Sunday, 27 November 2011

Winners - Runelight Competition Winner for November and New Designs

The Silver Bough are thrilled with the rune pendant ‘Aesk’ (Maddy’s rune from Runemarks and Runelight) which we created for competition winner Ellie. We were very pleased as when we posted the pendant to Joanne Harris she too loved it. Congratulations Ellie on a wonderful video!

The Silver Bough has officially added new designs to our shop: A bas relief large oval pendant (the same size as our large rune pendants) based on a stylised ancient Norse ‘dragon’ (a similar authentic design can be seen at the British Museum) and runic earrings (which are quite light and will not pull on the ear lobe). Although we love the more ‘antique’ oxidised finish of both the dragon pendant and the earrings, we will offer these in either an oxidised finish or a polished finish depending on our customers’ preference. The dragon pendant will have the actual bas relief dragon polished if desired.

In the case of the earrings if the oxidised finish is preferred we can also oxidise the earring wires (pierced) and will be soon offering the option for non pierced ears. As with our rune pendants, the choice of runes is dependent on our customers. If a customer prefers two different runes, that is also possible.

We will soon be working in bronze and copper – very beautiful metals and the cost will be lower than with 99.9% silver although we will always adhere to our top standards of hand craftsmanship and hand finishing.

We have completed and posted our first pendant to Australia. This has brought us around the world. Our sales have been UK based, North American based, Mauritian based and now Australian based. We are proud that each order has been loved by the people who have bought them.

The Silver Bough has also added to Joanne’s interpretations of ‘The old Script’ rune (which Joanne has drawn on from ancient Norse and Old English sources) from Runemarks and Runelight, along with her interpretation of ‘New Script’ runes. Readers of Joanne’s books now can have the rune pendants which coincide with her books. We happily await further sequels (and a prequel).

Of course I am so honoured and proud to be acknowledged in Runelight. Thank you Joanne! A very special book to me as she knows..And the characters are friends to me.

Our original photograph cards will soon be available and more will follow. Although these are not necessarily related to Norse or Celtic history/mythology (some of ancient sites are of course and some have that certain ‘flavour’) all photographs are beautiful. The cards are top quality and provided with an envelope and in a plastic sleeve to protect them.

If handmade rune cards (aside from our Yggdragsil cards) are desired these can be created as an individual rune or as a ‘Sigil’ which is a combination of runes. Any subject is explained on the back of the card.

We hope soon to be working in glass as I studied stained glass and we plan to launch votive lights (free standing and hanging), ‘sun catchers’ and sun catching mobiles in various themes.

The year is winding down. We will soon have ‘Christmas’ posting guidelines on our site.

All of our best.


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Runelight Talk/Launch at York

Joanne Harris’ eagerly anticipated and wonderful novel 'Runelight' (sequel to her amazing, entertaining novel 'Runemarks') is on the cusp of its public sales launch on 3 November 2011. Of course The Silver Bough team is thrilled.

I had the privilege of being invited by Joanne to her talk/introduction to Runelight at York's ancient and amazing Merchant Adventurers' Hall. As always Joanne’s talk was compelling as well as informative and the wonderful audience’s comments and questions were interesting. Joanne excels in conveying not only her own talents as a story teller but also her knowledge of the Norse myths. She always brings her stories and characters to life.

Always charming, Joanne had her audience captivated. I personally love the fact that children of all ages embrace these books. However for me, even better was that the audience consisted of adult readers (young and older) who are all lovers of Joanne’s unique novels.

The Silver Bough is always so proud of Joanne’s writing and her wonderful support of our designs. However, most of all is the incredible friendship that has developed between us (prior to The Silver Bough’s own launch) and her wonderful daughter Anouchka and husband Kevin.

Both The Silver Bough and Joanne have a wondrous and deep seated love of the Norse myths, Norse history and archaeology.

All of Joanne’s themes (no matter what the genre) usually contain a subtle reference to each of her novels previously written. This is delightful to the observant reader.

We are honoured to have such a fantastic and supportive friend in Joanne. She is inspiring and to feel very much a part of this book and hopefully future sequels/prequels is a gift.

I personally am very proud of my mention in the acknowledgments in Runelight and have to say I couldn’t (and can’t) stop smiling. Yes, Joanne, I do love your characters probably as much as you do.

Regarding The Silver Bough – The Jorvik Centre organisers were wonderful. Danielle and Chris were lovely. We hope that we will be able to showcase our designs in York at the Jorvik Centre Shop. We have been approached by their shop buyer following an email from us and now hope we have the support of those involved in The Jorvik Centre. I thank Chris for his interest, Danielle for her hospitality and organisational skills. I am so glad that such an organisation exists to promote the ancient Norse history of York and these Isles.

