from Elizabeth Vongvisith
Gunnlod was the daughter of Suttung, famed far and wide even as a young maiden for the loveliness of her voice. She could sing with such power and passion that her listeners felt moved to tears by sad ballads, or laughed heartily at jesting tunes, or longed to commit brave deeds when she sang heroic songs of days past. Those passing near the windows of Suttung’s great house often paused, smiling, to listen as her songs came to them from inside the walls of her home. However, Suttung’s daughter herself was seldom seen.
Gunnlod was not particularly fair — she was actually rather plain-looking — but Suttung kept her carefully hidden from all but their kinsfolk and closest retainers. He loved Gunnlod dearly, but that love was tinged with possessiveness, for she was his dead wife’s only offspring and he was very jealous of the company his daughter kept. He chased away those who came calling in the hopes of wooing Gunnlod, and tried to persuade his daughter not to enter into a match with another. “For love is sweet while it lasts, but see how suddenly it can be taken away from you,” he would say sadly, gesturing to the empty chair next to his own in their great hall, the chair that Gunnlod’s mother had once occupied as mistress of Suttung’s household, before illness and fever had taken her life. Suttung had not so much looked at another woman since his wife’s death.
“My father,” Gunnlod would say, “I am unwise in the ways of the world, and I have no desire to leave you, but I know this: love, no matter how brief, is too precious to deny. You are my beloved father and I respect your wishes, and so I have stayed away from men, but I will yet love when love comes to me.” And Suttung would sigh and mutter that his daughter knew not of what she spoke. She did not quarrel with him, but smiled her calm smile and kept her peace.
One day, word came to Suttung’s house that his sire Gilling had been slain by a certain pair of dwarves. There was much sorrow and wailing at this news. Enraged, Suttung left his household to make the journey to Svartalfheim to seek revenge for the deaths of his father and mother. Before he departed, he said to Gunnlod, “If I do not return, remain here, my daughter, and see to the welfare of our household and our people’s affairs. But mark my words, Gunnlod: love is fleeting and leaves naught but sorrow in its wake, and you would do better never to let its snares entrap your heart.”
“I will love when love comes to me,” Gunnlod said again, “but otherwise, I shall do as you ask, father.” Suttung, shaking his head, went away to Svartalfheim, where he slew the dwarves who had killed Gilling and his wife, and brought back with him the magical mead of poetry the dwarf brothers had brewed of Kvasir’s blood. But while he was away, word got around that Gunnlod held the stead alone, and soon a bevy of would-be suitors formed outside the door, each asking to come in and plead his case to the mysterious woman with the lovely voice, for each was convinced that she who sung so sweetly would make a fine mate. Suttung had not reckoned with this. Gunnlod did not allow them to see her, and her men drove off by force those who were too tenacious to heed her polite requests to leave.
Suttung considered the mead his greatest treasure — after Gunnlod his daughter. He knew that the Aesir would probably attempt to regain the mead from him, and he was sore vexed to hear that the moment he left Jotunheim, suitors had come to try and take her away from him. So he contrived to keep both his prizes far from the reach of everyone. He had a mazelike tunnel built, running into the very earth beneath his house, with a large chamber at the heart of the mountain. He had it lavishly furnished for Gunnlod’s comfort, though it could have no windows and no fire, so deep under Hnitbjorg did it lay. He ordered her women to remain with her, and had brought to them food and drink and whatever else they desired, as often as they wished. Here he bade Gunnlod stay and guard the mead herself.
Gunnlod’s women wept, for they missed the light of day, and it was cold within the mountain’s heart, though the chamber soon warmed a little from the presence of their bodies. But Gunnlod herself did not mourn, and soon her sweet voice echoed round the cavernous chamber and through the long, labyrinthine passages, back up into Suttung’s hall. He and his folk smiled when they heard it, and Suttung’s heart was a little relieved, for he had indeed felt some measure of guilt for entombing his beloved daughter in that way. But he knew Gunnlod would not sing if she was truly miserable, so his heart was lightened.
So she remained there for many months. At last Gunnlod said that it was unfair to her women to share her exile, and she sent them all back. They were secretly relieved, but continued to wait on her, tending to her needs and bringing her word of the world outside. When they asked her if she was well, Gunnlod would only say, “I am well, and I am waiting,” which mystified them. And they whispered among each other how strange it was that Gunnlod sang nearly constantly, filling her prison and the house above it with music. When she was not singing, she refused all visitors, and shut herself up for long hours, and her doings were known to no one.
Suttung himself came to see his daughter one day, when Gunnlod was silent. As he entered her chamber, he saw her sitting on a low stool with a basin of water on the floor before her. She did not notice his entrance, and she sat gazing into the bowl dreamily. He narrowed his eyes, and was about to speak when he heard his name being called from the house far above, and so without saying anything to Gunnlod, he quietly went out of the chamber and back through the long, twisting passages to find out why he was being sought.
“Someone comes here with your brother,” he was told by one of his men. Suttung frowned and went out of the hall, his gaze following the man’s pointing finger. Two figures were coming down the road that led to his brother’s farm — the familiar shape of Baugi, and a stranger. Suttung’s scowl deepened. “At least Gunnlod has ceased to sing,” he thought, “so that this stranger cannot hear her voice and ask unwelcome questions.” But he felt uneasy nonetheless. It was common knowledge that Gunnlod was never seen outside of her father’s walls, but Suttung did not know how well known was the existence of the mead in the secret chamber, too. “Make ready for our guests,” he told his man, who nodded and rushed off, shouting for fresh ale to be brought.
Suttung went back inside and waited in his chair next to his wife’s empty one for the guests to come in. They did so, and Suttung saw that Baugi’s companion was an ill-favored Jotun who said his name was Bolverk.
“He has done the work of my nine thralls who were killed, and then some,” Baugi said, shrugging. “And so I came here, on my word, to ask you for what he wants in return — a drink of the mead you took from the dwarves.”
Suttung started a bit, and his expression darkened. “No,” he said, wondering how this stranger knew of the mead of Kvasir. “That I will not give.”
Baugi, after a long look at his brother, shrugged again. “I have done as you asked, Bolverk,” he said to the other. “I have asked Suttung. I cannot alter his answer.” He turned and left the hall. Bolverk the stranger gave Suttung a long look too, which made Suttung highly uncomfortable. Then he turned away. As they left, Suttung saw Bolverk move close to Baugi, whispering urgently in his brother’s ear. “That one will cause trouble,” he said to himself. And then he paused, for Gunnlod had begun to sing again.
Outside, Baugi walked away from his brother’s great hall. He was a man of somewhat more modest means than Suttung, and he had much to attend to on his own farm. “Stay a moment,” said the stranger called Bolverk. “I would ask another favor of you.”
“I have done what you requested. It’s not my fault Suttung said no,” Baugi said. But Bolverk was persistent.
“I have heard that you have the means to drill through the very mountainside, to make a way into the tunnel that lies beneath and leads to the chamber where is hidden the mead of Kvasir’s blood, and Gunnlod, Suttung’s daughter. Will you do this for me, my friend? I should have some satisfaction, after all, for all my hard and earnest work.”
Baugi grumbled and wondered how Bolverk knew of that place, but after much discussion, eventually he agreed. They climbed back up the slopes of the Hnitbjorg to a spot where they could not be seen by onlookers below, or from within Suttung’s house. Here Baugi, who had helped his brother create the secret tunnel, drilled a tiny hole that led right into one of the passageways. At once, a faint sound could be heard coming from within — a woman singing. They listened to it for a few seconds and then Baugi turned to go.
“So our bargain is concluded,” he said, smiling because he thought there was no way Bolverk could make use of such a small opening, and thus he did not feel he had done Suttung any disservice.
