Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indo-European Mythology part 3: An explanation of how each of the following elements of ADF ritual may or may not resonate with elements of two Indo-European cultures

I chose to work with the Norse and the Hellenic because I have very little knowledge of the Norse compared to the knowledge I have of Hellenic culture and beliefs. I feel the point of this section is to learn and expand our knowledge while being able to compare and apply it with what we already know.

Earth Mother

                The Earth Mother is a figure that can be seen in nearly all Indo-European cultures. However most of these images are of a raw primitive earth goddess. Very seldom are they seen as very cultivated refined deities.

                In the Norse culture, specifically in the Scandinavian tradition, “…Jord is the personification of the primitive, unpopulated, and uncultivated Earth.” (Lindemans Jord). She is said to be one of the many wives of Odin and the mother of Thor.

                The Hellenic mythologies have a much more defined mythos surrounding Gaia. She gives birth to the Titians and all manner of creatures of the Heavens, the earth, and the underworlds; both sea and under the ground alike. Gaia though is viewed as a rival of the gods. It is also from her body which humankind was formed.

 Deities of Land

                 From what I have gathered from Norse mythology there was not a great deal of separation when it came to Land, Sea, and Sky. It is almost as if all of Midgard was seen as one whole world with no major divisions. However, there is the possibility of a case being argued that Freya was the goddess of land. She is the “… patron goddess of crops and birth… spring and flowers.” (Lindemans Freya)

                In the Hellenic culture, land deities were called Chthonic deities, also known as “Theoi Khthonioi”. “The word comes from the Greek chtonios, which means ‘of, in or under the earth’” (Lindemans Chthonic gods) They were the gods which lived on the earth, tending to the needs of all things upon and within the earth. A few examples would be Demeter, Pan, Persephone, Hades, etc.

 Deities of Sea

                From what I have learned from this course it is very had to find a real hard line drawn within Norse culture for specific deities of the Sea, or any realm over all. Though there are some deities as well as giants that are seen to have their domains in the sea. Aegir is one of the deities which had the defined role of being the god of the sea.  His wife was the sea goddess Ran, with whom he ruled the seas. They were the patron of sailors. (Lindemans Aegir)

                For Hellenic culture there was a large variety of deities which ruled over the seas. The ancient Greek term for these gods was “Theio Halioi.” There were the primordial deities such as Oceanus and Tethys, the main ruler of the seas Poseidon, and then less powerful deities such as the Old Men of the Sea (Nereus, Proteus, Glaucus, and Phorkys) and the Nymphs. There are many cases the Nymphs were seen as both deities and nature spirits.

 Deities of Sky

                A case can be made that the Norse had Thor and Odin as their sky deities. Thor would be seen as the thunder god, the god of stormy skies. Odin can be seen as the god of the sky since he is the ruler of the Aesir.

                There are just as many variations with the sky deities as there are in the Sea and Land for the Hellenics. They were seen as the gods of sky and weather, they were the “Theoi Ouranioi”. There were the gods of the wind, dawn, Atlas the sky bearer, Helius the sun, the Hesperides (sunsets), Iris, Nyx, Selene, and Zeus just to name a few. Each took a role in all the components which make up the Sky.


                Nearly all the Indo-European cultures had beings, either god or spirit, which they considered to be against the order of the universe. By the definition we use in ADF for Outsiders it usually is not too hard to see who would fall into this category pretty easily.

                The Norse had the Jotuns. The Jotuns are the “primeval frost-giants, the enemies of the gods” (Lindemans Jotuns) which have dominion over Jotunheim.  It can also be said that Hel could be included in the list of Outsiders for the Norse, as she will lead an army against the gods in Ragnarok.

                The list of “Outsiders” for the Hellenics could be rather lengthy. Many of the Titians which were thrown into Tartarus would be seen as Outsiders. Nyx and her children can be seen as being a part of the Outsiders as well since many of them are disruptive to the order of the cosmos.

 Nature Spirits

                It is from the Norse view of the Nature Spirits that modern fantasy owes many of its most beloved races.  In Old Norse mythology they were called Vættir, or wights.  The Vættir were made up of elves, dwarfs, and gnomes.  There also seemed to be what Karl Mortensen terms as nature demons who were made up of river-spirits, mermen, and mermaids. (Mortensen 47)

                Within the Hellenic culture there were spirits called Daemones. This was the general name for the Nature Spirits. The following is a listing of some of the Daemones in Greek Mythology: (Atsma)

·         Daemones Argyrean – men of silver age immortalized as underground spirits responsible for earth’s fertility
·         Daemones Chrysean – men of golden age immortalized as earth-dwelling spirits to watch over mankind
·         Daemones Chthonian - spirits of the underworld
·         Daemones Georgici - the spirits of agriculture and faming
·         Daemones Halian – the spirits of the sea
·         Daemones Nomian – the spirits of the countryside, pastureland and wilds
·         Daemones Uranian – the spirits of the sky

So to say that the Hellenics had a place for the Nature Spirits is putting it lightly!


