Old Norse Mythology

The Seed of Yggdrasill - Deciphering the Hidden Knowledge in Old Norse Myths

The Poetic Edda -- Six Cosmology Poems

My Enemy´s Head - Book Two of BLADE HONER

The Hel Rune´s Claim - Book Three of BLADE HONER

A Twisted Mirror - Book Four of BLADE HONER

I am the author of The Seed of Yggdrasill -- Deciphering the Hidden Messages in Old Norse Myths”, a non-fiction study of Edda lore and the meanings of metaphors in Old Norse poetry. The book was a result of a lot of research and encouraged by the quite popular “Hidden Knowledge in Old Norse Myths” series that I launched on YouTube between 2010 and 2012.  
I have also published an additional/complementary book, The Poetic Edda -- Six Cosmology Poems, which contain six Edda poems in English translation by myself, side by side with the original Old Norse text and commentaries.


Later on, I have published  (so far) four novels in the BLADE HONER series  about the life of the youngest Oseberg priestess (783-834 AD) - beginning with her childhood in Russia and Balticum before the Viking Age in the west.
On this website you may scroll down and find a number of articles that I have written on Old Norse history, culture and mythology.

BLADE HONER Book One: The Hammer of Greatness is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and on CreateSpace


BLADE HONER Book Two: My Enemys Head, is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and on CreateSpace


BLADE HONER Book Three: The Hel Rune´s Claim is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and CreateSpace


BLADE HONER Book Four: A Twisted Mirror is likewise available on all these online stores.

I am self-publishing these novels through Createspace, and with no funds for advertising except through social media and this website, so if you see fit to recommend the books to others, your friends, your local Library, your local bookstores, this is of great help to me!!!

The Maiden with the Mead- a Goddess of Initiation Rituals in Old Norse Mythology? was my university master thesis on Old Norse Mythology (2004) and may be read for FREE online from the University of Oslo (UiO) Library on these links:Synopsis: or Full Text

The Seed of Yggdrasill -- Deciphering the Hidden Messages in Old Norse Myths was written by myself but published by WhyteTracks, who have full responsibility for sale and distribution. See menu above for links to Amazon.






108 Responses to Old Norse Mythology

  1. Hello,
    I enjoy your video lectures on You Tube very much. It is refreshing to come across such clear insight into the mysteries of our past. I have discovered something you may find interesting and would very much like to share it with you in hopes of receiving your most valued opinion.


  2. Susanne Torstensson says:

    Din efterforskning är väldigt intressant. Jag älskar dina videolektioner. Jag är konstnär och har jobbat en del med bilder… performance- bilder- finns på video föreställande olika gudinnor. Det synes som du är något på spåren. Som ock arkeologer och kanske några religionshistoriker misstänker men ej våga knysta…

  3. Rebecca Treglohan says:

    I was wondering if you could help me, i am looking for a translation of my chidlren’s names into old norse or furthak. Can you help? Their names are nicholas, isabelle and emily.

    • Maria Kvilhaug says:

      Hmm – not really? They are not Old Norse names… :) But I can give you directions as to how to proceed: You should use some kind of translation service online to see what the names originally mean in English? Then you can find a futhark online and write the names in those letters. Finally, search up an English-Old Norse dictionary and translate the meaning of the names from English into Old Norse, and then apply the futhark to write the names in Old Norse. All this is perfectly possible to do through online services and will probably take you a few hours. I do not have the capacity to do it for you, however, but good luck, and do not hesitate to tell me what they are when you have found out! :) Maria

  4. I liked your video of ragnorak and the song of the fate mill.

  5. Mikael says:

    Intertwined, when listning humankinds cultures it is a mosaic structure that can and is understood. It was nice to see your video from Tube with topic Odin, The Spirit – wonderfull to observe beautifully deductioned and intuitively together molded vision of our spiritual legasy; women’s herstory wich tells so much of ages healthiness. History of the psyche is- will, cause religion happened. Pfaraos, druids, indians and Balhaean jorneys from now, to the past, and then beyond. You norsk sweden and finnland right in the middle of it. Universumes voice from our dance and sound from the cosmos, through man to woman – to 1+1=3. Or the longest ride via trinity, artificial star-algorithm and Entity. It isn’t sure will Cosmos die to dissolvement of black holes or imploding back to the ‘sourse’. For there is our future, in A woman to a vacant space, left by a voice in racial memory to becom full and it is not flesh that departes. In my recearch, you – dear Lady have entered vessel that is unique as a soul can be born anew. That is not men’s road, only one can trancent to our planet for reflecting God who doen’t will go the full cycle.. 1 has to become 1 to be one.

    Unfortunately, our next century will be hard – but the things, we are the ones who wich to go exelarated clock

  6. Mikael says:

    Intertwined, when listning humankinds cultures it is a mosaic structure that can and is understood by memetic terms foundationed in trans-geneologigal delinear variables and chaos theory. Like ‘mater’ wo man is also in kvantioned state. Nice to see your video from Tube with topic Odin, The Spirit – wonderfull to observe beautifully deductioned and intuitively together molded vision of our spiritual legasy; women’s herstory wich tells so much of ages healthiness. It isn’t eyes that see. History of the psyche is- will, cause religion happened. Pfaraos, druids, indians and Balhaean journeys from now, to the past, and then beyond. You norsk, swedish and finnish right in the middle of it. Universumes voice from our dance and sound to the cosmos, through man to woman – to 1+1=3. Or the longest ride via trinity, forfould artificial star-algorithm and equitensses of Entity (5). It isn’t sure will Cosmos die to dissolvement of black holes or imploding back to the ‘sourse’. For there is our future, in A woman to a vacant space, left by a voice in racial memory to become full and it is not the cup that departes. In my recearch, you – dear Lady, every woman have entered a vessel that is unique as a soul can be born anew. That is not men’s road, only one can trancent to our planet for reflecting God who doesn’t no thyself.. utterly confused, barbaricly curious. To go the full cycle.. 1 has to become 1 to be one. Mother Earth, Tellus, Gaia at your disposal, maybe to the advesory whom by wich we project ourselfes, not to the selfhood, traded to government buffering care.

    Unfortunately, our next century will be hard – yet we are not the ones who wish to go on accelerated clock for our instincts, and not senses. It won’t go away, for then History would have ended. Good times bad times, we can only influance how long does season last. One moment can be opening a can, approxemytly 12 seconds, one specific a lifetime. Time is flexible and music is moldable like truth is a question what is birthright to all. Couse, reaction, dialog, right to know how to move on when Pi between us isn’t expanding.

    .. Bytheway i like sand dunes, swamps, when mist is above the lakes, trees and everything moving with it’s own rhytm. Like you. Everyone has their own way, but onlike moebeus ribbon but a path to follow, and by this we are all exposed, bare.. do’s and dont’s, escaping what we need to find.. Could i introduce you something ? Kenji Kawai’s live with song Hyakkin. Clouds hold’s summer behind, and this song moves the same elements as startemples and musics, languages, perspectives to same goal and above all repeating ritual useing women to men’s powerstruggle.

    Have you ever felt like.. what B.Marley said when going on consert, day after he was shot. Someone asked “how can you go when shooter is still loose” soon he answered – “hate and despair doesn’t sleep, why should i”.
    There are few places on earth where resting is possible, vast majority are estranged. Can i ask what are your ‘favorate’ retreats where gather energy or/and expand it?

  7. Pearl says:

    Hi, i am from the philippines teaching class 4 in a school. class 4 theme is about norse mythtology. i do not have many resources and not very good in speaking the norse words. can you help me find even just a video or audio verse in norse about morning or new day with english translations where i can practice and teach it to my children.

    • Maria Kvilhaug says:

      About morning or new day? I dont understand. It should be easy to find some books on the internet in English about basic Norse mytholody suitable for children, but I do not have any ideas what is best since I have been studying this subject on the university level for the last fifteen years or so. If you can find it, better still would perhaps be one of the “Valhalla” comics by Peder Madsen. :)

  8. Teucer says:

    Hi…thank you for the video! Please look at this website for information regarding Trojans being the ancient Scandinavians:


    What do you think?

  9. Darren Rustin says:

    I appreciate your work since I like what the archetypes of old norse mythology among other cultures represent as you have explained them. Being African American in modern times I have found it hard to share my new found expression or better yet my formerly unconditioned state with other like minded people so please keep up the excellent work. I will continue to watch and learn..

  10. I’ve watched you on Youtube for a long time. I’m so in love with you. I’m an Asatruer for lthe last 4 years. You are amazing, I never get tired of listening to you. Your are a Goddess in your own right. I’m sure you hear that all the time which is why I don’t expect a reply. Just wanted you to know.

  11. your work is the best I have seen. love your videos

  12. Nora Bang says:

    Hei Kvilhaug.
    I enjoy your videos. I see you have done a very thorough work, and I respect your understanding, waking up the gods. You are one of all those who reawaken our wonderful old norse culture, and you focus on an area needing attention. I focus on the music. I use Vedic knowledge and scales to recontruct what I find in the old oral traditions and rune stones of Southern Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The result is amazing in the effect it has on listeners who have never been into spiritual matters or who have pains, sicknesses, restlessness etc. I was just curious about the music and I didn’t expect this. I was also very curious to find through the spirit of the music what emotions, experiences and thoughts people had. The music with the texts has given me an idea of that.
    You say we don’t know what the common Norseman believed. The music has shown me what they believed. Fascinating and moving my heart. I convey these things in my concerts all around.
    Go on sturdy! Blessings.

  13. Nora Bang says:

    Hei Maria.
    I guess you maybe know already, that the pre-roman so called christianity has many similiarities with our oldnorse tradition, an example is the death mysteries.
    To me, Yeshua ben Yusuf (called Jesus later on) has many resemblances with Odin. Too many :-) he he!
    Well, my interest goes far back, so, there are many common lines in the traditions and cultures here….
    All blessings.

  14. LostStar says:

    Having finally found my path as a pagan and being of Norse decent, I am truly in awe and wish to extend my many thanks for your insight and ability to tell the stories of our ancestors in a very well thought out interpretation. I commend you for all of your hard work and please don’t ever stop thirsting for the everlasting knowledge. It is what keeps us alive. Blessed be.

  15. It is an honor to listen to your UTube videos and I am thrilled to be purchasing your book. Your experiences, the attention you pay to the historical, the ancient words, looking at the depth of what most others glance over… you see things differently, yet I believe rightly due to what I believe is a true connection to that which seek and what you teach… I appreciate all the work you have done! and the fact that you have not held it within your own self alone, and have shared it. Thank you.

    now I have something I would like your view on or about. I will not give the Lengthy story as it is way too long to write out.. I had an experience a few years ago that started out with following a rhyme that came to me while gathered with some of my friends, it wound up in part to be being thrown into a dream like state, or something??? where I was or felt as if I was inside the body of another, witness to what was happening but powerless, more of a hitch hiker ? I could feel, smell, taste, see, hear, etc. but only as an observer. I was in what I believe to be the body of a Smith who was forging metal, after many trials and errors praying to the Gods the Smith offered three drops of blood to bind the generations to the metal… one drop for the ancestors, one drop for the present generation and one drop for all the future generations of the Smith’s lineage.
    The process of the metal is long, even in that dream state of being, but when it came into being it was not as a lifeless thing, the metal was born so to speak, and had a heart beat… When the smith began to work the hot metal the goal was to find Living Metal, that when it was folded to a particular angle degree (that of Kenaz) it would not be too brittle and snap, to weak and fold over, but it would be flexible and maintain its shape.

