Book Review: Heaven, Heroes, and Happiness by Shan M. M. Winn

Heaven Heroes and Happiness

In much of my writing, I tend to emphasize the differences between our modern worldview and those of the pre-Christian Europeans. As real and weighty as those differences are, however, I’d be the first to acknowledge that there’s also a considerable degree of continuity between how we perceive the world today and how the Bronze Age and Iron Age Europeans did.

This continuity is the central concern of Shan Winn’s Heaven, Heroes, and Happiness: The Indo-European Roots of Western Ideology. The Proto-Indo-Europeans were a people or group of peoples who probably originated in the Pontic-Caspian steppe (covering parts of what are currently Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan) during the Bronze Age. They were nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists who were one of the first peoples to use domesticated horses and wheeled carts. During the Bronze Age, they settled in and profoundly shaped many of the societies of Eurasia, including virtually the entirety of Europe. The Celts, Slavs, Greeks, Romans, Germanics, and others were all Indo-European societies, derived in large part from the same Bronze Age, Proto-Indo-European model. Almost all modern European languages (with a few exceptions like Basque and Finnish) are part of the Indo-European language family descended from the original Proto-Indo-European language.

As Winn shows, the Indo-Europeans gave us far more than just the languages we speak.

For example, all Indo-European societies had a tripartite hierarchical structure. In the first and most powerful tier were the rulers and priests, in the second the warriors, and in the third the commoners – farmers, merchants, craftspeople, etc.

Of all of the countless possible forms that the structure of a human society can take, this specific one, which may seem banally obvious to many people, is almost uniquely Indo-European. The cosmology that underpinned it, wherein the divine realm is ordered according to this tripartite structure, and the roles and interactions of the gods and goddesses are closely tied to their position in this structure, and where the number three shows up as frequently as the number seven in the ancient Middle East or the number four in many American Indian groups, is certainly uniquely Indo-European, and is remarkably uniform across its various manifestations. While modern Western societies don’t follow this structure as strictly as they did in the past, it’s still the primary reference point around which our societies are ordered.

To cite another example, Zarathustra, the Iranian prophet of the second millenium BCE whose teachings would go on to exert a profound influence on later monotheistic religions, perhaps especially Christianity, was himself a priest of an Indo-European society. His mythology and philosophy were in many ways radical departures from those of his ancestors, but he nevertheless used many existing Indo-European mythical themes as raw materials.

Winn’s work draws especially heavily on the works of two of the most respected and influential scholars in the field of Indo-European studies, Georges Dumézil and Marija Gimbutas. While I can readily accept the soundness of Dumézil’s ideas (he was the first to point out and analyze the remarkable centrality of tripartism in Indo-European social structures and mythologies), I can’t always say the same of Gimbutas’s.

For Gimbutas, the peoples of pre-Indo-European Europe were uniformly peaceful, egalitarian, harmonious, Great Goddess-worshipping, matriarchal agrarians who nevertheless developed highly complex societies and placed a very high value on art. When the big, bad Indo-Europeans arrived, they mercilessly conquered and subjugated these peoples and erased their way of life.

While I think there’s something to be said for the idea that the peoples who inhabited Europe before the arrival of the Indo-Europeans lived in a manner that’s closer to that imagined way of life than did the Indo-Europeans, Gimbutas greatly overstates her case, creating a stark dichotomy and casting the peoples of “Old Europe” in a light that played directly into the unrealized hopes and dreams of mid-to-late-twentieth-century liberalism/progressivism, giving people of such a persuasion a supposedly historical utopian model to look back (and therefore, of course, forward) to.

Winn mostly accepts Gimbutas’s work uncritically, and has an annoying habit of assuming that Indo-European goddesses could only be holdovers from Gimbutas’s Old Europe, as if the Indo-Europeans were so completely, cartoonishly patriarchal that they couldn’t have had any original goddesses of their own. However, Winn does make one passing reference to the obvious, almost Zoroastrian dualism inherent in Gimbutas’s vision.

Ultimately, Heaven, Heroes, and Happiness is an excellent introduction to Indo-European society and mythology, and a fascinating study of the ways in which aspects of their worldviews and ways of life have survived down to the present day. Recommended.

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Book Review: Eros and Magic in the Renaissance by Ioan P. Couliano

Eros and Magic in the Renaissance

Today, we think of the imagination and desire as purely “subjective” things that have no bearing on reality. But as Eros and Magic in the Renaissance shows, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, in this regard, as in so many others, our modern view is a very new aberration, and a relatively ill-considered one at that.

Eros and Magic in the Renaissance is both a first-rate historical sketch of the transition from the flourishing of magic, animism, and nuanced views of the human psyche of the Renaissance to the flat, mechanistic view of the post-Renaissance world, and one of the best books on the philosophy of magic that I’ve ever read.

Couliano was both a magician and a scholar who worked extensively with the famed historian of religions Mircea Eliade, and his work is both academically rigorous and informed by perspectives that aren’t usually considered by academics, which brings a great freshness and vitality to his work.

The book traces Renaissance views of magic, chiefly as they relate to the powers of the imagination (vis phantastica) and desire (eros). The lives and works of Giordano Bruno, Pico della Mirandola, and Marsilio Ficino receive especially extensive treatment, with Bruno’s magnificent On Bonding in a General Sense being in many ways the cornerstone of Couliano’s analysis.

He then shows how the Protestant Reformation, far from being a liberalizing movement within Christianity, was actually an ultraconservative movement. Its fundamentalist desire to strip Christianity of the last vestiges of animism that had surreptitiously survived under the comparatively lax auspices of the medieval church cast considerable suspicion on any enchanted view of the world. The sciences of the period had been divided between the “natural magicians” like Paracelsus on the one hand, and, on the other, the proto-mechanists, those who held the view that the world was essentially a giant machine, devoid of will and spirit, with those latter qualities residing solely in the human brain and the dualistic, remote Christian spirit world.

The latter view, in a slightly modified form, is the underlying worldview and mythology of the dominant strains of modern science. But, counter to the triumphalist idea that the mechanistic worldview won out over the magical, animistic one because it was inherently better or more rational, Couliano shows how it won the debate by being more congruous with the puritanical sentiments of the period. The debate was not between reason and unreason, as the partisans of mechanism typically frame it; rather, it was between two different and incompatible ways of perceiving and experiencing the world, two different mythologies, two different sets of premises.

When the mechanists won the favor of the public, magic had to go underground, and survives today under different names, such as “psychology,” “marketing,” “advertising,” and “personal development.”

After reading Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, you’ll never see magic or science in the same way again.

Click here to view or buy Eros and Magic in the Renaissance at Amazon.com.

Book Review: Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits by Emma Wilby

Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits Emma Wilby

Emma Wilby’s Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic is an exploration of European, and especially British, shamanism in the early modern period.

Many people who are interested in shamanism seem to think that “European shamanism” is an oxymoron – that shamanism has seldom ever been practiced in recent history, and then by only a few scattered bands in the remotest (relative to Europe) parts of the world. Wilby carefully dismantles this assumption, and shows how shamanism was a pervasive phenomenon in Europe down to just a few centuries ago.

As she does this, she dismantles another unwarranted but often-stated assumption: that the Witch Trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were examples of mass hysteria, that the accusations of witchcraft were purely fabrications by the ecclesiastical and secular authorities, and that there wasn’t actually any witchcraft going on. Wilby shows that there was a true experiential and folkloric basis behind the deeds recounted in records of the Witch Trials; some form of magic or witchcraft was indeed being practiced, even though the elite may have understood it differently than the peasants who practiced it did.

Specifically, what the Church and the government interpreted in terms of Christianity was actually a remnant of something far older. Wilby uses cross-cultural parallels with shamanistic traditions in Native North America and Siberia to show that British witchcraft, as it was described in the court documents of the Witch Trials, had all of the hallmarks of shamanism. Additionally, she compares descriptions of the “demons” with whom the witches worked to folkloric portrayals of fairies, and makes a very convincing case that the “demons” of the court documents were understood to be fairy familiars by the witches themselves.

The last section of the the book, “The Experiential Dimension,” is especially bold. Here, Wilby attempts to get the reader to understand what life was like for the British peasantry during this period, and how those circumstances and ways of life would have been especially conducive to encounters with phenomena that were believed to be spirits, as well as a belief in the efficacy of magic. This adds a very human, sensitive, and sympathetic element to her discussion of beliefs and practices that most modern people find to be simply absurd and inexplicable.

