Wight of the Nine Worlds


I welcome thee free spirit, which thou shalt come with an open heart, open mind and an open soul, for what you are about to read can only be understood by the wise who are eager to learn and to embrace the roots deep and forgotten in the hearts of the free people of Europe, by accepting who you are and where your roots lie, is half way into the great road of life. We will journey unto where our spirit takes us with the knowledge we gained. Learn and teach.

Asgard - Home of the Aesir - 8th Part


In the previous post I wrote about Freyja's hall, and as she is one of the Vanir also living in Asgard, now it is time to also write about her father, another Vanir deity that has a hall in Asgard.

Njörd's hall in Asgard is called Noatun and it is located outside the walls of the realm in the coastal zone to the west and southwest. In this coast his hall stands in a small bay and ships from the distance can see the hall of Njörd, a white structure with a few ships anchored in the bay below it. This structure is filled with open windows and the ceilings are different from the ones of all the other halls in Asgards, these are arched, resembling the bottom of a ship. 
There are fishing tools all over the place even hanged on the walls, and a salty wind blows inside. There are many seabirds around the area and often fly to the insides of the structure. Most of the furniture is made out of parts of ships, even the tables, and there are many colums that were once masts.

In this hall along with Njörd, others live there, most of them are sailors. Apart from the hall and the docks, there are also workshops behind the hall and all manners of sea working is made there, such as woodcarving, shipbuilding, net-mending, barrel-making and so on.

As you might imagine, this is the harbour where many ships from different lands take rest after great voyages, the many denizens of the Nine norse worlds come here, and others as well. This is a haven for those who love the sea and everything connected to it.


There is a goddess that few know, she is called Saga, the goddess of lore and knowledge through learning from the lore and study. This goddess also lives in Asgard by the sea. Her hall is called Sokkvabek. This is also a place of learning while relaxing at the same time, for those who love the sound of waves and seabirds and the whales during the night, and of course, refreshing the body and the soul in the waters which are near the hall, in fact, the hall is so close to the water, that there isn't sand or rock to place the feet, the hall goes directly into the water.
Inside this hall, there are many written memories such as poetry, songs, tales of old and so on. This goddess keeps the records of the past, some important, some irrelevant.

Thrymheim II

The tale of Skadi is one that people have heard so often, but summarizing it, there was a giant called Thjatsi who married an Aesir woman, by doing so he inherited all that was hers when she died. Thjatsi was slain by the Aesir but he had a daughter called Skadi who came all the way from Jotunheim to demand her inheritance and have her vengance upon the Aesir for killing her father.
She also wanted a husband of Aesir blood, so she could be accepted quickly into the Aesir tribe. She was married with Njörd but it didn't work out, but she still owns and lived in her father and stepmother's hall. Being a goddess who loves winter and can't stand another type of weather, during the summer of Asgard (which is quite long) she leaves the mountains of Asgard and goes back to her halls in Jotunheim.
Her hall in Asgard is called Thrymheim in honor to the giant Thrym the king of Jotunheim. Her hall in Jotunheim is also called by this name.
Her hall, is found in the great mountain chain of Asgard to the north and all the way to the east. There weather there is cold and snowy, but in lighter proportions, nothing compared to the weather of the mountains of Jotunheim where her other hall is placed.


Ydalir is the home of the god Ullr, the god of winter and hunting and also skiing. It is more like an hunting lodge in a grove surrounded by trees.

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Asgard Home of the Aesir - 7th part

Folkvang and Sessrumnir

When the Aesir and the Vanir tribes of gods ceased the war between them, there was an exchange of gods as a token of peace between the two tribes. One of the most famous deities of the Vanir to be sent to the Aesir side was Freyja.

She is the goddess of love, fertility, the pleasures of the body, spring season and also war and magic, she is very much honored by all. She is the eldest child of Njörd and Nerthus and sister to Freyr. She is the patron of those who work with the norse magic, Seidr, especially the women. It was Freyja who taught Odin the magic arts of Seidr/Seiðr.

This is a goddess that can be seen in Asgard and also in Vanaheim, traveling from one real to another for many purposes throughout the year. But this post is about the places of Asgard, so I will only be writting about her hall in Asgard.
While in the real of the Aesir, she is frequently seen in her hall, Sessrumnir, and also with the Valkyries of Valhalla, because too often she rides to war with them to pick those who have fallen in battle and take them with her, especially women, although, she will only take those sworn to her or to any other Norse god with the exception of those who are sworn to Odin, Thor or those who have to be sent to Helheim.

Freyja's duties in Asgard are not equal to those of Vanaheim, her works in Asgard are linked to war and death. It is in Asgard that she keeps all she needs to go to war including her female pig called Hildisvin which is the offspring of Gullinbursti, the great boar of Freyr, brother of Freyja.

Her hall is placed in a field called Folkvang/Fólkvangr and her hall is also has the same name, although her home is called Sessrumnir, which might be the same Hall or two different ones. As I have written on another post about the flora and fauna of Asgard, because it is a realm so bright and most of the year it is like summertime, it is hard for any flower to sprout and live there, but in Folkvangr most of the time is springtime, ir is the only place in Asgard that this happens, obviously because of Freyja. All of the area is really pleasent, filled with trees, most given to Freyja by Idunna, but there are a lot of gardens, springs, meadows and so on. It is the place where warriors also go, but it is more like a place of rest, to clear the mind of all those disorders of war.
This is the place where the warrior learns to balance both sides of his condition as a warrior, where the warrior learns how to behave, meditate, to ponder and appreciate the gentler side of the war arts which require discipline.

As nowadays cats are so popular (they are awesome by the way) I would like to mention that Folkvangr, especially around Freyja's hall and in it, is filled with cats.

