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What makes Norse mythology "norse"? Why does Thor kill giants? What do the myths tell us about Loki's gender identity? The world of popular media is always happy to provide a modernized re-telling of ancient stories with a heavy scoop of creative license, but on "Norse Mythology: The Unofficial Guide", we'll dive into the original tales directly from the sources and learn together from experts in the field about what these stories really mean and how they would have affected the lives of the ...
 
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Our first ever live Fireside Chat! In this episode the hosts (Shawn and David obviously) and fans discuss (over drinks) the poem Vǫlundarkviða from the Poetic Edda. The poem details the story of a talented elf's fall into a corrupted sole as he takes revenge on a king of men, Nithuth... We thank everyone for taking there time to join us for the eve…
 
One of the more difficult things to do in Norse mythology is understanding the way the sun and moon relate to day and night. Each one seems to have its own origin, and figuring out where the distinction between a shiny object and a divine person really is can be tricky. Add to this the big mess of wolf and horse names scattered all over the story a…
 
Way back in episode 1, I mentioned that the sources are not exactly as clear on what "the nine realms" are as popular media would have us believe. In this episode, we dig into all the ways the phrase "nine realms" is used in the sources, and try our best to put together a working model of how the Norse cosmos was really shaped. Sources: “Contradict…
 
To kick off Season 3 Shawn and David are talking about Ragnarok. Loki is freed from his bonds and he is joined by his children Fenrir, Jormungandr, Hel and her army of the dead, The sons of Muspell (an army of Fire Giants), and an army of Frost Giants for good measure. It's a wild scene, but as David points out, not quite as wild as the book of Rev…
 
There's an intriguing stanza in one of our source poems mentioning a compromise between the goddess Freyja and the god Óðinn. It seems to tell us only half the slain warriors are received by Óðinn in Valhöll because the other half are chosen by Freyja for a place called Fólkvangr. But what does it really mean to choose the slain? Who decides who di…
 
Sometimes I make mistakes. We're all learning together from the experts here. This is a mini-episode addressing two mistakes I made in previous episodes that have been bothering me recently, and that I wanted to correct. There's nothing groundbreaking or foundational here, but I think it's good to fix mistakes when we find them. Contact: Join the D…
 
David interviews Simon Drew, Poet, Podcaster, and Founder of The Walled Garden Philosophical Society. In our conversation, we talk about the founding of The Walled Garden, and it's mission of "finding Wisdom, wherever it might be found". How poetry and mysticism contribute to the mission of a philosophical society. We discuss pathways to initiation…
 
David brings a both light hearted and serious look at the celebration of Yule. A completely non-comprehensive take on the idea of celebrating the Winter Solstice from an archetypal perspective and reflecting on our modern traditions that reflect back to a much earlier time before the Christianization of the season. The Recipe for Wassail: https://t…
 
The moment has finally arrived! The doom of the gods (or is it, fate of the gods? ...or twilight of the gods?) is upon us! Listen as your dedicated host tirelessly strings together a narrative crafted from The Prose Edda, Völuspá, Vafþrúðnismál, Grímnismál, and Fáfnismál to finally present a full picture of Ragnarök. But what does Ragnarök really m…
 
"The Wanderer" - A poem by Shawn Gaich to celebrate the Winter Solstice and the Holiday Season. 4 years ago, Shawn's colleagues at work asked him to write a holiday poem. So of course he writes a poem where Odin (The Wanderer) toys with the souls of mortals. Though the poem was lost, Shawn was able to remember enough of it and fill in the blanks ev…
 
Season 2, Episode 26. Shawn and David conclude the season long series on Loki: the cause of and solution to all of life's problems. Shawn recaps the adventures of Loki up to this point, and we explore the sections of Lokasenna and Gylfaginning Chapter 50 which provide the story of Loki fleeing from the Aesir after his involvement in the death of Ba…
 
S2 Episode 25: B2R Short Norse Mythology and Exploring the Shadow. David shares his ideas on why there is a connection between Stoic Philosophy, Jungian Psychology, and Norse Mythology. They are all methods of seeking wisdom and healing the human soul. I share my personal take on why Norse Mythology is the ideal mythology for understanding the arch…
 
