(for the Winter ’97-98 issue of Pangaea magazine)

Drumming with the Witches

Odin and Women’s Wisdom

by Diana L. Paxson

Two years ago, I took the ferry from Aarhus, on the eastern coast of the Jutland peninsula, to the main Danish island, Zealand. It was a stormy day, and the ship, a hydrofoil, careered like a racing chariot through the pewter-colored waves, churning up clouds of spray. As we neared our goal, I saw on the right a long, low grey island. The map named it Samsey– Sams Ey, or Sams Island. I clung to the rail and watched as long as it was in view, remembering the words with which Loki taunted Odin:

But you, they say, were on Sams Isle,
And drummed for the wights with the Völvas,
Like a wizard (vitki) through the world you passed,
which I thought was an unmanly (ergi) thing to do.
(Lokasenna: 24)

For those who are familiar with Odin mainly from Wagner’s operas or Bullfinch’s Mythology, this passage might seem rather strange. The nineteenth century viewed Odin, or Wotan, as the most patriarchal of deities, whose relations with women were traditionally exploitative. So why is Loki calling him effeminate?

Let us consider the context. The passage I have quoted is from a poem which tells how Loki crashes a party and gets into an insult contest with the assembled gods. When he accuses Gefion (“the Giver”, the Danish goddess of sovereignty who created the island of Zealand), of promiscuity, Odin says he is crazy to attack a goddess who knows the fates of the world as well as he himself does. Loki accuses Odin of giving victory to those who are unworthy. Odin counters by pointing out that Loki has shapeshifted into a female body and borne children, a deadly insult in Viking times. It is then that Loki responds with the words quoted above.

Why is this an insult, and what does it tell us about Odin and his relations with women? As we shall see, as a god of magic, Odin is essentially liminal. Far from being a male chauvinist, he is, of all male deities, the one who most consistently seeks wisdom from females. Although Odin is a powerful god for men today, he has also become important for a surprising number of women, to whom he comes in gentler guise.

For the past ten years I have been involved with Odin, working with him both as a priestess of the goddesses with whom he has relationships as well as directly. The interaction has been profound and powerful, sometimes ecstatic, and a constant source of inspiration and information. As always, I begin with the ancient literature–the words of those born into the culture in which the old gods ruled. But through meditation and vision, I have built upon this foundation to discover who and what Odin is today.

Odin has always been a god of many names and aspects. Everyone who meets him experiences him in a somewhat different way. The information that comes from the literature should be considered basic background. That which comes from me is open to debate and discussion. I will try to be clear about what is tradition, and what inspiration, in the discussion that follows. This is what I have learned.


Odin gave us the runes, the magical alphabet of sacred sounds and symbols. He is galdorfaðr, father of incantation, and gandfaðr, who works magic with his wand. As such, he is the master of ceremonial magicians, a traditionally masculine role. However in Heimskringla, Snorri Sturlusson credits Odin with a long list of shamanic skills under the heading of seið (witchcraft), and adds:

But in promoting this sorcery, unmanliness (ergi) followed so much that men seemed not without shame in dealing with it; the priestesses were therefore taught this craft.”
(Ynglingasaga: 7)

The term being used is the same word Loki uses as a taunt–ergi, a word which can refer equally to psychic openness or sexual receptivity, the kind of right-brain, intuitive ability which is considered feminine even today. In his discussion of the ancient German tribes, the Roman writer Tacitus tells us that they held women in high honor and attributed to them superior spiritual ability.

By the time Snorri was writing, Viking men had been sufficiently brainwashed by Christian European culture to fear loss of status if they engaged in feminine activities, though they still retained a lively respect for women’s magic. But even in the thirteenth century they could not quite deny that Allfather Odin, the chief of the gods, did at times put on a skirt and drum for the landspirits with the witches.

The Seiðmaðr

Where did Odin learn this magic? Snorri also tells us that the Æsir (the clan of gods of whom Odin is the chief), were taught seið by Freyja, a goddess of the Vanir (the other clan of gods), who has power over love, riches, and witchcraft. She is sometimes identified with a mysterious figure called Gullveig, who visits the hall of the Aesir when they are in the middle of a war with the Vanir. The Aesir try to destroy her:

I think the first war in the world was this,
When the gods Gullveig gashed with their spears,
And in the hall of Hár burned her.
Three times burned they the thrice reborn,
Ever and anon: even now she liveth.
(Völuspá: 21)

When they cannot harm Gullveig, the Æsir decide that perhaps they had better make a treaty and alliance with the Vanir. As part of the settlement, Freyja, her brother Freyr, and their father Njorð, come to live in Asgard. Freyja’s husband is Oðr, an otherwise unknown figure noted mainly for disappearing so that Freyja has to search for him. His name is the same as the root for Óðinn/Odin, and it is sometimes assumed that he is in fact the same god. Whether he is or not, however, Odin and Freyja certainly appear to have had a close relationship, in the course of which Freyja taught him seidh magic.

