My name is Daniel (or Dan) McCoy, and I’m the creator of this website as well as the writer of all of the articles here. My first book, The Love of Destiny: The Sacred and the Profane in Germanic Polytheism, was published in 2013. My most recent book, The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion, was published in 2016. I’ve also had the honor of being interviewed as a “Norse mythology expert” in Major League Baseball’s documentary Iron Knight: Lou Gehrig, which was released by A&E and had its television premier on the Smithsonian Channel.
In addition to my work on Norse mythology, I’m the creator of Egyptian Mythology for Smart People, a site that, as the name implies, covers ancient Egyptian mythology and religion.
I live in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, and I’m in my late 20s.
The pre-Christian worldview of the Germanic peoples has been an enduring passion of mine since I was a kid. Most of my studies in this field have occurred outside of a formal academic setting, but in college I had the happy fortune of being able to study it within academia to some degree as well. (If you can find the right professors to work with, formal academic studies are the best way to sharpen your research skills, but unfortunately, if you want to produce truly original work in the end, you usually have to do so outside of academia these days.) This site is a way for me to document what I’ve learned about the ancient Germanic worldview, and to share its beauty and power with others who might find something of value in it as I have.
A common misconception is that I self-identify as a heathen or a pagan of some sort, something which I have never done. Although I find much to respect and admire in those circles, I’m a sympathetic outsider. The pre-Christian worldview of northern Europe has been a powerful influence on my own worldview, but it’s one influence amongst several. Furthermore, my personal philosophy and spirituality have (inevitably) evolved since I wrote most of the content on this site, as well as The Love of Destiny, and there are plenty of statements on this site and in that book with which I no longer agree. However, it should go without saying that I also think there’s a tremendous amount of value both here and in The Love of Destiny.
Somewhat more specifically (since people are understandably curious), I’m an unaffiliated theist. At their core, all religions contain a spark of the truest truth out there. Being ineffable, that truth can only be described obliquely by systems of symbolism. Religions provide such systems of symbolism, as well as practical paths to reach that numinous presence or state of being toward which those symbols point. Different religions work better than others for different people and in different times and places; since the numinous, though universal, must necessarily be reached from a particular context, that context must be taken into account as a starting point – hence the sheer number of religions out there. When expected to provide literal descriptions of physical and/or historical phenomena, they’re all hopelessly mutually contradictory, but to approach any religion in such a manner is to fundamentally misunderstand it. (And, to be fair, the literalists of any and every tradition are as guilty of this as are their detractors.)
The pre-Christian religion of the Norse and other Germanic peoples is one such path and symbolic system, not uniquely valid but as valid as any other, and I consider myself quite fortunate to be able to study it and write about it in the depth that I’m able to here on this site and in my books.