Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old Uppsala: Gamla Uppsala. Royal Burial Mounds, Christian Church, Runes

Old Uppsala
Gamla Uppsala

The Church; and the Old Deist Burial Mounds

Gamla Uppsala was a renowned ceremonial site for multi-deist Sweden, a place of religious rites, royal burials and palaces, and a spiritual center in the 11th Century, when a Christian Cathedral was constructed there.

1.  The Church

The form of the church remaining is about half the original size, see  It was built over the earlier multi-deist structures there. See

Religions spread over each other like kudzu.

It was in the ordinary course pf business for Christianity to usurp the spirituality of the conquered, and make its own inroads, like a piggyback where possible; or force itself and then call the resulting brainwashed citizens "converted" -- but it is a sadness and loss to history all the same. The might of the conqueror is not always an indication that they are in any way "divinely promoted."  The old ways may well have suited the culture and topography better.

Multi-deism remains part of Christian culture as well.  Just call the Trinity One. Common sense applies theological sleight-of-hand. Add "evil" and demons, see that even God couldn't control the borders of Eden, and we are not far from the old ways.

Church at Gammla Uppsala.

The church is traditional in layout, see its plan at   See there the older church yard, its original size. 

Then:  inside.  The old trees are gone from the area, that used to be forested, but see the uses of them, and their size.

Adam of Bremen 

Adam of Bremen, in Germany-land, never came here, although he wrote of the ceremonial site.  

Female participation

In the old church, many of the religious figures are women.  Few are men. There was a time early on when women dominated the contemplative and saintly life, more women saints coming along then men.  That alarmed the church "fathers" so much that they began to take over the convents and their endowments from women's estates, and turn them in to monasteries;  and put the convents under the "supervision" of the monasteries  -- and built large religious male-dominated centers  instead with the women's estates.  

Doctrine evolved from the ether that conformed the new religion to the existing culture and said, regardless of the Founder's fraternizing with women, that men were supposed to be in charge, so watch in the new Uppsala Cathedral -- the statues and the saints are men.  

Women had been in power positions until about the 7th Century, when, in the Carolingian era, the wealthy and influential convents (too wealthy, too influential) were put under monastic supervision.  See

2.  The grounds

Old Uppsala

Old Uppsala is near Stockholm, the city on the archipelago at the deep fjord.  Go to Old Uppsala and be reminded of the greatness of ancient Sweden, see

1.  Founder perhaps

Read at that site that Odin decreed, in the Norse god's wisdom, that the dead shall be burned in a great crematory fire.  The Odin there, however, is probably one Sigge Fridulfson, the great and very human leader of a migration north from the Caucasus a millenium ago, who took the name Odin for himself to pave his own way, see Bogomilia: Sigge Fridulfson. Wise, and it worked.

We found no tribute to the brilliant ruler, Sigge  Frudulfson or Fridulfsson.

It was only after we returned that we found his name connected to one of the earliest migrations north from the Caucasus, and who took the name of Odin so that his and Odin's became one in reverence.  His sons were placed on the thrones in Scandinavia, and he was a fierce but wise ruler.  See Sigge Fridulson, Sigge Frieulfsson, Origin of the Swedes

2.  The site mounds.

Overall, the site is a long wandering line of huge mounds, some excavated.  There were no large treasure troves found, but sites of cremations and some artifacts showing the prominence of those resting there.  Swedish people are not inclined to make Disney out of their traditionally meaningful sites, so there is little fanfare at Gamla Uppsala.  It is largely left to age naturally.  Excellent. No hype.

Leave time to do a long walk around.  There had been a large settlement here in about the 6th Century, and in the Iron Age before that. Adam of Bremen, in Germany, wrote of a Hall of Gold, and the remains of a banquet hall were indeed found. Not the gold.

Tales tell of a large tree at the site, and a deep well, and rituals for centuries there.

There are no display stands, or marker tablets directing your view.  That to us was refreshing.  There is time to let it all sink in, and then look details up later, or in time at the small museum there.

We had thought Sweden to be more mountainous.  Not so near the southern coast, and to Stockholm at least.  Vast flat areas. Some mounds that we saw in driving around are apparently not burial sites necessarily, but glacial moraines. These can protrude up in farmland.  Which are mounds?  Noone looks, because traditionally there are no gold hordes there.

