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Norse Mythology: The pre-Christian Beliefs of Northern Europe

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posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 11:21 AM
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At someone's suggestion, I decided to make a thread about the ancient religons of the Germanic tribes of northern Europe. Here are a couple links to start off with.

en.wikipedia.org...
www.answers.com...

Basically, the pre-Christian beliefs of the numerous Germanic tribes survive mostly via viking lore, through the Eddas, which are the recorded history of the Germanic Myths and legends, and do share much in comon with the Vedic texts of India, thus pointing to a common proto Indo-European source.

www.ugcs.caltech.edu...
www.sacred-texts.com...

Contrary to popular belief, they were not a primitive, stupid culture of savages, but had a very complex Cosmology and Pantheon, even more complex than greek and Roman mythos.

Today, there is a revival of the Germanic religons, known as Asatru or Odinism, or Vanatru. They are part of the Neo-Pagan religous family.

www.religioustolerance.org...
www.asatru.org...

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the germanic tribes was the Runic alphabet. Today, it is often used as a fortune telling tool like tarot cards, however, thus current use ignores the rich, complex, and beautiful history and meaning of the Runes.

en.wikipedia.org...
www.tarahill.com...

Vanatru/Asatru is a secondary faith for me, and Id be happy to answer any questions you have.




posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 12:40 PM
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A guy I used to work with in a company a while ago was a big Norse Myth fan. A lot of our server names and root passwords were Norse mythology terms. I've done a bit of research on stuff I learned from him, but I'm by no means an expert. I do find it fascinating though.



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 01:28 PM
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Nothing new here. It all comes from Babylon.



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 07:11 AM
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Thanks, Skadi,
lots of links with tons to read, I did not realize that there would be so much information on it. I find the Myths wonderful and I feel almost in tune and familiar with them although I know nothing about them.

Have a couple of questions:

Christians have a main point of reference in the Bible but presumably Norse Mythology had never been written down in the same format.
Where does one go for an authorititive opinion when it comes to deciding if a particular version is correct or wrong.

Is it in any way related to Wicca?

Is it in any way associated to the Irish/Celtic Dagda and Tuahta de Danann?.
(They were a people that emigrated from the Peloponnese some 2000 yrs BC, they went North on the "amber route" apparently gave the name to Denmark and worshipped a Mother goddess Danu and most of them settled in Ireland)



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 12:18 PM
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Great thread Skadi.

It's a shame that, although sharing common heritage with Norse mythhology, that a lot of the pagan Anglo saxon mythology has been lost except for some notable exceptions.

Just out of interest have you ever heard of a Germanic god called Seaxnet, who was worshipped in I think east Anglia (I'm quoting from memory here so I may be wrong).



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 01:00 PM
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Originally posted by Ersatz

Christians have a main point of reference in the Bible but presumably Norse Mythology had never been written down in the same format.
Where does one go for an authorititive opinion when it comes to deciding if a particular version is correct or wrong.


The closest thing we have are the Eddas and various sagas. Some historians, like the Venerable Bede, a Saxon monk, also helped collect some knowldge of the local faiths.

Like the Bible, there is much debate amongst scholars about the myths and legends and their sources. So no "definitive" experts.


Is it in any way related to Wicca?


Other than being Pagan, no. Although the word Wicca comes from the Anglo Saxon wicce, which is where we get the world witch. It means wise counciler or elder.


Is it in any way associated to the Irish/Celtic Dagda and Tuahta de Danann?.
(They were a people that emigrated from the Peloponnese some 2000 yrs BC, they went North on the "amber route" apparently gave the name to Denmark and worshipped a Mother goddess Danu and most of them settled in Ireland)


No. The Teutonic tribes and Celtic tribes very very different and had little contact with each other until the Anglo-Saxon invasion of britian. Even on the continent, the Germanic and celtic tribes rarely mixed.








posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 01:03 PM
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what do you know of this?
Or this?

The name of Japheth as progenitor is found in many historical geneologies of peoples that have been passed down to us. For the Greeks, he was Iapetos. In Sanskrit (India) Pra-Japati (Father Japheth). The Romans called him Io-Pater or Jove and later of course, Jupiter. He was normally Japheth for Irish-Celtic and Viking lines but in the Saxon tongue it was Sceaf (!).
here

The connections may not have been made until christians actually made it to the Norse regions, but I'd like to know why more than anything else. Not the obvious, "they are jsut trying to stick christianity in there somewhere" but why, if you believe it's false, it's plausible, or why it is truth, if it's nearly impossible to refute. I've never seen anything against Japeth being a Norse ancestor.

