Heimdall, the world-tree, and humans

The first humans, in Norse myth, were made from two pieces of wood. Trees, humans and gods are closely connected, and the guardian god Heimdall and the world-tree Yggdrasil have a particularly strong bond. Humans, too, are a special care of his, as he intervened at time’s beginning to make them his kin.

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Hera, women and marriage

Hera was the women’s goddess – “By Hera” isn’t just something Wonder Woman says, it was a common Greek oath among women in Classical times. (Although Socrates used it too.)

Hera’s titles included Pais (Girl), Nympheuomenê (Betrothed), Teleia (Adult Woman), and Khêra (Widow), all relating to stages in a woman’s life. One of them, Teleia, could take on several meanings, as you’ll see in the section on the Daidala festival of Platania.

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Kvasir

Kvasir was the Norse god whose blood became the first mead, a drink that made a poet out of those who imbibed it. This drink, blood fermented with honey, was the motive for several murders, and wound up in the hands of the god of poets and inspired ecstasy, Odin.

The story of Kvasir is one level another John Barleycorn story – he dies to make mead, just as Barleycorn did to make beer – we know that Kvasir was supposed to be the wisest of the gods, and that mead was supposed to bestow poetic inspiration. The sharing of wisdom is another concern in this story, since Kvasir shared freely with all he met, and died for it.

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150 000 views!

and it only took me three years… seriously, I’ve been blogging since Jan. 2015, and in that time I’ve gone from 30 views in my first month to 8 159 this January. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and here’s hoping you’ll continue to find something here to interest you.

Alauna and Boudina: nurturer and warrior

The title of this post might seem a bit catchall, but it was inspired by the goddess Alauna and Boudina, who appear together on a couple of altars in Romanized Germany, while the similarly-named Alounae seem to be mother-goddesses from modern Austria.

As with Dea Vecana and Meduna, another pair of Germanic goddesses, one is warlike, while the other is more peaceful. The name Boudina comes from the Celtic root boudi-, victory, while Alauna means either nourisher or wanderer.

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Hera: the goddess alone

It’s very hard for us now to reconcile the widespread worship of Hera in ancient Greece with her character as it comes down to us; she seems like the archetypal shrew. If you look her up, the entries focus on her persecution of Hercules and the women Zeus seduced or raped. These stories are well-known, so I want to focus on Hera’s actual cult in this post.

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It isn’t Christmas without Mummers!

The Mummers’ Festival Page
CBC Coverage of this year’s parade
And a travel blogger’s reaction to the parade

The image at the top comes from the CBC blog. Click here to see more.

Sunna and the elves

Two Norse deities can be connected to the álfar, or elves, of Norse myth. One is Freyr, who had Alfheim as a tooth-gift, and was ruler of the álfar. The other is the sun-goddess, whose connection with the álfar runs much deeper than her by-name Álfroðull, or Elfin Beam.

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Thor vs. Odin

Celebrity feuds are the meat and drink of modern gossip columns. But what do you do when it’s two gods duking it out? The Greeks had plenty of god feuds, as you might expect, including Poseidon vs. Zeus, and Hera vs. Hercules. And the Norse had a god feud of their own, involving their two most important gods: Odin and Thor.

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