Here is an interesting interview from a Youtuber called The Modern Platonist. In this video he speaks with Aki Cederberg who is a European Pagan author, and creative artist, who wrote a book called “Journeys in the Kali Yuga: A Pilgrimage from Esoteric India to Pagan Europe.” I have order the book myself but have yet to fully take a deep dive so I am not able to make a full review.
There are a few points in this interview that really resonated with me regarding my purpose, what I feel is a calling, and my goal with the Hammer and Vajra project.
In this interview he speaks of European Paganism being a broken line. This is something that I feel like isn’t 100% true but objectively can be summarized as true. While we have had folklorist, theologians, mystics, and certain “orders” what have appeared over the years our direct connections for the most part are broken. Cederberg speaks of his journey to India to become an initiate in the Nagababa Sādhanā. He talked regarding taking the Vedic path and bringing the linage of unbroken Indo-European faith back to the European Paganism but keeping it the flavor of European Paganism. In sort of a syncretic method. Also like reenacting the Indo-European migratory path again. This would be for the goal of creating an unbroken line and almost stitching European Paganism back together with its past. I myself have have performed many travels and working through imitation in a similar path, though nothing as extreme as Sadhu from India (Though the term Shugen for Vajrayana buddhism is derived from Sadhu there fore Shugendo is like the Buddhist Sādhanā). He also mentioned how European paganism needs figured like the Sadhu who are adherence to Odin, Veles, Dionysus, etc, in order to bring back the divine connection to the everyday people. This is something that the Hammer and Vajra project supports for all traditions. Part of our goal is not only to achieve something syncretic like this but to highlight others who are making such strives in the west. This too is what I think Odinism needs as well.
In this new year, with danger and political unrest coming to a boil across the world, it is time for a revival of true spirituality of the people. I hope this marks the year where many of you start this journey as well. May the Gods bless you all and lead you to wisdom and strength. Hammer and Vajra Written by Zachary Gill 03 January 2021
Happy New Years to everyone! I am working on a few more book projects and well as posts regarding Odinic and Vedic wisdom (and all other Indo-European or ancient traditions). 2020 was a doozy, but there are good things that came from it. I released my first book, and met many great people online whom I have learned a lot from. Hopefully more freedom will emerge from 2021. As always embrace the divine and self improvement in all things. Let this year be the time to embark on your own spiritual journey, defend your culture, make connections with tribe and family, and self growth. Wish you all the best. Hammer and Vajra! Written by Zachary Gill 31 December 2020.
It seems there is a video from Prof. Jackson Crawford regarding Santa not being representative of Odin.
In some ways he is correct. Because Santa Claus and the many myths that surround the Christmas time aren’t just about Odin, instead they are amalgamation of various Norse and other Indo-European culture. (Along with some original Christian and near east concepts.) Especially given the Germanic Northern and Western influence on the Santa myth, which is the primary influence in the North American concept, one can begin to understand how Santa is both various Christian Saints and Pagan concepts merged together. So, in this post I am going to list a few of the rather Pagan connections to Christianity. First I will address some of Prof. Crawford’s points.
1. Sleipnir has 8 Legs and Santa has 8 reindeer: First he debunks this arbitrarily. Obviously 8 Legs don’t equal to 8 different beings. But I suppose he hasn’t heard of allegory before. Also when two of the Reindeer are called Donner and Blitzen (Thunder and Lightning) it is a connection to Thor (Donar = Thunor). Yes the eight reindeer are a newer addition as he used to have 1 and sometimes more than one that pulled his sleigh. What he doesn’t do is delve into the various connections to the Wild Hunt. Jacob Grimm popularized the term Wilde Jagd (“Wild Hunt”) and wrote about it in his Deutsche Mythologie (1835) as proof of surviving Germanic Pagan beliefs. The Wild hunt is thought to ride through the clouds or mist, in the night sky and claim lost souls. Often they would be appeased by offerings. Much like leaving offerings for Santa and his reindeers. Other figures aside from Odin that were euhemerized into the tradition were Theodoric the Great, Angel Gabriel, the Devil, Charlemagne, or the welsh Gwyn ap Nudd. Those who were associated as hunters accompanying their leader were usually the spirits of the dead, who either returned or arose with his passing by, the Fae, or Elves and sometimes Valkyries or Psychopomps. If you haven’t noticed the theme is that of death and passing as well as one’s ancestors as Fae or Elves (Alf) are ancestral spirits. Often the Death of the year or the sun is seen in Winter (Baldr’s death for example). No this isn’t inherently an Odinic concept but one can see that it is connected to the Old world and both Paganism and folklore in general.
