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Friday, April 6, 2012

April 5th and E Day

I forgot today was Thursday and I missed an appointment, I actually got more wrapped up in making sure everyone else got their stuff done today and failed to do my own. I actually have a hard time with that sort of thing when the kids are off from school.

E is for Einherjar, which means "Single-Harrier", the chosen slain who dwell with the Gods in Asgard, half go to Valhalla, the other half go to Freyja's hall Folkvang. Most people don't realize that she also, in addition to being a fertility Goddess, is a Goddess of war, and chief Valkyrie. The Norse Gods are multi-faceted individuals, they rarely fit into a single pigeon-hole job description, and I suspect that when they do it's more because the lore has been lost than that they were so one dimensional to begin with. Anyway, pretty much all Norse warriors want to die in battle so they can be deemed worthy of this afterlife, it involves a great deal of fighting and partying, a heaven for warriors. Some who were dying from other means would have themselves marked by a spear or sword so it would appear that they had died of battle wounds rather than old age or disease, particularly if they had lived an otherwise worthy life.

E is for Eir, whom Snorri lists as a Goddess of the Aesir. Like many of the Goddesses, not too many tales of her remain in existence, by which I mean none, but we do have her general portfolio, which concerns health care and healing, she is called "The best of Physicians".

E is for Elves, that I should have covered under the letter A, since the Old Norse word is Alfar, but I'll cut myself a little slack on this one. The Norse divided the Elves into two types, the "Light" Elves known as Ljosalfar (Light Elves) and the "Dark" Elves known as Dokkalfar (Dark Elves) or Svartalfar (Black Elves). As much as I'd like this to be a cut and dried Good/Evil thing, it's not. Despite the fact that the Ljosalfar are associated with the God Frey, they aren't always Good; and despite the fact that the Dokkalfar may look like the Drow, they aren't necessarily Evil, although they are usually cranky. The Dokkalfar, or Svartalfar, if you prefer, are possibly the same thing as Dvergar (Dwarves), the surviving lore has a lot of overlap and confusing crossover. Some Alfar may, in fact, be the returned spirits of humans come to watch over their families from their burial mounds too, which would mean that they were ancestral spirits or undead, depending on your point of view.

E is for Embla, the first human woman, created from a tree, probably an Elm. The First human man, created at the same time was Askr, created from an Ash tree. I missed him when I did the letter A, so I am glad I got to do the Norse Adam and Eve myth here, for the record the two trees were found by Odin, Vili and Ve while they were out walking and the three Gods, all brothers, decided to fashion them into the parents of the human race.