Search Results for: Óðr

Hymn to Máni the Sweller

For Sparrow

To Máni the Sweller

I hail Máni, Mundilferi’s brilliant son and the brother
of flame-haired Sunna, who together were placed
in the heavens by the kindly Æsir
that men might have a means for the telling of time;
the Sun who oversees the everyday business of life
and the seasons which chase each other round the year
like four hungry wolves, and the Moon
which determines the best times
for planting and harvesting, births and slaughters,
when to celebrate the festivals of the Vanir,
assists in unspeakable sorcerous workings,
and serves as witness to the pledges of lovers.
Once Máni did more than that, helping
to bring together the star-crossed pair,
the mad Bear King Óðr and Freyja who won
by precious labor the indescribably beautiful
Brísingamen. But back then she was the mistress
of Óðinn whose spear never misses its mark,
and he kept her in a bower which no man,
no God and no Dwarf could ever reach
or hope to breach if they did, for he wove
powerful magic into its defenses.
And what was Óðr at that time?
A no account fosterling of Njörðr’s
whose true name and history
were unknown to all,
including himself.
But what was known is that
he was a dear companion of Máni
and the Moon God is good to his friends.
So he picked Óðr up, shrunk him down
to the size of a speck of dust in a moonbeam,
and slipped unnoticed through a window
in the high tower which none other could enter,
and then made Óðr swell large again
like fruit on the vine so that he and Freyja
could properly enjoy their beautiful reunion.
I will save the rest of the tale for another time
since it is known by one and all,
and practically every skáld of any worth
has composed verse on the theme
as if it was part of the matter of Troy,
but I will end by saying
that Óðr and his girl never forgot
this boon done them by Máni
and until the final day will not cease
singing his praises;
nor should we.

My current to-do list

My current to-do list for the polytheist hymnal project:

Achilles
Akoites
Alexander the Great
Marcus Antonius
Asklepios
Baldr
David Bowie
Dionysos
Freyja
Freyr
Frigga
Haides
Heimdallr
Hekate (x4)
Herakles
Iðunn
Imhotep
Isa
Khnum
Kirke
Kleopatra
Klio
Loki
Mani
Melampus
Jim Morrison
Nephthys
Norse pantheon
Óðinn
Óðr
Odysseus
Mithras
Njörðr
Persephone (x2)
Ptolemy Soter
Sekhmet
Sigyn
Skírnir
Sunna
Thor
Víðarr
Zeus

Update on the Polytheist Hymnal

I was able to put in a couple hours on the Polytheist Hymnal tonight after our Sunwait ritual, and here’s where things currently stand.

Finished

Agathos Daimon
Aion
Anath
Andvari
Anubis
Aphrodite
Apollon
Ares
Artemis
Athene
Attis
Bast
Bendis
Demeter
The Dioskouroi
Eileithuia
Elen
Erigone
Flora
Freyr
Haides
Harpokrates
Hathor
Hekate
Hel
Hephaistos
Hera
Hermes
Hestia
Horus the Elder
The Hyades
Ianus
Isis
Kasmilos
The Korybantes
The Kouretes
Kybele
Kyberia
The Lares
Ma’at
Máni
Mania
Medeia
Melinoë
Monthu
Nanna
Nephthys
Orpheus
Pasiphaë
The Penates
Poseidon
Priapos
Ptah
Re
Roma
Sekhmet
Seilenos
Serapis
Seshat
Seth
The Sicilian Muse
Sobek
Spider
Tethys
Thoth
Wepwawet
Yahweh
Zeus-Ammon
The Greek Gods
The Greco-Egyptian Gods

Unfinished

Achilles
Angrboða
Dionysos
Freyja
Freyr
Frigga
Heimdallr
Hekate
Herakles
Iðunn
Isa
Kirke
Loki
Óðinn
Óðr
Odysseus
Mithras
Njörðr
Persephone
Sif
Sigyn
Zeus

Shifting focus

One thing that’s going to be different going forward is that I want to broaden my scope, since there’s a lot more to the Starry Bear proto-tradition than just Dionysos’ identification as Óðr and his interactions with assorted Scandinavian and Slavic deities, or the history of the Ukraine (and the city of Olbia in particular), important as these things are. And of course I will write about them as discoveries and insights warrant, or if folks have questions I can answer, but otherwise I really want to branch out and focus on underrepresented or neglected portions of the proto-tradition, and the Gods and Spirits who oversee it – Norse, Hellenic and other.

