… the Beginning

 

 

“Myth is not prehistory, it is an eternal reality that repeats itself over history.”

Ernst Jünger

This Old Saxon hymn is one that I sing on Twelfth Night.

(Originally published on Ordgeþanc 12/31/2016)

Hwē mah wārlīko· gimang wermannum
werthigōsta tėllian· waldgodo dėdio
thero thea ādrosto· ēsi makodun,
hwan godu werolda· grôta skappun,
ertha brêda· uphimil hôhan
ėndi wallandan· wāgsêo diopan?

Sō munan ik mōt · medo mah ik drinkan
af themo Alswīthon· eofullen horne;
Sōtho mīnan sang· singan mīk lāte
sō sōthword ekir· singan ik mah.

That fregoda ik mid ferahum· forawitono mêstono
that ertha ne was· noh uphimil
noh bôm nênig· noh berg ne was
noh swigle sterron· noh sunna ne skên
noh māno ne liuhtida· noh was the māri sêo.

Thanna Wōdan wrisi· thena wildan slōh
thrīrosum than slōh· thuris ovargrôtan
gėgin argan eton· mid ordum slōhun:

is blōd warhtun· bremflōdu mikleru
wellandum watare· wāge brêdum
themo ėgislīkeru ahu· ėndi ovardioperu;

is flêsk warhtun· foldu brêderu
grunde wīdum· grōneru wurthi
erthu areru· jak alberanderu;

is bên warhtun· bergum stênīnum
holmum hôhum· huvilum stėgilum
wīdum fėlisum· wundargrôtum;

is hār warhtun· hardum diopum
bômholtum brêdum· berewidum grôtum
waldum thiustrum· wundarmirkum;

ôgon is warhtun· alsehanderu sunna
wīdglōiandum rathe· welglītandum skildo
māran mānon· themu metandan ôk;

hôvidbên is warhtun · himiles thakke
wegakkare sunna· wandarfelde mānon
that sterrono land· stormo ermanero;

githāhtium is warhtun · thiustria wolkanun
ėndi ūstwolkanun· althėkkianda
stormwolkanun grôta· strīdiga ja grimma;

tandium is warhtun · torne stênos
harde fėlisos· hėviga lėia
unôthia klif· ėndi ênharda;

brāwum is sia warhtun · bergandian riki
eder swīthlīkan· īsarnīnan tūn
brêda marka· bittara withar fīandun
etonum undar· in ūtlandum
jak middelgarde mikilum· mankunnies hême.

An medeme wahsid· middelgarda
brunnon ovar diopōstum· bôm hôhōsta
an sôthe bi sūli· sōnastėdi standid
sia ēsi thār· ādrosto samnodun
ja dōmos rėthodun· dag ėndi naht
morgan ja namodun· ėndi middendag
āvand ja ūhta· alle mahlidun
tīdi tō tėllian· that tal gēres.

Sunna sia sėttidun· swigle sterron
of wegum iro āwėndian· ja wathalōndan māno
hevan tō hėbbian· hêtun sia than
Ôst ėndi West· Ertha an rande
North ėndi Sūth· nithara radure.

Wōdan tō were· ja wīve than gaf
thrīrosum than gaf· tharflīka geva
līf gavun līk gavun· lud ėndi āthom
ferah gavun gêst gavun· farwi ėndi hêli
Mannes kunnie· māgum askes.

Irminsūl hêtid· aska grôtōsta
hôh ist that bôm· hwīte sindun asti
wīd ist the strunk· wurti sindun diopa
brêdum undar astium· brunno wellid
thār webbia thria· wėllu an sittiad
Wurd ist thero êrista· Werthanda ōthara
skerrad of stokkum· Skuld thea thriddia.
Mahtig sindun thea webbia· mahtig that wėbbi
mahtig iro giskap· ovar mannum ėndi godum.

Hôho in bôme· in hevanwangum
in tīrlīkum sėlium· tīwos giwonod;
diopo undar erthu· gidwerg būad
ėndi bihwelvide· hėlwonārios;
mankunni an middie· in middelgarde.
Hôriad an hevane· gī hôhe godu
ūs hēr anskauwad · mid unwrêthum ôgon!
ūsa gibed unnun· blīthie ēsi
that that irminbôm· eomêr stande!

Translation:

Who among men may truly
tell in the worthiest way of the ruling gods’ deeds
those that the gods did earliest,
when the gods shaped the great world,
broad earth, high up-heaven,
and the welling, deep wave-sea ?

As I must remember, so may I drink mead
from the ever-full horn of Alswītho;
True One, let me sing my song
so that I may sing only words of truth.

I learned of the greatest fore-knowers among men
that earth was not, nor up-heaven
nor was any tree, nor mountain,
nor shining stars, nor did the sun shine
nor glowed the moon, nor was the famous sea.