If you have any interest in European shamanism and are looking for a book on the topic that’s both scholarly and a joy to read, Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits is indispensable. Highly recommended.

Click here to view or buy Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits at Amazon.com.

Book Review: Phantom Armies of the Night by Claude Lecouteux

Phantom Armies of the Night Claude Lecouteux

Claude Lecouteux’s Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead is one of the most significant studies of the Wild Hunt that have been published in recent decades.

The Wild Hunt is a staple of the folklore of Europe, especially northern Europe. In the ancient, medieval, and early modern periods, many people (so the lore goes) experienced a nocturnal cavalcade of spectral hunters or warriors, riding atop sinister horses and accompanied by baying hounds, riding through the howling winds of midwinter. This horde often wrought mischief and woe on anyone who was unfortunate enough to be in its path. Its leader was most commonly, but by no means always, the Germanic god Odin.

Lecouteux provides a treasure trove of information on the Wild Hunt and related phenomena from across Europe. As his research makes clear, it’s difficult, perhaps impossible, to completely disentangle the Wild Hunt from the many related nocturnal processions that were recorded in the same time periods, many of which were actually quite benign and had a strikingly different character than the typical northern Wild Hunt while nevertheless sharing several important points in common.

In his analysis of the Wild Hunt, Lecouteux points out that it seems to have been originally led by a psychopomp deity, a mediator between the living and the dead, who (like all pre-Christian gods) was later cast as a demon by the Church. He also insightfully notes that “the Wild Hunt fell into the vast complex of ancestor worship, the cult of the dead, who are the go-betweens between men and the gods.”

However, past these points, Lecouteux’s analysis is rather convoluted and shaky. Much of it asserts that Odin wasn’t the original leader of the Wild Hunt, but was a later addition, a position that’s quite difficult to defend, both on mythological and etymological grounds. A good portion of his argument on this point stems from an overly rigid application of the studies of the eminent Indo-European scholar Georges Dumézil. To oversimplify greatly due to limitations of space, Lecouteux argues that since the Wild Hunt possesses many traits that connect it with the concerns of the common people, and since Odin was a god who was especially closely associated with the ruling classes, he couldn’t have possibly been the original leader of the Wild Hunt.

The analysis also seems rather sparse relative to the sheer amount of information Lecouteux provides. Disappointingly, he invokes the well-worn scholarly cop-out of, in his words, “we cannot reach a conclusion,” “many points remain to be explored more deeply,” and the complexity of the subject “makes us conscious of the limits of our knowledge.” Those latter two points are certainly valid in addition to a conclusion, as qualifications to it, but come across as nothing more than hollow platitudes when given instead of more of a conclusion, given the sheer amount and scope of the data of which Lecouteux has a masterly knowledge.

Despite these flaws, Phantom Armies of the Night is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the Wild Hunt. Those who are interested in European animism in general will also find much of value here, since this book demonstrates just how long elements of pre-Christian animism remained a part of everyday life and belief well after the official Christianization of Europe. Recommended.

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Book Review: On Being a Pagan by Alain de Benoist

On Being a Pagan

In On Being a Pagan, the multidisciplinary French thinker Alain de Benoist critiques the Judeo-Christian worldview, not just in its manifestations in Judaism and Christianity, but also in some of their modern, secularized offshoots, and articulates his vision of a “new paganism” loosely inspired by historical European paganism.

Along the way, Benoist makes several points that should be taken to heart and contemplated by anyone with a serious interest in the theological side of paganism/polytheism/animism/whatever you want to call it.

In a glowing passage that recalls the ancient Germanic conception of time, he writes that, since the past is a dimension of the present that is transformed by it, “[the revival of paganism] is a question of referring to the ‘memory’ of paganism not in a chronological way, so as to return to an ‘earlier time,’ but in a mythological way, to seek for that which, through time, surpasses time and still speaks to us today. It is a question of connecting to something that cannot be surpassed rather than to something that has been ‘surpassed.'”

