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Myths The Myth Concerning The Earliest Period And The Emigrations From The North.

Halfdan's Character The Weapon-myth

The Sacred Runes Learned From Heimdal

The Significance Of The Conflict From A Religious-ritual Standpoint

The Teutonic Emigration Saga Found In Tacitus

Loke Causes Enmity Between The Gods And The Original Artists

Halfdan's Enmity With Orvandel And Svipdag

Borgar-skjold's Son Halfdan The Third Patriarch

Sorcery The Reverse Of The Sacred Runes Gullveig-heidr The Source Of Sorcery The Moral Deterioration Of The Original Man

Halfdan's Identity With Mannus In Germania

Heimdal And The Sun-dis Dis-goddess

The Creation Of Man The Primeval Country Scef The Bringer Of Culture

Gulveig-heidr Her Identity With Aurboda Angrboda Hyrrokin The Myth Concerning The Sword Guardian And Fjalar

The World War Its Cause The Murder Of Gullveig-heidr

Evidence That Halfdan Is Identical With Helge Hundingsbane

Halfdan's Conflicts Interpreted As Myths Of Nature

Halfdan And Hamal Foster-brothers The Amalians Fight In Behalf Of Halfdan's Son Hadding

Review Of The Svipdag Myth And Its Points Of Connection With The Myth About Halfdan

Scef The Author Of Culture Identical With Heimdal-rig The Original Patriarch

The War In Midgard Between Halfdan's Sons

Hadding's Journey To The East Reconciliation Between The Asas And Vans

The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors

Halfdan's Birth And The End Of The Age Of Peace The Family Names Ylfing Hilding Budlung

The Breach Of Peace Between Asas And Vans Frigg Skade And Ull In The Conflict

Hadding's Defeat Loke In The Council And On The Battle-field

Gulveig-heidr Her Identity With Aurboda Angrboda Hyrrokin The Myth Concerning The Sword Guardian And Fjalar


Source: Teutonic Mythology

The duty of the Vana-deities becomes even more plain, if it can be shown
that Gulveig-Heid is Gerd's mother; for Frey, supported by the
Vana-gods, then demands satisfaction for the murder of his own
mother-in-law. Gerd's mother is, in Hyndluljod, 30, called Aurboda, and
is the wife of the giant Gymer:

Freyr atti Gerdi,
Hon vor Gymis dottir,
iotna aettar
ok Aurbodu.

It can, in fact, be demonstrated that Aurboda is identical with
Gulveig-Heid. The evidence is given below in two divisions. (a) Evidence
that Gulveig-Heid is identical with Angerboda, "the ancient one in the
Ironwood;" (b) evidence that Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda is identical with
Aurboda, Gerd's mother.

(a) Gulveid-Heid identical with Angerboda.

Hyndluljod, 40, 41, says:

Ol ulf Loki
vid Angrbodu,
(enn Sleipni gat
vid Svadilfara);
eitt thotti skars
allra feiknazst
that var brodur fra
Byleistz komit.

Loki af hiarta
lindi brendu,
fann hann haalfsuidinn
hugstein konu;
vard Loptr kvidugr
af konu illri;
thadan er aa folldu
flagd hvert komit.

From the account we see that an evil female being (ill kona) had been
burnt, but that the flames were not able to destroy the seed of life in
her nature. Her heart had not been burnt through or changed to ashes. It
was only half-burnt (halfsvidinn hugsteinn), and in this condition it
had together with the other remains of the cremated woman been thrown
away, for Loke finds and swallows the heart.

Our ancestors looked upon the heart as the seat of the life principle,
of the soul of living beings. A number of linguistic phrases are founded
on the idea that goodness and evil, kindness and severity, courage and
cowardice, joy and sorrow, are connected with the character of the
heart; sometimes we find hjarta used entirely in the sense of soul, as
in the expression hold ok hjarta, soul and body. So long as the heart
in a dead body had not gone into decay, it was believed that the
principle of life dwelling therein still was able, under peculiar
circumstances, to operate on the limbs and exercise an influence on its
environment, particularly if the dead person in life had been endowed
with a will at once evil and powerful. In such cases it was regarded as
important to pierce the heart of the dead with a pointed spear (cp.
Saxo, Hist., 43, and No. 95).