“Indeed,” Bolverk said, with an answering sly smile that Baugi did not entirely like, but he merely nodded, bade the other farewell, and began to climb down the mountainside. Bolverk waited until he was out of sight, then he shifted his shape — for this was really Odin in disguise. Abandoning his Jotun form, he took instead the likeness of a serpent and wriggled into the hole, dropping to the floor of the passage beneath. There he changed back into his man’s form, one-eyed and fair of face, and stood on his feet again. It was absolutely dark all around him; Suttung’s people carried their own torches in and out whenever they went to visit or tend to Gunnlod. Odin stood still in the blackness and listened.
Suddenly, the music altered; before, it had been a merry May dance tune, but now the mysterious woman lowered her tone and began to sing of love. Her voice was like warm honey, sweet and rich and beguiling. Odin paused. Gunnlod’s reputation as a superb singer was well-deserved; even the rumors had failed to do justice to her gifts. Her song tugged at Odin, so that it was with only half his own will that he began to walk in search of the owner of the voice, even though his mind was still focused on getting the magical mead away from Suttung. He wandered for a long time in the darkness, coming closer and closer to the sound of Gunnlod’s voice. Finally, he saw a faint light up ahead, and quickening his pace, he came to an archway in the rock. He paused, just outside of the glow of light he saw coming from within.
“Come in, stranger,” Gunnlod said quietly. There was a trace of laughter in her voice. Odin stepped forward into the light, and then paused, blinking at the sudden brilliance.
The chamber was spacious, nearly as large as Suttung’s own hall far above. Torches lit it so that the interior was as bright as day. It was furnished with much fabulously carved and inlaid wooden furniture — chairs, tables, and a large curtained bed. Gold and silver cups, basins, pitchers and other wares sparkled all around. Elaborate hand-woven tapestries — imported from far outside Jotunheim — hung on each of the four walls, as did an array of fine weapons, obviously well-used and carefully tended. There was a large chest for Gunnlod’s clothes, and she herself sat in the center of the room upon a stool so richly inlaid it looked to be carved of solid gold. She was garbed in a fine gown, and her hair was loose, falling down her back in lustrous brown waves. She was rather ordinary-looking otherwise, but dignified, holding herself proudly as she gazed upon the stranger. Behind her, in the shadows against a far wall, Odin saw a cauldron and two plain clay jars, looking out of place among all the fancy trappings, but he knew that therein lay the treasure he sought.
“I have waited for you a long time,” Gunnlod said. “Welcome, you who are called Bolverk.”
“How do you know me, when your father has kept you hidden from the eyes of men?” Odin asked, moving closer. He drew off the hood that shaded his handsome features. He saw Gunnlod take a swift breath, but her expression did not change.
“I have the seer’s gift, to some small degree. I have been here for many a long month, guarding my father’s treasure and looking into the future.” Gunnlod gestured toward a water-filled basin of silver that sat on the floor nearby. Odin glanced at it, then his gaze went back to the woman. He smiled at her.
“And why have you waited to greet me with welcome instead of with fury?” he asked, nodding toward a sword that hung near Gunnlod’s bed. “I imagine you can use that as well as you have used your scrying-bowl — “
“I can,” Gunnlod replied coolly.
” — or indeed, your magnificent voice. I heard you sing as I approached, and I was … touched by its beauty.”
Gunnlod smiled. “You think to woo me, and so obtain my father’s greatest treasure.”
“I think to win both his great treasures,” Odin said, moving still closer. He was startled by Gunnlod’s sudden laugh, a bitter one that brought him up short. She had risen to her feet, and stood as tall as he did. He gazed at her speculatively.
“I know what you desire,” Gunnlod said. “Let us be frank. I am unworldly, but I am wise in my own way. You hope to seduce me and win the mead of poetry. I have seen this. I have also seen that you are the only man I will ever love, and that you will leave me, and that my father was right about one thing. Love’s absence … is pain.” She bowed her head. Odin waited. Gunnlod spoke again without looking at him. “I have foreseen that this meeting will leave me filled with longing for you for the rest of my days. Yet from it, I will obtain my greatest joy. So … ask anything of me, king of Asgard, and I shall grant it. I am willing to pay the price.” She lifted her head, and her eyes were proud, and she was not ashamed.
Odin considered. Then he said, “Lady, you have indeed been frank and I would not force from you what you are willing to offer freely, without giving something in return. Therefore, give me three drinks of the mead brewed of Kvasir’s blood, and I shall remain here three nights with you as your lover, and whatever else may come of this,” he shrugged, “I will not begrudge, nor expect you to begrudge me.”
Gunnlod said, “I agree.” Then she bade Odin conceal himself behind her curtained bed, and she called for her women and told them not to disturb her for three days and three nights, merely to leave food and drink enough for that time, and that she would call them if she needed their help. They protested, but she said that she would be well, and finally they did as she asked. And Odin remained with her for those three days and nights, and their talk was only of love, and her singing during that time was the sweetest and most beautiful that any had yet heard.
Finally, at dawn after the third night, Odin rose and said to Gunnlod, “I must take my leave of you now. Give me what I have asked for.” Gunnlod nodded. Her heart was heavy, but she was too proud to ask Odin to reconsider or to come see her again, and she knew he never would. She led him over to where the mead lay. Odin drank once from the cauldron and each of the two jars, and taking Gunnlod’s hand, he squeezed it in farewell, but did not speak. Then he left her without a backward glance, and disappeared into the darkness, hurrying away into the passage to make his escape.
Gunnlod swallowed hard and fought down her tears, and she was about to call her women when her gaze fell upon the now-empty containers, and she knew what Odin had done. She stood quietly for a moment, thinking. Then she opened her mouth and called out to her father that all the mead of poetry had been stolen, but she did not say that her heart had been stolen along with it.
Suttung heard Gunnlod’s call, and looking outside, saw an eagle making its way rapidly away from Hnitbjorg. He changed himself at once into another eagle and flew off in hot pursuit, his people shouting encouragement to their lord as he vanished into the sky after the thief. He chased Odin all the way back to Asgard, but could not get in and was driven away by the Aesir. Suttung returned to his home, and upon resuming man’s form, he immediately strode down the passage to where Gunnlod sat waiting for her father’s return. He was furious, for he knew that she must have allowed Odin to take the mead in exchange for dalliance with her.
“We have lost the mead of poetry thanks to your lover’s wiles! What have you to say, my daughter?” Gunnlod was silent. Suttung shouted, “See what love has wrought for you, for our folk! We have gained nothing from this!”
“Not nothing, Father,” Gunnlod said softly. She looked calmly at Suttung’s angry face. “I am carrying his son, and he will be of our blood as well as the Ill-Worker’s. He will be your heir and mine, and he will be called ‘best of poets’ one day. Is this not compensation for the loss of the mead?” But Suttung would not listen. He was so angry that he forbade Gunnlod to leave her chamber ever again. He set guards to watch night and day at the entrance to the passage, and had the hole drilled by Baugi closed up, and none but her women were allowed to come and go. Suttung himself did not go to visit her again.
Gunnlod was grieved by all this, but she bore her father’s decree without complaint, and remained there in her underground room where she had known the embrace of her one love. In time, she gave birth to a son. He was neither physically remarkable nor handsome, but strong and healthy, and though Suttung did not comment on the birth of his grandson, in his heart he was pleased, and his anger toward Gunnlod began to soften. But he still did not relent, and so Gunnlod and her son, whom she named Bragi, remained in the chamber under the mountain.
One day, when Bragi was nearly a year old, Gunnlod waited until her women went away, and she went to the corner of the room where the empty cauldron Odrorir and the jars Son and Bodn lay, dusty and forgotten. From deep within Bodn, she withdrew a small, corked bottle. She had concealed this in various places within her chamber over the long months, and now she took it over to where her small boy sat gazing at her with bright brown eyes.