The inside of the hall is beautiful, divided in small areas with fire places and beautifully carved walls and colums. The place itself encourages people to gather around and talk or entertain themselves with music and games, this is the perfect hall of those who have dificulties in friendships, sometimes even if the reason is as simple as not knowing how to speak/deal/approuche another of our own kind. This is one of the major reasons why the hall of Freyja is called both Folkvangr and Sessrumnir, because the first one is huge and it is a place filled with guests, and outside there is another hall, a small one where Freyja is often seen along with practicers of Seidr, and that smaller hall might be Sessrumnir.

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Asgard Home of the Aesir (6th Part)

This is the 6th part of Asgard and the continuation of the places of renown and great importance that lie in the realm of the Aesir tribe of gods.


There is another hall that few know about it, since all the other most known halls in the norse mythology have somehow placed the others in the shade. One of these "not-so-famous" halls is Vingolf, which at first was aquired by Odin because Valhalla was filled with Einherjar and another hall was needed to place the overflowing warriors. But Valhalla isn't yet filled because of various reasons that I have written in the previous posts.

Vingolf became the property of the Aesir goddesses, they claimed it of their own and it is now a haven for the female Aesir. Of course that men can visit this hall, however, it is filled with that feminine touch, but it is quite beautiful and its gardens are pleasent to look upon. This hall was built in a beautiful land filled with hot springs around the hall itself, and there is also a small hall built in the center of the hot springs which serves as a healing house.


The largest hall in Asgard and one of the largest single-owner hall in all the nine worlds, is Thor's hall called Bilskirnir. This single hall is larger than Valhalla and all the houses around it, including the walls. Bilskirnir is the equivalent of a small city. This hall has six hundred and forty rooms, not only filled with people from Valhalla but also with those who died in battle and were sworn to Thor. In it Thor's guests also live there for a while, the servants of Thor and also Sif's servants, even Loki dwelt there for a time. The walls of this huge hall are made of brick and stone and all the rooms are high-ceilinged and each room has windows that are constantly open to let the air in, even when it is raining.

Unlike what we are used to hear or see about Thor in out modern world prespective, Thor is the champion of Asgard, he is the god of the common people such as farmers, he is the protector of mankind and often wanders in the world of mortals and has mortals as guests in his own hall. Thor isn't blond, he is red-haired and has a red-beard.

In this great hall also lives Meile, which most don't know who this figure is, and in truth he doesn't want to be known or be famous, but he is one of Thor's younger brothers who seldom is at Bilskirnir, but can be found there once in a while.

There are two other denizens of this great hall, two other of great renown a part from Sif herself, the wife of Thor. These two are Roskva and Thjalfi or Thjalfr. They are the children of Egil Skytten, the midgard mortal, it is said that he had an affair with Groa, the giant sorceress wife of Aurvandil who is the first husband of Sif, and together they had a son, the god Ullr. So it is said that Roskva and Thjalfi are the sons of Egil the mortal and of Groa, which makes them Half-human.
There are many talls of how Roskva and Thjalfi came to live with Thor, the most heard one (summarizing) is that when Thor and Loki were traveling together, they came to a farm where they found this human family with two children. They all sat and had dinner together, they ate one of Thor's goats but all had been warned not to break any bones. The children did it and as a payment for their disobedience, Thor took them to his hall to work there.
Another tale, not so often heard, is that Groa and Aurvandil were good friends of Thor and after raising the two children, they sent them to be fostered at Bilskirnir. Thjalfi became Thor's page, accompanying him in many journeys.
Thjalfi is also the messenger of Bilskirnir and a guide for those who are wandering about Asgard and lost. Roskva helps in Bilskirnir and she is also a guide there, for this great hall is a confusing labyrinth.

Behind Thor's hall there is a small hall (small compared with Bilskirnir itself) that belongs to Thor's daughter Thrud, the sister of Magni and Modi. The land where Thor's hall was built is called Thrudheim, in honor of Thor's daughter and to show the love and pride he has for her.

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The Triskell and Triquetra

In another post, I talked about the Fylfot symbol, a symbolism of the triade of gods and today in this post I will continue with another symbol of that same triade, and also the Norns.

The Triskell is attributed to magical work such as reading the runes and as such, it is alsp connected with the Norns, the goddesses of fate. 
The first branch of Triskell (Odin) describes the essence and the ocult meaning. The second branch on the right (Vili) is the principle of movement, energy and life tendencies. The third branch of the left (Vé) reveals the materialization of these impulses in the reality of our body and the world around us.

The importance of numbers in ancient religions has always been very present, as in here we see that the number three simbolizes the wisdom we can all obtain. However, the number nine is also present in the religions of northern Europe (3x3 = 9) which symbolizes that which is beyond our understanding, this is the number that symbolizes a consciousness beyond our mortal body, symbolizes the initiatory process of traveling to the other world as Odin did in his sacrifice hanging on the world tree Yggdrasil.

An older spirituality, the number three symbolized three different worlds, three realities or different planes of consciousness, the upper world, the middle world and the underworld, the foundations of a spiritual work, the foundations of shamanism. We also note this triade with the three types of guardians in the Norse mythology, Heimdall guards the Bifrost Bridge, Modgud the bridge that connects Helheim and Thor protects Asgard.

Retreating further into the origins of life according to the Norse mythology, also in the beginning there were only three planes. Niflheim and Muspelheim and Ginnungagap which was also a form of primeval life. Only then was it possible the appearance of the first signs of life through Ymir and Audhumbla.

Thus we see that the number three instilled in the Nordic symbolism, give us the understanding that this number is the number creator of all life forms, an energy catalyst.

The triquetra is also a Norse symbol closely connected with the Valknut and the Triskelion Horn. There are thousands of artifacts with this symbol in ornaments which have been found in Gnezdilovo ( in Russia ) all the way to York ( in England).
Initially this word designated any three-cornered figures, but now it is applied to the shape formed by three interlocked semicircles at the place where three circles would overlap.

The Triquetra was also used by the Christians to convey their own religious content. As an example, the Triquetra that was struck on the coins by the Christian Norse kings of York, was probably already reinterpreted by York Vikings in the Christian perspective. The same may apply to the silver penny issued by Harald Hardrade (king of Norway from 1047 to 1066).

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Princess Piki - Part III

Princess Piki

Part III

The freezing cries echoed, all was swallowed by mist, those who stood there were quailing in fear. From within the forest, whatever was coming their way, could be heard as clear as water breaking the dead silence of a cave. The hooves trailing the paths, the moaning, the howls... even the most mighty-hearted shrank in awe. Then, once more, silence fell. A chill grabbed Lutzar's men by their neck and they swallowed it dry, as one swallows a three-weeks bread, scratching the throat all the way down to the stomach. Twigs breaking here and there, leafs being lifted from the ground and a steady hoarse wheezing. The men grabbed the hilt of their swords still attached to the sheaths, their hands trembled and fear made their weapons heavier. Silence was broken by a cry in agony as a dark beast leaped and tore the flesh of a unhappy fool. It did not take long for another to die in a gruesome way, and the air was filled with screams of terror and anguish followed by gurgling sounds of people suffocating in their own blood. Now all knew why the forest of Lürnothil was deprived of any settlings in a radius of at least fifty miles in all directions. This ancient forest was inhabited by an ancient evil left behind, hideous creatures named Bwyrgil.

Niniär was terrified, all that madness took over the reins of night. Glowing eyes came towards her, claws ripped the mist and a monstrous head piered from within the blurry fog. She turned pale and unmoved but she knew that she could not tarry there, fear was a delay, a swift and deadly delay followed by unbearable pain and an horrible death. She came to her senses and broke the chains that freezed her mind and hastened towards wherever safe harbour she could find. To perilous ways her legs carried her. The ground was filled with rocks and thorny roots, in the gloom of night there were many traps for wandering feet. She fled to where the sun rises, leaving behind Lake Unir and entering the land of Weiyth, a vast untamed land, almost two hundred miles wide, where the wild oxen graze near the great Urodum river that runs in haste and anger. To whatever direction she went, she would never find anyone,  and this was in a time before King Arävar rulership, thus, there were too few towns, by this time there was only the Hojkur¹ and the nobles that ruled in it. The nearest place with any folk was the Hojky of Gilnimb, three hundred and eighteen miles southwest of Weiyth.

Niniär heard the neigh of an horse, like her, this stunning animal was running in fear leaving behind its master to be the meal of a ravenous Bwyrgil. She was used to deal with such magnificent animals and so she stopped him and with her gentle voice almost in melody, eased the creature. The horse was brown from snout to hoof, a long mane as black as coal and in its forehead white fur resembling a four-pointed star. In many battles it had fought and conquered, and after its final troubling night, time came to give rest to the creature. Niniär took care of the horse and fetched food for both. For three days and nights they bonded, and at the dawn of the fourth day, they rode together to meet the lake Gladtló which was fed by the river Urodum. Niniär took comfort in the company of her new friend and she became fond of him, but her heart foreboded that the days ahead would be as perilous as uncertain.

To be continued...

¹ Hojky (Sing.) or Hojkur (Plur.) is the small economical and self-sustaining area where a great hall is placed and the people that work in the fields around it or have anykind of jobs to support the community, live in it along with the noble that rules over the entire Hojky. It so happens that some Hojkur have a fortified fence around the great hall and also some houses and barns around the hall which gave birth to the first villages, and in the time of King Arävar's kingship some of these became the first towns.

Arith Härger

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Asgard - Home Of The Aesir (5th part) - Fensalir


The post about Asgard and its places continue, this one is exclusively about Fensalir the hall of Frigga.

Like many of the Halls of Asgard, Fensalir also has a golden roof, it is a beautiful hall surrounded by birch trees, because this is the tree of the goddess Frigga. It is delightful to look upon this hall especially during autumn, while the leaves of the birch trees are yellow and the white bark of these really match the colors of the hall. The lawns around the hall are filled with chamomile. Behind the hall lies a vast fens with a real mystical athmosphere.

Fensalir is like a small village but with a huge hall standing there with many small houses around it. After reaching the great white door of the hall, inside of it a cosy and homely feeling fills all that set their feet on the floor of the hall. It is a bright hall with good food and the smell of dried herbs. n the area around Frigga's hall there are other halls, smaller ones, barns where livestock is kept and also workshops.

Frigga is the most powerful goddess of Asgard and she is one of the members of the council of Asgard. Frigga is a peace-maker and a peace-keeper. She is also a great seer and the patron of marriage as well as the patron of all the home works such as crafts, cooking, weaving and so on.
Frigga can be usually found at her home, her hall, always busy along with her helpers.

As I have written before, there are smaller halls around Fensalir which belong to Frigga's handmaidens, however, not hall of Frigga's handmaidens have their hall near Fensalir, some live in different parts of Asgard far from Fensalir, others don't even have a hall because they prefer a smaller house or to live inside Fensalir itself, but most of the time the helpers of Frigga can be found inside Fensalir, most are women and it is impossible to mention all of them.

I can name a few though, I could say I will mention the most important, but all of them have their importance as you might imagine. 
One of Frigga's handmaiden is her own sister Fulla, the goddess of abundance. She is the keeper of Frigga's wealth, all of it and whatever it is.
Fulla lives in Fensalir and lets put it in these terms, she is the second in command when Frigga is busy or not in Fensalir.
There are also human servents in Fensalir.

