Norse Mythology - A Collection

Norse Mythology - A Collection

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Norse mythology, the stories of gods and heroes from in and around the Viking Age (c. 1100 CE) in northern Europe, has provided us with some of the most famous figures in world mythology. Here, in this collection, we look at such colourful characters as the wise and one-eyed war god Odin who calls warriors to the halls of Valhalla, red-eyed Thor with his giant thunder-making hammer, and Freyja, the fertility goddess who travels in a cat-drawn carriage. We also examine the literary sources of these stories, the cults of the various gods and consider the wider significance of these strange northern tales.

...archaeological evidence helps hint at personal devotion to specific gods people felt connected to, with accompanying customs and rituals being a standard part of everyday life.

Tips For Teachers & Educators

Mythology tends to be quite a popular topic among students as it appears quite a bit here and there in pop culture. It is usually easier to find ways to engage students than for some other subjects.

Here, the TV series Vikings will help you, as it is usually known (and liked!) by a fair amount of students.

A few things we want to point out, regarding this collection:

  • It is filled with varied material. Should you not use an extract of the TV series in your class, you will find below plenty of videos, audio articles (Norse Mythology, Odin, Loki, Thor...) and even an extract of the old English version of Beowulf! Or you could always play the “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin and have your students guess the topic of your class...
  • A classic but very interesting thing to do with the students: Give one article about a god per group (Odin, Thor, Freyr, and Freya, for example) and ask them to list every strength and weakness for each main character, psychological, and physical. After sharing their findings to the whole class, discuss which modern-day people could have their own myth and might be seen as a... god! As homework, students could write their own myth for you.
  • One assignment (or homework) that we always find interesting is when mythology is approached in a comparative manner. Depending on your programme, you could compare Norse mythology to Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, or even Armenian myths. The choice is vast!
  • Should you want to expand on Vikings to include famous figures, everyday life, warfare, ships and more, we have this other great collection which comes with plenty of teachers tips and some fantastic STEM activity recommendations.

Enjoy your teaching!

Norse mythology

Norse mythology, or Scandinavian mythology, is the body of mythology of the North Germanic people stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period. The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition.

Numerous gods are mentioned in the source texts such as the hammer-wielding, humanity-protecting god Thor, who relentlessly pursues his foes the one-eyed, raven-flanked god Odin, who craftily pursues knowledge throughout the worlds and bestowed among humanity the runic alphabet the beautiful, seiðr-working, feathered cloak-clad goddess Freyja who rides to battle to choose among the slain the vengeful, skiing goddess Skaði, who prefers the wolf howls of the winter mountains to the seashore the powerful god Njörðr, who may calm both sea and fire and grant wealth and land the god Freyr, whose weather and farming associations bring peace and pleasure to humanity the goddess Iðunn, who keeps apples that grant eternal youthfulness the mysterious god Heimdallr, who is born of nine mothers, can hear grass grow, has gold teeth, and possesses a resounding horn the jötunn Loki, who brings tragedy to the gods by engineering the death of the goddess Frigg's beautiful son Baldr and numerous other deities.

Most of the surviving mythology centers on the plights of the gods and their interaction with various other beings, such as humanity and the jötnar, beings who may be friends, lovers, foes and/or family members of the gods. The cosmos in Norse mythology consist of Nine Worlds that flank a central cosmological tree, Yggdrasil. Units of time and elements of the cosmology are personified as deities or beings. Various forms of a creation myth are recounted, where the world is created from the flesh of the primordial being Ymir, and the first two humans are Ask and Embla. These worlds are foretold to be reborn after the events of Ragnarök, when an immense battle occurs between the gods and their enemies, and the world is enveloped in flames, only to be reborn anew. There the surviving gods will meet, and the land will be fertile and green, and two humans will repopulate the world.