Then Wōdan struck the wild giant
one amongst three he struck the over-great thurs
against the evil giant they struck with points:

of his blood they wrought the great brim-flood
welling water, broad waves,
the awe-like water and overdeep;

of his flesh they wrought the broad earth
wide ground, green ground,
ripe and all-bearing earth;

of his bones they wrought stony mountains,
high hills, steep cliffs
wide boulders wonder-great;

of his hair they wrought deep woods
tree-holts broad, forest-woods great
forests dark, wonder-mirky;

of his eyes they wrought all-seeing Sun,
wide-glowing wheel, well-glistening shield,
and also the famous, measuring moon;

of his head-bone they wrought heaven’s roof,
Sun’s way-acre, Moon’s wander-field,
the land of stars, of great storms.

of his thoughts they wrought dark clouds,
and storm-clouds all-covering,
storm-clouds great, battlesome and grim;

of his teeth they wrought bitter stones
hard boulders, heavy rocks
unlight cliffs and very hard;

wrought they of his brows a protecting hedge,
a strong fence, an iron fence,
a broad march, bitter against foes,
between giants in outlands
and great Middleyard, mankind’s home.

At the middle of Middleyard grows,
the highest beam over the deepest well;
a judgement-stead stands at the well by the pillar;
there the gods gathered themselves earliest
and spoke dooms, day and night
and morning named, and midday,
evening and early-morning all spoke,
time to tell, the year’s tally.

Sun they set, shining stars,
to wend on their ways, and wandering moon,
then they ordered to heave heaven
East and West on Earth’s edge
North and South below the sky.

Wōdan then gave to man and wife,
one among three, then gave needful gifts:
life they gave, body they gave, shape and breath,
life they gave, ghost they gave, color and health
to Man’s kin, to the relatives of the ash tree.

Great Pillar is called the greatest of ash trees
high is the beam, white are branches,
wide is the trunk, roots are deep;
under broad branches a well flows,
there three weavers sit at the well:
Wurd is the first, Werthanda the other –
they score upon staves – Skuld the third.
Mighty are the weavers, mighty the web,
mighty their fate over men and gods.

High in the tree, in heaven-fields,
in glorious halls gods dwell;
deep under earth dwarves live
and the hidden Hell-dwellers;
mankind in the middle, in Middleyard.
Hear in heaven, ye high gods,
see us here with unwroth eyes!
grant our prayer, blithe gods,
that that great tree forever stand!

The End…

For years after I first became a Heathen, I struggled with the meaning of Yule: as a child, Christmas had been my favorite holiday, and research into Christmas customs had led me, eventually, to Heathenry. Yet as a Catholic child, I knew what Christmas meant. I had no such understanding of Yule, and that caused me a great deal of angst.

Thus, one of the most important moments in my religious education was when I read about sacred time in Eliade’s “The Sacred and the Profane”, and that end-of-year holidays across cultures draw most if not all of their meaning from end-of-world myths. I immediately began to see connections between the customs that I had studied and the general schemata of celebrations occurring at the end of the year/world in a vast number of cultures the world over. Thus, I drew connections between Yule and the myth of Ragnarǫk.

(I know that there are those who think that the myth of Ragnarǫk, even the entirety of both Eddas, have little if anything to do with Germanic religion as it was practiced and understood. I am aware of their arguments and, respectfully, I differ.)

So here is something that I wrote in Old Frisian, borrowing freely from both the Old Icelandic Vǫlospá, and the Old High German apocalyptic poem Muspilli. This is one of the hymns that I sing on Mothernight, the first night of Yule.

(Originally published on Ordgeþanc 12/10/2016)

 

Thet hêrde ik rêda· thâ riuchtwîsa
thet Winter skal kuma· thi wunderlang
ône Sumur ênich· ne sefte weder
swart skal thâ skîna· Sunne therefter.

Thâ skal thi hund jella· fora helledore
bende skal bersta· blôdiga renna
thâ dâda mugun alle· diâpithe ûtrunna
âk on hrêwei kuma· hellewenere.

Brôthera skelen hiâ bēra· âk tô him bana wertha
swesterlingar· sibbe skelen forderva
herd is thet in hâmum· hôrdôm mizil
skathatîd, skefttîd· skeldar send klovene
windtîd, werchtîd· êr thiu warld falleth
ne mei ênich mann· ôthere sparia.

Thet bâm warlda· biviath mith windum
este skeddath· all ondrêdath
Etenar mith orloge· tô Êsum farath
Hâga mith hâvde· hâmelîke rêdeth.
Sâ thet himelisk horn· jihlûded wirdith
and him thi warldwaldere· on thene wei urhevith
thanne hevith him mith· herana mêstera
thet ist all sâ frevellik· thet him nâmann jifiuchta ne mei.

Thâ Wêda with wolf· thene wilden rîdeth
Walfeder falleth· in warges maga
wîdere steppeth· wrêzelik sunu
bodeme twisk and himile· balmûla rendeth.
Thâ skal thi warldslanga· mith Wîthuner strîda
thi werch ist jewêpned· under him wîch forbilgth
kampum send sô kreftlik· thiu kâse ist sô grât
skel hî in thêra wîchstede· wund bifalla
and in thâm sîthe· sîlâs wertha.

Wîchthuner with werm· thene wrêthen strîdeth
dâthslachta driupith· mith duriga hamre
bana hî wirthith· thes baluwermes
hwande nêdra êttere· thâ nitherfalleth.

