5 November 2003: Note --
I am currently adding many new links & images to this long-neglected page --
please be patient with the current unavoidable disarray.

MYTH*ING LINKS
An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

GEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS

 WESTERN EUROPE:

\
ICELANDIC,
NORDIC,
& TEUTONIC TRADITIONS


Das Rheingold: Freyja the Fair
Arthur Rackham


The Eddas and Sagas

http://www.angelfire.com/wy/wyrd/edda.html

[Added 11/6/03]: From Nicole Cherry comes a brief overview of the Eddas:
The Poetic Edda is the older of the two Eddas and therefore sometimes called the Elder Edda. It is also sometimes referred to as Saemund's Edda after a famous Icelander. It consists of many different tales which were put together by an anonymous person probably around 1250 CE....

...The Poetic Edda can be divided into two sections, a mythical one and a heroic one. There are fifteen mythical poems....

Cherry offers convenient and much appreciated hot links to English translations for many of those mythical poems.  Unfortunately, you'll have to cope with Angelfire's annoying pop-up ads throughout.  ::sigh::
 http://legends.dm.net/sagas/northern.html
[Excerpt added 5 November 2003]:"Sagas and Sea-Kings": this is a handsomely designed introduction to the Eddas and Sagas of "The Northern World." There are good links to Tales & Essays, the Eddas & Sagas, Norse & Germanic Mythology.  An excerpt:
The great corpus of Scandinavian mythology is contained in the two volumes called the Eddas. The Elder or Poetic Edda as we know it was compiled in the thirteenth century in Iceland, but some of its tales (at least) date back to the period of the early German migrations....

The Younger or Prose Edda (Snorra Edda) was written by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) around 1230. Its two parts are Gylfaginning, an introduction Norse myths for poets, and Skaldskaparmal, a history of poetry....

This is the first of three pages from the same source....
 http://legends.dm.net/sagas/index.html
...This is the second page of "Sagas and Sea-Kings." This one focuses on Sigurd the Dragon-Slayer, the hero of the anonymous thirteenth-century Icelandic prose epic, Völsungasaga.  The page looks at the tale as well as at its influence on Wagner, William Morris, and Tolkien.  Links will take you to complete texts in English and Old Norse; links will also take you to texts of the Nibelungenlied, which come out of the same period.  The unnamed website author notes:
Contemporary with Völsungasaga is another version of the tale, the Middle High German epic the Nibelungenlied. Here the story of the hero (called Siegfried) takes on a High Gothic gloss of knighthood, where Völsungasaga retains the primitive and pagan
force of its Eddic precursors.
 http://legends.dm.net/sagas/viking.html
...This is the third page of "Sagas & Sea-Kings" -- its focus is on the Vikings and it provides good links covering many aspects of the Viking world.
 http://www.lysator.liu.se/nordic/scn/faq55.html
[Excerpt added 5 November 2003]:  This "Icelandic Literature" site from Antti Lahelma gives a more in-depth look at the Sagas, the poetic Edda, and the prose Edda.  It also looks at later Icelandic literature.  An excerpt:
The Sagas are without doubt Iceland's most important contribution to world literature. They are medieval prose narrative, abounding in paradox and irony. Violence is pervasive, but the style is subdued. Heroism is praised, but moderation is more highly prized. Much is said of fate, but the complex characters seem to control their own destinies. The world of the Saga is pagan, but its ethos is humanitarian....
Note: texts of the Eddas are available here in Icelandic and Swedish (see below for English).
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/pre/
[Added 11/5/03]:  Hopefully, by now your curiosity has been whetted and you'd like to explore further <smile>.  Thus, from "Sacred Texts" comes the complete Prose (or Younger) Edda of Snorri Sturlson, translated in 1916 by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur.  Here is the brief introduction:
The Prose Edda is a text on Old Norse Poetics, written about 1200 by the Icelandic poet and politican Snorri Sturlson, who also wrote the Heimskringla. The Prose Edda contains a wide variety of lore which a Skald (poet) of the time would need to know. The text is of interest to modern readers because it contains consistent narratives of many of the plot lines of Norse mythology. Although Snorri was a Christian, he treated the ancient Pagan mythology with great respect. To this end, Snorri created a quasi-historical backstory for the Norse Gods. Hence the Prose Edda is of interest because it contains one of the first attempts to devise a rational explanation for mythological and legendary events. It is also notable because it contains fragments of a number of manusripts which Snorri had access to, but which are now lost....
http://home.earthlink.net/~wodensharrow/texts.html
[Added 11/14/03]: From Woden's Harrow comes "Ása: Norse Mythology Source Texts -- The Elder or Poetic Edda, and The Younger or Prose Edda, and Others, in English Translation."  It's a handsomely presented site -- really elegant -- and the translators are varied and fairly contemporary, e.g., W.H. Auden.  Since I'm offering a number of sites with English translations, you might find it interesting to take several passages from these different sources and compare and contrast them.
http://saga.library.cornell.edu/
[Added 11/5-6/03]: This is Saga Net, a joint effort between the National and University Library of Iceland and Cornell University.  It contains thousands of pages of Sagas, Eddas, and other manuscripts dating from the 13th to the 19th centuries.  Unfortunately, although this is undoubtedly a priceless on-line treasure, the many confusing pages about call-letters and how to use the site are so daunting that non-specialists will probably give up in frustration, as I did.  If the Perseus Project could manage to devise a relatively user-friendly navigation system, it is unfortunate that Saga Net has been unable to do the same.
http://haldjas.folklore.ee/folklore/vol7/llone1.htm
[Added 11/9-10/03]: THE POSITION OF THE WOMAN IN THE POETIC EDDA by Loone Ots is a somewhat dry yet informative and comprehensive paper for a fine Estonian on-line journal.  The following from the conclusion perhaps explains the dry tone -- the author was simply being true to the dull realities of women's roles in the Edda:
The Poetic Edda seems to be the poetry of men. So women, goddesses and noblewomen mostly, are introduced from their point of view. Their appearance is not of importance; it is rather their fidelity to their husband and/or their kin and their status as mothers of the family that is emphasised. Wisdom is also respectable, as we see in the case of Sigrdriifa, Glaumvör and Kostbera. Generally, women can reveal a stronger character than men (Niidudr's wife, Brynhildr and Gudruun). A mild and lovely woman, feminine in the contemporary sense, does not succeed, like Svanhildr. Effeminacy is most shameful for a man. Women, however, are held in honour, they behave independent enough and have an acceptable right to speak about all the things of life....

