In the next few posts this one and a few others follows the first I posted about the Jontunn, and my ideas whom the Gods were in metaphorically in the Eddas and The Sagas.
I wish to discuss a thesis I have come up with over the past few years, which is that I feel the poems and God’s in Norse mythology not only discuss the evolution of the Old Norse concept of whom they viewed the Divine were; but that these beings also mirrored the evolution of the very things that gave them life and existence: us. (Meaning mankind.)
I hold a view that the life force of “God’s” is of an elemental nature, but through our human awareness of them, and then by naming them as well as giving them human form, anthropomorphic entities we deem “God’s” came into existence because we created them (we recognize them and then named them) due to mankind’s evolution of understanding Their supreme attributes that are very divine, but also, very uniquely Human.
You see, being a Heathen pagan I am polytheistic and an animist; so I believe the anthropomorphic nature of the primary Norse God’s of the Aesir and Vanir (as well as the Jontunn) is overlooked, perhaps due to the fact for 1500 years most humans have had monotheistic parents and society; who’s spiritual teachings make us overlook very real aspects old world spiritual pursuits were to bring harmony to being
fully alive and powerful in Midgard as human beings BY UNDERSTANDING OUR PLACE WITHIN THE NINE WORLDS. I do not think plants, animals or other life forms in Midgard answer to human type God’s, and other life forms on Jord are just as powerful and just as important as human lives are.
With that said, I feel the nine worlds and all its inhabitants are interwoven with Midgard, and as our world affects our lives the most, there is good reason the God’s as we know them are very human like; because I feel each “faction”of Norse Gods represents (and are Representatives- i.e. our physical link to the spirit realms) to the human condition as we evolved from cave man to the civilization based species we have become.
In the next few posts I will bring via the Lore why I think this as a truth for me personally. (Remember, this is just MY take on what deep kenning I take from the Eddas, but in no way am I looking to change anyone else in what understanding they have gotten from our beautiful and powerful fragments of Norse mythology. 😉)
So to begin this thesis, let’s start with an overview of Old Norse Paganism:
Norse paganism, also known as Old Norse religion, is the most common name for a branch of Germanic religion which developed during the Proto-Norse period, when the North Germanic peoples separated into a distinct branch of the Germanic peoples. It was replaced by Christianity during the Christianization of Scandinavia. Scholars reconstruct aspects of North Germanic religion by historical linguistics, archaeology, topography, and records left by North Germanic peoples, such as runic inscriptions in the Younger Futhark, a distinctly North Germanic extension of the runic alphabet. Numerous Old Norse works dated to the 13th century record Norse mythology, a component of North Germanic religion.
Old Norse religion was polytheistic, entailing a belief in various gods and goddesses. Norse mythology divided these deities into two groups, the Æsir and the Vanir, who engaged in an ancient war until realizing that they were equally powerful. Among the most widespread deities were the gods Odin and Thor. This world was inhabited also by various other mythological races, including giants, dwarfs, elves, and land-spirits. Norse cosmology revolved around a world tree known as Yggdrasil, with various realms existing alongside that of humans, named Midgard. These include multiple afterlife realms, several of which are controlled by a particular deity.
Transmitted through oral culture rather than through codified texts, Old Norse religion focused heavily on ritual practice, with kings and chiefs playing a central role in carrying out public acts of sacrifice. Various cultic spaces were used; initially, outdoor spaces such as groves and lakes were typically selected, but by the third century CE cult houses were also purposely built for ritual activity. Norse society also contained practitioners of Seiðr, a form of sorcery which some scholars describe as shamanistic. Various forms of burial were conducted, including both inhumation and cremation, typically accompanied by a variety of grave goods.
Throughout its history, varying levels of trans-cultural diffusion occurred among neighboring peoples, such as the Sami and Finns. By the twelfth century Old Norse religion had succumbed to Christianity, with elements continuing into Scandinavian folklore. A revival of interest in Old Norse religion occurred amid the romanticist movement of the nineteenth century, during which it inspired a range of artworks. It also attracted the interest of political figures, and was used by a range of right-wing and nationalist groups. Academic research into the subject began in the early nineteenth century, initially influenced by the pervasive romanticist sentiment.