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

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

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

The Sacred Runes Learned From Heimdal

The War In Midgard Between Halfdan's Sons

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

The Significance Of The Conflict From A Religious-ritual Standpoint

Loke Causes Enmity Between The Gods And The Original Artists

The Teutonic Emigration Saga Found In Tacitus

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

Halfdan's Conflicts Interpreted As Myths Of Nature

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

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

The World War Its Cause The Murder Of Gullveig-heidr

Halfdan's Enmity With Orvandel And Svipdag

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

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

Borgar-skjold's Son Halfdan The Third Patriarch

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

Evidence That Halfdan Is Identical With Helge Hundingsbane

Heimdal And The Sun-dis Dis-goddess

Halfdan's Character The Weapon-myth

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

The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors

Halfdan's Identity With Mannus In Germania



The Sacred Runes Learned From Heimdal






Category: THE MYTH CONCERNING THE EARLIEST PERIOD AND THE EMIGRATIONS FROM THE NORTH.

Source: Teutonic Mythology

The mythic ancient history of the human race and of the Teutons may, in
accordance with the analysis above given, be divided into the following
epochs:--(1) From Ask and Ernbla's creation until Heimdal's arrival; (2)
from Heimdal's arrival until his departure; (3) the age of
Skjold-Borgar; (4) Halfdan's time; (5) The time of Halfdan's sons.

And now we will discuss the events of the last three epochs.

In the days of Borgar the moral condition of men grows worse, and an
event in nature takes place threatening at least the northern part of
the Teutonic world with destruction. The myth gives the causes of both
these phenomena.

The moral degradation has its cause, if not wholly, yet for the greater
part, in the activity among men of a female being from the giant world.
Through her men become acquainted with the black art, the evil art of
sorcery, which is the opposite of the wisdom drawn from Mimer's holy
fountain, the knowledge of runes, and acquaintance with the application
of nature's secret forces for good ends (see Nos. 34, 35).

The sacred knowledge of runes, the "fimbul-songs," the white art, was,
according to the myth, originally in the possession of Mimer. Still he
did not have it of himself, but got it from the subterranean fountain,
which he guarded beneath the middle root of the world-tree (see No.
63)--a fountain whose veins, together with the deepest root of the
world-tree, extends to a depth which not even Odin's thought can
penerate (Havam., 138). By self-sacrifice in his youth Odin received
from Bestla's brother (Mimer; see No. 88) a drink from the precious
liquor of this fountain and nine fimbul-songs (Havam., 140; cp. Sigrdr.,
14), which were the basis of the divine magic of the application of the
power of the word and of the rune over spiritual and natural forces, in
prayer, in sacrifices and in other religious acts, in investigations, in
the practical affairs of life, in peace and in war (Havam., 144 ff.;
Sigrdr., 6 ff.). The character and purpose of these songs are clear from
the fact that at the head is placed "help's fimbul-song," which is able
to allay sorrow and cure diseases (Havam., 146).

In the hands of Odin they are a means for the protection of the power of
the Asa-gods, and enable them to assist their worshippers in danger and
distress. To these belong the fimbul-song of the runes of victory; and
it is of no little interest that we, in Havamal, 156, find what Tacitus
tells about the barditus of the Germans, the shield-song with which
they went to meet their foes--a song which Ammianus Paulus himself has
heard, and of which he gives a vivid description. When the Teutonic

forces advanced to battle the warriors raised their shields up to a
level with the upper lip, so that the round of the shield formed a sort
of sounding-board for their song. This began in a low voice and
preserved its subdued colour, but the sound gradually increased, and at
a distance it resembled the roar of the breakers of the sea. Tacitus
says that the Teutons predicted the result of the battle from the
impression the song as a whole made upon themselves: it might sound in
their ears in such a manner that they thereby became more terrible to
their enemies, or in such a manner that they were overcome by despair.
The above-mentioned strophe of Havamal gives us an explanation of this:
the warriors were roused to confidence if they, in the harmony of the
subdued song increasing in volume, seemed to perceive Valfather's voice
blended with their own. The strophe makes Odin say: Ef ec scal til
orrostu leitha langvini, undir randir ec gel, en their meth riki fara
heilir hildar til, heilir hildi fra--"If I am to lead those to battle
whom I have long held in friendship, then I sing under their shields.
With success they go to the conflict, and successfully they go out of
it." Voeluspa also refers to the shield-song in 47, where it makes the
storm-giant, Hrymr, advancing against the gods, "lift his shield
before him" (hefiz lind fyrir), an expression which certainly has
another significance than that of unnecessarily pointing out that he has
a shield for protection. The runes of victory were able to arrest
weapons in their flight and to make those whom Odin loved proof against
sword-edge and safe against ambush (Havam., 148, 150). Certain kinds of
runes were regarded as producing victory and were carved on the hilt and
on the blade of the sword, and while they were carved Tyr's name was
twice named (Sigrdr., 6).

