I. Tíw’s Immutable Order and the Wyrdas
There was a time when there was no time.
Nevertheless, there was the infinite and wide sky inhabited by the shining wise ones of yore. Tíw, the Sky God of justice, has got rule over it all. Tíw was the ruler because no one had a word so fair and no one swore oaths as true as he did.
There was, beneath Tíw’s Kingdom, Myspell and its fire éotenas, ruled by the melting fire sword of Syrt, and Nifolham, a dead realm of mists and the coldest snow ever known. Their birth predates any known origin.
Between Myspell and Nifolham, there was Ġinġesceap, a great gap filled with absolutely nothing but mæġen. It was a mysterious void, a point in which neither Myspell nor Nifolham could penetrate during uncountable ages.
But, what is mæġen? It is simply force, energy, both physical as well as spiritual; a visible power that emanates from a being, but also an unseen energy, used in many crafts; the ancient word cræft itself could be the same thing as mæġen. All that mæġen scared the fire éotenas, because they can’t simply destroy it.
In the most profound depths of Ġinġesceap, then, there was a secret: a well was hidden there, forgotten in its deepest boundary, where three sisters were continually weaving a web called Wyrd, with a thread being pulled from the well. This thread is called Orlæġ, which means “primal law”, and its source was laid down at the bottom of the well of Wyrd.
During many ages the Wyrdas have woven this web. Each one with three threads, they did so. The first one is called Wyrd which means “what that was”, the second one is Weordende, which means “what that is”, and the last one is Scyld, which means “what should be” or “debt”.
II. The End of the Immutable Order
The web woven by the Wyrdas became so wide that it thus spread out of Ġinġesceap, touching both Myspell and Nifolham, which, linked by the web, became closer, slowly invading Ġinġesceap during many ages, until they reached its centre, touching each other.
At the first time that they did so, clouds arose when the ancient fire touched the primal snow in an explosion of fire and ice mixed together. From this powerful explosion too much mæġen was released to all the infinite space corners, and a strange world emerged; Wyrd was its structure and mæġen fulfilled it.
The earth itself became alive, plenty of mæġen. It was known for many names, one of the most known of them was Nerþus. She was the whole surface of the earth, containing and radiating mæġen in its visible part.
But, in its underground a mighty conscience also has come to existence, and it worked in the opposite way. It naturally began to drag mæġen to the hidden part of that world, as a consequence of Nerþus’ life. Then, deeply penetrating the core of Nerþus, the underworld was born, a cold land also attached to Nifolham. Its abode became known as Hell, and it was the reign of death, as opposed to the living surface; no life can last forever, and that was the place where the doomed by Wyrd ought to go.
While Nerþus existed pushing mæġen out of her body, Helle existed pulling mæġen inwards. One shows, the other covers. They both existed as a consequence from one another, and they were inseparable. There is no life without death, or death without life. In their deep realm, the Wyrdas have laughed. It has begun. The wise fire éotenas became enraged.
III. The Primal Twins
Tíw, the Sky God of justice, then met Nerþus, the all-encompassing goddess of earth, and they had two sons: two twin creatures, the first one of them, a terribly grotesque and big one, which since the oldest times is called Éomer, “The Twin”, and the second one Tíwessunu, “The Son of Tíw”. The fire éotenas then realized that Syrt’s sword can’t defeat that abysmal creatures anymore.
Éomer and Tíwessunu slept during some ages, while a tree, called Eormensýl, started growing in that snowy land. From Éomer’s body other éotenas and þyrses became alive, but no one of them was so terribly large. When Éomer woke up, he was hungry. In that snowy realm he was made of ice, and his hunger was an abyssal feeling devouring anything it could, yearning for a satisfaction that never actually could come. He even attempted to eat Tíwessunu, for what reason the twin brothers became enemies. Tíwessunu left Éomer alone and disappeared for ages.
Éomer began to eat his own sons and anything he found at his disposal. When most of the éotenas were eaten, he wandered for many time. When he was stupidly desperate, he then found a great cow, even larger than him, and he saw four rivers of milk flowing from its tits. They lived for many ages, and for many ages the cow, called Æþymble, licked the ice and fed the terribly childish éoten. The éotenas and the þyrses then slowly multiplied themselves again.
