Valhalla

From Nordic Names - www.nordicnames.de - All rights reserved.

Valhalla (Old Norse Valhǫll) is the name of Óðinn's home in Ásgarðr where he gathers the warriors slain in battle around him.

The name Valhǫll is a combination of Old Norse valr = 'those slain on the battlefield' and hǫll = 'hall' or hallr = 'flat stone, flat rock'.

The hall is situated in the part of Ásgarðr called Glaðsheimr. It is thatched with spears and shields and armour lies on the benches. One of the 540 gates to Valhalla is called Valgrind (probably the one through which the slain warriors enter) and a wolf lies in front of it and an eagle soars above.

The Valkyries lead the slain heroes (Einherjar) to this hall, to Óðinn. They serve him with meat from the boar Sæhrímnir (which the cook Andhrímnir prepares in the cauldron Eldhrímnir). The Einherjar drink mead with this meal which flows from the udders of the goat Heiðrún. Óðinn only drinks wine, and he feeds the wolves Geri and Freki with his own food.

The Einherjar fight the whole day with each other, but in the evening they are all alive again and sit around together, drinking. This seems to give an impression of how Viking Age warriors imagined paradise.

At Ragnarǫk, the Einherjar will march out: 800 through each of the gates. Then they will fight on the side of the gods against Fenrir and the powers of the Underworld. [1]

References

  1. Rudolf Simek: Dictionary of Northern Mythology (1993)