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Thread: How Do You View the Eddas?

  1. #11
    Senior Member Leof's Avatar
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    Some of the poems in the poetic Edda I see as next to scriptures as far as their relevance. Others are nothing more than satyrs made by Christian skalds to mock the pagan faith. The prose edda is a poorly disguised attempt by Snorri to preserve the ancient mythology. I know he was a dead set Christian but consider that what he did with preserving the Prose and Poetic eddas would have had him swinging by a rope anywhere else in Christian Europe.

    To me its a mix of artistic religious expression and guidelines to the old faith with a touch of insult. Just like a hard drink after a long day.

  2. #12
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    I think it safe to say that my posts prove that there is a wealth of initiatic and metaphysical (including cosmological) symbolism in the texts and that their primary use is ritualistic and educational.

    And let no one say that "metaphysics/initiation is foreign/christian"!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by :hveðrungur: View Post
    The Edda's contain myths and stories that should be viewed in a symbolic sense, they are allegory's. Each myth has many lessons to teach us, some of which are apparent lessons and some which desire more thought and contemplation. I hardly view the Edda's as Holy Texts myself due to the fact that they are Christianized.

    Take Stanza # 71 in Havamal for example:

    The halt can manage a horse,
    the handless a flock,
    The deaf be a doughty fighter,
    To be blind is better than to burn on a pyre:
    There is nothing the dead can do.


    This prolonging of a life, humanist statement strongly conflicts with the views held by the Germanic tribes in where the sick and elderly would sacrifice themselves for the better of the tribe / their folk by either tree hanging or a spear death. Obviously due to a change in the times / culture, most probably brought on by Christianity or Christian thought.

    And again maybe I'm wrong, but I still refuse to view any book as a holy book. Nature and the runes reveal what text and paper cannot.
    I would hardly say this necessarily is proof of christian sentiment in the Eddic Poems. In the hierarchy of old Norse Scandinavia, being, say, a shepherd or doing similar low-status work was ideally below the worthiness of free and fit men, and was reserved for either the young, slaves or others unfit of doing proper work either because of status or purely physical handicaps.

    This is a sentiment of practicality. On the other hand, the goal of Christianity IS salvation, whose fruits can only be properly harvested through death i.e. transcendence.

    There are several other examples of death being something to be avoided in Norse sources without this necessarily being on the monopoly of Christianity. And why not? The last thing you need in your daily toils around the farm is one less a hand to help the whole machinery work. There isn't necessarily any badness in death, and some ways of dying are honorable, but even they didn't look at death without critisism.

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    Senior Member Bearkinder's Avatar
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    Consider it also resource management.

    If you don't have those types of people living, you will have to have the able and worthy doing menial tasks. If nothing else, it's just smart to keep people who are able to do the tasks that support the needs of those able to do the greater deeds.

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    I think every Heathen should have a passing familiarity with the Eddas (and Sagas).

    But we have to remember they weren't written down by the people who actually revered the gods. You have to take them with a grain of salt. Against the Eddas, you have to look at archaeology, folk customs and Roman historians. Then you have some room for modern interpretations (what reconstructionists call UPG, or unverified personal gnosis).

    In other words, the Eddas are the beginning of the faith, but they aren't the end.

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    I view them as stories, full of mythological metaphor and exaggeration. They have to be reverse engineered to be understood. I enjoy mythology, not because I like a tall tale, but because I believe they are exaggerations of real life and have a very simple story if you look for it. For example, Dragons are not some fanciful monster as commonly thought of today, but simply the product of ancient people discovering dinosaur skeletons. As all dragons seem to share the same body shape, it may just have been a single skeleton whose existence baffled the ancient world.

    Jörmungandr, the World Serpent, is a giant snake who lives in the sea and encircles the whole world. I believe the world serpent is a metaphor for rivers. The only snake-like object that encircles the whole world are the rivers that Vikings used to get around, they can kill people, they can be conquered, they are born of the mountains and have child tributaries. Up to the medieval period, Germanic people believed the world serpent was the cause of earthquakes. They may have witnessed how rivers caused landslides and sink holes during flooding.

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