The foremost trait that he criticizes in monotheism, and which he finds to be the crux of that entire worldview, is its dualism, its insistence on dividing the world into incommensurable, black-and-white halves: God (“uncreated being”) versus the world (“created being”), good versus evil, the sacred versus the profane, and so forth. He notes that this dualism is absent in paganism: “in ancient Europe the sacred was not conceived as opposed to the profane but rather encompassed the profane and gave it meaning,” and “[t]he divine is immanent in and consubstantial with the world.”

As many other writers on this topic have noted, paganism’s absence of dualism and its polytheism (a pluralistic theology) lend themselves to an attitude of tolerance and a respect for pluralism in human affairs. Benoist notes that “European paganism rests on an antagonistic pluralism of values. In its most immediate manifestations, polytheism is the expression of this antagonism, which never terminates in irreversible opposites and a radical dualism but naturally resolves itself in a harmonious whole.” It is a worldview that is, in Nietzsche’s famous words, “beyond good and evil,” and consequently refreshingly free of moralism and crusading.

Benoist’s discussions of this aspect of paganism go further than most and include much more nuance. For example, he describes how, when one’s enemy is viewed through the lens of absolute good and evil, one’s enemy seems like the very embodiment of the principle of evil, and the conflict can only end by his extermination or conversion. In paganism, with its plurality of norms, an enemy tends to be treated as the specific person or group that he is or that they are, and the conflict is viewed as simply a conflict of personal interests that will end when that circumstantial dispute is resolved, at which point the enemy will cease to be an enemy and is left free to go about his life as he chooses. The enemy is therefore even capable of being honored as a worthy adversary – an attitude we find over and over again in the heroic literature of ancient Europe.

Along similar lines, he critiques the Bible’s view that power is inherently evil: in the Bible, “[t]he ‘just’ are not just in one part and weak in another. They are just because they are weak, by very virtue of this weakness, just as the powerful are evil by very virtue of their power. So it is not the weak that are touted by the Bible as much as weakness itself.” Freedom, the ability to direct the course of one’s own life, and justice, the fulfillment of mutually agreed-upon rights and duties, cannot be assumed; they must be won, and this requires power.

However, as perceptive and stirring as these insights are, they occur within the context of an overarching conceptual framework that leaves much to be desired. For Benoist, “man is the law of the world and the measure of all things; he simultaneously expresses the totality of the world and the very face of God.” “Man does not ‘discover’ what was there before him. He founds and creates the world by the meaning he gives to things.” “Alone of all the animals, man’s actions are not predicated by his membership in a species.” “Gods are made in the image of men, for whom they offer a sublimated re-presentation.” And finally, “there is no need to ‘believe’ in Jupiter or Wotan… gods and beliefs may pass away, but the values remain.”

Consider the collective import of these quotes, which are representative of a large body of such statements made throughout the book. Given their ubiquity, placement, and the uncommon passion with which they’re delivered, the reader is left with no doubt that they constitute the very heart of what Benoist is expressing here.

I would be the first to admit that there’s a pinch of truth embedded within some of these quotes. As Nietzsche, whom Benoist quotes frequently and approvingly, points out, truth is perspectival, which means that all of us have some modicum of creative agency in shaping our realities. But Benoist forsakes this Nietzschean perspectivism and carries his arguments to the point of being simplistic and crude subjectivism. This is all the more ironic since the dichotomy between the “subjective” and the “objective” is one of the pillars of the Judeo-Christian dualism that Benoist so forcefully denounces. Furthermore, as the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty has shown, the process of perception involves an intertwining between perceiver and perceived, such that, in the last analysis, it’s impossible to tell the degree to which any given impression comes from ourselves or from that which we perceive. When humans make statements about gods or animals, therefore, those statements necessarily originate as much from the gods or animals as from the humans. Humans are creators, certainly, but only co-creators in the world’s tireless creation of itself.

And what of Benoist’s view that the gods are superfluous, and only the values they represent are truly important? This reduces divinity to the level of the profane – that which can be questioned and debated. But if the sacred – that which cannot be questioned or debated – is “immanent in and consubstantial with the world,” in Benoist’s own excellent formulation, then to turn around and assert that it’s only actually “immanent in and consubstantial with” human caprices is antithetical to both the letter and the spirit of historical European paganism. Such a view reinstates the same stale, monotheistic dualism, the only differences being that humanity rather than God is now “uncreated being,” and that divinity slips into the “created being” category.

