Old Norse cosmology and astronomy.


Mythologies from around the world all have an astronomical aspect to them in the sense that they reflect detailed knowledge and observation of the sky above. All over the world people have used mythological language to talk about and share astronomical knowledge among the learned elites of all cultures; knowledge about the movements of the sun, the moon and the planets within the ever revolving firmament around the fixed points in the extreme north and south.

It can be demonstrated, from celestial observations in nineteenth century Icelandic tradition, that certain ideas in Old Norse mythology referred directly to peculiar celestial phenomena, beyond the obvious idea of the bridge Bifröst being a mythological interpretation of the rainbow. In view of the actual proof from the nineteenth century it should be worth discussing the possibility of taking that idea a step further and read the entire Snorri’s Edda as a mythological interpretation of the world as it appears to the naked eye: The earth below and the sky above where the stars and other heavenly bodies move around, as well as up and down, some in a clearly regular pattern and others less so, day and night. This approach changes radically all our discussion about systematic thought behind the individual myths as well as about their source value as reflections of pre-Christian ideas in the north.