Frequently Asked Questions
1. What do you mean by "northern-tradition"? Do you mean Asatru? Heathen? What?
I mean all the religions that make use of northern European ancient religion, to whatever extent. That includes Asatru (however they wish to define themselves; I'm not one so I couldn't say), Heathens (ditto for everything I just said), Norse Pagans like myself, and even Norse Wiccans, for what it's worth. I'm using it as an umbrella term, which may upset some people, but I think that the term is still fluid enough to give that interpretation to. While some of those groups may bristle at being lumped under the same label no matter what it is, that's a cultural and social issue and does not take into account that worshiping the Germanic Gods is worshiping the Germanic Gods, regardless of the religious framework used for it.
2. Is the information in here from lore or UPG (unverifiable personal gnosis)?
Some of both. I decided on this approach: Where I found actual written accounts that a particular plant was associated with a particular deity, I wrote that this plant "is sacred to" that deity. Where someone informed me that their patron deity XYZ really had an affinity for a certain plant, or where I discovered this myself because Deity XYZ told me, I've written that the plant "is liked by" or "is special to" or "is much beloved of" that deity. Take it with as many bags of salt as you need to - or better yet, ask them yourselves.
UPG is a term that is used in some religious communities to refer to information obtained by intuitive or spiritual methods such as prayer, visions, or spirit communication, rather than more objectively verifiable sources, such as primary source material ("the lore"), scholarly research, or logical inference based on such research.
3. How about the correlation with the Nine Sacred Herbs and the Nine Worlds?
The gods told me that one, actually. I went and checked it with the plants and they verified it, so I'm going with it.
4. What do you mean, you "checked it with the plants"?
If you want to be working with plants magically, you had better be going out and doing some "utiseta" or meditative sitting-out with them, so that you can get a feel for their spirits and communicate with them.
This is the difference between an herbalist, a hedge-witch, and a shaman. An herbalist reads a book or takes a class, finds out that an herb has these properties, goes out and acquires it - perhaps even in a dry form without ever seeing or touching the green plant - and makes up a medicinal potion. Nothing wrong with that, but there's further to go. A hedge-witch finds out, through book or oral tradition, or even intuition, that an herb has magical properties to go along with its medicinal ones, and goes out and picks it, or grows it themselves, and uses it in charms. A shaman sits down with the plant and says, "So tell me what you're good for," and has a conversation, after which they know how the plant can be used in a way that works best for them. (Or they learn that the plant has nothing to offer them at this time.)
For more information on this, read the book.
5. Why do you use the word "shamanic" when referring the religious relevance of the herbs, or to some weird usage for the herb that we've never seen before?
This material is part of series of books on Northern-Tradition Shamanism. The book contains more detail about the shamanic aspect of the practice, which involves forming a relationship with the plant-spirits. These are some of my early notes on that type of practice. If the term "shamanic uses" really bothers you, you can mentally replace it with "religio-magical uses" in your head, if you like. Those uses are entirely UPG, mine and that of others who work with these plants on a regular basis and do healing and spellwork.
6. Why don't you use the words "spae" or "Seidhr" or "galdr" when describing these magic workings? Those are the authentic Norse words, aren't they?
I don't use those words because although they are authentic words, their exact meanings - and what falls under each of them, including questions of lore vs. UPG, are a source of great flux, debate, and argument, and I do not wish to get into any of those arguments. If anyone wishes to claim any of the information presented herein as spae, seidhr, or galdr they are welcome to do so; it matters not to me. I just use 'em, the name is irrelevant.
7. Where did you get the tune for the Nine Sacred Herbs Charm?
I asked the Gods to tell me a tune for it, and they "downloaded" it in my head over a period of several days. I don't pretend that it is the original tune, or that it is even in an original Anglo-Saxon style. It's a tune that they sent me, and that they approve of, and it works. That's all I know or care. I'm sure my pronunciation and accent are terrible, but hey, if you don't like it, do it yourself. And yes, I am aware that the guitar accompaniment is not period.