Tag Archives: Helheim

Helheim: ‘Death & Hollows’ 2/2 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

8 May

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 23 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Helheim (The Realm through which men must pass to reach Nifelheim)

Featuring:

Lenka Monk, Ross Beattie, Joanna Lee &

Lydia Allison 

 

All angels go to hell

By Lenka Monk

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The gates open.
The beast’s blood dripping muzzle welcomes me.
On my sin flavoured bones the creature can feast,
Along with an offer of my blackened soul.
Who’s the judge and condemns me to this place?
Who writes the rules and decides what is right and what is wrong?
The brave warriors kill their enemy in their thousands and yet they are sitting up in Valhalla, drinking wine for eternity.
Never mind the innocent they slaughtered and called it collateral damage in the name of their Gods.
What God justify killing?!
I have not hurt anyone I have not taken a life.
I only loved.
Maybe wrongly by their standards, but still only loved.
In spite of this terrible place and the suffering, in my mind there’s no doubt.
I would do it all over again, without question, without so much as miniscule pause.
I have lived my life by my rules, not by their misguided sense of righteousness.
So come! Tear at my flesh, tear at my heart, tear at everything that you
find so awfully disgusting about me!
And I shall laugh, for there’s nothing that you can take from me anymore.
I left all that mattered, all that was good and pure somewhere else.
Somewhere you cannot touch.
Somewhere immortal.

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My Helheim

by Ross Beattie

When will the wolf swallow the sun ?
I’m strung out again with another deadline tapping at the shade covered windows. 
Prompts and papers submerge the fragility of the only realm I really know.
I’m trapped here.
Waiting for the night.
Hoping for help to cross the hills with the arrival of darkness. 
But as I wait, the shades will stay tightly drawn. 
The wolf’s scream pierces through my every half attempt to care, as I hide in the isolation. 
I can no longer leave, and nothing inside me desires to free. 
I watch the cracks below the door for the gentle flow of blood. 
As only then will I be safe from these endless winters and the shadow of the trembling tree might stop plaguing my mind. 

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mist

by Lydia Allison

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in the place of misery
of those who died happy. those who felt
the soft lover press on their last breath.

the crawling surface of gjoll
resembles rainfall
the way water seems
to reach up
to break from the moving weight. straining
to join the clearing air.

here. at the end of all
is the source of the wind
that changes life to fire and skeletons and ash.
sighs through the sweeping
changing wall of fog.

the breeze carries to the graves of grey souls
and hits on the doors of the living
like cold palms. like
the desperate man who only wants
to come home.

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The sybil’s lyric

 by Joanna Lee

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We have lingered far too long
in the land of these dead, buried
beneath roots of returning sadness,
longing for a new start, fair and green,
for that which is hidden
to disappear in the rivermud of April,
for autumn to be born again.

The despair grows quiet and hungry
and damp, so down and to the north
beside a bend in the river of knives,
under a blue back-lit moon I weigh my heart
and lay myself to wait for the end of days
when the watchman of the giants
hunches to tune his harp.

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Find out more about Lenka, Ross and Lydia here:

Lenka Monk

Contact ArtiPeeps

Ross Beattie

blackpoemblues.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/blackpoemblues

Lydia Allison

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

Joanna Lee

the-tenth-muse.com
https://twitter.com/la_poetessa

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

The Nine Realms Indiegogo Campaign:

http://igg.me/at/the9realms

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Helheim: ‘Death & Hollows’ 1/2 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

30 Apr

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 23 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Helheim (The Realm through which men must pass to reach Nifelheim)

Featuring:

Nat Hall, Shirley Golden and Jim C. Mackintosh

 

The Sandglass

by Nat Hall

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Don’t mistake time for gravity

Each sand grain slides
between two
realms,
the
one
you toss
when you feel
lost, the one Nanna
drowned in her
tears.
Vertical
bridge of sand and
shells, the one
that never
brings
driftwood –
the one shipbuilders
curse like hell, as
fingers erase
their
stories;
the
one too
aware of sunsets
swallowed by a wolf
known as Sköll.

