Following the previous post, I will continue with the sites of greatest importance in Asgard.
Let’s start with Valhalla.
Valhalla is the most famous place of all the Nine worlds and the Norse history, everyone has heard about it at least once, nowadays it became even more famous with movies, music and games. But do people really know what Valhalla really is?
Valhalla is the home of the Einherjar, the warriors who fall in battles and are chosen by Odin. Valhalla is both the fortified town and the great hall. The hall is made of giant wooden spear-shafts and the roof covered with many colored battle shields. Near the western entrance a carved figure of a wolf is “guarding” the door, and the eastern side it is the figure of an eagle.
Inside the Hall there are at least five hundred and forty doors (this is one of the biggest halls of all of Asgard) and of course, behind each of these doors are rooms for eight hundred warriors. Strangely enough, Valhalla (the hall) isn’t full, but it has enough people to form a small city.
Valhalla isn’t just a place for warriors, not is it just a place to fight and learn how to fight, and prepare for battles and such things. Valhalla is also a place of learning, it also has a great library, places for spiritual purposes, leisure, the inner chamber for the feasts etc. thing of it as a great university.
Valhalla is not for the faint hearted, for the lazy or for the weak minded and are used to have an easy life, however, even those might enter to become better individuals, expand knowledge, grow spiritually and mentally, but this does not mean that they are able to remain there for a long time, or in some cases, by the time they are set to stay. All those who enter there are chosen by Odin.
It is true that on the roof of Valhalla an enormous goat and a great stag wander around grazing on the thatched roof. The goats name is Heidrun and she is milked twice daily. The stag is named Eikthrynir, as the name suggests, it is old norse for “Oak thorn”, along with his companion, the goat, they nibble the bark of the enormous tree that grows beside the roof. This tree also has a name, Laerad they call it, and it is a sapling of the world tree Yggdrasil.
The main route into the hall is through the great double doors, but they are heavily guarded of course. There is a back way into Valhalla an it is through the kitchen, where the cook Andhrimmer works.
Andhrimmer has a giant magical kettle, named Eldhrimmer, in which he cooks the stew for the million starving warriors upstairs. The myth tells us of one enormous resurrecting boar, Saehrimmer, which is slaughtered every night for the feast and revived again the next morning with no memory of what happened.
Odin’s Valkyries work in the hall. All of them are tall and strong, fierce, they are referred to as shield-maidens. They can change into various birds such as ravens and swans, usually dressed in armor when on duty, being one of their first duties the picking up of anyone fallen in battle that Odin feels that it may be the appropriate character to enter Valhalla, a person worthy to be part of his troops. The Valkyries may have a human appearance, but they aren’t humans, far from it.
The Valkyries who are in charge of making sure that the Einherjar get fed are named Herfjotur, Goll, Geirahod, Geirdriful, Geirolu, Geirromul, Geirrondul, Geirskigull, Geiravor, and Skeggjold. Two more, Hrist and Mist, are Odin’s personal dinner-servants and serve only him. The three most important Valkyries are Gondul, Hildr, and Skogul, who are in charge of deciding which warriors is taken on to the battlefield. The three of them tend not to ride straight onto the field, they are generals who watch from the sky. They are mistresses of war and magic, and can be invoked for aid and to teach battle-galdr. They will only teach those who are sworn to Odin, unless he instructs them to teach someone else. One may also encounter human women who are claimed by Odin as his Valkyries and who occasionally visit Valhalla as well.
There are other Valkyries that we know of , they are so called Halmthrimull, Herja, Hervor, Hildeberg, Hjorthrimul, Holukk, Hrund, Kara, Kreimhildr, Olrun, Ragridr, Rangnid, Reginleif, Sanngridr, Sigrdrifa, Sigrun, Skamold, Svava, Svanhvit, Sveid, Svipull, Tanngnidr, Thogn, and Thrima. Eir occasionally rides with the valkyries as well, though her function seems to be that of a battlefield healer, she may bring a merciful death to some of the fallen.
Valhalla is the home of Odin, however he isn’t there all the time but visits it often. When he enters Valhalla, his spear, Gungnir, is hung over the outside doorway as a sign that he is within.
During the Yule, it is from Asgard that the Asgardsreia beings and people who visit Valhalla during this time might get the chance to see it or even participate in it. This festival is the wild hunt, various deities also participate in it, wights, some of the Einherjar, other spirits and so on.