"Gunnlöð" by Anders Zorn

“Gunnlod – Her themes are creativity, wisdom, health, protection and fertility.
Her symbols are mead, poetry, the cauldron or cup and apples.  This Teutonic Goddess guards the mead (a honey wine often made with apples) of sagacity and the muse – a refreshment most welcome at the outset of a new year. In art, Gunnlod is depicted as a giantess; according to stories about her, she stood vigilantly by the magic cauldron of Odherie until Odin wooed her and stole much of the elixir away.

For inspiration and insight, pick out a cup that’s special to you and fill it with apple tea and a teaspoon of honey (a mock mead). Stir it clockwise, saying:
‘Gunnlod, come to me
put ingenuity in this tea.’

Drink the tea to internalize the magic. If possible, sip it quietly while enjoying a good book of heartening poetry.

Alternatively, sip some mead, quaff some apple juice or eat an apple today for health and give a little of the leftover liquid to nearby trees. In Anglo-Saxon tradition, Wassail Day marked a time to enjoy wassail, a spiced apple cider or mead with herbs. Farmers shared this beverage with the apple groves to keep them fertile. Wassail literally means ‘be well’ or ‘be whole’. Drink of the wassail cup to ensure yourself of Gunnlod’s gifts of well-being, creativity and happiness all year.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Odin and Gunnlöd

In Norse mythology, Gunnlöð (Old Norse “war-foam”) is a giantess. Her name could be written as Gunnlod.

She is daughter of the giant Suttungr, who was set guard by her father in the cavern where he housed the mead of poetry Her grandfather was Giling. Gunnlöð was seduced by Odin, who according to the Prose Edda bargained three nights of sex for three sips of the mead and then tricked her, stealing all of it. However, the poem Hávamál of the Poetic Edda tells the story a bit differently:

Gunnlod sat me in the golden seat,
Poured me precious mead:
Ill reward she had from me for that,
For her proud and passionate heart,
Her brooding foreboding spirit.
What I won from her I have well used:
I have waxed in wisdom since I came back,
bringing to Asgard Odhroerir,
the sacred draught.
Hardly would I have come home alive
From the garth of the grim troll,
Had Gunnlod not helped me, the good woman,
Who wrapped her arms around me.

 It would seem, from this version of the tale, that Gunnlöð helped Odin willingly, and that he thought well of her in return. [1]

Click here to read Gunnlod’s tale from Elizabeth Vongisith.

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