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Cover of Allsherjargoðinn (in Icelandic), the biography by Berglind Gunnarsdóttir about the Asatru religious leader Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson.

Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson

"Certain features of the pre-Christian faith have survived in Iceland down to recent times. An authority on the subject has asserted that `a whole book could be written about it, and not a small one, either.'"
- - Hjalmar Lindroth, 1937

Commentary and interview questions by William B. Fox
based upon interviews conducted by Shirley Keller
and materials provided by Thorsteinn Guðjónsson

Orginally published in
Winter, (Runic Era) 2243 (1993) Vor Tru Magazine
under pen name "Thor Sannhet"

[This article is part of a continuing series to document important personalities in the Asatru movement. The views expressed by interviewees do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Asatru Alliance or even the personal views of its office-holders, representatives, or members].

In view of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson's recent death, the two interviews contained in this article came about as a stroke of good fortune. Shirley Keller, formerly the host of the radio show "The Folk People" before she switched to television production, interviewed both Oak Thorgeir and myself in spring 1992. Our talk on Asatru was edited into a one hour radio show that was broadcast over eastern New Jersey. The next thing I knew, Shirley called me up and said that she was going to Norway to make a video of a Sons of Norway function in the summer of 1992. She thought about stopping over in Iceland on the way back to the U.S. "By all means you must try to interview Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson!" I said. That got the ball rolling in terms of obtaining the first September 1992 interview that appears in this article. It turned out that Shirley ended up taking another trip to Norway in the summer of 1993, and arranged another interview during her stop-over in Iceland in July 1993 on her way back home. Hence, this article contains two different interviews taken almost one year apart.
Who was this man, Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, who Odin called to Asgard on December 24, 1993? Who was this sage who lived the simple life of an Icelandic sheep farmer, yet became known through mass media to millions around the world? Who was this man who generated thunder and lightening for a religious reawakening that has only begun to be heard among our people?
We are left with many public images of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson. In January 1979, the CBS series "In Search Of" showed Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson conducting a Thorsblot in the Icelandic countryside in its program "In Search of the Lost Vikings" about the disappearance of Norse colonies in Greenland. Sveinbjörn was pictured in "How the Sagas Shaped Iceland" by Robert Wernick in the Jan 1986 Smithsonian magazine. He appeared again in the Feb 1987 National Geographic article "Iceland: Life Under the Glaciers." According to the article,

[On a] particular August day ... a light rain was falling as a small group of Icelanders gathered outside the [NATO] base [near Reykjavik] to protest the presence of foreign troops on their soil.
A pagan priest with a flowing beard stood before the crowd holding a pole with a life-like horse's head on it. The priest of the ancient Asatru religion, a reclusive farmer named Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, at first said nothing. Then he planted a pole in a pile of rocks and, turning the frightening, wild-eyed head toward the NATO base, chanted a curse as his Norse ancestors did against their enemies a thousand years ago: 'I raise this nid [insult] against nuclear weapons and all warfare ... I raise this nid against the destruction of life and the land, so help me Freyr and Njordur ...'

The Asatru-related periodical Huginn & Muninn No.4 reported that:

As a result of a 'freedom' legislation for mass media passed by the Althing in 1986, new broadcast stations are opened with a few month's interval. The newest station, Utvarp Rot, which 'takes everything' has hired Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson to sing his Rimur as an opening to the daily schedule. In this office, Sveinbjörn takes the place of the Lutheran priests on the State Broadcasting, who opened the morning program .. .[on the opening of one program] Sveinbjörn sang not rimur, but the whole of Voluspa, chapters of Havamal, and even Sigrdrifumal also -for technical problems delayed other parts of the opening program. I don't know what is meant about Sveinbjörn's mode of delivering, but to me it was most pleasing: every syllable comes distinct from him, and the rimur musical gives the impression that he is not short of time, in contrast with the hurly burly of modern life ... For those of us who are politically interested, it must be mentioned that Utvarp Rot seems to tend to the left; Ro: Root: (Lat.) radix, radical. Sveinbj6rn walks in and out, everywhere. "In addition, HM No. 17 (July 91), reported that Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson had his Edda songs (and some others) of 1986, republished on a compact disk (CD) in London lately. 2,000 copies sold in a rush in 2-3 days in London, nothing left for Icelanders, even not for this editor, who was responsible for the printed texts.

Spring 2244 R.E. 11 When the "Vinland Revisited" expedition of three replica Viking ships built in Norway stopped in Iceland in the fall of 1991, en route to Washington D.C. for Leif Erikson Day, Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson presented the Viking fleet commander Ragnar Thorseth with a statue of the Sea God Njord. A picture of the presentation appeared on page 28 of Vor Tru No. 42, along with the comment of a Vinland Revisited crew member that "unfortunately the statue was stolen in Newfoundland ... it was an interesting coincidence that shortly thereafter, when the expedition set out from port, it ran into a storm and had to turn back!"

Icelandic Asatrugodi Sveinbjöm Beinteinsson (left), Norwegian sailor Ragnar Thorseth (center), and Jörmundur Ingi (right) at the presentation from Beinteinsson to Thorseth of a statue of the Sea God Njord during the "Vinland Revisited" joumey. Photo taken by one of Ragnar Thorseth's crewman.


The July 93 issue of Huginn & Muninn issue No. 25 reported how people from many countries made their pilgrimage to Iceland this past summer. The article "Heilsan fra Islandi!," by Jeff Redmond reported that:

On Thor's Day [in June 1993] there was a great assembly at Thingvellir. Over a hundred Asatruar came from many lands, including Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, France, and me from America ... Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson gave a mighty Summer Solstice ceremony service in his long white and red robes. He was surrounded by his assistants in their robes [Jörmundur Ingi and Halle Arnadottir were on his right and Huginn & Muninn editor Thorsteinn Guðjónsson stood to his left with Jeff Redmond close by]. There were also two men from the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra blowing old Viking age horns. Others held lighted torches, beat drums, and wore Thor's hammers. The entire event was photographed by many who brought their own crew from the Icelandic National Television service.

In contrast to colorful ceremonial images of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson that were broadcast to the public, we are also left with images of a thoughtful and reclusive man who lived a simple and rustic life. In Vor Tru No. 20, (1986), founding editor Thorsteinn Thorarinsson reported on a visit by Jeff Redmond to the sage's house:

Beinteinsson lives up in the foothills above a fjord... Beinteinsson could not speak English, and Jeff says he could not speak Icelandic, but that Beinteinsson could understand the Swedish that Jeff spoke to him. While at Sveinbjörn's farm, Jeff was served cake and coffee by the gothi, and showed Jeff around the farm. Sveinbjörn is of course a sheep farmer ... In the back of the farm, Jeff said that the gothi has a large plaster statue of the Norse God Thor, which has a small river running along side it. There is only one gravel road to get to it from the fjord. Here are wild sheep and small Icelandic ponies [sic] all over, and it never gets hot there, even in the summer. Jeff said that while there and in Iceland generally, the Icelandic people were very friendly, the women very beautiful, and the children happy and well looked after ... Jeff reported that at Sveinbjörn's farm the gothi had no electricity, but did have a telephone. Sometimes Beinteinsson comes down into the city of Reykjavik to give recitals of his poems and songs, many of them dealing of course with Asatru.


Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson was born on July 4, 1924. According to Thorsteinn Guðjónsson, editor of Huginn & Muninn, "Svein" connotes "strong young male" and "bjorn" means "bear." "Beintein" has a meaning of "sword."
Thorstein wrote: "His parents were Helga Petursdottir and Beinteinn Einarsson, farmers, self-supporting and self-educated, well versed in Icelandic poetry and literature ... Sveinbjörn was the youngest [of several brothers and sisters in his family]. At the age of 18 he debuted with a book of Rimur being published under the name Gomlu login (the Old Meter-Melodies-1945). The metre was excellent, but there was some criticism on the choice and handling of subjects. Of the numerous editions and publications, Sveinbjörn arranged some (1) had to do with the metre, some (2) were anthologies of Lausavisur and Rimur; then came (3) his edition of Sigurdur Breidfjord, a great poet of the 19th century, and (4) his own poetry, both the serious and the humorous."
According to Thorsteinn, poetic abilities ran in the family:

...All the brothers and sisters were talented composers of poetry, and five of them published independently one or more books with poems. Petur, who died in 1942, had a highly promising poetical talent [being also a Nyall philosopher himself] and Halldora, died 1968, apart from her own poetry, attempted to translate Beowulf into Icelandic meter, and won praise and appreciation from Beowulf experts. Poems by Sigridur and Einar are appreciated by critics. Bjorg and Gudny have also made presentable poems and there is a ditty by Ingibjorn.
'The brothers and sisters from Grafardal is a concept in the Icelandic literary survey of our lifetime ... Sveinbjörn is appreciated as a good poet, by the 'literary community,' and a few of his poems are, in the opinion, of this reviewer, of a high quality. I mention poems as 'Harmur, ' 'Bragabing, ' and 'Osk.' Of special interest was the poem 'Draumur' ('A Dream), a true divination, as Sveinbjörn confessed to me recently.