The half-burnt heart, accordingly, contains the evil woman's soul, and
its influence upon Loke, after he has swallowed it, is most remarkable.
Once before when he bore Sleipner with the giant horse Svadilfare, Loke
had revealed his androgynous nature. So he does now. The swallowed heart
redeveloped the feminine in him (Loki lindi af brendu hjarta). It
fertilised him with the evil purposes which the heart contained. Loke
became the possessor of the evil woman (kvidugr af konu illri), and
became the father of the children from which the trolls (flagd) are
come which are found in the world. First among the children is mentioned
the wolf, which is called Fenrir, and which in Ragnarok shall cause
the death of the Asa-father. To this event point Njord's words about
Loke, in Lokasenna, str. 33: ass ragr er hefir born of borit. The
woman possessing the half-burnt heart, who is the mother or rather the
father of the wolf, is called Angerboda (ol ulf Loki vid Angrbodu). N.
M. Peterson and other mythologists have rightly seen that she is the
same as "the old one," who in historical times and until Ragnarok dwells
in the Ironwood, and "there fosters Fenrer's kinsmen" (Voeluspa, 39), her
own offspring, which at the close of this period are to issue from the
Ironwood, and break into Midgard and dye its citadels with blood
(Voeluspa, 30).

The fact that Angerboda now dwells in the Ironwood, although there on a
former occasion did not remain more of her than a half-burnt heart,
proves that the attempt to destroy her with fire was unsuccessful, and
that she arose again in bodily form after this cremation, and became the
mother and nourisher of were-wolves. Thus the myth about Angerboda is
identical with the myth about Gulveig-Heid in the two characteristic

Unsuccessful burning of an evil woman.
Her regeneration after the cremation.

These points apply equally to Gulveig-Heid and to Angerboda, "the old
one in the Ironwood."

The myth about Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, as it was remembered in the first
period after the introduction of Christianity, we find in part
recapitulated in Helgakvida Hundingsbane, i. 37-40, where Sinfjotle
compares his opponent Gudmund with the evil female principle in the
heathen mythology, the vala in question, and where Gudmund in return
compares Sinfjotle with its evil masculine principle, Loke.

Sinfjotle says:

Thu vart vaulva
i Varinseyio,
scollvis kona
bartu scrauc saman;

* * * * *

Thu vart, en scetha,
scass valkyria,
autul, amatlig
at Alfaudar;
mundo einherjar
allir beriaz,
svevis kona,
um sakar thinar.
Nio attu vith
a neri Sagu
ulfa alna
ec var einn fathir theirra.

Gudmund's answer begins:

Fadir varattu

The evil woman with whom one of the two heroes compares the other is
said to be a vala, who has practised her art partly on Varin's Isle
partly in Asgard at Alfather's, and there she was the cause of a war in
which all the warriors of Asgard took part. This refers to the war
between the Asas and Vans. It is the second feud among the powers of

The vala must therefore be Gulveig-Heid of the myth, on whose account
the war between the Asas and Vans broke out, according to Voeluspa. Now
it is said of her in the lines above quoted, that she gave birth to
wolves, and that these wolves were "fenrisulfar." Of Angerboda we
already know that she is the mother of the real Fenris-wolf, and that
she, in the Ironwood, produces other wolves which are called by Fenrer's
name (Fenris kindir--Voeluspa). Thus the identity of Gulveig-Heid and
Angerboda is still further established by the fact that both the one and
the other is called the mother of the Fenris family.

The passage quoted is not the only one which has preserved the memory of
Gulveig-Heid as mother of the were-wolves. Volsungasaga (c. ii. 8)
relates that a giantess, Hrimnir's daughter, first dwelt in Asgard as
the maid-servant of Frigg, then on earth, and that she, during her
sojourn on earth, became the wife of a king, and with him the mother and
grandmother of were-wolves, who infested the woods and murdered men. The
fantastic and horrible saga about these were-wolves has, in Christian
times and by Christian authors been connected with the poems about Helge
Hundingsbane and Sigurd Fafnersbane. The circumstance that the giantess
in question first dwelt in Asgard and thereupon in Midgard, indicates
that she is identical with Gulveig-Heid, and this identity is confirmed
by the statement that she is a daughter of the giant Hrimnir.

