Asatru / heathen

Externsteine

On my article about Irminsuls I get comments which are mostly questions about the Externsteine. Since it would be silly to put the information and images in the comments under that article, I decided to make a separate piece about the Externsteine. Nothing in depth, but with a few images that you might not have seen yet. Most images are from a book that I also reviewed, so I probably make copyright violations. Risking that, here some images and short information. I have visited the Externsteine several years ago, probably before I had a digital camera, so nothing here is mine. In the article that I mentioned I wrote a few things about the Externsteine. Please go there for the starting information. The Externsteine are strange natural rockformations which were obviously regarded sacred by the ancient inhabitents of the area. There are several very interesting elements to them. “Felsenschiff” or… Read More »Externsteine

Thor in Utgarda Loki

I have been working on a talk about the story from the Prose Edda in which Thor and Loki travel to Utgarda Loki. Since the talk was in Dutch, but the text is hardly available in that language, I translated the text for my ‘audience’. Maybe some Dutch speaking people will appreciate the translation to be available, so I decided to post it here. The translation is based on the English translation of Anderson (http://www.northvegr.org/lore/prose2/014.php). I decided to keep the ‘viscous’ writing style intact. I consider posting the result of my endeavors too some time. De Avonturen van Thor uit de proza Edda 45. […] Het begin van dit avontuur is dat Oku-Thor op reis ging met zijn geiten en blokkenwagen en met hem ging ase die Loki wordt genoemd. In de avond kwamen zij bij een boerderij en daar werden kamers voor de nacht geregeld. In de avond nam… Read More »Thor in Utgarda Loki

Örlogr and Heilagr

In Tyr journal volume 3, there is an article from the hand of Nigel Pennick about the “Web of Wyrd”, three fates, Norns, etc. In this article he mentions the term “Ørlög” a couple of times, but he seems to mix up this term with “Heilagr”. In this short text I use different spellings for the word, when quoting Pennick I write “Ørlög”, which is probably the most correct spelling, but not too easy to type. Besides, a final -r to the end would probably be even more correct. Easier to type is “Örlogr”. In this way you will at least see when the tem comes from Pennick of from me. On one occasion also Pennick writes “örlog” which seems to be on purpose, almost as if it is the singular version of the word, but that would be a weird idea. The first time the term “Ørlög” is mentioned,… Read More »Örlogr and Heilagr

Thor’s eyes

All can understand how frightened the bonde became when he saw that Thórr let his brows sink down over his eyes. When he saw his eyes he thought he must fall down at the sight of them alone. Prose Edda verse 45 Did you ever wonder why it is that many Thor’s Hammer symbols have eyes on the upper part? As you can read in the quote that opens this short article, there is something about those eyes of Thor. The sight of them alone makes the farmer whose son Thialfi broke one of the bones of one of Thor’s goats, think that he will faint. The only description that you get here is that Thor’s brows “sink down over his eyes”. Here we have a point that did not pass entirely unnoticed. Let me quote Georges Dumézil at length as he describes and compares similar events in different sources… Read More »Thor’s eyes

Bindrunes, galder and housemarks

A while ago I was paging through some book (that I cannot find anymore…) and my eye fell on the famous “Rökstenen”, the runestone named after the place where it stands: Rök. On top of the background and on the top of this stone are some very interesting bindrunes. I have seen similar symbols on a variety of places. Would this be coincidental or is there some kind of connection between the different findings? Or whatever their connection, could they possibly tell something about eachother? Rökstenen Since the Röke runestone is rather famous, there is quite some information about it on the internet, most of which is in Scandinavian languages. The English Wikipedia has a nice text about the stone. It has the texts, transliterations, a possible translation and interpretations. This Wikipedia article concentrates on the parts that come closest to ‘normal texts’ though. More specific information can be found… Read More »Bindrunes, galder and housemarks

