Ratatoskr, Yggdrasil’s Flyting Messaging Service

Ratatoskr is a squirrel who runs up and down the world tree Yggdrasil to carry messages between Veðrfölnir, perched atop Yggdrasil, and the wyrm Níðhöggr, who dwells beneath one of the three roots of the tree. Ratatoskr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson Veðrfölnir is a hawk sitting between the eyes of an unnamed eagle that is perched on top of the world tree Yggdrasil.  Níðhöggr is a dragon/serpent/wyrm who gnaws…

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Remember, when taking a Selkie to always hide her skin well

selkie

Selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land. These mythological creatures from the sea are found in Irish, Scottish, Faroese, and Icelandic folklore. The stories frequently revolve around female selkies being coerced into relationships with humans by someone stealing and hiding their sealskin, often not regaining the skin until years later upon which they commonly return to the sea, forsaking their human family. Male selkies are described as being very handsome in their human form, and having great seductive…

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Norse Folklore, The Night Mare

A Mare is an evil spirit or huldrefolk (hidden folk) in folklore which rides on people’s chests while they sleep, often bringing on bad dreams or “nightmares“. The mare (Old Norse: mara) is mentioned in the Eyrbyggja saga, Ynglinga saga, and Vatnsdæla sagas. In English, the name appears in the word for “nightmare“. The Swedish word “mardröm” literally means mara-dream, the Norwegian word “mareritt” and the Danish “Mareridt”, both mean ‘Mare-ride’ or the Icelandic word ‘martröð’ means mara-dreaming repeatedly. The Mara is also a demon in Buddhism and some Buddhists have amulets blessed by monks to…

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The Blót – Norse Holidays and Religious Observances

Blót

The Blót is a sacrificial holiday held in honor of the Dísir, the Gods, and Ancestors. Also called a Dísablót (deese-a-blawt), which is two words, ‘dísir’ (or ‘dís’) and ‘blót’. Meaning, it is a “Dísir’s Blót” or “Blót for the Dísir.” A Blót is a sacrifice offered to the Norse gods and/or the spirits of the land, homestead, or clan. The blót sacrifice is often offered in the form of a sacramental drink, meal, or feast which is usually placed or poured over a hörgr (stone altar), vé (shrine), lund (grove), haug (sacred mound), or other sacred location such as a hof (temple).…

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Valravn, Danish Folklore’s Raven of the Slain

In Danish folklore, a valravn (“raven of the slain”) is a supernatural raven associated with death. These Ravens of the Slain appear in many traditional Danish folksongs which describe them as originating from ravens who eat the bodies of the dead on the battlefield. According to Danish folklore recorded in the late 1800s, when a king or chieftain was killed in battle and not found and buried, ravens came and ate him. The ravens then became valravne. The valravne that ate the king’s heart gained human knowledge and could perform great…

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Helhest, The Three-Legged Horse from Hel

In Danish folklore, a helhest (Danish “Hel horse”) is a three-legged horse associated with the Norse goddess Hel. The Helhest is also associated death and illness and it is mentioned in folklore as having been spotted in various locations in Denmark. The horse figures into a number of Danish phrases as recent as the 19th century, such as “han går som en helhest” (“he walks like a hel-horse”) for a male who “blunders in noisily”. The helhest is sometimes described as going “around the churchyard on his three legs, he…

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Nisse, Folklore’s Hidden Guardian of the Homestead

A nisse is a spiritual creature from Ancient Scandinavian folklore that in modern times is usually associated with the Winter Solstice and Christmas season. It is believed that nisse originate before the Asa belief, which predates Christianity. Nisse are one of the most familiar creatures in Scandinavian folklore and have appeared in many works of Scandinavian literature. They are both solitary and mischievous domestic sprites responsible for the protection and welfare of the farm and homestead. It is generally described as being no taller than 90 cm (3 ft), having a long white beard, and wearing a…

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Hardangerfjord and the Columbia River Gorge

I have always liked the Columbia River Gorge area. It’s an area which reminds me of Hardangerfjord in Norway. The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest of the United States bordering Oregon and Washington. Now, there are no real comparisons to the fjords of Norway (best place on Earth). But the Columbia River Gorge is the closest I have ever found in the United States. The deep cold waters and the scenery are nearly the same in these two areas. They are also both well known…

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Paganism vs Heathenism, is there a difference?

Where do the terms pagan and heathen come from and what’s the difference? The word pagan is a Latin term which means “nonparticipant” (paganus) or more accurately, “country dweller” or “civilian” in contrast to being “Soldiers of Christ”. “Pagan” was used by Christians in Anglo-Saxon England to describe non-Christians.  Latin was the spoken and written language of the Christian Church at the time, so it is of no surprise they would use a Latin word to refer to those not members of their church or religion. It wasn’t until the…

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When does ‘The Last Kingdom’ season 2 start in Netflix?

When does ‘The Last Kingdom’ season 2 start somewhere I can actually watch!? The epic historical drama, dubbed “the real Game of Thrones”, is currently airing on Thursdays at 9pm on BBC Two. However, that’s a station most American subscribers do not get. Not to mention, most watch it on Netflix anyways. So when does ‘The Last Kingdom Season Two’ start for those of us who do not get BBC2? Netflix has joined forces with the BBC to co-produce the second season and will release season two in the US on May 5, 2017.…

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