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The Ragnarök

Discussion in 'Paganism DIR' started by The Ragin Pagan, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    "...A lot of people tend to confuse Ragnarök with the Christian term 'Armageddon', which means 'The End of the World.' But, that is not the case here because in the Old Norse way of thinking, everything moved in cycles. So it's basically telling the story about a ring that ends, but also a ring that begins. So something needs to die, for something else to live. And these days, when the sun is turning, that is what it's about. To let die what needs to die. It's the end of the death cycle, of the year. Today, or in these days, this is when summer is born. This is when light of the year is born. In these days. So it's a very good opportunity ... to let die stuff that you don't need to carry around anymore. To make room for new stuff that you can reap during later this year." ~Einar Selvik

    This encapsulates my sentiments on the Ragnarök. I agree with what Einar taught; the Ragnarök is not a future event to happen. Loki will not pull a 180° and betray the Æsir, leading his daughter's army of the dead against the einherjar. Rather, the Ragnarök describes what happens every year. In addition to things naturally dying, and the need to let things die, wisdom is devoured by rage. Strength is outdone by itself. The moon is devoured every month, and the sun progressively through the year as the night grows longer. Every year, the Gods die, and every new year, they return again - just as the Earth herself dies and is reborn.
     
  2. PopeADope

    PopeADope Habemus papam

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    Beautiful!:blueheart:
     
  3. jaybird

    jaybird Member

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    didnt the Norse believe this world was licked into existence by a giant cow? love those old stories!
     
  4. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    Take note of the section.

    No, the world was not licked into existence.

    "In the beginning was the void, Ginnungagap. In it grew two realms; Muspelheim and Niflheim. Eons passed until they touched, and from their collision was born Ymir, the first giant.

    As Ymir slept, the elements that formed his body became solid. He began to sweat, giving birth to the frost giants.

    Far from Ymir, Auðumbla the cow was born. Made from purity, Auðumbla began to lick the ice upon which she stood. Three days passed before the body of Búri, father of the Gods, was revealed.

    Búri gave birth to a son named Borr, who in turn married Bestla. Together, they had three sons; Vili, Vé and Óðinn. Those born from ice and fire were of a good soul, whist those born from tainted elements carried darkness in their hearts.

    Vili, Vé and Óðinn killed the giant Ymir. His flesh became earth. His blood became water. His hair became grass and trees. His skull became the sky, held high by the four dwarves. Thus, our world was created.

    The Creation Myth is complete."

    The Ginnungagap is the empty void that permeates our universe. Anti-matter, in a word.
    The clash of Muspelheim (heat) and Niflheim (cold) is the Big Bang; the creation of the cosmos.
    From then we see the gathering of matter, and an eon where chaos rules the cosmos.
    Order begins to emerge, and "slays" chaos. Our universe is made livable.
     
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  5. Toten

    Toten Member

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    Wardruna is truly amazing. Thing is, now they've finished 3 albums, and thus completed their Futhark titled discography. I wonder where they're gonna go from here.


    I like your interpretation. Always good to try to find a nuanced view of old European lore, rather than simply taking it all at face value and viewing all of it 100% literally.
     
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  6. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    I really hope that Einar just keeps making new Norse music!
     
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  7. Toten

    Toten Member

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    So do I. I miss Gaahl's deep poetic vocals in Wardruna but Odal was still a fantastic album. I think it would be cool for Einar to do something even more authentic or traditional in the future.
     
  8. jaybird

    jaybird Member

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    im a bit rusty on my ancient Norse creation stories. but i knew their was a big cow in there somewhere.
    who was the guy that had to hold his hand in the giant wolfs mouth?
    this is why they didnt have cable tv back then, with giant cows and wolf stories you didnt need it.
     
  9. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    Týr is the God who gave his hand to bind Fenrir.
     