“Drink this, my son,” she said. Gunnlod uncorked the bottle, and from it she fed Bragi the last precious drops of the mead of poetry, which she had been saving from the moment she saw her as-yet-unborn son in her seer’s mirror. Bragi drank obediently, and from that day forth, he was changed. He spoke more readily and beyond his years, and the women who waited on Gunnlod marveled at his progress. When he was a little older, he began to learn to sing. Gunnlod, who adored her son above all other things, taught him all the songs she knew, save for the one she had used to lure Odin to her side. That she kept for herself.
One year passed, then another, and seven winters after Bolverk had come to Baugi’s farm, the two of them, Gunnlod and Bragi, were still living inside their secret chamber in the mountain. The entire household and many of those outside it now knew that Gunnlod’s son was a prodigy and that none of his like had ever been heard in Jotunheim before, for despite his youth, Bragi was already a better singer than even his mother. He was also unusually intelligent for his age, and he delighted in hearing the stories his mother and her women told, and could repeat them, word for word, with very little trouble. Suttung had never been down to see his grandson; his pride would not allow it, but the more he heard of Bragi’s skill, the more curious he became. Finally, he told Gunnlod’s women to bring the boy up.
Suttung waited in his hall until the young boy was brought before him. Bragi was very pale, for he had never seen the sun, and he blinked, squinting in the brightly lit hall, but he appeared healthy, and his face was so like Gunnlod’s that Suttung’s sternness slipped a bit as he gazed on his grandson.
“Sing for me, child,” he said, and Bragi obediently opened his mouth and began to sing a simple shepherd’s tune. His voice swelled the air around him, a high, clear child’s soprano, and there was something beyond beauty in it. The folk of the household stopped in their tracks; the birds outside quit singing and gazed through the windows in silence, and even the sun outside came out from behind the clouds in the overcast sky above. The fire quieted its merry crackle, and the wind slowed its creaking of the house. Far below, Gunnlod was likewise silent, listening to her boy sing. Suttung felt his heart swell with affection for the child of his own blood.
“Stay with me,” he said, “and gladden my household, for I am growing old and I would like to see your young face here every day.”
“But what about my mother?” Bragi asked, and was dismayed to see his grandfather’s expression grow stern again.
“She disobeyed me, and she must be punished,” was all he said. “But you do not deserve to be punished as well, for it was none of your doing.”
“I cannot leave Mother,” Bragi said, shaking his head. “I am sorry, my grand-sire.” And he turned away and went back down to Gunnlod’s hidden chamber.
Suttung was displeased, but he gave orders that Bragi should be allowed to come and go as he wished, and Gunnlod herself bade Bragi to leave her and go into the household now and then, for she worried for her son, growing up in a sunless room underground. And so Bragi spent some of the time with his mother, and some of the time with his grandfather. He was allowed to go outdoors, and was often taken with Suttung or other members of the family on short journeys, and he soon added to his song-hoard and tale-hoard, so that by the time he was twelve, he was the most skilled of storytellers and a singer beyond compare. Older skalds bowed when they saw him, and everyone whispered about Bragi and his mysterious parentage, for few knew who had fathered him on Gunnlod, and the tale of the mead’s theft was a closely guarded secret.
Bragi never stopped asking his grandfather to relent and allow Gunnlod to come out of her chamber, but Suttung always refused, more out of stubbornness now than real anger. Then one day, when Bragi was nearly full grown, a stranger appeared at the top of the road leading to Hnitbjorg. Suttung stood gazing out the window with his grandson as the stranger came closer. It was not one of the etin-folk, but a tall man clad in a long, muffling cloak and a wide-brimmed hat.
“There approaches the one who sired you, my grandson.” Suttung said stiffly, for the sight of the stranger filled him with anger and resentment. Bragi gave him a startled look. Gunnlod had never told him who his father was, only that he had come and gone and that she did not expect to ever see him again.
The stranger came to Suttung’s hall, where he was welcomed, and he identified himself as the father of Bragi. He approached the boy and stood looking at him. Bragi was not very tall, and resembled his mother more than his father in that he was rather plain and unimpressive-looking, but perhaps the stranger saw more in the boy than was apparent on the surface, for he smiled as if well pleased, and his eye glittered under the shadows of his hat.
“Come with me to my land and my own people. I regret that I did not come for you sooner, but I had no wish to rob your mother of her greatest joy,” the stranger said.
Bragi considered. “I would not leave my mother a prisoner here, and it is by my grand-sire’s leave that I come and go in his household, as I am not yet of age.” He turned to Suttung, who sat watching all this with a very sour look on his face. Suttung longed to kill the stranger, whose identity he knew very well, but since the latter was the father of his own grandson, the lord of Hnitbjorg felt that he must refrain, since he loved Bragi well and did not wish to upset him.
“What is your will, Grand-sire?” Bragi said.
“I say that you shall remain here now, but when you are a grown man, you may go where you choose,” Suttung said. The stranger bowed curtly to him, and then grasped young Bragi’s shoulder.
“Come to me when you are of age,” he said. “You will be welcome in my land and have no fear of anyone there.” He departed the hall. Bragi went down to his mother’s chamber and told her all that had passed. A sad smile crossed her face, but it vanished quickly when Gunnlod saw that her son had noticed it.
“I will miss you, my son, but I think your father is right. You should go to him, at least for a little while, and learn the stories of his folk as well as those of Jotunheim which you already know. I think you would do well to go wherever you can to learn as much as you can, for you are a skald better than any other, and it is only fitting that you know all the tales you can hear.” Gunnlod said wisely. And then she told Bragi the story of his own siring, and how Odin had contrived to win both the mead and her love, and left her after three nights.
When Bragi reached manhood, he went to Suttung and said, “Grandfather, I wish to leave your household and go to the land of my father.”
Suttung agreed, though he resented Odin’s claim over his beloved grandson. “As you wish. You are a man now, and master of your own life.”
“There’s one thing I would ask of you first,” Bragi said. “Let Mother come out of the mountain. Surely your wrath has been appeased by now. Surely she has paid for giving the mead away to my father. She has spent the whole of my youth below the ground. Let her return and live among our kinsfolk again. I would feel happier knowing that she is not so alone when I go far away from this land and my family.”
Suttung frowned. “That I cannot do. Gunnlod my daughter broke her word by acting as she did. I will not allow it.” Bragi pleaded, but Suttung would not relent, and eventually he was forced to give up. He went to his mother and said, “I will return, and I will find a way to make my grandfather’s heart soften towards you, Mother. Farewell.”
Gunnlod smiled at her son. “I am well, Bragi. Go into the world, and see what you shall see, and learn what you would learn, and don’t mourn for me.” So he left her and went to Asgard, where Odin and Frigga welcomed him into their household. He learned all the stories and songs the Aesir were willing to share with him, and made many more that they delighted in hearing. He became even more renowned for his skill. But Bragi did not forget his imprisoned mother, nor his words of farewell to her. After many months, he returned to Jotunheim and made his way into the land of his mother’s kin, and came again to Suttung’s house, where he was welcomed as eagerly and warmly as if he had been a visiting king.
“Will you not let my mother go?” Bragi entreated his grand-sire. “She should have long ago been the occupant of that seat,” he said, indicating the empty chair next to Suttung’s own in the great hall. “She is the lady of this household and the mother of one they are calling ‘best of poets.’ Surely she deserves better honor than what you have shown her.”
But old Suttung was still stubborn, and they argued long, then quarreled bitterly. Finally Bragi said in exasperation, “Then I will take her place, if only for a little while. I am the result of her deed even if I had no part of it, and I should bear at least some of her punishment. Let my mother emerge from her prison for nine days each year, and let me remain instead in that chamber where I was born, if you feel someone must still pay the price for the loss of Kvasir’s blood-mead after all this time.” Suttung would not hear of this at first, but Bragi was so persuasive that he finally gave in, secretly glad for the excuse, though it pained him to send his grandson down into the hidden room under Hnitbjorg.
