In the Irish myths a mysterious phrase crops up: the gods and the non-gods (or un-gods). We all know what a god is, but what is an non-god?
Heimdall is the guardian of the gods, and of their home, Asgard. Why is it then, that the Eddic poem Rígsþula describes him wandering the earth and interacting with humans as if he had nothing else to concern him?
The Norse gods have different ways of getting around: Odin and Heimdall have horses, Freyr has a boar, and Thor has two goats to pull his wagon. Freyja’s choice was a little more unusual: she had two cats to pull her chariot.
Considering that she may have started a cosmic war, we know very little about the Norse goddess Gullveig. Her story comes from the Eddic poem Völuspá, which tells how the Aesir riddled her with spears and then burned her three times but couldn’t kill her.
Since the next event in the poem is the war between the Aesir and Vanir, the two groups of Norse deities, it’s always been assumed that somehow this attack on Gullveig started it.
Humans have been working with metal for a long time: from the Copper Age (approx. 3500 – 1700 BCE) when the soft, malleable metal was the first to be smelted and used. So it’s not surprising that many cultures have smith-gods, and that in the Celtic world the smith-god and his name occur in Gaul, Wales, England and Ireland, making him one of the few pan-Celtic deities.1
And a very literal one – Goibniu, Gofannon and Cobannos all mean “Smith”.
The makers of some of these tales were spinning long, long ago—thousands of years, in some cases. Life was hard, and short, and brutish, particularly so for women. And yet even this late in history, women and girls are still friendly with that darkness where fairy tales operate best.
If you have visited this blog before, you will notice that the look has changed a lot. I decided that it needed more white space and a lighter look overall. I hope that you’ll like it. My only concern with the new theme, Twenty-Twelve, is that some of the text is in very small print. If this is a problem, let me know and I’ll figure out a fix.