Saturday, September 25, 2010

Viking History and Women: Sweden and Denmark finds lead naturally to Norway

Meet Norse women, fact and legend.

First, Volva - An itinerant Viking seer-sorceress.  She went to towns performing shamanistic acts, altering destinies by reweaving the webs of life. See http://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/the-vanir-gods-and-goddesses/freya/   She is the "great sibyl"  (see New York Times January 6, 1987 in critiquing the Prime Minister of Norway, who was a woman Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Second, Gro Harlem Brundtland, see http://theelders.org/gro-brundtland.  On July 30, 2013, she received the Catalonia Prize.  Read her quotations.  A visionary, an inspirer, a medical doctor.

Third, Gudrid, in Voyages of a Viking Woman, book by Nancy Marie Brown, 2007.  Hear a reading of a portion at http://www.cornell.edu/video/a-reading-from-the-far-traveler-voyages-of-a-viking-woman/.  Gudrid appears in two Icelandic Sagas; the book weaves what it can from those sources, nd archeology, linguistics, contemporary events, and others like bits of pollen, grains, implement parts. Was Gudrid in North America that far thousand years ago?  Possible. Vikings could have traveled as far south as Quebec, where butternuts were found where the trees do not grow.   A well-traveled woman in a traveling culture. Explore her choices.

Women in the old Viking culture.Women in the new Norway.

As for Gro Harlem Brundtland, at least in the 1980's, she was joined by 7 other women cabinet members of a total 17.  It was not easy.  There remained the bridle that demands that a woman not lead because a woman should not be like a leader in what she says and does.  That has not changed here. 

What was it like in Viking culture, to be a women seeking autonomy, her own destiny.

Viking culture has been redefined and scrubbed, and conjectured to death in order for other Europeans to feel justified in conquering it with their Christian forced conversions. Is that so?  Whatever the reason, we found it hard to get at verifiable facts about the place of women.

Our sources so far:

  • We are just back from a regional trip to Scandinavia and the North Sea area, that did not allow for Norway this time. But issues of Viking world view, cultural organization, cosmology arise from seeing Denmark; and Northern Germany, second trip to Germany; and Sweden.  Norwegian roots and figures blend in with histories of now-other countries.

So we use this Norway Road Ways as our own clearinghouse for information we do not want to lose as we research other countries.

  • Of particular interest is the book, The Vikings, A History, by Robert Ferguson, Penguin Group 2009. And the arrangement of deities, creation accounts, stories, that cross the boundaries we have now.
Meanwhile:   Volva. Viking history.

She is the wise-woman who tells Odin, one of the three most major deities of the Norse.  The Vikings lays out the three as Freya, the seer, deity for the female power; Odin, deity for poetry, warfare, storms, courage and something to be researched further, the hanged man; and Thor, deity for the farmer and the common man.

Volva, in The Poetic Edda, about creation, the first human man and women, the great tree Yggdrasil, the "world-ash", battles among gods and goddesses and giants, and prophesies about seeking knowledge and the ultimate death of the gods. See  ://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe03.htm/

Sorting out the Christian, the more mainland Celtic and other influences, is a challenge, but the poem is generally agreed to mostly predate Christianity in the form that the militant Roman church brought. She is said to be of the race of giants, and yet reduced to a mere "prophetess" in this site, ://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15507a.htm/
 

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