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Author Topic: The Wælcyrig  (Read 419 times)

Phyllis

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The Wælcyrig
« on: May 01, 2021, 12:11:46 PM »
Continuing my series of posts from the Companions' Facebook page, here is the most popular post from the past week discussing the possible figures of the Wælcyrge (Valkyrie).


While the Anglo-Saxons became Christians following the conversion period their original roots were in pagan beliefs and customs. Little information has survived the editorial process of the monks who recorded the early history of the tribes, although there are some tantalising glimpses. It is possible to link them to other Germanic and Norse traditions, but can be risky to assume a direct correspondence.

Today let’s look at a figure of legend associated in popular culture more closely with Norse tradition but clearly present in Anglo-Saxon lore as well: the wælcyrig (or Valkyrie).

The word itself means “chooser of the slain” and referred to women who served Woden.

The Old English version of this tradition probably pre-dates the Viking one but both come from the same Germanic root. Similar female figures are common in many Indo-European cultures, showing both ferocity in battle and the power to protect warriors.

Specific Old English references can be found for example in the charm, Wiþ Færstice (Against a stitch) found in the Lacnunga.

þǣr ðā mihtigan wīf hyra mægen berǣddon
⁊ hȳ gyllende gāras sændan

“there the mighty women declared their power
and yelling they sent their spears “

In this view of them, the women are loud and powerful and dangerous, but they were described elsewhere as weavers of magical spells to secure victory in battle and avert disaster.

Another charm, “For a swarm of bees”, also refers to the insects as sigewif or “victory-women”, which may be another faded reference.

Other evidence for Anglo-Saxon wælcyrige can be found in glosses where the word is used to match references to the Furies or Gorgons, or even the goddess Bellona. In the Narratiunculae Anglice Conscriptae the translation for the eyes of Gorgons is “wælkyrian eagan (eyes)”. By the time of Wulfstan, in his Sermon of the Wolf of the 11th century, the word is being used in the sense of a human sorceress.
 
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Phyllis

Bowerthane

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Re: The Wælcyrig
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2021, 08:46:36 PM »

Thanks :)  for that, Phyllis.


I don't suppose you or anyone has come across, or thought of, a relatively straightforward way to knock out of people's heads the idée fixe that "the Valkyries" must necessarily be of Norse provenance, of which the ones the Heathen Old English believed in can only be some kind of knock-off or steal from Norse 'originals'? 


I've had the same trouble with the futhorc/ futhark, but I've found that describing them as "brother and sister, not father and son" seems to do the trick.   


Had less success trying to tell people that the Norse futhark is merely the best known, not the oldest or original, form of the Common Germanic Runestock, including the fact that runes existed before the Norse folk did.   >:(


New Age Noddyland has a lot to answer for...







David

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Re: The Wælcyrig
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2021, 08:06:01 AM »
For me the Elder Futhark is Germanic. A development of this was the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. A separate development of this led to the various Scandinavian Younger Futharks.

Phyllis

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Re: The Wælcyrig
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2021, 09:23:26 AM »

I don't suppose you or anyone has come across, or thought of, a relatively straightforward way to knock out of people's heads the idée fixe that "the Valkyries" must necessarily be of Norse provenance, of which the ones the Heathen Old English believed in can only be some kind of knock-off or steal from Norse 'originals'? 

Given the argument I had back in 2016 at Hastings with someone trying to tell me that the One Good Thing the Normans Did For Us was introduce trade with the Continent (I even had a "Norman" warrior backing me up), I admit defeat against wilful ignorance. People don't want to be wrong, it makes them feel bad.  ::)

All we can do is present what we are sure of in teh "Broken Record" format. It's why I wan tot work with schools so much - get 'em young!
Phyllis

Bill

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Re: The Wælcyrig
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2021, 04:46:39 AM »
Top work Phyllis - thanks

peter

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Re: The Wælcyrig
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2021, 06:14:37 PM »
Vinca Script from South/Central Europe is often referred to as Danube Script and is thought to be Neolithic or earlier. The script seems to be a forerunner of runes. I still nine-rune or nine rune-stick cast which is quite a fun relaxation, it really isn't for telling fortunes but more for personal insights or contemplation.

Blackdragon

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Re: The Wælcyrig
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2021, 12:32:38 PM »
If you are interested in the topic I wrote a book about them (including AS material)
 "Valkyries,  selectors of heroes: their roles  within Viking & Anglo Saxon  mythology and beliefs."[/size](Gruff, 2016) Available via Amazon £15 orb £4.56 Kindle - many colour illustrations
[/size]You can also see the free YouTube film version of my talk on the subject at
[/size]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DF0YoXTa84

Phyllis

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Re: The Wælcyrig
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2021, 10:53:28 AM »
Thanks Blackdragon

Would you mind if I posted the YouTube link on the Facebook page for our readers?
Phyllis

Blackdragon

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Re: The Wælcyrig
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2021, 01:05:36 PM »
No problem Phyllis

Phyllis

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Re: The Wælcyrig
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2021, 03:18:57 PM »
Fab, thanks
Phyllis