Norse mythology has been the subject of scholarly discourse since the 17th century, when key texts were brought to the attention of the intellectual circles of Europe. By way of comparative mythology and historical linguistics, scholars have identified elements of Germanic mythology reaching as far back as Proto-Indo-European mythology. In the modern period, the Romanticist Viking revival re-awoke an interest in the subject matter, and references to Norse mythology may now be found throughout modern popular culture. The myths have further been revived in a religious context among adherents of Germanic Neopaganism.

Norse Mythology History

the norse snake ring

Legends of the Nordic and Pre-Nordic people offers an interesting insight into the creation of the world and its history. Reading the poetic Eddas that were recorded centuries ago are fascinating to say the least, in particular their similarities to other myths and legends, especially Greek myths.

Norse mythology originated out of the Proto North Germanic and Old Scandinavian and Icelandic area during the early centuries AD. Much of it was passed from generation to generation by the Vikings, however by the time of the 11th century, the mythology was recorded in writings known as the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, as well as the saga of the old Norse kings called Heimskringla. The Prose Edda and the Heimskringla were written by a historian from Iceland named Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. The author of the oldest collection of writings, the Poetic Edda, is unknown.

What should be noted is that many of these writings were documented after the Christianization of the Nordic peoples, and much of the creation story as well as the end result are strikingly similar to Biblical accounts. However, there are also writings before the Bible that are extremely close with what is said there. Many similarities show comparing Greek myths with Norse legends, showing once again that the same story has been told in different cultures.

In the Poetic Edda, the stories of the world’s creation and the predictions of how it would end are told, along with the accounts of the various Norse gods and goddesses. The Creation story is called “Voluspa” and it speaks of Niflheim, which references the beginning of the world being covered in ice…one of the ice ages, perhaps? There is also Muspelheim, or the land of fire. Muspelheim was said to have been guarded by Surt, who was the leader of the fire-born demons. In between these two worlds, there was a vast space known as Ginnungagap.

norse myth god

According to Norse legends, the first creatures that existed were the Jotun, or giant trolls, the first of these being named Ymir. After this creation, there was the mythical Audhumla, a giant cow who produced rivers of milk to sustain life. Ymir drank heavily of this milk, and would reproduce new Jotuns in his sleep every night. Soon the area was covered in Jotuns, some with grotesque numbers of arms and legs. It is said that Audhumla found a rock of salt that she desired, and as she licked the salt, hair began to grow from it. This formed into the first of the Aesir, or gods, and was given the name of Buri.

Buri would go on to be the grandfather of the great Odin, however he did not have the gift of immortality. It was said in these days, the fruit of the gods to keep them from succumbing to the power of death had not been created yet, so Buri simply died from old age. Before that, he sired a son Bor, who fell in love with Bestla, a Jotun. They produced three sons named Odin, Vili, and Ve. In the end, the three brothers kill Ymir as to stop the overruning of the Jotun.

It was said that when Ymir was murdered, the blood gushed out with projectile force, thus drowning many of the Jotun. The only two that survived this were Bergelmir and his bride, who were safe in an area covered by mist. The dead body of Ymir was dragged to the center of the vast space of Ginnungagap, where the world was then created by Odin and his brothers. As the sky and earth were designed with parts of Ymir’s body and sparks from the land of fire, worms continued to pour out of the corpse. These worms were then transformed into dwarfs. According to this mythology, the caves and geological wonders of the earth are attributed to these dwarves, who went to live underground developing their craftsmanship.

As the moon, the sun, night (which came first in Norse mythology) and day were concepted by the three brothers, so were the first humans. As Odin, Vili, and Ve were walking along the sands of the ocean, they came across two logs, one from an ash tree and one from an elm. Odin breathed life into them, while Vili and Ve gave them the abilities they would need such as the five senses, intelligence, and speech. The woman was called Embla, and the man was called Ask.