  10. Toten

    Toten Member

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    It was their folklore, their culture, and their philosophy. Not some stupid "saturday morning entertainment".
    Word of advice, don't take everything you read literally. Nuance is always important.
     
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  11. jaybird

    jaybird Member

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    easy there big fella. i didnt say the whole belief system was foolish none sense, i was only implying it was interesting.
     
  12. Cassandra

    Cassandra Active Member

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    My view:

    I feel there is no reason to believe Ragnarok is the end of the year cycle. I do not like it when people start to explain Paganism as all symbolic and archetypes. Rather than trying to understand their ancestors, they seem to be ashamed of traditional ideas and want to turn them into more fashionable abstract ideas they make up themselves. I can understand a scientist taking in such a detached view, but surely for people in a religion it means much more. We should not readily explain away what seems odd to us, or makes no sense to us. Give the ancient ones some credit.

    Ragnarok is surely be taken as the end of the World as we know it, even the Human Race as it exists now. In many ancient religions we find the idea of the end times and that it begins with a great battle. The ancients understood well that we live in cycles within cycles within cycles within cycles etc..

    The year is part of a bigger cycles. A cycle itself is broken up in (two, tree or four) periods. Just look how the life cycle can be divided in two, three, or four stages as well. In Hinduism for instance life is traditionally divided in 4 stages of 25 years, like we divide the year to in 4 seasons. But the Celts used less seasons.

    Humanity as well was believed to have a life cycle of four era's. In many old civilizations we find the idea of the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. The Greek and the Egyptians spoke of them. In Hinduism it is called Yuga's in the cycle they call a day of Brahmaa (the Creator God). This is relevant as European Pagan language and traditions are connected with Vedic ones, and we often find very similar ideas.

    The Human race has been reborn several times already. Presently we live in the last era, the Iron Age or Kali Yuga. At the end of this era humanity (or large part of it) will die and be reborn with the new cycle and begin another Golden Age. At the end of the cycle people get more and more corrupted, just like the human body gets corrupted near the end of life. In new era's new Gods reign supreme. Gods are immortal but their reign is not eternal.

    The Iron Age we live in is the age in which people become more and more unfeeling (hard as iron) and less social and spiritual. It is the Age in which feeling is more and more replaced by self-centered reasoning. That is why people seek purely rational explanation for things. Nowadays people try to impose constructed rational ideas on everything. Even their feelings they want to give rational explanations. Otherwise they find it hard to accept them. Modern Man wants control, power over things. He no longer respects Nature as it is, he wants to control it, rule it. He worships a supreme God of power or wants to be a supreme God himself. No longer he understands that the Gods too play their parts to serve the rest.

    The Germanic people had a strong belief that the grand cycle was coming to an end. Every year the days would get shorter, but luckily with the help of Wodan the Sun would be rescued every year. But the forces of the dark were growing and one day the force of the dark would finally swallow the Sun.

    Now our ancestors observed and understood Nature very well. They just did not understand the underlying mechanisms as well as we do. Our science is much better. They did not understand the mechanism that caused all the cycles, but they did observe the cycles. And to throw that overboard and recplace it with a cheap analogy of the year cycle is really a loss.

    And Enar is wrong here, we do find the same ideas in translation also in Abrahamic religions, as Abrahamism is based on rehashed Pagan myths. In Hinduism the last era will end with the coming of Kalki, the last incarnation of Vishnu, the Lord of Time. In Christianity many believe in the return of Jesus, In Islam for some the Madhi. Many Christians today believe in the end time, even the Muslims of IS are motivated by the thought of this end time.

    And scientists? More and more scientist believe in the idea of the Singularity, an event that could well mean the end of the Human Race as we know it. Maybe the new human race will be a machine race, or maybe future human races will live in abstract digital worlds. Or maybe the great battle will be against the machines.

