Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs

Oxford University Press
29
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Norse Mythology explores the magical myths and legends of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Viking-Age Greenland and outlines the way the prehistoric tales and beliefs from these regions that have remained embedded in the imagination of the world. The book begins with an Introduction that helps put Scandinavian mythology in place in history, followed by a chapter that explains the meaning of mythic time, and a third section that presents in-depth explanations of each mythological term. These fascinating entries identify particular deities and giants, as well as the places where they dwell and the varied and wily means by which they forge their existence and battle one another. We meet Thor, one of the most powerful gods, who specializes in killing giants using a hammer made for him by dwarfs, not to mention myriad trolls, ogres, humans and strange animals. We learn of the ongoing struggle between the gods, who create the cosmos, and the jötnar, or giants, who aim to destroy it. In the enchanted world where this mythology takes place, we encounter turbulent rivers, majestic mountains, dense forests, storms, fierce winters, eagles, ravens, salmon and snakes in a landscape closely resembling Scandinavia. Beings travel on ships and on horseback; they eat slaughtered meat and drink mead. Spanning from the inception of the universe and the birth of human beings to the universe's destruction and the mythic future, these sparkling tales of creation and destruction, death and rebirth, gods and heroes will entertain readers and offer insight into the relationship between Scandinavian myth, history, and culture.
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About the author

John Lindow is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley specializing in Scandinavian medieval studies and folklore.
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3.8
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Oct 17, 2002
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9780199839698
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Religion / Ancient
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Trolls lurk under bridges waiting to eat children, threaten hobbits in Middle-Earth, and invade the dungeons of Hogwarts. Often they are depicted as stupid, slow, and ugly creatures, but they also appear as comforting characters in some children’s stories or as plastic dolls with bright, fuzzy hair. Today, the name of this fantastic being from Scandinavia has found a wider reach: it is the word for the homeless in California and slang for the antagonizing and sometimes cruel people on the Internet. But how did trolls go from folktales to the World Wide Web?

To explain why trolls still hold our interest, John Lindow goes back to their first appearances in Scandinavian folklore, where they were beings in nature living beside a preindustrial society of small-scale farming and fishing. He explores reports of actual encounters with trolls—meetings others found plausible in spite of their better judgment—and follows trolls’ natural transition from folktales to other domains in popular culture. Trolls, Lindow argues, would not continue to appeal to our imaginations today if they had not made the jump to illustrations in Nordic books and Scandinavian literature and drama. From the Moomins to Brothers Grimm and Three Billy Goats Gruff to cartoons, fantasy novels, and social media, Lindow considers the panoply of trolls that surround us and their sometimes troubling connotations in the contemporary world.

