Tag Archive: ragnarok


Goddess Voluspa

“Crone Ceremony: Voluspa” by Willow Arlenea

“Voluspa’s themes are foresight, history, perspective, divination and time. Her symbols are stories and storybooks.  This Nordic Goddess was born before all things, with the knowledge of all time within Her. When asked to tell a tale to the gods, She recounted history, including the gods’ downfall. To commemorate this, wise women and seers in the northern climes are sill sometimes called Voluspa.  Voluspa teaches us the value of farsightedness and of remembering our history. We cannot know where we’re going if we don’t remember where we came from.

An old festival in Iceland known as the Islendingadagurinn [Icelandic Festival of Manitoba] preserves Voluspa’s energy by recounting local heritage and custom in a public forum including theater, singing, writing and costumes. For our adaptation, I suggest taking out or working on a family tree, or perhaps a personal journal. Read over the chronicles of people from your ethnic background and honor their lives in some appropriate manner (perhaps by lighting a candle). Voluspa lives in these moments and at any time that we give ourselves to commemorating the past.

Alternatively, get out some good storybooks and read! Turn off the TV for a while and enrich you imagination with the words of bards who keep Voluspa’s power alive in the world. Especially read to children so they can learn of this Goddess’s wonders.”

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

The seeress speaks her prophecy from a 19th century Swedish translation of the Poetic Edda. Illustration by Carl Larsson.

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “[Voluspa’s] name, or the similar word volvawas used of wise women in Scandinavia.  The most famous seer in Norse legend was the one for whom the poem Völuspá is named.  Born before this world began, Voluspa was asked to tell the history of the world.  Once started, She did not stop, even though the gods did not wish to hear of their own death at Ragnarok, the doom of the gods” (p. 312).

“Odin and the Völva” by Lorenz Frølich

“The poem [Völuspá] starts with the völva requesting silence from ‘the sons of Heimdallr‘ (human beings) and asking Odin whether he wants Her to recite ancient lore. She says She remembers giants born in antiquity who reared Her.

She then goes on to relate a creation myth; the world was empty until the sons of Burr lifted the earth out of the sea. The Æsir then established order in the cosmos by finding places for the sun, the moon and the stars, thereby starting the cycle of day and night. A golden age ensued where the Æsir had plenty of gold and happily constructed temples and made tools. But then three mighty giant maidens came from Jötunheimr and the golden age came to an end. The Æsir then created the dwarves, of whom Mótsognir and Durinn are the mightiest.

At this point ten of the poem’s stanzas are over and six stanzas ensue which contain names of dwarves. This section, sometimes called ‘Dvergatal’ (‘Catalogue of Dwarves’), is usually considered an interpolation and sometimes omitted by editors and translators.

After the ‘Dvergatal’, the creation of the first man and woman are recounted and Yggdrasill, the world-tree, is described. The seer recalls the events that led to the first ever war, and what occurred in the struggle between the Æsir and Vanir.

The seeress then reveals to Odin that She knows some of his own secrets, of what he sacrificed of himself in pursuit of knowledge. She tells him She knows where his eye is hidden and how he gave it up in exchange for knowledge. She asks him in several refrains if he understands, or if he would like to hear more.

“THE DUSK OF THE GODS” by P. N. Arbo

The seeress goes on to describe the slaying of Baldr, best and fairest of the gods and the enmity of Loki, and of others. Then She prophesies the destruction of the gods where fire and flood overwhelm heaven and earth as the gods fight their final battles with their enemies. This is the ‘fate of the gods’ – Ragnarök. She describes the summons to battle, the deaths of many of the gods and how Odin, himself, is slain.

Finally a beautiful reborn world will rise from the ashes of death and destruction where Baldr will live again in a new world where the earth sprouts abundance without sowing seed. A final stanza describes the sudden appearance of Nidhogg the dragon, bearing corpses in his wings, before the seeress emerges from Her trance.

Versions differ, for example Baldr’s return is present in Codex Regius, but absent in others.” [2]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Voluspa”.

Wikipedia, “Völuspá“.

 

Suggested Links:

Kodratoff, Yves. Nordic-life.org, “Völuspá“.

Mythencyclopedia.com, “Norse Mythology“.

Sacred-texts.com, “The Poetic Edda: Voluspo“.

Timelessmyths.com, “Norse Creation“.

Wikipedia, “Völva“.

