Tag Archives: Surt

Muspelheim: Sparks and Flames 3/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

27 May

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

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 Muspelheim

(the realm of fire)

Featuring:

Shirley Golden, Ross Beattie

and Karin Heyer

 

 Battling Infernos

by Shirley Golden

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All summer the fires seethe out of control. Lauren’s been reading the books her father loved as a teen. She’s at an age when Judgement Day can seem poetic.

Danny hastened to the call out first thing; he’s in the thick of it with his unit, fighting the inferno. Before he left, he told us, sit tight. It’d never spread this far. Pollution sweeps in wave upon wave of heat, more intense each summer. No more factor fifty. Cover up, is the current advice. Air conditioning pumps into house after house.

I aim the remote at the TV as Lauren bursts in.

“Leave the news on. It’s coming this way, isn’t it?” She sits beside me. “Has Dad called?”

I shake my head. “If something had happened, we’d have heard,” I say. I hope. I stare at the screen. The blaze consumes the pine forest, eating its way through the landscape, leaving a stream of dense, dark smoke, and ash where once wildlife and a scattering of houses nestled. Ranks of dotted fire-fighters are speckled ants across the ground.

“Ragnorok,” Lauren breathes. “The giants in Norse mythology called fire, ‘Hungry Biter’. Did you know that?”

“It’s not the end of the world, love,” I say and attempt a smile. For some it will be.

“S0 why does it feel like it?” she says, not taking her eyes from the screen.

“Your father should never have given you those books, with those stories.”

Lauren didn’t have Danny’s practical nature that kept him from stressing about each fresh blaze. She took after my mother: artistic, complex, prone to worry.

“They don’t frighten me,” she says.

But they do me. I shrug. “It’s just stories, Lauren,” I say.

“Myths,” she says. “The realm of fire where Surt stands guard with his sword that shines brighter than the sun, a place where only those born to it can pass.”

I didn’t want to think about it. “We should pack some things,” I say. “Just in case.”

“I’ll get the carrier and food for Rusty.” She stands up.

Rusty is her orange and white Netherland Dwarf.

“Yes,” I say and I have to stop myself from telling her to hurry.

She lingers at the door. “The realm of fire,” she breathes. “Dad says it’s a part of nature. Without it, no sun, no stars.”

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Through Words

by Ross Beattie

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This land of fire holds the secrets I long to know.
To watch the wolf rip the life from my throat, to see this perfect end.
To be touched by the flames as I become what waits beyond the line of belief. 
So tired of the place where the fire meets the ice.
Looking into the coming moments and waiting only for freedom.
The last way out of this. 
Through words into tomorrow. 

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MP3 to come

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Blood-Snake

by Karin Heyer

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To begin with there was fire and ice
and there was a universe,
in this universe there was a realm
and in this realm
there was the land of fire,
where Surt,
the fire god stood guard
at its very gates,
beheld a shining sword
that gathered sparks across
the moon’s hall
that became stars
and shone over pending,
desolate destruction.

He set one foot,
one foot only,
onto the rainbow bridge,
his bold flaming blood-snake
held up high,
defending the powers
of volcanic, furious fires.
Ready for the fight,
the cruel blood-snake was dancing,
inflicted hurt to many a man,
holding tight to its punishing power.
Raging Ragnarök ,
cold killing,
might meeting might,
clashing blade on blade.
After this endgame,
amazing Yggdrasil still stands,
man and woman did remain,
the waters of hope are flowing,
and after that
each man told this tale to the other.

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Translation of the Kennings: moon’s hall = sky
blood-snake = sword

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Find out more about Shirley, Ross and Karin here:

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

twitter.com/shirl1001

Ross Beattie

https://twitter.com/blackpoemblues

blackpoemblues.weebly.com

Karin Heyer

Contact ArtiPeeps

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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Muspelheim: Sparks and Flames 2/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

20 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

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 Muspelheim

(the realm of fire)

Featuring:

Eleanor Perry, Jim C. Mackintosh

and Nat Hall

 

 

Capture Concept of thickness

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Under the Damage Tree

by Jim Mackintosh

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what is this brooding shape
fire licking across my vision
I smell it in the ice : shimmering tongues

in the destroyer’s raging silhouette
whose leaping flames freeze to the sky
in the impassable surrender to fire

a frozen corpse under the damage tree
cracked by the kiss of Surtr’s shine
his shadow bleeding over the moon

too late to stop the sway of travellers
mirrored in the crunch of brittle death
jammed to the parapet of Bitfrost

time straining against the reins
burning the days to come
quickening the battle’s build

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Fiery Us

by Nat Hall

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Look at the eye of the dragon.

Emerald
shining inside night,
from neck to
crown,
leaping red,
scalding scales 
lost inside orange,
in between
flames
and
Valhalla;
out of
earth’s plume,
world’s underworld, 
where lava flows,
fire giants,
fire demons
obey the land & their master,
the arsonist,
maker of sparks,
glow, ash-filled  sky –
the one
a seer
saw in a dream or
a nightmare.
Now lay your shield down
with your axe,
stand at the 
edge of
the
ocean,
your sheepskin
boots tied inside kelp,
and mind
the 
eye
of 
the
dragon.

© Nat Hall 2015 

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Find out more about Eleanor, Jim and Nat here:

Eleanor Perry

https://twitter.com/nellperry

Jim C. Mackintosh

bigbaffy.com

https://twitter.com/JimCMackintosh

Nat Hall

nordicblackbird.weebly.com

 https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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Muspelheim: Sparks and Flames 1/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

13 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

.

 Muspelheim

(the realm of fire)

Featuring:

Lenka Monk, Tom Murphy

and Rebecca Audra Smith

 

 

Flammable

by Lenka Monk

Inspired by story of Surt and Sinmara

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……Everything is ablaze
with you in my realm.
Even the stars seared themselves into the black vast canvas above.
They can never go out. Not while your afterglow ignites
the very last inch of me.
My Twin flame you have become.
I am a firefly, drawn to your inferno
in an eternity of firestorms.
Our power combined, forged by the fiercest heat
inside a furnace consumed and spent on all levels.
The embers aglow.
You are my beacon to guide me
through darkness.
You are my lighthouse inside a storm’s eye.
I burn in you.
I burn with you,
while everything around us still smoulders…..

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Part 7

Muspelheim

by Tom Murphy

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there is this thing like a memory
a bridge between the living and the dead
between past and future

this thing is in the grove
this thing is in us
a bond even when we’re apart

it is a thick iron chain
it is a thin filament of web
it is a bridge of ice
melting in the fire
it is a waterfall
very high
and very thin

this beam of sun and moon
shining from the eyes
holds the gaze
holds everything in it’s lattice

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Baltimore Fires

by Rebecca Audra Smith

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the stars slip out of the way to show the unending tale
of what is done in their names, it’s Baltimore
Rocks thrown by men thrown by children thrown by police
Arson is their attempt to lick the sky with flame
Headlines tomorrow read, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray

In the midst of all that noise
Comes the sense the fight’s still hot, quell the flames
They cut the hose, when the store started burning
the protestors for peace, held up their hands, said don’t shoot,
but still sons are being shot, mother slaps her boy hard,
you’re not Freddie Gray, Walter Scott

earth swallows the sun, the flames are burning fire,
vapour and rage have made the air both crisp and dry
you don’t want to be famous, known for the hands by which you died
someone says it like a litany, Walter Scott, Eric Garner

I heard strange fruits being sung upon these police lined streets
As she spoke of her neighbours death, body swinging, heavy tree
Your name is a future hashtag when you were born dark skinned
In the midst of all this noise it seems no one has had their say
Protestors hold their signs up, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray.

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Find out more about Lenka, Tom and Rebecca here:

Lenka Monk

Contact ArtiPeeps

Tom Murphy

https://twitter.com/sandcave

Rebecca Audra Smith

https://twitter.com/BeccaAudra

beccaaudra.wordpress.com

 

 

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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 7: Muspelheim – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2014-2015

14 Apr

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 23 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat

 a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

Muspelheim

(the realm of fire)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are in the middle of April,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 6th realm Helheim Thursday 16th April. I shall be posting out the remaining Nifelheim poems this week and then Helheim the week after.  This month we are outlining the realm of Muspelheim. The deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Monday 11th May.

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.

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Surtr

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1. A brief  Overview of Muspelheim

Mentions of Muspelheim and Surt/Surtr are sparing within The Poetic Edda and The Prose Edda, and primarily, it seems, centred around Ragnarök

Muspelheim was to the North of Ginnungagup, the large chasm at the beginning of the world, where Surt/Surtr, ‘the swarthy one’, the fire god, stands guard with a flaming sword. It is where the Gods, as the world was created, scattered sparks across the sky as stars (Allan: 34). Muspelheim is fire; and the land to the North, Niflheim, is ice. The two mixed and created water from the melting ice in Ginnungagap. The sun and the stars originate from Muspelheim. The residents of Muspelheim are known as  the eldjötnar (“Fire Giants“). They are also known  by other names in Eddic poetry, such as the Múspellssynir (or Múspellsmegir — “sons of Muspell”) and the Rjúfendr (from rjúfa — “to break, tear asunder”, Destroyers of Doomsday). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muspelheim

In The Prose Edda, In chapter 4,  the  Gylfaginning, the enthroned figure of Third tells Gangleri (described as King Gylfi in disguise) that the flaming region existed prior to Niflheim, and is impassable to those who are not born to the realm. To protect Muspelheim Surt/Surtr is stationed at its frontier.

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 2. Surt

220px-Surtur_mit_dem_Flammenschwerte

Surt with flaming sword

 

Surt/Surtr plays a major role in the tra.jectory towards Ragnarök, through his battles against the Æsir,  fighting particularly with  Freyr. The fire that Surt engenders engulfs the Earth in its final moments of existence (before it is reborn).

Norse Academic Simek says that “in Iceland Surtr was obviously thought of as being a mighty giant who ruled the powers of the (volcanic) fire of the Underworld”,

Surt/Surtr is mentioned twice in the The Prose Edda particularly the Völuspá, where a völva (a Seer) states that Surt/Surtr will come from the south with flames, carrying a  bright sword:

 

Sutr ferr sunnan
með sviga lævi:
skinn af sverði
sól valtiva.
 

Surtr moves from the south
with the scathe of branches:
there shines from his sword
the sun of Gods of the Slain. 
Dronke (1997:21).

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There are few details given about the fight between Surt/Surtr and Freyr in the Völuspá .The poem focuses more on how Odin is to be killed by the wolf Fenrir.  However, it is mentioned that Surtr will go to battle against “Beli’s bane”, a kenning for the god Freyr, who slew the giant Beli.

You can find the whole Völuspá  here

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3.   Ragnarök  and Surt/Surtr

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According to the Ragnarök predictions in the Gylfaginning, the sons of Muspell , the fire giants, will break the Bifröst bridge, signalling the end of times:

In the midst of this clash and din the heavens are rent in twain, and the sons of Muspell come riding through the opening. Surtr rides first, and before him and after him flames burning fire. He has a very good sword, which shines brighter than the sun. As they ride over Bifrost it breaks to pieces, as has before been stated. The sons of Muspel direct their course to the plain which is called Vigrid…. The sons of Muspel have there effulgent bands alone by themselves.

You can find the whole of the Gylfaginning here

The story goes that Surt/Surtr  will come via land  and ride over Bifrost, the rainbow bridge, to Asgard. Here the armies of the gods and giants will meet for one last battle. It is where Surt/Surtr remains until the end,  and once Heimdallr and Loki fight ( killing one another), Surt/Surtr flings fire over the world so that both men and gods will perish in an overwhelming sea (Ellis Davison: 38).

The sun becomes dark. Earth sinks in the sea.

The shining stars slip out of the sky.

Vapour and fire rage fiercely together,

till the leaping flame licks heaven itself

(ibid)

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4. Sinmara

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Sinmara by Jenny Nystrom

Sinmara by Jenny Nystrom

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Is a female who is often considered to be a companion of Surt/Surtr. A mention of her can be found in the poem Fjölsvinnsmál (The Sayings of  Fjölsvinnr) where she is said to have a weapon called Lævateinn which is considered a kenning for a sword, ‘damage tree’. Her name, mara, may be linked to”(night-) mare”, and the two figures together can be seen as quite a powerful combination.

Here is a section from Fjölsvinnsmál: 

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Benjamin Thorpe’s translation:
26. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
whether there be any weapon,
before which Vidofnir may
fall to Hel´s abode?
27. Hævatein the twig is named,
and Lopt plucked it,
down by the gate of Death.
In an iron chest it lies
with Sinmoera,
and is with nine strong locks secured.
Henry Adams Bellows translation:
41. Svipdag spake:
“Now answer me, Fjolsvith, the question I ask,
For now the truth would I know:
What weapon can send Vithofnir to seek
The house of Hel below?”
42. Fjolsvith spake:
“Lævatein is there, that Lopt with runes
Once made by the doors of death;
In Lægjarn’s chest by Sinmora lies it,
And nine locks fasten it firm.”
 

See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinmara

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Themes, Relevance and Questions:

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Life,  Death, heat and renewal: 

Interestingly, many connections have been made between Ragnarök and Christian Notions of Judgement Day. Fire and burning have played a large part in many religious ceremonies and rites for 100s of years.  A cycling of conflict, punishment and then renewal. Fire keeps us warm, but equally fire is volatile and chaotic if untamed. Surt/Surtr and Muspelheim could be seen as a symbol for that volatility,  and when they reach Asgard- might meets might!

There is something very intense and dynamic about heat, about flames. There can be warmth and comfort, but if fire gets out of control there can equally be searing, skin burning, pain. Surt/Surtr and fire are what we have at the end of the world just before the new world begins.  The new world begins not with ease, but through a clash of force, devastation and power.

 Exploration Point: Take a look through The Prose and Poetic Eddas and track how fire is used within the stories. Are there any patterns? What symbolism does it have? 

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Things of Interest:

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1.  The Road To Asgard: BiFrost:

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 2.  Three videos about Jesse Byock’s (the translator of the Penguin Classic edition of The Prose Edda) multi-disciplinary research which combines the sagas, history and archaeology

Part 1

Part 2

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Part 3

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Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Curtal Sonnet

Established by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and is a ten-and-a-half line form,  a sonnet but three-quarters the size. Hopkins’ poem Pied Beauty is an example.

The rhyming scheme is abcabcdbcdc or abcabcdcbdc.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Tormentors, Unfinished, Moment, Burst, Climb, Universal,  Destiny, Helmet, Hearts

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To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Muspelheim realm is Monday 11th May 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

Dronke, Ursula (Trans.) (1997). The Poetic Edda: Volume II: Mythological Poems. Oxford University Press.

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

Simek, Rudolf (2007) Dictionary of Northern Mythology,Translated by Angela Hall. D.S. Brewer

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

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