And one Lady in particular

According to the Bakcheion ritual calendar Dionysos is MIA from Lampteria (when the Thyiades go searching for him with torches) until Lenaia (when the Lenai rouse him from his slumber beneath the earth with their songs and dances.)

Of course, part of him isn’t gone but always remains here with us (even if another part of him dwells down below with his feasting Heroes and Heroines.) The reason that he goes unrecognized during these bitingly cold winter months is because that fragment believes itself to be Óðr rather than Dionysos.

During this period he is reunited with his Norse wife Freyja and their nuptials are celebrated on December 31st into January 1st, which is also the anniversary of the creation of the Bakcheion, hence this festival is known as Foundation Day.

Our foundations lay in love, and madness, and ecstasy, and poetic inspiration – and so on this night we let the world know it through riotous displays and masked revelry.

How do you plan on celebrating?

redesigning the Bakcheion

I am currently in the process of redesigning the Bakcheion. (My temple space, not the website.) 

When complete it will have a purification station, a divination station, and nine shrines to Dionysos, each representing a festival from our calendar and the different ways he manifests through them. 

Today I worked out the epithets for the shrines:

  • Lenaia = Bromios (βρόμιος) – “Noisy”
  • Anthesteria = Phleos (Φλέως) – “Who Causes to Swell”
  • The Dionysia = Melpomenos (Μελπόμενος) – “Who Celebrates with Song and Dance”
  • Agrionia = Thurepanoiktes (θὐρεπανοίκτης) – “Opener of the Door”
  • Aletideia = Eubouleos (Εὐβουλεος) – “Of Good Counsel”
  • Pannychia = Asterios (Ἀστέριος) – “Starry”
  • Oschophoria = Nyktelios (Νυκτέλιος) – “Nocturnal”
  • Lampteria = Morychos (Μόρυχος) – “Dark”
  • Foundation Day = Bakcheios (Βάκχειος) [Óðr] – “Frenzied”

I think this new arrangement will help me connect with Dionysos on a deeper level. At least that is my hope. 

Once I have everything set up I’ll take some pics and share them with y’all.  

Who is Óðr?

He is the wanderer and stranger, a God of madness and poetic frenzy, master of magic and shapeshifting. He is the Bear King and the Black Sun. Periodically he forgets that he is a God and becomes a suffering hero. Once the lands of the North had been his home; Óðr his name was then, an adopted member of the tribe of Vanir, husband of Freyja, blood-brother of Freyr (and of Loki), and champion of Óðinn’s warband. But during an important quest on behalf of Ásgarðr he was struck down by a nameless foe, poisoned, corrupted, and made to serve the force of uncreation. And so he would have remained, had an ancient Witch Goddess not cured and restored him. He returned to find Loki bound beneath the poisonous serpent and his wife missing. Freyja went in search of him and never returned. Óðinn will not set Loki free, so Óðr refuses to resume his position within the warband and goes to bring his wife home. Before he leaves, however, he gives Óðinn valuable information about the coming war. When Óðr breaks Loki’s bonds Óðinn forbids any of the Æsir to stop him or retaliate. As the two Gods seek the lost Freyja they plot how to win the war, collect friends from among the diverse pantheons of the world, and preemptively strike against the allies of their nameless foe. Shortly before the end Óðr and Freyja are reunited.

God of the Summer Sun

tumblr_nq2dym4RMu1tse85no1_1280

Speaking of Óðr, I’ve encountered some interesting theories about him in my studies recently.

