Nordic Magic Healing:
runes, charms, incantations, and galdr


This version is obsolete, new version:

Vlusp - The prediction of the prophetess

Old Norse and English versions with commentary

It is also supplemented, after the poem, by historical indications on Verden massacre, by citations of Gautrek’s saga and finally by a touristic post scriptummore interesting than expected

This translation is not yet completed. If you are interested in the meaning of rlg, go to

"On rlg". If you are interested in the ‘world’ after Raganrk go to "Giml"


Here is an nth translation of the Edda poem Vlusp. It is different from the other translations by two aspects.

1. I provide a litteral translation that reveals my grammatical and vocbulary choices. It may look somewhat obscure but it is followed by a translation in a less acrobatic English that should clarify the intended meaning. From time to time two irreducible versions are possible and I will give them.

2. These various possible versions are nevertheless presented from a Heathen-centric (I invented this word) point of view, i.e. the point of view of a committed Heathen. This vocabulary is inspired by English-speaking scholars who start now speaking of a Christo-centric vision to point at a pseudo atheist or objective attitude that in depth relies on concepts firmly defined within the framework of Christendom. The most famous Christo-centric scholar was Ursula Dronke († 2012) who has been able to hold this position merged into a phenomenal knowledge of the Old Norse language. Her translation of Vlusp (1997), so much it abounds in scholarship, has been near me during the present transaltion in spite of its christocentricity. By the way,she has just provided me the occasion of a voluntary christocentrism: the date of her death is indicated by († 2012). This supposes that she obviously is buried as a good Christian woman - what is true in her case, but this small sign of cross can be also used for any atheist.

My presentation of Hvaml is in done a similar spirit,but in a less argumentative way since all the attempts to spot Christian influences in Hvaml have been ridiculed by the scholars (see the 2nd interlude associated to s. 21 . On the contrary, and relatively recently, Vlusp became for most people a very Christianed piece of lore, yet another incredible miracle.


In what follows, no Scandinavian name or concept will appear without explanation. Once explained, I will use some of these names as if they were well-known.


When dealing with Eddic poems, one must remember that they are known by a remarkably small number of manuscripts which however present different versions. I will use here as reference Codex Regius, in the version published by Hans Kuhn, Carl Winter, Heidelberg 1962. Kuhn presents a great number of variations which are in the various manuscripts, but I will not give these details. For reasons of the convenience, I will keep the letter , used to represent an ‘o tailed’ in Kuhn’s edition.

Once that a manuscript is chosen, the Old Norse language of poetry is hard to understand. For my translation, I used De Vries’ etymological dictionary (noted ‘Devries’), Cleasby-Vigfusson’s  Icelandic-English dictionary (noted C.-V.) and very often also, Sveinbjn Egilsson’s Lexicon poticum antiqu lingu septentrionalis (noted as LexPoet). This last provides the meaning of a greater number of words than C.-V., associated a variety of quotations illustrating the use of the words, mainly in poetry. I also built a reliable, readable and cherchable list of irregular verbs I made available at IRREGULAR VERBS.


Some useful preliminary explanations


A prophetess was called a vlva that gives vlu in the singular genitive: this is the “vluin vlusp. She practised a kind of shamanism which resembles much that of North American Indians, which became so popular since a few years. This kind of Scandinavian shamanism is called seir or sei – often spelled ‘seidr’. In spite of the scarcity of available testimony, we know that a vlva practised sei outside, on a kind of wooden platform, surrounded by all her helpers and customers, and she required someone singing a special song. There is also a solitary form of practice, called “tiseta(outside sitted) to which Vluspa seems to refer

It seems that seidr was practised primarily by women since it is known that the practice of the seidr ‘to perfection’ makes the men impotent where this word can also be understood as ‘homosexual’.

Thus, what had been in the past a highly respected ability, since it was reserved to women or to effeminate men (or, according to my personal interpretation: reserved to the female side of men - and women!), became gradually scorned, and is often used as an insult in texts and runic inscriptions

Note that we will always speak of the mythic Giants and Dwarves in order to single them out of the tall or short individuals. Likewise our gods will never carry a capital letter in order to differentiate them from God.

inn (often written: Odin, or Odhin, or Odhinn) is the main of the Scandinavian gods, the sir. There was also another kind of gods, the Vanir who might have been more ancient, but they will be reconcile with the sir, after a war evoked below in stanzas 21-26. Lastly, the Giants are also supra human beings who seem to be irreducible enemies to the sir. They will cause Ragnark as described in stanzas 44 to 58

Old Norse civilization was equipped with a spirituality associated to an ancestors’ worship, to which the poems and sagas refer. This worship is also firmly proven by the multitude of offerings found in the howes of the powerful ones and close to the tombs of humble ones, and by the meetings held around these sites during hundreds of years.

Old Norse (ON) from the Codex Regius

Litteral (or eptir or)Translation

followed by an

English one






1. Hlis bi ec

allar kindir

meiri oc minni,

mgo Heimdalar;


vildo at ec, Valfr,

vel fyrtelia

forn spill fira,

au er fremst um man



(Your) listening beg I

from all the family

high ones and low ones,

children of Heimdalr;


you want that I, Killed-ones’ Father,

well  to tell

old knowledge of the people   

those the ‘most forward’ (that) I remember


I beg you to  listen ,

you all of the family,

higher and lower ones,

children of Heimdalr;


You want, Valfr, that

I properly tell

ancient knowledge

remotest that I remember.