S2 Episode 24: The Vikings of North America II: The Saga of the Greenlanders In this episode, Shawn discusses another version of the Norse discovery and settlement of Greenland, along with the settlement of North America, as told in "The Saga of The Greenlanders", a source written in the early to mid 13th Century. This story shows a similar but dif…
 
Previously, Loki took it upon himself to orchestrate the murder of the gods' golden boy, Baldr. In this episode, Loki's actions finally come back to haunt him as the gods exact their revenge. We'll discuss how this story differs between accounts in the two Eddas, and even dig in to a lesser-known part of the story preserved mainly in Gesta Danorum.…
 
S2 Episode 23: The Vikings of North America: Eirik the Red's Saga In this episode, Shawn discusses the tale of the Norse discovery and settlement of Greenland, along with the accidental discovery by Leif Erikson of North America, as told in "Eirik the Red's Saga", a source written in the early 13th century. Although the story details the lives of t…
 
In this episode, the most beloved of all the gods suffers a tragic death as the result of what appears to be another god's jealous rage. This story has everything: murder, zombies, flaming dwarves, and possible hints at something akin to suttee– everything except the consequences. Those will come next time. Sources: “Dictionary of Northern Mytholog…
 
S2 Episode 22: B2R Short: The "Historical" Sons of Freyr In this episode, Shawn discusses the family line of the Ynglings. According to Snorri Sturlason's work "Ynglinga Saga", this family line supposedely started with a humanized version of the Vanir god, Njord (and his son, Freyr). The story states that Njord was a king in Uppsala, Sweden. Over t…
 
Season 2 Episode 2: Freyr’s “Courtship” of Gerder (Part 2) This week Shawn and David wrap up the 2 part series on the story of how Freyr sends his servant, Skirnir, to propose to the giantess Gerdr on his behalf. Last week with them discussing Chapter 37 of Gylfaginning from the Prose Edda; however, this week them discussing its Poetic Edda counter…
 
Shawn and David present "Lokasenna - A Radio Drama" In celebration of releasing our 50th episode. Share your vote for your favorite God/Goddess/Voice Actor on Twitter @TwoRavenPodcast Loki - The Trickster with a big mouth. Odin - King of the gods and Loki’s blood brother who swore an oath to listen to Loki’s bullshit. Bragi - The God of poetry and …
 
Season 2 Episode 19 Part 1 of 2 Frey's "Courtship" of Gerdr Shawn and David tell the story of Frey the lovesick lover from Snori’s Prose Edda Frey shows up in relatively few stories, besides his arrival with the Aesir in a hostage exchange with the Vanir, Lokasenna, and Skirnismal - the story of Frey gaining the hand of the giantess Gerd, through t…
 
Today we dive into the god Freyr's most famous mistake: the time he traded his magic sword for the favor of a woman and, in so doing, sealed his fate in the coming battle of Ragnarök. We'll learn a little about rune magic, coercion, and the time-less behavior of mopey, love-sick teenagers. Sources: “Blótgyðjur, Goðar, Mimi, Incest, and Wagons: Oral…
 
Season 2, Episode 18. Part 3 of 3 for Lokasenna (Loki’s Quarrel). We complete Loki’s comedy roast of the Aesir Gods, with insults against Heimdall, Skadi, Sif (Poor Sif, what did she ever do wrong?) and Byggvir’s wife Beyla. Thor shows up and puts a bit of fear in Loki, but not before previews that the end of the Gods is nigh. Look forward to our f…
 
Season 2, Episode 17. Lokasenna (Part 2 of 3). Loki’s Quarrel. In this episode, Shawn and David continue their series on Loki with part 2 of 3 of the Poetic Edda poem, Lokasenna (Specifically stanzas 29-46). Loki continues his efforts to insult nearly every god present, adding Njorth, Frey, Freya, Byggvir, and Tyr to his already large list. Loki se…
 