Another class of runes (brimrunar, Sigrdr., 10; Havam., 150)
controlled the elements, purified the air from evil beings (Havm., 155),
gave power over wind and waves for good purposes--as, for instance, when
sailors in distress were to be rescued--or power over the flames when
they threatened to destroy human dwellings (Havam., 152). A third kind
of runes (malrunar) gave speech to the mute and speechless, even to
those whose lips were sealed in death (see No. 70). A fourth kind of
runes could free the limbs from bonds (Havam., 149). A fifth kind of
runes protected against witchcraft (Havam., 151). A sixth kind of runes
(oelrunar) takes the strength from the love-potion prepared by another
man's wife, and from every treachery mingled therein (Sigrdr., 7, 8). A
seventh kind (bjargrunar and limrunar) helps in childbirth and heals
wounds. An eighth kind gives wisdom and knowledge (hugrunar, Sigrdr.,
13; cp. Havam., 159). A ninth kind extinguishes enmity and hate, and
produces friendship and love (Havam., 153, 161). Of great value, and a
great honour to kings and chiefs, was the possession of healing runes
and healing hands; and that certain noble-born families inherited the
power of these runes was a belief which has been handed down even to our
time. There is a distinct consciousness that the runes of this kind were
a gift of the blithe gods. In a strophe, which sounds as if it were
taken from an ancient hymn, the gods are beseeched for runes of wisdom
and healing: "Hail to the gods! Hail to the goddesses! Hail to the
bounteous Earth (the goddess Jord). Words and wisdom give unto us, and
healing hands while we live!" (Sigrdr., 4).

In ancient times arrangements were made for spreading the knowledge of
the good runes among all kinds of beings. Odin taught them to his own
clan; Dainn taught them to the Elves; Dvalinn among the dwarfs; Asvinr
(see No. 88) among the giants (Havam., 143). Even the last-named became
participators in the good gift, which, mixed with sacred mead, was sent
far and wide, and it has since been among the Asas, among the Elves,
among the wise Vans, and among the children of men (Sigrdr., 18). The
above-named Dvalinn, who taught the runes to his clan of ancient
artists, is the father of daughters, who, together with dises of Asa and
Vana birth, are in possession of bjargrunar, and employ them in the
service of man (Fafnism., 13).

To men the beneficent runes came through the same god who as a child
came with the sheaf of grain and the tools to Scandia. Hence the belief
current among the Franks and Saxons that the alphabet of the Teutons,
like the Teutons themselves, was of northern origin. Rigsthula expressly
presents Heimdal as teaching runes to the people whom he blessed by his
arrival in Midgard. The noble-born are particularly his pupils in runic
lore. Of Heimdal's grandson, the son of Jarl Borgar, named Kon-Halfdan,
it is said:

En Konr ungr But Kon the young
kunni runar, taught himself runes,
aefinrunar runes of eternity
ok alldrrunar. and runes of earthly life.
Meir kunni hann Then he taught himself
monnum bjarga, men to save,
eggjar deyfa, the sword-edge to deaden,
aegi legia, the sea to quiet,
klok nam fugla, bird-song to interpret,
kyrra ellda, fires to extinguish,
saeva ok svefia, to soothe and comfort,
sorgir laegia. sorrows to allay.

The fundamental character of this rune-lore bears distinctly the stamp
of nobility. The runes of eternity united with those of the earthly life
can scarcely have any other reference than to the heathen doctrines
concerning religion and morality. These were looked upon as being for
all time, and of equal importance to the life hereafter. Together with
physical runes with magic power--that is, runes that gave their
possessors power over the hostile forces of nature--we find runes
intended to serve the cause of sympathy and mercy.





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

Previous: Halfdan's Identity With Mannus In Germania



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