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1 18th April 16:13
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Default Rydberg: III.41. WW (cont'd). Hadding's Journey to the East... (wise prophet hell welfare evil)


http://www.northvegr.org/lore/rydberg/041.php

Part 3


41.
THE WORLD WAR (continued). HADDING'S JOURNEY TO THE EAST.
RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE ASAS AND VANS."THE HUN WAR." HADDING RETURNS
AND CONQUERS. RECONCILIATION BETWEEN GROA'S DESCENDANTS AND ALVEIG'S.
LOKI'S PUNISHMENT.

Some time later there has been a change in Hadding's affairs. He is no
longer the exile wandering about in the forests, but appears once more
at the head of warlike hosts. But although he accomplishes various
exploits, it still appears from Saxo's narrative that it takes a long
time before he becomes strong enough to meet his enemies in a decisive
battle with hope of success. In the meanwhile he has succeeded in
accomplishing the revenge of his father and slaying Svipdag (Saxo,
Hist., 42) - this under cir***stances which I shall explain below (No.
106). The proof that the hero-saga has left a long space of time
between the great battle lost by Hadding and that in which he wins a
decided victory is that he, before this conflict is fought out, has
slain a young grandson (son's son) of Svipdag, that is, a son of
Asmund, who was Svipdag's son (Saxo, Hist., 46). Hadding was a mere boy
when Svipdag first tried to capture him. He is a man of years when he,
through decided successes on the battle-field, acquires and secures
control of a great part of the domain over which his father, the
Teutonic patriarch, reigned. Hence he must have spent considerable time
in the place of refuge which Odin opened for him, and under the
protection of that subject of Odin, called by Saxo Liserus.

In the time intervening important events have taken place in the world
of the gods. The two clans of gods, the Asas and Vans, have become
reconciled. Odin's exile lasted, according to Saxo, only ten years, and
there is no reason for doubting the mythical correctness of this
statement. The reconciliation must have been demanded by the dangers
which their enmity caused to the administration of the world. The
giants, whose purpose it is to destroy the world of man, became once
more dangerous to the earth on account of the war among the gods.
During this time they made a desperate effort to conquer Asgard
occupied by the Vans. The memory of this expedition was preserved
during the Christian centuries in the traditions concerning the great
Hun war. Saxo (Hist., 231 ff.) refers this to Frotho III's reign. What
he relates about this Frotho, son of Fridlevus (Njord), is for the
greatest part a historicised version of the myth about the Vana-god
Frey (see No. 102); and every doubt that his account of the war of the
"Huns" against Frotho has its foundation in mythology, and belongs to
the chain of events here discussed, vanishes when we learn that the
attack of the Huns against Frotho-Frey's power happened at a time when
an old prophet, by name Uggerus, "whose age was unknown, but exceeded
every measure of human life," lived in exile, and belonged to the
number of Frotho's enemies. Uggerus is a Latinised form of Odin's name
Yggr, and is the same mythic character as Saxo before introduced on the
scene as "the old one-eyed man," Hadding's protector. Although he had
been Frotho's enemy, the aged Yggr comes to him and informs him what
the "Huns" are plotting, and thus Frotho is enabled to resist their
assault. [* Deseruit eum (Hun) quoque Uggerus vates, vir tatis
incognit et supra humanum terminum prolix; qui Frothonem transfug
titulo petens quidquid ab Hunis parabatur edocuit (Hist., 238).]

When Odin, out of consideration for the common welfare of mankind and
the gods, renders the Vans, who had banished him, this service, and as
the latter are in the greatest need of the assistance of the mighty
Asa-father and his powerful sons in the conflict with the giant world,
then these facts explain sufficiently the reconciliation between the
Asas and the Vans. This reconciliation was also in order on account of
the bonds of kinship between them. The chief hero of the Asas, Thor,
was the stepfather of Ull, the chief warrior of the Vans (Younger Edda,
i. 252). The record of a friendly settlement between Thor and Ull is
preserved in a paraphrase, by which Thor is described in rsdrpa
as "gulli Ullar," he who with persuasive words makes Ull friendly. Odin
was invited to occupy again the high-seat in Asgard, with all the
prerogatives of a paterfamilias and ruler (Saxo, Hist., 44). But the
dispute which caused the conflict between him and the Vans was at the
same time manifestly settled to the advantage of the Vans. They do not
assume in common the responsibility for the murder of
Gullveig-Angurboa. She is banished to the Ironwood, but remains there
unharmed until Ragnarok, and when the destruction of the world
approaches, then Njord shall leave the Asas threatened with the ruin
they have themselves caused and return to the "wise Vans" ( aldar
rk hann mun aftur koma heim me vsum vnum - Vafrnisml
39).

