Review: Embracing Heathenry by Larisa Hunter


Title: Embracing Heathenry

Author: Larisa Hunter

Publisher: Megalithica Books (2012)

ISBN-13: 978-1905713813

Embracing Heathenry, by Larisa Hunter, is an enlightening and enjoyable book about living Heathenry intentionally. It provides a window into the lives of the author and several other Heathens, with plenty of beautiful illustrations which bring it to life.

Embracing Heathenry covers the practical aspects of living the faith on a daily basis. It is not a book about Norse mythology per se although it touches on it and made me want to read more about it. I took up a recommendation of one of the “other voices” in the book and ordered The Children of Odin (also published as Nordic Gods and Heroes) by Padraic Colum.

Embracing Heathenry is easy to read and digest. I am a slow reader and I read it from cover to cover in two days. The poems, stories, prayers and craftwork interspersed in the book highlight how powerful such art forms are in religious teachings and practice.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“The power of poetry and stories can articulate an expression of devotion that brings the gods to life.” (p97)

“The reading material does not give the person a spiritual path to walk. It keeps them in the state of a student. At some point we must put down the books and see the gods for ourselves.” (p187)

“What you do isn’t important, but doing something is.” (p199)

“Day by day, I am evolving a life that anchors the mundane in the sacred so that everything I do becomes a part of my relationship with the gods.” (p242)

“I hope that by our struggles and triumphs she learns that heathenry is not an easy path but it is one rich with rewards.” (p256)

I have posted the table of contents below to give a better idea of everything covered in the book:

Table of Contents

Introduction 8

Chapter One: The Diversity of Heathens 17

Chapter Two: Honour and Worship 36

Chapter Three: Words of Power 82

Chapter Four: Artistic Devotional Expressions 114

Chapter Five: Entering the Priesthood 133

Chapter Six: Bonds 145

Chapter Seven: Oaths and Oath-Taking 155

Chapter Eight: Taking Off the Mead Goggles 177

Chapter Nine: Daily Heathen Life 189

Chapter Ten: From the Voices of Others 204

Chapter Eleven: Prayers and Hymns 246

Afterword 255

Glossary 257

Resources 259

Bibliography 261


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