Archaeologists unearth ‘unparalleled’ pre-Christian temple in Norway

A fascinating discovery is shedding light upon pre-Christian Scandinavian religion and early Christian inroads into Norway. In the Norwegian press, this highly important find is being called “unparalleled,” “first of its kind” and “unique,” said to have been “deliberately and carefully hidden” – from invading and destructive Christians.

Located at the site of Ranheim, about 10 kilometers north of the Norwegian city of Trondheim, the astonishing discovery was unearthed while excavating foundations for new houses and includes a “gudehovet” or “god temple.” Occupied from the 6th or 5th century BCE until the 10th century AD/CE, the site shows signs of usage for animal sacrifice, a common practice among different peoples in antiquity, including the biblical Israelites. (E.g., Num 7:17-88) Over 1,000 years ago, the site was dismantled and covered by a thick layer of peat, evidently to protect it from marauding Christian invaders. These native Norse religionists apparently then fled to other places, such as Iceland, where they could re-erect their altars and re-establish the old religion.

In “Unparalleled pagan sanctuary found,” the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reports:

The pagan sanctuary survived because the last people who used it over 1,000 years ago did their utmost to hide the entire system with an unusually thick layer of soil….

“The discovery is unique in a Norwegian context, the first ever made ​​in our latitudes,” says Preben Rønne of the Science Museum/University of Trondheim, who led the excavations.

Animal blood sacrifice

The god temple may have been built sometime around or after the year 400 AD, thus used for hundreds of years until the people emigrated to avoid Christianity’s “straitjacket.” It consisted of a stone-set “sacrificial altar” and also traces of a “pole building” that probably housed idols in the form of sticks with carved faces of Thor, Odin, Frey and Freya. Deceased relatives of high rank were also portrayed in this way and attended. Nearby, the archaeologists also uncovered a procession route.

Thanks to the soil, the god temple was very well preserved. The “altar” where one worshiped the gods and offered animal blood consisted of a circular stone setting around 15 meters in diameter and nearly a meter high. The pole building a few meters away was rectangular, with a floor plan of 5.3 x 4.5 meters, and raised with 12 poles, each having a solid stone foundation. The building may have been high and, from the findings, was very clearly not used as a dwelling. Among other reasons, it had no fireplace. Inside the “house” were found traces of four pillars that may be evidence of a high seat where the idols stood between ceremonies. The processional road west of the temple and headed straight towards the pole building was marked with two parallel rows of large stones, the longest sequence at least 25 feet long.

Strange burial mound

When archaeologists began excavation work last year, the site was thought at first to be a flat burial mound with a “master’s grave” and one or more secondary graves.

“But as we dug, the mound appeared more and more strange,” says Rønne.

“Approximately in the middle of the excavation, we had to admit that it was not a burial mound but a sacrificial altar, in the Norse sources called a ‘horg.’ It was made up of both round ‘dome rocks’ and stone slabs. During our work, we found two glass beads, and also some burned bones and traces of a wooden box that had been filled with red-brown sand/gravel and a cracked boiling stone. Among the bones, we found part of a skull and several human teeth. However, we found no ‘gold old men,’ small human figures of thin gold, which were often used in connection with sacrifices.”

The latest dating of the god temple is between 895 and 990 AD. Precisely during this period Christianity was introduced by heavy-handed methods into Norway. This meant that many left the country to retain their original god-belief.

“Probably the people who used the temple were among those who chose to emigrate, either to Iceland or other North Atlantic islands,” said Rønne. “Posts for pole building were in fact pulled up and removed. The whole ‘altar’ was carefully covered with earth and clay, precisely at the transition to Christian times. Therefore, the cult site was completely forgotten.”

Unique in Norway

Large pre-Christian cult sites in Scandinavia – often large settlements with a large central hall, frequently with a smaller attached building – have been found not in Norway, but, rather, in Central and Southern Sweden (Skåne), also in eastern Denmark.

“In the sacrificial altar, we found a fire pit that actually lay directly on the prehistoric plow layer. The charcoal from this grave is now dated to 500-400 BC. Thus, the place could have been regarded as sacred or at least had a special status long before the stone altar was built. In the prehistoric plow layer under the fire pit, we could clearly see the traces of plowing with an ‘ard,’ a plow precursor,” said Rønne.

According to Rønne, it was easy to interpret [the building] as a god temple from the Norse sources. So it was also from precisely the Trøndelag area that the largest exodus of people who would retain their freedom and not become Christians took place. A large part of them went to Iceland between 870 and 930 AD, i.e., during the time of Harald Fairhair. In all, 40 people from Trøndelag are specifically mentioned in the Norse sources. In Iceland, their descendants later wrote a large part of these sources.

“Indications are that the people who deliberately covered up the god temple at Ranheim took the posts from the stave house/pole building, in addition to the soil from the altar, to the place where they settled down and raised a new god temple. Because our findings and the Norse sources work well together, the sources may be more reliable than many scientists believed,” said Rønne.

Now the unique sanctuary of Ranheim may be removed forever to make way for housing. Not all are in agreement:

“The facility will be a great tourist attraction, if what has happened at the place is disclosed. It is unique in Norway,” says civil engineer Arvid Ystad, who, in a private initiative, has applied both to the Cultural Heritage and the Ancient Monuments Society for the facility’s conservation.

“The location of the [planned] housing could easily be adapted to this unique cultural heritage [site], without anyone losing their residential lots. It could be an attraction for new residents, telling them much about the history of the facility over 1000 years ago. Unfortunately, housing construction is now underway,” said Rønne.

(translation from the Norwegian by D.M. Murdock)

A side bar in the Aftenposten article reiterates that the structure served not only for worship but also to house the gods. We further read:

The gods were Odin, Thor, Frey, often depicted as carved faces on wooden columns that could be moved, worshiped and sacrificed to. Ancestors were also depicted and worshiped. No such idols are recorded in Norway because they were all destroyed by the introduction of Christianity.

It seems a criminal act to allow this astonishing and precious site to be destroyed as well! Hopefully, the Norwegian government will intervene to preserve this obvious World Heritage Site.

What is ‘pre-Christian?’

In the Aftenposten article, this significant discovery at Ranheim is hailed as a “pre-Christian place of worship,” despite the fact that the stone temple there has been dated to the fifth century AD/CE. Over the centuries, it has been argued fallaciously and erroneously that, simply because something post-dates the “Christian” or common era – i.e., comes after the year 1 AD/CE – it is therefore automatically “post-Christian.” This erroneous perception is raised in comparative-religion studies in particular to suggest any possible borrowing to have been from Christianity to Paganism, rather than the other way around.