Loki norse myth god

The Aesir (gods) deigned that the humans would live in a place they named Midgard. The gods themselves would reside in an area they called Asgard. A bridge of many bright and luminous colors connected the two worlds which the Vikings believed originated the rainbow. There were gods and goddesses for all aspects of life, including the darker side. Loki was the god of mischief and in the beginning, was a relatively benign prankster. As time progressed however, he became more and more evil, spawning the gods and goddesses of the underworld (Hel).

Norse mythology speaks of nine worlds that the universe is comprised of. These are Midgard, (where humans live) Álfheimr,(elves) Svartálfaheim, (where black elves reside) Vanaheimr, (the gods of fertility and predictions) Muspellheim, (world of fire) Jötunheimr, (the Jotun) Niflheim, (the Ice age) Asgard, (the higher gods), and Hel (the underworld). Inside Asgard was the coveted Valhalla, Odin’s home. This is where the bravest warriors went upon death to await the end of world battle known as Ragnarok.

The Vikings held the Norse legends as truth, and were famous for their raids throughout Europe and islands in the North Atlantic, particularly what we now know as the United Kingdom. They believed that to die in battle was honorable, and peaceful solutions were not part of their agenda. The more honorable the death, the greater chance there was of staying with Odin in Valhalla. They wanted control over as much as possible, all for the honor of their gods. The Vikings were known for their ruthlessness in battle and piracy, as well as highly advanced craftsmanship. This is evidenced in the remains of Viking ships and vessels that have been recovered, including the Gokstad ship on display in Norway.

As in most religions and beliefs, there is an end battle. The Norse mythology calls this last war Ragnarok. This battle will end the immortality of all the gods and goddesses, and destroy all that the world has become. In its place will be a new world that has all the bad influences of the old one removed. It will be a perfect place…paradise.

Out of the many legends of how the world began and how destinies were created, the greatest similarities show up in both Norse and Greek mythology. In the Norse beliefs, there are the three Norns that determine the fates of all, both god and human. It is the same with the Three Fates of Greek lore. There are also many common threads in the creation stories of both. In Greek mythology, Zeus fought his father and the Norse Odin had to fight Ymir. In both cases, they were immortal gods fighting something that was bigger than they were and coming out as the ruler of all. The similarities between the two go on and while they have some differences, it is plain that the same story has been told many times.

norse myth tree of life

Today, Norse mythology continues to be an inspiration for many things, from games to literature. Some of it has been romanticized, but the Poetic and Prose Eddas contain some amazing imagery as well as the accounts of yet another polytheistic religion lost to the ages.

Norse Mythology: A Collection of Gods and Goddesses

Under the umbrella of Norse mythology, you will find the beliefs and deities of Germanic, Nordic or Scandinavian mythology, which has been handed down through oral tradition for many years. In this article, you will learn about some of the gods and goddesses associated with this branch of mythology.

Handed down verbally for centuries, Norse myths were finally recorded into written word to preserve the traditions and ancient beliefs of the Scandinavian peoples. To the Norse, two significant classes of gods dominated their myths: the Ô sir and the Vanir. The Ô sir are linked to power, war and death, while the Vanir represent fertility and growth.

Other mythical beings played an important role, such as giants. The majority of Norse mythology focuses on the approaching cataclysmic doom of the gods, Ragnarok. All of the Norse gods are aware that Ragnorok is coming , they even know when it will take place and that it means death.

Gods and goddesses mentioned in Norse mythology include:

· Angrboda , Not only is Angrboda known as the frost giantess, but she is also recognized as the mistress to Loki , the Norse god of fire. Together, the two gave birth to three infamous monsters in Norse mythology , Fenrir, Hel, and Jourmungand.

· Loki , Son to the giant Farbauti and the giantess Laufey, Loki was the Norse Fire God, known for his mischievous nature. Tales including Loki usually involve playing tricks or switching sides to benefit him during conflict. In the long run, Loki finds himself banished to a cave until Ragnarok because he is responsible for causing a great deal of trouble.