Seið is a term which is used in Old Norse for any magical practice which requires altering consciousness and raising energy. It includes shamanic skills such as spirit journeying and weather working, magic that affects men’s minds, spell casting and oracular divination (spæcraft) for good or for ill. As such, it is the natural complement of the more intellectual, controlled, runic galdor magic. A woman who practiced this craft was known as a Völva, visenda (wisewoman), spákona, or seiðkona (spá- or seið-woman). The titles for male practitioners were thul (a lorespeaker, though this could also refer to galdor magic), vitki (sage), and spámaðr or seiðmaðr (spá– or seiðman).

Although seidh and galdor are often discussed as if they were in opposition, those who are experienced in magic will recognize that to work ceremonial magic one must be able to raise energy, and that successful witchcraft requires one to be able to shape the energy through word and will. In my own work I use both equally, and when the Seiðjallr, the oracular seidh group associated with Hrafnar, our oracular ritual, we invoke both Odin, who knows the way between the worlds, and Freyja, mistress of magic.

A poem by Leigh Ann Hussey invokes Freyja in this role:

Come all you out of Earth’s four quarters.
Come together and surround the fires of harvest.
And see before you and in you
the manifestation of the Queen of Earth Spirits.
Her face is all black, like the Earth from which she rises,
Hair lies o’er her head as she rides a goat of straw.
She is bride of the great boar,
wise woman of the gods, grain goddess,
and Heiðe, great seeress,
who taught e’en the old ones to brew spells,
She comes with long hair, and with ravens flying o’er her,
with four and twenty hounds, howling all the long way.
She is earth-woman, goddess of the fires on Blakulle,
Goddess of the Seidh scaffold, who brings wisdom dreams.
(1990)

The Thul

Freyja may be one of the most important, but she is neither the first nor the only female from whom Odin seeks wisdom. If Odin knows the fates of the world, it is not through his own native talent, but because he has been everywhere and talked to everyone. Three poems in the Elder Edda tell how Odin journeys down to the Underworld to seek a figure known only as “the Völva.” Two of them, Völuspá (Seeress’s Prophecy) and the Shorter Völuspá, are collections of lore. The third, called Baldrsdraumar (Baldr’s Dreams), tells how Odin rode Sleipnir, his eight-legged horse, to the eastern gate of Hel to call the ancient seeress from her mound and find out why Baldr was having dreams of doom. In this poem, the Völva doesn’t seem too happy to be wakened. However, she does give Odin the details of Baldr’s doom.

What man is this, to me unknown,
who maketh me fare such fear-fraught ways?
Was I buried in snow, and beaten by rain
And drenched with dew, dead was I long.
(Baldrs draumar: 5)

He, who knows the spells to make a hanged man speak to him, has the magic to compel the Völva to arise. In Völuspá, the Völva prophesies freely, giving not only the history of mythic events in the past, but a description of Ragnarök and the new world that will come after. A comparison of the three poems reveals a formulaic pattern in Odin’s questions and the Völva’s answers, which functions as a framework for questioning in the Spae ritual.

The Völva can be identified with Heide, a word which is sometimes translated as “witch” and sometimes used as a proper name for a seiðkona. In Völuspá, her description follows the discussion of Gullveig, and they may be the same. Although Heide/Gullveig are sometimes considered to be aspects of Freyja, I work with Heide as the living form of the Völva, a goddess who is the complement of Odin in his aspect as the Great Thul, or Wise Old Man. As such, she represents the archetypal feminine wisdom, which remembers all that has passed since the creation. In my own visionary work with the Völva, this is what she says to Odin:

Heide I hight, Wisest of Women,
Word of Light sung by the Darkness,
First born at the world’s beginning.
Völva, Veiled One, visions granting,
I hark to the one who hails me now.
Ere this grave held me, in Ginnungagap I lay;
’till fire and Ice within my womb were sundered,
blackness of space by power’s word severed,
and I the heart of darkness, willing all,
knowing all,
unfolding all.
When thou, Allfather, didst first awaken,
and walked alone the icy worldways,
in thy shadow I was waiting.
As Heide I came to whisper wisdom to women
The secrets of the shadow, of all you had forgotten,
all that men suppress and shroud from the light of the day.
The secrets of the womb and the tomb are mine,
and for these thou must still seek the wisdom of women;
more than most dost thou know, Wanderer, and yet not all.
I am the shadow cast by thy radiance.
I am the bright eye that opens in thy darkness.
I am the hidden place within thy soul, where no man can see.
Lord of the Slain, when wilt thou learn
to listen to the Ancestors?
Highest of all, do the depths now draw thee?
Manyshaped, thou dost name thyself again and again,
but canst thou truly put a name to Me?
As I was the darkness before thy beginning,
I am the Light that will shine at thy end.
I wait as a seed within the earth, as the egg in the womb, as the
spirit in the body.
I am the matrix of thine own transformations, High One.
To work thy way upon the world, thou must work with me.
I am all that is, that has been, and that will be,
and there is no man that hath lifted my Veil.
Now I grow weary. The darkness draws me.
This thou dost know; now seek no more…
(1993)

It is this aspect of the Wise Old Woman that Wagner identifies with Erda, the primal mother who arises from a crack in the Earth to warn Wotan (Odin) to give up the Ring of Power at the end of the opera Das Rheingold. She identifies herself as a seeress with the words:

Great is my lore. Hearken!
All things that were,
All things that happen,
All to be,
are known to me.
Prime-Vala,
Erda, bids you beware.

In Wagner’s version, Erda is the mother of the three Norns–the Germanic analogues to the Fates whose names mean “that which has been”, “that which is becoming”, and “that which shall be”. After Wotan descends to her realm to learn her wisdom, she becomes the mother of the Valkyries, who serve as a kind of objectified feminine complement to Wotan. Brunhild especially is the Wishmaiden who takes the actions that Wotan desires, but cannot consciously allow himself to do.

The Husband of Frigga.

The Völva knows everything, and she tells Odin what she knows. Of his wife Frigga, on the other hand, it is said that she knows all fates but says nothing. What, then, does he see in her?

In her own person, she seems to do very little. In contrast to her peripatetic husband, she stays put at Fensalir, her house by the marshes. But she is the center of a constellation of twelve “maidens” who can be viewed either as goddesses in their own right or as projections of her power. Together they comprise a model of the feminine psyche. Because Frigga acts through other figures, in a sense she is present in all women, and therefore when Odin gets involved with them he is not being unfaithful, but seeking her in another guise. Certainly in the old literature there is almost no suggestion that she is jealous.

I think that it is just because Frigga remains at Fensalir, that Odin values her. Her name means “Beloved”. She is the still center to which he returns, the peace in which he is renewed. And it is she who shares his sorrow for their son Baldr, the only one of his children who is forever lost to him.

It is a mistake, I think, to see Frigga as merely the dutiful wife who keeps the home fires burning. In her own realm her power is considerable. I am indebted to Freya Aswynn for the suggestion that she is a weaver of fate. Early legends ascribe to her the power to bestow sovereignty, and if she sometimes has to trick her husband into confirming it, he does not appear to resent her interference. Some of the many ways in which she relates to him are expressed in this poem:

From the darkness of Earth I arise, Fjorgvin’s first daughter,
Bending like the birch tree at the bounds of the glacier.
I am the stillness at the heart of the world, I am its silence,
And tonight the God of Ecstasy will whisper runes in my arms.
Rams with white fleeces roam free round my dwelling:
In my hall stands a loom; Norns spin the thread for my weaving.
It is warped with the fates of the world, Only I see the pattern.
And tonight the wisest of gods will lie twined in my arms.
I sit at the head of the hearth, twelve maidens blaze around me,
Sparks spun from my brightness. In their faces I am reflected;
I am all the women of all the worlds, I am the Beloved.
And tonight the Wanderer will come home to my arms.
Giver of Law am I, and High Seat of Sovereignty.
Allfather counsels kings, but it is I who choose them.
I teach magic to queens; I give names to the nations.
And tonight the High One will rule all in my arms.
Golden the god I gave birth to, but Laufey’s child betrayed him.
My son will return when all else I love is ended,
all this I know, but I say nothing.
And tonight the father of Baldr will weep in my arms.
(1992)

The Poet

If Frigga sometimes appears manipulative, it is Odin who is accused of trickery in his interaction with Gunnloð, from whom he got the mead of poetry. Through a complicated chain of events which you may find recounted in the Gylfaginning of the Younger Edda, Gunnloð, daughter of the giant Suttung, has become the guardian of three vats of mead which contain the power of poetic inspiration. In a story full of Freudian symbolism, Odin come to her in the form of a snake through a hole which has been bored through a mountain. He then lies with her for three nights, at the end of which she lets him drink up the three vats of mead. In the form of an eagle, he carries it back to Asgard, where, as is his usual practice when he has acquired wisdom, he shares it with the gods, men, and elves.