Thach wênath that manich· werthige godamenn
thet âwerded werthe· in thâm wîge Thuner
sô thet sathuneres blôd· on erthe jesîpith
sô urbarnath thâ bergar· bâm ne jestandith
ênich on erthe· â ordrukniath
foraswelketh hit môr · swilath logum thi himel
môna falleth· middeljerd barneth
stên ne jistanth· thane stêringedei hider farith
farith mith thâm fior· ferch tô ofbarna
thâ ne mei thanna mage ôthra· helpa thâm muspille fora
thanne thî brêdlik brand· forabarneth all
and fior and luft· urfurviath hit all
hwêr ist thanne thiu merke· thêr jâ mann mith magum sînum facht?

Erthe skal rîva· âk uphimel
Sunne tâwath hia swart· sîgeth Folde in mere
hwirvith of himele· hêdere stêra
springith hâch hête· with himel selven.

Eft skal up kuma· ôthrere tîde
erthe ût thēra â· âmmêrgrēne
thâ water fliâtath· waldar blôiath
âk unsiâde· ekkerar waxath.

God skelen samnia· et gadringelôch
âk mêna thêr· on meindômar
erva skelen wenia· in Alfederis hove
and thêr skelen walda· wathemar goda.

Uppa hrênere erthe· mith hâgere froude
menn skelen wenia· in morgen nîa,
Sunne skal rîsa· sê skal walla
bâm skal blôma· men balu wilia.

 

Translation:
That I heard the right-wise say,
that the wonder-long Winter shall come
without any Summer nor soft weather,
the Sun shall then shine black thereafter.

Then shall the hound bay before Hell-door,
fetter shall burst, bloody-one shall run,
then may all the dead flow out of the depths
and the Hell-dwellers come on the corpse-way.

Brothers shall threaten each other and become each other’s banes
sisters’ children shall ruin kinship,
that is hard in the homes, great whoredom,
scathe-tide, shaft-tide, shields are cloven,
wind-tide, warg-tide, before the world falls,
nor may any man spare others.

The tree of worlds shakes with winds
branches shudder, all are in dread
etens fare to the gods with war
High One secretly speaks with a head .

As the heavenly horn is sounded,
and the world-ruler heaves himself onto the way,
then heaves with him the greatest of armies
that is all so bold that no one may fight against it.
Wóden rides against the wild wolf,
Walfather falls in the warg’s maw,
Wider steps the vengeful son,
between ground and heaven rends the bale-maw.

Then shall the world-serpent against Wîthuner strive,
the warg is weaponed, the battle will begin between them
the fighters are so strong, the cause is so great
he shall fall wounded in the battle-stead
and become bereft of victory in the way.

Fight-Þunor strives against the wroth worm
drops death-blows with brutal hammer
becomes the bane of the bale-worm
then falls down from the adder’s poison.

Though many worthy gods’ men ween
that in the fight Thuner becomes wounded,
so that sathuner’s blood seeps onto the earth,
so the mountains burn up, no tree stands
any on earth, waters dry up
the moor consumes itself, heaven burns with flames
moon falls, middleyard burns
no stone stands, the day of destruction fares hither,
fares with the fire to burn lives away
then may kin not help the other before the Muspille
for when the broad brand burns up all
and fire and wind sweep it all away
where is then the march where before a man fought with his kin?

Earth shall split and up-heaven
Sun shows herself black, Earth sinks in the sea
the clear stars whirl in heaven
high heat springs against heaven itself.

Afterwards up shall come, another time,
earth out of the water, ever-green
then water flows, forests bloom
and unsown acres grow.

Gods shall gather at the gathering-lea
and think there on mighty dooms
heirs shall dwell in Allfather’s court
and there shall rule the gods’ holy places.

Upon the clean earth with high joy
men shall dwell in a new morning,
Sun shall rise, sea shall well
tree shall bloom, but bale fade.

Winternights

This Old Frisian hymn reflects some of my thoughts on the identity of the cult of the ancestors with the cult of the elves, which combines information from figures such as Fróði and Ólafr Geirstaðaálfr.

(Originally published on Ordgeþanc 10/7/2012)

 
Liâcht hochnisse· lêdeth mî thruch
diunkernisse dimme· et deis enda
dei wirthith kort· diunkernisse lang
wind wirthith kald· sâ wanath thet jêr.
Thet webb ik weve· worda thrêda
lâre-thrêdar lendze· lang ik hiâ spanna.

Êrist ik hûgie· êdilena formra
the skînath in rîmum· rinkar ethele
Hengst thene sterken· Hars thene gôden
folkwalda Frôda· frô in hôge.
Lange in berge· lidzeth kening
slêpeth in drâmum· sôthkening rîzes
diûpe hî drâmeth· hwenne diôre nêd
bêreth sîn liôde· mith bêrum thiûstrum.