Gods, Goddesses,
Symbolism,
& Mythologies

Das Rheingold: Rhein Maidens plead with Wotan to return their gold
Arthur Rackham
http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/symbolismproject/symbolism.html/Teutonic_Mythology/T_Symbols.html
[Added 11/6/03]: From a student project on symbolism done in 1997 by Jessica K. McShan at the University of Michigan comes this dandy page on Teutonic symbolism.  There is also a sister page on symbolism in Richard Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung: http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/symbolismproject/symbolism.html/Teutonic_Mythology/ringsym.html
 A chart on both pages allows you to select whatever symbol interests you -- e.g., "rainbow," which will then take you to "bridge," and elsewhere, skipping back and forth between the two pages on Teutonic and Wagnerian symbolism.  Elsewhere she has a clickable map of the layout of the Teutonic mythical world and a number of other goodies.
http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~cherryne/mythology.html
[Added 11/6/03]: This is a useful site on general Norse mythology by Nicole Cherry.  Major topics include Mythic Figures, Creation, Cosmology, Ragnarok, Valkyrie, Berserker, Norns, Runes, Volva, and Chronology; most of these sections have sub-topics.  She also has a page on the Eddas here but she has a better version on Angelfire that offers hot links to some of the material -- that link will be found in my Eddas & Sagas section of this page.  In her Introduction she writes:
...Aside from any influence Christianity might have played, Norse mythology presents us with a multilayered, often contradictory, world view with a myriad of parallels in other mythological systems. It is a playground for the comparative mythology researcher, rich with elements from Indo-European, Shamanistic, and other belief systems....

...Tolkien was very well acquainted with Norse mythology, as can be seen by the use of it in his books. The name of one of his main characters, Gandalf, is found in The Poetic Edda. Gandalf is, in some ways, reminiscent of Odin, the leader of the Norse pantheon. Even the name Middle-earth, the setting for Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, comes from Norse mythology.