The first line is a ritual formula used to ask silence at the beginning of the Icelandic general meeting, or before declaming poetry.


Valfr  = Killed-ones’ Father = inn


the ‘most forward’ = the oldest.


Another Eddic poem, Rigsula, also tells us that all kinds of human ones are  Heimdall’s sons.


2. Ec man itna

r um borna,

er forom mic

fœdda hfo;


no man ec heima,

no vii,

mitvi mœran

fyr mold nean.



I remember the giants 

in old times born, 

those who in the past me

nourished to someone adult;


nine remember I countries,

nine Giantesses (or ogresses)

the measure-master famous

toward the ground under.


I remember the giants 

in old times born, 

those who in the past

nourished me to become an adult;


I remember nine countries,

nine Giantesses

and the famous measure-master  

still under the ground.








the two words ‘giantessand ‘ogress’ are more or less equivalent in the Norse langage.


Here, the master of measurement can only be Yggdrasill, which is still growing under the ground.

This title has been used in Old English to point at God. Yggdrasill is certainly no proper ‘god’ though this way of speech  attributes to it a primary role in Norse mythology.





1. Hlis bi ec

allar kindir

meiri oc minni,

mgo Heimdalar;


vildo at ec, Valfr,

vel fyrtelia

forn spill fira,

au er fremst um man



(Your) listening beg I

from all the family

high ones and low ones,

children of Heimdalr;


you want that I, Killed-ones’ Father,

well  to tell

old knowledge of the people   

those the ‘most forward’ (that) I remember


I beg you to  listen ,

you all of the family,

higher and lower ones,

children of Heimdalr;


You want, Valfr, that

I properly tell

ancient knowledge

remotest that I remember.


The first line is a ritual formula used to ask silence at the beginning of the Icelandic general meeting, or before declaming poetry.


Valfr  = Killed-ones’ Father = inn


the ‘most forward’ = the oldest.


Another Eddic poem, Rigsula, also tells us that all kinds of human ones are  Heimdall’s sons.


2. Ec man itna
r um borna,
er forom mic
fœdda hfo;

 no man ec heima,
no vii,
mitvi mœran
fyr mold nean.



I remember the giants 
in old times born, 
those who in the past me
nourished to someone adult;

nine remember I countries,
nine Giantesses (or ogresses)
the measure-master famous
toward the ground under.


I remember the giants 
in old times born, 
these who in the past
nourished me to become an adult;

 I remember nine countries,
nine Giantesses
and the famous measure-master  
still under the ground.


the two words ‘giantessand ‘ogress’ are more or less equivalent in the Norse langage.


Here, the master of measurement can only be Yggdrasill, which is still growing under the ground.

This title has been used in Old English to point at God. Yggdrasill is certainly no proper ‘god’ though this way of speech  attributes to it a primary role in Norse mythology.



r var alda,
(year was bed-of-river)
ar er Ymir bygi,
(there Ymir settlements)
vara sandr
n sr n svalar unnir,
ir fannz va n upphiminn,
gap var ginnunga
enn gras hvergi.

It was in the bed of years flowing,
Ymir was settled there,
No sand nor sea, no cold waves.
No earth nor heaven above,
But a widely open gap and grass nowhere.



The first giant, Ymir, was licked out of the primordial ice by a magical cow Auumla. The dryness of the ON words makes the translation always a bit risky. In the case, no translator uses the meaning of "alda" which is "wave" or "bed of a river". It is said that "r alda" is an expression meaning "ancient times." I preferred here to dare an approximation that stays nearer to the ON original.

"gap var ginnunga" can also be translated "emptiness was open."


r Burs synir
bium um ypo,
eir er migar
mœran scpo;
sl scein sunnan
salar steina,
var grund grin
grœnom lauki.

(word for word translation, words in the same order as in ON)
Then Bur's sons
Built the steady ground,
Created Midgard
Magnificent place;
The sun shone from the South
On the hall stones,
From the ground grew
Green leeks.

Burr is inn's father. Following Snorri's Prose Edda, the primal cow Auumla, after licking the first giant Ymir out of the ice, licked out also the first man, Burr. Midgard is the humans' dwelling, our earth. Green leeks, "grœnom lauki" in the text, is strangely similar in modern English and in ON. Anyhow, this proves that  leek was a very important herb, of mystical importance since it is described here as the "Alfather" of all herbs.
Sl varp sunnan
sinni mna,
hendi inni hœgri
um himiniur;
sl at n vissi
hvar hn sali tti,
stirnor at ne visso
hvar r stai tto,
mni at n vissi
hvat hann megins tti.

Sun turned from the south, sister of Moon,
Her right arm rested on the rim of the sky;
She had no inkling where her hall was,
Nor Moon a notion of his might,
The stars did not know of their places.



Remember that the sun is a "she" in ON, as in modern German, and the moon is a "he".




gengo regin ll
ginnheilg go,
oc um at gttuz:
ntt oc niium
nfn um gfo,
morgin hto
oc miian dag,
undorn og aptan,
rom at telia.