                Ancestor worship in Norse culture was as diverse as that of Nature Spirits in Hellenic culture.  Though there doesn’t seem to a fully developed structure of worship for the Ancestors but it can be clearly deduced that it was part of the culture. There is evidence that the dead were conjured to gain knowledge of things hidden, magic, and the future (Mortensen 41). There is also evidence of what is called erfiӧl, funeral feasts, which were offerings to those who had passed into the afterlife (Mortensen 42-43). It was a commonly held belief that the soul of the dead stayed near for as long as the body remained unburied. As for the forefathers of the people, they were seen as the protectors of the family and therefore offerings were made to them. This could very well be the starting point in the belief that the soul transmigrated into different forms of being; each serving a purpose to the living. Once such form was that of the endrbornir, which was when the soul of an ancestor living in the body of a new born child. There was also the fylgjur, which was the attendant of mankind from birth to the grave. The fylgjur was not only the attendant of the individual but also of the family and it would pass from one generation to the next. An argument can be made that even some of the Ancestor were seen to have been raised to the level of gods; Snorri gives Frey as an example of this saying he was an earthy prince that was raised to the status of a god after his death (Mortensen 42).

                Ancestral working in Hellenic culture was part of the lives of the people but in many ways it seems undefined as a structured practice outside of the rituals for the newly dead or part of the state religious ceremonies. Several sources write about the Greeks giving offerings to the dead, “… people brought libations and food offerings to the dead in their tombs…” (Nilsson 8), offerings of mixed fruits called pankarpia “… were also brought to the dead at the ancient Greek equivalent of All Soul’s Day, the Chytroi, on the third day of Anthesteria” (Nilsson 9). Nilsson goes on to explain the Chytroi occurred “… the third day, or, more correctly, the evening before…” He also goes on to explain that “Offerings of vegetables were brought to the dead, and libations of water were poured out to them” (Nilsson 34). Many of these offerings many have been given to the dead not just as a sign of honoring but because there were tomb cults at the time that believe the dead had the power to do harm to the living. To support his view in this Nilsson says “… leaden tablets with imprecations were deposited in tombs, a sure sign of the belief in the power of the dead to do harm” (Nilsson 115).

Works Cited

Atsma, Aaron. "Encyc_D." 2000. Theoi Project . 1 6 2013. <>.
Lindemans, Micha F. "Norse Mythology." March 1997. Encyclopedia Mythica. 16 April 2013. <>.
Mortensen, Karl. A Handbook of Norse Mythology. Neeland Media LLC, 1913.

Nilsson, Martin P. Greek Folk Religion. New York: Columbia University Press, 1940. paper back.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Indo-European Mythology part 2: Summarizomg, then comparing and contrast the myths of two Indo-European cultures with respect to the following topics: tales of creation, tales of divine war, tales which describe the fate of the dead

Tales of Creation

          The stories of creation have always fascinated me. They can be so extremely insightful to the cultural beliefs of a people. There is an interesting theme that seems to run through many of the Indo-European cultures I have read. They seem to be connected in most cases with water to some degree.

          Creation in Norse mythology has an interesting start, from of Ice and Fire. Niflheim, the fog country, was the first realm within the Norse creation. It was a place cold frozen place. There was a well named Hvergelmir from which ten Elivagar, venomous streams, flowed. Niflheim lay in the north while a place of fire and light called Muspell lay in the south. Waves of stream from the Elivagar began to freeze into ice causing the venom to form into a frost. When the frost came into contact with the heat from Muspell the giant Ymir was born. From the congealing venomous stream came the divine cow Authumla. As there was no grass for Authumla to feed on she licked the salt frost-covered stones. One day as she licked them a man's hair was formed, the next day his head, the third day his body. He was given the name Buri. He soon had a son named Bor. Bor married Bestla, the daughter of Ymir's son Bolthorn. Their sons in turn were Odin, Vili, and Ve. From the body of Ymir, Bor's sons created the heavens and the earth in the yawning gulf between Niflheim and Muspell. From his flesh the earth was formed, from his blood the seas, from his bones the mountains, from his hair the trees, and from his skull the dome of the sky. From his eyelashes they made Mithgarth which would be the home of man. One day the sons of Bor were walking along a beach where they took two trees in which to form humans, a man and a woman. Each son gave a gift to the humans: the first soul and life, the second understanding and power of motion, and the third visage, speech, hearing and sight. (Mortensen 19-24)