· Fenrir , Interestingly, it is Loki’s and Angrboda’s son, Fenrir, who is known as the ‘devouring wolf’ and the beast of Ragnarok. Because of this, he is kidnapped and brought to Asgard, where he is carefully watched over. With a cruel nature that all but one god (Tyr the god of war) feared him. It was Tyr’s duty to feed Fenrir since no one dared to come close to the fierce god. When Ragnarok takes place, Fenrir is freed and eventually swallows Odin.

· Jourmungand , Also referred to as the Midgard Serpent, Jourmungand took on the shape of a large serpent. Thrown into the ocean by Odin, Jourmungand grew in length, so much so that he was able to encircle the Earth. When the “doom of the gods” arrived, Jourmungand was killed by Thor, but not before his slayer was bitten. In the end, his venom would lead to the demise of Thor.

· Buri , Known as the ancestor of the gods, Buri is the father of Bor , a giant who would eventually produce Odin , one of the most well known of Norse gods. Along with his wife, Bestla, Bor fathered two other sons, Vili and Ve, who will be discussed in the second part of this article.

Afterlife [ edit ]

Valhalla™ [ edit ]

Warriors on Earth who fought and died in the midst of battle were resurrected as warrior-spirits. The Valkyrie descend on every battle, pick out the most valiant, and mark them for death. After they die, they are taken by the Valkyrie to Asgard, where half join with Odin in Valhalla, and the other half join Freyja, in her own domain of Folkvang (Vanir Valhalla). From there, they are known as einherjar, and would train for battle on the upcoming day of Ragnarok. (This training involves fighting all day, probably dying, being resurrected, and then feasting on pork and drinking mead from the goat Heidrun.) Odin himself often goes to Earth to stir up trouble and create battles, because he is thought to need more warriors than he'll ever get.

Valhalla is also a key plot element in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. It all burns down in the end, quite epicly.

Niflheim [ edit ]

Niflheim is a sad, gray, cold place, where the non-valorous dead go. It is ruled by the goddess/giantess Hel. The god Baldr went/will go there after he died/dies (triggering the beginning of Ragnarok). It is the mingling of the cold of Niflheim and the heat of Muspelheim that creates the first beings, a giant named Ymir and a giant cow named Auðumbla.

In spite of the modern conception of Niflheim as Norse Hell, that really isn't quite accurate. Niflheim is not that bad a place to be, simply by virtue of the fact that you're just there. The best way to think about it would be Limbo, the first circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno it's just kind of boring compared to Valhalla/Folkvang. To the Vikings this wasn't exactly desirable, but then again most people wouldn't end up going to Valhalla or Folkvang, so Niflheim wasn't supposed to be torturous. It was where you would most likely end up thanks to disease or starvation or old age, and it basically just entailed doing what you would do anyway in Norse society. ⎚] This isn't to say the Norse didn't have their own version of Hell [note 3] , though.

Náströnd [ edit ]

Náströnd is where those who committed what the Norse consider grievous offenses such as murder, adultery, and especially oathbreaking end up. Unlike Christianity or Islam, impiety wasn't considered a grave sin by the Old Norse, and as such people who didn't worship the Norse Pantheon didn't necessarily end up here. Here the only thing to drink is the urine of a goat, and the dragon Níðhöggr would devour the corpses of the dead. Of course, this was probably invented after the Norse converted to Christianity, so who knows.

Yggdrasil boasted nine worlds. How many worlds do you have?

The picture above is a contemporary depiction of Yggdrasil, the so-called "World Tree" of Norse cosmology, which grew each of the worlds upon its branches and roots. Even if you never studied Norse legends in school, you're probably vaguely familiar with Yggdrasil from jewelry, Marvel Comics, or House of Leaves, and while there are plenty of things that Marvel gets wrong about Norse mythology, the modern stories do accurately reflect the fact that this tree links nine worlds: Asgard, Niflheim, Muspelheim, Alfheim, Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Svartalfheim, Helheim, and Midgard, the world of humans.