    As the black smith worked the metal, it was heated and cooled and dipped into water, the sound of which was the sound of KAHHhhhh NAHaazzzzzz which from the dream the name of the rune is not a “name” . it is the “sound” of hot metal being slowly doused into water as it is being worked … and tempered…

    Am I crazy ?

    I seem to find nothing similar in my searching, to give me the idea maybe … it has some substance in relationship to Kenaz.

    This was the most significant of introductions to the runes I feel I may have received, some of the others have spoken as well, and I find that their introductions of themselves seem to go back to when they were living things, to be reduced to a pictorial or symbolic state of existence. Most of the ones have similar meanings, but there are also slight differences or maybe more depth … but when they have introduced themselves it has been in circumstances that have nothing to do with me actually trying to know them, it is like something is triggered and happens instantaneously.

    So, instead of blathering on and on, I would sorely appreciate your opinion as you have had experiences with introductions and understandings that I believe gives you an insight to actually give me a valid opinion, base on more than common or popular conceptions of the Runes.
    Thank you, Kelly

    • Maria Kvilhaug says:

      Hi Kelly!
      It was indeed interesting that you wrote about this particular experience since I have been personally thinking a lot about the mythical blacksmith for the last few weeks. I cannot give you any answers except that I do not think you are crazy. If I thought that, I would have to be crazy too, since such experiences have happened to me many times, and I think there is reality in it, like you said you were inside another persons body for a while like a hitchhiker, I think that is an actual experience of aligning with experiences of the past – perhaps with ancestors, perhaps with previous selves, perhaps just a visit to an experience that is relevant to you. It was a marvellously powerful experience you had and meaningful, but probably also personal – so I cannot say what the meaning is foryou. But if you want to study the blacksmith more, study the Edda poem Völundarkvida about the smith Völund, and have a look at Lotte Von Motz thesis “The Wise One on the Mountains” (or something like that) about the blacksmith in Norse and Germanic mythology.
      Love and blessings, Maria

  16. My interest is of Odin and Iceland, specifically Seljalandsfoss.
    Transcending Gender would be of interest to my beloved.
    Thank you for your wonderful web site, video’s and talent for telling of the past.

  17. Fabrice Henric says:


    You are an enlightening source of knowledge of our ancestral religion…I am in my “study” period of initiation and stumbled upon your videos while searching for information in order to prepare my next encounter with my Gothi and watching your videos has been of great help, thank you so much…
    Beauty, intelligence, devastating humor, strength of character, Ha! I’m hopelessly in love with you! (smile) Fabrice…14/88 Heil Wotan

  18. Jorg Aune says:

    Is it possible to submit an article or more in your homepage/blog-system?
    Kan jeg legge inn mine egne artikler ett eller annet sted i http://www.freya.theladyofthelabyrints.com eller i din blogg?

  19. Jorg Aune says:

    Jeg har sett på din hjemmeside med stor interesse og jeg vil snart kjøpe din bok: “The seeds of Yggdrasill”. Det er sjelden en treffer en person som har samme interesse(r) som en selv og tenker på samme måte. Vi vil forhåpentligvis ha mer kontakt med hverandre i framtiden.

  20. Michael Moyer says:

    I think you are wonderful. I read the Norse Myths in college and fell in love with the stories. Thank you very much for putting so much effort into bringing the stories to everyone they way they should be. Orally! Come to Alaska!

  21. veille says:

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!
    ! I certainly loved every bit of it. I have you book marked to look at new things
    you post…

  22. Deirdre says:

    First of all, I would like to thank you for making all of this available to the public, it is wonderful! I live in the middle of Kansas, US, and as you can imagine, Old Norse lore is a bit thin on the ground.
    I tried to access your forum, but it says that registration is required, and that registry is closed at this time, so I thought I would try my questions here.
    I am writing a novel involving Ragnarok, namely Sol’s daughter and the role she might play. I was curious as to whether you might have ever come across a name for her, all I can find on her is that “she is as fair as her mother, and will ride her course/tale her place.” I do know that Sol’s husband is referred to twice(?), and that is Glenr, but other than saying she definitely has a daughter, I can’t find anything else on the matter aside from Sol’s own origins. I was greatly impressed with your video series, and the different interpretations of things, and it occurred to me that the name of Sol’s daughter may have been lost in this way. I figured if anyone would know, it would be a philologist. :)
    On a separate note, I wanted to know whether you had ever heard of Hyrcinian birds? I have only ever found very brief descriptions of them, but they interest me and I would like to include them in my book. They are found in the Hyrcinian forest, and they shine brightly in the dark, and lead lost travelers to safety. But I have no idea where the Hyrcinian forest supposedly is, other than “Germany”.
    If you have any information on either of these subjects, I would be greatly appreciative of a response; even just an idea of certain books to check out. I do have both Eddas (poetic and prose), and several mythical bestiaries, but I am still at a loss. Thank you in advance for reading this huge comment.

    • Maria Kvilhaug says:

      Hello Deirdre. Thank you for feedback. The forum doesnt work, sadly, my webmaster skills are only so so and self-taught,on the other hand you can request friendship on my Facebook account Ladyofthe Labyrinth, it works a little as a forum. But to answer your question about the Suns daughter: She is mentioned only as a prophecy, a daughter to be born when the Sun dies, essentially meaning that there will be a new Sun, which is also a new age, to come after Ragnarok. She is in effect just a reborn Sun, a new time cycle. :)
      Never heard of Hyrcinian birds though…but what you say about them, shining in the dark and leading lost travelers to safety, they sound a lot like fylgjur (followers) or valkyriur. These female spirits often took bird shape, and birds in general (always described as female, unless they are eagles) have an important role showing the way in Edda lore. See for example the poem of Helgi Hjörvardsson, Poetic Edda, where Atli prays to birds in a sacred grove, or the Fafnismal poem, where birds show the way to Sigurd Fafnisbane. I have an article on this site on the Sun goddess and the Song of the Sun, and on fylgjur.

  23. Deirdre says:

    Thank you very much, that was most helpful. I think I will incorporate the fylgjur instead of the Hyrcinian birds, they were a bit of a stretch anyway. Actually the fylgjur article was the first on your site that I read, you popped right up when I Googled “fylgja” after combing Wikipedia for Norse creatures. I greatly enjoyed your articles you recommended, and am working through the Edda selections you were kind enough to suggest.
    Thank you so much for your time and help!

  24. Kara L says:

    Hello Maria,
    I am immensely appreciative for your very articulate postings on youtube,
    being a beginner in this area I do feel strongly about the spirituallity within,
    most of what you have posted feels like home and I am a thirsty solitary
    Thank you for your good energy.
    P.S. Someone has hacked my facebook page, therefore I am absent from
    the site for awhile.

  25. Alex says:

    Thank you for sharing your research. Like you I have struggled with my modern academic dealings, being compelled by ethics and a sense of purpose, I dropped out and became a student of occultism, specializing in runes and mystery traditions.
    However, the same new agey stigma that obstructs the path of scholarly progress in Norse cultural studies, has barred the way of progress in the field of occultism. With my Tumblr page (http://havamal33.tumblr.com/) I have posted a few practical examples and theories, these have gained me an audience with some of my peers, and much of the Tumblr pagan community. I am emboldened now to pursue greater heights with these new mysteries of Scandinavia, and would like to express some of the ways I have perceived some of your theories in the light of the initiatic and occult mysteries that I have been exposed to, both legitimately and of my own unveiling.

  26. I can’t find your e-mail so here you go I’ll send it to you in this comment.

    Thor was mentioned as a physical historical figure in the Urantia Book. His lifespan may have been as long as 1000 years in length. He had 1/8th or more blood as an Adamic and 1/8th or more blood as an Immortal mixed with the people in Northern Europe around 9000 years ago. He may now be an immortal since he went to the higher non-physical material plains of existence.

    http://www.urantia.org/urantia-book-standardized/paper-80-andite-expansion-in-occident (Thor is mentioned here)

    http://www.urantia.org/urantia-book-standardized/paper-85-origins-worship (And Thor is mentioned here)

    I can also share with you a lot of hidden history of Gods, Goddesses, higher beings, and medium density beings if you’re interested. My e-mail is Danthemanholt@att.net and they really do exist.

    This people know about channeling so you might see if you can learn channeling and ask to channel these beings. They both might know how to do remote time travel and time channeling to talk to people from different timelines which you can get guides to assist you because their are rules and so to make it safe for you. The Greek Gods and Goddesses also really existed. As did the Sumerian Gods and Goddesses. These channelers talk to faeries, Gods, Goddesses, extraterrestrials, archangels, etc.



  27. Warren says:

    Hi Maria

    I like your work, judging from your YouTube videos I think you’ve done an excellent job interpreting the Norse myths. I would like to offer this interpretation; as surprising as it sounds, one of the myths involving Thor is comparable to the crucifixion of the mythological Jesus. It imperative to understand that the Bible is completely metaphorical, and metaphorically the Gospel is talking about the chakras. The Hindus believe that a certain kind of energy – called Kundalini – exists at the base of the spine. Given the correct spiritual and/or meditation techniques, this energy can ascend up the spine into the skull. The spine has 33 vertebra, therefore Jesus is crucified at the age of 33 after preforming 33 miracles, and He’s crucified in Golgotha – literally meaning “the place of the skull”. The Hindus compare this energy to a snake, hence, in John 3:14 it reads: “Jesus will be lifted up like the serpent”. When Thor goes fishing with the giant Hymir, he catches a the World Serpent. Thor lifts the Word Serpent (symbolizing Kundalini) up to his boat where he hammers it (crucifies it), just like Jesus was hammered on the Cross. Thor returns to Hymir’s hall carrying to whales; the whales are comparable to fish. Jesus ate fish after his resurrection. In the hall, Thor breaks a crystal cup against the skull of Hymir, maybe the concept of a cup should remind us of the supposed “Holy Grail”, and the skull of Hymir should remind us of Golgotha.

  28. Rodrigo Pascual says:

    First of all I would like to congrat you for your blog, it’s full of very interesting and useful information that it’s very unusual to find, that’s why I would like to make you a enquiry.
    The ancient history has always interested me and also the different mythologies and pagan and pre-Christian cultures.
    Since I was young the idea of dead is an issue that disturbs me. Reading about different ancient cultures the Nordic one has fascinated me, most of all, for how do they affront life and dead in a simple and natural way. My intention for one year has been to get a tattoo that represents these particular ideas.
    I´ve been reading the chronicles and sagas that I could find in internet searching for a sentence, verse, or quote… whatever which can represent that concept, but I’m afraid that my low English level and my basic knowledge of this issue are making my work very hard.
    I wonder if you could guide my search by indicate me where should I look or any quote related to this.
    Thank you for your help and congratulations again for your blog which I almost
    read at all
    Kind regards,

  29. bruce says:

    I cant wait to read your book. I love your youtube videos. My name is Bruce Hansberry and my ancestors ranged from german to irish to dutch and I am drawn to the ways of my past. I consider myself deeply philosophical though I am not educated formally. Keep up the awesome work. You inspire me spiritually and intellectually. Thank you be blessed.

