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Our friend Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wild Hunt contacted me last night about the awful murders in Kansas on Sunday. The accused was apparently targeting Jewish people & has declared his attachment to Odinism in the past (as well as to monotheism, atheism, etc). I wrote a statement denouncing racism & anti-semitism in heathenry - but also one criticizing CNN's sensationalistic reporting of the story.

Check out Jason's article, which quotes many heathen voices speaking out against the killings & their supposed connection to heathen beliefs. Jason also clearly details the faults in CNN's coverage.

Note: CNN is now in the process of quietly editing their original post on the story, adding quotes from heathens and linking to Jason's article - and even changing the post's title. Why didn't CNN do it's research BEFORE printing the story?

Here's the Wild Hunt piece:
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CNN is ridiculous. I live in the general Boston area... We all remember what happened here a year ago, right? CNN was jumping on the story and making absolute fools of themselves over the bombing. They're fear-mongering, money-grubbing, ridiculous people. 
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The woman, dead at 30, was buried 1,900 years ago in an oak log near Juellinge, Denmark. Interred with her was a long-handled bronze strainer that still held residue of a fermented drink she may have been meant to enjoy in the afterlife.

Now the ingredients and even the flavor of that drink, a “grog” made from local fruits, grains, and herbs mixed with grape wine from southern Europe, are becoming clearer. University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Patrick McGovern has applied biomolecular techniques to organic residue taken from four ancient Scandinavian artifacts, including the woman’s strainer, a clay jar, and pieces of Roman bronze drinking sets, dating to between 1500 B.C. and A.D. 200.

Using a method called solid phase micro-extraction, McGovern found volatile organic compounds that are biomarkers for ingredients such as lingonberry, bog cranberry, rye, barley, juniper, birch, pine, bog myrtle, and yarrow. Tandem mass spectrometry then showed the presence of tartaric acid, the biomarker for wine.

“This work is the first to prove that wine was being traded from the south to the north at this time,” says McGovern. It has also created a detailed, consistent picture of ancient Scandinavia’s preferred beverage of distinction. McGovern is working with Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery—as he has on previous concoctions based on ancient residues—to create a modern rendition of the sour, fruity, herbaceous grog.

Story by Katherine Sharpe
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+Christopher Allen Interesting, thanks for the information
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6,000-year-old Dane's Stone is upright once more in Highland Perthshire, Scotland. After standing since the Neolithic or Bronze Age, erosion ate away the earth at the stone's base until it fell over during a storm in February. Now, a team led by archeologists & stonemasons has set the stone right.

David Strachan of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust says: “It is a prehistoric stone & probably dates back to between 4,000 BC & 1,000 BC. The name 'Dane’s Stone' was probably given during the Middle Ages, around about the time of the Vikings."

Strachan says funeral ceremonies were likely held at the stone & said standing stones were "like churches" of ancient times: “We don’t really know a huge amount about what these stones are for, but many do have ritual or religious significance.”

At the time it fell, less than 20 inches of the 7 foot, 4.5 metric ton stone remained buried in the soil. To prevent erosion from again wearing away the ground supporting the Dane's Stone, a concrete pit has been built & 1/3 of the stone is now buried.

Oliver Lewis of Historic Scotland says, “The height of the stone now is probably how high it was when it was first put up. Over the years, gradual agricultural improvements have removed the soil around it so, at the beginning of this year, around 2.1m (6.8ft) was above the ground & it was leaning. We have now set it deeper & I don’t think it will fall over again in our lifetime.”
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#1 most-read story on "All About Jazz" website is on (1) The Norse Mythology Blog winning Best Religion Weblog 2014 and (2) the show next week where I'll debut folklore-based tunes from my upcoming "Grimms' Fairy Tales" recording. Dig it, Vikings!

Read the story here:
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Congratulations! Crossover success story. ;)
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Seriously, they were. In 1949, the broken remnant of the Uunartoq Disc was found in an 11thC convent in Greenland. Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary have been studying the disc & have a new theory.

The disc was used for navigation at sea: it is estimated to have been about 7 centimeters across with a central pin to cast a shadow showing the sun's direction. The scholars now think that it was used with a pair of crystals & a wooden slab  to navigate when the sun was low or even down below the horizon.

Balázs Bernáth is co-author of the new report. He believes that the Vikings used a domed object in the middle of the compass to create a wider shadow than a regular sundial post. He suggests that the wide hole in the middle of the disc (originally thought as a place to grip the dial) was a holding spot for this dome.

To find the sun after sunset, the Vikings used sunstones - calcite crystals that produce patterns when exposed to the sun's polarized UV rays. These patterns can pinpoint the sun's position even below the horizon.

Once the sun's position had been determined with the sunstones, the Vikings used a shadow stick - a wooden slab designed to simulate the shadow of the dome-object, based on the angle of the hidden sun. The outer edge of this virtual shadow would then determine a solid compass-point direction for navigation.

Although sunstones and shadow stick weren't found with the device, medieval records show evidence of both. Given the broken state of the disc, it's not surprising that the complete set of objects was not discovered together.

Bernáth's team tested the accuracy of this theoretical "twilight compass." It was accurate within 4 degrees – better than other types of celestial navigation and just as good today's magnetic pocket compasses. Experiments run by the researchers found that the Viking device would have worked up to nearly an hour after sunset during the time of the Spring Equinox; etchings on the disc suggest that this was the time of year the compass was used.

