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Myths for Kids – The Wall

The Wall – As Written by Dael Dhra for Hrafnarfjall Hearthside.                            

Listen, children, and listen well
For I’ve a tale I would tell
A tale of need, for defenses strong
And of a bargain that went wrong
But creating a steed with special skill
Gifted to Odin by Loki’s will
So hear me now and hear me well.

Odin sits at the head of the great table in Gladsheimr, great hall of Asgard, listening intently as Heimdall, the far-seeing, reports. “Asgard is wide open! There is nothing to protect it, Allfather! Other realms have walls around them to protect them from invaders – why does Asgard have none?” Loki chuckles. “Perhaps because the other realms don’t have the mighty Thor to protect them!” Thor, however, glowers and hefts his hammer, which he called Mjolnir. “Perhaps the ‘mighty Thor’ is tired of being the sole line of defense for an entire realm, Loki.”


Odin considers this, taking the guardian of Asgard seriously. He thinks of the wars with the Vanir – then, Odin simply calls for a master builder to be brought. And sure enough, in due time, one is found and brought before the Allfather. And Odin is impressed by this builder; in discussing the situation, explaining their need for defense, it is clear the builder is truly a master of his craft. The builder is, as far as Odin can tell, quite knowledgeable and experienced. Such a task, the builder says, will take him three seasons, provided he has many people to assist him. This makes sense to Odin, so, Odin asks this builder’s price – and the cheeky builder asks for nothing less than the sun and the moon! And Freyja for his own! Odin laughs, thinking the builder joking. Of course Odin knows very well that the sun and the moon are impossible to give to anyone, even by a God, and he doubts Freyja would consent to have her hand given as a prize – so that is entirely impossible, too. The builder is quite serious though, and he will accept nothing less in payment! Stunned, Odin asks for a moment to consult with the others.

The AllFather’s will gathers them all. Heimdall, Freya, Bragi, Idunn — are all confused as to what to suggest, but Loki (as usual) is not silent. “Why change the terms?” he suggests. “None can pay that price, obviously, but we as obviously need the wall – so we’ll just have to be sure we never have to pay a thing.” And with that Loki has their attention now. And Odin admits to himself even he is curious. “Go on…” “Three seasons, you say he wants, and aid?” Loki queries. At Odin’s nod, Loki says, “Well, then, we give him but one season!” Thor grins. “Aye! And none shall aid!” Loki nods. “Exactly, my friend!” Odin considers again. “What makes you think he’ll accept those terms?” Loki looks at Freya. “Why, SHE will!” At Freyja’s fierce scowl, Loki hastened to reassure. “Just a smile and a few kind words is all I mean, pretty one!” Freyja’s scowl lessens not at all. Clearly Loki’s flattery had not had an effect. But at last even Freya agrees to the ruse, seeing no risk of being wed with such impossible terms to the deal. Odin sits back and smiles, a cold smile that does not reach his eyes (for he had both eyes then – how Odin lost his eye is a tale for another time!). “Excellent. I shall have my wall – and pay nothing at all!” Freya, claiming boredom with the meeting and discussion, excuses herself to speak with the builder, and inform him they were ready for a deal. And sure enough, the memory of her warm smile drives all thought from the builder’s spinning head.

Svaldifari

He agrees to their new terms – but for the aid of his stallion, Svaldifari. Odin, seeing no harm in this, agrees. A stallion is just a horse, after all. Thus the deal for the Wall of Asgard is struck. The builder, of course, wastes no time in beginning his task, and so the Gods turn to theirs, chuckling to themselves. But almost before their eyes, the wall rises! Seemingly in no time at all! As the Aesir and Vanir watch, more nervous day by day, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary stallion. Indeed, this horse was doing most of the work! He hauled more boulders to the wall than ten men could. And nothing could stop them. The wall was rising with dismaying speed as the promised season passed, until the wall was all but done. And as Freya, Odin, and Loki and Heimdall were observing the progress of the wall, the look Freya turned to Loki read clearly that she blamed him for everything. Her anger was a thing to behold, eyes sparking with fury. “You told us there was no way he’d be able to accomplish this! I’ll not be wed to a builder because of you!” Odin, scowling, evidently also blamed Loki. “Indeed. Nor shall I be shown weak and a liar when I cannot pay the sun and moon, because of you. You will fix this, Loki.” Loki simply closed his eyes and breathed out sharply, then looked at the angry Asgardians. “Perhaps if you, Heimdall, had told me his horse was magick, my counsel may have been different.” Heimdall shrugged. “If I’d seen anything special about that horse, Loki, I would have said so.” “Then my advice was not ill-given.” Loki scoffed. “Why am I to blame?” Odin looked at Freyja. “Nevertheless, Loki, it is because of you we’re in this mess, and you will fix it.” The angry goddess glared at Loki. “Loki, if I wind up married to THAT builder because of you, I promise you will not live a day past the wedding, if I must kill you myself.” Loki’s eyebrows raised. “Wait a minute! How….” Even the clever-tongued Loki sputtered a moment. “YOU all agreed with me!” But Odin merely nodded. “And if I have to figure out how to give the Builder the sun and the moon gone because you talked us into this scheme, Loki, she won’t have to kill you – I’ll do it myself.” Loki’s eyes narrowed. “I was not in this alone and none of YOU knew about that horse, either; yet I am to blame?” Odin sighed. “No, Loki, you’re not solely to blame. But it was your idea, and you will fix this, on pain of death.” Freya glared at Loki once again and spun around, and Loki was left Loki to consider the situation alone. Loki, too angry to think, stormed off in the opposite direction of the other Asgardians.

