Category Archives: Vikings

Initiations, Bears, and Rituals Part 2

We will start with updates. There is a lot on my mind lately. More books forming in my head, and more projects to keep my hands busy. The book I finished recently was based on a similar idea as the Dresden Files and the Kitty Norville books. They will be episodic in nature. I have finished writing the first in the series. I already have the second book forming in my head.

Also, I have been thinking about the trilogy I finished last year. I am thinking about revisiting it, and maybe shifting it from alternative history to full fantasy. I just don’t like it as is.

I have also been playing with the idea of writing some kind of pagan introduction book of some sort. Still not a lot fleshed out in that regard. It might happen, and it might not.

Also, I found out today that my submission for the Walking the Worlds journal was rejected. A little disappointing I’ll admit, but I’ll probably just recycle it into a series of blog entries. Even writing it, I felt there was a great deal more to say.  So it might just appear here with extended commentary.

On to Part 2. Here is skeleton of the relevant narrative from the Völsungasaga;

“Sigurd is the son of Sigmund and Hjordis. After Sigmund’s death, Sigurd is fostered by man called Regin. Regin tells Sigurd that he must kill the dragon Fafnir to acquire wealth and glory as he claims that Sigurd has no independent wealth of his own as it is controlled by the Kings of Denmark.

Regin proceeds to tell Sigurd the story of his family and why he wants Sigurd to kill Fafnir. Sigurd agrees to kill Fafnir for Regin, but only once his father is avenged. Regin makes three swords in preparation for Sigurd. The first two swords break and only the third made with the pieces of Sigurd’s father Sigmund’s sword is sufficient. Once the sword is acquired, Regin leads Sigurd to the lair of Fafnir. Regin runs to hide.

Odin appears to Sigurd and tells him how to kill Fafnir. Sigurd digs trenches to lie in to stab Fafnir from underneath and also for the dragon’s blood to run into. Fafnir is killed with a single stab from Sigurd. However, a brief discussion happens while the dragon dies. Sigurd is granted knowledge of the dragon’s hoarded wealth but also burdens him with a magical curse. Regin rejoins Sigurd and drinks the blood of the dragon, then has Sigurd cook the heart of the dragon for him.

While Sigurd is cooking the heart he tastes some of the blood which gives him supernatural knowledge – the understanding of the speech of birds. He takes the advice of the birds he overhears and eats more of the heart himself to gain supernatural powers, then kills Regin who the birds reveal is going to betray Sigurd. Once Regin is killed, Sigurd takes possession of the hoard of Fafnir including the supernatural Helm of Terror.

After acquiring the wealth of Fafnir, Sigurd travels onwards and meets the valkyrie Brynhildr. After Sigurd has freed her from her bonds Brynhildr grants him supernatural knowledge in the form of runes which she recounts as verse, and then offers further wisdom through normal speech. At the end of the chapter Sigurd and Brynhildr promise to marry each other and then Sigurd leaves.” (Haggerty, pgs 11 – 14)

Once again, we see a slaying of some foe, in this case Fafnir the dragon. Like in the last story, we see the hero gaining knowledge and power from the blood of the dead dragon. Also, at least in material wealth, we see the hero going from no “worth” of his own, as the king has it all, to possessor of a dragon hoard. He also gains supernatural treasure and knowledge along the way. There are interesting parallels between this story and the last. These are discusses more thoroughly in the article itself, and will not be recounted here.

In the next part of this series, we will move a discussion of the Bear Cult, and the sources of Finland and Karelia.

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Initiations, Bears, and Rituals Part 1

This series is drawn from the article Initiation Rituals in Old Norse Texts and their Relationship to Finno-Karelian Bear Cult Rituals by James Haggerty. The article itself is a long one, and here I am only discussing selections that are of interest to me. Interested parties will need to read the article for themselves, after all it is not my work.

I wanted to discuss this article because it touches upon a lot of themes and ideas that have been a regular part of this blog. Moving on…

In the article, Haggerty analyses several different narratives, and the possibility that they may represent initiation rituals.

The two Old Norse sources discussed in the article are the Hrólfs saga kraka ok kappa hans and the Völsungasaga. The Hrolf saga is thought to be from the 12th or 13th century, and the Völsungasaga is thought to be based on poetry from the Elder Edda. Haggerty offers summaries of both narratives. To get this series started, here is a stripped down version of the Hrolf’s saga, as a selection from Haggerty’s article.

