Skip to main content
Updated date:

Mythology and Cosmology of the Norse Vikings

Cosmology and Mythology of the Norse Vikings

The mythology and cosmology of the Norse is complex in detail, concept, ideology and comprehension. The beliefs and ideals entail an intensive study on their own and would take thorough investigation to fully grasp the linkages of gods, goddesses and the like.

Norse, Scandinavian and Viking mythology all refer to the pre-Christian religion and belief system of the Norwegian, Germanic, Swedish, Icelandic and Danish peoples. Some scholars group Finnish mythology in with that of the Norse, but the old beliefs of Finland form a separate tradition, although there are some interesting parallels.

The Norse mythological system and the stories they contain come to us mainly from the ‘Eddas’. The Edda/s consist of many different tales which were said to be written by an anonymous person (or people), around 1250 CE. The date of origin of the various original poems has long been under discussion. An opinion has been put forward that the majority of the stories must have been written before the Viking age.

The Poetic Edda is the older of the two Eddas and is therefore sometimes called the ‘Elder Edda’. The Poetic Edda can be divided into two sections; a mythical one and a heroic one.

As with all myths and legends of the world, the first act is that of ‘creation’ – the birth of the primal Creator or Universe. In most myths this often takes place quickly. The rest of creation often happens over a very long period of time. The process itself may involve many generations of gods and goddesses, whose families grow into a large pantheon in the heavens. Such is the case with Norse mythology and cosmology.

It is consistent within most myths of indigenous peoples, including that of the Norse, that the earth would then be made habitable and hospitable, with the creation of rivers, oceans, plants and animals taking place, before the creation of humanity.

Aztec and Native North American Indian myths (particularly that of the ancient Hopi people) tell of a succession of different ages in which the world is created and recreated in an endless cycle, repeated over and over with slight variations. This is akin and likened to the theory of reincarnation from the ancient East.

These acts of creation produce an amazing variety of mythological worlds, too vast and complex to examine in detail and are a study all of their own.

Like many shamanic and indigenous people, the Norse believed there to be a ‘Lower’, ‘Middle’ and ‘Upper’ World.

These different realms were connected by a giant Ash Tree - Yggdrasil - The Tree of Life.

In theory, the Tree’s three roots house and connect the realms of these Worlds or Lands. They are:

‘Neflheim’ - the realm of the dead - below;

‘Jotunheim’ - the home of the Giants,

being the Middle Realm;

and ‘Asgard’, the realm of the gods, home of the Norns or Nornir Sisters - the rulers of human destiny, being above.

The runes represent the forces acting on a situation from each of these realms. The Norse believed that in each of these three realms, there were three separate ‘Worlds’ – each governing or producing a certain force of unconsciousness and power. Each force projects its influence. Therefore, the runes would represent the aspect those forces would take for each of the nine ‘Worlds’ – and what bearing they have on any present situation.

According to Norse mythology, it was Odin, the god associated with war and battle, the creator of the Universe and the ruler of gods, who ‘earned’ the runes by performing a ritual of self-sacrifice. First he slashed his body with the tip of his own spear, then bound himself by the ankles to ‘Yggdrasil’ – ‘The Tree of Life’.

For nine days he refused all food and drink. Finally, he peered down into the depths of his being, where he saw the runic symbols and characters and ‘seized’ them. He knew these symbols had significance and that it was his sacrifice that would bring the runes to the world to teach mankind knowledge and wisdom.

This self-sacrificial myth is very similar to the archetype associated with that of the ‘Hanged Man’ of the Tarot. He strung himself up to a branch of Yggdrasil, The Tree of Life, also by his ankle. The Hanged Man loved mankind dearly enough to endure pain and endanger his own life, to steal the precious fire from the gods, with which he sought to enlighten humanity. Because of his love for the human race, he was prepared to make a painful sacrifice in order to obtain the ‘holy fire’ – wisdom and knowledge for mankind.

Both instances of these self-sacrificial myths represent ‘knowledge of the future and understanding of the past’. They also represent the urge to escape into the spiritual aspect of oneself.

- ‘Collective Consciousness’ is the integral thread between the two myths.

* The name Yggdrasil may also mean ‘Horse of Odin’, as it was also another one of the names Odin was known by.

Norse mythology presents us with a multi-layered, often contradictory, Universal view. Within it is a myriad of parallels and co-relations with other mythological belief systems throughout the world, in all it’s ages and evolutionary stages.

Norse mythology and cosmology is complex and would prove a challenge for any mythology researcher; rich with elements from Indo-European, Shamanistic and many other belief systems.

Joanne

RUNES – The Elderfuthark

http://elderfutharkrunes.blogspot.com/

Elderfuthark Rune FEHU

  • FEHU Rune
    FEHU Alternative Names Feoh, Fe. Key Phrase Wealth should never be hoarded, but used for the benefit of all. Meaning Cattle, Fee, Gold. Viking Rune Equivalent and Meaning Possessions,...
  • URUZ Rune
    URUZ Alternative Names Ur, Uriz. Key Phrase To find your true strengths, you must first face your weaknesses. Meaning Auroch (wild Oxen) Viking Rune Equivalent and Meaning ...
  • THURISAZ Rune
    THURISAZ Alternative Names Thorn; Thurith, Thurs. Key Phrase You have the power within you to face anything that may cross your path. Meaning Thorn, The Strong Ones, Giants,...
  • ANSUZ Rune
    ANSUZ Alternative Names Ansus; Ansur; Os. Key Phrase Everything that comes to you comes to teach you. Meaning Authority figure, a god, a leader, mind and body balance,...
  • RAIDO Rune
    RAIDO Alternative Names Rad; Raidho; Reidh, Rit, Radio. Key Phrase For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Meaning Journey, travel, a wagon, a cartwheel, the...
  • KENAZ Rune
    KENAZ Alternative Names Ken; Kano; Kaunaz; Kanaz, Kaon, Cen. Key Phrase Enlightenment needs to be tempered with wisdom before its true worth and power can be known. Meaning Wisdom, insight, a...
  • GEBO Rune
    GEBO Alternative Names Gyfu; Giba; Gyfu; Gipt; Gifu; Geofu. Key phrase To tread a spiritual path you must be both a giver and a receiver. Meaning Gift, an offering, love, balance,...
  • WUNJO Rune
    WUNJO Alternative Names Wyn, Winja, Wynn. Key Phrase To have happiness You must be at peace with yourself. Meaning Joy, happiness, perfection, light,success, contentment, rewards....
  • HAGALAZ Rune
    HAGALAZ Alternative Names Haegl, Hagl, Haegl, Hagal, Hagall. Key Phrase Never shy away from challenges as they strengthen and teach you throughout your life. Meaning Hail,...
  • NAUTHIZ Rune
    NAUTHIZ Alternative Names Ny, Naudhiz, Nauths, Nyd, Naut, Nied. Key Phrase To achieve your wants, you often need to experience the very opposite. Meaning Need, fire, primal need....
  • ISA Rune
    ISA Alternative Names Is, Eis, Iss. Key Phrase When life seems at a standstill, review the past and look to the future. Meaning Ice (in opposition of Fire) Viking Rune...
  • JERA Rune
    JERA Alternative Names Ger, Jer, Ar, Yer, Jara. Key Phrase This is a time of hard work, and of reaping rewards for past efforts. Meaning Year, time, harvest, a season, life cycle....
  • EIHWAZ Rune
    EIHWAZ Alternative Names Eoh, Iwaz, Eow, Ihwar. Key Phrase By embracing change you will make quick progress on your path. Meaning The Yew Tree (Yggdrasil), Natures Immortality,...
  • PERTHO Rune
    PERTHO Alternative Names Perthro, Per, Peor, Perth, Palrthra, Peordh, Perdhro, Peorth. Key Phrase Make your own choices and take charge of your own destiny. Meaning Dice-Cup, dice, chess...