Wagner also referred to Norse tales. When he composed The Ring of the Nibelung, he combined the Norse The Saga of the Volsungs with the German epic The Nibelungenlied. Wagner relied less heavily on the The Nibelungenlied than some believe, and instead turned to the more pagan Volsung saga with its tale of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer and the valkyrie Brynhild....

http://web.hibo.no/~cebe/gods/norse.html
[Added 11/9/03]: This list of many Norse and Germanic gods and goddesses provides their family-relationships, attributes, myths, variants of their names, etc.  It contains a surprising amount of data in fairly brief entries. All relevant names are cross-referenced within each section, which makes it easy to navigate.
http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_myth_europe_norse.htm
From N. S. Gill, the Ancient/Classical History guide at about.com, comes "Myth: Norse/Teutonic" -- the page is a lengthy collection of briefly annotated and well-chosen links to Norse and Teutonic mythology. (Note: when you click on a link, it remains under about.com's "umbrella" -- near the top right corner, however, is a place where you can click on "Frame Off" to give you direct access to the site itself for bookmarking, etc.)
http://ancienthistory.about.com/homework/ancienthistory/cs/odinmyth/index.htm
[Added 11/5/03]:  Again from N. S. Gill comes a page of annotated links focused on Odin but also including links to other Nordic-Germanic deities, genealogies, creation mythology, and more.
http://www.thorshof.org/webindex.htm
[Added 11/14/03]: This is the "Thorshof Index" -- it's full of journal-links and other pages filled with everything from myth to mead.  Don't even click on the link unless you have a good deal of time to spend -- there's a HUGE amount of great material here!  Here's a brief introduction from the Thorshof Homepage (the above URL has a link to this):
Thorshof is the Norse word for a temple of Thor, the best loved god of the pagan Icelanders. The articles on this site cover the most popular cults of the old Icelandic faith, Thor, Freyr, Freyja and Frigg....
http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/gerchange.html
[Added 11/12/03]: This is Professor D. L. Ashliman's marvelous "German Changeling Legends," a site chock full of stories and lore.  There's also a link to his essay on the topic -- here's an excerpt:
...We all want explanations for happenings that fall outside of our control, especially those that have a direct bearing on our welfare. It is only natural that our forebears wanted to know why some children fail to develop normally, and what our responsibilities are toward these handicapped individuals. The two stories quoted above are part of a vast network of legends and superstitions that give primitive but satisfying answers to these questions. These accounts -- which, unlike most fantasy tales, were actually widely believed -- suggest that a physically or mentally abnormal child is very likely not the human parents' offspring at all, but rather a changeling -- a creature begotten by some supernatural being and then secretly exchanged for the rightful child. {footnote 3} From pre-Christian until recent times, many people have sincerely and actively believed that supernatural beings can and do exchange their own inferior offspring for human children, making such trades either in order to breed new strength and vitality into their own diminutive races or simply to plague humankind....
Here's a chilling excerpt about Martin Luther:
...The influential church reformer was not only an avid storyteller, but -- as his own writings demonstrate -- he was also a true believer in changelings.  Luther was very much a product of his own times with respect to superstitious beliefs and practices. He sincerely believed that Satan was responsible for the malformed children known as changelings, and that such satanic child exchanges occurred frequently. {footnote 9} In Luther's theological view, a changeling was a child of the devil without a human soul, "only a piece of flesh." This view made it easy to justify almost any abuse of an unfortunate child thought to be a changeling, including the ultimate mistreatment: infanticide. Luther himself had no reservations about putting such children to death....

Yggdrasil, the World Tree


Yggdrasil

http://home.earthlink.net/~9worlds/yggtexts.html
[Added 11/9/03]:From Woden's Harrow come passages from the Prose Edda about the World Tree, Yggdrasil.  Here is one section:
...Under the root that reaches towards Jotunheim is Mimir's well, which has wisdom and intelligence contained in it. Mimir the wise is the master of this well. He is full of learning because he drinks from this well from the Gjallarhorn. Allfather went there and asked for a single drink from the well, but He did not get one until He pledged His eye.  In Voluspa it is said: "I know it all, Óðinn, where You left Your eye, in that renowned Well of Mimir. Mimir drinks mead every morning from Valfather's pledge. Know you yet, or what?"....
http://www.angelfire.com/on/Wodensharrow/yggbeasts.html
[Added 11/9/03]:From Woden's Harrow comes a painting of Yggdrasil with its animals -- eagle, falcon, deer (harts), squirrel, and serpents.  Click on an animal and you'll go to a good photo of its actual European counterpart.


