Review of Galina Krasskova’s Essays in Modern Heathenry
By the Editor of Living Traditions
Essays in Modern Heathenry
Asphodel Press 2012
Galina Krasskova is a heathen and academic and takes a perceptive look at trends within modern heathenism. She offers four insightful essays covering significant issues and controversies.
The first essay examines the development of culture within modern heathenism; the delicate balancing of the reconstruction of earlier Heathen practises and the demands of the modern world. Krasskova also considers the markers of heathenry including right order, hospitality, right and the integrity of the Innangard. She also discusses the sensitive issue of other cultural pre-Christian influence on heathen traditions such as the Sami which tend to be dismissed by modern practitioners.
In the second essay Krasskova considers the role of ritual and performance as central to the modern heathen movement. Many of these practises such as Seidr have led to major debates over the authority of established lore versus personal gnosis. Krasskova also discusses how ritual forms the link between the theoretical, objects and the practical and how this influences such practises as the Symbel and the blot. Issues relating to Christianity, accepting the familiar and carrying over prejudices and not acknowledging overt Christian influence on source texts is also discussed.
The third essay considers the revival of blot within modern Asatru with its different forms including animal sacrifice. She considers the nature of sacrifice, the role of the sacred king and it’s relation to Odin. Krasskova offers an excellent summary of the traditions of heathen and pagan sacrifice in history.
The volume ends with a superb essay on the demonization of Loki which offers a very well researched discussion on the most controversial figures among the Norse Gods. She examines original sources, discusses current academic theories and considers his role as a trickster, breaker of boundaries and social outcast.
Galina Krasskova is a highly respected academic bringing her not inconsiderate knowledge to the subject of heathenry, a tradition in which she is also a practitioner. This volume is challenging, thought provoking and offers an excellent balance of academia with knowledge from within our tradition.
It is available as a print edition or digital download.
Living Traditions Magazine, 2012. “Review of Galina Krasskova’s Essays in Modern Heathenry.” <http://www.users.on.net/~mmellors_nbn/essays.html >.