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Viking mythology and all that goes with it

Discussion in 'Amon Amarth' started by Celtik Militia, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. Rat Salad

    Rat Salad New Metal Member

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    Yeah, thanks, I get it. I don't really understand how their politics and the Thing and all that worked, but I'm guessing that that would involve a pretty complicated explanation.
     
  2. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    I don't know about that, but I'm willing bet the vikings knew about it and kept it in mind. I'd say it's one of those "no way to answer" questions, but it's kinda fun to think about. :)
     
  3. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    Aw, fuck...wrote a reply and then the net ate it, and now I have to run. It's not so complicated, but again, there is no cohesive pan-Germanic culture, so you're dealing with very different developments in terms of time and political system and so on in the various geographical areas. For example, Denmark was mostly converted by the 700's, whereas most of Sweden was not officially converted until the mid- to late 1100's. With conversion came inherited kingship, but in Iceland, there was never a king through out that whole time frame. They had a thing that worked well for them, and at the thing, all free men had a voice, and even women could be represented if they needed to be. The Iron Age spans just over 1000 years, which puts us as close to the vikings as the vikings were to the Bronze age, since the Viking Age proper is only the very last part of the Iron Age. During those 1000 years, the society changed dramatically, just as we have changed in the 1000 years since the Viking Age.
    The difficuty comes in when you want to explore the nitty gritty of how the lords came to be lords and how warriors were tied to the lord and how the women had tremendous power in that process, and thus were represented politically in a way completely different from the later Christian democracies. That's why most of us don't quite understand it with western eyes.
     
  4. TheLastWithPaganBlood

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    Tyra, would you lik to comment on how the destruction of Irminsul affected the Scandinavians, if at all?
     
  5. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    Sorry, that was in that reply that got eaten. I'll comment on it later today, as I've got to rush off to school with the kids etc. It requires a carefully worded response, so I don't want rush it.
     
  6. Nidafjöll

    Nidafjöll Member

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    i saw in the first couple threads you where all talking about your favorite stories, without stating one thats been mentioned before, or that i havent seen, i liked the one where thor had a giant(? read this awhile ago) in a basket, and while he was traveling with him, the giants toe was sticking out and was frozen, so thor broke it off and threw it in the sky and made it a star. please correct me if im wrong, i cant remember it exactly as it was stated.
     
  7. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    I'm going to try for a cohesive answer, but I've got a raging migraine, so pls excuse if it's a bit scattered and the spelling is even worse than usual.
    First off, these is a very old myth (from the nationalist days at the end of the 1800's) that there was such a thing as a pan-Germanic, cohesive culture. Today, we can be pretty certain (I would even go so far as to say entirely certain) that this just was not the case. What that means is, that how your Germanic world looked depended entirely on when and where you lived. There were vast differences between each area, and the Iron Age spand 1000 years, with the Viking Age only being the last little bit of that time span. Think of it this way: we are as close in time to the vikings as they were to the beginning of the Iron Age, and you muste realize that even though our culture has evolved much faster in the last 200 or so years than they did in 200 years, that timespan is still very considerable. So what Tacitus says in Germania (still counted by many as one of our most prominent sources on "Vikings") has about as much to do with vikings as what the Heimskringla has to do with Swedes today, if you get my drift.
    Now, what this has to do with the Irminsul: If there is no cohesive pan-Germanic culture, there is no pan-Germanic politic system. The politics were based on what suited each chief ATM, not on religious cohesiveness. You have to remember, that these people did not even have a word for their religion. It was the Christians who, much later, named it. Unlike Christians, they never tried to convert by way of the sword, and when other faiths attacked in the name of their faiths, they fought back in the name of their chiefs. Now, that is to do with the religion, because the lord was also the godi, who was in charge of communal religious events. BUT it still is not the same as jihad. The Norse fought for silver and silver lead to politic standing. Politic standing was often proof of the gods' favour. What that means, by extension, is that just becasue you pissed of one heathen, you were not automatically the enemy of all heathens. If the heathens of Norway even knew about the Irminsul being distroyed, it may not necessarily have meant diddley to them, because their own rituals differed so much from those of the German heathens. I am a heathen, too, and frankly, I don't give a toss about the Irminsul any more than any other tree, because I believe that we already are in the world tree. The Germans had a ritual involving a specific tree in a specific place, but to me, the trees in Uppsala were holier in that case. They were part of my people's ritual. We were and are different people with different politics and different ritual practise. Just because the Christians upset one heathen, that doesn't mean they upset his neighbour. Actually, his neighbour, who didn't recognize the Irminsul as anything special, might have thought it was a great thing, since it may have located a chink in the other tribe's armour! That's a good time to raid, before the other tribe figured out just exactly how the destruction of the Irminsul affected them mentally, and if it had damaged their relationship with their gods.

    What the Irminsul has to do with the start of the Viking Age is, that it was one of the first symptoms of things to come. It was the first time that a Christian king had made such a concerted effort to squeeze upwards towards heathen territory, outlawing trade with pagans, and thus making the previously flourishing trade (which is what carried the political system in Scandinavia) impossible. It put an end to the previous system of raiding, and made it so that the Scandinavian people, instead of going south for trade and political alliances like they had for several millenia previous, got squished out towards the sides. They couldn't go north and they could no longer go south, so they went east and west. The destruction of the Irminsul was a symptom of the beginning of a disease called Christianity. Similar symptoms cropped up all over after that, but the events that set that off had nothing to do with the Irminsul, but rather, with the goings on within Christian areas and the politics of the Roman-Catholic church.
     
  8. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    Oh yeah, Nidafjöll!! I had forgotten about that one! Cool... A lot of stories like that exist as oral tradition only, and not in books. That especially applies to stories about Thor, becasue he really was the "little man's god", and historically, "little man" could neither read nor write. I know that story, too, but I have no idea where from! May have been something my dad told me as a child.
     