The gods gathered in council
In their hall of judgement, supreme divinities;
To Night and to growing Moon their names gave, They named Morning and Mid-Day,
Dawn and Twilight, for the assigning of time.



"rcstla", the "the seat or stool of rc," is the seat of judgement. This word will be found again in strophes 9, 23 and 25, always with the meaning of a place where the wisest decision is taken. Hence the non classical translation of "ragna rc," later in strophe 44.
"regin" is a plural meaning "the gods", with the original meaning of "the advising ones".


Hittuz sir
eir er hrg oc hof
h timbroo;
alfla lgo,
au smoo,
tangir scpo,
oc tl goro.



The Aesir made haste to Iavllr,
They framed ("timbered") sanctuary and farm,
Set up a smithy to forge jewels,
They fashioned tongs and wrought tools.




"Iavelli" is the locative form of Iavllr. It alludes to an evergreen plain where the Gods have been living before the world got a structure.
" hrg oc hof" is often translated by "altar and temple" which is possible. In view of the smithy they will also build, I prefer to keep the ordinary meaning of "hof" as "farm," a meaning still valid in German.

Teflo tni,

var eim vttergis
vant r gulli,
unz rir qvmo
(until three came)
ursa meyiar
(Giant maidens)
mtcar mic
(giant-strength much)
r itunheimom.
(from Jotun-home)

Played chess in the grove, cheerful were;
Gold they lacked not;
Until three came,
Thurs maidens,
Full of strength,
From Giant-home.




The three Giant maidens, "ursa meyiar," coming from Giantland, "itunheimr," are usually looked upon as being the three Norns. The end of the stanza seems to say that the Gods have been playful and cheerful "until" (!) the Norns' arrival. As we shall see, they are master of humans' and Gods' destiny.





gengo regin ll
(then sit gods all)
(on council-stool)
ginnheilog go,
("ginn-"saint gods)
oc um at gttuz,
hverr scyldi dverga
drttin scepia
r Brimis bli
oc r Blins leggiom.

The high Gods gathered in council.
In their hall of judgement;
Which kind the dwarves should craft
From Brimi's blood and Blain's limbs?




Brimir and Blinn are other names given to the primal Giant, Ymir, who was killed by "the sons of Burr" (thus, including inn), and whose body has been used to build up the world.

Strophe 10 will tell us that the dwarves will craft human shapes out of these ingredients. This solves the ambiguity of v. 7 s. 10: the human shapes are made of earth.

In "ginnheilog" what exactly means "ginn" is unknow.
It applies to the gods only.



10. ar Mtsognir
mztr um orinn
dverga allra
en Durinn annarr;
eir manlcon
(they man-shapes)
mrg um goro,
(many "around" made)
dvergar, r iro,
(dwarves, of earth,)
sem Durinn sagi.
(as Durinn said)

10. Mtsognir became the greatest of the dwarves, and Durinn after him;
The dwarves did as Durinn directed, of the earth, they made a large number of human shapes.




Mtsognir, or Msognir, ?=? "the Tired one" or "Energy Thief."
Durinn ?=? "Sleepy" or "Door Gardian."
As opposed to what is so often said, the vlva says here that the humans were shaped by the dwarves. As we shall see in 17, three Gods will give them their real humanity.



Ni oc Nii,
Norri oc Suri,
Austr og Vestri,
Alifr, Dvalinn,
Bvorr, Bvorr,
Bmburr, Nri,
n oc narr,
i, Mivitnir.

Ni and Nii,
Norri and Suri,
Austr and Vestri,
Alifr, Dvalinn,
Bvrr, Bvrr,
Bmburr, Nri,
n and narr,
i, Mivitnir.

Ni = New Moon, Nii = Moonless Night, Nordri = North, Sudri = South , Austri = West, Vestri = East , Alifr = , Dvalinn = Numb, Nr = Corpse , Dinn = Dying, Bmburr ?=? Rude One, Nri ?=? Anxiety Bringer, narr ?=? Mountain, i = Ancestor, Mivitnir = Mead's Wolf.


Veigr oc Gandlfr,
Vindlfr, rinn,
eccr oc orinn,
rr, Vitr oc Litr,
Nr oc Nrr -
n hefi ec dverga
- Reginn oc Rsvir -
rtt um tala.

Veigr and Gandlfr,
Vindlfr, rinn,
ekkr and orinn (or roinn),
rr, Vitr and Litr,
Nr and Nrr -
Here are the dwarves
- Reginn and Rsvir -
Rightly accounted.

Veigr = Horse , Gandlfr ?=? Elf of Sorcery, Vindlfr ?=? Elf of the Wind, rinn ?=? Burning Desire, ekkr = Beloved, orinn ?=?, Courageous, Vitr = Wise, Litr = Hue, Nr =New, Nrr = New counselor, Rsvir = Of Wise Counseling



Fli, Kli,
Fundinn, Nli,
Hepti, Vli,
Hanarr, Svurr,
Frr, Hornbori,
Frgr oc Lni,
Aurvangr, Iari,

Fli, Kli,
Fundinn, Nli,
Hepti, Vli,
Hanarr, Svorr,
Frr, Hornbori,
Frgr and Lni,
Aurvangr, Iari,

Fli ?=? File, Kli ?=? Bras-de-Mer, Fundinn = Found , Hepti ?=? Handle, Vli ?=? Will, Hanarr = Artist with his Hands, Frr = Fast, Hornbori = Horn Bored (pierced), Frgr = Famous , Lni ?=? Shining One, Aurvangr = Valley of the Gravel, Eikinskjaldi = The Oaken Shield. Here Reginn is obviously a name, still it means "the gods", like regin does.