Goddess Sól

* For today’s entry, Patricia Telesco names “Dag” as today’s Goddess. However, Dag (or Dagr) is NOT a Goddess and never was a Goddess.  Dag is a god in Norse mythology – ‘day’ personified. This personification appears in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson.  So, instead, as the purpose of this page is dedicated to rediscovering and exploring the Goddess in Her many aspects, forms and guises, I will be researching the Goddess Sól/Sunna, the ‘sun’ personified in Germanic mythology. 

 

Sól’s themes are the sun, blessings, cycles, healing, movement, and travel.  Her symbols are gold or yellow colored items, [chariots] and horses.  “Sól (Old Norse ‘Sun’) or Sunna (Old High German, and existing as an Old Norse and Icelandic synonym: see Wiktionary sunna, ‘Sun’) is the Sun personified in Germanic mythology.” [1] As the northern hemisphere approaches late spring, Sól’s inspiring light and warmth are welcome and notable. “Sól drives the chariot of the Sun across the sky every day pulled by the horses Alsviðr (‘Very Fast’) and Arvakr (‘Early Rising’)” [2], giving Her additional connections with movement and safe travel.

“This date marks the return of the Midnight Sun, a ‘day’ for Norwegians that will actually last for ten weeks, emphasizing Sól’s power. Correspondingly, people’s activity level increases around the clock, as they sleep less to adjust to the change in earth’s cycle. So, when your inner resources lag or you’re out of kilter with natural or biological clocks, turn to Sól for assistance.

Wear gold or yellow items to tune into Her vibrations, and get out in Sól’s sunlight today (if the weather cooperates). It’s very healthy and naturally generates more of Sól’s positive energy for anything you undertake.

It’s an excellent day to take a short trip anywhere. If you enjoy horseback riding and have a stable nearby, take a jaunt and ride with Sól and the wind at your back. Alternatively, use ‘horse power’ and take a short drive in your car!”

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

Interestingly enough, in Norse mythology, the Sun is female while the Moon is male. When the world was created from the body of the dead giant Ymir by the triad of OdinVili and Ve, the Sun, Moon and Stars were made from the gathered sparks that shot forth from Muspellsheim, the Land of Fire.

“Silmarillion: Arien” by ~LadyElleth

Sunna is the Norse Goddess of the Sun, also known as Sól – though some hold that Sól is the mother and Sunna Her daughter.  As Sunna, She is a healer as seen in one of the two Merseburg Incantations (the “horse cure”) written in the 9th or 10th century CE, which attests that Sunna is the sister of Sinthgunt. In Norse mythology, Sól is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson.  In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda She is described as the sister of the personified moon, Máni, is the daughter of Mundilfæri, and is at times referred to as Álfröðull. [3] [4]

“Sunna -‘Mistress of the Sun,’ the ancient Scandinavians used to sing, ‘sits on a bare stone and spins on Her golden distaff for the hour before the sun rises.’  To the people of the north, as to many others, the bright day-bringing star was feminine, the Goddess Sunna – still honored whenever we point to the sun.

“Surrendering” by Frey­doon Ras­souli

Her people said that Sunna lived at first on earth; She was such a beautiful child that Her father, Mundilfæri, named Her after the most brilliant star.  But such presumption annoyed the gods of Asgard.  They took Sunna from earth to Her namesake, where She forever after rode the chariot of day.  Pulling Her were divine horses…under their harnesses were bags of wind that cooled them and the earth as they traveled with their mistress through the sky.  Likewise Sunna carried the shield Svalin (‘cool’), which protected the earth from too intense contact with Her rays.

Sunna was not really immortal, for like other Scandinavian gods, She was doomed to die at Ragnarök, the end of the universe.  She was said to be constantly chased through the sky by the Fenris-wolf Sköll, offspring of a female giant (it is said that sometimes he comes so close that he is able to take a bite out of the Sun, causing an eclipse. [5]); on the last day he would catch Her and devour Her.  But say the eddas, ‘one beaming daughter the bright Sunna bears before She is swallowed,’ and this new sun daughter would take Her mother’s place in the new sky following the destruction of Sunna’s realm.  (When the world is destroyed, a new world shall be born, a world of peace and love, and the Sun’s bright daughter shall outshine Her mother. [6])

The ‘bright bride of heaven’ had, in addition to the familiar powers we grant the sun, a special function in Norse mythology.  She was the ‘elf beam’ or ‘deceiver of dwarves’, for those creatures were petrified by Her glance. Stone was important to Her in another way, for Her worshipers carved deep stone circles across the Scandinavian landscape as part of Her sacred rites.” (Monaghan, 1997, p. 287).

