aka Wise-woman’s Prophecy, The Prophecy of the Seeress, The Seeress’s Prophecy
- Völuspá by Henry A. Bellows
- Völuspá by Benjamin Thorpe
- Völuspá by Lee M. Hollander
- Völuspá by Patricia Terry
- Völuspá by Dronke, Ursula (hoping to add this )
The first poem in the Poetic Edda
The poem starts with the völva requesting silence from “the sons of Heimdallr” (human beings) and asking Odin whether he wants her to recite ancient lore. She says she remembers giants born in antiquity who reared her.
She then goes on to relate a creation myth and mentions Ymir; the world was empty until the sons of Burr lifted the earth out of the sea. The Æsir then established order in the cosmos by finding places for the sun, the moon and the stars, thereby starting the cycle of day and night. A golden age ensued where the Æsir had plenty of gold and happily constructed temples and made tools. But then three mighty giant maidens came from Jötunheimr and the golden age came to an end. The Æsir then created the dwarves, of whom Mótsognir and Durinn are the mightiest.
At this point ten of the poem’s stanzas are over and six stanzas ensue which contain names of dwarves. This section, sometimes called “Dvergatal” (“Catalogue of Dwarves”), is usually considered an interpolation and sometimes omitted by editors and translators.
After the “Dvergatal”, the creation of the first man and woman are recounted and Yggdrasil, the world-tree, is described. The seer recalls the burning of Gullveig that led to the first “folk” war, and what occurred in the struggle between the Æsir and Vanir. She then recalls the time Freyja was given to the giants, which is commonly interpreted as a reference to the myth of the giant builder, as told in Gylfaginning 42.
The seeress then reveals to Odin that she knows some of his own secrets, and that he sacrificed an eye in pursuit of knowledge. She tells him she knows where his eye is hidden and how he gave it up in exchange for knowledge. She asks him in several refrains if he understands, or if he would like to hear more.
In the Codex Regius version, the seeress goes on to describe the slaying of Baldr, best and fairest of the gods and the enmity of Loki, and of others. Then she prophesies the destruction of the gods where fire and flood overwhelm heaven and earth as the gods fight their final battles with their enemies. This is the “fate of the gods” – Ragnarök. She describes the summons to battle, the deaths of many of the gods and how Odin, himself, is slain by Fenrir, the great wolf. Thor, the god of thunder and sworn protector of the earth, faces Jörmungandr, the world serpent, and wins but Thor is only able to take nine steps afterward before collapsing due to the serpent’s venom. Víðarr faces Fenrir and kicks his jaw open before stabbing the wolf in the heart with his spear. The god Freyr fights the giant Surtr, who wields a fiery sword that shines brighter than the sun, and Freyr falls.
Finally a beautiful reborn world will rise from the ashes of death and destruction where Baldr and Höðr will live again in a new world where the earth sprouts abundance without sowing seed. The surviving Æsir reunite with Hœnir and meet together at the field of Iðavöllr, discussing Jörmungandr, great events of the past, and the runic alphabet. A final stanza describes the sudden appearance of Nidhogg the dragon, bearing corpses in his wings, before the seeress emerges from her trance.
Analyses Analysis Bellows Corona Dutch Edda Edda's Eiriksmal Frigg Frigga Goddess Eir Hakonarmal Har Harald Fairhair Havamal Havamal 2 Havamal 4 Havamol Heathen Heathens Heimdallr Heimskringla High one Hávamál Lokasenna Mimir Nine worlds Odin Petition Poetic Edda Prophecy of the Seeress Prose Edda Ragnarök Sacred text Skaldskaparmal Snorri Sturluson Study The saying of Har Toughts Valhalla Vanaheim Viking Vindheim Völuspá Yggdrasil