People new to Germanic Paganism often ask, what are the basic texts? Here is a short list of the most basic books or short texts about Germanic Pagan Sources which you should probably read. These sources are mostly in English and many can be accessed for free online. I even added circles ◯ so you can use this page as a checklist. I wanted to make this easy for people.
Festivals, Food and Farming
Google is evil
General Germanic Paganism
Old Norse sources
◯ Elder Edda or Poetic Edda
◯ A Full(a) Roster of Asynjur by Ellis B. Wylie, dissertation for University of Cambridge, 2019, on acad dot edu. This is an excellent scholarly article on most of the Old Norse Goddesses which Grimm overlooked (does not include Frigg or Freya). https://www.academia.edu/43429864/A Full(a) Roster ... .
Old English (Anglo-Saxon) sources
◯ The Lost Gods of England, by Brian Branston, Thames and Hudson, London, 1974 (Anglo-Saxon Pantheon)
Anglo-Saxon poetry mainly from the Exeter Book
◯ Bedes On the Reckoning of Time, lists names in Anglo-Saxon of the months and some Goddesses (original in Latin) http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/bede_on_eostre.htm English translation by Faith Wallis (not very accurate).
I did not include Beowulf because there is almost nothing about Paganism in it.
Continental Germanic Sources
◯ Urglaawe is the name in Dietsch for the religion of the Pennsylvania Dutch Pagans in the Americas now. Dietsch is the word for their language, consisting of several continental German dialects. There is a great deal of information about Urglaawe at: http://site.distelfink.org/Resources.html
Old High German
◯ Nibelungenlied, a Middle High German romance version of the Old Norse Volsungsaga.
Just so you know, there is a recipe in Middle High German for Heathen Pies. They are basically like mincemeat pies with beef, pork and apples.
◯ These books bring together many scattered examples of runic inscriptions, which is much better than doing it yourself. Either one will do.
◯ Runic and Heroic Poems of the Old Teutonic People, by Bruce Dickins (dual language edition), Cambridge University Press, 1915. https://archive.org/details/runicandheroicpo00dickuoft/page/n5/mode/2up
◯ Old English Rune Poem (abbreviated OERP). This mentions several Anglo-Saxon Gods. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_English_rune_poem
◯ Franks Casket, a carved ivory box with runic inscriptions and illustrations of mythic themes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franks_Casket
◯ Runes around the North Sea, by Jantina Helena Looijenga, her dissertation for the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, 1997. Early runic inscriptions, including recent finds such as bracteates, coins, and random scratches, dated 150 to 700 CE. This is very advanced, but I included it because I like it so much. It is available as a pdf at: https://research.rug.nl/en/publications/runes-around-the-north-sea
◯ Icelandic Grimoire
I would have liked to include one of the childrens books, published at the turn of the last century with great illustrations. They usually give charming retellings of the Norse myths, which provide an easy introduction. Unfortunately all the ones I saw were heavily Christianized, so not really usable. The illustration at the top of this page is of the Norns, by C. E. Brock.
I also would have liked to include a How To Pagan book, but all the ones Ive ever seen are either racist, or New Age hooey, or they are poorly researched and full of made up stuff. I realize now, I stopped reading them years ago. Perhaps there is something published that I just dont know about. Ill try to update this website to provide that sort of information from traditional sources, because it certainly exists for most of the Indo-European language groups. In the meantime, good luck!
There are many scattered references not listed here. I also havent given a good list of archaeological finds, artwork or folk songs which sometimes describe specific Gods. If you study Germanic Paganism, it would be good to have a map that covers the Black Sea to Iceland and a history text that covers the Period of the Migrations.
Warning: following are some things you can avoid and save yourself a lot of time and grief.
Wiccan hooey: If you see sources with the eight shabbats wheel of the year; four candles spells (which always begin, take four candles . . .) or any reference to maiden/mother/crone, it is not Paganism. Wicca was originally presented as traditional Paganism but it was made up in the 1950s based mainly on the hostile statements that the Christian church directed at women in the Middle Ages. Wicca has moved on since then and it is a perfectly good religion (especially for women who are excluded from consideration in the monotheistic religions) but it has no connection to actual traditional Paganism.
Racist and sexist nonsense: If you see sources that support racial or genetic purity, the Nine Noble Virtues, or Runic Yoga, this is a form of white supremacy usually with Christian overtones. In the United States, it was developed to foment racism and was spread mainly through the American prison system. There are some bizarre cults in which oath swearing, theodish slavery and folkish breeding programs are used to manipulate and control people. Run for the door.
So I hope this page will be helpful in cutting through all the misinformation online and elsewhere, and welcome to Germanic Paganism!
© piereligion.org, 2021, first published here September 20, 2021