A Skaldic Eagle Takes Flight

Hatched from the Egg, he was hungry always;
that cosmic hailstone crafted such wyrd.
In size he surged, consuming carrion:
strong and stately, he stood at last.
He was sleek and fierce, but unsatisfied.
That fleshy fodder had fulfilled its end,
but such food no longer could feed his soul.
His keen cold eyes, they craved new vistas,
and his heart sought out the holy mysteries.
To the Cave he went, that court of darkness
and Lunar land of limitless night,
seeking its treasures for his soul’s triumph.
He came at last to cauldrons three
filled with the ferment of fathomless Spirit.
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The Valknut: Heart of the Slain?

I’m thrilled to announce that an essay I wrote has now been published by Odroerir: The Heathen Journal. You can download and read the essay here: The Valknut: Heart of the Slain?

I wrote this for a class on Old Nordic Religion during my first year of Viking and Medieval Norse Studies at the University of Iceland. In its approach to the subject, one can my characteristic style: viewing the source material with the eyes of a poet.  Back in April, about a month after I finished writing it, I posted my Háskólavísur 09 update about it, featuring a 13-line poem on the subject. (And yes, I’m quite busy with the second year of the program at this time.) The abstract for the essay is below.
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The Skald Starts an M.A.

So, what’s the cause of the very long break since my last post? Nothing less than a move to Iceland for the start of an M.A. program in Viking and Medieval Norse Studies at the University of Iceland. Joining this program has been a goal of mine ever since I learned of its existence back in May 2012. It’s an international, two year program that has its first year in Iceland and in which the third semester is taken at one of three other partner universities in Norway or Denmark, with the fourth semester for writing a thesis either in Norway or back in Iceland. I’m looking at spending the entire second year in Norway at the University of Oslo. But for now, I’m enjoying the start to my time in Iceland. I’ve been here for eleven days so far, and both life and studies have been great. Reykjavík is a beautiful city. 🙂
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Audio for The Mead Quest

I now present an audio recording of my poem The Mead Quest, which is a short poetic rendering of Óðin’s winning of Óðrerir, the poetic mead. For aspiring skalds in modern Asatru, this tale is perhaps the most important part of the mythology.

Here is the file of me reciting the poem: Eirik Westcoat – The Mead Quest

Enjoy! Feel free to share the file. For details, see the Creative Commons link below.

This post is:
Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.

The linked audio file of The Mead Quest is:
Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.

The Mead Quest

Here is one of my favorite early poems, based on the tale of Odin’s winning of the poetic mead from Snorri’s Edda. A version of the tale exists in the Havamal, but it clearly has some differences. I have written it as a lore poem in eight stanzas of ljóðaháttr. In this one, the spelling has been completely anglicized. Since mead is strongly identified with poetry in the Old Norse tradition, this tale allowed for a tight interweaving of the two concepts, especially in the first and last stanzas. (As a change, I have now put the first stanza prior to the break.)

The poem is called “The Mead Quest.”

Honor I Odin
by eagerly pouring
that precious and potent mead.
How he won
that wynnful draught:
that spell I speak in verse.

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