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Between Two Ravens: A Norse Mythology Podcast

David Alexander and Shawn Gaich

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A podcast about the psychological significance of Norse Mythology. Shawn is an amateur Norse Mythology Expert. David is not a Jungian Analyst but he reads a lot of books about Carl Jung's theories on the collective unconscious and individuation. Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tworavenspodcast/ Follow us on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@tworavenspodcast
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What makes Norse mythology "norse"? Why does Thor kill giants? What do the myths tell us about Loki's gender identity? The world of popular media is always happy to provide a modernized re-telling of ancient stories with a heavy scoop of creative license, but on "Norse Mythology: The Unofficial Guide", we'll dive into the original tales directly from the sources and learn together from experts in the field about what these stories really mean and how they would have affected the lives of the ...
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In this episode, Shawn discusses the kingdom of Kent, the first of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England post-Roman Britain as told by Bede's "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" and the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle". Shawn delves into the legendary figures of Kent's inception, focusing on the brothers Hengest and Horsa, whose lineage traces back…
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In this episode, Shawn and David delve deep into the immersive world of the Vikingverse with its creator and our special guest, Ian Sharpe. In this discussion, we uncover the alternate history where the norse religion and culture thrives, not succumbing to the influence of Christianity in the Dark Ages. Ian shares insights into his creation, spanni…
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S5E3 Volsung Poems: Ottar/Otter (Solo Short Part 1) David isn't quite ready to put the Saga of the Volsungs to rest. This is the first of a series of shorts on the Poems of the Poetic Edda which inspired the Saga of the Volsungs. As Shawn and I found in Season 4, Saga of the Volsungs has a few inconsistent parts, where the author appears to have tr…
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For our 100th episode (shit!!), Shawn discusses the origin of the sun and the moon, along with the origins of night and day in Norse Mythology, as told by Gylfaginning in Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda. (Also with some stanzas from the Poetic Edda poems, Völuspá and Vafþrúðnismál. In it Shawn also explores the idea of looking to the divine when huma…
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In this episode, Shawn and David finally put the Volsung series behind them with and episode on,,,, the Volsungs. A recap of the series where we discuss the overall themes of the tragedy, and where we discuss what may seem to be the evilness of women, which seems to REALLY be the easy manipulation of men (gods we are stupid sometimes).... They also…
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Shawn and David finally wrap up the "The Saga of the Volsungs". Where Gudrun, fresh off of losing her 2 brothers, plots revenge on her husband Atli. After she takes care of him (and ugh her 2 sons with him), she then finds herself married for a 3rd time to a King Jonakr. Svanhild, daughter of Sigurd and Gudrun, also plays a part and does her fucked…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss the aftermath of Sigurd's death, and the life of Gudrun as a recent widow. Though she has a goodbye moment with the corpse of her husband, she then travels the world to start fresh and finds herself at a kingdom in Denmark where she befriends a Princess Thora there. After 3.5 years, she slowly regains some h…
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David and Shawn discuss chapters 30 and 31 of the Saga, which features in back to back chapters the deaths of 2 major characters, in this case Sigurd the Dragon Slayer of the House of Volsung, and Brynhild the Valkyrie. Brynhild at this point is still depressed over her inability to affect her fate in life, specifically with her inability to be wit…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss Chapters 28 & 29 of the Saga of the Volsungs. Gudrun taunts Brynhild on having won the better man (Sigurd) while also trying to convince Brynhild that her true love, Sigurd, isn't that great and Brynhild's husband, Gudrun's brother, is actually quite a catch. Brynhild's anger and resentment grow until she be…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss Chapters 25-27 of the Saga, which sees a budding friendship between Sigurd and the sons of King Gjuki, Gunnar and Hogni. Those brothers also have a sister, Princess Gudrun. The very woman Brynhild told Sigurd he would be fated to marry as oppose to her. King Gjuki also has a wife who happens to be a witch, Q…
