Sol and Mani

Del Tashlin, our current assistant Gothi, forwarded me this great article on Sol and Mani to share with with the kindred and others who may be interested!



"The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani" by J.C. Dollman (1909)
“The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani” by J.C. Dollman (1909)

Sol (pronounced like the English word “soul”; Old Norse Sól, “Sun”) and Mani (pronounced “MAH-nee”; Old NorseMáni, “Moon”), are, as their names suggest, the divine animating forces of the sun and the moon, respectively.

Sol and Mani form a brother and sister pair. When they first emerged as the cosmos was being created, they didn’t know what their powers were or what their role was in the new world. Then the gods met together and created the different parts of the day and year and the phases of the moon so that Sol and Mani would know where they fit into the great scheme of things.[1]

They ride through the sky on horse-drawn chariots. The horses who pull Mani’s chariot are never named, but Sol’s horses are apparently named Árvakr (“Early Riser”[2]) andAlsviðr (“Swift”[3]). They ride “swiftly” because……read more


Surviving Winter in the Middle Ages


Pavel Sapozhnikov and his goat, Glasha, surviving a harsh Russian winter living as people did in the ninth century. Photo courtesy of Alone in the Past.

Pavel Sapozhnikov and his goat, Glasha, surviving a harsh Russian winter living as people did in the ninth century. Photo courtesy of Alone in the Past.

In 2013, a medieval reenactment group set out to see what it would be like to survive a Russian winter in the Middle Ages. They selected one of their members, Pavel Sapozhnikov, to live on a farmstead, with only ninth century tools, clothing and shelter for six months as part of a project entitled, Alone in the Past. Once a day, Pavel would speak for half an hour into a camera to recount his day, and share his experiences. The rest of the time, he was completely alone, with a monthly check-in to ensure he was still alive. His experiment provided a first hand glimpse of the struggles people faced surviving the winter in the Middle Ages. Read more…..


A fascinating look at what surviving winter was like ‘back in the day’. While not specifically related to the Northern Tradition, but something to think about in terms of what winter meant for our ancestors and what it means for us now!

Not Your Mother’s Yule Ritual Gift Exchange and Potluck – 2015

Hello Wardenheart and Friends!

Please join us on 12/20/15 for our annual fun, festive Not Your Mother’s Yule Ritual Gift Exchange!

The rules will be explained before the ritual, but the TL;DR version: Yankee gift exchange + white elephant gift exchange with a side of “Let’s Make a Deal”

This is a gift exchange where we request you DO NOT purchase anything for it, but rather bring your trinkets, time or talents.

Gifts are: items around your home that you no longer need or want, hand-made items (from cookies to fiber art to short stories – or offer to make a commission for someone!) books, clothing, gently used items, gift certificates for future services – divination, massage, house cleaning, going on a date with someone…all swappable! (Please Note: Items which fail to find a home during the ritual will be donated to the local Goodwill or other charity.)


Doors are open at 1pm for guest to arrive at the AEU to meet and greet before dinner and our ritual.

We will open the potluck with a three round Sumbel at 2pm.

If you can’t make the potluck, the “Not yo Momma’s Yule Ritual and Gift Exchange” will be starting at 3pm.

We’ll wrap up our merry gift exchange and close our ritual by passing the horn around one last time to share a Yuletide wish for the upcoming year.

We look forwards to sharing this holiday season with you all!


In Service,

Úlfdís Járnviðar

Associate Gythia, Wardenheart Kindred

Wardenheart Kindred Veteran’s Day Einherjar Blot – 11/15/2015

Hello Wardenheart and Friends!


We’ve gone through a lot this past month, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone  again on 11/15 for the Veteran’s Day Einherjar Blot and celebration of the military and those who stand.  It will take place at 3pm in Germantown Maryland and will be followed by a potluck dinner.

The ritual will address certain deities, those who have fallen and those still serving. This ritual will be hosted Erik (Please feel free to RSVP to either Erik or Erika directly for his address). This event is open to non-Kindred members, so please feel free to invite folks.


This blot will consist of an Introduction, a reading of Soldier’s and Officer’s Oaths, followed by 3 rounds – the first to a warrior of our choice, the second to a fallen service member, and the third to those who currently serve.


This will be followed by a potluck dinner. Please RSVP to let us know what you will be bringing.

Erik has advised that for those who cannot attend in person, we may be able to arrange a Google Hangout for those who would like to skype in, and there are some local observances on 11/10 and 11/12 he has information on – please contact Erik about those directly.


Please RSVP for the address and with your potluck dish to Erika:


Please contact Erik directly for further information regarding the ritual:

In Service;


Ancestors and Beloved Dead

Originally posted at Sex, Gods and Rockstars by Del Tashlin

Many different forms of Paganism and Polytheism put some level of emphasis on honoring and/or working with Ancestors. This can be problematic for those whose parents/guardians were less than honorable in their parenting skills, whether that mean abuse, alcoholism/addiction, neglect, or abandonment. It is also difficult for those who were actively or passively “kicked out” of their family – whether their family has explicitly told them to go away and never come back, or if repeated attempts to connect with family show that they have no interest in connecting with you. Having a family whose identity is strictly bound to a certain religion or faith tradition that is incompatible with your life choices and/or spiritual beliefs may also complicate matters or make them impossible. Children of adoption may not have any knowledge about their blood lineages and may feel disingenuous trying to work with their adoptive lineage. In short, many Pagans may find it difficult or impossible to understand why Ancestor veneration is considered a meaningful and important part of spiritual practice.