Now, if you're living in a universe that has nine worlds held up on a tree, nine is obviously going to be a supreme number. The important of nine may be derived from the lunar calendar's 27 days being a multiple of nine (say it, kids, nine times three equals . ), according to philologist Rudolf Simek, and throughout the many Norse legends, the number reappears quite often. For instance, there are tales of sacrificial feasts lasting for nine days, involving nine sacrifices. Heimdall, the guy who guards the rainbow bridge Bifröst, was born to nine women, which must've certainly made for complex family dinners. The god Freyr was made to hold off on marrying Gerd for, you guessed it, nine days. When Odin hung himself from a branch of Yggdrasil, peering down into the dark waters beneath him, he stared downward for nine long nights, at the end of which he was permitted to see the secrets beneath. Finally, during Ragnarök — the Norse doomsday — Thor's great battle against the villainous Midgard Serpent ends with the God of Thunder stumbling for nine steps before he collapses dead.

So, if you were a character in Norse mythology, and a super-important event was afoot, you could probably count on something nine-related happening soon. Good to know!

The Art of Storytelling

Art by Albert Anker

I have always been fascinated with the art of storytelling. I was a storyteller before I was a writer. My favorite thing to do when I was little was to go on walkabouts with my two younger cousins making up stories about oddly shaped rocks, twining trees and little lakes, as we wandered through changing landscapes of forests and mountains. Perhaps this talent came from my mother. I will never forget the storm-torn tree with the roots reaching for the skies. It was a magical gateway to another world. A world only my mother knew about. And now me. A miniature world of trolls and elves. And I, with the magical eyes of childhood, saw it all. Or perhaps it was my grandmother who taught me to tell stories. I could not get enough of the stories she told about a wonderful land called Yesteryear. Or her folktales, always with a wicked modern twist to make me laugh.

Art by Theodor Kittelsen

When I learned how to write, my writing was first and foremost a way to record my stories. Whenever I wasn’t busy playing you could always find me scribbling something in a notepad or sketching odd characters and fantastical sceneries in a drawing book.
Some of the stories turned into movies which my big brother shot with my father’s old fashioned video camera.

Art by Theodor Kittlsen

When I was eight I started writing poetry. I learned the magic of words. Poems were little stories about emotions. And these stories outshone the longer narratives in my teens. Today my writing is a mixture of storytelling and creative poetic writing.

The tradition of storytelling is old. Older than recorded history. Storytelling was the way to record history in ancient times. It was a way to teach moral, explain natural phenomena, carry on culture and traditions, and of course, to entertain. In the Norse part of the world, we had the Skald. The skald was a poetic storyteller, often working for the king. He composed actual events into epic heroic sagas, creating heroes and adding valor to kings. Our most famous Skald is Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet who composed the epic Prose Edda. This Prose is still taught in schools today, and is a valuable source to understand ancient history and traditions in the Norse world.

Art by Theodor Kittlsen

Other famous storytellers in Norway are Asbjørnsen and Moe. During the National Romanticism in Norway in the late 18th century, there was a general revival and interest for the old Norwegian traditions and culture. This was also true for the Norwegian folk tales and fairy tales. These tales had been told on farms and around bonfires for many many years, but had never been written down. Asbjørnsen and Moe took it upon themselves to collect these folk tales and publish them in two volumes. They traveled around the country from farm to farm listening to stories and writing them down. They were also known for re-telling the different stories to the children they met on their journeys. The two volume of folk tales collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe have never been out of print since they were first published in 1841, and rarely will you find a Norwegian home without one version or the other of this Fairytale collection.

