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Welcome honored Guest! Please register to be able to enjoy our full website

Hi! If you are seeing this, then you are not logged in. Welcome to our website!

The forums are easy to join and have no obligation of any kind whatsoever attached to doing so. We just like to chat face-to-face with people, as it were!

To register, simply click the link in the middle of the column to the left and follow the instructions.
About the Freehold.

The Heathen Freehold Society of British Columbia was founded in May, 2002, to be a blanket meeting place for Heathens of all stripes, where individuals and groups could meet, socialize, and work together towards common goals.

Our greatest purpose is to assist in the contemporary revival of the aboriginal culture and religion of the ancient Germanic, Teutonic and Nordic tribes.
The Freehold is a confederation of independent Heathen individuals, households, kindreds and tribes who have united around this historic purpose. Originally set firmly in BC, we now have friends and members all over the world.
We are also dedicated to studying the many varieties and facetes of Germanic Heathenism which have arisen all over the world in the last half century, including Asatru, Odinism, Theodism, Forn Sed, and others, and teaching what we learn to interested others.

One of our main goals for the next few years is to be able to perform legally-recognized Heathen marriages. Right now we will happily perform the ceremony for you, but a registered marriage commissioner is required to issue the certificate. Another, more long-term goal is the purchase of land upon which to establish a Heathen burial ground. We have some other plans in the works to help with that as well.
We are a very friendly bunch. You can read all about us in our constitution and bylaws to see the principles upon which we were founded, if you like. Basically, all are welcome, no matter their path or race. Our focus is the Old Norse gods and religion, though, so if you aren't interested in that you may not find much of interest here.

We have published (as I write this) two books of children's stories, Kindertales: Stories Old and New for the Children of the Folk, and Kindertales II: More Stories for the Children of the Folk. I am very proud of them, I must say. They are both collections of stories written by our own Freeholders, Heathen parents writing for Heathen children. If the link from the book brought you here, then an extra-special welcome, and thank you for helping to support us! We hope you enjoy the stories as much as we enjoyed writing them.

John has some videos of his stories on YouTube; you can watch them here.
We have several areas in the forums; some are open to all registered members; some are only open to directors; some are open only to members and those who have donated to the society. We have forums dedicated to several areas of interest (including the Skald's Guild, which produced the books and many more stories; the Brewer's Guild; the Women's and Men's Guilds; the Ritual and Lore Guild, the Warrior's Guild; and the Healer's Guild, and others); if an area of interest isn't covered in one of them we'll create a new one!



So once again, welcome to our website! We're pleased to meet you. Won't you register and say hi? And if you have any questions, please, just ask! We'd be happy to help in any way we can.



We Visit L'anse aux Meadows
Freydis on Friday 25 July 2014 - 08:14:51 | Read/Post Comment: 0

        This summer our family made a voyage to Vinland, and spent almost a full week exploring the historic site of L'anse aux Meadows, the only confirmed Norse settlement in the New World, and the start of the Iron Age in North America when Leif Erikson and his crew smelted bog ore into iron to make replacement rivets for a ship.   

The remains of the sod walls persist in mounds outlining the buildings to this day; nearby, there are reconstructions of several of the buildings, fully equipped, and peopled by costumed re-enactors.

Just down the road is Norstead, another Viking replica settlement, this time of a typical Norse trading village, also peopled with re-enactors. But first, we stopped in at a nearby sod house to don our Norse finery and enjoy a Viking Feast!

Join us in the forums and gallery as we explore!

Our detailed report can be found at:

http://community.bc-freehold.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=1527  (Forums\Main Hall\A Vinland Voyage)

And read about Leif's voyages directly in the so-called "Vinland Sagas" ("The Saga of the Greenlanders" and "The Saga of Erik the Red") available at finer book shops and online.

Submitted by Freydis.
 


Heathens Descend on Vancouver Pagan Pride
John T Mainer on Monday 12 August 2013 - 20:43:24 | Read/Post Comment: 0

This year's Vancouver Pagan Pride was a very Heathen friendly event.  Our noble hosts, the Order of Scathach http://www.dunscathach.com/, invited the Freehold to be part of the opening and closing rituals, perform a ritual for the people, and a play for the children.  Building on our success from the last year and our T shirt enhanced visibility, we provided one of the only purely information booths at Pagan Pride, and saw a great deal of interest, that has already born strange and wonderous fruit.

We were blessed with four good heathen men, WK Baldwin, Jamey Martin, John T Mainer, and Jamey brought his strong son along as well to both help and enjoy.