Sveinbjörn's parents Helga Pétursdóttir and Beinteinn Einarsson. (From Allsherjargoðinn)


Sveinbjörn standing at the far right at the family farm Draghálsi in 1934. Second and third from the left are his brothers Einar and Pétur, and left to right are the young girl Erna and three grown sisters, Björg, Halldóra, and Guðný. To the far right his mother Helga. (From Allsherjargoðinn)

(Left photo) Sveinbjörn. (Right photo) From left to right, at Drághalsi in 1942. Sister Halldóra, family friend Alðalheiður Jónsdóttir, brother Einar and little Þóra Elfa, and Sveinbjörn. (From Allsherjargoðinn)  


Family home at Draghálsi. (Right) Sveinbjörn's mother Helga in Icelandic folk attire in 1957. (From Allsherjargoðinn)


Unfortunately it is tough to make a living by writing poetry, even in a place like Iceland. According to Guðjónsson: "Beginning in 1944, Sveinbjörn took up 'buskap' (the position of an independent farmer) and concentrated on sheep breeding, which he continued with until his death." Sveinbjörn rented a farm in Draghalsi, 150 kilometers north of Reykjavik, in the ancient district of Egil Skallagrimsson in Borgarfjordur.

Sveinbjörn at his farm in Draghálsi in the winter. (From Allsherjargoðinn)

It was later in life at age 41 that Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson started a family, a not uncommon occurrence among many Nordic people. According to Thorstein: "From 1964-1969 Sveinbjörn and Svanfridur Hagvaag lived as a pair in Draghals and had two sons, Georg Petur (b. 1965) and Einar (b. 1966). Truth being told, Sveinbjörn was never very clever in making money, which is the stuff of life, and that led to the dissolution of an otherwise happy connection in 1970. Svanfridur moved to the Eastern fjords and married there."


Father and sons.
(From Allsherjargoðinn)

Very early on, Sveinbjörn showed an interest in various forms of religious and philosophical inquiry. According to Thorsteinn:

He was one of the founders of Felag Nyalssinna (1951), supported its work, encouraged introduction and promotion and wrote good articles. In mediumistic seances held at Draghals, Gods spoke eloquently through and everybody was delighted ... in 1972 (April 20th) Sveinbjörn initiated the founding of the Asatruarfelagid which - after a year of struggle and effort-led to a recognition by the government of Sveinbjörn as a 'director of a religious community' on May 3rd 1973, and since that date Asatru under Allsherjargodi has been an established religion in Iceland.


Sveinbjörn in 1960. (From Allsherjargoðinn)


Sveinbjörn carries the Icelandic flag during a political demonstration at Hvalfjarðar in 1962. (From Allsherjargoðinn)


In a recent letter to me, Thorsteinn Guðjónsson wrote:

In the year 1972 ... Sveinbjörn, always having been sociable, began to talk at the cafes with some people about the possible restoration of Asatru in Iceland. Quite a different cast of people assembled, more alert to the immediate circumstances, ready to "offend" the general way of thinking, but less responsible. While the Nyalssinar were people who resisted the general prejudices for decades, the new Asatru people, so it seemed to me, were more for producing immediate results, and not very caring. It happened so this was a time of social or opinional tension. The Left was in advance (and wanted to play tricks on Religion) and the Cod Wars [Author's Note: a dispute between Iceland and Great Britain over fishing rights} were overhanging. I heard an old professor of mathematics (Right) say on the street: "We need Thorr for solving those immense problems. "
Well, I and my wife decided to support Sveinbjörn, although many good Nyall-members were doubtful about this new type of development. --Having been rather unpopular in advance with 'the Majority' for my Nyall views (which I never concealed), I became still less popular for this additional subject ... [Sveinbjörn} has a kind of wisdom in himself that always leaks through and permeates ... I often wonder if we could have survived with a different man.

The Asatruar pioneers had to make an application to the Ministry of Justice and Church matters, and after that, meet with the department chief. This chief demanded a statement of the laws of the association and its moral principles. Once these two statements were provided, "the Department of Church sent both to the Lutheran Bishop, who gave a very disfavorable opinion on the matter. We were told that acceptance was doubtful."
According to Thorsteinn: "Then I went, sometime in Dec 1972, along with a young member, who was enthusiastic at first, but later receded (because it interfered with his Marxist doctrine obligation of non-adherence to any religions!) - to Minister Olafur Johannesson, who was perhaps not very pleased but polite. I remember little of the talks, but there was no real outcome, only the promise to talk with us later. Shortly after that, on Dec. 18th 1972, I went with Sveinbjörn to him, as told of in Huginn & Muninn 17. And that was the decisive moment, in my estimation."
In Huginn & Muninn 17 (July 91, p. 11), the "decisive moment" was described as follows:

Thunder and lightening are rare in the Icelandic climate. It is not our business to explain why, but we don't believe in miracles. However, back in 1973, I and Allsherjargodi came to the (then) Minister of Justice in Iceland, OlafurJohannesson, pleading for an official recognition of Asatru as a religious body. While we were talking the Minister measured Sveinbjörn with a piercing eye cast of dismay. I noted this, sought the Minister's eyes and found that he could not resist me, because I had previously confronted him with Icelandic philosophy. We got no promise except the usual, that the matter would be considered. But shortly afterwards it was heard that the license would be given. There was clearly a change of mood. What happened?
Just after we walked out (less than 20 minutes I was told), a Lightening [bolt] struck the roof of the building the Ministry of Justice was placed in then. The whole of Reykjavik was immediately talking about this. 'A strange coincidence,' said the Venerables. Others asked: 'A wrath of the Gods?' Has Thorr stricken, with his Mjollnir?" So many thought, then, and it is possible that this influenced the Ministry's positive decision a few days later. Probably, indeed. The notion, that the Gods are active, still, that they really exist and have power, moves the minds more than anything else. But we don't believe in miracles, do we ... ?

Thorsteinn continued in the letter to me:

In the next few months there was much excitement about this matter, especially after we held an open meeting for introducing the matter. A reviewer asking [Minister of Justice} Olafur Johannesson about his attitude, got the answer: "I am for the free exercise of religion, not for religious suppression." In March Sveinbjörn got a notice from the Ministry that he would be accepted as a 'forstodumadur trufelags' (usual term for leaders of foreign sects here implanted). On May 3-9th, he was appointed and met before the State Prosecutor.

Official recognition came on May 16, 1973. Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson was legally empowered to give names to children, consecrate adolescents, marry the living, and bury the dead. As was reported in the no. 3 (sumar 1978) and no. 6 (spring 1979) issues of Vor Tru, credit for this victory also went to other early leaders such as journalist Dagur Thorleifsson, Orn F. Clausen, Johannes Augustsson, and Jorgen Ingi Hansen.
The Asatruarmen lost little time in celebrating. On a rainy and misty day in early August 1973, a group of about fifty people gathered at Beinteinsson's farm to hold the first official outdoor blot held by an Asatruar since the year 1000. It was held in front of a large Thor statue erected by Sveinbjörn on a hill slope. Since the brewing of mead or strong ale was strictly forbidden by Icelandic law, as well as the slaughter of animals outside of licensed slaughterhouses, the group had to make do with light ale and aquavit concocted to simulate sacramental mead as well as with store-bought lamb for the "sacrifice."
Thorsteinn wrote in a 1993 letter to me:

There were 20 members about the yearshift 1972/3, but the number increased much during that year, for there was much talk and media mention of this as an exciting matter. Then there was almost a standstill in about 70 members for many years, but in the 1-2 last years there has been a marked increase. Now it is about 140. There are no different factions, but there are personal and 'political' antagonisms (I always try to be "nowhere" in politics) ...



Sveinbjörn conducts a blot at Draghálsi in 1983. Behind him from left to right are Þorgrímur Starri and Þorstein Guðjónsson. (From Allsherjargoðinn)


Thorsteinn also mentioned that Icelandic and Scandinavian Asatruar often find many converts and sympathizers on the political Left, in contrast to American Asatru. In a 1991 letter, he wrote to me that: "Around Sveinbjörn there have been mostly (but not only) Leftists, and we have enjoyed their company to an extent (things are so special in Iceland: for example, you may be 40% leftist, 30% nationalist and 30% business-like). "
Part of the appeal to Leftists comes from the involvement of the Left in ecology and its rebellion againstthe official Lutheran state church.