The evolution of The Silver Bough has seemed to coincide with the evolution of the Runemarks/Runelight novels and hopefully will always grow with Joanne’s ongoing development of this series of books.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Runlight's Release and News from The Silver Bough.

23 days until the much anticipated release of Joanne Harris’ ‘Runelight’ the sequel to her original exciting novel ‘Runemarks’. Continuing on from the adventures of Maddy Smith, Jed Smith’s daughter who discovers that in reality she is the daughter of the Norse God Thor and Jarnsaxa of the Jotuns. Her life as an outcast amongst the Folk is turned upside down by the friendship of her mentor and friend, One Eye (Odin) and the crafty revelations of Loki, his blood brother. The adventures continue three years on whereby the Gods, bereft of much of their power once again must face the potential destruction of the Worlds by Chaos released by Loki via Dream in Runemarks into the world and they must also attempt to prevent a strange new alliance whose actions threaten to fulfil the ancient prophecies which would exacerbate this ruin. Who will die? Who will live? Who will come again? Will Asgard be reborn?


This Runemaker is looking forward to her invitation to Joanne’s introduction to Runelight in York at the Merchant Adventurers' Hall on 27 October (2pm), and seeing the ever mystic Posh Shed of creativity.

Of course we are also looking forward to the release of Runelight which is a very special novel to me. Joanne has been a great friend and very inspirational in The Silver Bough’s evolution and of course in her support.

I promise our blog readers and Joanne’s readers that Runelight will not disappoint – it will however leave you craving the next book in this series.

On the Silver Bough news front the evolution seems to have accelerated from new techniques to new items offered on our site: Beautiful handmade Yggdrasil cards which have already proven popular in private commissions, followed soon by a selection of eclectic original photograph cards. We hope that these cards may be worthy not just as a beautiful card suitable for any occasion but something that the receivers will want to keep.

We have also created a Norse inspired stylised dragon bas relief pendant and this new method opens the door for many new design applications both as pendants, necklaces and rings. The finish on this pendant is more in line with actual finds as opposed to the smooth polish of our silver rune pendants, being oxidised a dark charcoal colour with hints at times of iridescence. However if requested the relief of the dragon could be polished along with the smooth back of the design. We love the feeling of antiquity this design and finish evokes. This pendant is 99.9% pure silver as are all of our silver designs.

The Silver Bough has been researching actual ancient Norse and Iron Age/Bronze Age/Celtic artefacts and trying to closely reproduce these. The first design has been a Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer) found at a Viking grave site in York. We are also in the process of creating a Celtic ‘serpent’ ring based on an original find – although we have used a bit of our own artistic interpretation on this ring.

We also have ideas for a Norse Shield. There is always something new and exciting for us to enthuse over and hopefully for our customers to desire and appreciate.

As we are soon to be also working in bronze, larger designs will be more affordable as silver is currently at a premium and the costs rising quickly and regularly.

Next step? Setting gem stones in our designs; working in silver/bronze/copper sheet metal.

As they say – The World is our Oyster and it seems ‘pearls’ come in many shapes and sizes.

We thank all of our loyal customers who have purchased our designs and have expressed such appreciation and love for what they have received. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Taliesin's Revolt Against The Establishment

Even as a very small child Taliesin was able to inflict havoc on the dignity of Maelgwn Gwynedd’s Druidic Poetic company. Maelgwn Gwynedd was the King of Gwynedd (in Wales) who reigned from an unknown date until his death in c. 547. Mael Gwynedd is known more formally as Maelgwn ap Cadwallon (or in English, Maelgwn son of Cadwallon and also Maelgwn Hir Maelgwn the Tall).

Although Taliesin was made an Ollamh and head of that particular Druidic Council or Society by his foster father Gwyddno Garanhir. He preferred to use the slightly lesser title of Anruth, the bearer of the Silver Bough, a branch of wood festooned with bells. When an Anruth approached and then entered a hall, all knew to respect the Anruth and to stop and listen - for the Anruth sang and spoke of poems and tales (usually accompanied by a simple harp for unending hours) of the great deeds of heros, Kings and Queens, of romance, mysticism, and all that the people considered enlightening, proper and entertaining for the age. (A possible example is attached at the ending of this blog. A Minster Lovell Harp which with the help of a friend and expert harp maker was made by myself and is completely handmade with carvings, silver gilt, silver inlay and all natural materials, whether purchased or made)

In Taliesin’s infancy (childhood) after his adoption by Gwyddno Garanhir, the Poetic Company of Maelgwn Gwynedd went to the king to demand their payment as was due. These 'Bards' passed Taliesin, who was sitting quietly in a corner. Taliesin played ‘blerwm, blerwm, blerwn’ on his lips with his finger. They looked upon the child and of course promptly ignored him.

