The Northern Way

The Cult of Othin


The following essay is an attempt to answer certain questions in regard to the character of one of the ancient Germanic cults. References to mythology have been as far as possible avoided except in Note III. In this case a reference to the Yggdrasill myth seemed to be necessitated by Bugge's Studier over de nordiske Gude- og Helte-sagns Oprindelse, for the theory propounded by Bugge affects the whole character of the Northern cult. The myth is clearly connected with the rite of tree-hanging which formed an important though possible not an original feature in the cult.

Some apology is perhaps needed for the extensive use which I have made of the collection of sagas published in Rafn's Fornaldar Sögur. While admitting the lateness of the sagas themselves, I believe that much of the material which they contain is considerably older. At all events the more important of the stories here quoted occur also in Saxo or other early authorities.

In conclusion I have to express my obligations to several friends for valuable information and for assistance kindly given to me in various ways.

H.M. Chadwick

Cambridge April, 1899










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