January – Norse Mythology

By | January 26, 2020

The session:

 We agreed an earlier start time of 9:50 to avoid congestion in the car park, with an earlier finish.

Continued Norse Mythology covering Germanic and Scandinavian mythology with the topic of Odin.

1/.  Odin –

Odin became the Sky God, creator of the Universe, King of the gods.  He provided rules which had to be followed to protect against the chaos which still existed outside the organised world.  He visited Midgard, the world of men, to make sure the rules were being followed.

Over time he took on many attributes, physical appearances and roles, and had many aliases.  He also had magic skills and was a shape shifter.  He was a majestic figure with gravitas and dignity.  He was capricious, lustful and quick tempered and a rule breaker when it suited him.  He was also arrogant and boastful as related in the Song of Harbard.  A god but one with flaws.

He was very successful with women apart from in The Myth of Billing’s Daughter who outsmarted him.  She is portrayed as being duplicitous and treacherous for not wanting to have a relationship with him and using her wits to avoid him, a view which is much less acceptable now.

This was all in the context of a world where gods and men are doomed.  Great warriors would go to Valhall to await the final battle (Ragnarok), to qualify for this they would need to show their skills to Odin but the Norns (the three Fates) had already set down the fates of the gods and mortals.

We looked at two tales The Myth of Mead of Poetry where Odin gains a magic mead from giants by means of shape shifting, cunning and deceit and The Lay of Grimnir where again he did not reveal who he was.

Oden was married to Frig and they had a tempestuous relationship with neither being faithful to the other.

2/. Frig

Originally Frig was the goddess of fertility but her attributes changed over time too and she became the goddess of the home and protector of women whilst Freya became the goddess of fertility.

In February we shall continue Norse Mythology

Further Reading

There is a lot of information available on the internet by using simple searches.  These books are not in print but may be available second hand or from a library.

References:-

Brian Branston ‘The Lost Gods of England’ Thames and Hudson

‘Encyclopaedia of World Mythology’ Octopus Books