As is usually the case, the women outperformed us, with Deanne McKay, Dawne Deeley, Christine, Caitlyn, and Alyssa Mainer.   Look deeper to read of The Procession of Nerthus, Vargus the Vegetarian Troll, and the wonders of networking with the Freehold information booth.
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Submitted by John T Mainer



Dieter and Svjeta Now Handfasted
John T Mainer on Monday 12 August 2013 - 20:42:31 | Read/Post Comment: 1

10_1376364561_Dieter.jpg
 At the Tournement of Armies, hosted by the Baron of Lionsgate, Kingdom of An Tir, Society For Creative Anacronism (SCA), did Dieter and Svjeta finish the dance they began so long ago, at a similar event.  Our own Teunis officiated, as family and friends came together to witness the binding of this good heathen man to a woman not only his equal, but his match.  Our thanks to the Wolf Pack, in whose ranks we find Dieter when he is at sport, and among whose ranks he numbers many strong and worthy friends. 

Submitted by John T Mainer



Heathen Freehold Society of British Columbia is Now a Troth Affiliated Kindred
John T Mainer on Tuesday 04 June 2013 - 21:22:34 | Read/Post Comment: 0

 
The Heathen Freehold Society of British Columbia is proud to announce that our journey that began two Althings ago, when we voted to explore Kindred Affiliation with The Troth is complete.  At Trothmoot 2013 the Heathen Freehold and the White Oak Kindreds joined for the first time the ranks of the Kindred Affiliates. The Freehold Oathring has been charged and empowered to receive Troth Officer oaths, as well as our own Freehold oaths.  The Freehold banner hung at Trothmoot along with that of the leading kindreds of North America, a truly great gathering of kindreds with deep and rich traditions of their own, gathered together under a single banner that recognizes and treasures the thew that each of our groups brings, and the important work that each of us does in our own area to grow heathenry and honour our gods, wights, and ancestors. The resources of the Troth will allow Freeholders to join our peers in collective efforts of mutual concern on the national and international level, even as our cooperation will allow us to increase our ability to serve our local needs.
Submitted by John T Mainer
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Best Wishes
John T Mainer on Thursday 30 August 2012 - 16:23:49 | Read/Post Comment: 2

In light of the news of Mr Miller's medical challenges, the Freehold feels compelled to speak.  The Heathen Freehold Society wishes to extend its best wishes to one of our founding members, Dan Ralph Miller, who is facing medical challenges with the aid and support of his family.  Our prayers are with Mr Miller and his family through this trying time.

A long-time advocate and organizer in the Heathen community, Mr Miller was active supporting not only Freehold events, but also contributing to local mulit-ifaith events like Pagan Pride.  The Freehold and Mr Miller are no longer associated, but in memory of our long history together wish him and his family the best, and hope to see him healthy enough to again become an active contributor in the many communities that make up Canadian Heathenry.


Submitted by John T Mainer

Archeologists unearth 'unparalleled Pre-Christian Temple'
John T Mainer on Sunday 25 March 2012 - 08:45:24 | Read/Post Comment: 3


A fascinating discovery is shedding light upon pre-Christian Scandinavian religion and early Christian inroads into Norway. In the Norwegian press, this highly important find is being called "unparalleled," "first of its kind" and "unique," is said to have been "deliberately and carefully hidden" - from invading and destructive Christians.

Located at the site of Ranheim, about 10 kilometers north of the Norwegian city of Trondheim, the astonishing discovery was unearthed while excavating foundations for new houses and includes a "gudehovet" or "god temple." Occupied from the 6th or 5th century BCE until the 10th century AD/CE, the site shows signs of usage for animal sacrifice, a common practice among different peoples in antiquity, including the biblical Israelites (e.g., Num 7:17-88). Over 1,000 years ago, the site was dismantled and covered by a thick layer of peat, evidently to protect it from marauding Christian invaders. These native Norse religionists apparently then fled to other places, such as Iceland, where they could re-erect their altars and re-establish the old religion.

In "Unparalleled pagan sanctuary found," the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reports:

The pagan sanctuary survived because the last people who used it over 1,000 years ago did their utmost to hide the entire system with an unusually thick layer of soil....

"The discovery is unique in a Norwegian context, the first ever made ​​in our latitudes," says Preben Rønne of the Science Museum/University of Trondheim, who led the excavations.

Animal blood sacrifice

The god temple may have been built sometime around or after the year 400 AD, thus used for hundreds of years until the people emigrated to avoid Christianity's "straitjacket." It consisted of a stone-set "sacrificial altar" and also traces of a "pole building" that probably housed idols in the form of sticks with carved faces of Thor, Odin, Frey and Freya. Deceased relatives of high rank were also portrayed in this way and attended. Nearby, the archaeologists also uncovered a procession route.

