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Author Topic: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?  (Read 8250 times)

Juniperberry

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Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« on: July 04, 2011, 06:28:25 pm »
I came across a paper recently that made a case for Odin and Freyr being the same deity. The majority of the evidence, though, related to the similarities between Freyja and Odin. Deities of the slain, seidhr, valkyries. Since Freyr and Freyja translate to Lord and Lady, could Odin have been the intended lord?

Also take into consideration the mystery surrounding the connections between Frigga and Freyja.

Thoughts?
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Sage

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2011, 06:33:16 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;967
I came across a paper recently that made a case for Odin and Freyr being the same deity. The majority of the evidence, though, related to the similarities between Freyja and Odin. Deities of the slain, seidhr, valkyries. Since Freyr and Freyja translate to Lord and Lady, could Odin have been the intended lord?

Also take into consideration the mystery surrounding the connections between Frigga and Freyja.

Thoughts?

 
I'd really like to read that paper. I'm not heathen and haven't worked with the Aesir/Vanir in a long time, but I'm very skeptical of that claim.
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Juniperberry

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 06:41:53 pm »
Quote from: Sage;972
I'd really like to read that paper. I'm not heathen and haven't worked with the Aesir/Vanir in a long time, but I'm very skeptical of that claim.

 
It's a pre-print for the 14th International Saga Conference, second volume. The Women and Odinn by Margereta Regenbro. Download available on the 14th ISC page.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Juniperberry

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2011, 06:45:45 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;976
It's a pre-print for the 14th International Saga Conference, second volume. The Women and Odinn by Margereta Regenbro. Download available on the 14th ISC page.


Double posting, sorry!

Im also curious if this is a case of the reader trying to monotheize (word?) the Norse Pantheon.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 02:02:24 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;967

Thoughts?

 
My first gut instinct is to say no. However, I've had no experience of these two personally, so perhaps my opinion doesn't mean much.

From what I've read of them, both from scholars and practitioners, They seem to me to be two different Gods. Perhaps They fill the same role for two different .. hmm.. groups? And that's where the similarities come from. But to me They just seem a bit too different to be truly the same God. Not even in the sense of SunflowerP's "cognate sibling" idea.
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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2011, 01:41:30 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;967
I came across a paper recently that made a case for Odin and Freyr being the same deity. The majority of the evidence, though, related to the similarities between Freyja and Odin. Deities of the slain, seidhr, valkyries. Since Freyr and Freyja translate to Lord and Lady, could Odin have been the intended lord?

Also take into consideration the mystery surrounding the connections between Frigga and Freyja.

Thoughts?



I found a link to the article:

http://hig.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:224754

The article in question is in the second document (FULLTEXT02). It's not a long article at all.

I must say that she makes some interesting assertions (including connecting Brisingamen to hanging, which is just creepy). It's also interesting to note the passage on horse sacrifice, since horses appear to have been important to Freyr's cult as well (they were kept in his honour at Uppsala).

I think (if you'll allow me to do a little wild mass guessing) that it makes sense if you consider that Freya and Frigga were not separate goddesses outside of Scandinavia (at least, according to wiki) then a similar "merger" between Freyr and Odin is not an impossibility. Perhaps Freyja and Freyr were local deities (local to Scandinavia, at least) who were absorbed into a more "pan-Germanic" pantheon.

While I'm at it, here are some other wild theories:

-Perhaps Freyja's connection with war is a later development, but by the time the stories are written down, it's well-established
-Freyja and Freyr are so ancient that their "real" names have been forgotten, or, perhaps, as the article suggests, they were cult names that could be applied to any deity

I think that, whatever their origins, these deities have diverged enough that we modern folks experience them as separate deities, and it might also be an attempt to cast Odin as the All-Purpose Super Deity Comparable to YHVH, but I don't know, I kind of prefer the local-cult-that-was-absorbed-into-bigger-cult explanation.