2. Santa wears Red but Odin wears Blue, Grey, or spotted clothing: Yes, but he also is said to take various disguises. Santa also doesn’t always wear read. He has been depicted wearing blue or white in many cases especially in Slavic regions. It is true that Santa is depicted often more akin to his Saintly / religious priest clothing in various European countries, especially down south. No one will say for sure where the Red suit and a rather Phrygian cap as well as the Holly and pipe come from originally. However, I will state that they are rather Scythian in design. The cap, the buttoned-up suite, and pipe are very akin to various groups in the Steppe lands and Persian cultural influences. Artwork of Odin has often included a smoking pip as well and one can see within Tolkien’s Odinic figure of Gandalf (Wand Elf) that pipe smoking fits the motif. As for the Holly there are a lot of Euhemerized concepts of Holly which can imply a Christian allegory but also the concept of the Greenman of folklore or the Mistletoe of Baldr’s death.
3. Odin is not a figure associated with gifts: This is accurate as long as one is speaking of gifts in the method of Santa, however, to say providing offering to the Gods or Odin for blessings or a boon in return is very much within Pagan belief. Being naughty or nice could be implying being pious and serving the Gods. This may be a much more Christian aspect of Santa but one implying that Odin or the Sky father does not provide blessing or providence over mankind would be a gross misunderstanding. Yes, in the Saga’s and Eddas Odin isn’t overtly kind or selflessly giving, but that shouldn’t be interpreted as “evil” or a lack of any empathy for mankind as Odin is concerned primarily with the balance of Order and Chaos. Also Santa’s helpers such as Black Pete, or his counter part such as Krampus haven’t been always been represented as the most kind and benevolent beings.
4. Odin is associated with winter solstice holiday of Jól or Yule which is the Proto-Germanic word *jehwlą meaning Joke or to play (Joy) but has also been considered to possibly be connected to a word for wheel like the turning of the year. Odin is called the Jólnir (the Yuler) as Prof. Crawford points out. Also, often you hear the word Yule Father from time to time. This is, in my opinion, in direct correlation to where the association of Father Christmas would come into play.
In addition to the point he mentions I’ll go into a few other points. The three “Kings” of Christianity are Magi (Singular Magus) or Magoi of Persian religion. Their seeking of Christ and divining his arrival via the stars is a direct attempt to merge Indo-European faith and divine son / God-King worship with that of the Hebraic Messiah. Meanwhile, there is plenty of scholarly speculation of Mithraic connections to this worship as well. The Magi had their own cultic following within Christian mysticism and in the esoteric alchemical practices. You will sometimes still see an adoration of the tree Magi almost as much as one would of the Christ child. Though it is not needed to be mentioned here, as I have mentioned ad nauseum, The Sky Father, divine or holy mother, and God or Demi-God son is a pan-Indo-European and even near eastern motif. The tale of the Angel coming to the pasture to inform the Shepard’s of Christ’s arrival is very similar to the visit of the Goddess to the Shepard in Hesiod’s Theogony where they tell him of the lineage of the Gods as well as the creation story. On a sidenote many of the Christian intepretation of myths or understanding of the cosmos is directly comparable to that of the Theogony.
These aren’t the only connection that Christianity has to Pagan religions, especially regarding Holy Days (Holidays) as a whole article could be written about Saturnalia alone. Nor is this even a full encompassing article on all of the various details and local folklore that is associated with Yule (the Yule Goat for instance).
In Regards to Mr. Crawford. He is a linguist and historian. His translations are good. However, too many Pagans who follow him like he knows everything because he knows more about language and history than they do so They flock to him regarding religion, which he isn’t an authority on. This is not an insult to a man who understands Indo-European languages rather well and should be learned from for Old Norse information. It is a statement that one should not look towards one linguistic “Scholar” as a bastion of all knowledge of on their own heritage or on Indo-European spirituality. Authorities are good to refer to, but should be cross examined. Do not let one person’s conclusions rule what you believe without doing more digging as well.