    So these ideas are all but dead. They live in all kinds of ways in different cultures. The uncontrolled way humanity is moving to an unknown destiny may well end in a major crisis. And from the ashes a new humanity may arise as before. We know we are not the first human race to walk the earth. Disruption is typical for the end of every cycle, it always ends with a rupture, in the same way that our life ends with a rupture (death) as well. You can not be reborn without dying.

    Our ancestors were not stupid. They studied Nature. Their brains were as good as ours, probably better and they had much more time to observe and think about these things. In fact the last ten thousand years we lost a considerable part of our brains, muscles, health, even size. What grows fast is our collective knowledge and arrogance, but not our individual intelligence or memory. Those are going down.

    If the ideas of our ancestors feel alien, and you want to rationalize them, you are rather a philosopher then a Pagan. Philosophers is what really destroyed Paganism replacing age old wisdom and connection to Nature and the Spirits with a highy idealized abstract thinking, that distanced itself from Nature. The Greek philosophers ridiculed the Gods. And with that they also undermined the Greek city states whose unity and strength very much came from worshiping the City patron Gods.

    Many words or descriptions in myths are not to be taken literal. One has to understand the meaning of the symbols and poetic descriptions. But neither are they to be taken as intellectual abstract ideas. We also need to understand that ancient people used all kind of analogies to describe the deeper nature. They also created endless honor titles for Gods or people. They used language in a different way than we do today.

    If you think Gods are symbols and Ragnarok is the year cycle you are simply projecting moddern ideas on ancients texts. It is driven by a desire to get away from the idea of end of the world. That sounds too unbelievable, so lets create another explanation. O yes, I got it, our ancestors found a symbolic way to describe the year cycle. No, they did not! They did not mix up cycles. If the theory seems to fit it is only because different cycles go through similar phases.

    No religion can survive on such abstract ideas. When you say Jesus did not really live he was just a archetype and God is just metaphor for perfection, you effectively kill religion. Then you are an atheist living in a combination of materialism and abstract philosophy. That is a way to mentally distance yourself from existence.

    Pagan religion is a way to connect yourself to existence, to feel deeply connected with Spirits around us, with Ancestors before us and our offspring after us, and we do not just live a life, we live a story. We play a role in huge play. And in that play are all kinds of actors, the Living, the Dead, the Gods, the Demons, etc.

    That is why tradition is hugely important for a people, it gives each member a part in an ongoing story. He does not come to this world as an accident of Nature to survive for a while. No, a Pagan comes to this world to play a role in cosmic story, once again. A story he plays with all the connected spirits. And every story is part of a bigger story. When you are not part of a tradition, you are a rolling stone lost in space and time.

    No the end of the world/human race is not a stupid idea. Everything that begins also comes to an end. That goes for an individual human being and the Human race as a whole. There was a day, no humans walked the Earth and that day will come again. Come what may come, for our ancestors the most important thing was to walk this world with dignity. For our ancestors the world was a big stage, and they were the actors in a play seeking honor.

    Were they wrong? I do not think so.

    Ragnarok is coming!
     
    #12 Cassandra, Jan 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
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  13. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    Ragnarök being more than just "the end of the world", to me, gives it far more meaning. Also I would like to point out that Einar is Norse, so I feel he's got a better grip on it than some. He also - to my understanding - very much believes in the Gods; not as symbols or archetypes, but as gods.

    Yet Norse lore and mythology is full of lessons, metaphors, and non-literal narrations. The Ragnarök is one such of these that Romanticism and Christianization has turned into Armageddon.

    Ragnarök is indeed coming, in about eight to nine months.
     
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  14. Cassandra

    Cassandra Active Member

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    My view,

    There is a connection between Ragnarok and the year cycle, but not that it is the same. In the North the Sun is much weaker than around the equator and in the high north the long winter is one long night. Naturally there was considerable fear with people that one day the Sun would not show his face again after winter.