These great Bards then stood before the King to demand their payment. They stood in unison to ask for their just demands, but the only utterance they could make was ‘blerwm, blerwm, blerwn’. Thus Taliesin made fools of them.

Amazed at the behaviour of such revered and highly regarded Bards and Anruths, Maelgwn Gwynedd demanded to know if they were indeed drunk! Despite their fury at this accusation, the Bards were forced to admit that it was due to the ‘power’ of the child Taliesin which caused them to act in such a way.

Thus we see Taliesin as not only an acclaimed bard and Anruth, but also as a Trickster with great wit even as a a mere child. It is also claimed that he was a shape shifter as shown in other stories regarding his life.

It is debated whether Taliesin was indeed a verified historical person or a myth. There are texts which are allegedly written by him. Traditionally his grave lies in Wales. Taliesin, the greatest of Welsh poets who  grew up and lived in the area around Llangynfelyn. It is thought that he returned to this area in his old age to die and is buried in the hills about Tre-Taliesin, the village which carries his name. There they claim his grave is still in this place and according to tradition is to be seen.

I believe that myths, folklore and tales have their roots in forgotten imaginations which are based partially on fact, archaeological evidence and history and perhaps what was believed was imbellished in order to explain that which was 'unexplainable' at the time, or simply to make it more interesting, enjoyable and/or to add impact to the stories/beliefs. But consider that that they may well bear a seed of truth. As with any myth or belief, for me at least, they are often inspirational and who knows?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

International Musings

It is so rewarding to conceive that since our beginnings in 2010 we have become internationally respected designers. Our rune pendants and carved stone runesets have found homes as far as Mauritius, Canada, the U.S., England and Shetland (Scotland). The feedback we have received from our customers has been phenomenal. The talented and illustrious internationally acclaimed author, Joanne Harris (author of Runemarks, Runelight, Chocolat – amongst other amazing books) endorses us and has included us as Runemakers to provide rune pendants in an international competition for her soon to be released novel Runelight (sequel to Runemarks).

We cannot thank our customers and friends enough for their support and comments/suggestions.

Initially we provided velour velvet bags for the runesets, however after the suggestion of a customer that perhaps more natural eco-friendly bags would be more complementary, we have recently changed our bags to wonderful, quality, natural jute bags. This seems to have gone over very well. We also include parchment inserts with the runesets which explain the history of the various systems, definitions of the runes’ meanings, an idea of  how runes can be cast, along with a prologue from ‘Odin’, ‘Sayings of the High One’ (Poetic Edda) which describes the secrets of runes and his knowledge of spells.

As always, our runic pendants are supplied with sterling silver findings and an adjustable leather cord, presented in a beautiful velvet box along with a small parchment insert describing the rune according to the rune system ordered (Elder/Younger Futhark).

On our site we have examples of individual original designs (Jormangund – World Serpent, Double Spiral Celtic Ring and Yggdrasil handmade cards). Although we do not list these in our shop, queries and quotes are available upon request. The Yggdrasil cards have already been commissioned and we hope that these cards, along with a ‘Glastonbury Thorn’ design will be listed on our site very soon. We also will be introducing a large selection of original photo cards. We are constantly experimenting and evolving new products and designs including ‘charm’ bracelets which again we hope to be listing very soon. We also hope to be working soon in bronze and have a beautiful ‘reproduction’ of a Viking grave artefact, Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer) which we hope we can ‘cast’ soon. Of course we always welcome commissions and custom designs.

Although our rune designs are simple, they convey a tactile pendant/stone rune and are historically accurate. As each item we make is completely hand crafted, each design will vary and be a unique piece that only you will own. No one will have a piece that is identical to yours.

We are thrilled that our designs have touched people across the globe. We pride ourselves on our workmanship and quality, both in creating our designs and in our presentation which of course is included in the price.

We must say we were particularly pleased when we received an order from Shetland. These remote and ancient islands are strongly associated with the Norse and to have one of our pendants find a home there has made us very proud indeed!

Believe us when we say that what we create is not just something that we sell, it is something that we put our hearts and souls into and every time we post anything we offer, a bit of us goes with it.