Alternate names: Sól, Sun, Sunna, Sunnu, Gull (“Gold”).

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Sunna”.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sunna, Norse Goddess of the Sun“.

Wikipedia, “Sól“.

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Sól/Sunna {Goddess of the Week}“.

Crowfuzz & Tyrsson. Beliefnet, “Midsummer: A Celebration of the Goddess Sunna“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Sun Goddesses“.

Northernpaganism.org, “The Northern Sky: Praising Sunna“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Sol“.

Goddess Sif

“Sif” by helgath

“Sif’s themes are summer, kinship, arts, passion, and the sun.  Her symbols are the sun, gold and hair.  This Scandinavian earth Goddess has long golden hair that shines even more brightly now that the sun is reclaiming its dominance in the sky. On warm nights, especially in summer, She enjoys making love beneath an open sky in the fields, symbolically giving life and adoration to the earth.

People greet the traditional first day of summer exuberantly in Iceland today, as winter has been very long and often very difficult. They exchange gifts wrapped in gold to celebrate the sun’s return, gather with family and friends, and revel in regional arts, especially dramas.

A non-Icelandic version of this might be performing a ritual drama in which you slowly raise a golden sphere with trailing gold ribbons (representing the sun and Sif). Once the sphere is in full view, high in the room, say:

‘Sif, be welcome
Sif is here
She shines Her golden warmth on us and the earth
Warming both, nurturing all.’
 

Afterward, try this Sif-centered spell for unity and passion at home: Have a small, enclosed fire source burning (this represents the sun’s blessing). Each person in your household then takes one strand of hair and gives it to the flame. As this burns, add dried lemon peel and basil to emphasize harmony (and offset the scent of the hair). Sprinkle the ashes in the soil around the living space.”

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

“Sif” by InertiaK

“Sif is the Norse Goddess of the grain, who is a prophetess, and the beautiful golden-haired wife of Thor. Thor is the thunder God and frequent companion of Loki, as he makes the perfect patsy, being not too bright. Sif is of the elder race of Gods or Aesir. She is a swan-maiden, like the Valkyries, and can take that form.

By Her first marriage to the Giant Orvandil, Sif had a son named Ullr (“the Magnificent”), who is a god of winter and skiing. By Her second husband Thor, She had a daughter, Thrudr (“Might”), a Goddess of storm and clouds and one of the Valkyries, and two sons, Magni (“Might”) and Modi (“Anger” or “The Brave”), who are destined to survive Ragnarok and inherit Mjollnir from Thor (though some say the Giantess Jarnsaxa “Iron Sword” is their mother). Sif is famous for Her very long, very golden hair.

“Sif nLoki” by idahoj1

One night, Loki, who just couldn’t resist a little chaos and mischief, snuck into Her chamber and chopped it all off. A sobbing and horrified Sif went straight to Her husband, who in His rage started breaking Loki’s bones, one by one, until finally He swore to make the situation right. So Loki went to the dwarves and persuaded them to make not only a new head of magic hair for Sif from pure gold, but also a magical ship and a spear. But Loki could not resist pushing His luck, and made a wager with two other dwarves, Brokk and Sindi, daring them to make better treasures. Loki was so sure of the outcome that He had let His own head be the prize. Underestimating the dwarves’ skills (or the depth of their hatred for Him), He suddenly realized with a shock that Brokk and Sindi were winning! In desperation He changed Himself into a horsefly, biting and pestering the dwarves while they worked. In spite of this they managed to produce several treasures, the most famous of which was Mjollnir, Thor’s Hammer. The Gods were then called to arbitrate and declared Brokk and Sindi the winners. Loki promptly disappeared. When He was tracked down He was again given to the dwarf brothers, but this time Loki agreed, yes, they had a right to His head, but the wager had said nothing about His neck. Frustrated with this ‘logic’, the dwarves had to content themselves with sewing His lips shut. The new head of golden hair was given to Sif, where it magically grew from Her head just as if it were natural. Her golden hair is said to represent the wheat of summer that is shorn at harvest-time.” [1]

Sif

“If you are going through a difficult time in your life right now, remember Sif and Her story.  Sif wouldn’t let any situation in Her life disable Her, or cause Her to become un-peaceful.  She would simply wait it out, knowing that everything will be taken care of in the end.  There is always darkness before the sun.  Believing in this will all your heart, bake a home made bread with many grains, in honor of Sif and Her representation of harvest.  Make sure to throw some bread back into the earth as an offering!” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Griffith, Carly. PaganPages.org, “Sif: Goddess of Grain and Gold“.