“Bödvar is the son of a woman and a bear. Bödvar, the younger of three brothers, is the last to leave his mothers home having remained longer to see his dead father avenged. On leaving home he acquires his inheritance, a magic sword, left by his father in the cave where the latter lived as a bear. Bödvar travels onwards and meets first his eldest brother who has the legs of an elk, Bödvar fights his brother amicably and upon losing, his brother instructed him to drink blood from his leg so Bödvar might increase his power. Bödvar continues on his journey and on the way to the hall of King Hrolf he meets the peasant mother of Hottr, a boy she says is being mistreated by Hrolf’s warriors. Having grown in strength, Bödvar eventually arrives at the hall of King Hrolf where he finds the warriors of the king and Hottr.

Bödvar after meeting Hottr takes him from underneath a pile of discarded bones and washes him in a nearby body of water, after which Bödvar sets Hottr on a bench in the hall beside him. When the warriors see this they continue to mistreat Hottr by throwing bones at him and Bödvar, the latter protecting Hottr, catches a large bone and throws it back at the man who threw it, causing his death. This action brings Bödvar to the attention of King Hrolf who makes Bödvar one of his warriors under the agreement that Bödvar and Hottr can sit at the bench nearest to the king.

An animal approaches the hall at Yuletide. Hottr tells Bödvar that this is a regular event and that the beast causes great destruction. Hrolf orders none of his men to go against the animal so they do not throw their lives away. Bödvar, taking Hottr with him sneaks out of the hall in the night to go against the beast, Hottr being too afraid, is left cowering on the heath while Bödvar kills the animal.  After the animal is dispatched Bödvar has Hottr drink of the beasts blood and eat of its heart.

After doing this Hottr feels a new strength and the two prop the animal up as if it were still alive and return to the hall. The next morning, when the king asks who will go against the animal, Bödvar volunteers Hottr for the task. To general astonishment Hottr accepts and proceeds to go against the animal if he can claim a sword named Goldenhilt from King Hrolf. This is agreed upon and Hottr ‘kills’ the animal, while Hrolf reveals he knows the truth, he is pleased that Bödvar has created a strong man out of Hottr. When Hottr has successfully completed the task, he is rewarded by Hrolf with the new name of Hjalti and becomes a warrior of similar standing to Bödvar at the hall.” (Haggerty, pgs 9 – 11)

Bödvar is said to be the son of a woman and a bear. That right there points to animism already present in this story, as well as a connection with the bear. However, it is Hottr that Haggerty thinks is going through an initiation. He starts off symbolically “dead”, being under a pile of bones. He is a man of no social worth, and is the subject of mockery and contempt. However, with Bödvar’s help, Hottr become a man of knowledge and strength, after drinking the animal blood. This earns him his worth, and a place in society. It even earns him a new name, Hjalti. I think the new name, is one of the clear indications that this might be an initiation.

In the next part of this series I will turn to the story of Sigurd from the Völsungasaga. Bear (see what I did there?) with me, as this series is going to be a longer one. I will be looking at narratives, ritual, initiations, and you guessed it, bears.

 


Skaði and the Saami Part 2

Scandinavia has been populated since the glaciers retreated some 12,000 years ago. Some argue that these earliest people may have been ancestors to the Saami, while others argue that these people were later replaced by the ancestors of the Saami. There is not enough information to say for sure, only that there have been people in Scandinavia well before we have historical records of them. We can say for sure, however, that the Saami were in Scandinavia well before the first arrival of the Indo-Europeans around 2300 BCE, and the Germanic/Nordic bronze Age that followed.  I don’t have the space here to discuss all the nuances of the archaeological record, so I will leave that be for now.

Going back to the quote from Davidson, the question can be asked, how far do the basic concepts, the basic essence of Skadi go back? How far back can we trace the ideas that may have influenced her as we know her today? Here we turn to Mundal again; ” The consciousness among the Nordic people of this “other people” (Saami) who were so different from themselves, gives reason to ask whether the relation between the two people may have been interpreted and understood in the light of mythic patterns, and perhaps is reflected in the myths themselves.