The Norns, or Fates


The Three Norns
© Craig Mullins

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/mythology/myths/text/norns.htm
[Added 11/9/03]:This is an illustrated but very brief passage on the Norns:
...The Norns are three sisters, daughters of the giant Norvi.  They weave the web of fate, shaping the life of each man from his first day until his last, and they determine the moment of his death....
Actually, common belief to the contrary, the Norns do not weave.  Their Greek counterparts, the Fates, weave, but the Norns carve the destinies they foresee into pieces of wood.  Regardless, this entry-level site has its own value.
http://katherineneville.com/adventures/norns_of_nurnberg.htm
[Added 11/14/03]: This is "The Norns of Nurnberg," by Katherine Neville, author of The Magic Circle. The page is one of a handful that for one reason or another never made it into her book -- a real pity since all of them are interesting and this is one that's especially fascinating and eerie.  Unlike some of Neville's other pages, this one is fairly brief. Lest it ever disappear from the web, I am taking the liberty of including all of it here instead of fragmenting it:
The minute I first stepped off the train in 1989 at the jewellike town of Nurnberg, I realized that in all the books I'd already read about Nazi Germany in my research for The Magic Circle--everything from serious historical treatments to woo-woo occult fantasy -- nobody had ever raised one question. Why did Adolf Hitler base his personality-centered cult, so important to the myth of Aryan supremacy, off the beaten path, in this obscure little German town?

Nurnberg had been the site of Hitler's famous outdoor rallies where his architect, Albert Speer, had designed what he called a Cathedral of Light in the night sky, and a stadium complete with parade ground and Zeppelin field that was patterned after the temple of Diana at Ephesus and the amphitheater where St. Paul once spoke out against the goddess. Hitler often said that if Berlin was the head of the Third Reich, Nurnberg was its heart.

The original name of Nurnberg was Nornenberg--Norns' Mountain--where, in the ancient Teutonic myths, the three female fates called the Norns sat in a cave within the mountain, like judges, spinning, weaving and cutting the fate of every man. Nurnberg was also chosen by the Allies after World War II for the Judgment at Nurnberg, where Nazi war criminals were tried and sentenced.

In 1992, I went to the Nurnberg parade grounds with a group of friends and a director of the German Society of Dowsers--water diviners who trace natural sources of power beneath the earth. As a young person in Idaho I'd learned to locate water and missing objects using tree branch rods. At Nurnberg, with professional dowsing rods, we dowsed the Zeppelin field and the stadium as the German director filled us in on the history of Hitler's involvement with this particular piece of turf.

According to our informant, Hitler had kept an official college of dowsers with sixty-four members who marched in pararde in a block across the chessboard squares that are still visible as you enter the Nurnberg parade grounds. These officials dowsed in advance the terrain Hitler's car would traverse in parades, and each balcony from which he delivered speeches. They found the energies wrong at the Nurnberg site, so Speer had to move the stadium, requiring him to drain a lake and reroute the existing railroad. The most interesting part of our experience was that the fog had closed in on the parade ground. When we climbed the steps to the platform from which Hitler delivered his speeches, we were surrounded by black fog. But his platform itself was clear. It was bitterly cold everywhere else, but Hitler's podium was warm and cozy. There were seven of us in all, and our dowsing rods on the platform pointed in three directions forming the six-pointed star of the Hail Rune, Hitler's runic initial and secret symbol. The German Society of Dowsers is on record certifying that three major power sources crossing Europe meet at this precise point: the Grail Line, the Siegfried Line, and the line of Fate.

