The Seed of Yggdrasill Deciphering the Hidden Messages in Old Norse Myths

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2017-05-01
  • Publisher: Whyte Tracks

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Kvilhaug has researched the archeaology and background to the Eddas, Poems and Sagas of Northern literature and Historical folk lore data. She has translated the original ancient Norse manuscripts and approaches the Poems as metaphor for traditional ritual and rites of passage in the ancient cultures of Scandinavia. Her insights open up the poems to reveal a whole new world where The tree of life, the red-gold of wisdom and the goddess of death and renewal are central to an almost forgotten way of life. She describes a Golden Age of travel, interexchange of cultures and trade.
We are confident that "Yggdrasill" will revolutionize the way in which the old Norse Sagas are approached by academics, story-tellers, and religious leaders alike. This unique approach to the metaphors of the Eddas and Norse poems will cause much debate amongst modern new-age and the Scandinavian faith, Asatru, followers.
Controversy aside however, we predict this book will help rebuild an understanding of the pagan past of the Northern peoples. It may even restore a rationalized familiarity with their true Northern god(s) and goddess(es)

The Edda poems were most probably created by Viking Age skalds who knew the art of making metaphorical riddles and how to hide messages behind words. Many poems are veritably incomprehensible without the knowledge it takes to decipher the riddles. When Snorri in the 1220's realized that young people were beginning to lose their understanding of the ancient form of Norse poetry, he wrote his book so that “young students of poetry may decipher that which has been subtly spoken”, adding that knowledge has been “cleverly disguised in runes”.

Why was the manuscript hidden throughout four centuries? What were the real messages behind Old Norse poetry? Are the Norse myths truly just funny stories about gods, trolls and giants, or do they hide some deeper insights? In The Seed of Yggdrasil, Maria Kvilhaug explores the parables of Old Norse myths, revealing spiritual mysteries and metaphysical speculation at the heart of Old Norse Paganism.

Author Biography

Maria Kvilhaug graduated from the University of Oslo
in 2004 with a degree in Old Norse Philology. Previously she
studied World History and Philosophy (Norway), and graduated
wth a Bachelor of Arts in 2000 (Camberwell College UK). She
has written articles and frequently lectures on the subject of
Old Norse Mythology. In 2012 she gave a paper at the ARC
convention, Bath, UK entitled ”The Maid with the Mead” and
spoke at the Mytologifestivalen in Kvinnherad, Norway, summer
Published works include: ”The Maiden with the Mead” 2009,
a lecture series: ”Hidden Knowledge in Old Norse Myths”
2010, and currently, ”The Seed of Yggdrasill”, 2013.
Kvilhaug lives in Norway and is working toward a PHD ”Sibyls
and Oracles in Greek, Norse and Igbo cultures” at the University
of Oslo.