In one of the poems in the Elder Edda (Hávamál:104-110), Odin appears to boast of having seduced Gunnloð and left her weeping. But is this likely? Gunnloð is a giantess, one of the primal powers. Even a god could not take by force what she was unwilling to give, and if she shares the wisdom commonly attributed to the giants, it’s hard to imagine that he could trick her. By entering the mountain, he has put himself in her power.

Sexual experience has always been a powerful metaphor for spiritual union. As a writer, I find in this episode an allegory of artistic inspiration. I see the relationship between Odin and Gunnloð as part seduction and part surrender, the relationship between the poet and his muse. This is my version of the story:

Who are you?
Who dares this darkness,
slithering like a serpent, seeking my bed?
Long have I waited at Worldheart, warding my secret.
Who dares draw near to me now?
You hiss in the shadows, or is it laughter?
It has been lonely here; I would be glad to laugh.

Ah, I see you now, one eye of light and one of darkness,
and a breath of air follows,
a breath of life from the world beyond these walls.
Well, I am sick of secrets and shadows.
Speak to me, serpent, what have you to say?

Tell me a tale; how you travelled in man-form,
tricked the thralls, won Baugi’s help with your labor,
and as Bolverk made him bore a hole through the belly of the world.
You were strong then, and cunning.
Do you mean to trick me?

Serpent coils spiral runes around me,
and serpent tongue whispers a spell.
Do you think thus to trance me?
Now it is my turn for laughter.
Indeed, I admire your transformations,
but if you would win me,
you must make another magic.

What, I wonder, would you have here?
An hour in my bed, or two, or three?
Do you draw back from that suggestion?
Perhaps my appearance is not quite what you expected?

You will have to be cunning indeed to cozen me.
I am as old as the rocks or the running water.
I am of the race of Ymir,
more ancient than any woman you have ever known
Now I see you smiling.
So– you do know a way to win me after all.

Come closer. Please me–
Show me that your lips know more than spells.
Will you put at hazard even your manhood,
surrendering your power?
If you plan to possess me, you are wrong
I will engulf you,
but you cannot stop now, can you?
You must give everything, having thus begun.

I wind you in my arms, all your wisdom lies within me.
My lips are like honey–
Drink deeply, wanderer.
Ecstasy fountains upward, filling me, filling you…
Then rest, for you have pleased me well.
For a night of the world, you may sleep in my arms.

What, are you not yet ready to leave me?
Perhaps you are learning;
I begin to see beauty mirrored in your eye.
This time, Desired One, it will be easy.
Come once more to my bed
while a second night strides across the world.

Kiss my breasts, and taste honey;
for you I am all golden.
Devour me! Consume me entirely,
drink deeply from the cauldron at the heart of my life.
All that I am I will give to you,
for your love has made me lovely.
Embrace me, my beloved,
now we build the world anew.

Now, in my arms you lie exhausted.
You would sleep for an age of the world.
But the third night approaches, and there is more,
you know there is more.
Do you want it, Old Man?

Have you the will to seek it
even when your flesh is weary and your spirit quails?
You have no lust for it now, have you?
You look at me and wonder how you could have desired me;
it would be so easy now to withdraw
and slink homeward with what you have won.
But you will never rest if you leave me now.

Come then, and I will call you Wise.
Though spirit quails and flesh is unwilling,
let us seek together through the shadows.
Sink into my arms, not knowing if death awaits you.
Now– now you are come where Need compels you.
This vessel is filled with a dark mead,
bitter to the tongue, but in the belly, sweetest of all.

The third night is past.
Wanderer, Beloved, Wise One, I release you,
for you possess me now entirely,
and wherever you go, I am there as well.
Swiftly then, let love grow wings to soar skyward.
Suttung roars, reaching out for the eagle,
The jealous ones pursue and attack you.
Let them lap up the drops spilled by your passing,
not knowing that what you have won from me
is a prize they never had.