Tô hôch-keninge· helenum liôdum
êdilum ûsrum· alfskînendum
jefta wî jevath· jernmôdige
walkumen wî biâdath· winternachtes
thiâd tôgadere· in thiûsternisse kêthath
quika âk dâda· kêthath tôsemine
warath ûs jî holda· wîtath ûs jî helena
sâ wî jû hugiath· sâ hugiath jî ûs
êdila ûsre· fora âmmêrmâr.

 

Translation:
Light of memory leads me through
dim darkness at day’s end
day becomes short, darkness long
wind becomes cold as the year wanes.
I weave the web of words’ threads,
lengthen lore-threads, long I stretch them.

First I remember, of the first ancestors
that shine in songs, noble heroes:
Hengest the strong, Horsa the good
Fróði folk-ruler, the lord in the howe.
Long lies a king in the mountain
the true king of the kingdom sleeps in dreams
he dreams deeply until dire danger
threatens his people with dark threats.

To the howe-king, to the hidden people,
to our elf-shining forbears,
we give gifts eagerly,
we bid welcome at winter-nights,
we call the people together in darkness,
the living and the dead we call together;
defend us, you true ones; guard us, you hidden ones,
as we remember you, so remember you us,
our ancestors, forevermore.

Harvest

In this Old Frisian hymn, the section on Wêda (Wóden) draws not only from the myth of the mead of poetry, but from a couple of Low Saxon harvest-songs mentioned by Grimm in Teutonic Mythology that call upon Wode or Wold, which seem to be names in Low Saxon folklore derived from Old Saxon Wōdan.

(Originally published on Ordgeþanc 12/13/2010)

 

Wî hugiath ûta alde · êdere tîdum
eldiûre mêre, · êdilena rîmar:
wî goda hêrdon · grâtere mechte,
enste gôdere · tô offrerum:
urjetath wî ne · grâtena dêda,
nerendum wî thankiath · fora nêdhelpe.
Kumath jî mith Hâga · hêrlike Êse,
Êsinna alle · ethele mith Frîa!
Bakkenes brâdes · brêdera hlêva,
biâres brewenes · blîthmôdiges,
bêthera ondfâth · barmhertiga,
langlîvige · lof âk froude!

Herefedre wî singath, · hâchsta âk ferista,
warlde skeppre · âk weifara,
the landa lane · ûrlange geng
tô finda âk ofnima · fîand-handum
wîsdôm urstilen · efter wîch-grithe.
Geng sâ Baluwirza · bivia linda
ekkrum rîpe · Etenalandes,
mêdum brôthres · meda hôderes.
Nigun ther sturvun · in nîthslachta,
wrise thâ warth nû · wimmerelâs;
nigunfalde wimmede · nêta gêres,
mēde sumurlang · jēn mededranke
berge in, of breide · bergade, junge.
Slanga bilîke · smûgede hî binna,
upward hî flâch · ernlîke thana,
mede hî brochte · mêna Êsa;
breide thoch lâvde · bittere târar.
Thû heven-kening · fon hâchêdum siuchst
hwet biskiath elle · and thû skâwast dene;
in ûsere feldum · stath fôder gôd
fora hungerich hars; · kum Hâga tô ûs,
thi lest allra skôva · lêvath wî thî,
wesa walkumen · Wêda hâchsta
âka ik lof jâta · the ût lippum rinnth;
hî môd frîath · hî mênhêde stêrth,
fon thîne medejefte · sē mîn mûth â full!
Jef gôd âr jâ · jefst thû ûs êr
thâ jef thes eft · jêrum efter!

Folde wî singath · feste onstallde
môder gomena · âk môder goda,
full bist thû waxen · fethmes Êses;
thû erthe brâd · âk alberand,
ûseren sang hêr thû · onsiuch ûs hîr
unwrêthe âgum, · enstlike môde!
Jef gôd âr jâ · jefst thû ûs êr
thâ jef thes eft · jêrum efter!

Thunere wî singath · thrûthiga kampa
hwâm mith fîr-wurpna · fioriga hamre
bergiath thâ feld, · bringeth rîpe
geldene âre · gerstakornes,
hwît-berdades · hwêtekornes,
râd-geldenes · roggakornes,
gêt-fêdandes, · god-fêdanes havra,
ellik kornes · allera felda.
Mechtich ist sîn wald · mann tô helpa!
Thuner Ellemechtich · ûsere thankar hêr!
Loviath wî tô himle · thene hlûden dôm
wîheftiges · Wêdnes suna,
almechtiges · Erthe suna!
Jef gôd âr jâ · jefst thû ûs êr
thâ jef thes eft · jêrum efter!

Inge wî singath · ever-bald wîgand,
waldande hêra · weinrîdande,
fretho thû bringest · froude mith and hêle
skiprîdere · âk skôfberand
the wela bringeth gôd, · walnissa alle,
rîza and sunde, · rein hâlsumen.
Under thînre walde · waxe thâ feld,
korn wal grôwe, · thet kind ekkra!
Under thînre walde · waxe swêga,
hrîtherfiâ grôwe · hôvedes kennes!
Under thînre walde · waxe thet folk,
wer-kind âk wîf-kind · wammum ûtberne,
megar and megitha, · mann uppa erthe,
thrûthige liôde, · thiâd ûrmechtich!
Jef gôd âr jâ · jefst thû ûs êr
thâ jef thes eft · jêrum efter!