Thanks to the soil, the god temple was very well preserved. The "altar" where one worshiped the gods and offered animal blood consisted of a circular stone setting around 15 meters in diameter and nearly a meter high. The pole building a few meters away was rectangular, with a floor plan of 5.3 x 4.5 meters, and raised with 12 poles, each having a solid stone foundation. The building may have been high and, from the findings, was very clearly not used as a dwelling. Among other reasons, it had no fireplace. Inside the "house" were found traces of four pillars that may be evidence of a high seat where the idols stood between ceremonies. The processional road west of the temple and headed straight towards the pole building was marked with two parallel rows of large stones, the longest sequence at least 25 feet long.

Strange burial mound

When archaeologists began excavation work last year, the site was thought at first to be a flat burial mound with a "master's grave" and one or more secondary graves.

"But as we dug, the mound appeared more and more strange," says Rønne.

"Approximately in the middle of the excavation, we had to admit that it was not a burial mound but a sacrificial altar, in the Norse sources called a 'horg.' It was made up of both round 'dome rocks' and stone slabs. During our work, we found two glass beads, and also some burned bones and traces of a wooden box that had been filled with red-brown sand/gravel and a cracked boiling stone. Among the bones, we found part of a skull and several human teeth. However, we found no 'gold old men,' small human figures of thin gold, which were often used in connection with sacrifices."

The latest dating of the god temple is between 895 and 990 AD. Precisely during this period Christianity was introduced by heavy-handed methods into Norway. This meant that many left the country to retain their original god-belief.

"Probably the people who used the temple were among those who chose to emigrate, either to Iceland or other North Atlantic islands," said Rønne. "Posts for pole building were in fact pulled up and removed. The whole 'altar' was carefully covered with earth and clay, precisely at the transition to Christian times. Therefore, the cult site was completely forgotten."

Unique in Norway

Large pre-Christian cult sites in Scandinavia - often large settlements with a large central hall, frequently with a smaller attached building - have been found not in Norway, but, rather, in Central and Southern Sweden (Skåne), also in eastern Denmark.

"In the sacrificial altar, we found a fire pit that actually lay directly on the prehistoric plow layer. The charcoal from this grave is now dated to 500-400 BC. Thus, the place could have been regarded as sacred or at least had a special status long before the stone altar was built. In the prehistoric plow layer under the fire pit, we could clearly see the traces of plowing with an 'ard,' a plow precursor," said Rønne.

According to Rønne, it was easy to interpret [the building] as a god temple from the Norse sources. So it was also from precisely the Trøndelag area that the largest exodus of people who would retain their freedom and not become Christians took place. A large part of them went to Iceland between 870 and 930 AD, i.e., during the time of Harald Fairhair. In all, 40 people from Trøndelag are specifically mentioned in the Norse sources. In Iceland, their descendants later wrote a large part of these sources.

"Indications are that the people who deliberately covered up the god temple at Ranheim took the posts from the stave house/pole building, in addition to the soil from the altar, to the place where they settled down and raised a new god temple. Because our findings and the Norse sources work well together, the sources may be more reliable than many scientists believed," said Rønne.

Now the unique sanctuary of Ranheim may be removed forever to make way for housing. Not all are in agreement:

"The facility will be a great tourist attraction, if what has happened at the place is disclosed. It is unique in Norway," says civil engineer Arvid Ystad, who, in a private initiative, has applied both to the Cultural Heritage and the Ancient Monuments Society for the facility's conservation.

"The location of the [planned] housing could easily be adapted to this unique cultural heritage [site], without anyone losing their residential lots. It could be an attraction for new residents, telling them much about the history of the facility over 1000 years ago. Unfortunately, housing construction is now underway," said Rønne.

(translation from the Norwegian by D.M. Murdock)

A side bar in the Aftenposten article reiterates that the structure served not only for worship but also to house the gods. We further read:

The gods were Odin, Thor, Frey, often depicted as carved faces on wooden columns that could be moved, worshiped and sacrificed to. Ancestors were also depicted and worshiped. No such idols are recorded in Norway because they were all destroyed by the introduction of Christianity.

It seems a criminal act to allow this astonishing and precious site to be destroyed as well! Hopefully, the Norwegian government will intervene to preserve this obvious World Heritage Site.

Submitted by John T Mainer


Lifetime Achievement Award
John T Mainer on Friday 30 September 2011 - 16:56:14 | Read/Post Comment: 0

Memorial
By John T. Mainer
Gone from us,
Valhalla’s hall to dwell
Bold Adrian
Battle, feast, and song are his
No age or illness mar

Spear straight she stands
Raven tressed and shining eyes
His name she calls as challenge
We who are left, must answer

His joys, his mirth, his wisdom too
Our lives forever brightened
His deeds, his praise, his name we shout
He shall not be forgotten.

Live in our hearts,
Bold Adrian
Until again we meet
In shining halls.
For Adrian James Nelson. He dared to live deeply and fearlessly. Let his name burn ever bright. With Reik Felag, and with others, Adrian was the perfect ambassador for our community. He was one to bring together people of passion and learning, and join them towards a common goal. Adrian brought such joy to his tasks that few noticed the hard work he put in, or that he inspired others to do. His life has brought great growth to the community, and his legacy will live on long past the span of his years.
Submitted by John T Mainer










Tyrbold Award
John T Mainer on Thursday 29 September 2011 - 19:58:20 | Read/Post Comment: 0

When US Sgt Patrick Stewart was killed in action in Afghanistan when his Chinook helicopter was shot down, his wife Roberta applied to have the pentacle put upon his gravestone.  When the US Army refused to allow the symbol of his faith in life to be placed upon his gravestone, Roberta Stewart chose to fight for the valiant dead, both her own husband, and all of those who fought and died for the right to worship and be honoured as we choose. 


In this battle, though she fought for the pentacle, it is as much for those who wear the hammer as the pentacle.  In fighting for the rights of those whose oaths of service bind them from protest, she embodies the spirit not just of the noble defender, but the justice seeker.  Truly, she who defends the defenders is deserving of our praise.
Hail Roberta Stewart, Tyrbold winner of 2010.
Submitted by John T Mainer



Freehold Ostara in Maple Ridge News
Mikhail on Friday 01 April 2011 - 00:23:53 | Read/Post Comment: 0
http://www.bclocalnews.com/tri_city_maple_ridge/mapleridgenews/community/119026894.html

Have a blessed Ostara

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On the skin of a white rabbit, the Norse goddess Ostara is surrounded by brightly decorated eggs each marked with a rune or wish waiting for a blessing, while spring breaks through the clouds.

A seaxe, a traditional sacrificial knife, and bottle of honey mead rest in front as the Heathen Freehold Society, friends and family gather to celebrate Easter, on March 20.

It marks the Spring Equinox, a time when day and night are the same length.

"At Ostara, we ask for the blessings of fertility, we gather to celebrate the renewal of life and at the same time, we remember those who have passed in the dark of the year," explains John Mainer, president or freyr of the Heathen Freehold, a confederation dedicated to the contemporary revival of the culture and religion of ancient Germanic, Teutonic and Nordic tribes.

It's a day celebrated much like the Christian Easter. There's an easter egg hunt, a blessing, a feast.

"We heathens like to joke that we do the same thing as everybody else does, we just happen to remember why," Mainer adds.

Easter is the only Christian holiday that still has a pagan title and beautifully blends both traditions.

For pagans, it is a time to honour the goddess of fertility and springtime, Eastre or Ostara, whose companion animal is the rabbit or the Easter bunny.

Eggs are offered because they hold the promise of life.

Mainer asked for the blessing of fertility when he put his egg at the altar, a wish for someone in his family who is trying to get pregnant.

The egg hunt symbolizes an exchange of gifts.

"As we offer eggs to Ostara, she in turn offers eggs to the children. Much the same way as, you give to the earth and the earth gives back to you."

• To learn the story of the Godess Ostara, click here. John Mainer of the Heathen Freehold Society places an egg at the altar marked with a rune for fertility. It is a wish placed for a family member who is trying to get pregnant. Krystalynne Wolsey catches a raw egg during an egg toss game while celebrating Ostara, or Easter, with the Heathen Freehold Society of B.C. at Maple Ridge Park Sunday March 20, the vernal equinox.

Submitted by John T Mainer

Freehold Website Two Years Old!
Freydis on Tuesday 14 December 2010 - 00:00:00 | Read/Post Comment: 3

Happy Birthday!

This website first went live two years ago, on Dec. 14, 2008. Since then we have had over 14,600 different computers viewing the site, with well over 42 gigabytes of traffic!

The chatbox alone has had over 5,500 messages posted in it, representing perhaps the longest thread in Heathendom.

We average about ten posts a day, which has added up to 7,030 posts under (currently) 1,072 different topics. And best of all, they are easy to search and re-read!

One of the things we really liked about the switch to forum-based communications over the older mailing lists is that when new members join, they have easy access to all the past topics. That means that all 74 members of the website can participate in the conversations even if we started before that person joined up! It also means that the executive don't have to revisit the same issues over and over again; we've got that record of the last time any particular issue may have arisen. It also means that new Wita can get up-to-date on past topics with ease.

All in all, I think the website has acheived exactly what it was designed to do: be a tool that allowed easier, more open and friendly communication amongst our members, and allowing us to get to know each other on a whole new level, so that while it may be rare that we have the opportunity to gather together in person, when we do meet, it is not as strangers, but friends.

Happy Birthday Freehold Forums!



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