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Enlil
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006, 03:20 PM
I don't know alot about asatru (yet!), but at the moment I'd really like to know more about the gods that were worshiped in at least parts of Scandinavia before asatru came along (or however that happened).

I know that Odin is supposed to have defeated Ull, the sun god (right?), and that the godess Njärd was his mate. There are alot of names on places around where I live (like Ullevi, Mjärdevi, etc) which indicates they were places where you worshiped these gods (vi = "place of worship"). However, when searching Skadi I didn't find anything, so maybe they're spelled some other way in modern English?

If there are any reliable resources on this (books or web sites) I'd be really interested. Thanks.

Osmaegen
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006, 03:59 AM
Actually, there is no evidence Nerthus was Odin's mate, and none that he ever faught Ull or Uller. As for good websites there are several. If you do a search on Asatru websites, you will turn up a very good thread on it.

Drakkar
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006, 06:04 AM
Ull fighting Odin himself..? :thumbsdwn not documented, as far as i know. He talk humans to ski, but being the sun god? never heard of that.. I agree with the previous poster though. To get the straight dirt, definitely go to the Asatru sites.

Carl
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006, 12:44 PM
We know in Roman times (and beyond ) of Wodenaz and Woden in the south (- Germania and the NorthSea region ). I assume the name travelled north , eventually as Odinn!
Voluspa (in the Elder Edda) speaks of the "first war in the world" - that between the Odinic Aesir and the Vanir . ( " Dwelling in their midst were gods who came of a distinct tribe , the Vanir." -Turville-Petre). The Vana God Njord is much linked to the sea (at Noatun). I have always assumed that Njord "and the Vanir" preceded the coming of Odin (from the south) (Perhaps there was in this story of a divine/tribal conflict a major north-south split within Scandinavia itself). How the goddess Nerthus may have appeared in the north is surely unknown (?). Was there really a goddess called Njard ? (interesting). Njord, of course, married his own sister - this not uncommon for the Vanir it is said - and was thereby the father of Frey and Freyja.

Events and deities preceding the Vanir and Aesir presumably belong in the field of an earlier archaeology.

carl

Oskorei
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006, 07:43 PM
Indo-Europeanist Georges Dumezil deals with the subject of Aesir and Vanir in his book Archaic Roman Religion, and he deals with the concept of the "war of the gods" as well. According to Dumezil this concept is also found in Roman legends (with Sabines and Romans), and the Indo-European Ossetes. It is not to be taken literally, but is a way of mythically explaining how the balance between the functions of power/sovereignty, war/martial power, and wealth/fertility was established (Aesir, Romans and Ossete Alägatä and Ähsärtägkatä being representatives of the two first functions, and Sabines, Vanir and Ossete Boratä of the third).

More to read on the subject here, in Swedish unfortunately:
http://oskorei.motpol.nu/?p=95

Some Aesir-gods seem to have been more recent arrivals than others though.

Carl
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006, 09:54 PM
I would prefer to trust Voluspa* on this. Is it not reasonable to think that an incoming tribe/God system might find itself in conflict with pre-existing tribes ( and Gods) . SHE* relates how the walls of the AEsir were damaged.... and Odin et al were confronted with arranging and agreeing a truce - which is what SHE claims. I believe the Vanir Gods were well established and , in their way, rich and powerful. The subsequent truce was really quite effective, Freyja working very closely with Odin in his vital subsequent undertakings. Njord, of course , is said to survive Ragnarok and return to his own lands by the sea.

carl

Väring
Saturday, October 7th, 2006, 03:00 PM
Marija Gimbutas wrote very interesting things aboout the pre-Indo-European civilization in Europe.

http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=56034

Carl
Sunday, October 8th, 2006, 05:39 PM
If we could get back to the original question - which hasnt been directly answered . I am certainly interested in when Odin appeared in various parts of the North. It follows from this question to ask what ( and who) came before . It is difficult to research this from outside the region and I suspect there are not really any written records. I believe that Nerthus and (W)Odin where in Denmark (part) in Roman times. The runes certainly were. Denmark was always well connected to the south - in this period at least. When Nerthus switched her gender identity is still a mystery (?). Odense , on Fyn , was formerly Odens-ve -but the actual begining of this identity I still dont yet know! I wonder if there is any written history .

What is certainly clear is that the presence of Ull(r) is widespread in parts of Sweden and Norway and appears to well predate the coming of Odin in the north.The name is however rare in Denmark. Ullr has many wintery characteristics in common with Skadi - including snowshoes, skis and hunting!