Ml er dverga
Dvalins lii
lina kindom
til Lofars telia,
eir er stto
fr salar steini
Aurvanga sit
til Irovalla.

Humans, know of Dvalin' s line that goes down to Lofar's time,
They went to Irovellir and Aurvangar, leaving their dwellings under the stone.



Irovalla = Vale of the Fight




ar var Draupnir
oc Dlgrasir,
Hr, Haugspori,
Hlvangr, Gli,
Scirvir, Virvir,
Scfir, i,

There was Draupnir
and Dlgrasir,
Hr, Haugspori,
Hlvangr, Gli,
Skirvir, Virvir,
Skfir, i,

Draupnir = Dripping, Dlgrasir = Fight Drunk, Hr = High, Haugspori ?=? Walking in the Grave


lfr oc Yngvi
Fialarr oc Frosti,
Finnr oc Ginnarr;
at mun uppi,
mean ld lifir,
langniia tal
Lofars hafat.

lfr and Yngvi
Fialarr and Frosti,
Finnr and Ginnarr;
As long as men will remember,
The line will go down to Lofarr.


lfr = name of the elves , Yngvi = King (often applied to Freyr, when called Ingvi Freyr), Eikinskjaldi = The Oaken Shield (as already said), Fialarr ?=? One who Hides, Finnr = Hunter or Saami?, Ginnarr = Seducer.



17. Unz rr qvmo
r v lii
flgir oc stgir,
sir,at hsi,
fundo landi
ltt megandi
Asc oc Emblo







nd au n tto,
au n hfo,
l n lti
n lito ga;
nd gaf inn,
gaf Hœnir,
l gaf Lurr
oc lito ga.



Asc veit ec standa,
heitir Yggdrasill,
hr bamr, ausinn
aan koma dggvar,
rs dala falla,
stendr yfir, grœnn,
Urar brunni.




Urd's well is the dwelling of the Norns.

aan koma meyiar,
margs vitandi,
rir, r eim sal
er und olli stendr;
Ur hto eina,
ara Verandi,
- scro sci -
Sculd ena riio;
r lg lgo,
r lf kuro
alda brnom,
rlg seggia.

at man hn flcvg
fyrst heimi,
er Gullveigo
geirom studdo
oc hll Hrs
hna brendo;
rysvar brendo,
rysvar borna,
opt, sialdan;
hn enn lifir.

The first war in the world, she well remembers,
When Gullveig was spitted on spear-points
And in Hr's hall, burned her.
Thrice burned, thrice reborn,
Well asserted, she lives yet.


"She" here is certainly the vlva speaking of herself in this guise.

Gullveig means "Power of the Gold". She is the cause of the war between the Aesir and the Vanir. She is from the Vanir, visiting the Aesir, and these last ones burned her three times, but she was three times reborn. The war begun because of this ill treatment of Gullveig.


Heii hana hto,
hvars er til hsa kom,
vlo velsp,
(vlva well-wise-speaking)
vitti hon ganda;
(witty her magic-wand)
sei hon, hvars hon kunni,
(seidr she, who-always she knows)
sei hon hug leikinn,
(seidr she meaning carried)
var hn angan
(always was she delight)
illrar brar.
(of ill young-wives)

They call her Heidi when she visits their homes,
A far seeing vlva, wise in talismans.
Caster of spells, cunning in magic.
To wicked women always welcome.





 "Heii" means "The Shining One," which can evoke Freya, but Heidi is noted by Genzmer as being a classical name for seeresses.

To practice "sp" is the job of the seeresses, it amounts to what is called "to journey" in modern shamanism. 

gengo regin ll
ginnheilg go,
oc um at gttuz,
hvrt scyldo sir
afr gialda
ea scyldo goin ll
gildi eiga.

The gods hastened to their hall of judgement,
Sat in council to decide if
The Aesir would pay a tribute
If all the Gods should receive an offering.



The Aesir discuss among themselves to decide whether they will accept to pay a tribute for their misbehavior towards Gullveig.

Paying a fee in order to erase a feud is standard practice in the ancient Nordic world.



Fleygi inn
oc flc um scaut,
at var enn flcvg
fyrst heimi;
brotinn var borveggr
borgar sa,
kntto vanir vgsp
vllo sporna.

At the host inn hurled his spear
In the first world-battle; broken was the plankwall
Of the gods fortress, the field was left to the winning Vanir.

This action announces the beginning of the fight. It is attested by a saga that describes a warrior hurling his spear over the first rank of his foes as a sign for starting the battle.

