August 28, 2020 — The Jǫtnar of Norse myth are often described as exceedingly beautiful, not necessarily as large giants. Several deities, including Skaði and Hyrrokkin, are described as Jǫtnar, and even Óðinn is said to be descended from them since Óðinn’s mother Bestla was a Jǫtunn. In the sagas, many Norse gods are described as taking Jǫtunn females as brides and had normal children.
August 22, 2020 — The Icelandic horse is a small and sturdy horse breed that primarily hails from Norway, but was first developed in Iceland during the Viking Age. Icelandic horses are small but have big personalities; they are curious, well-rounded, versatile, enthusiastic, and endowed with tremendous stamina. Icelandics are also known to be very friendly. But how did these horses end up on Iceland in the first place? READ MORE »
July 6, 2020 — Intriguingly, there are more than a few connections between the Norse and Indo-Vedic pantheons. What follows below is a short article presenting connections between the Norse god of thunder Thor (Þórr in Old Norse) and Indra, the Vedic cognate of lighting and storm… READ MORE »
June 21, 2020 — Most have read or heard of the all-powerful Gods that once watched over their worshippers or the Greek Titans that protected the Earth. But, often overlooked are the mythical shamans that predate known organized religions. Evidence of their existence was unearthed in the 1920s, when the burial site of a shamaness, believed to be in her 40s, was discovered in the Czech Republic’s Dolní Věstonice archeological site. Researchers dated the site back to 26,000 BCE, making it the earliest-known, undisputed burial of a shamaness. This helps explain why sagas, myth, and legends always seem to include notions of magic, shamanic practices, and spirit worlds… READ MORE »
June 20, 2020 — The legendary Battle of Brávellir took place somewhere in the southeast of Sweden in the 600s or 700s CE. Remarkably, the battle was one of honor and wasn’t based on aggression. For what reason then? READ MORE »
June 17, 2020 — The European summer solstice is soon upon us, and in particular, the “Swedish Midsommar” — which neither Amajarl nor Seidrsunna can stop talking about right now — is a festivity that has been celebrated in northwestern Europe since time immemorial… READ MORE »
May 2, 2020 — How did the Vikings manage to be almost always combat-ready when they drank A LOT and ate plenty of meat? Well, to start with, they only drank mead and ale. Some Jarls could afford wine if they had the trading connections to continental Europe or Kievan Rus’… READ MORE »
March 2, 2020 — Viking raiding was more often than not a part-time occupation. The Orkneyinga saga (included in the Icelandic Flateyjarbók) describes the habits of one Norse gentleman by the name of Sveinn Ásleifarson. In the spring, he oversaw the planting of grain on his farm at Gáreksey (today a small island in Orkney, Scotland with the modern name Gairsay.) When the farming preparation was completed, he went off raiding in the Hebrides and Ireland, but he was back to his home on Gáreksey to take in the hay and the grain by mid-summer… READ MORE »
January 15, 2020 — The birth of Europe was anything but a smooth and effortless process. The region known as Europe today has been reshaped several times by centuries of wars, raids, and the falls and rises of petty kingdoms and vast empires alike. The most destructive, intense, and violent events that eventually led to the formation of modern-day Europe — even dwarfing the brutal onslaught of the sub-sequent Viking Age — occurred in a period roughly spanning four hundred years, from around 200-600s CE. READ MORE »
December 15, 2019 — The midwinter festivities of ancient Europe are often called Yule or Yuletide. Ritual celebrations were important and essential components in old times, especially in the Norse cultures because of the long dark winters in Scandinavia and Finland. The Norsemen held great feasts to venerate their ancestors, swear oaths, for fertility, and to celebrate seasonal shifts in nature.
Towards the end of the year, Vikings in western Scandinavia (and Varangians in the east) welcomed the new year through great feasting. These Yuletide celebrations hailed from a distant past, perhaps further back than the Bronze Age, and had thus been a recurring tradition since long before the Viking Age… READ MORE »
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