We talked with Freya Aswynn, world-famous Odinist and a shaman who currently resides in Spain.
Freya is an author of books “Leaves of Yggdrasil: Runes, Gods, Magic, Feminine Mysteries, and Folklore”, “Northern Mysteries and Magick: Runes, Gods & Feminine Powers” and “Principles of the Runes: The Only Introduction You’ll Ever Need”. She recorded several albums of northern chants and collaborated with Current 93 and Fire + Ice.
I remember when I’ve heard your voice for the very first time. I think I was seventeen and there was this weird little Current 93’s LP called “Crooked Crosses For The Nodding God”. And you were there, though I had no idea who you are or what you’ve been chanting. I just remember the outstanding effect – like I was suddenly thrown into the white space where the sky and the earth were something united, and only the voice was in free fall/flight, like a landslide. So how did you get in contact with David and Douglas Pierce, what it was like to spend time with them, are you paying any attention to the art they’re doing now?
David Tibet ended up living in my London occult commune:Enclave Ex.
Dougie also stayed there for a while. In the basement, as is appropiate 🙂
At one time Holmar Orn Hilmarsson turned up and stayed with us as well.
I was just in the beginnings of Asatru and was writing my first book.
Hilmar was the first and only proper Asatrual I met. Most other Odinist in the O R where narrow minded politically. iI was only interested in the occult aspect of Asatru, even if I have to dig them up myself.
To draw the attention of this Icelander I was chanting some runes, Hilmar turned around to David and said you have got to record this. so we did. A few years Later Patrick Leagas turned up also moved in the Enclave and we recorded Fruits of Yggdrasil. Decades later we also performed in London and Germany, even at Gothic Treffen in Leipzig.
And no I don’t pay much attention to them.
You repeatedly told how you became devoted to Odin, how he chose you, how he marked you from the very start with your non-working eye…So, in general, nothing has changed in the modern world? The gods are still there, and they are still marking and choosing their own people, and it’s only a problem of conventional reality that people mainly ignore that fact?
Yes, I was born with an eye defect as are manny children usually a small corrective operation before the age of 5 by which time the retinal nerves are set, would have taken care of it. I know this because of my sister who had the same defect but did receive the operation at age 3 or 4 and don’t even needed glasses.
I eventually got the operation at age 10/11 in the care system, which was far to late. I had two more at age 12 and 16 and I am now fucked at 66.
And yes, the Gods are still there, and call their own.
Due to the lack of possibilities of legitimate initiations in modern world for young people, how do you think, could the traumatic experience, the experience of some fundamental gap itself could serve as an initiation, at least for the beginning of it.
Yes, I am living proof of it. I think was I born in a Tribal set up say Native American or Siberian I would probably been fostered and trained by the local shaman. As you said these facilities don’t exist anymore in the west.
It is to hope that this sacred technology will return.
You, for example, had an abusive childhood, and then changed your language, religion and country, and then it all started, right?
Yes, when I ‘came out, I was seriously screwed up.
It is and was my high intelligence and fairly low emotions what got me through. So the only way to ditch the baggage was to fuck of and start again. I broke the connection to the family and consequently to most ancestors as well.
You said once in interview: “… I have been called to the Serve of the Asatru and this is a family religion. But not for me. Even here I am the Varg”.
So your path is a solitary one, and it is not connected with North Tradition itself, it’s just your own choice/destiny?
Oh no, you misunderstand.
My life is all in service to the Northern Tradition but yes I am currently solitary and yes that is by choice. I have had enough of groups.
How the one could early enough realized that he is “The Varg” and not wasting s/he’s time for struggling with the obvious?
One knows by how one is treated by others.
You’re painting a lot, how do you feel when you’re doing it, in which way it’s different from chanting or writing?
Its very different, writing requires mental and physical control of the keyboard, painting is more free, get stoned, and let lose.
You also said that your desire to paint was triggered by voodoo art, especially Michael Bertieax, what does your visual art have in common with this?
My visual art has not much more in common that that, art. I would not presume that my art is equal Michael Bertieax, looking at his art, started my off, sometimes painting becomes a frenzy.
What do you think about Voodoo in general?
I think its one of the oldest surviving traditions on the planet, it is a very broad spectrum. It can apply to any other tradition and although its been somewhat fouled up by Catholicism one has to credit the courage and creativity (hide the gods within the saints) of their people who under the pressures of slavery kept their sacred Mysteries and passed them on more intact that the little we have received from our Nordic forebears. Most of our sacred Mysteries has been destroyed by Christianity. Most of our rulers sold out or compromised for political and/or economic gain.
But it was very pragmatic and at least some of it was written down and survived the cultural holocaust.
You were participating in AMORC for seven years, could you describe to us this experience?
