Ragnarok

Ragnarok, in Norse mythology, the battle at the end of the world; literally, “doom of the divine powers.” According to the Norse tradition, at the end of the world, there would be a terrible battle between the forces of good and evil. The gods and their allies would fight to the death against their longtime foes, the giants and monsters. Not only would the gods and giants perish in this apocalyptic conflagration, but everything in the universe would be torn asunder.

In the Viking warrior societies, dying in battle was a fate to admire, and this was carried over into the worship of a pantheon in which the gods themselves were not everlasting, but would one day be overthrown, at Ragnarok. Exactly what would happen, who would fight whom, and the fates of the participants in this battle were well known to the Norse peoples from their own sagas and skaldic poetry.

Signs of the coming of Ragnarok would be apparent to all. First, there would be great strife for three winters, during which the social fabric would break apart; brothers would kill brothers, fathers and sons would murder each other, vows would no longer be kept, and depravity and chaos would increase everywhere.

Next, three winters would occur together with no summer between them. This would be the Fimbul Winter (Mysterious, or Monstrous, Winter); a pervasive snow would fly in all directions, accompanied by terrible frost and blizzard-sharp winds. The wolf who perpetually chased the sun would catch and swallow it, and the other sky wolf would catch the moon. The stars would disappear. Then the whole Earth would shake, trees would be uprooted, and the mountains would fall, causing all fetters and bonds to snap and break.

This would free the monsters–including the wolf Fenrir and his father, Loki–who had been bound by the gods. Fenrir’s eyes and nostrils would burn with fire, and the gaping jaws of his open mouth would scrape Earth and heaven. The ocean would surge up onto the lands because another of Loki’s sons, the serpent Jormungand, would rise up from its deep ocean bed onto the land in a rage, bespattering the sky and sea with his poison.

The grisly boat Naglfar, made of the nails of dead men, would be loosed from its moorings, and would carry an army of frost giants, with their captain, Hrym, at the helm. Amid this turmoil, the sky would open and from it would ride the fire giants, led by Surt with his blazing sword. Everything in their path would go up in flames. The fire giants would ride over Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge leading to heaven, collapsing it in flames as they crossed.

The forces of evil, including Loki, leading an army of all the souls who had been in Hel, would gather on an enormous field called Vigrid. Heimdall would be the first of the gods to see the enemy approaching, and he would blow mightily on Gjallarhorn to alert all the gods. They would quickly hold a parliament, and Odin would ride to Mimir’s well to consult Mimir on his own and his people’s behalf. Then the World Tree, the ash Yggdrasil that connects and supports all parts of the universe, would groan and shake, and all creatures would become fearful. The Aesir gods would don their battle dress.

Odin would lead the Einherjar, the souls of dead heroes, into the battle, wearing his golden helmet, his coat of mail, and carrying his spear, Gungnir. Thor would advance at Odin’s side .Odin would attack the gigantic wolf Fenrir. Thor would not be able to help his father because he would be engaged by his old enemy Jormungand. Frey would fight Surt and be killed for lack of his magic sword. The hellhound Garm would fight Tyr and they would kill each other. Thor would be victorious over the serpent, but would fall to the ground dead himself from the poison the serpent spit at him, after stepping away just nine paces from its body.  Fenrir would swallow Odin. Immediately Odin’s son Vidar would come forward and step on the wolf’s lower jaw. With one hand he would grasp the wolf’s upper jaw and tear apart its mouth, killing it at last. Loki would battle the god Heimdall, and both would die. After that, Surt would fling fire over the Earth and burn the whole world.

Humans would perish along with the gods and all other creatures. But evil would perish also, and according to both Eddas, a better, peaceful universe would coalesce after the destruction of the old. A new Earth would arise out of the sea, green and growing, and crops would grow without having been sown. The meadow Idavoll, in the now-detroyed Asgard, would have been spared. The sun would reappear because before being swallowed by the wolf, Alfrodul (another name for the sun) would give birth to a daughter as fair as she herself, and this maiden daughter would ride her mothers road in the new sky. A few gods would also have survived: Odin’s sons Vidar and Vali; Thor’s sons Modi and Magni, who would now have their father’s magic hammer, Mjolnir; and most importantly, Balder and his brother Hod, who would come up from Hel and dwell in Odin’s former hall in the heavens. These survivors would sit down together, discuss their mysteries, and talk of the things that had happened.

In the grass at Idavoll, they would find the golden pieces the Aesir had used in playing at draughts. Humans would reappear because two of them, Lif and Lifthrasir, would have survived by hiding themselves during the cataclysm, in a place called Hoddmimir’s Holt, a small thicket of trees. They would live on morning dew and would repopulate the world of humans and worship their new pantheon of gods, led by Balder.

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What does a god do when he looses his hammer?

….why, go drag, of course! 🙂 (via http://fanzone50.com/Tales/ThorHammer.html)

One morning as Thor, the mighty God of Thunder, awoke from a deep slumber, he reached for his hammer as he was wont to do first thing every morning. Alas, on this day, his fist formed around thin air — the hammer had disappeared.