Jörmundur Ingi and Thorstein Guðjónsson

Since Sveinbjörn could not converse in English during the interviews, two translators volunteered their assistance: Jörmundur Ingi and Thorsteinn Guðjónsson. Jörmundur Ingi has been active in the Asatru movement for many years in Iceland. According to Thorsteinn Guðjónsson, he is currently serving as the interim Allsherjargodi in the wake of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson's death for a limited term until June 1994. In the video, he comes across as a poised and intelligent older man. More on him later in the post script to the interviews in this article.
Thorsteinn Guðjónsson, the editor of Huginn & Muninn since its first issue in March 1987, has for many years been the only source of ongoing information for American Asatruar regarding the status of Icelandic Asatru. Although Huginn & Muninn is often written in a whimsical style, with the topic of commentaries often changing significantly from paragraph to paragraph, it contains nuggets of insight.
Thorsteinn and his wife Steingerda Thorsteinsdottir were very hospitable to Shirley Keller, putting her up at their house and providing transportation during her two visits. Thorsteinn Guðjónsson was born in 1928, has three full grown sons, once worked for a firm that imports iron and glass to Iceland, and runs a bed and breakfast guest house with his wife in Reykjavik.


translation by Jörmundur Ingi

SHIRLEY KELLER: I am interested in an overview of what Asatru is and where it came from. I wonder what you could tell me?
SVEINBJÖRN BEINTEINSSON: This religion or way of life is the response of the people of Northern latitudes and how they expose to nature. And the historical background of the religion goes much further back than we know. Especially this is the religion of the Germanic people, and specifically the Scandinavian people. This was their way in the olden time to interpret the world around them. They have seen the godhead in human form, colored by the environment in our country and in northern latitudes, specifically.
SHIRLEY: And the country we are talking about is Iceland?
JÖRMUNDUR INGI: In the latest phase of it, yes. It is Iceland.
SHIRLEY: And this is a very unusual place where something like this seems to have a perfect setting for unusual things that we may have not thought about before. It just seems to me that this is like a little cradle. Something different. Something of the earth. Because everything here seems to be so earthy. Do you know what I mean?
JÖRMUNDUR: Yes. This is quite correct. Iceland is a unique combination of being a modern country and yet having a very crucial attitude towards nature. People seem to feel that nature is alive. You can see that nature is alive and we are part of it. People perceive all sorts of hidden people, persons, and in the earth itself and in rocks, mountains, trees, and so on. Very much touched by nature.
SHIRLEY: Was Sveinbjörn born in Iceland?
JÖRMUNDUR: Yes, he was born in Iceland.
SHIRLEY: How did he find this religion?
JÖRMUNDUR: Naturally, he read about this in the ancient books of Iceland that were written from the 11th to the 14th century. Where there is a good explanation of the beliefs of our ancestors. And also, the good Christian people who brought him up. His family and the people around him. They also believed in the living nature. They believed in all sorts of divine or semi-divine beings living in the earth itself, being part of everything. He explains that in ancient times people were in direct contact with these supernatural forces. In direct contact, if you will. Now that this contact has faded, what we have left is the religion. And this made them closer to the earth, to nature. He reads about our ancestors, what they believed, how they believed, and how their religion affected them.
SHIRLEY: Does he believe that we have lost contact with the earth, and is this Asatru trying to find the contact again?
SVEINBJÖRN: This is exactly what I mean. Human beings were in direct contact with nature and living in nature, so to speak, in earlier times like animals. Now that we have modern technology and civilization, we have created an artificial environment so that the link with the earth and with nature has been broken. With Asatru, we are trying to reestablish this contact, not only through Asatru, but also maybe through ecological groups and many other groups. This would be a very Icelandic way of doing this, we are doing it through the ancient religious tradition of our culture.
SHIRLEY: It seems as I said before that Iceland is a very good place to do this and pursue being back to nature. But it seems that all over the world people yearn to be closer to nature. They go on camping trips. They go on outings. They like to be near the earth and where the animals are. And out to sea in the open. It seems that Asatru may be the link to help people find this again. Is this one of the things, the reason why there is no actual church? There is no actual building. That is, wherever one is, one could have a blot. Or, maybe has to be a specific place like Thingvellir, or something like that. Where people can get together, because it has significance in the history of Iceland, or wherever in whatever country?
JÖRMUNDUR: Yes, he feels that there is no need for a building, although in a relatively cold country to have a shelter for your records and other things can be convenient. We do not need a specific building to practice our religion. It is done in nature. We do not go in for huge ornamented ceremonies. Rather we find a quiet manner to be one with nature. There are special places one would feel closer to the Gods, to nature, than others. You mentioned Thingvellir which has a special meaning in the minds of all Icelanders whether they be Christians or Asamen.
SHIRLEY: What are some of the things that are not laws, but beliefs in Asatru that are different than the normal religions that people practice in Scandinavian countries. I understand that Asatru is really a religion for this group of people, this section of the world where our ancestors come from. I say "our," being all Norwegian. The Nordic countries, would you say? I just feel as though it is special in this part of the world. It would not be viewed the same way, such as in Africa, India, or China. Would you say that?
SVEINBJÖRN: There is in reality in Iceland very little difference between those who are Christians and those who are adherents of our faith. In other Scandinavian countries they would probably be further apart. So it is very difficult [to say] that there is anything specific that we would practice that the Christians would not practice. At least in Iceland obviously the environment has a great deal to do with this. There are situations here one would not find in China or Russia or Africa. We are the opposite of there. Of course, the same religion must be very different in these places, even if the basic truths are the same. They would be interpreted in a different way and practiced in a different way. Perhaps the main difference between Christianity and Asatru paganism, without going into some small detail, is that Christianity, and so many religions, have become an organized religion. It is therefore not a living religion as we understand it. It can not move with the times, it has become stratified, and it can not adapt to change as quickly as a religion which is not as organized.
SHIRLEY: I would like to know some of the reading that one could pursue to learn the basis of Asatru. I know that there are some things available to people in the United States so that one could get an idea of the background of Asatru.
SVEINBJÖRN: There are of course a number of scientific treatises on the history of Asatru availab Ie in the English language, but this is [of] more of a historical than a religious nature available in English. Both the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda are the main source for how our ancestors received the Gods and nature. And it is actually best to go back to the source. One should go to some of the Icelandic sagas which are available in the English translation where it is possible to see how this religion affected those who confessed to it. This would be a more real experience than reading a scientific or historical treatment on the subject. If you read this with an open mind, and concentrate to interpret according to your own society and environment, you can not go very much wrong.
SHIRLEY: I understand that the Gods of which we know very well have appeared in cartoons and the newspapers. They have taken place in our every day lives on our calendar. I was wondering if you could tell us about the relationship of the days of the week and our Gods. I wonder if it is you who could tell us that?
JÖRMUNDUR: The names of the days of the week are named by the Scandinavian's Gods. The first two days of the week, Sunday and Monday are named for the Sun and Moon, obviously. Tuesday is named for the God of War, Tyr. Wednesday is named for Odin or Wotan as he is called in Germany. Thursday is the day of Thor. This was in pagan times, in Iceland and in Scandinavia, the first day of the week. It started with Thor. Then Friday is the day of Frey, the God of fertility, or Freya, his sister, the Goddess off fertility, which is also the Goddess of War [Author's Note: Friday may have also been named for Frigg, wife of Odin]. Saturday is another horror story, called Ivattdagr, which means the day of bathing. Saturday came from the Latin countries, not from the Germanic countries.


SHIRLEY: What can we learn from the Gods?
JÖRMUNDUR: Would you like for me to answer this question?
SHIRLEY: I will give you that choice
JÖRMUNDUR: We have very similar views on this. [Translates to Sveinbjörn who speaks at length]. What we can learn from the Gods is a specific personality. These specific personalities are essentially what we have made them. But nevertheless you have in the Gods a role model. Like Thor. Thor is well known in the United States, but is a bit different for us than depicted in the comic books. He is actually a strong, silent, protector, a very uncomplicated character. Direct. He is highly thought of in Iceland, by pagans and Christians. Half of all ofthe names of men in Iceland are related to Thor. This is the God most of us would like to be like. Odin, however, is the God of knowledge. He is in some ways the God of trickery and cunning. And he is also the God of War, of course. And it may be paradoxical when you learn that in the beginning he was also the God of wisdom and poetry, which is a very complicated part of the Icelandic language. And of course in the Gods like Frey, you find fertility itself. Fertility of the earth and [God] of love and the explanation of how things go on. People would choose a God to be their role model. In ancient times people would even take the name of the God indirectly. No one would take a name directly of the God. You would combine the name of a God into your name. In that way you would be bound to that God and behave accordingly.
SHIRLEY: You believe that the name directly affects people all of their lives? Their name has a certain connotation and has affected people's lives? I believe it.
JÖRMUNDUR: I am not sure that I would believe that directly [but] I would not deny it. For myself, I think that names should be drawn from your own family. This was a very strong belief. If you have the name of your ancestors, his protective spirit would come with your name. And if your name is connected to the God that God would become connected. So I believe that the name is very important.
SHIRLEY: There are many things that I would like to ask you, but I realize that because we are taping in a home for the elderly, they live here, and we are invading their privacy. Therefore I do not want to intrude upon them. I just want to learn a little bit more and hope my audience will put up with the background noise. I am used to doing field recordings and hope my audience is used to this. So I hope that it does not hurt the train of thought. On your neck you have a symbol, and I was wondering if that symbol is a part of Asatru?
JÖRMUNDUR: Yes, it is a very old symbol. Although this [pendant] is a relatively new piece [when it was crafted] this [old symbol on the pendant] is the tree of life, Yggdrasil, which it is called in Icelandic. Around it is the world serpent which surrounds the round shape. And in the tree there are many living things. They are represented by the eagle and the stag, put out in this manner, because this was a very old way of describing the world in pagan times and in Christian times; the tree of life and the two animals worshiping it on two sides. This is a combination of that old idea and the actual world tree and the animals described in and around the tree. If I can give you a short outline of the old technology: in the center of the earth where the Gods live, there is the World Tree, the Ash, and it holds together the earth, the world as we know it, and the roots of the tree, one of them is for the human beings, one of them for the Gods, and one of them is, as we say, high in the heavens. So the tree is connected everywhere. And all living things are, through the tree, living and live in the tree. So it is a very ecological idea in modern times. We see the tree in modern times. I would even go so far as to say that each individual life is a leaf on the tree. Everything is interconnected. This is made very clear in the ancient books. The Gods and humans are of one family. Everything is interconnected. There is only a difference of a degree between humans and the Gods.
SHIRLEY: I would like Sveinbjörn to sing a song for us that may have a philosophy that would speak to us through this song. I know that he does make recordings and I know that he does sing. Perhaps he would share with us a song that is important to him as a philosophy, or perhaps as some other kind of song. [At this point Sveinbjörn proceeds to look through the Poetic Edda]
SHIRLEY: Is this book one that is used by people in Asatru?
JÖRMUNDUR: This is actually the Poetic Edda, which is not considered as a religious text in the strictest sense of the word. Not like the Christians would regard the Bible or the Muslims would regard the Koran. But it is very close to us. Because it explains the creation of the earth. It is the word of the High One, the advice of Odin, advice on how you should behave in life, in societies, and also other poems, especially the Prophecy of the Seeress, the Words of the High One [Havamal], are in reality ... religious.
SVEINBJÖRN: [Proceeds to sing a song with lyrics from the Poetic Edda. He finishes the song, and then starts to make annotations on a piece of paper while his book is still open].
SHIRLEY: He is writing down the names ... ?
JÖRMUNDUR: Yes, he is writing down the numbers of the stanzas. It can tell you where you can pick up an English translation. The translations of the Poetic Edda can be very difficult. Because it is such a precise language, that usually if you manage to get the meaning correct, then somehow the soul is missing from the poem. But if you get the good poem right, then the meaning is usually garbled. It is a losing battle.




Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson around the re-release of
his reading of The Poetic Edda circa 1990.


SHIRLEY: It is the old story, it loses a lot in the translation.
JÖRMUNDUR: It loses a lot in the translation. I understood when I tried to read this in English the problems that Muslims have in reading [translations] of the Koran.
SHIRLEY: It has been this way in many of the countries in terms of the interpretation of the Bible. In the Hebrew religion, it seems that the discussion of what it really means seems to be a great part of their life.
JÖRMUNDUR: In Iceland there is a lot of meanings in the old poetry. There are words that can be interpreted in a different manner. The meaning can change from one person to another. You have to take one meaning and translate that. And the sense of interpretation is taken away. In that way the translations are very bad. They leave you a straightforward translation. You can not misunderstand anything and you can not understand it either!
SHIRLEY: Do you have something that I should have asked him? Perhaps I should go into the fact that you do not believe in original sin. I just don't know when you are introducing people to something new, you do not know how much to give to them at one time.
JÖRMUNDUR: This is a little complicated to go into. We have similar views of it, if we would explain how we look at life and death and how we look at the cycle of life and how everything is goes together, how everything is repeated, and how the cycle is included in everything myself. I guess that is something that would be easily understood.
SHIRLEY: Can you ask him that [in Icelandic which I am asking] in English?
I don't know where you would like to ask a question.
SHIRLEY: Just give a statement.
SVEINBJÖRN: A main thing with our religion is how we view life and death. One of the basic things about this religion or this way of life is the cycle of things. We see the great cycle in everything. That this world is created and has a limited time to live and will be destroyed, and will be renewed. We see however in all things you can speak of, the same cycle in every day. The day comes alive in the morning and passes away at night. The same cycle in the cycle in the year in the spring when everything springs to life. Plants and animals. And then it slows down [in the winter]. Then it dies or goes into a coma trance [hibernation] and is [later] recreated. In the same manner we see the cycle of our own lives. We are born. We live and blossom in the middle of our lives, and then fade away and die, only to come alive again in some other form or way. Although we do not claim to have the answer about how this happens, this is something that all religions deal with. We see it in a more holistic way than Christianity. We see the eternal cycle of creation and recreation going on.
SHIRLEY: I will be thinking about this a lot, because it is so basic to our lives. It seems to be a very simple, happy existence to be in tune with the Gods. That is what I perceive.
JÖRMUNDUR: I would like to feel that way. Life should be joyful if we can achieve this. [To achieve it] like someone else it is difficult to say. The essence of the religion is joy. To enjoy life. To be uncomplicated. To go with the flow. Without free will is not the idea, but you [nevertheless] do not go against the grain.
SHIRLEY: I want to bid both of you farewell. I will be leaving Iceland tomorrow, and I want to thank both of you for spending the time with me to explain what I came to Iceland to find out. Thank you very much. It has been a real pleasure, and I hope you have got a lot out of it.
JÖRMUNDUR: Most certainly. I usually get more out of explaining things than he [Sveinbjörn] gets listening to me!
SHIRLEY: So this is Shirley Keller of The Folk People. Bye!

Sveinbjörn with Jörmundur Ingi at a summer solstice blot in 1991.
(From Allsherjargoðinn)


translation by Thorsteinn Guðjónsson

SHIRLEY: I wanted to ask a few questions because our audience is not aware of the various things that are important to people who are studying and interested in Asatru. What is a blot?
SVEINBJÖRN BEINTEINSSON: I understand a blot in such a way that it is a kind of seance where we try, we who partake in it, try to unite our connection with higher reality. This higher reality is combined to our surroundings, our natural surroundings, and to something that works in ourselves, and when we think of something higher and better, we say that it's a divine source in this.
SHIRLEY: What is the significance of Thingvellir?
SVEINBJÖRN: Looking realistically on the site of Thingvellir, it is a place that was in the olden times very much fit for the assembly of people from many parts of Iceland. And it has many merits of a place. It has good communications; of land communications with most parts of Iceland. It is a wide place where you always see if there are new people coming to this place. There are also facilities. Water, and you can fish in the water. And you can have your horses conveniently kept there. And many other facilities where they are fit. Sometimes I say it either in ernest or humorously, that this place was made for Icelanders to have for their meeting place. Whatever you call the rite, I respect the zealotry and everything of that kind. But in my eyes this place is extremely holy for me and so I think worth [something] also for the people of old.
SHIRLEY: A good answer. I understand. The next thing would be, Sveinbjörn ... I am concerned about the mention of runes. R-U-N-E-S. Many people have never heard of what that word is and what it means. But it is very important I believe in the Nordic culture from way, way back. So could you explain that please?
SVEINBJÖRN: I am not an expert on the history of the runes. But there were many types of them and they were there for a long time used and much used. And I see them in the context of remembering. When something happened, many things had to be remembered in the olden times. Poems and genealogies and many other things. And the runes were helpful. They were the means to help memory. I know this still better in connection with the meter which is my specialty. Meter in poetry or in that branch. There is an interconnection between the meter and the runes. So they help each other.
SHIRLEY: These runes were found on stones and things in and around various places that the Nordic people had visited such as in Ireland and other countries and I understand that. Is that correct? This is something I will ask for my own information. But it is like an alphabet?
THORSTEINN: Surely an alphabet, yes.
SHIRLEY: But does each individual thing present a picture. In other words in Chinese, you may have one thing, but it means a whole sentence.
THORSTEINN: No, it is a letter in the same sense as Roman letters. And I forgot to tell you one thing from Sveinbjörn that he insisted upon or he stressed that the runes are not only the composing of words like we read in newspapers today or in the books today, but each letter had much more meaning than it has now. And the divinities that were linked to the names of the runes were more important. Also, when you are composing a poem or a runic inscription. And it is true what you asked about. The runes are found not only in Iceland, but least of them in Iceland, paradoxically, they were very much in Scandinavia and in all countries where the Norse, Swedes, and the Danes went in the Viking Age. And they are also mentioned in Iceland but not until later. But it is quite certain that the same practice was also in Iceland.
SHIRLEY: Thank you for that. Because I was not a good chair person, I neglected to ask yet about the song. The poem. And I think that is what we had better do now ... You sang a song the last time we met, and I did not get an explanation of those verses. So therefore I would like to try to get an explanation now.
SVEINBJÖRN: The verses are about the runes. The runes are a medium between the human and the divine. And they are a kind of key to the force that fills everything. And people connected everyone with the divinities. The runes helped to find harmony in things. How we collect wisdom and knowledge and how we distribute it again from us.
SHIRLEY: And that is what the verses are all about? That is the overall gist of what the verses are about?
SHIRLEY: Sveinbjörn, a friend in the United States, Thor Sannhet is asking some questions. He is a friend of mine. He has some questions he would like to ask you, and since I can not ask you personally, I have to ask Thorsteinn to reinterpret Thor Sannhet's [written] questions to you. First he will give them in English. Read it [from Sannhet's letter]. Then give it to you in Icelandic.
THORSTEINN: What is your view of the Nyall philosophy as compared to basing Asatru theology more on interpretations of the Icelandic sagas and folklore? Did you ever know Dr. Pjeturss personally? What effect has his work had on your life?
SVEINBJÖRN: The theory of Dr. Helgi can be used both to acquire parts of knowledge and also to understand wholly the subject of religion and belief in many respects. What Dr. Helgi talks about life in other solar systems. He sees this as a prolongation of an older tradition as in olden times. He says people had knowledge of these other planets although in a different form. But a much, much closer connection with them than we have now. They were distanced from this knowledge and this view, for a longtime and should be taken up again. I saw Dr. Helgi in Reykjavik but did not get personally acquainted to him. The teaching and the works of Dr. Helgi did much good and also helped me when I came to this crisis of taking a new course. It was a great help to have access to Dr. Helgi. He helped me to unloose the ties with the church without attacking it. He was more secure or more safe or more strong than many others who went into the dark when they were living this.
SHIRLEY : You had another question by Thor Sannhet.
THORSTEINN: Thor Sannhet asks: Several members of the Icelandic Society in New York have told me about the famous incident in Iceland in which a couple got married on the spur of the moment in Asatru, and later one of the spouses tried to annul the marriage, but was prohibited by the high court from circumventing the average channels, because of the legality of the Asatru ceremony. Could you elaborate on the details of this incident? [Author's Note: According to the verbal account given to Thor Sannhet, the couple claimed that they got married the first night that they ever met each other in a pub after getting drunk. They decided to approach an Asatru Godi, thinking that Asatru is not an officially recognized religion and that the ceremony would be nothing more than some kind of "far out" mock event similar to a spin-the-bottIe game at a wild teenage party. The next thing they knew, their names were entered into the official state records of Iceland as being legally married. The event made a big splash in the Icelandic newspapers].


