( Archivist /Adobe Stock) In Hel (Helheim), the river flows close to the gate of the underworld, acting as a boundary. Helheim (“house of Hel”) is one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology. But what is even more intriguing is the way that the nine worlds of the Nordic mythology were created and formed.. Snorri wrote many generations after Norse paganism had given way to Christianity and ceased to be a living tradition, and he had a habit of stretching the evidence available to him to present his pre-Christian ancestors as having anticipated aspects of Christianity. He then made his way toward the hall of Hel (the goddess), where he found Baldur sitting in the seat of honor.[18]. This is the icy Norse Underworld ruled by Hel. Those who die of old age or disease, and those not killed in battle, go to Helheim while those who die bravely on the battlefield go to Valhalla. Her hall in Helheim is called Eljudnir, Home of the Dead. [19] There was a bridge over the river that one had to cross. Then they came to a raging torrent, flowing with weapons. As they pressed forward, a wall stood in their way; they could go no further, but the woman tore off the head of a cock, which she happened to have with her, and flung it over the wall. In late Icelandic sources, varying descriptions of Hel are given and various figures are described as being buried with items that will facilitate their journey to Hel after their death. p. 156, 168. They passed through mists, and then through sunny, fertile regions, where the herbs had grown. On the bridge stood a giantess, Móðguðr (“Furious Battle”[17]). While the Old Norse sources are far from clear on exactly how one ended up in one of the Norse afterlife realms rather than another (there were several), what is clear is that where one goes after death isn’t any kind of reward for moral behavior or pious belief, or punishment for immoral behavior or impious belief. It even has a name that comes up repeatedly in Old Norse literature: Helvegr, “The Road/Way to Hel.”[10] Given how closely the accounts of this course correspond to the narratives of traditional shamanic journeys of other circumpolar peoples,[11] they seem to recount, and possibly provide templates for, the journeys of Norse shamans. [9] Ellis, Hilda Roderick. Etymology. Throughout the Old Norse sources, we find instances of such journeys to Hel undertaken by gods or humans in order to recover a dead spirit or obtain knowledge from the dead. After traveling through darkness and mist, the traveler would come to a river, perhaps a torrential river of water, but more commonly a river of clanging weapons. [8] Simek, Rudolf. Helheim, the hell of Norse mythology . We modern English speakers call the Christian concept of a land of damnation “Hell” because the concept was called hel or helle in Old English. No one can ever leave this place, because of the impassable river Gjoll that flows from the spring Hvergelmir and … [12] Turville-Petre, E.O.G. Folkvangr vs Valhalla . When Hermod arrived at the fence around Hel, he jumped over it rather than going through the gate. In Norse mythology he is the source of wind blowing, beating his wings to stir a breeze. In late sources, varying descriptions of Hel are given and various figures are described as being buried with items that will facilitate their journey to Hel after their death. Snorri himself blatantly contradicts his distinction between Valhalla and Hel in his version of the tale of the death of Baldur, Odin’s son, who is killed violently and is nevertheless borne to Hel. Helheimr (Realm of Death) is a dark and hostile world ruled by Hel, the mistress of Death. [7] Snorri Sturluson. No one can ever leave this place, because of the impassable river Gjoll that flows from the spring Hvergelmir and encircles Helheim. However, the basic cosmological principle it represents can be tracked far … Helheim was a realm of the dead. ( Public Domain ) Hel is a Norse goddess overseeing another of the realms of the afterlife, Helheim. Underground Nordic land of the deep-frozen dead. Located beyond Niflheim , (one of the Nine Realms ). The Vikings believed that those that died bravely in battle were taken to live in either Valhalla or Folkvangr, halls within Asgard where they would live in a warrior’s paradise until they were called on again to fight alongside the gods at the end of the world. ... At the beginning of the 21st century, Norse Mythology is becoming better known through the media of Comic Books, TV Programs, and Films. [5] The dead in Hel spend their time doing the same kinds of things that Viking Age men and women did: eating, drinking, fighting, sleeping, and so forth. However, this appears to be a later addition to the mythos. Helheim is ruled by Hel, one of the children of Loki. The relevant part of the story goes like this: The god Hermod departed from Asgard, the celestial stronghold of the gods, on Sleipnir, the horse of Odin. Wishing to know where such herbs grew in winter, Hadding went with this woman under the earth. For nine nights, he rode through deep valleys, so pitch-black he could not see the way. A woman appeared bearing some herbs. This cold, dark and misty abode of the dead is located in the world of Niflheim, on the lowest level of the Norse universe. This is repeated by Snorri in the Gylfaginning section of his Prose Edda. 1993. 1993. It is number eight in the spectrum of the Nine Worlds in Norse Mythology and borders to Svartálfaheimr and Niflheimr. 1968. p. 137. [15] Simek, Rudolf. p. 139. She rules Helheim, the Norse Underworld, with an icy fist.. [6] Abram, Christopher. Helheim ( Norse mythology ) The realm of the dead, (also known as Hel ), the domain of the goddess Hel . p. 137. Required fields are marked *. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Helheim (“house of Hel”) is one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology.It is ruled by Hel, the monstrous daughter of the trickster god Loki and his wife Angrboda.. Yggdrasil is the immense tree that connects the nine worlds in Norse cosmology.. p. 208-213. Another typical account is the journey of Hermod to Hel to attempt to retrieve Baldur, who had been killed by Loki. p. 215. This in relation to the Viking Age, meant if you didn’t die in battle you would simply just go to Hel. Some guild members of Ainz Ooal Gown had once thought of trying to conquer one of the worlds in YGGDRASIL. NEXT: God of War: 14 Gods Kratos Killed (& How He Murdered Them) Gylfaginning, chapter 34. Finally, he came to a river, Gjöll (“Loud Noise”[15]), which was spanned by a bridge named Gjallarbrú (“Bridge over Gjöll”[16]). He can be seen in the background when Kratos fights the Bridge Keeper on his first trip to Helheim. 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