I do not think that Odin was ever in real conflict with Ullr; it is , in later times, related that Ullr assumed importance in Odin's absence - but this was quickly reversed on Odin's returned.( A similar situation therefore to that of Odin's own brothers). I am interested to find that whereas Tyr is little known north of Denmark, Ullr is equally little know in Denmark and further south. This would not however imply any co-indentity as has been suggested. Even in England there are settlements named variously after Tyr.

And I would still like to know more about the coming of Odin in the north! Clearly in later times he co-existed with Freyr and Thor - and others , of course.

carl

Enlil
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006, 12:35 AM
In the Swedish author Kata Dalströms "Nordiska Gudasagor" from 1887 she writes, about the Vanir Gullveig-Heid:

The english text is my translation, since I don't know the english equivalents of all names I kept some in Swedish. I also apologize for the errors I probably made in the translation, feel free to correct anything.



In the dawn of time happiness and peace prevailed in both Asgard and Midgard. The gods lived happily, built castles and played with the game guldtafvel. Between the humans content and unity reigned. But then came the powerful giant daughter Gullveig-Heid to Asgard and caused unrest between the gods.
[...]
Finally the cunning and evil vanir had made herself so hateful to the gods by mixing the air with betrayal, that the gods, having forgot the (i]helgd[/i] (holy status?), captured her inside the gates of Valhalla itself, spearing her and burning her at the stake. But the fire would not kill the vanir. Burned three times, she rose once again and lives to the end of time
[...]
Since the asirs had burned Gullveig, the vanir, who were befriended to her, demanded compensation for the deed.

The gods gathered at the ting (session) and held council. After alot of discussion Odin rose with wrath and threw his spear right into the vanir flock, as a sign that the dispute should be settled with weapons, and not with words.

Gudamakterna (the god powers..?) parted as enemies, and before long the vanirs returned to Asgard with their gathered troops, to courageously siege its firm castle walls.

At Odins side were Heimdall and Skade, besides Tor and all the asir, at the vanir side were Odins mate Frigg, Njord, Fröj and Fröja plus Ull.

After a long siege, and not until Njord cunningly took possession of Sleipner, who carried him over the falming vaferlågorna (wafir flames?!), that guarded Asgard, could the vanir take the castle. Njord split with a strike of his battle ax the castle gate, and the vanir band stormed in.

Now when Asgard was taken, Odin was expelled, and spent his exile in Manhem, and Ull, Tor's stepson, occupied his place in Asgard.

But this split caused unrest between the gods, and threathened both then and the humans with ruin. [...]. Odin was therefor asked to return to Asgård and again be the ruler of the gods.


And the original text, in Swedish:


I tidernas morgon rådde lycka och frid i både Asgård och Midgård. Gudarna lefde lyckliga och glada, byggde borgar och lekte med spelet guldtafvel. Äfven bland menniskorna herskade endrägt och förnöjsamhet. Men så kom den mäktiga jättedottern Gullveig-Heid till Asgård och stiftade split mellan gudarne.
[...]
Slutligen hade den sluga, ondskefulla valan gjort sig så förhatlig för gudarne genom att blanda hela luften med svek, att asarne, glömska av Asgårds helgd, grepo henne inom sjelfva Valhalls portar, spetsade henne på spjut och brände henne på bål. Men elden ville icke förtära valan. Tre gånger bränd, lefde hon ånyo upp och lefder till tidernas slut
[...]
Sedan asarne brändt Gullveig, kräfde vanerna, som voro befryndade med henne, vederlag för dådet.

Gudarne samlades å tinget och lade råd derom. Efter mycken rådplägning reste sig Odin vred och slungade sitt spjut rätt in i vanernas flock, till tecken att tvisten skulle slitas med vapen, ej med ord.

De båda gudamakterna skildes åt som fiender, och inom kort återvände vanerna med sina samlade skaror till Asgård, för att modigt belägra dess fasta borgmurar.

På Odins sida befunno sig Heimdall och Skade, jemte Tor och alla asagudarna, på vanernas däremot Odins maka Frigg, Njord, Fröj och Fröja samt Ull.

Efter en långvarig belägring, och först sedan Njord genom list lyckats bemäktiga sig Sleipner, hvilken bar honom öfver de flammande vaferlågorna, som värnade Asgård, kunde vanerna intaga borgen. Njord klöf med ett slag af sin väldiga stridsyxa borgporten, och vanernas skaror stormade in.

