Saturday, November 19, 2016

Alicja Kuberska writes

Surge – Outflow

Sensitivity sentences one to loneliness,
empathy brings one closer to people.
Subsequent influx and efflux of feelings
teach the physics of existence.

I know,
I will not build the bridge between heaven and earth,
I will not catch up the waning moon,
I will not find the end of the rainbow.

I'm so close, you can almost touch my hand
and yet I’m far distant from your thoughts.
Life disappoints, dreams give hope.

 John Bauer, "Odin and Bifrost", from "Our Fathers Godsaga" by Viktor RydbergOdin and Bifrost --John Bauer


  1. Bifröst (or Bilröst or Bivrost; also called Ásbrú ([Old Norse for "Æsir's bridge"]) was a burning three-colored rainbow bridge between Midgard ("middle yard or enclosure," Earth) and Asgard (the enclosure of the Æsir, the home of the gods); it was "built with art and skill to a greater extent than other constructions." One end was at Himinbjörg ("heaven's castle" or "heaven mountain"), the residence of Heimdallr (perhaps "the one who illuminates the world;" he was also known as Gullintanni, "the one with the golden teeth," and Vindlér or Vindhlér, either "wind-sea" or "the one protecting against the wind"), who guarded Asgard against the Jötnar, the giants whom the Æsir had banished to Jötunheimr. Heimdallr himself was referred to as the son of nine Jötunn sisters who may have been the same as the nine daughters of Ægir and Rán (who both represent the sea) and whose own names were poetic terms for different characteristics of ocean waves. He required less sleep than a bird, could see farther than 100 leagues, even at night, and could hear grass and wool growing; his trumpet could be heard in all nine worlds (Asgard, Midgard, Jötunheimr, Vanaheimr (the home of the Vanir, (deities associated with fertility, wisdom, nature, magic, and clairvoyance), Álfheimr (the home of the Ljósálfar ["Light Elves"]), Niðavellir (the home of the Dökkálfar [Dark Elves], Helheimr (the home of the dishonorable dead), and the two primordial worlds Muspelheim (a world of fire and lava) and Niflheim (a fozen world). From Hvergelmir ("bubbling boiling spring") on Niflheim flowed several poisonous "ice waves" which turned to ice; its vapor froze ro rime, and the layers grew deeper, encroahing Ginnungagap, the void between the primordial worlds, and came into contact with hot air from Muspelheim, the resultant mist congealed into Ymir, a man-shaped creature, and Auðumbla, a cow that produced milk for him to feed upon.

  2. While Ymir slept, sweat from one of his armpits became the first man and from the other the first woman, and his left leg produced a six-legged son with his right leg, the ancestor of the Jötnar. Meanwhile, Auðumbla fed upon the blocks of rime; on the first day, her licking uncovered a person's hair, on the second day his head, and on the third day the entire figure of Búri ("son"). Búri's breath gave birth to his son Borr, who mated with a female Jötunn, and their son produced three more sons, including Odin (Óðinn, "seer;" its adjectival forms meant "possessed," "mad," "frantic," furious"), who slew Ymir, causing a flood of blood that drowned all of the Jötnar except two. Odin and his bothers took Ymir's corpse into Ginnungagap and made the Earth from his flesh, the ocean and lakes from his blood, the hills and rocks from his bones and teeth, the trees from his hair, the clouds from his brain, the sky from hs skull, and Midgard from his eyebrows, as a fortress against the Jötnar. They also converted the primordial sparks into the stars, and created time. After building Asgard, they gave intelligence to the maggots that had bred inside Ymir and made them into the the Ljósálfar and Niðavellir. When Odin journeyed to Jötunheimr, he came upon two Jötnar siblings, Sól and Máni, and gave them control over the chariots of the sun and moon, but he also created two wolves, Hati and Sköll, to pursue the chariots and devour the drivers if they drove too slowly.

  3. Odin became the ancestor of the Æsir and, apparently, his older brothers the ancestors of the Vanir; they both mated with Nott (Night), the daughter of Borr, and Nott was the mother of Heimdallr, whom the Vanir sent to give fire, tools, the runes, the laws, and the rules for religious worship to mankind. Eventually the Æsir and Vanir went to war, and the triumphant Æsir absorbed the Vanir. They sealed their truce by spitting in a vat and created an omniscient man named Kvasir from the spittle. However, he was slain by the elves Fjalar and Galar, who poured his blood into three containers and mixed it with honey, creating a mead which made anybody who drank it a poet or scholar. The Elves told the gods that he had suffocated in intelligence. Then they befriended Gilling, a Jötunn, and took him to sea, but capsized their boat, drowning Gilling; when they took his wife to the fatal spot, Gallar got tired of her weeping and dropped a millstone on her head. Seeking vengeance, Gilling's son Suttungr kidnapped the elves and threatened to drown them, but they gave him the mead in exchange for their lives. Suttungr put his daughter Gunnlöd in charge of guarding it. Odin, in disguise, threw his whetstone into the air after sharpening the scythes of the slaves belonging to Suttungr's brother Baugi; in their struggle to possess it, all nine cut each other's throat. Then Odin offered to do their work all summer in exchange for a drink of the mead, butwhen winter came Suttungr refused to let him have any. Odin tricked Baugi into drilling a hole into the place where the mead was stored and crawled through it as a snake, then spent three nights with Gunnlöd in exchange for three swallows of the mead. However, he swallowed all three containers, transformed into an eagle, and flew away, with Suttungr (also in eagle form) in pursuit. Reaching Asgard, Odin spat out the mead into new containers, but Suttungr was so close behind that he let some drop backwards; this was the "rhymester's share" ("skáldfífla hlutr") that anywone could drink, but Odin gave the major part to the other gods and to chosen humans. "Bifa" meant "to shimmer" or "to shake, " and "bil" meant "a moment," so it may have meant "shimmering path" or "the swaying road to heaven" or "the fleetingly glimpsed rainbow; " according to the "Edda" (written by Snorri Sturluson ca. 1220), it would be destroyed by the Eldjötnar (fire giants) of Múspellsheimr (Muspell), during Ragnarök ("Fate of the Gods" or Ragnarøkkr "Twilight of the Gods"), and in that climactic battle Heimdallr and Odin's treachrous son Loki would kill ech other. An Eddic poem, "Fáfnismál," foretold that Bilröst would break apart when the Eldjötnar rode to their final bttle against the Æsir, for "there is nothing in this world that will be secure when Muspell's sons ["world-destroyers," "wreck of the world") attack."


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?