The myth, as it has come down to our days, knows only one daughter of
this giant, and she is the same as Gulveig-Heid. Hyndluljod states that
Heidr is Hrimnir's daughter, and mentions no sister of hers, but, on
the other hand, a brother Hrossthiofr (Heidr ok Hrorsthiofr Hrimnis
kindar--Hyndl., 30). In allusion to the cremation of Gulveig-Heid fire
is called in Thorsdrapa Hrimnis drosar lyptisylgr, "the lifting drink
of Hrimner's daughter," the drink which Heid lifted up on spears had to
drink. Nowhere is any other daughter of Hrimner mentioned. And while it
is stated in the above-cited strophe that the giantess who caused the
war in Asgard and became the mother of fenris-wolves was a vala on
Varin's Isle (vaulva i Varinseyio), a comparison of Helgakv. Hund., i.
26, with Volsungasaga, c. 2, shows that Varin's Isle and Varin's Fjord
were located in that very country, where Hrimner's daughter was supposed
to have been for some time the wife of a king and to have given birth to

Thus we have found that the three characteristic points--

unsuccessful cremation of an evil giantess,
her regeneration after the cremation,
the same woman as mother of the Fenrer race--

are common to Gulveig-Heid and Angerboda.

Their identity is apparent from various other circumstances, but may be
regarded as completely demonstrated by the proofs given. Gulveig's
activity in antiquity as the founder of the diabolical magic art, as one
who awakens man's evil passions and produces strife in Asgard itself,
has its complement in Angerboda's activity as the mother and nourisher
of that class of beings in whose members witchcraft, thirst for blood,
and hatred of the gods are personified. The activity of the evil
principle has, in the great epic of the myth, formed a continuity
spanning all ages, and this continuous thread of evil is twisted from
the treacherous deeds of Gulveig and Loke, the feminine and the
masculine representatives of the evil principle. Both appear at the dawn
of mankind: Loke has already at the beginning of time secured access to
Alfather (Lokasenna, 9), and Gulveig deceives the sons of men already in
the time of Heimdal's son Borgar. Loke entices Idun from the secure
grounds of Asgard, and treacherously delivers her to the powers of
frost; Gulveig, as we shall see, plays Freyja into the hands of the
giants. Loke plans enmity between the gods and the forces of nature,
which hitherto had been friendly, and which have their personal
representatives in Ivalde's sons; Gulveig causes the war between the
Asas and Vans. The interference of both is interrupted at the close of
the mythic age, when Loke is chained, and Gulveig, in the guise of
Angerboda, is an exile in the Ironwood. Before this they have for a time
been blended, so to speak, into a single being, in which the feminine
assuming masculineness, and the masculine effeminated, bear to the world
an offspring of foes to the gods and to creation. Both finally act their
parts in the destruction of the world. Before that crisis comes
Angerboda has fostered that host of "sons of world-ruin" which Loke is
to lead to battle, and a magic sword which she has kept in the Ironwood
is given to Surt, in whose hand it is to be the death of Frey, the lord
of harvests (see Nos. 89, 98, 101, 103).

That the woman who in antiquity, in various guises, visited Asgard and
Midgard was believed to have had her home in the Ironwood[18] of the
East during the historical age down to Ragnarok is explained by what
Saxo says--viz., that Odin, after his return and reconciliation with the
Vans, banished the agents of the black art both from heaven and from
earth. Here, too, the connection between Gulveig-Heid and Angerboda is
manifest. The war between the Asas and Vans was caused by the burning of
Gulveig by the former. After the reconciliation with the Asas this
punishment cannot again be inflicted on the regenerated witch. The Asas
must allow her to live to the end of time; but both the clans of gods
agree that she must not show her face again in Asgard or Midgard. The
myth concerning the banishment of the famous vala to the Ironwood, and
of the Loke progeny which she there fosters, has been turned into
history by Jordanes in his De Goth. Origine, ch. 24, where it is
stated that a Gothic king compelled the suspected valas (haliorunas)
found among his people to take their refuge to the deserts in the East
beyond the Moeotian Marsh, where they mixed with the wood-sprites, and
thus became the progenitors of the Huns. In this manner the Christian
Goths got from their mythic traditions an explanation of the source of
the eastern hosts of horsemen, whose ugly faces and barbarous manners
seemed to them to prove an other than purely human origin. The vala
Gulveig-Heid and her like become in Jordanes these haliorunae; Loke and
the giants of the Ironwood become these wood-sprites; the Asa-god who
caused the banishment becomes a king, son of Gandaricus Magnus (the
great ruler of the Gandians, Odin), and Loke's and Angerboda's wonderful
progeny become the Huns.

