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Odin's Wife Mother Earth in Germanic Mythology

Discussion in 'Neopagan or Revival Religions' started by Wild Fox, May 22, 2020.

  1. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    I just finished the book "Odin's Wife Mother Earth in Germanic Mythology by William Reaves.

    I guess I never connected Germanic Mythology as well as I should have. In this book there is and suggestion that Frigg, Odin's Wife, is a Mother Earth goddess. The same goddess as called by other names such as Jord, Hlin, and connects with Nethrus,, Hertha, Oestra, Frau Woden, Frau Holle, Frau Perchta.as well as others. I am sure many of you are familiar with this book but for me is was illuminating. It presents a continuity of Germanic pre-Christian beliefs. and rituals preserved even into the Christian Era. I found the description of Njord associated with the ocean familiar with Manannan with Celtic association of the goddess to the land and water and the god associated with the Sky. Still trying to assimilate the information but found the book fascinating.
     
  2. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    1. Any thoughts about Frigg as a mother earth goddess?
    2. The connection of Jord, Hlin, and Frigg as to different epithets.
    3. The connections of the multiple different descriptions throughout the Germanic world that can be connected to Frigg?
     
  3. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    Beware of books that generalise, codify and simplify, I would characterise this book as neopagan rather than a serious study of Frigg's mythology. For example, there is no such goddess as Oestra, there is only Eostre. Eostre is only mentioned once by Bede, it was Grimm who extrapolated that one citation making her a pan Germanic goddess, this no longer stands up under modern scrutiny. There is no goddess Hertha only Nerthus, Hertha or Etha are outdated linguitic interpretations of the goddess Nerthus; as mentioned once by Tacitus. Frau Woden??? Woden is an Anglo Saxon god, I don't even understand this reference.

    I would be very wary of melding so goddesses under one name, not only is there no evidence for this syncretism but these goddesses are from different times and cultures. There was never a pan Germanic culture, there were many tribes with many different goddesses. The term Germanic is a linguistic grouping nothing more, it does not signify a unified culture or pantheon.

    I would accept that the Norse Frigg is connected to the earth, in that she was able to extract a pledge from all living things, except mistletoe, to protect Baldr and that she is said by Snorri (no other source) to the daughter of Fjörgyn; which incidentally makes her Thor’s sister.

    .
     
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  4. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    1. As mentioned above I would connect Frigg to the earth through her parentage, as expressed by Snorri, and her ability to extract pledges from all living creatures. But I would see this as one aspect of her mythology, rather that pigeonhole her as solely an earth goddess.

    2. Jord is Old Norse for earth, as is Hlóðynn, Fjörgyn, , Fold, and Grund. In the Norse souces these ?goddesses/constructs don't have specific mythologies or existing stories, other that mother to Thor and Frigg. Hlín is an enigmatic character, possibly a byname of Frigg.

    3. Until and if ever more evidence comes to light connecting all these goddesses through time across tribal boundaries is fraught with difficulties.
     
  5. The Ragin Pagan

    The Ragin Pagan A.K.A. The Kilted Heathen

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    Thor is parented by Odin and Jord, not Fjorgyn. I'd also caution extreme skepticism of Snorri's genealogy, as he also lists Odin as a descendant of Thor.
     
  6. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    I do not think this is do Neopagan as it would seem. The evidence is based on archeologic evidence as well as considerable research in the available written material from the Germanic to the Scandinavian medieval records including Christian records denouncing old pagan practices.

    I always appreciate your posts but I there is a risk both ways. The Norse were of Germanic origin and must have shared in particular rituals associated with belief with the Germanic relatives. Frau Woden is explained in the book as the Wife of Woden. Woden is an Anglo Saxon god but to deny the relationship to the Norse Odin seems to be ignoring the parallels. I am trying to understand all presented in the book but am willing to provide the references. Germanic is more that just linguistic there is considerable cultural connections also.

    The depictions of the rock carvings of Scandinavia of ritual activity amazingly correlate with recorded old pagan processions and rituals that continued into the Christian Germanic Europe before being extinguished or recreated into Christian rituals. I found the descriptions of associations with the winter solstice was very interesting. But coming from a Celtic understanding it was the relationship of the female with nature that resonates with Celtic views of the goddess. This is especially true of the relationship of the goddess with bodies of water. I think it is at least worth consideration.
     
  7. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Odin has many different names as is true of many Celtic gods and goddesses. Dagda is the good god in Irish pagan religion. He is also known as the Ollathair or all father or Ruad Rofhessa the god of great wisdom/knowledge as well as other names. Why would that not be true of Frigg as Jord mother of Thor.

    There may be difficulties and the evidence is limited but there is evidence that has changed the way we see both Norse as well as Celtic views of pre-Christian religion.

    Just some thoughts but thanks for the response.
     
  8. Native

    Native Natural Philosopher

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    I agree with Hildeburh in her:
    The deities in "Norse Mythology" is a mish mash of Germanic myths and several cultural overlays in "Scandinavian Myths".

    If Frigg is supposed to be the wife of Odin, she cannot be a mother goddess of the Earth itself. Odin occurs in the beginning of the Norse Creation Story as said here:
    "The half-god, half-giant children of Bor and Bestla were Odin, who became the chief of the Aesir gods, and his two brothers, Vili and Ve".
    And:
    "Odin and his brothers slew Ymir and set about constructing the world from his corpse. They fashioned the oceans from his blood, the soil from his skin and muscles, vegetation from his hair, clouds from his brains, and the sky from his skull".

    That is: Odin is connected to the very creation of the ancient known local part of the Universe, our Milky Way - hence also the logical reference to the creator Cow Audhumbla and nursering with milk. If Odin is connected to the creation, "his wife" must also be immediately connected to this initial creation.

    About Frigg here:
    "In Old High German and Old Norse sources, she is specifically connected with Fulla, but she is also associated with the goddesses Lofn, Hlín, Gná, and ambiguously with the Earth, otherwise personified as an apparently separate entity Jörð (Old Norse "Earth"). The children of Frigg and Odin include the gleaming god Baldr. Due to significant thematic overlap, scholars have proposed a connection to the goddess Freyja".

    Again, there are a diversity of cultural overlaps and interpretations from Frigg being a Sky Goddess to an Earth Goddess. If Frigg is a consort of Odin, "the all knowing and all seeing Father in the Sky", Frigg cannot IMO represent the Earth but the Sky.
     
  9. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input. I am trying to understand what is known from archeology, mythology and what is recorded about residual pre-Christian. The book "Odin's Wife Mother Earth in Germanic Mythology" provided impressive evidence which I am not familiar enough to present properly.

    For me I am trying to understand Norse mythology from my perspective so your input is appreciated. I cannot see the gods or goddesses in the human like form as presented in the texts written. I see the gods and goddesses of both Celtic and Norse in non human terms so the concept of earth as mother as more consistent with my view but I am trying to be open to other views. If you have read the book which does have considerable resources I would like to hear more.
     
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  10. Native

    Native Natural Philosopher

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    So do I. IMO Gods and Goddesses represent different forces and different celestial scenario´s, but they´ve been hugely personalized as "times went on".

    No, I have not read this specific book, but I´ve read lots of other books and I´ve studied Comparative Mythology and Religion for some 40 years with my focus on the cultural Stories of Creation, and I can with great conviction say that these stories are hugely underestimated regarding the astronomical and cosmological contents and knowledge:

    Take for instants "Odins wife Goddess Frigg". Odin occurs initially in the beginning of Norse story of creation, which deals with everything observable in ancient times, including the observation of the Milky Way as a white crescent band in the night Sky.

    Subsequently Odins wife, Frigg, also must be interpreted in this context as a prime Mother Goddess in this creation. But, if scholars have NO IDEAS of this entire celestial context, they have no other options but to interpret Frigg as a Goddess of the Earth, where "she" in fact represent the entire creation in the Milky Way, just like the Egyptian Goddess Hathor.

    This scholarly celestial/terrestrial confusion occurs all over the places in books and mythical encyclopedia. The central LIGHT in the Milky Way is interpreted and noted as the Sun and the observed crescent shape of the Milky Way is interpreted and determined as the Moon, etc. etc. All because of a general underestimation of the ancient myths.

    My perception of the prime deities of Odin and Frigg here:
    The Greatest God in Heaven
    The great Mother Goddess
     
  11. Native

    Native Natural Philosopher

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    I fully agree with you in this, and I´ll even say the ancient Rock Carving symbols in ritual locations were causes to all kinds of "christian" persecutions.

