shows that a word is a philologically reconstructed form which does not appear in any actual texts. Usually shows a Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Germanic, or Primitive Norse form.
the eight winds or directions of the compass.
álfr (Old Norse), elf (mod. English - most Troth folk avoid the word because of its association with cute little flower fairies and/or the elves of heroic fantasy, who normally bear little or no resemblance to the elves our forebears knew).
anyone who buys more amber than s/he can hang on his/her body at any given time. Also, someone who owns more amber than you do. We would love to say that the term is archaic and preserves mysteries of Freyja, but actually, we just made it up not all that long ago. Don't laugh, this is the way traditions get started.
an early form of plough.
Saxon English, honour
Ásatrú (modern Old Norse formation)
"true to the Æsir", but often used as a general term for the Teutonic religion. Cf. "Vanatrú", "Troth".
Áss (ON), *ese (AS), ansus (Gothic), *ansuz (Proto-Germanic). A god (pl. Æsir), perhaps originally an ancestor-ghost; Jordanes mentions that the fore-gone heroes of the Goths were called "anses", which he, perhaps thinking as a christian, translates "half-gods".
Saxon English, noble
Saxon English, "prayer"
Bjarni Herjólfsson Icelandic Navigation Memorial Award
a herring, given to those who have directions to the ritual, but get so lost anyway that they never do show up. Despite Leifr EirÍksson's claim to fame, Bjarni Herjólfsson was the first European to find America, though Leifr and his folk were the first European settlers there.
ON, "blessing" or "sacrifice". Despite the frequency of this false etymology, the word is not related to any words for blood. "Blót" can either be a noun speaking of the rite itself (and sometimes used in modern times specifically for the ale or mead sacrificed), or a verb, "to blót".
a thin disk-shaped pendant, usually made of gold, with a stamped design and often a runic inscription. The first were modeled on Roman coins; but the images used reflect different aspects of Germanic religion. See Karl Hauck's Die Goldbrakteaten der Völkerwanderungszeit (7-vol. catalogue with pictures and descriptions of all known bracteates); also, Hauck's many articles in the journal Frühmittelalterlichen Studien which explore bracteate iconography, especially that which deals specifically with aspects of the cult of Wodan.
corpses found in peat bogs (especially in Denmark, Southern Sweden, and Northern Germany), beautifully preserved by the tannic water and anaerobic environment. A particular group from Denmark, dating from ca. 200 B.C.E. - 500 C.E., are thought to have mostly been sacrifices of some sort. The bog people were written up in the book The Bog People by a Danish archaeologist with the unlikely, but eerily appropriate, name of P.V. Gløb. We are not making this up.
a specific type of amber bead used in Gotlandic burials, shaped like an axe for men, a loom-weight (probably) for women.
clockwise. The usual direction for ritual movement; drawing down might from the heavens.
Saxon English, "secret" (adj.).
see Wyrm under 'Things and their Meanings'. Otherwise, Germanic art historianese for, 'We don't know what it is' (such as the Maeshowe 'dragon' and the flat-beaked 'dragon' heads on the Vendel Age Anglo-Swedish helmets).
drighten/drightine (or drightning)
Saxon English; generally, "ruler"; specifically, leader of a warband or other group bound to a single purpose. Cf. "fro/frowe".
Ð, ð - "edh"
soft dh, as in "the". A Germanic sound (now, like Þ [look at the end of the glossary], preserved only in English and Icelandic) which there was no Roman letter to express, written in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse.
Egill Skalla-Gr%iacute;msson Drekk-til-at-Spýja ("Drink till you Barf") Memorial Award
asprin or equivalent and Alka-Selzer, given the morning after to those who imitate one of Egill's less overwhelmingly glorious activities at Ásatrú feasts.
"Single-Harriers"; Wodan's chosen heroes. Singular einheri.
hands and head upraised. Root-elhaz - hands at sides, feet spread; full elhaz or tree-stance - hands raised, feet spread. Calls might respectively from above, below, or both.
Saxon English (ON jötunn); a giant, usually one of great wisdom and magical might.
the nasty practise of claiming that god/esses were originally human beings, who, through clever swindling or the gullibility of their descendants, came to be worshipped as deities.
the great Wolf, son of Loki and Angrboda, who is bound and will be freed at Ragnarök. Despite popular opinion, Fenrir is the proper Old Norse form; "Fenris" is the genitive, used in the formulaic phrase "Úlfr Fenris" (cf. the like formula "askr Yggdrasils").
non-physical part of the human being.
animal-shaped half-free part of the soul. ON fylgja, AS fæcce.
a duel of insults, usually obscene
another name for Earth
Foseti, Forseti (ON)
Fro Ing, Old Norse
the Frowe, Old Norse
Frigg (Old Norse), *Frijjo (Proto-Germanic), Fricka (Wagner). Not to be confused with the Frowe (Freyja)
Saxon English, "fruitful peace and happiness".
