On a fine February day in Iceland, the intrepid students of Viking Studies walked the lands once tread by Njáll, Gunnar, and others from Njáls saga, and climbed the steep hill known as Stóra-Dímon near Hlíðarendi. Eirik skald was with them. Many weeks later, after some reflection, with respect to spiritual pursuits, on the metaphor of the climb and the magnificence of the view from the top compared to that of the bottom, he composed this verse:
Clear cold crisp air: it cuts sharply,
but victory’s view from ‘vantaged point
above the abyss is the best of sights.
Below on land, we lumber around, Continue reading →
I present more audio for the blog. Here is a triad of sumbel toasts, which first appeared as text in this blog back in October 2012. Though it is the eleventh recording for this blog, it is only the first set of toasts to be recorded for it. The toasts are first to the gods and goddesses, then to the ancestors, and then to the kindred I’m in, the Hearth of Yggdrasil.
Once again, it is time for some of the most practical poetry that this blog features: calls to various beings from the lore. Although unusual and unexpected, the calls here may be found quite useful by some. Today I present calls to Ancestors, Others, Dag, and Nótt. Like all previous calls, these are also two stanzas of ljóðaháttr each (with the stanza break removed as before). A call to the ancestors is self-explanatory. The call to the Others is a sort of catch-all for friendly beings who might wish to attend the ritual but who are unknown and/or have not specifically been named in prior calls. (That is, the call is designed to follow specific calls to other named beings. It may not make much sense to use the call by itself.) Dag and Nótt are the Old Norse words for Day and Night, although Snorri’s Edda treats them as supernatural beings and provides a genealogy for them. There are probably few who would hold blóts to Dag and Nótt, but some might wish to try reciting the calls on a daily basis at the appropriate times as part of a personal practice.
Some may have wondered if there is a particular way in which the poetic calls to the gods should be recited. Of course, anyone trying these in their rituals is free to develop their own style. I prefer a style with a strong rhythm and forceful recitation. For those curious as to how I envision them, I present today an audio recording of five of my calls.
It has been over six months since I last presented some poetic calls to gods and others designed for ritual use. Today I present five more: calls to Freyr, Tyr, Heimdall, Jord, and Aegir. Like the previous calls, these are also two stanzas of ljóðaháttr each (with the stanza break removed as before). Continue reading →
It is time for another lore poem. This one is not a narrative like The Six Treasures or The Mead Quest. Instead, it is a synthesis of lore on Valhalla that appears in the Poetic Edda (mostly the Grímnismál) and Prose Edda (various places).
It is written as ten stanzas of fornyrðislag. (Only the first stanza is prior to the break.) It is not anglicized at all, except for the word Valhalla. (The proper Old Norse form would be Valhöll.) A short note on an aspect of composition: the semi-riddle nature of the poem is intentional. I use various bynames of Óðinn prior to the second-to-last line, and I avoid using the name Valhalla itself until the very last word of the poem.
A spell of the lore
I speak to you now
by pouring Hropt’s
I sing of that hall
high on the Tree;
to warriors dead
‘tis a welcome sight.