Valkyries (from the Old Norse Valkyrja, in Norse mythology, daughters of the principal god Odin, are often called Odin’s maidens. At his bidding, they flew on their horses over the fields of every battle to choose the souls of the heroic dead. Belief in the existence of magic horsewomen from heaven was widespread in Germanic and Scandinavia cultures, though they were called by different names.
The Valkyries carried out the will of Odin in determining the victors in battle and of course the war. As each Valkyrie performed differing tasks according to Odin’s instruction, it was their prime duty to ride into the battlefield and choose the fallen heroes of the field. To be chosen by a Valkyrie and carried off on her white steed to Valhalla was considered an honor to the dying Viking warrior, for Valkyries only chose the bravest of the slain, gathering souls found deserving of an afterlife. They traveled far-and-wide searching for the dead in battlefields, oceans and seas for mortal men worthy of the grand hall. However, if the Viking warriors are deemed unworthy by the Valkyries, the goddess Hel in a cheerless underground world received them after their death. [x]
A valkyrie (valkyrja "chooser of the slain") is a woman who has the power to choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Valkyries also appear as beautiful lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty. Many valkyrie names emphasize associations with battle and, in many cases, on the spear—a weapon heavily associated with the god Odin. They are originally viewed as “demons of the dead to whom warriors slain on the battlefield belonged”.
So whenever you think of women as fragile, delicate creatures, remember that a valkyrie is a fierce powerful warrior woman who could chose if you live or die in a battle. Don’t mess with her!!!
The Faroe Islands released a stamp set in 2003 themed after the Völuspá and designed by Anker Eli Petersen.
Here are the complete set (from top left): The Völva The Creation The First Humans The Norns & Yggdrasil Gullveig’s Execution Odin & The Valkyries The Death Of Baldr Ragnarök Begins The Death Of Odin The Return of Baldr & Höðr