At first, I made a fiat decision that I wasn’t going to include Ancestor work in my practice. I only know shreds of information about my paternal bloodline, and my father was abusive and neglectful. I felt very close to my mother (and still do in some ways), but my maternal family has never felt very comfortable with me, nor I with them. I also know that my father’s family was Catholic and my mother’s is as WASPish as they come, so attempting to integrate them into my wacky Northern Tradition Pagan-inspired practice seems disrespectful of their beliefs. Also, when I attended rituals that encouraged us to “look back and greet the Ancestors”, I heard nothing but crickets. No long-lost great great great uncles or nieces came lunging through the darkness to guide me in jack shit. So I would stand in respectful silence until that part of the ritual ended.

Later on, at a Samhain ritual, the priest used a phrase that changed the way I thought about Ancestral work entirely.

“You are the product of a million hopes and dreams whispered into the darkness; the yearnings of hearts longing to be remembered for their life’s work and the marks they left upon the Earth, among the people you stand with today.”

I wrote this down and spent a long time thinking and toying with this idea. I spoke about it to other Pagans who had similar reasons to disconnect from the traditional thoughts about Ancestor veneration. The more I tried to deconstruct the concept of “Ancestor”, the more I got an energetic sense of “Yes! You’re on the Right Path! Keep Going!”

So I started to play a game. I thought about what was happening in the world at approximately around the time I was born. Although I am sure in some ways I am the product of my birth parents’ hopes and dreams (and maybe Loki too), they are only three out of millions. So if I am the product of millions of hopes and dreams, who was doing the hopin’ and dreamin’?

The first and most obvious leap was to the early Gay Liberation movement. The mid-70’s was a time where many gays and lesbians were starting to come out both personally and politically. I’m sure that being able to live life as a queer trans* man without being locked away (in a psych ward or a jail) is something the gay liberators desperately hoped for the children born around them. Instead of taking on the whole movement, I looked for specific members that I personally resonated with – ones whom I thought would be honored and pleased when their names came from my heart and lips. Even before she passed in 2008, I considered Del Martin someone who would be pleased to see her struggles made manifest into pleasures in my life. I also felt compelled to find a genderfucker that I could connect with, and when I approached Divine in a meditation and asked her if she would be my ancestor, she gave me a giant hug.

I did this with many other outlier groups: I particularly felt drawn to working with those who died in “insane asylums” or other mental health facilities, especially those who were abandoned by their families (and possibly erased from those family’s trees). I also reached out to some who were working with estatic states of worship, regardless of their religious tradition. There are a few who died via suicide because they were lonely and forgotten. There are also some who died because their illness was not diagnosed or treated in time.

Before I knew it, I started having a pretty respectable list of those who have passed, who may have dreamed that someone like me would have the kind of life I have now. Doing this has made me incredibly thankful and gracious about the freedom and acceptance I enjoy, and I am painfully aware that many people laid down their lives for that freedom and acceptance.

As time has passed, I have had many close friends and family members, most recently my mother in early December, who have gone on to become my Ancestors and Beloved Dead. These days, I laugh a little when I remember how I used to think I had no ancestors to work with; now I never know who is going to show up when I make space for them in my altars and during my rituals.

I encourage you, regardless of how close you feel to your lineage, to play the same game. Think about who you are today, and whose dreams you are fulfilling. Do some research into what the world was like when you were born, and who has been forgotten or overlooked that you can identify with. Maybe even go to a local cemetery and find a grave that is in desperate need of tending; spend some time there and see if you feel some sort of permission to groom their grave and leave small offerings. See if your local historian society has an idea who that person was, what their life was like.

There are millions of dead who want only to be remembered, and they may not care whether you’re related to them via blood or not. And remembering someone is not very difficult, and can bring you a sense of connectedness and continuity in your life.

Don’t forget, Wardenheart Kindred is hosting our annual Samhain Dumb Supper on 11/1 in the Philadelphia area. Please feel free to join us in honoring our Ancestors and Beloved dead. Please see above link or our Facebook Invite for details.


Dumb Supper 2015 – Location and time Confirmed!

Hello again, Wardenheart and Friends!

We have set our location for our annual Dumb Supper. A friend had graciously agreed to allow us the use of their apartment, the Firebird’s Nest, just outside of Philadelphia.

This location is accessible via public transportation, has parking available, and is also handicap accessible. Address will be provided up on RSVPing.

The date will be Sunday, November 1st. Our gathering will be open for guests to arrive at 5pm.

The Supper will start at 6pm sharp – later comers will be turned away by our Guardian to preserve the sacred silence of the meal.

While we are a Northern Tradition Pagan Kindred, this ritual is open to any and all paths and we love visitors, so please feel free to let others know and feel welcome to join our Feast.

The Dumb Supper is our chance to sit down and share a meal with our Beloved Dead.  The entire meal, from setting the table, serving, and eating are done in silence and in semidarkness. We host this as a potluck so that everyone can bring a dish that was enjoyed by their Ancestors and Dead.

Afterwards we follow the meal with a sumbel, a Norse drinking ritual where we will toast those who have left us.

Before the ritual, we assemble an altar with items for or belonging to our Beloved Dead – please feel free to bring photos, votives, or any other items or offerings you would like for the altar.


When you RSVP, please advise if you will be needing a place to stay that evening, and  please advise the dish you will be bringing as well.

Please RSVP or direct questions to

-In Service,

Úlfdís Járnviðar
Associate Gythia, Wardenheart Kindred