Hammer and Vajra Official Book Recommendation List
I think a lot of people looking into Germanic Heathenry or other forms of Paganism are rather confused on good study material. Often, they get recommended a bunch of Wiccan or Super-Neo Pagan books that are good for what they are, maybe, but not for an understanding of European paganism in the context of folk religion and greater Indo-European interconnective understanding. So below I am going to provide a list of books I recommend in various aspects of Indo-European, Pagan, Vedic, and Germanic studies. This will include the basic primers of spiritual scripts as well for beginners.
These books are all recommendations for their content not for the sociopolitical context of the author or the time the author wrote, be that opinion conservative or liberal.
I am also providing Amazon Links for those who would like to purchase and support these Authors.
The post is long so please look throughout if you want to see something in particular you are personally following or interested in.
General Indo-European understanding
Comparative Mythology by Prof Jaan Puhvel
This book is the best I can recommend in understanding Indo-European connectivity between ancient religions. It might be rather scholarly and hard for some to understand but I feel it is a bit more approachable than some of Georges Dumézil’s works. Though I would say much of his works should be sought out for comparison if you can find one in English. I personally think that “Comparative Mythology” is the best jumping point for anyone wanting to understand the inner connectivity for these traditions.
This may seem like an odd choice as it is the most mainstream, however, it is also the best collections of “myth” and historical attested legends / lore you will find in almost any book joined together.
Syncretic Indo-European Faith (Hammer & Vajra)
It has come time to recommend my own book.
“A compendium of Indo-European religion and a guide for the spiritual concepts of Vedic Heathenism. A Syncretic Indo-European Faith by Zachary Gill is an introduction to a syncretic modern faith, to include the practices, history, culture, and values that makes up this IE based Heathen path. Using both academic research and personal gnosis, Mr. Gill illustrates how the roots of Indo-European peoples and their many-branched faiths can guide the modern heathen. This book is especially for those who wish to reinvigorate their practice. He examines the IE deities in-depth, contrasting, and comparing them across branches and offering a study of how deities have changed in both appearance and function over time and culture. It is meant as a guide and companion book for those interested in discovering the standard practices found within all IE faiths, a background that all peoples of Indo-European descent share.”
Summoning the Gods by Collin Cleary.
This is probably my favorite book to understanding the divine / the Gods and Monism. It does a decent comparison of Indo-European philosophy and thought while showing the inner connectivity of divinity. It is a bit harder to find a physical copy nowadays.
Germanic / Heathenism
There is a bit of controversy regarding whose translations you should trust. While I love that the older 1800s translations from Thorpe and Bellows. Though modernly a lot of people recommend the translations of Prof. Jackson Crawford. I personally have only read a bit of his books. I will say cross comparing various translations might be the best approach.
The Poetic Edda/Elder Edda is mostly written down within the Codex Regius, a 12th -century manuscript, but is considered to be poems that had been passed via oral tradition since much earlier. The author of this is unknown, as it is thought to be various authors throughout. This Edda is the primary source and sacred text of most modern Germanic Pagan movements and religions. It is broken into various poems of which the Hávamál and the Rígsþula are contained. However, it is the Völuspá, which is considered to be pivotal in understanding the beliefs of the Early Germanic peoples as it not only tells of the creation of the cosmos but foretells the future end and rebirth of the world.
The Hávamál (Old Norse: sayings of the High One) is included as
part of the Codex Regius (Approx. 1270 A.D), the Icelandic Book of
Kings. While the Codex Regius is filled with various poems pertaining
to the Norse gods, it also contains a lot of euhemerist concepts. That
being said, the Hávamál is a group of poems that are spiritually
attributed to sayings from Odin himself. These poems are broken up
into different groupings of subjects that provide advice and wisdom
for daily life. To many modern heathens, these poems are considered
divine spiritual wisdom. The portion of the Hávamál that deals with
Odin’s sacrifice to his higher self on the World Tree, as well as the
usage of the Runes, stand out from the rest of the poems and are
often the focus of esoteric and metaphysical philosophies and ritual.
There are many Viking, Germanic, Scandinavian, and other Sagas which would take a long time to list completely. One of my main recommendations for this would be those published by Penguin Publishing. I will say the Völsunga Saga and Nibelungenlied stand out as they have influenced western culture and understanding much more than people realize.
Beowulf is a ‘novel’ or Saga said to have originated from around
700 AD. It is written in Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and tells the Saga
of Beowulf a Germanic Hero. While the tale is written from a rather
Christian perspective, it is easy to surmise Pagan traditions and
language from it as the attempts to point out what is pagan and what
is not within the Saga works as its own reverse engineering. In many
ways, this is a sacred book to Germanic Pagans.
You might find it interesting to know that J.R.R. Tolkien did his own translation of Beowulf.
The most recommended and commonly used Beowulf translation is this bilingual one.
