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Author Topic: Icelandic Asatru  (Read 1246 times)

the_raven

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Icelandic Asatru
« on: May 18, 2016, 08:45:55 am »
So, I was reading about the Asatru faith being officialized in Iceland and I noticed that it focused on three gods - Odin, Thor, and Freya (I think), so this got me wondering: Sure, it's somewhat more practical to worship only three gods instead of like 7-15 (sorry, I don't know the exact number of Germanic/ Scandinavian gods), but won't the other gods feel insulted or something?
I also don't remember where I read this exactly, but on the side note, when you revive an old religion, and favor the worship of less deities than are 'known', doesn't it insult the left-out deities?
« Last Edit: May 18, 2016, 08:46:39 am by the_raven »

Megatherium

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Re: Icelandic Asatru
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2016, 05:55:55 pm »
Quote from: the_raven;191253
So, I was reading about the Asatru faith being officialized in Iceland and I noticed that it focused on three gods - Odin, Thor, and Freya (I think), so this got me wondering: Sure, it's somewhat more practical to worship only three gods instead of like 7-15 (sorry, I don't know the exact number of Germanic/ Scandinavian gods), but won't the other gods feel insulted or something?
I also don't remember where I read this exactly, but on the side note, when you revive an old religion, and favor the worship of less deities than are 'known', doesn't it insult the left-out deities?

 
I can't say with any degree of certainty the attitude of Icelandic Heathens towards which Gods they worship. My own interpretation of their focus is perhaps different from yours, and of course you may be right and I may be wrong. Since I can't be certain about this issue, I will leave it aside for the moment.

Some scholars have argued (source listed below) that historical Heathen communities did, in fact, tend to focus on a small number of deities. In this view, each community would have several deities which they interacted with and they may or may not have been the same deities as the next village over (For example, there is some evidence that Freyr was more prominent in Sweden than in other areas).

It is possible that the idea of a unified Germanic pantheon as described by Snorri in the Prose Edda is really an attempt to bring together many different cults and slap a veneer of Greco-Roman type organization upon them.

In other words, it is possible that a community choosing to focus on several Gods may be more representative of historical Heathenry than the unified pantheon we see today.

(Of course, this thesis could be wrong, please don't accept it as a universally proven truth). You can check out the article "Pantheon? What Pantheon?" by Terry Gunnell at the link below.

http://odroerirjournal.com/pantheon-what-pantheon/
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: Icelandic Asatru
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2016, 06:38:45 pm »
Quote from: the_raven;191253
So, I was reading about the Asatru faith being officialized in Iceland and I noticed that it focused on three gods - Odin, Thor, and Freya (I think), so this got me wondering: Sure, it's somewhat more practical to worship only three gods instead of like 7-15 (sorry, I don't know the exact number of Germanic/ Scandinavian gods), but won't the other gods feel insulted or something?
I also don't remember where I read this exactly, but on the side note, when you revive an old religion, and favor the worship of less deities than are 'known', doesn't it insult the left-out deities?


I am not familiar with Icelandic fornsed, but at least one historical source - Adam of Bremen's Gesta Hammaburgensis claim that pre-Christian Uplandic Swedes publicly sacrificed to images of three deities: O∂in, Thor and a Vanir deity the gender of which is unclear: Either Freya or Frey. The pattern you describe could possibly be based on this. What is described is public sacrifices for the entire regional community (or petty kingdom), not domestic sacrifices. For the domestic cultus it is probable that ancestors, elves, wights and the hearth were more important than the named gods.

the_raven

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Re: Icelandic Asatru
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2016, 06:46:23 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;191302
I can't say with any degree of certainty the attitude of Icelandic Heathens towards which Gods they worship. My own interpretation of their focus is perhaps different from yours, and of course you may be right and I may be wrong. Since I can't be certain about this issue, I will leave it aside for the moment.

Some scholars have argued (source listed below) that historical Heathen communities did, in fact, tend to focus on a small number of deities. In this view, each community would have several deities which they interacted with and they may or may not have been the same deities as the next village over (For example, there is some evidence that Freyr was more prominent in Sweden than in other areas).

It is possible that the idea of a unified Germanic pantheon as described by Snorri in the Prose Edda is really an attempt to bring together many different cults and slap a veneer of Greco-Roman type organization upon them.

In other words, it is possible that a community choosing to focus on several Gods may be more representative of historical Heathenry than the unified pantheon we see today.

