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Worship of the Jotun?

Discussion in 'Heathenry DIR' started by Podo, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Podo

    Podo Member

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    So I was reading an article over on Hugin's Heathen Hof and I ended up down the rabbit hole of Rokkatru. For those unaware, these are people who honour the Jotun.

    Is it just me, or does this seem like lunacy? The Jotun, historically, are the chaos beyond the gates. Honouring them, especially the ones who actively wish to bring about the end of all things (Fenris, Jormugandr, Angrboda, Loki, etc) seems like...well, a really bad idea.

    That being said, there does appear to be some loose evidence that the Jotun originated as some kind of land-spirits that were supplanted by the gods at some point in the distant past. The evidence is super flimsy, if you ask me, but maybe there is something to it?

    What do you all think? Is honouring the Jotun lunacy, or something that you think is okay? Do you do it yourself? Why or why not?

    Some of the articles I found that talked about it are here:
    From Pre-Christian Scandinavia to Now: Validating the Worship of the Jötnar - Huginn's Heathen Hof
    The Demonization of the Jötnar - Huginn's Heathen Hof
    Arguments for the Historical Worship of the Jötnar - Huginn's Heathen Hof
     
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  2. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    I don't think it's lunacy at all. The differences between the Jotnar and the Aesir are often few and far between; most of the Aesir are jotun, or of jotun-blood.

    I myself don't view Ragnarök as it's typically pitched. Nor do I see the jotnar as necessarily evil or bad, but just another method (in terms of mythology) to teach lessons and illustrate truths. When you really look at it, a lot of the things the Aesir did were dick moves. Not only that, but Odin often went to the jotun for wisdom, love, or assistance.

    Frankly, I also think a lot of Modern Heathens make too big a deal over the gods and which gods are worshiped. The way I see it, it ought to be family, tribe, land, then gods.
     
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  3. Holdasown

    Holdasown Active Member

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    I am not a warrior or soldier. Most people probably are not. Why would not honor the goddess, Hela who is keeping them and eventually me? The Jotun have a role in wyrd and fate. They are not evil. They are primal forces that exist and have a place in myth and the nine worlds. Odin is a known rapists in may Norse tales, cheats to get what he wants. No one ever seems to think he is a bad role model. Let's not forget. Thor is half Jotun. Freyr's wife is Jotun. The gods are not as categorized as we make them.
     
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  4. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    A lot of jotnar are said to be allied to the gods: Ægir, Skadhi, etc. I suspect that some have confused jotnar and thursar.

    But the question of what beings you worship is an open one. Holdasown says that no-one objects to Odin, but some do: in Sweden and Britain, the Hammarens Ordens Sallskap won't worship him. Similarly, it seems that most Heathens object to Loki, but I know of a couple of non-Heathens who've benefited from his patronage.
     
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  5. Podo

    Podo Member

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    The differences between the Jotun and the gods do seem to be rather academic, yes. That being said, some Jotun seem wholly inimical to life itself. I refer to Fenris and Jormugandr in particular. But, that view requires a rather standard view of Ragnarok, so I totally understand a differing view of it to provide a different conclusion. I don't think that the Jotun are inherently bad, but they all sorta bring more chaos than the alternative. I guess my question would have more accurately been whether it is viewed as a negative to honour entities that are actively malicious, rather than Jotun in general.

    Agreed!
     
  6. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    Totally agree with this statement.
     
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  7. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    They don't all bring more chaos than the alternative ( which I'm guessing you mean some of the gods?), that would be a generalisation. For example: Aegir hosts banquets for the gods; Skadi marries Njord; Freyr marries Gerðr; Thor is the son of Jörð; Odin has a battle of wits with the wise Vafþrúðnir; Mimir is wise; Thor fathers Magni with Jarnsaxa; Rindr gives birth to Vali; Bestla is the mother of Odin; in Hymiskviða the giants Hroðr and Hymir are the father of Tyr etc. etc.

    I would say that Odin brings a more than his fair share of chaos, certainly more than a good many of the Jotun.

    Why would you honour the Jotunn in general? Or the gods/esses in general for that matter. I would say wights that are actively malicious are best avoided.
     
  8. Podo

    Podo Member

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    In my last post, when I said that "they bring more chaos than the alternative" I was specifically referring to Fenris, Jormugandr, Loki, and other entites of that stripe, not jotun in general. If it was understood otherwise, I did not accurately convey my meaning.
    Evidence: "That being said, some Jotun seem wholly inimical to life itself. I refer to Fenris and Jormugandr in particular."

    There are plenty of jotun who do not fit that description, as I also said here:
    "The differences between the Jotun and the gods do seem to be rather academic, yes."

    I tend to avoid anything perceived as malicious. Skadi, Aegir, etc are fine, since they aren't inimical to a productive time. Jormugandr, Fenris, Loki, Angrboda, Surtr, and the other less civil ones seem like a bad call to associate with, is all.
     