Bragi went to his mother and told her to leave her chamber, and that he would take her place for nine days. She likewise protested, but Bragi finally made her go out and she went through the passageway up into Suttung’s house, where she was received with joy by all but her father, who would not speak to her.
Nine days Bragi sat beneath the mountain, singing and playing his lute when he was not sleeping, and hardly anything got done within Suttung’s household because people were always stopping to listen to that magnificent music. Bragi’s voice was deep, rich and mellow as old brandy, so smooth that hearing it was a pleasure even when the words were sung in some unfamiliar tongue. Meanwhile, Gunnlod was allowed free run of Suttung’s considerably large dwelling and even ventured outside, where the sunlight warmed her face for the first time in many years.
At the end of the nine days, Bragi came back from inside the mountain. He hoped that his grandfather had been persuaded to relent by being in the company of his beloved daughter once more, but Suttung was as hard as ever, and Gunnlod was made to return to her chamber underground. Bragi was glad that his mother had been temporarily freed from exile, but he was unhappy at his grand-sire’s stubbornness, and it was with sadness that he returned to Asgard again.
Each year for many years after that, Bragi would go back to Jotunheim and remain for nine days in Gunnlod’s chamber while she went free. He did this without complaint, but eventually word of this curious arrangement reached Odin’s ears, and he sent for the skald and questioned him about this state of affairs. Bragi said that it had been his idea, and Odin frowned. “I don’t like this. You are honored among my people and your mother’s folk and by many others besides, and it is unfit that someone of your reputation and worth should submit to something so lowly.”
“Yet my mother has endured it since before my birth,” Bragi pointed out, “and you have said nothing of her reputation or her worth.”
“True,” Odin said matter-of-factly. “Your mother is a good woman, but your grand-sire is a hard man. Is there nothing you can say to persuade him to let Gunnlod go free permanently?”
“I have tried every argument I can think of, but nothing has reached him. He has been unforgiving ever since the mead of poetry was taken from under his very household.”
Odin smiled knowingly at that, but rearranged his expression upon seeing Bragi’s face. He thought for a minute, while Bragi waited in silence. “Perhaps your grand-sire is not truly angry at your mother at all, but for her,” he said at last. “I hear he never took another to wife after her mother died many years ago.”
“That is true,” Bragi said.
“And has Gunnlod herself never loved another?” Odin asked delicately.
“You know that she hasn’t, Father. Besides, how could she, imprisoned and seeing no one but myself and her women for so long? And while she walks free for that short time each year, my father keeps a close eye on her, as he did when she was young.” Bragi said helplessly. “I don’t understand what you mean.”
“I mean that it may not be for pride that your grand-sire has kept Gunnlod locked away for so long, but for sorrow’s sake,” Odin said. “But I think I know how to persuade him to let Gunnlod out for good. Listen to me … ” And Odin began to sing a song Bragi had never heard before. He was surprised, for it was in the Jotun tongue and was not one of the Aesir’s. When Bragi had memorized it, Odin said, “You know what to do with this. You may tell your mother that it is a gift, and that despite what she might believe, I have not forgotten her.” So Bragi left Odin and spent many long hours crafting new words to go along with the old ones.
When Bragi came to Suttung’s house later that year, he again replaced his mother in her imprisonment, and after Gunnlod walked free, he settled himself within her richly furnished chamber and took up his lute. He began to sing a song no one had ever heard coming from within that mountain. It was the story of a woman who had seen her lover in a vision and knew that like the image she saw, her man’s love would be fleeting and impermanent. Yet she risked everything for that brief love, nonetheless. And within this song was another, the one which Gunnlod had sung to entice Odin to her side, knowing all the while that he would never stay with her, that she would long for him all her life, and that she was willing to give him both of her father’s treasures for the sake of knowing his love for that short time.
Bragi sang as he had never sung before, and his voice swept up through the passages of the mountain like a living thing, carrying the full power of his words to the ears of all who listened. The folk in the household above remained stock-still; some of them were weeping openly. Gunnlod stood staring into the fire, thinking of three days and nights that had brought her true joy, and the even greater joy that her son had given her in the long years after. Suttung listened, and for the first time he understood that his daughter had known all along what he had never realized — that love is precious in itself, and that it is no less precious for being impermanent, and that its loss, while painful, is no cause to deny it. He glanced at the empty seat by his side, and then at his daughter’s face as she looked into the flames without seeing them and his old heart softened at last.
When the song ended, a great shout went up from those listening, and Suttung himself went down to the chamber to fetch Bragi up. They returned through the secret passageway to the sound of their kinsfolk applauding and cheering, and Suttung, for the first time in many years, reached out for Gunnlod and brought her close to where he stood with Bragi. He said to her, in front of everyone, “My daughter, I have been cruel. I have punished you wrongly for something I had no right to judge. Will you forgive me? What may I do to restore your love and good faith?”
“There is nothing you can do, Father,” Gunnlod said flatly, and for a moment, there was silence. But then she smiled. “I foresaw this, that from my love for Bolverk would come my greatest joy. And that has come to pass, for my son Bragi stands here now — beloved, famed and honored by our own folk and others throughout the worlds. It is he who has managed to free me from my prison and to free you from yours, and so my joy is complete.”
Then she turned to face her father squarely, and there was steel in her gentle voice. “I am done with seeing, and now I wish to live my life quietly and freely, in my own way. I will not remain in your household, Father. I will leave this place and go up into the mountains, and there make my home with those of our folk who will come with me.” Several people immediately stepped forth to volunteer. “I hope that one day, you will find another to sit where my mother once sat,” she added, nodding at Suttung’s wife’s empty seat. “For that place was never mine, not so long as you were unwilling to let go of her loss.” And with that, Gunnlod made ready to depart her father’s household, and Suttung did not stop her from doing as she pleased, and he never tried to do so again.
Gunnlod went into the mountains, and her women and some of the men in Suttung’s household went with her. And there she still dwells, in a house far above the hidden chamber in the rock where she had known love, and isolation, and happiness. The next time Bragi saw his mother, he told her how he had learned her love-song, and what Odin had asked him to say to her. She did not reply, but smiled her calm smile, and her house was ever full of music after that. To this day, if you travel in the mountains around Hnitbjorg, you can hear her voice, sounding as beautiful as ever. Sometimes if you are lucky, you can hear Gunnlod and her son singing together, and the very wind itself will slow and the birds grow silent as those two voices dance with each other, around and around in the free air of the mountains.
A Great Moot talk by Eowyn OR
How many of you here know the meaning of life? How many of you are searching for it? Well, I will tell you right now what it is. You, you, you- and you- are all going to die! Every single one of us in this room. It could be today, tomorrow, a year or decades from now. But the immutable fact of life is that nobody but nobody escapes death. It is the one uniting factor of all life on Earth. And since most of us rarely travel through life without experiencing the loss of a loved one, we are obviously touched at least once by the cold, merciless blade of Grimm’s sickle before we ourselves finally face the great journey. And in neither case do we know when the blade will strike.
What is born will die,
What has been gathered will be dispersed,
What has been accumulated will be exhausted,
What has been built will collapse,
And what has been high will be brought low.(1)
This is the eternal truth. Look deeply around you, in your life and that of others; look at Nature, a blade of grass. Nothing – absolutely nothing – is permanent and constant; death is everywhere: that’s life!
We imagine we are hapless victims of death. Monotheism capitalises upon our terror so that we are evermore alienated from death in a cycle of descending nightmare. Our relationship with death is reflected in culture and popular fiction: one such example is the current explosion of vampire fiction. Vampire mythology attests to a strange brew of fear and fascination with death as if we instinctively know something is missing in our lives. The story of the myth’s change reflects much of the fear and tragically increasing alienation from our understanding of death when in truth, death is our greatest principle of connection to each other and all sentient beings. Any talk of death is hushed: we mustn’t “be morbid” lest we attract death; reflecting at once a deliberate ignorance that takes refuge in an illusory game of hide and seek, pretending that death won’t find us cowering behind the curtain if we hush up. Ironically, everything we do in our noisy, ceaseless, 24/7 world in some way reflects our keen awareness that we are stalked by death and only fooling ourselves; it’s as if we think activity and noise will drive death away. So like characters from a child’s cartoon, we construct and hold fast to a fragile world of illusion – one that imagines permanence and endless continuity to be reality – that is, until death enters our lives. Here is a very poignant story to illustrate the situation:
One day, the mystic Dudjorn Rimpoche and his wife were travelling in France. As they passed by an immaculate looking cemetery, his wife said: “Rimpoche, look how everything in the West is so neat and clean. Even the places where they keep their corpses are spotless. In the East, not even the houses that people live in are anything like as clean as this.”
“Ah yes,” he replied, “that’s true; this is such a civilised country. They have such marvellous houses for dead corpses. But haven’t you noticed? They have such wonderful houses for the living corpses too.”(2)
What a sad comment on modern life!
Death is the most natural event in the world. The moment we are born, we begin to die: we change and that is all death is – perpetual change. It is just that losing a loved one brings great changes; and of course, we enter a whole new world when we ourselves die. These changes involve all those aspects of the ego complex, which cause attachment. Indeed, without our intricate connections to all life, it is true to say that we – as an “I” – do not exist at all: literally, we are defined by our relationship to all else; and from those relationships, we establish roles arising from our perception of the personal and social interactions involved. In turn, our sense of identity is established, which feels to us as a touchstone of permanence. So of course, when we lose a loved one, quite literally, it rocks the foundations of our established world. Hence, death always brings grief in some measure.
Grief is a very important biological process because loss brings about personal and communal changes and grief is the process of adaptation it forces. There is not just the “missing” of the loved one’s presence to contend with, but also a reworking of the entire personal and communal infrastructure, which is stressful. Contrary to popular opinion, grief is not some kind of romantic luxury that we should speed through so we can “get on” with our lives; it is raw, unhinged animal activity. Research shows that animals also suffer bereavement; here is an account of the pattern exhibited by a greylag goose:
“The first response to the disappearance of the partner consists of the anxious attempt to find him again. The goose moves about restlessly by day and night, flying great distances and visiting places where the partner might be found, uttering all the time the tri-syllabic long-distance call… All the observable characteristics of the goose’s behaviour on losing its mate are roughly identical with human grief.”(3)
Humans have three conflicting biological responses when bereaved: there is the impulse to scream out so that the loved one might hear us and return; however, we are also vulnerable, so don’t want to draw attention to ourselves; hence, we scream silently through strangled, muted sobs. Places where we spent time with them will bring surges of grief and a renewed desire to call out: we cry. Crying also has the benefit of releasing stress hormones: emotional tears and those produced whilst chopping onions are of very different composition. The cure for grief begins in recognising, admitting and describing the loss, re-evaluating our life and finally admitting the loved one is nowhere to be found. Indeed, this is why the laying out of a body in the wake holds importance: it brings closure.
One thing I think is very important to note here. Within the biological pattern of grieving, men and women grieve differently, conforming to a pattern that has been established over millennia for protection of the community. Women react more emotionally than men; they also tend to experience more loss in their lives via the direct changes that occur in losing virginity, name in marriage, the stages involved in raising children and menopause. To cry more therefore may hold important implications for a woman’s health and wellbeing and as an emotional “lightening rod” that ultimately helps maintain communal cohesion. Meanwhile, grieving men often focus more upon thinking, planning and restructuring. (And interestingly from the teens onwards, men physically produce less prolactin, which is responsible for “emotional tears” whilst men and women are wired differently with regard to verbal skills). In Nature, this might well be crucial for ensuring survival of the group and hiding its vulnerability. Modern psychiatry should therefore be challenged in its criticism of men’s so-called “lack of emotional expression;” for it’s data also comes mainly from women – who inherently tend to seek more help and be more focussed upon emotional issues than men. To criticise men for lacking emotion and women for being over-emotional are equally as insulting. Of course there are healthy and unhealthy responses to bereavement: a woman who can’t stop crying or a man who becomes emotionally constipated probably both need help. Also, we differ hormonally as individuals and therefore, in our familial and communal composition, whilst the biological pattern is for men to become more fluid emotionally as they age whilst women develop more structured approaches to coping: age balances us emotionally, which again, may well reflect our changing communal roles as we mature. The important issue for both sexes is that they have access to support and a healthy movement through the pattern. The outcome should then be positive, bringing a re-evaluation and re-affirmation of family relationships, adaptation to new roles and a new structure of relationships; this is nothing less than personal and collective evolution in which death is the great healer.
Thus, there is a very sound biological principle to death, which is reflected throughout all life’s energetic levels: the perturbation of change stimulates evolution. Conversely, our alienation from death is dangerous from a biological perspective because it weakens us. Collectively, our cultural treatment of death often fails to pass the initial shock whereby we call out for the loved one; so within the context of community breakdown, we are vulnerable. The protraction of that vulnerability thus makes us neurotic with its relentless stress creating havoc on our immune systems. Crucially, our ignorance of death paralyses our personal and collective evolution, which is no less than our journey to Odin consciousness, that is, enlightenment.
Many people – myself included – have noticed there is a distinctive aura of absolute silence, serenity and peace within the vicinity of death. Even in the womb, there is no silence; death is the antithesis of conception yet also its predecessor – the doorway into new life. So much about death makes it a final point of change – that is, to the ego complex we identify with: the bodily processes cease and silence emanates into the room; anything unsaid must now remain so; nothing more can be done; we just have to “be.” Silence is that deeper well of time cradled within the cyclical nature of life: indeed, death is silence. Contrast this with the incessant noise of daily activity, which keeps us marching to a daily rhythm of things to do, places to be and thoughts about the past and future. Noise and silence are like two fields that exist at different levels – floors if you like. Noise, activity, “doing” is a frequency level that feeds the ego complex: it allows us to survive and maintain our sense of identity in Midgarth; true silence is the field (or, as in our analogy, the floor below) where our ego complex ceases to act and our Higher Self reigns. At death, the ego complex and all-individual mind are left behind; for they are of a different substance to that of our litr.
At this point, I must digress a little and talk about something called lamentation. To lament is to feel, show, or express grief, sorrow, or regret – to mourn deeply. A formal expression of sorrow and mourning can be seen in verse or song known as lamentation that many cultures worldwide have as part of their religious expression. The problem is that some folk use them wrongly to hold onto grudges. They whip up anger but do not allow the anger to be transformed; rather, the community fosters reactive, chaotic states, sometimes for generations. How much bitterness and resentment for instance, do we see perpetuated amongst communities in Ireland that has poisoned generations and led to so much pointless bloodshed? Used effectively, lament is healing. It questions of the gods what has happened by bringing voice to the sense of injustice, pain, grief, sorrow etc. being experienced and stops these potentially toxic emotions from becoming locked in the body as sickness and being passed into generational conflict. Whether we are talking about a community’s loss in war or a personal loss of a loved one, any or all of these emotions will be felt and need to be exorcised from the body so that healthful functioning can continue.
So we can see that lamentations tell the story. Often, they are the stories of our ancestors calling for justice: justice is their right. But justice properly understood is about a return to balance and using that balance to step upwards on the ladder of consciousness so mistakes aren’t repeated. It is not about malicious and violent revenge for its own sake with no possibility of closure. It must bring healing to all- the lost ones and the bereaved alike. The death is then transformed from something apparently needless into a holy sacrifice taken by the compassionate light of enlightenment into the realm of the eternal now. The lamentations sing of the pain and call for healing – healing which occurs in the deep zone of the timeless now, the space between the waves of sound. Thus, lamentation becomes our instrument of the godforce, which is motivated by purity and compassion for all sentient creatures. To just react maliciously leaves our ancestors’ suffering in vain – hopeless victims of a senseless fate because the cycle is perpetuated. To transform that suffering is an act of power; their gift to us through death is heightened awareness, elevated consciousness and evolution for all. Compassion is one of the highest levels of consciousness that can be exhibited in this realm. It is more than emotion or interest, it is an energy – the capacity to transform all states from negative into positive and to either directly (by action) or indirectly (by prayer, meditation etc.) seek to release all sentient beings from suffering. It is a spiritual principle in action.
Hence, we can see that the point of positive change in the process occurs in the realm of silence. Silence both fills and empties. In the tradition of the Romantic poets, it is a space where we are our authentic selves: our personal ego can be strengthened and vivified. Yet in the Buddhist tradition, silence is about emptying and removing the influence of the ego complex so that the space created can be filled with divine energy. Too much filling or too much emptying and all kinds of delusions can be fostered: there needs to be balance. Metaphorically speaking – and in advanced meditational practice – silence is that space between the inspirational breath of fulfilment and the letting go in expiration so that we can evolve. At that point of utter stillness, we touch the gods. It is interesting that in Qi Gong, where the middle way of balance between ultimate limit and no limit is sought, one should breathe silently so that the energies are healing and nurturing to the body: any sound reduces its efficacy. It is at this heildom between one breath and the next that we are inspired – the creative energies return to us via our inspirational breath – which transforms the emotions of anger and grief in lament to a more refined and constructive expression of the energy. Then there is a welling up into a song of hope and defiance and transformation: a new centre of order is created.
Lamentation is the vehicle we use to reach the soul; and from the soul comes the healing lament, that may arise unbidden. This is Vidar’s realm, the deep primeval silence of the forests, a silence that precedes sound and an energy most pure. The soul touches the spirit and brings illumination – illumination of why things have happened, how they can be changed and the hope and energy to bring that change into being. It is a grace of the gods: we have not been abandoned. We are not hopeless, helpless victims of fate. A new song emerges: we are co-creators of our rebirth. Is there any wonder our folksongs are being denied us? Folksongs are full of laments and laments are powerful. For they evoke the eternal Disir into our midst.
Incidentally, traditional laments are often led by women and this probably has to do with their historically more intimate relationship with death as explained earlier and also by virtue of their different egoic structures to that of men (which I wrote about in ORB), and which essentially, makes reference to their principle role as the cohesive force within a family and community. Effectively, a group of women leading a lament can work as a sort of “lightening rod” for the communal expression of grief, which is like a safety valve that helps transmute the emotional expression into healing so that life can continue in its new form. Indeed, lamentation can be regarded as collective psychological rebirth through the alchemy of music, verse and silence; and all birth arises via the feminine principle.
Melancholia is inherent in human nature since death brings awareness of our own mortality. In bereavement, we also grieve for our death that will be. However, it is important to realise that bereavement is in no way confined to the physical death of another; it is experienced with any loss or sudden change in our circumstances. We can experience bereavement through any of the following life events:
Disability brings grief for our own physical loss.
Sudden poverty causes economic bereavement.
Redundancy or retirement brings loss of sense of identity and routine.
Separations can cause us to feel bitter or like a failure.
A lottery win! Amazingly, this often brings grief for the former familiar life lost.
Degenerative disease e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, where the family often feel they have “lost” the former person to the disease.
Mid-life crises is grief for “lost youth” and unfulfilled ambitions.
Theft or lost property causes great distress through loss of the objects to which we are attached.
Hopefully now, you are beginning to understand that death is not confined to the rite of passage of individual passing or that of a loved one, but rather it is a principle that we meet with constantly. So what exactly do we mean by “a principle?” A principle is an originating or actuating agency or force – a rule or law exemplified in natural phenomena. Nature is replete with principles and perhaps its greatest principle is observed through the seasonal cycles of spring, summer, autumn and winter with their predominant characteristics of birth, growth, decline and death respectively; and each season in itself is a principle: it exhibits a predominant pattern, which we observe as exemplifying that season, even though each, of course, contains the other three simultaneously. Then our mythology, as the symbolic expression of primal truth, is all about principles. So we have the legend of Balder who dies and is reborn annually at Yule. But in keeping with the law of principle that applies to all scales of observation, it also refers to the “fall” of mankind from a Golden Age of enlightenment into the darker ages of Silver, Bronze and Iron respectively where there is an increasing dominance of the ego and materialism, until at the bottom most point – the nadir – the cycle starts to head back towards a new Golden Age. This principle is common to most mythologies; for instance, Lucifer, who is so often wrongly – and deliberately – equated with Satanism by the powers that be, is actually more akin to the figure of Balder; for Lucifer means “light-bringer,” which is a far cry from the horror story imagery of Satan!
Since principles apply to all levels of reality, it is true to say that as you sit here now, you are dying and being reborn in every moment. Cells are dying and new ones are being made. Within seven years, you are literally a new body because no single cell remains from seven years earlier. Every breath and every thought is a moment of death and rebirth. Breath, emotion and thought are intimately intertwined: we show this understanding when we tell an anxious person to sit down and breathe deeply to calm themselves; with calmer thoughts comes more focussed and aware action – actions that in some cases could profoundly influence their wyrd and alter their fate and that of those around them. All is connected.
In any grieving process, there is a story to be told. The function of the story is for a person to lay bare the nature of the attachments involved – much like identifying the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to see how they weave together to create the sequences and patterns with which he or she identified – patterns that have now been disturbed. The story must be heard by witnesses: this is an absolutely crucial part of the healing process. What must be communicated is the profoundly personal effect of the loss. Indeed, there is a peculiarly healing quality to the process. This aspect is the function of the ego complex: it needs to make noise, to be heard. This is not a superficial process: the listener must truly validate the experience in a quiet, non-judgemental way and provide a safe space for the person to “let go” and “let rip” so to speak, no matter how angry, bitter, selfish etc. the person might seem. However, once these raw feelings have been properly vented, it is as if the ego complex has been satisfied; it then relaxes its hold, thereby letting the rawness slip away and moving on to open the door into the field of timeless silence. Thus, space is created so the person can surrender into the well of silence, understanding , healing and regeneration. To reach enlightenment, something has to be broken up; and that something is the shadow of the ego that obscures the light of the soul.
Now, our ego complex is concerned with attachment to validate itself: it identifies so strongly with objects, loved ones, roles, habits etc., that they are perceived consciously and unconsciously as being integral to its identity. And since our existence is entirely reliant upon relationships with all sentient life and even objects, any change in our relationships brings grief. But these points of change or junctures (known as bardos) are also when the possibility for liberation and enlightenment is heightened through the alchemical transformation of our conditioned egoic behaviour towards a more authentic and enlightened state of being. Ancient Vedic and Buddhist practices such as meditation, teach us to enter that place of stillness (death) so that we might make a compassionate examination of details about our life. Essentially, this involves honestly and objectively identifying attachments involving negative emotions and behaviours and working to purify ourselves. When life changes are involved or bad habits such as addictions are being healed, grief happens because healing involves the reassertion of the Higher Self over the lower self or ego complex: and grief, as we have seen, is a function of the ego complex. However, it should not be despised because it is in fact the anvil upon which our souls are wrought and so is vital to life in Midgarth.
There is a very gritty metaphor in the ancient texts known as the charnel grounds. The charnel grounds was a place where people would take dead bodies to be eaten by jackals and vultures and so it provided an ideal venue for some yogis to study the entire life/death/rebirth process and the nature of impermanence. Some things are dying; some are decaying; some are being eaten; some being fed and some are being born from the very decay. Thus, they are a crossroads of life that shamelessly shows it for what it is; a crucible of suffering through the illusion of egoic attachments. So death is the merciful and compassionate alchemist helping us to see the complexities of samsara and nirvana laying buried in the great graveyard of life… Hael Kali!
Look at life today: it seems the entire world laments as the nuts and bolts of existence are undone by the relentless drive of a greedy elite for power. The ceaseless noise sees birds getting louder and shriller, literally straining their voiceboxes to bursting point and uncharacteristically singing at night as they attempt to override the 24/7 din. Stress, depression, immunological problems, chronic fatigue are all becoming epidemic as people try to keep up: the only respite is a drink to unwind, medications, addictions. All measures that further enmesh the ego attachments to a material world. Looked on compassionately, the din, violence, vandalism, breakdown etc. that emerges from this sad soup of humanity can actually be seen as a desperate expression of fear, exhaustion, anger – all symptoms of grief for something missing in life. For who tells us when we have earned enough, spent enough, worked enough? Who tells us we are good enough, selfless enough, kind enough? When is the guilt and fear we endure enough?
The ultimate solution is that we must face death – impermanence in all its forms. Many folk see spiritual practice as something we “do” separately from what we consider as our mundane life. In actual fact, our lives are that spiritual practice: we are all constantly experiencing the dance of life, death and rebirth. When you can see vibrant life in a cemetery and a whole world in a blade of grass, you will be on the path to Odin consciousness. When you no longer see death, you are enlightened.
Consider this: if you absolutely knew with every fibre of your being that you will return to Midgarth so that you no longer feared death’s doorway (and therefore didn’t feel compressed by the passing of time); if you knew that where you ended up in Midgarth at rebirth and whether or not you ever reached enlightenment was dependant upon the relationship you hone now with death, what would you do? Wouldn’t you then practice the principle of death at every given opportunity? For that is what you must do. As one writer eloquently explains:
In contemporary Western society, the charnel ground might be a prison, a homeless shelter, the welfare roll, or a factory assembly line. The key to its successful support of practice is its desperate, hopeless, or terrifying quality. For that matter, there are environments that appear prosperous and privileged to others but are charnel grounds for their inhabitants – Hollywood, Madison Avenue, Wall Street, Washington, D.C. These are worlds in which extreme competitiveness, speed, and power rule, and the actors in their dramas experience intense emotion, ambition, and fear. The intensity of their dynamics makes all of these situations ripe for the Vajrayana practice of the charnel ground.(4)
We here as Rite members are all present precisely because we have much to lament; the loss of our lands, our heritage, our due respect as a folk on the world stage. Like the mythical Balder, our folk have been cast down, oppressed into the ways of a corrupt elite, forced into a cultural mould that makes us slaves to illusion. Such is the Age of the Kali Yuga: illusion reigns supreme. But we have to travel through the Hel Realms to reach Asgard. We have to dance with death in life, merge with the silence and then arise anew as the living phoenix from its ashes.
In 1933, E. Gunther Grundel wrote:
“The new man is still evolving. Indeed, he is not yet visible to everyone, for he does not come from the noisy centre which constantly attracts the attention of the crowd, but from the quiet periphery. Every new force that is designed to topple an age, which has run its course comes from the periphery of that age with all its dominant values and pseudo-values. It is in the moments of great crisis in the emergence of the new that the “outsiders” take on their special function of forming the nucleus of a new centre around which the coming world will henceforth order itself.”(5)
We will not be blinded by illusion. We refuse to bow down to the false gods of materialism, the minions of Loki.
You know, you, you, you and you- all of us here: every single one of us in this room. We are that new man- or woman. We are the OR!
Hael The Rite!
1. Rimpoche, Soygal
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Chapter 2, Impermanence
2 Ibid Page 17
3 Dunn, Michael
Time to Grieve
Chapter 2, The Process of Grieving (study by Konrad Lorenz sited)
How To Books Ltd, 2006
4 Simmer-Brown (2001: p.127)
5 E. Gunther Grundel
The Mission of the Young Generation
From, The Odinic Rite: http://www.odinic-rite.org/main/death-the-meaning-of-life/
I watched this movie more because of the cast, Kristen, Sarah and Dakota, but i ended up liking it a lot!
Try to shut me up tour was perfect this show was in the first dvd i bought, and let go was the first album i had too, miss that time
Other names suggested at the time of Confederation:
Anglia – to honour of the main religion of the Protestant British
Albionoria – “Albion of the north”
Borealia – from ‘borealis’, the Latin word for ‘northern’; compare with Australia
Cabotia – in honour of Italian explorer John Cabot, who explored the eastern coast of Canada for England
Efisga – an acronym of “English, French, Irish, Scottish, German, Aboriginal”
Hochelaga – an old name for Montreal
Mesopelagia – “land between the seas”
Tuponia – derived from ‘The United Provinces of North America’
Ursalia – “place of bears”
Vesperia – “land of the evening star”
Victorialand – in honour of Queen Victoria
Vinland - “wine land” or “meadow/pasture-land”), was the name given by the norsemen, when Leif Erikson and his crew discovered the land corresponding to Newfoundland and Labrador about five centuries before Columbus.
The name Canada was first used by Jacques Cartier in 1535. The origin of the name “Canada” comes from the expedition of explorer Jacques Cartier up the St. Lawrence River in 1535. The Iroquois pointing out the route to the village of Stadacona, the future site of Quebec City, used the word “kanata,” the Huron-Iroquois word for village. Jacques Cartier used the word Canada to refer to both the settlement of Stadacona and the land surrounding it subject to Chief Donnacona.
Albert - (Adalbehrt) means Noble-bright, from the germanic ‘adal’ = noble; and ‘beraht’ = bright. Albert is a short form of the archic Adalbert.
Alfred - (Aelfraed) means Elf counsel/wise, from Old English ‘aelf’ = elf; and ‘raed’ = counsel.
Alvin - (Aelfwine) means Friend of elves or Noble friend, from ‘aelf’ = elf, noble; and ‘wine’ = friend.
Edfrid - (Eadfrith) means Happy peace, from ‘ead’ = happy; and ‘frith’ = peace.
Edrich - (Eadric) means Rich leader, from ‘ead’ = rich, happy; and ‘ric’ = ruler, king.
Baldwin - (Bealdwine) (Old german = Baldavin) means Bold friend, from ‘bald’ = bold, brave; and ‘wine’ = friend.
Brandon - means A hill covered with gorse, from ‘bron’ = broom (shrub), gorse; and ‘dun’ = hill. It was mainly used as a surname in england, it’s from the habitational name class.
Cedric - an anglicization of Cerdic, the name of a saxon king, founder and first king of Wessex, it’s celtic name which comes from Ceredic or Caradoc and means kindly, loved. It is said that this name was invented by Sir Walter Scott for his novel Ivanhoé (1819).
Edmund - (Eadmund) means Rich Protector, from ‘ead’ = happy, wealth, prosperous, rich, blessed; and ‘mund’ = protector.
Edward - means Rich guard/protector, from ‘ead’ = happy, wealth, prosperous, rich, blessed; and ‘weard’ = guard.
Edwin - means Rich friend, from ‘ead’ = rich; and ‘wine’ = friend.
Oswald - meand Divine ruler, from ‘os’ = god; and ‘weald’ = rule.
Richard - means Powerful leader, from ‘ric’ = ruler, king; and hard = strong, brave, court.
Krummi svaf í kletta gjá, - kaldri vetrar nóttu á, verður margt að meini; verður margt að meini; fyrr en dagur fagur rann freðið nefið dregur hann undan stórum steini. undan stórum steini. Allt er frosið úti gor, ekkert fæst við ströndu mor, svengd er metti mína; svengd er metti mína; ef að húsum heim ég fer, heimafrakkur bannar mér seppi´ úr sorpi´ að tína. seppi´ úr sorpi´ að tína.