IV. The Advent of the Ése
While the cow licked the ice, a bright being became uncovered, and neither Æþymble nor Éomer noticed it. The éotenas and þyrses, as the wisest beings of that new world, realized that there was something to happen, but they weren’t enough strong to face Éomer, in order to avoid that. Slowly the heat of the lickings made that being seen, and he finally woke up, and, with his bright, Éomer became astonished and didn’t offered him a fight. He was Béora, the oldest ancestor of the cynn of the ése.
Béora wandered and lived far away from where Éomer and his offspring inhabited. He then had a son, Beorn, which found a wife among the éotenas. She was Beste, and she gave birth to three sons: Wóden, which means “furious one”, Willa “The one which have got will”, and Wéoh “The sacred one”. Then, they were called ése. The three sons grew and became wiser, learnt how to fight and how to rule, and they spent ages hunting in the woods, and they saw Eormensýl become the greatest of the trees.
V. The Oldest Strife and the Arrival of Sunne
Day after day, the oldest fire éotenas, under Syrt’s sword and law, became worried about what was taking place in the newest world. Everything was happening according to what was woven in the Wyrdeswebb, the Web of Wyrd, and then the fire éotenas were slowly having their power decreased. They learnt about the strength of the offspring of Beorn, and then they sent one of them, Loc was his name, with a proposal: if the ése defeat Éomer and destruct the world, the ése could live among the ancient fire éotenas in their realm.
But Loc has got his own desires and ambitions. He thought that if he incited strife among the fire éotenas and the ése, thus he could do the ése kill Éomer, as well as the rulers of Myspell. After that, he then would find the ése very tired and weakened, probably severely wounded, and his victory could be easier.
Then, Loc proposed his own plan to the ése, but they also had their own plans, when they realized that they were dealing with a traitor of his own kind. They fought Éomer with Loc’s help and treacheries, and that fight lasted for many time. It was the first deadly battle of that world. The ése and Loc began winning the fight; then Éomer entered in a state of þyrs rage. Éomer attacked with an abyssal hate, totally out of control.
When the ése and Loc were somewhat hopeless of a victory, Tíwessunu appeared again, and played his role, as designed by the Wyrdas, fighting his twin brother. The ése and Loc could only watch that abyssal fight, each blow that Éomer or Tíwessunu struck against the other had as its result a deafening sound and a strong wind. But Tíwessunu was stronger and killed his twin brother.
After Éomer’s decapitation they all noticed that despite the fact that he was an ice þyrs, his blood was warm and abundant; it flooded all that snowy land, killing many éotenas and þyrses, of which but a few survived floating until they reached their current world, Éotenham, where they began to live among the wolves of the Iron Woods. One more time Tíwessunu was gone away, following his own Wyrd’s designations, and the ése became victorious.
After that, they went to Myspell as if they were about to fight the fire éotenas, but they made Loc captive though. After that, they met Syrt and the ése made a treaty with him. They ought to live in peace for many ages, but when the Wyrdeswebb couldn’t hold the order of their world anymore, the ése ought to fight the fire éotenas, but a battle shouldn’t take place among them before that. The ése swore that as well Syrt. It was a nice peace treaty for both, which were afraid of being attacked at any time.
As a signal of his good will and a wergild for his plans, Syrt also give to the ése the brightest Myspell flame, called Sunne. But Syrt also has urged that the ése bring Loc with them as a hostage and keep him alive, as an ambassador between them, and a pact of non-aggression was made between Wóden and Loc, and he was brought to the abode of the ése.
VI. Shaping the New World, Wóden’s Kingship and the Birth of Þunor
When the ése came back to the centre of their new world, and the all-encompassing Nerþus saw that Myspell flame, she was so impressed that she began to circularly dance around it. The golden energy of Sunne and her chariot pulled by two horses, called Hengest and Horsa, which means “Stallion” and “Horse” respectively, is a shining light that all beings loved to look up to; Sunne than soon became one of the most beloved of the ése.
Her light made Nerþus warmer, and from the dead body of Éomer in her surface many creatures were born: some of the most notable of them are the light ælfe and the small and greedy dweorgas, and a new age came. The ælfe then started to make noises until they discovered music, and they quickly developed their instruments until they were playing a harmonic and beautiful song, packing up Nerþus and Sunne in their dance. Thus, the inhabitants of Nerþus could count the days and the years, watching her dance, though they early thought that Sunna was running around Nerþus.
Sunna’s bright was so intense, that distant beings came just to watch it. One of them was called Mona; he has come with his chariot and he also began to dance around Nerþus with a great mirror. Therefore, when Sunne was sleeping, the inhabitants of Nerþus still can see her bright reflected in Mona, and then they could count the months.
Wóden, Willa and Wéoh designed a new world from the body of Éomer, and his barbaric life made possible that many lives came from his death. The ése created mountains with his bones and set up a fortress using Éomer’s eyebrows against the éotenas and þyrses when they noticed that some of them were inhabiting mountains.
The ése designed rivers and oceans from the blood of Éomer, and Wada then came from the underworld to the water surface, ruling the rivers, acting as a liminal deity between the boundaries of the seen and unseen. The dweorgas made powerful kingdoms in their mines in the underground. Eormensýl was so high now that she reached Tíw’s realm; its roots firmly penetrating the underworld, even touching the abode of the Wyrdas; then they started to take care of its roots.
The whole land was since then inhabited with wights dwelling in rocks, trees, wells, lakes and every single thing; our ancestors called them wihta in the old times. These beings are the first and oldest inhabitants of every landscape, so any outsider or new inhabitant must respect them in order to keep the friþ of the land.
When Tíw noticed everything that happened, as the Sky God and the ruler in justice, he knows that his time has come and that he ought to conform to the Orlæġ, as he was its primal devotee. He then gave to Wóden his kingship and his kingdom, and the ése retributed that making him a friend and allowing Tíw to live among them.
Wóden had a son with Nerþus, which was called Þunor, the Thunderer. Þunor has got a chariot lead by white goats, and he is a smith god, as well as the warrior and champion protector of the ése. The blows of his hammer make its sparks shine in the sky, and they are what men now call thunder. He is also the red bearded ós, the bringer of rain.
The ése thus split the world in seven new ones. The first of them, were the upper ones: Their abode, the Ésaġeard, then Ælfham, the dwelling of the light ælfe; there, some of the most important ancestors can live in the fields of Neorxnawang. There is also Middanġeard, where humans live, in the middle of the upper kingdoms of the ése and the ælfe and the underworld. Then, there are the lower realms. Nifolham, the reign of ice and mists. Nifolham is where is located Hell, the abode of the dead, and in its darkest and coldest part, Wyrmsele, where the corrupted serpent Níþhéawere gnaws Eormensýl’s roots. Sweartælfham is the kingdom of the dweorgas, or dark ælfe, where they mine metals and make tools. There is also Éotenham, set apart from everything, with the ice éotenas and þyrses protecting the well of wisdom. And there is finally the world of the fire éotenas, Myspell. Excepting from Myspell, all those realms came from the primal Kingdom of Law and Order ruled by the Sky God of justice, Tíw. Eormensýl connected them all and was used for the ése or any other traveler aiming to reach another world.
VII. The Birth of Mann, Ingui Fréa, Fríġe and the Mankind
Tíwessunu then lived in the most inhospitable places of Middanġeard, in its East. He slowly moved and then had a son, called Mann. Mann came to Jutland, where he lived peacefully among the ælfe; there he had three sons with Nerþus; the first one became the father of the Ingaevones, his name is Ingui Fréa, and soon he became known as the Lord of the ælfe and the ruler of Ælfham. From the other two sons came the offspring of the Istaevones and Hermiones.
Nerþus then, after dancing for so many time the dance of the ælfe, felt in love for one of them, Féorġen was his name. He had got a lyre, and then they loved each other, and they had a daughter called Fríġe, which was a witch, and she, as a being that emerged from the depths of the earth, was a chthonic deity, having met the Wyrdas and knowing its mysteries and the Orlæġ that governed their actions.
Fríġe also knew the Orlæġ of all beings. Everything that happened and that must happen was thus designed by the Wyrdas; even the ése can’t break the rules imposed by the woven pattern of Wyrd.
Soon Fríġe became the Lady of the wise women, collecting the dead females and giving them the ability of knowing the Wyrd of men and women, so they could weave the threads of their descendants as they were born. Fríġe also allowed that some of them follow their descendants through their whole life, to protect them. The ése and the ælfe were living in friþ with one another, and they often were found together in the abode of each other.
VIII. The Building of Éseġeard’s Wall
After that, the ése started to worry about the wolves, éotenas and þyrses of Éotenham. They knew that a harm should be paid with a harm, and that the inhabitants of Éotenham weren’t too much glad to what happened to their cynn. Someday though, a man came to Éseġeard riding his horse. He went to the gathering of the ése and their fellow ælfe, offering them to build a wall of stones around the abode of the ése.
At that time, the year was divided into two seasons, summer and winter. Then he asked for three seasons to do that work, and for Sunne, Mona and Fríġe as the price of his work. The ése and the ælfe the felt outraged with that proposal, and then Loc saw a chance to harm the cynn of the ése. He then asked for a time to discuss that idea with the ése and they reluctantly accepted.
When the foreigner was invited again, the ése did put forward their own conditions: that the man should make the wall until the end of that winter, and if Éostre appear once again and all the rocks should be there, and that man should be the only man to work there, no less than that. Even that plan the ése weren’t willing to accept, but Loc said them that probably the foreigner shouldn’t accept that, thus it was a very educated denial.
But surprisingly enough, it was accepted, if the ése could accept that he had his horse as the only help. Loc then anticipated all the ése and ælfe gathered there, accepting that doubtful proposal. Loc disguisedly laughed, and all the ése knew that something bad was going to happen.
The builder and his horse worked hard even in the first day. All the ése felt that there was something wrong, and that harrowing feel was growing day after day. Loc then ironically said that that was the better option, that the innanġeard of the ése should be protected. Near the end of the winter, that wall was almost done, and then the ése violently forced Loc to solve that problem, as he had made an oath for them that they weren’t even willing to swear for themselves.
Then Loki turned himself into a wondrous mare, and the horse, which was doing the greater part of that job, suddenly has gone after that mare, leaving away his task, running into the woods where she has gone. The man ran after his horse for many time; when he realized that he was in the last day of that job and that he had to finish it faster than he could, he became enraged, showing his own appearance as an éoten, attacking the ése. But the god then noticed that they were dealing with an útanġeard beast; they sought after Þunor’s help and he smashed the face of that éoten.
Also, after that, Loc gave birth to a gray foal, which was then called Slíepescóh, and it was given to Wóden, becoming his riding through the seven worlds, as a way of paying the harm that Loc almost did to the whole cynn of the ése and the ælfe and its innanġeard.
IX. The First War, Cwæs and the Mead
Fríġe then learnt of the power of the ése and she was hungry for gold, as a goddess of fertility. She disguised her appearance and went to the abode of the ése, where she was pierced by spears and was burnt for three times, but she couldn’t be killed that way: that was not what Wyrd had designed for her.
When Fríġe’s relatives of the ælfecynn knew that she was in danger, they started a war against the ése, which answered throwing a spear against them in the battle, as a curse. The ælfe also shotted the ése many times, poisoning and deeply wounding them. This was the first war, and it lasted for many time, and after that, no one of the tribes could definitely win the other. So, they made a peace treaty, exchanged hostages and Fríġe married Wóden.
When the griþ was restored among them, the ése and the ælfecynn were feasting together, so each one of their tribes spitted out in a jar; they brewed that liquid, and a wise god of poetry born: his name was Cwæs and he was the result of the peace treaty among the ése and the ælfecynn.
Cwæs was a wise and inspired ós; he knew about how to rule and how to fecundate the land; but he also knew about poetry and alliteration, his verses had so vividly metaphors that his words even turned into the things he was talking about in the front of those hearing him. But Cwæs also knew about alcohol, his own blood was made of it, and he taught its mysteries in the ancient word “alu”.
Even so, he lived a short life as he was killed by the dweorgas Hýdere and Gælere, and cunningly they prepared the mead with his blood, mixing it with honey. Nevertheless, these dweorgas killed the father of the éoten Suttung, and as its wergild, they give him the jar with the mead; Suttung hid it under a mountain after he left his daughter Gúþhlot taking care of it.
Wóden doesn’t simply ignore that the blood of Cwæs had a great amount of mæġen. He has stolen the mead of poetry from the depths of the éoten’s mountain, as he was an ós of ecstasy and trance. Wóden killed all the peasants of a man to offer his own services, asking for the mead as a paid. But the man hadn’t the mead, although he knew where it was hidden.
Then Wóden was gone there; he disguised as a serpent in order to penetrate the mountain. Then, he slept with Gúþhlot, the daughter of the éoten Suttung, and he drank all the mead in three deep sips, leaving the éoten’s abode as a bird. Suttung also took a bird form and flew after Wóden.
Wóden reached the Ésaġeard and his enemy was burnt, losing the ability of flying, and dying in the ground. Thus, the ése have got the mead of poetry and inspiration again, as their sacred beverage. If one wants to please the gods, pouring mead, ale or any alcoholic drink for them is always a good choice.
X. Ingui Fréa and Mona’s functions
After that, Ingui Fréa sent a messenger to the underworld and he asked Nerþus to marry his Lord. She wasn’t so inclined to do that, but she had to accept it to avoid being cursed. Ingui Fréa gave her his sword and became an ós of friþ and prosperity, ensuring that men could have good crops, happiness and abundance if they gave him offerings. Thus, men then learnt that when they give gifts to the wihta or to the ése they receive something back, and that their mæġen was increased, allowing them to live better.
Mona was also an important ós. Since elder times the inhabitants of Middanġeard have learnt how his light and his dance around Nerþus was important; how the crops and the seas were influenced by his dance. For many times people waited for the correct of his phases in order to take advantage of his mæġen; and there are wise men and women that developed a complex knowledge on how to use its mæġen in the most effective way.
XI. Tíw teaches Politics
When the first tribes emerged, Tíw came to Middanġeard, the God of Justice also loved the mankind; he taught them to gather themselves to make decisions; he is the sacred moderator of the þing. No man is allowed entering the sacred space of the þing carrying a blade or a weapon; they must keep friþ among them in that sacred time.
The kings and chieftains also had to learn to be the child of the people instead of its dictators. The men had to learn how to follow by merit and by deeds, to follow by virtue and courage; to be aware and to discuss politics, as well as to rebel against the tyrant leaders. Tíw also taught them to sacrifice the chieftains unable to keep friþ, and to avoid being controlled without right to participate in the political decisions that affect a cynn of a man or woman.
XII. The Birth of Hréðe
There was a time when a malicious éoten, Sceaþa was his name, snatched a warrior king’s wife of a Ingaevonic tribe. The king and his men have looked for her everywhere, but they couldn’t find her. Sceaþa hid the queen underneath a mountain, and there they lived for many years. The queen then mothered a daughter, and she gave her the name of Æðelþryð, which means “noble strength”.
Æðelþryð had all the characteristics of a noble, and she was a pretty girl, though she also had an éotenisc strength and courage. When Tíw came to the Ingaevones, he also disguised as a wolf to wander and hunt in the woods. He was looking for boars, and then he found a place where the fattiest of them were found. But there he also found Æðelþryð with a spear; she was dressed in wolf skin, and her face was painted with wolf blood.
Soon the hunter was turned into the hunt, and the fearless girl began to chase that bold wolf. Æðelþryð offered a fight to Tíw in his animal form, and the fight was so harsh that he was almost deadly wounded. Then Tíw has shown her his shining human form, as he was impressed for her skill, strength and nobleness. She offered him mead, for she noticed that he was a noble warrior.
Æðelþryð told to Tíw that his mother taught her about her nobility, and her éotenisc father taught her how to fight. She then has avenged her mother by killing her father, but she wasn’t comfortable enough to live among the Ingaevones, for she was violently stronger than any man. They then loved each other, and they had a daughter: her name was Hréðe, and she became the Goddess of Wrath and Victory.
Then Tíw made a dwelling for Æðelþryð and Hréðe at the top of that mountain. Hréðe then captured a white wyrm and took care of it; thus, the wyrm became the symbol of her strength. The wyrm warded the weapons that Hréðe got in battle and took to her abode. Like her father, Hréðe could fight in the form of a dreadful wolf.
XIII. The Birth of Seaxnéat, the Saxons and their þéaw
Fríġe and Wóden had many sons. The first one is called Seaxnéat, the “knife companion”. When Seaxnéat was born, Wóden left him among white horses, and then he had to learn how to live with but a knife. He grew up and learnt how to understand and how to ride horses; and he became a fearful warrior.
Then, Hréðe and Seaxnéat found each other; they have married, and the Saxons were born from them. Seaxnéat gave the seax to the Saxons, their sacred one-sided blade that make them so powerful. He taught them how to fight and how to rule; he taught how to ride and take care of the horses; he gave them their first sacred warrior king, Ġesecg, and Seaxnéat also taught to the Saxons their tribal þéaw. That’s why he is called alternatively “companion of the Saxons”.
Seaxnéat also taught to his people that mæġen could be then even a political or personal might and influence, but mæġen was also a spiritual force, manipulated through hidden arts by witches and spirit workers, or even a force used by warriors, specially the wulfheodenas. Hréðe was a giver of a violent mæġen, and that was the reason that the ancient Anglo-Saxons offered sacrifices to her.
Seaxnéat also ordered that the Saxons built a great column, a pillar where they could leave offerings and easier contact the ése and their ancestors. This was called Éormensyl, like the world tree, as it was made with the same function, and it was worshipped for many times, until Charlemagne have destroyed and plundered it.
Seaxnéat also has shown how to build strong houses, and how to build wide meadhalls to gather people within them; he told about the importance of boasting about good deeds and toasting; it was Seaxnéat that taught to call upon the twin horses Hengist and Horsa using double horse-head gables to ensure the protection of an enclosure against evil witches or harmful wihta.
As the ós of the tribe, Seaxnéat also taught to men how to be a good þingere, or spiritual head of the family, how to take care of their families; he told children how to take care of ancestral wisdom as well as the old how to be wise and pass their knowledge through. Seaxnéat told their sons histories around the hearth, and about the importance of the fire in their lives.
XIV. How the hobs allied themselves to humans
Therefore, the home became a place full of mæġen. Sometimes people buried a deceased in the foundations of the home; and then he became a protector of that family. Sometimes a wiht choose to live among humans. In both cases, they began to develop a kind of relationship based in reciprocal help; and this kind of wiht is known as hob.
It is often seen as a small person, bearded or even hairy, sometimes with a red cap. This being could help the human family he has chosen to live with if that family please him with good food offerings, but sometimes can be mischievous, if disrespected or not rewarded. This close relationship is very important in daily life, and a house wiht has no less importance in human daily life than an of the ése.
XV. Fosǽta, Bealdor and Wóden’s deeds
Fosǽta was another of Wóden’s sons with Fríġe. He was the god of justice, and he is said to be so righteous that in every men’s strife he can find a peaceful solution that both parts agree and feel rewarded. Bealdor was the most shining god; he was also a son of Wóden and Fríġe though he was cared for Sunne and accompanied her many times, for what he earned his title. The death of Bealdor is the first signal of the collapse of the world as the ése designed.
Wóden rather than being a superfluous king, is a wanderer, looking for knowledge. Even if Wóden is a true Ring-Giver, exchanging mæġen with these loyal to him, he knew about herbs, how to use and how to cure; he even hanged in Eormensýl in order to create Thyme and Fennel; thus, he sent them to the seven worlds.
Wóden was a Leechcrafter and he taught the herblore and leechdom to mankind. He also learnt seið from his wife Fríġe, for what he was widely condemned as it was considered effeminate, but Wóden didn’t care too much about it: he was looking for more mæġen, and this gave him mæġen. Fríġe also told to Wóden the Orlæġ of all men and other wihta. Fríġe, as the mistress of the wælcyrian, divides half of the war slain that they collected for her, and they are sent to Wóden’s hall, where they fight each day.
Wóden also drank from the Well of Wisdom in Éotenham, even if Mími, the Warden of the well, asked to him his own eye as payment, and then he became known as the One Eyed Grim Wanderer. Wóden also has two crows whose names mean “Thought” and “Memory”.
As the Lord of the Dead, Wóden is the psychopomp, the one that guides the deceased to Hell. In the most powerful liminal time of the year, the Wild Hunt, Wóden open the doors of the underworld, bringing the spirits of the dead with him, in a journey through the skies that lasts until the Ġéol. In that time of the year the boundaries of the seen and unseen are very blurred, and the otherworld participates more actively in the life of the inhabitants of Middanġeard.
Wóden was also the one who found the runes and he gave them to mankind. He was said to have hanged by himself in Eormensýl for nine nights and nine days until he discovered the runes.
XVI. Loc’s Sons
While Wóden was looking for wisdom, Loc was looking for power and betrayal. He was gone to the Iron Woods; and there he met the wolves and the éoten witch. Far away from his own ġeard he planned to attack it and break its friþ; Loc worked to destroy the order of the ése; he then had three sons with the witch of the éotenas: the giant wolf Fenndwellende and the serpent Éormengand.
When the ése learnt about that, they attempted many times to chain the terrible wolf Fenndwellende; which can’t be made without Tíw losing his hand in an act of treachery and sacrifice to keep the order of Orlæġ, avoiding that the doom of the world happened earlier than it must happen.
The ése called upon the help of the dweorgas which made a magical chain; it was so thin that even Fendwellende thought he couldn’t break it easily, so Tíw had to put his hand in the mouth of the beast, which swallowed it when he can’t break the chains. It is said that the wolf will swallow Wóden in the final day, before being killed by a son of Wóden, Wídhár.
Éormengand was thrown in the deeper oceans, and Þunor became its enemy; as it was a savage and hateful being of the sea, Þunor attempted to kill it many times, but it is said that when the final day come, Þunor and Éormengand will kill each other.
XVII. Hell, Neorxnawang and the Ancestors
Hell, as the half dead first dweller of the abode with her name lying in Nifolham, thus became the ruler of the dead. There, most of men and women gather themselves to live in friþ; they can continue their lives and stay together, caring of each other. They can live in Hell with the stuff that their relatives buried them with, and the more powerful one is when he was alive, the more chances he has of achieving a good and prosperous life after death in the underground otherworld of the dead.
But some dead also could live in Neorxnawang, in the upper world of Ælfham. In that region those that were cremated or were specially powerful or honored in someway could live among the ælfe cynn and even become one of them; there they lived in friþ and also helped with the fertility of the land and the wealth of their cynn.
From the otherworld, the dead also send mæġen and are often sought for wisdom by the living. Powerful ancestors take care of their descendants in Middanġeard, helping their lives and making them happier and more prosperous. The living often leave them offerings of gold, food, or anything valuable to the dead; thus the ancestors gave to their relatives something back in return.
Nevertheless, Hell also had a place of punishment, because those that are unfair with their own cynn, lying, breaking oaths, killing their own kinsmen were sent to Wyrmsele, where the serpent Níþhéawere swallow them. They weren’t considered good enough to spend their lives among the honoured dead.
Thereafter, men also made history and stories.
There is also a cunning smith, Wéland is his name. He married a wælcyrġe, which after some time left him, but gave him a ring. He then forged seven hundred duplicates of that ring. However, the king Niðhad captured Wéland when he was sleeping, and ordered him hamstrung, and imprisoned him, forcing him to work.
Wéland had his sword stolen by the king, and the ring of his wife was given to the king’s daughter. But Wéland killed the king’s sons in an ambush; he then fashioned goblets from their skulls and jewels from their eyes and a brooch from their teeth. When the king’s daughter took the ring for mending, Wéland raped her, fathering a son. He then flew away using wings made by himself. But Wéland also forged many of the mythic weapons that men brandished.
XIX. Hengest and Horsa and the Conquest of Britain
There was a time when Hengest and Horsa were allowed for Sunne to come to Middanġeard as humans. They did so as brothers; at that time the Germanic tribes were wandering, fighting, and conquering new lands. Hengest and Horsa were powerful chieftains among the descendants of the Ingaevonic peoples.
At that time, in Britain there were many wars, and the Brittonic king Vortigern invited Hengest and Horsa as auxiliary troops against his enemies. They then told about a land which was once inhabited by éotenas which built great towns from stones. They taught the Angles, Saxons, Frisians and Jutes how to sail and they crossed the sea to Britain.
After settling in the Isle of Thanet, these tribes were offered provisions to fight as mercenaries. Some night, Hengist made Vortigern be drunk and then the Brittonic king wished to marry Hengist’s daughter; the marriage happened and Hengist has increased his influence over Vortigern, he even has brought more and more Germanic troops to Britain.
Hengist and Horsa fought against Vortimer, son of Vortigern opposed to his father’s alliances with the Saxons, in which at the third of four battles, some say that Horsa was slain, alongside Cartigern, Vortimer’s brother. At the fourth, the Saxons were pushed back, leaving Britain.
Shortly after, however, Vortimer dies, and the Saxons and their fellow tribes come back again. Offering peace, the Saxons met Vortigern, and then they had seaxas hidden under their clothes. Hengist shout out “nemet oure saxas”, get your knives; and they then kill all the kingsmen and made Vortigern captive. There are accounts that Horsa was killed this night, though. Some battles later, Hengist was captured and killed. Hengist was also the first king of Kent, the Jutish kingdom of England.
