Soviet Union doesn’t have any), and be prepared to establish the claim. If the person seeking a historical Nation does NOT have a claim, be prepared to justify the rebirth and new government organization (eg, preservation of the history), but also be aware that there likely are many people who have, who are and who will do the same thing, and who may not appreciate a challenger. Be aware that when multiple Zombie Nations exist, confusion and contempt are fostered. Clearly, MOST of us don’t have a title or claim – we also don’t claim a historical nation for that reason; someone else likely has that right. Our titles are our own, and our Nations new – and that’s OK. All Nations had to start somewhere, and were brand new sometime.

Generally speaking, don’t raise the dead.

Essentially, wearing unearned decorations and Carbon-Copying are methods akin to plagiarism. And like plagiarism, it’s considered a pitfall to avoid if you don’t wish the consequences. Teachers dock points or even expel for plagiarism, and it certainly isn’t respected among new Nations. Creativity and uniqueness are, generally, much more accepted – and most people are more than happy to help create a new design or give feedback!! We all know it takes time to get right. In the meantime, please do accept feedback given in the appropriate spirit! Developing one’s own, unique National Symbols is a point of pride for Nations, and a part of their own culture. They represent who we are, so it’s worth doing well, and taking the time to tailor them to the new Nation.

Coat of Arms of Sandus – Sandus is respected for their National Symbols, unique to Sandus. Thank you, Sandus, for letting me share. http://www.Sandus.org

As always, if you would know yet more about Hrafnarfjall: http://www.kohrafnarfjall.org

The Homestead – When it’s -15 F

Right about now is when I begin to regret picking the Northland to settle and run our Homestead/Nation. You southerners have it good – y’all can probably even still be growing plenty, and let’s not talk about not pending time chipping ice of waterers for the animals. I feel bad for y’all – might have to go out there when it’s 30 degrees f… (Laughs in -15 f) ……No, I’m not jealous, I promise. …At least it’s beautiful right?

I mean at least it’s beautiful, right?… right?…*sigh*

Yeah, yeah – I knew Minnesota would turn into the Arctic for 8 months of the year going into this, but here we are. What IS a Homesteader to do in winter, anyway? At least….when not learning to love freezing hands, and board games, and cursing poor decision making, and replacing the ducks’ water for the tenth time that day? Or… cleaning that counter for the 20th time….mopping snowmelt off the floors for the 35th….

Winter is, by and large, time for preparation on this homestead. It’s preparing the supplies we need, wood items particularly (better to trim trees in winter – they take less damage. 😉 ) It’s time for planning and learning. Seriously, folks, I picked Minnesota fully knowing it was going to be a challenge to my Permaculture and Horticulture skills here (part of the draw). If I can make it happen here I can make it pretty much anywhere. Planning is a large part of what I do in the winter; that, and finish processing the harvest. Making candles, processing the herbs and seeds…

Because the summers are so short, I have almost no room for error. If I mistime a planting, I generally don’t have time for another start, so planning is essential. Learning is a huge part of that planning process, but it’s also a winter worthy goal. Learning the growing times of the plants I wish to plant, studying and reading the herb books I have that I didn’t have time for in the summer, reviewing knowledge, and learning about new ideas I want to implement. I’ve been on a Hügelkultur kick lately, for example. Researching breeds of animals we want to add, or types of fencing for the spring.

In addition to that, we woodwork. We both make runes and staffs and staves.

Even Maya gets into it.

Also, in winter, I write. Short stories and this blog, for one. I’m on both MeWe and Facebook as Hrafnarfjall Hearthside. Writing I do includes my Norse Myths for Kids series, as well as some original short stories such as the Order of the Eye, Human Rights and Paralyzed.