Thor was beside himself. His rage was immense and would probably have been quite destructive; without his hammer, all he could do was rant and rave. What good was the God of Thunder without his mighty weapon?

Of course he had his suspicion as to the identity of the thief … it could only have been those pesky Giants!  But no matter, he needed his hammer back, and quickly! First thing though, he had to find out here the Giants might have hidden it.

Who better than Loki, the wiley one, to make inquiries. Not to lose any time, Loki went to Freya and asked her for the loan of her feather-dress, the famed falcon-cloak, so he might quickly fly to the land where the Giants dwell.  When Freya heard what the cloak was needed for, she was more than willing to help.

So Loki went on his way and it wasn’t long before he happened upon Thrym, one of the princes of the Giant clan. Trym feigned surprise and inquired what could possibly be so wrong in Asgard, or perhaps Elfland, that Loki dared enter the realm of the Giants on his own.

Loki told him of his mission, to find the hammer of Thor. Whereupon the Giant threw back his huge, ugly head, shook with thunderous laughter, and then told Loki that the hammer was well out of the reach of the Asgards … safely buried, some eight fathoms beneath the earth’s surface. And it would never again be swung by Thor … lest Freya herself be brought to him as his bride.

Loki hurried back to Asgard, to inform Freya that she needed to ready herself to become the bride of the Giant Thrym. For the good of Asgard, of course!

Freya’s outrage became the stuff of legend in the halls of Asgard — the idea, she, the beautiful, wild, free-spirited Freya, the bride of that mangy dog!

But something had to be done. Finally, Heimdall, the wise one, advised Thor that there was no other solution than that he, Thor, dress up in women’s bridal frocks and pretend to be Freya.

To say that Thor was less than taken with this idea would be an understatement. No way was he going to risk the ridicule of all Asgard. There had to be a better way!

But nobody could come up with a better plan. Everyone knew that the Giants had long had their eye on Asgard, and with the with the help of the hammer, they might even accomplish this goal. And that would simply not do!

Loki even offered to accompany Thor, decked out as his handmaiden and soon, the great rams were ready to draw Thor’s wagon across the heavens. Mountains split open, forests burst into flames, and the rumble from the mighty wagon could be heard from a long way off. Thrym believed it to herald the arrival of his bride. He bade his hall to be decked and the tables readied for a great feast.

As night fell, the great meal had begun. Thor alone ate a whole roasted ochsen, eight salmon, and every bit of the sweetmeats that had been served for the women; all this he washed down with three barrels of mead. Thrym thought this just a bit odd, but Loki whispered to him that Freya had not eaten for eight days, too overcome with longing for the Giant Prince. Now that was more to the brute’s liking, and he felt a desire to kiss his betrothed. But as he lifted “her” veil, he pulled back in shock … the eyes he encountered glittered as with madness. Again, Loki explained that Freya had not slept for many nights, from longing for her groom.

Then the giant’s oldest sister came forth and bade “Freya” take her golden bracelets from her arms; with these she would insure the old giantess’ favour and good will.

Meanwhile Thrym, impatient with the ways of women, called for the hammer to be brought and laid in his bride’s lap. Thus would their union be sealed before the Gods.

Those words were music to Thor’s ears. No sooner did he hold his hammer in his hand than that he sprang from his chair … the first blow killed Thrym outright.

None of the clan of the giants survived that night, not even the old women who had asked for his bracelets in return for her favour. He paid her in blood instead of trinkets.

And it was thus that the God of Thunder reclaimed his hammer.

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Norse Gods’ Report Card :)

L. Fitzgerald Sjöbek on Norse Gods:
THOR
Very different from the Fabioesque Marvel superhero, the original Thor defined macho centuries before muscle cars and chaps even existed.  We’re dealing with a being who owned magical goats which he slaughtered and ate every night.  The next day they came back to life, he’d have them pull his divine cart for a while, then he’d eat ’em again! This is an entity who lost only one drinking contest is his entire existence, and then only because as it turned out he was drinking the entire sea and didn’t realize it.  Not big on perception skills, but he sure could hold his liquor and/or seawater.  A
 

LOKI
Having earned a B.A. in literature from a California university, I’ve attended more lectures on The Trickster Figure in Myth than I care to recall. You’ve got Coyote, Eshu, The Great Gazoo, the list goes on and on. And then you’ve got Loki. “Trickster figure” doesn’t even begin to cover it. You think trickster, you think practical jokes, shoplifting, maybe some tagging. You don’t tend to think of leading the legions of hell in battle against the gods at the end of the universe, but that’s exactly what Loki’s got jotted down in his celestial Palm Pilot. Also he’s fathering illegitimate monsters with a giantess in his off hours. Heavy. B+
 

BALDUR
The god of love, purity, beauty, blah blah blah.  Balder’s mom was worried about him, so she got all objects in the universe to swear they’d never kill him, which is pretty obsessive. Unfortunately for some reason she overlooked a mistletoe tree, and so Balder suffered the godly and heroic death of a mistletoe sprig through the heart.  Then the goddess of death agreed to give him back if everything in the universe wept for him. Which everyone did except for Loki.  Moral of the story: there’s always someone to mess anything up. C
 