During the next few days, he discarded and considered a few ideas, considered and discarded a few more. Freyja wasn’t likely to consider a more elaborate ploy to have the builder fall more in love with her. The horse was simply too pretty a creature to hurt in any way. But. He WAS a stallion…. Loki wondered if he could be distracted. Perhaps by a pretty mare…. Now THAT could work!
So, Loki began the search for who had the prettiest horse in Asgard. By now, that wall was getting pretty close to finished, so they didn’t have much time. That mare would have to be pretty special, and it would have to be just the right time. Of those available who were special, and likely to be distraction enough, one was owned by Heimdall (who flat out refused) and the others by Tyr and Baldr (who likewise refused). They didn’t wish to risk their precious mares, whom they wished to find a stallion for that would give them a foal worthy of Odin himself. Odin was searching for a new horse to train for his steed, and the owner would be richly rewarded. “Fine. So be it.” Loki shrugged to himself. Only one thing for it. He would just have to shapeshift into a mare and distract the stallion himself.
Thus the following morning, a sleek young mare pranced out of the forest just beside the wall, flirting her tail and tossing her head in a manner suspiciously like Loki at his sassiest. The stallion, sure enough, tossed his head and jerked at the reins, then whinnied loudly. The mare whinnied back, then stepped delicately into the woods….and the stallion broke free of the builder to run off behind her.

Without the stallion, hard as the builder might try, he just could not meet the deadline, and he was forced to admit he had lost. He seemed to accept defeat calmly – until he saw Freyja, and then he flew into a rage and revealed that he was truly a mighty Giant. Furiously, the builder began to attack Asgard and anyone who tried to stop him – until Thor put an end to him with one mighty blow of his hammer. But when the Asgardians tried to find Loki to thank him for putting an end to the situation, for they knew it must have been him, neither Loki nor the mare could be found. A year passed, Thor and Odin growing more and more certain Loki had met his doom. But then, on the very day Odin was considering the new foals to choose the one that would be his, in walked Loki with a gangly legged foal about a month old at his side. A gray foal with eight long, spindly legs that he, for it was a colt, could barely keep from tripping over.

Odin laughed to see the little colt struggling along, laughed along with everyone else in the hall. But then the laughter stopped cold as the colt tossed his head and disappeared with a snort. As they all stared, Loki grinned and announced, “His name’s Sleipnir, son of Svaldifari. He’s the colt you’re looking for, Odin. If you can get him back, you can have him, brother.” With that, he walked out again, and it was some time indeed before anyone saw Loki in Asgard after that. And that is how Odin came to have Sleipnir, the eight-legged steed that can slip between the realms, for his horse. And Loki was right. Sleipnir was the steed for Odin, for Sleipnir was the finest horse in Asgard – and Odin was more than pleased by Sleipnir’s special talent. And that concludes our tale! For the children at heart – if you liked this, please follow the channel, and find Hrafnarfjall Hearthside on Facebook! Don’t forget to check out our Patreon hall, here on Midgard! https://www.patreon.com/HrafnarfjallHearthside.  See you there!

Sleipnir https://bavipower.com/blogs/norse-myth-explained/chapter-8-what-animals-did-norse-gods-have-and-why-them

For more Hearthside tales:

Creation Myths https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/09/myths-for-kids-creation-myths/

Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/myths-for-kids-yggdrasil-and-the-nine-worlds/

The Aesir and Vanir War https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/norse-myths-for-kids-the-aesir-and-vanir-war/

The Mead of Poetry https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/27/the-mead-of-poetry-norse-myths-for-kids/

Runes and the Futhark

From Raven Readings ‘On Runes’ series, by the author of this blog. To watch the YouTube, please view here: https://youtu.be/gZDxjgeYkWo

The first thing to know is that I am by no means an expert; merely an enthusiast, seeking to share knowledge and expand on my own. For the experts, I’d refer you to Dr. Jackson Crawford, for a start. Anyway, the runes are based on several known alphabets. These are most notably what are referred to as Elder Futhark (Scandinavia, until about 700 CE),

and the Younger Futhark, prevalent during the Viking Age (790-1100 CE in Scandinavia),

and the Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Frisian Futhorc, which was prevalent in England from the 5th Century CE to about the 11th century. As I understand it, were I to be using runes to write English words, this would the the closest applicable due to the prevalence of similar sounds being represented by the available runes.

https://images.app.goo.gl/Ze6KdyPrEwVdP2cw8

HOWEVER, for runic readings, my preference personally is for the Elder Futhark. The Elder Futhark was sometimes broken down into three sections called Aettir, which practice can be seen exemplified on the Vadstena and Motala bracteates.

Vadstena Bracteate

These two bracteates are thought to have been struck by the same die and were found in Sweden. These bracteates have been dated to 500 AD or so. This Aett breakdown is also seen on the Grumpan bracteate, also found in Sweden, and which dates to about 500-600 AD.

Regardless, they each follow the same breakdown.

However, the Vadstena and Motala bracteates have a further inscription, Tiwaz, uruz, wunjo, ansuz (repeated), which is not understood – but some suggest a connection to magic.

In the next part of the series, we’ll be exploring each of the Aettir, the runes and their meanings, so be sure to follow this blog to get updates!

Raven Readings is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RavReadings/ ,Twitter at readings.raven and Instagram at Raven.Readings. Contact us at ravenreadings1@gmail.com and check out our runes on Etsy! https://www.etsy.com/listing/790098998/handcrafted-wood-rune-set?ref=shop_home_active_8

Thanks for reading!

Myths for Kids – The Mead of Poetry

The Mead of Poetry – Norse Myths For Kids
As Presented by Dael Dhra for Hrafnarfjall Hearthside. To listen instead, go here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iDXRUMttye0&feature=youtu.be

Listen, children, and listen well For I’ve a tale I would tell A tale of two people, healing from war, Who, with magick, would heal the scar – This tale of magick, so strong and hale,  From it sprang an entire male!  So hear me now, and hear me well.

