Friday, November 4, 2011

Thor and Valkyries

I have been working on a paper on Valkyries and Swan Maidens in reference to Volundrkvida (Wayland's Ballad). Sounds exciting? The majority of what I am reading says that the Valkyries are later developments in Norse myth, in the late first millennium after the Viking period got underway. This is about the time Thor rises to prominence as everyone's favourite Aesir. I don't think there is a connection but it is odd. And....... in connection to the Wayland myth, it is even odder when you consider Thor's weapon of choice is a hammer because Wayland (who is a smith) used a sword.


Anachronist said...

I found a very nice charm concerning Valkyries:

I send out from me the spirits of (the valkyrie) Gondul.
May the first bite you in the back.
May the second bite you in the breast.
May the third turn hate and envy upon you.

Rudolf Simek suggests valkyries were likely originally viewed as "demons of the dead to whom warriors slained on the battlefield belonged", and that a shift in interpretation of the valkyries may have occurred "when the concept of Valhalla changed from a battlefield to a warrior's paradise".

What do you think?

The Red Witch said...

I read his paper too. The valkyrie have been called Odin's disir and Wulfstan likens them to the Furies and witches. Tacitus wrote about old women at the battle field and that the German tribes venerated women as living goddesses. The role is ambiguous at times but I suspect they are based on real women.

Tracy said...

I love that charm, Anachronist - does it work, though??

Anachronist said...

I think I must try it on an appropriate person and find out, Tracy.

The Red Witch I suppose they were indeed based on real women who scoured battlefields looking for dead and/wounded warriors. It's really disgusting but I suppose those women used to finish off the wounded and rob the dead.

The Red Witch said...

They could have also been on the field looking for loved ones and taking vengeance on wounded enemies.