One of the most important handmaidens of Frigga and highly sought by many is Eir the healer of the Aesir. She keps her own hall around Fensalir, like a hospital.

There is also Gna, Frigga's messenger who lives in Frigga's hall, however she seldom is in it. Gna is always working and running on horseback in the errands that Frigga sends her to. Her horse is named Hofvarpnir whose parents are Gardrofa and Harmskerpir.

There is another handmaiden called Gefjon, a strong farmworker. She is the patron of manuel laborers, either men or women, and she is also the patron of unmarried girls. She has four sons and not a single daughter.

Snotra, another handmaiden, the goddess of virtue and hard working.

Lofn is the protector of lovers and romance and also love. She protects and helps all of those whom relationships are disapproved by someone, or a group of people or even society. She might be one of Frigga's handmaidens but she spends a lot of time in Sessrumnir working with the goddess Freyja.

Sjofn is another, also frequently seen at Sessrumnir, she is the handmaiden of peacemaking between couples. She is the relationship counselor. She has her own cottage and there is a very important rule, before anyone attempts to enter, all weapons must be laid outside. Interesting enough, she also works with the god Forseti.

Var, the goddess who witnesses oaths, is a mostly silent witness, rarely seen even at Fensalir unless someone is doing something that she needs to witness.

Hlin, the handmaiden of mourning, gives comfort and consolation to those who are grieving. She is also a battle Goddess. Hlin is a weaponsmaster, and for those few whom Frigga finds worthy, will teach both Her skill and wisdom in warcraft. (Not the game as you might think)

Syn is the doorkeeper of Fensalir, and another goddess of oath taking. She lives in Fensalir.

Vor is another rarely-seen handmaiden. She is a seer and wisewoman.

Huldra, the hardworking handmaiden of flocks and herds, is often conflated with Holda. However, some say that they are the same, and some say that they are completly different. Huldra is the patron of the Huldre-folk, small earth wights of Midgard.

700-year-old melting village in Alaska

The archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen have been racing against time and acting as quickly as they can in order to save the remains of a 700 year-old village in Quinhagak which is in Alaska. This village has been preserved under ice for centuries, but as it is exposed to the elements during the digging, it is in danger, exposed to the elements following the melting of permafrost.

Luckily the team of archaeologist have already recovered hundreds of preserved artefacts that have been kept intact for the following centuries underneath the permafrost. The findings include sixty wooden dolls with the original paint still on it, along with leather, fur, ceremonial masks, carvings of sea monsters from the myths, also plants and even a 400 year-old grass that has been frozen in time.

As you might imagine, the scientists had to work extremely fast in order to save all of these findings, since it is the first time in 700 years that the artefacts have been exposed to the natural elements. This is because the soil is held together by the ice, as the ice melts, the soil becomes very vulnerable to all the elements around and the marine erosion.

One of the most exciting findings was the strands of human hair, probably the leftover from a haircut, the archaeologists say, it was across the floor of a well preserved house. This also means that the scientists can perform an analysis and thus discover more about the diet of the original inhabitants of this place, the Yup'ik people.

There is little knowledge about these people, the so called Yup'ik people living in an area of north America which is three times bigger than Scotland. According to the records, it seems they moved there between 1300 and 1650, covering the little Ice Age which was a period of repid global climate changes during the early 15th century.

Asgard - Home Of The Aesir 4th Part

The previous post was all about Valhalla, I decided to write it that way to concentrate the knowledge about Valhalla in a single post and not mixing it with other places of Asgard. In this post lets continue with the other places of Asgard. This post will be about Gladsheim and Valaskjalf.

In the center of Asgard lies the plain of Idavoll and in it lies the great hall of Gladsheim which is also the name of the the fields where this Hall stands. Gladsheimr is the Hall of Joy, a sanctuary in Asgard. From the distance it seems that its roof is made of gold, even near it it appears its roof is thatched with gold. At the end of this Hall there is a great tower covered in silver which is called Valaskjalf.
Idavoll is a great plain covered in tall grass and the strong winds that blow the grass make it seem like a ocean rising in anger, and also resembles the coiling of serpents.

In the myths we often hear about the roof of the halls of important gods, to be made out of gold. In the case of Gladsheim it is actually made out of a grass-thatch with a golden color that grows in the outskirts of the plain. Because the plain is vast and filled with grass, there are herds of goats grazing everywhere. There is a famous goat in here called Heidrun. There is also a reindeer caled Eikthrynir. These are the same names of the goat and Deer in Valhalla, so these are probably the same animals because Valhalla can be seen from Gladsheim, in fact, like Gladsheim (the hall) Valhalla also lies in the plain of Gladsheim, so the two halls are close to each other.
Gladsheim (the hall) is where all the deities of Asgard gather and feast, this is the hall of meetings. This is the hall that Odin welcomes visitors, where guests stay before they venture further.

This hall is also an assembly, there is a great throne that belongs to Odin and other thrones down the main room, each belonging to on of the deities who has the right to speak in the Council of Asgard. The gods with most influence apart from Odin, are, Ullr, Bragi, Tyr, Thor, Frey, Njörd, Heimdal, Frigga, Freyja, Sif, Skadi and Iduna.

The hall of Gladsheim has an enormous horse called Falhofnir and belongs to Odin. In the roof the rooster called Gullinkambi is always wandering around. 
Geri and Freki, the famous wolves of Odin can be seen here in the chamber of the council and this is probably their home.
Huginn and Muninn, Odin's ravens can also be seen sometimes in the hall but not as often as the wolves.

The great tower of Valaskjalf sometimes is considered to be a separete hall, however, it is part of Gladsheim, it is like its turret, but huge as it is, it really seems like a different hall. The difference between Valaskjalf and Gladsheim, is that the tower os used by Odin alone, no other deity goes in. This is Odin's watchtower, no one ever goes in unless he wants them to.

