Friday, September 30, 2011

The Winged Man of Uppåkra

"The piece is unlikely to depict a Judaeo-Christian angel as Christianisation hadn't come very far in Scandinavia at the time. But as the Uppåkra team notes, Norse mythology offers two immediate interpretations: either a god wearing Freya's magic falcon cloak, or Wayland the Smith wearing the feathered cloak he made to escape from his captivity with King Niðhad." Read the full story at Aardvarchaeology.

Language Oddities: Scots English

"The history of Scots English goes back to the Anglo-Saxon invasions during the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. Impacted by the dominant southern English of England and weakened by several wars and political setbacks, Scottish English still retains its unmistakable voice." Read the full story at Your Houston News.

Craftsmen restore boundary wall

"They have been painstakingly removing a 1950s sand and cement render on the wall – thought to date back to Anglo Saxon times – for the past week." Read the full story at the Oxford Times.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Into the West reports on an essay by Else Mundal in the new book, Isolated Islands in Medieval Nature, Culture and Mind, suggesting that other accounts of western islands besides the more generally known from the Sagas may be factual and based on further exploration of the North America by the Vikings. Read the full article here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Becoming Heathen

What are gods, and what does it mean to believe in them? Essay by Steven T. Abell at Patheos.

Sleipnir for Mac: A new OS X browser with unique features

Sleipnir, for those not versed in Norse mythology, was the eight-legged horse of the god Odin. It’s also the name of an iOS browser that has a reputation for doing things a little differently. More at GigaOM.

CSI Sittingbourne archaeology project closes

An archaeology project which probed scores of Anglo Saxon graves in Kent is closing because it has run out of cash. Read the full story at BBC News.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wikipedia entry for the day: Mercia

Items from the Staffordshire Hoard. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
"Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands. The name is a Latinisation of the Old English Mierce or Myrce, meaning 'border people'." Read the full article at Wikipedia.

Future Iceland Eruptions Could Be Deadly for Europe

"A new study suggests that a blast akin to one that devastated Iceland in the 1780s would waft noxious gases southwestward and kill tens of thousands of people in Europe." Read the full story at

The Asatru Folk Assembly and White Nationalism

The Wild Hunt and Stephen McNallen address a recent and controversial Media Mattters piece on four AFA members attending a National Policy Institute conference.  Read the article here. (DISCLAIMER: Vör og Sága does not endorse the National Policy Institute or any White Nationalist philosophy or group, and posts this story only as news and information.)

Elvenking Announce "10 Years In Heathenry Tour" 2011-2012

"Italian folk metal masters Elvenking has announced the first set of dates for the "10 Years In Heathenry Tour" scheduled for October 2011 into January 2012." Full story and tour dates at Metal Underground.

Why don’t we rebuild King Offa’s palace?

Offa in a 13th century manuscript.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
"It was one of the most impressive buildings of its time, described in ancient documents as ‘the admiration and wonder of the age’. Erected by King Offa, the mightiest of the early Mercian rulers, it remained a royal palace for over 100 years." Read the full story at Herald History." Read the full story at Herald History.

Anglo-Saxon burial ground inspires new cemetery gates

"Matthew Lane Sanderson is best known for creating the metal ‘time eater’ – the chronophage – atop the clock at Corpus Christi College, ... His latest project, for Melbourn cemetery, is inspired by a lost Anglo-Saxon burial ground. The hand-made galvanised mild steel gates inset with stones are intended to evoke the shields used 1,000 years ago." Read the full story at Royston Weekly News.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wikipedia entry of the day: Fornjót

"Fornjót (Old Norse Fornjótr) was an ancient giant in Norse mythology and a king of Finland. His children are Ægir (the ruler of the sea), Logi (fire giant) and Kári (god of wind).
The name has often been interpreted[1] as forn-jótr "ancient giant", and Karl Simrock (1869) because of this identified Formjotr with the primeval giant Ymir. But it is also possible, as was suggested by Müller (1818),[2] that it is one of a well-established group of names or titles of gods in -njótr "user, owner, possessor", which would make Fornjótr the "original owner" (primus occupans vel utens) of Norway." Read the full article at Wikipedia.

Hrungnir’s Heart

By Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir: "The story, which is an adventure intertwined with references to Norse mythology, was inspired by childhood memories I have of horseback trips to the uninhabited valley Thorvaldsdalur." Read her full article on this work at Icelandic Review.

Troll Hunter

Here's the trailer on YouTube of the faux(?) documentary "Troll Hunter," which draws heavily on Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore:

A brief review of the film can be found on xmedia.

