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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, refreshing study of what paganism was and is REALLY about
I understand this is at least partly based on the studies of James Frazer in the Golden Bough, which I own but have not yet read, so I cannot comment on the similarity. Regardless, as someone with a passionate and personal interest in real paganism and its real meanings as opposed to the meaningless, distorted crap we get in "Wicca" and modern new age movements, as well...
Published on 22 Nov. 2012 by Ceallaigh

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maybe one for the diciples of Varg
"Academics tend to disregard every book written without references to specific sources... I cannot list sources when te ideas are my own, the interpretations my own and the conclusions my own".
So begins Varg with what I had hoped would be an exciting treatise on the subtelties of how belief in magic perneated every day life in northern Europeans, perhaps...
Published 3 months ago by Mr. J. Ambler


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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, refreshing study of what paganism was and is REALLY about, 22 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia (Paperback)
I understand this is at least partly based on the studies of James Frazer in the Golden Bough, which I own but have not yet read, so I cannot comment on the similarity. Regardless, as someone with a passionate and personal interest in real paganism and its real meanings as opposed to the meaningless, distorted crap we get in "Wicca" and modern new age movements, as well as older occult and Christian interpretations of paganism, I knew I had to get this, as I have followed Varg's writings and music for a years and have found myself hugely inspired by both.

Varg apologizes at the start for English being his second language, but despite this warning the book does not suffer at all from this...Varg is articulate, clearly has spent a lot of time studying etymology far back, which is absolutely crucial in properly understanding the roots of any folk religion...the book is repetitive, but it works well because of this - with the complexity of the religion and its true meanings, which have been oversimplified and, as Varg points out, completely misunderstood in some cases, and the importance of etymology in this study, the reader needs a cyclical structure and repetition to take it all in I think...it also to me seems appropriate seeing as the focus is on what both sorcery and later religion are ultimately about: the cycle of death and rebirth, and of the seasons

As Varg stated on release, you should not just buy this because you're a fan of Burzum...I personally think you need to be interested in paganism to fully appreciate his music anyway, and if those concerned about Varg's ideas and writings - controversial to say the least - you need not worry, as the focus here is on what Varg is primarily interested in: his own culture, so there are no politically incorrect or racist rants (I doubt it would have been published otherwise)

So like I said, if you want a refreshing, accurate study of European, especially Scandinavian, rural religion, then buy this
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and engaging, 22 Nov. 2011
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Edward A. Thomson (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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As this is the first review I will try to give as full an answer as I can. I will highlight what I think this book is and what it is not. I read it in the kindle format so I can't say anything about how it looks in printed form. The author points out that English is his second language however this warning isn't necessary, there are no real problems with language. I recall no obvious spelling or grammatical mistakes. The work is fairly short and can be read in a day. Previous knowledge of Norse mythology is recommended as it may be difficult to read if the names and stories are unfamiliar.

The book mentions nothing about politics or music. The author does not relate any of the content herein to his music nor to his political or philosophical beliefs. The content sticks very well to the title. Varg provides his interpretation of Norse mythology which notably differs from the contemporary interpretation. He does not say that the current understanding is totally wrong but rather he believes it is misguided. At the end of the book he states that the modern misinterpretation is a fault introduced by the linear thought processes of the Judeo-Christian influence upon the West.

Contentiously, and somewhat arrogantly, he states that the book contains no citations. From an academic point of view this is sacrilege. However, this text is not written in a high-brow academic manner. It is more akin to a layman's guide. The content is coherent and logical, that is to say that it is self-consistent. This is perhaps the greatest achievement of this book, it is compelling and believable. Whether it is true is another matter. History and the interpretation of folklore is always going to be subjective. The accepted consensus of such a subject is always going to be that which is the most publicized point of view, which is hopefully logically but not necessarily true.

To re-iterate, The author believes that Norse mythology has been looked at too greatly from a Judeo-Christian perspective. This is not entirely a modern problem as many of the old legends were `Christianized' and re-recorded during Scandinavia's conversion to Christianity. That is to say that the consensus interpretation of Norse mythology might be logical and believable but it is essentially a bastardized form of the older, original versions of the tales. Note that there are several recorded versions of the myths.

As stated, citations in the classic sense don't exist. However, this isn't really a flaw. Citations merely point to former works that are similar to the one being read. They are, perhaps, a crutch upon which to rest should one's work found to be fallacious ("Not my fault, I just copied the previous guy"). Consequently, if the author of this book is wrong then only he alone is wrong. As far as I know this is an original piece of work / research. My knowledge of Norse mythology is not at an academic standard.

