Heimdall,

The great watchman of the Aesir. 

  

"Heimdallr 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. 

Heimdallr is attested as possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing, is described as "the whitest of the gods", and keeps watch for the onset of Ragnarök while drinking fine mead in his dwelling Himinbjörg, located where the burning rainbow bridge Bifröst meets heaven (Asgard). Heimdallr is said to be the originator of social classes among mankind, once regained Freyja's treasured possession Brísingamen while doing battle in the shape of a seal with Loki, and Heimdallr and Loki are foretold to kill one another during the events of Ragnarök. 

  

Heimdallr is additionally referred to as Hallinskiði, Gullintanni, and Vindlér or Vindhlér. 

Heimdallr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional material; in the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, both written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; in the poetry of skalds; and on an Old Norse runic inscription found in England. Two lines of an otherwise lost poem about the god, Heimdalargaldr, survive. Due to the problematic and enigmatic nature of these attestations, scholars have produced various theories about the nature of the god, including his apparent relation to rams, that he may be a personification of or connected to the world tree Yggdrasil, and potential Indo-European cognates." (1) 

  

Nine mothers? I have heard that the waves are the mother of Heimdall. The nine daughters of Aegir and Ran. But as with most things, this is debatable. Heimdall is the watchman, who guards Bifrost (The Rainbow bridge) and makes sure that no one crosses it that should not.                                               

 

Besides guard duty, he also alerts all of the Aesir, and in fact all of the nine worlds that Ragnarok is upon us by blowing his great horn that shall be heard throughout the worlds. 

  

"Heimdall (pronounced “HAME-doll;” Old Norse  Heimdallr, whose meaning/etymology is unknown[1]) is one of the Aesir-Gods and the ever-vigilant guardian of the gods’ stronghold, Asgard. 

 

His dwelling is called Himinbjörg (“Sky Cliffs,” connoting a high place ideal for a fortress), which sits at the top of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge that leads to Asgard. He requires less sleep than a bird. His eyesight is so keen that he can see for hundreds of miles by day or by night, and his hearing is so acute that he can hear grass growing on the ground and wool growing on sheep.[2] Here he watches and listens, holding at the ready the horn Gjallarhorn (“Resounding Horn”), which he sounds when intruders are approaching. 

 

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... 

 

 

References:

[1] Turville-Petre, E.O.G. 1964. Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia. p. 153.

 

[2] Snorri Sturluson. The Prose Edda. Gylfaginning 27.

 

[3] The Poetic Edda. Völuspá, stanza 1.

 

[4] The Poetic Edda. Rígsþula.

 

[5] The Poetic Edda. Völuspá in skamma.

 

[6] Simek, Rudolf. 1993. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Translated by Angela Hall. p. 135-136.

 

[7] Turville-Petre, E.O.G. 1964. Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia. p. 151-152.

 

[8] Ibid. p. 149-150." (2)

 

Heimdall is the son of Odin, and as previously stated, of nine mothers. (How that worked out, I dont think we will ever know, and I dont think I would ever want to know!) The great watchgod is a favorite of many people. Perhaps because of his loyalties, his strenght and courage, the fact that he guards Asgard, and thus the realms of men.

It is said that Heimdall, under the alias of Rig, established the different social classes of Humanity. This would mean, that techincally, Heimdall could be considered the "All-Father" but, as I am sure you know that title is reserved for Odin.

 

"The Thrall"

 

According to Rig's myth, the god once approached the lowly dwelling of a old couple, Ai and Edda (literally "great-grandfather" and "great-grandmother"). After introducing himself as a lone wayfarer, Rig was given coarse food to satisfy his hunger and a place in the bed between them when it was time to sleep. Rig remained with them for three nights and gave them good advice. Nine months later, Edda bore a son, Thrall, who was black-haired and ugly, with rough skin, thick fingers, swollen knuckles, short nails, long heels and a bent back; however, he was very strong. Thrall took as his wife an equally ungainly person, a drudge with crooked legs, dirty feet, sunburned arms and a large nose. Their many children included Noisy, Roughneck, and Horsefly, as well as girls such as Lazybones, Fatty, and Beanpole. From these ill-favored children descended the thralls, the enslaved laborers of the somewhat oppressed class, weighed down with generations of hard labor.

The Karl 

 

Rig then visited a second house, warm and better furnished. Inside he encountered an industrious couple, Afi andAmma (literally "grandfather" and "grandmother"). The well-clothed and well-fed pair were spinning and weaving, Afi preparing the loom and Amma spinning a thread. Once again Rig shared both their table and their bed, gave good advice and departed after three nights. Nine months afterwards Amma bore a son named Karl, who was red, fresh, and bright-eyed. Karl took to wife Snor {meaning "daughter-in-law") and their children included boys named Stongbeard, Husbandman, and Smith, and girls called Prettyface, Maiden, and Capable. Together they ran a farm and were free.

The Jarl 

 

A third dwelling Rig stayed at was a splendid hall belonging to Fadir and Modir ("father" and "mother"). While Fadir attended to his bow and arrows, Modir saw to her clothing and beauty. After a large meal, accompanied by fine drink and pleasant conversation, Rig slept between his wealthy hosts. Nine months afterwards, Modir bore a son, Jarl, who was fair-haired and handsome, with a bright cheek and an eye as piercing as a serpent's. When he grew to manhood, Jarl could use the bow, spear, and sword and shield; he could ride, swim, and hunt expertly. One day Rig returned, greeting Jarl as his chosen son, imparting wisdom and instructing him on methods of claiming his rightful lands. In obedience to the god, Jarl rode through the world, fighting and slaying, seizing power and distributing wealth amongst his followers. At long last, he was wedded to Erna (lively), a fair and wise noblewoman, who bore him tweleve sons. One of these learned magic so well that he could halt forest fires, control storms, and heal the sick. It was said that he excelled even Rig in understanding, and almost became a god. The implication is that in his person he combined the positions of priest and king.

The Myth Expanded 

 

The myth of Rig sheds light directly upon the structure of Viking society. In firm contrast with the Celts, the other primary culture of pre-Christian Europe, the Germanic peoples of Scandinavia and northern Europe had already lost a priestly class by the time their mythology fully evolved. As Julius Caesar noted, the ancient Germans had no equivalent of the druids, and cared little for such rituals; religious significance was located in areas such as the depths of forests. But the Romans, and later the Vikings' victims, were in no doubt about the Germanic love of warfare, and the role of the armed retainer in the sturdy free peasant, in battle." (3)

And now you have it! Between my info, and quotes, I think that is all the information there is on Heimdall! Please remeber I do not claim that this work is my own, I do howver quote all my sources, as you can see below. My goal is not to create great works of information, but to rather mix my own information and knowedlge, and gather others into one place to make it easier for my readers to learn.

 

Sources:

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimdallr

2:http://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/the-aesir-gods-and-goddesses/heimdall/

3:http://mythology.wikia.com/wiki/Rig

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