It can be easily mentioned here that Euhemerism, attempts at conversation, the Germanization of Christianity, and merging of faiths it was results in this Odinic and general Pagan+Christian appeal that Christmas and Yule have. While much of the modern additions, such as Misses Claus, Elves, Candy, Coca-Cola, and various other elements are often added for product placement or joyous myth creation from the Americas, it doesn’t change the source of these myths being that of a predominately Germanic origin.
In conclusion we can say, Odin is as much Santa as Santa is Saint Nicholas, and that Christmas is as Pagan as Yule is Christian.
I hope you found this article enjoyable and enlightening regardless of the faith you practice. In this current climate where all holidays are being threatened, it is good for us to enjoy the practice of our heritage and embrace a sense of spirituality and joy during the holidays. Hammer and Vajra
Written by Zachary Gill 23 December 2020
P.S This of course isn’t even delving into the Slavic beliefs or Orthodoxy Christianity’s intepretation of Santa Claus. Link to Crawford’s original video if you are interested in the points I am mentioning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o5ih9WuCxQ
Some say to be a man is to be strong, brave, and fearless, have an undaunted resolve, and a decisive stance on all thing. While this may be a good example to strive for even these attributes pale in comparison to the Übermensch. While the Übermensch may be a term coined and heralded by Friedrich Nietzsche, it is in concept something far beyond him. From his writings, it is obvious, at least to me, that he recognized this. Without delving into an exposition of the definition or deeper meaning behind the term Übermensch I will, in my own words, summarize the term thusly: “An Übermensch is the true man. A man that thrives to overcome himself and mankind itself.” Always striving to be better. Always striving to be stronger. Be smarter. Seek Wisdom and Knowledge, both of contemporary sciences, as well as the metaphysical and that of the arcane occult. Seek within oneself and that beyond oneself. Test and challenge oneself. People say “be the best you can be”. This is an inadequate statement as you will never be the best. There will always be someone better. Even if you were to become the “best” in a certain area you should still view yourself as inadequate of the man you could be. The “best” isn’t good enough. Strive to be the Übermensch, the hammer sending blows of never-ending pressure to harden you to be the perfect Vajra (Diamond) of constant impurity in need of improvement. The divine within your blood. Revere the Gods but seek to be like them in the same way as they have put forth the example, be it good or bad, so that we may learn.
The Übermensch isn’t one of selfishness and solidarity. Zarathustra (from Nietzsche) came down from his Mountain where he was one with the God (The Sun, Sol Invictus, the Trinity). He came down to bring his message to the people. However, mankind, satisfied with its comfort, stagnation, and degeneracy rejected him. They are focused on being the Last Man. Always consuming what they are fed, and doing what they are told. Sheep. So Zarathustra changes his goal and preaches to those who are willing and able. Who “follow me because they want to follow themselves – and who want to go where I want to go” (Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra). Where he wants to go is upwards towards the divine, towards ever growing greatness. The hope there would be that these men would not only take up the mantle but would possibly continue the work. And hopefully, reach the rest of mankind, or create a new future as the Last man dies off in its own stagnation. In the same way, Odin chooses the slain for Valhalla. Yes, it is known that Freya has the first pick, but in many ways, Odin and Frey work together as one, much like the duality of male and female within a Godhead. Therefore only those who are the best, who choose glory and to overcome themselves and the obstacles before they are chosen. While it is commonly said these are those slain in battle, the concept that they are those who have lived like Odin, constantly seeking wisdom, strength, knowledge, and methods to maintain the balance (keeping Ragnarok at bay) has been floating around. As Odin sought such self-improvements, sacrificing himself to himself, constantly seeking to gain more wisdom Though Odin warns us about seeking the amount of Wisdom that he has obtained. A measure of wisdom | each man shall have, But never too much let him know; For the wise man’s heart | is seldom happy, If wisdom too great he has won.
This is why the path of Odin isn’t for everyone. Only those who are ready and willing should join him. If quick happiness and contentment are what one seeks, then being the Last Man is what they should strive for.
