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Marvel’s Thor and Norse Mythology

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As someone who really enjoys learning about other cultures and spiritual beliefs, I have always felt a little bored when looking at my own background: I was born and grew up in a very white, very “cookie cutter” suburb. I have somewhat fair skin and light eyes, and blonde hair, in fact sometimes I feel like there is nothing really diverse about me, at all.

 

While I have had some amazing opportunities to travel to places around the world like Ireland, London, Paris, and Germany, these experiences still never put me totally out of my cultural comfort zone, and while these journeys taught me so many valuable lessons about myself and the world around me, I still came back from these experiences almost wishing I had a unique cultural thing of my own.

 

Then I looked to my ancestors. By no means would I say that coming from a Viking and Icelandic heritage is particularly unique and exciting, but it is something that I do remember my mom and extended family mentioning from time to time, and with pride too. Nothing major, just in those little moments of awkward family dinners around holidays where it’s just something to talk about.

 

So I decided to look a little more into a figure that is  not only a large part of Norse and Icelandic heritage in general, but also a figure that is becoming increasingly popular in western pop culture today.

 

Marvel superhero Thor has recently been the star of several blockbuster movie starring Chris Hemsworth as the hammer wielding hunk of the comic book world. However, In traditional nordic spirituality,  there is a lot more to Thor then long flowing locks and giant hammers.

 

According to traditional norse spirituality, Thor is a great warrior that  is known for his loyalty and strength. In fact, it is believed that all warriors should aspire to match his character in and outside of battle. The story that is most famously associated with him, is of his demise, where he was killed in a face-off with a serpent called Jormungand, who also died in the battle. He is also seen as a defender of order in society and a symbol for agriculture and fertility.

Photo Credit: “Mårten Eskil Winge – Tor’s Fight with the Giants – Google Art Project

 

Thor’s presence in icelandic heritage can be traced back to the Bronze Age (3300 BC)  and was further engrained in Icelandic society during the Viking Age (c. 793-1000 CE), when settlers first came to iceland in order to escape an oppressive norwegian king.

 

Norse gods like Thor are not a large a part of Icelandic culture as they perhaps were back then,  but earlier this month The Guardian reported that iceland will actually build it’s first Norse Temple since the Viking Age, to be built overlooking the capital of Reykjavik.

One woman’s cosplay take on Thor, Photo Credit: Miss Pirate Savvy, Tumblr

 

As someone who really enjoys learning about other cultures and spiritual beliefs, I have always felt a little bored when looking at my own background: I was born and grew up in a very white, very “cookie cutter” suburb. I have somewhat fair skin and light eyes, and blonde hair, in fact sometimes I feel like there is nothing really diverse about me, at all.

 

While I have had some amazing opportunities to travel to places around the world like Ireland, London, Paris, and Germany, these experiences still never put me totally out of my cultural comfort zone, and while these journeys taught me so many valuable lessons about myself and the world around me, I still came back from these experiences almost wishing I had a unique cultural thing of my own.

 

Then I looked to my ancestors. By no means would I say that coming from a Viking and Icelandic heritage is particularly unique and exciting, but it is something that I do remember my mom and extended family mentioning from time to time, and with pride too. Nothing major, just in those little moments of awkward family dinners around holidays where it’s just something to talk about.

 

So I decided to look a little more into a figure that is  not only a large part of Norse and Icelandic heritage in general, but also a figure that is becoming increasingly popular in western pop culture today.

 

Marvel superhero Thor has recently been the star of several blockbuster movie starring Chris Hemsworth as the hammer wielding hunk of the comic book world. However, In traditional nordic spirituality,  there is a lot more to Thor then long flowing locks and giant hammers.

 

According to traditional norse spirituality, Thor is a great warrior that  is known for his loyalty and strength. In fact, it is believed that all warriors should aspire to match his character in and outside of battle. The story that is most famously associated with him, is of his demise, where he was killed in a face-off with a serpent called Jormungand, who also died in the battle. He is also seen as a defender of order in society and a symbol for agriculture and fertility.

Photo Credit: “Mårten Eskil Winge – Tor’s Fight with the Giants – Google Art Project

 

Thor’s presence in icelandic heritage can be traced back to the Bronze Age (3300 BC)  and was further engrained in Icelandic society during the Viking Age (c. 793-1000 CE), when settlers first came to iceland in order to escape an oppressive norwegian king.

 

Norse gods like Thor are not a large a part of Icelandic culture as they perhaps were back then,  but earlier this month The Guardian reported that iceland will actually build it’s first Norse Temple since the Viking Age, to be built overlooking the capital of Reykjavik.

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