Like this, with Ireland:

"The importance of this statement lies in the fact that Duach, Ernin's father, lived towards the end of the fourth century AD, which places the compilation of the Cin Droma Snechta well before the coming of Christianity to Ireland (and the oft-alleged forgeries of the Christian monks)!"
The Irish records include dates beginning with the creation of the world (Anno Mundi) and record the landing of the first colony on Ireland as 2520 AM. Irish geneologies begin with Noah, through Japheth, through Magog and some 24 generations later produce Riondal. There were several incursions from different groups in the Japheth line, including: ...
"The Books of Genealogies and Pedigrees form a most important element in Irish pagan history. For social and political reasons, the Irish Celt preserved his genealogical tree with scrupulous precision. Property rights and the governing power were transmitted with patriarchal exactitude on strict claims of primogeniture, which could only be refused under certain conditions defined by law...and in obedience to an ancient law, established long before the introduction of Christianity, all the provincial records, as well as those of the various chieftains, were required to be furnished every third year to the convocation at Tara, where they were compared and corrected."
Ireland is believed to be well connected to christianity long before christianity existed.


As we examine and compare the lists, we are struck by the astonishing points of similarity, and yet obvious differences, between them. Each ancestral list contains gaps, but never the same series of gaps, and each of their names is listed in at least one other of the lists (with the exceptions of Freawine and Fodepald). Moreover, we should also note that the names always appear in exactly the same sequence. There is neither confusion nor discrepancy over the chronological order of each successive generation. But one thing that these lists clearly are not, and that is mere copies of the same (allegedly fraudulent) Christian source.
This is the first time I've ever heard it called fraudulent

I mean, have you studied this, or have you dismissed this?



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 01:07 PM
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Originally posted by ubermunche
Great thread Skadi.

It's a shame that, although sharing common heritage with Norse mythhology, that a lot of the pagan Anglo saxon mythology has been lost except for some notable exceptions.

Just out of interest have you ever heard of a Germanic god called Seaxnet, who was worshipped in I think east Anglia (I'm quoting from memory here so I may be wrong).


You are correct.

here is a wikipedia article about Seaxneat, also known as Saxnot.



en.wikipedia.org...

It is unfortunate that little Survived of the Anglo-Saxon mythology, although some scholars like Bede did manage to record some things, and we still have clues in English placenames, like the town of Wednesbury in the midlands, translated as "Woden's Fortress". (Woden is the Anglo-Saxon name for Odin).



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 01:42 AM
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Thank you JLC163,

Your links are very good, I have read some Beowolf and had heard of Venerable Bede, not question of dismissing any of it.

Some of the things both you and Skadi say are just gobsmacking, one seems to spend so much time discussing Christianity at the expense of all these other beautiful myths.

One is almost hijacked by the Bible.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 01:45 AM
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Originally posted by Skadi_the_Evil_Elf
At someone's suggestion, I decided to make a thread about the ancient religons of the Germanic tribes of northern Europe. Here are a couple links to start off with.

en.wikipedia.org...
www.answers.com...

Basically, the pre-Christian beliefs of the numerous Germanic tribes survive mostly via viking lore, through the Eddas, which are the recorded history of the Germanic Myths and legends, and do share much in comon with the Vedic texts of India, thus pointing to a common proto Indo-European source.

www.ugcs.caltech.edu...
www.sacred-texts.com...

Contrary to popular belief, they were not a primitive, stupid culture of savages, but had a very complex Cosmology and Pantheon, even more complex than greek and Roman mythos.

Today, there is a revival of the Germanic religons, known as Asatru or Odinism, or Vanatru. They are part of the Neo-Pagan religous family.

www.religioustolerance.org...
www.asatru.org...

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the germanic tribes was the Runic alphabet. Today, it is often used as a fortune telling tool like tarot cards, however, thus current use ignores the rich, complex, and beautiful history and meaning of the Runes.

en.wikipedia.org...
www.tarahill.com...

Vanatru/Asatru is a secondary faith for me, and Id be happy to answer any questions you have.


thank you for that thread


there's much more to norse belief than most people are made believe or told

some countries still recognise Asatru/Vor Sidh ( eg Iceland ,Danemark)
a fairly large number of people turn their backs on christianity to go back to the old path every year .
Alas some people have used nordic/germanic belief as means for propaganda , i'm sure you all know who i mean , and that has definitely changed peoples perception.

If you want to get a better idea of what it is about readHávamál , it's not that long

there is so much to say about the old germanic cultures, many remnants are present in our daily lives (e.g weekday names , language of course) , the influence og germanic culture has been overshadowed by the judeo-christian influence of the last few hundred years , for good or bad , that can be discussed.

[edit on 12-9-2006 by Hvitserk]



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 06:24 AM
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Originally posted by Hvitserk
Alas some people have used nordic/germanic belief as means for propaganda , i'm sure you all know who i mean , and that has definitely changed peoples perception.

