Sunday, May 26, 2013




Appeal: Strength, Welder, Thunder, Electric, Courage, Protection, Trains, Weather, Military

In Norse mythology, Thor (T, Donnar, Thorr) is a God associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength and the protection of mankind.  Largely recorded in Iceland from traditional material stemming from Scandinavia, numerous tales and information about Thor are provided.  Thor is frequently referred to in place names, the day of the week Thursday (Thor's day) and names stemming from the pagan period containing his own continue to be used today.

One of the most beloved Gods of the Germanic people, he is often known as "God of the common man".  He is the son of Odin, the husband of the golden-haired Goddess Sif and is generally described as fire-eyed, red-haired and red-bearded.  Thor's hall in Asgard was Bilskirnir (lightning), which had 540 rooms.  He rides in a cart pulled by two goats, Tanngrisni (tooth gnasher) and Tanngnost (tooth grinder).

Generally good-natured, Thor had a hot temper and his anger was dreadful to behold.  Thor wields the mountain-crushing hammer, Mjolnir, wears the belt Megingjard and the iron gloves Jarngreipr.  Thor's deeds including his relentless slaughter of his foes and fierce battles with the monstrous serpent Jormungand are recorded throughout sources for Norse mythology.

Thor was known for protecting both Gods and mortals from the powers of evil.  Although Thor is sometimes shown as being slow-witted in comparison with Odin or Loki, he is a practical God whose solutions to problems are usually swift, effective and show the common sense the other Gods sometimes lack.  In one Eddic poem, he outwits the clever dwarf Alviss by engaging him in a riddle contest until dawn turns the dwarf to stone. 
According to one well-known myth about Thor, Thrym, king of the giants, came into possession of Mjolnir and declared that he would give it back to Thor only if the beautiful Goddess Freyja agreed to marry him. She angrily refused and the trickster God Loki came up with a clever plan to recover Mjolnir. Using women's clothing and a bridal veil to disguise Thor as Freyja.  When the time came for a hammer to be placed in the bride's lap according to custom, Thor grabbed Mjolnir and threw off his disguise. Then he used the hammer to smash the giants and their hall.

Thor’s Journey to Utgard is another one of the best known of the Norse myths. It is also one of the longest and most richly told myths.  He is challenged to three tasks and fails.  Well, he was actually tricked.  The drinking horn was anchored in the seas of the world.  No one can drain the oceans, but from then on, the tides would ebb and flow.  The cat was Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, who is so big that he encircles the world.  And Elli was Old Age and no one had wrestled with her better than Thor.  Although in this myth macho Thor is upstaged, he is not totally humiliated.  He returned home with his head high.  A search online should bring up the full long tale or more on Thor's wedding (or I have a copy if someone would like one).

At Ragnarok, the end of the world, Thor killed Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, his ancient enemy, but himself was killed by the poisonous venom of the dying serpent.

In modern times, Thor continues to be referenced in popular culture.  Depictions of Mjolnir became popular adornment for warriors during the age of the Vikings and it is still seen today among adherents of some forms of Asatru, Norse Paganism and on National Headstones.  Thor has been the subject of various poems, including Adam Oehlenschlager's 1807 epic poem Thors reise til Jotunheim.  Artists have depicted Thor in painting and sculpture, including Henry Fuseli's 1780 painting Thor in Hymirs Boot bekämpft die Midgardschlange.  Swedish chemist Jons Berzelius discovered a chemical element that he named after Thor; thorium.  In 1962, American comic book writer Stan Lee created the Marvel Comics superhero Thor.  This character stars in the 2011 Marvel Studios film Thor and the upcoming Thor: The Dark World and also appears in the 2012 film The Avengers and its associated animated series.

Thurisaz T rune is a force of defense, the giants and their destruction. In ancient times, as well as in some places today, bramble or thorny bushes were used to fence and protect boundaries. One form of Norse execution was to throw criminals into thorns. Thor is the God that protects sacred enclosures in much the same way that the thorny hawthorn, blackberry or rose bush does.

I am the God Thor,
I am the War God,
I am the Thundered!
Here in my Northland,
my fastness and fortress,
reign I forever!

Here amid icebergs
rule I the nations;
This is my hammer,
Mjolnir the mighty;
Giants and sorcerers
cannot withstand it!

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