  30. Elizabeth says:

    Hello Maria, im Elizabeth from Argentina, im writter and i enjoy your videos very much. I would like to talk with you! do you have an email adreses?
    regards from Argentina.

    • Maria Kvilhaug says:

      You could befriend me at my FB account Ladyofthe Labyrinth :) Not to sound snotty but I get so many mail I often do not have time for private conversations, but I put out a lot of stuff there and appreciate open discussion on my wall it it is about subjects I work with. You are most welcome there.

  31. Dear Freya,

    I came across your videos earlier this year, and have avidly watched them since. I wished to ask you, do you know of any mention of description of the Dwarves’ home that you could point me to? In particular I wish to know more about their society, particularly concerning the issue of the existence of Dwarf-women. Are they mentioned, as in certain stories from German Folklore?

    • Maria Kvilhaug says:

      Thankyou Thomas. I dont think we have any descriptions of their home or their society, and no dwarf women. I sincerely believe that we miss the point if we think they are a kind of People and take them literally. They are characters of myth serving a symbolic function within a narrative. But as literary characters in myths and legends they may often resemble a kind of gold-silver-and-blacksmith-sorcerer types that existed as a kind of tradition or order in its own right. That is, rather than being based on some race or species or tribe, they are based on a kind of profession, and serve other and less obvious, metaphorical functions in some of the Edda poetry, as I have written and spoken about before.

  32. tapio says:

    im about to order your book now…you did say you hade a poor bastard student discount didnt you ? :)

    • Maria Kvilhaug says:

      Thanks. But I dont make discounts and such, I only write the stuff. The Publisher deals with distribution and sale and discount issues :)

  33. mark stone says:

    Hello Maria, I watched your video on Odin and would like to tell you about the new theory on the big bang. The new model states that there was an initial expansion from a point of singularity and at a certain point stopped. The radiation created from the expansion then smoothed out evenly and then the expansion we see now started. The backround radiation in the universe is smoothed out like a blanket laying flat. An explosion couldn’t produce this state. The radiation would be “clumpy” not smooth. I love your work, look forward to your book and hope this finds it’s way to you. Be well!

  34. This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I have found something that helped me. Thanks!

  35. Mark says:

    Hello and glad to be here.

    “The discovery of the ritual structure of the myths and the detailed accounts of the various stages of the ritual experience strongly suggests that the myths as they have been left to us do in fact reflect, to a considerable degree, Pagan religion and Pagan religious practices despite them having been written down by Christian monks.”

    I’ve been studying rune lore and origins along with my past endeavors into comparative religion as well as the cool stuff in aether physics. As an aside, it’s now been demonstated that there was no Big Bang; it is continuous creation. Relativity theory has also been debunked – and both were for show really which may be another matter.

    But wanted to offer the idea that behind any and all myths, as well as religions, is the celestial dynamic. The movements of the heavenly bodies. I am of course talking about what is today called Astro-Theology.

    However, what may be the case is that all subsequent myths were (perhaps inevitably, as from what I’ve noted, not much is in fact novel; it’s is based on Some prior influence!) elaborations and accretions of the Original Creation Myths.

    Some authors opine that much of everything springs from those original myths; a Creation Physic.

  36. Thomas says:

    Hello Maria,

    thank you very very much, very very much for bringing back the fire into the myth and beyond what our ancestors knew and lived from day to day. The ones who wrote about Yggdrasil and everything that comes with it knew exactly what reality is and told the people of midgard trough these “tales” what lies beyond the realm of the five senses… . The thing is also deeply connected to what is called seidr and many things of old knowlege and practise can now be brought back… if the spirit is open to look beyond it´s own shadow;)

    Yggdrasil itself is not just the “worldtree” and not just what some people now compare to the kabalah, it is such a gift of knowledge about the diversity of the universe and all it´s connections and elements of beings or consciousness. Well…giants = attributes of personalitys and what leads to what and all that as an example!


    One element of Seidr (unmanly) are feelings being penetrated spiritually by a coinsciousness of not your “own” personality. Means to clean your ego before entering another consciousness of “whatever” you need to create the outcome of seidr. I dont think it was ever really associated with physical penetration…

    Have a great evening:)

  37. Ragnar says:

    Greetings Maria, I was blown away by your YouTube videos. I stumbled upon them by accident (if indeed there are accidents). I love the allegorical analysis you have presented. You are very gifted. I had never studied the religion of the Norse seriously because I was conditioned by most sources that it was a meaningless pagan storybook fantasy. The way it ties into our world heritage, the cosmos, our minds, simply beautiful. You opened up an enormous new view of ancient knowledge for me to explore. I find many correlations between Norse and Native American mythology as well as many others. Amazing stuff. Thank you.

  38. August says:


    I spent my childhood not knowing my father and half that again, estranged from mother. When you don’t know who you are navigating life is a lonely venture. I reconnected with my father just least year and learned a bit about my Northern European roots. As I began to research for myself I found there to be little information. The information I did find was very dismissive.

    When I discovered you on Youtube I was hooked from the first video I watched. Your work is an inspiration to keep digging deeper, to keep learning, and to take nothing at first glance. Thank you! I will be following your work closely for as long as you should endeavor to keep producing it!

  39. Mr Griffiths says:

    Your work is helping me so much, thankyou.
    Everything lines up, like iron in a magnetic field, to my
    global Egyptian conclusion. [ royal sun cult origin ]
    Stone cirlcles have been found in south Egypt, dated around
    8000BC. Before well masoned obelisks, the ancient Egyptians used
    coarse standing stones, in circles, as temples.
    The priests were magicians. It was the first pagan nation.

    Ra says to Thoth [ 10,000BC ?],

    ‘..I shall give thee to turn thyself towards the northern nations.’72

    This was written in the Book of Atum-Ra,
    …Thoth, was made the enlarger of the domains of Ra.

    Northern mythology…

    The Challenge of Thor
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    I AM the God Thor,
    I am the War God,
    I am the Thunderer!
    Here in my Northland,
    My fastness and fortress,
    Reign I forever!
    Here amid icebergs
    Rule I the nations;

    This link, connects all paganism to ancient Egypt….

  40. James Craig Cornwallis-Bate says:

    Happy New Year! I appreciate your knowledge in these facts. Please let me into your circles so we can communicate more, Jimmy

  41. Christtoff Schulz says:

    Love the simple yet profound work you’ve done so far with the Norse myths, by actually looking up the meaning of names. Well done! I completed a BA in Cultural Anthropology at UBC here in BC, Canada and am keenly interested in Christian, Egyptian, Norse, Okanagan Native and Sumerian myths. You’ve inspired me to read your book and the poetic Edda, from the perspective of a man’s or woman’s spiritual journey. Thank you. All the best from BC, Christtoff.

  42. Lee J Robinson says:

    Hello Maria. I was wondering if you had a chance to look at those four words of mine that I need translated into Old Norse. I just need to know if my translation is correct.
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Your friend.
    Lee J Robinson.

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  44. MAX PRANA says:

    …intressant…borra vidare.
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  45. Bonjour,

    I am a poet and composer from France. My work is focused on the oral traditions of poetry. Am in the process of writing a Saga which revolves around Norsk Myths and Gods, in particular Odin as poet warrior magician. The Saga is conceived as a spiritual journey. Have been searching for reliable and non superficial interpretations of the Myths. Your work seems quite deep and has an orientation which matches my own. I am writing to see if you would interested in a collaboration. I have my own recording studio in Berlin and many resources to produce music: Instruments, synths, and so forth. Cordially, Antony Hequet

  46. Lugh of the longhand says:

    Hey there i Was wondering what is your opinion of the hyperboreans and the tuatha de dannan ? I believe their origins to be of Atlantis/lemuria But there are older names for those contient’s in The Irish/Celtic language. Nuada the high king.. He got a silver are replacement Sounds alot like cyberprosthetics to me like we have in modern day times.

  47. D. Gold says:

    Read the first Blade Honer. Fantastic book, exciting , historic and just a plain good read.

  48. Kjartan Haug says:

    Tusen takk for fine presentasjoner på youtube.
    Har ikke lest bøkene dine, men tusen takk for fin fin inspirasjon.
    Fint å høre språk som er både definerende og åpent på samme tid.

  49. Per S says:

    Hi Maria,

    I found out about you and your work from the Red Ice Creations radio interview.

    While I haven’t read everything on your blog yet, my first impression is really great. Extremely inspiring so thanks a lot!

    I have a question, in your post


    you mention a light in the west as strong as that of Dalai Lamah. You furthermore mention that you later found out who this person is. Is this something you could elaborate on?

    Thanks a bunch,


  50. Donald Dean says:


    I was happy to finally hear you on Red Ice Radio. You did a wonderful job!

    I finally got a copy of Seed of Yggdrasil. I also picked up Eddas. I have only begun to read through your book, but it is really fascinating stuff so far.

    Keep up the good work!
    Donald Dean

  51. Eric says:

    I am a py-writ, by decree. It is no coincidence that I find the ‘Lady of the Labyrinth’. I believe you have a quest question for me.

    Thank you for the sip from the cup of memories. It was quite refreshing.



  52. Dave says:

    Hello Maria,

    Could you give me a good idea as to which Poetic Edda I should buy, or is there not much difference between them? Do you happen to sell one?

  53. Randy says:

    I just wanted to say thank you, and also how much I really enjoy your videos on youtube…. I learn so much from you… thanks again!



  54. Aaron says:

    I just wanted to comment how much I love your videos. I have just begun to explore my Nordic heritage and am being called to my ancient religious and mythological roots. I find your talked very easy to follow and I love the balance you seem to have between spirituality and science. You are a beautiful person and I can see the light of the divine shining through you. Thank you again.

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  58. Paolo Clerici says:

    Wow, this site is most interessant, thank’s! I’m italian, and i love everything when say of the Viking. My first journey in Scandinavia are in 2003 and i love immeditely. I stay in Norway and Denmark three time, in Sweden only one, but i think next year i want visit the Gotland island. I’m return by a few day from the Faroe islands! Very beautiful. During this long years i have buy most book whit argoment the history and mythos of the Viking, and now i’ve an a different opinion from my learning of school. Last year i’m going to teatre “La Scala” in Milan for the week dedicated at Wagner and i see the tetralogy: the ring of Nibelunghen! Fantastic world! Thank’s of all. I love Scandinavia.

  59. Sylvia Daniels says:

    Hi Maria,
    I am so impressed by your great research. I think you may like also the book, The Nine Eyes of Light by Padma Aon. I think you have achieved living from your soul and your dream director is giving you instructions from the isness as it was designed to do after we clear the lower chakras of trauma, balanced and living in harmony with the isness and all that is. I have studied many cultures but not norse so now I am excited for you to be my teacher, Your humble servant, Sylvia

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  63. windir says:

    I am in love.! or rather in awe, or both. you are so beautiful to listen to and watch for such a simple mind/warrior such as myself. i hope to gain in wisdom through your speech, though some say to seek wisdom is to lose wisdom (zen-ish).