Most scholars tend to view him as a strange double or Vanic counterpart of Óðinn associated with creative and battle frenzy, shapeshifting, shamanic ordeals and otherworldly journeys.

However a number of Neopagan authors apparently regard him as the God of the Summer Sun, and specifically heat, vitality, fertility and rejuvenation, with his absence in Winter prompting Freyja to go in search of him.

Something about that really resonates, although I’m not sure their arguments necessarily hold up to scrutiny. Then again, so little has come down in the lore concerning Óðr that most arguments end up being fairly speculative, mine included. (This is where being an Orpheotelest and mantis really comes in handy.) 

Vonlenska

I have always loved this song by Sigur Rós:

The aural world it conjures is just … *shivers* Ah, yeah.

And because of the stunning visuals I included the video on numerous playlists for Dionysos, even before I started tapping into the Black Sun current. (It has obviously taken on added significance since then.) But I don’t think I ever bothered looking up the lyrics – which, as it turns out, are just as relevant.

Brennisteinn

Við skerum á
Augnaráð
Nú stingur í
Ofbirta
Nú bræða óf
Endalok
Svo flæðir inn
Dagsbirta
Nú teygir sig og togar
Og togna út við örmunum [Vonlenska]
Reyna að móttaka [Vonlenska]
Og brestu yfir hrapa stað
Rennur blóð í æðum
Í skinninu
Yðar á
Krækir klónum í
Og klórar í
Nú teygir sig og togar
Og togna út við örmunum [Vonlenska]
Reyna að móttaka [Vonlenska]
Og brestu yfir hrapa stað
Reisum mér búkinn
Hryggjasúlan æðu
Rennur blóð í æðum
Ekki segja neinum frá
Ekki segja neinum frá
Ekki segja neinum frá
Ekki segja neinum frá
Ekki segja neinum frá
Ekki segja neinum frá
Nú teygir sig og togar
Og togna út við örmunum [Vonlenska]
Reyna að móttaka [Vonlenska]
Og brestu yfir hrapa stað
Reisum mér búkinn
Hryggjasúlan æðu
Rennur blóð í æðum

Which, when Englished, becomes:

Sulfur

We plunge in
A glance
Then strikes
A blinding light
Then they melt
The end
And flows in
The daylight
Now it drags and pulls
And tears out every particle
Joints ache
And crack, they are dislocated
Blood runs in the veins
In the skin
Your (skin)
It digs its claws
And lacerates
Now it drags and pulls
And tears out every particle
Joints ache
And crack, they are dislocated
We raise our bowed bodies
The spine we straighten
Blood runs in the veins
Don’t tell anyone
Don’t tell anyone
Don’t tell anyone
Don’t tell anyone
Don’t tell anyone
Don’t tell anyone
Now it drags and pulls
And tears out every particle
Joints ache
And crack, they are dislocated
We raise our bowed bodies
The spine we straighten
Blood runs in the veins

Pure gold, man.

And the word Vonlenska? It means:

Vonlenska (Eng: Hopelandic) is a term coined by the band to refer to the vocalizations that Jónsi sings in lieu of lyrics in Icelandic or English. It takes its name from “Von”, a song on Sigur Rós’s debut album Von where it was first used. However, not all Sigur Rós songs are in Hopelandic; many are sung in Icelandic.

Vonlenska differs from both natural and constructed languages used for human communication. It consists of strings of meaningless syllables containing non-lexical vocables and phonemes. There is no grammatical relation between or among syllables, nor are they accompanied by clearly defined word boundaries. Vonlenska emphasizes the phonological and emotive qualities of human vocalizations, and it uses the melodic and rhythmic elements of singing without the conceptual content of language. In this way, it is similar to the use of scat singing in vocal jazz and puirt à beul in traditional Scottish and Irish folk music. The band’s website describes it as “a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music”. It is similar in concept to the ethereal vocals used by Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of the syllable strings sung by Jónsi are repeated many times throughout each song, and sometimes throughout the whole album.

