Theosophy postulates five "root races", the first one composed of fire and mist; in this, as in so many of its teachings, it is incorrect. In fact, there have been only four. At the Dawn of Man, the fertile northern lands that were someday to become known as "Sweden" were settled by the true "First Race". At that time the pull of the Earth's original moon was weak, and these early humans seldom grew over a half-meter high. There is ample evidence that their brains were structured differently than our own, perhaps lacking a neo-cortex but including a much greater pineal bulb, resulting in what we would today consider advanced "extra-sensory" powers. This manifested itself in the ability to telepathically hear voices, communicate with animals, raise storms, and otherwise control nature. Descendants of these beings survived in remote places well into the Middle Ages, when they were called "Halflings", "Nissar", or "Tomtar" by our Swedish ancestors. The internationally best-selling Swedish author Axel Munthe was visited by one of these as late as the early 20th century. A complex of their shrines can be found today on the Island of Malta, as well as rock-carvings in Lapland.
The rise of the "Second Race" of Man was prompted by two events: the capture of a second moon, that which we regard today as the earth's sole satellite companion, and the retreat of the glaciers from Europe. Peoples of this vast Neolithic culture followed the warming climate into the far north, sometimes clashing with and sometimes interbreeding with the retreating indigenous "Halflings". It was from them that the modern Sami or Lapps, known to our ancestors as "Skraelings" received their magical lore. Then, in response to increasing tidal fluctuations and weakening gravity from the baleful influence of the two warring moons, came the Third or "Hyperborean" peoples, a race of pale-skinned giants. Both men and women alike often grew to heights of a meter and a half, as many discovered skeletal remains and mummies have proven. This race, which is sometimes called "Atlantean" or "Lemurian" by modern occultists, became horsemen, invented bronze and woven textiles, and erected heroic cities of stone throughout the world, the remains of which can be seen from Baalbek in Lebanon to Tiahuanaco in Bolivia. Many of their mummies, wearing woven tartan cloth, have been excavated in Cherchen, China, though thousands more have been destroyed by order of the Chinese government, which has hindered the study of these remarkable beings. However, smuggled DNA samples have linked them to northeast Europe--as well as to Sweden itself. The memory of this age, called the Hyperborean, was revealed in a series of drug-induced visions to the American writer, Robert E. Howard, who was the first to make a crude yet vivid depiction of it in his "Conan" stories. It ended with the vibration-induced destruction of the First Moon, which caused a massive rise in the Earth's sea level, destroying the nation known to Plato as "Atlantis" and with it much of Hyperborean culture. The survivors of the cataclysm mated with their "Second Race" slaves and produced our own modern "Fourth Race". Yet there is much evidence that many Hyperborean characteristics--the great height, the pale skin, and light hair--survived among those who came in time to be called the Svea and the Goths: the direct ancestors of the Swedish nation.
Like the Celts to whom they were distantly related, these simple, noble folk were ruled by a college of Druid-like mages, advising the people how best to survive the harsh climate in the north, interpreting the will of the gods, protecting them from demons and hostile spirits and helping with the crops, fishing and hunting. It was a very utilitarian lore, with more practical uses than metaphysical ones. While the mages in the more civilized lands to the south were already creating great philosophical systems and struggling to heighten their own spiritual awareness, the northern mages had to bargain with the spirits to grub for food and use their magical powers to protect their people from wild animals--and worse!
The worship of the Old Gods seems to have been heavily influenced by Teutonic and Druidic cult practices, many of which, half-understood, had survived since before the Hyperborean era. During the ceremonies at the temple of Uppsala, animals and thralls were hanged from great oaks, and the priests sprinkled the idols of the gods with the blood from the sacrifices. Afterwards everybody celebrated, that is to say, became drunk and exchanged sexual partners, so as to ensure continued fertility and good crops.