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Author Topic: Planetary Associations Within Norse Mythology  (Read 1066 times)

goblin-queen

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Planetary Associations Within Norse Mythology
« on: March 25, 2019, 04:56:19 pm »
I'm interested to know if the notion of deity/planetary association has any basis in the original mythology or is it a contemporary addition to the canon?

Sorry if my question is a bit unclear, i'm half asleep. ^^;
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Zlote Jablko

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Re: Planetary Associations Within Norse Mythology
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2019, 05:09:16 pm »
I'm interested to know if the notion of deity/planetary association has any basis in the original mythology or is it a contemporary addition to the canon?

Sorry if my question is a bit unclear, i'm half asleep. ^^;

Perfectly clear question. The Babylonians actually did it first. After that, the Greeks and Romans adopted the planetary associations with days of the week. From there it spread to the Germanic tribes.

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Re: Planetary Associations Within Norse Mythology
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2019, 08:52:18 pm »
Perfectly clear question. The Babylonians actually did it first. After that, the Greeks and Romans adopted the planetary associations with days of the week. From there it spread to the Germanic tribes.

Well, the association of deities with days of the week spread to the Germanic tribes, anyway. Whether the further association of deities/days with planets also spread, I'm not finding anything to either confirm or deny via Wikipedia (though I'm being distracted by lots of very interesting elaboration on the rest of what you said, Zlote - yours is a pretty fair two-line summary, but It's More Complicated Than That, as things usually are).

I'm interested to know if the notion of deity/planetary association has any basis in the original mythology or is it a contemporary addition to the canon?

Sorry if my question is a bit unclear, i'm half asleep. ^^;

That also depends what you mean by 'the original mythology'. The body of literature usually thought of as 'the Norse myths' wasn't written down until two centuries or more after Iceland's official adoption of Christianity, and contains enough Iceland-specific references that (even if the oral tradition had remained unchanged from before Iceland was Christianized and was recorded word-for-word faithfully, neither of which is likely) it can't be taken for granted as faithful to the other strands of Scandinavian oral tradition.

The chain of cultural adoption that Zlote describes only takes us up to continental Germanic interaction with the Romans; even if that included adopting the planetary associations along with the days-of-the-week associations, the former would have to have remained attached to the latter as it spread further, to areas populated by Germanic peoples that weren't in contact with the Romans (Scandinavia had already been settled long before that), and retained over subsequent centuries.

I'm guessing, though, that what you really mean is whether planetary associations are recorded, or even alluded to, in the 13th-century written recording of the oral tradition, or if, when you see someone making planetary associations with Norse deities on the internet, it's a 20th/21st-century invention. Myself, I'd likely take it to be modern, unless the person presenting it was known to me to be someone quite 'hard recon', but I could well be mistaken; hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along to put their two bits in.

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Zlote Jablko

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Re: Planetary Associations Within Norse Mythology
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 09:10:02 pm »
Well, the association of deities with days of the week spread to the Germanic tribes, anyway. Whether the further association of deities/days with planets also spread, I'm not finding anything to either confirm or deny via Wikipedia (though I'm being distracted by lots of very interesting elaboration on the rest of what you said, Zlote - yours is a pretty fair two-line summary, but It's More Complicated Than That, as things usually are.

Yes, that’s a good point. I don’t know if the Germanic tribes ever adopted the planetary associations from the Romans. They clearly did base their assigned deity names on an interpretation of the Roman pantheon. So for instance, the day of Mars became the day of Teiwaz- Which actually helps us a lot with some of their references to Germanic Gods using Roman names.

My guess would be generally not. In English, the name for the day of Venus became Friday (Freya’s day.) Yet before we adopted the Roman name for the planet Venus, the Old English term was “morgensteorra” (morning star.)

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Re: Planetary Associations Within Norse Mythology
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2019, 11:50:32 pm »
I'm interested to know if the notion of deity/planetary association has any basis in the original mythology or is it a contemporary addition to the canon?

Sorry if my question is a bit unclear, i'm half asleep. ^^;

I like this blogger.  They have a lot of posts, with references, about astronomy and mythology, including Norse and Celtic:

https://earthandstarryheaven.com

Be more cautious with this one and it's related pages:

http://www.germanicmythology.com/ASTRONOMY/GermanicAstrology.html

While the second link has, in my reading, seemed to understand both the Nordic lore and modern astronomy, I do not see evidence for the astronomical knowledge to have been known to prehistoric Germanic peoples.

For example, on this related page, there is a link discussing The Three Vessels:

http://www.germanicmythology.com/ASTRONOMY3/ASTRONOMYMAIN.html

Suggesting that the drinking of mead could refer to the waxing and waning phases of the Moon, Venus, and Mercury.

However, the first recorded observation of Venus' phases was by Galileo, in 1610.  We don't have enough evidence to claim that the Vikings could observe planetary phases with the naked eye.

While it says less about the planetary associations than the stellar, Richard H. Allen's 1963 "Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning" has tantalizing hints of how Europeans saw the sky before the international names were applied.

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