Tag Archives: Vanaheim

9 Realms Viking Showcase: featuring Heather Burns (artist)

29 Apr

nine realms8

19 Poets, 23 artists, 3 musicians and a Viking boat

.

Featuring

Heather Burns

(Realm artist for Vanaheim)

Question: what piece of your art best represents you at the moment?

.

woven landscape close-up

Woven Landscape (close -up)

 acrylic and graphite with mixed media on canvas, A1 size 20/2/2015

      This piece was made in response to the challenge of interpreting the realm of Vanaheim visually for the Norse Myth collaboration for ArtiPeeps. I arrived at this response having explored the male and female nude in landscape settings after researching written material on the realm. I found it strangely illusive though, and difficult to visualise. It constantly slid away from any concrete image. The only thing that did stay with me was Freyja’s necklace, or Brisingamen, which was stolen from her by Loki, and which is central to her story. The explorations of this precious thing that stimulated the Goddess’s greed and actions that had huge consequences for her community fascinated me. Having also gone on a field trip to explore the Viking and Christian Gosforth Cross in Cumbria, with its mix of iconography from those cultures, I felt the need to blend these aspects. Great Gable mountain in Wasdale known as Odin’s Mountain, is also in there as well as a motif relating to Norse cable designs for knitting. 

Next, the interlocking Yggdrasil tree of life carving from the base of the Gosforth Cross suggested notions of family and community so central to the Vanaheimers as I imagine them. These aspects all come into focus and disappear much as my explorations have done. I accept the illusive nature of the realm in my response; it is part of it all. However, I am fascinated by concrete aspects available to me especially evidence of a Viking presence in Cumbria. Finally, the necklace itself which I painted at Christmas, was a gift from my sister-in-law Mara who is half Orcadian. The Orkneys also being a special place of colonisation for the Norse explorers. The piece reflects this weave of influence, narrative and history as well as being a treasure itself both physical and metaphoric.

.

 Biography:

Heather Burns is a practising artist and art teacher with an interest in landscape and  a sense of place combined with gestural marks and colour. She studied Fine Art at Leeds University, became a mother, took a teaching post in teaching English as a foreign language in Cambridgeshire whilst continuing to paint throughout. Now settled in Clitheroe Lancashire she is experimenting with oils again after a period exploring acrylics, and has recently had an exhibition at her brother’s gallery in the Lake-district. You can find more out about her via www.heatherburns.co.uk@Heatherburns201 

Freyja

Loki

Brisingamen

.

*Vanaheim is the realm of the Vanir Gods. You can read the realm overview here

* You can find more information about The Nine Realms here

.

Please do take a look at our Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign for our Viking Boat.

We have some great Viking Rewards:

http://igg.me/at/the9realms

nine realms8

Advertisements

Vanaheim: ‘ Magic & Wonder’ 4/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

22 Jan

World Tree Norse

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

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Vanaheim

Featuring:

Ross Beattie, Lydia Allison and Karin Heyer

 

Vanaheim

by Ross Beattie

.

I’m just like her, I need the wolves, the life of the mountain crawling through my veins. 
But he’ll never stay beside her this far from his precious sea.
Why can he only love at the waters edge? 
Can he not see the passion flowing through her in the hills ? She could love him like no other if he can only bring himself to touch her skin beneath the fire red moon among the wildness of the forest. 
She knows she’ll sink below the tide if she stays there beside him, so she must return alone to the trees, far from his precious Vanaheim.  
Back to her land of thunder. 

.

MP3 TO COME

.

Thrymheim

 by Lydia Allison

.

In the mornings the rocks glisten
like the sick, the dying
soaked in the night. I rise early
run my hand along the moisture of giant walls –
swelled drops catching yellow light

I raise it to my mouth
taste the nothing taste
pure water
I expect salt,
the minerals of my world

but remind myself
this is not the way things are
here, the hard forms move slowly
over years. Mostly unreachable
almost untouchable.

.

Thrymheim was the abode of Þjazi, a jötunn, located in Jötunheimr.

.

.

Poem read by Nicky Mortlock

.

Nóatún

.

