Thursday, November 6, 2014




Appeal: Guardianship, Protection, Beginnings and Endings, Security, Light


heimdall_by_chrisappel-d3bkk19.jpgIn Norse mythology, Heimdall is a God who possesses the resounding horn Gjallarhorn, owns the golden-maned horse Gulltoppr, has gold teeth and is the son of Nine Mothers and Odin.  The nine mothers nurtured their son on the strength of the Earth, the blood of a boar, the moisture of the sea and the heat of the Sun.  Heimdall is additionally referred to as Rig, Hallinskidi and Vindler.  Heimdall is attested as possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing, is described as 'the whitest of the Gods' (white as a bright light), and keeps watch for the onset of Ragnarok while drinking fine mead in his dwelling Himinbjorg, located where the burning rainbow bridge Bifrost meets Asgard to Midgard.  

Heimdall is often associated with the ram.  His senses are so acute that he can hear the grass grow miles away and he can see to the end of the world.  He required less sleep than a bird, could see 100 leagues, and could hear wool growing on sheep.  He watches and listens, holding at the ready Gjallarhorn, which he sounds when intruders are approaching. 


Heimdall walked among our ancient ancestors, and laid the foundations for the various tribal cultures, who gifted mankind with social order, civilization and runes.  He is sometimes seen as a rather aloof God and lacking in humor; however, he is a great teacher, and an especially good God to call on for those who work in subjects calling for cool intellect rather than the furious inspiration given by Odin. 

The Eddas contribute the class division of societies to Heimdall.  The story is that once Heimdall was traveling along a coast called Rig.  He met three couples, Ai and Edda, Grandpa and Grandma and Father and Mother.  He spent a night at each house.  Incidentally nine months later all women bore sons.  Edda’s son was called Thraell (slave) and he is the forefather of all slaves.  Grandma’s son was called Karl (farmer) and he is the forefather of all farmers (common people).  Mother’s son was called Jarl (Earl) and he’s the forefather of all nobles.

The story of Rig rings a confusing note to a modern audience.  We do not see people in the social classes of our ancestors, and such a story therefore seems discordant.  It is more useful to see the story in the context of the social order of mankind and the skills needed to keep a modern society functioning.  Certainly, there is a reference to men and women as Heimdall’s kin, and therefore he has some connection to all of us.


1024px-Gosforth_Cross_monsters.jpgA figure holding a large horn to his lips and clasping a sword on his hip appears on a stone cross from the Isle of Man.  Some scholars have theorized that this figure is a depiction of Heimdallr with Gjallarhorn.  During Ragnarok, the Gods know that their doom is at hand when they hear the dire call of Gjallarhorn signaling the imminent arrival of the giants, who cross the rainbow bridge to storm Asgard and kill the Gods.  The disloyal Loki, the particular nemesis of the unwaveringly dutiful Heimdall, is with them.  Loki and Heimdall slay each other as the world burns and sinks into the sea.


Heimdall appears in the Marvel series of comics as an Asgardian alongside other characters based on Norse deities.  Heimdall appears in the films Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013), played by Idris Elba.  Also used in Xenogears: Heimdal is Citan Uzuki's gear. 


Heimdallr catch me when I fall
You're my Wind-Shelter broad and tall
Teacher of magics, tru, and might
Heimdallr lead me in what's right.

~ Salena Levy




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