Norse Mythology – Odin’s Horse – “Sleipnir”

Happy Tyr’s Day!

I am not much for horses. I prefer to walk or drive a car. But mythology has Odin possessing a horse which is a product of Loki being a mare and the builder’s horse in one of the stories being a stallion that impregnates him. Loki gave birth to Sleipnir, a horse with eight legs and considered the best of all horses. Odin rides Sleipnir during the Wild Hunt and he is the only known horse that can ride into Helheim and come back.

Based on this mythology, the Vikings most certainly valued horses for their speed and endurance. You don’t see Vikings with calvary that I am aware of but you do see them being used to delivering messages and the occasional rescue. Mostly Vikings fought on foot or with their longships. The longship was their mode of transport which made them truly one of the first effective amphibious assault warriors as well as using their ship to engage in hit and run tactics. Horses seem to be more specialized for them.

Odin doesn’t start out with Sleipnir as in some of the stories he flies being able to transform himself into flying birds. Transport isn’t the issue for Odin. Sleipnir seems to be an addition to Odin’s menagerie but it does make me wonder if Odin rode in the early stories of the Wild Hunt or did he just go on foot.

There are practical things in life that change for us. Sometimes gaining something new gains us abilities we didn’t have before. For me, I suppose this is best seen in the fact that I don’t run from new technology. I actually enjoy it. Perhaps it is my way of adding Sleipnir to my life. My apartment is a slightly smart one with Alexa, smart lights, and a camera for security. I don’t know specifically what Sleipnir would be to me other than this. Maybe I will think of something that makes philosophical sense at a later time.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.

Skal!!!

Mythology – “Geri and Freki” – Odin’s Wolves

Happy Tyr’s Day!

Odin also has his two wolf companions. Geri and Freki are Odin’s extra muscles. What they represent as ‘Hunger’ and ‘Fury’ is another matter. Some call this Passion and Anger. Need and Want are what I call them. Hunger and Desire. We all have certain things we need to survive, and some of us are further blessed with the philosophy to not only survive but thrive and prosper. For me, it is this dual aspect of Odin’s Wolves that I find interesting.

When people look at wolves some see evil and some see good. I don’t see either but rather the simple wild creature who is free. The concept of a domesticated wolf is one I raise my eyebrow at now. Mostly because Odin’s wolves seem to hang out with him but are they really ‘his’.

What they represent to me in my philosophy is the concept of the hunt for what one needs and what one wants. It’s OK to feed these wolves because they lead to living longer (survival) and prospering (building something better). Nothing wrong with either of these things.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.

Skal!!!

Norse Mythology – Hugin and Munin (Odin’s Ravens)

Happy Tyr’s Day!

Of course, the image of Odin is not complete without some references to some of the creatures and objects associated with him. The first I would like to highlight is Odin’s ravens Hugin and Munin. Thought and Memory, Reason and Experience, or whatever similar combinations you can give them.

The purpose of their existence for Odin is to search the earth and then report back to Odin what they see. Based on this Odin then sets his plans and his wonderings. For all practical purposes, they are Odin’s scouts.

Ravens were used by Vikings for a lot of things but one thing is for certain their behavior was watched and the Norse people and Vikings used them to tell certain things about what was going on around them. Raven could sense land and be often released from ships to be followed so the Vikings would know which way to go when they neared land.

Symbolically Hugin and Munin could be considered the scouts of the human mind. The idea for me is that if one uses Reason and Experience effectively, then one can see a clear path ahead in order to navigate to get what one wants. Pursuit of what you Need and Want requires good reconisance and that for the human being is performed by one’s mind through reason and filtering it all through experience.

Of course, you then need the drive to pursue what you need and want. But that is the subject for next week’s post on Norse Mythology.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.

Skal!!!

Norse Mythology – Odin

Happy Tyr’s Day!

I want it to be very clear here that as an atheist I do not believe in the literal god Odin. However, I believe the values and aspirations of the Norse/Germanic people are expressed in the stories they tell about their gods. Mythology, if nothing else, is mostly stories that have moral and ethical lessons to them. Things to meditate on and learn the values presented. In all mythology the values of the people who created the mythology are evident.

