Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bragi


Bragi

Appeal: Poets, Writing, Eloquence, Peace, Diplomats, Music


Bragi is the God of poetry in Norse mythology.  Bragi is generally associated with bragr, the Norse word for poetry.  He is occasionally known as the "long-bearded one".  He is renowned for wisdom and most of all for fluency of speech and skill with words.  Bragi is regarded as a son of Odin and Frigg and his wife is Idunn.

Throughout the Viking Age, there were a number of Norse poets named Bragi, and various theories have sprung up that attempt to explain the relationship between the God Bragi and the humans named Bragi.  The most famous of these theories holds that the God is a deified version of Bragi Boddason, the first major Norse poet of the Viking Age.  In the eyes of the Heathen Norse, however, this process likely worked in reverse, with the historical poets being honorary named after their archetypal patron at some point during or after their lives.

In art, Bragi is generally represented as an elderly man, with long white hair and beard, and holding the golden harp from which his fingers could draw such magic strains.  One Eddic poem depicts him as having runes carved on his tongue and he inspired poetry in humans by letting them drink from the mead of poetry.  In early Old Norse poetry, he frequently regales renowned heroes upon their entrance to Valhalla.  He was brilliant and eloquent, with a beautiful singing voice, great musical talent and a presence that could charm an audience.  Odin made him the Skald of Asgard, but he does not always stay there.

Bragi is one of the few Gods who is welcome in any world by any type.  Rather than being a warrior, he is a speaker for peace and a diplomat.  He wanders the Nine Worlds, welcomed joyfully into the halls of Aesir, Vanir, Jotun, Duergar, Alfar both light and dark, and sometimes that of unwitting humans.

Oaths were sworn over the Bragarfull ("Cup of Bragi").  Before a king ascended the throne, he drank from such a cup.  The new ruler or head of the family solemnly pledged himself to some great deed of valor, which he was bound to execute within the year, unless he wished to be considered destitute of honor.  Following his example, all the guests would then make similar vows and declare what they would do; and as some of them, owing to previous drinking, talked rather too freely of their intentions on these occasions, this custom seems to connect the God’s name with the vulgar but very expressive English verb “to brag.”

Boasting or bragging is the act of making an ostentatious speech.  It is considered a vice by such major religious groups as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.  Boasting has also been studied by evolutionary psychologists and can involve magnifying an accomplishment out of proportion to its importance.  The origin of the word is obscure, perhaps related to bray of a trumpet.  Other sources suggest Old Norse bragr "the best, the toast (of anything)," also "poetry."
In Asatru, one of the most common celebrations noted in tales of our ancestors is the Sumbel or ritual drinking celebration.  At the sumbel toasts are drunk to the Gods, as well as to a person's ancestors or personal heroes.  Rather than a toast, a person might also offer a brag or some story, song, or poem that has significance and thank the Gods for their influence and inspiration.

Bragi doesn't show up in any of the major myths or even the myth of Ragnarok.

Bragi Odinson
Best of the wordsmiths
And first of the skalds,
You with the tongue of gold,
Whose words are like the finest mead,
We ask you best of bards
To inspire us
And make our words mix well.
Bragi, let your inspiration flow!



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2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You are Welcome! He also has a chapter in the Blog Book, "Who are your Divine Friends?". Thanks for reading along!

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