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[Literary] The Seed of Yggdrasill: Deciphering hidden messages in Old Norse Myths by Maria Kvilhaug


1643 ADThe bishop of Iceland, Brynjolv Sveinsson, has received into his hands an ancient leather manuscript dating back almost 500 years. The manuscript has been hidden – perhaps away from the Church authorities – for nearly 400 years. As Brynjolv slowly turns the pages made of hide, he realizes that a long lost ancestral treasure has been recovered. Ancient legends and myths speak out from the leathery pages through the almost forgotten language of poetical metaphors.

With a few exceptions, most of the poems in the manuscript were only known through hearsay, although Snorri Sturluson referred to, and quoted from them in his Prose Edda (1225 AD). Today, we know the body of mythical and legendary poems found in the hidden manuscript as the Elder, Poetic Edda.  In The Seed of Yggdrasill, Kvilhaug explores the parables of the myths, revealing spiritual mysteries and metaphysical speculation at the heart of Old Norse Paganism.

The Edda poems were most probably created by Viking Age skalds who knew the art of making metaphorical riddles and how to hide messages behind words. Many poems are veritably incomprehensible without the knowledge it takes to decipher the riddles. When Snorri in the 1220’s realized that young people were beginning to lose their understanding of the ancient form of Norse poetry, he wrote his book so that “young students of poetry may decipher that which has been subtly spoken”, adding that knowledge has been “cleverly disguised in runes”.

Why was the manuscript hidden throughout four centuries? What were the real messages behind Old Norse poetry? Are the Norse myths truly just funny stories about gods, trolls and giants, or do they hide some deeper insights? In The Seed of Yggdrasil, Maria Kvilhaug explores the parables of Old Norse myths, revealing spiritual mysteries and metaphysical speculation at the heart of Old Norse Paganism.

“The Seed of Yggdrasill” deciphers the riddles of metaphor in myth to reveal central themes of goddess worship, witchcraft, and heroes on vision quests. Kvilhaug presents a powerful argument which some have declared strongly feminist; a viewpoint that will prove a stunning revelation for some, and rather controversial for others.

Spokesperson for Whyte Tracks, Annemarie Skjold Jensen says, “This is ground-breaking research that will be of great value for years to come.”

She adds, “By translating the names in the myths, Kvilhaug’s insights open up the poems to reveal a whole new world where The tree of life, the red-gold of wisdom and the goddess of death and renewal are central to a forgotten way of life. She describes a lost Golden Age of travel, of free trade and inter-exchange of cultures.

Whyte Tracks is confident that “The Seed of Yggdrasill” will revolutionize the way in which the Sagas are approached by academics, story-tellers, and religious leaders alike. This unique approach to the metaphors in the Norse poems will cause much debate amongst modern new-age Odinists, and today’s followers of the surviving Scandinavian faith, Asatru.

Controversy aside, the publisher predicts this book will help rebuild an understanding of the pagan past of the Northern peoples. It may even restore a rationalized familiarity with their true Northern god(s) and goddess(es)

Kvilhaug herself says:
When it comes to Old Norse myths, I have access to the primary sources in their original language, allowing me to make proper research in the strictest sense, and to draw my own conclusions. I suspect that this is why my approach to the myths has attracted such considerable attention.”

Her exhaustive research is presented in a friendly style that makes “The Seed of Yggdrasill” entertaining for the non-academic, as well as providing inspiration for the qualified anthropologist or religious theorist.

The Seed of Yggdrasill – deciphering the hidden messages in Old Norse Myths” is available June 21, 2013 and will retail at 28,95 euro. Pre-sale orders can be made on Amazon, at most bookshop chains, and via the publisher.

Maria Kvilhaug was born in Oslo, Norway, 1975. She graduated from the University of Oslo in 2004 with the Master thesis “The Maiden with the Mead – a Goddess of Initiation in Norse Mythology?” which was published in 2009. She frequently lectures and has written several articles on the subject of Old Norse mythology, many of which have been published on her YouTube-channel, where she has a rapidly growing fan club.

Whyte Tracks is an English Publisher established in Denmark. The company philosophy is to bring the tales of our European heritage to life in a vibrant and accessible way.

More information can be found online at http://www.whytetracks.eu.com