Such a contention is false, as, in the first place, the dating system of BC/AD was first devised in the sixth century by the Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus (c. 470-544), based on Christian beliefs, not on any discernible scientific facts. We are therefore working with backdated markers designed to make an artificial timeline supposedly created by the Lord God himself, when he miraculously took birth through the womb of a Jewish virgin girl.

In reality, no one in antiquity at the time was aware of this new timeline suddenly appearing with the birth of the Lord of the cosmos. The Romans went right along using their Julian calendar, while the Egyptians had their Alexandrian calendar, as if nothing had happened. Indeed, they were completely unaware that anything had happened.

Secondly, the “Christian” era does not begin in the year 1 AD/CE, since, in reality, Christianity barely shows up in the historical record until the second century. A close inspection of the historical record reveals that, other than various parts of some Pauline epistles perhaps, there exists no credible, scientific evidence for anyone having ever heard of a “Jesus the Christ” before the end of the first century or early second. In addition, the earliest references seem to be to a “Chrestos,” not a “Christos.” In actuality, we possess no extant physical artifacts from the first century at all that are unambiguously Christian. Hence, the “Christian era” essentially did not even appear in the earliest places until the second century.

The magical BC/AD indicator?

For many centuries after its inception, Christianity remained unknown in countless places; hence, all those areas continued to be pre-Christian. For example, the European country of Lithuania held off Christian incursions until the 14th century, until which time, therefore, it was pre-Christian. Today, hundreds of people in remote tribes remain “uncontacted,” having never heard of Christianity; thus, they too constitute pre-Christian cultures, even though we are now more than 2,000 years past the magical BC/AD marker.

This yardstick of the BC/AD timeline serving to prove whether or not a parallel motif within comparative religion could be deemed “pre-Christian” is therefore fallacious. In determining possible influences in either direction, from Paganism to Christianity or vice versa, we must thus ask specifically what is the scientific evidence of when Christianity could possibly have influenced a particular culture? To rely on the artificial BC/AD dividing line ranks as unscientific.

Continued vandalism of the past

In this Norwegian discovery, we evidently possess a genuinely pre-Christian site, a contention demonstrated by the fact that the site was covered over apparently to prevent its destruction by Christians. The fact that this important discovery is to be destroyed by a housing project also provides an example of why so much archaeological evidence of pre-Christian religion and mythology is no longer available to us. In the past, the destruction was often deliberate, frequently with Christian sites located on top of pre-Christian pagan places of worship, which is why this site was hidden, apparently, and why we can be certain that it ranks as pre-Christian. When the stone temple was built, the monk Dionysius had not yet determined the “Christian” era by devising his timeline. To many cultures, the pre-Christian/post-Christian timeline was not something in writing but depended on whether or not Christians had invaded their lands, slaughtered the people and destroyed their temples.

It should be noted further that this site was evidently sacred for at least eight or nine hundred years before the stone temple was constructed. It is possible that the germ of Norse religion and mythology was practiced by the people who used this site in the first millennium BCE. For this reason, as well as the fact that many religious ideas date back thousands of years, the claim ranks as fallacious that, simply because a comparative-religion theme post-dates the “Christian” era, it was necessarily influenced by Christianity. If there are no overt Christian influences, it is often likely that the motif pre-dates the invasion of Christianity into the era and culture in question.

Norse mythology parallels to Christianity

In this regard, Scandinavian religion and mythology possess intriguing similarities to Christian doctrine and tradition, as I relate in my book Who Was Jesus? (250):

In some of the cultures of the Roman Empire at the time, there evidently were other gods and sacrificial victims who were likewise portrayed as having been “side-wounded,” including the Norse Father-God Odin, who was hung on a tree and wounded with a spear….

Much like the Christian father-god incarnated in Christ, in the Norse mythology Father Odin is depicted as hanging on the “world-tree” in an act of sacrifice, while wounded by a spear. The old Norse text the Havamal, one of the Norse (prose) Eddas, contains a poem called the Runatal, stanza 138, in which Odin says: “I know that I hung, on a windy tree, for all of nine nights, wounded with a spear, and given to Óðinn, myself to myself, on that tree, which no man knows, from what roots it runs.” (Thorgeirsson, emph. added.)

Furthermore, the “All-Father” god Odin’s invincible and beloved son, Balder, is pierced with a spear of mistletoe. Although Balder dies, in the time of the Ragnarok or Norse “apocalypse,” he will be reborn or resurrected. This latter motif is similar to Christ’s “Second Coming” depicted in Revelation.

Moreover, as Jesus is the “Light of the World,” so Balder is the “god of light.” In this way, Balder is the savior of the world who brings peace. Like Jesus and the Twelve, Balder is also depicted with “12 knights.”

(Note that these Norse 12 can be called “warriors,” “judges,” “councillors” and so on – the English terminology is not important. What is important is the concept of the 12, which can be found in numerous religious, legendary and mythological traditions, including, as stated below, King Arthur and his 12 knights of the Round Table, which is evidently a later rendition of an earlier European solar myth.)

Although the Runatal poem was only written down in the 13th century AD/CE, parts of it are traceable to at least the 9th or 10th centuries, possibly before Christianity invaded the relevant Norse area and drove away the practitioners of the old religion. There is no clear indication of Christian influence on the Norse stories, and the fact that the earliest extant accounts we possess with such details come from centuries after the so-called Christian era does not necessarily mean that these myths are post-Christian. In reality, there is little here that must have come from Christianity, as these various motifs represent nature-worship and astral mythology or astrotheology, and can be found abundantly in even older mythological systems.

The Mythical Twelve

For example, in the Scandinavian myth we find the motif of “the Twelve,” with the “son of the god of light” surrounded by “12 judges,” as in the story of Balder’s son Forseti:

“Forseti, the son of Baldur, resembled his father in holiness and righteousness, was the upholder of eternal law. The myth shows him seated on a throne teaching the Norsemen the benefits of the law, surrounded by his twelve judges.”

Immediately recognizable is not only the story of Christ and the 12 disciples but also King Arthur and the 12 knights of the Round Table. The configuration of a divine or legendary personage with 12 other figures, whether human or otherwise, represents a common formula that predates Christianity by eons. Numerous such configurations of “the Twelve” can be found throughout antiquity, including in the Bible. There is no reason at all to contend that this Norse motif was founded upon Christianity. On the contrary, there is every reason to suspect that the Christian 12 (+1) is based on the old formula, which in turn revolves significantly around the sun: the “light of the world” and “god of light,” surrounded by the signs of the zodiac, months of the year, hours of day and night, etc. (Note that the Scandinavian “god of light” Balder or Baldur himself has been designated by scholars such as Thomas Bullfinch to be a “sun god”: “Baldur, son of Odin, and representing in Norse mythology the sun god.” Another essay in a journal by Boston University refers to Balder as the “Teutonic sun-god”: “The peasant bonfires that precede his arrival celebrate the death and rebirth of the Teutonic sun-god, Balder…” Note also the motif of death and rebirth, as is appropriate for a sun god at the winter solstice, particularly in the cold and dark north.)