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David presents part 4 of 4 short episodes on the Ring of Power. A Jungian interpretation of Wagner's 4 part Opera inspired by the high German version of Saga of the Volsungs (Nibelungenlied - Song of the Nibelung).This episode has been a long one in the making and it is a long short. It begins with a summary of the final portion of Siegfried's jour…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss Chapters 20-24 of the Volsung Saga, where Sigurd has 2 completely different meetings with the Valkyrie, Brynhild. There is also a chapter dedicated solely to how beautiful Sigurd himself is. Shawn says the word, "inconsistency" 40,384 times. Also, the pair discuss Brynhild's words to Sigurd and how she may a…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss Chapter 19 of the Saga of the Volsungs, with additional content from the poem, Fáfnismál. Sigurd, fresh off of killing the feared dragon Fafnir, receives some interesting information from new friends of the avian variety. What Sigurd does with this information and his future in general, is up to fate. Ways t…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss the rise of Sigurd of the House of Volsung in chapter 17 and 18 of the saga. Firstly, with him raising an army to battle the rival family of the Volsungs (the sons of Hunding) and his father's killer, King Lyngvy. We then discuss the very anti-climatic "fight" between Sigurd and Fafnir, along with the much c…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss the son of Sigmund and Hjordis, Sigurd (The main character of the entire saga). Though Sigmund died before his son was born, Sigurd was raised with many father figures, The Kings Alf and Hjordis, our friend (and Sigurd's great-great-great grandfather) Odin, and his foster-father, a figure named Regin. Regin …
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss chapters 11 and 12 of "The Saga of the Volsungs", where Sigmund (who recently banished his first wife Borghild for killing his first son, Sinfjotli) desires to remarry. He eventually marries a Princess Hjordis, who was the daughter of a King Eylimi. However, Hjordis had other potental suitors as well, one be…
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In this episode, Shawn discusses Bifrost (The Rainbow Bridge) as told in the sources. Primarily found in various chapters of Gylfaginning from Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, the bridge plays a pivitol role in the protection of Asgard,,, well until it doesnt. Shawn also briefly discusses Heimdal's role outside of causing controversy about him being …
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss another son of Sigmund of the House Volsung, Helgi Hundingsbane. As Helgi only features in 1 chapter of "The Saga of the Volsungs" (chapter 9), he isn't considered a major character. However, in the Poetic Edda, two poems feature different versions of his life and provide more context on his life. In reviewi…
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In this episode, Shawn and David are back after a bit of a hiatus due to busy real world demands. Shawn gives updates on his life and recent adventures. Shawn outlines Chapters 7, 8, and 10 of Volsung Saga, connecting the story of Sigmund and his son Sinfjotli. Chapter 9 on Sigmund’s son Helgi and the associated Eddic Poems will feature in the next…
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S4E8 The Ring Cycle: Siegfried (3 of 4) - David presents part 3 of 4 short episodes on the Ring of Power. A Jungian interpretation of Wagner's 4 part Opera inspired by the high German version of Saga of the Volsungs (Nibelungenlied - Song of the Nibelung).Apologies for the delay. Shawn and I have a lot going on in our personal lives. But we hope to…
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In this episode, Shawn continues his series on the "House of Yngling", which starts with Harald cutting his hair for the first time in 10 years, after successfully his life goal after becoming the King of Norway. We see that although Harald accomplished his dream, his overall ambition doesn't change, and he still seems to live his life in the same …
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Time for another deep dive! This time into the mysterious origins of the one called Hel: the daughter of Loki and the sister of two giant monsters. Who does she own upon death? The answer may not be quite as simple as you think. Sources: “Dictionary of Northern Mythology” by Rudolf Simek, 2007 “Gesta Danorum” transl. by Karsten Friis-Jensen and Pet…
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In this episode, Shawn continues his series of solo episodes on the House of Ynging, this time focusing on the 3rd chapter of Snorri Sturluson's work, "Heimskringla", "The Saga of Harald Fairhair". Harald is widely considered to be the first king of a unified Norway. Taking over a petty-kingdom at the age of 10 upon the death of his father, Halvdan…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss Chapters 3-6 of the Volsung Saga, in which King Siggeir orchestrates his revenge against the House of Volsung due to the previously mentioned perceived slight by Sigmund. The result, a heroic death by the namesake of the House, and the horrigying deaths of most of Volsung's children. However, the daughter of…