Kvasir and the Mead of Poetry

 Long ago, two tribes of gods went to war, the Aesir and the Vanir. When it finally ended, they were so very, very tired of war that they decided to honor the end of it with a magickal working.  What kind of magickal working, you may ask?
Freya had been teaching Odin magick, so he knew, if he put his mind to it and with the proper ingredients, he could work a very strong magick indeed. Now, you may know this yourselves. To spit on something is to make a strong, firm promise, so what did Odin do? That’s right. He had them spit on it. Normally, you may spit on your hand to make such an agreement, but this time, Odin had better ideas. He had them all spit into a kettle! Being wise, he had them chew some berries and leaves first, berries and leaves which were known to have strong magick to help keep the new peace. But it didn’t taste very nice, no indeed. The bitter taste filled their mouths, so they had to spit, and they spit, a lot. They spit so much they filled the kettle, and it was a rather large kettle too! Finally the bitter taste faded from their mouths and they spat the berries and leaves out entirely, and after a while, the Gods drifted away.
Well, imagine the surprise the next day when someone came by to empty the kettle – and there was a new god! An Aesir, fully formed, from the spit of all the Gods, given to keep the peace.

This God was named Kvasir, and he was extremely wise. Even Odin, known for his wisdom, respected Kvasir’s wisdom.  Kvasir knew he was destined to help people, wandering the worlds and answering their questions. He never failed to give a good answer. Whatever people asked, they left knowing he had given them the best answer he could.  So he wandered everywhere, becoming well known for his answers for people and helping them. He also taught them, so people everywhere were smarter when he left. It was said there was no knowledge he did not possess, no question that he could not answer. 

One day, Kvasir’s wanderings took him to the home of two Dwarves, named Fjalar, which means Deceiver, and Galar, which means Screamer, who were brothers. They were selfish dwarves, though, you see – these dwarves wanted to keep Kvasir and his knowledge and answers for themselves. Kvasir said no, because Kvasir knew his purpose was to wander and to help all people, giving everyone knowledge. But the Dwarves didn’t take no well – and Fjalar and Galar killed poor Kvasir! Then they drained his blood into a large kettle, and added a LOT of honey – and I mean, a LOT! of honey. 

Then they let it sit a LONG time – months! – in order to make from his blood and the honey a drink called Mead, hoping to hide what they had done by getting people to drink it. Once it was done, they poured the mead into two glasses called Bothn and Son, and a pot called Othrerir to store it. Well, eventually, the other Gods noticed Kvasir was missing, and finally, they learned that Kvasir had last been seen with the Dwarves, and the Gods went to talk to the brothers about what happened to Kvasir. But the dwarves lied. They told the Gods that Kvasir died because he could not breathe under the weight of his own knowledge. He suffocated under his intelligence.  Well, the Gods seemed to accept this, but Odin, being very wise, didn’t believe the Dwarves, and he waited, and he watched. And sure enough, his patience was rewarded, for you see he saw when the Dwarves formed more trickery which led to the discovery of the mead. The Dwarves invited a Giant, named Gilling, to feast with them, along with the Giant’s wife. Well, they decided to go fish for their dinner and they capsized the boat – and the Giant drowned! The dwarf brothers went back home, where Gilling’s wife waited, and when they told her she was very sad, and could not stop crying. Fjallar offered to show her the spot her husband had died, and when she accepted, Gallar waited on the roof of the house they lived in and dropped a huge rock on her head when she walked through the door! Well when her son Suttungr learned of her death, and of his father’s, he went to these dwarves and tied them up on a reef which the sea covers at high tide. The Dwarves begged for their lives, and finally, they offered the one prize they had – the special mead – in compensation for his parent’s deaths. They had tried it themselves, you see, and knew that this mead now had special magick – it made anyone who drank it a master Poet and Storyteller! Your words were given magick and were spellbinding to all those listening, and it also granted the wisdom and knowledge of Kvasir to the drinker! 

Naturally, Suttungr wanted that mead, so he accepted, and the Dwarves gave him the pot of mead, keeping the glasses for themselves. Odin overheard this, and watched as Suttungr took it back home, giving the guarding of it over to his daughter, Gunnlod. Naturally, Odin himself wanted the mead for its magick, being relentless in his quest for knowledge – so he went to pay Suttungr a visit. Suttungr refused even Odin a taste of the mead, so Odin went to his brother, Baugi, and on his way, he saw slaves (Yes, they had slaves back then, though we know better today) belonging to Baugi working in the fields. Odin made these slaves an offer. They used sharp tools called scythes to cut the field, and they needed sharpening.

So Odin offered to sharpen these tools for them. He used a sharpening stone that he enchanted with magick, and it worked so well on the scythes that all the slaves wanted the sharpening stone. They offered to buy it, but Odin just threw it up into the air – and they fought over it, and killed each other for it. Later that summer, Odin went back to Baugi. But Odin tricked Baugi – he didn’t go as Odin, but he changed his clothes and his hair and even his voice and how he moved, and he changed his name too! He called himself Bolverk, and went to Baugi’s hall to introduce himself. Naturally, Baugi offered food and drink to be polite to the newcomer, and as they were talking, Odin asked Baugi politely how business was going. Well, Baugi immediately replied that business wasn’t going very well, since his slaves had all died and he couldn’t get anyone to do the work. Well, Odin offered to do the work in exchange for a drink of Baugi’s brother’s mead. Baugi agreed and said he’d talk to his brother. Odin (calling himself Bolverk, remember), did the work as agreed through the rest of the summer.

When winter came, though, he asked Baugi for his payment. Baugi talked to his brother Suttungr, who said no, this stranger could not have a sip of the mead, even for payment for such work as he had done. Naturally, this angered Odin, and they both went to Suttungr, who still refused. Then Odin suggested Baugi use a trick to get it and he handed Baugi a drill powered by hand, and asked him to dig into the the mountain that Suttung’s hall was on and tunnel through to get it. He only managed a very small hole, however, so Odin turned into a snake and slipped in! Baugi, witnessing this, tried to strike the snake with the drill, but Odin escaped! Odin slipped through the hole and found himself in Gunnlod’s room. Gunnlod was quite a pretty giant, and Odin liked her – finally spending three days in her company!

Gunnlod was, of course, quite happy to have the attention and flattery – she’d been very lonely guarding the mead, so Odin was able to talk her into giving him a drink of the mead she guarded every night – gaining THREE drinks! But he drank so much on the last night of it that he drained the container! Then he snuck back through the hole, as a snake once again, slithering and squirming – but once he got back out of the hole he turned into an eagle, and flew away! 