  64. Kolyo says:

    I’ve made research and would like to share some examples of Norse gods and the meaning of their names in Bulgarian:

    Buri in Bulgarian is the word for storms with strong winds and lightnings

    Borr – This is how we call the conifers, but also it is the main part of the name Boris/Boriscos = Restler/Fighter/Winner. It is one of the most ancient names in our land.

    Iðunn is the goddess of youth, wife of Bragi (She guards the golden apples). DUNav is how we call the Danube river and Briag is how we call a beach – a landform along the coast of an ocean, sea, lake, or RIVER. When we say river we know that it symbolizes youth-purity-life.

    Bragi is one of the newest gods in the mythology of the Vikings. He woke the world up in the morning with his harp music. Well in addition to the above just reed about Orpheus and keep in mind that he is a Thracian deity that predates Greek mythology.

    Baldr (Balder) – God of beauty, innocence, peace, and rebirth.
    Boliar = the highest level among the aristocrats (after the Kniaz-king) in Thrace/Bulgaria. Also Bal=Vol/Volint(Bulgarian)= Ox(english) – Was a diety/simbol of power, fertility and life for us in the past, but also Bal/Bial means white/light/shiny.

    Nanna is also the Norse goddess of the Moon.
    Luna = Moon in Bulgarian and when we put our babies and little children to sleep we almost always sing and pronaunse quietly: nanee-na, naanina, nanneena.

    Loki – Trickster and god of mischief.
    Lukav in Bulgarian is a person who’s traitorous, disloyal, perfidious
    Lakum = Greedy person

    Dagr and he’s son of the dawn god Dellingr
    Den in Bulgarian = Day in English

    Nótt – personification of the night.
    Nosht in Bulgarian = Night in English

    Jörð (or Jord) is a giantess (jötun) and goddess in Norse mythology. She is the personification of Earth.
    Tvurd in Bulgarian = Earth in English and has a prononsiation that resembles closely the souding of Jord – Tvurd

    Fjörgyn in Old Norse noun, means “earth” when used in the feminine form
    Tvurdina has similar meaning in Bulgaria, but it also means a Stronghold.

    Eir is the goddess associated with healing.
    Mir in Bulgarian = Peace and healthy well-being.

    Frigg (or Frigga) is Odin’s wife. She is the goddess of marriage, motherhood, managing the household, and keeper of the domestic arts. She has the power of prophecy, but she does not tell what she knows. She is often confused with Freyja.

    I will recommend reading about ancient Phrygia/Frigia, then think how it relates to ancient Thrace and eventualy the Orphic Mysteries.

    Frigg – Freyja
    Feia in Bulgarian = Fairy in English

    Gerðr (or Gerda)
    Gord(maskuline) Gorda(feminine) translated from Bulgarian to English is Proud/Haughty

    Höðr (also written Hodhr, Hoder, Hodur) is associated as the god of winter.
    Hlad, Hladen in Bulgarian means Cold in English

    Hoenir is a warrior god and the god of silence.
    Tiho in Bulgarian = Quiet in English;
    Voin in Bulgarian = Warrior in English
    Boets = Warrior

    Lofn – Goddess of forbidden loves.
    Liubov = Love
    Lovuk = Skillful

    Magni – god of strength. Son of Thor
    Mogasht = Mighty
    Magia = Powerful Magic Spell
    Moga = I can

    Mimir is the god of wisdom.
    Mir = Peace
    Mudrost = Wisdom
    Mimir has a typical Thracian/Protoslavic sounding as well.

    Njörðr – God of sea, wind, fish, and wealth.
    More = Sea

    Odin – The “All Father” God of war, associated to wisdom, poetry, and magic
    Edin/Odin in Bulgarian = One/The First/The Best in English
    Voden = Made of water and you probably know that in many ancient myths the water was the Prime source of everything.
    Svod = Sky

    Ran – Goddess of the sea?
    Rami – Light rain

    Sif is believed to have been a goddess of the home, of field and of the crop. It is also said that she had some control of destiny.
    Ziv = Alive
    Sit = feeling completely filled with food
    Div = Wild

    Thrúd is the goddess of the heath, of willows, of trees, flowers and the grass. Her name means strength in Old Norse.
    Thrud/Trud = Hard work

    Sol (Sunna) – Goddess of Sun.
    Slunce/Solnce = Sun

    Thor (Donar) – God of thunder and battle
    Thopor/Secira = Battle ax
    T(h)resa = earth quake
    Udar= Hit/Strike

    Váli – God of revenge.
    Velik – Great/Mighty

    Vár is a goddess of promises and agreements. She also punishes those that break their promises and contracts. Her name means ‘pledge’ or ‘beloved’.
    Viara = Beliefs
    Veren = Faithful; to belong to
    Varna is one of the oldest names of a city in Bulgaria
    sVARzan = tight with ropes; in connection with

    Vé – One of the three gods of creation.
    VElik = Great
    VElio – The one with strong will
    poVElitel – Master

    Vili and Vé are the brothers of Odin.
    Vili/Veli(chka) is widely used name in Bulgaria even today

    Víðarr – God of the forest, revenge and silence.
    Darvar = Lumberjack/woodcutter

    Other similarities may be found in words like:

    Bjarg, Brekka in Old Norse
    Briag in Bulgarian = Shore – the land along the edge of a sea, lake, or other large body of water in English

    Sever – North, Cold, Dark

    Thank you!

  65. hypnose says:

    …’ai entendu dire que faire des

  66. Derek says:

    In my personal opinion, you eminate a pure energy that can’t be duplicated.
    Your enthusiasm for mythology is admirable. Life begins with curiosity but repeats a painful truth. We wish there for we want. Nothing is quite enough. Like your beautiful disposition love can’t ever be the same forever. one only prays for longevity. I conqer there is more truth than we can even begin to imagine. Don’t slow down your accent or posture, positive blessings are eminate. Dubious is as dubious does.

  67. Mem Lagu says:

    Nietzsche too had to leave the academy since his quest was more than intellectual. I find your work brilliant and your message uplifting. Certainly an ignoramus myself in such matters, I have been quickened by your lucid arguments to seek to become educated. Your contention that pantheism is implicit in so-called primitive shamanic “paganism” draws us to the realization that the Norse merely preserved an archaic artifact the world had lost with the arrival of “savior” religions. If the “Lady” waits to embrace the returning soul despite all its wanderings, no “savior” is necessary to redeem it of its misdeeds. Thank you for the inspiration!

  68. Dear Maria,
    My life is a long slow story about re-membering my Self and why I chose to arrive in 1948. In January 2014 my daughter Ruth shot and killed herself, and this past year has been a Cleansing because of that loss.
    She was born in Keflavik, Iceland, where I was the most comfortable I have ever been on Earth, so I have been reviewing WHY I love that cold, windy, darkness. From http://www.23andme.com, I learned my DNA is NW European, especially the Germanic-Norse areas. What I loved about Iceland was the Asatru, the Huldufolk, the hardiness and the hardship, even though I was still enmeshed in christianity when I lived there.
    Before Ruth’s suicide, my favorite music on YT was Wardruna’s YGGDRASIL, especially the song HELVEGN. So my Following Norns prepared me for her death, I think. Einar from that group volunteered to build a Cairn for her when the band returns to Iceland.
    Now I am 66 and starting anew re-membering/re-learning the Asatru I KNEW IN PAST LIVES and what my Germanic-Norse Ancestors KNEW and LIVED before me. Your writings and your YT presentations are daily feasts: I watch a video first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
    I want to ‘go back home’ to NW Europe and am studying my college German again. The christian-aggression in the US frightens me. But the land here in northen New Mexico is volcanic and wild, like Iceland, so for now, I feel somewhat ‘at home’.
    Takk fyrr, [misspelled]
    Santa Fe, NM, USA

  69. Timothy says:

    Have you ever noticed any similarities between norse and greek stories? Norse stories of giants or gods and similarities between the greek stories of titans, between norse heros and greek heros?
    Thank you

  70. Rod Briggs says:

    Did you receive my previous e mail? I clicked on the send but the page disappeared on my browser.

  71. Jeff says:

    Can you email me? I need to ask questions about purchasing your papers and supporting your efforts. The PayPal link is not working properly on the site.
    I look forward to your reply!


  72. O'ran says:

    Dear Maria ~ This research is outstanding! When i read and listen with my very keen and pointy Elf ears, I can feel my ancestors, like wind spirit, rise and re-kindle a tiny ancient ember within my heart and blood – then im right there, standing with them! Very magical!…
    Im soon going to a favourite Tree of mine. I will light a fire and find ‘The Seed of Yggdrasill’ in my hands and surely awaken within my dreams ~

    Thank you so much Maria ~
    With much, much Gratitude
    O’ran ~

  73. peg fitzgerald says:

    Dear maria, i am a practitioner of the celtic shamanic cunning arts. My ancestry from Ostfriesland scotland and wales. Upon reading the eddas I immediately recognized the pattern of reaching the underworld. By the deciphering of the names however you brought this story to life to actually be able to be used in the manner it was originally written for not just a “fairy tale”. Brilliant!!!!!!!! Thank you for helping us all sister witch. I have curiosity on a few points. What is the sacred ring oath of Odin? The person that got help from maiden getting g ameboard maiden reminded him of his sacred oath. What is this oath? In the deserted wilderness heroes free princess from captivity. Why do princesses need to be rescued? Why does underworld need hero? Or someone with courage? Why do gods need Eden seed of world tree elfin to bring them back apple of immortality? I’ve watched all your videos fascinating. You are such a good thinker maria, what do you think about this? We need them why do they need us? Eala frya Fresena. On a silver cake server from grandmother with regalia. What does this translate to? Thank you again. Peg

  74. bb says:

    Hello and thank you for being so informative!
    I am really curious if you have written anything about Loki’s Children?
    If you have could you please tell me where I may find it?

  75. Just wanted to thak you, ahead of time. Although I’m not a big fan of Amazon, I will be purchasing your SEED OF YGGDRASIL. Came across your site, as a fluke, but I was captured by your approach to the Edda. My first introduction to them, although I have always been a pseudo-student of myth and folklore, was during work in Iceland, over a period of five summers. I had a chance to talk to local folks, for whom the tales still hold meaning–granted, sometimes too literal. But I still came away with a desire to delve deeper. Unfortunately, one of the few, supposedly, good translations, in english, is thought to be the Hollander edition. I almost lost all interest, given that somehow Elizabethan English was assumed to give, as you say, these “entertaining” stories legitimacy, at the cost of loss of the metaphoric message within. I think I have found, as it where, a kindred intellectual soul, in your writings, that should bring me back into the proper fold of these myths. Again, thanks. By the way, during your stay in Britain, did you hang out with Australians? Your Queens received english has a decidedly Australian accent. Just sayin’

  76. John says:

    My great grandfather was from Sweden. Should I learn the language of my great grandfather? He died young, so he didn’t get a chance to pass down his culture. :(

  77. Suggest you check out my The Quest for the Nine Maidens (Luath Press 2003). I thinkyou will find the Norse/Scandinavian sections particualry interesting.Since writing it I have been developing a new understanding of just how deeply ancient beliffs re a femino-centric view of the world, and its associated rituals, are still to be discerned in the modern landscape of Scotland. This in turn has led to a new approach called Geomythography which I will be teaching at Edinburgh Unversity’s Cffice of Lifelong Learning next spring.