The Vanir won the war as the last four verses say, and this is confirmed by Snorri's prose Edda.

gengo regin ll
ginnheilog go,
oc um at gttuz,
hverir hefi lopt alt
lvi blandit
ea tt ituns
s mey gefna.

The gods hastened to their seats of judgement,
Sat in council to discover who
Had tainted all the air with corruption
And 's wife offered to the giants.

's wife is Freya.

rr einn ar v,
runginn mi
hann sialdan sitr
er hann slct um fregn;
genguz eiar,
or oc sœri,
ml l meginlig,
er meal fro.

rr alone fighted, swolen with anger
- Seldom he stays quiet when of such he hears -
Forgotten the promises, broken oaths and vows,
Solemn agreements sworn between them.

rr is the ON spelling of Thor. 

27.Veit hn Heimdalar
hli um flgit
undir heivnom
helgom bami;
sr hn ausaz
aurgom forsi
af vei Valfrs -

vito r enn, ea hvat?


She knows (that) Heimdall’s
sound/hearing  (his horn/his fine hearing) is/are hidden
under a bright-used to/needing
holly tree ;
She sees sprinkle (sprinkling)
with a muddy gush
from Valfr’s pledge –

Will you know more, and what ?


Ein sat hon ti,
er inn aldni kom,
Yggiungr sa,oc augo leit:
'Hvers fregnit mic,
Hv freisti mn?
Olt veit eg, inn,
Hvar auga falt:
inom mra
Mmis brunni.'
Dreccr mi Mmir.
Morgin hverian
af vei Valfrs -
Vito r enn, ea hvat?

Outside she sat by herself when you came,
Terror of the gods, and gazed in her eyes.
What do you ask of me? Why taunt me?
inn, I know where your eye is hidden,
Hidden away in the well of Mimir.
Mimir each morning his mead drinks mead in Valfr's pledge.
Well would you know more?





Valdi henni Herfr
hringa oc men,
fcc spjll spaclig
og spganda,
s hon vtt oc um vtt
of verold hveria.

Arm rings and necklaces, inn gave her
To learn her lore, to learn her magic:
Wider and wider through all worlds she lives.




S hon valkyrior,
vtt um komnar,
gorvar at ra
til Goiar;
Sculd helt scildi,
Enn Scgul nnor,
Gunnr, Hildr, Gndul
oc Geirscgul;
n ero talar
nnnor Herians,
gorvar at ra
grund, valkyrior.

Valkyries she saw, coming from afar,
Eagerly riding towards the Goths [or the Gods];
Skuld bore the shield, another Skogul, Gunn, Hild, Gondul and Geirskgul:
Duly, she named the girls of the Lord of the Armies,
The valiant riders, the Valkyries.


Ec s Baldri,
blgum tvor,
ins barni,
rlg flgin;
st um vaxinn
vllom hrri
mir oc mioc fagr




Baldr is killed by an arrow made of mistletoe.





Var af eim meii,
er mr sndiz,
harmflaug httlig,
Hr nam scita.
Baldurs brir var
of borinn snemma,
s nam, ins sonr,
einnttr vega.

From that shrub, slender as it looked, came, shot by Hdr, the
fatal dart that felled the god;
Baldr' s brother was soon born,
Though one night old,
inn's son killed him.


Baldr, Hdr, and Vali are all sons of inn. Hdr is blind and kills Baldr pushed by Loki's slyness. Vali, who is aged one night, will avenge Baldr by killing Hdr. In this civilization, the actual murderer is also guilty, as well as the hidden instigator, Loki, as told in Snorri's prose Edda.
Here, "Baldr' s brother" and "in's son" both designate Vali.


hann va hendr
n hfu kembdi,
r bl um bar
Baldrs andscota;
Enn Frigg um grt
v Valhallar -
Vito r enn, ea hvat?

His (her?) hands s/he washed not nor his (her?) hair combed.
Till Bald's killer was not carried to the pyre;
But Frigg was weeping in Fensalir
the woe of Valhll.
Well, would you know more?


Valhll = Hall of the Killed, the celebrated Valhalla, gathers the warriors dead in combat. The woe of Valhll is the death of Baldr.

Frigg is the mother of Baldr, and she is weeping for her dead son.

Fensalir = Swamp's Hall, is the name of Frigg's hall. Because of the name of her hall, some hypothesize that she was associated with the ritual drowning.

kn Vla
vgbnd sna,
heldr vro hargerhpt, r rmom.


Vali knew how to make the chains of combat,
Strong and rough were
The strings of stretched gut.


34.Loki will be punished of this crime by being chained with links made of his sons' intestines.
As you see, I accept Snorri's version saying that Hdr has been pushed by Loki to kill Baldr, thus that Loki is also guilty. Some refuse this version, but I do not see then how they understand s. 34. For a longer argumentation see my summary of Dumzil's Loki on this site (if you read French, better you read it yourself!).

Hapt s hon liggia
undir hvera lundi,
lgiarns lki
Loca eccian;
ar sitr Sigyn,
eygi um snom
ver velgliu -
Vito r enn, ea hvat?

I see one in bonds by the grove of boiling springs;
A sly-looking shape, like Loki he looks;
There Sigyn sits by her husband,
Even though she does not rejoice in what happens to him.
Well would you know more?


hveralundr = the Grove of Boiling Springs. It can also be a name.

A serpent spits its venom above Loki's face. Sigyn, Loki's wife, protects him by gathering the venom in a pot before it reaches Loki. Still, her rlg is not a first choice one!



fellr austan
um eiturdala,
sxom oc sverom:
Slr heitir s.

From the East through Venom Valley,
Flows Slid, a flow of swords and saxes.


Slid = Danger. A sax is a short broad sword very much in use in Viking times.


St fyr noran,
salr r gulli
Sindra ttar;
Enn annar st
birsalr ituns,
enn s Brimir heitir.

North, in Nidavellir, stands the dwelling place of Sindri's kin, Covered with gold;
Another hall also in klnir,
The bier hall of the giant called Brimir.



Nidavellir = Darkdale. Sindri = Never Becoming Cold, is a dwarf. 




Sal s hon standa
Slo fiarri
Nstrndo ,
norr horfa dyrr;
fllo eitrdropar
inn um lira,
s er undinn salur
orma hryggjom.

A third I see, that no sunlight reaches,
In Nstrnd : the doors face northward,
Through its smoke vent venom drips,
Serpent backbones enskein that hall.


Nstrnd = Dead Man's Shore




S hon ar vaa
unga strauma
menn meinsvara
oc morvarga,
oc annz annars glepr eyrarno;
(and these others making-fall she-beloved)
ar saug Nihggr
ni framgengna,
sleit vargr vera -
Vito r enn, ea hvat?

Men wade there tormented by the thick stream,
perjuring men, criminal wolves,
And artful seducers of other men's wives:
Nidhogg sucks blood from the bodies of the dead
The wolf cuts them up. Well, would you know more?


Austr sat hin aldna
oc fœddi ar
Fenris kindir;
(and feeds there Fenris kind)
verr af eim llom
einna noccorr
tungls tigari
trollz hami.

In the East a crone is sitting, in Ironwood:
The brood of Fenris are bred there
Wolf-monsters, one of whom
Eventually shall devour the sun.



This crone must be the giantess who mated Loki to produce the wolf Fenrir.




Fylliz firvi
Feigra manna,
rr ragna sit
rauum dreyra;
svort vera slscin
of sumor eptir,
ver ll vlynd -
Vito r enn, ea hvat?

It gorges upon the flesh of death-promised men,
It bloodies the Gods sit;
Black will shine the sun
During next summers,
Awful all the storms.
Will you know more?




Sat ar haugi
Oc sl hrpo
ggiar hirir,
glar Eggr;
gl um hnom
fagrraur hani,
s er Fialarr heitir.

The giants watchman, joyful Eggthr
Sits on his hillock and harps well;
The red cock, called Fjalarr
Boldly crows from Gallows wood.



Eggthr = Sword's Watchman.




Gl um som
Sa vecr hla
At Herjafrs;
enn annarr gelr
fyr ir nean,
straur hani,
at slom Heliar.

Gullinkambi sung at the Aesir's place,
Who wakes the Armies Father's warriors :
A soot red rooster also calls
From Hel's hall, deep under the ground.



Gullinkambi = Golden crest.

Hel is the dwelling of the dead who did not die in battle. Hel is also the name of the Goddess who reigns in Hel.



Geyr Garmr mic
fyr Gnipahelli,
festr mun slitna,
enn freki renna;
fil veit hon frœa,
fram s ec lengra
um ragna rc,
rmm, sigtva.



Raging howls from Garmr before Gnipahellir,
The fetters will burst, the beast will run:
Many charms I know, further in the future afar I behold
The judgement of the gods who give victory.




Garmr = Dog, the name of a giant dog. Gnipahellir = Open Roc, the opening that drives to Hel.
The famous "ragna rc" most often spelled as Ragnarok, and celebrated by Wagner under the name of the Crepuscule of the Gods, means exactly ragna = of the Gods, rc = judgement, with an undertone of wisdom, as seen in strophes 6, 9, 24, 25. Thus the translation "bitter fate," which is classical, is also very misleading because it gives undertones of revolt against it, while "judgement" gives undertones of acceptation of their fate by the Gods, and this is much more in accordance with our knowledge of the Germanic behavior in front of one's rlg : dignity and acceptation.
The fetter that bursts is a magical chain that binds Fenrir. Ragna rc occurs when Fenrir frees himself from his chains.

Brœr muno beriaz
oc at bnum veraz,
muno systrungar
sifiom spilla;
hart er heimi,
hrdmr mikill,
sceggld, sclmld,
scildir ro klofnir,
vindld, vargld,
r verold steypiz;
mun engi mar
rom yrma.

Brother shall strike brother and both fall,
Parents shall defile their kin;
Evil be on earth, an age of adultery,
Axe time, sword time,
Of split shields,
A wind-age, a wolf-age till the world caves in;
No man shall show mercy to another.




Leica Mms synir,
enn mitur kyndiz

at ino gamla
htt blss Heimdallr,
horn er lopti,
mlir inn
vi Mms hfu;



Sport/Move Mmir’s sons
[while] the measure dispenser  burns
to him ancient

Gjallahorn ;

up blows Heimdallr,

the horn is in the air
speaks inn

with Mmir’s head ;





Mmir is a wise Giant keepr of knowledge.
His sons might be Giants who move towards battle.