Hrôpath wî ji hâga · hêrlika, ethela,
hêrath âk siath ûs, · hugiath wî ji âmmêr,
enst wî biâdath · edilena goda,
jerne wî offrath · grâtum êsum!

 

Translation:

We remember out of old, early times
very precious tales, ancestors’ tales:
we heard of the gods’ great might,
of good favor to sacrificers:
we do not forget the great ones’ deeds,
we thank the saving ones for help in need.
Come you with the High One, lordly gods,
all noble (beautiful) goddesses with Frige!
Of broad loaves of baked bread,
of blithe-mooded brewed beer,
receive both, Gracious Ones,
long-living praise and joy!

To Army-father we sing, highest and first,
world’s maker and wayfarer
who walked the over-long road of lands
to find and take from enemy hands
wisdom stolen after battle-truce.
The shaker of shields walked as Bale-Worker
to the ripe acres of the land of giants,
to the meadows of the mead-warden’s brother.
Nine died there in hate-slaughter,
the giant then became reaper-less;
nine-fold reaped the user of the spear,
a summer-long payment for a mead-drink
in the mountain, guarded by a young bride.
Like a snake he crept therein,
upward he flew, eagle-like, from there,
mead he brought to the gathering of gods;
though he left behind bitter tears for the bride.
You heaven-king, from the heights you see
all that happens when you look down;
in our fields stands good fodder
for a hungry horse; come High One to us,
the last of all sheaves we leave to you,
be welcome, highest Wóden
as I pour praise that runs out of lips;
he frees the mind, he destroys falsehood,
may my mouth be ever full of your mead-gift!
If ever before you gave us good harvest
then give thus again in years after!

To Earth we sing, firmly placed
mother of men and mother of gods,
you are grown full of a god’s embrace;
You broad and all-bearing earth,
hear our song, look upon us here
(with) unwroth eyes, favorable mood!
If ever before you gave us good harvest
then give thus again in years after!

To Thuner we sing, powerful fighter
who with far-thrown, fiery hammer
protects the fields, brings to ripeness
golden ears of barley-corn,
of white-bearded wheat-corn,
of red-golden rye-corn,
of goat-feeding, god-feeding oats,
every corn of all fields.
Mighty is his power to help men!
Thunor Almighty, hear our thanks!
We praise to heaven the loud fame
of the hallowed son of Wóden,
of the almighty son of Earth!
If ever before you gave us good harvest
then give thus again in years after!

To Ing we sing, boar-bold fighter,
ruling lord, wagon-riding,
you bring frith with joy and hail,
ship-rider and sheaf-bearing
who brings good wealth, all of wellnesses,
riches and health, wholesome rain.
Under your power may the fields wax,
grain grow well, the child of fields!
Under your power may the herds wax,
cattle grow of the hoofed kin!
Under you power may the folk wax,
man-child and woman-child born out of wombs,
youths and maidens, men upon the earth,
a powerful people, a greatly mighty tribe!
If ever before you gave us good harvest
then give thus again in years after!

We call you high ones, lordly ones, noble ones,
hear and see us, we remember you always,
we wish for good favor of ancestors’ gods,
eagerly we sacrifice to the great gods!

Midsummer – Wóden

(Old Frisian. Originally published on Ordgeþanc 6/3/2010)

Hrôpe ik ût · over himilbrêde,
over wêdenblâw · over wolkengrê,
over thēt wîde · weinpath thēra sunne:
Hlesta thû Wêda, harka thû Wêda
wîsange hâgum, · wordum holdum!
Hêr thû on himle, · hêr thû on erthe,
hêr thû on saltum · hâstum flôdsê!
Hêr thû, Hâchsta, · ûser hrênen sang,
kum thû âk hlesta · krîga hîr froude.
Allfederis êre · âmmêr ik mêne
nâ urjete nâmmêr; · ik ûtjâte sîne lof!

Evenhâch in aldrum · êristum skôp
thene unlenda sê · hwan mith orde hî slôch
jēn ergen eten · thene overgrâta,
bandēde from! · hwan thet blôd ût rann;
âk grât erthe · grēna mith wexma,
thene brêda grund · hû berith alle;
âk himil hâgen, · hâren, wîden,
thene hêliga hrôf · hêrlikstra goda.

Sêle stulten · Sôtha upstôth
hâch tô halda · himiles wîde,
êwatrē erthfest · âmmêrgrēne
bâm âk burna · fora blîthe god,
âstede in êwe · alderlangre.
Etenar bibenn · jonda ûtrosta sê,
Bêlâge skôp · bolwerk stôklich,
mechtigen tûn · middelgarda umbe,
wathem hî worchte · Wêda hêlich.
Lof wî him jevath· lîfdegar alle
êre rêkath· in ênisse!

Hangade Hâga · hâch on bâme,
Wêda sellde · Wêdne selve
Wêda sâ offer · wîjefte sum,
blôtere, blôtena, · blôtnama underêna,
dâgole kunda · ût diunkernisse feng.
Lof wî him jevath· lîfdegar alle
êre rêkath· in ênisse!

