Commentaries of parts 1 and 2

 

Commentaries of part 1

 

At first, I wish to oppose the feeling you may have that I “put in modern words” the ancient knowledge. No, it is exactly the reverse: I tried to show how much our ancient myths can stand in front of modern knowledge. In particular, it is implicitly contained in these myths that time and space are relative concepts that can be built. Let me tell you also that I followed word for word the texts in Old Norse that describe the Northern cosmogony, with two exceptions.

The first one is an under-statement. Snorri Sturluson describes nine rivers flowing out of the center of Niflhel, while I speak of “water” without giving a specific shape or flow to it. I simply believe that the word ‘river’ is here a way of speaking of this water held by time, in a still badly defined space.

The second one is more serious, it is an addition. You notice that we know what happened to the primitive Giant Ymir, and we know nothing of Burr, Buri and Bestla. She has a very strange name – a very technical one, by the way, who knows what ‘bast’ is, in spite of its importance? - for someone living in a universe of light and melting frost. It happens that we also do not know wherefrom comes our tree Yggdrasill or the continental Germanic stake Irminsúl. I agree that adding two ‘ignorances’ to make one knowledge out of them is a bit audacious. At least, my hypothesis is not completely absurd.

 

Commentaries of part 2

 

Snorri Sturluson is usually the one who is looked upon as being the great master of Northern cosmogony. I did use his work. Nevertheless, I did also left over some of his statements and even dared contradict them slightly when they did not comply to what says the three main mythical poems of the poetic Edda, namely Völuspá, Grímnismál and Vafţrúđnismál. Here are a few of the verses upon which my tale is based.

 

 

Völuspá (Völva’s seeing)

 

Völuspá verse 4:

Áđr Burs synir

biöđum um ypţo,

ţeir er miđgarđ

mśran scópo;

 

sól skein sunnan           

á salar steina,    

ţá var grund gróin      

grćnum lauki.

Then Bur’s sons

lands lifted,

created Midhgardh

magnificent place;

 

sun shone from the south

on the halls of stone

and from the ground rose

green laukr [‘leek’]

 

Völuspá verse 8:

Teflđo í túni,

teitir vâro [vöru],

var ţeim vettugis [vćttergis]

vant or gulli [ór golli],

 

unz ţriár komo, [kvömu]

ţursa meyar

ámátcar [ámötcar] miök

úr [ór] Jötunheimum.

 

They play ‘tafl’ in the hedge,

of cheerfulness full,

was to them

no lack of gold,

[‘they did not lack gold’]

until three come,

Giant [ţursa = ‘thurs’, Giant] maids

(with) ‘giant strength’ much,

out of the Jötuns’ dwellings.

Völuspá verse 9-10:

9. Ţá gengo regin öll

á röcstóla,

ginnheilog gođ,

oc um ţat gćttuz,

hverr scyldi dverga

dróttin [dróttir] scepia [skepja]

ór Brimis blóđi1

oc ór Bláins leggiom.

10. …[four lines skipped]

ţeir mannlíkun

mörg of gerđu

dvergar í jörđu,2

sem Durinn sagđi.

Then go gods all

on the council-stools,

huge holy Gods,

and took care of that

what analyze [‘discern’] the dwarfs

noble humankind shape

out of Brimir’s blood [blóđ = blood]

and out of Bláinn’s members.

they human shapes

many of [them] do

dwarves into the ground

as Durinn have said.

 

Völuspá verse 17: [extract underlining my point]

Unz ţrír kvámu

ór ţví liđi

 ćsir

fundo á landi

 

Asc oc Emblo

Until three came

out of this group

…Ćsir …

they found on the land

Ask and Embla …

 

(1) You will see below that other skalds speak of Ymir’s sweat.

(2) One short comment for a long story: This “dwarves into the ground” is clear by itself, but it can be understood in two ways. Either, some dwarves created other “ground-crafted dwarves” and, from this interpretation, comes the idea that dwarves are made out of ground, or clay, or dust. Some others, as I do, understand that the dwarves crafted the human shapes that became later ‘humans of humanity’, with the gifts done by Ódhinn, Hćnir and Lothur. It simply happens that the völva does not say if these shapes were done out of ground or out of wood, as opposed to Snorri who so clearly speaks of wood. Be them carved out of ground or wood, the human shapes have been inactive and ‘fateless’, which is the important point.

 

           

 

 

VafŢrúđnismál (Doughty-er’s word)

 

(21) Vafţrúđnir kvađ:

Ór Ymis holdi

var jörđ of sköpuđ,

en ór beinum björg,

himinn ór hausi

ins hrímkalda jötuns,

en ór sveita sćr.

(21) Vafthrúdhnir said:

Out of Ymir's flesh [hold = flesh, meat]

was Earth formed

then out of the bones, boulders,

the sky out of the skull

of the frost-cold Giant,

and of his sweat, the ocean [sveiti = sweat][sćr: properly: ‘sea (not a lake)’]

 

 

Grímnismál (Hooded one’s word)

 

Grímnismál verse 31:

Ţrjár rćtr                    

standa á ţría vega      

undan aski Yggdrasils;           

Hel býr und einni,                  

annarri hrímţursar,                 

ţriđju mennskir menn.

Three roots

stand towards three ways

under the ash Yggdrasil;

Hel estate under one,

the other the Frost-giants,

the third men of humanity.

           

Grímnismál verse 40:

Ór Ymis holdi

Out of Ymir’s flesh

var jörđ of sköpuđ,

was Earth shaped

en ór sveita sćr,

but out of the sweat, the ocean,

björg ór beinum,

rocky cliffs out of the bones,

bađmr ór hári,

the blooming trees out of his hair

en ór hausi himinn.

also out of the skull, heaven.