Could YOU find your direction in the middle of the open ocean, an hour after sunset, using only a wooden disc, two crystals and a hunk of wood? Dang.
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Have them in circles
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from Siegfried by Richard Wagner
illustrated by Arthur Rackham

In the 1st act of the 3rd opera in Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung, the dwarf Mime describes how he found Sieglinde (mother of the hero Siegfried). She was last seen fleeing from the wrathful Wotan (Odin) at the end of the previous opera. Mime tells Siegfried:

A woman once I found
Who wept in the forest wild;
I helped her here to the cave,
That by the fire I might warm her.
The woman bore a child here;
Sadly she gave it birth.
She writhed about in pain;
I helped her as I could.
Bitter her plight; she died.
But Siegfried lived and throve.

from The Ring of the Nibelung, Volume 2:
Siegfried & The Twilight of the Gods
The featured free eBook
at The Norse Mythology Online Library

Read the eBook online or download (PDF) at
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National Museum of Ireland has created a nice video series about #Vikings in Ireland. This first one features Dr. Andy Halpin of the Irish Antiquities Division discussing 3 Viking battle-axes discovered in Summer 2013. Click the video & start learning, y'all!

All the Viking Ireland videos are now posted on The +Norse Mythology Channel. Subscribe (free) to NorseTube at
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I'm on Chicago Public Radio around 9:45 am (Chicago time) to talk about being named the world's #1 religion blog & about my dual life as mythologist & musician. Listen worldwide at
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Drop in, turn on, and tune the television.
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Wednesday around 9:45am (Chicago time), I'll be on Chicago Public Radio to discuss writing The Norse Mythology Blog since 2010, winning Best Religion Weblog 2014, entering the Weblog Awards Hall of Fame & my double life as a mythologist & musician.

You can listen live anywhere in the world at

You can check out the archive of Norse myth articles & interviews at
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In their classic "Book of Trolls" (1972) Ingri & Edgar Parin D'Aulaire tell of a boy who once looked through the eye of a troll:

"Before the boy gave the eye back, he peeked through it and what he saw was very strange. Light was dark, dark was light, and even the raging trolls looked gentle and kind. For trolls had troll-splinters in their eyes and that made them see everything askew.

"That is why when a troll looked into his rock-crystal mirror, he was so pleased with what he saw. To his eyes his ungainly wife looked rosy-cheeked and buxom, and the troll-children were the finest of young fellow, frisky like cubs as they wrestled and tumbled about."

Later, the D'Aulaires tell of trolls who burst and turn to stone when the sun shines on them:

"But we do know that every time a troll burst, the splinter in his eye was scattered far and wide. Maybe that is why there are people everywhere today who see things askew. What is bad looks good to them and what is wrong looks right.

"They do not know that they have troll-splinters in their eyes and you cannot see them. But you can be very sure that the troll-splinters are there."

So, next time a random jerky-boy internet troll posts some manky felgercarb on your Facebook wall, remember: he's really just a sad schmo sitting in his mom's basement, squinting through the troll-splinters in his eyes. Poor little fella!
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The Norse Mythology Google+ Page
The Norse Mythology Google+ Page
by Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried

Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried writes The Norse Mythology Blog. A Norse mythologist and musician in Chicago, he teaches Norse mythology classes at Newberry Library. He has also taught Norse mythology at Loyola University Chicago and Norse religion at Carthage College, where he was founder & faculty advisor of the Tolkien Society.

Karl has been a featured writer and lecturer at the Joseph Campbell Foundation and the Wagner Society of America, and he is the author of all Ásatrú definitions in the Religion Stylebook of the Religion Newswriters Association. He's a member of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, the Tolkien Society (UK), the Viking Society for Northern Research (UK) and the Religion Newswriters Association. He's also the Official Norse Mythologist of the Stephanie Miller Show.

2012, 2013 & 2014 Weblog Awards: Best Religion Weblog
Weblog Awards Hall of Fame: First religion blog to enter the Hall of Fame
Chicago Public Radio: "[Karl's] one of the country’s most respected researchers and lecturers on Norse mythology."
Chicago Humanities Festival: "Seigfried is a prolific chronicler of the world of Norse mythology."
Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth): "[Karl's] probably a better Guardian of Asgard than I am."
Jóhanna G. Harðardóttir (Ásatrúarfélagið): "Hér er rétti maðurinn á ferð til að kenna Norræna goðafræði í US."
Syracuse University iSchool: "This is an entertaining and enlightening blog to follow for anyone interested in Norse mythology."
Weaving Wyrd: "His questions are thought-provoking, and his scholarly bona fides are pretty impressive."
Bob Freeman: "Best Esoteric Website 2013: For anyone with an interest in Norse culture, myth, and magic, there is no better place to visit on the web."
The Wild Hunt: "If you aren’t already reading Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried's amazing The Norse Mythology Blog, then you've been remiss. The blog is one of the most content-rich affairs for lovers of Norse mythology I’ve ever seen."
Tales of a GM: "This is an amazing resource for anyone interested in the history and culture of Northern Europe. The Norse Mythology Blog is such a brilliant combination of modern issues and ancient sources. If you have any interest in Norse culture or mythology, then you must visit Dr Seigfried’s site."
Vancouver Sun: "The best blog on faith and spirituality may be one about a so-called ‘dead’ religion, Norse mythology. The Norse Mythology Blog reflects deep knowledge of this ancient religion, along with an affable spirit. [Karl] knows everything one would ever want to know about Thor, Odin, Frey, Loki, Frigg, Freya and countless more Norse gods, goddesses and mythological hangers-on."
City Magazine (Serbia): "Ako vas je ikada makar malo zainteresovala istorija i kultura severne Evrope, a naročito njena istorija, ovde ćete naći mnogo više interesantnog štiva nego što biste se ikada nadali. Posebno je interesantno da uspeva da poveže savremene momente sa prastarim izvorima."


Questions? Contact Karl through the Contact page at The Norse Mythology Blog.