Table of Contents

Definite Answers? The Eyes that See
Norse Letters
Important Norse Pagan Terms and Scared Professions
An Overview of the Old Norse Supernatural Powers
1 THE BOOKS OF OLD – Our Sources to Old Norse Pagan Beliefs
1.1 The Forgotten Manuscript (Poetic Edda)
Poetical Riddles
List of Edda Poems – Original Titles and Author´s Title Translations, with Summary of Content
1.2 Snorri Sturluson`s Prose Edda and The Ynglinga Saga
1.3 Gylfaginning – The Revelation of the Sorcerer
1.4 Skaldskáparmál, Hidden Meanings in Poetical Metaphors
1.5 Hidden in Plain Sight - What Snorri could not Say
1.6 Other Sources of Old Norse Mythology
1.7 My Methods of Interpretation
That By Which a Thing is Known
The Meaning of Names
Reading Myth as a Parable
Comparative Mythology
The Formula is the Key
Truth or Fiction – The Eyes that See
Do the Myths Represent Common Beliefs or the Beliefs of Spiritual Elites?
1.8 Gender as a Mythical Formula – and some other Observations about Mythical Formulas as a Method to Unlock the Meaning of the Norse Myths
Viking Age Gender Roles
The Poetical Gender Metaphor
2 CREATION, the Cosmos and the Ruling Powers
2.1 Preconceptions and Stereotypes – What the Ancients Knew about the Cosmos
2.2 Voluspá – “The Divination of the Volva” – The Witch who Spoke the World´s Story
A Séance of Seiðr
The Witch Before Time
Auðhumbla , Ymir and Ginnunga Gap
2.3 The Nine Within the Wood
The Daughters of the Ocean
The One and the Many
As Above so Below
Giantesses Carry the Ages and Reside Within the Worlds
Chart: The First Stage of Creation (Poetic Edda)
The Seed of Yggdrasill
2.4 In the Beginning was the Wave – and a Big Bang! - the First Cosmic Giants
When Fortresses Burst in the Grove of Bright Shine
Poisonous Gases, Streams of Heat and Cold, Mists, Light and Sound Vibrations
The Hidden Meanings
Evil Giants – or the guardians of wisdom?
The Lineage of the Giant Sound
The Death-Mother Giantess
2.5 Aesir [Gods] - The First Awareness
Óðinn, Víli and Vé
The Historical Origin of Óðinn
The Three Virtues of Awareness (Transcript From YouTube-Video 22: Óðinn, Víli and Vé - Spirit, Mind and Passion)
The Three First Ásyniur [Goddesses] and the First Golden Age
2.6 The Steeds of Heaven (SUN, MOON, STARS)
Night and all Her Kind
The Sun Goddess
The Moon God (and Þórr, Freyr and Helgi)
2.7 EARTH – The Ancestral Mother
The Giantesses and the Mill of Fate
Skaði, Hel and the Wolfriders
Óðin´s Wife
2.8 The Earth´s Protective Field and Þórr the Thunder god
2.9 Dwarfs – the Blueprints of Existence
2.10 Askr and Embla – The First Humans and the Aesir Gods
The Wood and the Brew: Askr and Embla
The Threefold Gift of the Aesir
2.11 Yggdrasill - The World Tree
Man and the World Tree
The World Tree of Shamans
Yggdrasill – The Steed of Spirit
The Mead Tree
The Soul Tree and the Wells
The Serpent, the Squirrel and the Eagle
2.11 Nornir, Fylgjur - and the Runes of Fate
Past, Present and Future
The Runes of Fate
Óðinn – Uprooting the Runes
Fate, the World Tree and The Well of Origin
Norns and Souls
The Fylgjur – “Followers”
The Hamingja, a Soul-Walker
2.12 Vanir, Seiðr and The Sacred Mead
Restoring Gullveigr to Cultural Memory – How and Why the Burned Witch of the Edda has been Misinterpreted
Seiðr – The Secrets of Fate
The War of the Tribes – Who Are The Vanir?
Njorðr - Father of the Nine
Freyr – The Lord of Elves
Freyia - The Three Times Born
Society and Religion
Heimdallr, Kvasir and the Precious Mead
3 THE MAIDEN WITH THE MEAD Initiation and Consecration through Ritual Drinking and Sacred Marriage
Introduction: A Path of Initiation
3.1 The Mead of Poetry (Hávamál – The High One`s Speech)
3.2 Origin´s Well (Hráfnagalðr Óðin`s eða Forspjallsljóð – Óðin`s Raven Charm or the Song of the First Speech)
3.3 Hel´s Prisoner (Vegtamskviða eða BaldrsDraumar – The Song of One Who Knows the Way or the Dreams of Baldr)
3.4 The Frosty Cup (Skírnismál – The Speech of the Bright Shining One)
3.5 The Mead of Memory (Hyndluljóð – The Song of the She-Wolf)
3.6 Earth`s Guidance (Hymiskviða – the Song of Hymir)
3.7 The Bride of the Burial Mound (Helgakviða Hundingsbani onnur – The Second Poem of Helgi Hundingsbani)
Helgi´s Previous Life
The Second Helgi
3.8 The Sleeping Valkyria (Sigrdrifumál – The Speech of Sígrdrífa)
3.9 The Maidens of the Wind Shielded Island (Oddrúnargrátr – The Lament of Oddrún)
3.10 The Mountain of Medicine – The Tree of Memory – Behind the Doors of Death (Fjolsvinnsmál – The Speech of Much Knowing)
3.11 A Woman´s Path of Initiation (Guðrunarkvíða onnur – The Second Poem of Guðrún)
3.12 Bright Rune, The Mead-Producer above Valholl - and Valkyriur Ready to Ride the Earth (Grímnismál – The Song of the Masked One)
3.13 Freyia-Gullveigr – The Goddess is the Drink
3.14 Soma and Haoma, Ambrosia and Kykeon -and Cerridwen´s Cauldron - the Indo-European Connection
Soma and Haoma
The Norse Dísir and the Indian Dhisanas
Ambrosia and Kykeion
The Book of Taliesin
3.15 Beowulf and Archaeology: The Real Mead-Women
The Lady of the Hall
The Goddess, Oracle and Priestess Counterparts of the Iron Age
Archaeological Evidence
3.16 The Mead and the Sun Goddess
3.17 Not Quite the Christian Poem After All (Sólarljóð – The Song of the Sun)

4 RETRIEVING THE SOUL OF THE GODS: Haustlong – A Skaldic Poem: What Poetical Metaphors Convey About Mythical Characters

4.1 A Shield Poem of the Viking Age
4.2 Shamanistic Soul-Retrieval
4.3 The Myth of Iðunn and Þjazi – Snorri`s version ( 1225 AD)
4.4 The Myth of Iðunn and Þjazi – Thiodolf`s version (900 AD)
Metaphors for Þjazi in Haustlong
4.5 The Meaning of the Journey of the Three Gods
4.6 The Origin of a Sacred Path
4.7 The Verse-Smiths: How the Gods are Known
4.8 Þjazi - the Eagle of Death
4.9 The Wolf and the Giantess of the Burial Mound
4.10 The Bride of the Gods
The original unity between Skaði and Iðunn
4.11 The Known and the Unknown: Gender as metaphor in Old Norse Poetry
4.12 The Knowledge-Hungry Goddess – The Soul of the Gods?
4.13 Loki – the Stirrer of the Stories


5.1 Golden Ages in Human Prehistory
The New Culture Type
Myths and Legends of Conquest
5.2 The Peace of Wisdom and the Song of the Millstone (Grottasongr)
When the God of War lost his Arm to Greed
Loki and his three children
The Chains that Bound Fenrir
Týr and the Fenris Wolf
5.3 Out of Eden (Paradise Lost)
5.4 When Wisdom was Free - The Myth of Kvasir/Heimdallr
The Vanir´s Gifts to the Aesir
Kvasir and Heimdallr
5.5 Who Really Killed Baldr? A Murder Mystery
The Courage of Broad Perception – the Wisdom Parable of Baldr
Frigg´s Secret
Óðin´s secret
The Path Begins – The Journey to the Underworld
5.6 The Rape of the Rejecter
5.7 The Song of the Sacred Grove (Volundarkviða)
A Medieval Version: Velent the Smith
The Song of the Sacred Grove
5.8 Lost in Illusion
When Frigg was Married to Víli and Vé
When Freyia Became Many
Where did Óðinn go then? (Váfþrúðnismál)
5.9 The Sleeping Goddess
Left and Right side Brain Functions