FREYA
This is the one you always forget when you try to remember who the days are named after. She got Friday named after her, so somewhere in the universal unconscious she’s forever associated with three-day-weekends.  She had sex with four dwarfs in exchange for a necklace.  She has a lover named Ottar who is disguised as a wild boar.  She once appeared on “Love Connection” and got a date with Hank from Detroit.  Two of the previous three sentences are accurate. C
 

YMIR
Dead giant. Ymir is responsible for some of the most unappetizing aspects of the Norse mythos. To begin with, humanity emerged from his armpit. This is not a madcap comedy from the makers of “Dumb and Dumber,” this is actual ancient myth. Later on, after he’s dead, the human-habitable portion of reality is formed from his eyebrow. So if you wonder why the gods no longer commune with us, there’s your explanation. We are armpit sweat living on a giant dead eyebrow. B

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Thor (gallery)

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Thor in the land of Giants (via http://library.thinkquest.org/25326/Viking/thor.html)

Thor was the eldest son of Frigg and Odin and he was perhaps one of the best loved gods of all. Thor was red haired and red-bearded, who had the tendency of acting first and thinking later, a fact which often landed him into trouble. Thor often roared across the skies of Midgard in his chariot drawn by two giant goats. Thor was loved by men because he gave them good crops, when his sheets of lightning flashed across the skies it was said that he was ripening the yeild of crops. When the lighting flashed across the horizon they knew that he was battling the giants and hunting the trolls. Besides Thor’s mighty hammer, Miolnir the Mullicrusher, Thor possesed a belt that when he wore it increased his already great strength twofold. Thor’s third valued possession was a pair of iron gauntlets, without them he would not be able to hold his fiery hammer or catch it when it flew back at him like a boomerang after each throw.

Thor’s mansion on Asgard was known as Thruthvanger, the Paddocks of Power, where his castle hall Bilskirnir or Lightning stood. Thor’s mansion possessed five hundred and forty rooms, the most extensive mansion known to man. Thor lived in his mansion with his wife Sif, a beautiful woman who’s long hair was made of pure gold and rippled over her shoulders like ripening wheat, she was the goddess of cornfields. The table in Thor’s mighty hall was constantly groaning under the weight of meat and drink for Thor was renowned for his unquenchable appetite, he had been known to eat a whole ox and three barrels of mead in one go.


Thor in the land of the giants

One day Thor turned to Loki and said; “I’m tired of simply lying around in Asgard. There is nothing to do, nothing to test my mighty streangth against.”

“Well,” said Loki to Thor,” There is no point in testing it against my wits for I would certainly win!”

“Never!” said Thor, “Brawn is always better than brain, all it needs is exercise. Loki, how do you think I’d fare in giant-land?”

“I don’t know,” replied Loki, “I suppose their is only one way to find out.”

And that was how Thor and Loki began their adventure to the land of the giants.

Upon the first evening of their journey Loki and Thor decided to rest by a peasant’s hu they came across. However, the peasant had no food to offer the gods so Thor slew his two giant goats who pulled his chariot and placed them into the peasants pot. When the two gods sat down to eat they invited the peasant and his family to join them. Once all had eaten and could eat no more Thor placed the goat skins beside the fire and said, “Place the bones on the skins.” However Thor had not noticed that the peasants son had split open a leg bone to get to the sweet marrow inside. So, when Thor rose at dawn and blessed the goat skins by raising his mighty hammer above them and like newborn’s they arose and one of them was lame, Thor’s fury was unleashed. The distraught peasant begged for the life of himself and his family, “Please mighty Thor, my son acted in ignorance, I beg you take all we have but spare our lives.” When Thor heard this and saw how the peasant cowered in fear his anger cooled. “I shall spare you my wrath, but in compensation I shall take you two children as my servants.” Leaving his goats behind to heal Thor took the two peasant children, Thailfi and Roskva, and continued on his journey with Loki in tow.

The four journeyed east until they came to the sea, were they crossed it to the land of the giants. Once they arrived they found themselves in a deep forest. They walked and walked deep into the night until they found a large cave with several long passages and a side chamber. While Thor kept guard with Miollnir the other’s slept. During the course of the night their was a tremendous earthquake and numerous rumblings and groanings. The following morning they stepped out of the cave only to discover a sleeping giant. The earthquake was from the giant lying down and the rumblings and groanings from his incredible snoring. Thor put on his belt of strength and his iron gloves and picked up his mighty hammer, but at that moment the giant awoke.

“Greetings,” said the giant, “My name is Skrymir, what were you doing in my glove?”

As Thor turned he saw that the cave was not really a cave but indeed a giants glove, the side chamber was the thumb.

“You all seem to be going in the same direction as I, why don’t you come with me, I am found of company, you can put your food in my knapsack so you can keep up with me.” said the giant Skrymir. They all agreed and continued along their journey together.