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S4E4 The Ring Cycle: Die Walkure (2 of 4) David presents part 2 of 4 short episodes on the Ring of Power. A Jungian interpretation of Wagner's 4 part Opera inspired by the high German version of Saga of the Volsungs (Nibelungenlied - Song of the Nibelung). Opera 2, Die Walkure (The Valkyrie) presents the interplay of how the gods influence the live…
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In our final installment of Völsunga Saga (for now), it's what you've all been waiting for: We finally cover the tale of Sigurðr, the most famous of all Norse heroes who slew the dragon Fáfnir, and his tragic love with the valkyire Brynhildr. There's fire, murder, mayhem, and one ring to curse them all. Don't miss it! Sources: “Dictionary of Northe…
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In this episode, Shawn and David continue their series on "The Saga of the Volsungs", starting with the god, Odin. Odin's murderous son, Sigi, Sigi's son Rerir, then Rerir's son, Volsung. Volsung didn't have the easiest birth, as he grew for at least 6 years in his mother's womb. The pair further discuss the idea that Odin siring a human son and pl…
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David presents a short episode series reviewing the book "The Ring of Power". A Jungian feminist perspective on Wagner's 4 part Opera based on the High German version of Saga of the Volsungs (Nibelungenlied). David gives a brief synopsis of Opera 1, Das Rheingold, some of Jean Shinoda Bolen's interpretation on the significance of the story, and Dav…
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Shawn and David publish their first episode discussing the "Saga of the Volsungs". However, as opposed to starting from the top with the origins of the family, the pair decided to discuss the origins of another important character in the story. Specifically, Fafnir the Dragon. The pair felt this was the right story to start this series as the its b…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss the other layer of the character Loki, not the one where he is a playful prankster, but the one where he becomes a psychopath who brings on Ragnarök after what happens to his children. Shawn gets "deep" (or as deep as Shawn can go) when he discusses whether or not (again) that things need to die for society …
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Story time continues with our second installment of the Saga of the Volsungs wherein another character goes to Valhöll without dying in battle, a valkyrie causes countless deaths for her own gain, and Sigmund's magic sword finally receives a name. Don't miss it! Sources: “The Saga of the Volsungs”, transl. by Jesse Byock, 2004, supplemented by some…
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In this episode, Shawn discusses the character of Halvdan the Black as described in Snorri Sturluson's work, Heimskringla. Halvdan was a great king in his own right; however, this portion of Heimskringla also serves to describe the marriage to a woman named Ragnhild, and the resulting greatness of their family line, starting with their son Harald F…
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In this episode, Shawn discusses Gorm "The Old", who is considered the first historically recognized King of Denmark. A kingdom which still exists today with Queen Margrethe II as its Head of State. Though the main points of his life are still fuzzy at best, Gorm does appear in later writings; however, we are confident of his historical existence i…
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Shawn and David recap the stories of Loki. Starting with the more playful side of this Shadowy Trickster. Loki and Sif's hair. Loki and the birth of Slepnir. Loki and the apples of Idunn. Why is Loki obsessed with the goddesses? Maybe it is because you have to be tricked into approaching the feminine and accepting your fate. But by doing so you gai…
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In this episode, Shawn discusses the historical/legendary figure of Rollo, a Viking who founded the Duchy of Normandy. A man who had a somewhat famous descendant named "William the Conqueror, the man who eventually would invade England in 1066 and end the reign of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of England. Rollo's childhood is somewhat obscure, as we are cu…
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It's story time again! And this time we're digging into what might be the most famous legendary saga ever to come out of Scandinavia: The Saga of the Vǫlsungs. As we dig in, it'll become clear how all of the principles we've talked about on the show so far come together to produce a story with a distinct Norse flavor, and one that has inspired trop…
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A solo episode by David, where I have re-translated the Skaldic poem Haustlong which was featured in Episode 10 - Thor's Journey Part 1. Shawn and I found the poem really difficult to understand when we read it during episode 10, and I got a bit obsessed with trying to understand what they were actually going for in the Old Norse poem. As I started…