  9. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    It's part of the story where Thor fights Hrungnir, and he tells that to the sorceress Groa who's trying to magic the piece of whetstone out of Thor's head. It's in the Skaldskaparmal, when Snorri is explaining the origins of some of Thor's kennings.

    Oh, and as I thought I had edited my post earlier... I think it may have had a relation, but not necessarily the destruction of Irminsul so much as the 5000 Saxon chieftans fleeing to the north.
     
  10. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    Aha, that'd be why it's missing from my Edda. Thanks for that! I'm still not sure why half the fricking Skaldskaparmal is not included. It is in my Neckel version, but it's in ON, so it's a lot of work for me to understand the text. I use that version for comparison when there's discrepancies between the Swedish text and the English...

    I see your point about the 5000 chieftains. That's sort of what I had in mind, too. There's a correlation, but the effect is not from Norse vengeance for something done to their Germanic brethrens' religion. It's more of a political thing that has ripple effects.
     
  11. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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  12. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    Awesome! Thanks.
     
  13. JannikR

    JannikR New Metal Member

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    Hello everyone.

    I've got a question circulating around the Aegismudr, need to know abit more about its significance.
    This is how it started, for about a year I've been thinking about getting a Walknot (Valknut) tattooed on my right shoulder, not being sure if I should get it or not. So about 2 months ago, I simply told myself "oh just get it already", so I booked time to do it... But what happened was that I had to cancel it, because when I got there I just had a terrible feeling about it. I just couldn't.
    Now I'm not sure what to think, am I to young to wear it, or am I simply not worthy it?
    But after this, what I also felt was that it doesn't "suit" me.

    Anyways, I've done some researching on the Aegismundr, and what I've found so far is tbh kinda appealling, and seems to be something more fitting for me.
    So this is what I've understood that it is:
    A symbol of both defense, and offense, rather the latter. A symbold that you would draw on your forehead, or carve on the inside of your helm, to provide yourself with strength, and rather invincibility in battle.

    Have I got it right? And is there anything more to it?


    Thanks in advance.
     
  14. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    You've got it mostly right. I've one tattooed on my shield arm, since it's a defense symbol and all. It is mainly comprised of the alghiz rune, which is the rune for passive protection. That means that it promotes protection in the sense that it doesn't attack, it just averts or turns away bad things - it will defend when attacked.
    If you look at the symbol itself, it has "tines" on in that the rune that it is comprised of does not have (on the way up the main spike of the elghiz rune, the Helm of Awe has a crossbar, sort of, where the elghiz has none). Some helms have one, some have many. Those tines change the meaning of the symbol, as with each tine, it gets a bit stronger. Some would say that with each tine, the symbol gathers more "offensive" strength. I have only one tine on each elghiz on mine, as I did not feel deserving of any more tines than that (intrisically, not rooted in science!), but more can be added as you feel that you have grown ready for more. I also did not feel that I needed more than one tine, as I feel I have Oden on/by my side anyhow.
    Bindrunes are dynamic and can forever change like that, whereas your valknot would be static. It think you made a very wise choice regarding your tat. You probably were not ready to have a valknot ATM. There really are no drawbacks to a helm of awe as there can be with a valknot, other than that people unfamiliar with the Norse culture generally comment on my gorgeous snowflake! Also, if you want to it actually have aome protection, rather than just be a nice piece of art on your skin, then you have to have someone speak over it to invoke it. We have no asapopes, so you can do that yourself, but it might be cool to have someone do it that is a godi or gythia or something like that.

    Krigley - yes, I've seen them. Unfortunately. YouTube is a great way to get a big audience and get the word out there. It's more the content that upsets than the fact that it is a genious idea to post these things in that forum for the sake of the community. This dude obviously had the best intentions, but sometimes you can do more harm than good if you don't have a good teacher. The gothi that he interviews is a different story. He has a huge degree of responsability, as he should have known better. In the old tradition, to judge if you are a godi, you should stand up in a crowd of your peers and proclaim "I am a godi". If nobody laughs, you are a godi. I am gussing that this dude stood up in front of his computer and made his proclamation. Nobody can laugh at you when you're on YouTube for saying what you say, and that is part of the problem here. There is no discussion. We're just told that this is the truth and we cannot question or argue or discuss. For now, I'll just tell you what my gythia said about them - "I just don't know what to say about the video links ... It sort of overwhelms and discourages me." I understand where she's coming from, and myself, I just don't know where to start. But it is a service to the community still, as it does get word out there that we do exist, and for that alone, the dude should be commended.
     
  15. TheLastWithPaganBlood

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    There ought to be heathen shrinks for these sort of things. Hey Tyra, when you're finished with Archeology or All the History of the Whole World or whatever course you're taking, ever thought of looking into Psychology?
     
  16. TheLastWithPaganBlood

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    but we can say... LOLZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111
     
  17. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    You know, I hadn't watched these videos up until now, as I don't generally have the patience to listen to other people's opinions. :p But... now I want to watch them so I can pick them apart, because, well, that's kinda what I do.

    Re the Aegismundr: I never knew that about the tines, I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I do some work. My usual design has 3 tines to each Alghiz, which I guess could mean any injury will be paid back threefold. :) Suits my way of thinking, anyway. I sometimes think I liked it better when I could just copy the pretty pictures without thinking too hard about the meanings. :p
     
  18. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    On a separate note, I nominate tomorrow as some kind of holiday...
    I have no idea what to call it, but it seems like a good reason to drink! Not like I need a good reason, but it's still nice to have one. ;)
     
  19. Krigloch the Furious

    Krigloch the Furious Pants full of poo

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