Stress should be laid on the fact that Jordanes and Saxo have in the
same manner preserved the tradition that Odin and the Asas, after making
peace and becoming reconciled with the Vans, do not apply the
death-penalty and burning to Gulveid-Heid-Angerboda and her kith and
kin, but, instead, sentence them to banishment from the domains of gods
and men. That the tradition preserved in Saxo and Jordanes corresponded
with the myth is proved by the fact that we there rediscover
Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda with her offspring in the Ironwood, which was
thought to be situated in the utmost East, far away from the human
world, and that she remains there undisturbed until the destruction of
the world. The reconciliation between the Asas and Vans has, as this
conclusively shows, been based on an admission on the part of the Asas
that the Vans had a right to find fault with and demand satisfaction for
the murder of Gulveig-Heid. Thus the dispute which caused the war
between Asas and Vans was at last decided to the advantage of the
latter, while they on their part, after being satisfied, reinstate Odin
in his dignity as universal ruler and father of the gods.

(b) Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda identical with Aurboda.

In the Ironwood dwells Angerboda, together with a giant, who is gygjar
hirdir, the guardian and watcher of the giantess. He has charge of her
remarkable herds, and also guards a sword brought to the Ironwood. This
vocation has given him the epithet Egther (Egtherr--Voeluspa), which
means sword-guardian. Saxo speaks of him as Egtherus, an ally of Finns,
skilled in magic, and a chief of Bjarmians, equally skilful in magic
(cp. Hist., 248, 249, with Nos. 52, 53). Bjarmians and Finns are in
Saxo made the heirs of the wicked inhabitants of Jotunheim. Vilkinasaga
knows him by the name Etgeir, who watches over precious implements in
Isung's wood. Etgeir is a corruption of Egther, and Isung's wood is a
reminiscence of Isarnvidr, Isarnho, the Ironwood. In the Vilkinasaga
he is the brother of Vidolf. According to Hyndluljod, all the valas of
the myth come from Vidolf. As Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda is the chief of all
valas, and the teacher of the arts practised by the valas this statement
in Hyndluljod makes us think of her particularly; and as Hrimnir's
daughter has been born and burnt several times, she may also have had
several fathers. Among them, then, is Vidolf, whose character, as
described by Saxo, fits well for such a daughter. He is a master in
sorcery, and also skilful in the art of medicine. But the medical art he
practises in such a manner that those who seek his help receive from him
such remedies as do harm instead of good. Only by threats can he be made
to do good with his art (Hist., 323, 324). The statement in
Vilkinasaga compared with that in Hyndluljod seems therefore to point
to a near kinship between Angerboda and her sword-guard. She appears to
be the daughter of his brother.

In Voeluspa's description of the approach of Ragnarok, Egther Angerboda's
shepherd, is represented as sitting on a mound--like Aurboda's shepherd
in Skirnisfoer--and playing a harp, happy over that which is to happen.
That the giant who is hostile to the gods, and who is the guardian of
the strange herds, does not play an idyl on the strings of his harp does
not need to be stated. He is visited by a being in the guise of the red
cock. The cock, says Voeluspa, is Fjalarr (str. 44).