At either end,
dead man fingers…

Now let fate
toss sand grains & glass,
Hel dreams of
domino
effect,
dots,
ellipsis to Ragnarök.

© Nat Hall 2015

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Strata and Strata of Faults Through Time

by Shirley Golden

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The mud slows his progress. But he moves; his feet and arms rake the sludge. Around him explosions, bullets like hailstones, hammer from the sky.

Annie, safe at home with their boy, Victor, he hopes. Fourteen, an only son – late, unexpected blessing. When Victor talked of signing up, he forbade it. Victor called him an old man for that, said the king needed fit, young fighters. Those were his parting words.

He surveys the ground, strewn with half-submerged bodies. Explosions flare, illuminating the dark and signalling that their raid has been discovered. Blood of the fallen, thick in his nostrils taints the back of his throat.

He can see worm paths moulded by those who’d managed to slip in before him. The damp seeps through his coat and he’s never felt so cold. He finds the edge of the trench and checks it is safe to descend. He grips his trench knife and wades towards the boom of battle.

One of the fallen men stirs as if raised from the dead. The soldier charges him in a maelstrom of screams and bullets and panic, until a ring of silence suggests spent ammunition. He scans frantically, feeling for blood, expecting pain to rip through his chest. By some miracle he’s bullet-free. He snarls and thrusts the knife towards the enemy. It sinks past cloth and flesh. He stabs once, twice, three times. The soldier’s weight falls heavy on him, and they collapse in a misshapen embrace.

He catches a boy in his arms; perhaps no older than Victor. The boy struggles to speak, blood in his windpipe, and gargles out one word: “Väter.”

He shoves the body off and staggers forward. His own heartbeat aches in his ears. He thinks this winter of war will never end.

It’s cold all the time; the sun, ingested by vaporous jaws. The earth shudders. He’d seen trees tremble, their branches split and plummet. Men, covered in sores, and who shouldn’t be breathing, somehow clawed their way back from no man’s land and begged to be shot. They are all of them evil. Shooting and stabbing. And killing. Fathers and sons.

He drops to his knees. This place is a netherworld, bodies rotting beneath strata and strata of faults through time.

…………………………………………***
But beyond we see a future field, shrouding the nameless dead. And running free, a boy weaves through countless graves; he is blood and bones a part of the remains. Decay nurtured seeds, emerged from black soil, where flowers bloom from mud in ribbons of red and gold.

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another one passes north

by Jim Mackintosh

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interminable arteries /
…………bruising night hours

pumping ground /
…………..with molten choke

thunderous blows /
…………on galloping flights

:burning:
:absorbing:

[blood] [oxygen] [concrete]
[diesel] [tarmac] [death]

bones shake from the penetration
the hymn of the dark riders passing

……………………………..another one passes north

here am I, a sleepless soul
vulnerable to the consequence
of hours locked by the night

tell me how, tell me why /

among the distrustful hours
where cruel masks of light scar
the bulwarks of my existence

……………………………..another one passes north

weighed down with plunder
drenched in the urgent pound
of broken roads, brittle lives
the malignant sludge of profit

………………………………another one passes north

tell me where, tell me when /

beyond the demolish of sun
when we run out of days
when the dark riders stop
what then?

………………………..another one passes north

burning sulphur in the gallop
in the interminable hours
flattening the arteries
mile by mile
until /

……………………………north has died in the night

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Find out more about Nat, Shirley and Jim here:

Nat Hall

nordicblackbird.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

Jim C. Mackintosh

bigbaffy.com

https://twitter.com/JimCMackintosh

 

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

The Nine Realms Indiegogo Campaign:

http://igg.me/at/the9realms

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Helheim: ‘Death & Hollows’ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

23 Apr

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 23 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Helheim (The Realm through which men must pass to reach Nifelheim)

Featuring:

Eleanor Perry, James Knight and Tom Murphy

 

6.

whip shrug figurations

by Eleanor Perry

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we dig grisly at the slagheap ridge | where stark
proteins broke in the ash | there are high-voltage
moths and tumours in the masonry | brash ga-ga-
ganglia lolling in twists and graphs | and that tweed
squirm in the kitchen, darting and novelizing, all
sleaze and gravel shudder | we need to wake up
next to the aluminium industry | pull hungry and
hip reckless | our hardboard tetrahedral gods –
bright and shining with their clerical safeguards |
this is rock-n-surf | there are no other meat splinters
in the fissuring hour of the liver | and I have put the
whole galaxy into spilth and multicode | these back-
lands full of weird mimiviruses frothing in the gaps |
high-balling in the green of telemarketing | where I
quietly slang viridians

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Hel

by James Knight

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Switch on
Switch off

Silvered faces
Inside the mirror

Do come in
Make yourself at home

WTF! I can’t see a thing
Only my face
I look like a fucking weirdo
What’s going on with my eyes?

Switch on
Switch off

Fold yourself up, put yourself in my hand
Wait

Switch on
Switch off

It’s simply not true to claim that we’re the party of privilege
We stand for honest, decent, hard-working

Switch on
Switch off

Drive more website traffic
In fact, our data shows that using a
Drives 43% more engagement

Silvered faces
At home

My eyes

Put yourself in my hand

Switch on
Switch off
Switch on
Switch

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Part 6

Helheim

by Tom Murphy

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the creepy motherfucker never unchancy
reeled and hollered
as I removed the breath from his throat

snow crunched and swirled
I crunched and swirled
he grew cooler

there was a boast
an insult or two
breaths he should have kept to himself

blood was spilled of course
coursing unbound
feezing on the ground

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Find out more about Eleanor, James and Tom here:

Eleanor Perry

https://twitter.com/nellperry

James Knight

thebirdking.com

https://twitter.com/badbadpoet

 Tom Murphy

https://twitter.com/sandcave

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

The Nine Realms Indiegogo Campaign:

http://igg.me/at/the9realms

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Realm 6: Helheim – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2014-2015

12 Mar

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat= a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

Helheim

(the realm through which  men pass in order to die in Nifelheim)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are in the middle of March,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 6th realm Nifelheim today! I shall be posting out more Nidavellir poems this week and next week, and then we’ll be onto the Nifelheim poems. This month we are outlining the realm of Helheim. The deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Thursday 16th April 2015.

These monthly posts will draw from a range of primary and secondary source materials and focus on selected gods, themes and stories that circle around the highlighted realm. They will not attempt to cover everything, and writers can embrace any other stories and characters within their writing which is not covered. Month by month we will be building our own magical, contemporary norse world whilst exploring the themes of POWER, NATURE and RELIGION. The project’s overall intention is to embrace orality, translation, storytelling and rhythm all of which are inspired by the origins of the oral tradition of the Norse Sagas.

I may well put out little mini-posts intermittently focusing on orality and poetic form as necessary.  

What is presented below is designed to inspire, present basic information and offer a starting point for individual creativity within the project inspired by the themes, characters and spirit of the myths and stories.

Helheim

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1. A brief  Overview of Helheim

 

Helheim is the lowest realm of all ruled by Hel (see Nifelheim overview). In Grímnismál stanza 31, Hel is listed as existing beneath one of three roots of the world tree Yggdrasil. One of the other two roots leads to the frost jötnar and the third to Mankind. In the poem Völuspá in The Poetic Edda a völva (sybil)  states that Hel will play an important role in Ragnarök. As mentioned in the Nifelheim overview there is some greyness in terms of differentiation between Nifelheim and Helheim, but in the Vafþrúðnismál (the third poem in The Poetic Edda)  states that it is the place that evil men pass through to die again in Nifelheim.

It is also  the place where all men, who were not warriors and did not end up in Valhalla (the feasting hall of the dead), were decreed to go and condemned to a grim death by Hel. The myths connected to Hel and Helheim spread into cultural traditions, and loved people were buried near to their homes to keep a connection, and those who were cruel were buried far away. Their families fearing they might become the walking dead. In relation to the life/death dynamic there is even some evidence that some thinkers believed there was no life after death. In the Hávamál, for instance it states:

Wealth dies, kinsmen die, a man must like-wise die: but fame never dies, for him who achieves it well (Allan: 135)

You can find the full Hávamál text here

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1. Odin’s Consultation with the Völva

Baldr’s draumar  is another Eddic poem from within The Poetic Edda which tells the story of Odin’s ride to Hel investigating Baldr’s nightmares. (Baldr is the son of Odin and Frigg and is married to Nanna with a  child Forseti.  Baldr is responsible for the construction of the most wonderful ship known to man called the Hringhorni.   You can find out more about Baldr in the Nidavellir overview. )

The story goes that Odin, travels to Hel to find the grave of a Völva (sybil) so that he can resurrect her and questions her about Baldr’s future. She reveals Baldr’s fate: that Höðr (his brother) will kill him, but Vali  (one of his other brothers) will avenge him.

Apart from this description Baldr is known primarily for the story of his death. His death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarök. Baldr will be reborn in the new world, according to Völuspá.

In Gylfaginning, Baldur is described as follows:

Annar sonur Óðins er Baldur, og er frá honum gott að segja. Hann er svá fagr álitum ok bjartr svá at lýsir af honum, ok eitt gras er svá hvítt at jafnat er til Baldrs brár. Þat er allra grasa hvítast, ok þar eptir máttu marka fegrð hans bæði á hár og á líki. Hann er vitrastr ása ok fegrst talaðr ok líknsamastr. En sú náttúra fylgir honum at engi má haldask dómr hans. Hann býr þar sem heita Breiðablik, þat er á himni. Í þeim stað má ekki vera óhreint
The second son of Odin is Baldur, and good things are to be said of him. He is best, and all praise him; he is so fair of feature, and so bright, that light shines from him. A certain herb is so white that it is likened to Baldr’s brow; of all grasses it is whitest, and by it thou mayest judge his fairness, both in hair and in body. He is the wisest of the Æsir, and the fairest-spoken and most gracious; and that quality attends him, that none may gainsay his judgments. He dwells in the place called Breidablik, which is in heaven; in that place may nothing unclean be
 Brodeur’s translation

In Baldrs Draumar, the sybil replies:

Here stands brewed the mead for Balder,

shining cups with shields for cover,

but the Sons of the Gods must suffer anguish….

(Ellis Davison: 185)

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You can find the whole of the Gylfaginning here

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Odin's Last words to Baldr

Odin’s Last words to Baldr

 

2. Odin’s Ride to Ransom Baldr

Baldr dies (see Nidavellir overview. )  and Frigg once again asks Odin to go to Helheim and entreat Hel to let him come back. He travels through ice and wind, crossing  the Gjoll torrent (which separates the living from the dead) via a golden- roofed bridge. Hel agrees that Baldr can come back only if everyone and everything agrees to weep for him. All things do weep for him: trees, stones, animals all except Thokk/ Þökk (who is thought to be Loki in disguise) ensuring that Baldr cannot return. In so doing Baldr has to remain in Hel; not to be released until after Ragnarök. Baldr and Höðr would then be reconciled and rule the new earth together with Thor’s sons.

 

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4. Ragnarök and Helheim

As Ragnarök unfolds an axe age, a sword age, a wind age and a wolf age reek havoc over the world.  Midgard is ridden with wars for three winters and fathers kill sons. A most ferocious  winter (Fimbulvetr)  covers Midgard. Three winters in succession will manifest with no summers in between.  The children of the giantess in the Iron Wood declaim themselves and the wolf Sköll  swallows the sun whole in his jaws, splattering Asgard with blood. His brother Hati  mangles the moon within his mouth, and the stars disappear.

