Nordic Mythology

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Posted by Sir Randal MacNiall Bundy on January 11, 1998 at 09:41:22:

Submitted by Sir Randal MacNiall Bundy


The nordic mythology...

Old Norse Mythology.

The Old Norse Mythology is rather facinating. The ones aqquinted with
the world of Tolkien can to some extent recognize themselves when
dealing with this mythology. According to the old tales a man with the
name of Gylfe, king of Svithiod, once entered the home of the gods and
there he was told how the world begun. He met with three beings which
had the names: Hög (High), Tredje (Third) and jämnhög (Even Height or
something like that ;-).

They told him how the world had been created and how everything was
done. In the beginning there was the abyss (Ginnungagapet), North of
this there was Nifelheim, the world of cold where Cold and Darkness
rules. Frosty mists rose from the cold well of Hvergelmer. In the south
there was the hot Muspelheim, a place where the being Surte ruled with
a flaming sword. The mists from Hvergelmer formed the frozen stream of
Elivågor which flowed in to the Ginnungagap and filled it with ice. But
at the same time flares from Muspelheim fell into the abyss and the
falling drops which became the result of the mix of flares and ice
formed two giant beings: A cow with the name 'Audhumbla' and a giant
named 'Ymer'. Ymer got his food from the cow by means of four mouths
which he used to milk the cows four nipples. Audhumbla in turn lived
on the white frost ont the rocks.

Her warm breath created a man called Bure wich by some mysterious way
managed to get hold of a wife (it is not described how) and they where
the first of the Asa dynasty of which Oden, Vile and Ve would be the

Ymer on his side created several different creatures. From his left arm
a lovely couple sprung, from which the three fates Urd, Verdandi, Skuld
(Guilt) and the wise Mimer came. His feet on the other hand created a
three headed monster wich became the ancestor of the Rimtusarnas evil
giant family.

Oden, wich destiny had choosen to become the one who would fullfill the
creation, killed the giant Ymer (with help from his two brothers) and
used his body as a ground for the new world. His blood became the sea
(Where all the Rimtusarnas but one drowned). His skull became the sky.
The bones in his sceleton became mountains, his brain the clouds and
his tissues was grinded in the great mill 'Grottekvarnen', around whose
main axis the universe turned, to become the dirt. The mill was driven
by the giantesses Fenja and Menja. Ymers Eyebrows became a wall against the inhabitable surroundings.
This new world was called Midgård.

The world down under was divided into three kingdoms each one with its
own well. Hvergelmer, Mimers well and Urda well.From the Ginnungagap a
large ash with the name 'Ygdrasil' grow. The branches of Ygdrasil
covered all the then known world.In Hvergelmer the dragon Nidh”g lies
and gnaws on the rots of the tree. Mimers well on the other hand is
the well of wisedom, guarded by Mimer, Oden once gave his right eye for
a drink of the water in this well.

At Urdawell which is guarded by the three fates the gods have their
conferences each day. They ride daily over the bridge Bifrost, a bridge
which shimmers in all the colours of the rainbow and is watched by the
god Heimdal (also called Rig), nine mothers and nine sisters son and
beholder of Gjallarhornet which is nordic tales last trump . Heimdal
sleeps lighter than the bird, sees one hundred traveldays in each
direction from his castle Himinbjorg and has such sharp hearing that he
can hear the grass and the wool grow.

Once when Oden and his brothers where out taking a walk at the shore of
the sea in Midgård, he found two Sceptring (?) trees with the names
Ask and Embla. They set them free from the earth and gave them blood,
power of motion, intelligence, will, fantasy and spirit. They where
formed after their own appearence. From this couple the whole humanity
evolved. The fate Urd gives every human a being called Fylgia at birth.
This being are to follow her throughout his/her life.

Odens wife is called Frigg, and his sons ar called Tor and Balder. Tor
is the strongest of the gods and is allways in war with the giants. He
is armed with his 'strength belt' Megingjord and the hammer 'Mjölner'
which like a boomerang allways return to his hand after a throw. He is
travelling through space in a wagon which is pulled by the goats
'Tandgniostr' and 'Tandgrisner'. About his fights with the giants there
is a lot of fascinating stories which have the character of folklore
tales and which most certainly never have been accepted by the
believing. As the god of thunder he enjoyed respectfull worshiping from
the believers which can be proved by among other things the surviving
names on villages (Thorsvik) and in other words like 'tordön' (The
sound of lightning), torsdag (Thursday).

