Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Language of the Nordic/Germanic Myths


Mythology is not just a collection of stories. It is a language. It uses symbols to convey ideas. A kind of symbol found in the Edda’s is the kenning. It was believed that to give your real name to a stranger was to give him power over you. So you used a descriptive name, a kenning. Often a kenning was used to draw attention to a particular aspect of a person or object.

For example: The Nordic Tree of Life ‘Yggdrasil’ may be called ‘Life Supporter’; ‘The Shade Giver’; “The Soil Mulcher’; ‘The Nobel Ash Tree’; ‘Odin’s Horse’; or ‘Odin’s Gallows’.

The Norse myths also make use of puns, which can be a most effective method of teaching.

The Norse ‘Cinderella’ is Askungen (Ask =Ash + Unge = Child). ‘The Ash Child’. All living beings are children of the Nordic Ash Tree. Each is also an Yggdrasil Tree in his own right. The Ash Child is cyclically reborn from the ashes of its former self, like the Phoenix.

Askungen also means ‘God-kin’ of divine lineage and ‘God-knowing’ having knowledge of divinity’s and ‘Knowing as a God’, possessing divine wisdom and also ‘Known as a God.’ Thus an ingenious play on words makes the title of this fairytale convey a high philosophy. The Nordics knew like Nietzsche said “Ye are Gods.”

The entire pantheon of Norse gods/goddesses represents properties existing in nature and ourselves.

The furtherance of human progress towards a nobler state is in large what myths aim to encourage.

The hero tales of the Edda’s have a dual character as both quasi-historical and legendary. They interlink large numbers of characters in a web of plots and counterplots.

To relate myths to humanity’s prehistory would demand untangling of many intermingled threads. The German version of Sigurd Fafnesbane (Bane of Fafnir) is suggestive of those remote aeons.

Nibelungen or Niflungan in Norse means “children of the mist.” The Niflungan were followed by the Volsungan, which means “children of Volsi,” a much later humanity.

Many of the feuds in the myths were reference to a succession of races, branch races, and lesser tribes. Myths reflect the passing of an age without praise or blame.


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1 comment:

Term Papers said...

The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece. In the field of folkloristics, a myth is defined as a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form. Many scholars in other fields use the term "myth" in somewhat different ways. In a very broad sense, the word can refer to any story originating within traditions. Post by Term Papers