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Norse Mythology

Cover image ~ Tristan 2010

We did this block in mid-November. The weather was cold, gray and dreary, perfect backdrop for listening to ancient Nordic Tales. The Druids lived a life of harsh reality, the abundance of harvest came only when they had a balance of rain and sun. To them, it seemed to lay solely  in the hands of the Gods and spirits, who decided to grant them food or famine. Rituals took place at quarter year in sacred areas. Daily life was built on necessity rather then pleasure. Much of their beliefs were etched in the supernatural of ice Giants, mischievous Trolls, Gods of Thunder, of Fertility, of Wind, of Love. Evil sprang from the depths of darkness, while the good had fallen from the bright lit heavens. This came at the right time for Tristan, he not only devoured each story, he dove right in and allowed each piece to be completely absorbed by his whole being. He was so eager to start this block, he obviously did not mind  doing it for 5 weeks straight. This is how Donna Simmons (Christopherus Homeschool) planned it in her program. We did not speak or study the history of the Vikings but rather only visited their spiritual belief. I will share with you the journey we took to the land of Norse, hoping to give you some insight or ideas for your personal journey.

D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Myths

Table of Contents ~ Tristan 2010

Using D’Aulaires Book of Norse Myths….

The story began with the creation of the world.

“There was no earth, no sun, no moon, no stars. There was Niflheim, a waste of frozen fog, and Muspelheim, a place of raging flames. And in between the fog and fire there was a gaping pit – Ginungagap.”

From the gaping pit immerged a frost giant named Ymir, and a hornless ice cow. For a long time there were only the two of them. Ymir fell into a deep sleep and while he slept, a male and female jotun came to life in his armpit, and a troll with six heads sprouted from his feet. These creatures grew quickly and had offsprings of their own.

The Creation of the World

The ice cow also brought life by licking the brimy brim of Ginungagap. She went on licking until a handsome new creature immerged, he had a son who was even more handsome and took for a wife a beautiful jotun maiden. She bore three sons, who were the first of the great Aesir gods; Odin, Hoenir and Lodur.

These god’s made Midgard the earth from Ymir’s body, his bones were made into mountains, his teeth were boulders and stones. They set Ymir’s skull as the dome of the sky and caught sparks from Muspelheim to make the sun, the moon and the stars. They did not move, they were fastened to their places. So Odin, Hoenir and Lodur placed the sun and the moon each in a cart pulled by horses. However, Jotuns and Trolls were creatures of darkness and did not like the light on the dome of the sky. Two of them disguised themselves as wolves and ran after the sun and the moon. “And so there were noon and dusk and dark and dawn on earth.”  The Norse Worlds were divided into 9 specific regions.
  • Gimle ~ was heaven
  • Vanaheim ~ home of the Vanir Gods
  • Alfheim ~home of the light elves
  • Asgard ~ home of the Aesir Gods
  • Jotunheim ~ home of the Jotuns
  • World of Giants
  • Darkalfheim ~ world of the Gnomes
  • Muspelheim ~ world of fire
  • Niflheim ~ land of frost and fog
 

The Three Norns ~ Tristan 2010

In the middle of Midgard, the earth, grew an enormous ash tree, its branches and leaves reached as far as Asgard, and  its roots grew down into the depths of Muspleheim and Niflheim.  At the foot of this enormous tree lived three Fays of Destiny, the Norns. They decided the fate of each human being.

“Their names were Urd, Verdande, and Skuld, and they knew what was, what had been, and what was to be. The Norns spun a thread of life for every human being.”

    

  Two books we owned already, gave a good glimpse at the world of Vikings. They are definitely not Waldorf, but offer a variety of crafts and activities, and give a photographic look to the viking world. Tristan really enjoyed these books, and offered him another perspective into this subject.

 

 

 The Challenge of Thor
The Challenge of Thor- poem ~ Tristan 2010I also bought a book on calligraphy, and a calligraphy pen, so that Tristan can learn some authentic Celtic script. In this poem, he has practiced what he had learned.  He did not like the feel of the calligraphy pen, so I suggested for him to use a tradionnal pen instead. 
 
 We met each God individually and Tristan wrote a short description giving him the ability to

Some Aesir Gods ~ Tristan 2010

distinguish the differences between each of them.

We also learned the Runic Alphabet, as a handwork project,Tristan used a wood burner to write each letter onto wooden tiles. He then oiled them with olive oil. He sewed a bag out of natural cotton, and embroidered “The Futhark Runic Alphabet”. Click on link on top left hand side under “Norse Poems and Songs”, they offer a variety of songs on mp3 giving your child a chance to hear them sung by an artist.  

Handmade Runic tiles

 Waldorf Education has a way to entertwined all subjects into one. Take Norse Mythology for example, in a tradional school this would probably fall under Social Studies. But in reality if taught in a holistic way, touches upon History, Geography, Social Science, Language Arts and Arts. I’ve also included Mathematics, by introducing Tristan to cross-stitching. Using a well known Celtic Knot, he transfered the cross-stitch design onto graph paper, allowing him to learn about scale, measurement, geometry and symetry. Once completed it was a beautiful, esthetically pleasing work of art, showing his capacity for perseverance.

Tristan's finished project


2 Responses to Norse Mythology

  1. Stephanie

    Hi Maria,

    We first looked over several designs in a celtic book together. It was important to find something simple to copy. Tristan chose this design then copied it on to graph paper. The next step was to start it off on a counted cross-stitch cloth; we used a 14 count biscuit colored one for authenticity. I needed to get him started on the cloth but once the thread was attached with a few stitches he continued on. This project took several weeks to accomplish, sometimes I had to give him a push to continue on, i’ve also helped him by doing some stitches to encourage him to keep on. Pride lies in the finished project, it’s well worth the time and effort. Have fun!

  2. Maria Castells

    Hello i love the Celtic Knot, i am homeschooling a 4th grader and would love to make this. I have a question how do you make them transfer the drawing to the graph paper do you help? he follows what you do. I made the design my selft and cross stiched this knot. Just to teach after i made it. Thank you for your help. Maria

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