Mitur can carry its proper meaning (mjt is a measure) or point at fate, Urr, or at Yggdrasill

Gjallarhorn =horn of a shriek/song.

Ragnark starts and ,  inn discuss with Mmir the best behavior.

Scelfr Yggdrasils
ascr standandi,
ymr i aldna tr,
enn itunn losnar;
hraz allir
r Surtar ann
sefi of gleypir.

Yggdrasil shakes, the erected ash, groans the old trunk;
the giant is loose; all shake on Hel's way,
Before he is swallowed by Surt's kin.


The giant is the wolf Fenrir.

Surt ?=? The Black One. Surt's kin is the fire.

"he" here is certainly Yggdrasil that will be swallowed = devoured by Surt's kin = the flames, a classical skaldic image.

Hvat er me som,
hvat er me lfom?
gnr allr itunheimr,
sir ro ingi;
stynia dvergar
fyr steindurom,
veggbergs vsir -
Vito r enn, ea hvat?

What of the Aesir? What of the elves?
Jtunheimr groans, the Aesir are in council
The dwarves grumble before their door of stone,
Masters of cliffs.
Well, would you know more?


Elves are another kind of divine creatures, of which we now few details.

Itunheimr is the home (= heimr) of the itun (= the Giants). It is spelled "jtun" nowadays.


49 = 44.  


Hrymr ecr austan,
hefiz lind fyrir,
snz irmungandr
ormr knr unnir,
enn ari hlaccar,
sltr ni nefflr,
Naglfar losnar.

From the East drives Hrym, lifts up his shield;
Jrmungandr squirms with rage
Taken by the giants' frenzy.
The great worm whips the waves
The pale-beaked eagle Niflr pecks at the dead,
The ship Naglfari is free.


Jrmungandr is the large serpent who encircles Midgard.
The Edda often refers to someone becoming frenzy when being opposed. rr in battle is taken by his Aesir's frenzy as well.
It is classical to say that the wolf, the raven, or the eagle gorge on dead warrior's corpse.
Niflr ?=? The Yellow-Grey One, Naglfari = Nail Ship, is a giant ship made of the nails of the dead.

Kjll ferr austan,
koma muno Muspellz
um lg lir,
enn Loki strir;
fara ffls megir
me freca allir,
eim er brir
Bleiptz for.

The ship sails out from the east, at its helm Loki
With the children of Muspell,
Offspring of monsters, allies of the wolf,
All who follow the brother of Bleistr.


Muspell is what symbolizes the fire in the giants, and the children of Muspell points at the giants of the fire.

Bleistr = the brother of Loki's borther.


Surtr ferr sunnan
me sviga lvi,
scnn af sveri
sl valtva;
gritbjrg gnata,
enn gfr rata,
troa halir helveg,
enn himinn klofnar.

Surtr comes from the South with the bane of branches
Hel's sword generates the sun,
Crags topple, monsters move,
Men walk on Hel's road, the Heavens split open.


Surtr = name of the main fire Giant. There is in Iceland a set of volcanic caves called Surtshellir, Surt's caves, that suggests that the fire Giants could well be linked to the volcanoes.

The bane of branches = the fire.


kmr Hlnar
harmr annarr fram,
er inn ferr
vi lf vega,
enn bani Belia
biartr, at Surti;
mun Friggiar
falla angan.

A further woe falls upon Hlin
As inn comes forth to fight the wolf;
The shining killer of Beli battles with Surt;
Now shall fall Frigg's beloved.



Hlin is another name of Frigg, wife of inn. Frigg's first woe is the death of her son Baldr, and the further one  is the death of her husband, inn.
Beli = Mooer, a giant who was killed by Freyr with a doe ram. Thus the shining killer of Beli is Freyr.
Frigg's beloved is inn.


54 = 44.    

kmr inn micli
mgr Sigfur,
Varr, vega
At valdri;
Ltr hann megi Hverungs
Mund um standa
Hir til hiarta,
er hefnt fur.

Now valiant comes Sigfd's son,
Vidarr, to kill the vulture,
Plunges his sword in the heart of Hvedrung 's son,
Avenging his father with a thrust.


Sigfr = Of Victory Father, i.e., inn. He has indeed many different names that express the many different ways he can apply his power. Many other names of inn will still follow.
The vulture is here a wolf, i.e., Fenrir who killed inn in 53. Vidarr kills Fenrir in this stanza.
Hverung = Foaming, is another name of Loki. The wolf Fenrir, who kills inn in stanza 53, is his son.

Gnn lopt yfir
(jaws-gaping in the air over)
lindi iarar,
(belt of the earth)
gapa gs kiaptar
(gape frightening the jaws)
orms hom;
(of the worm in the heights)
mun ins sonr
(will Odin's son)
eitri mœta
(poison meet (or weaken))
vargs at daua
(of the monster at the death)
Vars nija.
(of Vidar's family)

High up in the air,
the belt of the earth,
his mouth wide open,
the frightening worm's jaw gapes.
Odin's son will meet the monster's poison at Vidar's sons death.






This strophe has been late deciphered this is why it is called 55'.  