If you want to get a better idea of what it is about readHávamál , it's not that long

there is so much to say about the old germanic cultures, many remnants are present in our daily lives (e.g weekday names , language of course) , the influence og germanic culture has been overshadowed by the judeo-christian influence of the last few hundred years , for good or bad , that can be discussed.
[edit on 12-9-2006 by Hvitserk]


I know what you mean by propaganda, yet I managed to watch "Der Ring des Nibelungen" twice without getting bored.
If I can be honest I find Judeo/Christian a very finite religion, all ready and written down for you, rules and small print..
very little room for individuality. Not enough freedom.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 06:40 AM
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Originally posted by Ersatz

Originally posted by Hvitserk
Alas some people have used nordic/germanic belief as means for propaganda , i'm sure you all know who i mean , and that has definitely changed peoples perception.

If you want to get a better idea of what it is about readHávamál , it's not that long

there is so much to say about the old germanic cultures, many remnants are present in our daily lives (e.g weekday names , language of course) , the influence og germanic culture has been overshadowed by the judeo-christian influence of the last few hundred years , for good or bad , that can be discussed.
[edit on 12-9-2006 by Hvitserk]


I know what you mean by propaganda, yet I managed to watch "Der Ring des Nibelungen" twice without getting bored.
If I can be honest I find Judeo/Christian a very finite religion, all ready and written down for you, rules and small print..
very little room for individuality. Not enough freedom.



definitely a more black and white vision and a more "organised" way in christianity , due it's history since the start of it's existence as such ( 3rd- 4th century) , the christian church has struggled for power and that quite efficiently by using fear, fear of the devil, of hell ,of god . But i'm sliding off topic here.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 07:27 AM
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I would hesitate to say that Norse beliefs were the pre Christian beliefs of Europe per se though, as there were huge areas of the continent that were predominantly celtic not germanic in their culture and belief systems (although I'm less sure the two were as distinct as some historians would have us believe).

I also find it curious that the new Christian church in the celtic fringe, that is Ireland, Scotland and Wales, seemed to have a far easier time of incorporating and christianizing pre existing pagan practices, mythology and icons into their institutions than did the anglo-saxon.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 07:58 AM
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Originally posted by ubermunche
I would hesitate to say that Norse beliefs were the pre Christian beliefs of Europe per se though, as there were huge areas of the continent that were predominantly celtic not germanic in their culture and belief systems (although I'm less sure the two were as distinct as some historians would have us believe).


I didnt say for all of Europe. Just Northern Europe, the Germanic/Teutonic areas. The Celts were mainly in Western Europe and the British Isles.

When one examines the Celts, we see they are two very different mythologies and people. The only common thread they share is Indo-European roots.


I also find it curious that the new Christian church in the celtic fringe, that is Ireland, Scotland and Wales, seemed to have a far easier time of incorporating and christianizing pre existing pagan practices, mythology and icons into their institutions than did the anglo-saxon.


I think this has more to do with the Romanization of the Celts. remember the Celts were conquered and ruled by Rome for 400 years, where the Teutonic tribes were never subdued by the Romans.

When Rome adopted Christianity, it was better recieved and adapted by the Roman ized Celts, who already had adopted to worship some Roman dieties anyway.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 08:01 AM
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Originally posted by Hvitserk
thank you for that thread


there's much more to norse belief than most people are made believe or told


Absolutely. It is complex, dark, and beautiful, filled with extremes of human traits and wry humor.




If you want to get a better idea of what it is about readHávamál , it's not that long


Thanks for posting the Havamal. I forgot to post it, though it is an essential part of Norse mythology and a major holy text to the Asatru Kindred.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 08:05 AM
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The connections may not have been made until christians actually made it to the Norse regions, but I'd like to know why more than anything else. Not the obvious, "they are jsut trying to stick christianity in there somewhere" but why, if you believe it's false, it's plausible, or why it is truth, if it's nearly impossible to refute. I've never seen anything against Japeth being a Norse ancestor.


I tend to disagree, as the proto-Indo European peoples from whom the Celts and Teutons descended from, as well as the Greeks and Latins (Romans) were not related in anyway to the Hebrews or other semites in the bible, and probably had no contact with them until Greek and Roman times.

It is more likely that the Greek Zeus, Aryan Indra, Norse Thor, Latin Jupiter all came from a proto-Indo European thunder god. After all there are many similarities, and linguistically as well as genetically, they probably come from the same similar Indo-Aryan source.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 08:42 AM
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Originally posted by ubermunche
I would hesitate to say that Norse beliefs were the pre Christian beliefs of Europe per se though, as there were huge areas of the continent that were predominantly celtic not germanic in their culture and belief systems (although I'm less sure the two were as distinct as some historians would have us believe).

