Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Two Day Nordic Mythologies Conference at UCLA

Thanks to Troth member Josh for this item.

"Nordic mythology—with its remarkable stories of gods, giants and the catastrophic end of the world—has captured the imaginations of scholars and the public alike for centuries, keeping the Medieval North front and center in the popular imagination. Recent films, such as the Hollywood blockbuster, Thor, contribute to the popularity of the Nordic mythological world while, at the same time, contributing to the proliferation of misunderstandings about that same world.
In this conference, we interrogate the complexities of the Nordic mythological realms interdisciplinarily from the scholarly perspectives of folkloristics, anthropology, religious studies, cultural history, linguistics, archaeology, philology, film criticism, textual criticism and the history of ideas. We explore how religious and secular institutions have made imposed differing narratives of interpretation on this mythological world, and we explore the interaction of the Scandinavian realm with other belief groups, such as the Sámi and more recent ones such as the neo-pagan Ásatrú."

Conference is set for April 27-28, 2012. To find out more, go their website.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Update: Preserve the Ranheim Temple!

Following the recent discovery of the ancient temple in Ranheim, Norway, efforts are underway to prevent development of the site and to instead preserve this ancient treasure. A Facebook group has been formed towards this end. You may view and request to join the group here. The group's language is in Norwegian, but can be easily translated with Google for those not fluent in the language.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trothmoot 2012

"Mark your dates for Trothmoot 2012 on the calendar now: June 7-10, 2012, at Camp Netimus in Milford, Pennsylvania. This event will be the 25th annual Trothmoot, and as a tribute to the history of The Troth and to its founders and successive leadership, some of the Elders of The Troth will be in attendance. This Trothmoot will present participants with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet some of the greatest movers and shakers in Heathenry and to hear their experiences first hand." You may register for Trothmoot here. To learn more about and to join the Troth, visit their main page.

The Scandinavian impact on Irish seafaring technology

"In the Middle Ages mariners from both Ireland and Scandinavia sailed the North Atlantic, but in different types of ships and for very different reasons. The Irish sailors appear to have favoured skin-covered ships called curraghs as the means by which they sought out remote islands on which to establish monastic retreats. The Norsemen, however, travelled the northern seas in clinker-built wooden vessels seeking plunder, land and trade. When at the end of the eighth century the Vikings invaded Ireland, these two distinct seafaring traditions came into contact with one another. This thesis is an analysis of the impact that the arrival of Scandinavian seafaring technology had upon that of the indigenous Irish." The full text of this 1984 Master's Thesis by Garth Stewart Wilson may be read in PDF format at the University of British Columbia's website.

Viking mice marauders swept across northern Europe

"They didn't rape and pillage or wear horned helmets*, but Norwegian mice accidentally stowing away on Viking ships swept through almost as many countries as the fearsome humans whose ships they boarded.

That's the conclusion from an analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from modern house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) living on Iceland and Greenland, which was compared with mtDNA extracted from mouse skeletons on the islands dating to the Viking heyday, 1000 to 1200 years ago. The sequences were also compared with mtDNA sequences from Viking mice in Norway and the UK."
Read the full article at the New Scientist.

*Blog owner: The Vikings didn't wear horned helmets, either, thank you!

Shamanism Approved as a Religion in Norway

"This is the first time that Shamanism has been officially recognized as a religion in Norway. According to TV2, director Lone Ebeltoft in the newly founded Shamanic Federation welcomed the governor's decision and expressed her ambition to preserve and continue the shamanistic traditions and practices in the country." The full story may be read at The Nordic Page.

Archaeologists uncover pre-Christian temple in Norway

"Located at the site of Ranheim, about 10 kilometers south of the Norwegian city of Trondheim, the astonishing discovery was unearthed while excavating foundations for new houses and includes a "gudehovet" or "god temple." Read the full story at the Examiner.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rural Settlements in Medieval Norway, AD 400-1400


"In the 5th and 6th centuries the three aisled longhouse with a byre and a living section appears to dominate on rural settlements in all regions. From the 7th century onwards the diversity is greater. In northern Norway the longhouse is still built in the 10th century. In eastern Norway the function fragmentation of the longhouse advances step by step until the domination of the two roomed timbered livinghouse from the 12th century onwards. In western Norway this fragmentation also occurs, but the longhouse without a byre also continues to be built, probably until modern times. Alterations in building techniques probably played a limited role in these developments."  The full article may be read at Ruralia.

