Thursday, September 26, 2013

Understanding The Nordic Myths (9/17/13)

To understand the mythology of the Nordic people, you have to understand their beliefs. Most of their myths (along with the myths of other cultures) feature the notion that nature has somehow gone berserk and betrayed them. Therefore, forces of nature are personified. From this, the forces of nature almost always take human form and interact with humans. So, you have humans bargaining for, and trying to win, favor with the gods.

Let's take a closer look at the Norse Gods:


Odin is the leader of the Norse gods. His job is to keep the world safe from destruction for as long as he can. Odin knows that he and all of his people will eventually perish at the hands of the Giants. Two wolves sit at Odin's feet. Two ravens perch on his shoulders and each day bring him news from earth. Odin once went to the Well of Wisdom to be for wisdom; he was granted the gift, but he had to pay for it with one eye. He lives in Asgard, the golden home of the gods. Wednesday is named for him.


Thor is the god of thunder, the eldest son of Odin. Thor protects humans from the dangerous Giants in the underworld. His main weapon is his mighty hammer, which returns on its own to Thor;s iron-gloved hand after it is thrown. Thursday is named for Thor.


Frigga is the wife of Odin and the goddess of the clouds. Frigga can see into the future. Friday is generally believed to be named for Frigga.


Brother and sister, beloved gods. Frey is the god of weather and the harvest. Freya is the goddess of love and beauty. Friday is sometimes considered to be named after Freya.


Balder was the son of Odin and Frigga. He was beautiful radiant and considered the god of innocence and light. One day he was rather melancholy because of some troubling dreams that he would come to be harmed. Odin and Frigga declared that he was not to be harmed and made every living thing in the world take an oath not to harm Balder. Loki, however, discovered that Frigga did not get a promise from mistletoe. Loki arranged for a branch of mistletoe to kill the god. After Balder's death, grief and sadness came to Asgard.


Loki is one of the evil Giants. He is a trickster and a schemer. Giants are the enemies of all that is good.


Fenris is a wolf, another of Loki's unpleasant brood of children. Fenris was chained at last by the god Tiu (or Tyr), who was left with only one hand after Fenris attacked him. Tuesday is named for Tiu.
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