I, [[Freya Aswynn]] was born in Holland in November 1949 to a strict, Roman Catholic family. As a child I displayed natural psychic abilities, and this, combined with my reactions to a hostile family environment and subjected to serious physical, mental as well as some sexual abuse, which was not recognized by the system as it was then, prompted the official diagnosis that I was maladjusted'.
Entrusted to the so-called 'care' system, I was institutionalized for nine years. From the age of ten to the age of nineteen . My intelligence, combined with a capacity for aggressive self-assertion, allowed me to emerge from this ordeal more or less psychologically unscathed at the age of 19. Deprived of any secondary education, I resorted to taking on cleaning work, until I met and married my first husband, George.
Somewhat older in years, George introduced me to the basics of philosophy (particularly the works of Friedrich Nietzsche) and classical music, predominantly Richard Wagner. He also was the first person who ever spoke to me about the esoteric nature of the runes. Sadly, after two years of marriage, George died of cancer; but he left me with a pension that, for the first time, gave me a measure of financial independence.
Determined now to make good my lack of learning, I taught myself English and German by means of books and tapes.
At the same time, I took an interest in the development of my long-suppressed psychic gifts. I received my first paranormal training in a spiritualist environ-ment, and from there progressed to the study of Rosicrucianism, Astrology, Cabbala and Thelema. At the age of 30, I felt unable to progress further in Holland and left for England, where I was soon recognized by prominent magicians and witches as a natural.
With their help and training, I was initiated into the mysteries and made rapid progress as a ritual magician and High Priestess.
I was initiated into Wicca by Jim Bennet under the supervision of Alex Sanders in 1980, I then in April that year got involved with a Gardnerian coven and from there formed my own coven with the High Priest Lionel Hornby. This coven was active for a number of years.
The next major turning point for me was a life-changing spiritual and magical experience: an intense, spontaneous invocation of the God Woden. I took this to be a calling to open up the Northern pathway, which until then, was virtually non-existent within the occult community.
I embarked on an intensive study of the runes and began work on my first book, "Leaves of Yggdrasil" (revised and updated in 1998 under the title, "Northern Mysteries and Magick") Within Pagan circles, this initiative was at first viewed with scepticism and suspicion as to whether I had a covert political agenda (which at that time was often the case with some Odinists).
I soon overcame these perceptions and won the respect and affection of the majority of the Pagan and occult community.
Over the last 14 years I have been extensively involved with lecturing and giving talks all over the world. It was my great fortune to become acquainted with ‘Hrafnar', a women's Asatru group where I was taught Seidhr or Spea craft. I have may loving friends in the US.
On a social level, realizing that I was not suited to living in a normal nuclear family, I became actively involved in 1981 with a community of which I was a founding member and ran for a number of years as Managing Director, together with my partner Lionel Hornby and a good friend, a well known pagan-friendly Jewish feminist-activist and a supporter of gay and bisexual rights.
In 1993 I decided to choose a celibate path, for my own spiritual reasons.
After Lionel's death in 1994, I sold the house and with my share I bought a large farmhouse in Scotland in 1996.
I founded another community named "Gladsheim". initially rather unsuccessful due to errors of judgment leading to me being ripped off, I soon pulled it around with the help of friends within the Scottish Pagan community, and as of now (1998/1999) Gladsheim is on the road to success once more. Gladsheim is open to contributing visitors by prior arrangement, however no bums, freeloaders or druggies, I have had enough of them.
in 1993 I had started up a UK branch of the Ring of Troth, originally an American organization founded by Edred Thorsson and James Chisholm. The UK branch soon attracted members in other European countries and, re-named the Ring of Troth Europe, rapidly became a successful and progressive Northern Tradition group. Having led this organization as Steerswoman for a number of years, I recently stepped down from this role and other positions of power.
I now concentrate on teaching and guiding as an Elder in the Ring of Troth and am actively 'on call' to members for advice and counsel when required. I am in the process of setting up a facility for rune readings on the net, www.aswynn.co.uk I also run a correspondence course, which at present is being updated.
I have just completed another book ‘Principles of the Runes' in the popular series "principles of" published by Thorssons UK, this was a one-off contract and I am now back working for Llewellyn on the second volume of "Northern Mysteries"