The Gods of the Northern Tradition-–the religion of the ancient Norse/Germanic/Anglo-Saxon peoples–-have been rediscovered in growing numbers in the past years, as have the elves and dwarves that inhabit the Nine Worlds of the Cosmic Tree along with them. However, few have written about the Giants of those worlds and the Gods who number among them-–Loki, Hela, Fenris, the World Serpent, and others-–until now. The Jotunbok–-the first book in the Northern-Tradition Shamanism series-–is a collection of the wisdom, ways and tales of the Giants and their Gods, told by those who revere and work with them.
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By Gretchen Hercules
Mar 21, 2012
I have recently started a real interest in Northern Shamanic. This book is a wealth of information. It is easy to read and very interesting. The contributors smooth out events and who is involved making the stories and players much easier to keep track of. I really like being able to read the experiences of those who have been traveling these realms for a long time. I would recommend this book to anyone with a real interest in Germanic/Anglo/Norse path.
"Where scholarship stops, this begins" If you've pored over the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda like me for hours, trying to glean tidbits of information on the Norse gods, goddesses, Aesir, Vanir, Alfar, Svartalfar, Jotuns, etc. you've probably gotten frustrated by the small amount of lore that survived. And getting lost in scholarly interpretations doesn't necessarily get you closer to the truth. It's like having North-American scholars poring over anecdotal reports of kangaroo sightings, instead of just going to Australia to study them. Now, either the gods are real, or they aren't. If they aren't, then you can make up anything you like, because it really doesn't matter. But if they're real, then how did the ancients get their stories in the first place? From the gods themselves! Certainly, you should do your homework first, and read all available sources, BEFORE you go annoy a celebrity to interview them... but in the end, the primary source is the gods themselves. That's... More > what I've tried to do myself, but it takes a while to develop a personal relationship, to the point where you can ask questions, and it takes good seership skills to be able to *hear* those answers. Raven apparently came to the same conclusion, and he's found out much from his main deity, Hela. If he had done only that, this would be a great book on Hela. But he went a step further, and collected the information from many spirit workers who have had relations with these beings. It would have taken me many lifetimes to get the relationships necessary to get the information in this book, and quite frankly, a number of them probably wouldn't have been interested in giving me the time of day. The book is full of great information on beings that are barely covered in the written sources, and even when they are, they're treated as the bad guys in what amounts to a cosmic pissing contest. Personally, I like and am interested in the Aesir, the Vanir AND the Jotun (Etin, Giant) gods, as well as the other races of the 9 worlds. There are other books that cover spirit retrieved information about the Aesir and Vanir (though not as well as Raven's I think), but so far, there were none on the Jotuns, so I'm very grateful to Raven for this work. I really like his description of the three kinds of gods in the first part of the book. It really helps put them in a perspective where no one has to be the bad guy. In a nutshell, the Aesir are the gods of civilization, the Vanir are tamed nature gods (agriculture), and the Jotuns are gods of wild nature. It only makes sense that they would clash in what each considers "good". A thousand years ago, wild nature was a scary thing. But today, with civilization having almost eradicated wild nature, and upset the balance of the planet with pollution, perhaps we need to pay more attention to what they've got to say. The only downside: It's only about Jotuns. Those are the beings Raven has the best relations with, and he knows more people who honor Jotuns than anyone else. Also, the book is a brick, so there really isn't any room for the other pantheons anyway. However, the upside for Aesir and Vanir lovers out there is that you *do* get to hear about them. You just get to hear about them from the Jotun perspective, which complements nicely the Edda versions of the stories (where Aesir and Vanir are shown as the good guys). So this is not really a minus, just a necessary limit on the scope of the book. In all, this is a very well written book with great information, which is much more juicy to read than many dry scholarly sources. And even if you don't believe the various contributors, it's still full of interesting stories for fans of Norse mythology.< Less
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