    To me it is not mystical to find all kinds of similarities between ancient Rock Arts in different countries and even continents. As I write in my signature profile:

    We all live on the same Earth; in the same Solar System; in the same Milky Way galaxy and in the same part of the observable Universe. These facts constitutes the cultural text and symbolism in ancient Stories of Creation.
    Yes and it was even an essential marking and knowledge as our ancestors were directly dependent of the annual seasons in NATURE and its ability to provide food, clothes, shelters and so on.
    Absolutely so. The very concept of Water Deities is very important in many cultural myths. But again, as said in my former post: If a scholar have no ideas of astronomical or cosmological implications or the symbolism in a myth, they are forced to interpret "Water Deities" into geographical locations instead of the celestial areas where the "watery terms", amongst other issues, also descibes the mythical Milky Way River which again fits very well to your own perception of a prime (Frigg) goddess relationship with "bodies of water".

    I´ve also been studying ancient Rock Arts for about 40 years as you can read here - Ancient Science. The Ancient and native Way of Knowledge

    Regards
    Native
     
    #11 Native, Jun 1, 2020 at 6:02 AM
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020 at 6:17 AM
  12. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    There are considerable Christian and Classical influences in the written sources on Norse Mythology; this is well represented in the academic literature. Themes in Indo-European mythology are also reflected in Norse mythology; particularly the snake or dragon slaying by a thundergod and creation from the destruction of a primordial being; this is discussed by M.L West in his seminal work Indo-European Poetry and Myth. There is also cultural overlap from Celtic mythology particularly in the mythos of Odin and the cultural importance of völvas, M.J. Enright: Lady with the Mead Cup remains the classic work on this topic.

    But the deities in "Norse Mythology" being a mish mash of Germanic myths is an exceedingly difficult construct to prove, given the lack of written sources. For example, the Vanir as a distinct grouping of gods/esses, Freya, Loki, Ullr, Bor, Vili, Ve, Heimdallr, Iðunn and the host of minor players in Norse mythology are not mentioned outside of Scandinavian sources. Conversely, there are many gods/esses mentioned in other Germanic sources that are not reflected in the Norse sources.

    Odin is connected to the creation of midgard by the destruction of Ymir; according to the Vǫluspá stars, sun and moon already existed but did not know their place. Audhumbla is a quandary in Norse mythology and no connection with Odin can be construed from the existing literature. Frigg being connected to this intial act of creation is your assumption, it is not attested in the sources. Frigg is not Odin's only consort; in Gylfaginning Odin is connected Jörð (Old Norse for earth), with whom he is said to have fathered Thor; Jörð is also called Odin's bride,” in skaldic poetry. Victor Rydberg considered Frigg and Jörð to be one in the same though his work is a little outdated now.

    The Norse creation myth does not preclude Frigg being connected to the earth as she is said to be the daughter of the personified earth through birth (Fjörgynn) and her mythos includes that of having enough sway to extract promises from all living things. I don't think anyone is saying that in Norse mythology she is seen as having had a hand in creating Midgard but rather she is connected to the earth through parentage and mythos.

    Her association with earth is not ambiguous in Lokasenna she is the daughter of earth. The hypothesis that Frigg and Freya may have been a single goddess is difficult given the paucity of sources. There is an informative video on that subject here:



    Provide a refernce from Norse mythology that presents Frigg as a sky goddess or Odin as a sky god for that matter. Odin has many bynames I can't think of one that refers to him as a sky god, in fact one of his kennings is Gracious Lord of Earth. Based on etymological evidence Old Norse Tyr, Old English Tiw are the most likely candidates for sky gods: Tyr evolved from *Dyeus

    "Both the name *Dyeus and the basic Proto-Indo-European word for “god,” *deiwós, are variations of the root *dyeu-, “the daytime sky.”[11] *Dyeus was the quintessential “Sky Father” and likely one of the chief deities of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon. After all, his name was effectively identical with the word for godhood itself. Other gods derived from him include the Greek Zeus and the Roman Jupiter (from *Dyeus Phater, “Sky Father”).[12] Fascinatingly, the modern English words “day” and “deity” both come from this same root"

    Tyr - Norse Mythology for Smart People
     
    #12 Hildeburh, Jun 1, 2020 at 6:29 AM
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020 at 6:51 AM
  13. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    Correction noted. Jörð, Hlóðynn, Fjörgyn, Fold, and Grund are all Old Norse for earth I tend to use them interchangeably.

