The Valhalla Myth

Reposting from the Real Heathenry page on Facebook:

The Valhalla Myth
Larz Silcott

Due in part to the success of shows like Vikings, comic books, and the Viking metal movement, many new Heathens buy into the myth of Valhalla as a desirable afterlife.

While the Eddas and sagas certainly make mention of Valhalla, the “rules” for entry were pretty clear: one must be killed in battle to gain admittance. Even then, only half of the battle slain were chosen to go; the others went to Freyja’s hall, Folkvangr. For those who were chosen for Valhalla, they could expect to fight each day until they were slain again, and then rise to feast that night, in a cycle that would continue until Ragnarok. And while the idea of feasting and fighting for eternity might appeal to many of us, Valhalla isn’t quite what it appears to be.

In Road to Hel by Hilda Roderick Ellis, the author points out that Valhalla wasn’t commonly mentioned in Skaldic poetry until nearly the end of the arch-Heathen period, well into what is commonly called the “Viking age.” During this period, many arch-Heathens were traveling great distances, sometimes raiding, and the odds of dying in battle and not having your body returned home were increasing. This lends credence to the idea of Valhalla as a “consolation prize” for those who fell far from home.

Archaeological finds have discovered that many heathen burial mounds were actually family mounds, and they were entombed with living belongings like forks, knives, combs, etc. It is believed that the purpose of this was because the spirit of that individual, which was believed connected to the bones of the body, was now going to reside there with the fallen’s ancestors. This was a desirable end for Heathens; the focus on family and community outweighed everything else.

Valhalla, meanwhile, was less a “reward” and more a default for those who fell far from home. The description itself, with shields as a roof and swords their only light source, is believed to be a kenning for the battlefield itself, where the slain were frequently interred or even left to rot after a battle. And while this description may appeal to some Heathens, the fact remains that a true Heathen outlook would see one prefer to be buried alongside their family, their ancestors, so that they may properly watch over and guide their descendants. Something that those who fell in far-flung lands would be unable to do.

The focus on the Eddas and Sagas over all other material is frequently the cause of this particular fascination with Valhalla. And while Snorri did modern Heathens a great service by preserving what he could of the lore, he did so often unaware of the context, or ascribing a context in line with his own beliefs and upbringing. This is, in large part, why so many Heathens today insist on digging deeper, finding the truths behind these very basic concepts presented by Snorri. Valhalla is one of those concepts, behind which lies a much more important truth: dying in battle was honorable, but resting alongside your ancestors was more desirable.

Odin can be like that rational counselor and tells you all these logical things but also gives you choices in certain states of events. If a counselor could control shit, it would be him. Everyone talks about how he would be this one eye homeless guy. Yeah, that’s totally true. But in my experience he can also be this knowledgeable counselor guy who can either make your life better or fuck it up single handed by just writing on a piece of paper. He’s a listener and a watcher. That book on his book shelf is probably everything he knows about you.

6

The complete Icelandic staves / Ásatrú symbol series.

Each artwork is representing an element. They are presented here in the following order : fire, earth, metal, water, wood and air. The symbols are accompanied by stanzas of the Hávamál or Völuspá, written in runes.

You can find the stanzas in English and the names of the symbols on each individual post here.

Thor is like a bro yo. In my experience, he doesn’t care for fancy rituals. He just wants you to be yourself and talk to him like you would anyone else. Thor will sit there and watch you play video games. He’s like incredibly interested in our way of life. Though he finds certain things rather boring and uneventful. Like going to a opera house isn’t his thing but if you’re singing he will wanna listen if it’s about him. He tends to like fantasy rpg video games. Also hack and slash. He is curious about all different types but tends to have more of a favor towards those genres. He likes candy, sweet stuff, of course alcohol or fruit stuff. He also likes pizza, usually the thick crust with lots of cheese kind. Though he’ll settle for any really. If you had recently done a thing for Thor and felt this urge to put something on the altar or shrine, that’s probably him telling you “hey, I want that!” Listen to those feelings. It tends to lead to an interesting relationship. He’s like this loud bro kinda guy yelling at the screen for somebody to win it kick somebodies ass. He’s really fun and out going in my personal relations with him.

Just a gentle reminder

If you’re a Norse heathen and believe that “race mixing” is bad

  • remember that many of the gods are born from interracial pregnancies between the Aesir, Vanir, and Jotunns.

If you’re a Norse heathen and are transphobic or homophobic

  • remember that many of the gods will alter their forms drastically, the most notable being Loki changing into mare and being impregnated by a male horse, and later giving birth to Sleipnir

If you’re a Norse heathen and fascist

  • remember that vikings were largely democratic and would regularly hold votes to decide legal matters, and were incredibly accepting of other cultures

I don’t really talk a lot about my relations with Eir. Imagine her like that pushy doctor who is constantly urging you to live a better life. She encourages me to exercise and stay healthy. She’s the reason why I lost so much weight. She’s also one of the many deities who have helped me in my issues of anxiety and self acceptance. She brings revolution and sense of accomplishment. She’s a healer of the mind, body, and soul.

#innerwitchoctober day 17 : Runes. I don’t use runes for divination, only for magic and spellcasting.
#runes #norse #norserunes #futhark #spell #runicspell #runicmagic #candles #odin #woden #wotan #asatru #odinism #norsemythology #pagan #paganism #norsewitch #jormungandr #snakevertebrae #handmade #runicbowl #runicpurse #heathen #witch #witchcraft #challenge #yggdrasil

A Prayer of Thanks

Ullr!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and protection
Through the times of chill and gale.

Freyja!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and healing
When I am faint and pale.

Odin!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and guidance
When I am ignorant and lost.

Skadhi!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and vengeance
When I am pained or crossed.

Tyr!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and sacrifice
Through times of menace and uncertainty.

Bragi!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and elocution
Through times of romance and diplomacy.

Freyr!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and lust
Through times of romance and devotion.

Thor!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and strength
When I am challenged and broken.

Idunn!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and vigor
When I am dismal and fatigued.

Hel!
To you I do give thanks
for your blessings and tranquility
When I am burdened and enraged.

My gods, I do give thanks to you
For these enrichments that you give!
Hail to you, my gods!

norsegodcalls

This prayer was a request from buddhist-chaote