Norse Mythology/Runes

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Jiva
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Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Jiva » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:35 am

I suppose I'm intending this to be an all-purpose Norse thread although if it takes a specific turn that's great too. The reason I'm starting it is the mention of Norse runes in the Questionable Occult Authorities thread and my participation in the Kalevala thread which reminded me of the work of Viktor Rydberg. The second volume of his Investigation in Germanic Mythology (originally in Swedish) was basically an attempt to organise a coherent storyline for what I would call generic Norse mythology, while also adding some of his own comparative analysis of an Indo-European basis. Essentially it's a similar endeavour to Lönnrot's ordering of the Kalevala but from an academic perspective.

Unfortunately it was largely discredited before being rehabilitated somewhat in recent years. Rydberg certainly gets a lot wrong – his summary at the end quite obviously contradicts itself and his referencing is abysmally poor – but the translator and editor have obviously put a lot of effort in to provide corrections when applicable. Furthermore, some of the contradictions can easily be “solved” by the reader by simple cutting and pasting to correct the timeline.

Vexior (Shamaatae from Arckanum) is heavily indebted to Rydberg's work and expands upon it in his Gullveigarbók, which was actually one of the first “occult” books I bought. Naturally he adds a Left Hand Path philosophy but also a fanaticism that prevents certain comparative analysis through sheer antinomian reactions to perceived Christian influences. However it's still obviously been well researched and provides food for thought, even if it's perhaps a little tailored by preconceived ideals. This has its benefits though as it presents an alternative view to more “traditional” academic and occult interpretations of Norse mythology and runes.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:19 pm

These works are not familiar to me. Would you recommend Gullveigarbók?

I've been studying the runes / norse mythology a few years, both academic and occult texts.

More on the runes soon, as we get that sorted on the finnish forum.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Jiva » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:09 am

I would recommend both authors. I find the subject of Gullveig (Aurboða, Heiðr*, Angrboða and sometimes Hyrrokin, depending on who you ask) particularly fascinating as I consider her the nexus of Norse mythology. Consequently I enjoy reading about her from any mythological or ideological perspective, regardless of whether she is identified with Freyja, a descendant of Ymir, or both. As I said, the Gullveigarbók certainly presents a unique viewpoint though that stands in contrast to more traditional academic, Germanic neopagan and occult interpretations.

The Gullveigarbók is still on sale at Fall of Man, but there's a link widely available on the net (which I've PM'd to you) to try before you buy. Vexior is a proponent of Sigurd Agrell's Uthark theory and there is some discussion of the runes, but nothing extensive. I believe he's going to concentrate on this aspect of Norse mythology in a forthcoming book called URAM.


* By the way, am I correct in assuming your user-name is an alternate transliteration of this?
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:08 am

Jiva wrote:
* By the way, am I correct in assuming your user-name is an alternate transliteration of this?
Aye.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:42 am

Thanks for providing the link to Gullveigarbók. I'll be sure to check this out. Will get back on the subject in more detail after I've read the whole book. It's fine as a pdf for now, and if I take a liking to it, might order. I'm materialistic when it comes to good books, want to own them all.

While we're on the subject of books that are recommendable, I'd like to mention Galdrabók which I'm sure you already probably have, but perhaps someone else reading this thread is not familiar with. I found it highly enjoyable, especially with the provided commentary. And with norse magic, there is something so arcane and powerful with sigils in particular. Galdrabók isn't so dry as many old grimoires either. Is quite funny at times. I haven't looked at this book for some months as I borrowed it to one of my students, and hope to get it back soon for more inspecting.

I remain undecided with Stephen E. Flowers (aka, Thorsson), but with Galdrabók he certainly does a good job.

One other thing I'd like to inquire- you wouldn't know how to get my paws wrapped around a paper version of Hilda Davidson's "Road to Hel"? I've been lusting after that book for over a year, and it's out of print. Amazon sells copies, but they're misprints- expensive, and the layout of the book is apparently awful, with some of the text nearly disappearing in the spine. My mind is somewhat autistic when it comes to letters- if they look wrong, I get distracted. As was the case with "Runic and heroic poems of the old teutonic peoples" by Dickinson. Great material, awful, pixeled letters. But I would recommend it anyway, if you're into kennings and such.

And again, I'll miss my bus...!
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Jiva » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:27 pm

Actually I've never read the Galdrabók despite its reputation. I'm undecided about Stephen Flowers too, although some of this is due to reading Lord of the Left Hand Path. I know it was intended as an introduction, but the focus on antinomianism for the sake of it left a negative impression with me which has clouded my impression of his other works. Alu, which I think is his most recent book, is on my list of books to buy though as the Alu charm is massively interesting to me and user reviews on Amazon sound promising.

I'd be interested in your opinion of Jan Fries, particularly Seidways if you have read it? I have only ever read Kali Kaula and wasn't too impressed with that either.

Regarding the Road to Hel, unfortunately I've no idea where to get a paper copy of that. The best I have is a pdf that looks like it's a professional electronic release from a publisher, although I can't remember where I got it from. It sounds like you may already have something similar though... On the subject of Hilda Davidson, she is an excellent researcher, but I disagree completely with her assertation that Norse mythology shouldn't be arranged in a chronological narrative.

