This helmet-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages is popularly called Thor’s Helmet. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor’s Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the helmet is more like an interstellar bubble, blown as a fast wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble’s center sweeps through a surrounding molecular cloud. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star, the central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. Cataloged as NGC 2359, the nebula is located about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Canis Major. The sharp image, made using broadband and narrowband filters, captures striking details of the nebula’s filamentary structures. It shows off a blue-green color from strong emission due to oxygen atoms in the glowing gas.SOURCE
I create the clatter That comes with the lightning.
I am the bane of thurses, Trolls, tyrants, and chaos.
I destroy disorder And halt the dark forces.
I ride to bring the rain, Making red clouds above.
I was, am, and will be Always in the Nine Worlds.
Thor’s Helmet gets its glow from the massive unstable star WR7, a so-called “Wolf-Rayet” star which ejects much of its gaseous outer layers into space at speeds of up to 2,000 km/s. The ejected material from the star runs into the slower-moving gas floating between the stars. The collision excites the surrounding gas and causes it to emit light.
Wolf-Rayet stars are massive, fast-burning, and short-lived stars on their way to exploding as a supernovae. This phase of the star’s life only lasts briefly, which means Wolf-Rayet stars are quite rare. Only 150 have been discovered in the Milky Way.
The interstellar gas in and around this nebula is chemically enriched by the entrails of the Wolf-Rayet star. The rich blue-green color of the nebula comes from ionized oxygen ejected by the star. The reddish-pink color comes from excited hydrogen gas from the star and in the interstellar medium.Continue reading HERE.
Thor in the Cosmos
Mjöllnir: Thor’s Short-Handled Hammer
Recently we have shown that by comparing the classical constellations with eddic myths many figures of the myths can be identified. By investigating the Völundarkvida it was possible to find the sword of Völund in Nidud’s possession. The sword is the brightest star of the northern starry sky, Arcturus. Nidud is depicted as the herdsman Böotes. Surely it’s possible to equate Surtur holding Frey’s sword with Böotes and Arcturus as well. We also find the maiden Bödhild as the constellation Virgo bearing the golden ear of grain that can be seen in the northern myth either as a twig called mistiltein or as a golden ring. Continue reading HERE.
Thor’s Iron Glove: Járnglófar/Járngreipr
The head of Cetus is near to the Pleiades and to the constellation Taurus and explains perfectly why Thor needs it to hold the hammer Mjölnir.
In addition this asterism can explain some obscure details in other stories. In Skáldskaparmál Thor uses in his fight with Geirröd not his hammer to smash the giant but the glove Járngreipr to throw back a piece of hot iron. I assume the story describes the rising of the head of Cetus and the setting of Böotes (Geirröd) and the bright star Arcturus (the hot piece of iron). The tongs Geirrödr is using could be the claws of Scorpio, the iron pillar he is hiding behind is the Milky Way in the Sagittarius/Scorpio region.SOURCE
A Marriage Made in Heaven: Thor as the Bride of Thrym
Thrymskvida, the story of how Thor’s hammer Mjöllnir was stolen by the giant (thurs) Thrym and how he rescued it by disguising himself as a bride pretending to be Freyja and finally smashing Thrym with his hammer, is one of the most famous Eddic poems. It seems to be one of the oldest poems handed down to us. Nevertheless it puzzled scholars due to its content. Most see it as a genuine pre-christian poem, whereas others suspect it to be a christian parody as they find it hard to believe that one of the highest Germanic gods would have allowed himself to be dressed as a bride. See the Thrymskvida Study Guide for details.
In the case of Thrymskvida, it may be fruitful to assume an astral background of the Eddic story. As I already discussed in the essayMjöllnir – Thor’s short handled hammer it seems to be possible to connect the hammer Mjöllnir with the asterism of the Pleiades, a part of the constellation Taurus. Indeed this asterism has the shape of a hammer with a short handle. Therefore in an astronomical context the poem would describe how the asterism of the Pleiades disappears at the western horizon and how it reappears in the east.Continue reading HERE.
Death is something I have been closely connected with since a young age and in to my military career it became even more a part of my life. I have been fascinated by the idea of the afterlife and what is possibly to be after we leave this realm. As I do not believe the pirated ideologies of the Abrahamic faiths which, to be quite honest, were taken from far older Pagan beliefs and then twisted for their own agendas. On my spiritual path many many long years ago I began looking towards the Norse Goddess Hel and since then she has been a close part of my life providing me with a sense of comfort with death. I never have looked or reacted to death as what I suppose the “norm” could be classified as. But that topic regarding me could be for a future blog post regarding death. Today I want to give honor to Hel by sharing with my readers this in-depth post regarding all there is known about her along with some various outlooks and opinions.
