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Norse Mythology
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The crags are sundered,
the giant-women sink,
The dead throng Hel-way,
and heaven is cloven.
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from Grimm's Teutonic Mythology*
Apart from deified and semi-divine natures there stands a whole order of other beings distinguished mainly by the fact that, while those have issued from men or seek human fellowship, these form a seperate community, one might say a kingdom of their own, and are only induced by accident or stress of circumstances to have dealings with men.

They have in them some admixture of the superhuman, which approximates them to gods; they have power to hurt man, being no match for him in bodily strength. Their figure is much below the stature of man, or else mis-shapen. They almost all have the faculty of making themselves invisible.

And here again the females are of a broader and nobler cast, with attributes resembling those of goddesses and wise-women; the male spirits are more distinctly marked off, both from gods and from heroes.

The two most general designations for them [are wights and elves]; they are what we should call spirits nowadays. But the word spirit (geist, ghost), like the Greek dæmon, is too comprehensive; it would include, for instance, the half-goddesses discussed in the preceeding chapter. The Latin genius would more nearly hit the mark.

* Free download of this & many other eBooks at The Norse Mythology Online Library:

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For my new column at The Wild Hunt, I asked nine Heathens from nine countries how they celebrate the arrival of spring. They speak of rituals, texts, deities, wights & ancestors. Follow link to read my article.
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Yesterday, the +Ásatrúarfélagið Íslandi (Iceland Ásatrú Fellowship) celebrated spring's arrival with the ceremony known as Sigurblót (victory sacrifice), one of the major yearly events for the group that practices a modern version of Norse religion. Follow link to read about the ritual's historical sources & what members of the Heathen association say about its meaning today.
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from Hávamál (Sayings of the High One)

Crooked and far is the road to a foe,
Though his house on the highway be;
But wide and straight is the way to a friend,
Though far away he fare.

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To one tell your thoughts
But be mindful of two
All know what is known by three

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from Hávamál (Sayings of the High One)

I found the old giant, now back have I fared,
Small gain from silence I got;
Full many a word, my will to get,
I spoke in Suttung's hall.

The mouth of Rati made room for my passage,
And space in the stone he gnawed;
Above and below the giants' paths lay,
So rashly I risked my head.

Gunnlöð gave on a golden stool
A drink of the marvelous mead;
A harsh reward did I let her have
For her heroic heart,
And her spirit troubled sore.

The well-earned beauty well I enjoyed,
Little the wise man lacks;
So Óðrerir now has up been brought
To the midst of the men of earth.

Hardly, methinks, would I home have come,
And left the giants' land,
Had not Gunnlöð helped me, the maiden good,
Whose arms about me had been.

The day that followed, the frost-giants came,
Some word of Hár to win,
And into the hall of Hár;
Of Bölverk they asked, were he back midst the gods,
Or had Suttung slain him there?

On his ring swore Odin the oath, methinks;
Who now his troth shall trust?
Suttung's betrayal he sought with drink,
And Gunnlöð to grief he left.

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Then there was Bragi.
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Have them in circles
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Happy Arbor Day from
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from Hávamál (Sayings of the High One)
Wise in measure should each man be,
but ne'er let him wax too wise:
who looks not forward to learn his fate
unburdened heart will bear.

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Like that Geri & Freki are with him to meet Fenrir in the illustration. Also implies Huginn & Muninn are already off having some grim snacks.
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JÖRÐ (Old Norse, "earth). An Æsir goddess, even though she is also called a giantess. She is Odin's wife, and Thor is frequently said to be her son. According to Snorri, Jörð is the daughter of Nótt ("night") and her second husband, Anarr.

In the late heathen period, as recorded in our oldest literary sources Jörð appears to have only been known as Thor's mother, and she plays no further role as an earth-goddess – as she certainly once was.

It is uncertain whether the names Fjörgyn, Hlóðynn, Fold, and Grund (all meaning "earth") were merely poetic synonyms for the mother of Thor created by the skalds, or whether they are various names for the old earth-goddess Jörð. However, the first suggestion seems to be more likely.

Tacitus refers to the veneration of the earth-mother Nerthus in his Germania. Just as Thor's counterpart in Indian mythology, Indra, is begotten by the god of the heavens Dyaus and the Earth, so Thor is also a son of the Earth, just like the proto-ancestor Tuisto, referred to in Old Germanic myths of descendency (as mentioned by Tacitus).

The Earth as the mother of the gods can no doubt also be understood from the Eddic cosmogony where the giantess Bestla is the mother of the first gods Odin, Vili and Vé, since the giants should be seen as chthonic beings.

by Rudolf Simek
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from Grimm's Teutonic Mythology
On the whole there runs through the stories of water-sprites a vein of cruelty and bloodthirstiness, which is not easily found among dæmons of mountains, woods and homes. The nix not only kills human beings who fall into his clutches, but wreaks a bloody vengeance on his own folk who have come on shore, mingled with men, and then gone back.

A girl had passed fifteen years in the sea-wife's house and never seen the sun all that time. At last her brother ventures down, and brings his beloved sister safely back to the upper world. The sea-wife waited her return seven years, then seized her staff, and lashing the water till it splashed up high, she cried:

Had I trowed thou wert so false,
I'd have nicked thy thievish neck!

