The Heathen Mythbuster

The Heathen Mythbuster

About the blog

As long as I have been on online heathen forums, I have encountered many modern myths. The internet are full of strange and wonderful theories and that is great, but many of them are not based on real facts or are ignoring facts to get their homegrown theory to fit. I will try to find the facts about these theories and share them here. Some of the posts will properly have to be rewritten/changed to accommodate new data or data I wasn’t aware of then posting the information on the first time. That’s only an natural development for such a blog.
Since I am Danish and English isn’t my first language, I will properly make many grammatical and spelling mistakes. Please bear over with me.

Jord/Yard Meme

MiscellaneousPosted by Kim Pierri Fri, August 18, 2017 10:58:00

This meme will appear regularly in different Facebook pages.

When I read the Meme I feel it makes four statements, and I will look into each:

1. Jord was the first wife of Odin and mother of Thor.

This is true, it can be attested in the lore (look for references in Simek; Dictionary of Northern Mythology: p. 179)

2. She (Jord) was also known as mother Earth

This is a bit harder. I can’t seem to find any reference to anyone in ancient Scandinavia talking about a “Mother Earth”. It’s mainly a modern concept used to associate the same function in different mythologies around the world. It is not clear to Ymir, the giant from which Midgard was made and me the relationship with the goddess Jord.

3. Her name Jord was pronounces Yard

I don’t know which lauguage it is referring to, I don’t know old norse but in modern Scandinavian language Jord are pronounced different from the English Yard.

4. It literally means Earth or Land! And is why we call parsel of land a Yard

Let’s start with the English word Yard. There are two origins of the word yard. The first one are the measurement from the Old English word Gerd, meaning Stick/rod (from the yardstick that was used to measure length). This is not the word referred to in the Meme.

The other meaning of Yard are a "patch of ground around a house" from Old English geard or Old Norse garðr. (source http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=yard&fref=gc)

I have looked at the danish word Jord, and it has its origin in the Old Norse word jörð and the old english word eorþe. From http://ordnet.dk/ddo/ordbog?query=jord

So you see, that the old Norse/Scandinavian word Jord for earth/soil/goddess have different old Norse and old English origins. So there are no common origin between the words

I will add an observation here, that the English word Yard has a connection to the Old Norse word garðr (fence), which are part of Old Norse Miðgarðr (Midgard), which are one of the 9 worlds and the world the humans live in. But saying that because Midgard are the fenced area where the humans lives and a fenced area around you house are the same word is a bit of a stretch. I will also say that we don’t know if the Goddess are Jord are associated with Midgard, or maybe the soil.



The story of: Viking Artefacts Discovered Near Great Lakes, USA

MigrationPosted by Kim Pierri Mon, July 17, 2017 10:38:01
World News Daily Report made some time ago another fake news story about Vikings in North America. This time they concocted story about a Viking settlement near the town of Cheboygan, on the coast of Lake Huron. You can se the fake story here:

This story was published by World News Daily Report, which are a homepage with intentional fake news. They write in their disclaimer: “WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.”.

There isnt much information in the fake story. I days that 194 artifacts has been found by an amateur archeologist and that the Department of Archaeology of the University of Michigan are going to take over the site. The other information in the article are some of the artifacts. As in the fake story, they made about the Mississippi Viking Ship, they have borrowed the picture from a real archeological excavation. The artifacts in the article was found in Steinkjer near Trondheim in Norway.

Source for the picture: https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.dk/2013/07/finds-hint-at-major-viking-trade-centre.html#P8ZCtUeL2Tk3Hd03.97





"I took an arrow in the knee" is not Old Norse slang

WarriorsPosted by Kim Pierri Fri, April 21, 2017 10:21:19

Many pages are sharing the following Meme at the moment


The only thing that’s true in that meme are that it is mind blown.

