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Thor's Goats and Christianity 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:43 pm
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From Women of Asatru:

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The names of Thor's goats Tanngniost “Teeth barer” and Tanngrisnir “Teeth grinder” pull Thor's chariot.
When Thor rides in his chariot, it is said that people can hear the noise from the wheels, and see sparks and lightning from the wheels they fly across the sky.
The sparks created were see throughout Midgard as thunder and lightning. If Thor was away from home, he would sometimes cook the goats. Thor would resurrect them with his hammer, Mjöllnir the next day.
However, during one excursion, one goat was rendered lame when it's marrow was sucked from the bone by the young Tjalfi after Thor had provided the goat's meat for the host family to eat.
When Thor went to resurrect the goats, he noticed the marrow was missing and became greatly angered that one of his prized goats would from then on have one bad leg. Because Tjalfi ate the marrow from the goat, he and his sister Röskva were turned over to Thor to be his permanent companions and servants.
Thor's goats are mentioned in two poems in the Poetic Edda, though they are not referred to by name. In the Hymiskviða, the goats are described as having "splendid horns."
Later in the same poem Thor is referred to as "lord of goats".


I have found it very interesting that goats in the christian religion and in the New Testament are looked down upon, while it was Thor's goats that were held in high esteem in the lore of our ancient kin.

We all know the church did everything it could to discredit, bast*rdize, and demonize Thor because he was a god of the people. What better treatment for his goats than to treat them as symbols of evil and saying for one to take favor of a goat was to take favor of "Satan"?

What do you think? Any deliberate correlation here?


Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:51 pm
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You raised a good question with important implications. Historically, of course, the reference in the Book of Matthew to goats as the negative alternative to sheep predates the Jewish interactions with the Norse. The Old Testament, particularly Leviticus, references the goat as the sacrifice for sin and that may very well have contributed to the New Testament perspective of goats being less amiable than sheep.

Three important symbols feature prominently in the Lore and the Desert works: the Hammer, the apple, and the goat. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but a sampling of important differences. The hammer, a tool to tame the chaotic wilderness, is the great symbol of our people. It's greatest manifestation is, of course, Mjollnir. It resurrects the goats of Thor, it combats the destructive forces that threaten Yggdrasil, and will smash the Migard Serpent. For Christians, on the other hand, it was the hammer that Jesus should have taken up as the son of a carpenter. Instead, he took up philosophy and was nailed to a cross, by a hammer. The apple has been the symbol of "the fall" for Christians for generations. Realistically, the Old Testament fruit consumed by the first mother and father may not have been an apple at all. For our gods, however, the apple is not a symbol of any falling or sin, but perpetual youth. The Desert folk see the apple as death and we have been shown how it functions for life. Last we return to the goats. They are recognized by the Christians as symbols of disobbedience, as the negative alternatives to sheep. The goat may have retained an association with sin based on older traditions, but the nature of the goat remains unchanged even today: they are free spirited, wild, and to say the least, difficult to tame... except for Thor.

Thor did not settle for cats, horses, or the like to pull his chariot. I imagine he has not had reason yet to change his basic mode of transportation. He conquered the unconquerable, he proved his strength, and was rewarded for it. The goats are valuable already for their meat, their milk, their strength, and their balance in the mountains, and Thor did not fear the challenge of earning his keep. This difference in perceiving goats stems from a difference in values: we earn, we don't beg.

To be clear, all three "evils" or "negatives" of the Desert folk are good, or positive, to us Northerners. We embrace the difficult for rewards, as champions and not beggars. I believe that initially the Christians didn't care as much about Thor's goats as they did Michaelmas. Olaf was, of course, an expansionist first and foremost and forced conversions by oaths instead of by means that we recognize today (ritual bathing and the like). Today we are in a different position, however, and we recognize the value of sincerity and hard work. Although I doubt the Desert folks would have based their disdain of goats on Tanngniost and Taangrisnir, we can base some of our own judgments on their inability to recognize the true value and potential of the goats, the apples, and the hammer.


Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:23 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:43 pm
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I am honored, to say the least, by the time you took to thoroughly respond to my idea and the wisdom you brought. Thank you for clarifying the logic in the mistake on my part in assuming the demonizing of goats was a tool against our kin. I am sure they used their belief as a tool to persuade conversion and even slander the people for "worshipping" such beasts.

I knew a lot of what you stated but not all. Those parts I didn't know fill in the bigger picture for me and some things make a lot more sense. Thank you so much!

Not really much I can add except to say, "Thank you," again!


Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:33 pm
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You're quite welcome!


Sat May 03, 2014 9:49 pm
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