What the heathen records tell us about Fjalar is the following:[19]

(a) He is the same giant as the Younger Edda (i. 144 ff.) calls
Utgard-Loke. The latter is a fire-giant, Loge's, the fire's ruler
(Younger Edda, 152), the cause of earthquakes (Younger Edda, 144), and
skilled in producing optical delusions. Fjalar's identity with
Utgard-Loke is proved by Harbardsljod, str. 26, where Thor, on his way
to Fjalar, meets with the same adventures as, according to the Younger
Edda, he met with on his way to Utgard-Loke.

(b) He is the same giant as the one called Suttung. The giant from whom
Odin robs the skaldic mead, and whose devoted daughter Gunlad he causes
bitter sorrow, is called in Havamal sometimes Fjalar and sometimes
Suttung (cp. strs. 13, 14, 104, 105).

(c) Fjalar is the son of the chief of the fire-giants, Surtr, and
dwells in the subterranean dales of the latter. A full account of this
in No. 89. Here it will suffice to point out that when Odin flies out of
Fjalar's dwelling with the skaldic mead, it is "from Surt's deep dales"
that he "flying bears" the precious drink (hinn er Surts or soekkdoelum
farmagnudr fljugandi bar, a strophe by Eyvind, quoted in the Younger
Edda, p. 242), and that this drink while it remained with Fjalar was
"the drink of Surt's race" (Sylgr Surts aettar, Fornms., iii. 3).

(d) Fjalar, with Froste, takes part in the attack of Thjasse's kinsmen
and the Skilfings from Svarin's Mound against "the land of the clayey
plains, to Jaravall" (Voeluspa, 14, 15; see Nos. 28, 32). Thus he is
allied with the powers of frost, who are foes of the gods, and who seek
to conquer the Teutonic domain. The approach of the fimbul-winter was
also attended by an earthquake (see Nos. 28, 81).

When, therefore, Voeluspa makes Fjalar on his visit to the sword-guardian
in the Ironwood appear in the guise of the red cock, then this is in
harmony with Fjalar's nature as a fire-giant and as a son of Surt.

Sat thar a haugi
oc slo haurpo
gygjar hirthir
gladr Egther.
Gol um hanom
i galgvithi
fagrraudr hani
sa er Fjalar heitir (Voelusp., 41).

The red cock has from time immemorial been the symbol of fire as a
destructive power.

That what Odin does against Fjalar--when he robs him of the mead, which
in the myth is the most precious of all drinks, and when he deceived his
daughter--is calculated to awaken Fjalar's thirst for revenge and to
bring about a satisfaction sooner or later, lies in the very spirit of
Teutonic poetry and ethics, especially since, Odin's act, though done
from a good motive, was morally reprehensible. What Fjalar's errand to
Angerboda's sword-guard was appears from the fact that when the last war
between the gods and their enemies is fought a short time afterwards,
Fjalar's father, the chief of the fire-giants, Surt, is armed with the
best of the mythical weapons, the sword which had belonged to a
valtivi, one of the gods of Asgard (Voelusp., 50), and which casts the
splendour of the sun upon the world. The famous sword of the myth, that
which Thjasse finished with a purpose hostile to the gods (see No. 87
and elsewhere), the sword concealed by Mimer (see Nos. 87, 98, 101), the
sword found by Svipdag (see Nos. 89, 101, 103), the sword secured
through him by Frey, the one given by Frey to Gymer and Aurboda in
exchange for Gerd,--this sword is found again in the Ragnarok conflict,
wielded by Surt, and causes Frey's death (Voeluspa), it having been
secured by Surt's son, Fjalar, in the Ironwood from Angerboda's

Gulli keypta
leztu Gymis dottur
oc seldir thitt sva sverth;
Enn er Muspells synir
rida myrcvith yfir
veizta thu tha, vesall, hve thu vegr (Lokas., 42).