Swordplay by warriors at Downham

"Visitors to St Edmond’s Church, Downham, enjoyed the demonstrations put on by the Anglo Saxon re-enactors, who played a wise woman, warriors and a Benedictine monk." Full story at Lynn News.

Mass Viking grave identified in southern England

"There is strong evidence to suggest that this was a Viking raiding party that was unable to make it back to the ship before being caught by the locals." Includes a map of Viking raids and colonization through the Medieval centuries. Full story at the World Socialist Website.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

YouTube Video of the Day: Loki's Eating Contest

From the 1983 film "Valhalla," - Loki in the famous eating contest with Loghi, the Etin of Fire.

Wikipedia entry for today: High, Just-As-High, and Third

High, Just-As-High, and Third converse with
Gangleri on an 18th century Icelandic manuscript.
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
High, Just-As-High, and Third (Old Norse Hár, Jafnhár, and Þriðji, respectively) are three men that respond to questions posed by Gangleri (described as king Gylfi in disguise) in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning ("The Tricking of Gylfi"). Read the full article at Wikipedia.

CNN Feature on Iceland, with Slideshow

"Discover Iceland's fire and ice," story with photo slideshow may be viewed on the CNN website.

Was Cnut a True Christian, or Just a Shrewd Politician?

Courtesy of "The Christian church, which had been an integral part of the political and national life of England when Cnut became king in 1016, must have been uncomfortable with a foreign conqueror whose Christian antecedents were suspect." The full article may be read here. 

Vikings Return to Stamford Bridge

Courtesy of the Odinist Press Service: A modern day reenactment of the 1066 battle between Harold II Godwinson and Harald Hardrada is to be held at Stamford bridge in Yorkshire. Though a victory for Harold, the battle's toll played a decisive role in his later defeat by William at Hastings. Read the full story at The Press.

The Battle of Hastings according to Gaimar, Wace and Benoit: rhetoric and politics

Courtesy of "Our aim here is ... to explore the literary approaches adopted by three vernacular writers working between the late 1130s and the 1180s, and in particular to consider how rhetorical resources are deployed to produce three very different visions of the same event, and how the choice of those resources may have been shaped by the political context within which each writer was working." The full PDF version of this essay may be viewed at

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Thor" released on DVD and Blu-ray

International release poster. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Controversial for many Heathens because of licenses taken by both Marvel Comics and the studio with the original source material, the hit movie is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Einherjer Return With New Album Next Week

"Einherjer's new album, Norrøn, will be released Friday, September 9th in Europe and in North America on Tuesday, September 13th." Full story at Anti-Music, includes background on how the band took its name from the slain warriors in Valhalla.

Iceland’s Tallest Volcano Awakening?

"A series of earthquakes which occurred in the sub-glacial volcano Öraefajökull in Vatnajökull, southeast Iceland, three weeks ago has caught the attention of scientists who have questioned whether it might be preparing to erupt." Full story at Iceland Review.

Wikipedia entry for the day: Icelandic magical staves

Aegishjalmr ("Helm of Awe").
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

"Icelandic magical staves (sigils) are symbols credited with magical effect preserved in various grimoires dating from the 17th century and later.[1] According to the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, the effects credited to most of the staves were very relevant to the average Icelanders of the time, who were mostly subsistence farmers and had to deal with harsh climatic conditions." Read the full article at Wikipedia.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen author Alan Garner to publish his Collected Folk Tales

"The book, which will draw from 1969's The Hamish Hamilton Book of Goblins and 1984's Book of British Folk Tales, as well as never-before-published stories from Garner's archive, will be published as Collected Folk Tales this November."  Read the full story at The Guardian.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wikipedia entry for the day: Sága and Sökkvabekkr

Sága records while Odin dictates in an
 illustration (1919) by Robert Engels.
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
"In Norse mythology, Sága (Old Norse: [saːɣa], possibly meaning "seeress"[1]) is a goddess associated with the location Sökkvabekkr (pronounced [sɔkːwabekːr] in Old Norse; "sunken bank", "sunken bench", or "treasure bank"[2]). At Sökkvabekkr, Sága and the god Odin merrily drink as cool waves flow. Both Sága and Sökkvabekkr are attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. Scholars have proposed theories about the implications of the goddess and her associated location, including that the location may be connected to the goddess Frigg's fen residence Fensalir and that Sága may be another name for Frigg." Read the full article at Wikipedia.