The belt of the earth designates the serpent that circles the earth, Jrmungandr.

Since rr will kill Jrmungandr at ragna rc, inn's son is here rr.

The expression "Vidar's family death" designates ragna rc : Vidar's family are the gods.



kmr inn mœri
mgr Hlyniar,
gengr ins sonr
vi orm lf vega,
(in-order-to worm wolf fight)
drepr hann af mi
(strikes he on with-anger)
Migarz vor,
(Midgard’s vor)
Muno halir allir
heimst ryia,
gengr fet no
Firgyniar burr
neppr fr nari
ns qvnom.

Now comes the son of Hldyn, comes inn's son, fiercest of warriors
To fight the serpent; He mauls in his rage Midgard's "veor",
Men all flee their homesteads;
Fjrgyn's son steps back nine paces
Retreats from the worm with no fear of being shamed.



56. Hlyn = She-Stormy, the earth, the mother of God rr . inn is the father of rr .

Fjrgyn = Earth.

The serpent, the worm both designate a dragon who must be Jrmungandr, eventually killed by rr.

We do not know what a "vor" is. If it qualifies Jrmungandr, then something like "belt" could be ok.

In this single stanza rr is called by three different names.


Sl tr sortna,
sgr fold mar,
hverfa af himni
heiar stjrnor;
geisar eimi
vi aldrnara,
leicr hr hiti
vi himin silfan.

Earth sinks in the sea, the sun turns black,
The shining stars shake in the sky,
Fumes rage, flames grumble,
The sky is scorched with fire.



58 = 44.    

Sr hon upp koma
ro sinni
ir r gi
falla fossar,
flgr rn yfir,
s er fialli
fisca veiir.

A new, largely commentated version of these stanzas is available HERE 



"she" is the vlva.




Finnaz sir
og um moldinur
mtcan, dœma
oc minnaz ar
oc Fimbults
fornar rnar.


As already said in 7, avllr is a valley where the Aesir meet.

Fimbultr = Supreme God. Tyr is the name of a very ancient God who seems to have been a sky-God, master of the battle, somewhat as inn became. Fimbul expresses the idea of vastness.

Another poem says that the runes have been created by the "Powers," and shouted by inn. Since he is the one who acquired of the magical secret power of the runes, the High God must be here inn.


ar muno eptir
Gullnar tflor
grasi finnaz,
rs rdaga
ttar hfo.


Muno snir
Acrar vaxa,
bls mun allz batna,
Baldr mun koma;
ba eir Hr oc Baldr
Hroptz sigtptir,
Vel valtvar -
Vito r enn, ea hvat?


As we said, Hroptr is another name of inn, whose hall, Valhll, gathers the dead warriors.




kn Hœnir
(After-that knows Hœnir)
hlautvi kisa
(wood-fate choose)
oc byrir byggja
brœra tveggja
vindheim van -
Vito r enn, ea hvat?



Hœnir is one of the twelve Aesir who plays a role symmetrical to Njr's in the ending of the war between the Aesir and the Vanir: he was given in hostage to the Vanir.
Nordic magicians often use a wand, and many magical operation are performed by engraving runes on a stick of wood.
The two brothers might be Baldr and Hdr. One thing is sure: these verses say that the future humanity will have its dwelling in Wind-home, the sky.

Sal sr hon standa,
slo fegra,
gulli acan
ar scolo dyggvar
drttir byggja
oc um aldrdaga
ynis nita.



64. Giml = Protected from the Fire. Another text says that Giml is in the sky.

The second half of this stanza and stanza 65 smell strongly of Christianity and are often called a late adjunction.



kmr inn rki
at regindmi,
flugr, ofan,
s er llo rr.


This all ruler might be Christ if the stanza is of Christian origin, but he might still be Fimbultr, met in stanza 60.


ar kmr inn dimmi
dreki fligandi,
nar frnn, nean
fr Niafillom;
berr sr firom -
flgr vll yfir -
Nihggr, ni -
N mun hon scqvaz.


Nidafjll = Dark Mount, where it can be supposed that the corpses were before stored.

"She" is again the vlva who has finished and will go away.



De Vries "Altnordisches etymologisches Wrterbuch" Leiden 1961.

Snorri Sturluson, Edda, Prologue and Gylfaginning, edited by A. Faulkes, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1982. Presents an Old Norse version of the text, with commentaries and a glossary.

Snorri Sturluson, L'Edda, translation F. X. Dillmann, Gallimard, 1991 contains a large number of fascinating explanations.

Poetic Edda:

The Poetic Edda, Carolyne Larrington Translation, 1996, Oxford University Press

Norse Poems, W. H. Auden & P. B. Taylor, Faber and Faber, London 1986.

Hans Kuhn, Edda, Codex Regius, Vol. I. Texts; Vol. II. Short Dictionary, Carl Winter, Heidelberg 1962.

Die Edda, F. Genzmer, Eugen Diederichs, Mnchen 1992.

The Elder Edda, Andy Orchard, Penguin  2011.

The Poetic Edda Vol. II,  Ursula Dronke,  Clarendon 1997.

The Elder Edda, Andy Orchard, Penguin 2011. 

copyright 1998-2015 Yves Kodratoff