This passage not only tells us that Frey gave his sword in exchange for
Gerd to the parents of the giantess, Gymer and Aurboda, but also gives
us to understand that this bargain shall cause his death in Ragnarok.
This bride-purchase is fully described in Skirnismal, in which poem we
learn that the gods most unwillingly part with the safety which the
incomparable sword secured to Asgard. They yield in order to save the
life of the harvest-god, who was wasting away with longing and anxiety,
but not until the giants had refused to accept other Asgard treasures,
among them the precious ring Draupner, which the Asa-father once laid on
the pulseless breast of his favourite son Balder. At the approach of
Ragnarok, Surt's son, Fjalar, goes to the Ironwood to fetch for his
father the sword by which Frey, its former possessor, is to fall. The
sword is then guarded by Angerboda's shepherd, and consequently belongs
to her. In other words, the sword which Aurboda enticed Frey to give her
is now found in the possession of Angerboda. This circumstance of itself
is a very strong reason for their identity. If there were no other
evidence of their identity than this, a sound application of methodology
would still bid us accept this identity rather than explain the matter
by inventing a new, nowhere-supported myth, and thus making the sword
pass from Aurboda to another giantess.

When we now add the important fact in the disposition of this matter,
that Aurboda's son-in-law, Frey, demands, in behalf of a near kinsman,
satisfaction from the Asas when they had killed and burnt
Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, then it seems to me that there can be no doubt
in regard to the identity of Aurboda and Angerboda, the less so, since
all that our mythic fragments have to tell us about Gymer's wife
confirms the theory that she is the same person. Aurboda has, like
Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, practised the arts of sorcery: she is one of the
valas of the evil giant world. This is told to us in a strophe by the
skald Refr, who calls her "Gymer's primeval cold vala" (ursvoel Gymis
voelva--Younger Edda, i. 326, 496). She might be called "primeval cold"
(ursvoel) from the fact that the fire was not able to pierce her heart
and change it to ashes, in spite of a threefold burning. Under all
circumstances, the passage quoted informs us that she is a vala.

But have our mythic fragments preserved any allusion to show that
Aurboda, like Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, ever dwelt among the gods in
Asgard? Asgard is a place where giants are refused admittance.
Exceptions from this prohibition must have been very few, and the myths
must have given good reasons for them. We know in regard to Loke's
appearance in Asgard, that it is based on a promise given him by the
Asa-father in time's morning; and the promise was sealed with blood
(Lokasenna, 9). If, now, this Aurboda, who, like Angerboda, is a vala of
giant race, and like Angerboda, is the owner of Frey's sword, and, like
Angerboda, is a kinswoman of the Vans--if now this same Aurboda, in
further likeness with Angerboda, was one of the certainly very few of
the giant class who was permitted to enter within the gates of Asgard,
then it must be admitted that this fact absolutely confirms their

Aurboda did actually dwell in Asgard. Of this we are assured by the poem
"Fjoelsvinsmal." There it is related that when Svipdag came to the gates
of Asgard to seek and find Menglad-Freyja, who was destined to be his
wife (see Nos. 96, 97), he sees Menglad sitting on a hill surrounded by
goddesses, whose very names Eir, Bjoert, Blid, and Frid, tell us
that they are goddesses of lower or higher rank. Eir is an asynja of
the healing art (Younger Edda, i. 114). Bjoert, Blid, and Frid are
the dises of splendour, benevolence, and beauty. They are mighty beings,
and can give aid in distress to all who worship them (Fjolsv., 40). But
in the midst of this circle of dises, who surround Menglad, Svipdag also
sees Aurboda (Fjolsv., 38).

Above them Svipdag sees Mimer's tree--the world-tree (see No. 97),
spreading its all-embracing branches, on which grow fruits which soothe
kelisjukar konur and lighten the entrance upon terrestrial life for
the children of men (Fjolsv., 22). Menglad-Freyja is, as we know, the
goddess of love and fertility, and it is Frigg's and her vocation to
dispose of these fruits for the purposes for which they are intended.

The Volsungasaga has preserved a record concerning these fruits, and
concerning the giant-daughter who was admitted to Asgard as a
maid-servant of the goddesses. A king and queen had long been married
without getting any children. They beseeched the gods for an heir.
Frigg heard their prayers and sent them in the guise of a crow the
daughter of the giant Hrimner, a giantess who had been adopted in Asgard
as Odin's "wish-may." Hrimner's daughter took an apple with her, and
when the queen had eaten it, it was not long before she perceived that
her wish would come to pass (Volsungasaga, pp. 1, 2). Hrimner's daughter
is, as we know, Gulveig-Heid.