(Of course, this thesis could be wrong, please don't accept it as a universally proven truth). You can check out the article "Pantheon? What Pantheon?" by Terry Gunnell at the link below.

http://odroerirjournal.com/pantheon-what-pantheon/

 
It's still an interesting idea

the_raven

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Re: Icelandic Asatru
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2016, 06:49:11 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;191309
I am not familiar with Icelandic fornsed, but at least one historical source - Adam of Bremen's Gesta Hammaburgensis claim that pre-Christian Uplandic Swedes publicly sacrificed to images of three deities: O∂in, Thor and a Vanir deity the gender of which is unclear: Either Freya or Frey. The pattern you describe could possibly be based on this. What is described is public sacrifices for the entire regional community (or petty kingdom), not domestic sacrifices. For the domestic cultus it is probable that ancestors, elves, wights and the hearth were more important than the named gods.

 
Tell me, how intellegible is Icelandic to Swedes? Because if it is, I could give you the link to their website (though you can definitely find it yourself), so you could read it and tell me for certain (since I can't read or understand Icelandic, and google translate is not that good a translator anyway)

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Icelandic Asatru
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2016, 07:38:05 pm »
Quote from: the_raven;191312
Tell me, how intellegible is Icelandic to Swedes? Because if it is, I could give you the link to their website (though you can definitely find it yourself), so you could read it and tell me for certain (since I can't read or understand Icelandic, and google translate is not that good a translator anyway)


Thousand years ago, Danes and Swedes spoke languages very close to each other. Likewise, Norwegians and Icelanders spoke languages very close to each other.

Since then, Icelandic has changed very slowly, and is very similar to the Iron Age West Norse language, while Norwegian, Danish and Swedish have branched off in quite different directions.

For most modern Swedes, Norwegian Bokmal is comprehensible, Nynorsk less so, because Bokmal is influenced by East Norse/Mediaeval Danish/early modern Danish, while Bokmal is intentionally very west-Scandinavian (like Icelandic). In the past Swedes and Norwegians watched each other's television programmes.

Though Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic were briefly touched upon in secondary school back in the 1970s and 1980s (I don't know if it is done in school nowadays), spoken Danish is incomprehensible because of pronounciation, and Icelandic looks like it could have been comprehensible, but isn't. Written Danish is less of a problem (it was East Nordic to begin with), and I actually had some Danish books on my curriculum at university, out of feelings of Nordic affinity. A few Icelandic words are recognisable, and, if read aloud, the sound of some words could give a clue to their meaning, but in general is Icelandic not understood by modern Swedes. I use to compare with the experience modern English-speakers have if they are confronted with the Anglo-Saxon text of the Beowulf Epic: The languages are clearly related, but so long time has lapsed since.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Icelandic Asatru
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2016, 07:48:25 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;191320
I use to compare with the experience modern English-speakers have if they are confronted with the Anglo-Saxon text of the Beowulf Epic: The languages are clearly related, but so long time has lapsed since.


A funny thing with the Beowulf Epic, is that my experience of its language is similar to my experience of Icelandic. The Angle and Jute influence on its vocabulary must have been considerable, since it reminds me of Danish and Swedish, and the later loan-words from Latin and French, so prevalent in modern English, are absent in Anglo-Saxon.

The same apply to Chaucer, to a large degree, especially since the Dutch fashion of spelling English words hadn't become fashionable at Chaucer's time.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Icelandic Asatru
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2016, 07:55:47 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;191320
For most modern Swedes, Norwegian Bokmal is comprehensible, Nynorsk less so, because Bokmal is influenced by East Norse/Mediaeval Danish/early modern Danish, while Bokmal is intentionally very west-Scandinavian (like Icelandic).


It is a bad idea, to write during insomnia. I mean that Nynorsk is intentionally very west-Scandinavian (or West Nordic).

There are actually two sorts of Norwegian in our time. I read somewhere that the same distinction is true about modern Greek: Demotiki and Katharevousa?

the_raven

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Re: Icelandic Asatru
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2016, 08:28:14 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;191324
It is a bad idea, to write during insomnia. I mean that Nynorsk is intentionally very west-Scandinavian (or West Nordic).

There are actually two sorts of Norwegian in our time. I read somewhere that the same distinction is true about modern Greek: Demotiki and Katharevousa?

 
Quite interesting info, I must say! :)
Sadly, I don't know about Greek, but I also heard something about it being divided into two dialects. Don't remember what divided it, and where which is used though.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Icelandic Asatru
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2016, 09:36:25 pm »
Quote from: the_raven;191327
Quite interesting info, I must say! :)
Sadly, I don't know about Greek, but I also heard something about it being divided into two dialects. Don't remember what divided it, and where which is used though.


I believe, that Katarevousa is an upper class sociolect, and Demotiki a lower class sociolect, but I might have misunderstood something.

The two sorts of Norwegian doesn't follow that divide: Both sorts of Norwegian have proponents in all ways of Norwegian life. Upper-class intellectuals in the 1850s took dialects from the rural west-coast - until then mainly spoken by fishermen and farmers - and made it into a nationalist fashion, officially encouraged in 1885.

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