Updated: Dec 14, 2019
How much can we trust Snorri? In terms of being accurate? Dr. Jackson Crawford correctly calls Snorri a secondary source, while he calls the Poetic Edda a Primary source. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eN3wNgPARM See Dr. Crawford's comments starting around 14:10. *** Many translators of the Prose Edda, leave out Snorri's Prologue. They leave it out of their translation of the Prose Edda because in it, Snorri makes the Gods and Goddesses out to be human kings in Sweden (and other Germanic lands) who later became deified as Gods. *** Many people tend to ignore the first section of Snorri's Heimskringla, known as the Ynglinga Saga. The Ynglinga Saga paints the Gods and Goddesses as being human Swedish (and Asian) kings who became gods after their deaths. The Yngli house in Sweden is tracing their descent to their human king and ancestor Odin, and then (human) Freyr. In terms of Snorri calling the Aesir "Asian", Snorri literally connects the term "Aesir" to "Asia" which is obviously assinine. **** Snorri's Baldr story has long been thought of as Christianized, i.e. Baldr's death and "resurrection" has been compared with "Christ." It is starkly different from the Chronicon Lethrense and Saxo's Baldr story, nor does it contain anything like the Second Merseburg Charm in it. Snorri's Baldr story does contradict all the other Baldr stories. In fairness, Saxo is probably more anti-Heathen than Snorri. **** Dr. Jackson Crawford recently put out a video comparing Freyja with Frigg, proving that Freyja came later growing out of Frigg until they were two separate deities in Norse Lore. This is true prior to Snorri as well, in the Elder Edda. *** Snorri states in Hakon the Good Saga chapter 15 that pre-christian Yule was not on the solstice, but was moved to the Solstice *(Julian Calendar's Dec 25th) as part of forced christianization. Snorri also calls Yule "Mid-winter" 103 times in the Heimskringla Sagas (many different Sagas are a part of Snorri's Heimskringla, including the Ynglinga Saga). Snorri many times states that the Heathens had two seasons (winter and summer) in their calendar, divided into mid-points called "Mid-Winter" (Yule) and "mid-summer." BUT... in SKÁLDSKAPARMAL Snorri gives a Roman Calendar of four seasons with solar points, with non-Germanic phrases like Lang syne, and non-Germanic words that contradict Germanic/Norse meanings. **** In SKÁLDSKAPARMAL, Snorri lists 15 moon names in the Norse Year. We know the Norse year was not 15 moons. Snorri also implies that moons are "fixed solar days" apart from the moon, which contradicts the meaning of the words "mano" and "manuth" (moon and cycle of the moon) in Germanic languages. Our modern word "month" comes from "manuth" meaning "lunar cycle" even though our modern "months" ignore the moon. The word "month" in Germanic languages (and that includes the Nordic languages) means "cycle of the moon." **** The Iceland Althing wrote down the Norwegian Calendar circa 930 AD. The Moon names are different from Snorri's in many respects, especially the last six moons of the year. Snorri's moon order is changed as well. Snorri wrote his calendar in SKÁLDSKAPARMAL 290 years after the Iceland Althing recorded the calendar. America is 242 years old as I write this blog. A LOT has happened in the almost 243 years since July 4, 1776. Snorri is far removed from Heathen reality. Snorri also followed Hakon the Good's example, and the Iceland (Christian) Althng's example, of removing Yule from January and moving it to be Nov-Dec timing. But Snorri went a bit farther, he removed Yule Moon completely from the Norse Calendar! Despite all the Rune Staffs that survive calling the moon "Yule Moon" and the literary evidence that survived from a number of important (and some very early manuscripts) Snorri just "deleted" Yule Moon... I mean, since I am a Saxon Heathen, for the most part I can ignore Snorri. But since the Saxons were neighbors to the Danes, and the most famous Saxon leader married a relative of Ragnar (yes, that Ragnar), it shows how similar the Saxons were to Danes. I doubt Danish Heathens in the 10th century would have taken Snorri very seriously, as he was a Christian who clearly did not record Heathenry accurately in many different instances, and his humanizing of the Gods would have been flat out offensive. ******* Check out the comparison chart between the Iceland Althing, circa 930 AD, and Snorri circa 1220 AD. Notice Snorri contradicts himself in his own paragraph: he states in SKÁLDSKAPARMAL that "Haustmanuður is the last month of summer" but when he lists the moons (as fixed solar months to boot), he fails to mention Haustmanuður and gives another moon name, forgetting what he had literally just wrote, LOL. (Not to mention, Winter Nights is called "Haustblot" five times in the Sagas,! (Not all of them are Snorri's Sagas, like Egil's Saga). Haustblot therefore is the blot to START Winter, not the "moon before winter." ******* Snorri also gives (it appears) 15 moon names, which is IMPOSSIBLE for a year via a lunar calendar, or even a lunisolar calendar. Snorri gives five moons for summer and four for autumn, and three for winter and spring. His year clearly is not balanced. Snorri has no idea what he is talking about it seems. Snorri was Icelandic himself, and obviously the Iceland Althing was also Icelandic. Why did he contradict the Icelandic Calendar written three hundred years before his Edda? Also, EVERY Germanic tribe had a moon (at least one) called "Yule Moon." Snorri denies that the pre-Christian calendar had a "Yule Moon." Snorri is flat out lying here. (See my blog on the Runestaffs, that show that these Rune staffs all have a Yule Moon after the solstice, and a holy date of Yule on a full moon after the solstice). The Icelandic Althing Calendar has a Yule Moon, and so does Bede in De Temporum Ratione. Yet Snorri's calendar skips Yule Moon altogether? Snorri Humanizes the Gods, Christianizes Baldr, and Romanizes/Christianizes the pre-christian Heathen lunisolar calendar and makes it 100% solar, contradicting himself in 103 other passages in just Heimskringla alone. Amazing:
How do we take Snorri's bullshit intellectually and spiritually today?
