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The Origins of Norse Elves

Santa Claus, Keebler cookies, and overloaded shelves. If a person speaks of elves, the brain frequently goes to those who work for Santa or Keebler, or those that hide from small kids in the middle of night. All these are their roles in popular culture now, but it’s likely unsurprising to see that their roots stem from sources less merry and jolly. Instead, one of the first depictions of the elven race would be the ancient medieval sagas and poems of wars, gods, and even death.

Elves in Pagan and Christian Times

Germanic in character, the mythology of the elven race stems in the pre-Christian Norse religion and language. In Old Norse, elves are known as álfar, although this term can be broken up into subcategories. It’s long been considered that elves are creatures of light and goodness, but that is a misinterpretation of earlier texts. Elves in biblical literature are usually described as beautiful, slender, tall creatures with pale hair and skin, and unknowable magical abilities. The elves were very fluid creatures which didn’t adhere to regular gender or sexual roles. Further, occasionally these beings were considered gods or demi-gods, but they were above the human race.

The elves were broken down into classes of light and the dark elves, probably first by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. It’s likely that this division of the elven race arose when Christianity became dominant. In the pagan religion, elves were capable of both positive and negative moralities, just like the Faer folk of ancient Ireland, England, and Scotland. Yet beings with dual natures did not translate well to the early medieval Christian faith. The closest comparison these writers could create was one with demons and angels –i.e., the followers of a good God versus the followers of a dark devil. Therefore, the álfar were similarly split into good and bad, or the ljósálfar and dökkálfar, respectively.

The Elves’ Homes

The good elves lived either above ground or in Álfheimr, one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology specifically for the elven race, while the dark elves lived like dwarves in the ground.  Snorri goes so far as to reference a separate realm for the dark elves called Svartálfaheimr, thus explaining the use of svartálfar to describe the “black-elves” in his Prose Edda.

However, the use of svartálfar has been speculated by linguistic researchers as either synonymous with the dökkálfar or the dwarves; in the Gylfaginning (dictated in Snorri’s Edda), the dwarf Andvari (who later creates the ring which causes strife between Brunhild the Valkyrie and her lover’s wife, Gudrun) is described as being from Svartálfar. Thus it is not without merit to postulate that the dark elves themselves are merely dwarves–longstanding enemies of the elves–improperly renamed due to Christian misunderstandings.

Literary Works Interpreting the Role of Elves in Norse Mythology

One should be wary of the most valued texts referencing the Old Norse religion and elves. The aforementioned Snorri Sturluson is most often mentioned, as he was among the first authors who took the oral histories (i.e. sagas) of the pre-Christian Scandinavians and wrote them into a coherent codex. However, because of the second, third, and fourth-hand nature of the retellings of legends discussing elves and other aspects of Norse beliefs, and the fact that Snorri was trying to understand a pagan world through Christian eyes, much of the accuracy of his work is debatable. Nonetheless, Snorri’s work continues to be respected, because the Icelanders were converted to Christianity later than other cultures, and it is believed that the original pagan beliefs prevailed longer, allowing for a shorter time gap between the oral and written traditions.

According to Ph.D. candidate Alaric Hall from the University of Glasgow (2004), the business of elves is one of the few instances in which Snorri’s work is not as reliable as it is in other pre-Christian aspects. Instead, the poetry of the skalds (royal bards) is far more accurate regarding elves, as it is dated to the 9th century, just before the conversion of Iceland. In this poetry, the álfar (also sometimes written as álfr) are often mentioned in poems of mourning for fallen warriors. The earliest known skald, called Bragi inn gamli Boddason, provides álfr as an epithet for one of the strongest and bravest fallen warriors. (This is the equivalent of a warrior being called “god-like” or “shining” in Greek mythology.) It is therefore plausible that such an appellation indicates that elves were not merely an ethereal race wholly separate from humans, but valued as possessing skills and abilities humans could, and should, aspire to achieve.

A third valued work discussing Old Norse faith and elves is the Poetic Edda, a collection of tales written by an unknown author, likely written before Snorri’s text in the 13th century. The estimated dating of such an ambiguously authored poem is estimated due to subject matter, the names of poets and the style and meter of the poetry. As such, the Poetic Edda‘s estimated date could indicate that it was one of the many sources used by Snorri for his work–possibly in conjunction with the aforementioned poetry.

Despite the difficulty of recapturing the initial meaning of the álfar, whether light or dark, good or evil, or any combination of the two, the Nordic origins for elves has managed to survive in various forms because of the later efforts to preserve the Old North religion.

JRR Tolkien, renowned writer of The Lord of the Rings and advanced Anglo-Saxon and Germanic scholar, brought much of the accuracy of the ancient traditions into popular culture, seemingly endeavoring to do so without the biased Christian eye of historians like Snorri. While Tolkien’s work is obviously fictional, it is a valuable example of an attempt to bring the ancient into the present. Jacob Grimm, one of the two brothers who collected Germanic fairy tales, is another pertinent individual relating to the survival of elven traditions.

