Maria Kvilhaug is a Norwegian author and historian who writes in the English language. She was born in Oslo, Norway and has written both fiction and non-fiction centering on the pre-Christian culture of Scandinavia, better known as the Viking Age.

She studied History of Religions, History, Philosophy, and Old Norse Philology (the study and interpretation of ancient languages) at the University of Oslo, graduating with an MA degree in 2004. She adheres to no particular religion or ideology, but takes a non-dogmatic, spiritual, mystical, as well as academic and scientific approach to both life and her own work – and sees no problem with combining these.

You can find her work here.

“The Maiden with the Mead – A Theme of Initiation Rituals in Edda Poetry”

In 2004, I wrote my Master’s thesis at the University of Oslo, titled “The Maiden with the Mead – a Goddess of Initiation in Old Norse Mythology?” The thesis was published by VDM Verlag in 2009. It forms much of the basis of my later work on Edda poetry and mythology, including my work “The Seed of Yggdrasill.”

The starting point of this thesis was the question: “Is there anything in common between the various myths in which a supernatural woman offers a “memory drink”, a “precious” or “ancient” mead to a god or hero? The theme occurs in many Edda poems. Through an analysis of the structural patterns in the different poems, I have shown that there must be a common myth forming the basis of these poems. The main conclusion has been that a myth of a mead-offering “Maiden” exists as a rather prominent theme in Eda poetry, and that this “Maiden mythology” is particularly concerned with trials of initiation.

Archaeological finds show that the mead-offering lady was an important person in all Germanic societies for more than a millennium. The lady could be associated with the Norse völur, staff-carrying sibyls who held a very respected position within Norse religion. It does seem like the Maiden had her human counterparts, a fact which strengthens the idea that these myths reflect actual cult.

Please Note: The conference is free, but registration is required.