Sedan nu Asgård intagits, fördrefs Odin, hvilken under sin landsflykt vistades i Manhem, och Ull, Tors styfson, intog hans plats i Asgård.

Men denna splittring och ofrid gudarne emellan hotade både dem och menniskorna med undergång [...]. Odin ombads derför att återkomma till Asgård och ånyo varda gudarnes herskare.

The sources she name for her book are: "Afzelii, Bugges, Grundtvigs, Gödeckes, Munchs and Rydberg", and also the Prosaic Edda.

Oswiu
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006, 01:12 AM
I would prefer to trust Voluspa* on this. Is it not reasonable to think that an incoming tribe/God system might find itself in conflict with pre-existing tribes ( and Gods) . SHE* relates how the walls of the AEsir were damaged.... and Odin et al were confronted with arranging and agreeing a truce - which is what SHE claims.

You are trusting Her [!] out of a sense of respect and religious devotion? And yet at the same time you are happy to euhemerise her utterances, with this talk of toppling of ancient dogma?

If the Vanir/Aesir theme are shared across IndoEuropia, then they must predate the Germanic [or preprotoGermanic] expansion into Scandinavia.


If we could get back to the original question - which hasnt been directly answered . I am certainly interested in when Odin appeared in various parts of the North. It follows from this question to ask what ( and who) came before .
It must be borne in mind that what we know of Norse mythology comes to us in a late form, and is quite distant from Common Germanic. The basic stock of stories and figures probably remained constant, but emphasis and style may have altered somewhat. I'd imagine Woden was there all along, but rose to predominance around the First Century or so.

What is certainly clear is that the presence of Ull(r) is widespread in parts of Sweden and Norway and appears to well predate the coming of Odin in the north.The name is however rare in Denmark. Ullr has many wintery characteristics in common with Skadi - including snowshoes, skis and hunting!
THough the Vanir/Aesir thing seems to predate Germanicisation of Scandinavia, this Ull might well be an introduction into the pre-existent IE scheme, taken from the earlier inhabitants.

I am interested to find that whereas Tyr is little known north of Denmark, Ullr is equally little know in Denmark and further south.
Is this based on placename evidence? I'd love to see a discussion of that.

Carl
Monday, October 23rd, 2006, 04:48 PM
You are trusting Her [!] out of a sense of respect and religious devotion? And yet at the same time you are happy to euhemerise her utterances, with this talk of toppling of ancient dogma?



I am not quite sure which "ancient dogma" you think I am " toppling" ? Odin didnt get thinks entirely his own way and I still think that the Vanir preceded his arrival.

carl

Carl
Wednesday, October 25th, 2006, 05:38 PM
Enlil.,, Thanks for the Swedish Text -which is very helpful and relevant to the issues raised. (!)

The nature of Gullweig-Heid is central. All of her attributes ,not least her magic, suggests that she is a Vanir very close to Freyja -if not indeed an hypostasis of the goddess herself. By convention, she was "evil" -- but then so was(is) Freyja in the eyes of some ( let alone her brother!)! The magic was subsequently mastered by Odinn himself as a part of the necessary totality of his wisdom. And Heid was not slain for all their mistaken efforts --- indeed, "she lives still!"

The gods parted as enemies; it is very interesting to find Odinn's wife Frigg on the side of the Vanir (in the Swedish text ); it suggests to me that they had made a mistake! ( A parallel division occurs in Wagner's Ring for similar reasons.)

What your quoted experts have done is to join up various other stories; I prefer to stay with Voluspa ( which is worth following carefully) . I do however believe the treaty came after the War and accept the translation by Bellows which reverses the two relevant stanzas in order to clarify this. ( The text is open to interpretation in any case).

"23. On the host his spear | did Othin hurl,
Then in the world | did war first come;
The wall that girdled | the gods was broken,
And the field by the warlike | Wanes was trodden.

24. Then sought the gods | their assembly-seats,
The holy ones, | and council held,
Whether the gods | should tribute give,
Or to all alike | should worship belong."

Bellows adds the note:

"(23. This stanza and stanza 24 have been transposed from the order in the manuscripts, for the former describes the battle and the victory of the Wanes, after which the gods took council, debating whether to pay tribute to the victors, or to admit them, as was finally done( nb), to equal rights of worship.")

Nodoubt there are other interpretations but this seems to many the most sensible.