Skînanda skeppre · unskînanda âk,
aldfeder thēra goda · aldfeder manna
âk keninga feder · kenna allra,
Wêda, hlesta · wîsange hâgum!
Wêda, harka · wordum holdum!
Nâwet sunder thî · kumith sî tô mann;
Sîfeder Wêda, · sî jef thû ûs!
Nâwet bihalva thî · kumith hêrskip tô mann;
himilesk hêra, · hêrskip ûs fremme!
Ône walde thîn · kumith nên wîsdôm tô mann;
Wittich Wêda, · wîsdôm ûs selle!
Gêrwerpere, · grimm Sîdgrano,
herdmôdich hêra, · hêl sē thû âmmêr!
Folkfêra hildes, · fêdere wolva,
lof wî thî jevath· lîfdegar alle
êre rêkath· in ênisse!

Translation:

I call out over heaven-breadths,
over woad-blue, over cloud-grey,
over the wide wagon-path of the Sun:
Listen Wêda, harken Wêda
to a high holy song, to gracious words!
Hear in heaven, hear on earth,
hear on the salty, forceful flood-sea!
Hear, Highest, our pure song,
come and listen, receive here joy.
Of Allfather’s honor always I think
nor forget never, I pour out his praises!

Just-As-High in earliest ages shaped
the deep sea when he struck with point
against the overly huge, wicked giant,
a doughty killing! when the blood ran out;
and the great earth, green with growth,
the broad ground that bears all;
and heaven high, lofty, wide,
the holy roof of the most glorious gods.

The True One stood up a proud pillar
to hold high heaven’s expanse,
a law-tree, earth-fast, evergreen,
a tree and well for blithe gods,
a law-stead in age-long eternity.
He banished the giants beyond the outermost sea,
Bale-Eye shaped a stiff bulwark,
a mighty fence around the middle garth,
he wrought a sacred place, holy Wêda.
We give him praise all life-days,
give him honor in eternity!

High-One hanged high on the tree,
Wêda gave to Wêda himself
Wêda as sacrifice, quite a sacred gift,
sacrificer, sacrificed, sacrifice-taker altogether,
took secret knowledge out of darkness.
We give him praise all life-days,
give him honor in eternity!

Creator of the seen and the unseen,
ancestor of the gods, ancestor of men
and father of kings of all kins,
Wêda, listen to a high sacred song!
Wêda, hearken to gracious words!
Not without you comes victory to men;
Victory-father Wêda, give thou victory to us!
Not without you comes good rule to men;
heavenly lord, give us good rule!
Without your power comes no wisdom to men;
Wise Wêda, give us wisdom!
Spear-thrower, grim Wide-beard,
hard-minded lord, be hale always!
Folk-leader of war, feeder of wolves,
we give you praise all life-days,
give you honor in eternity!

Midsummer – Þunor

(Old Frisian. Originally published on Ordgeþanc 6/10/2010)

 
Tellinga ik hêrde · triûwe, alde
umbe fîrkûthen heleth · felekreftigen,
mechtigen kampa · mēga Wêdnes,
fêra blixna · fêring jelik.

Wîthuner hlesta! · Warldwara harka!
Tô êkwaldum hêr, · Erthe sunu,
ernum himles, · ekkrum wolkna,
tô hovum Êsa, · hâgum bergum,
alinga weinfarene · wolkenstrête!

Fon thîna êrdôme, · Elmechtiga,
jerne ik singe, · gâslêker mâsta!
Sîjera besta · singe ik thî!
Welkumen wesa thû· wîganda sterksta!

Harkiath alle · hû herde hî slôch
wither nêdre kopp · oppa nêdkalda sê,
hâved wermes · mith hamre stêt,
wundade stîthe · walden slanga,
hwan bana hî warth · thes baluwermes,
nêdrewinna · hine nitha warp thâ,
kêne kampa! · Zetel hî brôchte
elewarste Êsa, · ellemechtich Thuner,
dôm unlîttik! · Sîn drêden hamer,
waldliken wêpen, · thisse weindrîva
jēn etenhâvdum · ofta wirpith,
quâddiâr quelleth · mith kreftslachtum,
weldegeth hî over · in wîga elk,
â winneth sî · ênstrîda skîre.

Hêrath alle · sînen hlûden dôm
over tham bergum, · bôgingum manna,
waldum diâpum, · wêga brêde,
over tham feldum · fulle mith wexma.

Ellemechtich god! · Êsa kampa!
Weindrîvere! · Walda blixnes!
Bukka drochten · âk bûra friônd!
Wara ûser thiâde · wither thâm wanfîande,
wither thâm wanriuchte, · wither thēra wandêde;
with wanweder wara · wâgar âk hrôf,
skardinge âk kornfeld · âk skip oppa sê;
Wîthuner, wîa · wathemar ûsre!
Warldwara, wesa thû · welkumen âmmêr!

 

Translation:

I heard true, old tales
of a far-known, greatly strong hero,
a mighty fighter of Wóden’s kin,
a bull-like wielder of lightenings.