    I agree, Snorri is suspect on many levels but you got to go with what you got when discussing the genealogy of Norse gods/esses.
     
  14. Native

    Native Natural Philosopher

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    Odin is not just connected to the Norse Midgard dimension but to the entire viewpoint from the Earth/Midgard perspective, including the Sky which resembles the skull of Ymir.

    The Odin connection to Audhumla needs no speculations at all as the creator animal, Audhumbla, "licks all primordial deites" out of the rocks in the Norse creation story. A quandary just occurs as scholar fails to connect the mythical, astronomical and cosmological dots.
    I know that there are several goddesses in Norse Mythology who can be interpreted as "Earth Goddesses" but as Odin belongs to the celestial imagery, his wife also must be connected to the same celestial realm, whether she is called Frigg, Freja or Jörð - as elaborated by Jackson Crawford in the video.

    Goddess Jörð (Old Norse for earth) most logically shoud be interpreted in the terms of "soil, mud or clay" and NOT with the capitol Earth as in this planet. Jörð then represent the creative Mother Goddess force and former of all "firm matters" and objects in the Milky Way, just like the Egyptian Goddess Hathor and other classical goddesses. In this sense we have a Primeval Goddess connected to the creation itself (Frigg or Jörð) and a secondary Goddess of Earth, Goddess Freja or Nerthus.

    Or, as elaborated by Jackson Crawford in the video, they´re all one and the same from different cultural periods and different local texts. And seen from my perspective, they all represent the prime Mother Goddess of Creation of the Goddesses of Love and fertility. Not just the human fertility but the very creation in all it´s forms in the ancient known part of the Universe.
    From - Odin - Wikipedia
    “Old Norse texts portray Odin as one-eyed and long-bearded, frequently wielding a spear named Gungnir and wearing a cloak and a broad hat. He is often accompanied by his animal companions and familiars—the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgardand rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld”.

    Obviously Odin is a Sky deity, so you have missed something in this matter.
    This is a scholarly cultural misunderstanding. The fact is that the Greek Zeus and the Roman Jupiter BOTH represent the SAME primeval and pantheon Sky Father in different cultures, just like Odin in the Germanic and Norse traditions. Of course they are similar as they represent the similar mythical descriptions in the creation.

    Besides that, these deities cannot be described as deities of the “the daytime sky.” as no one can observe anything which looks as a male Father Sky deity in the Sky at day time. This description rather points forward to a nocturnal image of light figures on the night Sky.
     
    #14 Native, Jun 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020 at 2:43 AM
  15. Native

    Native Natural Philosopher

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    I find it somewhat remarkable that a specialist as Jackson Crawford don´t make the obvious astronomical and cosmological connections in the Norse Creation Story.

    The very telling of Ask Yggdrasil and it´s "Nine Worlds" clearly speaks of both a horisontal (Midgard) and a vertical dimension (Utgard and Asgard) above and below the Earth (Hel)

    It´s of course very relevant and important to work linguistic and etymologically with the ancient text but it is equally (maybe even more) important to get the context directly connected to the celestial realms mentioned in the Norse Mythology.

    Excerpt from Ask Yggdrasil
    "Nevertheless, there are some clues in the sources that might enable us to construct a tentative and partial schema of where some of the Nine Worlds would have been generally thought to be located. They seem to have been arranged along two axes, one vertical, the other horizontal. The vertical axis would correspond to Yggdrasil’s trunk, with Asgard in the highest branches, Midgard on the ground at the tree’s base, and Hel underground amongst the tree’s roots. The horizontal axis would be based on the distinction the Vikings made between the innangard and utangard. Thus, Asgard would be right over the trunk of the tree, Midgard around the trunk (and therefore in the “middle” on both of these axes), and Jotunheim would surround Midgard and thereby be that much more distant from the trunk. As for the other worlds: who knows?".

    [​IMG]

    If considering the Utgard, Asgard and Midgard as celestial and terrestrial realms, the Gods and Goddesses in ancient myths almost give themselves if connected to the (Galactic) Creation Story. And if so, all the personalized historical context of gods and goddesses and their attributes can be analysed into a modern astronomical and cosmological context as a description of the celestial motions in generally.
     
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