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Thread: Magpies in Norse Mythology

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    Magpies in Norse Mythology

    Anyone heard about this?

    I was researching Magpies in Norse Mythology and I came across this quote.

    The black and white markings of the magpie were seen to represents sexual union, as well as male and female energies kept in balance. Later on in time, Scandinavians thought that magpies were sorcerers flying to unholy gatherings, and yet the nesting magpie was once considered a sign of luck in those countries.

    This change is interesting to me for many reasons. I was wondering if anyone could tell me more about how this happened and why.

    This is the link to the page I was at

    [1] http://www.druidry.org/obod/lore/animal/magpie.html
    It seems very new-agey oriental inspired to me.

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    I can't recall ever seeing a magpie being mentioned in any source at least.

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    Later on in time, Scandinavians thought that magpies were sorcerers flying to unholy gatherings, and yet the nesting magpie was once considered a sign of luck in those countries.
    As magpies are related to crows, it could very well be the case. I'd have to look up exact quotes if they are magpies, but many birds and other animals were considered a good sign for the day or a travel. The Raven or Crow flying over the way in the morning heralds victory, settlements were started where birds (also house hens) landed and so on, like the wolf birds were considered blessing animals and a lucky sign.

    As with many or most such things, under christian influence these practices were pushed into the superstition section, and soon were also pushed into the witch corner -> hence the sorcerers (as most such predictions were usually read by women, and so it went all into the same corner, since women had no more role in christianity; the wolf became evil and the sign of the devil, because the wolf was Odin's animal). Interesting side note, in the folk belief ("superstition") it became a bad sign to meet a priest in the morning, this spoiled plans for the day
    Ein Leben ist nichts, deine Sprosse sind alles
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    und endet meine Frist, weiss ich dass du noch da bist
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    There is nothing to indicate they would throw together any old bird that remotely resembled a raven. On the contrary they seem very specific in regards to different animals in the scant sources we have. And the behavior of these birds are quite different. Ravens, for instance, are shy birds that are more often heard than seen, not easy to catch and are at least somewhat large. None of this is true in the case of magpies or crows.
    Just like the Romans would cringe at the sight of owls, in daylight, or even worse; near towns or cities. Not something you see every day. An old raven sighting probably wouldn't mean anything to most people.
    If there were beliefs related to magpies, and sure; there might have been. There is little or no indication of this in the sources, contemporary or later.

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    The information about magpies and witchcraft is in Grimm. Swedes should be aware what their own word for a magpie is. The same word was used in Old Norse as the name of a goddess surely connected to black magic.

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