The whole Ragnarok thing. If we're alive when Ragnarok happens do we still end up in Hel? Our souls are still there after Ragnarok? Do we even need to believe in Ragnarok? If we choose not to, does that make the lore less valid since most of them involve Ragnarok in some way? I'm sorry to ask all these at once, but I don't have any friends that believe the way I do, so I don't really have anyone to discuss this with.
I’m pretty sure that according to the general myth Loki empties Hel and takes all of it’s denizens with him on his fingernail ship, Naglfar to fight in Asgard because it’s the final war and all of that… My general reading of the result of Ragnarok if it’s being taken literally is that everything changes; Yggdrasil itself is burned down and from its ashes a new world tree grows but not everything from the old world is gone – some of the gods are said to die but lots still remain to be the gods of the new world so I would assume that our souls would also continue existing… But see, a good chunk of the info we have comes from Snorri (though he quotes Voluspa but even that isn’t above suspicion) so I’m already heavily sceptical of it’s validity as a representation of Norse beliefs… I suggest that you read Voluspa, Vafthrudnismal, and Gylfaginning for pretty much most of the info we have on Ragnarok but I’m not really the best person to ask about the nitty gritty particulars of it all because I just don’t really believe in it, not as a literal event anyway which brings me to your other questions;
Nope, we do not need to believe in Ragnarok – but we should study and discuss it with a critical eye and theorise on its possible interpretations and significance.
I wouldn’t necessarily think it makes the lore less valid but i suppose that all depends on how rigidly you try to believe in, and how literally you take the myths to begin with…
I generally read the myths more as a skeleton of a cultural spirituality; the bones and the spirit are there, but the meat’s all been eaten away and without the meat you can only really get so much of an idea of what the creature actually looks like, so it’s up to us to look at the bones, learn what we can but keep in mind that it’s only the scaffolding and we’re not the first one’s to find the skeleton so some stuff might’ve been moved around, taken away, replaced, or swapped out with other skeletons of the same species by the time we got there and now it’s our job as a community of Norse pagans to work together, learn what we can from reconstructionism but recognise that not all of it is gonna fit or make sense in this era, talk that stuff out, theorise, write new myths, and discover SPGs so we can put meat back on the bones – and it might not look exactly the same as it did originally but it’ll be breathing and moving, and it’ll grow 🙂
I completely understand anon, it’s okay I’m exactly the same; literally all of you on here are my Norse pagan friends – I have none “IRL” 😛