Benoist equates the nonhuman parts of the visible world – animals, plants, mountains, rivers, winds – with a biologically deterministic “nature,” setting up a false (and quintessentially Christian) dichotomy between “nature” and “culture” (which, of course, is an extension of the dichotomy between the created/objective and the uncreated/subjective). “He [Benoist’s pagan] does not deify [the world]… but makes it a place where the deity can emerge.” Again, this is pure subjectivism. Historical paganism had no concept of this rift between “nature” and “culture;” there were aspects of what we today would call “culture” that were seen as being immutable and heritable, while aspects of what we today would call “nature” were seen as being quite mutable, with shapeshifting being an extreme but obvious and actually quite commonplace example of the latter. The nonhuman world had elements of “culture” just like humanity has elements of “nature.”

At bottom, what Benoist is proposing is really just humanism, the view that “man is the measure of all things,” with a few trappings of paganism added to the mix in an attempt to create the impression that this humanism satisfactorily answers the most primary and primal philosophical questions. (“Why is there something rather than nothing?” Because Man created it!)

In a later essay entitled “Thoughts on God,” Benoist revealed that “I have not personally had any experience of the divine (I am the opposite of a mystic). … As I have a theological mentality, the interest I bring to belief systems is of a purely intellectual order.” This is a very telling comment, and probably explains much of Benoist’s disregard for divinity. It would be inane to criticize his lack of experience in and of itself, but for someone with no experience of divinity to write a book about theology is the equivalent of someone who has never even planted or watered a seed writing a book about gardening.

The heart of paganism is the intersection between the numinous and the flesh – all the flesh that comprises this outrageously greater-than-human world, which subsumes humanity the way a beach subsumes a grain of sand. By dismissing or devaluing both the spiritual and the animal, and attempting to reduce both to the ultimately frivolous whims of a single, ultimately frivolous species, Benoist’s brand of paganism consigns itself to a relatively superficial level. While Benoist rightly criticizes “[paganism’s] reemergence under… puerile forms,” On Being a Pagan, despite its many praiseworthy insights, ultimately represents paganism in yet another “puerile form.”

Click here to view or buy On Being a Pagan at Amazon.com.

Why Ragnarok is Not Going to Happen on February 22nd

Odin_and_Fenrir

Not too long ago, a friend of mine asked me if I was ready for Ragnarok. I responded with a puzzled look, because I had no idea what he was talking about. He then told me that he had read that “the Germanic calendar” had predicted that Ragnarok would happen on February 22nd, 2014. This evidenced what is perhaps the most bizarre conflation of ancient Germanic spirituality with fundamentalist Christianity since the invention of the “Nine Noble Virtues.” I then proceeded to explain to him what Ragnarok actually is and how the ancient Germanic peoples actually thought of it, and his eyes proceeded to glaze over. I made a joke and changed the subject, and we went back to enjoying our night of drinking.

For a while I contemplated writing something to address this misconception, but decided it wasn’t worthy of a serious response. Since then, however, I’ve seen a startling number of news articles about this supposed “Viking apocalypse,” so I thought it might indeed be worthwhile to go ahead and set the record straight.

Ragnarok is not going to happen on February 22nd, nor on any other date. The wolf Fenrir is not going to assume a physical form and devour everything between the ground and the stars, nor is the fire-giant Surt going to reduce the world to ash with his flaming sword.

There are two basic errors here: first, a lack of understanding of the ancient Germanic view of time, and second, a lack of understanding of the ancient Germanic view of the relationship between matter and spirit, and, by extension, history and myth.

The pre-Christian Germanic peoples, like other animistic and polytheistic peoples, had a cyclical view of time. The idea of a final end of the world only makes sense in a linear view of time, such as the one the modern world has inherited from Christianity.

