Monday, October 19, 2009

Freya's Wandering's Skaldic Tale

I have written out, in vaguely Miltonic blank verse, a "skaldic"-style rendering of the story of Freya's wanderings in search of her husband Odr. Notes follow, based on research Carla and I have done over the years. May you drink deeply! May she be honored!

1 Noatun's Lord's
2 Rhine maiden river-run
3 searches for Hnoss's lost
4 sire amongst the plains of
5 Halfdan's fallen son.
6 Freyr-lent gift of Ivaldi's
7 offspring she serpentine sails
8 down the winding, wet
9 Nibelung's stash. The snow-
10 leopard's matron regally
11 skiied the river-reindeer,
12 but eye's fire-of-the-sea
13 ran mightily. The foe of the
14 serpent's mother earned many
15 names those moons. Freyr's
16 Gerd-yearning many a mortal
17 man now knew. Their
18 ring-companions, riled, pyrite
19 to her sea's fire, summoned
20 the flock of old oak's doom seats
21 to call her to answer. Broomed
22 Hrimfaxi's ride-queen they called
23 her, having heard mouth-echoes'
24 harp-plucked wind-gifts by
25 branches' bane in the midst of
26 Norvi's daughter. Her face's
27 scions of Mundilfari misted
28 many a morning's dew, while her
29 blood-drum bared snow's sinless
30 sheen ; that jury cast Leifnir's
31 flames over her bonds that day,
32 whence mast's linen-billows caught
33 wind above the waves again. Groa's
34 eloquent son was nowhere to be
35 found, but she had found scratched
36 tree-limb Rhine-floating singing
37 his famous words, so the sword-elf's
38 bride persevered. Njord's necklace-wielding
39 mermaid sunned herself on the stone of song,
40 singing siren songs to her fallen
41 beloved. Along came a lion
42 of the sea, river-Otter, playful,
43 sad beast with Hamlet's
44 Odin-offering's.
45 Frolicked Brisingamen's love-nixie
46 in the rolling waters joyous with
47 the quinotaur that morn! Held the
48 selkie's seal-soft skin close
49 adoring Groa's fish-eating son with passion;
50 never were man and beast so close and cared for!
51 'Till Halfdan's victorious heir happened
52 upon Njord's strands, his Ullr-art heated
53 with great safari yearning
54 at the sight of the rolling giant's-blood beast.
55 Nerthus' garlanded daughter rested
56 in the Mill's yield's womb,
57 while Borgar's grandson, Angrboda's-breed-
58 blood drunk with megin
59 one blade-tipped ash-shaft thrust
60 and through, the tragic hunt over ;
61 Then, dragging his quarry out from
62 Aegir's daughters upon the milled
63 grains of Ymir's flesh,
64 The selkie's brine-skin shed,
65 uncovering Halfdan's bane and Egil's son.
66 Halfdan's heir was jubilant, legs
67 playing in the salty air,
68 at his father's corpse-maker's corpse lying
69 before him, speared.
70 Then he heard a terrible
71 banshee-shriek no mortal's ears e'er beheld.
72 The valkyrie's mistress wod was wakened,
73 and despair wrath-furied, the panther's mother
74 stalked to pounce her husband's foolish bane;
75 Harsh words, grief-steered and hail-pelting
76 stormed dwarfed Dietrich like Aegir's
77 fury's water-spout,
78 and in the heavens, even Magni's father
79 shuddered at the twin of Freyr's no-holds-barred
80 wrath. Every luck heired by Borgar's son, every
81 sig won in battle's heart she stripped him
82 on Odin's wife's folds or Night's wet son,
83 in All-Father's breath or beneath Mani's
84 sister's bright gaze,
85 unravelled rights, heritage kingly,
86 a wretch she made him, to wander more
87 forlorn than she had, amber-shedding,
88 in search of Ullr's untracked brother.
89 And tight-binding all his luck
90 in Njord-taught sailor's knots taut,
91 Declared their release only upon
92 propitiation of Freedom's Lord, the Harvest King,
93 if at all. Hildebrand's friend wretch-wandered
94 luckless for many a Son of Delling,
95 'till shamed, he atonement-custom set
96 the Yule-boar every year a great oath
97 to Yngvi's freedom. Awhile all this,
98 Ermanerich's Laufey's heir counselor
99 shifted shape selkie upon the singing stone
100 when Alfrik and Sindri's golden ring of the neck
101 lay exposed, glistening beneath Skinfaxi's rider.
102 But Odin's untrustworthy friend,
103 ever-watched by the hearthfire's ward,
104 whose Mimir-pledge could hear a thousand miles,
105 was foiled by the sheep's strong master,
106 river-otter's skin slipped now himself, and before
107 Niflhel's Queen's father could thief
108 the sovereign gold's circle, golden-toothed seal
109 had rightfully returned it. When Thor's half-
110 sister grasped the ring, and Ermanerich's
111 younger brother boar had cast upon the
112 altar, she sow's-mate ham grasped and wrapped
113 the wandering ghost of Ullr's brother,
114 Gullinbursti-riding to the Wolf's mother's barrow,
115 there to reckon up Egil's son's vast hybrid lineage.
116 Widsith's braided travel-log of broad and bright
117 kinship was wider than the vastest, and minni-cup
118 sailing o'er Delling's red hand opened, the trembling
119 bridge up she brought her lost beloved
120 into Folkvang's halls, forever there to dwell,
121 Hermodr and Syritha, in wedded tantric bliss.


