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Friday, 20 June 2014

Norse - Viking Mythology


Hi my dear friends and followers. Today I would like to present to you some brief history on Norse or Viking Mythology. Let your imagination go where it will and enjoy. Muchas gracias, many thanks, to you for being here. 

Here's a brief tutorial about Norse or Viking Mythology. Most of the knowledge used to create this article is from the Icelandic historian, poet, and politician Snorri Sturluson, who wrote the Prose Edda, a collection of Nordic folklore,around the year 1200 C.E.

People around the world have been fascinated and inspired by Norse mythology for centuries. In the late 20th Century references to Norse mythology became common in science fiction, fantasy literature, role-playing games, and even Japanese animation.


Stated simply, Norse Mythology is the collected story of the religion of the ancient people of the northern parts of Europe in countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Faroe Island, and Greenland.

Many gods are mentioned in the folklore of the Norse Mythology, such as:

Thor, the fierce god who fearlessly goes after foes and crushes them;

Odin, the giver of knowledge and a deity simultaneously responsible for war, poetry and sorcery;

Skaoi, who prefers the wolf howls of the winter mountains to the seashore;

Njoror, who may calm both sea and fire and grant wealth and land;

Freyr, whose weather and farming associations bring peace and pleasure to humanity;

Idunn, who keeps apples that grant eternal youthfulness;

Heimdallr, borne by nine mothers, (now there's a real trick!) is the ever-vigilant guardian of Asgard, the home of the gods. He can hear grass grow, has golden teeth, and possesses a resounding horn that he blows upon when intruders to Asgard are detected.

Jotunn Loki, the trickster who brings tragedy to the gods by engineering the death of the goddess.
Aside from gods and goddesses Norse Mythology includes other characters such as giants, dwarfs, monsters, magical animals and even objects.

There are two major groups of the Norse gods as far as folklore is concerned. Although no specific information has been found, it is generally agreed that the Aesir and Vanir, plus the giants, represent an older pantheon of the indigenous Viking people whom the invading Indo-Europeans encountered.



The Aesir are the gods believed to be the source of war, power and death while the Vanir are responsible for the fertility. Norse mythology also includes the coming of the destruction of the gods and humanity in the Ragnarök. It will be the final battle between the Aesir and Jotuns. The battle will take place on the plains called Vigrid.

It is not yet clear when the religion of the Norse came into existence although it is traced as far as the 2nd Century C.E. Norse religion (Asatru) refers to the traditions of the Norse men prior to the arrival of Christianity in Scandinavia specifically during the Viking age.

Asatru is a subset of the paganism which was practiced in the land inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of the northern and central Europe. Pre–Christian Scandinavia had no word for religion in its dialects. The Christian practice included several customs ranging from one denomination to another. The Norse paganism was a folk religion as opposed to an organized religion. Its main purpose was the survival and regeneration of society and therefore is was decentralized and tied to the village and the family although evidences exists of great national religious festivals.

Several religions have their spiritual leaders. For example, the Catholic faithful have the Pope who presides over the church activities and proceedings. Other denominations have bishops and kings just like during the time of the Vikings, in which they had gods such as the Odin that controlled the universe.



The gods were highly respected and adored. Sacrifices and rituals were offered and conducted to appease them in case of wrong doings in the community. The spiritual leaders had the right to approach the gods in case of any problem believing they would get solutions. And the gods protected them in return.

Norse religion was not homogenous due to great geographical distance that existed between Scandinavian settlements and peoples. This led to a variety of customs and rituals based on a commonality of belief and purpose so they could understand each others' customs, traditions and myths.

Sacrifices played a major role in most of their rituals and communal feasting on the meat of sacrificed animals together with the consumption of beer. All this activities are included in the calendar festivals and was repeated annually.

Currently sacrifices are being offered in many denominations. For example, foodstuffs like grain and meat are offered to mark the beginning of the celebrations. The believer mentions their success and achievements, including corrections of their failures, which is normally conducted by their spiritual leaders.

Each community has its own way of celebrating which could take place in their joined central church or in smaller shrines. The Vikings sacrificed to ensure fertility and growth, however, certain traditions for example births, wedding, and burials could also be the reason for such activities.

Most modern societies hold burial ceremonies in which members also take part. Prayers and rituals are normally done, including pouring of libations. People could drink, eat and celebrate until dawn.

This ensured that the dead is sent peacefully to join its ancestors. The bereaved are also comforted and left with some members of the family to console them for a certain period of time. They are given food and money to enable them to better adjust to the loss of the deceased.

The Vikings were feared for they were great warriors. The destiny of the Norse gods was in their hands on the battlefield.
The warrior believed that those who were lucky enough to die in battle would go to Valhalla. For one to qualify to be a warrior they had to believe that Valhalla exists and is the ultimate reward for a life lived with courage and bravery.

The Vikings were an agricultural people who were also known for their skills as navigators and boat builders. They had good knowledge of of the sea as evidenced by their frequent attacks on English monasteries and settlements during 7th Century C.E.


Thor

Odin


Skaoi

Njoror

Freyr

Iduum

Heimdallr

Jotunn Loki

Asir

Thank you so kindly for taking the time to read this essay, please share your thoughts with me for I do appreciate them very much.  I  send my love to you all, have a wonderful weekend
From the Fairy lady



















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