October 21, 2014

Cardinal Points - Behind The Names

I assume that many of you already know the origin of the weekdays (at least in English; with, for example, Thursday standing for the day of Thor, Monday for the day of the Moon, Wednesday for Woden's day or Odin's day, etc.).

Well, turns out that even the cardinal points on a compass are named after mythical creatures of Norse legends. That's right!

Say hello to Nordri, Sudri, Austri, and Westri, strong dwarves who were bid by the gods to support the heavenly vault (which, incidentally, is actually the skull of the first evil giant, its brains forming the clouds) upon their shoulders.

I can understand now why one of the greatest fears of people from Norse and other neighboring countries was that the sky would fall on their head!

I'll let you figure out which stands for what ;-)


  1. Replies
    1. I do too :) I had no idea about the cardinal points either!

  2. Austri for the East is sort of funny to me, a Pole, for whom Austria was "The West". For people of my ethnicity, the West always used to be the good and the East the bad. Prejudices, sure, but sort of based on history. I am happy to read your posts again :)

    1. Ah yes, the whole relativity concept :) It's always fascinating to get different takes on things, certainly opens one's mind!
      Glad to have you back here :)