"peace-enclosure" - an enclosure in which weapons cannot be drawn nor blood shed. Especially connected with the Wans.
'lord'/'lady', implies judicial/peacetime function.
*Fraujaz Ingwaz (Proto-Germanic), Frea Ing (Anglo-Saxon), also called Yngvi or Yngvi-Freyr (Old Norse), Froh (Wagner), Frauja Engus (Gothic). Sometimes called 'Fricco' (Old High German), but this is probably erroneous; see discussion in chapter.
Freyja (Old Norse), Freo (Anglo-Saxon), *Fraujon (Proto-Germanic). 'The Lady'; no other name known. See chapter.
a runic "alphabet", so called from the first six runestaves - f,u,þ,a, r, k/c. The Elder Futhark has 24 runes; the Younger (Viking Age) Futhark has roughly sixteen; the Anglo-Frisian Futhork varies from 28 to 32; the Armanen (early 20th century) has 18.
a magical song; also "galdr-magic". Used in modern times for runic magic, to contrast with "seiðr". Also Galdor.
"Old Uppsala" - the site of the great assembly mounds and (probably) the great Heathen hof described by Adam of Bremen.
"enclosure", used in a general term for a dwelling. Cf. Ases' Garth, the Middle-Garth.
see Saxon English
incense burner. Also AS recelbuc.
Old Norse goði (manly)/gyðja (womanly). A priest or priestess.
as well as the usual meaning of welcome, can also mean "to weep" (Scots dialect)
Old Norse griðr, friendship
an "altar". Stalli or hörgr (ON); weofed (AS).
holy/lucky/blessed/whole. Heill is the manly adjective, heil womanly, heilt neuter. heilir manly plural, heilar womanly pl., heil neuter or mixed pl.
a by-name. The singular and plural forms of the word are the same.
Saxon English; see hug.
huge, hugr (ON), hyge (AS), high (Saxon English)
dís (ON). Generally, "atheling-frowe", also "goddess", and specifically used for the womanly clan-ghosts who still ward and care for their living kin.
"Germanic interpretation"; the practice of translating Roman names, concepts, or images into their nearest equivalent in the existing Germanic cultural framework
"Roman interpretation"; the practice of translating "barbarian" deities or beliefs with Roman names and Roman equivalents.
"great pillar", destroyed by Charlemagne in 772 C.E. *Eormensyll (AS).
a poetic circumlocution particularly characteristic of skaldic poetry. For instance, because gold is reddish and bright, and the dragon Fáfnir's hoard came out of the Rhine, a skald might say that his patron (who, as a warrior, could be called "Óþinn of helmets" or something similar) gave him "the fire of the Rhine".
Scots dialect, "to threaten; threatening, ominous".
Loyal Order of the Water-Buffalo Helm
the cow-horned helmets worn by Vikings in cartoons and on tacky souvenirs from Scandinavia.
strength, ON meginn
memory-toast, often drunk at symbel.
ON móðr - mood, bravery; see "Soul, Death, and Rebirth"
an animal of the cattle-type
from Old English neord-ælf. A sub-race of the Swart-Alfs, little known to our forebears but growing more and more common today. Ruled by their leader Nerd-Alberich, Nerd-Alfs are particularly concerned with the workings of computers. They dwell in Nerd-Alfhome, otherwise known as the Internet. The feminine equivalent, Nerd-Idises (Old English neord-ides), also exist, though they seem to be slightly rarer.
probably a Latinized form of Proto-Germanic Nerthuz. 'Mother Earth'; see discussion under chapter on Njörðr-Nerthus.
mist/darkness. Cf. Nibel-Home, Nibelungen.
ON Niflheimr, "World of Mist/Darkness". The ur-world of ice, lying down and to the north.
"Folk of Mist/Darkness". Probably originally some sort of alfs; the name was later given to the Burgundian royal house of the Gibichungs (German)/Gjúkings (Norse). The connection may have originally been via the person of Hagen, whom Þiðreks saga and probably the Ältere Not (lost ur-source for it and Nibelungenlied) describe as the son of an alf. Wagner, surprisingly, seems to have come rather closer to the root-conception by making his Nibelungen into Svartálfar, or dwarves.
Old Norse, often Anglicized to Njord. From Proto-Germanic Nerþuz.
female being who lays ørlög and shapes wyrd. The wyrd of the worlds is shaped by the three great Norns, Wyrd (Urðlr), Verðandi, and Skuld. There are also many lesser norns who come to children at birth; see the chapter on "Idises".
ON nýta, AS nytte - to enjoy and benefit from.
Wodan, modern Danish/Swedish/Norwegian
Wodan, Old Norse.