    The story is like this: Mani (Moon) and his sister Sól (Sun) are being chased by the Wolves Hati and Sköll, and as the Wolves come closer and Mani and Sól become exhausted they become weaker and the days get shorter. But luckily when Sun and Moon are about to be swallowed by the Wolves, Odin and his army of dead come to free the Hati and Sol. This happens every year, But as Odin grows older and loses his strength, one day he will not be able to save Mani and Sol. Mani will be swallowed by Hati, and Sól by Sköll. Then the world will be in darkness, and it is when the great end battle Ragnarök will begin.

    So the year cycle is not Ragnarök as Einar says, but the opposite. Winter solstice is the prevention of Ragnarök by Odin. When Odin fails then Ragnarök will happen. And Ragnarök is at the end of a longer cycle not the year cycle.

    I do not think there is any evidence or reason to believe Ragnarök was created by Christians. It is only thanks to a few individual Christians that we have these stories to begin with. There is no doubt that these people did there best to preserve this knowledge. They wanted to preserve this for their own reasons.

    The church would not likely have wanted this. They did there utmost best to destroy all the written records of Pagans. For instance they destroyed all the written records of the Mayas to the extend that their language was harder to decipher than the Egyptian hieroglyphs. They really wanted to stop revival of traditional religion anyway they could.

    It makes little sense they allowed people to record the old myths and then put in Ragnarök. More likely is that they profited from the idea, by promoting their God as the one of the new age. Something that Christians believed deeply anyway. But even if they used this argument, when did Ragnarök happen then? It does not really make sense.

    The problem with reconstructions is that one still thinks with a modern mindset. Is it really so hard to understand that people really believed these stories in the absence of better science? Christians today no longer understand that their God was believed to sit on a cloud an look down between the clouds, LITERALLY. The Jews even wear a kippah so their God does not have to look on their skulls. The idea to see it all as "symbolic" is modern, not traditional.

    The real value of these stories does not lay in giving them some symbolic overall meaning. So what if we say Ragnarök is the year cycle. Does that represent any higher knowledge? No. The value of the stories lies in how they show us how things in Nature interact and teach us something. Here It tells us to persevere. The Gods give us an example, they keep defending our world. And even when they ultimately fall, in their final defeat lies a new victory. A new world is born, better than than the old one that died. In the same way every day may be struggle and in the end we will die in a big struggle, but when we live righteously, we will be reborn a better person. The Germanic people very much believed that, that is why they had little fear for dying.
     
    #14 Cassandra, Feb 5, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  15. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein God is my Light
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    Can you please provide sources for those claims, especially the ones I bolded?
     
  16. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    In all my years as a Heathen, I have never heard this story. It is also rendered problematic, in that if Odin is all that defends Mani and Sól... They are devoured before Odin is devoured by Fenrir. It is not through circumstance of his failure. Neither do the Gods grow old, as they eat from Iðunn's tree. Neither do the devouring of Sól and Mani set off Ragnarök; that would be a sharp decline in global morality, the crowing of three cosmic roosters, and the Fimbulvetr.

    Rather than literal Armageddon, we see Sköll and Hati devour Mani and Sól all the time, through the lunar phases and the waning of the sun. This would have been a greater effect further north, when - as you even note - winter often passes with little to no sunlight. Through this darkness and cold, we see and know the Fimbulvetr - though that was also likely much more severe without warming climate change. Every year, we see the death of the world, and through shelter and sacrifice of the Gods, we live to see the world and the Gods born again.

    The Winter Solstice - Jól - is the Heart of Winter, the height of this death, not the prevention of Ragnarök. Odin's significance to this is battle and management of wild and vicious spirits and wights, retaining them and bringing them back to Hel; a process that spans all of winter. At Jól, Odin is honored for this, and the endeavor is half-over. The tides turn, and life begins to come back; the days become longer, the winter nights less harsh, and soon summer is upon us.

    I didn't say that; I said that through Christianization and Romantization, the Ragnarök event was likened to and reduced to just another "Armageddon" story; an "end of the world" situation, rather than the end of a cycle.