          There are numerous creation tales with ancient Hellenic mythologies. Most of them present a rather incomplete picture of creation as a whole. However, if the three most common are taken together they form a rather beautiful and complete tale of how the cosmos was formed. I will present the three stories as a continuous tale. In the beginning there was only night, Nyx, and the Chaos. Nyx laid a great egg from which sprang Eros, the winged god of love. Within the shell was the two beings Okeanos and Tethys. Okeanos was the great first great river and he took his sister Tethys as his wife. They were the first being to act on love. It was through their mating that Gaia was created. Gaia bore the sky, Ouronas. Gaia also bore the mountains and the sea, Pontos all with the aid of Eros. To Ouronas she bore Titians, the Kyklopes, and the Hekatoncheires. (Kerenyi 15-17) As for the creation of humans there are tales that there were several races of man throughout creation. And there are just as many tales of how they were created. Once tell was that the first race was purely male and took Nymphs as wives. These were seen as long-lived. It was Gia who brought about the creation of the first humans. She wanted to be the mother of loving caring intelligent being so she formed them from her body.

Tales of Divine War

          Many of the Indo-European cultures feature divine wars. Some even have several among their tales. They always seem to carry the theme of the gods fighting against the baser darker raw elements of nature.

          Within the Norse culture the most well known war is that of Ragnarok. This seems to be the war to end all wars. This battle is the last among the Aesir and the Jotun. During this battle many of the Norse gods are killed along with their enemies. The Nine worlds burn. It is the destruction and end of the life, man and the gods as we know it. Odin fights Fenrir, Heimdall fight Loki, Frey and Surt fight killing one another. Thor fights and destroys the Mithgarth serpent. But though all this the world arises anew from the waters of the sea. It is a time of ever lasting peace and harmony. It is filled with the gods that survived and those that are reborn. And a new generation of man, descendants of Lif and Lifthrasir, inhabit the earth.

          The Hellenic has one of the most well known divine wars as well. It is between the Titians and their children who become the Hellenic Gods. In the Hellenic mythologies it says “…for fully ten years the Titans and the children of Rhea and Kronos had been at bitter war.” (Kerenyi 24) It was through the guidance of Gaia that the gods were able to defeat the Titans. After the Titans were defeated and Kronos was thrown down by Zeus, the high ruler himself was warned that he too would have his children turn upon him to throw him down. There are many other tales in Hellenic mythology about divine wars between the new gods and the children of Gaia. The youngest and perhaps one of the most powerful being born from Gaia was Typhon, the great dragon. It was Zeus, who from afar, struck down the great and terrible creature with this thunder bolt (Kerenyi 26-28). Gaia gave birth to a race of giants which she unleashed to fight the new gods. It is believed that she did this “… because the new gods had now usurped the position of the Sons of Heaven, and Gaia was always an adversary of Heaven.”

Tales of the fate of the Dead

          As with all religions, past and present, the Indo-European cultures all had their very own views of what the fate of the dead. Many of them carried the same themes of a possible blessed afterlife, punishment and rebirth.

          The Norse can be said to have one of the most varied and complex tales which determine the fate of the Dead. Most of what determines what happens to the dead is based on how one died, though life style did play an important role as well. The Norse did believe in a form of reincarnation of a soul or transmigration. They were called "...endrbornir, 'born again'." (Mortensen 43) The belief was that the departed could take up residences in the body of a newborn baby of a descendent especially if the child was given the name of the dead individual. As for the rest of the Norse people, it depended on 'how' you died that determined the destination of an individual's soul. Within their mythology there were three possible destinations, each very different from the other. Though from the sources I have read so far these places could be seen simply as different names for the Underworld, much like in the Hellenic culture, where all the places of the Dead were still all located in the Underworld.

  • Fólkvangr - is the place in which those who have been chosen by Freya go.
  • Valhalla - is the place which Odin, 'Val-fathir', gives a place for all those who have fallen in battle. The Valkyrs are the ones who choose those fallen in battle. It is believed that each day the chosen, the Einherhar awake and battle against each other. Any that are felled rise before evening. The evening is spent rejoicing and drink in Odin's Hall (Mortensen 33)
  • Helheim - those who have died from old age or disease are taken to Helheim ruled by Hel.