Will they say you have stolen my virtue?
It is not so, for I remain hidden in the heart of the mountain,
and my cauldrons are always full.
Those who will give what you have given,
those who can pursue the path you travelled,
shall find through your gift, Galdorfather,
the way to my arms.
(1993)

Allfather.

Gunnloð is not the only giantess with whom Odin has an encounter. In Norse myth, the jötnar (giants) are primal beings, elementals possessed of great wisdom and power. When out of balance, they are dangerous, but they can also give valuable gifts. Like the Titans in Graeco-Roman myth, they are the oldest gods, honored by people at a hunter-gatherer stage of development who, when they develop a village culture, replaced them as objects of worship with the gods. But in the legends of the north, the giants are not conquered by the gods but co-exist with them in a state of sometimes uneasy equilibrium.

Thor, the great defender, kills the giants when it is necessary to restore the balance and make enough room for humans to live on the Earth. Interestingly enough, he fights giantesses more often than he does giants. On the other hand, when the gods need wives, they must go to Jotunheim to find them.

Odin neither fights the giantesses nor brings them to Asgard. Instead, the myths tell us that he visits them to learn their wisdom, and they bear him children. This does not necessarily constitute infidelity to Frigga. Polygamy was accepted in Germanic culture. King Canute had one queen in England and one in Denmark; Harald Fairhair married a chieftain’s daughter in each of the districts he conquered when he unified Norway. Odin’s goal, however, is not political power, but wisdom.

Since the giantesses are elementals, the only way Odin can know them is through physical union. He is a god of Mind, and the offspring of his unions with the forces of Nature are gods who become conscious embodiments of power. The best-known of these half-giant sons is Thor, the son of Jorð, or Earth. Odin rides the midnight sky, but Thor rules the stormclouds which bring or withhold rain from the Earth.

One of Thor’s by-names is Bjorn, the bear, a name that is also given to Odin. The great Cave Bear was, arguably, first known object of worship among humankind, but the work of many scholars demonstrate the antiquity of the bear in many European cultures. I like to think of Odin courting Jordh in bear-shape, so that she took the form of a she-bear and bore her son as a bear-cub in the spring.

The genealogies of Asgard make clear one reason why Odin is called “Allfather”: Heimdall, the guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, is Odin’s son by the Nine Waves; Váli, the avenger of Baldr, his son by the mountain spirit Rind. By Skaði, the daughter of Thiazi, who moved to Asgard, Odin is said to have sired a line of Norwegian kings.

God-Father and Spirit Husband

Odin may have begun as a god of magic, but the number of by-names attributed to him bear witness to his adaptability. As consciousness has evolved, so has he. Although, as Dumézil has demonstrated, Odin’s kingship is of the energetic, sometimes violent, innovative type (as opposed to the bureaucratic and priestly approach), he was, during the Age of Migrations, a god not only of poets but of kings, honored as the ancestor of many royal lines (including, if you count back through the Normans and Anglo-Saxons, the Windsors). He is given as the ancestor of heroes like the Volsungs. Although the most obvious explanation for this is revisionist genealogy by the royal scribes, there is some evidence for god-possession as a part of ancient Germanic religious practice. It is possible that some royal offspring were the result of a great rite between a queen and a king who was momentarily taken by the god.

But the time for god-kings has passed, and Odin has another purpose in mind when he comes to mortal women today. To his contemporary priestesses, he appears as an inner ally. Shamanic cultures have a tradition of relating to guardian spirits as “spirit wives” or “spirit husbands”. In my work with the Germanic pagan community I have encountered many men whose relationship with Odin has been one of confrontation and conflict. Even when they admire and seek to learn from him, they often feel the need to challenge his authority. In The Well of Remembrance, Ralph Metzner writes eloquently of his own struggle to come to terms with the god. However I am often approached, sometimes rather surreptitiously, by women who find themselves developing a relationship with Odin and want help in understanding it. In general, they have a much easier time with him than the men do.

Why should that be? C.S. Lewis has said that we are all feminine in relation to God. Because women are often already receptive in a way that would be ergi in men, I think that we find it easier to receive a god of such overwhelming power. Some women experience Odin as a replacement for a lost or inadequate father. One woman wrote to me after an Odin ritual to express her gratitude. Her own father had been abusive and she had never until then experienced the masculine as a source of love. Another identifies herself as Odin’s daughter and a valkyrie. Still others find in him a lover. More than one woman I know has even gone through a ritual of marriage with the god. As Caitlin Matthews puts it:

Wherever we look in world mythology and folklore, we find a mysterious male figure who is intimate with women, one who inhabits the country of the soul and who reveals deep wisdom, bringing resolution through his searching light… The daimon of this book is central to women’s sexuality, creativity and spirituality. He is the inner inspirer of women: one who appears in male shape in their dreams, fantasies and meditations and plays a significant part in guiding and shaping their outer lives.

