Indo European Myth, #4

This entry was posted on September 28, 2013 under Clergy Program, Generalists Program, Indo-European Myth 1. Written by:

Discuss how the following seven elements of ADF’s cosmology are (or are not) reflected in the myths of two different Indo-European cultures. For this question, please use the same two cultures as a basis of comparison for the entire question. (minimum 100 words each)

In Norse Mythology, the Upperworld consists of Asgard,  Ljossalfheim, and some say the upper part of Muspelheim (Our Troth, 484).  Asgard is the realm of the Aesir,  Ljossalfheim is the realm of the light elves and air spirits, and Muspelheim is the land of fire and heat.  In Greece, they consider their Upperworld the realm of the Gods known as Olympus.  Here, the Gods dwell and look over the mortal world, much like the Norse Gods.  In ADF’s cosmology can be reflected in various parts of ritual whether we are honoring the Shining Ones as a whole, or honoring specific deities as the deities of the occasion.

(Word Count: 107)

For the Norse, the Middleworld is represented by multiple realms, but the one we live in is called Midgard.  Additional realms in the Middleworld would be Jotunheim, where the giants reside, and Vanaheim which is the realm of the land and sea deities known as the Vanir.  It is most appropriate for us to regard Midgard as the Middleworld in ADF for ritual purpose.    Greek reference to what we know as the Middleworld is very basic compared to the Norse.  It is the realm in which the mortals and spirits of nature live, and that’s pretty much it.  So in terms of ADF cosmology, this pretty much coincides with our practice exactly.

(Word Count: 112)

Divisions of Middleworld:
As mentioned previously, Norse Mythology divides the Middleworld into Midgard, the realm of man, Jotunheim, the realm of giants, and Vanaheim, the realm of the land & sea deities known as the Vanir.  These realms all reside within the World Tree, and reference is made to the world being round (Prose Edda, 36).  Alternatively, early Greek mythology is developed very differently in that they do not necessarily divide the middleworld into different sects.  Instead, it is a flat piece of land surrounded by Oceanus (Littleton, 138), but eventually it was proven to be round.  Both cultures have valuable myths that support use within ADF ritual.

(Word Count: 105)

Svartalfheim, Niflheim, and Hel make up the Underworld in Norse Myth. Svartalfheim is the realm of the black elves and dwarves, Niflheim is the realm if ice and cold, and Hel is the realm of the dead ruled by Hel.  Greek Mythology actually presents more division in the Underworld than any of their previous realms.  There is Tartarus, the realm where the evil dead go for eternal suffering and death each day.  The Elysian Fields where the heroic deeded mortals go to spend their undead in pleasantry, and the Asphodel Meadows where those who die of old age or sickness go to rest.  In reference to ADF ritual, I would see the Asphodel Meadows, the Elysian Fields, and Hel being the most pertinent when honoring the Underworld.

(Word Count: 127)

The world of the Norse was created from fire and ice.  The Realm of Fire was known as Muspelheim and swayed slightly between the Upperworld and the Middleworld.  Fire is also referenced by Gundarsson in Teutonic Religion as the Harrow, or “Fire Altar”, where holy fires are traditionally lit (Teutonic Religion, 206).  The rune, Kenaz, also means the torch fire, or creations fire, that which transforms, which leads fire to be an element of transformation in the lore.   Within the Greek culture, fire was seen as a method of sacrifice to the Gods.  The smoke from fire carried our messages to Olympus to the Gods, and it was rare that sacrifices were made without fire.  While not exactly the same, both cultures use fire in a sacred way, much like a need-fire within ADF rites.

(Word Count: 135)

The well is very prominent in both Norse and Greek cultures.  For the Greek, wells or fountains were seen as places to purify.  The washing of the hands is common for purification in Greek rites.  Their rivers and lakes can be seen as the access points to the Ancestors for purpose of ritual.  In the Norse, rivers and lakes flow up and down the tree of life from the Upperworld to the Underworld.  Beneath each root of the world tree sits a well of Wyrd (The Troth, 486), and even those go by many different names.  Hvergelmir’s well, Mimir’s Well, and Wyrd’s Well are common in the lore.  So a Well in general is proper in both cultures as a tool in an ADF rite.

(Word Count: 125)

One of the most powerful symbols in Norse Mythology is that of Yggdrasil, the world tree.  It stands at the center of all worlds, that pivot of the Universe and all of the 9 realms contained within.  This is commonly thought of as an Ash tree, but some also believe it to be Yew (Our Troth, 484).  Greek myth did not associate with a World Tree, but instead held trees as sacred entities, usually associated with a deity and placed in a holy place or shrine for that purpose.  For example, the Olive tree was a gift from Athena so is considered sacred to her.

(Word Count: 105)

(Littleton 138)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *