The Valkyries of Odin: Choosers of the Slain

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The Valkyries

Valkyries are female spirits or simply demigoddesses in Norse mythology. A Valkyrie known as “chooser of the slain” is among the numerous female figures that choose people who may die in battle and also those people who may live. Choosing among one-half of those who die in battle (the other part goes to the goddess Freyja’s afterlife field). The Valkyries come with those they have chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, reigned over by the god Odin. At this time there, the departed warriors become Einherjar.

Any time the Einherjar are not planning the events of Ragnarök, the Valkyries bear them mead. Valkyries possibly appear as lovers of heroes or other mortals, Valkyries are at times referred to as the daughters of royalty, usually accompanied by ravens and from time to time in touch with swans or horses.

Valkyries: Etymology

The word Valkyrie originates from Old Norse valkyrja (plural valkyrjur). It consists of two words; the noun valr (talking about the slain on the battlefield) as well as the verb kjósa (which means “to choose”). Together, they imply “chooser of the slain”. Other words for Valkyries are óskmey (Old Norse “wish maid”), present in the poem Oddrúnargrátr and Óðins meyjar. Óskmey is often associated with the Odinic name Óski (Old Norse, almost signifying “wish fulfiller”); making reference to the fact that Odin receives slain warriors in Valhalla.

Valkyries’ Names

The Old Norse poems including Völuspá, Grímnismál, and Darraðarljóð offer huge lists of Valkyrie names. Furthermore, certain Valkyrie names appear exclusively out of these lists. Many Valkyrie names give emphasis to connections with battle and, quite often, on the spear—a weapon greatly linked to the god Odin. Such names are Sigurdrifa (victory-urger), Geirskogul (spear-shaker) and Skeggjold (axe time).

Several other names can be descriptive of the functions and qualities of the Valkyries. The Valkyrie name Herfjötur is theorized as associated with the ability of the Valkyries to place fetters.

The Duties of the Valkyries

The Valkyries major duty was to choose the bravest of people that may have been slain, collecting the souls of dying heroes or even warriors seen as worthy of the afterlife in Valhalla. They hunt the battleground, searching for mortals deserving of the grand hall.

In case, the Valkyries consider you as unworthy of the Hall of Valhalla you are going to be received after death by the goddess Hel in a dreary world below the ground. The Valkyries will have a look at battlefields and then bring demised heroes back to life, then have them on their winged horses Valkyrie-Bissenup to Valhalla.

Thereafter, every day, the heroes will fight until that they were all dead except one, the Valkyries will bring them back to life once again, and also they’d have the nighttime feasting in the great hall.

The Valkyries likewise have obligations the moment they are back from the battlefield in the great hall. Right there, getting swapped out their protective covering for pure white robes, they will assist the warriors they have already picked. All of this was to prepare them for Ragnarok, the ultimate battle at the end of the world.woman-and-water

Valkyries are also Odin’s messengers whenever they ride forth on their errands; their armor makes an unusual flickering light recognized as the “Aurora Borealis” or even better known as the “Northern Lights.” According to legend, the precise number of Odin’s daughters that ride as Valkyries can vary from three to sixteen, moreover influenced by which Norse country the names varies too. The most widely known in the most telling of the story are Brunhilde or Freya and Brunhilda.

At a point in the Norse myth, the Valkyries were romanticized to be Odin’s Shield-Maidens, virgins with golden hair having snowy arms who served the chosen heroes eternal mead and also meat in the magnificent hall of Valhalla.

On the battlefield, they went up to the host in the form of charming swan-maidens or superb mounted Amazons. This much more enticing depiction was even more introduced in the Volsung Saga and Niebelungenlied, in which the heroine, Brynhild, was a lovely fallen Valkyrie. Idealized Valkyries were more susceptible than their more fierce predecessors, and thus usually fell much in love with mortal heroes. Swan-maidens, in particular, were at an increased risk as they might be trapped here on the earth when caught without their plumage.

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