The idea come from a modern game named Skyrim and was invented to make some guards have a conversation. For more information see this link





Runes in late Bronze Age

TechnologyPosted by Kim Pierri Thu, February 02, 2017 08:40:45

After a debate in the Facebook group “Norse Rune Writing/Translating” I became aware, that some people seems to think that the runes was invented in the Bronze Age. Then asked for sources guy who proposed the very early date could just say “i cant remember which old dusty book i found it in ...i dont have to show you the road though. you need to do more research .”. So I decided to do a bit of research.

What do the archeologist say:

Lisbeth M. Imer, Runologist at The National Museum of Denmark say in her book: Danmarks Runesten - En fortælling” 2016 says that the runes was properly created in the environment of the nobility in the second or third century CE (p. 30).

Jørgen Jensen, archeologist at The national Musem of Denmark wrote in his work: “Danmarls Oldtid -Ældre Jernalder“ 2003 write that the oldest inscriptions we know, are from the late second century, but that runes may be a bit elder, because Tacitus in about 100 CE that the Germanic people use marks cut in twigs to take omens from. (The original text can also be seen here: http://denstoredanske.dk/Danmarks_Oldtid/%c3%86ldre_Jernalder/Et_nyt_aristokrati_200-400_e.Kr/Den_f%c3%b8rste_skrift )

Professor Lotte Hedager from Oslo University wrote in Politikens Danmarkshistorie, bind 2 Danernes land (1988) that the runes must have been invented around the time of Christ, but that the first inscriptions are from the first century and that the use of runes became more common around year 200. (p 310) (The original text can also be seen here: http://denstoredanske.dk/Danmarkshistorien/Danernes_land/%C3%86ldre_germansk_jernalder-Folkevandringstiden/Gyldne_tider/Futharken_-_det_%C3%A6ldste_runealfabet )

So it’s quite clear that the runes was created in the start of the Common Era sometime between year 1 and 200. Why would someone then think that the runes went back to the Bronze Age (1700-500 BC), which are 500 years before the earliest date of the runes?

I tried to google “Bronze Age Runes” and found a couple of pages.

The first one I found was Oswald The Runemakers page (http://www.runemaker.com/history.shtml ). He says: “Rune-like symbols appear as cave markings as early as the late Bronze Age (circa 1300 BC), and they are mentioned in the Bible, but their use in ritual and as an Oracle for consultation must certainly pre-date their use as a system of writing.”. The page seem to be a shop, where “Oswald” are seeling runeset for divination.

The second I found was History of The Runes from a Wicca group http://www.wolfmoongrove.com/Rune%20Info%20Pages/rune_history.htm

They wrote: “Before the Germanic peoples of ancient Western Europe possessed a true alphabet, they used pictorial symbols to carve into stones their ideas and thoughts. Pre-runic symbols, or hällristningar, have been found in various Bronze Age rock carvings, primarily in Sweden. Some of these symbols are readily identifiable in the later alphabets, while others represent ideas and concepts that were incorporated into the names of the runes (sun, horse, etc.) The earliest known examples of these pictorial writings date from about 1300 BCE and may have been linked to Sun and Fertility cults … These pictoglyphs later evolved into the more abstract glyphs composed of lines resembling no particular objects. That there was great power endowed to those who were adept at the use of these glyphs is indicated by the name given to the glyphs themselves. These glyphs were called Runes, from the Gothic Runa, meaning “a secret thing, a mystery.”

This last article has references, but they are to two articles from 1898 and 1928. As you have seen in the references, I have made to moderns scholars, not what scholars think today.

Both pages are from people using runes for magic/divination and not as part of a historical research. When you read the homepages it also become clear that it’s not the rune-letters they are referring to. They interpret the figures on the Bronze Age carvings as having the same symbolic meaning as they think the runic letters have. This symbolic meaning are interpreted from the medieval rune poems written down very late (about 1500 years after the end of the Bronze Age).

It is fine in you religious practices to use pictures from Bronze Age Rock Carvings to represent the symbols you get from the Rune Poems, but there are no evidence for runes being from the Bronze Age.



Midgard Serpent at the Mid-Ocean ridge

MiscellaneousPosted by Kim Pierri Tue, December 06, 2016 10:12:58
I have many times seen this manipolated picture on Facebook:

Often followed by this text:

The myths are an storehouse of infinite knowledge. They speak of the Midgard Serpent lying at the bottom of the see. He encircles the globe and when he moved great earth trembles cause terrible convulsions. Most believe this is just a tale, but the ancient knew of his existence at the bottom of the oceans. Now, with modern technology, we can see for ourselves that the Myths were true--he does exist. But how did primitive Norsemen know of this great belt of fissions at the bottom of the oceans? Perhaps they were not primitive as most people think they were? Did they have knowledge passed down to them from thousands of years earlier, in a time when their ancestors had built an advance civilization, more advance than ours' today? But when it collapsed, their knowledge were encoded in Myths passed down from generation to generation? Take a look at the maps once more and think about it. - unknown author


My comment:

It is funny and might be an interpretation of the myth into modern cosmology we can use today, but the thing about “advance civilization, more advance than ours' today” are at best silly and a little insulting to our ancestors, who did amazing things with the technology available to them. Notice that the map is manipulated. The lines they have highlighted are boundaries between tectonic plates, but they have just selected those that fit with what they want you to see. Humans are experts to notice patterns and if you condition people to see a pattern they will do so.

Most of the boundaries they have chosen are the mid-ocean ridge, but not all. The ridges at the west coast of Greenland are very small and not active anymore and in the pacific there are only ridges in short areas along the Californian coast and none along the Aleutian Islands. On the map above the mid-ocean ridge are colored red. I have modified the original map to show this. Notice how the serpent has disappeared.

They have chosen to include the destructive line along the Californian coast and the destructive boundary along The Aleutian Islands. If they decided to include island arcs and destructive plate boundaries, then there are plenty of more places that need to be included in the picture. They are included as lines with lumps on in the picture. If you include all of them, then there are no serpent either. Se the map below.



Meme about the language of the Skrælings

MigrationPosted by Kim Pierri Sun, November 13, 2016 09:51:28
I've seen this meme on a Asatru Facebookpage. I have looked at the relevant sagas:

In the Saga of the Greenlanders, the people of Karlsefni have dealing with the Native Americans. It says that they don’t understand each other, but nothing about the languages sounding like anything they know. P. 341

In the Saga of Erik the Red Karlsefni can negotiate prices with the natives, but it doesn’t say anything about the language they talk. P. 366

Later they capture some boys and teach then Norse (which might indicate that the negotiating earlier was done without understanding each other’s language). They say that there is a country nearby where people wear white clothes and that the country are called whitemansland, which clearly refer to the white clothes. P. 369

So it’s clear that there’s no reference to the language of the natives and that there is no reference to them meeting people with white skin before (actually there’s no reference to someone described as having white skin at all)

I have used the new danish translation of the sagas and the pages in this article refer to that translation:
Islændingesagaerne samtlige sagaer og niogfyrre totter. Book one.
Saga Forlag, Reykjavik Iceland, 2014

Viking Berserker grave found in Denmark?

WarriorsPosted by Kim Pierri Thu, September 22, 2016 09:28:42

In a debate about berserkers, someone mentioned that berserker graves had been found and googling I found two articles who both are talking about a grave found I Hårup in Jutland Denmark:

The first one I read doesn’t really tell us much about why they think that man in the grave was a berserker. http://www.newhistorian.com/grave-axe-wielding-viking-berserker-found-denmark/6983/

His only reference are an article on News Corp Australia. I also found that article: Viking burial site in Denmark contained a warrior — and his enormous axe

http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/archaeology/viking-burial-site-in-denmark-contained-a-warrior--and-his-enormous-axe/news-story/c2c58410644f148a4fdaad5786182c59

The first I looked at said: “IT seems there’s some truth in the myths after all. Archaeologists in Denmark have found the burial site of a Viking ‘berserker’ warrior — complete with an oversized battle axe”

The article reference archeologist Kirsten Nelleman Nielsen (who they clearly think are a man) and say that the find are reported in “Dead and buried in the Viking Age” from Saxo Institute at The University of Copenhagen. They don’t know it, but it’s a compendium of articles from a Symposium at the institute from 2016 (I went there myself and listened to the presentations). The journalist doesn’t seem to have read the article in the book, because he wrote: “His findings, Dead and buried in the Viking Age, have been published by the Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhangen” [SIC!]

