Hunter, who has previously published essays, short stories, and books under the pen name of Mist, opens Embracing Heathenry with an admission: she was not born and raised Heathen. Not even close. Her path to Heathenry was not an easy one, and so here she offers object lessons, reminiscences, thoughtbites, and insights based on her own experiences to those new to the Northern Traditions. Call it Heathenry 1.5. If you have already read through introductory books like Diana Paxson’s Essential Asatru and Galina Krasskova’s Northern Tradition for the Solitary Practitioner, than Embracing Heathenry is a next, logical step.
The book is comprised of eleven chapters written in a fresh, conversational style. They cover everything from the different types of Heathens (scholar, naturalist, et cetera), to blot songs, to marriage rites, to artistic projects in honor of the Gods, to priesthood training, to the nature and importance of oaths, to prayers and hymns. I found the prayers particularly effecting. (I also find it odd that prayer seems to be a controversial subject in Heathenry, but that is a subject for another day.) If the introductory books out there explain what Heathenry is, than Embracing Heathenry shows one how to live the tradition.
My only real complaint is the number of typographical and grammatical errors which mar the text; I counted half a dozen in the first chapter alone. The book should have been more thoroughly edited before it went to press. Hopefully, these will be corrected if or when a second edition is released.
Recommended to anyone new to or curious about Heathenry.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of EHS.]