The earth begins to shudder, mountains shake, and rocks roll, and Fenrir runs free.  Eggther, the watchman of the giants,  strums his harp. A red cock called Fjalar crows waking the warriors in Vallhala every day. A golden-combed cock crows to the gods, and a  red rust cock raises the dead in  Hel. The Midgard serpent writhes in anger, and high seas come in. Loki, free from his fetters sails the high seas towards Vigrid from the North with a deathly crew from Hel. The world is in uproar, and the Yggdrasil Tree trembles , and the gods take arms within Valhalla and March toward Vigrid/Vígríðr, (a large field which hosted a battle between the gods and the forces of Surt).

Odin rides upfront, and in the end Fenrir  swallows Odin and he dies.  Vidar/Víðarr (Odin’s son) kills Fenrir in return. Surt lets flames fly and Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim and Nifelheim become furnaces burning to ashes. The nine realms burn and the gods die, men and women die, and elves and dwarves, monsters and animals die. The earth sinks into the sea.

BUT out of the dying earth a new one is born out of  ‘water, fair and green’.  (Crossley-Holland: 173-175).

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Themes, Relevance and Questions:

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Life,  Death and Transition: It could be said that Nifelheim and Helheim in combination represent a very powerful symbol of transition (from life to death and vice versa). Viewed in conjunction with Ragnarök, this makes for a very strong articulation of the force of life and rebirth.   Where through a conflict and a realignment of moralities life comes forth again ‘fair and green’, with dark forces in hand once again.

Through the creation of the figure of Hel we can see a centre and symbol of moral judgement has been created:  one that allows us to question what is right or wrong, and who is condemned and who is not ( exactly as Hel does). The sifting through that Hel undertakes as men pass through Nifelheim  (judging their morality and position in life) could be seen as a parallel to the sorts of judgements  many people and leaders and figures in power make today. To look at the role of transition and rebirth within the realms of Helheim and Nifelheim , I think can well serve anybody wishing to understand the nature of moral judgement and freedom.

 Exploration Point: What transitions of power can you see in play within these realms and their stories, and how could they be used to reflect upon modern contemporary life? 

 

Things of Interest:

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1.  The Relevance of Norse Myths in the School Curriculum:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10622293/Get-your-fill-of-Norse-myths-before-Hel-freezes-over.html

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 2.  Filmpoem: Sonatorrek (Loss of Sons)

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A filmpoem by Alastair Cook of John Glenday’s ‘The Lost Boy’, a poem after Egill Skallagrímsson’s Sonatorrek *.

http://www.asnc.cam.ac.uk/resources/mpvp/?author=2

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* Egill Skallagrímsson/ Egil Skallagrimsson(c. 904 – c. 995) was a Viking-Age poet, warrior and farmer.

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Egil Skallagrimsson

Egil Skallagrimsson

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3. ‘In Old Norse mythology, poetry is a slippery substance….’ 

http://www.asnc.cam.ac.uk/resources/mpvp/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/An-Anthology-of-Responses-to-Skaldic-Poetry.pdf

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4. Sculptor:  Asmunder Sveinsson

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Who was born in 1893, and drew inspiration from The Prose Edda for some of his work.

See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81smundur_Sveinsson

Reykjavik Art Museum, of which one part is dedicated to Sveinsson

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 Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

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Rubai

The rubai (plural rubaiyat) is a Persian verse form. Each rubai stanza is a quatrain, in which lines 1, 2 and 4 all rhyme.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Light, Thousand, Knowledge, Capital, Fingers, Stars, Deep, Hate, Forest, Broken

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To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Helheim realm is Thursday 16th April 2015.

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 Thank you so much for your interest.

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References

 Allan, T (2010) Vikings, The Battle at the End of Time, London: Watkins Publishing

Crossley-Holland, K (1993) The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings, London, Penguin Books

Ellis Davidson, H.R. (1990) Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, Penguin Books

Hollander, L.M. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Austin: University of Texas Press

Larrington, C. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Oxford University Press

Sturluson, S. (2005) The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. Jesse L. Byock

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