Talk:Norse mythology

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Isnt the Norse cyclical. The last standing warrior does something and the cycle starts again. ? — Unsigned, by: Hamster / talk / contribs

There is some cyclic stuff, but the eschatology is fairly linear. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:13, 29 January 2010 (UTC)


Germanic deities, especially the Norse ones, underwent several translations. The translations included the names. For this reason, each Norse god has at least two names, so Wotan is just a name like Odin, and both are the same god.— Unsigned, by: ‎ / talk / contribs

It's the same name. One is West Germanic the other North Germanic, that's all. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 20:42, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Sedir and Odin's manliness[edit]

The other main form of Germanic shamanism is contained within the magical tradition known as seidr, of which Odin and Freya are the foremost divine practitioners. In traditional Germanic society, for a man to engage in seidr was effectively to forsake the male gender role, which brought considerable scorn upon any male who chose to take up this path. As the sagas show, this didn’t stop some men from practicing seidr anyway. However, even Odin wasn’t exempt from such charges of “unmanliness,” and was taunted for adopting the feminine traits and tasks that form part of the backbone of seidr. Saxo, in the passage on Odin’s exile alluded to above, relates that “by his stage-tricks and his assumption of a woman’s work he had brought the foulest scandal on the name of the gods.”[16] Note also the reference to being “fertilized” in the verse quoted above – while this is certainly a metaphor, it’s a metaphor loaded with sexual implications that would have been immediately recognizable to any Viking Age or medieval reader or hearer of the poem.

From Odin Proxima Centauri (talk) 17:56, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, but the only source given for the female stuff on that website is Saxo, a Christian monk who did his best to rewrite Norse mythology to "de-deify" Odin et al and this claim of his fits well into this strategy (the Norse gods become wicked sorcerers, evil kings/nobles and so forth in his writings). It's also worth remembering that SaxoWikipedia's W.svg was living in the thoroughly Christianised Scandinavia of the 12th-13th century when Norse Paganism had been extinct for around one or two hundred years and thus wasn't even intimately familiar with a Germanic society that had long passed into history and myth.
The website itself doesn't help matters by introducing such anachronistic concepts as transgender and then bombastically claiming that " in the eyes of the pre-Christian northern Europeans, Odin’s practice of seidr made him a largely transgender being incapable of fulfilling the expectations placed upon an honorable man", when the only historical source it can hang this interpretation on is the very Christian Saxo and some extrapolation of the word "Then I was fertilised" from the Poetic Edda which is solely based on the author's own translation and other translations don't use that word, but instead "Then began I to thrive" or various other words clearly associated with agricultural growth in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish translations, in contrast to the author's sole focus on female pregnancy (not to mention that even in the author's translation the imagery sounds far more agricultural than sexual, let alone gendered). So, it would seem that what was more likely to be "immediately recognizable to any Viking Age or medieval reader or hearer of the poem" was poetic metaphors about growth, not gender, similar to how modern readers/listeners would understand a description of an idea "germinating" as a metaphor for it slowly developing, not, say, a reference to the idea being an infectious germ. In other words, this website appears to be engaged in a pretty superficial if not downright sloppy analysis. ScepticWombat (talk) 23:52, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
And I'm not more amenable to trust the website's author when he's exceedingly vague about his actual qualifications, preferring to style himself as "a writer, independent scholar, and entrepreneur" (all of these are warning flags for me because they can mean everything and nothing and similar vague labels are used by anything from creationists to Ancient Aliens "scholars" and the author being in his "mid-20s" doesn't suggest a lifetime of hobby history writing).
I become even less impressed when the main page claims that "The Germanic peoples are one of the indigenous peoples of northern Europe, along with the Celts, Sami, Finns, and others." The Celts were most definitely not an indigenous northern European people (or, perhaps more accurately, culture), but a central European one which spread to include the British Isles and Iberian Peninsula (as far as I know there's still a debate as to whether this "Celtic expansion" was mainly a case of cultural or population expansion, i.e. whether Celts colonised large parts of Europe or if Celtic culture was taken up by neighbouring peoples similar to how aspects of US culture has spread to other parts of the world).
The author is also very selective in quoting from Ynglinga sagaWikipedia's W.svg in order reach the conclusion that "Odin’s shamanic spirit-journeys are well-documented. The Ynglinga Saga records that he would “travel to distant lands on his own errands or those of others” while he appeared to others to be asleep or dead." However, this piece of the Ynglinga saga starts by referencing that "Odin could transform his shape: his body would lie as if dead, or asleep; but then he would be in shape of a fish, or worm, or bird, or beast, and be off in a twinkling to distant lands upon his own or other people's business." This makes it clear that rather than a sort of spirit journey as in a shamanist trance, Odin was depicted as literally changing shape (examples also includes Freya who owned a sort of garment which could transform the bearer to a bird and which she loaned to Loki at one point). ScepticWombat (talk) 00:35, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
I took account of what you wrote above. Do you feel like editing the article to add some of those points? Proxima Centauri (talk) 16:32, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
No worries, I'll hedge it a little softer. How does it sound now? ScepticWombat (talk) 18:42, 28 July 2015 (UTC)


It says „in most version“. Just how many versions do people think there are? Völuspá is probably the most reliable source and even that poem is believed to be from the late 10. century. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 20:41, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Yea, I mean, it's totally obvious. That's just common knowledge. <-𐌈FedoraTippingSkeptic𐌈-> (talk) 20:42, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
You must have me on a watchlist. But the question is serious. There are very few sources, and for once this is something I know. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 20:45, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
Is it correct to assume that there is not actually a "Norse mythology" or a "Greek mythology" but rather several overlapping and contradicting oral traditions that have at times been written down and that may or may not be compatible with each other? In a sense somewhat similar to how Easter week in Latin America is totally different from Easter week in France, even though both places are nominally "Catholic"? Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 20:48, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
The Greek city states had similar beliefs, which I imagine is because of how close they were and therefore how much of a similar culture they had. They were however not exactly the same. <-𐌈FedoraTippingSkeptic𐌈-> (talk) 20:50, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
(ec) Yes. The mythology is scattered among poems, both dróttkvætt and eddukvæði. There are some references in the sagas. Snorra-Edda is an attempt to compile a mythology - which was a great success as literature but Snorri must have had to make compromises. Anyway, we don't have all his materials although he does quote copiously to, among other things he relies on Völuspá. The other tradition is Saxo, but he is at odds with Icelandic-Norwegian traditions all over the place. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 20:54, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
...compiles from :-)
In remembrance of poor Salvatore: „Stupido, stupido“ (knocks his head). „...quote copiously from them...“. Should be OK now.Sorte Slyngel (talk) 21:00, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
How much influence does the Christian missionary activity have on the sources at the time they are actually written down? If I recall correctly, scholarly consensus indicates that Christianity was at the very least known, if not already dominant when most written texts on Norse mythology were produced, correct? Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 21:05, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The oldest surviving writing is from the early 12. century. There is an immense literature concerning the date of composition, and of course there is no agreed solution. Most of the Edda poems are certainly composed by heathens, but how soon or how late we can only speculate. The so called Great Vowel Deletion took place ca. 600-800 so the poems can't be older than than in their present form. Some of the dróttkvætt poetry can be attributed to known persons, for instance most of Egils poetry - and yes, he does have his own saga, put he was a real person. He does give some insights into his mind. He died a heathen (speculatively around 990) and there are poets like Hallfreðr who describe the clash of two religions within themselves. Sighvatr composed in a Christian manner, that is, he avoided all too complex heathen kenningar to a degree, and introduced some Christian ones. All in all the field is in constant flux. I don't think this really explains much, but this is all we have.

Oh, yes to answer the real question, it is disputed how Christian things were, so to speak. Christianity was introduced by the Alþingi in 999 or 1000 and was a political settlement. Iceland took centuries to be fully Christianised in the hearts and minds - one is tempted to say just in time for the Reformation, which introduced another adopting phase. One of the most important poets of the 17. century (Einar í Heydölum) has had his psalms accepted as valid catholic psalms. :-) Sorte Slyngel (talk) 23:07, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Just to add, that Sturlunga saga is as reliable as can be for a work of that age. In the 12. century people are described as being atheists and nothing is done about it. Nobody cared that much. Unfortunately, the Church eventually got stronger, but the worst of the church was during Protestantism, say the 17. century. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 23:11, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
And now the Nordics - Iceland included - are among the most atheist places there are... Some traditions die hard indeed... Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 23:30, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
I should have said some individuals. There are of course many examples of devout Christians. I'm sorry if this was confusing. I didn't mean that everybody was an atheist, heathens are not atheists by definition, just that it was a drawn out process. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 14:29, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
Of course. But on the whole Christianity - especially the Catholic kind - had a very hard time taking root in the Nordic countries... And it is once more disappearing and dwindling... Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 18:49, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
Just for my amusement the so-called Great Vowel Deletion (Syncope) was a mass extermination of vowels that is one of the clearest markers for separating Proto-Norse from Old Norse. Every vowel was deleted unless one of the following applied: It was long or nasal or carried the main stress. As an example of what this meant in practice I'll just give one (the asterisk means that the from is reconstructed, but in this case at least it is solid): *harawanaʀ (alternatively *haraƀanaz, it's just a question of cosmetics) > hrafn (raven). So the overall result was a drastic shortening of words and there is no way that the Eddic poems could have survived that in their present form, although some of the contents surely did. But if there were similar poems before 600-800, and we can be fairly sure there were, they would have had to been recomposed, so to speak. Cheers Sorte Slyngel (talk) 18:05, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

"Racism" section[edit]

What's with the loaded language in the "Racism" section? Isn't there some way to get the point across without sounding so sarcastic? This is a serious topic and deserves a serious address. — Unsigned, by: RationalUser / talk / contribs

Rationalwiki style is generally slightly less-than-serious, more common-people oriented and less dry academic. NekoDysk 21:59, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
For more information, read this, especially the "What RationalWiki is not" section. Pizza SLICE.gifDuceMoosoliniYour friendly RW dictator moderator 23:14, 15 December 2018 (UTC)

Ragnarok - section: The End Is Here![edit]

The 2014 'prediction' for it was a publicity stunt by the Jorvik Viking Centre, England and not actually an interpretation at all. One citation for that section appears to take it 'as read' and the other is not accessible to me. It should probably be edited to note this discrepancy or removed altogether.

Citation given (Pages 8/9/10): 2A02:C7F:B234:6800:C8FE:19AC:2872:FA16 (talk) 22:33, 14 April 2019 (UTC)