(Matthews, p. 2-3)

For women who work in the Northern tradition, the form this daimon takes may well be Odin. As the divine animus figure within, he can provide a form for the complementary force that creates the inner fertility whose result is creativity. But in my experience, he is something more.

For several years now I have been struggling with the question of Who Odin is and what He wants. He is a god of Consciousness, but the mental activity with which he is associated is neither serene nor coolly intellectual. The root of his name, which has been translated variously as “ecstasy” or “fury”, seems to refer to a state of mental excitation–the feeling you get when you have just had a wonderful idea, or solved a problem that was blocking your efforts.

But there are many modes of consciousness. I think that in his wanderings, Odin seeks to experience them all. Through Huginn and Muninn (Soul and Mind, Thought and Memory, or Thoughtful and Mindful), he projects his consciousness throughout the world. But even the Spirit of Wisdom cannot experience the physical world directly. To do that, he has to share consciousness with a being which is both physical and spiritual and aware of the connection between the two. The beings that best fulfill this requirement are humans.

As I was finishing writing the Wodan’s Children trilogy, I realized that one of the ongoing conflicts in the books had been Odin’s struggle to get the characters to open up and let him in. But what did he want? Even when I reached the last chapter, I didn’t know. It was not until I was writing one of the final scenes that the answer became clear. When Gudrun finally asks him, and
hears his reply–

“Lady, will you receive me?” Her own spirit echoed the god’s words.

Gudrun no longer perceived the ground she stood on or the roof above her head. She was every particle of humus decomposing into soil, every blade of grass. She was the goat that munched it, the sow that rooted for nuts beneath the trees. She was the she-bear suckling her cubs in the thicket. And she was in the Forest, roots linking to roots until they reached the great River, and through the River her awareness flowed outward in ever widening circles, exulting in its own myriad manifestations.

The Power that pulsed through her body spoke in answer, “Lord, You are welcome.”

Like a great wind he came to her. The world drew breath and let it out again in a great shout that was all runes, all names, all meaning. The divided Self was once more, in a union beyond time or place or person, self-known.

Paxson, Lord of Horses, (paperback, p. 361)

To understand what Odin wants is not easy, nor is the answer to that question always the same. But as he is a god of evolving consciousness, one of the deities who formed the world, he has an interest in maintaining Midgard in its present form until the appointed time for this cycle to end shall come. To achieve that purpose he needs the cooperation of humanity, which has the power to both understand and to destroy that world. He will continue to speak to men, but those who still fear any suggestion of receptivity will find it hard to hear him. I think that now, as in the past, it is women to whom Odin goes both to understand the world and to change it.

As for myself–

With every breath I take

And every word upon the wind,

With every thought I think,

And act of memory or mind,

I work Thy will within the world,

I sense Thy passions in my soul,

I am the holy Vé where self

To Self is offered and made whole.

(1997)

Bibliography:

Georges Dumézil, Mitra-Varuna, translated by Derek Coltman, Zone Books, 1988

The Elder Edda, edited and translated by Olive Bray, Viking Club Series Vol. II, AMS Press, N.Y., 1908

Caitlin Matthews, In Search of Women’s Passionate Soul: Revealing the Daimon Lover Within, Element Books, 1997

Ralph Metzner, The Well of Remembrance, Shambhala, 1994

Diana L. Paxson, “Sex, Seidh and Status”, Idunna, Spring, 1995

______________, “The Return of the Volva”, Mountain Thunder 8, Summer 1993

______________, “The Song of Frigga”, Mountain Thunder 5, Summer 1992

______________, “In Gunnloð’s Bed”, Idunna, Summer, 1993

______________, Wodan’s Children: The Wolf and the Raven, The Dragons of the Rhine, The Lord of Horses, Avon Books, 1993-1996

The Poetic Edda, translated by Lee Hollander, University of Texas, 1986

Snorre Sturlason, Edda (the Younger Edda), translated by Anthony Faulkes, Everyman, 1987

_______________., Heimskringla, Dover 1990

Richard Wagner, The Ring of the Nibelung, translated by Stewart Ross, E.P. Dutton, 1960