Episode 9: Sacrificing to the Elves

Occasionally, Viking fans and modern-day Norse pagans throw around the term álfablót (elf-sacrifice), but what does that actually involve? What is an elf-sacrifice, anyway? And what is it for? In this episode of the Fjorn's Hall Podcast, I share a few stories from medieval sources dealing with this topic: sacrifices made to the elves. Although … Continue reading Episode 9: Sacrificing to the Elves

Old Norse-Icelandic Calendar: 2019-2020

Want a cool graphic to help you navigate this year like a Viking? Want one that's historically informed to the best of this author's abilities? Well, for starters then, that was a poor use of the term 'Viking,' as most of my guests and readers will know by now. And if that sentence stumps you, … Continue reading Old Norse-Icelandic Calendar: 2019-2020

Álfablót: Sacrificing to the Elves

It was around the year 1019 when we traveled eastwards into Sweden with our cloaks tightly bound in search for warmth, Sigvat the Poet and I. Winter's icy grip was strengthening over the land as summer faded with the leaves, but King Olaf II of Norway (now known as St. Olaf) had sent Sigvat there … Continue reading Álfablót: Sacrificing to the Elves

Concerning ‘Red Gold’

When you look at gold, what color do you see? Probably some shade of yellow. Why, then, do Old Norse texts often mention 'red gold'? Is it different from normal gold? If so, what is it? I was asked this question on Tumblr recently, so I took a moment to dig up an answer. Here's … Continue reading Concerning ‘Red Gold’

An Icelandic Pilgrim amid the Crusades: Nikulás Bergsson

During the mid-twelfth century, an Icelander named Nikulás Bergsson went on a pilgrimage that took him over 4,000 miles away from his home in northern Iceland to Jerusalem in the Holy Land. We don't know much about him, but it is clear that he was a lettered Benedictine monk.[1] Around the year 1153, however, Nikulás … Continue reading An Icelandic Pilgrim amid the Crusades: Nikulás Bergsson

“All Waters Flow to Dyrafjord”

This quote comes at a pivotal movement of Gisli's Saga, when a man named Vestein decides to face his fate despite warnings from his friends. At this point, those friends (who were sent by Gisli himself) had ridden tirelessly to catch up to Vestein, and they implored him to turn around before riding into the … Continue reading “All Waters Flow to Dyrafjord”

Njal’s Saga: A Medieval Best-Seller Most People Haven’t Heard of [♪]

Meet Njal's Saga, a medieval best-seller that most people haven't heard of. But despite its relative obscurity today, it stands out as an epic story fused with both archetypal heroes and the tragic social realities of the 'Viking' world, which have become a cage trapping them and plunging them into a endless tide of human violence beyond … Continue reading Njal’s Saga: A Medieval Best-Seller Most People Haven’t Heard of [♪]

Resources for Njal’s Saga

Never heard of Njal's Saga? Don't worry, you're not alone---it's actually a medieval best-seller most people haven't heard of. But luckily, all you have to do is read this post to get yourself acclimated, and then you're all set to enjoy one of medieval Iceland's finest sagas (as so many saga-enthusiasts proudly proclaim)! That introductory … Continue reading Resources for Njal’s Saga

Njal’s Saga: A Medieval Best-Seller Most People Haven’t Heard of

If you want to experience a medieval Icelandic 'family' saga at peak performance, then this is the saga to read. [...]

Feuding, I: What is Feud? Solving Problems with an Axe (ft. Beowulf)

Many of the great sagas and ancient lore from the medieval North recount endless, bloody feuds between generations of prominent families: a conflict ends, peace...