I don’t like the madness,
the movement makes me sick, my sweat,
nothing, salt in the air, my skin stings.
The taste – tears – dries my mouth to sand. He says it becomes me,
this light. I know. I feel it.

 

Nóatún is the home of the Njord

.

Poem read by Nicky Mortlock

.

.

Freedom of Speech

by Karin Heyer

 .

Just beyond the sound is

talk, talk, talk,

babble, humming,

buzzing like a persistent bee.

.

The gods in Asgard

debate, they argue.

The gods in Vanaheim respond,

they buzz and hum.

.

Let the precious mead of poetry flow,

ponder the sense of cruel fight,

which is nought

in most cases

.

but not all…

continue the winged buzz

shun raging Ragnarök.

only a rainbow

.

can connect

restore

the word

the talk and babble.

 

MP3 TO COME

.

You can read the overview of Vanaheim here , and see some Asgard poems here

.

Find out more about Ross, Lydia and Karin here

Ross Beattie

blackpoemblues.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/blackpoemblues

Lydia Allison

 lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

Karin Heyer

Contact ArtiPeeps. 

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

.

Vanaheim: ‘ Magic & Wonder’ 3/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

14 Jan

World Tree Norse

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

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Vanaheim

Featuring:

Lenka Monk, James Knight and Joanna Lee

 

In the name of…

by Lenka Monk

(Inspired by the story of Freyja and Thorgerda)

 

In the hour of need, every second stretches like a steel spring.
Do the years flash by?
Or is it simple moment of repentance.
Whispered prayers.
Does anyone really listen?
Absolution would taste so sweet.
Does it give you strength?
Does it fill you with hope?
Does the courage shine through one last time?
Do you upturn the alter to stop the requiem?
Or is it an offering of a blackened heart on the cold marble.
Whose name touches your lips?
Breathe it in; bathe in the way it sounds.
And it’s not just any name, it’s so much more.
It’s an antidote for poison.
It’s water caressing your dry lips.
It’s the scent of home deep within your lungs.
It’s an ecstasy tingling on your skin.
It touches forgotten places, revives senses,
And as blinded as you once were, you are no more.
For there’s no room for the transient madness,
When with each uttered syllable of the name,
The shade brightens.
The unexplained power that brought you north of that edge.
What once was in the haze has cleared.
Oh the view, the view is breathtaking.
Clarity, renewed, reshaped, reassembled,
Strums chords with sleight of hand.
And it resonates loudly in the name of your saviour.

 .

*Freyja is a goddess associated with love, sexuality, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death.

*Thorgerda, is a woman who threatens to commit suicide in the Egils Saga.

.

.

Freyja

by James Knight

.

Welcome to my pied-a-terre,
My dear.
Careful where you sit;
Yesterday one of my guests
Mistook my cats for cushions
And nearly sat on them,
The silly bugger.

Glass of Scotch?
Sherry, maybe?
Mine’s a white wine and soda;
It goes further.

It’s deathly cold in here,
Don’t you think?
Bloody storage heaters
Are worse than useless.
I could weep,
I really could.

Do you like the photos on my mantelpiece?
That one’s Eric and that one’s Steven and that one’s John.
All dead now, of course.
So are Keith, Clive and Chris.
They died heroes’ deaths,
Every one of them.
When I look at them
I know they’re in a better place.
I keep Ben in this locket,
So he’s always near my heart.

Death isn’t sad, you know.
No worse than going for your flu jab.

Drink up, dear.
You look as if you need it.
You might die tomorrow,
So you might as well enjoy today.
That’s what Ben used to say.
After he lost his arm I had to drive him around everywhere,
Bless him.
He called my little Ford a chariot.
We used to laugh!

By the way,
A man wrote me,
Which explains
My Monty Python falsetto.
Men can’t do women
(Haha!),
Though they’d like to think they can.
Just look at The Waste Land:
That was written by a man
(If that’s the right word for a bookworm in specs)
And is full of unconvincing female voices.

I’m so cold I’m shivering, look!
Another glass?

.

.

.