Crap, the lesson material was very good and filled some gaps in my education, especially physics, biology, things I lost out on. In the Dutch care system in the sixties, one was put to work instead of school.
But about the Amorc, there too I was Varg. Because I came out of the care system they really did not want to initiate me. Normally you join a local chapter and after a certain period one received initiation into that chapter. Everyone who joined after me was offered initiation at one point, they made me ask 3 times.
Only because I grew up in care they assumed I was low intellect scum!
Refusing sexual advances also could have anything to do with the above, when I think of it.
But where are they now petit bougious! I am famous and they are a footnote in my biography 🙂
This applies to the Dutch Amorc in the 70s
What do you think about Western Occultism in various forms today, some claim to be based on Ophidian/Greek sources, some are descended from Golden Dawn and Aleister (as we can remember, you sympathize Crowley? Why?)
Crowley has been to many the most prominent magician of the 20th century, yes I am sympathetic to Crowley, he was a revolutionary in his own way. Yeah, alright he did sex and drugs and shocked the bourgiousy. Fuck them, a funny anecdote somebody had set up a gallery of occult bad asses, I am on it, as well as Uncle Al!
I think Western Occultism is most interesting I myself have been heavily involved and influenced by it. I could not have written my first book Leaves of Yggdrasil without this back ground. And touching on the above paragraph, I was never considered a Warg, I was one of them from day one. Within 24 hours I was initiated into Wicca by Alex Sanders and Jim Bennet a Gardnerian. This was in 1980
I was very active in the London Occult scene and in 86 I started giving talks on the Runes and Odin. I immediately once again Warg.
I must be a Nazi!
Well, it did not matter all what matters was Wodan and the Runes.
This went on until well in the 90s
Every talk I gave the Nazi spectre was always raised. But not anymore, Heathenry is now very big in the UK
What music does inspire you and why?
Wagner, Wardruna, Carl Orff. Pink Floyd, the Doors, Vangelis and more, cant think of at the moment.
Should we expect any beautiful new recordings from you?
No, I dont think so, my voice is pretty much fucked 20 years of smoking weed will do that.
What are your current activities, and plans for future projects?
My current activity is working on my own website. I hope to have it live very soon.
The url would be www.aswynn.com
What is your typical day looks like?
Get up, get mobbed by cats, feed them, get a cup of tea, get mobbed by dogs, take them out.
Work on the site, paint.
What are you reading?
I read science fiction, like Stephen Baxter , my favourite fantasy author is Robin Hobb.
I recently was introduced to ‘Blade Honer’ series written by Maria Kvilhaug, wonderful stuff.
What are the main differences between heathens, Wiccans, pagans and Asatru? Who is more close to the Source, by your opinion?
This is complicated, semantically Asatru would refer to people who worship/serve the Aesir, heathens would worship the Vanir, Alfar and wights. Pagans is what the Romans called heathens. Wiccans emphasise and promote the Goddess from which ever Tradition.
In these traditions are dedicated followers who are or become more close to the source. I don’t think any of the traditions is closer to the source. However Asatru has an advantage of a large body of lore. Sometimes this can be restrictive and continuing arguments, again it totally depends on the individual.
Could you tell us something about your Rune Guild?
It went extinct some decades ago.
You actually married Odin back in 1993 through a ritual, what are the consequences of this action that you experience now, a permanent connection with him?
Yes, but less obvious.
What do you think about Varg Vikernes, who became self-proclaimed northern pagan after he was released from prison?
Don’t know, not interested.
How do you think, could work with the runes be combined with anything? I personally never felt the calling from the runes, but the ones who did, seem to be fully devoted only to this matter.
Yes, the Runes have that effect, they take over your life, for a while. The only system I know of would work with the Runes is Astrology.
The numbers fit, 12 houses 24 Runes.
Its also interesting question, on what this “calling” depends, northern origin, culture, traits of personality?
All of the above and reincarnation could also be considered.
You made a very interesting description of your trance-state: “It usually happened that I was giving a talk on the runes, and starting with the Futhark or talking about the Gods or talking about Odin, talking about our religion, and I got really involved, and then He just takes over. My eye goes back. And I start really talking hyperactively, pushing out a lot of energy, and I can talk and talk and push it all out as quickly as is possible. And usually I do not remember half of it afterwards. I am not unconscious though. I am conscious. I know what goes on, and I totally surrender and cooperate with that”
In fact I seem to feel hyperconscious whereas most mediums are seemingly semi asleep. I never recognised it as a trance state, but it obviously is I cant do this anytime I chose.
It is actually very reminding of what’s happening during so-called “possession” in some serious traditions, different from yours (some branches of Voodoo, for example). We could suppose that the process of entering the higher spirit/God into the human consciousness is universal, though the spirits/Gods, of course, are very different. What do you feel as a person in this trance state?