Also see Myth*ing Links:
The Norns of Norn Mountain (Nuremberg)

Odin


Odin
From the World of Midgard Game

http://haldjas.folklore.ee/folklore/vol10/teuton.htm
[Added 11/9/03]:From a highly respected Estonian folklore journal comes "SHAMANISM AND THE IMAGE OF THE TEUTONIC DEITY, ÓÐINN" by Asbjørn Jøn. This excellent scholarly paper looks at Odin in the context of Finno-Baltic and other cross-cultural shamanic traditions.  It is footnoted and provides an extensive bibliography.  Here is an excerpt about Odin and his ravens:
Óðinn's animal companions are also reflections of his shamanism. Óðinn's most commonly explored connection to shamanism through these animals is his connection to ravens.... These two birds often perch on his shoulders. 'Þá sendir hann í dagan at fljúgja um allan heim ok koma þeir aptr at dögursharmáli' (Sturluson 1988: 32); bringing him news from the four corners of Mishgarshr. As Eliade has suggested, Óðinn's birds, Munin and Hugin, probably represent:
in highly mythicised form, two helping spirits in the shape of birds, which the Great Magician sent (in true shamanic fashion!) to the four corners of the world (Eliade 1989: 381).
Spirits taking the form of birds play a large role in the shamanism of many cultures, and Óðinn's relationship with the raven may even suggest some distant parallel to the shamanic Inuit belief in The Raven Father....

Odin's Ravens

Odin's Ravens
© Kevin Irvin
http://www.angelfire.com/on/Wodensharrow/hrafngythja.html
[Added 11/6/03]:From "Woden's Harrow" comes a series of 10 fine photos of living ravens.  The dramatic portal page will invite you to enter -- then come the photos.  No text.

Loki, the Trickster


Loki and his wife, Sigyn, who protects him from venom
[From the Hurstwic Society -- see directly below]

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/mythology/myths/text/loki.htm
[Added 11/7-8/03]: From the Hurstwic Society comes a brief entry-level essay on Loki.  Here is a passage relating to the above painting:
...Ultimately, Loki caused the death of Baldr, wisest of the gods. As punishment, Loki now lies in a cave, bound to a rock by the entrails of his sons. A snake fastened to a stalactite above him drips venom into his face. Loki's faithful wife Sigyn catches the venom in a bowl, protecting Loki from harm. When the bowl fills, she carries it away and empties it into a rock basin in the cave. During those moments, Loki is left unguarded, and the snake's venom splashes in his face. In torment, he shudders and writhes. This is the cause of earthquakes. Loki will remain bound in the cave until Ragnarök, when he will lead the monsters and the giants into battle against the gods.
http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/mythology/myths/text/idun.htm
[Added 11/7-8/03]: Again from the Hurstwic Society comes a nicely illustrated page re-telling the dramatic story of Loki and the goddess Idrun, the Keeper of the Apples of Immortality:
...Landing nearby, the eagle began to eat greedily. Loki was so angry at the theft of their evening meal that he rammed his staff into the eagle's body.

The eagle flew off at great speed. Loki found to his dismay that the staff was firmly lodged in the body of the eagle and that he was unable to release his hands from the staff. The eagle flew low enough to make certain that Loki's ride was uncomfortable. His legs were banged into boulders and he was nearly ripped in two.

Loki begged for quarter. The eagle said he would release Loki only if Loki would swear to bring Idun and her apples out of Ásgarð. Now, Loki knew that the eagle could only be a giant in disguise. Crazy with pain, he swore the oath....

http://www.luth.se/luth/present/sweden/history/gods/johannes/
[Added 11/7-8/03]:From Sweden comes a series of detailed, fascinating essays on Loki in his role as a companion of Odin and Thor as well as his role in other myths.  The work is well-rounded and balanced.  The central thesis is that Loki is often forced to act as he does by the conflicting desires of others and not necessarily because of any malice of his own.  Here is one passage from the essay, "The Character of Loki":
...When Loki appears in the Eddas, it is mostly in his role of Instigator of Conflicts: because of some unfortunate circumstance he is forced to act not according to his own volition but to that of others. Most often his loyalties to the Aesir are in conflict with a promise given to the giants. On other occasions, he has given advice that would have led the Aesir into destruction, had he not managed to solve the situation in his own peculiar manner....
http://loki.ragnarokr.com/pipindex.htm
[Added 11/7-8/03]: This is "Loki, the Underappreciated and Misunderstood: A Paean in Progress" by Carol Robe.  It is an interesting essay, too self-consciously flippant at times but also disarmingly edgy, ironic, insightful.  Here is an excerpt:
...Loki is quite probably the most dynamic figure in Norse mythology - one of the few dynamic characters, along with Odin.  Most of the other Gods and Goddesses are relatively static: they do not change over time, nor do they alter according to their experiences. They are - not to put too fine a point on it - more or less eternal, which is one reason the shattering of this assumption with the death of Baldr is such a traumatic event.