Odin has always fascinated me. Sure most people look at Thor and think what a cool God. But Thor is a pure warrior with very little magic. Odin on the other hand not only has magic but the magic that is often reserved for women. He has foresight. It is this foresight that drives him to do what he does. He either is trying to prevent what he sees from happening or trying to delay it. He is both a warrior and a mage.

In simple terms, Odin is a conservative in that he tries to conserve the nine worlds as they are and prevent their end. He likes the current state of things and wants to keep it intact. Ragnarok isn’t the end of existence so much as it is a complete change of existence and that is what he is trying to avoid.

To this end, he wanders the world as a solitary person looking for wisdom, power, and knowledge to forestall Ragnarok. He is so dedicated, that he loses an eye, hangs on a tree upside down for nine days, etc. He makes extraordinary sacrifices to conserve what is. To protect what is his own.

In leadership, Odin is different from most chief gods in that he seems to be more of a chairman of the board than a king. He listens to the other gods, tries to build concensus, and then enforces the decision they all made together. In this last part, he acts more like a king. He makes sure ‘the will of the gods’ as a whole is respected and honored.

He has his flaws. He doesn’t seem to think of the possibility that at times his actions might be bringing about the ends he is trying to avoid. The whole story of Fenrir illustrates this point. He foresees his end in the fangs of Fenrir so he tries to take action to diminish Fenrir’s power. In so doing, he actually creates Fenrir’s motivation to destroy him. It also has an incredible cost that could have been avoided -Tyr’s hand is lost. If he rather befriended Fenrir, the outcome might have been very different.

Of course, for me, the image of the wandering god both warrior and wizard is the theme of this blog so it is fitting I talk about him first.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.

Skal!!!

“Wayfarer”

Happy Tyr’s Day!

Wayfarer

Alone he walks

The snow crunches

beneath his feet.

He is the Wayfarer

The Walker of Paths

He wanders

But he is not lost.

He seeks

He looks for the wisdom

Of the old, the new

And his fellow travelers

Spear in hand for protection

His friends

Two ravens, Two wolves.

He wanders

He walks

He is the Wayfarer

Author’s commentary:

I fell in love with the imagery of Odin a long time ago. I however didn’t realize that is what the original myth was that I was enjoying because I was reading Lord of the Rings and the character was Gandalf, the Grey. But Tolkien took his inspiration from mythology and in this case Odin.

When I finally did get to Norse mythology as a teen the image of Odin appealed to me. The man leading his people trying to delay his fate and the fate of the Nine Worlds. Trying to delay Ragnorok. Warrior and Wizard all in one. The interesting thing is he doesn’t go out and build an army to fight but takes the role of a humble traveler looking not for strength, but knowledge.

I take for myself the moniker The Grey Wayfarer in honor of this inspiration and in truth this was my inspiration not just for this blog but also for some of my interests. I am a scholar and teacher but I lift weights with a warrior’s mind and discipline. I hike, you don’t get much more Wayfarer than that. I guess I came to see my self-image resonate with this image and this poem is a reflection of that.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.

Skal!!!

“It Begins” – Heimdall’s Discipline

Happy Sif’s Day!

Discipline:

“Discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved.”

Vision Point: To develop and follow a results-focused nutritional plan that results in fat loss, muscle gain or maintenance, and a lower A1c with the result of a body fat percentage of 8% or lower and a normal A1c by December 31, 2021.

Journal Entry:

Alright. Starting tomorrow it all begins in full force. I have a lot of disicpline to get back to doing and the main enemy will be myself. The most important thing is to be both hard on myself and patient at the same time.

I chose Heimdall for disicpline as to me he embodies someone totally dedicated to a task. A attitude i need ot develop with all my plans at this point. Be dedicated to the task first, then enjoy life second.

The goal here is healthy diet and nutrition and that has long been the most challenging thing for me, but when I have been on, I feel great in a lot of ways. By the end of next year the body fat needs ot be down and the A1c needs to be in the normal range. To do that requires disiplined eatingg habits.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Using the Gods” – Sif’s Independence (Self-Reliance)

Happy Thor’s Day!

Self-Reliance:

“Self-Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved when each person is their own master and no one else’s’ .”

Vision Point: Be Debt Free by December 31, 2022.

Journal Entry:

In this reworking of my blog, I needed new subtitles for my entries; Foundational, Business and Self being used before. With the need for twelve of these things – one for each virtue – I decided to use the gods and goddesses of Norse mythology to set my posts off. You have already seen Tyr assocaited with Honor and now Self-Reliance is set off by Sif.

I chose Sif because nothing says self-reliance or independence quite like a person who has their own land and works it for themselves. Times may change, but the notion of owning that which brings independence remains the same.

As I redo these you will see which god or goddess gets assocaited with which virtue. Some you may guess easily, others might be more dififuclt.

Until next time.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“New Journal Post Format” – Tyr’s Honor

Happy Tyr’s Day!

Honor:

Honor is the feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world”

Vision Point : Maintain my YouTube Channel with at least two videos uploaded a week and reach the goal of 100 subscribers.

Journal:

This is the first journal post in the new format. The first channge being that each of twelve virtues I talk aobut will be connected to a Norse God or Goddess. I still have these organized into foundaitonal, business and self virtuesm, but that won’t be as in your face as before.

The second part is this is much shorter. State the virute, the vision point and then journal thoughts about both and life in general.

Honor has always been a trouble spot for me. I find that much of my struggles with honor stem from the fact in order to keep mine, I have had to far too often give up my own happiness. Finding an honorable path that also makes me happy has been the struggle.

YouTube has provided me a new pulpit of sorts. I like it and so far the at least two uploads has been maintianed and I am about 58 subscribers away from 100.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Battle’s End” – Dark Shieldmaiden – Prelude

Happy Odin’s Day!

September 25, 1066

Anya the Bold knew she was dying.  She still clung to her sword while sitting with her back against the tree.  She had lost so much blood through her wound on her left side that she was sure death would come soon.  She had seen this many times before in others but now she knew it was coming to her. A mortal wound that she knew would be her end.

Not that she feared death.  Vahalla awaited and now she had more than enough reason to enter its gates. She had watched her husband die as a warrior.  Vagnar had stood on the bridge with his great axe holding off the Saxons long enough for the rest of them to escape. She knew he would fall but she had not waited around to see it.  She honored his sacrifice while hiding the fact that she herself had been stabbed by a Saxon sword.

She lay dying she thought of his embrace knowing it would soon be renewed in Vahalla. Her thoughts turned to his strong arms around her and the last time they had made love on the morning of the battle when King Godwinson’s army then surprised them.  They had enough time to arm themselves and then battle ensued.  Had not their own king fallen and their ally Earl Tostig, King Gdowinson’s brother fallen as well, things might have been different.  The Saxons had completely surprised them.

She knew her husband had felled many Saxons that day.  How many had fallen would surely be the stuff of legend as the tale was retold.  For now, though she knew he had only proceeded her in death by some hours. She stared at the trees in front of her while her vision darkened…

She awoke but it was not the hall of Vahalla she saw.  The same English trees lay before her and she felt strange. It was now nightfall and she was alive; something she had not expected.  She actually felt renewed and yet also had a feeling like she had downed far too much mead. She could move which when she had fallen asleep she could not do. She had lost too much blood.  How was this possible?

Looking down at her wound, her breath caught in her throat.

“Odin.”

It was healed like it had never existed.  Her head swam in disbelief.

“It’s alright, You were dying and I saved you.  You might not, however, believe how.”

She looked to see one of her fellow Norseman standing over her.  He had a strong young face, but his eyes betrayed an age much older.  She had seen him before but did not know his name.

“Why?”

“Because the wife of a brave man needs to be around to hear his tale.”