Very hyper and I burn up and lose some weight when I trance, usually because I cant eat. I stopped doing weekend workshops and only do 1 Day ones.
Where are your limits and the limits of knowledge that you can reach?
The limits are my understanding of any subject matter coming through.
Some stuff I understand but haven’t got the education to understand well enough to pass it on verbally to other people and It is only then when one understands.
Are you completely united with Odin or experience his presence as something outer?
Right now its difficult to tell.
When you were talking in some interview about fortune telling, you said “Wyrd is not that fixed. The wyrd is a main blue print of your life. But within the parameters of your own individual wyrd, you can shape that wyrd to a very large extent. This is the way of the warrior”. As we know from public sources, wyrd is actually a very solid structure, stronger than “fate” (Wyrd Bindrune demonstrates it pretty clear), so what can we really control inside of this grid, as a warriors?
First is to find out how your wyrd is written, what is the blueprint. This is where divination can be helpful. Within this wyrd there will be crossroads where choices will have to be made. This is where magic comes in, allow me to give an example we have already touched upon.
My wyrd was set against me, in every way, see my bio. If I had not left Holland when I did I would no longer be alive, but moving to the UK and becoming Freya Aswynn changed the wyrd of Elisabeth Hooijschuur.
Now you could argue that I was following my Wyrd by moving to the UK but I am afraid we never know for sure.
There is a mystical concept about symbiotic relationship with the Gods who cannot find expression for Their will and Their movements on this plane without the intervention of humans and more complex one, “meta-genetics”. As you said, “this is absolutely essential for the purest dedication in the worship of the Gods to keep the purest genetic line”.
Yes, a concept often misinterpreted as racism, in reality it has to do with very old bloodlines, sacral kingship and very little with ‘race’, its an occult issue.
“This is true for every nation. This is true for the Voodoo people. It is true for African people. For Nordic people. For everyone. The Gods are the mythological ancestry”. So, while ancient traditions of mythological ancestry are really different, in some sense their adepts are all brothers and sisters, because they’re participating (from different sides) in the great game of manifestations of the residents of another higher world?
Yes, obviously, all ancient traditions have a similar origin and grow organically within the Folk Soul of the respective people if they are left alone. We all know that did not happen and a lot of tradition people, or tribes of all colours lost a big part of their spiritual heritage.
There can be an overlap, I trained an initiated various black woman in the UK long before their traditions were accessible. Obviously I did not initiate then into the Northern Tradition, that was not what they were looking for. I introduced them them into Western forms of Magic, to link them up on the Astral and from then on they found their own connection.
“If you invoke Odin, you will sooner or a later have to invoke Loki, because they are blood brothers, and every time Odin is offered a drink, Loki must be offered one as well” is another interesting observation. Do you think that the myths of the Traditions are practical schemes how to work with different sides of the human psyche, and to know the blood connections and the hierarchy is to know your own spirit’s balance?
Yes, as above so below.
What religious and magical practices and arts you are currently using? We’ve heard about Galdr (verbal magic, poetry, incantations, mantra-type runic chants), Seidr (altered state of consciousness by deep trances and sitting out, sitting on a platform, hanging on trees, sex magick), Shape-Shifting, Sending (creating a physical structure like an animal or a hat or a series of runes or a bowl or whatever, and you charge that, as a receptacle for an indwelling familiar spirit, a servitor, that you then can send off to do your bidding)…what else?
Not much, I focus mostly on my painting. Magic only works when there is Need, Nauthiz. At this moment in time I don’t need it. My mysticism is expressed in my art.
How do you see what happens today in the world?
Very bad and getting worse by the day especially in Europe. The planet is also fucked. The point of no return has been passed.IMHO.
The world is shit and people are searching.
What do you think the re-emergence of spirituality among youngsters, and how true is this in its spirit?
I think its excellent, anything which frees the mind.
How the one could be sure that he is not playing with him/herself a mindgames but truly touched something powerful and forgotten.
One learns! Every though originates in the human mind, whether its considered a game or not, mind games are just fine for mind training, like visualisation exercises are mind games, but they can open portals to the powerful and forgotten. Play is sacred.
When you were young you had an operation to not be able to have children, and you were still virgin at the time…This is a very impressive action, so your decision was strong and final, between family and warrior way you chose the second one. Have you ever felt any regret about this decision or about your “Varg way”, living beyond the ordinary human life, in general?
We feel like the world is still hard (and forever will be) with the concept of child-free living persons, especially mystical ones.
I cant say I have ever noticed. I mean I haven’t noticed the world being especially hard for child free people.
What is the most inspiring/unexpected thing or dream that happened to you recently?
Nothing. Fuck all!