For me, a Saxon Heathen, this is easy. I can leave Snorri's bias to the Germanic Gods not being Gods but humans outside of my belief system. For a Saxon Heathen, Snorri has less value by a long shot than the continental sources. The Saxons were allies with the Danes, as Widukind, the last Theoden of Saxony, married Geva of Westfold, daughter of the Danish king Goimo I and sister of the Danish kings Ragnar (yes, that Ragnar, the famous one) and Siegfried. The Danes always gave Widukind and his warrior companions refuge during the Saxon's darkest hour, in the Saxon Wars of 772-804 AD. Since the Saxons and Danes were allies, I follow the Danish dating of Yule well documented. Danish Yule was certainly in January on the full moon of Jolmanuthr, or Yule moon:
The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg Chapter 17 (circa 1000 AD):
"As I have heard odd stories concerning their ancient mid-winter sacrifices, I will not allow this custom to be ignored. The middle of that kingdom is called Lederun (Lejre), in the region of Sjælland, all the people gathered every nine years in January, that is after we have celebrated the birth of the Lord [Christmas], and there they offered to their gods sacrifices…” PS- Lejre is a major archaeological site in Denmark, with two longhouses being unearthed of massive scale. As a Saxon Heathen, when I read Norse lore to round my Germanic Heathen mind, I stick more to the Elder Edda, and read the Sagas (those of Snorri, and others not by Snorri) with CAUTION. I compare to all sources, Snorri, non-Snorri, and archaeological. I take much of the Prose Edda of Snorri, with major CAUTION, unlike the Elder Edda which comes from the Codex Regius written in the 13th century, and called "Elder Edda" for a reason, i.e. it pre-dates Snorri and doesn't have his humanizing biases. Bede, De Temporum Ratione, chapter 15, 725 AD: "The division of the year though was into two seasons: Winter and Summer. Summer comprising six (or seven) moons when the days were longer than the nights, and winters six moons when the nights were longer than the days. Thus, the moon by which they began their winter season was called “Winterfylleth”, a name compounded of the terms for winter and full moon, because from the full moon of that month winter was thought to begin." Damn straight Bede. Winter began on a full moon. Three full moons after the start of Winter was Mid-winter or Yule, on the Full Moon of Jol-manuthr or Yule Moon. Three full moons after Yule Full Moon, was Sigurblot, the start of Summer. Mid-Winter is the full moon half-way between the Full Moon that started Winter and the Full Moon that started Summer. Hakon the Good Saga, chapter 15: Snorri recorded how Hakon the Good, forced Chrsitianity on Norway and moved Yule from Hoknuot (the full moon of Yule Moon) to the Solstice, as part of forced Christainiziation. Because I am NOT a Christian, I will not follow Solstice Yule. Period:
Hakon the Good Saga ch 15: "King Hakon was a good Christian when he came to Norway; but as the whole country was heathen, with much heathenish sacrifice, and as many great people, as well as the favour of the common people, were to be conciliated, he resolved to practice his Christianity in private. But he kept Sundays, and the Friday fasts, and some token of the greatest holy-days. He made a law that the festival of Yule should begin at the same time as Christian people held it, and that every man, under penalty, should brew a meal of malt into ale, and therewith keep the Yule holy as long as it lasted. Formerly the first night of Yule was hǫkunótt, that is midwinter night, and Yule was held for three nights."
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