it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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Hunger her plate, Starving her knife

For me, one of the most fantastical and fascinating things about Norse myth is the way it all works as allegory. This guy is Fire, and this guy is Wind, and this other guy is Frost, and this woman is Sea, and this woman is a Bloody Wave-Crest, and this guy over here is an Asshole.

...Literally. They're personifications, and they're also people, and both the personification and the personality coexist. It's a mythic, Dreamtimey kind of logic, nonlinear and intuitive and allusive, and that's all shored up by the way the language the stories are related in is constructed in layers and layers of metaphor, double and triple metaphors, heaps of them. Kennings of kennings. The allusion becomes the thing. The figurative becomes the concrete... but it never stops being figurative in the process.

It's indicative of a whole different way of thinking and structuring logic and perception, and its freaking fascinating.

Hel is dead, and her bicolored body is pale on one side and livid on the other, like a corpse that's lain long enough for the blood to settle. Her hall is the grave, her curtains are winding sheets, her bed is a byre.

...and yet, simultaneously, she is the goddess of the underworld, and reigns there, and all those who die of illness or in childbed or any way but on the field of battle come to her. She is Loki's daughter, and there's a metaphor there (death is the daughter of chaos) and yet Hel and Loki are both personages at the same time they are personifications.

This stuff suits the way my brain works. It's all about holding an uncollapsed wave form in your head. The cat is alive and dead; Fenrir is chained and he is howling the end of the world; Loki is Odin's blood-brother and he is his greatest enemy.

And the fact that all this stuff contradicts itself is just part of the magic. Considering how very little of the literature survives, we have no idea at all what we've lost.

This is not a tidy linear little mythosphere. It's a brawling mess of intentional contradictions and hard-drinking heros who may very well be villains the next time you meet them.

And oh, I love it so.

Tags: edda of burdens

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