While trying to get a group together to hang out this evening I realized something. No matter what the story is about, people generally want to know. To get together and learn or experience something. Maybe the whole point of mythology is just to bring people together. To have a group and a community. After all, isn’t that just what things like church do? Bring peope with some common denominator together? Just a thought.
Pretty straight forward right? Most people who’ve ever taken a science class know about the law of conservation of matter: Matter is neither produced nor destroyed. I found it very interesting that this is an idea in the Norse Edda – after all, it well predates most science period, much less the law of conservation of matter. But matter doesn’t just die out or come into being like it does in much of mythology. There’s an overarching idea of eternity that is reassuring and rather appealing.
Similarly to apples, pomegranates also seem to show up quite a bit – at least in Greco-Roman myth. Persephone is trapped in the underworld by 6 seeds of one and the castrated phallus of the hermaphrodite became a pomegranate tree and impregnated a girl. They always seem to be connected to sex in some way. After all, they are made from the blood from a penis as it landed on earth and have the ability to impregnate. The story of Persephone is full of sexual innuendo as well – it is considered her rape after all. Sex with Hades bound her to the underworld – is it possible that the pomegranate seeds are simply a metaphor? It’s also very convenient that the most common form that pomegranates are eaten in is seeds – which aid in conception after all. Maybe that’s why pomegranates are considered an aphrodisiac…
I’ve noticed that apples play a significant part in mythology. Particularly in Christianity and Norse myth. They represent knowledge and death and sex and immortality and eternal youth. Why apples and not some other fruit? Wouldn’t oranges or bananas work just as well? or olives? Are apples just widespread? Honestly I have no idea. But it does color my perception of apples quite a lot. Often when I eat an apple I’ve taken from the food hall for a midday snack I wonder if it tastes as good as the one Adam and Eve partook in or the ones the Norse gods ate to remain young. I like to think they help revive and rejuvenate me – almost as if I wasn’t getting any older.
I’ve always found the concept of Yggdrasil fascinating. It just seems so organized and neat. No other mythologies or religions define where heaven and hell are as well. Yggdrasil just makes sense. The roots feed on 3 wells of water – that of death, wisdom and life – pretty much the 3 governing ideas on earth. Hel is located under Midgard (our real world) and Asgard (heaven) above. It feels natural that Hel would be below – sort of as a soil to nourish the tree – we see this as the dead plants and animals in a forest eventually become soil for new plants. The heavens are among the leaves, and is connected to us by a rainbow – a magical sight to most people. The animals tormenting Yggdrasil are also in logical places and have logical jobs. It just makes sense.
Charity brought up the idea that our seats in mythology class may not like us. In the spirit of that, I came up with how the chair would react if, a, it liked me and, b, if it did not:
A: (from the chair’s perspective)
Yay! It’s almost 11 – she’ll be here soon to cover my cold back with her coat before she sets that smooth notebook on the desk – I wonder what color of pen she’ll use today. It’s so nice when she settles in to listen and learn – I feel like my job is accomplished. I hope she isn’t tired though – she tends to be less active then. And I’ve got this awful itch on the side of the desk – hopefully she’ll scratch it absent-mindedly or something…
B: (again from the chair)
Oh no, here it comes again. Her and her coat and hair smothering me in this hot classroom. I mean really – she can’t put her hair up further or set her coat on the floor? Or her bony seat sitting on me – so uncomfortable. Maybe if I just pull the chair next to me closer she’ll feel crammed and sit somewhere else… Or maybe I’ll position myself at an awkward angle or something. She thinks she can just walk – well, sit and write – all over me. And I’m though with it!
There are names for literally everything in the Edda. EVERYTHING. It took me awhile to get used to it before I realized that I name most everything too. Maybe it’s just Norwegian genes, but my computer, calculator, phone, iPod, desk chair, alarm clock, guitar, tiger lily plant, amp, favorite guitar pick, tuner, printer, art set, microwave, TV, PS2, refrigerator, stool, suitcase, camera and even my hair… Yes, I know, a bit strange. I probably got it from my mom – who consistently sings songs she makes up about our pets, the computer, cooking, or just really anything. I seem to have inherited this tendency. Perhaps a bit strange, but honestly, most of the inanimate objects I’ve named I’m around much more often and are much more useful than most of the people I know… Sorry. But it is kind of true…