Hallow-Thunor listen! World-protector hearken!
Hear in oak-woods, Earth’s son,
heaven’s houses, fields of clouds,
in gods’ courts, high mountains,
along the wagon-travelled cloud-road!

Of your honor, Almighty,
I eagerly sing, greatest sudden-striker!
Best of victors, I sing of you!
Be welcome, strongest of fighters!

Hearken all how he struck hard
against adder’s head upon the woefully cold sea,
hit with hammer the worm’s head,
wounded harshly the violent snake,
when he became the bane of the evil worm
adder-conqueror threw him down then,
bold fighter! He brought a kettle
to the gods’ ale-feast, almighty Thuner,
unlittle fame! His dread hammer,
a forceful weapon, this wagon-driver
often throws against giant-heads,
kills evil things with strength-blows,
he overpowers in each fight,
the shining lone-fighter always wins victory.

All hear his loud fame
over the mountains, dwellings of men,
deep woods, broad water,
over the fields full with growth.

Almighty god! Gods’ champion!
Wagon-driver! Ruler of lightening!
Lord of goats and farmers’ friend!
Ward our tribe against the evil enemy,
against the injustice, against the evil deed;
against bad weather ward walls and roofs,
yard-fence and grain-field and ships upon the sea;
Hallow-Thuner, hallow our holy places!
World-protector, be welcome always!

Midsummer – Ing

(Old Frisian. First published on Ordgeþanc 6/30/2010)

Nû wille ik êria · thet ethelike god,
felamechtigen frô · âk felajeftigen,
êrstera keninga · aldera tîda.

Thû liâchtich Ing, · lofsang ik biâda,
sêlich forsta, · singe ik thî!
Hweder bist ferne jeftha nēi, · frethojeftich hêra
hweder on himle · hâge thû wenast,
hweder on erthe · enstiga thû ferist,
jeftha on sêwēge · salta overwegist,
hêr âk harka · holda sange,
frô, kum thû hîr · froude tô winna!

Jevejern thû bist · âk jeftfrôlik
gold thû strewast · sâ gerstenkorn,
selover thû siest · tô sunum manna,
walichêd dêlest · tô wera bernum!

Heleth hreddande, · hars thēra sunne,
skînande widze · âk skîrefax,
stîflik stôdhengst, · stêpa manna,
âr twifaldich, · everbald wîgand,
skôf op skilda, · thîn skip oppa sê,
heleth hêlende, · oppa himle thîn skip.

Walda skettes · âk warlda god,
rein thû sendest · riuchta tîde,
sunnanskîn skikkest, · sôthige therve,
full waxith folde · in fethme godes
wellena wechsta · wera tô nette;
thruch mecht thîne · mēda waxe,
enstlike ekkrar · âra kornes,
grēdland brêde · fora gersande fiâr,
thet ûs werthe nôgede · nâta âk berna,
êtes âk metes, · ele sterkere,
biâres âk brâdes · efter bē endath.

Twerfôta âke, · twistinge misgâ,
fiûwerfôte âke, · furga fulle beren,
rîze âke · unriûre, sinich;
sunde ûs selle, · sumures heleth,
lîfdegar lange, · lustelike jēr,
fretho ûs fremme · Felajeftiga,
wesa ûs jevajernich · thet wî mugath jevajern wesa,
frîhand mith friôndum, · frôlik mang kenne,
thet wî mugath thanklik wesa · thî âk thâm godum;
fora jevene jeva · wî jefta witherdwâth,
thet twiska ûs friôndskip, · frô Ing, stande!

Translation:

Now I want to honor that noble god
a greatly mighty lord and greatly generous,
of the first kings of old times.

You shining Ing, I offer a song of praise,
blessed prince, I sing of you!
Whether you are far or near, frith-giving lord,
whether you dwell in high heaven,
whether you fare on gracious earth,
or cross on salty sea-wave,
hear and hearken to a gracious song,
lord, come here to win joy!

Generous you are, and gift-joyful,
you strew gold like barleycorns,
silver you sow to sons of men,
deal wellness to men’s children!

A saving hero, horse of the sun,
a shining horse and bright-maned,
a resolute stallion, a helper of men,
a two-fold ear, a boar-bold fighter,
a sheaf on a shield, your ship upon the sea,
a healing hero, upon heaven your ship.

Ruler of treasure and world’s god,
rain you send at the right time,
sunshine send, a true need,
the earth grows full in a god’s embrace
with desired growth for the use of men;
through your might may meadows grow,
gracious fields of ears of grain,
broad grasslands for grazing cattle,
that we may have enough of cattle and children,
of food and meat, of strong ale,
of beer and bread after harvest ends.

May the two-footed increase, may discord diminish,
may the four-footed increase, may furrows bear full,
may wealth increase, intransitory, lasting;
give us health, summer’s hero,
long life-days, pleasant years,
grant us peace, Generous One,
be generous to us that we may be generous,
free-handed with friends, happy among kin,
that we may be thankful to you and the gods;
for gifts given we give gifts in return,
that between us friendship, lord Ing, may stand!