The Prose Edda, also called the Younger Edda, was written by
Snorri Sturluson, who was an Icelandic Historian, lawman, and
scholar who lived in the 13th century. He wrote Skaldic poems,
which gave a brief history of the world and covered the “mythologic
history” of the Norse. Most of his writings were based on the Codex
Regius and were filled to the brim with Euhemerism. While this is very
important to historians and those who want to glean what they can
from his writings, it is indeed set in the Christian context, unlike that
of the Elder or Poetic Edda for the most part.
The Northern Dawn: A History of the Reawakening of the Germanic Spirit: From the Twilight of the Gods to the Sun at Midnight
This book is great for understanding Germanic Paganism and how it was Christianized. This is a Great book in understanding the Laws and Indo-European spirit that was behind much of Germanic faith and culture before, during, and after the rise of Christianity.
The Big Book of Runes and Rune Magic: How to Interpret Runes, Rune Lore, and the Art of Runecasting by Edred Thorsson
Dream of the Rood
Deutsche Mythologie by Jacob (Ludwig Karl) Grimm
If you want to know more about the Honorable Mr. Grimm please check out my post here.
Path to the Gods: Anglo-Saxon Paganism for Beginners by Swain Wodening https://www.amazon.com/Path-Gods-Anglo…/dp/147517666X
If you want a further breakdown on Saxon Heathenism please check out my post here.
Gothic Paganism / Gothic Christianity
Books by Aelfric Avery and Edred Thorsson / Stephen Flowers
Gutiska Hunslastaths Razda by Aelfric Avery
A Gothic heathen liturgy in the Wulfilan Gothic language with a modern English interlinear translation which honours the gods and goddesses of the ancient Goths. The liturgy consists of the ritual practices of modern-day Gothic heathens which are based on what is known of the ancient Germanic heathen rites.”
The Mysteries of the Goths by Edred Thorsson.
“After providing a concise view of the history of the ancient Goths and their legacy, this text embarks on an ambitious esoteric adventure into the realm of authentic Gothic lore. These adventures encompass the particulars of the ancient Gothic religion, both its pagan roots and Arian-Christian expressions. The mysteries of the unique Gothic alphabet, a synthesis of Runic, Greek and Roman lore, are deeply explored in ways never before revealed. The great Gothic treasures and artifacts, such as the so-called Temple Treasure and the magical Gothic spears of destiny, are also systematically brought to light. This book if for all who treasure the deep Gothic heritage and legacy.”
Gaut’s Descendants: Gothic Religion and Culture in Germania by Aelfric Avery
“Gaut’s Descendants: Gothic Religion and Culture in Germania explores the religion and culture of the Goths and the Gothic influence on other Germanic tribes. Some of the topics examined include: the gods and goddesses of the Goths; the rituals and magic of the Goths; Gaut, the founding father god of the Goths, his surviving myths and his cult of sacral kingship; the various influences that contributed to the synthesis of Gothic religion and culture; the nature of Gothic Christianity and survivals of Gothic heathenry in Christian times; how the Migration Age layer of Germanic mythology differed from the more well-known Viking Age layer of Germanic mythology; how the Goths contributed to Germanic mystical and religious concepts preserved in the Eddas such as the differences between the Aesir and Vanir gods; the substantial influence of the Goths on the legend and poetry of the rest of the Germanic world, especially in Viking Age Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxon England.”
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of good Primary sources regarding writing on Slavic Paganism.
I would recommend a few authors but it would result in a battle among people whether the sources were legitimate or not.
I made a post on the basics of Slavic Paganism if anyone is interested. Anything further than this I would have to ask others to step in for more clarity.
Celtic Gods and Heroes by Marie-Louise Sjoestedt
If one wants to cross examine Celtic Faith as well, which is inner connected with Germanic faith (most Germanics being Celtic as much as they are Germanics and both tribes coming from the East originally). This one doesn’t focus on the Gauls as much as I would like it to.
For a fuller breakdown on Celtic understanding I would suggest my post below where provide various links.
Much like how the aforementioned Poetic Edda, the Rig Veda, and the biblical Genesis the Theogony gives the birth of the universe, the world, and the creation of the Gods etc. It may have been heavily influenced by Sumerian, Luwian, Hittite, and other creation stories but it correlates easily with many Indo-European faiths.
Theogony at Sacred Texts
The Orphic religious context, which some referrer to as a mystery cult, is in my opinion an important approach to esoteric thought, embracing life and death, personal ritual, and connection with the divine.
Writings of Herodotus
Herodotus is often considered the first historian. He is considered
to have lived between 484 and 425 BC. He was a Greek philosopher
who traveled and wrote various things about the peoples he claimed
to visit. He wrote on the Scythians, which is often is considered the
earliest mentioning of them. But much of what he wrote should be
understood as having been written through the lens of Greek
dominance and showed political favor to certain groups and making
others look like barbarians, though one shouldn’t dismiss the fact that
what he wrote is valuable information regarding peoples and cultures
of the past.