Juniperberry

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 02:43:43 pm »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;1398
I found a link to the article:

http://hig.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:224754



I must say that she makes some interesting assertions (including connecting Brisingamen to hanging, which is just creepy).  

Right?

Quote
I think (if you'll allow me to do a little wild mass guessing) that it makes sense if you consider that Freya and Frigga were not separate goddesses outside of Scandinavia (at least, according to wiki) then a similar "merger" between Freyr and Odin is not an impossibility. Perhaps Freyja and Freyr were local deities (local to Scandinavia, at least) who were absorbed into a more "pan-Germanic" pantheon.

I'm trying to work my way through a thesis that asserts that Odin wasn't pan-germanic at all, and that the idea of him as an Alfather is a later assumption by scholars. I don't have an opinion on that, but it does make me question Regenbro's paper. For the sake of argument- maybe Odin is another name for Freyr, then. ;)




Quote
-Freyja and Freyr are so ancient that their "real" names have been forgotten, or, perhaps, as the article suggests, they were cult names that could be applied to any deity


I haven't read much on Freyr or Freyja since I'm trying to focus on continental heathenry, so am I confused in think Frey was a sacred and living King of Sweden?

Quote
I think that, whatever their origins, these deities have diverged enough that we modern folks experience them as separate deities, and it might also be an attempt to cast Odin as the All-Purpose Super Deity Comparable to YHVH, but I don't know, I kind of prefer the local-cult-that-was-absorbed-into-bigger-cult explanation.

I do think there's enough physical evidence to show that these gods were worshipped and understood separately. (Im thinking of the idols of Thor,  Freyr and Odin.)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 02:46:24 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

cwummel

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 03:17:18 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;1446
Right?
 
I do think there's enough physical evidence to show that these gods were worshipped and understood separately. (Im thinking of the idols of Thor,  Freyr and Odin.)

 
Just trying to remember something that I read once, it was a while ago, but weren't different gods held in higher or lower esteem by the populace dependent upon the area and the social and political climate?  I do recall that Thor was placed above Odin in certain areas based on archeological evidence that was found. I will try to root up the article.

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2011, 06:10:16 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;967
I came across a paper recently that made a case for Odin and Freyr being the same deity. The majority of the evidence, though, related to the similarities between Freyja and Odin. Deities of the slain, seidhr, valkyries. Since Freyr and Freyja translate to Lord and Lady, could Odin have been the intended lord?

Also take into consideration the mystery surrounding the connections between Frigga and Freyja.

Thoughts?

 
I cannot see them as being the same. First, looking at the Lore in the Eddas, Odin and Frigga are of the Aesir, while Freyr and Freya are of the Vanir.  Since there was a war between these two families or tribes of gods and Freyr, Njord, and Freya were exchanged from the Vanir side for Mimir and Hoenir from the Aesir side.  

You are dealing with two different families of deity here.  Freya is, in addition to a war goddess, a goddess of seidhr-she taught Odin-, fertility, love and passion or lust. THe vanic deities are more focused on the earthly and worldly functions, governing fertility and crops as well as animals and men. Freyr was also known as Yngvi-Freyr in Sweden, where it is said that he is the progenitor of the royal line.

Odin, known as Wotan and Wodan/Woden in Germany, the Netherlands and England, is the head of the Aesir and though he is associated with war, death, and victory, he also rules the realms of magic, and prophecy. Odin leads the Wild Hunt.  Odin also seems to have replaced Tyr as the chief god of the Aesir, probrably after Tyr lost his hand to the wolf.

While this may seem similar to Freyr, the functions of these two deities are different.  
Odin is a first function deity-he is more intellectual and Freyr is third-function, dealing with the production of crops and the fertility of the herds.

The author theorizes that the Disir are part of Odin's cult, which is incorrect- the Disir are the female Ancestors who are venerated by Asatruar.  Freya is the Dis of tha Vanir, which is where her title of Vanadis originates from.

