The Sun, the Moon, and Stars in Norse Myth
Jackson Crawford | 29.III.2018
- 4:05 So, from Voluspá, there is a kind of presumption that Sun and Moon at least (perhaps stars too) are personal, but are servants.
Not masters. They are awaiting orders at the beginning.
Also, they will die.
This is very coherent with Jewish and Christian (not modern Evangelical, but early Christian up to Medieval and Early Modern) thoughts on celestial objects, on the "personifying" side.
They are servants of the one God. And at the end of the world, they will give up shining as they usually do. "Consensus" by the time of St Thomas Aquinas on the Western Latin Christian side was, celestial bodies are in themselves inanimate but moved by angels. Other options : inanimate and moved by God alone, animate in themselves (condemned by Tempier, but probably more accepted on the Jewish side), or, among philosophers of vaguely Averroistic bent, animate but irrational in themselves (like horses) and guided by rational angels obeying God (like Árvakr et Alsviðr in the case of Sól).
In French wiki, Skinfaxi is ridden by Dagr and Hrimfaxi by Nott.
Not by Sun and Moon ...
References are for Árvakr et Alsviðr : Gylfaginning, Grímnismál et Volsunga saga, Sigrdrifumal; for Skinfaxi and Hrimfaxi : Vafþrúðnismál, Gylfaginning.
Did some wikipedian miscite or misconstrue the meaning of them?
1) En goðin reiddust þessu ofdrambi ok tóku þau systkin ok settu upp á himin, létu Sól keyra þá hesta, er drógu kerru sólarinnar, þeirar er goðin höfðu skapat til at lýsa heimana af þeiri síu, er flaug ór Múspellsheimi. Þeir hestar heita svá, Árvakr ok Alsviðr, en undir bógum hestanna settu goðin tvá vindbelgi at kæla þá, en í sumum fræðum er þat kallat ísarnkol
2) Árvakr ok Alsvíþr,
þeir skulu upp héðan
sval svangir sól draga;
en und þeira bógum
fálu blíð regin,
æsir ísarn kol.
3) Dans la Völsunga saga, Brunehilde informe Sigurðr que des runes de l'esprit, associées à la sagesse, sont coupées sur la tête d'Alsviðr.
4) Sigrdrífumál strophe 15
er inn skíra dregr
dag um dróttmögu;
þykkir hann með reiðgotom,
ey lýsir mön af mari.
er hverja dregr
nótt of nýt regin;
méldropa fellir hann
þaðan kemr dögg um dala.
My impression is, compatibly with the creation account in Genesis 1, day and night are prior entities to Sun and Moon, or at least independent of them.
Skinfaxi gives daylight over blue sky, Hrimfaxi gives darkness of night, Sun decorates the daylight and Moon gives some light contrasting with the darkness.
Obviously, Hrimfaxi dripping dew when drooling, that image is independent of whether there is full moon or no visible moon the night, it has to do with temperature, not moonlight, which would have been obvious to Norse pagans too.
- 4:56 If the smith wanted the sun and the moon and Freya, well, he seems to have wanted slaves?
- 5:42 Your citation of Second Merseburg Charm ...
Phol ende uuodan uuorun zi holza.
du uuart demo balderes uolon sin uuoz birenkit.
thu biguol en sinthgunt, sunna era suister;
thu biguol en friia, uolla era suister;
thu biguol en uuodan, so he uuola conda:
sose benrenki, sose bluotrenki, sose lidirenki:
ben zi bena, bluot si bluoda,
lid zi geliden, sose gelimida sin!
Translation from wiki:
Phol and Wodan were riding to the woods,
and the foot of Balder's foal was sprained
So Sinthgunt, Sunna's sister, conjured it.
and Frija, Volla's sister, conjured it.
and Wodan conjured it, as well he could:
Like bone-sprain, so blood-sprain,
Bone to bone, blood to blood,
joints to joints, so may they be mended.
For one thing, Sunna herself is not seen as conjuring anything, and for another, nobody is directly in the charm mentioned as a god to whom sacrifice or worship is due.
In other words, Sun being a person doesn't equal Sun being worshipped - as with Hebrews and Christians.
Also, the context seems to imply a presence of Aesir on a somewhat anecdotic basis, supporting the background scenario in Gylfaginning - a man came along and actually claimed to have created the Earth some time ago, claimed - now Merseburg - this lady in his company was the sister of the Sun and so on ...
- 8:23 Colorado, like Sweden, like Holy Land, would in Hebrew be an Eretz.
The word is also used for Earth.
My bet, Thorr was legitimate son of Odin, and the epithet "Hann er sonur Óðins og Jarðar", could be a bad translation of Ben HaEretz.
Obviously an Earth-actual-goddess is really not stated at all in Norse myth.
"Jörð er í norrænni goðafræði móðir Þórs, en hann eignaðist hún með Óðni. Ennfremur nefnd Fjörgyn."
Mother of Thor may have a name meaning Earth, but she is not associated with upkeeping or life or fertility of Earth, as far as we can see.
Earth being inanimate is also a trait Norse myth has in common with Hebrews, Christians and Ancient Near East myths of Mesopotamia, as far as I can see.