That night the giant came to a halt by a large oak tree, throwing his knapsack to the ground the giant proceeded to fall asleep. Thor busied himself trying to undo the knots in the knapsack but he could not undo a single one. Hunger and fatigue made him furious and he struck a mighty blow to the centre of the sleeping giant’s forehead with his hammer. The giant opened one eye, “What was that?” he murmured sleepily, “Did a leaf fall on me?” the giant closed his eye and went back to sleep. That night Thor, Loki, Thailfi and Roskva had to go without their supper, which was bad enough but they could not sleep either for the giant snored loud enough to wake the dead. At midnight, furious, Thor struck yet again at the giant, this time he actually felt the hammer sink into the flesh of the giant’s forehead. “Was that an acorn?” murmured the giant, who rolled over and promptly fell back to sleep. Just before dawn Thor felt that a third blow would surely settle the giant for once and for all. This time Thor’s mighty blow sank the hammer into the giant’s flesh right up to the handle. The giant awoke, “Did a bird drop a twig on me?” he asked, “No matter it’s time to be up anyway, we’re almost upon the giants citadel at Utgard. There you’ll find real giants, not cowardly shrimps like me, but be warned, you better act respectful or even better turn back now!” Skrymir pointed out the way to Utgard and then proceeded on his own way swinging his knapsack behind him. Thor and his companion’s were not sorry to see him go but they did not heed his warning either. “No,” said Thor, “We have come too far to turn back now.”

The group proceeded on to Utgard, but when they arrived they found the gates locked. Thor tried with all his might to pry open the gates but they did not budge. However they found that by wriggling and squeezing they could just manage to get through the bars and into the courtyard of Utgard. As they entered the great hall of the giants the giant stared at the puny beings with contempt. The giant’s chief, Utgard-Loki, bared his huge teeth at the travelers, “Surely this puny person could not be the famous Thor?” said the chief in surprise, ‘Why you are as tiny as a mouse!”

“I am no mouse, ” replied Thor in anger, “I am the mighty Thor!”

“Well then, ” said the chief, “If you want to remain here you will have to entertain us with feats of strength or skill.”

Loki the Mischief Maker was bringing up the rear, he could feel hias stomach rumbling with hunger.

“I’m so hungry I could out eat a giant!” he said without thinking.

A giant by the name of Logi was chosen to compete with Loki in the eating contest. An enormous dish was piled with meats and was placed on the floor between the two competitors. Loki was a god known for his ferocious appetite, even rivaling that of Thor, Loki’s appetite was fuelled by the fact that he had had no supper or breakfast. The giant and the god both started at either end, Loki gobbled the meat down and met the giant in the middle- it was a tie. However, were Loki had only eaten the meat the giant had also eaten the bones and the dish. Loki had lost his contest.

The next to compete was Thailfi, Thailfi said that he would be willing to race against any of the giants, for he was lean and a very fast runner never having lost a race. The giants cleared a track for the race, and a giant by the name of Hugi was chosen as Thailfi’s competitor. As the race began Thailfi was so fast that you could barely see him move, unfortunately the giant was faster, taking huge strides were Thailfi only took little ones. Hugi was so much faster than Thailfi that he actually turned around at the end of the race and met Thailfi halfway. Thailfi had also lost his contest.

Now is was Thor’s turn to compete against a giant. Thor was very thirsty, as thirsty as the god Loki was hungry.

“How about a drinking match?” suggested Thor.

So the giants brought out a enormous drinking horn, filled to the brim with mead.

“A truly good drinker would be able to finish off this mead in one draught,” said the chief of the giants, “Though of course many can only manage it in two. No one I know is as feeble as to need three draughts. ” said the chief and gave a bellowing laugh.

Thor did not think that the horn looked very big so he set about to finish it off in one great gulp. However, it was not as easy as it looked, Thor tried and tried with all his considerable might, taking one great gulp after another. Finally Thor could not take it anymore for want of breath. But when he looked the level of the mead in the horn had hardly dropped. Thor tried his luck again, but to no avail, when Thor could hardly take it anymore the level of the mead had only fallen a little. Refusing to give up Thor tried yet again, Thor drank and drank until he thought that he would burst. Splattering mead everywhere and decidedly out of breath Thor at last gave in, but the horn was still not empty.

Utgard-Loki looked at Thor in scorn, “Why do you bother when obviously you are such a feeble man? The great Thor! It hardly seems worth your while to attempt any other feat.”

“I shall try any feat you set before me!” said Thor defiantly.

“Very well,” said Utgard-Loki, “Their is a game that some of our youngsters play, their is not much to the game really, all you have to do is lift that grey cat of the ground, I would not normally suggest it to a god of your reputation and…..might, but you do not seem as strong as others make you out to be.”

Thor approached the big cat, wrapping his arms around the cat’s stomach he tried to lift it off the ground, but no matter how hard he pulled the cat only arched his back higher and higher, finally only being able to lift one of the cat’s paws Thor’s strength finally gave in.

“No matter Thor,” said the chief of the gaints in his most condescending tone, “After all it is rather a big cat.”