In the overwhelming majority of interpretations of the Christian tradition, Yahweh created the world at a single, particular moment in the historical past, humanity fell from grace at a single, particular moment in the historical past, Jesus died on the cross at a single, particular moment in the historical past, the reign of Satan on earth will end and Jesus’s reign begin at a single, particular moment in the future, and the world will remain thus for the rest of its existence, having decisively changed from one state of being to another for all time. The “end of the world as we know it” is final, absolute, irrevocable.

From an animistic/polytheistic perspective, however, any “end of the world” is necessarily followed by a rebirth of the world. Germanic mythology amply attests to this. In the primary sources that deal extensively with Ragnarok, these discussions are immediately followed by discussions of the re-creation of the world. One iteration of the cycle ends, and another begins.

In Christianity (at least since the time of Descartes), the spiritual and material worlds are utterly distinct from one another. But in animistic, polytheistic worldviews, the material world is the concrete manifestation of the spiritual world. The invisible, spiritual world is a latent modality of this very world, contextualizing its events and expressing their inner meaning. The cycle of Germanic mythology, as I explain here and in much more detail in my book, is the spiritual model of the cycle of birth, growth, death, and rebirth that we see repeated all around us at all scales, in the life cycle of any organism, the cycle of the day, the seasons, the moon, the rise and fall of civilizations, etc. All of these particular cycles are expressions of that underlying, universal cycle. Every death, every twilight, every autumn, every waning moon, and every societal collapse points back to and manifests Ragnarok in its own partial way.

It’s important at this point to not walk into the trap of thinking about this too literally. For example, someone once emailed me with a question on this point, and asked how the ancient Germanic peoples would have reacted to the gods being alive at one phase of the cycle and dead at another. “Surely they had to notice the dichotomy,” he wrote. This is precisely the trap of thinking about myth in too literal a way. For the ancient Germanic peoples, there was no such dichotomy. They were never so rationalistic and unimaginative. The gods were simultaneously always alive and always dead, and this didn’t seem to present a problem.

The pagan Germanic peoples were masters of what John Keats called “Negative Capability,” “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason… This pursued through volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.” The ultimate truth of the myths was conveyed in moments of ecstatic, visionary insight. They were not reached by the exercise of the numbing, mechanical variety of logic of which the modern world is so sentimentally fond. The myths and the gods were mysteries to be approached with wonder and awe; there were no “mechanisms” in Norse/Germanic mythology and religion.

If this still sounds confusing to you, I understand. We moderns aren’t accustomed to thinking this way anymore. If you’ve read this far and you’re still curious, however, you might want to check out the fuller discussions in the historian of religion Mircea Eliade’s excellent The Myth of the Eternal Return: Cosmos and History or my own book, The Love of Destiny: The Sacred and the Profane in Germanic Polytheism.

So why are some people claiming that Ragnarok is going to happen on February 22nd? From what I’ve gathered from the articles I’ve read, it seems to be a publicity stunt by the Jorvik Viking Festival, a gathering of people who like to dress up in silly costumes that – how conveniently! – runs from February 15th through the 23rd. They point to nothing in the primary sources that gives a date for Ragnarok.

Of course, they don’t do that because they can’t. There is no such date. Ragnarok is happening all around us all the time. This enchanted, god-haunted world, restless and never content with stagnation, is always dying and being reborn.

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“Wilder Mann” by Charles Fréger

If you haven’t seen the stunning photographic series Wilder Mann (German for “Wild Man”) by Charles Fréger, you should check it out. It documents traditional (and a few not-so-traditional) costumes from across Europe that transform their wearers into folkloric, half-human beasts, the sorts of beings you’d expect to encounter deep in the mountains or moors when the sunlight, snow, and fog are just right. These photos are deeply moving, and sometimes comical, reflections on questions of identity and the relationship between humanity and the more-than-human world. Are the costumes forced, fake, merely theatrical and anachronistic for the sake of being anachronistic? Or do they capture something essential to humanity that we’ve lost during the past several centuries’ quest to define ourselves in opposition to “nature?”

Wilder Mann 005

Wilder Mann 006

Wilder Mann 027

Wilder Mann 003

Wilder Mann is also available as a book for those wishing to see the full series and larger pictures.

And if you’d like to keep up with my ongoing work here and elsewhere, the best way to do so is to follow me on Google+: .

The Ultimate Online Resource for Norse Mythology and Religion