The "Hun war" has supplied the answer to a question, which those
believing in the myths naturally would ask themselves. That question
was: How did it happen that Midgard was not in historical times exposed
to such attacks from the dwellers in Jotunheim as occurred in
antiquity, and at that time threatened Asgard itself with destruction?
The "Hun war" was in the myth characterised by the countless lives lost
by the enemy. This we learn from Saxo. The sea, he says, was so filled
with the bodies of the slain that boats could hardly be rowed through
the waves. In the rivers their bodies formed bridges, and on land a
person could make a three days' journey on horseback without seeing
anything but dead bodies of the slain (Hist., 234, 240). And so the
answer to the question was, that the "Hun war" of antiquity had so
weakened the giants in number and strength that they could not become
so dangerous as they had been to Asgard and Midgard formerly, that is,
before the time immediately preceding Ragnarok, when a new
fimbul-winter is to set in, and when the giant world shall rise again
in all its ancient might. From the time of the "Hun war" and until
then, Thor's hammer is able to keep the growth of the giants' race
within certain limits, wherefore Thor in Hrbarslj 23 explains
his attack on giants and giantesses with mikil mundi tt jtna, ef
allir lifi, vtr mundi manna undir Migari.

Hadding's rising star of success must be put in connection with the
reconciliation between the Asas and Vans. The reconciled gods must lay
aside that seed of new feuds between them which is contained in the war
between Hadding, the favourite of the Asas, and Gudhorm, the favourite
of the Vans. The great defeat once suffered by Hadding must be balanced
by a corresponding victory, and then the contending kinsmen must be
reconiciled. And this happens. Hadding wins a great battle and enters
upon a secure reign in his part of Teutondom. Then are tied new bonds
of kinship and friendship between the hostile races, so that the
Teutonic dynasties of chiefs may trace their descent both from Yngvi
(Svipdag) and from Borgar's son Halfdan. Hadding and a surviving
grandson of Svipdag are united in so tender a devotion to one another
that the latter, upon an unfounded report of the former's death, is
unable to survive him and takes his own life. And when Hadding learns
this, he does not care to live any longer either, but meets death
voluntarily (Saxo, Hist., 59, 60).

After the reconciliation between the Asas and Vans they succeed in
capturing Loki. Saxo relates this in connection with Odin's return from
Asgard, and here calls Loki Mitothin. In regard to this name, we may,
without entering upon difficult conjectures concerning the first part
of the word, be sure that it, too, is taken by Saxo from the heathen
records in which he has found his account of the first great war, and
that it, in accordance with the rule for forming such epithets, must
refer to a mythic person who has had a certain relation with Odin, and
at the same time been his antithesis. According to Saxo, Mitothin is a
thoroughly evil being, who, like Aurboa, strove to disseminate the
practice of witchcraft in the world and to displace Odin. He was
compelled to take flight and to conceal himself from the gods. He is
captured and slain, but from his dead body arises a pest, so that he
does no less harm after than before his death. It therefore became
necessary to open his grave, cut his head off, and pierce his breast
with a sharp stick (Hist., 43).