Our sources for Norse mythology are pretty male-centric. But even so, when we tally up the names of all the gods we have vs. all the goddesses, it turns out we actually have a lot more goddess names than gods. Goddesses certainly played an important role in the lived religion of ancient Scandinavians, so this episode is a tribute to a few of the go…
 
This week we improvise a short “bonus” episode, as we were inspired to really answer the question of what evidence supports the idea of Odin and Loki being “blood brothers” or even possibly actual brothers. There are certainly interesting parallels between Loki and Odin and inconsistent sources as to whether Loki and Odin could be long time traveli…
 
We've paid a lot of lip service to the idea of variation in myth, but in this episode we'll dig into a prime example as we have two full versions of the story where Thor goes fishing surviving from Iceland. This myth challenges some scholarly ideas, showcases some unusual relationships, and features what is probably our only attestation of Thor sha…
 
Season 2, Episode 15. Lokasenna (Part 1 of 3). Loki’s Quarrel. David and Shawn return from break and continue the series on Loki: the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. Loki is in rare form and decides to provoke a fight while the Gods are having a party at Aegir’s hall. Loki roasts the gods one by one, as they make weak attempts to c…
 
Our story today is a big one, just like the jǫtnar it features, so we'll spend a lot more time story telling and a lot less time interjecting theories from scholars. But, not to worry. You'll finally get to listen to yours truly, one of the biggest Thor fans of all time, finally talk about some of Old Redbeard's famous failures. Sources: “The Poeti…
 
David presents a short solo episode on the definition of the Archetype of the Psychopath based on Adolph Guggenbühl-Craig’s book “The Emptied Soul”. What does a psychopath have to do with Norse Mythology? Well apparently a lot, as Guggenbühl-Craig explicitly compares Norse Mythology to a state of “psychopathic depression” and nihilism. David critiq…
 
All Norse gods and goddesses are subject to some level of mischaracterization in popular media, but Loki's frequent shapeshifting into female form have made him a particularly attractive target for embellishment of the story. In this episode I won't be telling you what you should think about Loki, but I will be compiling every little detail we have…
 
David put together a bonus short episode this week, talking more about the mythological idea of a Walled Garden and more practically what The Walled Garden Philosophical Society is all about. There will be a regular short episode to be released on Friday. The Walled Garden: https://thewalledgarden.com/ The Philosophers: https://thewalledgarden.com/…
 
Shawn presents a short solo episode during our brief mid-season break. Shawn talks about the history of Snori Sturluson’s Prose Edda and the book Gylfaggining. Outlining the chapters where King Gylfi visits Asgard to question the gods, creating a literary device for Snorri to share mythological lore. Shawn gives a summary of the sections of Gylfagg…
 
Once upon a time, Thor made a journey into jǫtunheimr without his magic hammer. Or at least, that's one version of the story. So along the way he had to make due with other weapons. But do these other weapons preserve a more ancient memory of the thunder god's arsenal? And by the way, has Mjǫllnir always been a hammer? Let's dig in together. Source…
 
Season 2, Episode 11. The third and final installment in our series on the Ominous Dreams of the Beautiful Balder. Continuing Chapter 49 of Gylfaginning in the Prose Edda. A funeral pyre boat is prepared for Balder. Many of the gifts of the gods are sent along with Balder for his trip down the river Gjoll (again, not a river in Switzerland). Odin’s…
 
In which we cover Thor's legendary duel with Hrungnir. Unlike your average Norse duel, this one is actually intended to end in death. But the moral of the story is, whether you're nine miles tall or have a heart made of stone, you're just never a match for the awesome power of thunder. Sources: “Dictionary of Northern Mythology” by Rudolf Simek, 20…
 
Season 2, Episode 10. Continuing our series on the Ominous Dreams of the Beautiful Balder. Chapter 49 of Gylfaganing in the Prose Edda. Odin fears that his son’s premonitions of death will come true and Balder’s mother, Frigg, obtains the oaths of all the dangers of the natural world so that they will not harm her son. Loki returns and wants to pla…
 