When Saami people and their world and the relation between the Saami and the Nordic people is described in Old Norse texts, the parallels to patterns in the mythic world are sometimes striking. A detail in the text – or in the literary motif – which shows that the parallel is not accidental is the choice of certain words when Saamis are described. In some texts – or in some motifs – the Saamis are called jotnar, ‘giants’, or a few times dvergar, ‘dwarfs’. In the text the Saami man – or woman – may be called Saami and jotunn alternatively, or in some texts Saamis and jotnar are presented as members of the same family.” (Mundal, pg 348)

Some interesting implications here, and I have commented before on how jotunn are of Utgard, outsiders in a sense. It should come as little surprise that such “outsiders” or “otherness” is translated into mythical forms. Especially from the Aesir, which take the place as conquerors and champions against the jotunns. So then, we see mythical retellings of a conquering people fighting with indigenous people.

Once again, Mundal brings the point home; ” The otherness of the Saamis and their culture and the fact that they mostly lived outside the areas where the Nordic people lived, especially in the North, but farther south also in the border areas between Norway and Sweden and in the inland of Eastern Norway, conformed to the pattern of Midgardr–Útgardr. According to the mythological map the Saamis became the Útgardr people.” (Mundal, 349)

Part 3 will be coming soon!

References/Sources;

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe.

Mundal, Else. Coexistence of Saami and Norse Culture – reflected in and interpreted by Old Norse myths

Bjerk, Hein. Norwegian Mesolithic Trends


Skaði and the Saami, Part 1

It has been a rough couple of weeks, so I am honestly surprised I got any blog work done at all. For those that want to know, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 Metastatic cancer about two months or so ago. As of last week, on the 28th, she lost that fight, and she goes now to join the ancestors. It has been hard on the family, and on me. Yet, there comes a time when you have to get back on the horse and move forward with your life. That is not to say I am not grieving, because I am, but because I am just not very good at being idle. I would rather be busy, at least as a distraction. Plus I know mom wouldn’t want me to give up on my work.

As such, this new series of posts was inspired by the below selection that I originally came across on Wikipedia. I have not yet been able to acquire the book that was cited, but I am still going to use it as an introduction to this work.

Scholar Hilda Ellis Davidson proposes that Skaði’s cult may have thrived in Hålogaland, a province in northern Norway, because “she shows characteristics of the Sami people, who were renowned for skiing, shooting with the bow and hunting; her separation from Njord might point to a split between her cult and that of the Vanir in this region, where Scandinavians and the Sami were in close contact.” (Davidson, pgs 61—62). The proposed connection to the Sami is an interesting one, and one that will be explored over the course of this series.

As I have mentioned before, the Jotuns, like Skadi, are amongst the oldest known beings in the northern lore. They are prehistoric, predating even the agricultural Vanir and the warrior Aesir. I have also mentioned before, that it is nearly impossible to say how old Skadi might be. While she appears fit, younger, and in good shape, she still resonates with a depth of wisdom that only comes from experience. At lot of experience. It may be rude to ask a woman how old she is, but I cannot avoid my nature. She laughed at the question.

Still, I don’t give up that easy, so I set out to see what I could find out for myself. It is clear that Skadi belongs to a prehistoric past, before the writing of the sagas, and even the Vikings themselves. Going back as far as we have records, it is clear that there existed multiple peoples in Scandinavia, and we see these people reflected in the myths.

As Mundal points out; ” In Old Norse sources, both Norwegian and Icelandic, we meet a consciousness of the fact that on the Scandinavian peninsula there lived two peoples, the Nordic people and the Saamis, who in the Old Norse sources are called finnar. Both were peoples with their own culture that in many respects differed considerably from the culture of the other people. They spoke different languages. The Nordic people were farmers while most Saamis lived a nomadic life. They had also before Christianization – different religions, but the religion of the Saamis may have been influenced by the religion of the Nordic people – and vice versa.” (Mundal, pg 346)

Ugh, at that limit already. More to come!

 

References/Sources;

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe.

Mundal, Else. Coexistence of Saami and Norse Culture – reflected in and interpreted by Old Norse myths

Bjerk, Hein. Norwegian Mesolithic Trends


Ancestors

Let’s start with updates. Yup, not really a whole lot to say. I’ve been ramping up the writing again, and will have about half a book done in the next week or so. I started learning how to knap arrowheads out of bottle glass. My hands are showing the abuse from this endeavor. Hunting season starts with small game in just over a month, with deer season being just under two months away. So the preparations for that are already in motion. Practice shooting, scouting, making sure my gear is all in order, fletching and so on and so forth. I’ve already got a bit of the hunting fever. I have also been working on a few knives for my own use, and want to try again with the bow making soon. So much work, and so little time.

Some days, I wish I could just leave the civilized world behind and go live in the woods like my ancestors did, but sadly the world is a different place now.

