Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cosmology


The Religion of the Vikings

 
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What will be outlined here are the religious beliefs and rituals of the Scandinavians in the eighth to the eleventh centuries including those who went for trade, plunder or settlement abroad, that is, the ‘vikings’ properly speaking. Some among them were already Christians but the vast majority of the population still clung to their traditional religion. From a modern […]

Myth and Ritual in Pre-Christian Scandinavian Landscape

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I grew up in the forest region of northern Sweden. As a young boy, an old female relative of mine, an aunt to my father, told me now and then of her encounters with the ‘small people’ when she was herding cattle as a herdess at the seter in the forests, especially of the beautiful […]

How Uniform Was the Old Norse religion?

 
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One often gets the impression from handbooks on Old Norse culture and religion that the pagan religion that was supposed to have been in existence all over pre-Christian Scandinavia and Iceland was rather homogeneous. Due to the lack of written sources, it becomes difficult to say whether the ‘religion’ — or rather mythology, eschatology, and […]

The Grave as a Doorway to the Other World: Architectural Religious Symbolism in Iron Age Graves in Scandinavia

 
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During the last twenty years, the category ‘grave’ has been the subject of increasing debate in Swedish archaeology. It has been recognized that monuments commonly regarded as graves are sometimes also found in cultic contexts other than those associated with death and burial. In many cases, for instance, monuments similar to graves have been erected […]

Heroic Legend and Onomastics: Hálfs saga, the Hildebrandslied and the Listerby Stones

 
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Several years ago, Gregory Nagy, referring to epic heroes from Greek, Indian, Hittite and other traditions, commented, “These constructs – let us call them simply ‘characters’ for the moment – are in some ways radically dissimilar from each other. Even within a single tradition like Homeric poetry, heroes like Achilles and Odysseus seem worlds apart. […]

Skírnir’s Other Journey: The Riddle of Gleipnir

 
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För scírnis-the eddic poem in which Freyr acquires Gerðr as a mate through the help of Skírnir, his skóveinn ´messanger´-plays a central role in our understanding of early nordic culture. So much so, in fact, that a great body of secondary literature has developed around it, encompassing virtually all theoreteical approaches to myth: Solar, ritual, […]

Burning Down the House Mythological Chaos and World Order on Gotlandic Picture Stones.

 
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The Gotlandic picture stone monuments of the oldest type constitute a material manifestation of a “concept” which basically deals with world order and balance, from the single picture to the monument as a whole. This concept is detectable in myths, sagas and material culture alike. Only by paying more attention to the female agents of […]

The Psychological and Mythic Unity of the God Óðinn

 
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The picture presented to us of the god Óðinn by Snorri Sturluson and Saxo Grammaticus is complex and many-sided to an extreme degree.  He is simultaneously god of magic, poetry, and death with affinities to fertility deities, god of war and father of the gods and man, with a reputation for a highly capricious nature. […]