The Iron Age Farm, Stavanger, Norway

I was so lucky as to meet one of the more modern storytellers in Norway, on the Iron Age farm in Stavanger. Nina Næsheim is a professional storyteller who specializes in Norse myths and legends. It was a very special moment sitting inside the ancient stone farmhouse with the rain tapping on the roof and candles swaying in the draft listening to Nina Næsheim telling stories about the Jotne, Thor, Freya and Odin’s Ravens. Seeing a professional storyteller performing a narrative is something completely different than listening to a book being read out loud. It is then you understand that storytelling truly is an art.

Inside the Iron Age Farmhouse, Stavanger, Norway.

I met another such contemporary storyteller in Galway, Ireland. Ireland, with its Celtic heritage, has a rich tradition of storytellers, or seanchaí as they are called in Ireland.
The stories often include the mythical Fey Folk, or faeries as we call them today. But these faeries are very far from the Disney fairies we see on screen today. The Irish Faeries were cunning and mischievous and often downright wicked, stealing babies and luring bachelors into Faerierings.

Eddie (Edmund) Lenihan is a famous contemporary Irish storyteller who specializes in tales about the Faerie folk. Eddie is featured in the film ” The Faerie Faith”, and claims that the Faeries actually exist. His stories are often modern and stars people who have actually had encounters with this mythical folk. I met Eddie Lenihan in Galway during the yearly storytelling festival. His performance was exceptional, and he captivated his audience, young and old, with his dreamy deep voice, his shape shifting facial expressions and his faerie like body language.

Eddie Lenihan by Valerie O’Sullivan

The Irish seanchas were not only the bearers of Faerie Lore, they were also essential in the Druid tradition. Druids were Celtic priests, or wise men, who were called upon to perform weddings and funerals. They were also the holders of the secret knowledge and were considered to be wise and knowledgeable. They often shared and distributed this knowledge in the telling of stories, symbolic tales conveying hidden messages for the listeners.

I met a Druid priest on the island of Inish Mor in Ireland. He was a former catholic monk, but had converted to the old faith in recent times. He spent his days studying ancient knowledge and mysteries, and some of this knowledge he shared with me,standing in the stone ruin of an old monastery facing the boisterous Atlantic Ocean, his tales came alive before my very eyes as the skies and seas shifted and roared and spat out the secrets the Druid called upon.

Inish Mor, Ireland

We all tell stories. Perhaps funny anecdotes from our own lives, or perhaps stories we’ve heard told about someone else’s misfortune or success. We are made up of stories, memories, moments of learning, experiences, our stories make us who we are. Humanity has always had a fondness for gossip, for eavesdropping, just look at today’s reality shows and social networking. Sharing our story becomes important, it is how we leave our mark on this world, it is how we prevent the sea from washing out our footprints.

Art by the brothers Hildebrandt

Whenever I go through something difficult, as we all must do in life, I think of my life as a story, a quest, a heroic tale, something that will grow in interest, excitement and richness, the more adversary I go through. For after all, what is a story without a plot, what is a tale without a quest, what is a saga without a hero? Or in the words of Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings:

“It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. ”

Norse Mythology - A Collection - History

The book entitled “Norse
Mythology” by Karl
Mortensen, is the book I chose to read for my first
book report for this semester. The book was
translated from the Danish
by A. Clinton Crowell.
Karl Mortensen was a doctor of philosophy whom
attended the University of Copenhagen.

The first part of the book is
the general
introduction. Here, you find the author’s meaning
of “Norse
mythology” and where he got his
information. He says,
By “Norsemythology” we meanthe
we have concerning the
religious conceptions and usages
of our
heathen forefathers, their faith and
manner of worshipping the gods, and also
their legends and songs
about the gods
Christianity drove out the old heathen
faith, but
remnants or memories of it
long endured in the superstitious
of the common people, and can even be
in our own day.

In the general introduction, the author tells
us why we teach Norse mythology. He tells us that
for us, Norse mythology
has in any case the
advantage of being the religion of our own
and through it we learn to know that
religion. This is necessary if we
wish to
understand the history and poetry of our antiquity
and to comprehend
what good characteristics and
what faults Christianity encountered when
it was
proclaimed in the North. Finally, it is necessary
to know the
most important points of the heathen
faith of our fathers in order to appreciate
enjoy many of the words of our best poets.