Valaskjalf is made out of white stone. In the top of the tower lies Hlidskjalf, the great throne of Odin which he uses to watch far into the other realms.

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The Fylfot

There are still doubts about the Norse and Germanic symbols which most people still think of them as hate symbols, which isn't true, but during the WWII the Nazis made a very good propaganda to those symbols and it inserted fear into the hearts of all. But we live in the XXI century and it is time to differentiate ancient history and the meaning of symbols with the use of the same but in modern times and with political purposes.

The swastika in India was the synonymous of life and regeneration. It is the oldest relic of the generative and regenerative powers of nature, such as the Fylfot for the ancient Germanic peoples. The forces of sexuality and nature were personified as being subjected to the gods regency with the purpose of being elevated from their earthly condition to pass into a spiritually transfiguration.

It was the feminine aspect that served as a unifier of the male triad, thus forming the four sacred facets. Freyja, as the supreme theophany female, is always present among the major gods of Asgard, Odin, Thor and Tyr.
The male triad is also represented by Odin and his two brothers, Vili and Vé.

Odin is unity. It is the pure self, the higher consciousness, the purest energy. Odin originally represented the anger, the flame of combat, the deity of Shamanism, trance, the music, the ecstasy and enchantment.

Vili is the pure universal will that becomes the individual expression of the will of transformation, evolution and change. This is the challenge to find and reveal the will of our spiritual existence. The higher self that shows us the power of transformation, the impulse of evolution, authenticity and spiritual attribute. The real spiritual vocation of the individual.

Vé is the sanctuary, the sacred grove, natural temple, he is revealed in the body or created in nature. The primary forest of the Germanic peoples, the Urwald.

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Asgard - Home Of The Aesir - 3rd Part ( Valhalla )

Following the previous post, I will continue with the sites of greatest importance in Asgard.

Let's start with Valhalla.

Valhalla is the most famous place of all the Nine worlds and the Norse history, everyone has heard about it at least once, nowadays it became even more famous with movies, music and games. But do people really know what Valhalla really is?

Valhalla is the home of the Einherjar, the warriors who fall in battles and are chosen by Odin. Valhalla is both the fortified town and the great hall. The hall is made of giant wooden spear-shafts and the roof covered with many colored battle shields. Near the western entrance a carved figure of a wolf is "guarding" the door, and the eastern side it is the figure of an eagle.
Inside the Hall there are at least five hundred and forty doors (this is one of the biggest halls of all of Asgard) and of course, behind each of these doors are rooms for eight hundred warriors. Strangely enough, Valhalla (the hall) isn't full, but it has enough people to form a small city.

Valhalla isn't just a place for warriors, not is it just a place to fight and learn how to fight, and prepare for battles and such things. Valhalla is also a place of learning, it also has a great library, places for spiritual purposes, leisure, the inner chamber for the feasts etc. thing of it as a great university.

Valhalla is not for the faint hearted, for the lazy or for the weak minded and are used to have an easy life, however, even those might enter to become better individuals, expand knowledge, grow spiritually and mentally, but this does not mean that they are able to remain there for a long time, or in some cases, by the time they are set to stay. All those who enter there are chosen by Odin.

It is true that on the roof of Valhalla an enormous goat and a great stag wander around grazing on the thatched roof. The goats name is Heidrun and she is milked twice daily. The stag is named Eikthrynir, as the name suggests, it is old norse for "Oak thorn", along with his companion, the goat, they nibble the bark of the enormous tree that grows beside the roof. This tree also has a name, Laerad they call it, and it is a sapling of the world tree Yggdrasil.

The main route into the hall is through the great double doors, but they are heavily guarded of course. There is a back way into Valhalla an it is through the kitchen, where the cook Andhrimmer works.
 Andhrimmer has a giant magical kettle,  named Eldhrimmer, in which he cooks the stew for the million starving warriors upstairs. The myth tells us of one enormous resurrecting boar, Saehrimmer, which is slaughtered every night for the feast and revived again the next morning with no memory of what happened.

Odin's Valkyries work in the hall. All of them are tall and strong, fierce, they are referred to as shield-maidens. They can change into various birds such as ravens and swans, usually dressed in armor when on duty, being one of their first duties the picking up of anyone fallen in battle that Odin feels that it may be the appropriate character to enter Valhalla, a person worthy to be part of his troops. The Valkyries may have a human appearance, but they aren't humans, far from it.

The Valkyries who are in charge of making sure that the Einherjar get fed are named Herfjotur, Goll, Geirahod, Geirdriful, Geirolu, Geirromul, Geirrondul, Geirskigull, Geiravor, and Skeggjold. Two more, Hrist and Mist, are Odin's personal dinner-servants and serve only him. The three most important Valkyries are Gondul, Hildr, and Skogul, who are in charge of deciding which warriors is taken on to the battlefield. The three of them tend not to ride straight onto the field, they are generals who watch from the sky. They are mistresses of war and magic, and can be invoked for aid and to teach battle-galdr. They will only teach those who are sworn to Odin, unless he instructs them to teach someone else. One may also encounter human women who are claimed by Odin as his Valkyries and who occasionally visit Valhalla as well.

 There are other Valkyries that we know of , they are so called Halmthrimull, Herja, Hervor, Hildeberg, Hjorthrimul, Holukk, Hrund, Kara, Kreimhildr, Olrun, Ragridr, Rangnid, Reginleif, Sanngridr, Sigrdrifa, Sigrun, Skamold, Svava, Svanhvit, Sveid, Svipull, Tanngnidr, Thogn, and Thrima. Eir occasionally rides with the valkyries as well, though her function seems to be that of a battlefield healer, she may bring a merciful death to some of the fallen.

