Who am I?

ARVID YSTAD is passionate about Norwegian cultural history, language, and religion and has been a dedicated Freemason for 32 years in the Scandinavian Swedish system. He is educated as a mechanical engineer with a degree from NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) in Trondheim, Norway, and has a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. He has worked in oil- and gas-industry, Management Consulting and banking in Norway. He lives in Oslo, Norway.

In my book, I offer a completely new theory about the origins of Freemasonry, namely that it is of Norse origin, and that «free» in Freemasons, may be linked to the Norse goddess Freya. The first impulse for this idea came from my father, factory manager and chemical engineer, Romund Ystad, at the dinner table right after my own initiation. «There is a lot of Norse religion here», he said. What! I couldn’t work that out. The vestibule and the great hall were richly decorated with Egyptian and unknown symbols. To start with I wasn’t particularly keen on the claim either. Over the years I read a lot of Masonic literature and familiarized myself with its different main theories. No one mentioned Norse mythology.

Still, my father’s comment stayed with me. I sat one evening in the lodge and looked at the two pillars in front of me. They were supposed to represent Jachin and Boaz from King Solomon’s Temple; we hear about them in The Old Testament. Could this symbolism have something in common with the high seat pillars that the settlers of Iceland threw overboard when they approached land, as the sagas tell, I thought?

E-mail: arvidystad@gmail.com