  78. Johanna Klapper says:

    Dear Maria,
    I have just bought the two “Blade Honer” books at amazon (amazon.de in Germany). There is a wrong sub-headline on the 2nd book, saying “Book Three” instead of “Book Two”. At first I thought I ordered the wrong book and missed book 2, but when I opened it, it said “Book Two”. Just thought I’d drop you a line so you can contact them about this.
    I started book 1 last night and hardly slept at all because I wasn’t really able to put it down!

  79. I think you may find these excerpts from my The Quest for the Nne Maidens (2003) of some interest. CurreNtly I am reaerching furthrr into the underlying cultural commonalities of the Germano-Celtic or Celto-Germanic areas, as I believe the analysis based on linguistic differentiation is both simplistic and erroneous.

    P9 Because so many of the different traditions of the Nine Maidens associate them with Goddess-type figures, I believe that the religion they followed was based on Mother Goddess worship. This is generally thought to have been the earliest form of human religion and the fact that we all have mothers is probably why humans developed the idea of a supreme Mother Goddess, giver of life and death. The material from Scotland, where our story starts, can be interpreted as showing the existence of an ancient dual goddess figure portrayed in terms of light and dark, summer and winter, life and death. This duality is much more like the eastern concept of yin and yang than the later simplified Christian idea of the battle between good and evil. In Scottish tradition the goddess of Winter, the Hag actually becomes the Golden goddess of Summer, the Bride. Bride, the pagan precursor of St Bridget, was common to both Britain and Ireland and is associated in different traditions with the Nine Maidens.
    In other traditions we see the Nine Maidens associated with the Norse Goddesses Menglod and Ran, the Welsh Cerridwen, in Siberian shamanic traditions, in a foundation legend from Kenya and of course in the case of the Muses we see them associated with a god, Apollo. While it impossible to prove that the association with such male god figures came later than their link to the Goddess, we can be sure that their association with a single male figure is very ancient indeed. As we shall see, the earliest reference to the Nine Maidens is in a Magdelanian cave-painting from Catalonia which is perhaps as much as 17,000 years old. This painting clearly shows some sort of fertility rite. The association with the Mother Goddess might account for the existence of many Nine Maidens Wells in Scotland, water itself being the fount of all life. In one particular case, at Sanquhar in southern Scotland, nine white stones were still being placed in St Bride’s Well, in the 20th century, in memory of the Nine Maidens.

    Sagas and Sea Spirits

    The written sources on the subject of pre-Christian beliefs from Scandinavia are comparatively late and fragmentary. What we know, as elsewhere, comes to us mainly through the writings of Christian scribes. Scandinavia became completely Christianised relatively late in the 12th century though pagan rites and beliefs survived long afterwards there as elsewhere. The problem of the written material is exactly the same as in the Celtic-speaking countries. It isn’t just the issue of the influence of Christian beliefs on the texts, it is also that Christian scribes were trained in a strictly classical fashion and were thus heavily influenced by the models from which they had learned. We have to rely on sources such as Snorri Sturlusson’s Heimskringla, a chronicle of early Norse kings, the collections of poetry and story known as the Eddas and various surviving sagas that have survived in literary form. Ultimately though, they derive from the oral tradition. However the use of rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, assonance and all the other mnemonic tricks of the poets and storytellers are virtually absent from these stories which are arranged for presentation on the page, as literature. However, just because the scribes were writing the stories down in this way does not mean that the myths and legends were no longer being told, and listened to. In Scotland as we have seen, the storytelling tradition of the travelling peoples has survived into the late 20th century and much of what has been described as ‘folklore’ or ‘superstition’ can now be seen to contain useful information about ancient belief and practice, much more than had been previously realised. Sometimes ancient motifs have been transformed and survive as stories, or even jokes, in urban environments. This is true everywhere. It is easy to forget that near universal literacy and the widespread availability of books are relatively recent phenomena, even in the Western world. Just three hundred years ago, books, apart from the Bible were very scarce, and in the scale of human existence that is a short time indeed. It is an especially short time when we are dealing with beliefs and institutions that are thousands of years old.

    There are many instances of the importance of the number nine in Norse tradition but perhaps none more intriguing than that of the god Heimdall, watcher of the gates of Asgard, who was said to have been born to nine mothers. In the poem the Rigspula which is part of the Poetic Edda, one of the great core collections of Norse myth and lore, Heimdall is said to have fathered the ancestors of the thralls, the farmers and the earls, i.e. all of humanity. The tale of a wandering god travelling from house to house and fathering children is also told of the Celtic god of the sea, Manannan. This link with the sea is very significant.

    In the ancient text the Heimdallargaldar the god is quoted as saying, ’I am the child of nine mothers, I am the son of nine sisters’. This is reinforced by an ancient poem from the Shorter Voluspa, quoted by Davidson in Gods and Myths of Northern Europe:

    One was born in olden days,
    of strength surpassing, kin to the Powers.
    He, nail-resplendent, was born to nine
    giant maids, on the edge of the earth. (p. 175)

    In Norse mythology these nine females were the daughters of the sea god Aegir and his wife, the sea-goddess Ran. As in so many other instances of Nine Maidens groups there is the motif of their relationship with a single male. This apparently strange idea of the Nine Maidens being mother to one son is a motif that also occurs in the Irish saga of Ruad, son of Rigdonn. Heimdall is a complex figure. He is the watcher at the gate, the father of the people and, variously, a sun god, a god of the moon, a ram god, the spirit of the rainbow, and as the personification of the spirit of the World Tree itself. Heimdall, as the watcher, sits on guard on the rainbow bridge Bifrost, needing no sleep, seeing as well by night as by day and constantly listening for the slightest sound of threat to Asgard, the home of the Norse gods. It is his great horn, Gjallahorn, that sounds to waken the gods before the final battle of Ragnarok. Such a diversity of aspects in one figure demonstrates his great importance in Scandinavian mythology.

    The nine sisters who are said to be Heimdall’s common mother have been interpreted as the personification of the sea. As we discussed earlier the ninth wave is believed in various countries to be the strongest; in Welsh folklore fishermen are said to have called the ninth wave the ram of Gwenhiddy with the other eight waves being her sheep, reminding us that one of Heimdall’s aspects is that of a ram god. Another similarity with Welsh tradition concerns Aegir, father of the nine sea maidens. He has a great cauldron in which he brews mead for his feasts, recalling Cerridwen’s cauldron of poetry and inspiration, which was tended by Nine Maidens. Mead inspires poetry and it was for the mead of poetry that Odin seduced the giant Suttung’s daughter, by reciting her nine poems.

    The association of these Nine Maidens with Odin, the chief of the Norse gods is precise. In The Norsemen, H.A Guerber tells us:

    In the course of a walk along the seashore Odin once beheld nine beautiful giantesses, the wave maidens Gjalp, Greip, Egiea, Augeia, Ulfrun, Argiafa, Sindur, Atla and Iarnsaxa sound asleep on the white sand. The god of the sky was so charmed with these beautiful creatures, the Eddas relate, he wedded all nine of them, and they combined at the same moment, to bring forth a son, who received the name of Heimdall… … . The nine mothers proceeded to nourish their babe on the strength of the earth, the moisture of the sea, and the heat of the sun, which singular diet proved so strengthening that the new god acquired his full growth in a remarkably short space of time and hastened to Asgard to join his father. (p. 146)

    The mothers of Heimdall seem to be closely related to the Nine Maidens who at the beginning of the world in Norse mythology, ground the body of the great giant Ymir on the great World-Mill. Ymir was the first being, formed from the primeval universe and the world was formed from his body. The Nine Maidens of the Mill appear to be the same as the Daughters of Ran, the sea-goddess who was Aegir’s wife. As Donald Mackenzie in Teutonic Myth and Legend says:

    The great World-mill of the gods was under the care of Mundilfore. Nine giant maids turned it with much violence, and the grinding of the stones made such fearsome clamour that the loudest tempests could not be heard. The great mill is larger than is the whole world, for out of it the mould of the earth was ground. (p. 4)

    Mackenzie goes on to provide more detail of the creation of the world by the Nine Mill-maids:

    When Ymir was dead, the gods took counsel among themselves, and set forth to frame the world. They laid the body of the clay-giant in the mill, and the maids ground it. The stones were smeared with blood, and the dark flesh came out as mould. Thus was earth produced, and the gods shaped it to their desire. From Ymir’s bones were made the rocks and the mountains; his teeth and jaws were broken asunder, and as they went round at their labour, the giant maids flung the fragments hither and thither, and these are the pebbles and boulders. The ice-blood of the giant became the waters of the vast engulfing sea. Nor did the giant maids cease their labours when the body of Ymir was completely ground, and the earth was framed and set in order by the gods. The body of giant after giant was laid upon the mill, which stands beneath the floor of the Ocean, and the flesh-grist is the sand which is ever washed up round the shores of the world. Where the waters are sucked thorough the whirling eye of the millstone is a fearsome maelstrom and the sea ebbs and flows as it is drawn down to Hvergelmer, ‘the roaring cauldron’, in Nifelheim and thrown forth again. The very heavens are made to swing by the great World-mill round Veraldar Nagli, ‘the world spike’, which is the Polar Star. (p. 5)

    The idea of the roaring cauldron, Hvergelmer, echoes the Corryvreckan. Here we have a description not only of the origin of the physical earth but perhaps also an account of the precession of the equinoxes – the circling of the stars over any particular point which takes 25,800 years to come back to its original position. This basic idea is very like that of the well known motif of the Axis Mundi – literally the axis of the world, the fixed centre point round which the heavens revolve. Such ideas were known in ancient Egypt and elsewhere and underpin the notions of astrological ‘houses’. In his remarkable book on this phenomenon, Hamlet’s Mill, Georges de Santillana tells us:

    Medieval writers, and after them Athansius Kircher located the gurgus mirabilis, the wondrous eddy, somewhere off the coast of Norway, or of Great Britain. It was the Maelstrom, plus probably a memory of the Pentland Firth. (p. 91)

    The Pentland Firth initially Pjettaland Firth, the Firth of the Picts, is off Scotland’s north coast and the sea there can be horrendous but this ‘wondrous eddy’ sounds to me more like a reference to the Corryvreckan though it is on the west not north of Scotland. There is though, something similar in the Pentland Firth. Here it described by F. Burton in Wonderful Curios:

    Between the coast of Caithness and Orkney is a dreadful Frith or Gulf, in the north end of which by reason of the meeting of 9 contrary Tides or Currents is a Male Stream or great Whirlpool. (p. 22)

    Again we come across the number nine. In the Revue Celtique of 1885, Whitley Stokes wrote in a similar vein:

    A great whirlpool there is between Ireland and Scotland on the North. It is the meeting of many seas – it resembles an open cauldron which casts the draught down and up, and its roaring is heard like far-off thunder. (p. 16)

    The idea of Hvergelmer, the roaring cauldron, and Stokes’ description of the whirlpool could hardly be better suited as descriptions of the Corryvreckan. One intriguing aspect of this is Santillana’s reference to the World Spike. In the Gulf of Corryvreckan there is a great underwater pillar of rock, or spike, round which the waters are forced by the powerful tides to create the whirlpool. The spike is known in tradition as the Cailleach and I have been told by storyteller George MacPherson of Skye that the whirlpool is said to be the breath of the Goddess under the waves.