Óðr’s poetry.

Freyja does not have “fur-children”

Argunov portait ofa ukrainian woman and cat

Freyja’s cats are mentioned twice in the Gylfaginning, first in his general description of the Goddess:

Sessrumir, her hall, is large and beautiful. And when she travels, she drives two cats and sits in a chariot. (24)

And again when Snorri describes the Gods attending Baldr’s funeral:

…Freyr drove in a chariot with a boar called Gullinbursti or Slíðrugtanni. But Heimdallr rode a horse called Gulltoppr, and Freyia her cats. (50)

Additionally in the Skaldskaparmal we are told:

How shall Freyja be referred to? By calling her daughter of Njörðr, sister of Freyr, wife of Óðr, mother of Hnoss, possessor of the fallen slain and of Sessrumir and tom-cats…

And that’s pretty much it until the Romantics.

Nowhere are their names given, which has led Neopagans into some rather fanciful speculation. 

Most people are probably familiar with the names Diana L. Paxson provides in her fantasy novel Brisingamen: “Tregul” (Tree-gold, or Amber) and “Bygul” (Bee-gold, or Honey.) 

Cute. Doesn’t really resonate with me, but one could certainly do worse. 

Amy Sey’s suggestion, for instance, that they are named after her daughters Hnoss and Gersemi. 

No. Just no.

Someone who so loves her daughters that she names them both “Treasure” isn’t going to turn around and give that to her cats, no matter how fond she is of them.

Unless Amy was suggesting that Freyja’s daughters were her cats which … again, just no. Besides, Skaldskaparmal calls them toms so they’d at least have the male form of the word. Though I suppose she could have more than just two cats, but I doubt any of them were named after her children, even Komos. Plus that would mean she yokes her children to her wagon or chariot, and that seems out of character to me. 

White Gold

A couple months back I wrote:

Ever since the first of January we have been in the White Season, where Dionysos acts out the role of the Magician come from a strange and distant land, bringing wonders and radical transformation in his wake. He knows the songs and ceremonies to awaken and release, and he is followed by a triumphant procession of Nymphs and Satyrs whose ecstatic revelry chases off barrenness, stagnation and malignant or at least mischievous Spirits from the land and his people.

Come April first we’ll be transitioning into the Gold Season, a time of fruitfulness and abundance when Dionysos wears a Kingly face as he revels with the Fairies and Goblins of his Retinue.

When they first started showing up in ritual it was a little confusing; they felt very different from the Mediterranean and local land-Spirits I was used to dealing with. Conversely much of the traditional Fairy lore (especially from Celtic countries) didn’t seem to apply. I was starting to get really confused until I turned up a bunch of references to them in post-Classical Bacchic literature, some of which I’ve collected here. While this was reassuring since it suggested others had encountered them too, it didn’t do much to clear up the questions I had regarding who they were, why they were so different and how they’d come to be part of Dionysos’ circle.

Of course, the whole Óðr thing suggests some interesting solutions and I’m hoping over this next Season to get a better handle on them through ritual, divination and poetic frenzy. I’d share my preliminary theories (which differ somewhat from the stories I posted here and here) but there’s time enough to get into that during our Golden Months, especially since we only have two festivals during that period on our calendar, Ἀγριώνια in Kantharos and Ἀλέτιδεια in Prosopon. 

jacques-clement-wagrez-dionysos-sur-lile-de-naxos

Don’t you worry

This Scorpio-Orion-Herakles-Sandas thread will eventually loop back to Óðr and the Norse Gods – and in a way that seems both stunning and perfectly natural. It just requires a little patience. 

stories

In one version of his story Óðr was a foundling taken in after Njörðr accidentally slew his mother in the form of a bear; in another, he was the son of Óðinn and a noblewoman of the Fair Elves raised at the Vanic court; in a third, he was a mortal prince whose uncle slew his father and married his mother, and the woman Óðr loved went insane while he only pretended to; in the fourth Óðr was a child of incomparable beauty who drowned, plunging his sisters into unfathomable grief; in the sixth he was a pious teen raised by a witch in the woods who taught Óðr magic songs and how to work with all kinds of plants and poisons; in the seventh he was a wolf who became leader of the pack and fell in love with Máni and later was translated to the stars; in the eighth he was a serf who died fat, bald and old among his many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren but whose name and deeds were completely forgot by the time the youngest’s grandchildren had grandchildren of their own. And then there was the ninth – but that story must wait, for I have others to tell first. 