The fact that there are 12 pillars or poles at this pre-Christian temple site indicates this popular 12 configuration. Architectural layouts with 12 divisions can be found in much older structures such as the Horus temple at Tharo, Egypt (c. 1,000 BCE). Hence, it would appear that the story of the righteous son of Balder and the 12 subordinates, as well as the 12 names of Odin and the 12 gods of Asgard – possibly represented at Ranheim in the 12 pillars – emanate not from Christianity but from this millennia-old tradition.

While the ancient Norse needed to cover up their sacred sites in order to protect them from Christian marauders, centuries later Christian apologists attempt to keep pre-Christian mythology buried, with all manner of fallacious arguments and calumny. Further such vandalism and suppression of the ancient Norwegian heritage should not be allowed, and this amazing temple site should be preserved.

Further Reading

Complete Horg found in Norway
The Twelve in the Bible and Ancient Mythology
Christians or Chrestians?
Who Was Jesus?
When Were the Gospels Written?
What is Mythicism? (Video)

Updated: March 16, 2012 — 4:09 pm

51 Comments

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  1. Fascinating discovery.
    I myself was born in Norway, and am quite pleased to hear of this, which can help shed more light on the lives of my ancestors, and on history in general.

    Also, the whole notion of the mythical 12 is something I think sounds very interesting. I have seen it come up many places, and am thus not that surprised that it is a recurring ancient mythological tradition.

    1. Tartarus, i found an book of the old german scholars, botanics who spent their whole academic work for decades to track flowes and polls through Europe.

      There is a certain plant from the steppe in souther Russia which them were interested in, these plant pops up at unusual placed in Europe without connection to other places, them appear isolated and them connected them to the settlements of the “Franks” and added that a ending of “heim” to the name of the settlement was an indicator for these kind of settlement of them.Arnheim,Trondheim,Weinheim these were the only places were the steppe plant were found.Someone moved into Europe, even up to Norway, bringing them.

      1. What plant is this? Norwegian name, English name, and Linnaean name? Note that also the Benedictine monks brought plants with them; these are “indicator” plants to long-vanished and probably small monasteries.

  2. So many similarities yet apologists completely ignore them.
    Your research should be crucial in comparative religious courses.

    1. Actually C.S. Lewis discussed these similarities and they are covered in most comparative religion classes at the college level. Progressive Christians aren’t offended by this; we celebrate our pagan roots. The fact that the same themes occur in mythologies around the world speaks of Divinity manifesting throughout history in different cultures.

      1. I think not
        The same themes could also be manifesting themselves because as humans spread out over the Earth, they took their myths with them and encountered others who borrowed on those myths to build or bolster their own myths. This is no different, functionally speaking, than various pottery methods / styles or armor and weapon styles spreading. It is a function of human movement and interaction and of a need to explain natural phenomena that were, at the time, unexplainable.

  3. Alu Lathu
    Thanks for addressing this!

    I have wondered if the lines in the Havamal/Runatal weren’t a christian influence. It is said so by some. Yet I find the wording self to Self highly interesting. Nothing new there yet this certainly doesn’t sound to be from a christian pen. Perhaps a middleman’s pen, so to speak.

    Doubly interesting for me as I Just got back from a local grove, essentially realigning my magical practice to the Norse runic current. I also had a hugely vivid experience on an entheogen two nights back on a decidedly pertinent theme!!

    So we are saying synchronicity. Also curious is that this very morning, I for the first time ever, downloaded a few tracks by R. Wagner…..

    I am going to take all this as a good sign.

    From my perusals into metaphysics and “sacred” geometry we find the 12 around one idea as a major theme. To be overly brief, it’s about how spirit or sound/light manifests into 3D. Bucky Fuller made many inroads here with his Vector Equilibrium etc. So these ideas predate all religion.

  4. Errors
    I’m sure there are more – but in this first reading, I’m surprised to find this at all:

    Snorri Sturlusson is the first and only source for the supposition that there existed a set of 12 gods and 12 goddesses – and that’s a very unsound foundation for any treatise. Proper reading of Snorri’s text demonstrates that he contradicted himself frequently AND also erroneously claimed that the gods were originally displaced heroes from the Trojan War. You can’t take one as “accurate” and the other as “not” without addressing it in some way – and the manner of the quote demonstrates the author didn’t. There were, in fact, both more and less than that number of gods and goddesses – and the number 12 was artificially inserted quite badly. Snorri mixed and matched names without much rhyme or reason, except to satisfy his own premise. There is enough evidence linguistically alone, to show Frey and Heimdall are hypostases of each other – but Snorri counts them as two. The various names of Freya (Lady of Light) make little to no sense at all. Additionally, the countless references to Odin as the divine phallus destroy most relationships to Jesus. The “sacrifical tree” sequence in the Havamal is but one authors contribution to it out of a long long. The poem changes meter and context several times – and it is not beyond reason that this sequence was added after contact with Christians. The name Yggrdasil means “Terrible Steed” and is recognized as a name for a hanging tree or hanging structure – of which a Crux would be easily attributable. On the other hand, the tradition of spearing a dying man has much more in keeping with Germanic tradition than Jewish or Roman. Dying a “straw” death meant that one would find purpose in the afterlife among the gods, but would sink slowly into nothingness in Hel. There are many instances (e.g., Volsungasaga) where the dying were speared to die as Val (slain) so that they may then ascend properly. This is a common theme among pre-christian peoples (e.g., Celts, Aztecs, etc.) and I am not aware of any Christian description of Jesus’ spearing from an early enough time to prove it couldn’t have been attributed from Gothic influence.

    There also isn’t direct text saying that Baldr was killed by a spear. Mistletoe was “let fly” at him and it killed him. Since Mistletoe is a small vine and not a branch of any kind, a spearing would be unlikely and most actually interpret it as either an arrow flying from a bow or as some poetic description of feeding it to him, since even then EVERYBODY knew mistletoe was lethally poisonous.

    This is where comparative mythology fails – because it looks for connections BEFORE looking for uniquenesses. It also makes assumptions about the culture through poor translations of the their lore rather than seeking out the original. The Norse didn’t worship “Odin” as a meaningless word – they worshipped “The Mightiest Passion”, and used that word in worship and in everyday life. There is no such correlation with Jesus as such a recognized force of life. If anything, he was attributed as a ruler and law-giver, which completely contradicts every piece of lore about “Odin”.

    Thank you for the information on the discovered site. The rest needs to be reworked.

    1. Thank you. My discussion of the motif of the “god of light” and “the 12″ is not an “error,” and nothing needs to be “reworked.” The facts are as I have stated them: The mythical 12 (+1) motif exists in numerous forms and cultures. The fact that this building has 12 posts would indicate that the Norse of the time were aware of this ancient 12 formula.

      Snorri’s account has little to do with it, except that he is quite likely reflecting a tradition from antiquity, as concerns the common formula of 12. Whether or not these gods were called by these various names is ultimately irrelevant. The point is that the Norse at some point had stories about a “god of light” with 12 satellites – again, this theme is common throughout the world, revolving around the sun. To suggest that the Norse religion was not significantly solar would be fallacious, and there is little reason not to raise the question of whether or not this temple site reflects “the Twelve” as I have discussed them.

      Nor does the side-wounding motif found in Norse mythology – from whatever era – rely on a Christian origin, as this too can be found in other religions and mythologies. These are solar motifs that, I contend, originated long before the Christian era and were adopted into them.

      I stand by what I have written here: The basic outline of a solar hero or sun god with the 12, side-wounding, etc., can be seen in numerous religious and mythological traditions, including the Norse and the Christian. The comparison is both valid and important.

      Cheers.

      1. re: The Number 12
        [quote name="Acharya S"]Thank you. My discussion of the motif of the "god of light" and "the 12" is not an "error," and nothing needs to be "reworked." The facts are as I have stated them: The mythical 12 (+1) motif exists in numerous forms and cultures. The fact that this building has 12 posts would indicate that the Norse of the time were aware of this ancient 12 formula.

        Snorri’s account has little to do with it, except that he is quite likely reflecting a tradition from antiquity, as concerns the common formula of 12. Whether or not these gods were called by these various names is ultimately irrelevant. The point is that the Norse at some point had stories about a "god of light" with 12 satellites – again, this theme is common throughout the world, revolving around the sun. To suggest that the Norse religion was not significantly solar would be fallacious, and there is little reason not to raise the question of whether or not this temple site reflects "the Twelve" as I have discussed them.

        Nor does the side-wounding motif found in Norse mythology – from whatever era – rely on a Christian origin, as this too can be found in other religions and mythologies. These are solar motifs that, I contend, originated long before the Christian era and were adopted into them.

        I stand by what I have written here: The basic outline of a solar hero or sun god with the 12, side-wounding, etc., can be seen in numerous religious and mythological traditions, including the Norse and the Christian. The comparison is both valid and important.

        Cheers. [/quote]

        Obviously astrotheological, since the number ‘12’ remains a crucial value in measuring time as we still know it today in a solar context. The best the ancient Jews could do in this regard was use the number 7 as an allegory (best described by Thomas Paine) for measuring the week in regard to the moon, in the primitive story known as Genesis. The best the Christians could do was adopt older myths and twist them into superstitious tales, and have the nerve to claim them as original and indisputable — while destroying true academics ever since their rampaging through the Library at Alexandria.

        1. I should have added that it is the head archaeologist on this site himself who associates the 12 poles with the Norse gods, so we are not in “error” in doing so as well.

          If the site is indeed a temple ruin – and there are reasons to believe so – and if it contains 12 poles, the scientific conclusion is that this number represents the 12 gods, as the archaeologist implies.

          Hence, we are perfectly rational and scientific in raising the discussion of the ubiquitous 12 motif and its major meanings, as established in antiquity by the ancient believers themselves.

          For more information, again, please see my article on “The Twelve in the Bible and Ancient Mythology ([url]http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2639[/url]).”

    2. As someone who has crawled onto the top of a very large truck, in order to crawl into a large thorny Mesquite tree. I can tell you from person experience the base of mistle toe, where it attaches itself to the tree, is quite hard and certainly could be fashioned into a sharp object.

      1. That doesn’t change the fact that Balder is held to have been killed by an arrow according to most accounts. I have never heard of him being killed by a spear before. Of course, my knowledge comes mostly from what I learnt in school, growing up in Sweden, and from my own reading, but I am curious about the sources for it being a spear.

        1. The motif of Balder killed by a mistletoe spear is well known. The arrow story is a later version.

          [quote]He had a dream of his own death and his mother had the same dreams. Since dreams were usually prophetic, this depressed him, so his mother Frigg made every object on earth vow never to hurt Baldr. All objects made this vow except mistletoe. Frigg had thought it too unimportant and nonthreatening to bother asking it to make the vow (alternatively, it seemed too young to swear).

          When Loki, the mischief-maker, heard of this, he made a magical spear from this plant (in some later versions, an arrow). He hurried to the place where the gods were indulging in their new pastime of hurling objects at Baldr, which would bounce off without harming him. Loki gave the spear to Baldr’s brother, the blind god Höðr, who then inadvertently killed his brother with it [/quote]

          Source: Baldr ([url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldr[/url])

  5. Correction
    This is a correction of some typos to my earlier post:

    Here’s what I tried to post on that page as a comment:

    Snorri Sturlusson is the first and only source for the supposition that there existed a set of 12 gods and 12 goddesses – and that’s a very unsound foundation for any treatise. Proper reading of Snorri’s text demonstrates that he contradicted himself frequently AND also erroneously claimed that the gods were originally displaced heroes from the Trojan War. You can’t take one as “accurate” and the other as “not” without addressing it in some way – and the manner of the quote demonstrates the author didn’t. There were, in fact, both more and less than that number of gods and goddesses – and the number 12 was artificially inserted quite badly. Snorri mixed and matched names without much rhyme or reason, except to satisfy his own premise. There is enough evidence linguistically alone, to show Frey and Heimdall are hypostases of each other – but Snorri counts them as two. The various names of Freya (Lady of Light) make little to no sense at all. Additionally, the countless references to Odin as the divine phallus destroy most relationships to Jesus. The “sacrifical tree” sequence in the Havamal is but one authors contribution to it out of a long line. The poem changes meter and context several times – and it is not beyond reason that this sequence was added after contact with Christians. The name Yggrdasil means “Terrible Steed” and is recognized as a name for a hanging tree or hanging structure – of which a Crux would be easily attributable. On the other hand, the tradition of spearing a dying man has much more in keeping with Germanic tradition than Jewish or Roman. Dying a “straw” death meant that one would not find purpose in the afterlife among the gods, but would sink slowly into nothingness in Hel. There are many instances (e.g., Volsungasaga) where the dying were speared to die as Val (slain) so that they may then ascend properly. This is a common theme among pre-christian peoples (e.g., Celts, Aztecs, etc.) and I am not aware of any Christian description of Jesus’ spearing from an early enough time to prove it couldn’t have been attributed from Gothic influence.

    There also isn’t direct text saying that Baldr was killed by a spear. Mistletoe was “let fly” at him and it killed him. Since Mistletoe is a small vine and not a branch of any kind, a spearing would be unlikely and most actually interpret it as either an arrow flying from a bow or as some poetic description of feeding it to him, since even then EVERYBODY knew mistletoe was lethally poisonous.

    This is where comparative mythology fails – because it looks for connections BEFORE looking for uniquenesses. It also makes assumptions about the culture through poor translations of the their lore rather than seeking out the original. The Norse didn’t worship “Odin” as a meaningless word – they worshipped “The Mightiest Passion”, and used that word in worship and in everyday life. There is no such correlation with Jesus as such a recognized force of life. If anything, he was attributed as a ruler and law-giver, which completely contradicts every piece of lore about “Odin”.

    Thank you for the information on the discovered site. The rest needs to be reworked.

  6. Figurative Literalness & Concrete Symbolism
    “Furthermore, the “All-Father” god Odin’s invincible and beloved son, Balder, is pierced with a spear of mistletoe. Although Balder dies, in the time of the Ragnarok or Norse “apocalypse,” he will be reborn or resurrected. This latter motif is similar to Christ’s “Second Coming” depicted in Revelation.”

    Seriously, does it really matter whether mistletoe is a vine or a branch or poisonous or not a spear? Even if EVERYBODY knew it was lethally poisonous, it was STILL also a symbol of everlasting life because it is always green. In the deciduous tree apocalypse of winter, mistletoe is still green. Maybe being killed by “everlasting life” portends resurrection. And, maybe there’s a little symbolic association there with Arthur’s wound that wouldn’t heal until being touched by the spear of life. Probably many other associations also, but I’m too tired to think more tonight.

    Just thinking.

    1. Thank you. Nitpicking details is one way apologists and others keep us spinning off into irrelevant areas, distracted from the real issues at hand.

      What we need to keep in mind when looking at comparative-religion discussions is that we are interested in what the [i]common people[/i] would have perceived when hearing religious doctrines and mythological tales. Most people are going to understand very simple concepts and not pursue them into some grandiose and obtuse meandering here and there all over the place, if you get my drift.

      The simple connect-the-dots – that’s what the bulk of humanity will perceive, and that’s what the creators of religions would be aiming at in devising a faith to appeal universally.

  7. Comparison …
    It seems to me that research into finding similarities among and between myths would also naturally and inevitably reveal the uniqueness of each. I don’t think that Joseph Campbell was lacking in knowledge of whatever uniqueness there was to individual myths by being solidly grounded in the similarities between and among them. However, even with my limited knowledge, I know that the similarities of myths far outweigh each’s uniqueness. I’m not saying that they don’t “appear” different. I’m simply saying that when the dust is blown off, they are mostly much more similar than different. Different versions of the same story are still the same story. And, I think we’ve had quite enough of the “my myth is unique and true while your myth is false and just like all the others” type of thinking, writing, living, suffering and dying. I think we must try to see through to the numinous that the myth was intended to show (not that they all pointed to the transcendent) and not get caught up completely in doing little but picking the fly sh*t out of the pepper or, like the proverbial Buddhist dog, looking at the finger pointing at the moon and completely missing the moon.
    :dry:

  8. Is this relevant?
    Yes, I think this discovery is relevant. I agree with you in that it shows another pre-Christian source of Astrotheology. The twelve poles are significant to the structure. And, like you explained, just because it didn’t exist B.C.E. doesn’t mean that it’s not pre-Christian.

    Occult knowledge is probably 10s of thousands of years old. It’s probably as old as man himself. The priest classes and money changers have used the science of 12 to create elaborate myths for social manipulation and control for “millennia” it seems.

    What’s sad is that most men need these myths to give them purpose in life and keep them from going bananas. Man is a feral animal. Who would he be without his delusions and myths? What would happen to civilization if man discovered he were just another beast? I think that man would cease to control his sexual and aggressive impulses and all hell would break loose. Man needs ligatures to keep himself from self-destruction. It’s the only way that he can exist. Secretly, man wishes to be free like the other creatures. He wants to kill, rape, steal, etc. But, he cannot survive as a species if he were to exist like this. The consequence of man having to live in bondage is that he can never be truly happy. Man is truly a tragic creature. [source: Freud, Civilization and It's Discontents]

    Anyway, I got off on a little tangent but back to the subject at hand. Twelve. I hope like hell that they don’t put a housing edition over that priceless site. That would be an abomination.

    -Jake

  9. Not only do naysayers ignore all these important correspondences between religious ideas dating back thousands of years, but they also raise up endless strawmen and hurl insults in order to get others to ignore them as well!

    This shameful behavior has led to the destruction of much culture, as well as endless slaughter over whose god is bigger and better.

    1. This is to be expected.
      Man is a delusional creature, Acharya. Delusions are a sign of severe mental disease. If we expect man to be nothing more than animals or beasts, sometimes better but more often worse than the beasts of the four legged variety, then we will not be so surprised when they destroy cultures, destroy each other, and disappoint us in our personal lives.

      Expect people to be irrational. Expect straw men. Expect people to not be interested in the truth. Expect them to be rejecting, insulting, and ignorant. That way you won’t be disappointed when such things happen. We have too high of expectations of man. If we lower our expectations of man then we will live more realistic and comfortable lives. It’s hard to accept sometimes but the world is place full of maniacs. Or, that’s the way I see it. Just be thankful that you have an eye for the rational and you’re an evidence based thinker. Continue your passion and if someone doesn’t like your paintings then they can go ____ themselves. lol I like your work, understand it, find it interesting, and think that it’s relevant. There are thousands of others like me. Remember that.

    1. Many gods and goddesses of antiquity have possessed solar characteristics, whether or not they are deemed “sun gods” or “sun goddesses.”

      For example, the Perso-Roman god Mithra was represented both as appearing [i]with [/i]the sun (and moon) and [i]as [/i]the sun. The Babylonian god Marduk significantly symbolized Jupiter, but he was also highly solar in nature. Ditto with Osiris, who was the god of the afterlife and the Nile, among other things, but he also merged with Ra when the latter passed through the underworld at night. Horus too was highly solar, representing the morning sun, among other motifs. Isis too was solar, especially before she was given a greater lunar role during the Greco-Roman period.

      It is clear from his designation as the “god of light,” as well as his representation with “12 knights,” that Balder is likewise a solar hero, resembling also the Greek son of God Hercules and his 12 tasks, which have been demonstrated to represent the movement of the sun through the 12 zodiacal divisions.

    2. Norse religion was far from uniform in practice. We’ve distilled a set of ideas about it that amount to an average, but it would have been quite a bit less uniform than, say, Unitarianism by comparison with Southern Methodism.

      plus, consider that there’s a lot of gender bi-valence in norse myth. It’s primarily an agrarian religious complex, after all, and those often have a lot of gender bi-valence.

  10. re: Errors
    [quote name="Lazarus Chernik"] the countless references to Odin as the divine phallus destroy most relationships to Jesus. [/quote]

    On the contrary … King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.) Revelation 19:16
    And he hath on his vesture and [b]on his thigh[/b] a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS

    “Thigh,” when used as an euphemism, refers to the “generative parts” or phallus (Strong’s Concordance). This is evident in the passages such as Judges 8:30 “And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body [margin: going out of his thigh]: for he had many wives,” And, Exodus 1:5: “…the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob [margin: out of the thigh of Jacob.”

  11. In what source do you get Baldur having “12 knights”? Also, Odin has waaaaaay more names than 12. You seem to be purposefully trying to shoehorn Norse Mythology into your own pet theory.

    1. Thank you. If one knew the subject, one would not need to ask whence come my contentions. The motif of Balder/Baldur ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=ztRbyAbWuFEC&pg=PA14&dq=balder+twelve&hl=en&sa=X&ei=suaKUKWvDtDVqQG88YDoBg&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22Twelve%20apostles%20follow%20Jesus%20and%20Balder%20is%20surrounded%20by%20twelve%20other%20gods.%22&f=false[/url]) or his son Forseti ([url]http://books.google.com/books?ei=T-WKUPmvOoXfrQGy9IC4BQ&sqi=2&id=Ak8hAAAAMAAJ&dq=balder+%22twelve+judges%22&q=%22The+myth+shows+him+seated+on+a+throne+teaching+the+Norsemen+the+benefits+of+the+law%2C+surrounded+by+his+twelve+judges.%22#search_anchor[/url]) and the 12 is well known, although these dozen Norse gods are usually designated as “judges” and “councillors.” ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=AZpGUyrI93QC&pg=PA247&dq=%22twelve+councillors%22+odin&hl=en&sa=X&ei=t-iKUMLAEcakrQGg3IDgBg&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22twelve%20councillors%22%20odin&f=false[/url]) These judges are also the 12 Aesir ([url]http://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=forseti+twelve+judges&btnG=#hl=en&tbm=bks&sclient=psy-ab&q=%22those+twelve+%C3%86sir+who+were+appointed+to+be+judges%22&oq=%22those+twelve+%C3%86sir+who+were+appointed+to+be+judges%22&gs_l=serp.3…36971.39945.1.40116.3.3.0.0.0.0.194.341.0j2.2.0…0.0…1c.2j1.PbxzejAHAj8&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=9e3dfdf7dbb1a795&bpcl=35466521&biw=1536&bih=660[/url]), whose roles were myriad, including as warriors ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=XtgLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA258&dq=aesir+twelve+warriors&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VOeKULj1OsrQqAGR34CYAg&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22the%20gods%2C%20who%20are%20bold%20and%20hardy%20warriors%22&f=false[/url]) or “knights.”

      While Odin may have had many other names, there is a selection called the “12 names of Odin ([url]http://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=odin+%22twelve+names%22&btnG=[/url]),” a common configuration in antiquity. A simple search would have revealed that fact.

      When one works with the data, there is no need to “shoehorn” anything. The parallels are real and important, revolving largely around solar mythology in this case.

  12. Thank you. This blog post was not meant to be an exhaustive study, obviously, so what I have [i]not [/i]included is not necessarily relevant to the discussion at hand.

    What [i]is [/i]relevant, however, is that, from your previous comments, you were essentially being derisive, when in fact it was [i]you [/i]who were not knowledgeable about the common mythical motif of the 12. For example, you apparently thought it was amusing that I referred to Odin’s 12 names, as if I had just made it all up, when in fact, my claims are correct and this motif is fairly well known. I see no acknowledgement of that blatant error and snide dismissal of my contention, which turned out to be correct.

    In the meantime, you keep using derogatory terms like “shoehorn” and “big leap” when in fact my comparative religion/mythology analysis is neither. If one knows what one is looking at, my analysis is quite sensible and logical.

    The book I linked to ([url]http://books.google.com/books?ei=T-WKUPmvOoXfrQGy9IC4BQ&sqi=2&id=Ak8hAAAAMAAJ&dq=balder+%22twelve+judges%22&q=%22The+myth+shows+him+seated+on+a+throne+teaching+the+Norsemen+the+benefits+of+the+law%2C+surrounded+by+his+twelve+judges.%22#search_anchor[/url]) explicitly states that Balder’s son was the leader surrounded “his twelve judges”:

    [quote]The myth shows him seated on a throne teaching the Norsemen the benefits of the law, surrounded by his twelve judges.[/quote]
    Another link I provided said that [i]Balder [/i]was likewise “surrounded by twelve other gods ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=ztRbyAbWuFEC&pg=PA14&dq=balder+twelve&hl=en&sa=X&ei=suaKUKWvDtDVqQG88YDoBg&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22Twelve%20apostles%20follow%20Jesus%20and%20Balder%20is%20surrounded%20by%20twelve%20other%20gods.%22&f=false[/url]).” You are splitting hairs, obviously, as you are doing with the “warriors” and “knights” business – if ALL the 12 gods were considered “bold and hardy warriors,” then we need not fuss about who was specifically named as a “warrior god” in this short analysis. These gods were also all called “judges,” and here it is not important whether or not one or another of them were more “judgelike” than the rest.

    Nor do we need to split hairs over the use of a comparable term in English, “knight.” If we had the time, we could dig down and use the original terms as far back as we can find them. Here we are using English. The terminology is irrelevant, as it is the [i]number [/i]that is of interest, regardless of what the entities are called. They could be 12 “ducks,” and we would still point out that here is yet another manifestation of a popular mythological motif: To wit, the 12 or the 12+1=13.

    Moreover, the link about “Odin’s twelve councillors ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=AZpGUyrI93QC&pg=PA247&dq=%22twelve+councillors%22+odin&hl=en&sa=X&ei=t-iKUMLAEcakrQGg3IDgBg&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22twelve%20councillors%22%20odin&f=false[/url])” is NOT from Celtic mythology. It is included in a discussion of comparative religion of the 12 motif, which is obviously a logical step. It seems you did not read the links carefully.