          For the Hellenics death was a time of judgment. It seems at one point it Hellenic mythology humans knew the time of their deaths "…we must put a stop to their foreknowledge of their death; for this they at present foreknow. " (Atsma) All those who passed into the afterlife where brought before three sons of Zeus, who had once been living themselves; Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Aiakos. The judges and the judged were stripped naked so as to leave the trappings of the living world behind them. The place of judgment was a divided road, One road lead to the Isles of the Blest and the other to Tartaros. As Tartaros is where Zeus threw the Titans which warred against him, I cannot imagine a much worse faith for a person following the Hellenic path. When the Eleusinian Mysteries were founded there was another possibility for those that died. The cult taught that as the seed from the death plant was laid in the earth and reborn each year so was Persephone. With this came the belief that we too could go through this cycle as well and could be given a blessed afterlife if initiated into the Mysteries. (Leadbetter)

Works Cited

Atsma, Aaron. "Haides." 2011. Theoi Greek Mythology. 1 3 2013 <>.
Kerenyi, Karl. The Gods of the Greeks. New York: Thames & Hudson Inc, 1980.
Leadbetter, Ron. "Eleusinian Mysteries." June 2002. Encyclopedia Mythica. 2 March 2013 <>.

Mortensen, Karl. A Handbook to Norse Mythology. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1913 (Translation date).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Indo-European Mythology part 1: Discussion of the primary sources for three the mythology of three Indo-European cultures, including their dates of origin and authorship

          Many of the Indo-European cultures and religious writings were deviated by monotheist religions, Christianity and Islam being the two major aggressors. This has left us deprived in many cases of primary sources for mythology which were not influenced or tainted by these monotheistic beliefs. However there are three Indo-European cultures' primary sources that remained intact over all and in some cases without any major changes at all. These are the Norse, Hellenic, and Vedic cultures.

          The primary sources for the Norse culture, though written by those of the Christian faith, are the Eddas. The Eddas where written in the 13th century and are composed of two versions; The Poetic Eddas and the Prose Eddas. The Poetic Eddas are a collection of ancient Norse poems that derive from the Icelandic manuscript called the Codex Regius. This manuscript has been attributed to Sæmundr, a 12th century Icelandic priest. The Prose Eddas, also known as the Younger or Snorri's Eddas, were written by the historian Snorri Sturluson around 1220 BC. Snorri attempted to make the Poetic Eddas more approachable and relay the subtleties of the verse to readers. The main issue with these two sources is this: The Poetic Eddas were a part of the Codex Regius, which is believed to have been written in the 13th century. (Wikipedia) This means there is most certainly influence from Christianity in these writings. As Snorri used the Poetic Eddas as the foundation for his writings this means that the influence still taints the original Pagan mythology behind their inspiration. This influence can cause a great deal of damage in relating the cultural and spiritual meanings that originally inspired the beliefs giving us only a dim insight into our Norse ancestors.

          There are many extensive sources from which we can draw information about Hellenic mythology. The first is the Orphic Hymns which are a collection of 87 hymns to the Hellenic gods written sometime around the 3rd of 2nd century BCE. (Atsma , Orphic Hymns) They are attributed to Orpheus, who very well might be a fictional character. This makes the authorship of the hymns very sketchy to say the least. An entire religious cult sprang from teachings and philosophy of this author. There are sources such as Plato who refer to this cult and its teachings. (Parker 483-510) The second major source is the Homeric Hymns which are 33 poems about the Hellenic gods. Authorship is considered anonymous, though the majority of the poems have been attributed to Homer since they are in the same dactylic hexameter as the Iliad and Odyssey. The hymns are dated to be somewhere around the 6th century BDC. (Atsma , Homeric Hymns) Two other sources for Hellenic mythology can be seen in the Iliad and the Odyssey. Both of these epic poems are attributed to Homer, though there is some debate about his authorship of both. The Iliad is about the 10 year siege of the city Troy. The Odyssey centers around the hero Odysseus and his ten year journey home to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. All these sources have survive in their original forms, barring translation errors, unlike so many of the more oral traditions of the Norse and the Celts. The only major issue I see with the use of these texts is the issue with translations and the fact that some of the authorships are unknown or up for debate.

