Women of power in the Viking Age

One of the things about trying to understand the Cailleach is an attempt to understand the role of women in ancient societies that may have had something to do with the Cailleach. Thus, this article, written by Marianne Moen and titled, “Women in the Viking Age then and now,” caught my attention rather quickly. The article, to briefly summarize, suggests that perhaps the greater degree of sexist and chauvinistic thinking toward women exists now, among archaeologists (and thus the cultures they operate from and within), rather than during the Viking Age. Moen raises some very valid examples of how many are misinterpreting the available evidence in order to fit Viking Age Scandinavian society into a gender framework that it quite likely doesn’t belong within. Continue reading

Where do I come in?

There is apparently some debate regarding the plausibility of matriarchies among ancient peoples. This is interesting to me, as I wish to start down a path that will most certainly lead through periods in our ancient past, to a goddess so ancient that even the ancients couldn’t remember her with great accuracy. As a man, I am curious about how things work in a society that isn’t run by men, or doesn’t govern itself by idealized notions of masculine domains. I’ve never lived in such a society or culture, I simply have no experience with it. But I think before I get too far down this path I’m on, I should at least consider the matter. Continue reading

The Cailleach and Odin

Odin is a god I have had a good understanding for and with for quite sometime. When I first started reading about the Cailleach, I was struck by the similarities between these two … as far as I could tell, they could be brother and sister, just from the general descriptions. Both are fond of storms, both have a single eye, both are respected for their great age and wisdom, both are wintry sorts, are associated with death; and while Odin wields his mighty spear, the Cailleach is known to wield a wand. Clearly, there are plenty of differences; and I was prepared to dismiss the similarities as mere coincidence – in fact, I did dismiss them as coincidence for the better part of this past year. Then I read an article that caused me to rethink things … Odinists who lack a healthy sense of humor might want to think twice before reading further. Continue reading