In this episode we dig into the kidnapping of Iðunn, a goddess whose magic apples keep the gods perpetually young. But this story is a lot less about the apples and a lot more about the goddesses. Join me as we focus in on both Iðunn and Skaði, a jǫtun who becomes a goddess by marriage, and the way Loki plays a prominent role in both of their stori…
 
In this episode, Shawn and David discuss Balder's Draumar, a poem that is typically found in copies of the Poetic Edda, though not found in the Codex Regius Manuscript. In this short poem, Odin travels to Hel (Niflheim) to find out why his son Balder is having ominous dreams foretelling his own death. Of course the only way to do this (It is Odin, …
 
In one of the most famous Norse myths of all time, Thor's hammer is stolen by the jǫtnar and the only way to get it back is to dress in drag. But this story is much more than a surface-level comedy. It turns Norse ideas about gender and societal expectations on their heads and teaches us a lot about the personalities of the gods. It also seems to p…
 
Continuing with the “Monstrous Children of Loki”, This week we discuss Fenrir the Wolf and his particular connection with the god Tyr. Shawn discusses once again the idea of fate in this myth, as the gods take action on Fenrir to prevent his role in Ragnarök, are they actually helping to expedite it? David includes some interpretations on Tyr the K…
 
In this episode we'll cover some of your deepest and most pressing questions about Óðinn, the chief of the Norse gods. What does he want? Where did he come from? And I don't mean who was his father, I mean, where did he really come from? How was Óðinn worshipped in ancient times? Did everyone venerate him or just a select few? Is there a secret t…
 
Thanks for all of your support and feedback so far! The purpose of this announcement is to let you know that you are all invited to join me on a new Discord server! If you aren't familiar with Discord, it's an app you can visit in the browser or download to your devices that allows you to chat with people who are interested in similar topics. Our c…
 
Season 2, Episode 7, We return to the stories of Loki, “The cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” This week Loki settles down and becomes a family man. Raising one or two children with the goddess Sigyn and he has three legendary children with the Giant Angrboda of Jotunheim: Fenrir the Wolf, Jormungandr the World Serpent, and Hel the g…
 
In the future the world as we know it will be destroyed. But this can't happen before we introduce all the major players. In this episode we'll discuss the origins of Hel, the World Serpent, and the monstrous wolf Fenrir, and we'll see how the way Fenrir became an enemy of the gods is all too easy to misunderstand without the proper context of the …
 
We are taking a bit of a break this week and releasing a short episode. David had some interpretations on S2 Episode 4 that came to him a few days after the episode was released and clarifying his explanation of how to make sense of Loki's "sacrifice". We will be back next week continuing the series on Loki. Shawn is also working on another solo sh…
 
Thor hasn't always had his famous hammer. And for that matter, Óðinn hasn't always had his famous spear. As it turns out, these gods only came to possess their signature weapons as the result of Loki being a trouble-maker. In this episode we'll talk about rowan trees, golden hair, infidelity, dwarves, and some likely shape-shifting shenanigans. By …
 
Our third guest interview. Kyle Kuypers is a friend/co-worker of Shawn and a generally eclectic individual who is passionate about Mythology, Story Telling, Dungeons & Dragons, and he co-hosts a fan podcast about the TV series Vanderpump Rules. We talk about Hero’s Journey, the flawed, “very human” Norse Gods. Kyle explains the history of Dungeons …
 
In this episode, Shawn and David discuss the myth about how Loki offers a set of ungivable gifts to a giant who was tasked to build (or repair?) the walls of Asgard. The catch being that the giant would need to finish the wall within a certain thought to be impossible timeframe. However, due to the giants trusty horse, Svadilfari, the giant seems o…
 
A big thank you to everyone who's subscribed and started listening! The show is starting to do pretty well and it's time for me to start getting some feedback from you. So here's an email: waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com. Looking forward to hearing from you! Contact: Write in: waelhraefn (at) gmail (dot) com Join the Discord: https://discord.gg/Nvw…
 
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