Travels Through Middle Earth by Alaric Albertsson
Thank you, Crossed Crow Books for sending us three books to read and review. Two of which I had previously, and am enjoying reading them again.
Travels Through Middle Earth is a good introduction to Anglo-Saxon Heathenry that may be of interest to those interested in Heathenry, but not necessarily Asatru. It is not a ‘How-to’ so much as a ‘what it’s like.’
One may wonder why Witches are concerned with this book at all.
Lemme tell ya, our Tradition has a long history with Germanic subjects, from some of the greatest "Norse Rings' ever, to virtually annual Rune classes going back to the 90s. We have very strong Heathen roots, knowledge and practices. And so I appreciate the ‘don’t approach Gods like a soda machine’ bit, the advice about not stressing over just one Deity (we do not require, nor do we recommend concentrating on one Deity, or even pantheon), and especially piety. The author asks if you don’t have a certain amount of time in a month to spend with the Gods, “are you really Pagan at all?” He touches on the subject of worship/work with, (it’s WORSHIP for me, thank you), and dispels the notion that ancient pre-christian people cowered in the face of Nature.
I like that he kept the Runes chapter brief, ascribing their Rune Poems to them only. I like that Alaric mentions same sex weddings, and to adjust gendered wording to fit. Dig the mead chapter! I am also thankful for the glossary defining the exotic words… You can however read with a critical eye the first chapter “Who Were The Anglo- Saxons?” particularly pages 9 and 10, as the author’s ramblings about exotic polytheism vs. “their own backyard” polytheism is utterly ridiculous. I am surprised it made it into this new edition. And while I don't use the 'Blank Rune' his railing against it has a very 'get off my lawn' feel to it.
There is also a conspicuous lack of citations for a book that talks so much history. You definitely do not want to take the history in this book as complete fact. This applies to virtually every magical book out there however.
This is not an overly thick book, and it is relatively easy to read. Do think of it as an introduction. There are only a few books that specialize in modern Anglo-Saxon practices, and this may be one you want to include, even if you are not English, but American...