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Dragons and their place 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:52 pm
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Location: Bluegrass Vinland
Many cultures have had legends of dragons in one form or another. I've not come across dragons in any of the Germanic literature, but I'll admit that I'm far from complete on that reading list.

I'm not hypothisizing or suggesting anything. I'm just curious to hear if anyone else has considered, in any light, dragons in Asatru.

Some ideas to think about may include:

1. Dragons are simply Etins
2. "Dragon" and "Serpent" are the same, making the Midgard Serpent draconian
3. Dragons have no place at all in the Germanic worldview

Note, I'm not suggesting that we insert dragons into our worldview, nor am I trying to prove a point or go anywhere. I'm just honestly curious whether anyone else has any ideas. If anything, this may affect my wargaming and army selection more than anything else.

Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:28 pm
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I just found the following in the Voluspa, under the Vala's Prophecy:
"There comes the dark dragon flying from beneath the glistening serpent, from Nida-fels. On his wings bears Nidhogg, flying o'er the plain, a corpse. Now she will descend."

Another one I found, under The Song of The Sun:
From the west I saw Von's dragons fly, and Glaeval's paths obscure: their wings they shook; wide around me seemed the earth and heaven to burst.

Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:28 pm
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Are they being used as metaphors in this case or actual being?
(No sarcasm, honest question)

Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:36 pm
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Aye, they are likely metaphors.

"On his wings bears Nidhogg, flying o'er the plain, a corpse. Now she will descend."

This could be referring to the final end of what was old and the beginning of a new day in a new world, since this particular phrase is found after Ragnarok has occured and the world is anew.

The Song of the Sun, however, contains both Christianity and Odinism. This makes me wonder if this would really count as a mention of dragons in Norse mythology. In any case, it too is likely a metaphor.

EDIT: From some other things I have found, it seems as if "dragon" is used as a symbol of greed. Like in the story of Fafnir, where he turned into a dragon because he wanted all of the gold for himself.

Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:23 pm
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I realized after the original post that I could think of 2 dragons. Sigfried killed one, Fafnir, cooked his heart, gained the ability to understand the animals, and took the cursed treasure. Beowulf engaged one, was mortally wounded, but died after the dragon was killed by a kinsman, whose name I forget.

Vala's Prophecy seems to indicate that the dragon is a portent of death. It comes from "beneath the serpent", bears a corpse, and is about to decend.

Did Fafnir voluntarily turn into a dragon, or was Fafnir transformed into a dragon against his will?

This is interesting.

Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:13 pm
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:19 pm
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Did Fafnir voluntarily turn into a dragon, or was Fafnir transformed into a dragon against his will?

I haven't read anything to suggest Fafnir was unwillingly transformed, he seems to have done it himself for the purpose of protecting his treasure from his brother Regin's inheritance claim.
In Reginsmol it states that Otr (Fafnir's other brother) often went fishing in the form of an otter. Perhaps the ability to shape shift ran in the family.

Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:01 pm
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While dragons are hardly mentioned in ON literature (they’re usually replaced by serpents) they appear quite frequently in English and Continental sources. No discussion of the death beliefs of the Germans & English would be complete without mentioning the figure of the dragon! The classic image of the dragon in a cave guarding a hoard of treasure (usually gold) also comes from Germanic Odinist lore.

Some scholars suggest that the fire-breathing dragon stands as a metaphor for cremation, although this is not universally accepted.

Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:42 pm
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I can add quite a bit on dragons. I belong to the Dragon Sovereignty. It is believed in the culture that everyone on earth carries dragon genes. It varies because people can carry more than others but people at least carry some. I would be descended from the dragons of Llydaw. They were actually pagan and christian but personally myself i'am universal. I respect all faiths to be successful on my quest. But the key thing is everyone carries dragon genes. I can elaborate more. But if you click on the website link to the dragon sovereignty on the Formidable Fist website. You can register for free and read all the information and post info. here in your dragon section.

regards, Frater Mark

Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:58 am
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Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:48 pm
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The references I have found in the Eddas :

Voluspo 38-39
A hall I saw,
far from the sun,
On Nastrond it stands,
and the doors face north,
Venom drops
through the smoke-vent down,
For around the walls
do serpents wind.

I there saw wading
through rivers wild
treacherous men
and murderers too,
And workers of ill
with the wives of men;
There Nithhogg sucked
the blood of the slain,
And the wolf tore men;
would you know yet more?

Voluspo 66
From below the dragon
dark comes forth,
Nithhogg flying
from Nithafjoll;
The bodies of men
on his wings he bears,
The serpent bright:
but now must I sink.

Grimnismol 32
Ratatosk is the squirrel
Who there shall run
On the ash-tree Yggdrasil;
From above the words
Of the eagle he bears,
And tells them to Nithhogg beneath

Gylfaginning 15 “the third reaches down to Niflheim, and under the root is the well Hvergelmir; but Nithhogg gnaws at this root from below.”

Gylfaginning 16 “In Hvergelmir there are so many serpents with Nithhogg that no tongue can count them”

The Lay of Grimnir 35

The ash Yggdrasil
Endures hardship,
More than men know.
A stag bites from above
And its sides rot;
From below Nithhogg gnaws

The Sibyl’s Prophecy 39
There Nithhogg torments
The corpses of the dead.

There is also another that I cannot substantiate that may be urban myth

"Valknjöggr - A great dragon appointed by Odin to watch over Valhalla, whilst the Einherjar prepare for Ragnarok. It is believed that this creature was crafted by the bark of Yggdrasil, a fingernail from the frost giant Ymir as well as Odin’s own wisdom, Thor’s strength, and Tyr’s courage and loyalty. Once the soul of a slain hero is brought to Asgard they are judged by Valknjöggr before they are allowed passage to the great hall of the slain, Valhalla"

Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:13 pm
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Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:12 am
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dragons are present in the Nibelungenlied (song of the Nibelungs) where Siegfried baths in dragon blood after he slays the beast.
dragons are present in more cultures in europe as well.
you are right in thinking that dragons are like snakes. the word Draco in latin means both dragon and snake.

Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:25 pm
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Dragons appear frequently in my dreams - more so recently. I have always been drawn to myths and fables regarding dragons. I do not see them as death but as protectors and defenders. Greed does not form any part of my life, therefore my affinity with them in regard to greed is unsubstantiated. However, they give me strength and an internal power.

I do remind myself that the eddas and sagas were written post christianisation therefore references may have been eliminated.


Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:22 pm
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