Which brings me to the topic for today, the topic of my ancestors. Really, the whole point of this post is a chance to organize my thoughts for my upcoming submission to the Walking the Worlds project. The upcoming topic is Ancestors and Hero Cultus, and I’ve decided to focus more on the ancestors side, since I don’t do a lot of “hero” work.

The ancestors have been a core element to my practice since I first started ancestor work. To be fair, I have been interested in things like genealogy and history for a long time, and my ancestor work almost is an extension of that. It is a lot of work, a fair amount of time and money, but I only think it has strengthened my practice.

I mean, because what is ancestor work, if not honoring the heritage, the ideas, stories, beliefs and rituals left to us by our fore bearers? I think genealogy is almost implied when it comes to honoring the ancestors. It goes beyond that as well too, I think. After all, family, and therefore ancestors, aren’t always blood related.

As I was saying, so much of my spiritual work has come from my ancestor work. It has shaped my practice into what it is today, and will continue to shape it into the future. As my understanding of my ancestors has evolved, so has the core of my practice. I know I have touched on these things before, but I would like to expound on them a little more here.

As my understanding of my ancestors has evolved, so has the narrative that connects me to that heritage. The stories that shape my practice have changed, and so, has the practice. I want to expand that narrative now, perhaps for myself as much as for others.

My ancestor journey began with the paperwork, the genealogy. My mother’s line has been in Michigan for several generations, but my father’s line, admittedly were most of my work has been focused, had a knack for moving around a lot. My father was born in West Virginia, and going back, I have male ancestors from Kentucky, a brief stint in Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Right back to the early 1700’s. One of my earliest ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. William Haney, son of Michael/Mikkel Haney.

After that, the historical work dried up. I have no real idea why, a name change, illiteracy, the very act of crossing the Atlantic, I have no idea. However, I only had the slightest of leads. In those early days, Virginia was an English colony, so there is a good change that my ancestors came from England. Still, not much to go on. General guesswork, but not anything specific.

I had to turn to genetic testing once the paperwork failed. As it turned out, I was on the right track. Here is an excerpt from Ancestry, concerning my last name.

“English and Scottish: probably a variant of Hanney. Scottish or Irish: reduced form of McHaney. Americanized spelling of Norwegian Hanøy, a habitational name from any of four farmsteads so named, from Old Norse haðna ‘young nanny-goat’ or hani ‘cock’ (probably indicating a crag or mountain resembling a cock’s comb in shape) + øy ‘island’. ”

The genetic testing revealed me to be Y haplogroup I1, which by current research, probably originated in the area of Denmark somewhere between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago, with pre-I1 people going back to the last glacial period in the area. My genetic testing, also revealed a high number of matches in Norway, and England, as well as surrounding areas. Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and so on. Really, anywhere you could get to by boat from Norway.

Thus, the ancestors of my ancestors probably have been in Scandinavia since the ice retreated, though of course this is only guesswork. It also has the potential of things like Sami ancestry, though once again only speculation at this point. Somewhere along the line, they migrated to England/Scotland from Norway, perhaps with a change from the Norwegian version of my name to the more English version. Vikings could be a possible connection, as they had a knack of going to England from Norway. Though to be fair, it didn’t nessacarily have to be the Vikings that brought my ancestors to England. It’s just make a good story, at the least. From England, my ancestors came to America during the 16th century. That’s the rough outline, at least for my mortal ancestors, and I am still working to fill in the details. I am hoping to find a way to contact some of those matches overseas. A lot of work still to be done.

But it doesn’t stop there. I’ve been learning, albeit kind of the hard way, that spiritual ancestry is more complicated than mortal ancestry. They simply don’t play by the same rules as the flesh. As such, among spiritual ancestors, can be counted thing likes dwarves, giants, elves, fairies, gods, animals, plants and such ad nauseum. It adds a whole new layer, and quickly bridges the gap into things like shape-shifting and divine ancestry. I’m am going to leave those topics lie for the moment.

I touched upon how this information has influenced my path, and I wanted to talk a little more about that. With what I have outlined already, my path draws a lot from my hunter-fisher-gathering ancestors, the northern Mesolithic from about 12,000 years ago up until farming took hold. This is where my shamanic interests come in, and my general animistic tendencies. I also find I get to apply my archaeological and anthropological training as well. But it doesn’t stop there, because there is a wealth of historical material as well. Obviously, I bring the Eddas and Sagas into the fold, because I count them among my heritage as well. Vikings and all that comes into the fold as well. Also, folklore bridges the gap from Pre-Christian times down to nearly modern times. I draw a lot from that as well. In addition, there is the Celtic element of my ancestry, because I have a decent cross section of ancestors from Scotland and Ireland as well. I explored Celtic related things in the past, and I have been looking at those things again, with the understanding I carry now.