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Silver Bough Forums

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Forum (Or Message Board as some of you might prefer).
Come and register (for free) and discuss all things Norse and Celtic with like minded individuals.
You might even make some new friends along the way.

There's a Norse section, a Celtic section and even an off topic section where you can discuss whatever you like (within reason  ;) )

So come and join up today

The Silver Bough Forums

Monday, 4 July 2011


Following on from the amazing adventures of Runemarks, Joanne Harris has given us another glimpse into her realm of Norse Gods, demons, goblins, fantastic creatures and her young heroine, Maddy Smith. Enter a domain of adventure, deception, strategy, love, tragedy and a dollop of humour; where things are rarely what they seem to be.
Welcome to the compelling world of RUNELIGHT. Coming this Autumn to a book seller near you.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Odin - Part 1

'Then Gangleri asked, “Which Æsir ought men to believe in?”

'High answered, “There are twelve Æsir whose nature is divine.”

'Just-as-High added: “The goddesses are no less sacred, nor are they less powerful”

'The Third said, “Odin is the highest and oldest of the gods. He rules in all matters and although the other gods are powerful, all serve him as children do their father. Frigg is his wife. She knows the fates of mankind, even though she refuses to pronounce prophecies. So it is said here. Odin spoke with one of the Æsir, Loki.

'“You are raving, Loki,

and out of your mind,

why, Loki, do you not stop?

Frigg knows,

I believe the fate of all,

though she herself says nothing.”

(Loki’s flyting)’

Odin is called All-Father. He is the 'oldest' (though he was sired by Bor?), father of all the gods. He is called Father of the slain. All that fall in battle are his adopted sons. With the fallen he mans Valhalla and Vingolf. They are known as the Einherjar. Odin is also named Hang-God (god of the hanged), Hapta-God (god of the prisoners) and Farma-God (God of cargoes). Odin’s names are many.

Herjan, Hjalmberi,
Thekk, Thrid,
Thunn, Unn,
Helblindi, Har
Sann Svipal,
Herteit, Hnikar,
Bileyg, Baleyg,
Boverk, Fjolnir,
Grimnir, Glapsvid, Fjolsvid,
Sidhott, Sidskegg,
Sig-Father, Hnikud,
All-Father, Atrid, Farmatyr,
Oski, Omi,
Jafnhar, Blindi,
Gondlir, Harbard,
Svidur, Svidrir,
Jalk, Kjalar, Vidur,
Thror, Ygg, Thund,
Vak, Skilfing,
Vafud, Hroptatyr,
Gaut, Veratyr.
(The lay of Grimnir)

Do you wish to know more? These are the names. There are many.

The names were given as with all the languages of the world each name applies to the different tongues… to whom they might worship, to whom they might pray. Some names are derived from events that took place during Odin’s travels. Through these travels, evolve tales.

His wife Frigg is eventually banished due to an accusation of her infidelities, and yet Odin is certainly not beyond infidelity. His son is Thor whom we find Odin takes pleasure in deceiving and taunting. His blood brother Loki perhaps rebels against the ‘supreme’ fatherhood of Odin. Loki sees himself as Odin’s closest kin, equal of intellect but restrained.

Odin maintains his stance as the All-Father, Father of All, but Odin is not always honest, nor is his judgment always just. Plausibly through this, in the end, comes his ruin.

Odin is the All Father. And yet does he occasionally breach the line between masculinity and femininity? This accusation is submitted in the Lokasenna by Loki who makes his indictment. Odin is accused by Loki of practising Said on Samsey (‘beat on drums as witches do’). Loki can be father and mother and does not seem to feel it necessary to dispute his own masculine or feminine aspects. He, unlike Odin and the other gods, feels no need to deny what and who he is, nor deny his actions. He does, however, seem to crave the respect and acceptance of Odin and the other Æsir and Vanir, though in the climate of his standing with the other ‘gods’, he inevitably fails. Odin’s side is firmly as the ‘General’ with the Vanir and Æsir as necessary allies. Thus in his way Odin betrays his brother. The final result is Loki's 'betrayal' at Ragnarok leading to the end of the gods and the world.

In the ‘Sayings of the High One’ Odin contradicts himself by praising women, then warning the reader and criticising them as deceitful. His reflections are coloured by the advantages/disadvantages that women afford him in a given situation. However, within the ‘Sayings’ are relevant words (even today) from the All-Father and good and useful wisdom. Through his thoughts, one sees Odin’s fallibility, his ‘human’ nature, his insecurities, perhaps. Does this not bring this ‘god’, this All-Father nearer to mankind than many ‘supreme’ beings?

