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Valkyries by StormloverWolf

Image from Gods & Goddesses Colouring book
Image from Gods & Goddesses Colouring book

“Choosers of the Slain!” These female warriors working under Odin actually directed the course of battles, choosing those they favoured to go onto Valhalla and those left to die that the Valkyries did not feel worthy.

Tradition says that there were 13 warriors. All were directed and trained by Freyja. They are seen as helmeted goddesses with spears, crowned with flames and mounted upon flying horses (Pegasus) whose manes can drop either gentle rain or vigorous hail.

Valkyries were originally seen as sinister spirits of slaughter, dark angels of death who soared over the battlefields like birds of prey, choosing the fates of the warriors in the name of Odin.

In later Norse myth, the Valkyries were then romanticized as Odin's Shield Maidens, virgins with golden hair who served the chosen heroes everlasting mead and meat in the great hall of Valhalla, or as lovely swan-maidens or splendid mounted Amazons. This more appealing portrayal shows vulnerabilities over their more fierce predecessors, that the swan-maidens often fell in love with mortal heroes. These swan-maidens were at risk though, they could be easily trapped on earth if they were ever caught without their plumage.

It is said that some Valkyries had the power to cause the death of the warriors that they did not particularly favour; others, especially those considered heroine Valkyries, guarded the lives and ships of those that were dear to them while others were taken down under.

Valkyries were associated with fearlessness, war, death and fairness.

Some names and meanings of some of the Valkyries are:

Brynhild, Geironul, Geirskogul, Goll, Gondul, Gudrun, Guth, Herfjotur, Hervor (Warder of the Host), Hild (Battle), Hjorthrimul, Hlathguth (Necklass Adorned Warrior Maiden), Hlokk, Hrist, Mist, Olrun (One Knowing Ale Rune), Randgrith, Rathgrith, Reginleif, Sanngrid, Sigrdrife, Sigrun, Skeggjold, Skogul, Skuld (Necessity), Svava, Svipul and Thruth.

The following describes the fall of Brian Boru to Viking forces at the Battle of Clontarf, 1014. Darradarljod

Blood rains from the cloudy web

On the broad loom of slaughter.

The web of man grey as armor

Is now being woven; the Valkyries

Will cross it with a crimson weft.

The warp is made of human entrails;

Human heads are used as huddle-weights;

The huddle rods are blood-wet spears;

The shafts are iron-bound and arrows are the shuttles.

With swords we will weave this web of battle.

The Valkyries go weaving with drawn swords,

Hild and Hjorthrimul, Sanngrid and Svipul.

Spears will shatter shields will sprinter,

Swords will gnaw like wolves through armor.

Let us now wind the web of war

Which the young king once waged.

Let us advance and wade through the ranks,

Where friends of ours are exchanging blows.

Let us now wind the web of war

And then follow the king to battle

Gunn and Gondul can see there

The blood-spattered shields that guarded the king.

Let us now wind the web of war

Where the warrior banners are forging forward

Let his life not be taken;

Only the Valkyries can choose the slain.

Lands will be ruled by new peoples

Who once inhabited outlying headlands

We pronounce a great king destined to die;

Now an earl is felled by spears.

The men of Ireland will suffer a grief

That will never grow old in the minds of men.

The web is now woven and the battlefield reddened;

The news of disaster will spread through the lands.

It is horrible now to look around

As a blood-red cloud darkens the sky.

The heavens are stained with the blood of men.

As the Valkyries sing their song.

We sang well victory songs

For the young kind; hail to our singing!

Let him who listens to our Valkyrie song

Learn it well and tell it to others.

Let us ride our horses hard on bare backs,

With swords unsheathed away from here!

Whether you choose to see them as heroine's or not is up to each of you. I would like to think that I may have been a Valkyrie in a past life, but of course not the vicious ones!


Sources: Richard Wagner “Ride of the Valkyries Image from Gods and Goddesses Colouring book by Rachel Patterson

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