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Norse Mythology
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from Völuspá (Prophecy of the Seeress)

A hall she saw standing far from the sun,
on Corpse-Strand; it's doors look north.
Poison-drops fall in through the roof-vents,
the hall is woven of serpents' spines.

Image: Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala, India
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Abridged from National Geographic
A new project will preserve Göbekli Tepe, home to the most ancient temple structures ever discovered.

Since excavations began in 1995, the site in southeastern Turkey has changed the way archaeologists think about the origins of civilization. Its circular structures, with elaborately carved stones and distinctive, T-shaped pillars, are more than 12,000 years old—older than the invention of agriculture or even pottery.

The early dates have upended the idea that agriculture led to civilization. Scholars long thought that when hunter-gatherers settled down and started growing crops, the resulting food surplus made it possible for people to organize complex societies.

Göbekli Tepe calls that conventional wisdom into question. Klaus Schmidt, a German archaeologist who led excavations at the site, argued that it might have worked the other way around: the vast labor force needed to build the enclosures pushed people to develop agriculture as a way of providing predictable food—and perhaps drink—for workers.

Newly gathered evidence from excavations at the site backs up Schmidt’s argument that the beginnings of civilization spurred the invention of farming. In the middle of each monumental enclosure are two tall T-shaped pillars, carved with stylized arms, hands and loincloths. The largest weigh more than 16 tons. Carving and moving them from a nearby quarry must have been a tremendous challenge, requiring hundreds of people and enough food to feed them all.

But archaeologists have yet to find evidence of permanent settlement at Göbekli Tepe. One recent suggestion is that the site was a regional gathering place. It’s perched on top of a bone-dry peak, with a commanding view of the surrounding mountains and the plains to the south.

Smaller versions of the pillars, symbols and architecture carved into stone at Göbekli Tepe have been found in settlements up to 125 miles away. It’s as though Göbekli Tepe were a cathedral and the others local churches; hunter-gatherers might have traveled long distances to meet, worship and help build new monumental structures, sponsoring feasts to display their wealth.

“The feasting aspect is the easiest explanation for attracting a labor force to construct the enclosures,” Notroff says.

As they’ve dug deeper into the hilltop, archaeologists have found other evidence for feasting. After they were built, the stone enclosures were filled in with dirt, stone, and animal bones. Over the course of centuries, new structures were built on top of the backfill, creating a man-made mound. The debris includes tens of thousands of broken animal bones, including gazelles and aurochs, a type of wild cow that’s now extinct. There are also huge stone vessels, big enough to hold more than 40 gallons of liquid—perhaps early beer.

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Abridged from The British Museum

Description: Gold finger-ring, engraved with a runic inscription around the hoop between nielloed lines; three letters continuing on inside of hoop.

Date: 8th-10thC

Found: Greymoorhill, Kingmore, England in 1817

Diameter: 2.7 centimeters
Weight: 360 grains


Curator's Comments:
Another gold ring with an almost identical inscription, found at Bramham Moor, Yorkshire, appears to be that now in the Museum of Copehagen. The various attempts to decipher the inscriptions on these two rings are not regarded as successful. Three words occur in each case, and the sense is very probably magical.

The ring was found by a young man employed in levelling a fence on Greymoor Hill, in the hamlet of Kingmoor, two and a half miles from Carlisle. It passed into the possession of the Earl of Aberdeen before 1822. Sometime after 1823 it was given to the Museum.

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The monumental setting of the supposed Jedi temple in the new Star Wars film is actually Skellig Michael, an island that was the site of a Christian monastery from approximately the 6th to 12th centuries. Vikings began raiding the island in the 9th century, most likely looking for treasure or important figures to hold for ransom.

An Irish annal for the year 824 states: "[Skellig] was plundered by the heathens and Etgal was carried off into captivity, and he died of hunger on their hands."

Another medieval Irish texts states: "There came a fleet from Luimnech in the south of Erinn. They plundered Skellig Michael, and Inishfallen and Disert Donnain and Cluain Mor, and they killed Rudgaile, son of Selbach, the anchorite. It was he whom the angel set loose twice, and the foreigners bound him twice each time."