1-2 Noatun's Lord's Rhine maiden : Njord's daughter Freya wandering along the Rhine.

3-4 Hnoss's lost sire : Freya's daughter's father is Odr.

5 Halfdan's fallen son : One of Halfdan's sons was Ermanerich, who fell into wolfishness and tyranny. Ermanerich ruled the Rhineland.

6-7 Freyr-lent gift of Ivaldi's offspring : Ivaldi's Sons crafted for Freyr Skidbladnir, the best of ships. Grimm examines the name "Frene" and analyzes it to be a Dutch version of "Freya", and briefly connects Frene to Saint Verena. Upon archive research, Carla & I found that Saint Verena was closely associated with cats, brothels, and harvest corn, strong Freya-indications, and that she was known to have sailed up and down the Rhine. This fits hand-in-glove with some of the Magdalene stories of her having sailed over to France after her husband had seemingly died, and the Magdalene is said to have stayed in a cave. The Anglo-Saxon poem The Wife's Lament, speaking of a wife whose husband has been lost and exiled, tells of her staying in a cave forlorn for her husband. Snorri tells us that Freya searched all over the world for her lost husband Odr. All of these stories converge.

9 Nibelung's stash : The Nibelung hoard was stashed in the Rhine.

9 - 10 Snow-leopard's matron : Freya's cart is pulled by cats.

11 River-reindeer : the ship.

12 Eye's fire-of-the-sea : Gold of the eye in Freya's case is tears.

13 - 14 The foe of the serpent's mother : The Midgard Serpent's mother is Gullveig-Angrboda, and Freya is her foe.

14 - 15 Earned many names : Snorri tells us that Freya in her wanderings was called by many names.

15 - 16 Freyr's Gerd-yearning : The intensity with which Freyr fell in love with Gerd is notorious.

17 - 18 Ring-companions : The wives of mortal men.

18 - 19 Pyrite to her sea's fire : Fool's gold to gold, as their charms could not compare to those of the Love Goddess walking the earth now.

19 -20 Old oak's doom seats : Courts or Things were held by old oaks, and these wives commenced a trial of Brisingamen's bearer.

21 - 22 Broomed Hrimfaxi's ride-queen : Night-Rider of Broomsticks ; they accused her of being a witch.

23 - 24 Mouth-echoes' harp-plucked wind-gifts : Rumors and gossip.

25 By branches' bane : Around the campfires.

26 Norvi's daughter : by Night.

26 - 27 Face's scions of Mundilfari : The Sun and Moon of her face are her eyes.

29 - 30 Blood-drum ... snow's sinless sheen : Her heart proved to be white and innocent to all who examined her.

30 - 31 Leifnir's flames : A famous spell that unfetters bonds.

32 Mast's linen-billows : Sails.

33 - 34 Groa's eloquent son : Svipdag, well known for his eloquence, one word for which is "Odr".

35 - 36 Scratched tree-limb Rhine-floating: A rune-stave floating in the water. The Husband's Message, an old Anglo-Saxon poem about an exiled husband, speaks of him sending messages via runestick on the waters to his wife.

37 - 38 The sword-elf's bride : Svipdag-Odr was well known to have been the carrier of Weland's sword of revenge, the gambanteinn which fights giants all by itself, and he had strong elvish heritage. His bride, of course, is Freya.

38 - 39 Njord's necklace-wielding mermaid : A kenning for Freya, Njord's daughter and bearer of Brisingamen, as she waited by the Rhineland waters to find Odr.