Valhalla is the home of Odin, however he isn't there all the time but visits it often. When he enters Valhalla, his spear, Gungnir, is hung over the outside doorway as a sign that he is within.

During the Yule, it is from Asgard that the Asgardsreia beings and people who visit Valhalla during this time might get the chance to see it or even participate in it. This festival is the wild hunt, various deities also participate in it, wights, some of the Einherjar, other spirits and so on.

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Experimental Archaeology and the Russian Hermit

There is this new type of archaeology which is called, Experimental Archaeology which I would very much like to bring into the country where I'm living, Portugal, because it is a country filled with history and different cultures in a 5000years time frame. Anyway, Experimental Archaeology is what the name says it is, studying a period in history and reconstruct it, it can either be in the place of the archaeological findings, it might be reconstruct an already existing structure or recreate it in a different part. Reconstructing old buildings and settlements using the tools and materials of that time placing everything it was needed to survive and live to better understand how the human being lived life, it helps us to understand the social behavior, the connections they had with other cultures, where did the materials come from, what did they do in the different periods of the year, the type of food they were eating and so on.. This would be very interesting to make in Portugal with the Celtic and Lusitanian settlements, or the Germanic structures to the North or even the similar type of Norse settlements along the northern and central coast of Portugal, not even to mention the thousands of megalithic structures all over the country. But I'm getting off the topic now.

So speaking of Experimental Archaeology, in Russia a 24 year old man is spending eight months living completely alone in thr harsh freezing Russian wilderness, in an attempt to reconstruct the life of a 10th century hermit, it is part of a social experiment as well as Archaeological one. The project started in September and it is expected to run until the end of May. The man is caled Pavel Sapozhnikov, from Moscow, and he can only abandon the project if his mental or physical health is at serious risk, or if by any way his life is under threat. The dangerous thing is, even if contracts an illness, for example, lung infection, he is expected to carry the project on as his ancestors would have done a 1,000 years ago.

This isn't an easy task, Sapozhnikov is living in the replica of a 10th century farm house placing in a forest clearing around 50 miles north of Moscow. With the help of the expert archaeologist, Alexander Fetisov, the farm was built using only materials and techniques that would have been used by ancient Russians. Obviously this includes fire lights that burn on linseed oil, wooden beds, animal fur clothes and bedding and calendar scratched into the wall of the house. Sapozhnikov is only allowed to leave the fenced-off area of the farm to hunt and gather food. His is banned from any kind of communication and he can only use authentic tools that were used in ancient Russia.

He is already been living there for six months but the real challenge is during the cold harsh Russian winter season, a time when temperatures in the region can drop as low as minus 30ºC. This period of the year was deliberately chosen to highlight exacly how difficult Russian ancestors would have been living and hunting in these conditions.

The experiment is part of a project called ‘Hero’ and was set up by events manager Alexei Ovcharenko from agency Ratobor.  The theory behind the experiment is ‘to trace the social and psychological changes in personality and learn how important the support of others is to modern humans.’  Ovcharenko added that eight months is long enough for the experiment to yield results, but not too long that it will 'pathologically endanger' Sapozhnikov.  However, a medical expert and project leader does visit him once a month to check on his progress.

Sapozhnikov starts his morning by milking his goats, collecting eggs, butchering chickens for food and eating breakfast, follwing by chopping wood and collecting water from the well, and when the season calls for it, gathering mushrooms from the near by forest. The rest of the day is spent either hunting for food or carrying out manual labour on the farm. This also includes insulating the house with manure, maintaining his house and outbuildings, and other tasks around the farm.

Of course Sapozhnikov wasn't sent to this mission with lack of information, he spent months learning how to prepare animals and how to live in these conditions. He also became skilled in using ancient tools and familiarised himself with ancient fire-building and washing techniques with the help from the archaeologists.
For example, to produce hot water he must place stones in his fire stove until they are glowing, before putting these stones into a bucket of cold water, he then uses this water to wash his clothes, cooking utensils, his home, and his own body, although, because water is scarce there, clothes and body washing is carried out infrequently.

Asgard - Home Of The Aesir 2nd part

As the other day I have been writing about Asgard, here it is the second part of it. Let's start with the inhabitants of that realm.

In Asgard it is obvious that all that reside there aren't just the Aesir deities, of course there are others. As I have written in the other post about Asgard (Part 1) there are many halls, and most of the main ones have been listed in the lay of Grímnismál, apart from those main halls, there are others, smaller but with great importance as well. For example, there are deities who have their handmaidens who work along side the deity in his/her own hall, but even the handmaidens have their own hall scattered around the main hall, this often happens when the deities in question are healing deities. But this isn't a pattern, it so happens that smaller halls of specific handmaidens of a deity might not be near the main hall, in some cases they can be far off in a completely different rigion within the realm.

There are a few places of great importance, which I'm about to mention. Let us start with Bifrost, the very beginning of this "trip".

The only way into Asgard is Bifrost, unless of course the spirit-worker might come from Vanaheim to the West and land on Njörd's harbor. Bifrost as you might well guessed, is the famous rainbow bridge, which is well guarded, it isn't a permanent structure. After crossing the rainbow bridge the first thing that stands on the other side is Heimdall's great hall called Himinbjorg.

Heimdall is Odin's son, and there he stands at the end of the bridge to welcome people in or drive them away. Himinbjorg is a beautiful hall, painted in light blue, the same color of the summer unclouded sky which is natural to Asgard most of the year, and the roof is painted in white which actually is brighter when the sun shines upon it.

Beside the doorstep lies Gjallarhorn, the great horn of Heimdall. Its size is huge and it isn't there just to announce the comming of Ragnarök, it is there to announce the coming of a visitor also.