UK experts find 7th-century teen buried in her bed

Via Yahoo! News and the Associated Press:

"Archaeologists excavating near Cambridge have stumbled upon a rare and mysterious find: The skeleton of a 7th-century teenager buried in an ornamental bed along with a gold-and-garnet cross, an iron knife and a purse full of glass beads.
Experts say the grave is an example of an unusual Anglo-Saxon funerary practice of which very little is known. Just over a dozen of these "bed burials" have been found in Britain, and it's one of only two in which a pectoral cross — meant to be worn over the chest — has been discovered."

The full article may be read here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Linnaeus’s Game of Tablut and its Relationship to the Ancient Viking Game Hnefatafl

Modern tafl board reconstruction. Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Aluric and

"This paper concerns Linnaeus’s 1732 work Iter Lapponicum and his important (though inadvertent) contributions to the field of Viking age archaeology. A journal entry from his publication contains a description of a Lapp board game called Tablut (also called Swedes & Muscovites), which later scholars realized was related to the Viking game of Hnefatafl. ..."

"... The British game historian H. J. R. Murray was the first to identify the importance of Linnaeus's description of the rules of a Lapp game called Tablut.  This game, he argued, was related to, and possibly identical with, an ancient Viking game called Hnefatafl, which the Icelandic sagas frequently reference ..."

The full article by John C. Ashton may be read at Heroic Age. A fair introduction to Tafl and its variations may be found at Wikipedia.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany

"A whole new world of magic animals, brave young princes and evil witches has come to light with the discovery of 500 new fairytales, which were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany for over 150 years. The tales are part of a collection of myths, legends and fairytales, gathered by the local historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz at about the same time as the Grimm brothers were collecting the fairytales that have since charmed adults and children around the world."

The full article may be read at the Guardian. One of the fairy tales, "The Turnip Princess," may be read here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Women in Heathenry

Skade (1893) by Carl Fredrik von Saltza. 
Courtesy Wikimedia.
Thanks to Ashley for finding this.
"... I can’t sew a button let alone knit, I don’t practice any sort of magic, and my family cult is to Odin. I suppose if I stretch it I could be warrior of sorts, choosing the pen over the sword, but I choose the role of scholar over gythia or seidth worker because I’m good at it, even if I have been judged for “not minding my place” which has happened several times. Not that there is anything wrong with any of the things I listed, its only that I believe through my research that there was so much more to our preceding sisters and that we are cheating ourselves and our history by not studying it."
The full editorial by Raven-Radio Co-Host Jill Budynas may be read at The Urban Ásatrúar.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bit of humor

PA Dutch Braucherei

"On this site you will find my thoughts and experiences with the faith healing and folk magic of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture; a fascinating blend of religion, superstition, magic, healing, astrology, charms, folklore and faith.  I hope you enjoy your visit!" On this blog by braucher Rob Chapman, you will find much useful information regrading the traditions of braucherei, hexerei, pow-wow, etc. His site also includes sample charms and recipes, and also links to his YouTube videos. His blog may be found here.

Vikings – the Rus – Varangians

"The Viking age in Scandinavia is usually dated from the end of the eighth century to the mid-11th century. Those who came from Scandinavia were called Rus and Varangians by peoples in Eastern Europe. French and Anglo-Saxon chroniclers sometimes divide the Vikings into ‘Danes’, ‘Swedes’ (Svear) and ‘Norsemen’ (Norwegians). In their turn, Arab scribes distinguished between Scandinavians, inhabiting Western Eurorpe, calling them ‘magus’ or al-urmania, and peoples in the east, which they called al-rus." A PDF of the full article, originally published in Historiska nyheter (2004), may be accessed at