These statements in regard to Mitothin's death seem at first glance not
to correspond very well with the mythic accounts of Loki's exit, and
thus give room for doubt as to his identity with the latter. It is also
clear that Saxo's narrative has been influenced by the medieval stories
about vampires and evil ghosts, and about the manner of preventing
these from doing harm to the living. Nevertheless, all that he here
tells, the beheading included, is founded on the mythic accounts of
Loki. The place where Loki is fettered is situated in the extreme part
of the hell of the wicked dead (see No. 78). The fact that he is
relegated to the realm of the dead, and is there chained in a
subterranean cavern until Ragnarok, when all the dead in the lower
world shall return, has been a sufficient reason for Saxo to represent
him as dead and buried. That he after death causes a pest corresponds
with Saxo's account of Ugarthilocus, who has his prison in a cave under
a rock situated in a sea, over which darkness broods for ever (the
island Lyngvi in Amsvartnir's sea, where Loki's prison is - see No.
78). The hardy sea-captain, Thorkil, seeks and finds him in his cave of
torture, pulls a hair from the beard on his chin and brings it with him
to Denmark. When this hair afterwards is exposed and exhibited, the
awful exhalation from it causes the death of several persons standing
near (Hist., 432, 433). When a hair from the beard of the tortured Loki
("a hair from the evil one") could produce this effect, then his whole
body removed to the kingdom of death must work even greater mischief,
until measures were taken to prevent it. In this connection it is to be
remembered that Loki, according to the Icelandic records, is the father
of the feminine demon of epidemics and diseases, of her who rules in
Niflheim, the home of the spirits of disease (see No. 60), and that it
is Loki's daughter who rides the three-footed steed, which appears when
an epidemic breaks out (see No. 67). Thus Loki is, according to the
Icelandic mythic fragments, the cause of epidemics. Lokasenna also
states that he lies with a pierced body, although the weapon there is a
sword, or possibly a spear (ig hjrvi skulu binda go -
Lokasenna 49). That Mitothin takes flight and conceals himself from the
gods corresponds with the myth about Loki. But that which finally and
conclusively confirms the identity of Loki and Mitothin is that the
latter, though a thoroughly evil being and hostile to the gods, is said
to have risen through the enjoyment of divine favour (clesti
beneficio vegetatus). Among male beings of his character this applies
to Loki alone.

In regard to the statement that Loki after his removal to the kingdom
of death had his head separated from his body, Saxo here relates,
though in his own peculiar manner, what the myth contained about Loki's
ruin, which was a logical consequence of his acts and happened long
after his removal to the realm of death. Loki is slain in Ragnarok, to
which he, freed from his cave of torture in the kingdom of death,
proceeds at the head of the hosts of "the sons of destruction". In the
midst of the conflict he seeks or is sought by his constant foe,
Heimdall. The shining god, the protector of Asgard, the original
patriarch and benefactor of man, contends here for the last time with
the Satan of the Teutonic mythology, and Heimdall and Loki mutually
slay each other (Loki orustu vi Heimdall, og verr hvrr annars
bani - Younger Edda, 192). In this duel we learn that Heimdall, who
fells his foe, was himself pierced or "struck through" to death by a
head (sv er sagt, a hann var lostinn manns hfi ggnum -
Younger Edda, 264 ; hann var lostinn hel me manns hfi -
Younger Edda, 100, ed. Res). When Heimdall and Loki mutually cause each
other's death, this must mean that Loki's head is that with which
Heimdal is pierced after the latter has cut it off with his sword and
become the bane (death) of his foe. Light is thrown on this episode by
what Saxo tells about Loki's head. While the demon in chains awaits
Ragnarok, his hair and beard grow in such a manner that "they in size
and stiffness resemble horn-spears" (Ugarthilocus . . . cujus olentes
pili tam magnitudine quam rigore corneas quaverant hastas - Hist.,
431, 432). And thus it is explained how the myth could make his head
act the part of a weapon. That amputated limbs continue to live and
fight is a peculiarity mentioned in other mythic sagas, and should not
surprise us in regard to Loki, the dragon-demon, the father of the
Midgard-serpent (see further, No. 82).
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2 18th April 16:13
asvinr
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Posts: 1
Default Loki's Head in the Lore (god demons hell evil goal)


In the tale of the Contest of the Artists in Skaldskaparmal, Loki bets
his head that the dwarves Brokk and Sindri cannot make treasures as
good as those of the Sons of Ivaldi. Loki loses the bet, and therefore
his head, but through a trick manages to keep his head.

Is this all the mythology had to say about Loki's head?

Rydberg writes:

After the reconciliation between the Asas and Vans they succeed in
capturing Loki. Saxo relates this in connection with Odin's return from
Asgard, and here calls Loki Mitothin. In regard to this name, we may,
without entering upon difficult conjectures concerning the first part
of the word, be sure that it, too, is taken by Saxo from the heathen
records in which he has found his account of the first great war, and
that it, in accordance with the rule for forming such epithets, must
refer to a mythic person who has had a certain relation with Odin, and
at the same time been his antithesis.


"Mit-othin, who was famous for his juggling tricks, was likewise
quickened, as though by inspiration from on high, to seize the
opportunity of feigning to be a god; and, wrapping the minds of the
barbarians in fresh darkness, he led them by the renown of his
jugglings to pay holy observance to his name. He said that the wrath of
the gods could never be appeased nor the outrage to their deity
expiated by mixed and indiscriminate sacrifices, and therefore forbade
that prayers for this end should be put up without distinction,
appointing to each of those above his especial drink-offering. But when
Odin was returning, he cast away all help of jugglings, went to Finland
to hide himself, and was there attacked and slain by the inhabitants.
Even in his death his abominations were made manifest, for those who
came nigh his barrow were cut off by a kind of sudden death; and after
his end, he spread such pestilence that he seemed almost to leave a
filthier record in his death than in his life: it was as though he
would extort from the guilty a punishment for his slaughter. The
inhabitants, being in this trouble, took the body out of the mound,
beheaded it, and impaled it through the breast with a sharp stake; and
herein that people found relief."


Rydberg writes:


According to Saxo, Mitothin is a thoroughly evil being, who, like
Aurboa, strove to disseminate the practice of witchcraft in the world
and to displace Odin. He was compelled to take flight and to conceal
himself from the gods. He is captured and slain, but from his dead body
arises a pest, so that he does no less harm after than before his
death. It therefore became necessary to open his grave, cut his head
off, and pierce his breast with a sharp stick (Hist., 43).


These statements in regard to Mitothin's death seem at first glance not
to correspond very well with the mythic accounts of Loki's exit, and
thus give room for doubt as to his identity with the latter. It is also
clear that Saxo's narrative has been influenced by the medieval stories
about vampires and evil ghosts, and about the manner of preventing
these from doing harm to the living. Nevertheless, all that he here
tells, the beheading included, is founded on the mythic accounts of
Loki. The place where Loki is fettered is situated in the extreme part
of the hell of the wicked dead (see No. 78).


[As a hint here, in Lokasenna 41, Freyr says that Loki will be bound
beside the Wolf Fenrir]


The fact that he is relegated to the realm of the dead, and is there
chained in a subterranean cavern until Ragnarok, when all the dead in
the lower world shall return, has been a sufficient reason for Saxo to
represent him as dead and buried. That he after death causes a pest
corresponds with Saxo's account of Ugarthilocus, who has his prison in
a cave under
a rock situated in a sea, over which darkness broods for ever (the
island Lyngvi in Amsvartnir's sea, where Loki's prison is - see No.
78). The hardy sea-captain, Thorkil, seeks and finds him in his cave of
torture, pulls a hair from the beard on his chin and brings it with him
to Denmark. When this hair afterwards is exposed and exhibited, the
awful exhalation from it causes the death of several persons standing
near (Hist., 432, 433).


In Book 8, Saxo writes:

The giant was pleased with the shrewdness of Thorkill, and praised his
sayings, telling him that he must first travel to a grassless land
which was veiled in deep darkness; but he must first voyage for four
days, rowing incessantly, before he could reach his goal. There he
could visit Utgarda-Loki, who had chosen hideous and grisly caves for
his filthy dwelling. Thorkill was much aghast at being bidden to go on
a voyage so long and hazardous; but his doubtful hopes prevailed over
his present fears, and he asked for some live fuel. Then said the
giant: "If thou needest fire, thou must deliver three more judgments in
like sayings." Then said Thorkill: "Good counsel is to be obeyed,
though a mean fellow gave it." Likewise: "I have gone so far in
rashness, that if I can get back I shall owe my safety to none but my
own legs." And again: "Were I free to retreat this moment, I would take
good care never to come back."

Thereupon Thorkill took the fire along to his companions; and finding a
kindly wind, landed on the fourth day at the appointed harbour. With
his crew he entered a land where an aspect of unbroken night checked
the vicissitude of light and darkness. He could hardly see before him,
but beheld a rock of enormous size. Wishing to explore it, he told his
companions, who were standing posted at the door, to strike a fire from
flints as a timely safeguard against demons, and kindle it in the
entrance. Then he made others bear a light before him, and stooped his
body through the narrow jaws of the cavern, where he beheld a number of
iron seats among a swarm of gliding serpents. Next there met his eye a
sluggish mass of water gently flowing over a sandy bottom. He crossed
this, and approached a cavern which sloped somewhat more steeply.
Again, after this, a foul and gloomy room was disclosed to the
visitors, wherein they saw Utgarda-Loki, laden hand and foot with
enormous chains. Each of his reeking hairs was as large and stiff as a
spear of cornel. Thorkill (his companions lending a hand), in order
that his deeds might gain more credit, plucked one of these from the
chin of Utgarda-Loki, who suffered it. Straightway such a noisome smell
reached the bystanders, that they could not breathe without stopping
their noses with their mantles. They could scarcely make their way out,
and were bespattered by the snakes which darted at them on every side.