I Am Hel (A Song of Solace) by Michaela Macha
I am Hel the Dark One, and I will get you all.
Every man and woman must come into my hall,
the young ones and the old ones, and I will not let you go,
even if all the worlds should weep for you.
I am Hel the Beautiful, be greeted and come in.
Enjoy my hospitality together with your kin.
Your ancestors are sitting next to Balder in the light,
I bid you welcome – I am Hel the Bright.
We greet you, our lady and mistress of eternity,
you will unite us with the ones who went before;
with our friends and families we keep forever company,
Hel is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted Goddess aspects in history. She has been greatly perverted through the years by patriarchal domination and ultimately used by the early Christian church as a scare tactic to frighten the masses into “righteous” acts. To get the real story, we have to go back to the early Nordic people and look this death Goddess in the face.
According to Norse tradition, Hel is one of three children born to Loki, the trickster, and Angrboda, the giantess. Her body and face were described as half in light and half in darkness. She was half dead and half alive. Her face was at once beautiful to look upon and horrific in form. Her siblings were Fenrir, the wolf who would destroy Asgard during Ragnarok, and Jormungand, the Midhgard serpent who lies at the bottom of the ocean wrapped around the world with his tail in his mouth (it is he that holds the world together).
Hel is cast into the netherworld and becomes the ruler of that underworld to which souls who have not died in battle will depart. As thanks for making Her ruler of the netherworld, Hel makes a gift to Odin. She gives him two ravens, Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory). Ravens are messengers between this realm and the next, opening pathways to death’s realm.
Her realm is named for her, Hel or Helheim. Because She accepts all to Helheim, she also becomes the judge to determine the fate of each soul in the afterlife. The evil dead are banished to a realm of icy cold death (a fate that the Nordic people found much worse in telling than a lake of fire) and torture. This particular aspect of Hel’s realm was the basis for the Judeo-Christian “hell” to which sinners are banished and tortured for eternity. Unlike the Judeo-Christian concept, Helheim also served as the shelter and gathering place of souls to be reincarnated. Hel watches over those who died peacefully of old age or illness. She cares for children and women who die in childbirth. She guides those souls who do not choose the path of war and violence through the circle of death to rebirth.
Because of Hel’s special role in the deaths of mothers in childbirth and children of all ages who die, She has become, according to some sources, the special guardian of children. Mother Goose is believed to be based on Frau Holle or Frau Holda who is a kindly and wise, if slightly horrific crone who rewards the industrious and punishes the lazy. The goose aspect is from a legend tradition that says that snow is a result of Frau Holda shaking out her bed linens.
One of the stories involving Hel is the decent of Balder into Helheim. Loki arranged for Balder to die by tricking him into a rigged contest. Because the contest was hosted in Asgard, Balder could not return to that place in death. His relocation sent him to the only other realm for the dead, Hel’s domain. His arrival to Helheim was welcomed with banquet and festival, proof that not all of Hel’s realm was torturous.
Hel governs the world beyond that of the living. In magic, she makes thin the veil between worlds. Seidhr or Nordic shamans call upon Her protection and wear the helkappe, a magic mask, to render them invisible (like Hades helm of invisibility) and enable them to pass through the gateway into the realm of death and spirit. In divination, Her special symbol is Hagalaz, hail: The embodiment of the icy realm She rules. Hel stands at the crossroads in judgment of souls who pass into Her realm. In that, She is linked to Osiris and Isis as well as Hecate.
Hel has fallen from her privileged position as guardian and ruler through years of being represented as an evil, ugly entity waiting to devour and torture lost souls. Ignorance as used Her as a means of scaring children and adults into a supposedly righteous path (instead of allowing free will to guide their actions to do what is right). May we learn and dispel the slander of years by seeing Her for the protector, judge, and guide that She originally represented.
Correspondences of Hel
Colors: white and black Moon phase: dark/new Animals: owls, ravens Herbs/Flowers: Jasmine, evergreens, any white flower Stones: moonstone, quartz crystal, onyx, hematite, obsidian Aspects: change, compassion, death, reincarnation, just rule Wheel of the Year: Samhain and Yule Rune: Hagalaz – hailSOURCE
Hel is attested to in the Prose and Poetic Eddas, in Hemskringla and Egils Saga. She is mentioned in the Gesta Denorum, and her name appears on bracteates (metal disc jewelry) from the Viking period, in Skaldic poetry, and on the Setre Comb, a 6th century artifact. She is well-known by her anglicised name Hela.
