The Fortification of Asgard

A certain smith arrived at Asgard one day and offered to build the gods a high wall around their home to protect them from any who might wish them ill. The smith (certainly a giant himself) said he could complete his work in a mere three seasons, but demanded a steep compensation: the hand of the goddess Freya in marriage, as well as the sun and moon.

The gods took counsel together. Freya was adamantly against the giant’s terms from the start. But Loki suggested that the builder should obtain that which he desired, although only if he could complete his work in a single winter, with no aid from anyone but his horse. After much deliberation, the gods consented to Loki’s plan. Of course, the gods had no intention of actually giving Freya away, nor the sun or the moon; they thought that the task they demanded was impossible.

The giant smith, however, agreed to their terms, provided that the gods swear oaths to ensure that, if their conditions were met, they would fulfill their end of the bargain, and that he himself would be safe in Asgard while he worked.

The builder set about constructing the wall, and the gods marveled at how quickly the structure was raised. What was even more perplexing to them was that the giant’s stallion, Svadilfari (“Unlucky Traveler”) seemed to be doing almost twice as much work as the smith himself, hauling enormous boulders over considerable distances to add to the edifice. When the end of winter was only three days ahead, the wall was strong enough to be impenetrable by almost any enemy, and – alarmingly – lacking little before it was finished. Only the stones around the gate had yet to be put in place.

The anxious gods seized Loki and rebuked him for giving them such foul advice. They threatened him with death if he couldn’t find a way to prevent the giant from finishing his task and making off with their beloved goddess Freya and the sun and moon, bringing neverending darkness and dreariness to the Nine Worlds. Loki pleaded with the gods to spare his life, and swore an oath that he would do as the gods desired, come what may.

That night, the giant and Svadilfari ventured into the snow-draped forest in search of stones. Along their way, a mare, who was none other than Loki in disguise, whinnied to the stallion from a short distance away. When the stallion saw the mare, his heart wasn’t the only organ that was roused by delight and lust, and he snapped his reins and bounded into the woods after her. The mare ran all night, and all night Svadilfari chased after her. When morning came, the giant’s horse was still missing, and the now-despairing giant knew that there was no way that he could now finish the wall in time.

The Aesir then paid the giant the wages they deemed he deserved: a fatal blow from Thor’s hammer, which shattered his head into pieces no bigger than breadcrumbs.

Meanwhile, deep in the forest, Svadilfari had caught up with Loki, who soon gave birth to a gray, eight-legged horse – Sleipnir, who became the steed of Odin.

(text source)
Artwork for Fate of the Norns, the Illuminated Edda.
Ink, watercolour, PS.

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© Nataša Ilinčić, please do not remove credits

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More phenomenal artwork from sceithailm (DeviantArt)
English translations of Old Norse (from top to bottom): 

Witchcraft
Loki spake: “They say that with spells in Samsey once, Like witches with charms didst thou work; And in witch’s guise among men didst thou go; Unmanly thy soul must seem." 

Heimdall
Loki spake: "Be silent, Heimdall! in days long since, Was an evil fate for thee fixed; With back held stiff must thou ever stand, As warder of heaven to watch.”

Baldr’s Death

Loki spake: “Thou wilt then, Frigg, that further I tell, Of the ill that now I know; Mine is the blame that Baldr no more, Thou seest ride home to the hall." 

Fenriswolf
"The wolf shall fell the father of men, And this shall Vithar avenge; The terrible jaws shall he tear apart, And so the wolf shall he slay.”

AGE OF ULTRON PSA

PLEASE, remember that the worship of Norse Gods is a THRIVING AND REAL RELIGION. Many members are offended or even triggered by the Marvel Thor. PLEASE, remember to tag posts about him as MARVEL Thor and not just Thor. Also remember to be respectful of other people’s beliefs, especially at this time.

Don't keep the Gods trapped in the past!

You know what I want to see more of? Images of our gods in the modern age. They’re not just our ancestors’ gods, they’re ours too.

I want to see Freyr blessing migrant farmer laborers. I want to see Freyja watching over sex workers. I want to see Odin camped out under an overpass, swapping stories. I want Tyr marching with protesters and Thor fighting tyrants. I want Frigga as a high powered lady executive or attorney, Eir as a nurse in an overcrowded and underfunded inner city hospital

Our gods our more than gleaming steel and mead halls. Humanity has grown and changed, and of course the gods have come along with us!

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Heathen New Year (5th January 2015)

As Sól’s light falls on the final day,
A year on Miðgarðr is washed away,
A brand new chance to show Óðinn my deed,
In Yggdrasil’s branches a new year takes seed,
Hail Frey, prosperity and virility,
Hail Freyja, lust and fertility,
Hail Þórr, strength and protection,
Hail Óðinn, wisdom and intention,
Hail Skaði, valour and redemption,
Hail to the powers as the days start to lengthen.

- hedendom