Tag: Hel

Ragnarok

ragnarok-surt
An axe-age, a sword-age, shields will be gashed: there will be a wind-age and a wolf-age before the world is wrecked.

First of all Midgard will be wrenched and racked by wars for three winters. Fathers will slaughter sons; brothers will be drenched in one another’s blood. Mothers will desert their menfolk and seduce their own sons; brothers will bed with sisters.

Read More

Loki’s Flyting

On one occasion some while after Balder’s death, when they could think about him quietly and talk about him calmly for all their foreboding, many of the gods went over to the island of Hlesey for a feast.

Aegir received them in his gleaming hall under the waves. And since Thor and Tyr had secured Hymir’s mighty cauldron for him, he had no choice but to keep his promise, brew a welter of ale and entertain his guests.

Thor himself was away on another foray into Jotunheim, but Odin and Frigg led the way; Thor’s wife, Sif, and Bragi and his wife Idun, accompanied them. So did Tyr who had left one hand in the mouth of the wolf Fenrir and to him the gods renewed their thanks for the part he had played in wresting the cauldron five miles deep from his father Hymir. Njord and his wife Skadi made the journey; so did Freyr and Freyja with Freyr’s two servants Byggvir and Beyla. Odin’s son Vidar, went with them. And Loki was there.

Read More

The Death of Balder

The Death of Balder
The gods and goddesses gathered in the shadow of Balder’s terrible dreams, dreams that threatened to pitch him into the darkness for ever. Not one of them doubted his life was in danger and for a long time they discussed how to protect him.

The gods and goddesses thought of all the ways in which one can die; they named each earth-thing, sea-thing and sky-thing that can cause sudden death. Then Balder’s mother, Frigg, began to travel through the nine worlds and get each and every substance to swear an oath that it would not harm Balder.

Read More

Balder’s Dream

Balder's dreamTHE GOD MOANED.
He twisted and writhed as he tried to escape the dark shapes. He panted and moaned again, and then he woke. For a long while the fairest of the gods lay in the half light, his brow gleaming as white as the whitest flower, his hair shining, and he tried to snare his dream — to name each form and dismiss it. But the shapes skulked in the shadows, shapeless now that he was awake. And in time his fear lapsed into a dull foreboding; he closed his eyes and began to drift.

Read More

Loki’s Children and the Binding of Fenrir

binding of fenrirTHE MOTHER OF SLEIPNIR was also the father of three appalling children. Not content with his faithful wife Sigyn, Loki sometimes took off for Jotunheim; the long-legged god hurried east and spent days and nights on end with the giantess Angrboda.

Loki and Angrboda had three monstrous offspring. The eldest was the wolf Fenrir; the second was Jormungand, greatest of serpents; and the third was a daughter called Hel. Even in a crowd of a thousand women, Hel’s looks were quite likely to single her out : her face and neck and shoulders and breasts and arms and back, they were all pink; but from her hips down, every inch of Hers skin looked decayed and greenish-black.

Read More

The Nine Worlds of Norse mythology

The Norsemen visualized the universe in three vertical levels; a tricentric structure. Between each level and its adjacent level was a space.

The axis of the three levels and nine worlds was the Yggdrasill tree, a mighty ash which is timeless, has no origin and will survive Ragnarok.

The first level

  • Asgard, world of the Aesir
  • Vanaheim, land of the Vanir
  • Alfheim, land of the light elves.

The second level

  • Midgard, Land of humans (middle world/garden)
  • Nidavellir, Land of the dwarfs
  • Jotunheim, Land of the giants (Jotuns)
  • Svartalfheim, Land of the dark elves.

The third level

  • Hel, Realm of the dead
  • Niflheim, World of the dead.

If Hel and Niflheim comprised one world, as is suggested in some sources, the ninth may have been Muspelheim (Muspell), the land of the fire giants. This region had no place in the tricentric structure of the universe, and Snorri Sturluson wrote that is was the first world to exist and that is lies in the southern hemisphere. Also, the worlds of Svartalfheim and Nidavellir may have been the same. No valid distinction can be drawn between the dwarfs and dark elves; they appear to have been interchangeable.

Hel

helThe goddess of the dead and the afterlife was Hel (Holle, Hulda), and was portrayed by the Vikings as being half-dead, half alive herself. The Vikings viewed her with considerable trepidation. The Dutch, Gallic, and German barbarians viewed her with some beneficence, more of a gentler form of death and transformation. She is seen by them as Mother Holle; a being of pure Nature, being helpful in times of need, but vengeful upon those who cross her or transgress natural law.

Check Wikipedia for more information.

Loki

Loki, the Trickster, challenges the structure and order of the Gods which is necessary in bringing about needed change. In the Prose Edda Snorri Sturluson writes that Loki:

is handsome and fair of face, but has an evil disposition and is very changeable of mood. He excelled all men in the art of cunning, and he always cheats. He was continually involving the Aesir in great difficulties and he often helped them out again by guile.

loki

Neither an Aesir or a Vanir, he is the son of two giants and yet the foster-brother of Odin. Loki embodies the ambiguous and darkening relationship between the gods and the giants. He is dynamic and unpredictable and because of that he is both the catalyst in many of the myths and the most fascinating character in the entire mythology. Without the exciting, unstable, flawed figure Loki, there would be no change in the fixed order of things, no quickening pulse, and no Ragnarok.

He is responsible for a wager with a giant which puts Freyja into peril (Myth 3) but by changing both shape and sex (characteristics he has in common with Odin) he bails her out. In Myth 10 he shears Sif’s hair which is more mischievous than evil, but he makes amends in the end. In Myth 8 his deceit leads to the loss of the golden apples of youth… but he retrieves them again. He helps the Gods and gets them out of predicaments, but spawns the worst monsters ever seen on the face of the Earth: Fenrir, Jormungand, the Midgard Wyrm. His other children include the goddess Hel (Hella, Holle), and Sleipnir, Odin’s 8-legged horse.

It is now generally accepted that he is not a late invention of the Norse poets but an ancient figure descended from a common Indo-European prototype and as such, Loki’s origins are particularly complex. He has been compared to a number of European and other mythological figures, most notably the Trickster of Native American mythology.

Loki

As the myths play out, the playful Loki gives way to a cruel predator, hostile to the gods. He not only guides the mistletoe dart that kills Balder but stands in his way on his return from Hel (the citadel of Niflheim). His accusations against the gods at Aegir’s feast (Myth 30) are vicious. He is an agent of destruction causing earthquakes. And when he breaks loose at Ragnarok, Loki reveals his true colors; he is no less evil than his three appalling children, the serpent Jormungand, the wolf Fenrir and the half-dead, half-alive Hel (Myth 7), and he leads the giants and monsters into battle against the gods and heros.

The Norse Gods & Powered by WordPress