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An extensive investigation into the origins of the ancestral bear motif. Part one focuses on the earliest paleontological evidence of bear ceremonialism in human heritage.
A skaldic metaphoric tradition raises the question if the Norse god, Ullr, is conflated with the "master of elves," Volund. An investigation elucidates an association between Volund and bear-hunting rites of iron-age ancestors of modern Sami or Finnic people. Searching deeper into the forest of time, Volund and Ullr's tracks intersect with a widespread mythic motif in which the bear is born from a sky or thunder deity and a forest deity.
In this tale from the legendary Saga of King Hrolf, a Sami sorceress named Hvit causes a man named Bjorn to transform into a bear. Later, Bjorn's lover, Bera, gives birth to three unusual children.
Cultural Continuity and Differentiation in Bear Rites and Stories of Eurasia and North America.
This study compiles multiple lines of evidence presented in recent specialized studies, including paleontological, archaeological, literary, historical, ethnographic and biological studies, to address long-standing questions in historical scientific discourse on ancestral bear ceremonialism in cultures of the northern hemisphere.
(Copyright Rick Rulf, 2022)
Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Stories of Animals.
This research applies anthropological and ecological theoretical frameworks in analyses of behavioral relationships among humans, non-human animals, plants and places evident in archaeological records and story-telling traditions of Indigenous and other traditional cultures of North America and Eurasia.
Photo by Edward Curtis
Humanity and the Night Sky.
This educational video series establishes a foundation for framing questions about the cultural significance of darkness and the night sky in sciences, humanities, and in emulation of the cosmos evident in behaviors and artistic achievements of ancient cultures. Current research involves compiling traditional origin stories, as told by living Native American storytellers, that attest to the emergence of humanity from darkness, and stories on how celestial bodies, including the sun, moon, planets, stars, and constellations, came into being.
(Photo Copyright Rick Rulf)
Transmission of Ethos In the Saga of King Hrolf.
In Hrolf's Saga, tales of virtue are vividly articulated. Characters in the legendary epic personify ethics as conflicts unfold in an epic of honor & treachery, valor & cowardice, generosity & greed. The tales elucidate ancestral Norse cultural ethos within the context of its own warrior-poet story-telling tradition.
Illustration: a bear fights beside King Hrolf during his last battle, by Louis Moe, 1857-1945
Compilation and Analysis of Attestations of Beserkers in Medieval Literature.
This compilation of attestations of berserkers in primary sources is designed to inform, enrich and support analyses of berserkers in Norse cultural traditions, to investigate theories about them, and to dispel common misconceptions echoed by popular sources.
(Painting & Image Copyright Rick Rulf, 2011)
Hrolf’s Hall is an independently operated online educational program that applies traditional learning pedagogies, namely story-telling and discussion, for learning about all aspects of medieval Scandinavian and Germanic cultures. Centering on the transmission of knowledge in the legendary epic, Hrolf’s Saga Kraki (Saga of King Hrolf), this program is designed to engage participants in dynamic discussions on popular subjects of interest, especially history, archaeology, social organization, ethos, sorcery, zoomorphism, and warrior-poet storytelling traditions of medieval Europe.
Illustration: King Hrolf spreads gold on the ground to evade the Swedes, by Jenny Nystrom, 1895.