Friday, 17 June 2011

The Creatures Who Dwell in The Ash Tree Yggdrasil

There is an eagle who sits in the branches of Yggdrasil. It has the knowledge of many things. A hawk called Vedrfolnir (Wind Bleached) sits between its eyes. Ratatosk (Drill Tooth) is the squirrel who runs up and down the mighty ash. His words are of slanderous gossip and provokes the eagle and Nidhogg (the Wyrm). And many a god who has been annoyed by him. Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr and Durathror the four stags wander about in the branches of the ash and devour the tree’s foliage. There are more serpents under the ash than can be counted. Those Norns who live beside the Well of Urd draw water every day from the stream and splash this, mixed with the mud beside the Well over Yggdrasil so that it does not wither and decay. The water is so sacred that all things that come into contact with the spring become white and this is called ‘skin’ likened to the membrane on the inside of an eggshell.

I know an ash,
It is called Yggdrasil,
A high, holy tree,
Splashed and coated with white clay.
From it come the dew
That fall in the valleys.
It will always stand green over Urd’s Well.
(The Sibyl’s Prophecy)

The dew which falls to earth is called by people, honey dew and the bees feed on this. Two birds drink of the Well of Urd. They are swans.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A Word On Loki

He, who is the trickster, the traitor, the most intelligent aside from Odin. He who taunts with a serpents tongue which is silvered by his words and brings ire to the others of  the Vanir and Aesir. He who shifts shape from salmon, to hawk, to woman, to mare. He who is most beautiful and gives the gods, despite their mistreatment and spite, what the gods want and need. He who takes wives of other men into his bed and fathers their children or possibly cuts off their hair. He who devises the demise of  Baldr.

Who is he?

Here I think we find a parallel between times, and perhaps of racism, or the excuse of 'racism'. Loki is of the Jotun, the race of giants (it appears in some translations that only his father was considered of the giant race, which thereby signifies that he is considered of the same. As opposed to those whose mothers were giants). However the irony here is that ALL the Aesir were derived from the ‘giant’ race. This does not concur with our modern idea of ‘giants’ as being very large beings. According to the Eddas the giants were the first amongst ‘manlike’ beings of the worlds. However the Aesir consider themselves as ‘different’, as superior and therefore divorce themselves from the race of the frost or fire giants. Loki is still considered a part of the original race, although, as stated, beautiful and more intelligent. He still holds giants’ blood in his veins and as all giants are considered evil and cruel, thus is Loki labelled.

Although Loki is taken in by Odin as his blood brother…this in some translations is done by slitting their wrists and pressing the individual wrists together and therefore binding, he is despised by the other ‘gods’ as being an outsider and one of the enemy. I would compare this with certain modern cultures looking at other cultures and their ways and views as being ‘evil’. And I think this was simply one of many excuses to dislike Loki and his ways.

Loki works with his intelligence and wits to do the gods’ bidding. As he is Odin’s ‘brother’, he should be respected and considered as one of the highest of the ‘Aesir’. He is not. He is asked for advice and when the advice does not suit the gods he is bullied, threatened and tortured. Yet he still continues to work with the gods in his unorthodox ways, thus the gods attain the power and goals they crave. If it weren’t for Loki there would be no Bifrost, there would be no Asgard, the power of the gods would be diminished. And still he is treated as a dog that should be kennelled or as a slave and miscreant in many ways.

Loki’s intelligence and cunning is only matched by Odin’s. This is probably the reason why Odin has taken him in. Odin recognised this. And I imagine that Loki’s intelligence and beauty was a matter of seduction (read this how you will) between Odin and Loki. Neither were ‘saints’ and both were prone to straddling the line between masculinity and femininity.

Again in my opinion, I think that there was a mutual need and attraction between Loki and Odin. Perhaps as different in his ‘race’ Loki wanted out of the Jotun culture and Odin recognising Loki’s gifts and appreciation of his ‘talents’ wanted Loki as an ally.

When we read of Loki, he is usually viewed by readers to be evil. He was simply a product of his environment and of himself. The ‘imprisonment’ of Loki prior to Ragnorak was an unjust and extremely cruel and barbaric act. His two sons by Sigyn were murdered. One was changed into a wolf which tore apart the other. The second’s intestines were used to create the chains that bound Loki to the rock, whereby a serpent (reflection of his son/daughter Jormangund) was suspended above him. His wife caught the venom dripping onto Loki’s face (causing extreme agony and thus as is Loki’s nature, earthquakes). But every time she emptied this bowl he faced more venom and agony. Now a time for reflection. What kind of an idiot was Sigyn? Two bowls…empty one, use the other for collection…of course without being too hard on Sigyn, there is the element of necessary breaks.

Then one thinks WHY did Loki marry Sigyn? Sigyn, the epitome of virtue, ever loyal and loving? Perhaps to gain acceptance? To mimic Odin in his marriage to Frigg? Loki’s famous liaison with Angrboda makes one ponder…three unusual demon children with a demon mother… He moves on to a compassionate if not particularly clever woman. I think it is clear. There is little said of Loki’s first ‘wife’ and his daughters. But one must assume from the bit of information we have, his first wife was not the usual, nor were his daughters.

Loki perhaps wanted the same love, affection and respect that the other gods received. Baldr the Beautiful was loved by all (except Loki). Baldr wasn’t the swiftest of thinkers and none of his decisions are ever effective, though considered wise (perhaps a label due to the love he garnered?). His demise was caused by Loki shifting his shape to a woman (a hag?) and thereby gaining this secret information from Frigg, Baldr’s mother. (Again think…Frig the Seeress couldn’t see beyond Loki’s disguise and divulged crucial information to a complete stranger? Doesn’t make sense.)
There you have Loki who is beautiful and a swift thinker and despised by family and all others. After constant abuse can you see now why someone with a heritage such as Loki’s, his upbringing, his sincere desires and efforts, would corrupt him further? I think we can understand this. The submissive would accept this and acquiesce. The strong willed and fiery will eventually rebel. Thus Loki does at Ragnorak after his escape from imprisonment and it is never clear HOW he escaped.

Loki tries to please. He goes to great lengths to please. His dark humour and willingness to jeopardise his own ‘person’ often lights up these stories.
His ordeal with the goat, tying the animal to his testicles in a 'tug of war' in order to make Skadi laugh is an example. His duping Thor to pose as Freya after a promised betrothal to the giant Thrym shows his humour and wits.
Still in the end he is suppressed and called a fool and a traitor. Can we blame him? I certainly can’t.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Asgard and Dwarves

Odin assigned rulers in the beginning. He asked them to judge, along with him, people's fates and to oversee the stronghold of Asgard. This was done at Idavoll (Eternally Renewing Field) which was in the middle of  Asgard. The first task was to build a temple where their seats were placed - twelve in all in addition to Odin's (All-Father) throne. Inside and out all seemed to be made of gold. It is called Glasheim (Home of Joy). A second hall, a sanctuary which belongs to the goddesses was built. It is Vigolf (Friendly Quarter).
They set up forges making all manner of tools. There they worked stone, metal, wood and great amounts of gold. All household items were made of gold. This age is called 'The Golden Age' but it was spoiled by women who came from the Giant Land.
The gods took their places on thrones. Their judgements were issued here. They remembered where dwarves had come to life in the ground under the earth. They were like maggots in flesh. For the dwarves arrived first finding their life in Ymir's flesh. At this time they were maggots but the decision of the gods gave them human understanding and thus they assumed the likeness of men.
The first dwarves thus lived according to the Sibyl's Prophecy (The Sibyl's Prophecy - Prose Edda):
Then all the powerful gods went
to their thrones of fate,
the most sacred gods, and
decided among themselves
that a troop of dwarves
should be created
from the waves of blood
and from Blain's limbs.
There in men's likeness
were made many
dwarves in the earth
as Durin said.
These, says the seer Sibyl are:
Nyi, Nidi,
Nordri, Sudri,
Austri, Vestri,
Althjolf, Dvalin,
Nar, Nain,
Niping, Dain,
Bifur, Bafur,
Bombor, Nori,
Ori, Onar,
Oin, Modvitnir,
Vig and Gandalf,
Vindalf, Thorin,
Fili, Kili,
Fundin, Vali,
Thror, Thorin,
Thekk, Lit, Vitr,
Nyr, Nyrad,
Rekk, Radsvinn
These dwarves live in the rocks:
Draupnir, Dolgtvari,
Haur, Hugstari,
Heldjolf, Gloin,
Dori, Ori,
Duf, Andvari,
Har, Siar.
And these dwarves came to Svarin's mound to the Pebble Plains (Joruvellir) at the Mud Fields, (Aurvangar).
Lofar is a a descendant and these are their names:
Skirir, Virpir,
Skafinn, Ai,
Alf, Ingi,
Fal, Frosti,
Finn and Ginnar.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Bifrost - The Rainbow Bridge

The path from the earth to the sky, the realm of Asgard. The bridge is Bifrost.
The gods (Aesir) built a bridge made up of the spectrum of colours. We call this a 'rainbow'. They say it has three colours (though the shades are many) and is made with more skill and knowledge than any other construction. As great as it is, it will be broken when the sons of Muspell (Chaos and ruled by Surt) ride over it in the end at Ragnarok. At this time the sons of Muspell's horses will will swim across great rivers and advance.
The gods deserve no blame for the fate of this construction. Bifrost is a sturdy and sound bridge, but nothing in this world will be trusted when the sons of Muspell attack led by Loki at Ragnarok.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Mani & Sol - The Sun & The Moon

A man named Mundiflfari had two children. So fair that he called one 'Moon' (Mani) and the daugher 'Sun' (Sol). He married Sol to a man called 'Glen'.