The Nornir are never wrong

It was the marriage of Ítreksjóð and Ásadís and representatives from the diverse Realms had joined the inhabitants of Ásgarðr for the festivities. Unfettered joy was in all of them, and plenty of Kvasir’s finest mead too. Only Óðr stood off by himself in a corner of the Great Hall surreptitiously surveying the celebrants, and one of them in particular.

“You should ask her to dance,” Freyr chuckled, pressing a drinking horn into his adopted brother’s hands. “You know she would accept.”

“Has not Love wounded me enough? You would have me drive the thorn deeper into my breast?”

“Yes, if it’s the only remedy.” When Óðr did not drink, Freyr took the horn back. “Which it appears to be.”

“You know why I cannot.”

“I don’t. You’ve had eyes for her ever since you came to live with our family. I even backed off so that you’d have a chance. You’ll never find her like in any of the Nine Realms; trust me, I’ve tried. And she’s mad with love for you. You’re going to throw that all away because of some cryptic words by a couple of old spinsters?”

“The Nornir are never wrong.”

“Granted. But what makes you think they’ve told the whole of the story? No life is without change and suffering, even the lives of us Gods.”

Óðr looked down at his wolf fur-lined boots and then reached for the horn. Grinning widely, Freyr gave it back to him. “Whatever comes, she’s worth it. Besides, I’m tired of seeing you skulk about like some moon-eyed maid in Frigga’s Retinue. I want my brother back. And if that means you’ve got to remarry our sister – with or without Óðinn’s blessing – so be it.”

Contractual obligations

Óðinn sat upon his majestic throne, from which he surveys all Nine Worlds. The wolves Geri and Freki were lounging at his feet and on either shoulder were perched the rather large ravens Huginn and Muninn. Flanking him were Thor and Óðr, looking even more intimidating than usual.

A table had been brought into Ásgarðr’s throne-room. At one end sat Freyja in her falcon cloak, eyes narrowed and hand on the hilt of a long-knife. At the other end was a Jötunn prince and his retainers, his stony bulk barely fitting into the large chair. Also seated at the table were Frigg and Loki, about as happy to be there as Freyja was. Notably absent was her brother and father. 

“I told you she was feisty,” Óðinn chuckled and the Mountain Giant’s grin broadened to reveal large, jagged teeth and fetid breath. “I’ll have no trouble breaking and training her up properly.” Pikoloüs spread his immense hands and said, “Do we have a deal?“

There was a nearly imperceptible twitch under Óðinn’s good eye. That thing dared speak to one of the Goddesses of the realm, his mistress even, in such an impudent fashion, and in his very own Hall?

But too much was at stake, so he swallowed down his rage.

All in due time. 

Óðr had a harder time of it, but was loyal to his Chieftain and so remained statue still. 

“Just so we understand,” Loki interjected. “In addition to manpower when the War comes, you’re going to give us mining rights in the Neutral Zone so that we may fortify Ásgarðr and her defenders.”

“For her.”

“For her.”

Freyja gave Loki a withering glare, for he had brokered this deal. 

“And what say you, O Seabright?”

“Don’t you use my Vanic name here, under these circumstances.”

“Alright… Freyja. Do you consent to the deal?”

Even though she was aware it was a ruse, Frigga shook her head in disapproval. There had to be a better way than this, even if they with their combined divinity, wisdom and experience had not yet thought of it.

Freyja purposefully avoided glancing Óðr’s way as, voice trembling, she agreed. 

