The holy trees of the Norse

The birch at the Slinde mound, Norway. Painting by Johannes Flintoe made appx 1820

The Norse Gods lived in a holy tree called Yggdrasil. The Norse pagan farmers praised some holy big trees they had on their farms. The custom was to plant a tree at the first burial mound of the farm. This was usually the mound of the first settler of the farm. Out of respect to the Gods and their ancestors in the mounds they sacrificed beer and paste to the tree. As long as the tree was in good shape there would be prosperity and happiness on the farm. The death of the holy tree, which could live for more than 1000 years, brought bad times. Because of that father have learned son to take good care of their holy tree(s) through the times. Still there are a few farmers that take care of the tradition and their holy trees.

The Norwegian farmer nung G. Sordal from Bygland in Setesdal standing next to one of his holy trees, a pine, that has recieved its share of the christmas beer for centuries. Once upon a time there was at least nine giant pines on his farms burial ground which consists of 26 burial mounds. Today only two are alive. Norwegian holy trees could be of the following kinds: birch, ash, oak, maple, willow, spruce and pine.

References: Ragnar Frislid_Treet_Cappelen_1994_ISBN 82-02-12829-4 & Harald Jacobsen/Jrn-R Follum_Kulturminner og skogbruk_Skogbrukets Kursinst._1997_ISBN 82-7333-100-8