Freyja remains essentially a perpetual daughter of joy, while Thor seems content with his role as plodding giant smasher. When they acquire things, as Freyja did Brisingamen, or Thor Mjollnir, these are merely emblematic of the basic nature they already express rather than being transformative events. This is also one of the implicit underpinning of the marriage between Njord and Skadi, for neither is willing or able to transform their nature in order to be able to accommodate the other. Rather than being inexplicable (as some would have it), the blood-brotherhood of Loki and Odin seems both fitting and entirely natural in light of their mutual mutability....

The page also includes a wide range of links to Loki-esque topics, essays, poetry, art.


The Wild Hunt


The Teutonic Wild Hunt
[Source unknown]

http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/huntsman.html

[Added 11/11-12/03]: From Professor D. L. Ashliman come four brief tales related to the Wild Hunt:
"Wod, the Wild Huntsman" (Carl and Theodor Colshorn); "The Wild Huntsman and the Mine-Monk" (August Ey); "The Night Huntsman at the Udarser Mill" (A. Haas; and "The Wild Huntsman on Buller Mountain" (J. D. H. Temme and W. A. J. Tettau).

The last two are grimly terse but the Mine-Monk tale shows a fine vein of kindness and the paradoxes of the Wod tale are typical of the genre.


The Cosmic Mill, or Sampo


"The Forging of the Sampo"
by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 1893.

http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/cmill.htm
[Added 11/11-12/03]:From At the Edge comes a finely honed scholarly essay, "The Cosmic Mill," by Alby Stone -- this is an exploration of a major mythic motif found from Northern Europe to India.  First, the author focuses on the World Mill itself:
One image of the cosmic axis that is of great interest and cosmological significance is that of the World Mill, an image that occurs particularly in Scandinavian and Finnish myth. This image is based ultimately upon the structure of a hand-mill, consisting of a flat, stationary stone with another on top, turned by a handle fixed at the centre. This arrangement was a technological improvement upon grinding grain in a bowl or against a concave stone with a pestle or with a smaller, hand-held stone, a simple method that was still used during the early European Bronze Age.... The unmoving lower stone would thus represent the earth, while the upper one stands for the revolving dome of the sky. The axial point of this celestial millstone lies far in the north, marked by the Pole Star, the still point of the circling heavens....
After a lengthy exploration of the World Mill, or Sampo, in Finnish lore, the author writes:
...The mill is a highly appropriate cosmological symbol. Not only does it accurately represent the structure and movement of the cosmos as perceived by pre-industrial cultures, but it reflects a notion of the world itself as the great provider of nourishment and riches, a source of abundance. Perhaps it is no accident that a symbol derived from the processing of agricultural produce was also associated, in Norse poetry at least, with the passage and recording of time....It must also be remarked that milling is at once both a destructive act and a creative one: it destroys grain, but produces flour, which is then used to make bread and suchlike. Metallurgy is a similar act of deconstruction followed by creation, from rough ore to finished metal goods, which may explain why the Sampo needs to be forged, rather than hewn. The Cosmic Mill, unlike its mundane counterparts, seems to require no grist; it creates directly from the base fabric of the cosmos, from the watery stuff of primal chaos.  This magical production of sustenance and wealth, apparently from nothing at all, also characterises the magical vessels of Celtic tradition and their descendant, the Grail.  Mill and vessel are not one and the same thing, although they share a location at or near the axis mundi - but it is that location that determines their shared characteristics....
Then the focus moves to India's great "Churning of the Oceans" mythology:
...The same themes occur in ancient Indian traditions of the churning of the oceans. The Mahabharata tells how the gods, conferring on Mount Meru, decide to churn the ocean in order to make amrta, ambrosia. Brahma instructs the great serpent Ananta to uproot Mount Mandara and the gods and demons join together to perform the operation. Mandara is rested, peak downward, on the back of the supreme tortoise, and the serpent Vasuki is used as the cord to turn the mountain. The gods take one end of Vasuki and the demons grasp the other, and so Mandara is twisted back and forth like a churning-stick.