Hrafnarfjall Hearthside – Hraf’s creative share zone

Winter is, otherwise, a time to play. I joked about games earlier but seriously, I get to play videogames and watch movies again, maybe even play some Dungeons and Dragons. Whatever it takes. You know, a lot of people might look down on “play”, but it’s truly an essential. Laughter and fun counteract the darkness, bring bonding, and give us something to look forward to through the long nights. Seriously, in survival situations, it’s one thing that has meant the difference between making it out alive or them finding your body…and now that I think of it…that’s pretty much the same strategy for surviving a Minnesota winter too, with your whole family, cooped up all winter long! Play is, if you will, a plus ten Charisma to all members of the party as well as a constitution stat boost….and if you get that reference we might get along! 😉 Anyway, with a little play, y’all just might make it through to Spring after all without wearing prison orange 😉 Anyway, what do YOU do to stay sane and survive winter? Drop me a line and lemme know. Seriously. I need ideas!

Anyway, if you’d learn yet more about Hrafnarfjall – http://www.kohrafnarfjall.org

I’m on Instagram as well, @wayfinderpermaculture.

And if you are interested in any of our items, check and see what is in stock: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RavenReadingsWares?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=810823784. Check back often for listings and availability.

Meantime, don’t be too jealous 😉 You know you want a foot of snow and 40-50 mile an hour winds.

The Winter Solstice at Hrafnarfjall

Slowly, inexorably, the world crawls through the dark half of the year here in the North reaches of Hrafnarfjall. Night stretches nearly twice as long as the day, illuminated – if we are lucky – by the moon falling bright on icy fields and glowing on white snow. Stars, frozen points of light, sharp enough to cut, crystalline and clear against the endless dark.

Hrafn Mýrar, icy under the full moon

In the depths of winter, life is set in stark relief, black and white. A cold sinking into the world, gripping the bones, freezing the breath – this is Skaði’s time. But – against the dark – house after house begins to glow, shining in green and blue and red and white, wreaths and trees and song, tales told, warm drinks and presents –  hope given that the world will once again soon see the bright warm days full of summer sun.

https://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-21/where-to-see-christmas-lights-around-the-world/amp

We prize ourselves on being modern, possessing a scientific understanding today; a people who have long since shaken off any superstition that we must implore the sun to return to us once more. We rest secure in the confidence that it always has before, and will always do so, independent of our meager efforts. But I have to say, here at the end of December, in Minnesota, the moment when the world begins to swing away from winter’s grip is a pivotal and eagerly anticipated one. In the grips of the long, dark, relentless cold, it helps to know winter’s days are numbered – even if we still have long months yet to endure. And so, around December 21st (at 4:02 AM, CST, December 21 in 2020, to be precise), I think we can be forgiven a deep, grateful breath full of relief as we celebrate the Solstice – the shortest day of the year. And if we perhaps pause for a moment, to send the warmth of the fire to the world and entreat the sun to return after all -just to be sure- well….I think maybe we can be forgiven that, too.

Icy December daybreak at Hrafn Mýrar – the sun returns yet!

Cultures around the world and throughout the ages have felt the same about marking the Solstice, with celebrations of every conceivable form. We find Saturnalia, for example, in ancient Rome; Christmas of course, the Welsh Alban Arthan, and even Indian, Buddhist and Iranian celebrations, to name just a few. While Hrafnarfjall is primarily founded under Norse Pagan principles, who celebrated Júl (in late January) most often, our historic lineage is also Celtic. We honor Samhain, for instance, and the Equinoxes as well as the Solstices, considering them more of a cultural holiday, from our agrarian base. For more on Samhain: https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2020/10/28/samhain-at-hrafnarfjall/ For more on the Fall Equinox: https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2020/09/22/welcome-to-fall-at-hrafnarfjall-the-autumnal-equinox/

This isn’t to say the Solstices weren’t noted and even celebrated among some Norse regions. I fail to see how they could NOT have noted and been grateful for it. However, it wasn’t one of the *big*, regional celebrations. Amongst the Celtic regions, however, it was a different story. Monuments such as Stonehenge, aligned to the sunset on Winter Solstice, and Newgrange (5200 years old), aligned to the sunrise on the Winter Solstice, attest to the significance throughout the Celtic world throughout time. The Druids noted the sun appeared to stand still on the Solstice, and thus burned a Yule log to counter the darkness. They would cut Mistletoe off the oak and offer it as a blessing. Spme say that the Oak King and the Holly King fought and the Oak King would be victorious on the Winter Solstice, thus the light would return – but this is possibly a modern story. Regardless, the themes of togetherness and family, cozy fires, food and drink and celebration are timeless, and cross any cultural boundaries. And of course, Hrafnarfjall is happy for any reason to celebrate that! As always, if you would know yet more…see our website at: http://www.kohrafnarfjall.org