He held out his hand and helped her to her feet. Then she smashed her fist right into his face, knocking him on his backside.

“You rob me of Vahalla and my husbands embrace.  I should kill you.”

The man sat there, rubbing his chin.  He smiled.

“No.  You will join your husband someday, just not yet.  And killing me might prove far more difficult than you might imagine.”

Anya raised her sword and drove it down; but in a motion, which she did not see, the man stood to his feet and caught her wrist.   The strength of his grip caused her hand to flex and the sword to fall from her fingers. He then put the arm behind her back and his other arm went around her holding her still.  His strength was far superior to any man she had ever met.

“I have given you a gift.  A gift that you need to understand and I am willing to teach you, but you must calm down and listen.  I have given you a chance to tell your husband’s tale for generations to come.  But more than that, I have given you a chance to truly live.”

Anya relaxed.

“Why would you do this.”

“Because your husband was not the only one who has loved you.”

He let go of her and she spun and looked at him.

“Anya the Bold.  I have watched you for a long time. From the time you were a child.  You have a strong spirit and an intelligent mind. You are brave and a passionate heart.  I have come to love you, but I would not dishonor your marriage.”

“Who are you?”

“Just call me Erik. Listen, If you want to honor your husband’s sacrifice, live and give him vengeance. What happened today cannot go unpunished.”

Anya looked at Erik grimly and then nodded.  She then held up her sword.  The sword her husband had given her a few years ago.

“I shall avenge my husband, twenty Saxons will fall to this blade, I swear by Odin the All-Father.”

“Good, and I will tell you more about what happened to you. But for now, we must join the others and return home. The Saxons will wait until another day.”

As he turned and she followed a tear formed in her eyes. If only she had known the horrors that awaited her, she might have killed Erik for his ‘gift’.

Writer’s Notes:

Its been a bit since I started something new. My hope is this series is intriguing enough and entertaining enough for me.  It is a story I wanted to read but seeing no one has written it yet, I decided to do it. 

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

 

“51st Birthday” (Plus DNA Stuff) – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Woden’s (Odin) Day!

So I am 51 as of today. I can think of a lot of things to say but I really have no words other than to be very appreciative of life, family, and friends. I enjoy my life as much as possible and I find that having gone around the sun one more time hasn’t made me feel too much different at this point.  Age creeps up on you in a slow relentless bastard way.

See the source image

Historically speaking – March 18,1969 was the day Richard Mixon ordered the secret bombing of Cambodia to start.

See the source image

Barbra Bates commits suicide at age 43 – she was actress and because her day of death is the same as my day of birth, I won’t forget her. She is hauntingly beautiful.

See the source image

The world was a very different place. Led Zepplin has one of their supershows that day.

See the source image

For me, I entered the world at lunchtime and so far I have to say it been an interesting bittersweet ride but getting much better each day.

Genetics Test Results:

Recently I did a DNA test to gain a new understanding of my heritage.  It was a nice early birthday present when the results were reported a couple days ago. The results are in and I will do things in order from largest to smallest.

  1. 69% – England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe – Not surprising as this includes the Netherlands.  By studying the family tree, I can more specifically say I am English, Welsh, and Dutch for the most part.  Dutch would be about a third of this.
  2. 24% – Germanic Europe – In particular I have traced this to Bavaria. This is my father’s biological lineage for the most part on his father’s side.
  3. 4% – Ireland and Scotland – My mother back a bit does have an Irish ancestor.
  4. 3% – Norway – Yep, There is some Viking blood in there.  I haven’t been able to track this down but a lot of people who have English heritage can have this as the Vikings did spread over large parts of Europe. It’s actually unusual for anyone not to have this if you are of Northern European descent. The Viking legacy is that there is a little Viking in all of us.

I now have a list of countries to visit: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Netherlands, Bavaria, and Norway.

Of course, then my religious heritage would be Odin/Woden/Wotan. The All=Father had many names and was worshiped throughout this area.

In a case to get more specifics I still have to keep plugging at the family tree, But now I have a more positive lead toward my actual direction.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!