If the sea-maidens have stayed too long at the dance, if the captive Christian have born a child to the nix, if the water-man's child is slow in obeying his call, one sees a jet of blood shoot up from the water's bed in sign of the vengeful deed. As a rule, there was likewise a favourable sign agreed upon (a jet of milk, a plate with an apple), but withheld in such a case as this.

Free download of Grimm's Teutonic Mythology & many other eBooks at The Norse Mythology Online Library:

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Giant over Iceland = we're in trouble.
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from "Scandinavian Folk-Lore"
by William A. Craigie
The huldres are women as beautiful as can be imagined, who live in the mountains and graze their cattle there. These are often fat and thriving, brindled, or light in colour.

They themselves, when they appear to men, are dressed in grey clothes, with a white cloth hanging over their face, and the only thing they can be recognised by,
is the long tail that drags behind them, which, however, they for the most part generally manage to conceal.

If one hears them play among the mountains, it is so enchanting that one can scarcely contain one's self for joy. This music is called the Huldre's tune, and there are many peasants who have heard it, and learned it, and can play it again.

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Didn't know about the bit about the Huldra's music. Thanks.
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The Norse Mythology Google+ Page
Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried is a writer on mythology and religion. A Norse mythologist and musician in Chicago, he teaches courses on mythology, religion, J.R.R. Tolkien and Richard Wagner for Newberry Library's Seminar Program. He taught Norse mythology at Loyola University Chicago and Norse religion at Carthage College, where he was founder and faculty advisor of the Tolkien Society.

Karl's website, The Norse Mythology Blog, was named the world's Best Religion Weblog in 2012, 2013 and 2014. It is the first religion blog to enter the Weblog Awards Hall of Fame. In addition to original articles and interviews on myth and religion, the site features projects such as the Worldwide Heathen Census 2013, a first attempt to estimate current numbers of adherents of the modern iteration of Norse religion.

Karl is a featured columnist for The Wild Hunt, the primary international source for news and commentary relating to minority religions. Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor at The Federalist, has called The Wild Hunt "a must-read for those interested in news and events dealing with the modern Pagan and Heathen communities – and religion coverage in general."

Karl's writing on mythology and religion has been broadcast on the BBC as part of a series featuring "leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond." His work has been published in Herdfeuer (Germany), Iceland Magazine, Interfaith Ramadan (Italy), MythNow (Joseph Campbell Foundation), On Religion (UK), Religion and Ethics (Australia), and Reykjavík Grapevine (Iceland).

Karl wrote all definitions relating to Ásatrú (Norse religion) in the Religion Newswriters Association's Religion Stylebook, and he was a co-author of the Heathen Resource Guide for Chaplains written by the Open Halls Project Workgroup for the U.S. Department of Defense.

"One Crime over the Line: Śiśupāla in the Mahābhārata," Karl's article examining events at the royal consecration of Yudhiṣṭhira in light of other happenings in the Mahābhārata, later Indian texts, historical practice and religious concepts, will be published in volume 65 of the Journal of the Oriental Insitute, the peer-reviewed academic publication of MSU of Baroda (India), the institution that issued critical editions of Vālmīki's Rāmāyaṇa and the Viṣṇu Purāṇa.

Karl has been interviewed on myth and religion by the BBC, Daily BeastHistory Channel, OnFaithPublic Radio International's The World, Strings Magazine, Chicago Public Radio's Morning Edition, Raven Radio, Viking Magazine and Wired Magazine. He has been a featured lecturer on literary and musical interpretations of Norse mythology at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wagner Society of America and Wheaton College.

A member of the American Academy of Religion, Religion Newswriters Association, Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, and Viking Society for Northern Research (UK), Karl is also the Official Norse Mythologist of the Stephanie Miller Show.

Karl holds degrees in literature and music from University of California at San Diego, University of Wisconsin at Madison and University of Texas at Austin. He studied literature and art history at Loyola University Chicago Rome Center in Italy and has taken Icelandic language courses through University of Iceland's distance learning program. He recently received an academic scholarship from University of Chicago Divinity School and is now working on an MA in Religion.


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."
Weaving Wyrd: "His questions are thought-provoking, and his scholarly bona fides are pretty impressive."
Syracuse University iSchool: "This is an entertaining and enlightening blog to follow for anyone interested in Norse mythology."
Bob Freeman: "For anyone with an interest in Norse culture, myth, and magic, there is no better place to visit on the web."
Carthage News: "His would be considered a David-and-Goliath story, except Carthage professor Karl Seigfried topped the writers who discuss those kinds of biblical figures."
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."



On Religion (UK)
: Most Popular Article of 2015
"Northern Zombies & Heathen Worldviews"


Weblog Awards (International): Best Religion Weblog
First religion blog to enter Weblog Awards Hall of Fame


Weblog Awards (International)
: Best Religion Weblog

Bob Freeman: Best Esoteric Website

The Wild Hunt: Top Ten Pagan Stories of 2013
"Ásatrú Added to Religion Stylebook"


Weblog Awards (International): Best Religion Weblog




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