The gods were angered by his arrogance and they stole the brother and sister and placed them in the Heavens. Herefore they were called the 'Sun' and the 'Moon'.
Sun was made to drive a chariot which the gods ordered to illuminate the world, created from burning embers from Muspellsheim. The horses are Arvak and Alsvinn. In order to cool them, the gods put two bellows under their shoulders.
Mani guides the path of our Moon, and took two children from earth, Bil and Hjuki. They were walking from the well Byrgir . These children follow Mani. They carry between them the pole, Simul with the pail, Soerg.
The wolves, Skoll and Hasti Hrodvitnisson chase the Sun (and Moon). Hati runs in front of the sun trying to catch the Moon.
The most powerful kin of these wolves, Managarm (Moon Dog) will gorge himself with the life of all who die. He spatters blood throughout the Sky and Heavens. The effect is that the Sun will lose its brightness while the wind turns violent. The old ogress Jarnvidjur (Iron Wood) has born these sons.
In the East the old one lives
in Iron Wood
and there she bears
Fenrir's brood (the wolves) Angrboda
From all of them comes
one in particular,
the ruin of the moon
in the shape of a troll.
He gorges himself on the life
of doomed men,
reddens the gods' dwelling
with crimson gore.
Dark goes the sunshine,
for summers after,
the weather all vicious.
Do you know now, or what?
The Sibyl's Prophecy
It is interesting to consider this with this day and age's events.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Asgard, All-Father and Night and Day

There is an enigma here. It seems there were no people who populated the earth but still the Aesir walked. There are often discrepancies in The Prose Edda on this subject.
The sons of Bor (Odin or Odin's father) walked along the seashore and found two trees. From these logs they created two people.
The first son gave them breath and life, the second: intelligence and movement; the third: speech, hearing and sight. Bor's sons gave them clothing and names. From these three entities were produced (this is vague as how?) Man: Ask (Ash Tree - as in Yggdrasil) and Woman Embla (Elm or Vine). From these two creations came Mankind, given a home near Midgard's wall.
They made a stronghold for themselves which is Asgard in the middle of the world. Many events took place here, on the Earth and in the Sky.
Odin sat in his high seat where he could see through all worlds and into everything 'man' did. He understood everything he saw from Hlidskjalf (Watchtower).
Odin's wife is Frigg and from this family come the kin we call Aesir.
Each family was divine. For this reason he is called 'All Father'. From Earth: his daughter and wife, he has his first son, Asa-Thor (or Thor). Thor is all powerful and defeats all living creatures. 

Night and Day

Norfi or Narfi lived in Giant Land. His daughter is Night. She marries first to Naglfari. Their son is Aud (wealth). Then she marries to Annar (Second): their daughter is Earth.
Night was finally married to Delling and their son is Day. He was bright and beautiful as all the Aesir are.
All Father gave Night and Day two horses and two chariots, placing them in the sky to ride around the eartth every 24 hours. His horse Hrimfaxi (Frost Mane) sprinkles the earth with dew. Day's horse, Skinfaxi (Shining Mane) lights up the sky and earth.