Sveinbjörn conducts an Asatru wedding ceremony at Neskaupsstað.
(From Allsherjargoðinn)


SVEINBJÖRN: There is nothing special to this except that it was not the high court. It was only high officials who said that since this was a legal ceremony, then the people if they did not want to be a married couple, they would have to go through the usual divorce channels. And that was done in this particular case.
THORSTEINN: What is your view of runic divination, Galdr, and Seidr magic? Have you ever been involved in such magical practices as "sending"? These kinds of practices are described by Freya Aswynn in Vor Tru [Author's Note: provided in the Spring 1993 issue]. Have you ever belonged to any magical orders such as the OTO or Rosicrucians that Freya Aswynn describes? Do you have Wicca or other pagan groups in Iceland, and if so, what has been your relationship with such groups?
SHIRLEY: Do you want to break them down so that you are not asking so many questions at once?
THORSTEINN: What is your opinion of runic divination, Galdr and Seidr?
SVEINBJÖRN: All of these are attempts to obtain an energy and wisdom from the sources. And I am not very much into practicing this. But I think we should read the whole thing in context. [THORSTEINN exchanges dialog with SVEINBJÖRN in Icelandic] .
SVEINBJÖRN: The central matter for me in this respect is the poetry. Making poetry. And around this, around Galdr, Seidr, and runes, it helps to produce the poem that has the most energy, and I think also the music that was used while singing the poetry. And so the efforts could be made. Both the knowledge gained and the effect made.


According to Wikipedia "Sveinbjörn is regarded with much respect and affection amongst Ásatrú. Not only was he a well known rímur singer, or kvæðamaður, in Iceland, he also gained an audience and followers in Europe and North America. He sometimes performed at rock concerts and is the opening act in the film Rokk í Reykjavík, directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson. Sveinbjörn can be heard singing on the bootleg album "Ragnarok (A New Beginning)" by Burzum, on the last track of the album entitled "Havamal". Sveinbjörn can be heard performing Ásatrú marriage rites for Genesis and Paula P-Orridge (now Alaura O'Dell) on Psychic TV's LP Live in Reykjavik and on the double LP entitled Those who do not." In photo at right, Sveinbjörn is walking alongside Swedish friend Turi Claus. (From Allsherjargoðinn)


THORSTEINN: We are also asking about if you have been inside any magical societies like OTO [Order of the Temple of Orientalis] or the Rosicrucians or Wiccas or other such societies of heathens and pagans in Iceland and if so, what kinds of connections you have with such societies?
SVEINBJÖRN: I have never been inside any heathen society except Asatru. I have no knowledge of such societies being practiced or established in Iceland. The only thing I can say about that is that I have met with individual persons who have been studying and speculating in such matters.
THORSTEINN: What is your view of ghosts, elves, and land spirits? Have you ever communicated with he dead? Have you had telepathic experiences? Have you ever attended a Spiritualist seance? Have you ever engaged in any Shamanic rites of passage, mind-traveling, or "out-of-body" experiences?
SHIRLEY: That is a lot of questions, can we take them one at a time?
SVEINBJÖRN: I am very much acquainted with all these ideas that are mentioned here. Concerning ghosts, elves, and land spirits, they are connected to certain places but they may have their existence elsewhere, and the people sense something of this in the particular places. I have been in seances. I am rather indifferent to their importance. But I have no intention to cast anything negative on them. They are not very important to me. I have experienced some things from deceased persons, apart from that, I have ... [Thorsteinn turns to Sveinbjörn and conducts a short dialog in Icelandic] ... And I know telepathy very well.
THORSTEINN: What kind of relationships have you experienced with Christian ministers? Have you been in many ceremonies in which you have officiated alongside them in Iceland? Can you foresee a Christian or Unitarian church in Iceland ever allowing an Asatru service to be held inside it as part of some kind of collaborative or ecumenical program to "dialog" with heathen religion? What kind of state-sanctioned support does the Icelandic Government now provide Asatru and to specific Asatru Godi now that it is an officially recognized religion? Have you experienced many hostile attacks from Christian ministers or organizations or from any other religious groups?
SVEINBJÖRN: Communication or intercourse with Christian ministers have on the whole been good, and only in the beginning there was some kind of concern from the priests against this. I have not taken part in many offices or ceremonies with Lutheran priests, but it has happened. But if there was being spoken of a common ceremony, openly, I would certainly do that on an equality basis, but not as an extra person, in some corner. There is no office separate to us. The state collects a religions tax for us as with all the other sects. There have been very little attacks on this movement, and I hope that it continues to be so.
THORSTEINN: In the process of performing blots, weddings, funerals, baptisms, and other rites of passage or religious ceremonies, have you come across any revelations from the Gods or suggestions for how we can improve rituals for our own use in America? asks Thor Sannhet. What kinds of religious observances do you go through in your daily life? How do you explain possible supernatural interventions in your daily life?
SVEINBJÖRN: We did not have very much to build on about how a blot was conducted. There are some in the old texts and we tried to use them as far as possible. I am convinced that I have been guided a little in filling up between points that are found in the texts. I have been taught somehow how to select from the various sources, the right paths. In daily life I am not lying on my knees praying every day, but I often think of the higher might and how I should solve the problems and help in the things that need to be helped. I feel that it often does me good to do so. But it is not in a very formal way. It is rather a thought about this and I put my trust in [it], in this respect.
THORSTEINN: Do you agree with Dagur Thorleifsson [described as a journalist and Icelandic Asatru ideologue in the previously mentioned 1973 Icelandic Review article "Pagan Gods Resurrected"] that Tyr should be emphasized in the pantheon over Odin? Do you view the Gods as archetypes? As a poetic window for imperfect humans to relate to ultimate meaning? Or do you see them as literal beings with literal bodies in some other solar system?
SVEINBJÖRN: It is not of great importance for me whether the highest God has the name of Tyr or Odin, but personally Thor comes first into my mind, when the Gods are concerned. About the existence and the place, location of the Gods, first of all, this is reality and they can be on other planets, but if I could say everything about the Gods, everything completely, they would not be Gods. It is only a part, a very little part of them that we sense, and this sensation is often blended with human thought and so the proportion is still less. But I find that the best place for them are the blots in the universe, and then next comes the sensation and the perception of the messages that these higher beings transmit to us.
THORSTEINN: What kind of advice would you give to Americans who are new to Asatru to develop in their faith and sense of Asatru community? Has anyone ever translated for you the works of Steve McNallen [available through World Tree Publications, P.O. Box 961, Payson, AZ 85547]. His works include "Why Asatru?," "What is Asatru?," "The Values of Asatru," and "The Lessons of Asgard." Are you familiar with any of the three volumes titled "The Rituals of Asatru" that are published by World Tree Publications/Asatru Alliance?
SVEINBJÖRN: It is difficult to give advice to others who are far away. First off is to have all foundations closely thought out and not to hasten too much with things. Be careful and cautious in the beginning and to avoid all kinds of fallacies or extremes in these matters. Be sensible and be reflective. Regrettably, I am not acquainted with the works of Steve McNallen.
SHIRLEY: So, are there any questions that you think should be asked of Sveinbjörn that you think Thor would be interested in? [THORSTEINN and SVEINBJÖRN conduct a dialog in Icelandic].
THORSTEINN: I asked Sveinbjörn if he believes that heathendom or Asatru was important in the life on Greenland before Christianity. He answered that it was only sixteen years and he hasn't found anything that points to special development of Asatru in that country. [THORSTEINN and SVEINBJÖRN conduct a dialog in Icelandic]
THORSTEINN: I asked Sveinbjörn what he thinks of the expression of "Ari Frodi" when Christendom came to Greenland. He called the priest a "Skemann" which is the same word as a "shaman" in international vocabulary. He says that an olden heathen chieftain like Eirik Raudr [Eirik the Red] would not have been impressed by the first Christian priest and Sveinbjörn thinks that this first christian priest in Greenland was a rather ridiculous person.
SHIRLEY: I have a question. What is the significance of wearing a Thor's hammer?
SVEINBJÖRN: I am not certain about the original meaning of the swastika, but I tend to put it in connection with the sun cross in which parts of it have been deleted from the picture. And then comes this special sign. [THORSTEINN and SVEINBJÖRN conduct a dialog in Icelandic].
SVEINBJÖRN: This is of no great importance to me, but I think that it is a help and remind of the religion or the faith in a way that is done in many, many religions. These small things are a daily help to bind the thought when worshiping or thinking of the Gods. It is a help, a thought, and that is the main importance of these small little things .
SHIRLEY: When I see the little picture of Thor sitting on a chair, this new thing that they have in all the souvenir stores, he has something in his mouth. I don't know what that is. When one buys something like that, do we assume that they have no connection with Asatru? Do we assume that this little Thor God is just an artifact like finding a stone from ancient times of a religion that means nothing to you? Do you think this is just a souvenir, or do you think that maybe this person really has some insight into something else?
THORSTEINN: Are you thinking of the manufacturers?
SHIRLEY: No, I am thinking of people who buy these and have them in their homes. They may be just a conversation piece, then too if you see somewhere someone wearing a Thor's hammer, do you assume that they are Asatru? You know?
SVEINBJÖRN: Apart from the commercial [aspect] and such things, I take it that if somebody has a statue of Thor in his house, you can be almost certain that, he does not dislike Thor very much and he is declaring some sympathy to the Asatru by keeping these things in the house.
SHIRLEY: I am not quite sure of what you just said. Just because they have them in their house, means it is possible that they may have some leanings towards an understanding of the Gods or some feeling of connection with them?
THORSTEINN: It was drawing a line between the commercial side of it, which means nothing, but it is vain in that respect, but once it is in the possession of a person it depends on how he places it, and if he puts in a respectable place, and everybody can see that this is accepted in the sitting room. And others who visit can say that this person is kind of sympathetic towards this faith.
SHIRLEY: And the Thor's Hammers?
THORSTEINN: The same thing.
SHIRLEY: Because many people who I have met who I do not speak to about Asatru, have a Thor's hammer on their person. And feel as though it is the true Nordic connection, more so than any other connection. Rather than wearing a cross, shall I say. [THORSTEINN and SVEINBJÖRN conduct a dialog, which ends with SVEINBJÖRN laughing, and which causes THORSTEINN and SHIRLEY to laugh as well].
SHIRLEY: I did not understand what he said, but it was the way that he said it.
SVEINBJÖRN: If you have these artifacts on you, or show them in your house, it means that you are approaching us a little. And it could be said in the same time in the same way as previously in the 10th century, a heathen who came to a Christian country and got the prima signatio ["prime sign"] the first introduction to Christianity. And so these artifacts might serve us as a first introduction to Asatru, although it has not been completely adopted. [Thorsteinn and Shirley laugh].
SHIRLEY: Well, I think that through the messages that we have received from both of you here that maybe these connections with Asatru may be firmed, shall I say, and more exploration and of course dialog is the important part of Asatru, the exploration , the discovery and the reaching out of all these different questions are what is important and the essence from what I can understand of Asatru. [THORSTEINN and SVEINBJÖRN conduct a dialog in Icelandic].
THORSTEINN: Yes. We are finished.
SHIRLEY: Well, I can say from Thor Sannhet, and myself, Shirley Keller, I thank you both so very much for your time. I think that it will prove the bread for us to chew on for many hours, and I really appreciate your time. A real pleasure. And Sveinbjörn, mange takk ["many thanks" in modern Norwegian], tusen takk ["thousand thanks" in Norwegian], or whatever you say in Icelandic.