Like Greek Hades, her name is the same as the place she rules, and the name itself means “to hide”, “to cover” or “hidden place” (Hades’ name means “the hidden one”). Like Hades, both she and her realm were co-opted, corrupted and perverted by Christian colonists. Hel is both a mythical and literal place, the latter referring to grave burials. The mythic location is said to be furthest north of Miðgarðr and at the same time beneath it, the Underworld. It is separated, like Hades, from the land of the living by rivers that are challenging to cross.
In the Eddas, her brothers are Fenrir and Jörmungandr, the children of Loki and Angrboða. She is tasked by Óðin to give lodging to all who die of sickness and old age – what is called a “straw death.” She is depicted as half beautiful and alive, and half blue, the colour of cold, dead flesh. Modern artistic portrayals go further, and depict her as part corpse, an image popular in both modern paganism and pop culture.
In Norse Paganism (as in all religions) there are numerous unsettled theories regarding life after death. Modern paganism makes it clear that Hel is as it was in the pre-Christian Germanic world: not a place of universal torment or unending suffering for the sinful dead. It is far more rich and complex, and far less sinister. Nowhere in the lore does it say that Hel is a universal place of suffering, rather it has been misinterpreted as such, just like Hades in Greek myth often is.
This original concept of Hel shines through the cracks in Snorri, as honoured guests Baldr and Nanna, along with their entourage are hosted with a lavish welcoming party, and there is no indication that they are anything but comfortable and free to move about. Hel is even warm towards them – a gracious hostess, as is Norse tradition. Continue reading HERE.
Hel by Patricia Monaghan I hear you invoked every day by those ignorant of your power: Mighty Hel, Oh Hel. Thus doe she endure, the forgotten goddess, never far from us, never quite erased, Oh Hel, dark mother, we always come back to you, always, Always.
Within the Myrkþursablót tradition, there are certain sigils and bindrunes that act as keys to the old wisdom. These runes would serve as good tools for meditation and seiðr for those who yearn for the power they hold… Yet again, given the nature of rune magick, these are but a few that have come to me in trance and practice, and are shared here to serve as a guide to those wishing to begin their workings within this tradition. The runes being an unorthodox and (for the most part) unstructured form of magick, it is best for the adept to eventually use those that come to them in moments of gifted inspiration to best develop a relationship with the essences being worked with.
The Hel Rune Spell represents the death giantess, Hel. Hagalaz is Hel’s rune, as she is the ruler of Helheimr. Hagalaz is pure strife, as well as the cold hail raining on bare skin. Þurs symbolizes her hrímþurs blood, Iss her connection to Gullveig as her daughter and her Nifl-essence, and a myrkstave Algiz as her place within the death trinity.
For many years I have been fascinated with some similarities and commonalities between the ancient Norse God of Fire Logi and the Norse God, one of my,main deities, Loki who has been associated with fire as well as cunning, wit, counsel and balance; the mischief aspect is over exaggerated at times.
For years on Facebook I covered a lot about Loki in-depth on posts both controversial and scholastically.
I have been looking deeper into Loki’s family tree and while reading about his first known mistress, Glut, I of course was interested in how Logi was connected. Due to the story of how Logi married Glut after Loki left her to be with Angrboda. But there are a number of things I will not get into yet that have me a bit curious on a few things regarding both Gods. I must add that the theory of Loki and Glut having a relationship is one that has been discussed by others besides me and is only an interpretation based on the little information that exists.
I cannot help but wonder if there is a chance if one of the following is possible. Especially after discussing it for quite a while with several close friends who were helping me look into the connections between the two. It is a highly debatable subject that we found out has a lot of twists and turns down a Norse Pantheon rabbit hole.
So here are some thoughts I share with several friends and I always find it interesting what others may think. The theories I have researched are the following:
1. Logi and Loki possibly brothers? (Due to parents not likely but not ruled out)
2. Logi and Loki possibly half brothers? (From what was discussed this could be possible)
3. Possibly an “Adoption” of one or the other due to unknown circumstances. This is something that is not uncommon among the Gods.
4. A yet unknown possibility like a transformation in the telling of the Gods from very ancient times. Meaning since Loki is a shapeshifter and had lust for two women, Glut and Angrboda at the time, was Logi in actuality Loki? If that is true this would mean Loki has more children than what has been considered. Those of Glut, two daughters, Einmyria (Ashes) and Eisa (Embers).
5. Or, this is just very deep theoretical back and forth brainstorming by a group of good friends who are Pathwalkers of Norse Paganism and none of this is true? Either way it makes for fun discussion and last night was quite the intellectually fun fest.
I must add that Logi, the Norse fire spirit god is said to be the brother of Kari, the Norse god of the Northern winds and Ægir, the Norse god of the seas.