    Below is another reference to “Odin’s twelve councillors.” ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=_AoDAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA66-IA69&dq=odin+%22twelve+councillors%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=WgqMUIvQJ-K5igKI34HwBQ&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22twelve%20judges%20as%20his%20council%20in%20memory%20of%20Odin%27s%20twelve%20councillors%22&f=false[/url]) In this text, we read about the “divine right to rule” as used by Scandinavian peoples. Here the author says:

    [quote]As a specimen, I may allude to that which prevailed in Scandinavia (now Sweden and Norway), and which derived the descent of their kings from Odin, or Woden, himself a kind of demigod, a king and a priest at the same time, and having a god for his ancestor. This king-priest, they said, reigned in a sacred city called Asgard, having to assist him twelve priests or judges. This divine and holy city became the model of the earthly one; the Swedish nation having a king descended from Odin, and twelve judges as his council in memory of Odin’s twelve councillors.[/quote]
    As we can see, the motif of Odin with the twelve judges/councillors – yes, the English words are interchangeable – is apparently very old and at the basis of ancient Swedish governance.

    As concerns the solar aspects of this mythology, in cultures globally the attributes of deities are not “set in stone,” to so speak, but change as religious syncretism occurs quite commonly. “Light gods” are most assuredly SOLAR, regardless of whether or not there is a designated sun god within a pantheon. This fact was so well known that in the fourth century, Latin writer Macrobius stated that ALL the gods of the Roman Empire, which included Greek deities and others, were based on the sun.

    The story of Balder is full of solar imagery, and it is clear he is a solar hero. Indeed, famous mythologist Thomas Bullfinch explicitly calls him a “sun god.” ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=B4VRoDOCYOkC&pg=PA585&dq=%22Baldur,+son+of+Odin,+and+representing+in+Norse+mythology+the+sun+god%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=iRaMUOfdEYmiigKv7YHwBw&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Baldur%2C%20son%20of%20Odin%2C%20and%20representing%20in%20Norse%20mythology%20the%20sun%20god%22&f=false[/url]) But, again, the hero’s name is not so important, so I can go back and change out “Balder” for his son, who is depicted as sitting in a throne surrounded by the 12, much the same as the Egyptian god Horus. In the latter case, the 12 that Horus leads are the hours of day or night. So, the 12 do not simply represent the signs of the zodiac. And the fact that there are 12 goddesses is simply more of the same motif. Indeed, in the Egyptian myth there are 12 gods and goddesses as well, again representing the hours of night and day.

    I am engaging in a [i]logical [/i]and [i]scientific[/i] analysis based on a deep knowledge of comparative religion and mythology studies regarding cultures globally dating back thousands of years. These [i]scientific [/i]studies have been done previously by many others, who are most assuredly not engaging in “shoehorning” or “leaps of logic.” If you would like more data on these studies, you can always ask, rather than making erroneous conclusions about my scholarship.

    It is not difficult to understand what comparative religion scholars are doing. We have INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES that share roots in what is called “proto-IE.” We have genetic commonalities that lead back to the “Mitochondrial Eve” in South Africa. And we have shared [i]cultural [/i]aspects, including and especially religion and mythology, that extend into the remotest times. Splitting hairs and being derisive are not going to change that fact. The formal study of these shared commonalities is called “comparative religion and mythology,” and that is what I do.

  13. First, none of that shows Baldur as the leader of “the 12.” Second, the link labeled “councillors” has to do with Celtic mythology, which is irrelevant to the subject. Third, there’s a big leap between simply “warriors” and “knights.” So why not just say “warriors”? Also, not all of the 12 main Norse deities have been associated with war, so that’s a big leap you’re making there. Oh yeah, there are also 12 goddesses who are regarded as equal in power and standing.

    Fifth, you speak of solar mythology while completely ignoring the actual explicit solar mythology found in the Eddas: Sol being chased by the wolf Skol; or even Freyr being referred to as the one who plots the shining of the sun and falling of the rain.

    Sol is referred to as “the shining god” while Baldur is referred to as “bright” and that “light shines from him.” While I see how one could feel this is a reference to the sun, without any further information it is just as likely that it is a poetic technique to refer to him as “good/best/morally right/etc.” Similar to how Heimdall is called “the whitest god,” which is far from meaning he is literally “white.”

    So here is my problem: you point out technically correct facts, such as Balder being AMONG twelve other deities and there being 12 constellations in the zodiac or whatever, but you don’t really provide any evidence of a connection between the two other than that it sounds kind of similar if you make assumptions and leaps of logic.

  14. I’m baack… Googled something to find this piece again. My post above was more of a vent of enthusiasm due to then recent experiences…

    But I repeat the idea of so called “sacred” geometry. I neglected to elaborate that this 12 around 1 idea is not only found in astrological lore. As with the Hermetic Axiom of “As above, So below”, so to do we find this 12 around 1 concept – no, not concept but actual dynamic structure – in sub atomic physics called the packing principle.

    Meaning this latter may be a cosmic (“quantum” so to speak) pattern(ing) principle underlying mundane celestial (etc) processes and structures.

    In general, what I am alluding to are aspects of Creation Myth. How Spirit manifests into 3D. This to me would indicate an aspect of the Perennial Wisdom…

    Yes, speculation but seems plausible still. Since, seemingly, the 12 divisions of the Zodiac would otherwise be rather arbitrary. I think a few of the signs have been cut up so who knows.

    I’ve been into rune lore for many years and have been looking for any(!) correspondences twixt the Elder Futhark and related ideas in Hermetic Kabbalah.

    There is of course the 3 Aett’s or groupings (families). This naturally reflects the Law of Three…thy Trinity or triune force. We find this tri grouping in hebrew, sanskrit and all futharks.

    This particular Futhark has 24 staves. Altho there’s no tradition establishing concepts, I find it interesting that you could see the runes as pairs (as per Thorsson). Which of course makes 12 pairs; positive and negative aspects for each Sign.

    Another item is that I am sure I read somewhere that Odin in fact had about 57 name variants (hypostasis or whatever that term is?). May have been much higher. I suppose that is moot but it also appears to be the case that various authors of old simply made up some gods. There’s one called Vor which seems to make a cameo to never be heard from again (in any source).

    I’ve always wondered about the paradigm surrounding sacrifice. There is of course appeasement. Here’s what I don’t get and I don’t really expect an answer…………

    We can supposedly tap into inner planes and or levels of Consciousness therein. Note, how many folks do you know or read of that said the heard, from inner contacts, to sacrifice anything? Not talking about things like “In this sign, conquer.” !