Wodan, Anglicized Norse
Óláfr inn digri
Óláfr the Fat or Big-Mouthed (also known today as Óláfr the Lawbreaker or Óláfr the Asshole). This is how "St. Óláfr" was known before his canonization. Died 1030. Not to be confused with his equally wretched predecessor, Óláfr Tryggvasonr (known today as Óláfr the Traitor), despite the fact that the actions and attitudes of the two great christian tyrants of Norway make it almost impossible to keep them separate.
a type of free-standing memorial stone, nearly all of which were made on the Swedish island Gotland. They begin to be carved ca. 400 C.E., but the art reached its height in 700-900. The most common motif on them is the image of a horse and rider. The best-known ones are those of Tjängvide and Ardre, which show the rider on an eight-legged horse with a woman (probably a walkurja) offering him a horn, but others show scenes of sacrifice, battle, and ship-farings. See Lamm/Nylen's Stones, Ships, and Symbols and Lindqvist's Gotlands Bildsteine.
found in Old Norse names such as FreyR, ÞórR, and KveldúlfR (more usually appears in lower-case, except in transliterations of runic inscriptions where it shows the elder elhaz or younger _r stave). Derived from Proto-Germanic final -z (*Þonaraz > ÞórR); normally denotes a strong masculine nominative. ON masculines ending in -nn, -ll (Óþinn, Egill) also show an original -z, which became the reduplicated final letter of the stem (*Wo_anaz > Óþinn; *Agilaz > Egill). In all these cases, the last letter of the nominative disappears in the genitive, so that "Wodan's spear" would be "Óþins geirr". Confusingly, some names such as Baldr which look as though they ought to have a final -R do not; this is because the -r is part of the stem (cf. Old English bealdor).
incense. Also called wih-smoke.
pictoral records of Bronze Age magic/religion, usually carved on large slabs of bedrock, though free-standing ones have also been found. See Gløb's The Mound People.
free-standings memorial stones (usually) with runic inscriptions, found all through continental Scandinavia. Ca. 300 - 1200 C.E. See Moltke's Runes and their Origins.
to make a sign of blessing over; saining-gesture - gesture of blessing.
modern English using only words grounded in the Northern speeches. Such English calls for many words which have been lost in time to be found anew: drighten, thane, thew, sig, wod, and so forth. Many Troth folk try to use only Saxon English for ritual work; Hollander's Poetic Edda shows how this may be done. However, the best writing which has yet been done in Saxon English is Poul Anderson's "Uncleftish Beholding".
a type of magic, generally considered feminine, although men worked it as well. The precise character is difficult to tell: in modern times, it has been opposed to the runic "galdr-magic", although both seiðr and galdr were characterized especially by singing. Among the workings classed as seiðr were shamanic practices, particularly soul-faring in a different shape; fore-seeing; dealing with spirits; and spells cast on the mind to delude or cause hallucinations. Seiðr got a particularly nasty reputation after the conversion.
strictly speaking, a writer of poetry in the Old Norse skaldic formats (detailed in the "Skáldskaparm%aacute;l" section of the Prose Edda), which are known for their rigorous syllable-counts, rules of stave-rhyme (alliteration), and frequent use of kennings (see above). In modern times, used for anyone writing Germanic poetry, especially those who use traditional stave-rhyme rather than non-Germanic end-rhyme.
a yoghurt-like Icelandic milk product. Usually served with sugar and berries as dessert, but can be drunk on its own, though if one trusts the words of Egill Skalla-Grímsson, it is much inferior to beer. The Warder of the Lore concurs.
alliteration. Germanic poetry only very rarely used end-rhyme, and the few exceptions to this (such as Egill Skalla-Grímsson's Höfudlausn, late 10th century) were probably influenced by foreign models.
alternate form of Symbel.
also sumbel. A rite at which toasts are drunk to god/esses, hero/ines, forebears, and whoever or whatever else is worthy of honour. See rite.
magical talisman, esp. one with runes carved on it.
Saxon English; a virtue.
Germanic judicial assembly
an elemental giant. Different sorts are mentioned, such as rime-thurses (ice giants) and berg-thurses (mountain giants). In ON poetry, the terms "thurse" and "etin" are fairly interchangeable, but modern usage tries to keep them separate.
Týr (Old Norse), *Tiwaz (Proto-Germanic), Tius (Gothic), Ziw/Ziu (Old High German)
tree-stance (also called "full elhaz")
hands and head raised to draw down might from the heavens, feet spread to draw might up from the earth. The ur-shape from which both the Elder Futhark's upward-pointing elhaz-stave (appears as "maðr" in the Younger Futhark) and the Younger Futhark's downward-pointing ýr-stave sprang.
smaller than etins/thurses, but of the same kin. The word is also used for any unpleasant magical wight; magic is still called "trolldom" in modern Scandinavian dialects.