Norse Rune code cracked

Interesting news, a scholar from the University of Oslo has cracked one of the rune codes used by the Vikings that has been found along these last years. This reveals that they have been sending messages to each other, messages as simple as a "Kiss me".

It was K. Jonas Nordby, a runologist, that was able to discover the secret behind the jötunvillur code while doing his PhD research. This specific code can be found in over 80 Norse inscriptions. On a stick from the 13th century he found that two men, by the names of Sigurd and Lavrans, carved their own names both in the code and also standard runes. The jötunvillur code consists in replacing the original runic character with the last sound of the rune name. Lets make an example out of it, the rune for "F", pronounced "fe", would be turned into an "E", while the rune for "K", pronounced Kaun, became an "N".

Nordby says that it is like solving a puzzle, he started to see gradually a pattern in what was apparently a meaningless combination of runes.

For those who thought that these coded runes would reveal any kind of a deep secret from the Norse people, will be largely disappointed. The messages that were found so far seem to be either used in learning or having some kind of a playful tone. In one of the cases the message was "Kiss me". Nordby explains that there is little reason to believe that the rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages apparently.

In many of the cases for instance, those who wrote the coded runes also left comments urging the readers to try to figure it out. Sometimes they would also boast of their abilities at writing the codes.

There are several kinds of Norse rune codes, some of which have been solved, while others remain a mystery. In article published last year in Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies, Nordby writes that  in some cases there is not enough information to piece together what the code could be.

But equally often an inscription may be complete and as clear as day, and yet make no sense. In many examples of the latter type the trained eye will spot the hand of a total illiterate scribbling rune-like symbols, or an unsteady and untrained writer trying to copy a runic text without any understanding of what it says. The most difficult cases to give up on are those that yield no sense even though the runes are well executed and the carving apparently secure. In an attempt to find a solution the dedicated runologist will try everything, viewing the inscription from all conceivable angles.

Nordby hopes that his new discovery will help other runologists. He says that very little is known about the use of runic codes, so obviously each new piece of information is important. We may have to look at reading and writing runes in a totally new way and by doing so, it will also help us in understanding how the runic knowledge was conveyed.

Asgard - Home Of The Aesir 1st Part

Asgard is possibly the most famous of all the nine realms of the Norse cosmology. It is to be expected, it is the place where the most famous deities live and it is also the place where Valhalla is, the great hall of the fallen warriors, which is the source of many epic sagas and wonderful tales.

Asgard is the most well guarded realm of all the nine, a realm on top of the great world tree Yggdrasil. Geographically speaking, it is the northernmost realm.
This realm wasn't at first what we know about it from the myths, shamanic/spiritual work nor from the written sources given to us. Asgard was only created or inhabited after the war of the Aesir against the Vanir. Prior to that, the Aesir lived in a place called Manheimur or Mannheim. No one knows were exactly that is, some say it is out of Asgard, others say it was a place inside Asgard, a tiny kingdom poorly fortified, or it might have been the name given to Midgard, not ours, but the very Midgard in existance in the spiritual world. This indicates that the Aesir once lived among the human folk. Suffice to say that the first dwellings of the Aesir is shrouded in mystery.

Mythology tells us of how Asgard was created, from the neckbones of Ymir the great Jotun. Odin, Vili and Vé created it in their great labors of worldmaking. It had a great wall around it, but it was demolished by the Vanir during the great war between the two races. However, it was repaired bu a frost Jotun called Hrimthurs with the aid of his magical horse Svaldilfari. The price for the work if it was done before summer's end, was the hand of the Vanir goddess Freyja. However, Odin sent Loki to disturb Hrimthurs' work and delay it, so he could never be paid. The giant discovered the scheme and burst in rage, the perfect excuse for Thor to kill him, and so he did. It isn't clear if the body of this giant was turned into stone or if a great stone was erected in homage to the giant and his great work, for the stone remains to this day outside the great white walls.

Asgard is much similar to Midgard, in terms of weather, seasons, the times of the day etc. but longer. During the summer the days are very long and bright, the realm of Asgard is filled with light. It has a warm weather, this might be because of the fact that Asgard is the favorite place of Sunna.
The winters there are still dark and chilly but with little snow, and long winter nights, too long.

Asgard is the smallest realm of all the nine, but even so, it is an immense land which seems endless, a vast continent, but comparing to the others, it is the smallest indeed. Asgard is filled with hills, valleys and a few flat plains as far as the eye can see. To the north of it, and immense mountain chain that goes all the way into the east closer to the end of this realm by the sea. To the west lies the coast which is the border between te ocean of Vanaheim. In this western coast there is great bay where Njörd's Halls and Ships lie. The greatThund Thvitr river which is large and deep, comes from the Northern mountains of Jotunheim to the east and serves as a border between Jotunheim and Asgard. The river flows to the south and meets with the borders of Alfheim and then it finds its way into the ocean.

The white walls of Asgard can be seen in the distance once already inland. It's main gate made of iron is called Valgrind. Asgard isn't a realm filled with cities, instead, there are many great Halls with their respective courts with houses, much like big villages. Valhalla, Valaskjalf and Fensalir follow the same pathern pattern. It is known to us that there are at least sixteen geat Halls belonging to major deities and a few minor ones scattered, which belong to other deities.

There is a great plain called Vigrid, it is the largest of all the plains of Asgard. No one lives there, and much like most parts of Asgard, because of the weathern being warm and long bright summer days, there aren't many plants and the lack of flowers because of the fast passing spring time doesn't give the natural beauty that the land deserved. It is said, that it is in this vast brown-dust plain, that Ragnarök will take place, this will be the battlefield.

