About


About the Author

Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried is a writer on mythology and religion. A Norse mythologist and musician in Chicago, he is Adjunct Professor and Pagan Chaplain at Illinois Institute of Technology. He is also Seminar Faculty at Newberry Library, where he teaches courses on mythology, religion, J.R.R. Tolkien and Richard Wagner. He serves as goði (priest) of Thor's Oak Kindred, an inclusive organization dedicated to the practice of the Ásatrú religion in Chicago.

While at the University of Chicago Divinity School, Karl was President of Interfaith Dialogue and served on the Spiritual Life Council, the advisory board for the Spiritual Life Office. He was also Contact Person for the Ásatrú Student Network. He has taught Norse mythology at Loyola University Chicago and Norse religion at Carthage College, where he was founder and faculty advisor of the Tolkien Society.

Karl's website, The Norse Mythology Blog, was named the world's Best Religion Weblog in 2012, 2013 and 2014. It is the first religion blog to enter the Weblog Awards Hall of Fame. In addition to original articles and interviews on myth and religion, the site features projects such as the Worldwide Heathen Census 2013, a first attempt to estimate current numbers of adherents of the modern iteration of Norse religion.

Karl is a featured columnist for The Wild Hunt, the primary international source for news and commentary relating to minority religions. Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor at The Federalist, has called The Wild Hunt "a must-read for those interested in news and events dealing with the modern Pagan and Heathen communities – and religion coverage in general."

Karl's writing on mythology and religion has been broadcast on the BBC as part of a series featuring "leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond." His work has been published in Herdfeuer (Germany), Iceland Magazine, Interfaith Ramadan (Italy), MythNow (Joseph Campbell Foundation), On Religion (UK), Religion and Ethics (Australia) and Reykjavík Grapevine (Iceland).

Karl was editor for The Illustrated Hávamál: Sayings of the High One, a dual-language (Old Norse and Modern English) edition of the medieval Odin poem with new illustrations by artist Sam Flegal. He wrote all definitions relating to Ásatrú (Norse religion) in the Religion Newswriters Association's Religion Stylebook, and he was co-author of the Heathen Resource Guide for Chaplains written for the U.S. Department of Defense.


"Denouncing Discrimination, Enforcing Inequality," Karl's essay on lack of diversity in religious, medieval, and Scandinavian studies, is the first piece by a practitioner of Ásatrú to be published in Sightings of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

"One Crime over the Line: Śiśupāla in the Mahābhārata," Karl's article examining events at the royal consecration of Yudhiṣṭhira in light of other happenings in the Mahābhārata, later Indian texts, historical practice and religious concepts, was published in volume 65 of the Journal of the Oriental Institute, the peer-reviewed academic publication of MSU of Baroda (India), the institution that issued critical editions of Vālmīki's Rāmāyaṇa and the Viṣṇu Purāṇa. Karl's article on "Magic and Power in The Laws of Manu, the Arthaśāstra, and the Kāmasūtra" appears in volume 66 of the same journal.

Forthcoming publications include "Children of Heimdall: Ásatrú Ideas of Ancestry" in Revisionism and Diversification in New Religious Movements, Vol. 2 (Ashgate Inform Series on Minority Religions and Spiritual Movements, Routledge) and "Ásatrú and Hindu: From Prophecy to Dialogue" in Holy Envy: Learning from Traditions Other and Our Own (Palgrave Macmillan). Karl will also edit The Illustrated Völuspá, to be released in 2018.

Karl has been interviewed on myth and religion by the ABC, The AtlanticBBC, Boston Globe
Chicago Public Radio's Morning Edition, Chronicle of Higher EducationDaily Beast, History Channel, InverseOnFaith, Public Radio International's The World, Raven Radio, Strings Magazine, Viking MagazineWired Magazine and Ynet. He has been a featured lecturer on literary and musical interpretations of Norse mythology at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wagner Society of America and Wheaton College.

A member of the American Academy of Religion, Religion Newswriters Association, Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, and Viking Society for Northern Research (UK), Karl is also the Official Norse Mythologist of the Stephanie Miller Show.

After receiving an academic scholarship in 2014 and earning an MA in 2017, Karl is now the first practitioner of Ásatrú to hold a graduate degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He also holds degrees in literature and music from University of California at San Diego, University of Wisconsin at Madison and University of Texas at Austin. He studied literature and art history at Loyola University Chicago Rome Center in Italy and has taken Icelandic language courses through University of Iceland's distance learning program.


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Reviews of The Norse Mythology Blog

Chicago Public Radio: "[Karl's] one of the country’s most respected researchers and lecturers on Norse mythology."

Chicago Humanities Festival: "Seigfried is a prolific chronicler of the world of Norse mythology."

Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth): "[Karl's] probably a better Guardian of Asgard than I am."

Jóhanna G. Harðardóttir (Ásatrúarfélagið): "Hér er rétti maðurinn á ferð til að kenna Norræna goðafræði í US."

Weaving Wyrd: "His questions are thought-provoking, and his scholarly bona fides are pretty impressive."

Syracuse University iSchool: "This is an entertaining and enlightening blog to follow for anyone interested in Norse mythology."

Bob Freeman: "For anyone with an interest in Norse culture, myth, and magic, there is no better place to visit on the web."

Carthage News: "His would be considered a David-and-Goliath story, except Carthage professor Karl Seigfried topped the writers who discuss those kinds of biblical figures."

The Wild Hunt: "If you aren’t already reading Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried's amazing The Norse Mythology Blog, then you've been remiss. The blog is one of the most content-rich affairs for lovers of Norse mythology I’ve ever seen."

Tales of a GM: "This is an amazing resource for anyone interested in the history and culture of Northern Europe. The Norse Mythology Blog is such a brilliant combination of modern issues and ancient sources. If you have any interest in Norse culture or mythology, then you must visit Dr Seigfried’s site."

Vancouver Sun: "The best blog on faith and spirituality may be one about a so-called ‘dead’ religion, Norse mythology. The Norse Mythology Blog reflects deep knowledge of this ancient religion, along with an affable spirit. [Karl] knows everything one would ever want to know about Thor, Odin, Frey, Loki, Frigg, Freya and countless more Norse gods, goddesses and mythological hangers-on."

Skandináv Mitológia (Hungary): "Nagyon jó blog az északi mitológiáról!"

City Magazine (Serbia): "Ako vas je ikada makar malo zainteresovala istorija i kultura severne Evrope, a naročito njena istorija, ovde ćete naći mnogo više interesantnog štiva nego što biste se ikada nadali. Posebno je interesantno da uspeva da poveže savremene momente sa prastarim izvorima."

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Honors and Awards

2015

On Religion (UK)
: Most Popular Article of 2015
"Northern Zombies & Heathen Worldviews"

2014

Weblog Awards (International): Best Religion Weblog
First religion blog to enter Weblog Awards Hall of Fame

2013


Weblog Awards (International)
: Best Religion Weblog

Bob Freeman: Best Esoteric Website

The Wild Hunt: Top Ten Pagan Stories of 2013
"Ásatrú Added to Religion Stylebook"

2012

Weblog Awards (International): Best Religion Weblog
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