Thanks in large part to the dedication of the skaldic poets and post-conversion writers, authors such as Tolkien are able to reconstruct facets of the Old Norse beliefs, combating the ever-persistent elven toy-makers, cookie bakers, and (somewhat creepily) grinning Christmas puppets.

Publisher: Ancient Origins

Original link: http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/diverse-nature-elves-norse-myth-beings-light-or-darkness-008327

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UFO? North Carolina fisherman captures video of lights multiplying over ocean

© Charlotte Observer

A 90-second video credited to an Outer Banks night fisherman is raising questions on social media about a possible UFO sighting off the North Carolina coast.

The recording was posted Nov. 29 on YouTube by ViralHog, which said it was made in mid November at Cape Lookout, the southernmost point of the Core Banks. It has been viewed nearly 45,000 times.

National Park Service officials at Cape Lookout National Seashore told the Charlotte Observer they were not sure what the set of lights might be, but found them to be “peculiar.”

The name of the angler who took the video is not provided by ViralHog, a video licensing agency. However, someone named C.R. Larkin posted the same video Nov. 24, writing that it was filmed Nov. 13 off Cape Lookout, between 9 and 10 p.m.

“Around 9 p.m., I rebaited my hooks, cast them out into the surf and walked back to my chair,” says a post with the YouTube video. “When I turned back to the ocean, I saw a light in the sky. The light is very bright, stationary and silent. Over the course of the next hour it faded in and out, as well as sometimes becoming multiple lights.”

The lights vanished at one point for nearly 20 minutes, says the post, “and then reappeared much closer to my position.”

It’s not the first time someone has reported seeing a UFO off Cape Hatteras, including a 2011 incident in which someone anchored off shore said they saw a rectangle of “three vertical red lights moving together over ocean,” according to UFO-Hunters.com.

Sputnik News covered the latest video under the headline: “Mysterious Lights Filmed in Night Sky Over N. Carolina Trigger UFO Debate.”

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Lightning Strike Reveals V-Shaped UFO in the Sky

It would appear there may be some connection between UFO sighting and thunderstorms, and also lighting that occurs near volcano sites.

The question is, are these UFO of alien origin or are they technologically advanced man made crafts such as the famed and mysterious TR3B? And why are the sightings of them appearing near lighting strikes on the rise?

Whether man made or of extraterrestrial origin, there seems to be a definite connection… could this be a power source as would be the obvious speculation?

While filming a thunderstorm on On November 22, 2018, a huge v-shaped UFO that was captured hovering nearby the thunderstorm and became visible when suddenly hit by a lightning strike. Several days earlier, on November 19, 2018, a huge de-cloaked UFO has been caught on camera while moving in the sky of Long Island, New York, see image below.

De-cloaked UFO caught on camera while moving in the sky of Long Island, New York on Nov 19, 2018

De-cloaked UFO caught on camera while moving in the sky of Long Island, New York on Nov 19, 2018

Here is the footage of the Nov. 22, 2018 sighting:

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Pilots report close encounter with a UFO off the coast of Ireland, or was it a meteorite?

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RT

The object was spotted off the coast of Ireland’s county Kerry, FILE PHOTO.

Several sightings of an unidentified object flying at “astronomical” speed before disappearing off the coast of Ireland has sparked an investigation by the Irish Aviation Authority.

The UFO was first spotted by a baffled British Airways pilot last Friday (November 9) at approximately 6:47am local time while flying over the south-west coast of Ireland.

The pilot was flying a Boeing 787 from Heathrow to Montreal when he made a call to Shannon Air Traffic Control (ATC) to ask if there were military exercises taking place in the airspace.

You can listen to the archived recording of the call from 17 minutes here.

ATC said there were no military exercises underway and added: “There is nothing showing on either primary or secondary [radar].”

“OK. It was moving so fast,” the pilot replied. “Alongside you?” asked the controller. The pilot went on to describe the UFO that appeared along the left side of the aircraft and then “rapidly veered to the north.”

The pilot said they saw “a bright light” that “disappeared at very high speed.” She said that she did not believe it to be on a collision course but was “wondering” what it could be.

A Virgin Airlines Boeing 747 pilot then joined the conversation to suggest that a meteor or some other object was re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. The pilot said there were “multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory,” and that they were “very bright where we were.”

When Shannon ATC asked the pilots which direction the objects were heading, the Virgin Airlines pilot said it was in his “eleven o’clock position” with “two bright lights over to the right,” that then climbed away at speed. “Very interesting, that one,” said the pilot.

After a third pilot chimed in to say “Glad it wasn’t just me,” and reported that the speed was “astronomical, it was like Mach 2,” (2,500kph or twice the speed of sound), Shannon ATC told the BA pilot that “other aircraft in the air have also reported the same thing so we are going to have a look and see.”

The Irish Aviation Authority said they had filed a report of the “unusual air activity” following reports from a “small number of aircraft on Friday.”

“This report will be investigated under the normal confidential occurrence investigation process,” read the IAA statement to the Irish Examiner.

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