The Works of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson


Gomlu login (a book of rimur) - 1945

Bragfraedi og Hattatal (a text book and cassette about rimur and Eddic verses) - 1953

Reidljod (a book of his own rimur) - 1957

Heidin (a book of his personal poems) - 1984

Bragskogar - 1989

Allsherjargodinn (an Icelandic biography about Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson) - 1992


Vandkvaed - 1957

Current 93 present Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson 'EDDA'
(a re-release of Sveinbjörn reading from the Edda and some of his own rimur) - 1991



[From Atlantica & Iceland Review issue no. 1-2. 1974]



Postscript by Thor Sannhet (William B. Fox)

The following is an account of Sveinbjörn' s death and his funeral sent to me by Thorsteinn Guðjónsson as the memorial issue number 27 of Huginn and Muninn:

The tidings of death came to us quite unwarranted; we had had not the slightest premonition. Our last telephone talk with him was on the 18th of December, a long and interesting one, in the conventional way. And we were about to wish him Happy Yule as usual, and already sent him our Yule card; little did we suspect that we would not see or hear him any more in this life. He gave a talk at an Asatru-arranged cultural Malthing on Dec. 19th, in Reykjavik, but we were not there (for family reasons), and on the 22nd we heard of him on a short visit in Reykjavik. And then suddenly, came this unwelcome, unwarranted stroke of Fate: Early on the 25th of December a neighbor felt that it was exceptionally still next door, alarmed a doctor, who came and found that Sveinbjörn had died late on the 24th. This happened at his home in Hlidarbaer 4, Hvalfjardarstrond, on the eve of Yule.
We called his sister who lives in Reykjavik, and she told us that it was a heart attack and indeed he had told her of some ill-feelings in his body a few days ago - which was not customary, since Sveinbjörn very seldom spoke about his health. We learned from some Asatru members that Sveinbjörn had been discontent with some developments within the Asatru groups in Reykjavik, and that he declared in a short interview on one radio station in Reykjavik that he would like to reconstruct the whole Asatru organization in Iceland. But he did not live to accomplish it.

The Joint Asatru-Lutheran Funeral at Akranes-Saurbae at 2-3 :30 PM:

Sveinbjörn had decided that his body should be earthed side by side with his sisters and brothers, and parents in the Lutheran churchyard at Saurbaer. His reasons for this were certainly no "taint" from Lutheranism, but simple adherence to the old Havamal maxim, that the family relations of the dead shall be kept in honor by survivors.

"bautasteinar-standa-t brautu naer,
-nema reisi nidr at nid."

But now the problem was how to arrange this with the priest. An Asatru member, who temporarily took over the offices of Sveinbjörn at this death, managed this problem very well, and came to a good compromise with Sera Jon Einarsson of Saurbaer. The funeral ceremony - with an attendance of about 250 people, in the ice-cold but clear and beautiful weather of January 6th, at places 35 kilometers apart, and lying 90-125 kilometer, from Reykjavik, was in outline so conducted:
The music consisted almost exclusively of the bright, optimistic genre of aettjardarlog, (patriotic, idyllic melodies) which were loved by everybody until very lately, and indeed, still are being loved, even by the young.
Some songs were conducted by a choir of young girls and ladies, from Sveinbjörn's neighborhood. A group of young women bore the chest with Sveinbjörn's bodily remains, and from the ceremonial saloon to the likvagn, while at Saurbae neighboring farmers carried it to the grave.
The talks were given by Sera Jon Einarsson - and special credence to him for including very little ecclesiastical self-assertion and - indeed - no Bible references in his speech - and by the Asatru representative, who recited from the Edda some verse that were known to be specially cherished by Sveinbjörn.

The funeral feast at Hladir -(3 :30-6: 00 PM).

Over 150 people attended also at the funeral feast, where refreshments were offered without charge, of course, in the traditional rural way of Iceland. Along with the nourishments, the schedule of items went on:
The art of Rimur-singing (special Icelandic folk songs and melody, one of the main interests of Sveinbjörn), was undertaken by members from the Kvaedamannafelag -an excellent performance, led by our old acquaintance Sigurdur Sigurdsson, now the Veterinary General of Iceland. The Kvaedamenn even offered Drapas (long poems of the old style) at the funeral feast at Hladir, afterwards, where the 150 remaining attendants were received with great hospitality by the relatives of Sveinbjörn.
Some Kvaedamenn even held memorial addresses. And a number of merry "single strophes" were composed at the feast or brought to it, some of them saying that the champion has been received in the abodes of the Aesir. Other were pronounced - within the frame of meter - "I odins nafni" - in the name of Odinn. Readers be aware that the men composing such verses were registered Lutherans. But as soon as they begin to compose verses, they turn into Asatruar - and Odins-menn. From this can much be learnt about how Asatru survived in Iceland, in its unique way, from 1000-1973 CE. The Asatru was so to speak preserved within poetry. The importance of the Skaldic tradition in Iceland is often underrated.
The "Wood-Cultivation Society" in Sveinbjörn's area, had representatives at the funeral who delivered addresses and expressed thanks for the services rendered by him sooner and later. They delivered verses, too.
The Young People's Association (primarily a patriotic union), paid honor to Sveinbjörn with a speech held by its young representative.
The family members of Sveinbjörn who represented at the funeral were in first instance his two sons: Einar Sveinbjornsson, living at Egilstadir with his wife and daughter, and Georg Petur Sveinbjornsson, sailor, living in Reykjavik. And there were his two surviving sisters: Bjorg, living in Reykjavik, and Sigridur, who lives at Havarsstadir, and whose husband, Jon Magnusson of Havarsstadir, invited the attendants to the feast in Hladir."
On the whole this was a particularly well conducted funeral, with an air of beauty --as well as of vigor and well-being -- over it all the time.

Memorial Articles and Media Comments:

Already on the 26th Dec Iceland's State Radio reported the death of Allsherjargodi in a decent fashion. So did also both TV stations of Iceland. On the date of the funeral or close to it most memorials were published in the newspapers. There are already 15-20 of them, from all kinds of people. Most of the articles appeared in the Morgunbladid newspaper, but one of the best was that of a columnist at Timinn newspaper who "combined his eulogy over Sveinbjörn (with one of the finest photos of him) with criticism of modern mediocrity and identity devouring trends...
[Author's Note: In closing his account, Thorsteinn Guðjónsson provided the biographical information on Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson which was included at the beginning of this article. Guðjónsson also discussed his seance communication with Sveinbjörn 17 days after Beinteinsson's death. Readers who are interested in these Nyall philosophy-related writings should contact Thorsteinn Guðjónsson, editor, Huginn & Muninn, P.O. Box 1159, Reykjavik, Iceland (Editor's Jan 2009 Note: Thorsteinn Guðjónsson is now deceased along with his publication Huginn & Muninn)].


