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NORSE MYTHOLOGY

 

 

 

In Norse mythology, Valhalla is "A Paradise for those fallen in battle", "a hall of the slain". The fallen warriors (Einherjar) are separated; the other half go to Valhalla, a great hall ruled by the god Odin. The Valkyries were female figures who chose who were going to die in battle and who were going to survive. After death, the Valkyries selected half of the fallen warriors and brought them to Valhalla. 

 

The other half end up in Fólkvangr "the field of the warriors", a meadow ruled by the goddess Freyja. Freyja was also the god of fertility and love. She was absolutely beautiful, with golden hair and blue eyes. She shed tears that turned gold when they hit the ground, or amber if they fell to the ocean. She was riding a chariot pulled by cats.

 

 

Ragnarok was the doom of the gods, the final battle. The apocalypse.

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"    Ominous prophecies and dreams had long foretold the downfall of the cosmos and of its gods and goddesses along with it. When the first of these prophesied events came to pass – the beloved god Baldur was killed by Loki and consigned to the underworld – the gods had to face the fact they could no longer escape their tragic destiny. They prepared as well as they could. Odin took a great deal of time and care selecting the ablest human warriors to join him in the final battle against the world-devouring giants. But, deep down, they knew that all of their desperate actions were in vain.

In Midgard, the realm of human civilization, people abandoned their traditional ways, disregarded the bonds of kinship, and sank into a wayward, listless nihilism. The gods weren’t exactly innocent of these same charges, however. They had broken oaths and fallen short of their expectations of one another on many occasions. (See, for example, The Fortification of Asgard and The Binding of Fenrir.) Three winters came in a row with no summer in between, a plodding, devastating season of darkness and frigidity which the prophecies had called the Fimbulwinter (“The Great Winter”)."

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At last, in the ultimate reversal of the original process of creation, the ravaged land sank back into the sea and vanished below the waves. The perfect darkness and silence of the anti-cosmic void, Ginnungagap, reigned once more.

But this age of death and repose did not last forever. Soon the earth was once again raised from the ocean. Baldur returned from the underworld, and the gladdened land became more lush and fruitful than it had been since it was created the previous time. A new human pair, Lif and Lifthrasir, the equivalents of Ask and Embla in the Norse creation narrative, awakened in the green world. The gods, too, returned and resumed their merrymaking.    "

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