Call to Thor

I’ve posted a call to Thor previously on this blog, but like all the other ritual calls, it was two stanzas of ljóðaháttr. (See the Minor Poems list for the rest of the calls I’ve posted so far.) Since there is a lot of surviving lore about Thor, a longer call is possible. So today I present a seven stanza ljóðaháttr call to Thor. Like much of my poetry on my blog, it will be included in my upcoming book. It is titled “Call to Thor.”

Thunderous Thor,
threat-destroyer,
Asgard’s chosen champion,
we boast of your might
and bounty of main
in the call we declare today.

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Prayers to the Gods, Part 1

April is the time of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), an annual event for encouraging poets to write a poem a day for each of the 30 days of the month. It was modeled after the more famous National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). (See the site of NaPoWriMo’s creator or the Wikipedia page for more details.)

This year, I decided to join in the fun for the first time and take up the challenge myself. I’ve resolved to write a poem each day of the month and chose to write the thirty poems with a common theme and structure. Each is a prayer to one of the gods or goddesses of Asatru, and each is exactly nine lines in the style of Anglo-Saxon continuous verse that is not broken into stanzas. (I first featured this meter over a month ago in my “Beer in Midgard” poem, and it is like my usual fornyrðislag except for the changes in line and stanza breaks.) The prayers are written in plural form, and like the Calls to the Gods on this blog, they (usually) can be changed to singular without damaging the meter or the sense. It should be noted that prayer is not a requirement in Asatru, and many (most?) Asatruar don’t pray. I think it is something that individual Asatruar can experiment with if they feel so inclined. However, beyond such brief remarks, this blog is not the place to enter into the debate on the matter.

As I prepared this post, I was halfway finished with NaPoWriMo, having written 15 poems, one on each of the first 15 days of the month. Today I present three prayers from those written so far. They are prayers to Iðunn, Thor, and Eir.
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Audio for Building Asgard’s Wall

Today I present an audio recording of another eddic tale that I’ve set in verse. This time, it is Building Asgard’s Wall, which was posted as text last March. In this spoken version, the words are different in a few places from what I posted, and the original post has not been edited.

Here is the downloadable file of me reciting the poem:
Eirik Westcoat – Building Asgard’s Wall

And here is the inline player:

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

This post is:
Copyright © 2014 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.

The linked audio file of Building Asgard’s Wall is:
Copyright © 2014 Eirik Westcoat.
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.

The Duel, Part 2

Concluding from last week, here are the final ten stanzas of “The Duel.”

Some of you may be wondering what Mokkurkalfi is doing in this tale. His presence probably strikes modern readers as a bit weird. Also peculiar is the emphasis that Snorri seems to put on the hearts of Hrungnir and Mokkurkalfi. There are perhaps some initiatory themes at work here, but whatever such strange details might mean, I prefer to keep them in rather than remove them out of a lack of understanding. The lore contains many mysteries, and we cannot learn from them if we start throwing them out simply because they don’t make sense at our current levels of understanding. But enough of the soapbox, here’s the rest of the poem.

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The Duel, Part 1

I present another poetic rendering of a prose tale from the lore. It is the story of the first (and probably last) giant to challenge Thor to a formal duel, and it has several things in common with the last Thor story I posted three months ago about his visit to Geirrod (part 1 and part 2). Just like that tale, Snorri presents in it prose with many details, and he also quotes from a difficult skaldic poem that mentions the story as well. (The skaldic poem is Haustlöng by Þjóðólfr of Hvinir.)

Rather than a difficult skaldic meter, I have written my retelling in 20 stanzas of my usual and more accessible fornyrðislag. The spellings have been anglicized throughout. It is well known that Odin has many different names in the lore; less well known is that Thor also has many names, although not as many as Odin, of course. The reader will see quite a few of those names in this poem. Like the previous Thor tale, I present the first half here today, and the second half will follow next Wednesday. The poem’s title is simply “The Duel.”

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Audio for Calls to the Gods

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.

The audio contains calls to Odin, Tyr, Thor, Freyja, and Freyr. All have been featured in previous posts as text: here for Odin and Freyja, here for Thor, and here for Tyr and Freyr. Yes, I chose these particular calls because I was in a Dumezilian trifunctional mood. 🙂

Here is the downloadable file of me reciting the calls:
Eirik Westcoat – Calls to the Gods

And here is the inline player:

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 Calls to the Gods is:
Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.

Thor’s Visit to Geirrod, Part 1

Snorri presents a prose telling of this tale, and he also gives the passage from the Old Norse skaldic poem Þórsdrápa by Eilífr Guðrúnarson that tells the story as well. However, it is a fairly difficult skaldic poem, even when translated to English. (If you have Faulkes’ translation of Snorri’s Edda, you can find this tale on pages 81-86, or in chapter 18 of Skáldskaparmál in other editions.) Thus, a more accessible poetic rendition is needed.

My poem is in 14 stanzas of fornyrðislag, and is titled “Thor’s Visit to Geirrod.” The spellings have been anglicized throughout. I present the first half here today, and the second half will follow next Tuesday.

A warm welcome
I wish to have
for telling the tale
of a trip by Thor
to Geirrod’s garth
and the games in the hall;
the draught of dwarves
I draw for you now.

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Building Asgard’s Wall

Today I present the tale of the building of Asgard’s wall in a lore poem of eleven stanzas of fornyrðislag with completely anglicized spelling. It is based on the story as found in the Gylfaginning of Snorri Sturluson’s Edda. It tells how Asgard got a defensive wall and of the origin of the eight-legged horse Sleipnir. The opening stanza in my poem includes a feature that is found in many skaldic poems — a reference to poetry through one of the many kennings for it. The poem’s title is simply “Building Asgard’s Wall.”

Silence I seek
for saying my tale
of the master mason
who meant to build
for the garth of gods
the greatest of walls;
with Ygg’s ale now
I utter my words.

Midgard was made
and mighty Valhalla;
for proof against
the passage of etins
the Aesir sought
a solid defense;
a builder offered
the best of walls.

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More Short Sumbel Toasts

Today I present four more short sumbel toasts, one each to Thor, Tyr, Heimdall, and Freyja. Each toast is two stanzas of ljóðaháttr. The spellings have all been fully anglicized.

A Toast to Thor

Hail Thor,
thunder’s wielder,
Asgard’s chosen champion;
that bane of etins,
and best of warriors
is father to Modi and Magni.

He slew Hrungnir
and hammered Thrym
with peerless might and main.
For warding well
this world of Midgard,
Hail to thunderous Thor!

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