Trú (ON) - honour, pledge, belief. Used specifically for the Germanic religion, to describe our relationship with the god/esses. Effectively synonymous with Ásatrú/Vanatrú, with the signal advantage that it does not specify either of the godly tribes.
Tiw, Old Norse
Thonar (generic Germanic)
Þórr (Old Norse), Thunar (Anglo-Saxon), Donar (Old High German), Donner (mod. German, Wagner), *Þonaraz (Proto-Germanic), Tor (mod. Continental Scandinavian), Thor (Anglicized Norse)
Wulður, Old Norse
a prefix meaning "primeval, root" (mod. German). One might say that Ymir was the ur-etin and Auðumla the ur-cow, for instance.
(modern German) abbreviation of und so weiter - "and so forth".
Walhall, Old Norse
walknot, Old Norse.
walkurja, Old Norse
Vanatrú (modern Old Norse formation)
"true to the Vanir". Used for those who are given to one or more of the Wanic god/esses and therefore choose not to call themselves Ásatrú.
phallus, esp. horse-phallus.
wizard, magician. Often used for runesters. AS witega
Before O or U, initial W- disappears at the transition from Primitive Norse to Old Norse (ca. 700 C.E.), so that *WoðanaR became Óðinn, Anglo-Saxon Wyrd is the same word as Old Norse Urðr, and so forth.
Valhöll (ON), Valhalla (Anglicized Norse). "Hall of the Slain".
*valknútr (ON). A sign of three interlaced triangles, appearing both in a unicursal "knot" form and as three separate triangles overlapping each other. Found on the Gotlandic picture stones, an early English ring, and on the woodcarvings and tapestry of the Oseberg ship burial. The sign of those given to Wodan.
*walkurjon (Proto-Germanic), valkyrja (ON), waelcyrige (AS), valkyrie (Anglicized Norse). "Chooser of the Slain" (womanly form); compare with the Wodan-name Valkjósandi, "Chooser of the Slain".
warg - (ON vargr)
outlaw. Comes from a root meaning "restless one"; implies the unholy out-dweller. Grendel's mother is called grund-wyrgen - she-warg of the depths; in the Old High German "Muspilli", the Antichrist is called a warg, that being the closest Germanic term with which the poet could translate the general idea of horror and antithesis. In Old Norse, also used for the wolf as a natural animal.
Weihnachten (mod. German)
"Wih-Nights"; the Yule season.
altar; see harrow
"becoming"; the middle Norn. AS Weorðende; ON Verðandi.
any sort of being. You, Wodan, and the Thing that goes Bump in your yard at night, can all be called "wights", though in "Trothspeak" the word is most often applied to beings in the class of the Thing that goes Bump (as in "What the Hel is that wight out there?") or used as a wide generalization ("all holy wights" means god/esses, ghosts, land-wights, humans, and well-meaning etins or other creatures). ON vættr
"holy", as in "wih-stead"; "Wih-Nights", and so forth. "Holiness" in the sense that it is set apart from the usual world, as set against the usual word holy, which means the oneness of the worlds beyond with this world.
recels, or incense.
a holy area which is set apart from the world of daily life, usually by enclosure. Old Norse vŽ.
poetic inspiration/fury/madness; sometimes used especially for the various sorts of inspiration rising from alcohol (as in that often-heard phrase, "The wod was really flowing at that ritual last night"). Pronounced to rhyme with "flowed".
Óðinn (ON), *Woþanaz (Proto-Germanic), Woden (AS), Odin (Anglicized Norse), Oden (mod. Danish/Swedish), Wotan (mod. German, Wagner), *Wodans (Gothic). See chapter.
Wodan, modern German, Wagner.
Wulþur (Primitive Norse)
Ullr (ON), Wuldor (OE), Wulþus (Gothic)
fate. Also the proper name Wyrd (ON Urðr), for the eldest Norn who embodies that-which-is and thus determines that which becomes and shall be.
ready, prepared, skilled (ON görr).
to care for, to look attentively upon.
"thorn" (derived from the rune *thurisaz). Shows the hard "th" sound, as in "thorn", for which there was no corresponding Roman letter. Current convention places it after "z", though in older dictionaries, it may be found after "t" or in place of "th". See Ð (after "d").
a section of a saga. Thus, to look up "Gunnars þáttr helmings", you must also know that it is located within Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar, in the version of that saga which appears in Flateyjarbók (as opposed to the one in Heimskringla).
the judgement-meeting of the Germanic peoples. The most famous and regularly held of these was the Icelandic Alþing, to which all the important folk in the land had to come to settle their cases, deem over the law, and set the year's calendar.
the stead where the Icelandic Alþing was held.
Thonar, Old Norse
"primal layer/law"; the basic grounding which sets the shape of wyrd.