Norse Mythology/Runes

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Aquila
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Aquila » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:40 pm

Heith wrote: As we know, the number nine is a repetitive theme in the sagas, often connected to magical items, events or, in the case of Havamal, Odin’s self-initiation. Fra Aquila asked me what kind of a initiation would I find Freyr’s nine night’s wait to be like. I had never thought about this and found that I was unable to give an answer, but the idea began to intrigue.
Heith wrote:So- initiation mysteries of the North, and is this to be found in Skirsnimal, or other poems?
I tend to think that most of the religious myths and stories might deal with some kind of initiations etc. and as there is a recurring theme of 9 (be it 9 days/nights/whatever) I suppose there is a connection. As initiations are many there's many ways to represent them. Death is an important part of this and as we know from eastern religions, death is also connected to sexual act between divinities, Shiva and Shakti. The world is born when they're separate from each other and when they reunite the world is destroyed once again. Don't know how much this kind of themes of sex and death are present in Scandinavian traditions. Anyway, in this sense the divine sexual act is the end of separation when separate egos return to oneness.

Even though Skirnir can be seen as an aspect of Freyr himself, in Skirnirsmal Freyr gives away some of his power to obtain another kind of initiation (divine unity of masculine & feminine polarities, the holy marriage; a theme connected to sexual symbolism and magic) when he gives his sword and steed to Skirnir who accomplishes Freyr's will with this price. Thus it is a sacrifice that is often related to initiations. The sword and the steed are also phallic symbols of fertility and if Skirnir is seen as an aspect of Freyr we can interpret that the poem illustrates the use of this magical power. The parts where Gerdr is intimidated are more difficult to interpret. Maybe it has something to do with the pure feminine force seen as wild and untamed. Yet the 9 long nights of wait also demonstrate the patience of Freyr.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:40 pm

Thank you for participating in the conversation :) Please ask me to specify if I am being unclear on the subject. Here comes my wall of text!

Magnus Olsen has interpreted Skisnimal to describe a pre-Christian agrarian fertility cult, or, as an allegory of sorts. Here Freyr represents the sun (and indeed in another writing he is mentioned to rule over sunshine) whereas Gerd is the cold, unyielding winter earth that must submit to the sun and become fertile. This Hieros Gamos - theme in the poem has been studied by other scholars as well and has recently been challenged, as I describe on my previous post. Of course, occultists tend to think a little differently than strict academic writers, as we are allowed a certain amount of freedom that academics don’t necessarily enjoy.

There are some themes in Skirnismal which are problematic, exactly as you point out. Of course, we can not be certain which parts (if any) are parts of the original, older story and much of this post is again, groping in the dark at best. I will go through some possibilities here.

The three Runes (Thurisaz):
which Skirnir threatens Gerd with are the base Runes for many nefarious formulae in the icelandic grimoire Galdrabók. In some Rune poems, Thurs is described to be “the torture of women”- but this poem might simply refer to war or forces of chaos which of course have the power to make many a woman widowers. Still, the Thurisaz Rune is the most destructive one of the lot, and basis for some seriously woe-working magic. (It does have it’s protective form as well, but it’s quite clear this is not what Skirnir suggests to carve “rista”).

In Skirnismal, Gerd is first seen by Freyr as he sits on Odin’s high seat and there sees far. Gerd emerges from her father’s house in a distant location. It can be that this is a mound, or other kind of location in the Underworld. Here I would like to suggest the possibility of some kind of Vanir-connection with Gerd, as the goddess Freyja is also closely related to mounds. I am not suggesting Freyja is Gerd even if we know that the Vanir tend to marry their own siblings or at least have erotic ties with one another. But the Vanir seem to be somewhat close to Jotun (the beneficial giants as opposed to the destructive giants, Thurs) as they are earthy and represent, in my opinion, a older cult than that of the Aesir. It’s also quite normal to make older gods into something “cthulhoid”, less sophisticated than the new ones by which “the need” for the newer deities / deity becomes “justified” so to say.

The giving away of the sword;
Certain Anti-cosmic writers have made the elaborate theory that begins with the witch Gullveig- Heith in the poem Völuspa. Heith comes to the home of the Aesir, and begins to spread her craft. The Aesir try to rid of her by burning her thrice in Odin’s hall. But she can not be destroyed. (Here I would like to suggest a connection to a goddess figure, drawing from other mythologies where Gods can die yearly, but a Goddess is forever. This is a kind of Hieros Gamos story as well, where a fertility God is sacrificed yearly, and in the spring, born again from the womb of the earth Goddess). The sword and the steed are indeed phallic, and they are also the markings of a warrior, or a king. The steed we may perhaps exclude as a shamanic vessel, but certainly not the sword.

Their idea is that Heith together with Loki plans Ragnarök, and that Freyr giving away his sword is all a part of this elaborate plan. I tend to disagree with this theory, as it is clearly stated in the writings that Freyr destroys his opponent with his antler, and he would not need a sword anyway, for he would kill the thurs with his bare hands. Also, I find a connection between Gullveig and Freyja to be too convincing.

As to sex and death;
I would think that there is a connection in this. Or, at least, in birth and death. The two were not considered so separate as they are thought to be now. Children were even thought to be ancestors reborn.

Sorry about the length of this post. I will stop here now, though could probably easy double this post :)
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Jiva » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:55 pm

Apologies for the essay :P. I was going to quote parts of both of your posts to respond directly, but in the end I just wrote this...

Many of the mythological devices recorded in Skírnismál are also utilised in a similar Norse myth, namely Hermoð's journey to Hel. There is a journey to a possibly hostile place in an attempt to retrieve someone, a horse borrowed by an otherwise minor character, a dark mountain journey, a guardian and a barrier of fire. Ursula Dronke argues that the latter is a traditional barrier separating the land of the dead, which often can only be cleared by horses or some other animal. I don't think it's completely outrageous to suggest that the horses in these instances could be acting as shamanistic vehicles for the shaman's free soul (or whatever term one prefers), especially as Yggdrasil literally means “Odin's steed”. Indeed, Freyr can be linked with the sun by a title of his (álfroðull, “elf-wheel”), while Skírnir means “brilliance” and could be interpreted as a ray of sunlight, although the sun is feminine in Norse mythology so perhaps this is stretching things too far.

Skírnismál is perhaps the Norse myth than most openly exhibits shamanistic qualities, in part due the inferred use of Hliðskjálf, which could be considered to be a seiðhjallr, a raised platform used by seiðkonur, the primary practitioners of seiðr. Additionally, Clive Tolley's analysis of Skírnismál from the perspective of the sword/staff Skírnir uses to submit Gerðr, presents another possible shamanistic interpretation as well as addressing the sexual element. Skírnir's sword is described as “málfán” which I think means “with (magical) marks inscribed” or something to that effect. Apparently the term when connected to a sword is only used elsewhere in Sigurðarkviða hin skamma where it both separates and unites a couple in bed. This is similar to Rígr (“stiff”, amongst a variety of other meanings) – another name of Heimdalr – sleeping between couples and thus becoming the progenitor of the three castes of humanity. Actually, Sigurðarkviða hin skamma is similar in plot and the mythological devices used to Skírnismál although it is Brynhildr who is lovesick with Sigurð and ends in the typical Norse tragedy with everyone dying or being cursed with unhappiness somehow.

Skírnir's success in wooing Gerðr for Freyr is due to threatening her with ergi, which I guess can be summarised as sexual impotence and/or personal dependence. Odin ultimately created the world from the body of Ymir, the primordial giant, after slaughtering him and obviously subjecting him to his will. In the Norse scheme of things, giants represent nature or the potential (ground) for life but also a massive danger as well; domination is preferred to subjugation. Therefore the union of Freyr (Skírnir) and Gerðr can be viewed as a hieros gamos or the anti-cosmic poisonous infiltration of life, especially as Gerðr is the daughter of Aurboða, a reincarnation of Gullveig. Personally, I view the anti-cosmic interpretation as elegant and similar in symbolism to repeated alchemical distillations en route to Ragnarök, although many anti-cosmic believers discard Baldr and the rebirth of a new world as a Christian influence which I disagree with to a point.

Regarding Skírnismál's possible initiatory content, Skírnir first offers eleven golden apples (possibly Iðunn's apples of immortality), then he secondly offers Draupnir (Odin's ring, which drops eight golden rings every ninth night and was incidentally retrieved by Hermoð from Hel) before finally threatening her. Perhaps immortality and wealth are irrelevant for giants to whom this seems to be an inherent characteristic, although giants can die by violence and apparently be made impotent. The gifts and threats also roughly conform to the three societal functions of Dumézil's Indo-European trifunctional hypothesis. Therefore I suppose my tentative conclusion is that the marriage is another difficult initiatory step before Ragnarök, presented in the typically masculine Norse manner.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:49 am

And now into something completely different.

I've been considering the Rune Dagaz- which deity / being would you link this with? I'm having a hard time figuring this Rune out. I guess it's a little similar feeling that I used to get from Nauthiz before- sort of alarming or dangerous. But nowadays when I pick Nauthiz in readings or the like, I don't get this negative feeling anymore. From Dagaz sometimes I still do- although this might be my own unwillingness to change at times.

Looking from a symbolic level, the Dagaz Rune looks a lot like Moebius strip, and as I place it the last in the Futhark, it ties everything neatly together, indicating a new circle after the current conclusion. I can't therefore mythologically fully accept that Dagaz would solely stand for Surtr & Loki or other such destructive agents, if one believes that such would be a complete end to all things, end of story, etc. Because to me Dagaz is non-ending, which is why I would perhaps be inclined to think the undercurrent of said Rune to be Freyja's.

This crossed my mind just now, but do you think it would it be possible to find a spiraling motion from Dagaz? I guess what I am after is sort of "evolutional spiral" (lacking a better word here, sorry). I am pondering the model suggested in Argarizim (currently unavailable in English) which basically suggests the order of creation in four parts. (If Nefastos you could comment on this that would be nice as I don't want to lose your meaning in translation)

If one would stack some Dagaz runes, a similar model might be found if we assume that each part of creation is a cycle, in which metamorphosis or cataclysmic change occurs- for example, the change from human to god. OR, perhaps Dagaz already represents the entire process, even if I would be more inclined to stack two Dagaz on each other?

Sorry, tired rambling, but perhaps something comes out of this.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Jiva » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:45 pm

I find Dagaz difficult too. It literally means “day”, but I interpret this as daylight more than as a name for the 24 hours that comprise a day. In Old Norse, nights are emphasised much more than days - e.g. Odin hangs from Yggdrasill for nine nights - and as a result I find it unfortunately easy to neglect these aspects.

I've never really thought of the rune cycle aligning with the wider mythology before, I tend to think of it as representing the journey of an individual, or even just part of this journey. It would be easy to simply align Dagaz with Dagr but I think this is too limited so I would also say that both correspond with one of the Vanir, but rather Freyr instead of Freya. Therefore there is a retention of associations with fertility and growth albeit a more masculine one. Additionally, Dagaz and Dagr have associations with sunlight, particularly if Dagr is viewed as an emanation of Dellingr (“Shining One”) or even if Svipdagr (“Suddenly Dawning Day”) is viewed as an emanation of Dagr. I think that there's a similarity between these relationships and Freyr's relationship with Skirnir (“Brilliance”) given their associations with light.

Regarding the evolutionary spiral and any order of creation, I've sometimes looked at the last three runes – Ing, Othila, Dagaz – as a microcosm within the Futhark: the seed, the setting of roots and initial growth, and finally the flowering. Related to this, I also don't think Loki and Surtr are purely destructive. Odin and his brothers create the world by killing Ymir, while Loki, Surtr et. al. also effectively try and create by re-uniting through destruction. Ash and compost are great fertilisers born from destruction of some kind, while both of the above myths contain creative and destructive aspects and are part of a process as, after all, Ragnarok isn't the end of the story.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Jiva » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:15 am

There are a number of threads this could be placed in as it has aspects of numerical symbolism, but thought I’d mention the Franks Casket here instead as even though it’s Anglo-Saxon and contains other mythological characteristics, it still has an obvious link to the Old Norse. According to the last section of the Wiki article, each of the sides of the casket apparently correspond to the stages of life of the ruler or king it was presumably intended for.

However, more interesting to me is the numerological symbolism in the inscriptions, which I’ve never seen before in any Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse or Germanic artefact. It’s especially interesting as instead of the extended Anglo-Saxon alphabet, the ‘gematria’ only calculates when using the magical Elder Futhark alphabet, in spite of the use of the aforementioned Anglo-Saxon as well as Roman alphabets. Each of the sides has 72 letters (including bind-runes) which when divided by 3 equals 24, the number of letters in the Elder Futhark alphabet, and when 24 is divided by 3 this signifies the 8 letters of every ætt. In Anglo-Saxon Christianity 72 was the number of further disciples Christ appointed in Luke 10 (rather than the traditional 70) and also corresponded to the number of nations mentioned in Genesis.

And so I will set the Heith-sign up and ask if you know of any other examples of runic numerology? Lately I’ve been thinking about the symbolism behind the magical phrase “and name Tyr twice” and how bind-tunes sometimes ‘complete’ this when they stacked three Tyr runes on top of one another. But this is just speculation on my part and isn’t really comparable to the scale of the above.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:34 pm

Jiva wrote: And so I will set the Heith-sign up and ask if you know of any other examples of runic numerology? Lately I’ve been thinking about the symbolism behind the magical phrase “and name Tyr twice” and how bind-tunes sometimes ‘complete’ this when they stacked three Tyr runes on top of one another. But this is just speculation on my part and isn’t really comparable to the scale of the above.
Are you familiar with the booklet "Johannes Bureus and Adalruna" by Flowers? I think it might be of interest to you, as Bureus combines runic meanings with numbers and uses this to calculate things. I can't remember exactly this booklet so I've to read it again, but I do remember that he gives examples of numerological systems. I can't quote this as my keyboard doesn't have the necessary symbols, but if you like, I can copy this for you if you are not familiar with the text.

Interesting thoughts from you again. I haven't really dwelled deeply into numerology, so this would be a good way to do so. Should you wish to share your thoughts on T- rune, I am more than happy to read.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Kenazis » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:39 am

Heith wrote:Are you familiar with the booklet "Johannes Bureus and Adalruna" by Flowers?
I've been looking for this, but haven't find it. Were I can get this in english? (I have the swedish version, but the problem is that I can't read it).
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:56 pm

Kenazis wrote:
Heith wrote:Are you familiar with the booklet "Johannes Bureus and Adalruna" by Flowers?
I've been looking for this, but haven't find it. Were I can get this in english? (I have the swedish version, but the problem is that I can't read it).
Well, I borrowed mine from Frith- he mailed it to me and it was a lucky thing as it had gone to the other side of the village. They very nice enough to know where I lived and brought it to me. I still haven't returned it, I keep forgetting as it's quite little.

I would assume this is sold out, maybe it's somewhere online though? As a pdf?
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Kenazis » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:16 pm

Heith wrote:
Kenazis wrote:
Heith wrote:Are you familiar with the booklet "Johannes Bureus and Adalruna" by Flowers?
I've been looking for this, but haven't find it. Were I can get this in english? (I have the swedish version, but the problem is that I can't read it).
Well, I borrowed mine from Frith- he mailed it to me and it was a lucky thing as it had gone to the other side of the village. They very nice enough to know where I lived and brought it to me. I still haven't returned it, I keep forgetting as it's quite little.

I would assume this is sold out, maybe it's somewhere online though? As a pdf?
So, the hunt continues.
"In darkness let me dwell, The ground shall sorrow be..."

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