Gunnlod was not happy that Odin drank all the mead, and immediately accused Odin of theft and went to her father Suttungr to tell him. As soon as he heard, he saw the eagle fly away and knew it was Odin who was the thief, and he too turned himself into an eagle, and flew after Odin! The other Gods saw Odin coming, and put out containers for Odin to spit the mead into – but Suttungr was so close he accidentally let some of the mead drop backwards, and this part, now anyone could drink, and is called the “rhymester’s share”. So this is how it came to be that we find great storytellers and poets among all the races – men, Giants, Alfar, and even the dwarves. Perhaps one day you, too, will be a great storyteller, touched by the Mead of Poetry. 

And that concludes our tale! For the children at heart – if you liked this, please follow the channel, and find Hrafnarfjall Hearthside on Facebook! Don’t forget to check out our Patreon hall, here on Midgard! https://www.patreon.com/HrafnarfjallHearthside.  See you there!

For other Hearthside tales:

Creation Myths https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/09/myths-for-kids-creation-myths/

Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/myths-for-kids-yggdrasil-and-the-nine-worlds/

The Aesir and Vanir War https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/norse-myths-for-kids-the-aesir-and-vanir-war/

The Wall https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/myths-for-kids-the-wall/

Myths for Kids: Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds

As presented by Dael on Hrafnarfjall Hearthside. To see it presented go here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gmhuZcahm8M&feature=youtu.be

Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds 

Listen, children, and listen well For I’ve a tale that I would tell A tale of the worlds and of a tree, That holds the nine worlds, even you and me!  In its branches, each world this tree does hold- This special tree, one most ancient and old So listen now, and listen well.  

When Odin and his brothers killed the Giant Ymir and created more worlds, he didn’t just create the world we live on, called Midgard.  He created seven of them, forming a giant tree called Yggdrasil, which holds these worlds in its branches and roots with the two worlds which were there before he created them. Each world is home to a different sort of being, like the Gods and the Giants and us.   Now the gods can go between realms, so let’s ask them to help us and see if they’ll let us take a trip through the nine worlds and explore! 

First is Niflheim: The Ice World.

Niflheim is a frozen world. Here, the air is filled with cold mists and even colder fog, the land itself covered deep in ice. If you look around, you’ll see all the colors that ice can be when old and deep: It is every shade of blue, green, gray and white imaginable. Niflheim and Muspelhiem were the first worlds, and were there before Odin created the others. Between the two worlds stretched the Ginungagap, the void. In Niflheim is the well from which all the rivers flow, called Hvergelmir, and it is so cold the river has frozen into waves. This water eventually reaches towards the Ginungagap and the fire world, Muspelheim, where it melts.  As the world tree Yggdrasil grew, it stretched its roots down into this river for its water.  In Niflheim, the huge frost Giants roam – huge beings of ice and snow whose heads touch the sky! Let’s go, before they find us! 

Muspelhiem: The Fire Giants 

Another of the original worlds, Muspelheim is a world all of fire and lava. Here the air is filled with ash and soot; be careful not to breathe any in! It’s very, very hot here, as you can imagine; it feels like the sun itself! You wouldn’t think anything could live in such heat, but here Giants dwell too: massive forms of lava and fire walk over the burning rock of the world. One of them, called Surtr, will one day attack and destroy Asgard….
Quick, let’s get to safety!

Asgard: Home of The Gods 

Ah! Safe – at least, for now! Here in Asgard, we walk with the Gods themselves! Here Odin, All-Father, himself dwells with his wife Frigga; just past that wall and those gates there, you’ll see their hall, Valhalla! When a warrior dies who has fought to his last breath, exhausting all his strength and fighting harder than anyone could imagine, he is either chosen to go here to Valhalla with Odin or dwell with Freya in her hall, Folkvangr. Either is an incredible mark of honor; it is not easy to be chosen to live here among the gods!
You and I, we have had a glimpse of something reserved for the Gods and a chosen, rare few, so onward we must move!

Midgard: Our Home 

Midgard was created by Odin and his brothers, Vili and Ve from the body of a Giant named Ymir, and then they created us! They created us from an ash tree and an elm tree they found. Between our world and Asgard stretches the Rainbow Bridge, the Bifrost. All around Midgard is a huge, impassable space – in this space dwells Jormungandr, the Midgard Serpent, a child of the God Loki and Giantess Angrboda. Their serpent child grew huge – so huge he terrified the Aesir, who then cast him into the space surrounding Midgard. But he grew SO huge, he ringed the whole world, biting his own tail.  But we know Midgard, don’t we! Let’s move on!

Jotunheim: Home of the Giants

Giants are called Jotun by the Norse. The giants here are neither frost nor fire giants, like in Niflheim or Muspelheim, but a power unto themselves. Here the giants can be peaceful and friends of the gods, and or they can be their enemies. It depends on the Giant. The Gods have even had children with the gods, and from Jotunheim came the god Loki, who became the sworn brother of Odin himself and accepted by the Aesir. Jotunheim is a land of massive mountains and huge rivers, here as we follow the root of Yggdrasil down past Midgard through the void. In Jotunheim, we’ll find the God Mimir and the Well of Wisdom he looks over, a well whose waters of knowledge even Odin desires – but that’s a story for another day! Let’s move on! 

Vanaheim: Home of the Vanir

This is the home of the Vanir tribe of gods. This is a very old, old tribe of gods, who are masters of sorcery and magick! Nobody knows exactly where Vanaheim is or how it looks; the Vanir hide it to protect it, so we’re very, very lucky to see this sight indeed! Freya must have had a good word for us today! Here we see rolling fields and forests and rivers teeming with life – beautiful purple mountains rise in the distance. The air is filled with the scent of rich, warm earth. Here, the world is ripe and gold and bountiful – their old magic keeps this land happy, and healthy and beautiful. But this land is protected – let’s move on! 

Alfheim: Home of the Elves 

Here is perhaps the most beautiful world of them all, and here dwell the light elves, the Alfar. Beautiful creatures, their magicks are of nature – they can help us, or they can trouble us. Here, the world is filled with light and music and beauty; gentle breezes stir the golden leaves on the trees, the air filled with the scent of the woods.  This place is too perfect for us; we don’t belong here. Let’s move on! 

Svartalfheim: Home of the Dwarves 

This is a world of caves and rocks. The people here, the Svartalfr or as we know them Dwarves, dwell in caves and the underground. Its king is Hreidmar. Svartalfheim means “Dark Fields”, and the dwarves are master craftsmen.  They make such nice things, that clever Loki himself sought their aid for special gifts for the Gods.  They made many wondrous gifts indeed, including Odin’s spear, Thor’s hammer and his wife Sif’s beautiful hair – but that too is a tale for another time. Let’s move on! 

Helheim: Home of the Dead

Uh-oh! We’re not dead yet, so let’s not stay here long, shall we? We’re living beings, and we will be truly lucky to come back from the land of the dead! Here, the world itself changes – sometimes it is peaceful and quiet; a place of rest and calm, healing. Sometimes, it is punishment; those who have done bad things in their life. Sometimes, however, it is a cold place of shifting mists; a place of in-between, of waiting.  Hela, a daughter of Loki, is Queen of this realm, by edict of Odin All-Father himself. One side of her body is black and dead, terrible and cold, but on her other side, she is a beautiful, kind and warm woman. Which side you see, is up to you.
Most people who die end up here in Hela’s realm; but if you died honorably and well, here is a place of rest and healing. If you were a bad person, though, there is a special corner reserved for you – and it is not nice at all.

Let’s ask Lady Hela nicely if she’ll let us go back to our own world….

Well now. What is this we see? This isn’t home! Instead, it seems Hela has shown us something else! Instead of Midgard, we see the whole World Tree, Yggdrasil itself, all the worlds among its branches and its roots!  But why didn’t she take us home? Well, She is a daughter of Loki, after all, and there must be more we can learn!
Ah, indeed- look there, on the trunk! Do you see that? A squirrel! That’s Ratatoskr, and he carries messages between the roots of Yggdrasil and the top of the tree, where lives an enormous Eagle, and the hawk Vethfolnir! And look! There’s a deer, called Dain, eating the leaves! But look down! Look at that! See the dragon, Nithogr? He dwells among Yggdrasil’s roots, and eats them. But as everything has a beginning, so must things end, and that’s Nithogr’s job. But hold on just a moment… I believe it’s time we went home…
Ah…Lady Hela, is there anything else?
Whew! Thank you, Hela, and thanks be to all the gods!  Here we are, back safe in Midgard. And here, for now, our journey ends….
I do hope you have had fun! Thanks for coming along! 

And that concludes our tale! For the children at heart – if you liked this, please follow the channel, and find Hrafnarfjall Hearthside on Facebook! Don’t forget to check out our Patreon hall, here on Midgard! https://www.patreon.com/HrafnarfjallHearthside. See you there!

For other tales: Creation Myths https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/09/myths-for-kids-creation-myths/

The Aesir and Vanir War https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/norse-myths-for-kids-the-aesir-and-vanir-war/

The Mead of Poetry https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/27/the-mead-of-poetry-norse-myths-for-kids/

The Wall https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/myths-for-kids-the-wall/

Myths for Kids : The Aesir and Vanir War

The Aesir – Vanir War: Norse Myths for Children
As written and presented by Dael (to listen, instead, go here): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gu7lWfJgCa8&feature=youtu.be

Listen, children, and listen well For I’ve a tale I would tell A tale of two people, each strong and fine Who, tricked to anger, wage war divine – This tale of a witch, whose dark arts Could only be ended when a god ate her heart! So hear me now, and hear me well.

In Norse Mythology, the gods and goddesses belonged to two tribes of gods, called Aesir (Ice-ear) and Vanir (Van-ear). Odin and his wife Frigga, and their children, the other gods Tyr and Heimdall, Idun (ee-done) and Bragi, and all their families, were all Aesir. They lived in Asgard (ahs-gard).  Freya and her brother, Freyr and their father, Njord, however, were all Vanir, and they lived in Vanaheim.

Vanaheim

Now, Freya could work magick, and when she met some of the Aesir, they liked her so much they called her Heithr which meant Bright. They especially loved her magick, and they wanted her to work her magick for them.  Freya, however, had been taken over by an evil witch called Gullveig, and Gullveig made her talk the Aesir into using her magick for selfish, mean reasons, and they thought it was all Freya’s fault.  So they were mean to Freya! Odin even tried to kill poor Freya! Eventually, though, they found out that it was really Gullveig (which means Gold-Greed) causing them to be so greedy. So the Aesir set out, and they found Gullveig, alone in her hut. Gullveig wouldn’t let Freya go, so they tried to set Gullveig on fire to free Freya!

They set the witch on fire twice. Each time, Gullveig came back from the ashes. But among the Aesir, there was a god of fire, chaos and mischief who was named Loki. Loki, you see, could make the fires burn hotter and brighter than any normal fire could with his magick, so, he set the witch on fire one more time – and finally, the witch was destroyed! Only her evil, blackened heart remained. Seeing the heart, Loki was furious that it was still there! He knew his fire should have destroyed everything! He knew that to finally destroy Gullveig, her heart had to be destroyed, too – so you know what he did? Loki ate Gullveig’s heart!  And it worked! Finally, the witch was gone, and Freya was free. 

But because of how mean they were and because the Aesir had tried to kill Freya, many of the other Vanir were angry.  They were afraid that they too would be treated like that, and their fear and anger grew, and grew – until finally they went to war! 

For a long, long time, this war went on, and it was terrible and it was horrible, but neither side could win against the other. It went on for so long, that both sides finally got tired of fighting, and they finally called an end to it. To make sure it truly ended, Freya and her brother, Freyr, and their father Njord agreed to live with the Aesir while two of the Aesir, Hoenir and Mimir, went to live with the Vanir. Among the Aesir, Njord and Freya and Freyr were honored and respected, but unfortunately Hoenir and Mimir weren’t treated very well by the Vanir. Hoenir and Mimir were supposed to help teach and guide the Vanir, but Hoenir was extremely shy, and when Mimir had to go away he was afraid all alone among these strange people! He didn’t think he could give very good advice so he would say, “Let others decide”, all the time. The Vanir in the end thought they’d been cheated when Hoenir and Mimir came to live with them, because they gave the Aesir three of their best and only got two in exchange, and one of them couldn’t even do his job! Angry, they killed Hoenir and Mimir, cutting off their heads!  Odin, upset at the loss of one of his advisors, got Mimir’s head back from the Vanir. Well, Odin had been learning magick from Freya, so he took Mimir’s head, and he chanted over it, and covered it in herbs. It’s said Mimir’s head gives advice to Odin to this day, advice Odin could not do without.

So, why didn’t the Aesir and Vanir go back to war when Mimir and Hoenir were killed, you may ask?
Well, believe me when I tell you how very, very tired they were of fighting all the time. So they agreed instead to terms of peace. To make this agreement permanent, they worked some more magick, creating through it another wise being called Kvasir – but this is a tale for another time. 

And that concludes our tale! For the children at heart – if you liked this, please follow the channel, and find Hrafnarfjall Hearthside on Facebook! Don’t forget to check out our Patreon hall, here on Midgard! https://www.patreon.com/HrafnarfjallHearthside. See you there!

To see others:

Creation Myths https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/09/myths-for-kids-creation-myths/

Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/myths-for-kids-yggdrasil-and-the-nine-worlds/

The Mead of Poetry https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/27/the-mead-of-poetry-norse-myths-for-kids/

The Wall https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/myths-for-kids-the-wall/

Myths for Kids: Creation Myths

Hrafnarfjall Hearthside’s Creation Myths for Kids
As written and presented on Hrafnarfjall Hearthside (YouTube and Facebook) by Dael Dhra

To watch the story: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Rlr0Lvq6h-qiou2ChIgDCUKXmCvAvaEK/view?usp=drivesdk

Listen, children, and listen well
For I’ve a tale I would tell
A tale of Giants, full of might
And three Gods, who set the world right
This tale of old, a tale of the earth
Of its creation, its very birth
So hear me now, and hear me well.

Creation myths are a story about how the world around us came to be. Many different people from all over the world for a very long time have attempted to tell the story of how the world came to be. Here is what some of them, living long ago in the very north of the world, may have believed:
Origin of the Cosmos 
Long before the world was, there was nothing. No air, no earth, no green grass or trees…No cats or dogs or anyone at all! It was dark, and cold, and quiet. On either side of this dark, cold nothing, there was a world of all fire, and there was a world of all ice. The fire world and the ice world slowly, so slowly, moved towards each other – but the ice world was sad because it melt the ice, and it thought this hurt the ice, because it turned into water as it got close to fire.  But the ice was happy, because this water turned itself into a giant!


Now, there was a lot of fire, and a lot of ice, so there was a lot of water. Because there was a lot of water, it formed a very big giant! Now this very big giant, he was named Ymir, and when more water fell from him, more giants like him were made. Well, the fire saw this, and saw that the ice was happy, so it was happy too, so it kept on melting the ice, and forming more water, until a cow came out of it!


Her name was Audhumbla, and cows make milk, so Ymir the Giant could drink the milk from Audhumbla the Cow. Cows of course need to eat, too, but what did she eat? Luckily for her, the ice held some salt, and Audhumbla the Cow could eat that! As she licked it, and licked it, something else began to form: A person! Not just any person, though – His name was Buri, and he was an Aesir – a God! Buri had a son, named Borr, who married a Giant woman – a child of Ymir – and they had three children, Odin, Vili and Ve. Well, being smart, Odin, Vili, and Ve knew the world needed more – but where to get it? They thought about this, and thought about it, and thought about it…and suddenly their eyes fell on Ymir! Surely he was big enough to create worlds from him! And so they did. They took Ymir’s blood, and made the oceans. His body became the earth. His bones became the mountains. They even made is teeth into rocks! Ymir’s hair became the green, growing things, and he was so big, even his thoughts became clouds! His head became the sky itself! All this became Asgard – but his eyelashes? His eyelashes became the world WE live on. Now, all this creating took time, and took energy, and so Odin, Vili and Ve decided to enjoy the worlds they had created. As they were wandering our world, called Midgard, they found two trees which had fallen over.
They turned one into a boy, and another into a girl. The boy they named Ask, which means Ash tree, and the girl they named Embla, which means Elm tree. 


But what about the sun and the moon, you may ask? Well. Ask and Embla had children, and one of their children’s children had children so beautiful, they named their boy Moon – Mani, they call it – and their girl Sun, or Sol as they call it.  The Gods saw this, and they were not happy. They thought it was just too much! So that all might enjoy the beauty of the children, they put the children up in the sky, and they gave Sol the Sun a chariot pulled by two beautiful horses and Mani the Moon a chariot pulled by one stunning horse. The Gods gave these children a special task, too, to light the world.
And to make sure they would keep to their jobs, they put two wolves in the sky with them to chase them and remind them of their tasks. The wolf Skoll chases Mani the Moon, and the wolf Hati chases Sol the Sun. Skoll catches up to Mani, slowly, but Mani always escapes! But one day, the wolves will catch the sun and the moon….

For more Hearthside myths for kids: Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/myths-for-kids-yggdrasil-and-the-nine-worlds/

The Aesir and Vanir War https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/norse-myths-for-kids-the-aesir-and-vanir-war/

The Mead of Poetry https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/03/27/the-mead-of-poetry-norse-myths-for-kids/

The Wall https://smokeandmirrors16.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/myths-for-kids-the-wall/

A Life For Sale! Highest Bidder! Serious Enquiry ONLY!

So, like, I have a crazy idea. People don’t NEED to be controlled. They don’t NEED to be told where to go and what to do and how to do it. They need left alone to live their lives.

See I think a large part of what we see today is a result of control. Forced to earn money to eat, have shelter, to get treated if ill. In this culture of fear everyone, I know this may be hard to buy. I mean, what would happen without control?! People would be horrible!! Don’t get me wrong. That isn’t to say people don’t need means of redress – sometimes, people do bad things. This IS to say that people: one, inherently resist control, and two, inherently are need based and opportunity based, and three, we are creatures who learn on observation, are we not? Or so the theories I’ve been taught in criminology and psychology go, more or less. See, I believe that people aren’t evil. They won’t resort to Doing Bad Awful Horrible Things in the absence of control by government authority, as if it’s only human nature to not do bad awful horrible things to each other because we’re threatened with punishment. Of course, with that said, some do. Some people are friggin’ idiots, too.

But. By and large, if we give people options and teach them better, they will DO better. See, the majority of people don’t actually want to do bad things. Most of em are just people, capable of good, as well as evil, like anyone else and ultimately – they, like anyone else on this planet, just want to LIVE THEIR LIFE, and that’s true around the friggin’ world, and in any living human being on it. See, if we teach people better, if we treat them better, mostly – they will DO better.

Of course, there are ALSO studies that show, at least among rats, that the more crowded the cage, the more violent they become. I know from experience this is true of chickens too. Give them all sufficient space, and they chill out. They don’t go murdering each other. So I think this pressure we get, when you simply cannot get out of SOMEONE’S way, when you’re constantly hearing other people, constantly on your nerves, in your space, has something to do with it all too.

But here we are. We see crime happen. Rather than – remove the cause or address the problem, the government’s response is to increase control. And then we resist. So they crack down harder. And so we resist more. It’s a bad cycle.

But we aren’t in a cage like rats, you say? Then I say you must be one of the 1% rich elite oligarchs. Folks, let me say most of us *are* 100% caged. Yes, we *are* already UNDER control. We work for money in order to buy food and shelter, and thus we allow someone else to set our daily schedules, tell us when and where and what and how. We are expected to be grateful, to always be available and never be a human who gets sick or has a life outside of that because they own you, and will fire you if you dare be human or say no. So we submit. We live at someone else’s behest, kept just tired and busy enough we don’t care enough to question it. And we’re given just enough motivation and incentive to buy into it – if we work just that bit harder we too can make it to the boss’s chair. Look what the boss has!! That car. That suit. That expensive watch. Newest phone. Boss must be happy right? Can finally afford The Life?

Ask your boss. One who doesn’t lie is rare. Betcha they ain’t happy either. Nothing changes just because you got that car or that watch or that house. Not for long. There’s always more. And that’s the trick.

But of course, we can’t know that, right? We must submit, and allow ourselves to be controlled, people can’t be left to decide for themselves what to do with their lives! We most not stop seeking that latest new toy to fill the void – that would never earn our overlords any money! And if we go buy the latest pill to make us happy – or at least complacent – well, that just earns someone else more money right? So who cares!

And so, we are unhappy, and suicide rates increase, and we wonder why. Well – folks – perhaps a big part of it is we forget we’re – humans, and not rats, to live in a cage. Of course, another part of it is due to brains that don’t produce the right stuff (but that is not what I’m talking about here). We’re learning more about that every day, thankfully. But moving on, because the heck with rats – any animal on earth gets violent, depressed, and honestly, goes a little – or maybe a lot – crazy when caged. Society is merely a cage, y’all. But fuck. Just TRY to get them to let you live your own life, on your own terms…..

It takes being willing to starve over live in a cage any longer. And honestly, just ask most animals which they prefer. Ask how most animals that weren’t brought up in a cage react to a cage. Even we recognize it’s wrong. So why do we expect ourselves to do any better? It’s time for a change. Let us humans, human. Let’s stop pretending we aren’t animals. Creatures of nature. With skills and instincts and creativity. Creatures who crave freedom, and resent control, and who are perfectly okay without someone tossing them what leftover scraps they’re allowed in this world. Learn to be self sufficient. Or at least recognize it all for what it is. And stop buying into the belief it’s the fault of those in the cages with you. And think about the control. And the government’s response of increasing the control rather than lessening the pressure. Fixing the problem.

We only have so damn long, you know. I don’t know about you, but my life isn’t for sale. It’s absolutely beyond value. There is nothing that can pay enough for the time I am here, alive. And I refuse to have my life, my time, taken from me on threat of starvation, imprisonment, or the loss of anything that, being thus deprived of, results in death. That’s not freedom, despite what anyone else says – especially corporations, society, and a government which benefits from selling you all on the idea that it is. But in the end – it can’t be freedom. Submit to me or die is no choice. And without choice, there can be no freedom. This is why corporate is evil. This is why “free market” is a lie. Why it’s evil to tie health care to your employer. So when are we going to wise up to that? Is there any hope we will?

Loki the … Truthspeaker?

You know what’s funny to me? The idea of Loki the Liar. The Liesmith. Of all the Kennings (Heiti) – why the Liar, specifically? Where DOES that one come from?

(y’all know this artist, please, lemme know hm?) Thanks, Bluestaratsunrise! Passed me this so I can credit!! Artist is LessieNMoonstar…check them out!! https://www.deviantart.com/lessienmoonstar/art/Myth-Loki-Poses-A-Question-410174008

Looking back through the Eddas – oh he’s the Sly One all right, too clever with words by half. For instance, in promising the Dwarves his head. Of course he didn’t promise his neck, did he? Yes, he DID lie regarding Iðunn; to save his ass. But Odin himself has done no less – to gain the Mead, for instance, lying about having feelings for the poor gal to gain access to the Mead. Loki is most certainly tricky. Tricking the stallion into thinking he’s a mare….

Svaðilfari?

But perhaps he earned the moniker when he lied about being a woman to get Thor’s hammer back, when the Giant Thrym had stolen it? Well, I mean, Thor lied about being a bride. Loki accompanied him, and of necessity, he spoke for Thor to preserve the ruse. Which was lies. Of course. Haven’t we ALL lied, to preserve something pleasant perhaps, or to spare someone from hurt, maybe called in sick? Frankly, we can’t dismiss the idea that perhaps it’s a Christian transposition, here.

Loki the Liar. Hm. Well, in my experience, it’s quite the opposite. It’s almost – truth to the point of painful honesty. Truth despite the costs. And I am much like that. So honest, to a fault, that when I do twist the truth it’s usually accepted without batting an eye because it’s known I don’t lie. Generally I don’t need to, and I hate it when I’m put in the position where it’s necessary to tell a lie. Further, rather than lies, Loki is one to speak the truth, even to power – e.g. the Lokasenna. And he paid the price. Speaking truth to power is NOT easy, by the way. Not by a long shot. But sometimes, it IS absolutely necessary; sometimes no one else has the guts to do it. And when one person finally does – suddenly everyone sees it for what it is, and changes are made.

Loki is, rather, one to strip away falsehoods; the lies we tell ourselves, in order to force us to accept ourselves AS WE ARE. Flaws and all. KNOW who you are. Face the flaws, for who among us is perfect? The mirror doesn’t lie. It may not show us everything, but it does reflect our image. And what it shows us is us, and we but put our own perception and reactions on it. Others, too, only see us but in reflection – and they color that reflection with their own perceptions, experiences, and their own biases. What matters – is you, to you. Thus we begin to see the question is, who are you, without those judgments and perceptions? What is YOUR truth? It can be hard to tell, and sometimes, what is truth now may not be in the future for us. It evolves and changes. But we know it for what it is. It’s accepting that change. Being willing to say “This is no longer who I am.” “This no longer fits me, my life.” And letting go. It’s when we delude ourselves, try to hold on, because it’s less painful that we find out the price paid for holding on to a lie isn’t less painful at all. In fact, it just prolongs the pain entirely.

Smoke and mirrors. The lies we tell ourselves and the truth behind it all. The truth can be hard. It can hurt. It can come with a cost. But for me – I prefer it over living a lie. The price of myself is harder, far, to pay – something I think Loki knows, all too well. The one thing I find the hardest in calling him a Patron, thus, isn’t lies. It’s the truth – and being honest, I find I expect it in everyone else. And that, of course, was entirely a lie. But – perhaps as an exchange – I have found I can tell that someone is lying almost before it leaves someone’s lips, these days, whether they admit it or no, and I’ve learned to trust that instinct. What about you? Have you found similar in your experiences on your path? Do you hide behind the smoke – or face the mirrors?

Jól and Odin’s Hunt – Winter Celebrations

This time of the year, across many cultures, celebrations abound. Many were to wish the sun strength and a return once again, some welcome a new year, and most involved friends, family, drink and games and warm fires. Saturnalia, Christmas, the Winter solstice…. And of course the Norse celebrated Jól. Attested in the Heimskringla, in the Ynglinga saga, and even the Poetic Edda, among others, Jól is one of the most attested main Blóts. It was so important that in the Saga of Hákon the Good, while Hákon was a Christian himself, much of the country was not. So, he shifted the dates to align Jól with Christianity. Before that, it was celebrated mid-January. It’s clear it was a three day celebration – or, well, the party lasted until the beer ran out, anyway. Since every man under Hákon at least had to make beer to contribute to the celebration, even with the copious quantities drank I can imagine it lasted quite a few days indeed. Today, Jól would begin on Jan 28, ending the night of the 30th, in the month they called Jólmánuður.

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Norse Tradesman Genuine Viking Drinking Horn Mug – 100% Natural Beer Horn Tankard w/ Ring Engravings | “The Eternal”, Polished, Large

But what was Jól? It was a midwinter celebration, but there’s also some evidence it was a blot for crops to grow (check out the Ynglinga saga). It was a time to celebrate being halfway through the winter – and there was gift giving, celebrations and of course, much drinking 😉 It’s said, for a King who followed Frey, there were oaths sworn on the bristles of a boar (Hervarar saga, chapter 10). And Jól was a time for peace, according to the Poetic Edda – after all, winter is foe enough.

Regarding Jól and Christmas, by the way, there’s actually some crossover between Santa and Odin. There’s some support for it; there’s some dispute of it, too, of course. Between the gift giving, and association with eight, and the name of the All-father Jolfaor, or “Jol Father”…. well, what do you believe? Of course, he’s not as Santa Claus is portrayed today, yet there may have been some threads that wound them together. And speaking of the All-father – should you hear dogs, or horses, be wary. The Wild Hunt rides in Midwinter. Any man caught out of doors could find himself caught up and carried off by the Hunt. Common throughout Scandinavia, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon, tales advise casting oneself to the ground or tossing bread for the dogs.

Asgårdsreien [The Wild Hunt of Odin] (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

So how is Hrafnarfjall celebrating Jól? Of course with drinking, food and celebration! Believe me we’ll be giving thanks that we’re halfway through the winter – I’ve said before winter no joke in Minnesota, still fully in Skaði’s grip yet for months to come. We’ll also be giving a blot for a good season, and good year to come. We’ll be exchanging gifts, of course – and while we won’t be swearing vows on a boar’s bristles this year, well, who knows…. Next year maybe 😉 Anyway, as always, if you would know yet more about Hrafnarfjall: http://www.kohrafnarfjall.org

ReferencesHakon the Good: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/heim/05hakon.htm Aldsidu.com Yule https://www.aldsidu.com/post/historical-heathen-yule. Odin and Santa https://historydaily.org/odin-and-santa#:~:text=Santa%20Claus%20has%20many%20names,primarily%20known%20in%20many%20countries. Jackson Crawford Jól https://youtu.be/UUloIBXFOQE Jackson Crawford Odin Isn’t Santa Claus https://youtu.be/_o5ih9WuCxQ Wiki on the Wild Hunt: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Hunt. Norse Mythology https://norse-mythology.org/the-wild-hunt/

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