I called Thorsteinn Guðjónsson long distance on February 26th to get the latest word. It turned out that just that day he had returned from an Asatru meeting where a major topic of discussion was finding a way to vote on Sveinbjörn' s successor. As mentioned, Jörmundur Ingi is currently the interim Allsherjargodi, however, beyond this Thorsteinn said that the situation is confused. Everyone understands that an AllsheIjargodi can be impeached, but certain ground rules such as the term of office of a director of a religious body for Asatru have not been established.
In Iceland, as in other Scandinavian countries, the state provides financial support to the director of a religious body. Since Asatru has an "official" status in Iceland, many Asatru people see no reason to throw away the chance to collect financial support by not having a director. Hence, this creates a primary motivation to elevate a godi to an Allsherjargodi status to fill the director niche. In this case, for those who would ask, "Why even bother to have an Allsherjargodi at all?" one might respond that economics leads and hierarchy and politics follow.
Thorsteinn Guðjónsson pointed out that Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson had such a perfect fit as a leader during the fragile start up era that no one doubted his legitimacy as the Allsherjargodi or wanted to see him replaced. However, among the current group of gothar in Iceland, the choice of a successor is now a matter of great controversy and debate. The four godis consist of Jörmundur Ingi, Reynir Hardar, Jon Thor Haraldson, and GeorgPetur Sveinbjornsson. The latter individual, who was recently elevated to a godi status, is the son of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson.
Jörmundur Ingi has worked as a waiter in Reykjavik. Ido not know much else about him. He has not yet responded to a letter that I sent to him a month ago, therefore I do not know enough about him to confirm or deny hearsay regarding his background and political views.
Reynir Hardar, according to Thorsteinn Guðjónsson, is a psychologist who declared on television that he has no belief in the Aesir, and who is atheistic or agnostic.
Georg Pjetur Sveinbjornsson, according to Thorsteinn, was not mentioned during the February 26th meeting of Icelandic Asatruar as a possible successor, even though he was present at the meeting. Only Jörmundur Ingi and Reynir Hardar were discussed as possible replacements for Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson. Interestingly enough, Georg Pjetur' s recent elevation to a status of godi made the news on a major Icelandic radio station.
Jon Thor Haraldson, according to Thorsteinn, is also not a contender. He used to write a column for a newspaper and has worked as a historian.
A detailed analysis of the unfolding succession crisis, and an in-depth look at the major personalities involved, will have to wait for a future article. Suffice it to say here that since Asatru is not based on dogma or autocracy, the current debate over how the church government should evolve is both healthy and timely. That the leadership vacuum left by Sveinbjörn is so sorely felt, and that the Asatru movement in Iceland, which started from almost nothing, has grown to the point that the passing of its primary leader and its succession problems now grab major media attention - all of this is a testament to the greatness of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson and his contribution to our movement.

Sveinbjörn in 1990 (From Allsherjargoðinn)



Ode To Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson

by Kirby Wise from Hammersong II
Songs for Norse Heathens © World Tree Publications
transcribed by Oak Valgardsson Thorgeir

This song is in honor of the father of modern-day Asatru,
örn Beinteinsson of Iceland, the man who had courage to
have it reestablished as an official religion in Iceland.
Hail Sveinbj

Oh gather 'round and listen to my story,
I will tell you of a distant land,
Where our kinsmen speak of the glory,
And tell of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson.

In a time when the old gods where forgotten,
No one cared to raise a helping hand,
There came forth a hero of our religion,
And his name was Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson.

He had declared that the old gods where not forgotten,
And raised a horn and toasted Asatru.
And he brought back the memory of a nation,
So I tell of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson.

Come my kin can't you hear the horn 'a blowing?
Can't you feel the Norse blood in your veins?
Our ships a sail and the rainbow there is glowing,
I give a toast to Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson.

Oh gather 'round and listen to my story,
I will tell you of a distant land,
Where our kinsmen speak of the glory,
And they tell of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson ...
And they tell of Sveinbjöm Beinteinsson.



Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson standing before a Thor figure in August of 1973 while presiding over "the first official outdoor blot held in Iceland since the year 1000." Photo from the article "Pagan Gods Resurrected" Atlantica & Iceland Review issue No. 1-2. 1974


* * * * * * *

William B. Fox is a former Marine Corps officer with experience in logistics, public affairs, and military intelligence. He is an honors graduate of the Harvard Business School and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Southern California. He is also publisher of America First Books at


Update References:

2011-01-17 Interview with Jóhanna G. Harðardóttir of the Ásatrúarfélagið, Part One, by Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried; Part Two, Part Three.

Interview with Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson lead by Gisela Graichen and taken from the book Die Neuen Hexen (The New Witches) by G. Graichen and translated by the Seiðman.
Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson Wikipedia article
Ásatrúarfélagið (Wikipedia article) "(Icelandic: The Ásatrú Association) is an Icelandic neopagan religious organization with the purpose of promoting and continuing a revived form of Norse paganism. It was founded on the First Day of Summer, 1972, and granted recognition as a registered religious organization in 1973, allowing it to conduct legally binding ceremonies and collect a share of the church tax...."



"Other Religious Articles Section"
from the author archive of William B. Fox

Shinto shrine still standing after the atomic blast at Nagasaki, symbolic of the religious, cultural, and ethnic strength and cohesion that will enable Japan to rise from the ashes and resume its position as a leading technological and industrial power in the world. Japanese leaders were very wise to retain and modernize their indigenous tribal religion rather than jettison it in favor of alien, univeralistic Jewish Christianity, and thereby avoid the tragedy that befell their European counterparts beginning in the Middle Ages.


This photograph by Martin Fackler for his March 19, 2007 New York Times article "Renewed Interest in Japanese Who Died in Epic Battle" had the caption: "Yoshitaka Shindo, grandson of the Japanese commander on Iwo Jima, during the March 14 commemoration of the battle." This event included the Japanese practice of pouring water over the memorial stone to cleanse it, which has Shinto roots. Other news reports have described Shinto priests returning to the island to perform ceremonies. Iwo Jima has been returned to Japan and now supports a Japanese Air Base. Below photo: An American approach to commemorating the battle where, in the words of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, "uncommon valor was a common virtue;" Ceremonial Marchers and Silent Drill Platoon of Marine Barracks Washington, Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial, 8 July 2008:


I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to have a truly effective nationalist movement without the preservation of ones very own indigenous tribal religion. After all, nationalism is ultimately based on the ethic that "charity begins at home" (as in "America First"get it?). If you do not have enough respect for the ancestors of your own people to preserve the most fundamental cultural, religious, racial, and ethnic components of their "folk soul," what is there to build on? Why would you feel particularly motivated to help build their economy and industrial base, safeguard their political rights, maintain national defense, and otherwise promote their popular sovereignty and long term prosperity?
This conclusion has come from a longstanding search for truth on many different levels, ranging from the theological to the political levels. (See, for example, our William Simpson home page, which links to his classic works One Man's Striving and Which Way Western Man? for an in-depth comparison of Christian theology with a naturalistic viewpoint). However, as an important political aggravation, many conservatives such as myself are extremely unhappy with the extreme leftism and anti-rationality of most Christian Churches. They have seriously undermined Western societies. For example, in the early 1990's the Dutch Reform Church supported Black Marxists against White South Africans, and helped convert South Africa from the most properous country in Africa into the wretched social, political, and economic basket case we see today. The early phases of the same deplorable long term trend seem to be taking place here in America. Most Christian churches in America support out of control Third World immigration into this country. This is literally displacing and replacing the white population, yet most Christian leaders never publicly defend dispossessed whites, despite the potentially very dangerous consequences. (See Civil War Two: The Coming Breakup of America by Tom Chittum). Deluded Christians attack American white nationalist leaders, while conversely supporting nonwhite leaders and Jewish supremacists in control of national media. The aforementioned Jewish supremacists, incidentally, support the continued Israeli genocide of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, the neo-Marxist cultural war continually being waged against white Americans, and the escalation of American military interventionism in the Middle East even if it leads to global Armageddon.
While I doubt that practitioners of an indigenous religion such as Asatru (described below) will ever become more than a minority within Christian American, I do believe that even as a minority they can eventually provide an effective counter weight to left wing, self-debasing, deluded Christians and megalomaniacal, subversive Zionist gangsters.
That having been said, I have found that rediscovering the indigenous ancestral faith of my own ancestors has been spiritually satisfying regardless of macro-political considerations. I would do it anyway even if I lived in a majority Asatru country without any serious social or political problems.
Admittedly, it takes some psychological adjustment to convert from Christianity (or related leftist philosophies such as secular humanism) to Asatru. I would compare it to reorienting ones shopping preferences in a grocery store. That is, switching from highly processed packaged foods high in fat and sugar and loaded with chemical preservatives to totally unpackaged and unprocessed fruits and vegetables without preservatives. Or to use a music analogy, trying to convert ones listening preferences from rap and punk rock to classical music. It takes a while to reorient ones taste buds and listening sensibilities. However, after one goes cold turkey and accomplishes the conversion, one wonders how one could get so habituated to such cheap junk in the first place.
Taking the junk food analogy a step further, Christianity promises to be everything to everybody up front. It claims to be the only road to personal "salvation," the sole guardian of civilization and morality, etc. However, the more one digs and analyzes, as former Christian minister William Gayley Simpson did in Which Way Western Man? the less one finds in fact, the contradictions and aftertastes becomes increasingly negative.
Conversely, reconstructing an indigenous Indo-European religion at first seems bland, almost like there is "nothing there." This is analogous to munching on a raw vegetable after you have become habituated to packaged, processed foods with lots of salt, fat, and artificial flavors. Nobody promises to "save" you or give you a free ride outside the natural order of things. For many people, it initially seems silly, if not pointless, to study ancient Norse, Celtic, Greco-Roman, and ancient Aryan early Hindu mythology if one takes it non-literally as "poetry to inform the soul." Yet amazingly enough, as one digs deeper and deeper into the inherited wisdom and "religious common law" of ones own ancestors from a rational, naturalistic viewpoint, everything begins to get increasingly weightier, more profound, and more meaningful.
Please see also my discussion of the natural religion concept in my commentary to question 23 "What is the preferable function of religion in a society?" in my "Have You Been Brainwashed?" quiz.