3.  Runes

Memory of Runes

Odin hung from a tree for nine days, in order to gain the secrets of the Runes. See  This imagery, already familiar, made it easy for Christian missionaries to make inroads with their figure also hung on a tree.  There was less resistance where the gods could be seen as just reappearing in this new one, one in three, what?  three gods?  Just another route to multi-deism? Semantics? sounds fine. Come to church.

This may not be an authentic rune stone -- some are reproductions, and often the tracings are darkened to make reading them easier.  Checking. 

Runes. Entwined, serpentine, musical, lyre-like, evocative.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Anundshog Viking Burial Mound at Vasteras

 I. Anundshog, Viking Burial Mound

I.  Anundshog:

Anund and his brother Heden.  Heden died.  Their father, Folkvid, prominent in Badelunde, erected the stones and mound for Heden.  Vred carved the runes.  Folkvid must have been a formidable figure. This Viking burial mound, dating between 600-1000 AD, erected in Heden's honor (then why is it called Anundshog?), consists of five different sets of standing stones in the outline shapes of Viking ships (no real ships are here) is huge.  It is the largest in Sweden. See  In some other places, an entire ship was buried with the person inside, but not here, apparently. These are still called "stone ships."  The area has been inhabited since about 500 BC.

Get here early in the morning, before the gift shop opens and the buses arrive. No entry fee. Get the shadows long from the standing stones, no other people in your pictures.

Some runes are barely visible now.  For runes, see these letter-word shapes (different cultures had different forms, from the  Saxon, to various Norse, to Anglo-Saxon) at  They apparently started as wood, used for divination - foretelling - and healing - and moved to use including stone commemorations, telling stories, putting one's stamp on life.

Your name may even be runic -- capable of an interpretation through runes,  See runes for W-i-d-ing at an earlier post here, in runes. All is speculative, of course, but we found an old family tale represented in the runes themselves, using a set of runes. Story stone marks.

 We are not here. We looked.

Still, why is this called Anundshog if nothing is for Anund? Need to research. 

The mound is 36-45 feet high. Go ahead. Scramble up. 

The fjord used to be extend all the way to the burial mound area, with room for a broad road between. Prominent location.  The road was used for each new king to travel on their rounds receiving tribute.

View from Anundshog, Vasteras. A fjord extended here.

We forget information, so take a photo of explanations:  fair use of bits and pieces -- here is information on burial procedures. Cremation, then a cairn, then the "tumulus."

Cremate the person on a clay base, then build a stone cairn over top, and cover that with soil and turf. There is the tumulus. 

Here is the Folkvid stone:

The Folkvid Stone is part of a line of stones in a cluster marking the road, not a stone ship.

The forms are filled in with color to make them more legible.  Pictograms, and letter-word forms. "Folkvid raised all these stones for his son Heden, brother of Anund.  Vred carved the runes."   Naming the craftsman who carved the runes: did Vred add that himself? To tout himself for well deserved accolades for good work, or did Folkvid himself direct that Vred be paid tribute in this way.

Does that make Folkvid the father of Anund? Or were Anund and Heden half-brothers?

Remember.  Early morning.   Best shadows.  No entry gate.  Just park and walk. Just have dry socks around.


II.  Vasteras, the city.

Location location.  Vasteras was founded  as Vastra Aros on the River Svartan some thousand years ago; it was the second largest town in the 1100's, and became a religious center in the 12th Century, and a cathedral started. Most of us are not familiar with the wars among the Northern people, but in the 14th Century, the city became a stronghold, but in 1520 was captured by the Danes nonetheless -- and liberated back again by the Swedes the next year.

The river -- what became of that?  Shifted over time and became Lake Malaren, or is the River still separate?  Quick, find a map.

Yes.  It looks like rivers and fjords shifted, and there is a large lake-fjordish system going on.  That makes sense, because we were told that the Viking burial mound here, at Anundshog, used to be on the fjord, with waterway access all the way to Stockholm.

1527:  a very big year.  The Reformation here. Catholicism was banned. And, over the next centuries, mining and other industries grew.

For the Green among us, the city buses (so it says here at are fueled by their own bio-gas.