I believe that the author is confusing the Disir with the Norns, as the Norns spin, weave and cut the thread of orlog/wyrd/life. She is correct in that they help in childbirth and healing, though Eir is the Goddess of Healing and is called on.

Her premise is interesting and her sources bear careful reading, but from my experience with the Lore and as a practicing Asatruar, Odin and Freyr are *not* the same deity. :)

hlewagastir

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2011, 06:23:32 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;967
I came across a paper recently that made a case for Odin and Freyr being the same deity. The majority of the evidence, though, related to the similarities between Freyja and Odin. Deities of the slain, seidhr, valkyries. Since Freyr and Freyja translate to Lord and Lady, could Odin have been the intended lord?

Also take into consideration the mystery surrounding the connections between Frigga and Freyja.

Thoughts?

Looks a bit like one of those cases where to things are compared for the sake of comparison.

Both Odin and Freyr plays roles such as god of kings (Freyr is specifically connected to the royalty of Sweden - and Sweden in general).
They do so because while Odin was fairly widespread in Scandinacia and Germany Freyr was confined to Sweden (and areas of heavy Swedish influence).

So they share a few traits because they both served the same purpose in different areas.

There is some overlapping though, which weakens the papers stance IMO; we know that Freyr, Thor and Odin all stood as idols in Uppsala... Why would there be defined Idols for both Freyr and Odin if they where one and the same?
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 06:25:02 pm by hlewagastir »

Juniperberry

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2011, 11:31:05 pm »
Quote from: scoutyote;2157
I cannot see them as being the same. First, looking at the Lore in the Eddas, Odin and Frigga are of the Aesir, while Freyr and Freya are of the Vanir.  Since there was a war between these two families or tribes of gods and Freyr, Njord, and Freya were exchanged from the Vanir side for Mimir and Hoenir from the Aesir side.  


There's some interesting debate going on about whether or not this interpretation of two tribes is accurate. In fact, the lore doesn't even specifically state that the first war was between the Aesir and Vanir.

23. On the host his spear | did Othin hurl,
Then in the world | did war first come;
The wall that girdled | the gods was broken,
And the field by the warlike | Wanes was trodden.

We know that the gods built the wall to keep out the giants, and here it states that wall was broken. The verse could very well mean that the war-like wanes were the first out on the battlefield to fight the giants.

I also don't like using the lore as a sacred book- the words in it aren't truth. I do think it's a starting point but that other areas can give us a much better picture of the history.


Quote
You are dealing with two different families of deity here.  Freya is, in addition to a war goddess, a goddess of seidhr-she taught Odin-, fertility, love and passion or lust. THe vanic deities are more focused on the earthly and worldly functions, governing fertility and crops as well as animals and men. Freyr was also known as Yngvi-Freyr in Sweden, where it is said that he is the progenitor of the royal line.

...


While this may seem similar to Freyr, the functions of these two deities are different.  
Odin is a first function deity-he is more intellectual and Freyr is third-function, dealing with the production of crops and the fertility of the herds.

 


Above the vanir were described as war-like. The idea that the Vanir were an earth-loving, fertility tribe seems incredibly out-dated and incorrect. We know that Freyr dealt with kingship, we know Freyja dealt with war...It's not so easily simplified as a tribe of gods of the intellect and tribe of gods of fertility.

Yngvi was also the god ancestor of the germanic tribe Ingaevones. It's theorized, and I could go along with this, that Ing is the 'true' name while Freyr is the title. The Ingaevones were one of three tribes that descended from Mannus, one of the other tribes- the Irminones- is connected to Odin. So there is a relationship there of Odin and Freyr being a part of the same family if not the same person.  


(Personally, I believe that Ing and Freyr are two different identities that have morphed into one. Ing being a mythological god-king and Freyr the human king that carried the mantle of that myth. If the author is looking for a connection between Ing and Odin then I can see the sense in that.)