39 Sunned herself on the stone of song : "Lorelei" means the song or echo of the stones or rocks, and Snorri
mentions "Singastein", the "singing stone" where Freya left Brisingamen at one point. Lorelei is a famous
Rhineland legend about a mermaid/fairy spirit whose beauty lured many a sailor to his peril while she
waited for her lost husband to return. There are parallels in the Lorelei story that converge upon the
Freya tale here with such detail that I have woven several aspects of them in, as we believe they may be
distant folk-memories of the old tale.

41 - 42 Lion of the sea : sea-lion.

43 - 44 Hamlet's Odin-offering's : Odin offered his eye, and Freya saw that the sea lion had the eyes of Hamlet,
whose story in part also reflects Svipdag-Odr's. Like Hamlet's disposition of uncertainty and sorrow, the beast she meets has a forlorn look.

45 Brisingamen's love-nixie : Freya.

47 Quinotaur : The Chronicle of Fredegar speaks of the origins of the Merovingian line where a princess
frolicked in the waves with a strange beast called a "quinotaur". The second half of the word is from
Latin taurus, bull, but the first half is some Teutonic word Fredegar or his oral folk-forebears tacked on.
It is probably related to the Scandinavian word "Kvenna", which can refer to the Kvens, a Finnish
sub-group. In this regard, the Finns were always a kenning for Elves in the lore, and thus we are in the midst of a kind of elvish-bull, something we do encounter occasionally in Teutonic lore, although more often in Celtic lore, and it is clearly presented as a bull of the sea. But kvenna can also mean "queen" or "woman", and the bull-of-the-woman is clearly a kenning for a woman's husband. The poet who preceded Fredegar would have well-named this kenning for Odr, Freya's lost husband. They met upon the Rhine and fathered forth a kingly line. Da Vinci Code may have been off : it wasn't Magdalene and Jesus who were the basis of the Merovingian line, but Freya and her husband Odr. Freya would easily have been "sainted" (as many old heathen Gods were) as Magdalene, the famous sexually-free saint, and the memory of her famous demigod-but-mortal husband could easily have syncretized with Jesus, the man who was also God.

48 Selkie : Legends almost exclusively in Norse-dominated areas of Scotland and the Orknies speak of
elvish spirits who live inside seal-skins. We have studied these closely, and their core characteristics match
strongly with the story of Svipdag having been shapeshifted into a water beast.

49 Groa's fish-eating son : Groa's son is Svipdag, and as a water-beast, he is here eating fish.

51 Halfdan's victorious heir : Halfdan's son, known variously as Dietrich and Hadding, was finally victorious over his tyrannical brother Ermanerich.

52 Njord's strands : the shores of the Rhine.

52 Ullr-art heated : His desire to hunt, as Ullr was one of the best of hunters.

53 Giant's blood beast : Giant's-blood is the sea, and thus a sea-beast.

56 Mill's yield's womb : The Mill's yield is gold, and the "womb of gold" is here used as a kenning for the seas, specifically the Rhine where the Nibelung hoard is stashed.

57 Borgar's grandson : Borgar-Scyld, the first Jarl of Rigsthula, had a son, Kon, also known as Halfdan, and here Halfdan's son refers to Dietrich.

57 - 58 Angrboda's breed-blood drunk with megin : Angrboda breeds wolves, and Saxo tells a story of Hadding-Dietrich being advised by Odin to drink wolves' blood during an episode when Dietrich was captured by Loki (whom Saxo called Lokerus). The drinking of this blood brought him great, renowned strength.

59 Blade-tipped ash-shaft : a spear.

62 Aegir's daughters : Dietrich dragged the seal-body of Svipdag-Odr out from the waves.

62 - 63 Milled grains of Ymir's flesh : Ymir's flesh was put on the World Mill to produce sand.

64 - 65 Selkie's brine-skin ... Egil's son : The seal-elf's skin shed. Shapeshifters often are portrayed as losing their shifted form upon injury or dying. Svipdag killed Halfdan, Dietrich's father, and Svipdag was the famous arrow-elf Egil's son.

68 Father's corpse-maker's corpse : The dead body of Halfdan's killer, Svipdag, lay before him.

72 Valkyrie's mistress : Freya.

73 Panther's mother : Freya.

74 Husband's foolish bane : Dietrich, who has just speared her husband Odr in his seal-form.

75 Harsh words : The curse that Freya utters is recorded by Saxo in Book One of his History of the Danes.

76 - 77 Aegir's fury's water-spout : Hurricanes of the ocean.

