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The Sacred Flame

Author: Mathias Nordvig

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The Sacred Flame Podcast explores our ancestral story-worlds: the ancient foundation narratives that helped guide our ancestors in life. In this podcast, we reinvigorate the modern world with those stories and bring us back to a place of balance through an archaic revival, a new force that is sourced from the old, forgotten knowledge that was once transmitted in living stories in sacred settings. We gather by the sacred flame and revive the old ways of creating community in the world; by listening to nature and reestablishing the ties that let us realize that we are connected with everything that exists.Our ancestors knew that cultivating the right relationships with the other-than-human beings in the world is the key to living a good life. In this podcast, I am retelling and reconnecting the Nordic story-world with our current reality and offering my thoughts on how you can use these stories to reflect on what it means to exist in the modern world.

15 Episodes
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In this episode I’ll take you on a trip through the historical components behind the idea that Vikings did mushrooms before battle. We will explore the context for why that claim emerged in the 1600s, when the Danish scholar Thomas Bartholin first put it out there, and why it’s the kind story that’s thoroughly a myth in the sense of something that's entirely made up. After that, I’ll offer some comments on the idea that psychotropic agents are helpful for the purpose of reaching a higher self...
In this episode I'm talking about Viking wolves and those manly men out there who think of themselves as "wolves." We're diving into the wolf's history in the Nordic story-world and how it relates to contemporary male fantasies about individualism, rugged masculinity, and being a protector. We will be learning about honor, legal codes in Scandinavian history, habeas corpus, and why Tyler Durden in Fight Club is an irresponsible fool.
This is the second part in the two-part series on rune magic. I cover the period from c. 700 CE to the end of the medieval period, discussing various kinds of magico-religious inscriptions that archaeologists have found. I also discuss the literary evidence a bit, centering on the Eddic poem Sigrdrífumál. Although there's a lot that could be covered from the period 1600-1800, I skip that period to talk about the origin of contemporary rune magic in the late 19th century. We learn about the Au...
This episode is the first in a series about rune magic. There is a lot to cover on that topic, so I have decided to split it up in two parts. In this episode I cover the earliest inscriptions from c. 0 CE to the beginning of the Viking Age. I provide a rundown of the invention and development of the runic writing system and give an overview of select runic inscriptions that can be understood as magical or religious. Contemporary rune magic is far removed from what it was in ancient times. The...
Heathen Ritual and Magic

Heathen Ritual and Magic

2024-01-1401:43:06

In this episode I discuss what ritual and magic are. We begin with the story about how Thorhallr procured a whale for Thorfinn Karlsefni's starving crew in Vinland, and what it says about attitudes to ritual and magic in the Icelandic sagas. Then we take a tour through medieval opinions on non-Christian rituals and magic that have influenced Nordic literature. After that, I go deep into the development of concepts around magic in the early modern period, the rise of alchemy, Hermeticism, and ...
This episode begins with the story about Gefion who created the island of Sjalland. I examine the story of her meeting with Gylfi in the form that it is represented by Snorri Sturluson in Edda. After that, I take a dive into the witch craze of the early modern period and discuss its impact on European-western societies, what role it actually played in social life, and how a goddess of the meadows was turned into a witch. I extrapolate some ideas from that, which hint at how we've created a so...
In episode 8, I tackled sex and sexuality in a broad perspective. I would be remiss not to follow that up with a deep dive into what we today call queer sexualities and categorize with the LGBTQ+ acronym. Are there sources from the medieval period, the Viking Age, and before that, which can help illuminate these subjects? Some scholars and practitioners of Nordic paganisms suggest there are -but what does it look like with a critical eye toward the pre-Christian context; a period that did not...
In this episode, I'm discussing sex and sexuality in the Viking Age --and far, far beyond. I departure from the story about Freyja sleeping with four dwarfs in exchange for the necklace Brisingamen. I discuss other, related stories, not least Ari Thorgilson's report that Hjalti Skeggjason was outlawed for calling Freyja a "bitch" in a poem that he composed in the year 999. From there, I consider other reports on Scandinavians' sexlives in the Viking Age, and what they mean for the general pic...
In this episode we follow in the footsteps of Unn the Mindful, one of the few known women leaders of a settlement in Viking Age Iceland. We explore the reasons her family left Norway for Iceland and what we can learn from her example today. This episode is about family sovereignty: the difference between "family values," a talking point made up by people who want to control our lives, and a sovereign family that defines itself on its own terms without submitting to outside forces. What does i...
In this episode I take a dive into the life of the creator of parts of the Nordic story-world, Snorri Sturluson. We'll look at his life, his intentions, his interests, and some of the things he did that changed the Nordic story-world forever. I consider Snorri the last elder of the Nordic story-world. He was the last elder for good and for bad. He was one of the last few who carried so much knowledge of the Nordic story-world in his head and could work with it creatively. He also belonged to ...
In this episode I explore the concept of whiteness and why it has become so closely associated with Vikings. We begin with the story about Rig, a deity claimed to be the same as Heimdall, and his journey through Midgard. Rig is said to have created the three classes of humans, and according to the old story, these three classes have something akin to phenotypical descriptions attached to them. After the story, I dissect it and its history, its use in modern times, and dive deep into our moder...
In this episode I discuss farming from a historical perspective that goes back to the Viking Age and leads all the way to the present day. I work with the story about how Freyr, the force of fertility, desires Gerd, the protector of arable lands. I get into the historical aspects of farming technology in north-western Europe, attitudes, ideologies, and much more concerning land management and agriculture. As always, this episode goes deep into not just what people did but also what people tho...
In this episode, we're investigating how we can connect with the land that we live on. Many of us feel disconnected from the land -or, more importantly, we feel nothing about the land at all. We live in big, urban spaces. Even if we don't live in cities, we generally exist in spaces that are designed to disconnect us from land. In the modern age, it seems that most people only know how to relate to land through ideas about the political territories they live in, their constructed nations. Con...
In this episode we're exploring the ways that we talk and think about ancestors. The Nordic story-worlds have a lot to say about ancestor worship, and how we can connect with the land through ancestors. Today, most people seem to think about ancestors as those who came before us, who are tied to us through blood. Blood-based ancestry is a way of thinking about yourself and the people and place that you belong to, which more often than not leaves you disconnected from where you live. Land-base...
In this episode we explore the symbolic meaning of the world tree Yggdrasill in the Nordic story-worlds. We examine the tree in Old Norse stories and relate them to Sámi and Finnish stories. We dig into the sacred meaning-making that lies behind using the tree as an image of the cosmos, world-connectedness, and community. Eventually, we arrive at suggestions to how the image of the tree in the Nordic story-worlds can be meaningful for us today, and how we can change our perception of our worl...
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