Balder on the other hand was the god of battle but got some of the
characteristics of christ when the christian faith became known in the
nordic countries. There is no certain proof that he really was the
focus for some serious worshipping. Any way, the story about Balder is
rather fascinating. In Snorre Sturlassons Edda he was portraied as
Balder the kind. He was residing in his stronghold Breidablick. He was
the kindest and the justest (?) of the gods. He was therefore loved of
all the living beings in the world. Therefore his mother took a promise from all the living not to hurt him and cause of this Balder
was invunerable. The gods therefore used him for target pracitizing,
the arrows they used just bounced of him. But there where one plant
which his mother had forgotten to ask and that was the misteltoe. One
of the creatures in the 'inner circle' around the gods was the devious
Loke (who really was of a giant family allthough he had been taken up
by the gods) who when he realized the mistake made by Balders mother,
quickly made an arrow of the misteltoe and instructed Balders blind
brother, Höder, to shot it in a certain direction. The arrow hit Balder
and he was promptly killed. The following story reminds a bit of the
greek story where 'Persefone' and 'Prometheus' get's in more or less
the same situation. The chocked gods tried to get Balder back from the
kingddom of death. But failed due to the sly Loke which had disguised
himself as an old woman with the name Töck. Loke got his punishment,
he was caught in the river when he was trying to escape in the shape as
a salmon. He was chained with his sons (Nares) Bowels to a rock just
under a jut where a viper constantly drips his venom on the poor
fellows face. Sigyn, his belowed, stays with him and tries to ease the
pain by collecting the
venom in a bowl but when the bowl is full and she i away to empty it
Loke gets the poison in his face and he trembles in his agony, and
with him the rest of the world.

Some of the creatures which stems from Loke is Fenrisulven and
Midgårdsormen. Midgårdsormen was thrown in to the sea where he growed
rapidly so that he eventually encircled the earth and bit himself in
the tail. Fenrisulven on the other hand was adopted by the gods (which
proved to be a big mistake). The playful puppy soon growed into a
monster which strength and hostility threatened the other gods. There-
fore they tried to bind him with a chain (with name Gleipner) made of
iron which he promptly ripped apart. They made a new leash made of,
among other things, the beard from women, the roots of the mountains,
the sound of steps from a cat, the spitt from the bird and other
equally rare materials. This very soft and thin rope was shown to
Fenrisulven and he was offered to rip it apart. Fenrisulven, which
suspeceted foul play, was rather reluctant to take the offer. Only
when the god Tyr put his hand in to his mouth did he allow the rope to
be pulled over the head. When he found out that he was tricked he thus
in anger bit the hand of Tyr and thats the story behind Tyrs:s lost
right hand...

There are other gods in the family, Like Brage (The god with the long
beard) which sits at home in his fathers stronghold and uses his time
to drink beer and write poems. There is 'Forsete', son of Balder, who
is the god of justice and lives in the heavenly hall Glitner. The
silent Vidar which rules over the lower regions where the last battle
will be held.

Njord, son of a allegory daughter to Mimer with the name Natt (Night)
and brother to Odens wife Frigg, belongs to a different breed called
vanerna and is in the beginning in Asgård as hostage. He is the god of
richeness and the protector of sailors. He commands the weather. His
wife the skiing Skade is born in the mountains. Therefore she doesn't
like beeing in Njords Stronghold 'Noatun' as she can't stand the
screaming of the sea gulls. On the other hand Njord can't stand the
howling from the wolfs in Skades mountains. Therefore they are living
separately. Njords son is named Frej (or frö), and he rules over the
fertility on earth. Frö:s sister, Freja (or Fröja) which resides in
the castle Folkvang, most fittingly rules over love.

These brothers and sisters have rather complicated marriage relations.
But Frejas husband seems to be Svipdag or Hermod while Frej after some
persuasion managed to get a fair looking giantess with the name Gerd.

Of the dynasty of the vanerna was furthermore Nanna, which became wife
to Balder (she got a chrushed heart when he was killed).

Other gods and godesses comes from the dynasty of elfs which in turn
can be divided in to black elfs and light elfs. Only the light elfs
are of any importance in this matter.

To this dynasty belongs, among other, the fairheaded Siv, wife of Tor
in the wooden castle Bilskirnir (the greatest of all timebered houses)
int the land of Trudvang. They had sons with the name of: Magne and
Mode. Idun, wife of Brage, which made the wonderfull apples which gave
the gods their eternal youth. Ivalde, which in the beginning of time
was the guardian against the Rumtusarerna at Elivågor. He had a son ,
Valand (or as he also was called: Limping Valand or Völand), which was
a blacksmith an whom one of the sadest edda stories is about. The
seagod Ägir which is related to the giants but neveretheless has good
relations to the gods and his wife the unfaithfull Ran which brings
unhappiness to the humans.

To the gods one also counts, Billing and Delling, which is the morning
glow and the sunset. The young maid Geifon, the litterary Saga which
guards the mead of wisdom which comes from the river of Sökvabäck and
fills the horn of the moon.

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