The violence and friction of this churning produces smoke and fire - thus associating the operation with that other great creative process, making fire by twisting or rubbing one stick against another - and there is great destruction. But out of the chaos come a variety of exotic and beautiful creatures, including the sun and moon; then a poison that suffuses the universe. Afterward, there is a violent struggle when the gods refuse to give ambrosia to the demons....

The churning, like the motion of Mundilfri, gives birth to the sun and moon, so it would be fair to suppose that we are dealing with two divergent versions of the same archaic myth.  The effusion of poison from water recalls the venom that congeals upon the primal waters in Snorri's account of the Scandinavian creation myth. Both images relate to the production of solid matter from liquid, like the coagulation of blood or the manufacture of butter or cheese from milk; a further example of creation using one form or substance to make another. While the Mahabharata version is different in many ways from the Scandinavian and Finnish traditions, it does attest to the great antiquity of the role of the rotary structure in the creation of the cosmos....

There is a richness of detail here that makes a close reading quite rewarding.


History and Archaeology


Trench at the Skagafjordur Archaeological Settlement Survey
(see directly below]

http://tyr.ioa.ucla.edu/

[Added 11/11-12/03]: This is an illustrated 1998 report on a dig by Dr. John Steinberg of UCLA's Institute of Archæology.  Here is the opening statement:
PROJECT: John Steinberg is conducting an archaeological project in Northern Iceland to understand the formation of property rights during the Viking Age and after (AD 874-1700).  The Skagafjordur Archaeological Settlement Survey (SASS) is studying a series of farms to understand the variation in building construction and the economic potential. Buildings from the Viking Age in Iceland were constructed out of turf and are now buried in deep wind-blown deposits, thereby making them almost impossible to identify, except using remote sensing....
http://archaeology.about.com/cs/scandinavia/index.htm
[Added 11/5/03]:  From  K. Kris Hirst, the respected Archaeology guide at about.com, comes a brief page of annotated links to general archaeology in Scandinavian areas (e.g., Swedish, Baltic, Viking, etc).
http://www.primenet.com/~lconley/bookmarks.html: [11/4/03: Dead link -- hopefully the site will reappear]
This is the Celtic and Saxon Homepage -- a handsome site with an exceptionally rich collection of links to archaeology, art, history, language & literature, mythology & religion, general topics, and tourism.  (This is double-listed under Celtic.)


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© Copyright 1998-2009 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
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Latest update: 2 October 1999
Re-designed 4 November 2003; checked all links & added new images.  No time for more.
5 - 15 November 2003: grokking more links and adding new images.
18 September 2009, 12:30am: updated Nedstat/Motigo.


 
 

5 November 2003: Ungrokked Sites

[Note: many may not make the final cut, some may be broken as I've had them in my bookmark file for awhile]
http://home.nvg.org/~hersir/firthir/religion/germcreation.html
[Added 11/5/03]:  Academic essay on the Creation Myth with etymologies, etc.  [Peel back URL to see who wrote it,etc]
http://loki.ragnarokr.com/pipsssen.htm
Formal insults in Nordic world
http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/9sisters.htm

http://search.freefind.com/find.html?id=5727623&pageid=r&mode=ALL&query=Norns

http://webhome.idirect.com/~donlong/

http://www.vikingage.com/vac/lokis-kids.html

http://www.vikingage.com/vac/dwarfs.html

http://www.vikingage.com/vac/mjollnir.html

http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/Volsunga/introduction.html

http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/Njal/

http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/Grettir/

http://sunnyway.com/runes/

http://www.dickinson.edu/~eddyb/mythology/Cover_page.html

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/mythology/myths/text/myths.htm#Myths

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/mythology/myths/text/mead_of_poetry.htm

http://www.public.asu.edu/~atrja/otherdeities.html

http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/section/IcelndiLit_Bibliography.asp

http://www.itn.is/~gunnsi/folk/folk.htm

[could be dead]
http://pluto.nildram.co.uk/%7Eskegga/index.htm
[could be dead, but I've gotten through before over the past few days]
http://pluto.nildram.co.uk/%7Eskegga/frigg.htm
[see above]
These 4 links are dead:  google for updates, if possible or try that "magic" rescue site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~heathenry/
http://www.crosswinds.net/~heathenry/norsemyths.html
http://www.crosswinds.net/~heathenry/raven/tempter.html
http://www.crosswinds.net/~heathenry/Deities4.html