The Wild Hunt of Odin
“The Wild Hunt of Odin” by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1872)

Our distant past is shrouded in mystery. Where do the words come from that we speak? 

Were our ancestors already singing songs before being able to utter words? 

When did the gods enter their lives, and when did they start developing these stories that came down to us in the form of mythology, legends and folklore? 

How many thousands of years back in time do these intriguing stories go, and why are they so full of riddles to the modern mind?

Norse mythology is one of the many traditions that has been kept alive by telling stories from mouth to mouth before they were written down. Each one of these traditions has a slightly different way of explaining our origins and the ultimate fate that awaits us all. Norse mythology provides its own unique northern flavor, coming from lands of mist and ice, rugged mountains, dense black forests, rolling green plains and stormy seas.

Our myths are still with us because they are not only sources of great wisdom, but they have also provided us with entertainment to this very day. These stories about the gods and heroes are often more brutal and bizarre than the softened-down versions that we enjoy today, but they can also evoke great beauty. It is precisely these extremes of the beautiful and grotesque that makes them so memorable.

Because these stories are so memorable, they are the perfect vehicle for passing down systems of ancient knowledge, if only you know how to read them.

What has been handed down to us is a vast memory system containing knowledge of all kinds. Through a language of symbols, this system provides clear allusions to ancient knowledge about the shifting of the stars and constellations over large spans of time. It teaches us about the power of song, poetry and writing, and about the cycles of nature and human civilization. These myths speak of great wonders and of great catastrophe, but we can also relate to them on a personal level.

Here, at the Secrets of the Norse, we will make an effort at deciphering many of these riddles in order to see what knowledge is hidden in them. The first question that we will deal with is one of the greatest of these riddles:

Why was it necessary for the Norse god Odin to hang himself from the World Tree to acquire the wisdom of the runes?

What could be the meaning behind this? Why this sacrifice of himself to himself?

In the next post, we will delve into these questions, and in the process of doing so, we should be prepared to have our perspectives of reality changed in significant ways more than once!