BLADE HONER Book One: The Hammer of Greatness – is now available as an e-book in all major e-book formats and outlets. The future of a printed version depends on the e-book sale so please dont wait for that – I know the paper book is a darling, but it is the story that matters.
”Freyia Völundarhúsins” is the Old Norse translation of my username Lady of the Labyrinth. The labyrinth was introduced as a symbol and as a sacred site in Scandinavia during the Bronze Ages, possibly influenced by the Minoan culture. Even up to recent times labyrinthes were used for ritual games where a maiden would stand within the center of the labyrinth and wait while young men tried to find their way to the center. I see this in connection with my undisputed thesis of an initiation ritual dating back into Pagan times centered around a mead-serving maiden in the underworld, as is described in my thesis. The Norse word for Labyrinth, Völundarhús, literally translates as The House of the Sacred Grove. Sacred groves were important places of worship in Northern Europe since time immemorial.
On this site I will post articles on Old Norse mythology, whether written by myself or by others, as well as my YouTube videos. If you wish to ask questions or discuss matters, please use my forum on the main site. Then if I do not have the time to answer immediately, other people may be able to suggest views.
The Background for my Approach to the Norse Myths:
In the spring of 2004, I graduated with a Master degree in Cultural Studies, the History of Religions, at the University of Oslo, Norway, with the thesis “The Maiden with the Mead – a Goddess of Initiation Rituals in Old Norse Myths?.” In my dissertation, I explored how the fundamental, thematic structure of several Edda poems perfectly rendered the structure and themes of what could only be explained as a Pagan initiation ritual, and that the description of this ritual, albeit in the language of symbols, was a credible description of such ritual, accurate and detailed. Such a discovery challenges any notion held by some critics that the Old Norse myths simply reflect the time in which they were written down, well after Christianity was introduced. The discovery of the ritual structure of the myths and the detailed accounts of the various stages of the ritual experience strongly suggests that the myths as they have been left to us do in fact reflect, to a considerable degree, Pagan religion and Pagan religious practices despite them having been written down by Christian monks.
Since then, I have kept doing research on the essential meaning of Norse myths, taking seriously the fact that the myth-makers, the poets (skalds), actually tried to convey meaning through metaphor, and also to take seriously the fact that the names of characters and places in the myths actually mean something – meanings that are essential if one is to understand the messages of the metaphors. After many years of study I have, eventually, come to see the poems of the Edda not as a random collection of old poems, but rather as poems collected, perhaps edited, and certainly put together chronologically for a purpose; to reveal a Pagan spiritual path of self-knowledge and transformation. Each poem may be read as such on its own, but when looking at the poems that appear in the manuscript Codex Regius, later known as the “Poetic Edda”, one may detect a purpose to the chronology of the poems – to the point of suggesting that the collection of poems was in fact meant as a book, telling a story of an eternal spiritual quest and the slow unfolding of revealed knowledge as one goes along. Adding the Edda poems that were not part of the Codex Regius, one may realize that they belong to the same conceptual universe. I have become convinced that the mythical and legendary poems that survived the Conversion in writing belong to a powerful and well-established religious, or perhaps rather a mystical or spiritual tradition with a message and a purpose of its own. This tradition, which may have been something like a Mystery cult, applies the characters of an ancient Old Norse pantheon of gods and other powers, but is revealing deeper messages of a universal character about the nature of the human soul and quest for its divine origins.
The boldness of my research may be one reason why I did not continue an academic career: In order to pursue such a career one must always be extremely over cautious about making claims that are fundamentally different from previous paradigms of understanding, at least until one already has a professorate. Even then, trying to change an academic paradigm may be the suicide of one´s academic career. I found that I could not hold back on my discoveries without compromising myself.
Another reason for my choice to seek a different career is the fact that, although not being religious, contrary to most academics, I actually believe in “spirituality”. That is; I believe that there is such a thing as spirit and soul, that there is something happening after death, and that those who created the myths were trying to reveal spiritual messages that may actually hold some truth in them. Dreams and visions have sometimes provided me with the greatest insights about the myths, at least as far as I understand it.
Despite all this, I love doing research, and I love to do it properly. I do not use secondary sources unless they are written by scholars who actually know the Old Norse language and have access to the primary source material, as I do. Sources written by, say, neopagans who are not actually acquainted with the primary source material (archaeology or written medieval sources in Old Norse), may sometimes hold interest at a personal spiritual level but cannot be used as a proper source to the myths.
By March 2010, after six years of doing research on the side, building upon my first thesis, I was almost brimming over with research material about the Old Norse myths and felt deeply compelled to share my insights. I created my first YouTube channel, the LadyoftheLabyrinth´s channel and began making videos about ancient goddess symbolism and Norse mythology. By the end of the summer that year, I sat down and spoke my first lecture on how to decipher the myths. I called my lecture series “Hidden Knowledge in Old Norse Myths”, and little more than a year after, I have made as many as thirty lectures.
The feedback and interest I have met after I began sharing, particularly my talking videos, have truly warmed my heart and propelled even new insight. The fun thing about Norse myths is that they never cease to reveal something new. As I teach, I learn.Disclaimer: Some people seem to think that Old Norse mythology, history, symbols and paganism provide nourishment to Nazi, racist and fascist ideologies. They do not. I have absolutely no sympathy for such ideologies whatsoever, and no understanding for why people of such hateful bends abuse and misrepresent the ancestral lore of Northern Europe to serve their disgusting ends. This is about history and about spirituality.