oldnorsetermer

oldnorsetermer - 1 16 April 2008 Professor Tracey R. Sands...

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16 April 2008 Professor Tracey R. Sands Recitation Leader: Joanna Peluso SCAN 3202 The Infinite Importance of the Valkyries According to Old Norse Mythological tradition, the common Christian belief of a soul within a human with determining factors contributing to salvation are not influential on an individual’s death. The ancient Scandinavian culture remained a clan of “warlike agriculturalists” (Nordland, 68) existing to serve in the final battle of Ragnarok with a fixed belief of realms beyond the physical world where individuals go regardless of benevolent deeds or their soul. The cult of Odin firmly expresses this belief as the realm of Valhalla houses fallen warriors to assist Odin in the final battle of Ragnarok. The function of the valkyrie, one of “…Odinn’s own valkyrjor (corpse-choosers): attendant spirits of the battlefield” (DuBois, 52) is to escort fallen warriors from the battlefield to the separate realm where they will wait for the final battle. The valkyries position in choosing the destiny of the warriors provides the valkyrie with an agency above other deities of the religion. They preserve the ability to choose when an individual dies, which deviates from the other gods function within the henotheistic belief system. There are few afterlife destinations discussed by Snorri in his works of Norse mythology. He mentions the “otherworld region Gimle” which contains “…a hall called 1
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Brimir, which serves good drink to the dead lucky enough to arrive there” (DuBois, 80). The halls of Sindri where “good and righteous men” find a home, Nastrandir, where “perjurers and murderers” belong, and finally “Hvergelmir” which is likened to the Christian hell and at “the vortex of the underworld” (DuBois, 80). These other dimensions remain the determined resting places of individuals under a hierarchal and familial structure of beliefs. The afterlife for warriors remains in Valhalla. In Valhalla, the men “…attended by Odinn’s valkyries, were to feast on board and mead, engaging in battle every day and healing miraculously afterward…Valhalla is apparently only open to
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oldnorsetermer - 1 16 April 2008 Professor Tracey R. Sands...

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