Dumézil on Heimdallr

My Gods of the ancient Northmen has some extra articles added to the original, French text. One of these texts is about the Rigsthula in which Rig (who is usually equated with Heimdallr) brings forth the three levels of society. Another text is completely dedicated to Heimdallr. Heimdallr is probably the most difficult and mysterious Gods of Northern Europe. Even though the text is of 1959 (after a lecture of 1956) and of course by Dumézil, there are still some new (to me) and thought-provoking ideas in it. Regard my short text as an insufficient summery of the theories posed in the article Comparative remarks on the Scandinavian God Heimdall (1959) and if it caught your interest, try to hunt down the text yourself or the book in which is has been published. The god Heimdall poses one of the most difficult problems in Scandinavian mythology. As all who have… Read More »Dumézil on Heimdallr

Thor’s disgrace

Körmt and Örmt, and the Kerlaugs twain: these Thor must wade each day, when he to council goes at Yggdrasil’s ash; for the As-bridge is all on fire, the holy waters boil. Grimnismál 29 Bellows translation This strophe is often interpreted very literally: Thor cannot pas the Bifrost bridge because is he to heavy, too plump and too ‘fiery’. I wonder if that is all that is to this line. There are some interesting references in other texts that may refer to something that you can call “Thor’s disgrace”. In other words: what did Thor do that he was no longer allowed to cross Bifrost? In the Harbarthsjloth Thor is travelling back home and when he needs to pass a river, the boatsman Harbard (usually taken for Odin) refuses to take him over. This results in an amusing piece of “verbal fencing” (in the words of Dumézil) in which the… Read More »Thor’s disgrace

TyrOdhinn

Some time ago, a friend after reading my article about Odhinn, had a nice suggestion. What if the missing arm is supposed to be missing and what if there is a big significance in the fact that Odin misses his left arm, and Tyr his right hand? I was already aware of the ‘pair’ Tyr/Odin, but hadn’t given this idea a thought. The suggestion soon proved to be just a suggestion. Another image clearly shows breaking-traces on the arm and hip, so it is clear that this particular image of Odin originally has two arms. The start was there, though, because for some time I had the idea to write something about Tyr and Odin. Tyr or Odin? Before my interest shifted towards the prechristian religion of Northern Europe, I was much interested in Hermetism, Renaissance esotericism, etc. and always had some kind of ‘attraction’ to Thoth/ Hermes/ Mercury; the… Read More »TyrOdhinn

The nine worlds in nordic mythology

I remember yet the giants of yore Who gave me bread; in the days gone by Nine worlds I knew, the nine in the Tree With mighty roots beneath the mold. (Völuspa 2, translated by Ari Óðinssen) This is the second verse from the Poetic Edda. “Nine worlds I knew, nine in the Tree”. The nine worlds come back in Northern mythology more often, such as in Alvíssmál 9 in which the dwarf Alvis says: “All the nine worlds I have travelled over” and also Vafthrudnir has travelled to nine worlds (VafÞrúðnismál 43). Because the concept is rather vague, it has been open to speculation what exactly these nine worlds are. Óðinssen writes in a note to the quoted verse: “Nine worlds are Asgarth, home of the Aesir, Ljossalfheimr, home of the ljossalfar, or ‘light’ elves, Mithgarth, ‘middle-ground’ home of mankind, Vanaheimr, home of the Vanir, in this manuscript referred… Read More »The nine worlds in nordic mythology

Freya or Brisingamen

A while ago I was reading a collection of articles by Karl Theodor Weigel. The man speaks about folkloristic habbits and symbolism that goes back to the prechristian religion. He gives symbols representing the years, such as I have shown you in my article “Odhinn, God of the year”. Towards the end there is an image of a Christmas-bread from Lauterbach Hessen, Germany (left) “that strongly reminds of the god in the wheel, in the course of the year”. That is the same symbolism as that I gave to Odin with his two arms on the hips. The Christmas bread made me think of the famous statue of Freya with a gigantic necklase, her Brisingamen, around her neck. Freya as Goddess of the year, not such a strange idea, because she is connected to fertility and therefor the cycle of the crops, death and rebirth, the changing seasons and thus… Read More »Freya or Brisingamen