I also find it curious that the new Christian church in the celtic fringe, that is Ireland, Scotland and Wales, seemed to have a far easier time of incorporating and christianizing pre existing pagan practices, mythology and icons into their institutions than did the anglo-saxon.



you might have a very big suprprise if you would compare the two mythologies , very similar in a lot of aspects and even descriptions of gods , their avatars and "adventures.

both mythologies have a common source that is undoubtable and not surprising .



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 08:45 AM
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Originally posted by Skadi_the_Evil_Elf



The connections may not have been made until christians actually made it to the Norse regions, but I'd like to know why more than anything else. Not the obvious, "they are jsut trying to stick christianity in there somewhere" but why, if you believe it's false, it's plausible, or why it is truth, if it's nearly impossible to refute. I've never seen anything against Japeth being a Norse ancestor.


I tend to disagree, as the proto-Indo European peoples from whom the Celts and Teutons descended from, as well as the Greeks and Latins (Romans) were not related in anyway to the Hebrews or other semites in the bible, and probably had no contact with them until Greek and Roman times.

It is more likely that the Greek Zeus, Aryan Indra, Norse Thor, Latin Jupiter all came from a proto-Indo European thunder god. After all there are many similarities, and linguistically as well as genetically, they probably come from the same similar Indo-Aryan source.


i strongly feel the same way , but it must be noted that the geographical source must be shifted towards the caucasus region , and that fits very well with the spread of similar "legends and stories westwards and eastwards



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 09:24 AM
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Originally posted by jlc163
what do you know of this?
Or this?

The name of Japheth as progenitor is found in many historical geneologies of peoples that have been passed down to us. For the Greeks, he was Iapetos. In Sanskrit (India) Pra-Japati (Father Japheth). The Romans called him Io-Pater or Jove and later of course, Jupiter. He was normally Japheth for Irish-Celtic and Viking lines but in the Saxon tongue it was Sceaf (!).
here

The connections may not have been made until christians actually made it to the Norse regions, but I'd like to know why more than anything else. Not the obvious, "they are jsut trying to stick christianity in there somewhere" but why, if you believe it's false, it's plausible, or why it is truth, if it's nearly impossible to refute. I've never seen anything against Japeth being a Norse ancestor.


Like this, with Ireland:

"The importance of this statement lies in the fact that Duach, Ernin's father, lived towards the end of the fourth century AD, which places the compilation of the Cin Droma Snechta well before the coming of Christianity to Ireland (and the oft-alleged forgeries of the Christian monks)!"
The Irish records include dates beginning with the creation of the world (Anno Mundi) and record the landing of the first colony on Ireland as 2520 AM. Irish geneologies begin with Noah, through Japheth, through Magog and some 24 generations later produce Riondal. There were several incursions from different groups in the Japheth line, including: ...
"The Books of Genealogies and Pedigrees form a most important element in Irish pagan history. For social and political reasons, the Irish Celt preserved his genealogical tree with scrupulous precision. Property rights and the governing power were transmitted with patriarchal exactitude on strict claims of primogeniture, which could only be refused under certain conditions defined by law...and in obedience to an ancient law, established long before the introduction of Christianity, all the provincial records, as well as those of the various chieftains, were required to be furnished every third year to the convocation at Tara, where they were compared and corrected."
Ireland is believed to be well connected to christianity long before christianity existed.


As we examine and compare the lists, we are struck by the astonishing points of similarity, and yet obvious differences, between them. Each ancestral list contains gaps, but never the same series of gaps, and each of their names is listed in at least one other of the lists (with the exceptions of Freawine and Fodepald). Moreover, we should also note that the names always appear in exactly the same sequence. There is neither confusion nor discrepancy over the chronological order of each successive generation. But one thing that these lists clearly are not, and that is mere copies of the same (allegedly fraudulent) Christian source.
This is the first time I've ever heard it called fraudulent

I mean, have you studied this, or have you dismissed this?




interesting read , alas i'm somehow tired of hearing every single event of human history being tied to one and only one source .The Torah doesn't hold all answers to your questions , be it historical ,geographical or anthropological . Science should be left to scientists , not priests or "missionaries" (of any belief).

PS : provincial records in pre-christian Ireland ? Written in which alphabet ? I do not honnestly know the answer to these questions , as i've never heard of anything alike , and/or it does not fit in my knowledge of pre-christian europe.

i will enquire about this site though, i do agree to some of the content (extremist presence in norse groups) but i find it somehow fishy , why link pre-christian norse belief to the Torah ? I do not get the point. Or ist it yet another move at discrediting pagans in general. Call me paranoid but history has proved that is can save lives
.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 10:08 AM
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Originally posted by Hvitserk


i strongly feel the same way , but it must be noted that the geographical source must be shifted towards the caucasus region , and that fits very well with the spread of similar "legends and stories westwards and eastwards


Yes, exactly. The Caucasus Mountains, the Steppes of Southern Russia and Ukraine, and Iran.



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