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Part 2 of our recap on the god, Thor. In this episode we discuss a few of the stories where Thor may have shown personal growth and reflection in his action. Where Thor, without his hammer Mjollnir, relies on the help of others and potentially his own previous experiences to succeed. We also discuss his death at Ragnarök where he initially stands s…
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How many times have you heard in the past that Loki is associated with fire? It's true, in fact, but how many people who told you Loki was associated with fire ever provided any examples of that association? In this episode, we'll dig in to why your answer to that last question is "none of them", and what this association with fire really means. By…
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Part 1 of 2 on Thor’s Hero’s Journey. Shawn recaps the myths where Thor learns painful lessons along his journey, either from his father Odin, Loki, or other powerful Giants. David reads the Skaldic poem Haustlong, which is a ‘chock-full-of-kennings’ rendition of Thor’s battle with Hrungnir. Thor’s early hero’s journey reinforces the importance of …
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Shawn discusses the life of Penda: Last Pagan King of Mercia, as told in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" and Bede's "Ecclesiastical History of the English People". 7th Century England saw many of the Petty Kingdoms converting to Christianity. However, King Penda of Mercia (626-655ce) remained a staunch pagan up until his death. During his reign he rava…
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Shawn and David wrap up their series on the journey of Odin, from his birth to his death at Ragnarök. This week they focus primarily on what they consider to be an older Odin contemplating his life and mortality, and ask the question "Did Odin die a good death?" when swallowed by the wolf, Fenrir. The pair also discuss the idea of meditating on one…
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Our special guest today, AtiWati, has academic chops but prefers to keep his anonymity online. He currently moderates the r/Norse subreddit which is one of the largest academically-oriented internet communities focusing on Norse history and mythology. Today we'll be diving into Ati's specialty: the criminally under-discussed work Gesta Danorum by D…
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Shawn and David continue part 2 of 3: The Journey of Odin. We continue with Odin’s stories of meddling in the affairs of mortals and gods. Odin, the King of the Gods, struggles to understand the ‘Good Father’ Archetype. We get a bit deep talking about the structure of the human psyche, whether God(s) exist or not, and whether immortality is really …
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For our first excursion into Norse hero material, we'll be discussing two versions of a story about a character known across Norse, English, and German sources as Wayland the Smith. Prepare yourself for valkyries, dwarves, kidnapping, maiming, murder, intrigue, revenge, flying machines, and two surprising cameos from Sigurd the Dragonslayer and may…
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Shawn and David recap the journey of Odin in a 3 part series. Part one is Odin’s younger years. Odin’s origin and the birth of the gods. Odin’s adventures to gain wisdom, poetry, and magic spells. David and Shawn muse on the idea of why Odin is seeking Wisdom from The Feminine, what Odin has to sacrifice, and why it all has to do with learning to f…
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In this episode, Shawn discusses the figure of Cerdic, the supposed first king of Wessex as told in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Cerdic and his son Cynric formed the kingdom in the year 519 ce. 400 years later, his house and descendants would form the Kingdom of England, a kingdom which still stands today in 2023 with King Charles III. The chronicle …
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Some Norse mythology enthusiasts are strangely terrified of Christian influence in our sources. And some will even go so far as advise others to ignore some of our most important sources, believing them to be full of corruption. In this episode, we'll talk about why there is no real need to be afraid of Christian influence in Norse mythology, and a…
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In this episode, Shawn and David discuss chapters 52 and 53 of Gylfaginning from the Prose Edda, which details the aftermath and rebirth of Ragnarök. They also further discuss the similarities with this story and Revelations from the Holy Bible. Shawn also talks about how he was the original "Shawn the Valet" and hints that Marvel owes him some mon…
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ᚠᚢᚦᚨᚱᚲ! What does it mean? On this episode we'll cover everything you ever wanted to know about pre-Christian runic writing and, maybe even better, we'll talk about how the runes were used anciently for magical practices. Be warned! We're going to be dispelling a lot of myths in this episode, so get ready to toss everything you thought you already …
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