Taking readers into Norwegian music and film and even Yahoo Finance chat rooms, Trolls is a fun and fascinating book about these strange creatures.
Exploring the Northern Tradition is an introduction to the modern reconstruction of the ancient religion of the Germanic and Scandinavian peoples. This religion, called Heathenry, is one of the fastest growing polytheistic religious movements in the United States today. This book provides a thorough guide to the cosmology, values, ethics, and rituals practiced by modern Heathens. It crosses denominational lines, examining practices common to all branches of Heathenry in an easily accessible format. Readers will have the opportunity to explore the sacred stories of the various Heathen Gods, like Odin, Frigga, Freya, and Thor, and the devotional practices of modern votaries. The most common devotional rite--the faining or bl+-at--is examined in rich detail, with examples given for personal use. Additionally, readers are introduced to the concept of wyrd or fate, so integral to the Heathen worldview. For those new to Heathenry, Pagans who wish to learn more about the Norse Deities, or those simply interested in learning about this unique religion, Exploring the Northern Tradition is the perfect introduction. Subjects covered include: — The gods and goddesses — Symbel — The soul matrix — Ethics and values of the modern heathen — The history and evolution of modern Heathenry Unlike many books on Heathenry, Exploring the Northern Tradition is not denomination specific, nor does it seek to overwhelm the reader with unfamiliar Anglo-Saxon or Norse terminology. Every new concept covered is presented in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Readers will come away from this book with a thorough knowledge of what the Heathen community is like and what newcomers to that community can expect. Experienced Heathens will find a wealth of lore and inter-denominational critique that will make this book an excellent addition to their libraries. The author, Galina Krasskova draws on her own 12 years of experience as a Heathen priest or weofodthignen. She is currently Aeweweard in Thaet Angelseaxisce Ealdriht and has studied interfaith ministry in NYC (where she is registered with the state as a minister). Drawing upon the foundation of her own experience as a Heathen, Rev. Krasskova provides a window into this faith that seeks to unite the wisdom of the past with the devotional inspiration of the present
Whether they focus on Thor's powerful hammer, the wailing Valkyrie, the palatial home of the gods - Asgard - or ravenous wolves and fierce elemental giants, the Norse myths are packed with rowdy incident. But at the centre of their cosmos stands a gnarled old ash tree, Yggdrasil, from which all distances and times are measured. When the old tree creaks, Ragnarok - the end of the world and of the gods themselves - is at hand. It is from this tree that Odin, father of the gods, hanged himself in search of the wisdom of the dead: a disturbing image of divine sacrifice far removed from the feasting and fighting of his otherworld home, Valhalla. And an image so problematic for thirteenth century Christians that they left it out when they wrote the myths down. From Asgard to Valhalla is the first book to show how and why the Norse myths have so powerfully resonated from era to era: from Viking-age stories of ice and fire to the epic poetry of Beowulf; and from Wagner's Ring to Marvel Comics' Mighty Thor. Heather O'Donoghue, who is an expert on Old Norse culture, shows in what ways the Norse myths have impacted on the western mind, across the fields of literature, art, music and politics. She considers the wider contexts of Norse mythology, including its origins, medieval expression and reception in post-medieval societies right up to the present. From Asgard to Valhalla is a book that will intrigue and delight anyone who is keen to understand how the Norse myths have so profoundly shaped, and continue to shape, the western cultural heritage.
Norse Mythology explores the magical myths and legends of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Viking-Age Greenland and outlines the way the prehistoric tales and beliefs from these regions that have remained embedded in the imagination of the world. The book begins with an Introduction that helps put Scandinavian mythology in place in history, followed by a chapter that explains the meaning of mythic time, and a third section that presents in-depth explanations of each mythological term. These fascinating entries identify particular deities and giants, as well as the places where they dwell and the varied and wily means by which they forge their existence and battle one another. We meet Thor, one of the most powerful gods, who specializes in killing giants using a hammer made for him by dwarfs, not to mention myriad trolls, ogres, humans and strange animals. We learn of the ongoing struggle between the gods, who create the cosmos, and the jötnar, or giants, who aim to destroy it. In the enchanted world where this mythology takes place, we encounter turbulent rivers, majestic mountains, dense forests, storms, fierce winters, eagles, ravens, salmon and snakes in a landscape closely resembling Scandinavia. Beings travel on ships and on horseback; they eat slaughtered meat and drink mead. Spanning from the inception of the universe and the birth of human beings to the universe's destruction and the mythic future, these sparkling tales of creation and destruction, death and rebirth, gods and heroes will entertain readers and offer insight into the relationship between Scandinavian myth, history, and culture.
Trolls lurk under bridges waiting to eat children, threaten hobbits in Middle-Earth, and invade the dungeons of Hogwarts. Often they are depicted as stupid, slow, and ugly creatures, but they also appear as comforting characters in some children’s stories or as plastic dolls with bright, fuzzy hair. Today, the name of this fantastic being from Scandinavia has found a wider reach: it is the word for the homeless in California and slang for the antagonizing and sometimes cruel people on the Internet. But how did trolls go from folktales to the World Wide Web?

To explain why trolls still hold our interest, John Lindow goes back to their first appearances in Scandinavian folklore, where they were beings in nature living beside a preindustrial society of small-scale farming and fishing. He explores reports of actual encounters with trolls—meetings others found plausible in spite of their better judgment—and follows trolls’ natural transition from folktales to other domains in popular culture. Trolls, Lindow argues, would not continue to appeal to our imaginations today if they had not made the jump to illustrations in Nordic books and Scandinavian literature and drama. From the Moomins to Brothers Grimm and Three Billy Goats Gruff to cartoons, fantasy novels, and social media, Lindow considers the panoply of trolls that surround us and their sometimes troubling connotations in the contemporary world.

Taking readers into Norwegian music and film and even Yahoo Finance chat rooms, Trolls is a fun and fascinating book about these strange creatures.
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