The Echo of Odin

Norse Mythology and Human Consciousness


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About the Book

The pagan mythology of the Vikings offers a rich metaphor for consciousness. This book presents the cosmography of Norse mythology as a landscape of human inner life. Each of the nine worlds of this cosmography is viewed as a symbol of a distinct type of consciousness that is emblematic of a particular perspective or way of relating to others. Individual gods and goddesses are considered nuanced personifications of their worlds. The philosophy of pagan mythology is explored by comparing and contrasting the Sayings of Odin from the Norse Edda with the Christian Ten Commandments.

About the Author(s)

Edward W.L. Smith has published nine nonfiction books, more than 50 essays, a memoir, magazine articles, short stories, and a good bit of poetry. He is an emeritus professor of psychology, Georgia Southern University, and lives in Statesboro, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

Edward W.L. Smith

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7509-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3402-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1. The Nature of Myth 11

2. Norse Mythology as Cynosure 27

3. The Lower World: Niflheim, Muspell and Hel 33

4. The Middle World: Midgaard, Svartalfheim and Jötunheim 53

5. The Upper World: Asgaard, Vanaheim and Alfheim 84

6. The Emerging Gestalt: Yggdrasil, Norns and Runes 116

7. The Wisdom of Odin 146

Conclusion 178

References 193

Index 197

Book Reviews & Awards

• “This entire book was written as a cover-to-cover read, though it may well serve as a reference book and guide to the complexities and inconsistencies of Norse mythology. Definitely a must read for any and all students of mythology and mythopoeic literature.”—Mythlore

• “Contains many helpful mythic summaries and substantial explanations of important psychological and cultural theories relevant to the study of cognition and myth…”—Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching

• “I recommend this book for the college level reader interested in theories of mind, psychology, and heathen mythology. It is a groundbreaking view of the heathen material, and as such it opens a new field for further thought and study.”—Eternal Haunted Summer

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