Long before our ancestors sat down in candlelight and wrote our stories and histories down on parchment and vellum, they were erecting great monumental stones across the countrysides of Scandinavia to commemorate their exploits, fallen love ones, and in honor of their Gods and Goddesses. One of these memorial stones was erected in Gotland, and is known as the Ardre VIII stone. It stands approximately seven feet tall, and is rounded at the top. It is broken into several different zones, or fields as Gwynn Jones calls them, depicting different scenes that can easily be equated with the stories in the Eddas. In the top left stands Valhalla with three arched entrances, and seven more openings are shown above them. The right half shows the All - Father Odin riding his unmistakingly unique horse Sleipnir galloping on all eight of its mighty legs. Lower down we see Loki tied down with his wife Sigyn holding a horn over his face to catch the poison of the snake that was hung over him by Skadhi. We also find Volund the Smith, with his tongs and hammers, working in his smithy, to the side of him are the headless bodies of Nithad's sons. Another panel shows Volund flying away with Nithad's daughter Bodvild. Thor even makes an appearance just below Bodvild. Thor is seen fishing with Hymir for the Midgard serpent.
This of course is not the only stone showing scenes from the Eddas and Sagas, there are literally dozens of them. In Gotland alone there are two others just as famous as the Ardre VIII stone, known as the Larbro I, and the Klinte Hunninge I. And it is not just in stone that you find these scenes from the Eddas. They are found in the Oseberg burial ground, on jewelry, and in woodcarvings. The Norsemen were experts in carving in wood and the serpent is designed into many of their stylings. And of course as early as 200 - 300 A.C.E. runic inscriptions are found on memorial stones and jewelry as well. One of my favorite of these rune memorial stones was found at Lund, and shows Hyrokkin riding on her wolf, and includes the wonderful serpent reins that she used to control the great beast.
I could go on and on quoting depictions of stories from the Eddas, carved into stone or wood, from the half a dozen books I have on the subject, but the end result would still be the same. The stories in the Eddas are what are ancestors believed, and these earlier carved stone, jewelry, and wooden depictions prove that these stories existed long before Snorri, and other Christians, wrote them down for posterity. Are they perfect ? Hell no ! But they are what has come down to us, and they are as close as we will ever get to the exact beliefs of are ancestors. A great example of something added by the Christian authors comes from the end of Voluspa, and seems to be added almost as an afterthought : The Mighty one comes down on the day of doom, That powerful lord who rules over all." So yes, there is some Christian tainting in our Eddas, but as the old saying goes: "You don't throw out the baby with the bath water".
As an Independent Asatruar I respect everyones opinions. If you want to believe that the Eddas and Sagas are not sacred to us as a people and a religion, that is your choice. I, however, choose to believe in the sacredness of these wonderful tales of old, and will continue to speak out in their defense until the day I die.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !