Monday, November 2, 2009

Call Of Ancient Scandinavian Valkyries

Call Of Ancient Scandinavian Valkyries Image


Statue of a warlike valkyrie, riding a horse and carrying a spear. Labeled as "SINDING VALKYRIE" and located in a roadside park in Copenhagen, Denmark.~Belief in the existence of magic horsewomen from heaven, the Valkyries, was widespread in Scandinavia and Germanic cultures, though they were called by different names. ~A lot can be learned from unrevised, true history... oh, little things like understanding how America was formed might help confused Americans understand why the current regime's policies won't work.... But I digress... ~

The older I get, the more I find ancient history quite interesting especially Celtic, Scandinavian and Nordic. Since my genetic background contains Scandinavian blood, this might explain the proclivity for my interest - and without going into the whole "nature versus nuture" argument, I think there is a little Viking fighter in my genes... perhaps even a little Valkyrie.~

Valkyrie 1865 ~

Text below is all from Celtic Attic: ~


The Vikings were the early medieval descendants of stone-aged people who migrated northward from the desert regions of the middle east into northern Europe, sometime around the end of the last ice age. Like most stone-age cultures at that time, these people created a religion of sorts, to help them explain the world and their place in it.~

The ancient Scandinavians found themselves in a rugged land of great seasonal contrasts. Summers, marked by a mid-night sun, were short but warm. Winters were long and cold and frequented by storms off the frigid North Atlantic. During the endless winter nights, the skies were illuminated by the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis. Viking myths clearly reflected this world and their struggles to survive in it. To make sense of their surroundings, the ancient ancestors of the Vikings created a series of deities. They imagined that their world was fashioned by powerful gods whose presence was evident in every natural force they experienced and in the fortunes and misfortunes of their daily lives. Viking Religion ~

Without the benefit of science to explain the world around them, the Vikings must have felt like they were living in a very mysterious place. To explain their world- its thunder and lightning, clouds, frost, dew, storms, ice, fire and changing seasons- the Vikings created a series of religious beliefs we call paganism. What the Vikings saw in the natural world was in some way controlled by the actions of a series of gods and goddesses. These deities lived in a heavenly realm called Asgard. But, they often visited the earth and played a role in the destiny of every Viking life. Today, these pagan gods and goddesses are part of Viking mythology. ~

One group of characters in Viking mythology (and in the mythology of the Celts of Ireland) were the Valkyrie. They are depicted on Viking pendants and amulets and are mentioned in Viking poems called Eddas. Their story is truly a fascinating one!

BATTLE-MAIDENS ~In Old Norse, the word Valkyrjr, means "choosers of the slain". In Viking mythology, the Valkyrie were the nine daughters of Odin. At his wish, they flew their horses over Viking battlefields and choose who would die in the coming battle. After the carnage was over, they returned to the battlefield as a raven and selected the souls of half the warriors who had died an heroic death. (Crows often appeared after a battle to pick at the bodies of the dead.) The Valkyrie carried these souls to Valhalla - Odin's banquet hall in the heavenly realm of Asgard. The remaining heroic souls were taken by a Viking goddess named Freya as she passed over the battlefield in her cat-drawn chariot. The Valkyrie also rode over the sea to snatch dying Vikings from their doomed longships.

~The Valkyrie were depicted as young, beautiful, but fierce women who dressed in full armor only when riding their horses. They did not, however, engage in battle themselves. Odin's maidens ~ Upon arriving in Valhalla, the Valkyrie replaced their armor with long white robes. They greeted the soul of each slain warrior with a horn of mead- the honey sweet drink of the Viking gods served in a bull's horn. The warriors then feasted on boar and trained as members of Odin's army. The wounds inflicted during these training battles miraculously disappeared at the beginning of each meal. ~

Swan-maidens and Wish Maidens ~ The Valkyrie were also known as swan-maidens. When they weren't collecting souls and welcoming slain warriors into Valhalla, they dressed in a cloak of swan feathers and flew to the earth to bathe in its cool streams. Norse myths said that if a man could catch and hold a swan or get a swan cloak, the Valkyrie could grant him a wish or become his wife. After nine years of marriage, she was free to return to Asgard. ~ The Valkyrie in Viking Jewelry ~ The image of Valkryie often depicts: long flowing robe, the horn of mead in her hand, the torc (a kind of neck ring) and the bangles around her wrist. Called amulets, these kinds of pendants were worn for protection. A Valkyrie worn by a Viking warrior was meant to protect the warrior in battle. It would, he believed, help him to be brave in death and help guarantee his soul a place in Valhalla.

~Clouds, Dew and Northern Lights ~ Many Norse myths contain stories of their gods. Some of these stories are tales of the adventures of their gods. Others are the Vikings' attempt to explain the world around them. Lightning, for example was explained using the god Thor and his mighty hammer. Wind and storms were caused by a swift pass of their god Odin while riding his eight-legged horse through the air. The Vikings also used the Valkyries to explain certain weather conditions. To the Norse, the Valkyries' horses were white clouds, lightning came from their gleaming swords and dew and frost from their horses' manes. The Vikings also believed that if the Valkyries rode at night, the glistening of their armor created the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights), the dancing lights that appear in the night sky in the northern regions of the earth the Vikings called home.


Legacy of the Valkyrie

The legacy of the Valkyrie lives on in the word "valour", a reference to heroism in battle.


In summary, when people like Lt. Col. Allen West start calling for battle, I will channel my inner Valkyrie, pick up a sword and stand beside him... ready


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