Seeking Odhrærir at the corner coffeeshop

by Joanna Lee

a dragon sits in the sun, baking mythologies between his toenails.
eagle feathers drift on his nostril-ed breath.

he does not belong here among the cloud stria in almost-white,
the sky filled with the promise of emptiness, the wet-wool heavy.

behind the bar, Gunnlöð is humming to herself
with a song on the radio she hasn’t heard in years.

honey trickles over her dry lip, cracks on winter-sunned concrete.
hickory leaves flit dead across lanes of traffic.

some days it just won’t come,
no matter the spit and the blood.

i think i hear your name in the background,
and i almost turn. tendril-ed smoke

like tears down a dawn cheek that day
you woke wordless in darkness and left

curls along the floorboards just
enough to keep the pipes from freezing.

Gunnlöð looks up, wonders if she, too, could fly.

.

*Odhraerir/Óðrerir,refers either to one of the vessels that contains the mead of poetry

.

.

.

You can read the overview of Vanaheim here , and see some Asgard poems here

.

Find out more about Lenka, James and Joanna:

Lenka Monk

Contact ArtiPeeps. 

James Knight

thebirdking.com

https://twitter.com/badbadpoet

Joanna Lee

the-tenth-muse.com

https://twitter.com/la_poetessa

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

.

Vanaheim: ‘ Magic & Wonder’ 2/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

5 Jan

World Tree Norse

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

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Vanaheim

Featuring:

Richard Biddle, Shirley Golden, Eleanor Perry

and Tom Murphy

 

Mjölnir*

by Richard Biddle

.

I’m Blackjack, the splintering demon
I’m Crumble-Crunch, the shattering spirit
I’m Master-Batterer, the god spike
I’m The Convincer

I’m Bludgeon, the thump engine
I’m Bear-Down, the clobber bomb
I’m Nightstick, the pulveriser
I’m The Divine Beater

I’m Conk-Buster, the thrash contraption
I’m Fragmentize, the king of knock
I’m Quarterstaff, the wallop machine
I’m The Creator-Of-Dust

I’m Lord Cudgel, the blunt
I’m Boomerang, the whomper
I’m Father Pummel, the bang shape
I’m The Almighty Contraption

I’m Billy Battle, the whack gadget
I’m Cosh, the form persuader
I’m Finish-The-Job, the power pestle
I’m The Appliance-Of-Pain

I’m Hickory Wallop, the trouncing baton
I’m Break-Up, the holy apparatus
I’m Crush, the truncheon of defeat
I’m The Deity Mace

I’m Smash Being, the hammerer of all
I’m Gizmo Hit, the machine of strike
I’m Pounding Device, the fashioner of atoms
I’m The Demigod of Battering-Rams

I’m Tap-Tap-Tap, the all-knowing utensil
I’m Murder Mallet, the totem of kill
I’m Head Swatter, the staff of non-compliance
I’m The Absolute Club

I’m Drive-It-Home, the homicidal implementing machine
I’m Whatchamacallit, the idol of heavy
I’m Prime Mover, the omnipotent weapon of means
I’m Total Annihilation

.
*Mjölnir is usually interpreted as meaning “That which smashes”, derived from the verb mölva “To smash” (cognate with English meal, mill); comparable derivations from the same root meaning “hammer” are Slavic molot and Latin malleus (whence English mallet).

An alternative suggestion compares the name to Russian молния (molniya) and the Welsh word mellt, both words are taken as meaning “lightning”. This second theory would make Mjölnir the weapon of the storm god identified with lightning, as in the lightning-bolt or vajra in other Indo-European mythologies.[4]

In the Old Norse texts, Mjölnir is identified as hamarr “a hammer”, a word that in Old Norse and some modern Norwegian dialects can mean “hammer” as well as “stone, rock, cliff”, ultimately derived from an Indo-European word for “stone, stone tool”, h₂éḱmō; as such it is cognate with Sanskrit aśman, meaning “stone, rock, stone tool; hammer” as well as “thunderbolt”.[5]

Mjøl in modern Norwegian (nynorsk) literally means “flour” or “powder”, so “Mjølner” (Norwegian spelling) can mean “Pulverizer” or “Grinder”.

.

.

.

The Music-Speak of Kvasir

by Shirley Golden

.

Born of Aesir and Vanir’s mouth-juices and truces, I am fashioned into this bone-cage, but no clothes quite fit. I’m sought far and wide, and I close my eyes and bear all burdens. I ponder predicaments, but only ever suggest and guide. For who am I to command another the best track to tread?

 The dwarfs invite me to their feast, and I accept in good faith. I sit at their tables of hammered gold. They mutter and lead me away from the merriment. They stab at my chest and heart; they collect three flagons of battle-sweat. They seal snug my mind-insight and take care not to brag of their prize. They stir in honey and make mead, creamy with music-speak, and they are so pleased with their hidden hoard. But such covetous pleasure is only ever short lived.

Now the giant, Suttung, keeps me, and his daughter, Gunnod, guards me. But she is seduced by Odin, and surrenders her secret stash. The wish-giver draws me into his food-cavern. And we take to the skies, soaring as an eagle over the mountains, and on to Asgard. Odin dives behind the stone-shield, but in his haste, a piece of me is expelled. He distributes my remains into assembled crocks.

The gods, aware of the spillage, deem it unworthy of retrieval: ‘the bad poets’ portion’ has no place in their realm. They discount the droplets as easily as a sprig of mistletoe, newly unfurled. They do not fret over the fate of the waste; for who would be foolish enough to use only the ill-conceived, unconsidered parts? But I yearn to draw the leakage back to my liquid heart.

It spreads, and stains, drips and trickles, flows and floods. With each age, it slops unchecked as ink spilled over page, print and screen. It streams into the lungs of new technologies where it is read, absorbed, given questionable gravitas. It seeps into the ether as dashed out titbits of text, words freely uploaded, dregs and haste; speak best not saved. The parts best served for poets’ growth. The parts best kept on the other side of the wall.

.

.

.

2.

slick theory

by Eleanor Perry

.

wolfhusks mock the pines the
scaly parts ] scrape out their
grit and jewel ] and bleached
thread is all that the mineral
will sing tricks for ] still the
quotas of star and stone are
only known in metrics ] or in
shrines.

they calculate the skin ] more
wolves and axes ] needles: this,
the latest speculation in reeling
particles ] til song or something
shudders from the pile ] to print
the value of each question ] oh
but there was so much heart
though

in the margins ] clay blue shells
worn and crashed like rubble
] in a lottery of constellation ]
wow, just look at how the carbon
scares ] plucked shimmering
from the balance sheet ] the
rockery ] to still the heart ] but
then, the heart is awkward.

.

MP3 to come

.

Vanaheim

by Tom Murphy

.

inside the fence
as I hang
I remember I am my own little ghost

there is the wound
stitched up for now

there is the flagstone
beneath which lies molten rock
thick and limitless and orange

then there is the small empty thing
formless and light
and when certain words are spoken
I cough it up
but it leaves behind its emptiness
and the emptiness is a tiny speck of infinite burden
containing time and all the feelings of lost
as a reminder

.

.

.

 .

You can read the overview of Vanaheim here , and see some Asgard poems here

.

Find out more about Richard, Shirley, Eleanor and Tom:

Richard Biddle

writings43.blogspot.co.uk

https://twitter.com/littledeaths68

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

Eleanor Perry

https://twitter.com/nellperry

Tom Murphy

https://twitter.com/sandcave

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

.

Realm 2: Vanaheim – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Writing, Art and Music Collaboration 2014-2015

4 Nov

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

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

Vanaheim

(the realm of the Vanir gods)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are at the beginning of November and with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the first realm Asgard coming up: Thursday 6th November 2014. I shall start to post out pieces created for Asgard next week onwards. This month we are outlining the realm of Vanaheim and the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Monday 8th December.

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.

.

Vanaheim

.

 .

1. A brief  Overview of Vanaheim

 

Vanaheim is home to the Vanir gods who are associated with magic, fertility and wisdom. It is the realm where Njord (the father of Freyr) was raised.  It is a realm which is  covered in forests and water, and is populated (amidst others) by nature spirits. There is only one mention of Vanaheim in the Poetic Edda (see below). It is also briefly covered in chapter 1 of  Heimskringla (the best known of the Old Norse Kings’ saga):  “Van Home or the Home of the Vanir”- described as located around the Don River.

.

2. The Vanir 

The Vanir gods are not as easy to define as the Aesir. They are surrounded by mystery and are more elusive. The Vanir gods are also primarily linked with fertility. They presided over sunshine, crops, rain, and growth. Their season is spring. They are often portrayed in constant conflict with the Aesir. This conflict famously manifests in a hostile war centred around the treatment of a giantess called Gullveig. The Aesir try to kill her, but the Vanir protect her. The conflict comes to an impasse and the gods exchange hostages. Njord, Freyr and Freyja (see below) went to live with the Aesir and Mimir (‘the rememberer’, the wise one) joins the them. This is how Njord moves to Asgard.

‘She that remembers, the first on earth,
when Gullveig they with lances pierced,
and in the high one’s hall her burnt,
thrice burnt, thrice brought forth,
oft not seldom; yet she still lives.
Heidi they called her, whitherso’er she came,
the well-foreseeing Vala:
wolves she tamed, magic arts she knew, magic arts practiced;
ever she was the joy of evil people.’

[translation by Benjamin Thorpe from The Poetic EddaVöluspá]

nb. You can find the Völuspá  here (1936, tr. by Henry Adams Bellows)

.

Interestingly, the Vanir gods embody many of the traits of fertility gods from other civilisations and regions of the world. As Ellis Davidson says:

‘the fertility pattern is a definite one, easy to recognise, and the northern myths which have to do with the Vanir fall into the accustomed forms’ (124). The Vanir did not distinguish between good and evil in order to bring about justice. Their power lay in the fact they could increase fecundity in nature: in crops, animals and at home. They could also bring about links between man and the unknown. There was an air of mystery connected to the Vanir gods and goddesses that bridges between the known and unknown.  Good luck could also be brought through fecundity.

 

freyr 2

Freyr

.

Freyr

Freyr is Njord’s son and ended up moving from Vanaheim to Asgard as a hostage of war in the first conflict between the Aesir and the Vanir (see above). Freyr gives sunshine, wealth and rain and gives the gifts of peace and plenty. The literal meaning of Freyr is lord. He possesses a ship called the Skíðblaðnir which magically can not only hold all the gods, but can also fold into a pouch. He also has a boar with marvellous golden bristles, and Freyr is said to have come over the sea to rule over men. It is worth noting that there is a close connection between the symbols of boats and the energy governing fertility from the Bronze Age in Scandinavia onwards (Ellis Davidson: 132). Model ships were often given as offerings. There is also a connection between death, ships and the Vanir.

In The Prose Edda Freyr is described as ‘the most splendid of the gods. He controls the rain and the shining of the sun, and through them the bounty of the earth. It is good to invoke him for peace and abundance.’ (tr. Jesse Byock, Section 24, p35).

.

Freyja

Freyja

Freyja

Freyja is Freyr’s twin sister. She is associated with love and had certain powers over the dead. She drives a chariot drawn by cats and is called the goddess or bride of the Vanir (Ellis Davidson: 125). Freyja has also been closely associated with the world of death. The story in  Egil’s Saga confirms her association with death as the hero’s daughter Thorgerda threatens to commit suicide after her brother is killed. ‘I shall take no food until I sup with Freyja’. She is often pictured as a weeping goddess. Her tears are said to be of gold. A necklace is also associated with Freyja: the Brisingamen.  A necklace is something that has been associated with the mother goddess from early times. Freyja is also said to take on the shape of a falcon. In such a form she traveled great distances. She is also linked to a particular sort of witchcraft called Seiðr which enabled practitioners to see into the future. She is said to be the first priestess to teach this form of  magic to the Aesir. Her magic is generally connected to the coming season and the destinies of those who wished to see into the future. She is fundamentally responsible for the destiny of her community. This form of witchcraft was taken on by various cults and you can see her influence on various sybils through the ages. (119)

 

Njord

 

Njord

Controlled the wind and seas. He dwells in Noatun ‘the enclosure of ships’, and is one of the few gods to survive Ragnarök. In the Lay of Vafþrúðnismál, section 39:

.

“In Vanaheim the wise Powers made him

and gave him as hostage to the gods;

at the doom of men he will come back

home among the wise Vanir.”

.

You can find the full Lay here.

Njord was married to Skadi (daughter of giant Thjazi) who came from the mountains to marry him, and then, when the marriage unsuccessful, went back to the hills (See story focus below).  He is the father of twins Frey and Freyja.

 

  Story Focus:

.

The Mead of Poetry

 

1. The Mead of Poetry, from Chapter 5 the Skáldskaparmál  (‘the language of poetry’) of The Prose Edda

Consisting of a dialogue between Ægir, the Norse god of the sea, and Bragi, the god of poetry.

This story is seen to be a metaphor for poetic inspiration.

(See p83-87 of The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. by Jessie Byock)

‘Aegar continued, ‘What is the origin of the accomplishment you call poetry? ‘

 The Prose Edda indicates the mead was created when the Vanir and Aesir were at war. They agree to hold a peace meeting and both sides spit into a vat, and in so doing create a man called Kvasir (84). Kavisir travels the world imparting knowledge. He comes upon two dwarves called Fjaalar and Galar who kill Kvasir pouring his blood into vats called Sin and Bodn and into a kettle called Odrerir. The dwarves blend honey with the blood and from this was create the mead that  makes ‘whoever drinks it a poet or a scholar’. They  trick a giant Gilling into drowning, but before he dies Gilling’s  strands the dwarves on a rock. The dwarves offer the poetic mead to  his son Suttung by way of compensation. Suttung takes the poetic mead home with him and  sets his daughter Gunnlöð  to watch over it.

This is why poetry is called ‘Kvasir’s blood’… ‘the drink or intoxication of the dwarves’……’the ship of the dwarves’….’Suttung’s mead’ (84-85).

‘The Aegir said, ‘It seems to me that calling poetry by these names obscures the truth. But how did the Aesir get Suttung’s Mead?’ ‘

Odin eventually ends up with the poetic drink by asking for a drink of the mead in return for doing the work of nine slaves for a giant called Baugi. The story goes that Baugi and Odin (using the name Bolverk) go to Suttung to ask for the Mead and he refuses. They trick Gunnlöð and Odin drains all the mead. Before anyone can get to him he shape-shifts into an eagle. Suttung, changing into an eagle too, takes after him. The Aesir see Odin coming in the shape of an eagle and they put vats out to catch the liquid as Odin spits out the mead. Suttung still chases after him. Evading capture Odin blows some mead out of his rear (which is known as ‘the bad poets’ portion’ (86)) .

‘Odin gave Suttung’s mead to the Aesir and to those men who know how to make poetry. For this reason we call poetry Odin’s catch, find, drink or gift, as well as the drink of the Aesir.’

You can find more about Skáldskaparmál here.

.

2. Njord and Skadi splitting where they live (from Section 23 of Gylfaginning), in The Prose Edda

(See p33-34 Njord and Skadi,  The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. by Jessie Byock)

Njord was brought up in Vanaheim and wanted to live near the sea, but his wife Skadi preferred the mountains. She wanted to live in Thrymheim [Thunder Home] the place which her father had owned. Compromising, they agreed to stay 9 nights in Thrymheim and 3 nights at Noatun

After the 9 nights in the mountains. Njord said:

‘Hateful for me are the mountains

I was not long there,

only nine nights.

The howling of wolves

sounded ugly to me

after the song of swans’

and Skadi said:

‘Sleep I could not

on the sea beds

for the screeching of the bird.

The gull wakes me

when from the wide sea

he comes each morning’

Skadi then decides to return home.

[See the Lay of Grimnir, 11]

http://www.germanicmythology.com/PoeticEdda/Grimnismal.html

http://www.vsnrweb-publications.org.uk/Edda-1.pdf

.

 3. Skadi Choosing Njord as Her Husband

(See p 82-83 of Skáldskaparmál, The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. by Jessie Byock)

Marriage of Skadi and Njord

 

Skadi, setting out to avenge her father’s death (p82), takes all her weapons of war in order to confront the Aesir. However in order to facilitate a reconciliation they offer the choice of a husband to her, but she must only choose him by his feet. She chooses Njord (who is from Vanaheim) and this does not go down at all well with Baldr (a god of light and purity, son of the god Odin and the goddess Frigg). So they settle upon another condition that the Aesir should also make her laugh. So Loki ties one end of a piece of rope to his testicles and the other he ties to a goat and they pull back and forth eventually making Skadi laugh. And finally Odin, takes Thjazi’s eyes and casts them into the heavens forming two stars.

.

Themes, Relevance and Questions:

.

Mystery and Magic: The gods and stories connected to Vanaheim and the Vanir seem to indicate that they operate between spaces and things and within nature. They are steeped in mystery and often embody a state of transition,  probably because of their links to fecundity (birth/death). In contrast to the Aesir, who seem to be powerful in a very obvious way (through force).  See Freyr and Freyja.

Poetic Origins:  As related in  Skáldskaparmál the origins of poetry were derived out of the war between the Vanir and the Aesir. Through the creation of a mead norse myth engages with the beginnings of poetic form and it’s importance.  ‘Good’ poetry is connected with the gods,  and poetry is ‘made’ (see Story Focus 1) which would seem to indicate an awareness of construction and the power behind storytelling.

Humour, Spirit and Power: There is a great cheeky spirit embedded into the stories outlined in this overview: a kind of life force which uses humour to make big decisions, to heal wounds. This seems to be an interesting way to confront notions of power and to destabalise them. Loki’s actions with the goat, for instance, deemphasise the fact that Skadi is in fact marrying a Vanir.  How do the norse sagas use humour to engage with difficult subject matter, and relieve tension?

.

Things of Interest:

.

Kenning:

A kenning (Modern Icelandic pronunciation: [cʰɛnːiŋk]; derived from Old Norse) is a type of circumlocution, in the form of a compound that employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word noun. Kennings are strongly associated with Old Norse and later Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon poetry.

Kennings and Alliteration for Beowulf (the same principle applies in the Norse Sagas. Top tip: turn the music on the video down)

.

.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenning

 

Contemporary writer Gerdur Kristny: Bloodhoof (modern re-inventing of an Edda poem which tells of the abduction of Gerour Gymisdottir from the land of the giants to the court of Freyr)

Scrobble to 2.43:

 

.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloodhoof-Kristny-Gerdur/dp/1908376112

 

National Gallery of Iceland

 

 

Carl Frederick From Salza (1858-1905)

an artist and illustrator who provided drawings for the 1893 edition of The Prose Edda. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Frederick_von_Saltza

Njord by Carl Frederick von Saltza

Njord by Carl Frederick von Saltza

.<

………………………………………………………………………… 

Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

If you wish you can use the following poetic form for your poem:

Fornyrðislag

This poetic form is  one of the most used in ancient German, Anglo-Saxon and Norse-Icelandic poetry. Verses have 4 syllables. It is known in England from 700 A.D. onwards (Beowulf is an example). It is also found in German poetry from the 8th century, and in Swedish runes from the 9th century. As the centuries rolled by the form became more rigid with each stanza having eight lines (in German and English poetry it has four lines).

.
An e.g. from the Völuspá:

Hljóðs bið ek allar Silence I ask from all,
helgar kindir the holy offspring,
meiri ok minni greater and lesser
mögu Heimdallar sons of Heimdallr.
Vildu at ek Valföðr Do you wish, Valföðr (Odin)
vel fyr telja that I clearly rehearse
forn spjöll fira of living beings those ancient tales
þau fremst um man? which I remember from farthest back?

Two lines are connected by alliteration to form pairs. In the a-line two syllables may alliterate with one syllable in the b-line.  It can also be just one syllable in the a-line:

Hljóðs bið ek allar
helgar kindir

But in the b-line readers always find a second non-alliterating syllable to put stress on, matching the second stressed syllable (often alliterating) of the a-line.

See more here

Writing Word Prompts:  Gales, Stars, Trust, Transformation, Apples, Giant, Disturbance, Curses, Growth

To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Vanaheim realm is Thursday 8th December.

 .

 Thanks so much for your interest.

.

References

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

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

 

Web Links

http://www.trobar.org/

%d bloggers like this: