Tag Archives: Voluspa

Heimdall: guardian god or wanderer?

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?

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Gullveig: the goddess who wouldn’t die

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.

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Gefjun: goddess or giant?

My last post on Gefjun touched on the question of her status. She is counted among the goddesses, but so are Skadi, Gerdr and Jord, all of whom are giantesses by birth. John Lindow has argued that she was obviously a giant or other primal being, although others have seen her as an earth goddess. So is she a goddess, a giantess, or both?

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Sunna’s Stead

In my post on Mani the Norse moon-god I tried to work out what powers he might have, based on the few references to him in the Eddic poems, and especially in Völuspá. This time around I will look at his sister, Sol the sun-goddess.

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Mani, keeper of time

We are used to thinking of the moon and sun as opposites, a fallacy that even pervades astronomy, as Space.com points out. For a single instant in a lunar month (29.5 days) the sun is opposite the moon in the sky. This is the exact moment of the full moon. Apart from this, the two may be anything from 180 to 0 degrees apart, and are often seen in the sky together.

This may explain why Völuspá refers to the moon-god Mani as the sun’s companion or escort. (Depending on translation.) Also, when the two appear in the sky for the first time, their routes are not yet established, so it makes sense that they would be together.

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Turning the Heavens: Mundilfare

We all know that Yggdrasil is the World Tree of Norse myth, and that it holds together the nine worlds. However, the Norse, like the Finns and the Indians, seem to have had some notion of a world mill (or churn) as well, which turned the heavens and could grind out various products. This cosmic mill shows through the confused myths about the sun and moon.

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blacksmith sparks

Idavoll (and Idunn?)

The name Iðavöll appears twice in Völuspá, just after major cosmic events. The first, in stanza 7, follows the meeting of the Æsir where they portion out time, naming the parts of day, and the year. Stanza 6 tells us that the Æsir met at “the thrones of fate”, while 7 starts with them meeting at Iðavöll Plain, and unlike stanza 6, they physically create things, rather than just naming them.

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