“The soldiers, the mining rights in the Neutral Zone and all the rest are yours,” Pikoloüs said, rising to his considerable feet and grabbing Freyja’s delicate hand in his. He yanked her to her feet and dragged her out of Óðinn’s Hall without anything further said. 

Óðinn grunted, “Dismissed,” and Óðr and Thor departed by separate corridors. Óðr was fuming the whole way back to his quarters where he laid out all of his weapons, deciding which would be most effective against this particular tribe of Jötnar. 

Alone in the Hall Frigga addressed her husband, “I hope that your plan succeeds.”

Óðinn gave a serpent’s grin, “It will … unless you know something you’re not telling me, my dear wife?”

Frigga wrapped her arms around her husband and kissed his rough cheek. “Would I do that, husband of mine?”

“Yes. So what is it?”

“Have you factored in the variable of Óðr?”

“He’s loyal.”

“He’s also in love.”

“The worst sort of madness. Still, he is immensely talented at killing and will not act impetuously. He is practically my right hand.”

“You should end the game, and give your blessing. You don’t need to hold that over his head to keep Óðr by your side. He considers you as much his father as Njörðr.”

“But perhaps I don’t want to give up access to Freyja just yet. She has certainly brightened things since coming to stay with us. Besides, what about her well-being? If they don’t return to Ásgarðr who knows where Óðr might carry her off to? Probably some cave in the middle of nowhere.”

“I don’t really care.” Frigga’s voice was cold as the ice at the beginning of things. 

“If everything is going to plan Óðr is about to disobey his orders and rush off in pursuit of the newlyweds. By the time he returns with the dripping head of Pikoloüs we should have our Dverger occupying the mines and released the Jötunn who can testify that the transaction went through. Everything legal and above board, just how you like it.”

“And you couldn’t have told this plan of yours to them? I’m certain they would have gone along with it.”

“They would have. But then they would not have forged so strong a love-bond, and that is unacceptable to me.”

“So, you big softy, you do want them together?”

“You know me better than that, Frigg.”

She rolled her eyes and poured herself another drink. 

“Their marriage serves my interests; at least they need to be together long enough to conceive their fourth child. And if it doesn’t work out, I have another mate in mind for him.”

“Aren’t you treading into my territory?” 

“Perhaps,” Óðinn laughed, and pulled her into a deep kiss. 

By the time Óðr reached the edge of the forest near the dwelling of Pikoloüs he had the shape of a creature that was half-man and half-wolf or -bear. (It was Máni’s night off and thus difficult to tell.) In each hand he bore a spear, and belted at his waist was a sword and dagger. He’d have brought more weapons, but figured that might be overkill.

Óðr was so focused on tracking his foe that he did not notice the fox racing through the brush a safe distance behind him. The fox is one of Loki’s favorite animals.

Preparation

There was only the periodic singing of blade striking blade and sliding down sharpened edge as the two figures like feral creatures paced round the sparring ring, each waiting for the other to make some stupid, fatal mistake. None would be forthcoming, for they were born killers and nearly equals in power and technique. They might even have been brothers, or father and son, had not so vast a span of years separated them. Despite that and the complicated origins of the younger there were those who persisted in seeing a family resemblance between them. As far as the older one was aware – and there was very little he did not know thanks to Huginn and Muninn – that was an impossibility. Still, he did nothing to squash such rumors.

Óðr used the Gallow’s Fruit’s temporary reverie to score a nick on his forearm; Óðinn growled and with a fierce onslaught of blows drove his younger near-double back to the other side of the circle. “Are you sure we can’t just resolve this by talking?”

“Of course we could,” Óðinn grinned. “But this way is much more fun.” He then feinted and when Óðr went to block it kneed him, hard, between the legs, and though a God Óðr crumpled immediately to the ground. “That was cheating,” he said through sucking gasps of air. 

“There is no cheating in war; only winning.”

“Well, let me just say that embodied existence sucks.”