    One of the earliest referents to the Maelstrom motif comes from an ancient fragment of poetry attributed to a Norwegian skald, or poet, Snæbjörn who wrote:

    Men say that the nine maidens of the island-mill are moving the host-fierce mill of the skerries out beyond the skirts of the earth, they who long ago ground Amlodi’s meal. (Hansen, p. 129)

    Here Amlodi is the original of Hamlet in Scandinavian mythology. Mackenzie’s account of these remarkable mythological beings in Teutonic Myth and Legend, continues:

    These giant maids at the beginning ground Ymir’s body on the World Mill. And ever do they turn the great mill at the sea bottom. Angeyja and Eyrgjafa grind mould; Jarnsaxa is the crusher of the iron which comes from clay and the sea; Imder, Gjalp, and Greip are fire-maids, for whom the world-mill is fire sparked forth and there is fire in the sea; Eistla, Eyrgjafa, and Ulfrun are also at work like the others. (p. 99)

    Here we have the Nine Maidens at the very start of creation, portrayed as the agency by which the world is brought into being and by which the universe keeps on turning. Jarnsaxa in some tales is said to have been the first wife of the great god Thor.

    Other names for the Nine Maidens given by Snorri Sturlusson in the Skaldasparmal are Himingglaeva (‘the heaven-shining one’), Blodughadda (‘bloody hair’), Dufa, Udr, Hronn, Bygla, Bra and Kola (‘the cold one’). It is probable that these names were derived from descriptive appellations of waves in the tradition of the Norse poetic technique of kennings. A kenning is metaphor; thus a boat can be a cleaver of the waves, a spade, the sword of the soil or the ladle of the earth, and gold the fire of the serpent or sun of the sea.

    Before looking at other Norse and Icelandic Nine Maidens groups we should consider an intriguing tale that links Norse and Irish mythology. This is the story of Ruad, son of Rigdonn. Rigdonn recalls one of the names of Heimdall – Rig, in the the poem Rigspula, where he is described as travelling around the countryside fathering the different sectors of Norse society, sleeping in turn with the wives of a thrall, a farmer and an earl.

    H.R.E. Davidson says of this in Gods and Myths of Northern Europe:

    There appears to be Celtic influence behind this poem. First the name Rig is presumably to be derived from the Irish word rig, ‘king’. Secondly this story of the travelling god, going from house to house among his subjects and begetting children, shows a striking resemblance to certain Irish traditions connected with Mannanan mac Lir an his son Mongan. Mannanan is a Celtic god of the sea, associated with the Isle of Man and called Son of the Sea. The same name might be given to Heimdall. (p. 174)

    The marine aspect of all of this is very strong, perhaps linking in some way to the motif of Islands of Women. The marine link continues in the tale of Ruad whom we encounter sailing north from Ireland to Norway in a company of three ships. The vessels come to a stop and will go no further despite a favourable wind. Ruad decides to investigate and dives into the sea. He discovers there are three giant maidens hanging from each of his ships, stopping them from going on. The Nine Maidens take him to their realm below the sea. In The Metrical Dinshenchas, a series of poetic and sometimes mythological explanations of early Irish place-names, the tale is translated from the Gaelic:

    Nine women of them excellent and strong
    hard it was to approach them;
    He slept nine nights with the women
    without gloom, without fearful lament
    under the sea free from waves
    on nine beds of bronze.

    Though a woman of them was with child by him
    it was a disfigurement of a little space
    he separated from them without wrongful offence
    on condition he should come back again. (2, p. 27)

    This is somewhat like the story of Heimdall’s birth – again we have the motif of the Nine Maidens and a single male. Although Ruad promised to return to the nine women he in fact went straight back to Ireland after trading in Norway. The women pursue him and the poem continues:

    Nine of them, fierce, radiant and bright
    to high Inber Ailbine
    an evil deed then wrought;
    a woman of them, with no unconscious burden
    even the slaying of the son of Ruad strong and good
    and her very own son
    [She made] a cast with her son, worse than any crime
    it was a stain on his house for him in earth;
    She hurled [him] out in fair combat
    so that he died the death. (Ibid.)

    Although this is rather obscure the motif of sacrifice is pretty clear, though here the reason for the death of the child is because Ruad has broken his word to return to the Nine Maidens. There are echoes here of the visits of men to Islands of Women for sexual purposes and though it is never explicit, it seems at least possible that tales like this refer to situations where the role of the man was to father a new member of the community of nine women. Although many of the Nine Maidens groups, like the Maidens of the Mill, do seem to be primarily mythological, we have seen enough references to specific sites and activities for us to be certain there were actual groups of them functioning as priestesses in some way. There is only one other obvious mention of a child among the Nine Maiden groups, in the story of St Monenna. The actual priestess groups would have had to replace their members as they died off, to keep up their numbers. Their separation from day-to-day society would require some sort of process through which sexual intercourse could be arranged with a man for one of them to conceive a child. Other possibilities do exist – there could have been candidates in waiting to replace a lost group member – but the ongoing association with a single man, with overtones of sexual congress, does at least raise such a possibility.

    Perhaps in the story of Ruad, with the Nine Maidens no longer presented as the mothers of a god, but as brutal and sadistic semi-supernatural beings, we are seeing the influence of Christianity. However Mother Goddess figures in many societies are portrayed as capable of brutality, or what seems to us as brutality. This may merely reflect their overall control of both life and death, as giver and taker-away.

    The description of Ruad’s Nine Maidens as ‘fierce, radiant and bright’ would also fit the most famous of the female figures in Norse mythology, the Valkyries, the hand-maidens of Odin. They are variously given the capacity to decide victory, select which warriors would die on the battlefield and then choose which warriors were worthy of being taken to partake of the joys of Valhalla, the Norse warriors’ Paradise. Their presence on the battlefield is like that of the Morrigan in Irish mythology.

    The Valkyries occur in different numbers in Norse mythology but Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology makes the following point :

    Usually nine valkyjrur ride out together … their lances, helmets and shields glitter… This nineness is also found in the story of Thidrandi to whom nine disir [sorceresses] appear first in white raiment then nine others in black. . . . Nine, as the favourite number of the valkyrs, is confirmed by Saemunddredda 228, where one of them speaks of [having] atta systra (eight sisters). To our surprise, a hero Granmar turns valkyra in Asgard, and bears nine wolves to Sinfiotli… (p. 421)

    Asgard is the home of the Gods and Sinfiotli was one of the heroic family of the Volsungs, who along with his father the hero Sigmund, became a werewolf for nine nights.

    Guerber, in The Norsemen, tells of the Valkyries in Valhalla:

    These maidens, nine in number according to some authorities, brought the heroes great horns full of delicious mead, and set before them huge portion’s of boar’s flesh, upon which they feasted heartily… (p. 19)

    And further:

    The numbers of the Valkyrs differ greatly according to various mythologists, ranging from three to sixteen, most authorities, however, naming only nine. (p. 174)

    The significance of boar’s flesh as the meat of heroes again links us to the Celtic traditions wherein the hunting and eating of the boar is a recurring motif. We should also remember the association of swine with several Goddess figures.

    Guerber gives the names of the Valkyries as Skuld, Skaugul, Gunnr, Hildr, Gaundul, Geir-skaugul, Olrun, Alvit and Svanhvit. Geir-skaugul is suggestive of the Scots Gyre-Carlin,. The Gyre-Carlin in Scots tradition was often called the queen of the witches, and was clearly at one time a Goddess figure. Gyre in this context is usually interpreted as meaning ‘biting’ but can also mean a ring, spiral or even vortex. Which, in the light of the spiral as a symbol, as well as the living manifestation of the Corryvreckan whirlpool, perhaps illustrates the complex cross-referencing of ideas in pagan symbolism. Svanhvit suggest another aspect of the Valkyries – their ability to change into swans. This returns us to the theme of shape-shifting so common amongst Nine Maiden groups.

    The Valkyries did occasionally appear in the form of swan-maidens, as in the tale

    where the Valkyrie Brynhild, heroine of Wagner’s musical drama, incurred the wrath of Odin. One day when she and eight of her sisters were flying from Valhalla, they landed on earth and removed their plumage.Unseen by them King Agnar approached, seized the discarded apparel and hid it under an oak. From then on the nine Valkyries were in his power.

    Agnar forced Brynhild to counteract Odin’s wishes in battle and as a result she was banished to earth and could only be married to a hero who would ride through flames for her. In time Siegfried appeared as this hero. Here again we have a shape-shifting motif and it is significant that the king hid the swan plumage below an oak tree, a sacred tree in so many cultures. Like other Nine Maidens groups, there is also a relationship with mountain tops.

    Grimm in Teutonic Mythology tells us:

    … it is conceivable, why Brynhilde, the valkyr dwelling on her mountain, had lif med laekning (pharmaca cum medela) ascribed to her … she is a wise woman skilled in magic, a pharmaceutria, herberia and moreover understands the binding up of wounds … At medicinal springs, by mineral waters, appears the white lady with the snake. (p. 1149)

    This medical knowledge is like that of Morgan and her sisters and the Gallicenae of the Isle of Sena, while the association with the well and the snake reminds us specifically of Bride. That these similarities exist between the Germanic and Celtic belief patterns suggests a closer inter-relationship between these different tribal language groups in terms of mythology and culture than has generally been realised. The similarities in the descriptions of so many of the Nine Maidens groups and their activities underlines this.

    Grimm links the Valkyrie with other Norse wise-women and tells us:

    … Skuld and Heid are, like Hulda and Berhta, purely pagan half-Goddesses, round whom gathers the magic ring-dance; they stir up storm and tempest, they make invulnerable, they prophesy… (p. 1044)

    Again this is remarkably like the Gallicenae and the storm-raising is reminiscent of the Cailleach as Mother Goddess; the power of raising the wind was once accredited to witches as well. The ring dance and the tempest-raising are also suggestive of both Hvergelmer and the Corryvreckan. The reference to making invulnerable takes us again to the motif of the teaching and arming of heroes like Peredur and Cu Chullain.

    Grimm comments further that:

    … sorceresses have at their command, a bird’s shape, a feather-garment, especially that of the goose, which stands for the more ancient swan, and they are like swan-wives, valkyrs, who traverse the breezes and troop to the battle. (p. 1045)

    Mazota, the eldest of the Pittempton Nine Maidens group, is said to have been able to stop geese from eating the corn she and her sisters had planted. Did she have powers over birds? And if so, is this power a faded memory of a connection with bird-priestesses of some kind? Shape-shifting into the form of swans is also given as an attribute of the Greek Muses, another group of nine females. Grimm makes an interesting comparison between the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the wise-women of Norse tradition.

