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Tanum Petroglyphs

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The Tanum Petroglyphs

 

Tanum petroglyphs-full

Of the Great number of petroglyphs in and around Tanum, Sweden this one is just across the parking lot from the museum. Part of the story seems quite clear, a battle between two groups of warriors facing each other along the dotted battle line

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Above the battle to the left of the battle line we see Thor flying in his goat cart above the warriors who called upon him for assistance. I took this photograph on my visit to this ancient site in 2004.


 

Farther to the left of Thor are a man and a woman embracing, with another warrior standing behind the man with a raised ax. This man is distracted from the battle by his love, which leads to his demise by the ax wielder.

 

 

 


 

The man who dies without honor, i.e., not in battle, goes to Hel’s Domain.  Typically he is taken there by ship, either by burying him in a large mound along with his ship or in a grave with a perimeter of stones in the shape of a ship above the grave.  This man has a boat attached to his right foot that is pulling him to the underworld of Hel’s Domain.  His lover is kneeling over his head in grief.  This image is seen below the figure of the embracing lovers and just below the right arm of the figure of a sentry with the very long outstretched arms.


Tanum petroglyphs, detail

Throughout the petroglyphs at Tanum are a few glyphs of a warrior rising above his ship at an angle of approximate 37-degrees.  This angle is also seen in French and Egyptian petroglyphs and has been determined to be the ecstatic posture for journeying into the upper world.   According to Nordic mythology, warriors who die a hero in battle are taken to Valhalla in the upper world.  A third petroglyph of a warrior rising to Valhalla is shown in "Baldr's Magic," as an upper world ecstatic posture.

 

Tanum petroglyph, detail

 

 


 


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