Thus the question whether Aurboda ever dwelt in Asgard is answered in
the affirmative. We have discovered her, though she is the daughter of a
giant, in the circle around Menglad-Freyja, where she has occupied a
subordinate position as maid-servant. At the same time we have found
that Gulveig-Heid has for some time had an occupation in Asgard of
precisely the same kind as that which belongs to a dis serving under the
goddess of fertility. Thus the similarity between Aurboda and
Gulveig-Heid is not confined to the fact that they, although giantesses,
dwelt in Asgard, but they were employed there in the same manner.

The demonstration that Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda is identical with Aurboda
may now be regarded as complete. Of the one as of the other it is
related that she was a vala of giant-race, that she nevertheless dwelt
for some time in Asgard, and was there employed by Frigg or Freyja in
the service of fertility, and that she possessed the sword, which had
formerly belonged to Frey, and by which Frey is to fall. Aurboda is
Frey's mother-in-law, consequently closely related to him; and it must
have been in behalf of a near relation that Frey and Njord demanded
satisfaction from the Asas when the latter slew Gulveig-Heid. Under such
circumstances it is utterly impossible from a methodological standpoint
to regard them otherwise than identical. We must consider that nearly
all mythic characters are polyonomous, and that the Teutonic mythology,
particularly, on account of its poetics, is burdened with a
highly-developed polyonomy.

But of Gulveig-Heid's and Aurboda's identity there are also other proofs
which, for the sake of completeness, we will not omit.

So far as the very names Gulveig and Aurboda are concerned the one can
serve as a paraphrase of the other. The first part of the name
Aurboda, the aur of many significations may be referred to eyrir,
pl. aurar, which means precious metal, and is thought to be borrowed
from the Latin aurum (gold). Thus Gull and Aur correspond. In the
same manner veig in Gulveig can correspond to boda in Aurboda.
Veig means a fermenting liquid. Boda has two significations. It can
be the feminine form of bodi, meaning fermenting water, froth, foam.
No other names compounded with boda occur in Norse literature than
Aurboda and Angrboda.

Ynglingasaga[20] (ch. 4) relates a tradition that Freyja kendi fyrst
med Asum seid, that Freyja was the first to practise sorcery in Asgard.
There is no doubt that the statement is correct. For we have seen that
Gulveig-Heid, the sorceress and spreader of sorcery in antiquity,
succeeded in getting admission to Asgard, and that Aurboda is mentioned
as particularly belonging to the circle of serving dises who attended
Freyja. As this giantess was so zealous in spreading her evil arts among
the inhabitants of Midgard, it would be strange if the myth did not make
her, after she had gained Freyja's confidence, try to betray her into
practising the same arts. Doubtless Voeluspa and Saxo have reference to
Gulveig-Heid-Aurboda when they say that Freyja, through some treacherous
person among her attendants, was delivered into the hands of the giants.

In his historical account relating how Freyja (Syritha) was robbed
from Asgard and came to the giants but was afterwards saved from their
power, Saxo (Hist., 331; cp. No. 100) tells that a woman, who was
secretly allied with a giant, had succeeded in ingratiating herself in
her favour, and for some time performed the duties of a maid-servant at
her home; but this she did in order to entice her in a cunning manner
away from her safe home to a place where the giant lay in ambush and
carried her away to the recesses of his mountain country. (Gigas
faeminam subornat, quae cum obtenta virginis familiaritate, ejus
aliquamdiu pedissequam egisset, hanc tandem a paternis procul penatibus,
quaesita callidius digressione, reduxit; quam ipse mox irruens in
arctiora montanae crepidinis septa devexit.) Thus Saxo informs us that
it was a woman among Freyja's attendants who betrayed her, and that this
woman was allied with the giant world, which is hostile to the gods,
while she held a trusted servant's place with the goddess. Aurboda is
the only woman connected with the giants in regard to whom our mythic
records inform us that she occupied such a position with Freyja; and as
Aurboda's character and part, played in the epic of the myth, correspond
with such an act of treason, there is no reason for assuming the mere
possibility, that the betrayer of Freyja may have been some one else,
who is neither mentioned nor known.

