Thursday, March 20, 2014


For the past several years, I've been very firmly a Heathen. Only the Nordic Gods really held any appeal to me, with a slight interest in Celtic mythology. I never doubted this.

Well, I also didn't know that much about my heritage, as it turns out. I was adopted, but I've been lied to about it. My mother couldn't have children. I found out about my biological mother when I was 17 and moving out of the state. I needed my birth certificate in order to get my ID. In Connecticut, you don't need your full birth certificate since they have this little card they use instead. Anyways, I digress.

My birth certificate had my birth mother's and my adoptive father's names on it. I asked my dad if he was my real dad and he told me, "Yes, I'm your father." So I was under the impression that I was a surrogate child.

Fast forward several years, and I have gotten in touch with my biological mother, and found out my father isn't who I thought he was. I had started a family tree for my adoptive family by this point to determine my heritage. And between that and stories from my family growing up, I believed I was Danish and German, also Italian and some other European ethnicities thrown in for good measure.

Well I traced several lines of my biological family back to Ireland, and one very muddy line to Italy. So I'm kind of questioning if I should be focusing so much on the Nordic Gods, or if I should switch a bit of focus over to my heritage.

I do know this - blood isn't everything. And I'm sure the Gods don't care as much about who honors them so much as how they're honored by those that do. I also know my personal experiences will never be forgotten and those are important to me. However, I may be considering blending the two systems of belief a bit. I know somebody who has done just that, and I respect her views.

Either way, I do know that I need to place a larger focus on my spiritual works than I have been. But that's another post.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Deity of the Week - Basic Norse Mythology

Background Information for Norse Mythology

 - One of the groups of Gods, led by Odin. They reside chiefly in Asgard. There is a general concensus that they are more war-type Gods, but this isn't chiefly true, as there are Gods like Frigga, who is a fertility Goddess.

Vanir - The other group of Gods. The Aesir and Vanir have warred in the past, but they are at peace, and have inter-married and exchanged hostages. The Vanir reside in Vanaheim. They are usually seen to be mostly fertility Gods, though there are exceptions. Freya, for instance is a war Goddess, and head of Odin's Valkyries.

Yggdrasil/The Nine Worlds - Yggdrasil, also known as the World Tree, is an Ash(some say Yew) tree that connects all of the Nine Worlds. There is some debate over what the worlds are. One version is:
Asgard: The home of the Gods. Watched over by Odin.
Vanaheim: The home of the Vanir. Watched over by Frey.
Alfheim: The home of the Elves.
Mithgard: The home of men.
Muspelheim: The home of fire.
Nifelheim: The home of ice. Also considered to be one of the worlds of the dead.
Svartalfheim: The world of the dark elves/dwarfs.
Hel: World of the dead, guarded by Hel.
Jotunheim: The home of the Giants.

Jottun/Ettin/Jotnar: The giants. Residing in Jotunheim, they aren't necessarily larger than men, but they are unruly and chaotic. They are probably more like what we would consider trolls today.

Alfar - In the Eddas, alfar seems to be used interchangeably with Vanir. Alfar are elves, which seem to be held at level with or just above humans.

Dwarfs - Dwarfs, associated with rocks and underground. The dwarfs made a lot of the weapons of the Gods; they were skilled with metal. Not necessarily shorter than humans, like common perception is today.

Norns - Mainly, three giantesses that tend to Yggdrasil, as well as tell the fate of the humans. There are also many other Norns other than the main three.

Ragnarok - The last battle. A major war that is said to destroy the majority of existence, in order for everything to be rebuilt. Ragnorok means "the fate of the Gods" and many major figures in mythology die.

Sunday, March 09, 2014


I'm giving Between the Branches a new life.

I've turned all my old posts into drafts, deleted a vast majority of them and kept posts that I may want to revisit. I felt so bogged down by the string of old posts and decided that a new start would be best. Though I love the blog itself, so I kept it instead of making a new one.

I'm not entirely sure what direction Between the Branches will go in. Posts can likely range from Heathenism to Yoga, to food. I'm not going to limit anything, and will keep all my interests in one place. I'm not sure I have the time or concentration to keep up one blog let alone multiples just to keep everything nicely separated.

Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to go through and repost some of my old content. I hope to reinstate a Deity of the Week, or maybe more practically a deity of the month.

I hope everyone is well.