32 episodes

What makes Norse mythology "norse"? Why does Thor kill giants? What do the myths tell us about Loki's gender identity? The world of popular media is always happy to provide a modernized re-telling of ancient stories with a heavy scoop of creative license, but on "Norse Mythology: The Unofficial Guide", we'll dive into the original tales directly from the sources and learn together from experts in the field about what these stories really mean and how they would have affected the lives of the ancient people of the pagan north.

Contact me any time at waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com!

Norse Mythology: The Unofficial Guide Wælhræfn

    • History

What makes Norse mythology "norse"? Why does Thor kill giants? What do the myths tell us about Loki's gender identity? The world of popular media is always happy to provide a modernized re-telling of ancient stories with a heavy scoop of creative license, but on "Norse Mythology: The Unofficial Guide", we'll dive into the original tales directly from the sources and learn together from experts in the field about what these stories really mean and how they would have affected the lives of the ancient people of the pagan north.

Contact me any time at waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com!

    Episode 26 - Of Day, Of Night & Of Wolves

    Episode 26 - Of Day, Of Night & Of Wolves

    One of the more difficult things to do in Norse mythology is understanding the way the sun and moon relate to day and night. Each one seems to have its own origin, and figuring out where the distinction between a shiny object and a divine person really is can be tricky. Add to this the big mess of wolf and horse names scattered all over the story and what we have is a big recipe for confusion. In this episode, we'll go through this together, figuring out who's who, what's what, and how everyone gets killed by which particular wolf.

    Sources:


    “Dictionary of Northern Mythology” by Rudolf Simek, 2007
    “Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs” by John Lindow, 2001
    “The Historical Development of Basic Color Terms in Old Norse-Icelandic” by Jackson Crawford, 2014
    “The Poetic Edda”, transl. by Carolyne Larrington, 2014
    “The Prose Edda”, transl. by Anthony Faulkes, 1995

    Contact:


    Write in: waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com
    Join the Discord: https://discord.gg/Nvw5hmkRsW

    Music:

    Celebration by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 31 min
    Episode 25 - Where Are the Nine Realms?

    Episode 25 - Where Are the Nine Realms?

    Way back in episode 1, I mentioned that the sources are not exactly as clear on what "the nine realms" are as popular media would have us believe. In this episode, we dig into all the ways the phrase "nine realms" is used in the sources, and try our best to put together a working model of how the Norse cosmos was really shaped.

    Sources:


    “Contradictory cosmology in old norse myth and religion – but still a system?” by Eldar Heide, 2014
    “The Poetic Edda”, transl. by Carolyne Larrington, 2014
    “The Prose Edda”, transl. by Anthony Faulkes, 1995

    Contact:


    Write in: waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com
    Join the Discord: https://discord.gg/Nvw5hmkRsW

    Music:

    Celebration by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 43 min
    Episode 24 - The Valkyries, Freyja, and Fólkvangr

    Episode 24 - The Valkyries, Freyja, and Fólkvangr

    There's an intriguing stanza in one of our source poems mentioning a compromise between the goddess Freyja and the god Óðinn. It seems to tell us only half the slain warriors are received by Óðinn in Valhöll because the other half are chosen by Freyja for a place called Fólkvangr. But what does it really mean to choose the slain? Who decides who dies? And what happens when the god of the slain wants something that goes against the decrees of fate? This episode is a little more interpretive than others, but isn't speculation what makes the study of mythology fun?

    Sources:


    “Dictionary of Northern Mythology” by Rudolf Simek, 2007
    “Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs” by John Lindow, 2001
    “The Ship in the Field” by Joseph S. Hopkins and Haukur Þorgeirsson, 2012
    “The Poetic Edda”, transl. by Carolyne Larrington, 2014
    “The Prose Edda”, transl. by Anthony Faulkes, 1995

    Contact:


    Write in: waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com
    Join the Discord: https://discord.gg/Nvw5hmkRsW

    Music:

    Celebration by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ 

    • 30 min
    Corrections: Part I

    Corrections: Part I

    Sometimes I make mistakes. We're all learning together from the experts here. This is a mini-episode addressing two mistakes I made in previous episodes that have been bothering me recently, and that I wanted to correct. There's nothing groundbreaking or foundational here, but I think it's good to fix mistakes when we find them.

    Contact:


    Join the Discord: https://discord.gg/Nvw5hmkRsW
    You can also write me at waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com

    • 4 min
    Episode 23 - It's the End of the World As We Know It

    Episode 23 - It's the End of the World As We Know It

    The moment has finally arrived! The doom of the gods (or is it, fate of the gods? ...or twilight of the gods?) is upon us! Listen as your dedicated host tirelessly strings together a narrative crafted from The Prose Edda, Völuspá, Vafþrúðnismál, Grímnismál, and Fáfnismál to finally present a full picture of Ragnarök. But what does Ragnarök really mean? Has it already happened? Are the dead gods really dead? Will there be another Ragnarök in the future? All this and more in today's episode and more to come in the future. 

    Sources:


    “Dictionary of Northern Mythology” by Rudolf Simek, 2007
    “Fimbulvintern, Ragnarök och klimatkrisen år 536–537” by Bo Gräslund, 2007
    “Sacred Tree and Holy Grove” by Joseph S. Hopkins, 2020, on mimisbrunnr.info
    “The mythic theme of the great winter in ancient Iranian traditions” by Anders Hultgard, 2002
    “The Poetic Edda”, transl. by Carolyne Larrington, 2014
    “The Prose Edda”, transl. by Anthony Faulkes, 1995

    Contact:


    Write in: waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com
    Join the Discord: https://discord.gg/Nvw5hmkRsW

    Music:

    Celebration by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 44 min
    Episode 22 - Crime and Envy Part II: Loki Yees His Last Haw

    Episode 22 - Crime and Envy Part II: Loki Yees His Last Haw

    Previously, Loki took it upon himself to orchestrate the murder of the gods' golden boy, Baldr. In this episode, Loki's actions finally come back to haunt him as the gods exact their revenge. We'll discuss how this story differs between accounts in the two Eddas, and even dig in to a lesser-known part of the story preserved mainly in Gesta Danorum. And with this story out of the way, the stage has finally been fully set for Ragnarök.

    Sources:


    “Dictionary of Northern Mythology” by Rudolf Simek, 2007
    “Relative sá and the dating of Eddic and skaldic poetry” by Christopher D. Sapp, 2019
    “Studier over de nordiske gude- og heltesagns oprindelse” by Sophus Bugge, 1881
    “Gesta Danorum” transl. by Karsten Friis-Jensen and Peter Fisher, 2015
    “The Poetic Edda”, transl. by Carolyne Larrington, 2014
    “The Prose Edda”, transl. by Anthony Faulkes, 1995

    Contact:


    Write in: waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com
    Join the Discord: https://discord.gg/Nvw5hmkRsW

    Music:

    Celebration by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ 

    • 31 min

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