Only five of Thorkill's company embarked with their captain: the poison
killed the rest.


Rydberg continues:

When a hair from the beard of the tortured Loki ("a hair from the evil
one") could produce this effect, then his whole body removed to the
kingdom of death must work even greater mischief, until measures were
taken to prevent it. In this connection it is to be remembered that
Loki, according to the Icelandic records, is the father of the feminine
demon of epidemics and diseases, of her who rules in Niflheim, the home
of the spirits of disease (see No. 60), and that it is Loki's daughter
who rides the three-footed steed, which appears when an epidemic breaks
out (see No. 67). Thus Loki is, according to the Icelandic mythic
fragments, the cause of epidemics.

Lokasenna also states that he lies with a pierced body, although the
weapon there is a sword, or possibly a spear (ig hjrvi skulu
binda go - Lokasenna 49).


Skadi says: "For on a sharp rock, with the guts of your ice-cold son,
the gods shall bind you!"

That Mitothin takes flight and conceals himself from the gods
corresponds with the myth about Loki. But that which finally and
conclusively confirms the identity of Loki and Mitothin is that the
latter, though a thoroughly evil being and hostile to the gods, is said
to have risen through the enjoyment of divine favour (clesti
beneficio vegetatus). Among male beings of his character this applies
to Loki alone.


In regard to the statement that Loki after his removal to the kingdom
of death had his head separated from his body, Saxo here relates,
though in his own peculiar manner, what the myth contained about Loki's
ruin, which was a logical consequence of his acts and happened long
after his removal to the realm of death. Loki is slain in Ragnarok, to
which he, freed from his cave of torture in the kingdom of death,
proceeds at the head of the hosts of "the sons of destruction". In the
midst of the conflict he seeks or is sought by his constant foe,
Heimdall. The shining god, the protector of Asgard, the original
patriarch and benefactor of man, contends here for the last time with
the Satan of the Teutonic mythology, and Heimdall and Loki mutually
slay each other (Loki orustu vi Heimdall, og verr hvrr annars
bani - Younger Edda, 192).

In this duel we learn that Heimdall, who fells his foe, was himself
pierced or "struck through" to death by a head (sv er sagt, a hann
var lostinn manns hfi ggnum - Younger Edda, 264 ; hann var
lostinn hel me manns hfi - Younger Edda, 100, ed. Res). When
Heimdall and Loki mutually cause each other's death, this must mean
that Loki's head is that with which Heimdal is pierced after the latter
has cut it off with his sword and become the bane (death) of his foe.

Light is thus thrown on this episode by what Saxo tells about Loki's
head. While the demon in chains awaits Ragnarok, his hair and beard
grow in such a manner that "they in size and stiffness resemble
horn-spears" (Ugarthilocus . . . cujus olentes pili tam magnitudine
quam rigore corneas quaverant hastas - Hist., 431, 432). And thus it
is explained how the myth could make his head
act the part of a weapon. That amputated limbs continue to live and
fight is a peculiarity mentioned in other mythic sagas, and should not
surprise us in regard to Loki, the dragon-demon, the father of the
Midgard-serpent.

To summarize:

When Loki is chained in the underworld, his hair and beard grow into
noxious horns. A person who plucks one of these hairs spreads
pestilence.

Thus, Loki's punishment has elements which represents all of his three
children: Fenrir, Jorumngand, and Hel.

Fenir is represented by the guts of Loki's ice-cold son, used as bonds.
One of Loki's sons is changed into a wolf and kills the other,
providing material for his bonds.

Skadi hangs a snake over Loki's head allowing venom to drop into his
face, representing Jormungand.

Loki's hair and beard grown into spiny pestulant horns, representing
his daughter Hel, the bringer of death by disease.

During Ragnarok, Heimdall and Loki meet. Heimdall severs Loki's head.
Loki's head then becomes a weapon and pierces Heimdall, killing him.

Thus, men can say that a head is a sword.

Loki's decapitation is poetic justice, since Loki bet his head and kept
it through trickery. In the end, he is beheaded.

Loki bets and loses his head in Skadskaparmal, but is actually beheaded
when he faces Heimdall. Loki as we know is a jotun.

The theme of giants being decapiated is recurrent in the lore. The
giant Mimir is beheaded, and the giant Vafthrudnir loses his head in a
contest of wisdom with Odin (see Vafthrudnismal 19).


Wassail, William
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