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The Others

By Beth

The question [is] about “gods/monsters like the World Serpent and the like, and whether they are ever portrayed in a positive light in the lore. The short answer is “no, not really.” The real answer is a bit more complicated than that, and would need to take into account a lot of factors, including archaological finds such as jewelry, rune stones and other artifacts of the elder Heathen era, which sometimes paint a very different picture from what you would see just resorting to the lore alone. For example, Jormungandr (the World Serpent), in its famous pose of encircling the earth while biting its own tail, is a recurring theme in jewelry designs of the time period, indicating that its perception may not have been entirely negative.

Turning back to the surviving lore, though, in the Icelandic sagas there is quite a bit of evidence that giants and trolls (often considered to be a variety of land wights) received offerings, and that this practice may have endured longer in northern Europe even than the worship of the Aesir and Vanir. They are even said to have occasionally formed lasting friendships with humans, as in the case of Thorgerdr Holgabrudr and Jarl Sigurd, who was under her protection and seems to have had a kind of marriage to her. There are numerous examples of such mortal/troll cooperation in the sagas, and even one intriguing hint, in Landnamabok, of Surt receiving a cultic offering (perhaps as a way to mollify him).

Read the original article at: Gate of the Slain

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