Quote
The author theorizes that the Disir are part of Odin's cult, which is incorrect- the Disir are the female Ancestors who are venerated by Asatruar.  Freya is the Dis of tha Vanir, which is where her title of Vanadis originates from.


Where did you get this information? I've never heard this before. In fact, it's more commonly accepted that the disir are half-goddess that deal with the dead, and there are a few sources that call them Odin's dis. Dis itself can simply mean 'woman' which makes drawing a conclusion for the meaning of Freyja-dis difficult. They are closely related to the Valkyrie, Hamingja and Fetch.

Quote
I believe that the author is confusing the Disir with the Norns, as the Norns spin, weave and cut the thread of orlog/wyrd/life. She is correct in that they help in childbirth and healing, though Eir is the Goddess of Healing and is called on.


I think you're confusing the Norns with the Greek sisters of Fate. There's another good article in the pre-prints about the nature of the Norns that gives a little bit more depth to their roles in the heathen's life- more along the lines of judges, and collectors than as spinning sisters. It makes sense to give these women an offering at birth, but often the Norns were associated as being the instigators of acts that were displeasing for characters in the sagas. Brunnhild says "This is the Norn's fault" when she has to revenge her disgraced honor- not so much because the Norn's set it in stone that it would be her fate, but because the Norn's require a judgement of honor- and it is in the act of paying or remissing the Norn's that the heathen either becomes heroic or not.

Quote
Her premise is interesting and her sources bear careful reading, but from my experience with the Lore and as a practicing Asatruar, Odin and Freyr are *not* the same deity. :)


I also agree that the Freyr we understand is not the same as Odin, but I think a close inspection of all the information makes for an interesting discussion.

(FYI: I lost most of this post but tried to recap most of what I wanted to say in my second attempt.)
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

hlewagastir

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2011, 04:22:10 am »
Nice Juniperberry.

A few points though:

Quote from: Juniperberry;2375

The verse could very well mean that the war-like wanes were the first out on the battlefield to fight the giants.

Or... We know that the words Vanir and Asir usually encompass the whole collective of gods (IOW all the gods they knew) - I am pretty sure "Vanir" carries this meaning more often than it referes to Snorries tribe thing (Simek talks about this in his work "The Vanir: An Obituary", there is a link on the old site).


Anywho, "Vanir" is proberbly used here to make the ljóðaháttr staverhyme work:

Fleygði Óðinn
ok í folk of skaut,
þat var enn folkvíg
fyrst í heimi;
brotinn var borðveggr
borgar ása,
knáttu vanir vígspá
völlu sporna.


Quote
Ing being a mythological god-king and Freyr the human king that carried the mantle of that myth.

Euhemerism? That´s so Medieval. Why shoulden´t the Swedish kings claim sacred kingsship through godly descendence like so many others?


Quote
I also agree that the Freyr we understand is not the same as Odin, but I think a close inspection of all the information makes for an interesting discussion.
 

From waht I can gather from the source material the Freyr they understood was not the same as Odin. The differences are too outspoken and too big - For an example, Odin has clear "god of death" attributes while Freyr only have some Vauge "half the val" through Freya (assuming they are one and the same or somehow share attributes).
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 04:23:48 am by hlewagastir »

Juniperberry

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2011, 04:53:55 am »
Quote from: hlewagastir;2448
Nice Juniperberry.

A few points though:



Or... We know that the words Vanir and Asir usually encompass the whole collective of gods (IOW all the gods they knew) - I am pretty sure "Vanir" carries this meaning more often than it referes to Snorries tribe thing (Simek talks about this in his work "The Vanir: An Obituary", there is a link on the old site).


Anywho, "Vanir" is proberbly used here to make the ljóðaháttr staverhyme work:

Fleygði Óðinn
ok í folk of skaut,
þat var enn folkvíg
fyrst í heimi;
brotinn var borðveggr
borgar ása,
knáttu vanir vígspá
völlu sporna.