6 RAGNAROK and the New Age

6.1 The Build-Up to Ragnarok 407
The Loss of Poetry´s Maiden
The Boundary Between the Worlds
Óðin´s Eye and Heimdall´s Hearing
The War of the Flaming Necklace
The Two Brothers: Mind and Passion
The Third
Loki´s Bondage
6.2 Ragnarok 427
The River of Illusion
The Wolf-Mother
The Attack of the Giants
The Defence of the Aesir
Natural Catastrophes
Initiation and Ragnarok.
6.3 The Resurrection 441
The New World
The New Gods
The Halls of Aegir
The Land of Tomorrow


7.1 Elves, Souls and Reincarnation 451
7.2 Into the Darkness – The Underworld Journey 453
The Dark, Resounding Path
The Hel Hound
The Colour of Dead Men
The Gates and Walls of Hel
Rituals, Sacrifice - and Waking the Dead
Why the Death Journey?
7.3 The Kiss of Death 466
7.4 Afterlives 472
The Twelve Heavens (Grímnismál)
Snorri´s Ten Heavens
7.5 Salvation - The Old Norse Elysium 476
Apuleius´ Initiation and the Old Norse Mysteries
The Norse “Isis” and the Golden Hall
The Warriors of Valholl
Life in Valholl
The Crystal Fields


8.1 Restoring the Wise Woman
8.2 The Volva´s Path (Transcript From YouTube Video 11: Witches and Ritual of Initiation)
8.3 Witches and Warriors (Transcript From YouTube Video 18: Warrior Initiation and Witch Teachers)
Real Life Warriors´ Priestesses or Warriors´ Guardian Spirits?


9.1 The Sacred Marriage Institution 511
9.2 The Sacred Marriage (Transcript From Video 13: Precious Mead and Sacred Marriage) 514
9.3 Óðinn and the Goddess (Transcript From YouTube Video 27: Óðinn in Myth, History and the Sacred Marriage) 521


10.1 Hanging the Sorcerer (Transcript From YouTube Video 12: Hanging the Sorcerer – The Initiation of Óðinn) 536
10.2 The Ritual Behind the Myth (Transcript From YouTube Video 14: Techniques of Ecstasy) 541
10.3 The Vision Quest (Transcript From YouTube Video 15: Vision Quests in Male Initiation Rituals) 546

11 THE TRIALS OF ÞÓRR the Son of Earth

11.1 Þórr in Hárbardsljóð (Transcript From YouTube video 19: The Son of Earth pt. 1) 553
11.2 Þórr in Þrýmskviða and Hymiskvíða (Transcript From video 20: The Son of Earth pt. 2) 560
11.3 Þórr and the Mind - a Personal Revelation (Transcript From YouTube Video 21: The Thundergod's Maze) 569

12 THE ONE AND THE MANY – Mysteries and Pantheism in Old Norse Myths

12.1 An Old Norse Mystery School? 579
Isis in Germany – or a Northern Mystery Religion? (Transcript From Video 17: Isis in Germany? Or a Mystery Cult?)
12.2 The Temple of Uppsala 587
The Golden Hall of the Maiden
Sacrifice or Initiation?
The Three-Fold Function
A Caste and Class Matter?
12.3 The Great Goddess and the Universal Soul 596
Pantheism and the Great Goddess
(Transcripts From YouTube Videos 9; “The Great Goddess”, and 10; “The Universal Soul”)
The Universal Soul
12.4 Heimdallr – The Great World (Transcript From Video 25: Pantheism pt. 1: Mysteries, Heimdallr and the World Tree) 607
All-Seeing and All-Hearing
Universal Sound
Born of the Waves
The Remembering Universe
The Sheath of the Hall and the Sword that is the Head
The Guardian of Heaven
Gold and Brightness
Heimdallr in the Elder Edda: a Mystery Revelation of the Unifying World
The World Tree
12.5 The Wind- Eagle of Yggdrasill (Transcript From Video 28: The Source of Awareness and the Fire from Within) 620
12.6 Óðinn – The Universal Spirit (Transcript From Video 29: Pantheism pt.2: Óðinn – The Spirit) 634
Óðinn and Me – a Personal Revelation 652
Epilogue 657
Bibliography 661

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