Mind the Trolls

I’m in a northern mood today probably brought on by a sudden temperature drop and the pines and ravens on the way to work this morning…

In any case, I was musing that we’re entering troll season…

Culturally, Celtic traditions have made a certain impact upon American pop spirituality. I’m thinking of Halloween in particular here; that’s the time when “ghouls and goblins” come out due to cultural connects with the Celtic Samhain and the Christian response with All Saints and All Souls (which, as far as I can tell, seems to have early support if not origins in Anglo-Celtic regions—Alcuin was a big earlier promoter).

In Scandinavian traditions, however, the thin time when unnatural critters abound is not the autumnal equinox but the winter solstice—Yule. Quite a number of the beast tales in the thattr tradition are set in midwinter or Christmas. In fact, several Christmas courts of the early kings cower in terror of a trollish beast ravaging the countryside awaiting a hero (often bear-kin, of course) to dispatch it.

No real point—just a passing thought.

5 Replies to “Mind the Trolls”

  1. Derek, it seems that this Yule tradition also is found on the Isles from the Saxon and Viking influences, most likely. So we get twice the thinness and twice the creepy ghoulies?

    And blessed St. Nicholas Day to you. Sadly, C has become too “Americanized” he admits to have set out his shoe.

  2. And for us Scandinavians, Santa Lucia comes on December 14!

    A wreath of candles, white robe, procession with star-boys as acolytes. Ah…elegant and lovely.

    At least we Scandinavians had room for something other than only trolls and Grendel (for which we are much more well-known).

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