As such, my current path (subject to change) embraces Celtic, Norse, Forn Sed (old custom in Norwegian, draws a lot from folklore), shamanism, animism, and a lot of other things such as hunting and survivalism as well. That is the gift of the ancestors to me, down through the generations.

It is true that there is a strong disconnect from the ways of my ancestors, as the old ways have not been practiced for some time, millenia in some cases. I am literally disconnected from the land of my ancestors by nothing less than the Atlantic Ocean and countless years of time. I wasn’t born into these traditions, and the burden that comes along with that is immense. I work with ancestors that have not been heard for eons, and it is difficult to know even where to begin with a backlog of a few thousand years worth of work.

I mean, being an Norse-Celtic-Anglo-American isn’t much right?

References/Sources;

http://www.forn-sed.no/main/english/information.htm
http://walkingtheworlds.com/
http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=haney


Midwest Vikings? Part 5

I have noticed a notable uptick in the stats for my “Michigan/Midwest Vikings” posts. I wonder if it has anything to do with the below?

This is something that came across my Facebook today. There was a discovery in northern Michigan, Cheboygan for those interested, of possible Viking artifacts. Right here in the Great Lakes!

Just a few words of warning about these kinds of artifacts. I have written a great deal about the other finds, and there has not been anything I have found that has been definitive. Don’t get me wrong, I want to believe! I really hope some of my ancestors made it this far.

But these kind of things can be faked, hoaxes or what have you. This happens a lot, the history of archaeology is full of them. I would almost say they would be easier in this day and age, with the viral nature of the internet.  Also they could be trade artifacts that moved independently of the people that made them. They could have also been buried by some Scandinavia/Norse colonist centuries after the Vikings. There is a lot of variables here.

I am eagerly awaiting on the follow up research from U of M (if there is any, see below.), and I am hoping this turns out to be authentic.

Here is the link to the article;

http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/usa-viking-artefacts-discovered-near-great-lakes/

 

Update on 5/28;

After this was pointed out to me by a friend; Below is the disclaimer for the website.

“World News Daily Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within worldnewsdailyreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.”

 


Volundr and the Elves

Today I will be surveying Armann Jakobsson’s article “The Extreme Emotional Life of Volundr the Elf.” I think this is a good topic for discussion, because as will be covered, elves are not very developed in the grand scheme of Nordic cosmology. Their role is not very clear cut, and there is a lot of overlap with gods, giants and even dwarves. Elves tend to be fleeting characters, yet it is clear they were venerated at one time. Let us begin with an introduction to the primary text;

Jakobsson says; ” Volundarkvida is the tenth of twenty nine poems in the Codex Regius MS of the Poetic Edda… Most scholars believe it is one of the oldest Eddic poems. ” (Pg 1) He goes on to detail that there has been quite a few studies on this particular poem, and it tends to be thought of as heroic instead of mythological poetry. However, he also points out that it falls between characteristically mythological poems of the Thrymskvida and the Alvissmal.

(As a note, I apologize for the ‘anglicanization’ of all the Norse terms. I tend to leave out accents and special characters, as they are a real pain to copy and paste over and over again.)

Jakobsson  says; ” Three times in Voludarkvida, Volundr is referred to as alfr. In stanza 10, he is called “alfa liothi” while in stanzas 13 and 23 he is called ‘visa alfa’ by his enemy King Nidudr. The word ljodi seems to mean literally “of a (certain) people” while visi means ‘leader, king'” (Pg, 3). Jakobsson also says the ljodi is not attested in any other source. Also, while it is clear he is an elf, his royal/noble status seems to be of little importance to the story. In addition, while Volundr is mentioned in several sources outside the Volundarkvida, his elvish origins are hardly mentioned outside the poem.

Notably, Jakobson says in his footnotes that not all scholars believe Volundr is an elf; “To Motz (Lotte Motz), he is a dokkralfr, which means a dwarf or supernatural smith. She is perhaps the most detailed theorist of Volundr’s origins and her conclusion is that Volundr is originally a legendary craftsman of supernatural origin. While she stresses his supernatural status, she nonetheless believes his elvishness to be secondary.” (Pg, 3) I am still trying to get a copy of Motz’s ‘Of Elves and Dwarves’ for review. So here is suggested the possibility that Volundr may be a dark elf/dwarf. Though it is ultimately to Snorri that such a division between light and dark elves can be traced, we cannot ignore the possibility.

