Scotland’s Ryan Smith’s writings have been found inside the articles of Patheos, God’s and Radicals, and TruthOut and he is the co-founder of Heathens United Against Racism. He has been heard in classrooms of a variety of aged youth, represented as a climate change activist, an anti-fascist and in support of the labor movement. He is a highly successful group leader and facilitator of rituals, groups and talks with over a decade of experience. Currently Smith is pursuing a PhD and has recently released his first book, The Way of Fire and Ice: The Living Tradition of Norse Paganism .

The Way of Fire and Ice gives individuals an all new all-inclusive approach to living a Norse pagan lifestyle relevant to the world we live in today. Smith does a great job of laying out what Fire and Ice tradition is and isn’t in the context of living this lifestyle and how one may choose to live their life under the umbrella of Norse paganism while still sitting their own rules and ethics.

Smith brilliantly breaks down the most basic and important parts of Norse history in relation to different traditions of the past, how they differed, and who they worshiped so that any beginner of Norse paganism could feel well versed in Norse history and confident in their knowledge of the practice they may wish to follow.  He offers this book as a full course guide to any person wishing to practice and live the Norse spirituality. He helps the reader find what that practice may look like to themselves personally, in their spirit and in their space.

Smith introduces the reader to the Norse gods, common and the uncommon, the runes and the importance they play in the practice. He shows readers how to incorporate these things into daily living. He also helps practitioners to decide rather a group setting, or a solitary practice is best for them and what that decision may lead them to in the future.

I would recommend The Way of Fire and Ice: The Living Tradition of Norse Paganism to all practitioners of paganism as an informational guide on different practices. I would recommend it as a reference book to great Norse paganism information for things such as correspondences for gods, runes, history and even for recommendations for further research into Norse paganism. However, most of all, this book is an invaluable resource every new practitioner or curious spectator of Norse paganism needs to read to help guide them on their future path with Norse spirituality.

~review by Keri Nichol

Author: Ryan Smith
Llewellyn Publications, 2019
p. 259, $18.99