Teutonic Mythology is composed of a body of myths (stories encompassing "popular ideas on natural or supernatural and social phenomena") based on the religion of the ancient Teutons, a group comprised by Germans, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians, Goths and other Northern European peoples.

These Teutonic cultures probably converted to Christianity around 1000AD. Textual sources of Teutonic mythology only date back to around the fifth century A.D.; but, the oral tales of the Teutons may have pre-dated the Judeo-Christian Bible.

A Widespread Culture

Nordic mythology is essentially Teutonic. However, the names of the gods and other cosmological elements change from country to country, especially in terms of spelling. These discrepancies are mainly linguistic, though some are cultural and temporal. In fact, German is very different from the Scandinavian languages; and the way these nationalities have recounted and interpreted their myths over time is, of course, unique. But, the stories they tell--of gods, giants, dwarves, elves and the Tree of the World--are basically the same.

For centuries, Judeo-Christian scholars have categorized the Teutonic myths, along with those of the Greeks, Romans and other cultures, as "Pagan." This website avoids such labels. Subjective judgements and cultural biases do not seem appropriate in a presentation and analysis of mythology.

The Outgrowth of Teutonic Mythology

Although the Teutonic vision of the universe has been understudied in Western culture, in more recent times, what the Teutons envisioned and how their imagination has become more popular, especially through the work of the composer Richard Wagner. Historically, students in the Western world have been taught Greek and Roman mythology because of the dominant role of Latin in academic circles. Yet, Teutonic cultures contain just as much, if not more, epic literature than Greco-Roman ones. Nevertheless, at least in the United States, Teutonic mythology is still less researched.

Yet, there are many allusions to Teutonic mythology throughout the Western world. Most people, if asked, could probably identify Thor as the god of thunder. Also, in English, four out of the seven days of the week are named after Teutonic gods. In this way, the influence of Teutonic mythology is subtle, but extensive.

Explore this site. Master some new stories in looking at how one particular culture understood the universe through symbols. See the modern world in the elements of the Teutonic cosmos. Once you travel down the path of the World Ash Tree and begin to see the connections, forever will they change the way you see your world.


A Word About the Map

The Teutonic vision of the cosmos depicted a tree, known as Yggdrasill, as its central axis. In general, there were three, perhaps four, levels within the universe represented as three parallel circular planes with ways of crossing over. In this cosmological vision, the Beings consist of gods/goddesses, dwarves, giants, elves, humans, animals and other creatures--who all live in their separate, hierarchized realms of the nine worlds: Midgard, Asgard, Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Svartalheim, Nidavellir--and in some organization, two of either Niflheim, Hel, or Muspellheim make up the eighth and ninth worlds (Chantepie de la Saussaye, 346-7; Crossley-Holland,xxii).

Back to Teutonic Mythology Table of Contents

Map of the Teutonic Cosmos

Table of Contents

Wagner and The Ring

Teutonic Mythology
and Wagner's Ring

Symbols in
Wagner's Ring

Symbols in
Teutonic Mythology

Bibliography of Books and Links

Comments or questions?

This site created by Jessica K. McShan on December 17, 1997.