The suggestion in the text that Heid was wicked is considered by some to be a Christian substitution which, for all I know, may be favoured by some - even on Skadi!!!

carl

Oswiu
Thursday, October 26th, 2006, 12:34 AM
I am not quite sure which "ancient dogma" you think I am " toppling" ?
Oh no, I didn't mean you! A bad choice of words on my part, but I meant the idea of a new Odin-focussed religious sect ousting the earlier Vanir worship. I don't believe this ever happened.

Odin didnt get thinks entirely his own way and I still think that the Vanir preceded his arrival.
You're talking as though Odin were a real person, when he is a God who was inherited by the Norse from their ProtoIndoEuropean speaking ancestors.

Carl
Thursday, October 26th, 2006, 10:07 AM
A bad choice of words on my part, but I meant the idea of a new Odin-focussed religious sect ousting the earlier Vanir worship. I don't believe this ever happened.

I see very little point in arguing that Odinn ( ?Woden) was always there! In earlier times Tiwaz as Sky God may well have been of greater importance (in the south anyway). WHO KNOWS ! It has already been suggested that Odinn was not always present in the north . The entire later Norse narrative indicates that an earlier Odinn only gradually accumulated what I've called his necessary Wisdom. The hierachy in Sweden may well have been different in any case, with the Vanir God Freyr assuming greater importance for many.....

carl

Nagelfar
Monday, January 8th, 2007, 09:28 AM
I've said this before in other threads, but, there really is no viable reason to think Odin was a latecomer, and as much information to believe Odin came with the original Indo-Europeans who settled the Germanic territories. Every Indo-European faith had a story of a class of gods ousting another, that doesn't mean a religion superceded another in that area; in fact, since it is common lore to all IE faiths the world over, it strengthens the theory that it did not happen and that the faith itself is intact as is. Christianity, for example, did not integrate into its belief structure that Jesus overthrew the older gods to become the new god, it simply 'overwrote' the entire strata and mythos of what divine nature was. The 'overthrow' idea is IE.

Carl
Tuesday, January 9th, 2007, 02:48 PM
I believe that Nerthus and (W)Odin were in Denmark in Roman times. The runes certainly were. Denmark was always well connected to the south - in this period at least. When Nerthus switched her gender identity is still a mystery . Odense , on Fyn , was formerly Odens-ve - but the actual beginning of this identity I still dont know! I wonder if there is any written history .............


....... but of course , Nagelfar, there isn't. We know that at a certain point, the Runes arrived.... and later they moved on , geographically and in form. When Odin first stalked in Odense, no-one knows; it is not written! Things do change - since that is the marvel of time. It is clear that even in the south , Woden was not a universal God... perhaps he was preceded by Tiwaz. If Odin there had been universal, then I suspect this would have come to Tacitus's ears! I am not saying that you are wrong - only that the evidence does not give us ground to know for sure.


Christianity, for example, did not integrate into its belief structure that Jesus overthrew the older gods to become the new god, it simply 'overwrote' the entire strata and mythos of what divine nature was. The 'overthrow' idea is IE.

well yes, but the Church didn't set out to be yet another Pagan faith; it possessed knowledge of the truth of the true One God :D ... and made sure to stamp out all the others! - except that, alas for them, they kept the old days and some of the greenery... and now, when people choose, it is with these relics that people call forth the old Gods! As pagans might say, if you call forth the God, then the old God is not dead.....

Nagelfar
Wednesday, January 10th, 2007, 01:20 AM
I think Tacitus' writings mention a binding god, the use of ropes etc, who else is that but Wotan? Faiths in old times didn't readily change until the "affulence" of common travel between cultures, which is a late happening (since history has been readily recorded). Ancient place names around Austria also are associated with the name of Wotan; Vuodensberg, etc. Also the similarity of Odin with hindu Gods cannot have been a thing of borrowing from the Indus valley, this is something that came with Indo-European culture into Europe from the beginning, no doubt. Like the one-eyed Shrukrá, guru of the Asuras. Even the celtic Gwydion the magician god; this doesn't seem like an adoption, rather shared from an original root.

Carl
Wednesday, January 10th, 2007, 11:15 AM
I am not saying that there wasn't a Wotan god in S Germany , only that there were others forms as well. But yes, there is there an ancient presence. There are also similarities nodoubt with other IE gods to the east; after all there had been I assume considerably migration along the Danube. There are certainly some very interesting parallels between the Norse & early Vedic mythologies.... but that's a long way from Njard & Ulla!

also see Wotan Thread ( especially BlutWolfin --):

http://forums.skadi.net/wotan_odin_wodan-t80934.html?nojs=1