    I also very much doubt that Snorri did his best to preserve the Norse lore. When he blatantly injects Christian elements into the stories, likens the Gods to men, etc... Care was not taken. Read the Prose Edda sometime, it's horribly obvious.

    I thought you said they did their best to preserve this knowledge?

    Christianization was a mixture of destruction, cooption, demonization, and adaptation. It was not just destroying everything they could find. It is funny that you mention the Mayans, though, as what is being offered here is exactly what happened in 2012. The end of the "Mayan calendar" was not a prediction for the end of the world, though it was spun as that. Such was a simplistic, Christian interpretation; it was the end of the cycle. 2012 - had the Mayans still been around - marked the end of the previous age, and the dawn of the new age; like the Chinese years, only much longer.

    Which, to my understanding, is why the Ragnarök is viewed as the "end of the world." People have stopped thinking in cycles, thanks to Christianity. We have this line, and at the end is Jesus' coming; salvation for his people, and destruction for everyone else. Only the world didn't think like that prior to Revelation. There was no "end of the world," there was an end to the cycle that was also the beginning of the cycle. And Ragnarök is this, and more. It is showing the cycle, and also teaching us that everything must die eventually; we must accept that, so that we can - as Einar put it - let die what needs to die. That, specifically, has been on my mind very often lately, and believe me it is harder than it sounds. But it's true.

    Yes, because the ancient peoples weren't stupid. For their lack of science, they knew better navigation than any one normal person today knows, they built great things, and despite not going up into space they knew the world was round. Is it so hard to believe that they told stories as lessons?

    The Ragnarök is symbolic, and it is literal. We see it happen, but not as it's told. It is told as such so that it is memorable and impacting, and that has worked thus far.

    That's actually not said anywhere in the Ragnarök accounts.

    Actually, archeological evidence is showing more and more that some tales served as comforts from fear of death. The Norse believed in fate, true enough, but that didn't make dying any easier. Grief is told about in detail in many of the Sagas, as well as fear of dying. Nor is there anything to suggest that living righteously adds up for a better reward, as your signature suggests. Rather, all who die reside in Helheim - the Barrow - whether they are rich, poor, plain or righteous. Those who die gloriously in battle and are chosen by Odin feast in Valhalla, but even that is a common-hall for the honored dead; a meeting place who's 540 doors lead to the barrows of heroes. What it is not, however, is "Norse heaven."
     
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  17. Goddess_Ashtara

    Goddess_Ashtara NIN MOJAVE AK IMEN

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    I do not dwell too much on the Beginning(s), or the End(s), feeling correct or incorrect in such theories is of no particular concern to me.

    On occasion though I do let my mind wander to imagine and explore various potential outcomes of humanity's future.

    I believe in apocalypses and I believe they are necessary, to save us from ourselves. The scenarios I imagine however have far more to do with the perpetuation of Order over Chaos, as opposed to some climactic battle between "Good" and "Evil".

     
  18. Toxikmynd

    Toxikmynd Demir

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    It bothers me how many times our beliefs are seen from a Christian viewpoint, because in reality it is dishonest and yet it is the greatly held belief by so many. Obviously it isn't a big big issue because we aren't trying to get people to follow our belief system, but it would be nice to have the common person understand us a bit better.
     
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  19. RedDragon94

    RedDragon94 Love everyone, meditate often

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    I have a question about Ragnarok, does it imply that evil wins in the end?
     
  20. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    Not at all, and "evil" in Norse culture is really subjective. Various figures - and the Gods themselves - have morals that span the spectrum of good and bad. There's no one individual who is truly "evil" or comparable to the Christian devil.

    What the Ragnarök "implies" - rather, teaches - in this sense, is that nothing will win, and nothing will lose. Everything will die, and everything will be reborn new. There is no true "end," but a constant loop; the only end we reach is the end of a cycle.
     
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