Near Asgard there are two small realms called Andlang and Vidblain. Little is known about these places, but they are part of Asgard.
Asgard may not have many flowers or other plants and trees that might enhance the beauty of this realm, but in terms of fauna, it is filled with birds of all sorts that crowd the roofs of the trees.

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My First Giveaway!

Remember the surprise I was talking about,and shared a sneak preview? If you guessed that it was a little giveaway you were right!:D My first giveaway, together with Ana Teresa Photography is now LIVE! So if you want to win one of these adorable notebooks head on to https://www.facebook.com/AnaTeresaPhotography/app_228910107186452 OR https://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger/app_228910107186452 and participate on the giveaway!:) 

Working with the Gods: Baldr

Baldr or Baldur is the Norse god of beauty, naivety and light. He is one of the few gods who as descended into the realm of Hel and do not yet arise from it. His story is a difficult one to understand, very tragic for the Aesir tribe of gods, a story of mischief and sorrow.

In the Norse mythology, Baldr is the youngest son of Odin and Frigga, the most beautiful of thesky gods, the Aesir. His mere presence brought light and merriment to all the gods in Asgard, and from him, a very bright light came to everywhere he went. 

Baldr married the Aesir goddess Nana who took care of the orchards of Asgard. They lived in the hall called Breidablik and in its surroundings nothing that was impure could ever live in such place, everything was naturally beautiful. They had a son called Forseti who would be later be known as the god of justice.

The saga of Baldr, Baldurs Draumar (Baldur’s Dream), tells us of the time when Baldr began to have strange dreams about his oncoming doom, death was approaching to cover in darkness the world of Aesir, light itself would be swallowed by it. Baldr told his parents about the dreams and his mother, Frigga, in a hurry, travelled throughout the nine realms asking every living thing not to harm her beloved son. Every living thing made this oath and when Frigga passed by the mistletoe, she thought that it was too young to make such an oath and she thought it to be harmless. Then she returned to Asgard and told to Baldr what she had done and that he was safe, nothing could harm him. Baldr made a game out of this, every god would throw weapons against him and every single object would bounce off.

Every great tragic story has vengeance in it, and this one isn't different. The god Loki was angry with the Aesir because they had murdered his wife Angrboda and imprisoned one of his sons, Fenrir, so Loki discovered the secret of Baldr's imunity to all things except the mistletoe, so he made a dart out of it and waited until the games of throwing weapons to Baldr began. Loki offered himself to help Hoder, the Blind brother of Baldr, so he could also participate in the games. Hoder agreed, and threw the mistletoe dart to Baldr, killing his own brother.

Meanwhile Loki fled and there was great mourning in Asgard. Many gods offered themselves to avenge Baldr's death, but Odin had other things in mind and none from his family was fit to do the task. So Odin raped the giant goddess Rind and she gave him a son called Váli, the god of vengeance. Váli didn't knew about the true story, all he knew is that his half brother Baldr had been killed by Hoder, and so he murdered the blind god.

Baldr was placed on his ship called Hringhorni and the funeral fire was started. Many were those who came to Baldr's funeral. Thor lost his self control because of the death of his younger brother, and in that rage he kicked a visiting dwarf right into the fire thus killing him. Baldr's wife, Nana, threw herself into the funeral pyre, thus commiting suicide to be with her beloved. Baldr's horse was also burnt along with everything that belonged to the god of light. When the time came to push the ship into the waters, it prove to be too heavy. All of a sudden a female giant called Hyrrokin, ridding a great wolf, came and gave the ship such a shove, that the earth itself trembled. It is said that this mysterious Hyrrokin was none other than Angrboda, Loki's wife, coming to witness her vengeance for the murder attempt on her, and for the kidnapping and later binding of her son Fenrir, and also her child Jormundgand, the great sea serpent.

In the meantime Odin and Frigga gave another task to one of Baldur's brothers, Hermod. He was to ride into Helheim and beg Hela to release Baldr. Hermod rode fro nine days till he finaly reached the Gates of Helheim and entered. He begged to Hela for his brother's life and she told him that she would only release him if every living thing in the nine worlds would weep for him. The Aesir went in all directions asking everyone they met to shed a tear for Baldr. All did so, except for an old female giant called Thokk and thus Baldr was lost forever. It is said that this Thokk figure was no other than Loki himself in disguise, making sure that Baldr stood with her daughter Hela.

There is much speculation in why such an event happened, why did Odin let all of this happen. In a foretelling, Odin knew that Baldr would be slain when Ragnarök started if Baldr was alive by then, on the other hand, being slain, Baldr would come to life after Ragnarök and rule in Asgard. It is said that Baldr's death was arranged by Odin and Loki to protect Baldr and send him to the safest place in the nine realms, the realm of the dead, so he might arise when the time comes and rule in Asgard.

The Saxons had another version of this story, in which Baldr and Hoder were two princes and both wanted the mortal princess Nana. Both fought and Hoder killed Baldr with a sword named Mistletoe and thus he married Nana.

It is clear that behind this story we can see that the only thing that can prevail over the light, is darkness, the opposite. Hoder the blind god is darkness and he took the life of his brother, Baldr, the god of light. When darkness covers the land, death and sorrow comes to mortal men and it is in darkness that Ragnarök starts, when all light fades away. But after te darkness a new light comes forth and life sprouts once more. Baldr revives and will rule in the realm of the Sky Gods.

One thing is also certain, to Baldr was given another task and he became a different god with a new sacred task, he is now the god who gives light in dark places, this also means giving light to those who live a life in darkness, while their mind is, metaphorically speaking, in darkness. Sorrow, sadness, depression, living in hard times, Baldr gives light and a new awakening.

Note: The artwork to illustrate this post is a painting of Baldr made by me. If you have any questions for me or if you want to see my artistic works, check out my Facebook page and make a Like if you can by following this link --> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger