Welcome to the second blog post by me, HissyFit! Today I will be talking about general mythology, with an example of a Norse myth. Besides chillers and thrillers, I also like mythology!
To start us off, I have a claim to make about mythology. I believe, personally, that myths are stories made up to explain things that could not be explained logically. It is natural for humans to question everything they do not understand. What is this? What is that? Or more importantly, why is this? Most likely to give themselves a sense of comfort and knowledge, the ancients created these stories called myths to explain things. Here is a good example:
In the beginning there was the void. And the void was called Ginnungagap. What does Ginnungagap mean? Yawning gap, beginning gap, gap with magical potential, mighty gap; these are a few of the educated guesses. Along with the void existed Niflheim the land of fog and ice in the north and Muspelheim the land of fire in the south. There seems to be a bit of confusion as to whether or not these existed after Ginnungagap or alongside of it from the beginning.
In Niflheim was a spring called Hvergelmir from which the Elivagar (eleven rivers - Svol, Gunnthra, Fiorm, Fimbulthul, Slidr, Hrid, Sylg, Ylg, Vid, Leiptr, and Gioll) flowed. The Elivargar froze layer upon layer until it filled in the northerly portion of the gap. Concurrently the southern portion was being filled by sparks and molten material from Muspelheim.
The mix of fire and ice caused part of the Elivagar to melt forming the figures Ymir the primeval giant and the cow Audhumla. The cow's milk was Ymir's food. While Ymir slept his under arm sweat begat two frost giants, one male one female, while his two legs begat another male.
While Ymir was busy procreating Audhumla was busy eating. Her nourishment came from licking the salty ice. Her incessant licking formed the god Buri. He had a son named Bor who was the father of Odin, Vili, and Ve.
For some reason the sons of Bor decided to kill poor Ymir. His blood caused a flood which killed all of the frost giants except for two, Bergelmir and his wife, who escaped the deluge in their boat.
Odin, Vili, and Ve put Ymir's corpse into the middle of ginnungagap and created the earth and sky from it. They also created the stars, sun, and moon from sparks coming out of Muspelheim.
Finally, the brothers happened upon two logs lying on the beach and created the first two humans Ask [Ash] and Embla [vine?] from them.
Was that great? Yeah! Was that logical? Ummmm…no, no it was not. This myth, compared to modern science and supported religion, made no sense. But back in the day, there was no science-y wiccawa to go off of. The ancients only slightly knew what the heck they were talking about!
Say you were walking along a valley in those days. Suddenly you step on something. You look down at your feet and see a huge spider crawling angrily out from under your foot. You don’t like spiders! You might wonder, “Why do bad things like spiders exist?” There is nothing wrong with wondering that, but how will you answer your question? Nobody knows, so nobody can tell you. Like the ancients did, you would probably make up an answer! Something really explanatory, but also interesting to hear, so your story isn’t totally lame. Something like:
Long ago, there was two bear gods; a nice bear god and a mean bear god. The nice bear god created flowers and dogs and life, while the mean bear god created spiders, lightning and death because he didn’t like happiness.
Viola! You have an explanation for why things happen. That gives you some peace of mind, right? Next you might make up a myth about why kittens meow! It is more fun to know than not to know, so when a question can’t be answered, we make up stories so we can know everything about everything!