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“Norse Mythology”
is comprised of four main
sections. The first section contains the creation
myth, which is extremely confusing because it talks
about brother’s
aunt’s cousin’s children from
second marriages and what importance they
were in
those golden times. It’s quite hard to understand,
and I had
to read it over twice to make sure I
understood. The second part of the
first section
discusses the creation of the gods and the stories
their lives. And the last part is entitled
Ragnorak, which stands for the
enemies of the gods.
All of this was quite interesting to read.

The second section of the book talks about
common popular belief. It says
that our
forefathers, like other heathen people, found one
of the plainest
proofs of the soul’s independence
of the body and its ability to take a
hand in the
affairs of living men in the nightmare and dream,
as they
lacked all other means of explaining those
things. They therefore took
it for granted that
they were spirits, usually in the form of animals
or men. Through the smallest crack or crevice the
nightmare slips to the
sleeping one, and torments
and troubles him so sadly that he becomes ill
that it causes his death. It is felt as an
oppressing weight upon
the breast or throat the
mare “treads” or “rides” the sleeping one from
legs up to his body and thrusts his tongue into the
victim’s throat
to hinder him from crying out. The
Northern people have clung this very
day to their
belief in the “mare” as a supernatural female
being, and
many legends about it have arisen. A
“mare” can slip out only by the same
way that it
came in if one stops up the opening, it is caught.
same thing happens if one names its name.

In the Ynglinga Saga
it is told of
King Vanlandi, who had betrayed his
Finnish bride, Drifa,that he in
for that had been killed by a
‘mare’ with which the magic arts
of the
Finns had tormented him. He became
suddenly sleepy and lay down to rest,
but when he had slept
a little he cried
that a ‘mare’ was treading him. The
king’s men hastened to his assistance,
but when they
turned to his head, the
‘mare’ trod upon his legs so that they
were nearly broken, and if they went to
the legs,
she was directly occupied at
the head and so the king was actually
tortured to death.

Also found in the second section
are chief gods
and myths of the gods. Here, there are stories told
of Thor, Odin, Frey and Njorth, Heimdall and
Baldur, and Loki. It comments
on the various
thresholds crossed by these great gods, and the
that they accomplished.

The third section is rather short, but it is
solely focused on the forms of worship and
religious life. It tells
of the Norse temples, or
Hofs, which means in general “a holy place.” The
Hofs were large square, occasionally round, houses,
built in the same
style and of the same kind of
material as the common dwelling houses.

Just inside thedoor of theHof

stood the posts of the high seat, in
which were fixed
great nails, but the
meaning of these is not known. At the
opposite end (the Korrunding or apse)
the images of the gods, and in
front of them orunder
them the
splendidly ornamented Stall, which one
of the Icelandic sagas compares with the
Christian altar.

Upon its iron-covered
upper side burned the sacred fire which
must never be extinguished, and there
also lay
the open silver or gold ring
upon which all oaths must be sworn.

ring was moistened in the blood of the
and on all festive occasions the
Gothi had to wear it upon his
arm. Upon
the Stall stood also a large copper bowl
with asprinkler(hlautbolli and
hlauttein). In the
bowl the blood of the
victim_animal or man_was caught and
sprinkled over those who were present.
The Stall
also, perhaps the whole
interior of the temple, was reddened
with it. The statues of the gods were
most often
clumsy images carved from
wood, and were set up on the Stall
upon apedestal, anddressed in
with the festal costume of
the period. That there was always
hammer in the hand of Thor’s image there
be no doubt.

The last section of the chosen book is full of
hero sagas. You’ll find the stories of The
Volsungs, the Helgi sagas, Volun
the Smith, The
Hjathningar, and Beowulf. These are great stories
beautifully follow the hero cycle.