Easter Song

(Old Frisian. Originally published on Ordgeþanc, 6/8/2012)

This one deserves some explanation. Based on comparative research, I strongly suspect that the Anglo-Saxon goddess Éastre / Éostre mentioned by Bede and the figure Gerðr from the Old Norse Skírnismál are the same figure. The line about Âstere baring her bosom hearkens back to Vedic hymns to Ushas, and comparative evidence linking those to Latvian dainas about Saules meita (Sun’s maiden), both of whom are reflexes of the same Indo-European dawn-goddess that Éastre (and Gerðr, I believe) is a Germanic reflex of. So, I’m drawing my ideas from all over the Indo-European world for this hymn, but I think the research is pretty solid.
Thruch nacht âk nêd· âk nevil-winter
threft ik thelde· âk thiûster swart
sôth ik sēke· and sunne ist forth.

Stemme ik withhebba· stênherta wintra
aska brand liâchtich· barnand liuchteth
waluberes wei· wither wandringe
dimma fora ûchte· in diunkre nacht.

Skîresta liâcht· skêneth âsta
luft forliuchteth· âk lagar alle
breid hia upbarath· bercht alsâ fior
wundersicht to âgum· thiu wîdkûthe
skînhande brêdeth· skînande ermar
âk gold-bâgade· thâ glîath sâ fior
stere in âsta· êst undhelith.

Sumures frouwe· sēlich famne
boda thî bringeth· bôle bilofthe
skînanda skêna· to skikkeda dore
breid kum thû ût· bercht-sîrige
achta on and êna· ermum bâgum
andlova applum· unaldinge mith
efter nigun fulle· nachtum bidinge
on nevil-môre· nachtum bidinge
bidadest in lange· blôma-lôvia
in lâ bidadest· lustebâra
bidadest thû breid· bercht tô himile.

On lustelika lâ· liâva mêtath
ermar thîne meiden· âuwe thû skêne
blezest thû breid· bôsem thînen
hlakkand springist· hlâpest blîthe
jerne gâ thû· tô gode bidande,
swâgerswester· Sunne stapith
hâge hlâpeth· ana halinge-dei.

 

Translation:

Through night and danger and fog-winter
I suffer need and dim darkness
I seek sooth when the Sun is away.

I raise voice against stone-hearted Winter
like a shining brand lightens, burning,
the staff-bearer’s way against wandering
before the dim twilight, in dark night.

Clearest light opens the East,
lightens air and all seas
a bride reveals herself, bright as fire,
a wonder-sight to eyes, the widely-known one
spreads shine-hands, shining arms
and gold-ringed, that glow like fire,
Éastre in the East reveals kindness.

Summer’s lady, blessed woman,
beloved, a messenger brings you betrothal,
open the door to the shining emissary
bride, come out, bright-bedecked
with eight-and-one rings on arms
with eleven apples of un-aging
after nine full nights of waiting,
nights of waiting on the foggy moor,
waited long in the bloom-bower,
waited in the pleasant grove,
you waited, bride, bright to heaven.

Lovers meet in the pleasant grove
show your arms, beautiful maiden,
you bare, bride, your bosom,
laughing you spring, run blithely
go eagerly to a waiting god,
sister-in-law Sun steps,
leaps high on the wedding-day.

 

Dawn Song

(originally posted on Ordegeþanc, 6/21/2010)

This is an older piece of mine, a hymn to the rising sun. The language is Anglo-Saxon.
Be éast-oren· ðæs ealwréondan
rodores randes· rótu Éastre
séo lustbǽre brýd· liehteð dimnes
ádrífð deorcnes· séo déore mægð;
swiftlíce fylgieð· séo swanhwíte
séo glǽmes fréo· glædu and scíenu
þéos meneglæde wíf· méaras twégen
on wáðe drífð· wicg scínendu
swíðe in þæm brídlum· and ðone swift-hwéoldan
útfúsan wægn· eohhas forðtéonað.

Þǽre fréowe fæger· fulleð þone heofon
híere glædlicu gleomu· graman ácwelleð
on stede sticieð· and on stáne gecíerð
nihtgangande egesan· and níðgæstas.

Swanhwítu fréo· sunne scíenu
ádríf fram ús· séo dimme niht
ádríf fram ús· drǽdlicu égnes
wearma for ús· wídu eorðe
wes þú tó ús· wilcume ǽfre!

Translation:

At the eastern edge of the all-covering
sky’s shield, glad Easter,
the desirable bride, lightens the dimness,
the dear maiden drives off the darkness;
swiftly follows the swan-white one,
the lady of splendor, glad and beautiful,
this necklace-glad woman drives
two horses on the track, shining horses
mighty in the bridles, and the horses drag forth
the swift-wheeled eager wagon.


The lady’s fairness fills the sky,
her joyful splendor destroys enemies,
pierces in place, turns to stone
night-walking terrors and hostile demons.


Swan-white lady, beautiful sun,
drive off from us the dim night,
drive off from us the dreadful terror,
warm for us the wide earth,
be thou to us always welcome!