Stonehenge, winter solstice https://stonehengetours.com/stonehenge-sunset-solstice-christmas-tour.htm
Newgrange, Winter Solstice
https://www.authenticvacations.com/newgrange-20-intriguing-facts/

References BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/holydays/wintersolstice.shtml https://bjws.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-winter-solstice-druids-mistletoe.html?m=1

Perseverance • Independence • Strength The Words that Founded Hrafnarfjall

When we began the journey of Hrafnarfjall in 2016, a motto was basically the last thing on our minds. In 2019, however, we chose those words as our motto – quite simply because they are the words, over and over, that kept coming up on our path. Not just since the founding – but throughout our lives.

Three words to found a Nation.

The words themselves may be simple – but there is nothing simple about their significance, and why they came to be the motto of Hrafnarfjall. They are more than words we felt fit; they are words whose meanings we have lived. We’re the founders, and the King and Queen, because we lived them. They chose us – not we, them.

Perseverance
Without perseverance, Hrafnarfjall would not be born. That is why it’s the first in the order of our motto. The King persevered with Micronationalism since he was a youngster; he persevered in introducing the Queen into Micronationalism; both have persevered in overcoming physical and mental challenges to found the future nation, to face the US bureaucratic customs and immigration system; in the Queen’s obtaining a Horticulture degree and saving and working for ten years to ultimately buy the land – even in facing challenges buying the land, when there were issues initially with the title requiring a three month wait. It’s clear perseverance is part of our lives as the Founders, not just something spoken, and thus in the blood of Hrafnarfjall itself. We will persevere.

Independence
Being independent was the guiding principle for founding Hrafnarfjall in the first place. Macronations are increasingly bureaucratic and ultimately failing their citizens; we had to find a better way, independent of their influence. We are, by nature, self-reliant, and have gained the skills to be even more so – by the hard work of the King and Queen, raising the animals and crops, having an independent water supply, working in diplomacy and as a security guard to this is a principle we are always working towards and thankful for that which we have. The irony is, this is a skill we both had by nature and which was further developed by nurture, and society. Being independent doesn’t mean we don’t have friends and allies – but it does mean, if you are a friend and ally, we are by choice, not by need. Independence is in our spirits, a guiding force for all Hrafnarfjall.

Strength
We mean, in this case, both physically and mentally. Let’s be honest, we are Homesteaders and Farmers – we’re cutting through northern Minnesota grasses and roots to bring a harvest; we face an eight month long winter at the best of times, a shifting schedule, faced a 4000 mile separation for years and are taking on the United States Customs and Immigration system, a process years in the making. The King left family and homeland; the Queen finished a bachelor’s degree while active duty Coast Guard and then went to the Reserves and bought a home. This was ten years in the making before a move was even made to buy the land. A Homestead is not for the weak of heart, mind or body at the best of times; it can be exhilarating and freeing, but it can be heartbreaking too – putting hard work, time and money into something, only to have it die. There are days spent at work, only to come back home, and work some more, or worse – bury your favorite rabbit or chicken. Strength is carrying on, heart and mind battered, body sore, for Hrafnarfjall.

Blood and body, spirit, heart, mind – perseverance, independence, and strength have forged Hrafnarfjall. Every day, we earn the right to be Hrafnarfjall, because we persevered; demand independence, and know the strength of who we are. We paid the price for it. We know everything we give, all we put in, comes back to strengthen us all the more. That’s why those words are our motto: simply, they are who we are.

Fly with Pride

Join our journey at http://www.kohrafnarfjall.org

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