The god thing about losing your first post is that you can say "I totally meant to say that!" ;)

But seriously, I've read the article by Simek awhile ago and at the time didn't quite process why there would need to be two different words for the gods, or, if they just described function, then what was all the hubaloo about if Vanir/Aesir worked as a separater? Thank you for reminding me about alliteration, and that's an excellent point.




Quote
Euhemerism? That´s so Medieval. Why shoulden´t the Swedish kings claim sacred kingsship through godly descendence like so many others?


*Shrug* What can I say. It 'feels good'. :D

You know those shows on Discover where they discuss the evolution of Man and there's that one old guy chasing a dying zebra and he's all scarred up and has one eye and  he figures out that they can follow the tracks of the animal and is a big hero? That's partly Odin to me. I can't help it. But I think it makes sense regardless since heathenry is an ancestor venerating system.




Quote
From waht I can gather from the source material the Freyr they understood was not the same as Odin. The differences are too outspoken and too big - For an example, Odin has clear "god of death" attributes while Freyr only have some Vauge "half the val" through Freya (assuming they are one and the same or somehow share attributes).


Well...not so quick. Freyr may very well be strongly associated with death when we look at the function of the gravemound, the elves, the landwights and the fertility of the dead. He may not be as connected to those who die on the field as Freyja may be, but he is closely connected to those who die at home. Remember, Valkyries may have a starting origin in the women who cleaned the fields and the dead of any valuables )economics) or sentimentals (honor). Especially since, as Tacitus reports, the wives and mothers would sit at the edges of the battle to scream for victory and tend the wounded. At home, this may have been much more of a godhi/male function and fallen under Freyr's domain. If he and Freyja did indeed share the dead in this way then it makes the connection to Odin even closer.

But it's all speculation and I'm playing Devil's Advocate. :)
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2011, 12:49:49 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;2375


Well...not so quick. Freyr may very well be strongly associated with death when we look at the function of the gravemound, the elves, the landwights and the fertility of the dead. He may not be as connected to those who die on the field as Freyja may be, but he is closely connected to those who die at home. Remember, Valkyries may have a starting origin in the women who cleaned the fields and the dead of any valuables )economics) or sentimentals (honor). Especially since, as Tacitus reports, the wives and mothers would sit at the edges of the battle to scream for victory and tend the wounded. At home, this may have been much more of a godhi/male function and fallen under Freyr's domain. If he and Freyja did indeed share the dead in this way then it makes the connection to Odin even closer.

But it's all speculation and I'm playing Devil's Advocate. :)

 
Good point about the gravemound.

Davidson also speculates that he is intimetly connected to shipburials - which would again support his link to royalty.

It is correct that he is engaged in the burials and graves of his followers and descendants, and possibly also the "dying into the halls of ones forebeares" concept, but does that demonstrate power over the dead (outside of his own hall)? Such as the necromantic abilities that Odin posses, or the ability to journey between the worlds (an abillity which Odin has but Frey has yet to demonstrate... I think).

Btw, how do we know that he is more intimetly connected to eleves and landwigths than Odin and Thor (or any other important god)?

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Re: Odin and Freyr: One and the same?
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2011, 02:59:55 pm »
Quote from: hlewagastir;2545

Davidson also speculates that he is intimetly connected to shipburials - which would again support his link to royalty.


Upg? I think so. Skíðblaðnir probably has some interesting purposes.  

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It is correct that he is engaged in the burials and graves of his followers and descendants, and possibly also the "dying into the halls of ones forebeares" concept, but does that demonstrate power over the dead (outside of his own hall)? Such as the necromantic abilities that Odin posses, or the ability to journey between the worlds (an abillity which Odin has but Frey has yet to demonstrate... I think).


Hm. That's a good point and I can't think of anything that says 'yes'. Even wooing Gerdr(?) he had to send Skirnir.  

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Btw, how do we know that he is more intimetly connected to eleves and landwigths than Odin and Thor (or any other important god)?



He was given Alfheim as a tooth-gift?
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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