  • ALGIZ Rune
    ALGIZ Alternative Names Alz, Elhaz, Eolh, Eolh-secg. Key Phrase Although your path may be fraught with danger, you have the power of protection within you. Meaning An Elk, the horns or...
  • http://hubpages.com/hub/SOWULO-Rune
  • TEIWAZ Rune
    TEIWAZ Alternative Names Tiwaz, Tir, Tyr, Teiws, Tiw. Key Phrase Now is the time to make use of the skills and wisdom you have acquired. Meaning Tyr (Warrior God), the Tyr Rune,...
  • BERKANA Rune
    BERKANA Alternative Names Berkano; Beorc; Bairkan; Bjarkan. Key Phrase Now is the time to put the knowledge and wisdom you have learned into practice. Meaning A Birch Tree Viking...
  • EHWAZ Rune
    EHWAZ Alternative Names Eoh; Aihwas; Eh; Ior. Key Phrase Always be as loyal and supportive to those around you, as they are to you. Meaning A Horse or Horses, transportation. Viking...
  • MANNAZ Rune
    MANNAZ Alternative Names Man; Mann; Manna; Madhr. Key Phrase Your Destiny Awaits - Claim It. Meaning A Human; Mankind; Human Existence. Viking Rune Equivalent A human; the Self...
  • LAGUZ Rune
    LAGUZ Alternative Names Lagu; Lagus; Logr; Lagaz. Key Phrase Still waters run deep. Meaning Creation; water; emotions; the Leek plant. Viking Rune Equivalent Flow. Water. A...
  • INGUZ Rune
    INGUZ Alternative Names Ing; Epel; Ingwaz; Enguz; Iggws. Key Phrase Live in the moment. Meaning Ing the Fertility God (also known as Freyr) Viking Rune Equivalent Fertility. The...
  • OTHILA Rune
    OTHILA Alternative Names Othala; Ogthala; Othel; Othal; Ethel; Odhal; Opild. Key Phrase Focus your thoughts to attract the right energies that you need to make your dream a reality. ...
  • DAGAZ Rune
    Dagaz Rune DAGAZ Alternative Names Daeg; Dags; Dag; Daeg; Dogr. Key Phrase If you stay true to yourself only good things will come your way. Meaning Day (daylight) Viking Rune...
  • RUNES - The Elderfuthark
    The runes bring their message like a roaring wind, then whisper their secrets of hidden mysteries. The word rune comes from the root-word runa, literally meaning whisper, to...
  • RUNIC Tradition
    THE ELDERFUTHARK TRADITION Though the runes form an alphabetic sequence, they are essentially ideographic rather than alphabetic in principle. They were devised to symbolise and make known a series of...
  • Interpreting The RUNES
    INTERPRETING THE RUNES The power of interpretation is available to everyone and improves with time, patience, discipline and a keen interest to learn the ancient ways to wisdom. As you get to...
  • RUNES - Care, Cleansing, Empowering and Storage
    CARE OF YOUR RUNES Runes can be powerful allies provided you treat them with the care and respect they deserve. They do need to be cleansed and empowered, particularly when they are...
  • The Tree Of Life - Web of Wyrd
    The Tree of Life Wyrd is a Norse term for the complex interconnecting web that binds all things together, whether they be living or not. This web is more intertwined and intricate than any other...
  • The Runes and The Cabala
    The Cabala pre-dates the Elderfuthark Runes and the Tarot by approximately 100 years. The Cabala is a system of Jewish mysticism that is thought to have originated in Southern France and Spain in the...
  • Healing Runes
    Runes have strong and powerful healing properties and are of great therapeutic value. This is because of their ancient earth-based, grounded energies, as well as their harmonious and balancing...
  • Consulting The RUNES
    Because the runes are an ancient guidance (and to some, divinatory) device predating many others, they bring into our consciousness a more grounded, earthy value system. Too often we are not able...

Related Articles