  9. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    My mistake I misunderstood your meaning.
     
  10. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    I can't make argument for Loki's crowd - strictly tied to the lore - but I do make significant argument that any actions perceived as malicious by Loki are met equally (if not surpassed) by many of the Aesir. Norse mythology isn't so easily divided into "good and evil" as Snorri tries to make it. Surtr, as well, isn't malicious or evil; he's a necessary destruction of stagnation, so that new life can grow.
     
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  11. Podo

    Podo Member

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    From what I've read, good and evil aren't really even concepts that the Germanic peoples even cared about. Culture of the Teutons makes it seem like there is much more of a focus on order versus disorder, and kin versus not-kin. I would imagine that Snorri's attempts to shoehorn everything into a good/evil paradigm stem from his Christian faith. But, I'm fairly new to a lot of this, so I'll defer to your assessment over my own limited scope of understanding.

    As for Surt, he is definitely the enemy of stagnation. As the final ender of the world, though, I'm still not sure honouring him is something I'd do. That being said, if one finds oneself in a bad enough spot, I suppose an explosive end to their current ennui could strange bedfellows make :)
     
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  12. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    Have to agree with most of this post. Surtr is what Surtr is, categorising entities in Germanic lore as good/evil or order/chaos dichotomy is fraught with post Christian thinking.

    Not sure I would agree that Surtr is necessary force for destruction or counter for stagnation so that new life can grow. I guess this depends on your view of Ragnarok in general; does it represent a cyclical or linear notion of time, there are convincing arguments for both points of view.
     
  13. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    I'm wondering why you would mention Culture of the Teutons which is over a century old (first published in 1909-1912), it is rather dated in its interpretations of Norse mythology. Dichotomies such as good/evil; order/chaos; kin/non-kin; innangarðr/útangarðr are all problematic.

    Neither would I be so quick to suggest Snorri 'shoehorns everything into a good and evil paradigm' , the underlying approach to mythology in the Prose Edda is euhemerism. The raison d'être of the Prose Edda was not to preserve pre Christian mythology but to and teach traditional poetic forms; it was a handbook for poets. All in all it's a late source that requires critical reading better to stick to the Poetic Edda.

    Why is Surtr the enemy of stagnation and final ender of the world? That's a lot to lay at the door of one entity in Norse mythology and rather difficult to come to that conclusion given the limited mentions of Surtr in the Poetic Edda.
     
  14. Podo

    Podo Member

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    I mention it because it's at the top of the reading list of almost every reconstructionist heathen reading list I've encountered. It's definitely dated, absolutely, but it is still a good overview of teutonic culture. Its view of the mythology is less relevant, but I've not yet encountered anything as thorough on matters of non-spiritual teutonic worldview and culture. I'm happy to be directed to a more modern source, though! What would you recommend? I'm still new to this.

    The Poetic Edda was still recorded by Snorri, though, so it seems reasonable to view it as a Christian's perceptions of old-timey myths. It isn't worth writing off, but I would imagine that it is a good idea to read it with skepticism and a critical eye.

    Like you said in your last post, I would think one's opinion of Surtr would heavily depend on how one views Ragnarok. If you see it as a cyclical thing, Surtr seems a destructive but necessary force, like a wildfire. If you see it as a final ending, he'd probably be a much more monstrous figure.
     
  15. The Ragin Pagan

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

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    But even per the myths, it's not a final ending. The world is destroyed, Yggdrasil burns, but new life rises from that.
     
  16. Podo

    Podo Member

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    Yeah, life continues. I guess it just depends on whether you see that as a bright new future or the post-apocalyptic survivors in a broken land, I guess?
     
  17. DanishCrow

    DanishCrow Seeking Feeds

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    I don't consider it wrong at all. The Jotunn, like the Vanir, were in all likelyhood the primary pantheon for our people before the Aesir showed up and wrecked the order of things with their cities and kings and fancy civilizations :)

    The Jætter represent ancient, untamable forces of nature - certainly, they hold the potential to kill and destroy (even more so today, where we have angered them by trying to destroy the planet they work and live on), but they also nurture and create life, and their magic is as powerful as that of Odin or Freja, without necessarily being malign.

    Take Hymer who goes on the boat trip with Thor to catch Jormundgandr, the World-Serpent. When Thor catches the snake, the skies split and the world bellows: It is not a struggle that can end well. The wise jotunn Hymer, father of Tyr, is more aligned with the cosmos than Thor, and knows that this fight can bring about terrible consequences, so he grabs his fisher-knife and cuts the line.

    The Jotunn are certainly aligned with dark forces of trickery when it suits them, but they are also the other side: Wisdom and peace, living in harmony with the greater unknown that surrounds us mortals.
     
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