1995-03-01 Asatru and Ethics Part 2 Wrapping up the analysis about how three major ethical approaches moralistic, contractual, and utilitarian relate to each other, and their respective strengths and weaknesses.
1995-01-01 Asatru and Ethics Part 1 Why Asatruar have greater flexibility to make wise decisions compared to Semitic slave god religionists.
1993-06-01 Interview with Else Christensen, late publisher of The Odinist, just prior to the onset of tragedy. Dismissing the social, political, and religious ideas that she has dealt with because of her run-in with the law commits the fallacy of "poisoning the well," also known as ad hominem. In fact, one could go a step further. Whereas the leadership of Japan has been very wise by retaining their tribal, ancestral faith of Shinto, the leaders of most northern European countries in the Middle Ages were very unwise to try to viciously purge their own tribal, ancestral faiths in favor of Jewish Christianity rather than to seek to modernize and adapt their own native religions to maintain national cohesion, identity, and solidarity.
1993-03-01 Interview with Freya Aswynn, author of Leaves of Yggdrasil. A psychic self-mobilized priestess of Odin with a strong background in occult symbology, this fascinating Dutch lady based in the UK has been in a class of her own.
1993-01-01 Asatru; Questions and Answers A comparison between Asatru and the outstanding analysis provided by Dr. Hans Gunther in his must-read classic work The Religious Attitudes of the Indo-Europeans. "Asatru" is a "northern window" into an earlier proto-Indo-European religion, as evolved among ancient Nordic peoples. There are other sibling religions that evolved from the same proto-Indo-European ancestor and hence have strong philosophical similarities, such as the ancient Druidism of the Celts (the "western window"), the Greco-Roman religion of the heroic and classical Greek and Roman Republican eras (the "southern window"), and the very early Hinduism of the ancient Aryan invaders of the Indus Valley (the "eastern window").
1992-06-01 Eternal Asatru and Counterfeit Christianity Part 2. Tying important aspects of "Judeo-Christian" subversion together. Much like a foreign virus entering and taking over the nucleus of a healthy cell, "Judeo-Christianity" seeks to penetrate and displace healthy white tribal religions with alien Jewish tribal religious history and perverse leftist/universalistic values.
1992-03-01 Eternal Asatru and Counterfeit Christianity Part 1. Why "Judeo-Christianity" has often done more harm than good to our people and Western civilization. If this is not enough to convince you, please read Which Way Western Man? (now online) by former Christian minister William Gayley Simpson for the full-blown theological and sociological analysis,. (Please also consider Beyondism: Religion From Science by Dr. Raymond Cattell or the strong criticisms of Christianity made by Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, and other Enlightenment notables).
All of this criticism is particularly relevant for today, when America suffers from over 40 million deluded Christian Zionist fanatics plus a few million hard core neo-con Zionist crazies (not the least of whom are the High Priests of War who dragged us into the Iraq and Afghanistan disasters) who are now trying to drag America even further towards global Armageddon. Please scroll down to my discussion of the "The un-American, Naive, Zombie World of Christian Zionism" in my Rev Ted Pike archive.
By the way, if as a Christian you happen to think that I am "way too far out there" and "over the top," please consider as an alternative the criticisms of Christian Zionism made by Rev Ted Pike and his niece Harmony Grant, who unquestionably retain a firmly conservative Christian viewpoint.
1992-01-01 Asatru and Christianity; Similarities and Differences. A talk by William B. Fox and Oak Thorgeir before the Leif Erikson Society of New York.
1991-09-01 `Vinland Revisited' Revisits the Aesir ...Among many other things, I describe how I almost "witnessed" for Odin, Thor, and other Aesir to Norway's female Prime Minister when three replica Viking ships sent by Scandinavians arrived in Manhattan, and I showed up at a party as an Old Norse "re-enactor." Given the far left wing, pro-open borders, pro-New World Order policies of Gro Harlem Brundtland (the UN "Bundtland Commission" pushed "sustainable development" and "Agenda 21" -- please read "Sustainable Development, Agenda 21, and Prince Charles" by activist researcher Joan Veon and related articles listed by Dr. Eric Karlstrom at his web site "9/11 New World Order"), not to mention Bruntland's subsequent tenure as Director General from 1998 to 2003 of the highly sinister World Health Organization (WHO) -- please see my discussion of the suspected "Poison Dragon Lady" Director of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, in Chapter 36: "Swine Flu Biowar" of my Mission of Conscience Trilogy) -- Brundtland was clearly in need of some "special spiritual ministration." Too bad she boarded the Viking ship and quickly departed before I was able to get through to this tragically misguided front woman for evil Rothschild and Rockefeller globalist schemes.

Political Articles:

2010-09-03 Red Alert! Attack on the Coast, Climate, People, and Fishing Industry of Iceland by William B. Fox
2010-06-10 Reconciling Libertarianism and Nationalism To include thorny issues involved in reconciling anarcho-libertarianism with racial nationalism. A political issues overview web page that provides additional perspectives that help put Icelandic "libertarianism" in perspective.
2010-05-30 Iceland Gets `ENRONed," Then Goes for `1776' A paleoconservative country analysis.
Part I: Introduction and Overview
Part II:
Act I: The "Bagel Western:" The "Good" Go Astray, and the Ideological Degradation of Iceland's "Immune System"
Act II: Enter "The Bad" and "The Ugly;" Alien "Pathogens"
Infiltrate and Inflame Iceland

Act III: Icelanders Leap Into Global Financial "Berserkerdom-Chutzpah"and "Zombie March" into an Icelandic Financial Version of "Stalingrad II"
Act IV: The City of London "Pulls the Trigger" On Iceland, While the U.S. Financiers Ignore Iceland and Rescue the "Better Connected"
Act V: Developing a Viable "Work Out" Strategy: As the City of London, IMF, EU, and Other Sharks Circle Closer
Act VI: Thinking Outside the Box: Populist Revolt, Female Prime Minister, Referendum, Modern Media Initiative...Global Activism?
Part III: Are Icelanders victims of high level subversion? A "False Flag" Analysis
Part IV: What nationalist principles might have defended Icelanders?
Part V: What can we do?
Part VI: References and Appendices
2009-02 Religious Crisis Web Page. An overview of important perspectives related to Christianity, "paganism," and other approaches to religion.
2009-05 Chapter 5 Profiling the Opposing Forces Commander, “Circle B,” and His Kosher Handlers, “Circle Z” of the Mission of Conscience series. Provides insights into the kinds of globalist enemies who seek to destroy the ethnic, cultural, religious, and national self-determination (sovereignty) of the Icelandic people as well as all other racial and ethnic groups around the world -- destroy that is, for all groups except for their own group, in which case they flip flop 180 degrees and are somewhere to the right of Ghengis Khan and Hitler's S.S. Not only are they vastly more tribal than Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson --who practiced a healthy form of nationalist tribalism -- but they practice a particularly mutated, perverted, psychopathic, and criminal form of international mafia-gangster tribalism that sadistically enjoys ruthlessly exploiting financial systems, enslaving humanity, and wrecking the natural environment (as a major example of the latter, please see my summary page The BP-Gulf Catastrophe As a False Flag Operation). It takes healthy forms of "folk" tribalism to stand up to criminal forms of tribalism and tyranny. Please also see question13 "Does ethnic solidarity matter in the defense of liberty?" in my online "Have You Been Brainwashed?"
2009-06 Chapter 25: The Kennebunkport Warning and the B-52 Loose Nukes”Push-Back” from the
Mission of Conscience series. I describe how I became interested in the indigenous religion concept after working on documentary about native Hawaiian cultural survival issues and having contact with American Indian activists. The embedded music video Hawai'i 78 by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole has the Hawaii State Motto: "Ua Mau ke Ea o ka 'Aina i ka Pono o Hawai'i" ["The life of the land is preserved in righteousness"] which has a haunting resonance from the way he simultaneously sings and chants this phrase, much like the way Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson delivered lines from the Havamal and other Old Norse works.


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