He goes on to say that; ” The position of the Volundarkvida (referred to as V. henceforth), between the mythological and heroic, along with Thrymkvida and Alvissmal,  might also be also be significant to the question of his (Volundr’s) identity, as it may reflect a conscious effort by the editor or editors of the Codex Regius to make the giants, elves, and dwarves intermediaries between the gods and the mythical heroes.” (Pg, 4) This is something I have hit on before in my earlier posts, the interrelation of gods, giants, elves and dwarfs. This is something to keep in mind going forward.

Something else Jakobsson points out; “In the prose introduction to the poem in Codex Regius, Volundr and his brothers are said to be ‘synir Finnakovngs’ (sons of the kings of the Lapps)” (Pg, 4) Here is another curious bit of information. A tenuous connection between elves and the Sami. In previous posts I have hit upon a connection between the dwarves and the Sami, and here might be a suggestion that the elves could be connected to them too, or at least to some kind of Pre-Aesir mythos. However, Jakobsson as well as myself urge caution to not take this too far. As the prose introduction to V. is thought to be an interpretation of the poem, and not part of the poem itself. Within the poem Volundr is only referred to as alfr, and not as a Sami prince.

What follows in the article is a long description of the various sources of information about the elves and their nature and relations to other beings. I will not detail this here, as it is quite comprehensive. However, at the end of his comprehensive analysis of the sources, Jakobsson does offer some conclusions; ” All in all, alfar are scare and ill defined in Old Norse sources. It is possible the word ‘alfr’ referred to minor deities or to a special race of supernatural beings with vague characteristics. Perhaps the alfar were never a clearly defined race. Yet if we try to weigh the evidence, we may come to the following tentative conclusions;

1. A fair number of Old Norse sources agree that alfar had some kind of cult in the heathen and early Christian period; about this cult they are vague..

2. Alfar seem to resemble humans. There is no indication of dwarfish or gigantic size, they are to have sexual intercourse with humans (though few do) and even ride horses.

3. The origins of the alfar are unsure. Unlike giants, dwarves, and men, there is no Old Norse creation myth about alfar.  Olafr Geristadaalfr suggests the possibility of humans becoming alfar after their death, a proposition that might fit with the depicitions of alfar as spirit-like creatures. However, this notion has no support in the Eddic texts where alfar are usually mentioned along with the Aesir but sometimes with the Vanir as well, indicating, thus that it was at least not generally accepted that the Vanir and the alfar are the same thing.

4. In the romances, at least some of the alfar, seem to be much darker creatures, sometimes equated with monsters and evil spirits. Snorri Sturluson resolves this apparent contradiction by dividing the alfar into two sub types; one good and one evil.

5. According to Snorri, the good alfar and bright and beautiful.

6. Some Eddic poems (Alvissmal) also suggest that alfar were believed to be merry, optimistic, gentle, and tender creatures of brightness and goodness. ” (Pg, 11)

Admittedly by Jakobson, this is not much. Not at all. However, there are a few points I would like to make here. Concerning number 3, the suggestion that humans can become elves after death. To me at least, this indicates that humans can ‘ascend’ after death and become like the elves, some kind of semi-divine being. I like to think of them as revered ancestors, or ascended masters. Saints might be another possible term. However, this is not to say that all elves are ancestors, just that some of them are.

Concerning number 4, and perhaps I will explore this more in another post, Jakobson and much of the folklore seems to indicate that the good/bad nature of elves tends to be relational. Humans that treat them badly are treated badly in turn, whereas good relations with the elves typically results in good neighbors. Golden rule and all that.

I also wanted to circle back and consider Volundr as a dark elf/dwarf for a second. If indeed he is a dwarf, could it be said that dwarves, being mortals of an older kind, could also in the elves at death? Could dwarves be granted a place among the heavens as well? If many of the old stories are taken at face value, heroes and giants could be welcomed in the heavens. Could dwarfs and men be as well, in the form of elves? Some food for thought at least.

In truth, there is much more to the article in question, but the rest of it concerns Jokobssons analysis of Volundr as a character. I think for the time being, what has been written will suffice. Certainly there is a lot more that could be said here, but I am going to let it stand as it is.

Thanks for reading!