Norse concept of self and Celtic equivalent?

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Illustr8d1
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Norse concept of self and Celtic equivalent?

Postby Illustr8d1 » 03 Jun 2015, 19:35

I was wondering if anyone had done much study or looked at any of the connections between Norse concepts of the parts of the self and Celtic equivalent?

I'm fascinated with the Norse concept of the self, here's a reasonable website http://norse-mythology.org/concepts/the ... -the-self/. I did just listen to another Druidcast, episode 81, and Kris Hughes was talking about the Mabinogi and the differences in shape changing between anyan(inherit nature) and rith(shape or form). It seems very similar to Norse hamr, I'm not sure what the anyan equivalent would be, maybe hugr?

The bibliography on the website I mentioned is pretty good, I have read most of those and the work by Nurit Bird-David got me reading a lot of books around animism and I love her concept of "dividuality".

Overall I will say that I favor not separating out one's identity too much but it is pretty interesting.

Just curious to see what other people think :)

Many thanks,
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” - Gary Snyder

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DaRC
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Re: Norse concept of self and Celtic equivalent?

Postby DaRC » 04 Jun 2015, 12:09

It's not bad - I have my own viewpoint, based upon modern heathen work by Diana L.Paxton, Swain Wodening and the Troth (Ragnar and Rurik).

However, I am not so sure whether there is a Celtic equivalent.

Here's the summary....
Fundamental to this is the Voluspa of the Poetic Edda where it is described how the Gods created Man. Within this context Man is it's true Anglo-Saxon meaning of person, the word Man is probably derived from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) word for Mind/Soul/Spirit.
Below are two translations of the Poetic Edda text:

Standard translation Voluspá" (17-18, Hollander's translation)
17. Until there came three mighty and benevolent Æsir to the world from their assembly.
They found on earth, nearly powerless, Ask and Embla, void of destiny.

OR
To the coast then came, kind and mighty from the gathered gods three great Æsir;
on the land they found, of little strength, Ask and Embla, unfated yet.

18. Spirit they possessed not, sense they had not, blood nor motive powers, nor goodly colour.
Spirit gave Odin, sense gave Hoenir, blood gave Lodur and goodly colour.

OR
Sense they possessed not, soul they had not, being nor bearing, nor blooming hue;
soul [ond] gave Óthinn, sense [oðr] gave Hoenir, being, Lódhur, and blooming hue [lá, læti, litr].

To modern people Odin is the one-eyed All Father and leader of the Norse Pantheon in the Icelandic tradition, Tolkien certainly took many characteristics for Gandalf from Odin. Hoenir is a little known God who was known for his silence. Lodur is only mentioned in this passage but many, myself included, think that Lodur is another name for Loki who is the trickster God. This triad of Gods (Odin, Hoenir and Loki) appears several times in the Norse myths so it would fit the pattern if Lodur was Loki.
From this we gain a triple view of Man - which we all know of as Mind, Body and Spirit. I have translated this into the concepts of Intellectual Capacity, Physical Capacity and Spiritual Capacity. However this is still too simplistic to describe the complexities of the Soul and the Heathen view of the Soul. A first clue is given in Beowulf
"Ðæs mannes sáwl hæfþ on hire þreó þing, ðæt is gemynd and andgit and willa. Ðurh ðæt gemynd se man geþencþ ða þing ðe he gehýrde oððe geseah oððe geleornode"
man's soul has in it three things, that is memory and understanding and will. By the memory a man recollects the things that he has heard or seen or learned, Homl. Th. i. 288, 18-21: 28." This triplicate relates to Man's intellectual capacity. There are other Anglo-Saxon words that also relate to their view of the soul in it's spiritual capacity:
Fylgja a spirit, often of the opposite sex to the person to which it was attached, which is similar to Jung's Anime/Animus;
Hamingja which is like a guardian angel associated with the luck of an individual or clan.
These additional complexities confirm that a triple view of the heathen spirit is inadequate. Already there are 2 triples one describing the mind the other the spirit.
The final triplicate comes from the translation of Loki's gifts. Viktor Rydberg has this to say
"Lodur's first gift lá with læti makes Ask and Embla animal beings. Egilsson's view that lá means blood is confirmed by the connection in which we find the word used. The læti united with lá (compare the related Swedish word "later," manners) means the way in which a conscious being moves and acts. The blood and the power of a 'motion, which is voluntary' were to the Teutons, as to all other people, the marks distinguishing animal from vegetable life…. The inherited features, growth, gait, and pose, which were observed as forming race- and family-types, were regarded as having the blood as efni and as being concealed therein."
From this passage we can see that there was a multiple view of the physical capacity of man within the Eddas.

The various essays on the soul mentioned above combine to produce an emerging picture of the Northern Soul as a 3 x 3 pattern where each of the Capacities is sub-divided into 3 :

Intellect Memory Will
Breath Spirit Luck
Body Hide Health

What is foremost here is that the whole is made up of 9.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
http://gewessiman.blogspot.co.uk Image

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Illustr8d1
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Re: Norse concept of self and Celtic equivalent?

Postby Illustr8d1 » 05 Jun 2015, 17:08

Very cool! So far I have only read Neil. S. Price, Bertha Phillpotts, and H. R. Ellis Davidson, who are all fairly academic. I'll definitely check out Diana L.Paxton, Swain Wodening and the Troth (Ragnar and Rurik). Are there any particular works of theirs that you would recommend? BTW, love your blog, I was just reading parts of it yesterday.

Many thanks,
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” - Gary Snyder

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DaRC
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Re: Norse concept of self and Celtic equivalent?

Postby DaRC » 08 Jun 2015, 11:56

:tiphat: I'm glad you love my blog, I am meaning to put the full 'Northern Soul' article up there.

For links and references you might find this of interest...
viewtopic.php?f=324&t=7676
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
http://gewessiman.blogspot.co.uk Image


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