Öll er þakin ísi jörð, ekki séð á holta börð fleygir fuglar geta; fleygir fuglar geta; en þó leiti út um mó, auða hvergi lítur tó; hvað á hrafn að éta? hvað á hrafn að éta? Sálaður á síðu lá sauður feitur garði hjá, fyrrum frár á velli. fyrrum frár á velli. ‘Krúnk, krúnk! nafnar, komið hér! krúnk, krúnk! því oss búin er krás á köldu svelli. krás á köldu svelli.’
The raven slept in a rock-rift, on a cold winters night, there are many things that; can hurt him, many things that can hurt him; before a beautiful day came he pulls his frozen nose. From underneath a big rock. Underneath a big rock. Everything is frozen outside, you can’t get anything at the beach, I’m so hungry; I’m so hungry; if I go to a house, fat at home (a nickname for The dog) forbids me. To pluck from the garbage. To pluck from the garbage.
The earth is covered in ice, there is nowhere to “set the table” (to sit and eat), Full-fledged birds can fly far; Full-fledged birds can fly far; But even though I look everywhere, There’s just one color; What can a raven eat? what can a raven eat? Dead, lying on it’s side is a fat mutton near a fence, who once was fast. Once was fast. ‘Caw, caw! Namesakes (Ravens), come here! Caw, caw! cos’ ready for us is a feast on cold ice. A feast on cold ice.’
Krummavísur is an icelandic folk song written by icelandic writer Jón Thoroddsen.
A lament for the Fallen of Senlac Ridge, October 1066 in Old English.
The original poem was written by Mark Allen in New English and performed by him at the Wychurst Yule Feast, December 2011. He was inspired to compose the poem after taking part in the English Shieldwall at the the Battle of Hastings re-enactment last October.
Mist aras on Senlac hlince hwær Engle stodon modelic and lang nan hlyd ne onmyrrede þæs stillan stowe forðgesceafttacen ne ageaf wyrd nelles. ða Harold cyning ðære engliscra ðeoda, mid his engliscum here stod on ðære haran dun and eac nebbede ðone norðmaniscan feond. mid acenre heortum stod ure bordweall ure engliscan stefna swa swa an arison heorta clæppedon mid gebeatennum bordum we asungon ‘Godwinson!’
ðeah flana flugen and eoredmen mid us tosomne cumon and sohton sige ne mihte nan norðmaniscman, ure weall tobreacan read and hwit stodon unforcuðe broðorscipe treowstrang ure geosceaft befæstedon we in geferas hande, ne sweord ne gar ne mihte þisne gedryhtabend tobræcan, we fuhton ure Englalonde to nerianne ac wyrd mæg him awendan swa hit him listeð and haroldes tide wæs angecumen an flan tobræc ure engliscan heorta,
ða forðferde ure cyninge on Senlaces gears, menn fuhton and feollon on ðære grenan dun for hiera feollenum hlaforde, his nama þæt endemest on heora lippan hiera ban ða betste weorod. ðeah forlætan sie eall on ðissum geomorum dæge, we hie ariað, ure gefeollonne cynn and meodubuna upahebban eall to and mæton us of oðera ancendlicnesa.
Love this movie, one of my faves on this thematics, it was part shot in my province xD sorry, i don’t know how to take out the captions
[trigger warning: what starts as obnoxious Japanese cultural appropriation turns into full-on racism by the end of the interview segment. It’s…
What about your racism against white people? the whole initiative of flagging that as racism is racism on your part. What about all the asians who affirm that we, western white people, are a nation of undisciplined, uncultured people with no sense of ancestry and blah blah blah… but want to make business with us, isn’t that racism? When this girl said these things about japanese people she wasn’t intending offend anyone, she hasn’t any political intention to defame the japanese culture, this is just a case of a person from one culture being fascinated by a different culture, those things that she said, she was only trying to be “cute” in the interview, no one will wear another’s skin for real are you bumb or what, those are metaphors. She was trying to please and you guys come with these stupid arguments
- Name: Philip
- Age: 20
- Height: 179 cm ( 5 ft 10.47 in, in usa)
- Weight: 72 kg / 158 ib
- Relationship status: Single
- Birthday: February 2
- Favorite color: White, i also like red, blue, purple and black
- Favorite band: Thiskind of question is very hard currently i’m listening a lot to The Birthday Massacre, Johnny Hollow, Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, Nickelback… some post-grunge and alternative like Creed, Sick Puppies and Porcupine Tree, also new metal: Limp Bizkit, Evanescence, Coal Chamber, Linkin Park…, and punk rock bands like Pennywise and NoFX. these are my fave bands.
- Last song listened to: Eat you alive, Limp Bizkit
- Favorite movie: Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, Sophie’s world, The gods must e crazy, Braveheart, movies with Kristen stewart and Robin Williams, i also like animation and some epic movies and northern european mythology based movies like Harry potter and The Chronicles of Spiderwick
- Last movie watched: Jennifer’s body
- Favorite book: currently is harry potter, and the witching hour
- Last book read: percy jackson lightning thief
- # of siblings: i’drather not say
- # of pets: none because i’m currently living in a apartment :(
- Best school subject: history and english, i took some music classes and i loved it more than any other subject
- Mac or PC? i’ve never had a Mac
- Cell phone type: Nokia
- Current shirt color: Gray
- Gamer? i wouldn’t say a gamer, but i play a lot, mainly rpg D&D, and adventure like Tomb Raider and Uncharted, shoot like Battlefield, Halo and Medal of Honor, and survival horror like heavy rain and silent hill
- Day or night? Day, but i also like the night somewhat
- Summer or winter? i like both but where i live summer is preferable, i really prefer summer
- Most-visited website? Tumblr
- Celebrity crush: - Avril Lavigne of course, Claire Danes, Sarah Roemer, Teresa Palmer and Fairuza Balk
- Biggest turn on: Individuality and personality, people who think for themselves and have their own opinions, also i have a thing for ‘tomboy’ girls
In the series Abandoned, by photographer Richard Allenby-Pratt, endangered animals roam buildings and places once inhabited by humans that, in his post-apocalyptic world, would be deserted. interesting.
On the England’s page in wikipedia, they say that there’s two possible origins for the name Albion, but only roman origined hypothis, they only put the celtic origined hypothesis, that Albion in celtic means World, on the Albion’s page itself, that’s unfair. but i will not change it in the page, i don’t know how and i will not mess up their work.
About the name of the motherland, England, everyone think that it’s from Land of the Angles, but there’s another theory, when the pope Gregory the great travelling to britain saw young anglosaxon boys in a slavemarket, he looked at them and found them so beautiful with their long blond hair and blue eyes that exclaimed “Non Angli, sed Angeli” (not angles, but angels), that they looked like angels, and when he had just washed his hands in a fountain a young english lad offered his hair to the pope dry his hand, for this the pope thanked the boy and said the he was an angel.
“In 597, a party of monks left Rome, bound for an island so remote it was no longer in the Roman Empire.They were carrying out the dream of Gregory the Great, who had seen blond English boys in the slave market, and said of them, ‘Not Angles, but angels’.” http://www.faysampson.co.uk/LandofAngels.htm
The page of pope Gregory the great at wikipedia says: “Non Angli, sed angeli – “They are not Angles, but angels”. Aphorism, summarizing words reported to have been spoken by Gregory when he first encountered pale-skinned English boys at a slave market, sparking his dispatch of St. Augustine of Canterbury to England to convert the English, according to Bede. He said: “Well named, for they have angelic faces and ought to be co-heirs with the angels in heaven.”Discovering that their province was Deira, he went on to add that they would be rescued de ira, “from the wrath”, and that their king was named Aella, Alleluia, he said”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Gregory_I Maybe
England’s name is from Land of Angels instead of Land of Angles, what makes me think even more in this hypothesis is that Angle in old english is written Angel (Angelcyning = angle king), whereas Angel is written Engla, hence England, otherwise it would be Angland instead of England, but maybe it’s just a matter of spelling, this is all a conjecture.