If the Dickinson book you own is published by Forgotten Books then I totally understand. Their typeset is always appalling although this has the benefit of making their books easily affordable :D.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:34 pm

Jiva wrote:
I'd be interested in your opinion of Jan Fries, particularly Seidways if you have read it? I have only ever read Kali Kaula and wasn't too impressed with that either.
Well, Seidways is the only book I've read from Fries. So I can't comment on his other works, or compare it to them. I found Seidways enjoyable in some parts (always fun to hear folk stories) and liked that he lines also some christian practices in the same style as ecstatic shamanic practices, as they are so similar, technique-wise. I'm sure that thought is appalling to many on both camps so that gave me a certain glee. Actually, I don't remember Seidways all that well, it was a while ago I read it. I do remember I felt a little disappointed, as it didn't drill into something I wanted to read about. Seidr probably?

Bingo, I think the Dickinson book is published by Forgotten Books.

I do think Galdrabók is available as a pdf. I seem to recall I leafed through it in a digital format before buying a paper copy. If you're into runes I suggest you take a peek at some point. I've read Lords of the Left-Hand Path as well, and found it to be a little... I can't really point anything in particular, it was just the general feel and tone of the book that I didn't like. Also it seemed to cut a few corners here and there. ALU I haven't read but would like to, I was going to order it but it wasn't published at that point and I forgot about it. Let me know if you find it worth reading.

I don't recall Davidson saying anything about chronological order in Norse mythology, but I either missed that in a text I read, dismissed or have not read this. As for myself, I do think it's possible to arrange the myths in a order that to me makes sense and is also something I learn from my teachers with runic studies. I like Davidson because her enthusiasm for the subject shines through in the text. And yes, I do have that pdf. Reading screen makes my eyes a little tired, and books are nice to carry around, arrange, make piles with.

As a sidenote, I wonder if you'd know a good book on Odin? Someone asked me to recommend a book for them and I was unable to do so.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Jiva » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:55 pm

Actually, that openness about Seidways including something of Christian practices makes me more interested as it admits that it's very difficult to analyse any culture that was predominantly recorded by Christians without taking their beliefs into account. Reviews on Amazon regarding the Galdrabók also mention a Christian comparison of sorts. In any case, I actually bought Alu last night and it's jumped to the front of my book queue so I'll be reading it over the next week.

I think Davidson makes statements to that effect in Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe. I don't actually own this book so I can't check; I read it when I was still at university and had a lovely library at my fingertips 8-). It's hard to remember though, she published so much over 60 or so years. Doing searches on google and wikipedia resulted in a quote on, of all places, Viktor Rydberg's wikipedia profile. It's not a full quote though and could easily have been taken out of context.

Hmmm... about books solely to do with Odin, I don't have any personal recommendations. However, I've been interested in Kris Kershaw's The One Eyed-God: Odin and the (Indo-)Germanic Männerbünde but I haven't found a cheap enough copy yet. I just checked Amazon though and it's been translated into German which has a relatively cheap price if your friend speaks that language.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:21 am

Jiva wrote: Reviews on Amazon regarding the Galdrabók also mention a Christian comparison of sorts.
Yes. If memory serves, the Gadrabók was written over a period of time by three different people. It's quite amazing that it survived at all, as it contains runic magic, and at one point in Island to carry rune staves was punishable by death. I do recall that there was a mention that it was abroad for a while (Denmark?) but I really can't recall this from the top of my head. Still, it's a awesome treasure of a book and I do think all runesters should have one. If for nothing else, it's certainly very beautiful with all those old sigils.

Most certainly, there is a christian influence in some of the sigils and invocations, sometimes in a rather weird mix. It says stuff like "demon name X, demon name z, Freyja, Odinn, and the rest of the devils of Valhöll"- so uses christian and norse entities in a odd harmony. Modern user can probably tweak these a little bit :) This is not the case in all of the runes in the book though, some are just sigils and are explained further in the commentary section. But it does have some very interesting things for a runester- such as the famous Aegishjálmur. There's also things that seem completely christian.

I should most definitely read this book again. But I've so much to read...! I wonder if I could get a copy of ALU for a review. I've to ponder about this a little :)

I haven't read the Davidson book that you mention. I recall it was quite expensive on Amazon, so I chose some other, more affordable ones. But maybe I've to buy that awful copy of "Road to Hel" anyway.

About Seidways still- it's more a collection of peculiar styles and stories, and doesn't go in very deep. However, it can serve as a book that gives pointers to further research. Certainly not academic level, but entertaining enough.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Jiva » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:51 pm

I've just remembered, If you or a library close to you owns Rudolf Simek's Dictionary of Northern Mythology there is an excellent 10 page summary regarding Odin, and of course probably every aspect of Norse mythology you could think of. Each entry has a link to at least one primary or secondary text for further reading although a lot of these are in German, Norwegian or Swedish.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'

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