He achieves his interpretation from reading the original works, such as Havamal, and then makes extensive use of etymological links between contemporary words and the originals. Anyone with basic knowledge of a modern Scandinavian language should appreciate the clarifications presented. Personally, I enjoy etymology and I have a basic grasp of modern Swedish and Norwegian. The author provides some excerpts from old Norse poetry, and in some cases from the proto-Nordic language (transliterated from Runic to the Latin alphabet), which he translates into modern Norwegian and English. For example, he notes that Dwarf (ON: dvergr) did not originally mean a small person. He states that the original meaning is more apparent in the female form of the word dyrrgja; from dyrr ('door') and gja ('opening in the ground'). So it is an opening in the ground or an entrance to the grave.

The book starts with Varg's interpretation of how sorcery came about and what influence it had in ancient Scandinavian society. He explains how religion evolved from attempted sorcery and states his belief that Norse mythology is essentially a primitive / spiritual cosmology. The physical phenomena apparent in nature were given names (e.g. lightning = Loki and thunder = Thor) and then a story was created to explain how these deities behave. For example: Thor chases Loki means that thunder must always follow lightning. This is perhaps the least contentious part of this work.

The real difference is when Varg comes to explain Ragnarok. Naturally, this part is the most challenging to the consensus view. He expounds that Ragnarok is not the end of the world (Twilight of the idols / Gotterdammerug) as most of us are familiar with, such as from the works of Tolkien (Sigurd and Gudrun) and Wagner (Ring Cycle). Varg explains that Ragnarok is the end of the year from which a new year is born, hence Norse mythology is a cyclical as opposed to linear. Ragnarok is a ritual performed by humans in an attempt to expel winter and bring back summer. Therefore, the Norse story of creation is not necessarily about the creation of the universe or the world but rather the creation a new year from the old (expelling winter and returning to summer).

He uses this to highlight how all aspects of Norse mythology are related to Ragnarok (the annual ritual) and how a physical burial mound was constructed to represent the various parts of the tales. The burial mound is explained as the hall of the dead, i.e. Valhalla. That is to say that all parts of Norse mythology relate to a human ritual and a physically real entity, this is opposed to the common view that all of the stories in Norse mythology relate only to an Other-worldly place where only deities exist. Only briefly, at the very end, does he state that the war between the Aesir and Vanir is a misinterpretation. The two families are really different names for the same gods.

I recommend this to anyone interested in Norse mythology. It is coherent and concise but far from being the final say on the matter.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maybe one for the diciples of Varg, 7 April 2015
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This review is from: Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia (Paperback)
"Academics tend to disregard every book written without references to specific sources... I cannot list sources when te ideas are my own, the interpretations my own and the conclusions my own".
So begins Varg with what I had hoped would be an exciting treatise on the subtelties of how belief in magic perneated every day life in northern Europeans, perhaps expand on the magic 'wands' that have been found and the shape-shifting legacy of the berserkers.

What I found was a dull, arrogant recounting of how all sorcery is actually a simple retelling of one eternal story. Oh, and that everything (including, but not limited to, Cinderella) is linked to it.
Trust me, I have made that sound much more interesting than it is.
While I agree with Vargs that people should be able to come to their own conclusions and speak of them, I prefer would-be-educators to know their facts about the other world religions and traditions that they bring in as 'proof'.
On a positive, it's a well produced book (physically), and Varg had a great skill for picking tiny parts of a truth for 'proof' and attempting to convince his readers that the rest is irrelevant.
If you're a fan of the man or his music, go for it. However, if you have actually read the wonderful sagas (or read around them to place a context), or have a basic understanding of ancient European man, then avoid like the plague.
This smacks of a man who is far too used to people agreeing with whatever he says like he's a mystic prophet. Those with a genuine interest in ancient scandinavia would be better served elsewhere.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paganism, 7 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia (Paperback)
If you're interested in such theme, it's a good insight of Ancient European tradition and folklore. Contains images, symbols and explanatory name index.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 July 2014
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This review is from: Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia (Paperback)
a great book from a great personality. Wotan mit uns
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, well researched and interpreted, 20 Nov. 2014
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Well researched and not just copy and paste from other books.nthe book gave me a much better picture and connection of the subject
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great item, Thanks, 18 April 2015
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This review is from: Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia (Paperback)
Item arrived promptly and was exactly as desribed. Great item, Thanks!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 23 July 2015
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This review is from: Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia (Paperback)
A very great book
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This will help me on my visit to the snow lands, 8 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia (Paperback)
Gretta asked me to come and visit. I was excited until I realised that the snow lands can be an inhospitable place.

I live in a country where religion is very mainstream. You know the kind. Bow down to gnomes and sprinkle water on your head.
But Scandinavia is a land of dragons and witchery. Dangerous for a youngster like me. So as well as my Suitcase full of hand warmer sachets and packets of camping food, I thought I should l would try and learn what the land of snow and Dragons is really about.

Thanks to grand master Varg I can now go visit Gretta in her castle and not be so afraid.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, 4 Feb. 2015
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M. Illum - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia (Paperback)
great book by a man who live a life seeking the truth about our ancestors. If you are a norse peagan this is a must read
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Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia
Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia by Varg Vikernes (Paperback - 5 Dec. 2011)
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