78 Magni's father : Thor.

79 Twin of Freyr : Freya. Her wrath is well-known, as presented in Thrymskvida.

82 Odin's wife's folds ... Night's wet son ... Odin's wife is Jord, the Earth, and Snorri tells us that Night gave birth to one named Udr or Unnr, which means the Waves or the Sea, who in this genealogy is Jord's brother. Jord is Nerthus, and Nerthus' brother is Njord. Here we are referring to the sea.

83 All-father's breath : the winds, the heavens.

83 - 84 Mani's sister : Sol, the sun.

88 Ullr was also Egil's son, and therefore Svipdag's half-brother. (Svipdag's mother was Groa, while Ullr's brother was Sif.) Ullr was well-known for his tracking skills, and thus if his brother was "untracked", he was lost indeed.

92 Freedom's Lord ... Harvest King : Freyr. Saxo records that Hadding-Dietrich made a sacrifice to Freyr of
dark animals, to ward off the curse, and that this became an annual custom. Boars are well known for their
dark fur, and we know that the Sonarblot was an annual Yule custom of sacrificing the best of boars, speaking
an oath on his head, and dedicating the boar to Freyr. Ham is still a Christmas favorite.

93 Hildebrand's friend : Dietrich.

94 Son of Delling : Day.

95 Atonement-custom : One of the meanings of sonarblot is a sacrifice of atonement.

97 Yngvi : Freyr. But Freyr's foster-brother Svipdag can also carry the title, so Yngvi's freedom has a double meaning here.

98 Ermanerich's Laufey's heir counselor : Ermanerich was said to have a very shifty counselor named Sifka, and Laufey's heir is Loki. By his characterization, Sifka is thoroughly the bad-minded friend of Odin.

99 Shifted shape selkie upon the singing stone : The tale of Loki trying to steal Brisingamen at Singastein is told by Snorri.

100 Alfrik and Sindri's golden ring of the neck : Sorla Thattr tells how Alfrik, Sindri, and other elves crafted Brisingamen.

101 Skinfaxi's rider : Sol, the sun.

102 Odin's untrustworthy friend : Loki.

103 Hearthfire's ward : Heimdall.

104 Mimir-pledge : his hearing.

105 Sheep's strong master : Heimdali can mean a "ram".

107 Niflhel's Queen's father : The Queen of Niflhel (but not all of Hel, the Underworld) is Hela-Leikn, and her father is Loki.

108 Sovereign gold's circle : Sorla Thattr makes it clear that Brisingamen has a connection to the sovereignty of kings, and who shall rule.

109 Golden-toothed seal : One of Heimdall's names is "Golden-Toothed".

109 - 110 Thor's half-sister : Thor's mother is Jord-Nerthus, and Freya's mother is Jord-Nerthus. They are half-siblings.

110 - 111 Ermanerich's younger brother : Dietrich.

112 - 113 Sow's mate ham ... Ullr's brother : Wrapped Svipdag-Odr in the ham or astral form of the sow's mate or boar. The tale of Freya taking Ottar in boar-form to hear his genealogy told is found in Hyndluljod.

114 Gullinbursti-riding : Freyr had a famous boar who could ride through the air, and here Freya rides Svipdag wrapped in the boar's hamr.

115 Egil's son's vast hybrid lineage : Svipdag-Odr came from a family line of elves who had interbred with giants, and his mother Groa was half-human. He himself was raised amongst humans as a boy and an
adolescent, while as a baby, his father Egil had fostered Freyr. Thus, Svipdag had elvish, human, Vanir, and giantish heritage, truly a hybrid being. That this is the one who wins Freya's hand tells us a lot ... and something the strictly folkish ought consider.

116 Widsith : Widely-travelled. This poem is clearly about Odr's wanderings amongst men.

118 Delling's red hand : Delling is the rosy elf of dawn.

118 - 119 Trembling bridge : a literal translation of Bifrost.

120 Folkvang's halls : Freya's dwellings, where she gets to choose half the slain. The story of Svipdag-Erikr coming to Valhall is retold in a skaldic praise-poem given to a later king Eric to flatter him.

121 Hermodr and Syritha : Hermodr is Odr's name after he has been "resurrected" in Folkvang, while Freya is called "Syrra" (The Sow, an apt name being the bride of a boar (Odr)), a name Saxo Latinizes as "Syritha", when he tells the story of Freya's rescue from the giants by Otherus, Odr.

copyright 2009 by Siegfried Goodfellow, with special research help from Carla O'Harris


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