The End is Nigh! According to Vikings

According to the Norvik Viking Centre, Ragnarok is upon us.

What I can’t figure out is how serious these guys are.  In my optimism, I am going to presume they aren’t.  Regardless, I trust I won’t be seeing any billboards telling me to get my life in line with the expectations of Odin.  Which is good, because I suck at wielding a battle axe.

Author Steampunk image

Well, I’m certainly not Italian, and I’m pretty sure grandma lied about  Native American roots. The lighting did exaggerate the complexion, however.  Steampunk costume from TeslaCon. Image (c)Sue Peel

I’m going to very dependent on secondary sources here.  The Norse just aren’t my thing.  Not sure why.  I’m interested in Roman, Greek, Celtic and Egyptian mythology, but never the Norse, even though I am at least partially of Nordic descent: I’m 1/8 Swedish.  The rest of my line is entirely northern Europe (Dutch, English, Welsh, Scottish and maybe a bit of German), which means there could certainly be more Norse mixed in with a lot of Germanic and some Celtic.

This combination has helped make me the whitest girl on the planet.

Signs of Ragnarok

The article “Will the world end in 100 days? Sounding of ancient trumpet in York warns of Viking apocalypse on 22 February 2014” gives various signs of it’s coming, including:

The legend states that ‘the first to notice shall be man, brother will fight brother and all the boundaries that exist shall crumble.’

The idea that “boundaries that exist shall crumble” could be said to be about the Internet age, where you can communicate with millions of people simultaneously around the world.

I suppose the struggle of brother against brother might then be the rise of Internet trolling, where people pick verbal fights for no particular reason until intelligent conversation has descended into name-calling and comparisons to Hitler.

Viking tradition also believes that a vast winter will appear before the apocalypse.

Viking tradition also consists of consistently losing to its neighboring Lions, Cubs and Packers.
‘There are predictions that we are heading into a mini-ice age thanks to a fall in solar flare activity – what is a mini-ice age but several winters rolled into one?’

Or you could just live in Wisconsin, the state of a nine-month winter and three months of bad sledding.

Another part of the legend claims that the Midgard Serpent, named Jormungand, shall free itself from its tail and rise up from the ocean.

Ms Dagland points to the two huge fish which appeared on a beach in California last month.

The giant oarfish were dead when they washed up on land, and some scientists believe they came ashore to die because they are ‘in distress’.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m in acute distress, the last thing I would do is throw myself into an unsurvivable environment…unless she’s suggesting these were suicidal fish, in which case I’m deeply troubled by the lack of mental health resources available for aquatic life.

‘Traditionally, the Viking festival of Jolablot marked the end of the winter – if this winter truly does not end, then that feast may be given over to Ragnarok instead,’ said Ms Dagland.

The Jorvik Viking Centre predicted that Ragnarok would occur on 22 February because this is the end of the feast of Jolablot.

While not a scientific conclusion, they claim that Vikings loved to feast and wouldn’t want to miss this event. For this reason, they argue that Vikings would believe the world would end in 100 days.

Beer!  It’s always the answer.

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Especially since I’ll be mourning the deaths of Thor and Loki.  And by “Thor and Loki,” I mostly mean Loki.  I am confident, however, that Tom Hiddleston will survive.

Connections with Christianity?

The Norse are one of the harder pagan cultures to study.  Much of their mythology comes from the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda, which weren’t written until the 13th century.  By that time, the Norse homelands had embraced Christianity.
This certainly does not mean these sources don’t provide legitimate knowledge of Norse paganism.  But they were written down by people no longer living in a pagan culture.  They were familiar with the stories, and the stories might still have great cultural significance – thus, why they wrote them down – but they could be colored by current culture (as is common) and by creativity on the part of the authors.
Celtic mythology has a very similar problem, and I am much more familiar with them.  Their stories were written down by Christian monks, not pagan believers, to record their heritage.  Celtic history in general also suffers because earlier British writers on the subject made tons of things up to encourage their  Romantic notions of their Celtic predecessors (ignoring the fact that their most recent predecessors were Anglo Saxons).

2 comments

  • Dani

    Interesting! Do I still have to pay my credit card bills then? 😛

    While the Scandinavians in general and the Norse in particular were “officially” Christianized in the 9th-12th centuries, the people were very slow to give up their pagan religion. There are spotty records that suggest at least some pagan worship was going up up to the 18th century. Today of course, with Astaru and other forms of Norse reconstructionism, it could even be suggested that the worship of older gods is simply coming back to the forefront rather than being “rediscovered.” I don’t have any data to back up these musings, but it does make for some interesting anecdotes.

    -Dani — waiting for Líf and Lífþrasir to show up….

    http://www.burzum.org/eng/library/the_viking_age_and_christianity_in_norway.shtml

  • Dea

    Hmm. Only 9 days away. And if you’re living on the East Coast of the U.S. – you know that this winter has been ‘vast’. In fact, currently, it’s ridiculous. Let me tell you how much I enjoy your blog before I go shovel my car out of the vast whiteness! Seriously, I love your musings.

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