With this it is important to compare Voeluspa, 26, 27, which not only
mentions the fact that Freyja came into the power of the giants through
treachery, but also informs us how the treason was punished:

Tha gengo regin oll
A raukstola,
ginheilog god
oc um that gettuz
hverir hefdi lopt alt
levi blandit
etha ett iotuns
Oths mey gefna
thorr ein thar va
thrungin modi,
hann sialdan sitr
er hann slict um fregn.

These Voeluspa lines stand in Codex Regius in immediate connection with
the above-quoted strophes which speak of Gulveig-Heid and of the war
caused by her between the Asas and Vans. They inform us that the gods
assembled to hold a solemn counsel to find out "who had filled all the
air with evil," or "who had delivered Freyja to the race of giants;" and
that the person found guilty was at once slain by Thor, who grew most

Now if this person is Gulveig-Aurboda, then it follows that she
received her death-blow from Thor's hammer, before the Asas made in
common the unsuccessful attempt to change her body into ashes. We also
find elsewhere in our mythic records that an exceedingly dangerous woman
met with precisely this fate. There she is called Hyrrokin. A strophe
by Thorbjorn Disarskald preserved in the Younger Edda, states that
Hyrrokin was one of the giantesses slain by Thor. But the very
appellation Hyrrokin, which must be an epithet of a giantess known by
some other more common name indicates that some effort worthy of being
remembered in the myth had been made to burn her, but that the effort
resulted in her being smoked (roekt) rather than that she was burnt;
for the epithet Hyrrokin means the "fire-smoked." For those familiar
with the contents of the myth, this epithet was regarded as plain enough
to indicate who was meant. If it is not, therefore, to be looked upon as
an unhappy and misleading epithet, it must refer to the thrice in vain
burnt Gulveig. All that we learn about Hyrrokin confirms her identity
with Aurboda. In the symbolic-allegorical work of art, which toward the
close of the tenth century decorated a hall at Hjardarholt, and of which
I shall give a fuller account elsewhere, the storm which from the land
side carried Balder's ship out on the sea is represented by the giantess
Hyrrokin. In the same capacity of storm-giantess carrying sailors out
upon the ocean appears Gymer's wife, Aurboda, in a poem by Refr;

Faerir bjoern, thar er bara
brestr, undinna festa,

Opt i AEgis kjopta
ursvoel Gymis voelva.

"Gymer's ancient-cold vala often carries the ship amid breaking billows
into the jaws of AEgir." Gymer, Aurboda's husband, represents in the
physical interpretation of the myth the east wind coming from the
Ironwood. From the other side of Eystrasalt (the Baltic) Gymer sings his
song (Ynglingasaga, 36); and the same gale belongs to Aurboda, for AEgir,
into whose jaws she drives the ships, is the great open western ocean.
That Aurboda represents the gale from the east finds its natural
explanation in her identity with Angerboda "the old," who dwells in the
Ironwood in the uttermost east, "Austr byr hin alldna i iarnvithi"

The result of the investigation is that Gullveig-Heidr, Aurboda, and
Angrboda are different names for the different hypostases of the
thrice-born and thrice-burnt one, and that Hyrrokin, "the
fire-smoked," is an epithet common to all these hypostases.

[Footnote 18: In Voeluspa the wood is called both Jarnvidr, Gaglvidr
(Cod. Reg.), and Galgvidr (Cod. Hauk.). It may be that we here have a
fossil word preserved in Voeluspa meaning metal. Perhaps the wood was a
copper or bronze forest before it became an iron wood. Compare
ghalgha, ghalghi (Fick., ii. 578) = metal, which, again, is to be
compared with Chalkos. = copper, bronze.]

[Footnote 19: In Bragaraedur's pseudo-mythic account of the Skaldic
mead (Younger Edda, 216 ff.) the name Fjalarr also appears. In regard
to the value of this account, see the investigation in No. 89.]

[Footnote 20: Ynglingasaga is the opening chapters of Snorre Sturlason's

Next: The Breach Of Peace Between Asas And Vans Frigg Skade And Ull In The Conflict

Previous: The World War Its Cause The Murder Of Gullveig-heidr

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