Thursday, 3 February 2011


The Ash Yggdrasil
Yggdrasil is the World Tree. This is a concept repeated in most religions, past and current. The Tree of Life.
In Norse mythology Yggdrasil is the central or holy place of the gods, the place where they hold their courts each day.
Its branches spread across the world and it stands over the sky. Three roots support the tree and are spread far apart: one is among the Aesir, the second among the frost giants where Ginnungagap was once (the void before creation). The third reaches down to the netherworld of Niflheim where the well of Hvergelmir springs but the serpent, Nidhogg (Hateful Striker) gnaws its roots.
Under the root of the Frost Giants is the Well of Mimir the wise. He is the owner and drinks of the waters of Gjallarhorn. Odin went there to ask for one drink from this well and as a pledge he gave one of his eyes.
The third root of Yggdrasil is in heaven and under this is the holy well of Urd. Here the gods have their place of judgement.
Within the branches of Yg an eagle sits who has knowledge of many things. Between his eyes is the Hawk called Vedrfolnir (Wind Bleached). The squirrel Ratatosk (Drill Tooth) runs up and down Yg and tells slanderous gossip provoking both the eagle and Nidhogg. The four staggs move about in the branches of Yg devouring the leaves. From above the stag eats and from below the serpents gnaw.
Norns (the Fates) live beside Urd's Well and every day they draw water and splash this with mud over the ash so it will not whither and decay.
I know an ash,
it is called Yggdrasil,
a high, holy tree,
splashed and coated with white clay.
From it come the dews
that fall in the valleys.
It will always stand green over Urd's Well
The Sibyl's Prophecy
The dew is called honeydew and bees feed on it. Two birds nourish themselves in Urd, these are the swans we know now.
The existence of the World Ash supports all nine worlds. It is the pillar of existence. Each tree that stands is a tribute to the cycles of seasons.
It is symbolically the pillar of our existence and life as a whole.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Snorri and the Prose Edda

It should be noted that Snorri Sturluson was a product of the early medieval scholarly system. His writing and translations were influenced by not only early Christianity (thus Adam and Eve and references to the misunderstandings of the pre Christian people) but also by the trend of referencing classical history in their writings (thus the references to Troy). He sanitises much of his writing and though still 'bawdy' in places does not usually contain the blatant sexual or lude referrals found in the Poetic Edda 'written' by an earlier unknown source. In the Prose Edda we see a much more direct representation of certain events...and a less rowdy and lude translation of the 'poems'. (See the Lokasenna and the story of Thor meeting with Odin in disguise on the ferry crossing).
Thor was often considered during Snorri's time as the Primary God as opposed to Odin (and the various 'tribes' or cultures had various intrepretations of their beliefs with many considering Thor as the Chief God). However though the initial comments can be confusing, Odin is still seen as All Father and the primary godhead. It should be understood that names are repeated and Odin, though the brother of Bor initially in the Prose Edda is also considered the son of Bor and one of his names.
The giants are not conceived necessarily like the modern conception of giants being beings of great stature. Yes, some were, such as Ymir, but others were of normal stature and many of them wise and moreso the women were desireable and of great beauty.
An open mind and a tongue in cheek reading of the Prose Edda can see through the veneer of early Christianisation and into the true heart of the myths and 'pagan' beliefs of the early Norse. Remembering that Iceland was settled in around 800 AD, one gets an idea of the late Christianisation of the Norse cultures and a better understanding of the invaders of various earlier Christianised lands.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Eddas - Creation

The world as we know it was created from the death and dismemberment of Ymir...considered the first and greatest giant. Discrepancies occur as it is indicated that before Ymir there were other giants and the Aesir from a world not born and yet in the making.
However, here we establish the creation of the world. Evolution Norse style.
The rivers flowed and they in turn were so far from their sources they caused the poisonous flow of the fires of Muspell (Chaos?). These fires were turned to a slag of cinders and the ice solidified and no longer ran. They turned into poisonous drops and froze into an icy rime (hoarfrost).
Layer by layer an ice grew on Ginnungagap (the ether regions, the void). The southern regions turned light from the sparks and embers flowing from Gunningagap. Still there was coldness and things grim from Niflheim.
From this sprang a man called Ymir, a frost giant. From him he established the clan. He bore his children. From his left arm grew a male and female, from his legs, he begot a son by their union. From this came the Frost giants.
Ymir lived on the milk of the cow Audhumla. Four rivers came from her udders.
She licked the salt from the ices and thus the hair of a man appeared. He was Buri. Soon after he took a wife called Bestla the daughter of Bolthron (giant). They had three sons: Bor, Odin, Ve and Vili.
Bor killed Ymir and from his blood the race was drowned. Except one who escaped with his household, Bergelmir.
From Ymir's body, after taking it to Ginnungagap they took his blood, thus the sea and lakes were formed. From his flesh the earth; from his bones, mountain cliffs. The stones were from his teeth and broken bones. With the blood they made the sea and contained the earth. From his skull, the sky. Under each point they placed a dwarf. The embers and sparks that were made they placed in the sky to light Heaven and Earth. This was before earth was created.
From Ymir's flesh
was the earth created,
from the bloody sweat, the sea,
cliffs from bones,
trees from hair,
and from the head, the heavens.
And from his eyelashes
the gentle gods made
Midgard for the sons of men;
and from his brains
all the oppressive
clouds were formed.
(The lay of Grimnir)