Happy Saturn’s Day
I became interested in Norse mythology as a teenager. It was a combination of two factors.
Firstly, I played Dungeon’s and Dragons – 2nd edition. One of the realms I created as a Dungeon Master at the time was a Norse like realm with the Norse Pantheon in full power. My character from that realm was what would now be considered a Tempest Priest of Thor named Thane True-Blade. He had a brother Karic True-Blade who was a devoted follower of Tyr and a fighter. There was a female thief named Sylvia who was more or less devoted to Loki. You get the idea.
Secondly, there was the Marvel Comic world with Thor the comic book. No, I haven’t seen the movies. Reason? Because while the comics and D&D were instrumental in getting me involved in Norse mythology, I soon fell in far greater love with the actual mythology, than how it has been used or inspired other things.
I start each post on The Grey Wayfarer with “Happy Thor’s Day” or “Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day” This is an example of one of those inspirations. Our days of the week have four of them that are direct references to Norse gods and goddesses. It could be argued that Sunday and Monday are as well, but they are also generic references to the Sun and Moon. So we could be dealing with Apollo as much as Sunna/Sol and Luna as much as Mani, depending on which mythology you want to credit. But Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday all have direct reference to Norse mythology.
It is these references along with many others in the western world that draw me to Norse Mythology, Christianity didn’t erase them all and in fact sometimes embraced them and made them their own. Our recent celebration to Christmas; for instance, is full of things that are borrowed and plan out stolen from Norse Yuletide. Those symbols had other meanings but Christianity has taken them and repackaged them for their own use. I find it however interesting what has survived and why.
Much of western culture and heritage is Norse and no, I don’t find that anything to be ashamed of. In fact, there is a lot to be said for the lessons that Norse Mythology were teaching to its people. Religion shows what cultures value and try to pass on and so studying Norse mythology can help us see what those values were and how they were taught generation after generation.
Unlike the atheist who does not see any value to religion, I don’t take that course. Religions develop for reasons and not all of them are about manipulation or control. Part of paganism for me is that there are ‘universal’ truths and principles that religion guards and promotes which benefit society and often at some point they are turned into religion or become part of a religion mostly in an effort to preserve them. Religion for years was also the place where science at a low-level and philosophy was created and preserved and part of that is mythology. Stories that illustrate those principles and truths. Stories that teach are the stock in trade of mythology and that is not always a bad thing.
There is also the simple fact the Norse Mythology has had tremendous impact on modern culture particularly pop culture involving fantasy writing and movies. Elves, dwarves, giants, etc. all owe their inspiration to Norse mythology. Comics, movies, art and many other things draw on Norse Mythology. My writing is definitely influenced by it and has for a long time. But I am not alone there – Tolkien, CS Lewis, Robert Jordan, and many others join me in that regard.
There is also the fact that I simply find the Vikings bad ass warriors and a lot of why they did what they did was their mythology. It is a mythology formed in the harsh realities of the ice, snow and cold of the North. I understand how these relate all to well having lived in the North of North America all my life. So I suppose there is a natural resonance with such mythology for me as that mythology of the Norseman provides a common ground. A spiritual connection based on a commonly understood environment, if you will.
My methods of approaching this are much less systematic as those of say Odin’s Eye or Of Wolves and Ravens. What I think I will find more beneficial is a topical rather than chronological methodology in Crossing Bifrost. Topic Headings will include, but are not limited to, the following.
The Norse World – Yggdrasil (The World Tree) and Its Realms – Asgard, Midgard, Hel, etc.
Norse Races and Creatures – Elves, Dwarves, Giants, etc.
Norse Gods and Goddesses – Odin, Freya, Thor, Frigg, Loki, etc. This would also include god monsters like Fenrir the Great Wolf and the World Serpent Jörmungandr.
Norse Symbols and Objects – Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir, The Valknut Symbol ,etc.
Norse Culture and History – Probably a little more difficult to define but topics here might involve how the Norse Mythology influence Viking Culture and History.
Basically I will probably have a sub page under Crossing Bifrost for each of these where appropriate and them probably follow an alphabetical listing on each sub page itself. The one requirement basically is that it has to relate in some way to Norse Mythology to be posted here.
Hope you enjoy my journey of discover on this subject. If you learn something along the way – well that is good too.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.