That's an awful lot of steps to run up while raiding.
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Thanks for bird-dogging the film's location.
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Adapted from Grimm's Teutonic Mythology
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Thor was considered, next to Odin, the mightiest and strongest of all the gods. The Edda makes him Odin's son, therein differing entirely from the Roman view, which takes Jupiter to be Mercury's father. In pedigrees, it is true, Thor does appear as an ancestor of Odin. Thor is usually named immediately after Odin, sometimes before him, possibly he was feared more than Odin.

He is the true national god of the Norwegians. When ás ("god") stands alone, it means especially him. His temples and statues were the most numerous in Norway and Sweden, and âsmegin ("divine strength") is understood chiefly of him. Hence the heathen religion in general is so frequently expressed by the simple Thôr blôta ("Thor sacrifice").

He assigns emigrants their new place of abode; Thôr vîsaði honum ("Thor showed him"). From the Landnâmabôk ("Book of Settlements") we could quote many things about the worship of Thor. Thor is worshiped most, and Freyr next. It is Thor's hammer that hallows a mark, a marriage, and the runes, as we find plainly stated on stones.

Download this and many other free eBooks from The +Norse Mythology Online Library:
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To celebrate Robert Burns Night, here's a poem in which the great Scottish poet parodies the flyting – the ritualized contest of verbal abuse best known to lovers of +Norse Mythology from the poems Hárbarðsljóð (Thor vs Odin) & Lokasenna (Loki vs the gods & goddesses). Here's tae us! Wha's like us? Damn few & they're a'deid!

by Robert Burns

Ha! whare ye gaun, ye crowlan ferlie!
Your impudence protects you sairly:
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,
Owre gawze and lace;
Tho’ faith, I fear ye dine but sparely,
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepan, blastet wonner,
Detested, shunn’d, by saunt an’ sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her,
Sae fine a Lady!
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner,
On some poor body.

Swith, in some beggar’s haffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
Wi’ ither kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whare horn nor bane ne’er daur unsettle,
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there, ye’re out o’ sight,
Below the fatt’rels, snug and tight,
Na faith ye yet! ye’ll no be right,
Till ye’ve got on it,
The vera topmost, towrin height
O’ Miss’s bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an’ gray as onie grozet:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I’d gie you sic a hearty dose o’t,
Wad dress your droddum!

I wad na been surpriz’d to spy
You on an auld wife’s flainen toy;
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
On ’s wylecoat;
But Miss’s fine Lunardi, fye!
How daur ye do ’t?

O Jenny dinna toss your head,
An’ set your beauties a’ abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie’s makin!
Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
And ev’n Devotion!
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My brain was unable to decide if this should be read with a scottish or a rhyming accent.
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Art thou speaking to me? Thou speaking to me? Thou speaking to me? Then to whom the Hel else art thou speaking?
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From "Goat-Chariot Driver"? Loved Jodie Foster as Roskva.
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Have them in circles
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Discount registration open through Saturday for class on The Hobbit's roots in Norse Mythology, German legend and English literature. Participants read the novel in detail while exploring ancient tales of wizards and wanderers, dwarves and dragons, heroes and hoards. Please share!
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My new article addresses the common cry to "stop mixing religion and politics” and attempts to equally examine both ends of the political spectrum. I discuss the mix of sacred and secular in history and myth before turning to modern theology. Hopefully this will start some conversations.
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This fantastic 1918 map by Bernard Sleigh shows many mythic locations together. You can find bits from a lot of different mythologies, but please note that Valhalla & Asgard are at center top. As they should be.

For more detail, use the zoom tool at & let me know if you find more places from Norse Mythology!
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There's the Cliffs of the Giants (Jotunheim?) left of center, and text in the left margin notes that 'The Great Sea Serpent lyeth fathoms deep" (Jormungand?). First encountered this awesome map in the 1979 edition of JB Post's An Atlas of Fantasy,  a book one could disappear into for hours.
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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, even for Vikings. These handsome fellows were getting caffeinated for yesterday's Up Helly Aa in Lerwick, Shetland. The fest celebrates Viking heritage and dates to the late 19th century.
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Question is underware,t-back or nude
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What the fu...
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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 Continuing Education 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'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), Reykjavík Grapevine (Iceland) and The Wild Hunt.

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.

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.