So with that said I am just going to provide some resources I have collected through my research and let you see for yourself how you feel about such possibilities.
During the funeral of the Norse God Baldur, The Gods had great difficulty in dragging the funeral ship “Hringhorni” into the sea. Knowing this level of strength could only be accomplished by a Jötunn (Giant) it was then the Giantess Hyrrokkin was summoned to Asgard to accomplish this task. It is said that when she arrived and began dragging the massive ship to the sea she did with such ferocity it cause the rollers under the ship’s keel to create sparks of fire. This enraged Thor so much he reached for his Mjölnir to strike her down but due to her getting the ship launched into the sea, the Gods asked he give mercy.
Snorri’s Edda, Gylfaginning 49: “The Æsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hringhorni is the name of Baldr’s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods wanted to launch it and make Baldr’s pyre thereon, but the ship would not stir. Then word was sent to Jötunheim and in response, came a giantess named Hyrrokkin (Fire-smoked). She rode up on a wolf with a serpent for a bridle, and leapt off the steed. Odin called four berserks to subdue it; but they were not able to tame the steed until they had felled it. Hyrrokkin went to the prow of the ship and thrust it out on the first push, with such force that fire burst from the rollers and all lands trembled. Thor grew angry and clutched his hammer, and straightaway would have broken her head, had the gods not prayed for peace for her.”SOURCE
When most discuss or think of the Elves of Norse Mythology they usually think of a certain kind of Tolkien in appearance and even refer to them as the Dark and Light Elves. But I want to go deeper into these Elves and to educate my readers on how much more expansive they are within the Yggdrasil. So in this Blog post I plan to cover the Svartálfar (“Black Elves), Dökkálfar (“Dark Elves), Ljösalfar (“Light Elves) and the Hvítálfar (“Shining Elves).
The Dökkálfar are referenced in a few places in Norse mythology. The name itself means ‘dark elves’ and Snorri describes them as living in the earth. Grimm calls them ‘Genii obscuri’ or spirits of the dark and suggests a connection between them and nâir, spirits of the dead, even going so far as to place them living ”in Hel, the heathen hades” (Grimm, 1888, p446). Grimm also questions whether the Dökkálfar should be separated from the nâir or whether “[t]he dusky elves are souls of dead men…” (Grimm, 1888, p 447). There is some strong evidence that the Dökkálfar were the mound dead or male ancestors and the Dökkálfar are sometimes called Mound Elves; it is not certain however and it may be that some Dökkálfar are human dead but others are not.
Svartálfar – meaning ‘black elves’ they possess their own world, Svartálfheim [black elf home]. The Duergar or Dwarves also live in Svartálfheim creating a longstanding confusion about whether Svartálfar are truly elves in their own right or are actually another name for Dwarves. Both are associated with mountains and mountainous regions, but seem to have a distinct and separate focus in activities and interactions with people. Grimm believes that the Svartálfar were good natured beings and argues that they received worship from people into the 19th century.
The Álfar and the Duergar – elves and dwarves – are also difficult groups to entirely sort out. On one hand there are some good arguments that the two may actually be the same, with Svartálfar and potentially Dökkálfar both simply being alternate names for deurgar. This is supported by three main things: many deurgar have names that incorporate the word ‘álf’ such as Vindalf and Gandalf; the Svartálfar were said to live in Svartálfheim but the deurgar live there as well; and the svartalfar and Dökkálfar were said to live beneath the ground or in mounds. However there is also evidence that might support the argument that the two groups were separate, including that they are occasionally referenced in the same work together as different groups. In verse 25 of Hrafnagaldr Óðins we see the Dökkálfar being grouped together with giants, dead men, and dwarves: “gýgjur og þursar, náir, dvergar og dökkálfar” [Giantesses and giants, dead men, dwarves and dark elves]. This would at the least seem to indicate some degree of separation between Duergar and Dökkálfar. In the Alvissmal it is also established that the Álfar and Duergar have different languages and kennings for things, which would also indicate separation of the two groups (Gundarsson, 2007). For the most part the Álfar would seem to be beings closely tied to the Gods, perhaps one step beneath them in power and influence, beings who can influence weather and possess powerful magic that can effect people’s health. The Duergar are associated with mining and smithcraft and are not as closely tied to the Gods; when they appear in myth dealing with the Gods they must always be negotiated with or otherwise dealt with in some fashion diplomatically.
The Álfar are a complicated and fascinating group in mythology and I have barely touched on them here. Consider this merely a brief introduction to some basic ideas about the Álfar as they appear in Norse mythology but bear in mind that they can be found throughout Germanic/Norse folklore. they are beings that are both benevolent and dangerous as the mood suits and depending on how they are treated, like the elves found across folklore.