Most helpful positive review
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I liked it
on 2 July 2009
So I bought this book never having read anything about Heathenry before (aside from various things online) thus I was a utter novice and had no idea what was deemed good information or not. This book seemed well received so I bought it on faith (not always a particularly sensible decision when it comes to pagan-type books)! I certainly chose a good book because Krasskova does an great job of outlining modern Heathenry in a concise manner, one that's easy to read and conversationalist.
Unlike other reconstructionist religions Heathenry deals with a broad range of countries not just Greece like Hellenic Polytheism for example. Rather, Heathenry covers the Norse tribes, Germanic, Anglo-Saxon etc. each with their own names for the gods and their own cultural idiosyncrasies -- thus the subject matter can seem rather intimidatingly broad to newbies like myself so a book like this is essential and very helpful!
The contents is as follows: The Evolution of Modern Heathenry, Cosmology, Gods and Goddesses, Wyrd, The Soul Matrix, Heathen Ethics and Values, Basic Blot, Symbel, Personal Devotions, and Holy Tides.
'Exploring the Northern Tradition: A Guide to the Gods, Lore, Rites, and Celebrations from the Norse, German, and Anglo-Saxon Traditions' does exactly what it says on the tin. Krasskova has a deep passion for her subject matter and that is quite easily sensed. I particularly adored her descriptions of the various gods and goddesses -- she provided the reader with her own prayer for each one as well as a description of how they can guide you in life. The list is very long and she talks about some very obscure gods like Nerthus, Eir and Sif. Those of us who are English will be pleased that Krasskova is a Anglo-Saxon recon because she gives us the Anglo-Saxon names for the gods where appropriate (Woden, Frige, Thunor, Tiw, Ing etc).
She also rather helpfully suggests meditations and activities for the various deities. In that respect this book can help other recons possibly expand their own practice by seeing how others do things, but also by giving some great ideas on devotional activities. I particularly liked the idea of devotional baths which is something else I'll be stealing and adapting. All the rituals and various rites are easily explained as well as the metaphysical and spiritual meaning behind them too. The fascinating concept of wyrd (loosely meaning 'fate') is also well expounded; although I was already familiar with the belief the explanation presented here is quite explanatory. The festivals are dealt with quickly and there's some very interesting information about the soul in Heathen theology, the all important discussion of Yggdrasil and Heathen ethics.
All in all, a very helpful handbook! Recommended.