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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Norse Gods

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The next deity (#6) from the “god graveyard” is Loki.  Loki interests me unlike a very large part of the Norse Pantheon, even more so than Odin and Thor.  Maybe it is his association with fire (fire sign here [grin]) or the devotion of Sigyn.  More likely it is the fact that he doesn’t fit in anywhere (as I often feel that way).  Yet it could e my tendency to cheer on the underdog or maybe his similarities to Hermes.  Any way he incites a cautious curiosity in me. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Odin / Lugh as the Yule King by Shirl Sazynski A past December:

It's the season of mistletoe and holly, when bells are ring-jing-jing-a-ling and the year-round Northern outdoor signs that say, "Beware of Falling Ice" finally have meaning. The night is hushed in a way it only gets when there is a blanket of snow, on the eve before a holiday, when everything is closed. Snuggled in a hotel room in upstate New York, red and blue-foil snowflakes covering presents gleam out of the corner of my eye, while real ones slowly fall, dancing over the parking lot.

               It's almost midnight. Drowsy with hot cider, lying on my husband's chest and listening to his heartbeat, there's nowhere else I'd rather be…

               I feel, rather than hear, the Yule King's call at first: a pull like I'm standing in a river, and then his voice flows across my mind.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Day-spring_finds_Mengld--Svipdagsmal_Collingwood.jpg
"Power to me is displayed by the peacemaker.

I understand there is a level of excitement in those stories of being held by a man’s man for a moment, but that is a rickety banister to hold on to as you step onto the stairway of romantic bliss. There is another whole level of connection and white-out passion when you realize you are with someone who has opened up their heart so fully that you can feel the circle of blood through their arteries and veins almost as if it is your own..."

--from "An Unapologetic Look at Romance" by Dominique Jones

This is one of the wisest essays I have read, on love or anything else (click on it, please), and it drives home several points about Freyr:

We stereotype the peoples of Northern Europe as aggressive, looting, sea-faring warriors, hauling back pillaged booty or trade goods from abroad. We stereotype Odin (blame Wagner and his Victorian romanticism for this) as the stern, grim king: father of war. Thor as big-hearted, lustily drinking smiter of evil. While attitudes have recently begun changing, portraying the Vikings' "softer side", that aggressive image sticks-- both inside and outside of Heathenry.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Unlike Greek mythology and even Egyptian mythology, the Gods and heroes and lore of northern Europe appear rarely in books aimed at children. This is unfortunate, as Norse mythology is rich with wondrous tales, grand adventure, amazing Gods, and tragic but noble heroes. There are several picture books that I recommend though, as well as chapter books and teen books and a few activity books; there are also some general mythology books which feature good sections on Norse lore. These would all make great additions to the private libraries of Heathen families, or even lending libraries maintained by particular Kindreds.

There are several picture books which the youngest children will enjoy; some retell a single myth while others focus on a specific Deity or hero. First is Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Norse by Leonard Everett Fisher* which features short, encyclopedic entries on the Deities along with beautiful full-page chalky illustrations, a map, and a pronunciation guide. Iduna and the Magic Apples by Mariana Mayer and Laszlo Gal, which I profiled in a previous column, retells the story of that Goddess's kidnapping and rescue. The Adventures of Thor the Thunder God by Lise Lunge-Larsen (author of the wonderful Gifts From the Gods) and Jim Madsen, is a humorous and exciting collection of that God's most well-known stories, while Shirley Climo and Alexander Koshkin's Stolen Thunder: A Norse Myth focuses on Thor's quest to reclaim his lost hammer from the Frost Giants. Leif the Lucky by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire is a biography of the famous explorer, while Sister Bear: A Norse Tale by Jane Yolen and Linda Graves is a folktale featuring a spunky heroine, an adorable dancing bear, and some terrible tattooed trolls.

For those interested in collections of short stories -- which work great as bedtime reading -- Favorite Norse Myths by Mary Pope Osborne and Troy Howell collects fourteen tales (including some lesser-known adventures); it is unfortunately out of print, but copies are readily available online and at your local library. It's worth tracking down just for Howell's stunning paintings.    

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Shirl: if I missed any good ones, let me know. … Like I have any room on my book shelves ….
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thank you for this treasure trove of words and pictures, and the recommendation for Willy Pogany's work for those who don't know i
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Tim: glad I could add to your father-son reading list. If you have any favorites that I missed, please let me know.
Heathen Gods and Sacrifice (and Transformation)

Norse Gods bear famous wounds: an eye traded for wisdom, an ear given to hear the approach of danger, a hand to bind and slow the dire wolf of ultimate destruction. Each sacrifice is an emblem of their power: mighty Odin, who sees all in his high seat, is half-blinded; Heimdall the guardian of Asgard, the Gods' realm, left half-deaf; Tyr the God of justice unable, forevermore, to swear by his severed right hand in court.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Alfar
    Alfar says #
    Thank you.... I know the ladies will enjoy this... the fellas as well... but the ladies especially. They love when another female
  • Alfar
    Alfar says #
    Great work. I am an Asatru Gothi and work with prison ministry / education. There are a great number of fine heathen men and women
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thank you, Alfar. I am happy that my writings can make a difference in other peoples' lives, including those who are trying to mak

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
NOT WAGNER

When I started to wander out into the brick-and-mortar Pagan community, I noticed that there were a lot of people who believed in Norse mythology and Pantheon. Some Asatru, some called themselves Heathen, some Northern Tradition, etc.    And when I'd talk about how I wanted to find out more about how Pagans relate to music, especially if any relate to Classical music, I found that some Norsefolk liked metal and Beethoven, and others liked Richard Wagner.  Richard Wagner, for those who don't know, is hailed as having "revolutionized" music during the middle of the 19th century, and he did this via writing operas about Scandinavian 'sagas' and the 'Nibelungenlied.' I wouldn't be surprised if Wagner was the origination for a connection between Norse/Scandinavian spirituality and anti-Semitism.

I am against the man and his works.  Alright, maybe not.  Maybe I am confused and heartbroken that someone who could write such beautiful and moving music, on such a thoroughly Pagan basis, was a megalomaniac, an abuser, and a bloodthirsty anti-Semite.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    I happened to come across the following article today, and thought of your post: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20130807-how-i-
  • Robert Brown
    Robert Brown says #
    This is an individual question, and an important one. Have you seensome of Hitler's art? He was an awful, terrible guy. Some of

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I love the Norse Gods, and I love stories. Whether you think they are people or think they are characters in stories, I'd like to share that sense of wonder with you, exploring ethics in the thorny places where beauty and brutality interweave to speak eloquently about the human condition in all its flaws and grandeur.

As an artist and writer, my work is steeped in mythology and ancient literature which I find surprisingly relevant to modern life. Human nature does not change much, but the way we explain it— through stories and the shifting values of our cultures— does.

Like the Gods I worship, I travel frequently. It's made me keenly aware of how similar people are beneath the surface differences, wherever (or whenever) you go. It's also shown me how much we influence one another, through our ideas and relationships, and of the value of face-to-face relationships and community during a time in which both our wilderness and connection to other life is rapidly eroding.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    It's an intriguing way to raise awareness for a deity, and a lovely thought. Thank you for the compliment about my writing. He (an
  • Heather Freysdottir
    Heather Freysdottir says #
    I don't know if this is of interest to you, but there's a Freyr spouse proposing a month for Him: http://shannonkotono.wordpress.c

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