On Mithraism The actual Zarathustra is, of course, the prophet from the Indo-Iranian religion Zoroastrianism founded during and possibly before the Persian Empire. While I am not a monotheist by any means. There are connections that Zarathustra has with other Indo-European faiths. In particularly Mithraism. The depiction of Zarathustra used by Nietzsche and attributed to him by many artworks is often now considered to be that of Mithras as he is accompanied by the eagle and the snake. It is interesting to note that Mithraism was a widespread cult in the Roman Empire that had made its way nearly throughout Europe. This cult was a male-centered cult, with initiates who were made up primarily of soldiers. The ideals of constant self-improvement are something that should be familiar to one who faces life and death often. It is said that the image of Mithras slaying the bull is that of the turning of time as it is often accompanied by the 12 zodiacs and the zodiac of that era was that of Taurus the bull (this has parallels in other faiths). However, the slaying of the bull is also considered to be the creation of the universe. As the bull in Indo-European faiths is often associated with the cosmic bull such as is represented by the Germanic Auðumbla which the Great progenitor Ymir feeds from before he is slain by the trinity of Odin, Villi, and Ve to create the world. In Zoroastrianism, the term “geush urva” means “the spirit of the cow” and is interpreted as the soul of the earth. Though Ahura Mazda tells Zarathustra to protect the cow. Slaying the cow is more of a metaphoric concept of the creation of the world. Life ends in death and from death comes life. This is to denote the cycle. The Rig Veda also mentions the sacredness of the Cattle. As the middle east was undoubtedly influenced by that of Persian and Indo-European religions the God Ba’al (Worshiped in Canaanite and Babylonian regions), whose is the title for Lord (Who is closely related to Yahweh in many ways and was worshiped on and off by the Hebrews), and the great Kujata (who holds up the world) in Arabic mythology are represented as Cattle. Note Zoroastrianism is a monotheist, but I choose to see it more in a Monist way. Ahura Mazda is the Zoroastrian God. Ahura is an Avestan word for Lord. The word is related to the Sanskrit word Asura. Also related is the Old Norse word áss is known in popularly in the plural as Aesir (the Gods). In other words, the idea of the cosmic beginning and creating life from death with a focus constant self-improvement is what the Gods mean for our lives.
Mithras is related to Mitra (Vedic) and Mithra (Avestan). The Vedic deity is known as the eye of or light of the morning sun. In Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Zarathustra refers to the Sun (God) as “thou tranquil eye”. The word Maitreya related to the stem word Mitra. Maitreya is the Buddha who is to come and bring enlightenment to a new era. The concept of the sun returning to bring a new dawn is not only one based on observation of daily life, but one to inspire man. Not for escapism as Christian and modern “western” Buddhism holds dear. This savior isn’t to come and take away all of your strife and problems. Instead, he is the divine within you that you should strive to be. The coming or returning savior is one that is within you. The Übermensch. This is what it means to be like the Gods. This is what God(‘s) have planned for us. The Vedic Mitra is the deity of Truth and Order. Order is brought from Chaos. Life from Death. The world from slaying the bull. Our future from the strides and ultimate sacrifices of our progenitors. The sun rises, and the sun sets. The seasons pass. Maintaining the balance. All of these mentioned deities were inspired by the Solar religions of the Indo-Europeans. Sol Invictus was deemed by the Roman emperor to be the embodiment of these Gods and the official cult of the Roman Empire. The Unconquered Sun. Worshiped by soldiers. Mithras was worshipped in a Mystery cult in order for this to be understood among those ready to follow. Much like those who worship Odin must understand the challenges ahead of them as his path is a to seek the answers to mysteries. In order to understand these mysteries, conquer the Last Man within, we must Slay the Bull and use its divine resources to create a new in ourselves.
I advocate a return to Mithraism in cult form. For men to strive to be better men. Stronger men. Wiser men. Well educated men. Men who challenge each other as they challenge themselves. In hopes for a better world, they put themselves through trails and challenge the world around them. Who look to Sol Invictus was the path to glory. Who embrace the Gods, (Aesir, Vanir, Devas, Asura, Ahura, Greco-Roman Deities etc) as those Gods of European men, of the Ancient Indo-European /Aryanian peoples. Of the original Danube and Mesopotamian peoples. Are all within us. They are many. And they are One. We are many but we are individuals. Let us challenge ourselves as men to become the Übermensch.
May you always be improving yourself and inspiring those around you. Hammer and Vajra! — Zach Gill
Illustration of Odin is by Lorenz Frølich 1895 Illustration of Zarathustra: Photo is extracted from “Persia by a Persian: being personal experiences, manners, customs, habits, religious and social life in Persia”. Author: Isaac Adams. Published by: E. Stock, 1906. – NY Public Library