By this point Thor was in an uncontrollable rage.

“If you all think that I am such a feeble weakling why doesn’t any of you come and fight me, or are you scared that I’ll beat you?”

“Now Thor,” said the giant chief complacently, “Calm down, you can’t honestly expect any self respecting giant to fight you, a person who can’t even lift up a cat! No it would not be right. However I am a reasonable man, if you really must fight someone you may as well fight my old nurse Elli.”

A withered old women stepped into the great hall and adopted a wrestler’s stance. Thor approached the old woman and seized her, trying to throw her to the floor, but however he groaned and struggled and strained he could not move her an inch. Suddenly, with an unusual amount of strength, the old woman forced the mighty Thor to one knee.

“Stop!” shouted Utgard-Loki, “This fight is finished, there is no point in continuing this matter further. However, Thor and his companions have done their best and shall be granted safe passage back to their own lands.”

The following morning Urgard-Loki accompanied Thor and his companions to the road back to Asgard.

“You giants have made a fool of me,” said Thor, “How shall I ever be able to hold my head up amongst the gods?”

“Not all is as it appears to be,” replied Utgard-Loki, ” We giants had heard of your great strength and prowess, and if truth must be told we were not all that eager to try our strength against yours.”

“Explain yourself.” said Thor.

“It was I under the name of Skrymir who met you along the road to Utgard, if you look near my castle you shall see three great valleys. Those are not truly valleys but the marks left by the blows of your hammer. You thought you were hitting me, but in truth we deceived you. We also deceived you in the contests. Loki’s opponent was really Flame, who devours anything that stands in his path. Thailfi ran against someone no one can ever beat, Thought. As for you mighty Thor, when you were drinking from the drinking horn, you did not realize that at the other end of the horn was the sea, there is no one who can drink the ocean dry, but you are the only one to lower it. From this day forth, twice upon each day the ocean shall empty and refill in memory of your heroic draughts. As for the cat, it was no cat but the Midgard serpent which encircles the entire world, you managed to raise one of it’s paws which was an even greater feat.”

Turning redder by the minute Thor asked Utgar-Loki, “But what of the old woman?”

“Ah,” said the chief, “The old woman was someone no one can or ever will beat, no matter how hard they try, Old Age.”

Furious Thor reached for his hammer to teach the impetuous giant a lesson, but when he turned around the giant was nowhere to be seen. Not to be outdone Thor stormed back towards the castle intending to turn it into nothing more than rubble, but when he got there the castle was gone, there was nothing except an open sky and green fields.

And so Thor and his companions returned to Asgard.

“Like I told you Thor,” said Loki with a grin, “The cunning shall always defeat the strong.”

“I’d like to see you tell that to my hammer.” growled Thor.”

Mythencyclopedia:

“Thor was the god of thunder and of the sky in Norse* and early Germanic mythology. Though Odin* held a higher rank, Thor seems to have been the best loved and most worshiped of the Norse deities. He belonged to the common people, while Odin appealed to the learned and noble classes. A patron of farmers, Thor was associated with weather and crops. Although he could be fearsome, many myths portray him in a comic and affectionate way.

Origins and Qualities. Thor appears throughout Norse mythology as a huge, strongly built, red-bearded fellow with a huge appetite. He grew out of Donar or Thunor, an ancient god of sky and thunder. Some myths say that Thor was the son of Odin and Fjorgyn, the earth goddess. His wife was the beautiful goddess Sif, who seldom appears in myths and remains a somewhat mysterious figure.

Generally good-natured, Thor had a hot temper, and his anger was dreadful to behold. He was a fierce enemy of the frost giants, the foes of the Norse gods. When people heard thunder and saw lightning in the sky, they knew that Thor was fighting these evil giants.

The thunder god’s chief weapon was his mighty hammer Mjollnir, or Crusher, which the dwarfs had forged for him. When he threw Mjollnir, it returned magically to his hand like a boomerang. Among Mjollnir’s other powers was the gift of restoring life to the dead. The connection of Thor’s hammer with life and fertility gave rise to the old Norse customs of placing a hammer in a bride’s lap at her wedding and of raising it over a newborn child.

deity god or goddess

patron special guardian, protector, or supporter

Thor’s treasures also included a magical belt that doubled his strength whenever he wore it and a pair of goats, Tanngniost and Tanngrisni (both “Toothgnashers”), that pulled his chariot across the sky. Whenever he was overcome with hunger, Thor would devour his goats, only to return them to life with Mjollnir.

Thor, the Norse god of thunder and the sky, appears in the center of this tapestry holding his mighty hammer.

Thor, the Norse god of thunder and the sky, appears in the center of this tapestry holding his mighty hammer.