The conclusion of the book talks
about how
these stories reflect on us. It comments on our
and our weaknesses. It also refers to the
people’s beliefs concerning death,
respect, and faith.

I absolutely love this book. It’s extremely
old_copyright 1913! It really made me look deep
into myself. I am of
Norwegian origin and it was
quite interesting to learn about what my
forefathers believed and how they worshipped. My
absolute favorite Norse
hero has to be Thor. He
represents power. He’s extremely powerful and
courageous. He also doesn’t have too much
compassion for his enemies.

He never hesitates to
crush them with his almighty hammer. Thor is my
hero_let his stories live long!
Do I recommend the book?

You can find it at
the OSU library. It’s on the
main floor and the call
is BL860. Be careful with it,
though, the pages are falling
uMortensen, Karl. “Norse Mythology.” Thomas
Y. Crowell
Company, New York, NY. 1913.


There were some influential women characters in Norse mythology, such as Frigg , Freya , or Hel . There was, however, one women character occupying a very important part, though the myth did not describe her vividly. She was the giantess Angrboda.

Angrboda Giantess

Who was Angrboda?

Angrboda was a giantess with reddish hair and muscular. Her hair had the color of the dried blood. Her name meant “The one who gives grief” or “She who brings sorrow”. The materials of this Grief Giver were much fewer than those of Frigg or Freyr. This giantess, however, was an extremely powerful figure in Norse myth. According to some sources, she was the leader of the Wolf Clan. She was a warrior-women, a werewolf shapeshifter, as well as the priest, and the magician.

Angrboda the Leader

The giantess was very choosy about who she would work with. Whoever she did not like for any reason, she would reject. She had great skills in hunting, shapeshifting, and prophesying.

Angrboda – the Wife and the Mother

The most remarkable part of her life was being the wife of Loki and the mother of three notorious children. Loki spent part of his life living with Angrboda and the other part with the other wife Sigyn. She and Loki had three children: Wolf Fenrir, Serpent Jormungandr, and Hel. These “little children” of hers were the ones who ignited the deadly flames of Ragnarok the End of Gods.

The giant mother and her monstrous children

Though being chained and separated, Loki and their children united on the threshold of Ragnarok. Together they built up the giant army with the dead warriors from Helheim over which Hel Goddess of Death presided. Loki’s army smashed everything in sight when they came to Asgard. There they had the bloodiest battle with the Gods until the entirety of the world met its doom.

The very extraordinary traits of Fenrir, Jormungandr, and Hel might be partly ascribed to their powerful mother. Her direct connection with Loki and three infamous monsters proved Angrboda a mighty Norse figure.

Baldur – Fire of Hope

From the beginning, we feel that everyone in Nine Worlds view Baldur as a hope. It was not merely a hope for survival but it was a hope for fair treatment, justice, and a better life.

Baldur in Norse mythology was the son of Odin and Frigg the Queen of Asgard. Baldur was the only and official prince of Asgard. Legend had it that Baldur was a handsome and kind man. He always treated people with kindness and fairness. Seemingly, Baldur was hope for a better life in the Norse world.

Baldur the Shining God one of the gods of fire in Norse mythology

Everyone tried to protect Baldur for he was the only hope for survival. In the prophecy of Norse mythology, the death of Baldur was the first sign of Ragnarok Doom of Norse cosmos.

Yet, one day, Baldur’s fate knocked at the gates of Asgard and even Odin could not protect his son. Baldur was killed and sent to the land of deceased where Hel daughter of Loki ruled over.

Maybe because Baldur didn’t join Ragnarok, he survived it. When the final battle of Ragnarok came to an end, Baldur came back to life from the Helheim. He once again became the flickering flame of hope. Bladur was among the survivors of gods who came to a new hall and build up a new cosmos where they would rule and talk about the ancestors’ stories.

Watch the video: Σκανδιναβική Μυθολογία Μέρος 1ο


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