    In Macbeth three witches – but they are weird sisters too … – meet on a heath and in a cave to boil their cauldron. They are not so much enchantresses in league with the Devil, as fate-announcing wise-women or priestesses, who prophesy by their cauldron. (p. 1046)

    As they danced around their cauldron the weird sisters in the play sing, ‘Thrice to thine, And thrice to mine, and thrice again to make up nine’. It is likely that Shakespeare found this chant in contemporary folklore. He would have known that the king, James I of England and VI of Scotland, had a strong interest in witchcraft, believing he had been the subject of a plot by witches to sink his ship by raising a storm in the river Forth in 1590 AD. Hope, in A Midsummer Eve’s Dream, suggests the existence of a ‘fairy cult’ in fifteenth century Scotland; this would have been based on ancient pagan belief. It is quite likely that such beliefs continued into the later years of the sixteenth century. As we have seen some such survivals lasted well into the twentieth century. Although there is no mention that the North Berwick witches, led by a single male, were nine in number they have certain things in common with the Nine Maidens groups. They are involved specifically with weather-working, Devil worship, which probably refers to paganism and at North Berwick itself there is very prominent hill called North Berwick Law. Many such sites have been the locations for sacral activity in pagan times, and several different groups of Nine Maidens have been associated with prominent hills.

    The Valkyries are nine in number and shape-shift, sometimes into swans. Grimm notes that they are also involved in storm-raising and prophecy like so many other Nine Maidens groups. They are also close to the most important of the pagan Norse gods, Odin. All this places them firmly within the Nine Maidens type. They were not the only such groups in Scandinavian lore.

    H.R. Ellis Davidson tells us in Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, ‘Human princesses are said to become Valkyries, as though they were priestesses of some cult.’ (p. 61) She also tells us of wise women prophesying in the Flateyjarbok, another compilation of Scandinavian lore, and quotes the use of the term ‘ spae-wife’, a term that has survived in Scots, meaning a medium, or one who can get in touch with the spirits of the dead. Here again we have a modern remnant of an ancient belief. Davidson describes an act of divination by a wise woman known as a volva and says:

    The volva in Greenland was described in detail was said to be the last survivor of a company of nine women and the sagas elsewhere represent the seeresses as going about in groups. (p. 120)

    In the mythology of the Scandinavian peoples there is another particularly interesting group of Nine Maidens associated with the goddess-figure Menglod. Her name means ‘necklace-glad’ which links her to the Goddess figure Freyja, who had a famous necklace Brisingamen. Freyja is a Norse Goddess of fertility and thus akin to the Mother Goddess figures we have already considered. Interestingly she often appears with her brother Frey, a different kind of duality than the one previously considered. In the Svipdagsmal, a poem in the Elder Edda, we meet Menglod. She is the object of a search by Svipdag whose mother, the seeress Groa, has come from beyond the grave to help him in his quest. She sings nine charms over him. Svipdag then searches through nine worlds before he finds Menglod on a mountain top within her magic hall, Lyr, the Holder of Heat. Lyr had originally been created by Loki, the Norse Trickster God, with the help of nine dwarves. These nine dwarves are called Uri, Iri, Bari, Jari, Var, Vegdrasil, Dori, Ori and Delling. Like other nine name lists, this has something of the sense of a chant about it and may reflect some old ritual. The recurrence of nine in this tale is remarkable.

    Menglod’s hall is on Lyfiaberg, the Hill of Healing. There Svipdag sees her surrounded by Nine Maidens sitting at her knee, Hlif the Helper, Hlifthrasa, Thjodvara, shining Bjort, Bleik the white, Blid, Frid, kindly Eir and the gold-giving Aurboaa. The names again have a ring of poetry about them. Crossley-Holland says, ‘… they soon help all those who make offerings on the high altars’, (p. 122), which is reminiscent of supplicants approaching the Gallicenae.

    Speaking of Freyja, Guerber tells us that:

    Although Goddess of love, Freyja was not soft and pleasure-loving only, for the ancient Northern races believed that she had very martial tastes, and that as Valfreyja she often led the Valkyrs down to the battlefields, choosing and claiming half the heroes slain. She was therefore often represented with corselet and helmet, shield and spear, the lower part of her body only being clad in the usual flowing feminine garb. (p. 131)

    Here Freyja relates to the Valkyries just as Bride, Cerridwen, Monenna and Morgan relate to their different Nine Maidens groups. One of Freyja’s other names was Vanabride which leads us to a remarkable comparison. Within Scottish mythology we have the embodiment of vicious winter in the Cailleach, or Carlin. However we also have at least one tale that tells of the Cailleach becoming Bride at Beltane by drinking from a magic well, Bride, the Goddess of Summer who is beautiful and kindly and clearly a fertility Goddess. In this double aspect we can discern an ancient dual Goddess. Freyja seems here to contain something of the same duality and as Valfreyja she is clearly linked to the Nine Maidens motif, as is the Cailleach in Scotland. Freyja, like Bride is often referred to as being golden-haired. Menglod herself is a supernatural female being with Nine attendants, is associated with healing and to whom prayers are made.The Valkyries and volvas and Menglod’s companions are all clearly Nine Maidens groups.

    We now return to the Icelandic tale that has already been mentioned. This is the story of Thidrandi whom the Goddesses Slew. He was a handsome, brave and intelligent young Icelander but his father’s friend Thorhall Seer feared for his future. One night at a harvest-feast held at the start of winter in Thidrandi’s father’s house, Thorhall told everyone not to go outdoors that night, no matter what happened. Thidrandi had given up his own bed to a guest and slept in the main hall. Late that night when all but Thidrandi were asleep a knock came at the door. Three times the knock came and Thidrandi, forgetting Thorhall’s words thought it must be more guests arriving. This is the story from Gwyn Jones’ Erik the Red and other Icelandic sagas:

    He picked up his sword and went outside, but he could not see a soul. Then it occurred to him that some of the guests must have ridden on ahead to the house and then have turned back to meet those who were coming along more slowly. So he walked under the woodpile and heard the noise of riding from the north into the home-field. He saw that there were nine women there, all in dark raiment, and they held drawn swords in their hands. He heard likewise the noise of riding from the south into the home-field, and there too were nine women all in bright raiment, and on white horses. Thidrandi now wanted to get back indoors and tell them of this sight, but the dark clad women came up with him first and set upon him; and he defended himself well and bravely.

    A long while after Thorhall awoke and asked whether Thidrandi was awake too. He got no answer. They had slept too long! Cried Thorhall.

    They went outside. It was moonlight and frosty weather. They found Thidrandi lying wounded, he was carried indoors, and when they got word of him he told them all that had appeared to him. He died the same morning at daybreak and was laid in a howe after the old heathen fashion. (p. 161)

    Wanting to understand the events of the previous night Thidrandi’s father, Hall asks his friend, Thorhall the Seer, what it all meant. Thorhall tells him that the two groups of nine women were wraiths of Hall’s kinsfolk. He then comes out with what must be one of the most blatant manipulations of traditional lore by a Christian scribe, saying the event must mean that a new faith is coming to Iceland, the dark nine being spirits who followed the old faith and, knowing they would be rejected once the new faith took hold, determined to exact some price for this betrayal by taking Thidrandi. The white nine were good spirits who had arrived too late to help him. The new faith of course would be a good thing for Hall, his kinfolk and their descendants.

    This tale seems to be a post-Christian attempt to give credence to the new religion by claiming it had been foretold. The idea of the black, bad spirits, and the white, good spirits is plainly Christian with the emphasis on the battle between good and evil. The use of the Nine Maidens motif in such would suggest they were widely known in Iceland at the time the story was composed and were perhaps based upon the idea of the volvas or seeresses. The slaying of Thidrandi himself is, as in some other tales of the Nine Maidens, suggestive of some sort of sacrificial rite. The tale also conforms to the motif of the single male and the nine females though here the females appear in two separate, and opposite, groups.

    These various stories are evidence of the existence of groups of nine women with some sort of sacred or divinatory function among the Scandinavian and Icelandic peoples, echoing tales of Morgan and her sisters or the Gallicenae, and there are links to North Eurasian shamanistic practices in the references to prophesying and shape-shifting. The point has already been made that the Islands of women motif is particularly widespread and we should keep in mind that the pagan Norsemen were expert sailors. As Iceland was the last part of Europe to be Christianised there are perhaps stronger clues as to pagan practice in their traditions than elsewhere.

    Although the link between the Nine Maidens and Heimdall is obvious, we should remember that Odin was his father as they were his mother. The motif of the nine women and the one man can therefore perhaps be seen twice here, once with Odin and once with Heimdall. This, and the function of the Nine Maidens of the Mill grinding out the physical universe from the corpses of the Frost Giants, shows them to have been very close to the heart of pagan Norse mythology and this must strengthen the possibility that they have an origin in the very far distant past indeed.

  80. andrew fairweather says:

    Hi Maria, I recently tried to purchase a copy of your book of amazon and despite them saying they were in stock and after several week reported they were out of stock. I realize that is not your problem but myself and a few friends of mine follow some of your videos and are very interested in the book, perhaps you have a copy of the bokn personally or know someone who is in stock other than Amazon?

  81. Patrick Higgins says:

    Thank you Maria.
    That is all I can say at the moment.
    Thank You

  82. Richard Chase says:

    This is absolutely first-rate stuff you are doing–both the print and videos. Has helped me understand the finer points of the mind-set of my celto-germanic ancestors, which I have been researching, as of late. I noticed you even had an endorsement from Richard Rudgley–excellent!. Please keep up the good work.

  83. scott says:

    hello, looking at the dates for other comments here just above mine, i feel i may have arrived alittle late to the party. regardless, better late tan never, and i would like to say how much i appreciate your lectures, like a guided tour through a text that i’ve been struggling with for over a year now. the delivery is enjoyable and the content thought-provoking. i can’t say how much more pleasurable it is going back to read the poems after hearing your take on them – not to mention the element of phonetics, as i can now hear the names as i’m Reading them. simply wonderful.

    i feel that what you have shared may be able to help many people, and wish you all the success with its continuance.

    thinking of which – at one point in the series, i can’t remember quite where, you say that you have not chosen to pursue a career in academics, a decisión which frees you up to make some unorthodox claims (funny, we are talking about pantheism/paganism here, something which is already unorthodox, so… do two negatives make a positive? sorry. just found it funny. anyway…) so, not in academics. right. except that i, for one, have learned so much through what you have shared, and, being a teacher, i would like to say: well done, thank-you!

    have a great day

  84. tony says:

    Hi I love your videos and books and find your insights a breath of fresh air keep it up

  85. Troðari says:

    Thanks very much for your research and interpretations of the Old Norse mythic system. Your insights into these characters and stories as both history and a means of understanding the world are truly remarkable.

    Because I’m a great fan of podcasts and wanted to listen to your Youtube series “Hidden Knowledge in Old Norse Myths” while wandering freely rather than being tied to the computer, I turned each episode into an audio file, and formatted them for iTunes.

    I thought you might be interested in having them. Maybe you could publish them officially as a podcast to widen the reach of your ideas, or maybe you’d just like to have them for yourself. Either way, feel free to email me if you want them.

  86. Riccardo says:

    Hello Maria,

    First of all your work is amazing. I am starting to study Old Norse and also Norse history and mithology and I find your work fascinating for the amount of time and effort to do it, and also for the quality of it.

    I have 2 simple question:

    1- Do you believe/use talismans? Runes have actually great strength.

    2- Any tips to learning Old Norse (spoken)?

    Thank you for your great work. I would enjoy helping you if you need (I’m a web developer).