Myths About Thor. According to one well-known myth about Thor, Thrym, king of the giants, came into possession of Mjollnir and declared that he would give it back to Thor only if the beautiful goddess Freyja agreed to marry him. She angrily refused, and the trickster god Loki came up with a clever plan to recover Mjollnir. Using women’s clothing and a bridal veil to disguise Thor as Freyja, Loki escorted “Freyja” to Jotunheim, the home of the giants. Thrym greeted his bride, though he was surprised at her appetite at the wedding feast. “Freyja” consumed an entire ox, three barrels of wine, and much more. Loki explained that she had been unable to eat for a week because of her excitement at marrying Thrym. The giant accepted this explanation, and the wedding proceeded. When the time came for a hammer to be placed in the bride’s lap according to custom, Thor grabbed Mjollnir and threw off his disguise. Then he used the hammer to smash the giants and their hall.

During another visit to Jotunheim, Thor and Loki met Skrymir, an especially large giant. He was so big that when they wandered into one of his gloves, they thought they were in a mansion and slept in one of the fingers. In the morning they found Skrymir sleeping, and Thor tried to crush the giant’s head with Mjollnir. Skrymir simply brushed away the blow as though it were no more than a falling leaf.

The gods traveled on to Utgard, a city of giants, where the giants challenged Thor to drain their drinking cup and lift their cat from the floor. He could not do either—the cup was connected to the sea, and the cat was really Jormungand, the serpent that encircles the world. Although Thor failed the tests, he came close to draining the ocean and removing the world serpent.

trickster mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples

Several early Norse sources recount the myth of Thor’s encounter with the giant Hymir. Thor disguised himself as a young man and went fishing with Hymir, first killing the giant’s largest ox to use for bait. Thor then rowed their boat far out of sight of land and cast his hook. Something bit at the ox, and Thor drew up his line to discover that he had hooked Jormungand, the giant serpent. Placing his feet on the ocean floor, Thor pulled and pulled on the line, while the serpent spit out poison. Just as Thor was about to strike Jormungand with his hammer, Hymir cut the line and the serpent sank back down to the depths. Many myths say, however, that Thor and Jormungand remained bitter enemies, fated to fight again on the day called Ragnarok, the end of the world, when they will kill one another.

Read more: Thor – Myth Encyclopedia – mythology, god, ancient, norse, world, life, king, people, evil, strength http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Sp-Tl/Thor.html#b#ixzz1xlQ8YgFB

Even more stories and poems based on Thor can be found here: http://www.mythicalrealm.com/legends/thor.html

Depictions of Thor and manipulations:

Thor was described as the God of the Goths or Geats (“Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus” by Olaus Magnus, 1555,  image at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Olaus_Magnus_-_On_the_three_Main_Gods_of_the_Geats.jpg)

A pre-Christian Scandinavian deity Picart*** (1725). (IMG:http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m252/aprerogative/Pre-ChristianDeityScandinaviaPic-1.jpg)

Worshipping of the God Thor in Scandinavia (Picart 1725). (http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m252/aprerogative/WorshippingThor-Pre-ChristianDei-1.jpg)

versus “A God carved in stone”, photo by Worm-Petersen (1914)

(IMG:http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m252/aprerogative/SaamiGodcarvedinstonephotobyWorm-Pe.jpg)

Thor as depicted by Ludwig Pietsch in 1867 (http://store.tidbitstrinkets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/1865-Thor_in_his_chariot-Ludwig_Pietsch-1824-19111.jpg)

Thor illustrated by George Pearson in Julia Goddard’s Wonderful Stories from Northern Lands, 1871 (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thor_amongst_the_Giant’s_Cattle.jpg, book available at: http://www.archive.org/details/wonderfulstories00goddiala)

Wood engraving and painting from the entrance area of the Trondenes Historical Center, showing old god Thor in the stormy clouds (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jokofacile/5704361172/)

The Norse god Thor, the god of lightning, is depicted in this 1872 painting by MĂĄrten Eskil Winge in a battle against the giants. (Image courtesy of Wilson’s Almanac) (http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/thor-norse-mythology-legend-5990.html)

Thor in the fight with the Midgardschlange from Johann Heinrich FĂĽssli (http://www.my-art-prints.co.uk/UK/fine-art-prints/Johann-Heinrich-Fuessli/Thor-in-the-fight-with-the-Midgardschlange-6292001.html)

Thor trying to lift a cat in Frost Giants’ land, in Klugh, Maria Tales from the Far North (Chicago: A. Flanagan Company, 1909) p. 51 (http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/72700/72702/72702_thor_giant.htm)

***Please bear in mind that, as with many artists, propaganda of Christianity led to rather ridiculing illustrations and descriptions of other religions.

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Tonight in the Fangreaders Chatroom, please welcome Abbey! :)

Tonight at Once Upon a Time we are graced by the lovely Abbey, who is coming to tell us tales of Ragnarok and Thor, as a kickoff to our Northern series. Come by if you want to hear tales that have been told for 1000 years around the fire or at bed time. Childhood excitement and your image of young Eric learning about his gods is a must.

8PM GMT<9PM BST<11PM Bucharest time. 🙂 Be there or be square.

 

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Asgard and Yggdrasil as imagined by the creators of Thor (2011)


Check it out from 2:00 onwards

Check it out from 2:00 onwards 🙂

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Yggdrasil – the tree of life (gallery)

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Yggdrasil, as discussed on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yggdrasil

Name

Yggdrasil (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.