          The most fascinating of the Indo-European cultures and their primary sources for mythology have always been the Vedic to me. Their primary mythology is found in the Vedas. The Vedas are a large body of texts, poems and hymns, which are composed in Vedic Sanskrit. The Vedic texts are organized into four collections. The first three are focused on the performance of sacrifice and the fourth is focused on the magical workings and practices such as spells and incantations, among other things. The following are the books and a bit about each one:

  • The Rigveda: contains hymns to be recited by the hotr (priest who performs offerings accompanied by specific chants.)
  • The Yajurveda: containing formulas to be recited the adhvaryu (the officiating priest)
  • The Samaveda: containing formulas to be sung by the udgatr (similar to the hotr)
  • The Atharvaveda: collection of spell, incantations, apotropaic charms and speculative hymns

          Parts of the Vedas have been dated as far back as mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE. This makes them among the oldest sacred text in the world. Overall these writings have been unchanged by monotheism in any type. The one issue with the use of these as a primary source is that some parts of the Vedas can be seen to be in conflict with each other. Also there is again the issue of the unknown authorship. With a sacred text that has been around for so long it can be easy to make slight changes over time which can end up with major deviations from the original writings.

Works Cited

Atsma, Aaron. Theio Greek Mythology. 2011. 1 3 2013 <>.
Parker, Robert. "Early Orphism." Powell, Anton. The Greek World. Taylor & Francis, Inc, 2002. 640.
Wikipedia. Wikipedia - Edda. 21 2 2013. 1 3 2013 <>.

Indo-European Mythology part 4: A discussion on how the following seven elements of ADF's cosmology are (or are not) reflected in the myths of two different Indo-European cultures


                In ADF cosmology the Upperworld is home to the gods and goddesses of our faith. Many times heroes can reside among the Upperworld as well. This is no different among the Norse and the Hellenic cultures.

                The Upperworld in Norse mythology is home of the worlds of Asgard (land of the gods), Alfheim (land of the elves), and Vanaheim (the land of the Vanir). Asgard is also where the honored dead, those who have fallen in battle, reside after death.

                In the Hellenic mythology the Upperworld is the home of the Olympians and the lesser deities. The Upperworld is also where the Heroes of the Hellenic culture live who were given demi-god status.


                In ADF cosmology the Middle world is the home of humans as well as the Nature Spirits. It is the body of the Earth Mother and where all our Druid rites take place.

                The Middleworld within the Norse mythology would be the concept of Midgard. Its name means middle garden. This middle earth is the home which the gods created for humanity.

                The Hellenic cultures view of the Middleworld is not so very different than that of the Norse. It is the realm in which all of humanity lives alongside the Nature Spirits and in many cases the chthonic gods.

Divisions of Middleworld (e.g., 4 quarters, 3 Triads, 8 Sections)

                From what I have read there is not real defined divisions within Midgard like there is in the Hellenic cosmology. Karl Mortensen quotes Snorri about the creation of the earth, Midgard, by saying “ From Ymir’s flesh the earth was shaped and from his blood the sea,… from his skull the sky…” However there is an interesting fact about the placement of Midgard within Norse mythology that could be most interesting. Encyclopedia Britannica states that Midgard lays between “… Miflheim on the north, the land of ice, and Muspelheim to the south, the region of fire.”

The Greeks divided the Middleworld into three realms; land, sea, and sky (Atsma). This division is so pronounced that there are even Nature Spirits specifically for these realms (Atsma, Nymphai). Each realm is respectively ruled by three brothers; Hades (land), Poseidon (sea), and Zeus (sky). There was another divine that can be seen in Hellenic mythology; that of the four cardinal points: north, south, east, and west. This can be seen in the deities which are rulers over the four winds (Atsma, Sky Gods).


                The Underworld is a most interesting aspect of both the Norse and Hellenic mythologies.  In the Hellenic mythology all humans who pass away, accept those who are granted demi-god status, travel into the Underworld. The Underworld is divided into several different areas. For those that had broken cultural taboos there were the fields of punishment. Those who had been initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries there was the Elysian Fields where they lived a blessed afterlife. The Underworld is also seen as the home of several chthonic deities, Persephone and Hades being among the most widely known ones.

