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Irmin Vinson - Prophecy of the Seeress Poetic Edda (283.0 Kb)

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Voluspa, which opens the Old Norse Poetic Edda, was likely composed in Iceland shortly before AD 1000 during a period of transition when Christianity was replacing the traditional beliefs of the North. The poem's anonymous author seems to have conceived Voluspa as a literary response to the decline of the old religion, a reassertion of the old gods in the face of their imminent demise as objects of living worship.Voluspa's allusive and often elliptical style implies the poet's expectation that his audience would be intimatel... More >>>
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Category 1:  Poetry And Songs
Category 2:  Asatru and Odinism
Category 3: 
Author:      Irmin Vinson
Format:      eBook
Voluspa, which opens the Old Norse Poetic Edda, was likely composed in Iceland shortly before AD 1000 during a period of transition when Christianity was replacing the traditional beliefs of the North. The poem's anonymous author seems to have conceived Voluspa as a literary response to the decline of the old religion, a reassertion of the old gods in the face of their imminent demise as objects of living worship.Voluspa's allusive and often elliptical style implies the poet's expectation that his audience would be intimately familiar with the tales and cosmology of Northern paganism.

Two complete versions of Voluspa are extant: The best is in the Codex Regius, which dates to the thirteenth century, and there is another, with some significant variations and four additional strophes, in the Hauksbok manuscript. Extensive quotations also appear in the Gylfaginning ("The Deluding of Gylfi") of the Icelandic antiquarian Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241). The translation below is based on Neckel and Kuhn's standard edition of the Edda (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1983).

In the poem's dramatic context (see sts. 28-29) Odin has just questioned the Seeress (a volva, lit. "wand-bearer," a woman who carries a magical staff) about the past and especially the future, and Voluspa (the Prophecy or Soothsaying of the Volva) is her spoken reply, directed to both gods ("the hallowed kindred") and mankind ("Heimdall's children").