Grendel’s Mother in the context of the myth of the Woman in the Water

Master's thesis by Charlotte Elizabeth Ball, courtesy of "This thesis proposes that the character of Grendel’s mother in Beowulf is a manifestation of a mythic type, derived from studies of European goddess figures and named here as the Woman in the Water. This myth takes the form of an inherent association between femininity and water, and connotes the binary oppositions of birth and death, creativity and destruction, and the overarching themes of chaos and transience." The full thesis, submitted to the University of Birmingham, may be read here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hiberno-Danish Coins: The Danish Kings of Ireland

Courtesy "“It must surprise those who examine the history of Ireland that so little appears known respecting the social position of those Scandinavians who under the common name of Ostmen or of Danes, occupied our principal seaports from the ninth to the twelfth century, and that even local historians are silent respecting the civil and religious institutions, the works and monumental remains of a people, who not only inhabited and ruled over Dublin for more than three hundred years, but who, if not the founders of the city, were unquestionably the cause of its metropolitan supremacy..." The Danes are generally credited with developing Dublin into a major city. The full PDF file may be viewed here.

Land of Fire and Ice: Seismic activity increases at Iceland volcano

Katla eruption of 1918. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
From the Associated Press - "A surge of small earthquakes has been reported around Iceland's Katla volcano, but scientists said Tuesday there is no immediate concern that the increased seismic activity will trigger a dangerous eruption." The full story may be found at Google News. Wikipedia also has an article on the volcano.

Speaking up for Heathenry and Paganism in Chattanooga

Excellent response I found to anti-pagan item that had appeared on the Chattanoogan website back in August. It includes a list of the Nine Noble Virtues.

Life in a Saxon hall

The re-enactment society Regia Anglorum is reconstructing an early medieval Saxon hall in Kent using materials and construction methods of the time. Read the full story at the Guardian.

Wikipedia entry for the day: Vör

"In Norse mythology, Vör (Old Norse, possibly "the careful one,"[1] or "aware, careful"[2]) is a goddess associated with wisdom. Vör is attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; and twice in kennings employed in skaldic poetry. Scholars have proposed theories about the implications of the goddess." Full article here.

Icelandic culture on display in Delhi

"With Iceland being the guest country at the Frankfurt Book Fair next month, a prelude is trying to acquaint the Indian publishing and literary fraternity with the European island nation’s culture and literature."
Much thanks to Snooze for finding this. Full story at Hamara Photos.

Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by AS Byatt – review

"When AS Byatt agreed to contribute to Canongate's series of updated myths, she chose as her subject the ultimate end, the Scandinavian legend of Ragnarok. This is what Richard Wagner, in the last instalment of his Ring cycle, called the twilight of the gods, who give up regulating nature and allow the world to destroy itself. Because apocalypse overwhelms individual fates, Byatt could hardly follow the example of previous writers in the series, who have extracted characters from the myths and probed their minds..." Read the full review at the Guardian.

"American Gods" coming to HBO

I'm sure Mr. Wednesday has his googly eye on this:

"Neil Gaiman to adapt novel American Gods for HBO, Author tells Edinburgh book festival of project to develop tale of ancient gods in modern US into TV series" Full story at the Guardian.

The Enchanted Islands: A comparison of mythological traditions from Ireland and Iceland

Ósvör Fishing Museum at Bolungarvik, Iceland Image from Wikimedia Commons
Originally posted at The Enchanted Islands: A comparison of mythological traditions from Ireland and Iceland, by Katarzyna Herd, Master’s Thesis, University of Jyväskylä, 2008: "The later conversion to Christianity did not destroy completely the previous, older cults. In some areas the old stories were erased almost totally, but every now and then a Christian monk, a true follower of a new faith, felt the need to preserve those mysterious legends of his ancestors. That was the case in Ireland and Iceland, where the two major mythologies, the Norse and the Celtic, were written down." Read the full thesis here.

Seemingly drunk Swedish moose found stuck in tree

My grandmother used to tell me about a tornado that hit her parent's farm once. It slammed a cow into a tree and then slammed the outhouse into the cow. Poor critter. Story excerpt and link follow:

"A seemingly intoxicated moose has been discovered entangled in an apple tree by a stunned Swede." Read the fully story here.

Early Anglo-Saxon personal equipment and structural ironwork from Saltwood Tunnel, Kent

Originally posted at

"The personal equipment from the early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries at Saltwood includes horse harness, gaming pieces, a leather pouch or shoe, keys, chatelaines and rings, chain, tweezers, lozenges, a quartz crystal ball, knives and their sheaths and a number of miscellaneous iron implements." Read the complete article here.