Gruesome Walhalla

Valhalla means the hall of the dead, we hear in it the same dark sound as in the word Hell, in origin it might be the terrifying place of the battlefield covered with corpses. Valkyries (Walkuren) are called the lovely maidens, who go mead pouring along the tables of the Einherjar, her name means: she who chooses the fallen, therefor the unearthly powers subservient to Odin, who in the battle decides who will fall and who will conquer. Behind this, however, stands an even bloodier idea: choosing originally signified “taste” and in Old English poetry, the word is used for eagles and ravens, who tear up the corpses on the slaughterfield…
From such gruesome performances gradually the image of the radiant Valhalla developed. A work of poets and seers, no doubt, with ever more glorious shine this immortal warriors’ hall was adorned. But it is also certainly an idea with actual faith in its roots. Around the Valhalla of Odin the resistance of the pagan faith is gathered in the last hour.

Jan de Vries in De Godsdienst der Germanen in De Godsdiensten ter Wereld (1947) part 2 p. 135.

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