Reading List

The books and essays compiled here are recommended reading based on the views and opinions of the website’s contributors. They are ordered in a progressive format, starting with titles that provide a more basic understanding of the ancient Germanic worldview, followed by ones that are denser and explore concepts more complexly. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and other scholars of ancient Germanic culture and belief may disagree with our choices.

Beginner books

  • A Million and One Gods — Page duBois
  • A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism — John Michael Greer
  • Demons and Spirits of the Land: Ancestral Lore and Practices — Claude Lecouteux
  • The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies — Marcel Mauss
  • “Pantheon? What Pantheon?” — Terry Gunnell (PDF)
  • Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind — Claude Lecouteux
  • The Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral Lore and Practices — Claude Lecouteux
  • The Well and the Tree: World and Time in Early Germanic Culture — Paul C. Bauschatz
    • The first essay is especially essential

Intermediate books

  • The Elder Gods: The Otherworld of Early England — Stephen Pollington
  • Gods and Myths of Northern Europe — H. R. Ellis Davidson
  • “Interpretatio Indigena: Re-Inventing Local Cults in a Global World” — Ralph Häussler (PDF)
  • Road to Hel: A Study of the Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature — H. R. Ellis Davidson
  • “Roman Animal Sacrifice and the System of Being” — John Scheid (PDF)
  • The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion — Mircea Eliade
  • Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World: Eostre, Hreda, and the Cult of the Matrons — Phillip A. Shaw
  • Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo — Mary Douglas

Advanced books

  • A Piece of Horse Liver: Myth, Ritual, and Folklore in Old Icelandic Studies — Jon Hnefill Andalsteinsson
  • Beowulf — authors unknown
    • Recommended translations: Dick Ringler, Seamus Heaney, Michael Alexander
  • The Germanization of Medieval Christianity — James C. Russel
  • The Poetic Edda — authors unknown
    • Recommended translations: Jackson Crawford and Jeramy Dodd for ease of comprehension, Carolyn Larrington for thoroughness, Lee M. Hollander for the preservation of the poetry, and Henry Adams Bellows for accuracy of translation
  • The Prose Edda — Snorri Sturluson
    • Recommended translations: Anthony Faulkes for completeness and Jesse Byock as an incomplete, but easy-to-read, introduction