Took, Thalia. A-Musing-Grace Gallery, “Sif“.

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Sif {Goddess of the Week}“.

Krasskova, Galina. Exploring the Northern Tradition, “Sif“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Sif“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddess, “Meeting Sif, Norse Goddess of Family and Harvest” (p. 205 – 225).

Thorshof.org, “How Sif Got Her Golden Hair“.

Valkrietower, “Sif“.

Goddess Sága

“Sága’s themes are foresight, divination, inspiration, femininity, psychic abilities, kindness and tradition.  Her symbols are cups, water and fish.  Sága is an attendant of Frigg, is a Scandinavian Goddess whose name means ‘seeress’. Saga is a student of the Universe, ever watchful and ever instructing us about the value of keen observation. She is directly connected with the sign of Pisces, which governs artistic expression, psychic abilities and sensitivity toward others’ needs.

In artistic representations, Sage bears a long Viking braid, an emblem of womanhood and honor. According to the Eddas, Sága lives at Sinking Beach, a waterfall, where she offers Her guests a refreshing drink of inspiration from a golden cup. Later, Her name got applied to the sacred heroic texts of the Scandinavian people.

Tend your sacred journals today. Write about your path, your feelings, where you see yourself going, and where you’ve been. Saga lives in those words – in your musing, memories and thoughts – guiding them to the paper to inspire you now and in the future.

Invoke any of Sága’s attributes in your life today simply by practicing the art of observation. Really look at the world, your home, and the people around you. As you do, remember that little things count. Saga’s insight lies in the grain of sand and the wildflower as well as the stars.”

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

“Sága is one of the twelve major Goddesses, second only to Frigg according to Snorri in Prose Edda. She sits by the stream of memory and drinks from golden chalices at Her grand estate called Sökkvabekkr. Sökkvabekkr means ‘Sinking Beach’ and was a landscape of flowing waterfalls. There She and Oðin drink every day from golden chalices.  The liquid is either the waters of memory, or pehaps from the Well of Urðr.

Sága pours Odin a drink in an illustration (1893) by Jenny Nyström.

Her name means ‘seeress’ or ‘ominiscience’ and is connected with the Norse word for history – thus, some call Her the Goddess of history.  She is often assumed to be the sibyl or seeress who prophesizes Ragnarök.  Sága’s name is most likely directly related to the word saga (epic story) which in turn comes from the Old Norse verb segja ‘to say, tell’.

It has also been postulated that since Frigg knows everything about the present, and Sága knows all about the past, that Sága is an aspect of Frigg as Memory.

Sága’s genealogy is lost in the mists of time, and seems to belong to an older generation than that of the Vanir or Æsir, like Týr.  It is thought that She may have been an ancient sea deity akin to a Nerthus/Njörðr or Ægir/Rán combination, which is why sometimes She has been described as the Grandmother of Heimdall (who had nine mothers, the waves).

From Grímnismál
Oðin is describing the halls of the gods:

‘Sökkvabekkr, a fourth is called, and cool waves resound over it; there Oðin and Sága drink everyday, joyful, from golden cups.’ From the Poetic Edda, translated by Carolyne Larrington

From Gylfaginning
In answer to ‘Who are the  Asyniur?’

‘The highest if Frigg.  She has a dwelling called Fensalir and it is very splendid.  Second is Sága.  She dwells atSökkvabekkr, and that is a big place.’ From Snorri Sturluson’s Edda, translated by Anthony Faulkes

There is also some speculation that Iðunn and Sága might be one in the same.” [1]

 

 

Sources:

Ladysaga.tripod.com, “Saga“.

 

Suggested Links:

Krasskova, Galina. Exploring the Northern Tradition, “Saga“.

Paxson, Diana L. Hrafnar.org,Beloved“.

Wikipedia, “Sága and Sökkvabekkr“.


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