Seidh is for Women

Sorry boys. Seidh is for women (and gay men). It always has been. I’m always puzzled when I meet hyper-masculine men, devoted to the old gods, leaders in their communities, and then they claim to practice seidh. Doesn’t it seem that if you’re reconstructing an old religion, particularly one that prides itself on its scholarship, … Read more

Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond

Most experts agree this song is about the 1746 Battle of Culloden but there’s disagreement about who is singing and what they are doing. You can read about some of those at Wikipedia. The way I learned it—from Grandma Swanstrom, I think—the singer is a woman who has lost her lover in the war. “Ye’ll … Read more

An Iron Collar Around His Neck


Battle of Culloden, 16 April 1746. It was the end the Jacobite Rebellion, the end of the Stuart dynasty, and in many ways the beginning of the modern era. After the battle, 3,470 people were prisoners of the English. Of these, 936 were transported to the colonies, 222 were banished, 120 were executed, 88 died … Read more

Norwegian Resistance

German surrender of Akershus Fortress to Terje Rollem on 11 May 1945.

I would like to understand XU better but I don’t hold out much hope. I don’t have enough background in the history of Norway or the Norwegian resistance during World War II, so it all goes past me. This subject comes under the heading Relatives Worth Reading About. What I understand is that “XU (X … Read more

Book Burnin’ Mormons

Mormon Jesus

John Larsen at Sunstone has this new Facebook group. The idea is to bring Mormons and ex-Mormons together in a way that will promote healing and reconciliation. Cool idea, or so I thought. I turned to be much uglier in reality. I think the basic problem there is that people who have suffered religious abuse … Read more

Grandma’s Religion

St John Big Piney

Grandma had this thing she’d say when someone asked about her religion. She was a very proper lady, which in her day meant it wasn’t polite to talk about politics or religion. This was her own particular way of saying “none of your business”. She would say, “My father was a Mormon. My mother was … Read more


Ft Boonesborough

There are hundreds of lineage societies in America. I used to be familiar with many of them because back in my day we had the Hereditary Society Blue Book. Now it’s outdated now and apparently out of print. I’d bet if it ever comes back it will be just a web page somewhere. I was … Read more


Modern shamanism is very problematic. Staunch defenders and rabid detractors. My eyes glaze over. The debate typically resolves around opposing ideas that the word shaman originated in a very specific cultural context so must not be (or can be) used for analogous practices in other cultures. I don’t find that kind of formalist argument very … Read more

Daughters of the American Revolution

American soldiers

My mother and sister Laura have had their applications approved to join Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). They’ll be sworn in on April 6th. This has been in process for quite a while now. We have a couple dozen ancestors they could have used, but they’ve held out for James Kenney, a horse breeder … Read more

Frigg is Freyja

Frigg is Freyja. I’m sure of it. I’ve been sure of it since my teens. I don’t know how I became associated with this idea among my friends. Maybe I’ve just been a bit on the vocal side. But I am associated with it, and I accept that. I’m even judgmental about people who disagree … Read more