When I read through the article, none of its contents appear to be talking about berserkers. It only talks about the grave and say that an enormous axe was found in the grave.

The article in News Corp Australia also says: “It [the axe] was the sole possession found among the bones of a particularly strong man”. That is also an invention of the journalist, because the article in “Dead and buried in the Viking Age” says that there was very little human remains found and that they determined the sex of the buried peoples by the grave goods. That also follow, that they couldn’t determinate the size or musculature of the buried man. I would surmise that the journalist thought, that a man buried with such a large axe, must have been big and muscular.

The journalist also reference two articles more:

http://sciencenordic.com/unique-viking-tomb-contains-remains-noble-couple

http://www.livescience.com/55490-mighty-ax-discovered-in-viking-tomb.html

None of those articles mentions a berserker.

It seems like the part of it being a berserkergrave are an invention of the journalist at Australian News Corp and that others have referenced him on other pages. None of them read the original article. The journalist at “The new historian” even uses material not found in the Australian News Corp, but in the 2 articleslinked from there, but not noticing, that those articles doesn’t talk about berserkers.

What you can read from the original article in “Dead and buried in the Viking Age” are that this grave original was with two wooden build rooms, the female had a lot of high status grave goods in her grave and in the male grave, there was only found a very large axe. Later another graveroom was added to the grave with a male also containing an axe. The article also says that axes are the weapon mostly found in norse graves from the Viking Age.

The 2 articles that claims that the buried man was a berserker also base their interpretation on that his only gravegoods was the large axe. The problem with that interpretation are that in the burialground no organics material have been preserved. Segments of Wood, fur or cloths are only preserved when it was in contact with metal objects. So there could have been more in his grave, that hasn’t survived to this day.

The archeologist estimates that the reason the man has a large axe in his grave are to mark his status as a warrior and a chieftain, but not a word of berserkers.

I have read the Danish version of the book from the Saxo Instirute (the English version are a translation of that book):

Død og begravet – I vikingetiden, ed. Jens Ulriksen and Henriette Lyngstrøm

Copenhagen 2016.



Cannabis in the Viking Age

TechnologyPosted by Kim Pierri Wed, September 21, 2016 09:32:48

I have read this article: Cannabis found in Viking grave

(http://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/09/20/cannabis-discovered-viking-grave/)

The article are about the Oseberg boat Grave in Tørnsberg, Norway. The article seems to be quite accurate, except for the wording. It is true that Cannabis was found in a leather purse found with the elder lady (the word sack seems to imply something larger). What the article doesn’t tell are that the cannabis are in the form of seeds and that seem to be forgotten in the article.

There seem to be no doubt that cannabis was farmed in Norway during the Vikinge Age. Beside the purse with the seeds found in The Oseberg Mound and other places, we also have found hemp pollen in a bog in Vest-Agder in Norway. Hemp pollen doesn’t move very long, but a bog would be a bad place to grow hemp. This seem to indicate that the hemp was placed there to loosen the fibers so that it would be possible to make rope or clothes from the fibers. (From Norwegian Vikings grew hemp)

I’m not aware of which kind of hemp was found in Viking-age Norway, not all strains have high percentage of THC which gives it the psychoactive effects and as said its likely that the hemp pollen found in Vest-Agder was grown to make fibers, but that doesn’t mean, that they didn’t also use hemp for its psychoactive effects. We just don’t know.







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