  87. Gabe Gardner says:

    I am a seventh grade student doing a school project on the Vikings, I was wondering if it be okay if I used an audio clip you recorded in my project. Would that be okay?
    Please email me back at gabrielgardnr92@gmail.com.

  88. 藻留天 具留部覧度船 says:

    Dear Lady of the Labyrinth:

    I have read someplace that during the viking age, local folklore like celtic music was not flourishing, due to the viking presence. I think this was in Ireland. It flourished prior to the vikings and after the vikings, but was prevented during the viking age raids. What is known about viking age music? Except the pan flute from york Viking museum? Did they have drums? Could they dance?

    I am working on a fictional story that vikings was in Africa, they met samurais and ninjas from Japan, their martial fights was interpreted as dance by the africans, who used the drum telegraph to alert. And the result was a great party when the geishas came to dance. It is only fiction, but in this play I play the Viking who
    had the closest contacts to the samurais and ninjas, they finally got friends and the viking who also first saw the geishas and decided to convert from viking to a ninjutsu and fell in love with a geisha.

    Was there ever vikings in central africa? could ever vikings, samurais, ninjas and geishas coexist? was the asian djunke ever present during viking age? A junk is an ancient Chinese sailing ship, which may or may not have reached Africa and may have carried samurais ninjas and geishas and met vikings. A 260 CE book by Kang Tai (康泰) also described ships with seven masts, traveling as far as Syria. What is known about vikings in Africa, china and present day Japan? Please?

    Sincerely yours,
    藻留天 具留部覧度船

  89. Brent Benard says:

    Thank you so much for publishing the seed of yggdrasil in a hardback version. It is so much better a reading experience, and I feel your work deserves a hard cover. back in the early ’90′s I was reading voluspa over and over trying to grasp it. I had to rest and turned on educational programming. there was a program on the birth of stars. it showed particles mingling, forming friction heat and a cloud in the icy void of space. this created rivers of compounds flowing toward the center and creating stars. I burst into tears, realizing that the creation described figuratively was a description of a literal event, which forever changed the way I would read the edda. I love that you break it down into it’s true nuts and bolts. kudos

  90. alex says:

    hello Maria,
    i found your books as i was searching for my lost scandinavian ancestors. i don’t speak norse or swedish, danish, norwegian, so i have a real problem finding my oldest ancestor ( i know it might be just a speculation) ivar vidfamne. i find it difficult to navigate the old sagas. can you please recomand me a good english traslation of Ynglinga saga, or maybe a colection of sagas? i really try to learn Norse, but for the moment it’s still very difficult. thank you so much! :)

  91. Shawn Nolan says:

    Very useful material. Thanks.

  92. FIFA16 says:

    Im very pleased with your work.
    FIFA16 http://futmall.blogspot.com/

  93. Therese Krzywinski says:

    Hei! Jeg vet ikke om du leser kommentarer her inne, men jeg prøver. Det gjelder s. 199 i The Hammer of Greatness. Thordís forteller at morens betrodde gudinne var Medeiné, skogens sjel. Thióðolf sier at hun er kjent også i nord, under mange andre navn. Jeg lurer på om du hadde noen bestemte navn i tankene? Er det én ting jeg savner i det norrøne pantheon, så er det en guddom for skogen, dyrene, det ville. Hvis det finnes noen kilder som kan korrigere min oppfatning blir jeg veldig glad!

  94. Raphael says:

    Dear Maria, my favourite books are by priestesses and your trilogy has joined those hallowed few. I am absolutely enthralled by your books and i was both in tears and awed (I don’t mind saying) by your power and magic. Excuse me i don’t want to get all fan girlie (although you deserve it in stadiums full of people bowing and applauding you for what you have done) as its very undignified and unmanly but I would whole heartily recommend your trilogy of blade honer to everybody with a heart and a soul. Stunning, staggering and loved every minute of every page. I look forward to reading everything you’ve ever written and done. Thank you so very, very much.
    Kind regards

  95. Jamie says:

    Dear Maria,

    I have just finished reading volume 1 of Blade Honer, The Hammer of Greatness, and have already ordered volume 2 from Amazon. This is just to say thank you for writing it. The book really is something very special; I found it deeply moving, and am very much looking forward to reading more of your work.

    Jamie Lang

  96. michael Fletcher says:

    Maria.. I’d like to thank you for sharing your wonderful work. I’m presently studying, a degree in genetics and Natural Sciences, and wanted to combine this eventually with my other main interest which is mythology, folklore, and prehistory of Northern European peoples and their religions and cultures, though more so to a large extent with Celtic and Ancient British mythology. I have now discovered your work. on youtube and your website, and it’s an inspiration ! I’m looking forward to reading ‘Seeds of Yggdrasill’. Thanks for all the work you put in to share this with us all.

  97. Loek Bergman says:

    Dear Maria Kvilhaug,

    Thank you for your insights in Norse mythology. I find them very interesting and convincing that that religion was more then just a bunch of fairy tales. Pantheism is too widely spread around the world that it can be put aside as just being old folklore coming from the prerationalist age. I hope you can understand my English.

    However, I would like to react on your video about ‘Good Versus Evil and the Powers that Be’ and show you my perspective as I understand the concept of good and evil and that particular story in the Bible in a different manner. By the way, I am not a Christian, but one of my interests is the history of my cultural roots.

    To me it is not about Good and Evil as two categories of perception, but the ability to be aware of Good and Evil is the consequence of consciousness. Beyond a certain level of consciousness there arises selfawareness and with selfawareness, with the break of being part of the flow of life, there comes the distinction between things. Let it be Good or Evil, Wanted or Not Wanted, Yin or Yang. Those words are irrelevant to the story. To me the concepts of Good or Evil could be replaced by the concepts of yes or no, or in or out, man or woman or any other.
    The selfawareness causes shame. It is only after they ate from the tree of knowledge that they could see themselves apart from their environment. Isn’t that what it is to grow up? Don’t we all experience this moment of selfawareness at a certain moment in life? Is it the difference between a tot and a toddler? The age school (tree of knowledge) starts. It is the moment that one leaves paradise for ever. Never being able to return. The moment we become a boy or a girl, an individual. The moment that we might get a yearning to return to the paradise that is lost forever. The paradise we did not know we were in, when we were in it. The paradise we long for to return into it, by trying to recreate it at another level of consciousness. Isn’t that enlightenment? To return to our natural state of being, that we had never left, but we have forgotten how to be in that natural state of being and the harder we try, the further we get from it?
    Good and Evil are also metaphores for any way of thought that makes distinctions and therefor leaves the realm of unified Being, which is another way of perceiving paradise. It really does not matter in which way you make distinctions. The moment one makes any distinction, is the gate to paradise closed and lost. The same principle can for instance be found in Hinduism, Boeddhism and Taoism as well.

    Another riddling aspect of the story is why the devil disguises himself as a snake. Since that story is a snake in the Christian world considered an evil creature. But that does not explain why Eve listened to the words of the snake. You do not listen to a creature you know that can’t be trusted. And an evil person would never disguise itself as an evil creature when trying to convince someone to perform an evil deed with the conviction that it is a good deed. Therefor must the snake at that time in that culture be perceived as the ultimate trustworthy creature.
    In the book of St. Augustine Confessions is he talking about wild animals, tamed animals and snakes. When not directed to God are wild animals a metaphore for pride, tamed animals for desire and snakes for the poisonous knowledge of science. When directed to God compassion, moderation and searching for knowledge about God respectively. In both metaphores is the snake a wisdom seeker, in search of reliabe and trustworthy knowledge. No wonder Eve could be convinced by a creature in the form of a snake.

    Good and Evil are not the main concepts in Christianity. There is the distinction between Good and Evil for instance on one side and the truth on the other. God is the truth, Good and Evil are not. That implies that as long as you are believing in the disharmony of Good and Evil, you have not turned yourself completely over to God.

    When I heard you talking about Good en Evil, it brought me words of St. Augustine into my memory. In his book Confessions he wrote about the different levels of revelation that one can find in the Bible. I did not find the next sequence literally on one place in his book, but I deducted it while reading it. In my humble opinion does it fit well into his writing.
    The first level of understanding is that it is a compilation of beautiful stories. The second level is understanding that they have a deeper meaning. The story as a riddle, a challenge you have to step into. It is repeated over and over in that book, that in order to be a true Christian, you have to actively turn your face towards God.
    The third level is to mirror yourself to the deeper meaning. You can be attracted to it, or experience resistance against the story, a lot of different reactions. The mainpoint is that believing in God and turning yourself to God implies that you have to humble yourself by leaving all resistance or behind you. If you want to experience truth, you have to let go all preconceived concepts.
    The fourth level is the pearl of wisdom that is hidden underneath the story. There is a lesson to be learned and integrated into one’s own existence. For the story about the paradise it is imho the lesson that as long as we stick into the knowledge of good and evil, or to say it in another way as long as we stick into judging in any way, that we will not be able to re-enter paradise.

    Those four levels of meaning appear in my opinion also in the making of a cross. The words are ‘the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Amen.’
    The father is the head, source of rational knowledge. Next comes the Son, which is located at the estomac, symbol for accepting and digesting the knowledge from the Father. Next comes the Holy Spirit and one of the lungs. That means adding energy to the new digested knowledge. Do something with it. And the fourth Amen is directed at the heart. The knowledge of God should at last get integrated in the heart of the person. Only then can you re-enter paradise. But then you will enter paradise in a different level.

    In the Catholic church you have the crucifix. A lot of protestants (at least in the Netherlands) find this a cruel depiction. I had that same idea during my childhood. Later on I got used to it. And years later I might have started to understand what it is supposed to mean. It is a depiction of a tortured man dying on a cross, who is labeled by other people Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews. When Jezus stands before Pontius Pilatus he is not denying to be a king, yet to be a king of another world. Not this one. But he is made a king of the Jews, which is the accusation other people bring in against him. That is how people see him. In a very restricted perspective. The whole person with all its unique forms is brought back to a right angled wooden cross with a label on it. The crucifix is for me the symbol of who I in reality am in contrast to what other people (or myself) make of me. I am the chairman of a local broadcast company. Within that company people will always be aware that I am the chairman. They will never forget that completely when they meet me. They might forget totally who I am as a person. They might see my cross, not my person. And even my personality might get perceived differently, because some characteristics will be amplified, others will not be present in the time that I am the chairman and some people will think that I have some characteristics that I do not display.
    Any image or fixed believe that someone has of another person has the simplicity and the cruelty of the cross for that other person. Does it matter if the nails go through the hands or through the wrists? It will hurt and fixate and eventually kill the person. It is impossible to see a person as long as one is in paradise, devoid of knowledge. To see without fixation, yet conscious, one has to overcome ones own perception and perceive without concepts.

    With kind regards,

    Loek Bergman

  98. Priscilla Pham says:

    Hi Maria Kvilhaug,

    My name is Priscilla Pham, and I am a Producer currently working on a 4-part series for Travel Channel. For one of the episodes, we’ve been looking into exploring the Viking age.

    I came across your information while researching Norse mythology and shamanic rituals, and I wanted to see if you had a moment to talk about your studies and practices.

    If you could send me your email, I’d love to set up a time for a skype call to discuss your studies in further depth.

    Thank you in advance for your time and help!


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