The generally accepted meaning of Old Norse Yggdrasill is “Odin’s horse”, even with both the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda defining “Odin’s Horse” to actually be Sleipnir instead. This conclusion is drawn on the basis that drasill means “horse” and Ygg(r) is one of Odin’s many names. The Poetic Eddapoem Hávamál describes how Odin sacrificed himself by hanging from a tree, making this tree Odin’s gallows. This tree may have been Yggdrasil. Gallows can be called “the horse of the hanged” and therefore Odin’s gallows may have developed into the expression “Odin’s horse”, which then became the name of the tree.[1]

Nevertheless, scholarly opinions regarding the precise meaning of the name Yggdrasill vary, particularly on the issue of whether Yggdrasill is the name of the tree itself. In the Prose Edda the tree is usually not just called Yggdrasil but askr Yggdrasils. Old Norse askr means “ash tree” and according to the inflectional system of Icelandic language askr Yggdrasils means “Yggdrasill’s ash”. Icelandic has the best preserved inflectional system of the Norse languages and the Prose Edda was also written in old Icelandic. These etymologies do though rely on a presumed but unattested *Yggsdrasill.[1]

A third interpretation, presented by F. Detter, is that the name Yggdrasill refers to the word yggr (“terror”), yet not in reference to the Odinic name, but rather as Yggdrasill as the “tree of terror, gallows”. F. R. Schröder has proposed a fourth etymology according to which yggdrasill means “yew pillar”, deriving yggia from *igwja (meaning “yew-tree“), and drasill from *dher- (meaning “support”).[1]

Attestations

Poetic Edda

In the Poetic Edda, the tree is mentioned in the three poems Völuspá, Hávamál, and Grímnismál.

Völuspá

“Norns” (1832) from Die Helden und Götter des Nordens, oder das Buch der Sagen.

In the second stanza of the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá, the völva (a shamanic seeress) reciting the poem to the god Odin says that she remembers far back to “early times”, being raised by jötnar, recalls nine worlds and “nine wood-ogresses” (Old Norse nĂ­o Ă­diĂ°iur), and when Yggdrasil was a seed (“glorious tree of good measure, under the ground”).[2] In stanza 19, the völva says:

An ash I know there stands,
Yggdrasill is its name,
a tall tree, showered
with shining loam.
From there come the dews
that drop in the valleys.
It stands forever green over
UrĂ°r’s well.[3]

In stanza 20, the völva says that from the lake under the tree come three “maidens deep in knowledge” named UrĂ°r, VerĂ°andi, and Skuld. The maidens “incised the slip of wood,” “laid down laws” and “chose lives” for the children of mankind and the destinies (ørlÇ«g) of men.[4] In stanza 27, the völva details that she is aware that “Heimdallr‘s hearing is couched beneath the bright-nurtured holy tree.”[5] In stanza 45, Yggdrasil receives a final mention in the poem. The völva describes, as a part of the onset of Ragnarök, that Heimdallr blows Gjallarhorn, that Odin speaks with MĂ­mir‘s head, and then:

Yggdrasill shivers,
the ash, as it stands.
The old tree groans,
and the giant slips free.[6]

Hávamál

Odin sacrificing himself upon Yggdrasil (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.

In stanza 137 of the poem Hávamál, Odin describes how he once sacrificed himself to himself by hanging on a tree. The stanza reads:

I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.[7]

In the stanza that follows, Odin describes how he had no food nor drink there, that he peered downward, and that “I took up the runes, screaming I took them, then I fell back from there.”[7] While Yggdrasil is not mentioned by name in the poem and other trees exist in Norse mythology, the tree is near universally accepted as Yggdrasil, and if the tree is Yggdrasil, then the name Yggdrasil directly relates to this story.[8]

Grímnismál

In the poem GrĂ­mnismál, Odin (disguised as GrĂ­mnir) provides the young Agnar with cosmological lore. Yggdrasil is first mentioned in the poem in stanza 29, where Odin says that, because the “bridge of the Æsir burns” and the “sacred waters boil,” Thor must wade through the rivers Körmt and Ă–rmt and two rivers named Kerlaugar to go “sit as judge at the ash of Yggdrasill.” In the stanza that follows, a list of names of horses are given that the Æsir ride to “sit as judges” at Yggdrasil.[9]

In stanza 31, Odin says that the ash Yggdrasil has three roots that grow in three directions. He details that beneath the first lives Hel, under the second live frost jötnar, and beneath the third lives mankind. Stanza 32 details that a squirrel named Ratatoskr must run across Yggdrasil and bring “the eagle’s word” from above to NĂ­Ă°höggr below. Stanza 33 describes that four harts named Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and DuraĂľrĂłr consume “the highest boughs” of Yggdrasil.[9]