                For the Norse the Underworld realm is made up of two worlds. Muspelheim is a region in Norse mythology that was the home of desolation. It is the lowest world in the Norse cosmology. It is the land of fire and the home of the giant Surt, ruler of Muspelheim. It is through the interaction of the ice from Niflheim and the fires of Muspelheim that created the first creature. Niflheim is the lowest of the worlds which is beneath a root of the Ygg-drasil. The root extends down into the Spring of Hvergelmir. This is also the realm of Hel and where those who died from old age and illness were received. (Ancient History)


                Fire is one of the most fundamental aspects of ADF cosmology and ritual. It is the one required Hallow as well. Most Indo-European cultures held fire as sacred.

                For the Norse fire was part of the dual force with started all of creation. It was through the fires of the world Muspelheim and the ice of Niflheim that life was first created, resulting in the rest of the cosmos being born.

                Fire in the Hellenic culture is no less important. Fire was seen as a power only held by the gods until the titan born god Prometheus stole fire from the Olympians and gave it to humanity. Fire was also the gateway for sacrifices to the gods by mortals. 


                In Norse mythology there are three wells that are sacred and central to the cosmology. These wells are each at the end of a root of the World Tree, the Ygg-drasil. The wells are Mimisbrunnr (the Well of Wisdom), Urdarbrunnr (the Well of Fate), and Hvergelmir (the Roaring Kettle) which is the source of many rivers.

                Though there are wells that are mentioned in Greek mythology their role is much less important than the sacred rivers. The argument can be made that the sacred rivers can function the same as the symbolism of the Well. The largest most encompassing river is the River Okeanos. There are four Underworld Rivers which of course are fed from the River Okeanos as all rivers are. They are as following:
Acheron: ‘river of woe’. This is river that the old ferryman Charon ferried the dead across from the lad of the living to the realm of the dead.

Cocytus: ‘river of lamentation’. Those who died and were not properly buried were stuck walking about the banks of this river for most of their afterlife.

Phlegethon: This was the river of fire in Hades. It’s said that while the fire burned, it did not consume anything within its flames.

Lethe: ‘river of forgetfulness’. This is the river where the dead had to drink from to completely forget about their lives on Earth.

Styx: ‘river of hate’. This is the actual river that separates the land of the living from the realm of the dead. It is said to wrap around Hades nice times. The river is sacred to both gods and men.


                In ADF we use the Tree not only to symbolize the Middleworld and Nature Spirits but as the great axis between all the worlds. It is our stairs to both the Upperworld and the Underworld. But in this section we will look at how the Norse and Hellenic cultures viewed this axis.

                The Ygg-drasil is the World Tree in Norse mythology. Ygg-drasil is said to be an ash that spans and support the whole of the Norse cosmology. The branches reach far into the heavens while the tree is support by three main roots which reach out into different worlds. One root reaches to the heavens and into the well Urdarbrunnr in Asgard, one into the spring feed well of Hvergelmir located in Jotunheim, and the third into the well Mimisbrunnr in Niflheim. It is through the Ygg-drasil and the Bifrost that one travels between the worlds. (Mortensen 22-24)

                Though there are sacred trees in the Hellenic culture it cannot be said that there was a World Tree of any sorts, however, even if there was no World Tree Walter Burkert does mention tree sanctuaries sacred to specific deities (Burkert 28). Several different things can be seen taking the place of a World Tree in their mythology. One symbol that can be seen as the center of all things is the Omphalos, or the navel stone which is seen as the center of the earth (Encyclopedia Mythica). In an early time period of Hellenic history there can be seen ‘Pillar Cults.’ Burkert passage about Pillar Cults says “... a stone of this kind, or pile of stones, at which daimons make libation, is a marker of a sacred centre…” (Burkert 39). In Greek Religion Burkert talks about two other possible alternatives to for our use of a World Tree in ADF; cave and peak sanctuaries (Burkert 24-28). You can see cave sanctuaries being used as gateways to the Underworld and its associated deities. As Olympus is on the highest peak in the heavens it is not shocking that peak sanctuaries were used as a way to reach the Upperworld.

 Works Cited

Ancient History. "Nine Worlds of Norse Mythology." n.d. Ancient History. HTML. 2 6 2013.
Atsma, Aaron. "Greek Gods." 2000. The Theoi Project. HTML. 2 6 2013.
—. "Nymphai." 2000. The Theoi Project. HTML. 2 6 2013.
—. "Sky Gods." 2000. The Theoi Project. HTML. 2 6 2013.
Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion. Harvard University Press, 1985. paper back.
Encyclopedia Mythica. "Omphalos." 3 3 1997. Encyclopedia Mythica. HTML. 2 6 2013.

Mortensen, Karl. A Handbook of Norse Mythology. Neeland Media LLC, 1913.