    I’m actually questioning the entire linear vector of spiritual evolution. Ain’t it funny, with all the claims of remote viewing and all the rest – from Mayan shamans groking the universe to Vedic Rishis going deeper etcetc – we essentially are stumbling in the dark? A Huge caveat here – which to my mind taints almost Everything we discuss – is this long term control by a self appointed silver spooned cum psychopathic minority……

    The contextual point is If this is the case and we today are mostly beyond sacrifice how is it those who came before had such a disconnect from these higher order realms where we are lead to believe that this kind of killing isn’t necessary and or even detrimental?

    Kind of a silly question until you really think on it – or at least consider these inner realizations from various workers. This to me would indicate man is more or less on his own and all the progress is due to out efforts. But this then flies in the face of the new science as well as ancient idea of Spirit, it’s Oneness and the love it is all based on etc.

    The ultimate duality.

    Difficult concepts I think or I’m just losing my mind.

  15. Vana-cult that far north? I thought it was concentrated primarily in the east.

    And Thor, Odin and the Vana all in the same primary temple? Wouldn’t that be pretty unusual in itself?

    Would be good to know if the temple is multiple-use for most of the prior period or just toward the end, perhaps as a result of external political pressures from actors like Olaf Trygvasson.

  16. Ranheim Blot temple.
    sorry to say. but the Norwegian goverment dont care about this sacred place. they only see short term money. the land is sold to a contractor who have moved everything and destroyed lots of stuff. we tried and still try to save whats left of it, but the contractor wont let us. so acts the goverment as well. this is THE FIRST temple ever found in Norway, so now you got the proof! THE NORWEGIAN GOVERMENT TALKS ALL OVER THE WORLD HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO SAVE AND TAKE CARE OF THE CULTURE IN YOUR COUNTRY, BUT GIVE A FLYING F#¤%¤K IN OUR OWN! and it is the same about taking care of nature, elderly people, hospitals. EVERYTHING you hear about Norway and how good it is to live there, is just a fairytale!! :sad:

    1. Right, they don’t care about their heritage, because they’re too busy pandering to Islam and endangering their own people. If Norway’s Islamists want the sacred sites destroyed, the sites will be destroyed.

  17. Unreal
    Isn’t it amazing that when talking about God with a non-christian usage, you fail to capitalize the “G”. When talking about their religion, you call them a cult. The biggest cult is christianity and I’m glad I escaped it.

  18. I don’t know how important the find is, but…
    The two main sources quoted when people talk about Norse mythology are Snorri Sturlusons’ prosaic Edda and the elder, poetic Edda.
    These sources were written in Christian times by Christian authors.
    Snorri died in 1241, in an Iceland Christian since the 11:th c. The poetic Edda is compiled from two manuscripts, probably written in the 13:th and 14:th century. Also on Iceland. This might be something to consider when discussing the relation between Christianity and Norse (folk-) religion.

    And of course there were plenty of contact between the Germanic peoples and others, like Rome, for instance. Goths? Lombards? Franks? Etc.

    What most people seem to agree on, however, is that the older polytheistic religions, such as the Roman or Germanic were continuously changing, geographically and socially varied.

  19. Wow
    As someone of Swedish and Norwegian heritage (with one German ancestor – but we won’t talk about him), I am fascinated by the Ranheim site. I hope that the site will be protected so that the sacrificial area can be studied.
    I have been delving into religions (as a sociology and anthropology major) and was very pleased that the “Vikings” series appeared in the History Channel. It’s a fascinating look at the pre-Christian lives of Vikings off the Norwegian coast. Now to hear that there is a real site that can shed more light on how we lived in the 5th century is something that I am eager to hear more about.

  20. I hope they don’t get to build houses on it. What’s the point. I thought Norway, of all countries, was big on heritage! Seems everywhere’s the same. Soon, we’ll have nothing of our past because of the many houses being newly built. :sad: Makes me sad and angry at the same time.

  21. Intriguing!
    I’d totally go visit this site!
    My ancestor(s) went to Britain in about 900, this could explain why. I truly hope the site is preserved, new houses can be built anywhere.

    1. Unfortunately, I’m told that the site has been destroyed and immigrant housing build over it.

      The irony is very sad, indeed.

  22. How was one inflluenced?
    In saying that the Norse religion influenced Christianity, are you saying that the stories of crucifixion and the 12 Apostles post-date Christianity in Norway? And are from the 7th Century C.E. (which is impossible)? Or are you saying that somehow Norwegian myths reached Israel, Syria and Greece in the 1st Century?

    1. If you’ve read the book “Lady with a Mead Cup”, the author posits the origins of Odin (Wod) as a Gallo-Roman comitatus (elite warband) patron; this may have come north with the warband organizations, primarily in elite centers. In rural Norway, methinks that Odin as such was relatively late, if at all, in showing up. Thor, Frey and Freyja, and possibly also Tyr were far more known. I would doubt that Odin’s statuette showed up in the horg. As for the possibility of Norse Pagan religion influencing Christianity (notably the 12-ness, Balder as the returning savior, and the sacrifice on a tree), IMHO that is more likely a Christian Germanic influence on (probably elite or urban; the kondisjonerte) practices, as opposed to the rural (almuen). Remember that Snorri wrote well into the Christian period; he himself was a Christian. As far as I know, the earliest epigraphic reference to Odin in Norway is on the Ribe skull fragment. If anyone Out There can predate that, I would be very interested.

    1. “germany didn’t exist pre 1850’s “

      Uhh? What an absurd comment. That’s great but, this article is about Norway. But, while Germany as a country may not have existed prior to 1850 – the land called Germany obviously existed long before that.

      Please try to think before posting.

  23. MIstletoe, Balder, and Hod
    If you read Frazier’s “The Golden Bough”, he points out that mistletoe was widely believed to have been planted by the passage of the supernatural thunderbolt through the branches of a tree. Loki knew what it was, the supernatural cosmic energy inherent in that plant. But Hod, being blind, was innocent, and didn’t know what it was. We see the Innocent One again and again being able to handle something that would slay a knowing person (see the fiction series “The Belgeriad, for instance; the boy named “Errand” who could wield what the bad guy could not). Thus, Balder was slain by the supernaturally charged missile, not by a simple arrow or stick of wood.

    There was an interesting article a number of years ago in the Danish journal Skalk (I could dig up the reference if needed) which indicated that projectile weapon heads, smeared with mistletoe berries (and thus with viscotoxin, the active ingredient) was used to pincushion the haunches of large game animals, notably wild oxen and boars, thus putting their back ends asleep. Then it was an easy matter for the hunters to approach the animal in order to slay it, since then it couldn’t charge them.

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