In stanza 34, Odin says that more serpents lie beneath Yggdrasil “than any fool can imagine” and lists them as GĂłinn and MĂłinn (possibly meaning Old Norse “land animal”[10]), which he describes as sons of Grafvitnir (Old Norse, possibly “ditch wolf”[11]), Grábakr (Old Norse “Greyback”[10]), GrafvölluĂ°r (Old Norse, possibly “the one digging under the plain” or possibly amended as “the one ruling in the ditch”[11]), Ă“fnir (Old Norse “the winding one, the twisting one”[12]), and Sváfnir (Old Norse, possibly “the one who puts to sleep = death”[13]), who Odin adds that he thinks will forever gnaw on the tree’s branches.[9]

In stanza 35, Odin says that Yggdrasil “suffers agony more than men know”, as a hart bites it from above, it decays on its sides, and NĂ­Ă°höggr bites it from beneath.[14] In stanza 44, Odin provides a list of things that are what he refers to as the “noblest” of their kind. Within the list, Odin mentions Yggdrasil first, and states that it is the “noblest of trees”.[15]

Prose Edda

The title page of Olive Bray’s 1908 translation of the Poetic Edda by W. G. Collingwood.

The norns UrĂ°r, VerĂ°andi, and Skuld beneath the world tree Yggdrasil (1882) byLudwig Burger.

Yggdrasil is mentioned in two books in the Prose Edda, in Gylfaginning and Skáldskaparmál. In Gylfaginning, Yggdrasil is introduced in chapter 15. In chapter 15, Gangleri (described as king Gylfi in disguise) asks where is the chief or holiest place of the gods. High replies “It is the ash Yggdrasil. There the gods must hold their courts each day”. Gangleri asks what there is to tell about Yggdrasil. Just-As-High says that Yggdrasil is the biggest and best of all trees, that its branches extend out over all of the world and reach out over the sky. Three of the roots of the tree support it, and these three roots also extend extremely far: one “is among the Æsir, the second among the frost jötnar, and the third over Niflheim. The root over Niflheim is gnawed at by the wyrm NĂ­Ă°höggr, and beneath this root is the spring Hvergelmir. Beneath the root that reaches the frost jötnar is the well MĂ­misbrunnr, “which has wisdom and intelligence contained in it, and the master of the well is called Mimir“. Just-As-High provides details regarding MĂ­misbrunnr and then describes that the third root of the well “extends to heaven” and that beneath the root is the “very holy” well UrĂ°arbrunnr. At UrĂ°arbrunnr the gods hold their court, and every day the Æsir ride to UrĂ°arbrunnr up over the bridge Bifröst. Later in the chapter, a stanza from GrĂ­mnismál mentioning Yggdrasil is quoted in support.[16]

In chapter 16, Gangleri asks “what other particularly notable things are there to tell about the ash?” High says there is quite a lot to tell about. High continues that an eagle sits on the branches of Yggdrasil and that it has much knowledge. Between the eyes of the eagle sits a hawk called VeĂ°rfölnir. A squirrel called Ratatoskr scurries up and down the ash Yggdrasil carrying “malicious messages” between the eagle and NĂ­Ă°höggr. Four stags named Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr, and DuraĂľrĂłr run between the branches of Yggdrasil and consume its foliage. In the spring Hvergelmir are so many snakes along with NĂ­Ă°höggr “that no tongue can enumerate them”. Two stanzas from GrĂ­mnismál are then cited in support. High continues that the norns that live by the holy well UrĂ°arbrunnr each day take water from the well and mud from around it and pour it over Yggdrasil so that the branches of the ash do not rot away or decay. High provides more information about UrĂ°arbrunnr, cites a stanza from Völuspá in support, and adds that dew falls from Yggdrasil to the earth, explaining that “this is what people call honeydew, and from it bees feed”.[17]

In chapter 41, the stanza from GrĂ­mnismál is quoted that mentions that Yggdrasil is the foremost of trees.[18] In chapter 54, as part of the events ofRagnarök, High describes that Odin will ride to the well MĂ­misbrunnr and consult MĂ­mir on behalf of himself and his people. After this, “the ash Yggdrasil will shake and nothing will be unafraid in heaven or on earth”, and then the Æsir and Einherjar will don their war gear and advance to the field of VĂ­grĂ­Ă°r. Further into the chapter, the stanza in Völuspá that details this sequence is cited.[19]

In the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, Yggdrasil receives a single mention, though not by name. In chapter 64, names for kings and dukes are given. “Illustrious one” is provided as an example, appearing in a Christianity-influenced work by the skald HallvarĂ°r Háreksblesi: “There is not under the pole of the earth [Yggdrasil] an illustrious one closer to the lord of monks [God] than you.”[20]

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Welcome to the Northman Project! :) Here are some useful links to get you started

Viking Mythos:

Norse Mythology

Timeless Myths

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/ Poetic Edda

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/pre/ Prose Edda

 

http://www.angelfire.com/folk/einauga/COW.htm

http://native-science.net/Norse_Cosmogony_Cosmology.htm

 

Awesome fanfiction:

Understanding

Dark Storm Rising

You can download them as epub or pdf or mobi at Flagfic.com

Categories: fanfic, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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