“It has its perks,” Óðinn offered a hand and helped him to his feet. “Speaking of which … my answer is still no.”

“That is disappointing, but hardly surprising.”

“This has nothing to do with the blessing.”

“Then what? You have no problem sending me out against your enemies in the Nine Realms, but visiting a witch in a hut is too much for me?”

“She is no ordinary witch. And there’s nothing ordinary about her hut – it travels about on a chicken leg.” Óðinn imitated its movement with his fingers.

“So she’s small?”

“Big chicken. From before the age of men, when Miðgarðr’s creatures were much different. That’s how old she is, and even older than that.”

“She … sounds familiar. How do you know her?”

Óðinn smiled until he settled on an answer, “There were far fewer Gods back then.”

“Then let me know when you actually have need of me,” Óðr snarled, sheathing his sword and stalking back to his room so he could brood over the absence of his beloved. How had his life come to this? It wasn’t as if she was on the other side of the world; she was in her palatial quarters here at Ásgarðr. But they might as well have been for all the time they got to spend alone together.

As if on cue Höðr, Hjalti, Freyr and Loki entered his room with noisy jocularity and refused to leave until he agreed to visit the frozen waterfalls of Niflheimr with them. Óðr knew an unwinnable war when he saw one, and so consented. The five made it as far as Kvasir’s Tavern before calling it quits.

Would that they had pressed on, for sitting in darkness in the back was Baldr, Bragi and Hermóðr, their moods blacker than their surroundings. They were none too pleased at the five’s arrival, Hjalti in particular.

But you know how the rest of that story goes, and the consequences it set in motion for the denizens of Ásgarðr, so we’ll jump further ahead.

The Dragon Sword

Although we are told that Óðr undertook the quest to retrieve the sword for his liege, I suspect he truly did it for Víðarr and not Óðinn.

Óðr had come to reside in Ásgarðr along with the other hostages at the conclusion of the Æsir-Vanir war, and so had watched Víðarr mature from an awkward and ill-fitting teenager into a strong, clever and handsome prince of the realm. Óðr sympathized with the youth, for he felt the same growing up at the Vanic court, an adopted child of Njörðr.

It was worse for Víðarr however.

Although Óðr’s ancestry was shrouded in mist (or at least the half that was not Alfar) Víðarr’s was not – it was known by all that half of his kin were Jötnar, who were as often as not the enemies of the Æsir. Though he was the dearly loved son of the Allfather that did not stop the suspicious looks and whispered slurs he was forced to endure, and it took tremendous endurance to keep his wrath in check. All Jötnar are hot-blooded to begin with (Ice Giants included) but Víðarr was as much like his mother as his father, and Víðarr’s mother was named Gríðr, which means “frantic eagerness; greed;  vehemence, violence, impetuosity“ and she was all of those things, and much more. It’s why Víðarr had come to live at Ásgarðr rather than be reared by his mother, as was customary among the Jötnar.

And so Óðr befriended Víðarr and took him under his wing, teaching him exercises to control and redirect his rage and constructive ways to give vent to it, such as reveling with the Wild Hunt. He also instructed him in ceremonies, sacrifices and sacred lore since Víðarr showed some aptitude towards priestcraft in addition to the arts of war.

Otherwise Víðarr was sullen, brooding, introspective and preferred the company of the birds and beasts of the woodlands to that of his fellow Ásgardians. He would have made a perfect German Romantic poet, which perhaps explains why Óðr grew so fond of this son of Óðinn.

And why when Óðinn relayed what the Völva had communicated to him Óðr immediately went in search of the dragon and its immense hoard, which contained a sword forged by Vǫlundr himself. If Víðarr was to battle the savage Wolf at the world’s end, he would need the proper weaponry. Óðr did not wish to see him fall, or any of the Æsir or Vanir for that matter. Hopefully with this sword none of them would.

Little did Óðr know that he had been dispatched to find the means by which Óðinn will be avenged, though Óðinn knew it.