Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rituals and Customs

The Background and Nature of the Annual and Occasional Rituals of the Ásatrúarfélag in Iceland


Abstract. This paper is largely based on interviews which were taken with Jörmundur Ingi Hansen, and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, the last two allsherjagoðar (high priests) of the Icelandic Ásatrúarfélag (a society which involves the active worship of the Old Nordic gods). The interviews focused on the nature and background of the rituals and prayers used […]

Continuity: Folklore’s Problem Child?


Abstract: : This essay examines the role of continuity in the study of medieval Northern popular cultural. Among other issues, it questions: the nature of continuity as a concept; the roles “tradition” and “continuity” have played in the development of folklore studies historically (e.g. Finnish Historical-Geographic Method, the “superorganic”) and their value today in relation […]

An Eye for Odin? Divine Role-Playing in the Age of Sutton Hoo.

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This paper presents some new observations concerning the construction of the Sutton Hoo helmet, as a  point of entry to a wider discussion of pre-Christian religious and ideological links across Scandinavia. It will be argued that in certain circumstances and locations, such as the firelit interior of the hall, the wearer of the helmet was seen as both […]

The Winter Goddess: Percht, Holda, And Related Figures


MOST of our knowledge of Germanic myth is derived from the Old Icelandic texts and especially from the Eddas. The Eddic tales centre their attention on the trials and triumphs of the male members of the pantheon and tell us little of the female forces.’ That these wielded power we learn, however, from votive monuments, from the names of […]

VEITSTU HVÉ BLÓTA SKAL? The Old Norse blót in the light of osteological remains from Frösö Church, Jämtland, Sweden

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The Osteological remains from Frösö Church in Jämtland, have been re-analyzed in order to understand the Viking Age rituals at the site and to study the blót, the Old Norse sacrifice and feast.  Radiocarbon analyses of animal and human bones date the rituals to the late Viking Age.  A taphonomic study shows that especially brown […]

The Road to Hel: A Study of the Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature

Narratives, Space and Drama: Essential Spatial Aspects Involved in the Performance and Reception of Oral Narrative


In the past, oral narratives tended to be regarded as a two-dimensional phenomenon largely confined to the form of the spoken (or later) printed word. Over the last twenty years, however, oral narratives have gradually gained “thickness” in the eyes of folklore scholars who have increasingly demanded that more attention be paid to the social […]

Ritual Space. Ritual Year. Ritual Gender: A View of the Old Norse and New Icelandic Ritual Year


The roots of this paper go back in part to a short chapter I was recently asked to write fora  book about Iceland in the present day.  In the chapter in question, which dealt with modern day Icelandic festivals, I underlined the importance of the sense of family for Icelandic society, and not least the […]