Hearth and Field

Title: Hearth and Field: A Heathen Prayer Book
Publisher: Lulu.com
Author: Hester Butler-Ehle
Pages: 95 pp.
Price: $9.95 US/$8.00 CA
ISBN: 978-0-557-44557-8

This is a very straightforward and very useful book. Hester Butler-Ehle briefly introduces herself on the back cover as a heathen of somewhat Vanic leanings, who believes in a healthy mix of faith and reason. She presents us with more than ninety texts which will serve both as personal prayers, and as typical invocations in a sumble or blót, many of them beginning with “Hail ….”

The length is practical — neither too short nor too long, the prayers are often between ten and twenty lines. The font is fairly big, enabling easy recitation from the book at arm’s length or round the campfire. The softcover is easy to leaf through, and has a good feel. Each prayer’s title is the deity in question, and they are sorted by alphabet.

A broad span of Powers are included, some featured with more than one poem: Aegir, Balder, Bragi, Eir, Forseti, Frey, Freya, Frigga, her Handmaidens, Heimdall, Hella, Idunna, Jord, Nanna, Nerthus, Njord, Odin, Ostara, Ran, Sif, Skadhi, Sunna, Thor, Tyr, Ullr, Yule Morning & Yule Eve Prayer, and the Ancestors.

There is an extensive and fine use of alliteration throughout. Recital of the deity´s qualities, praise and thankfulness are prevalent. Some reflections and new insights complement these prayers.
At first read, one may note the absence of an introduction into the subject and a table of contents, but given the book’s practical approach, this is not really an issue. Available at Lulu.com, and for an extremely fair price, this is a wonderful supplement to any heathen’s library.

[Michaela Macha is Asatru. She runs Odin´s Gift, a collection of over 1.300 Norse mythology poems, songs, and MP3s. Her first album “Skaldenmet – Der Ruf der Götter” (The Call of the Gods) with German heathen folk rock is available from the Asatru Ring Frankfurt & Midgard, an international spiritual community of which she is co-founder.]


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