Homer’s Works (Iliad and Odyssey)
It is Homer, an ancient Greek, philosopher, and author, that epics
such as the Iliad and the Odyssey are attributed to. These tales are
considered by some to be historical and to others to be fantastical
surround the history of the Greeks and the Trojan war. The quality
and interpretations of these writings vary depending on the translator
or language. The one thing that they represent, for the context of
Indo-European Paganism, is the rituals, culture, and allegories beings
depicted. For this alone, these writings are priceless.
Plato’s The Republic
While this is considered a political book as well as a book on philosophy and ethics, Plato speaks often of praising the Gods, ritual, and how one should conduct one’s life piously.
Persian / Zoroastrian
The Avesta is a collection of Zoroastrian holy texts written in the Avestan language and attributed primarily to Zarathustra himself and is thought to be between 1500 and 600 BC with Zarathustra beingapproximately from 6480 BC. The Avesta consists of the Yasna (primarily focused on ritual) with the five faiths being considered highly important and possibly the oldest and most connected to the Proto-Indo-European/Vedic faith. While the ancient texts are the basis of the Zoroastrian religion and, in a rather similar case to the Bible and Quran, said to be transmitted from God (Ahura Mazda) to Zarathustra, much of the texts have greater connections to IndoEuropean Paganism as a whole. The texts and their contexts must be viewed through the eyes of the culture at the time, and are often mistaken for Monotheism,
despite the fact that they have hymns to different Gods and Spirits (such as Mithra). These beings are called Yazata and align closely with counterparts in the Vedas as well as other Gods within IndoEuropean faiths such as the Slavic, Greek, and Germanic traditions. Reading the Avesta might give the devotee or seeker of knowledge a rather familiar feeling which they may trace to that of Christianity and Islam. However, this is due to the fact that the Persian empire (who was for the most part Zoroastrians) had a strong influence on the region, which continued from ancient times into even both the Greece and Roman Empires. Some Judeo-Christian and Islamic concepts were, for the lack of a better description, lifted completely from Zoroastrian writings and beliefs. For those who read the Avesta for a Vedic Heathen practice
or to seek deeper wisdom and understanding of Indo-European Paganism, they should pay keen attention to the rituals and magics, origin stories, Fire worship, and the reverence to Mithra. This could arguably be one of the first examples of Monism.
For modern reading I would recommend the following.
The Good religion, Original Magic, and Mazda way by Stephen flowers.
India / Vedic
There are thousands of Indian texts. Not all of them are Vedic. The more time passes the newer texts are less and less Vedic, at least in my opinion.
With this I would recommend, at least for westerners, primarily the Rig Veda which I feel is the most important as it sets the stage for Indo-European ritual and understanding. After this I would recommend the Upanishads as they delve into a deeper understanding of interconnectivity, the nature of divinity, and what could be described as original monist thought.
Though it may be considered controversial, if case you want to know the difference between Vedic scripture and the broader Hindu scripture. Personally, I only follow Vedic scripture, which I see as more reflective of greater Indo-European faiths. Within this is included the four Vedas. The Rigveda (Praise Hymns Knowledge), the (Sacrificial knowledge), the Samaveda (Song/Hymn Knowledge), and the Atharvaveda (Magical/Ritual Knowledge). It is not that I would ignore the wisdom of the Hindu texts or think lesser of their worship. However, this is where the Vedas are adopted for more culturally relevant to what became the Hindus and less to overarching Indo-European or Proto-Indo European Paganism.
That being said the tales in the The Bhagavad Gita and the Mahābhārata are very good examples of morality, devote spirituality and how to conduct oneself honorably.
Rig Veda translated by Wendy Doniger
At Sacred Texts by Ralph T.H. Griffith, Translator
Upanishads translated by Juan Mascaro
At Sacred Texts translated by Max Müller
In this part I will give a small list of recommended Authors that I’ll leave up to you to investigate or seek out yourself. I might elaborate on them on future posts.
Plato, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, etc.
Much of this could be summarized by looking into the Western Canon. Of course this has become a political issue in the current era, however, most of these works transcended what I would call “modern” politics.
Julius Evola, René-Jean-Marie-Joseph Guénon, Guido Von List, Meister Eckhart, Hermes Trismegistus, various alchemist and Pagan leaning philosophy writers.
Spiritually inspired fiction
J.R.R Tolkien, C.S Lewis, H.P Love Craft, Robert Howard, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Frank Herbert.
Other works would be studies on Scythian and Tengriism as well as various Buddhist Sutra, Mantra, and Tantra. Many of those deserve their own post and book recommendations which I might do at a later date.
I hope this small foray into what I would consider proper Indo-European philosophy and religious texts helps guide you. I’m not saying that these are the only books that should be read or that there aren’t a controversy or mistakes in any of these books or works by the authors. Instead, what I am implying is that if one is seeking an understanding of “Paganism” “Heathenry” or Indo-European spirituality and they haven’t read any of the primary texts or some of these supporting authors, be the of a Christian time period or not, then they are doing their own journey a disservice.
That being said it is important to cross reference and question your understanding as well as that of others.
Strive for truth and wisdom always.
Hammer and Vajra
Written by Zachary Gill, 19 December 2020.
Image: Library by dj bekas