XX. Early Anglo-Saxon Kings of England
The Britons fought good, but in any case, they lost Britain, which is now most part of what we call England; many powerful and honoured warrior kings lived there with their peoples, like Ċerdiċ, the first king of Wessex, Æscwine, the first king of Essex, son of Ġesecg, son of Seaxnéat, Ælle, the first king of Sussex, Ælle the first kings of Deira, in Northumbria, Esa, the first king of the Bernicians in Northumbria, Wehha, the first king of East Anglia, Icel, the first king of Mercia, as well as the Mercian king Penda and the latter Anglo-Saxon king Ælfréd the Great, which defended his kingdom from the Viking invasions, developed the education in England, as well as improved its legal system and military structure.
Ċerdiċ landed in Hampshire at the end of the V century CE, followed by his son Cynric, in five ships. There they fought the Brittonic king Natanleod; and latter established the house of Wessex. He also conquered the Isle of Wight.
Icel gave his name to the Mercian house of the Iclingas, and he is Anglian in origin. He is said to be son of Offa of Angel, a powerful warrior king of the Migration Period, husband of Modþryð, son of Wermund.
The Warrior King Penda was a dreadful Heathen chieftain in a time when most of kings were converting to the Roman culture. He achieved victory in many important battles, becoming one of the most powerful tribal kings of the history of England.
Penda killed king Edwin in 633, and nine years later he did the same with his successor, Oswald, in the Battle of Maserfield. Penda dismembered Oswald’s body, placing his hands, head and members onto stakes. He also suddenly won the battles against the kings of Eastern Mercia and he exiled the king Cenwalh of Wessex for three years. Penda lasted until a battle against the successor of Oswald, when he lost many of his warriors to a flood in a river.
XXI. The Tale of Mæðhild and Ġéat
There was a woman called Mæðhild, she felt in love with Ġéat. But she foreseen her own Wyrd and she knew that she would drown in a river. Ġéat, however, said he would built a strong bridge over the river. But Mæðhild knew that no one could escape Wyrd. Thus, she had to cross the river, and then the bridge collapsed. Ġéat, in his despair, took his harp and played it so well that the spirits of the underworld were touched by it; then some say that Mæðhild floated alive, some say that she did it already dead. After burying her, Ġéat then made new strings for his harp with his beloved’s hair.
XXII. The Legend of Beowulf and the End of the Heathen Times
Beowulf is also a legendary hero; probably descending from the Swedish clan of the Wægmundingas, he was son of Ecgþéow, which fled to England after killing Heaðolaf from the clan of the Wulfingas. The king Hróþgár, husband of the queen Wealhþeow, then paid the wergild for Ecgþéow.
Hróþgár then built a great meadhall called Heorot, but it soon attracted the jealousy of an útanġeard’s beast: Grendel, the dreadful monster. He then began to attack Hróþgár and to kill his people, turning impossible for them to gather themselves together in order to enjoy the king’s mæġen. The people then left offerings following their ancient þéaw, asking for the help of Wóden, as the Killer of Souls.
Wóden has heard their prayers. Then the Geatish hero Beowulf crossed the ocean with his warband. Beowulf heard about the suffering of Hróþgár, and, as son of Ecgþéow, he felt the obligation of returning a favour. Beowulf swore to Hróþgár that he would kill the monster, at the time he has the chance to meet it.
Beowulf did it as he said, and Hróþgár gave him many gifts; they didn’t know that Grendel had a mother though. After going to the underground cave of Grendel’s mother after her attacks, Beowulf also killed her using an éotenisc sword he found there. He then was gone back to his land.
There he became a king, and he ruled in friþ; bringing prosperity for many years, until the day that a dragon woke up and began slaying his people; then the hero once again took his sword and kill the útanġeard’s monster, but this time Béowulf was deadly wounded and poisoned, dying after slaying his last enemy to keep the honour and friþ of his people.
The mighty Mercian king Penda was the last warrior king of his original Anglo-Saxon þéaw. Maybe one of the last events that gave the Anglo-Saxons that feeling of old times was the Battle of Brunanburh in in 937, when the king Æthelstan expelled both the Celts and the Vikings from England, giving to the Isle much of its modern political form. But probably the most important part of that time was already lost. That battle fury was probably given by the old ése of a not so far time, at that moment.
XXIII. The Metaphysic of the Wanderer
In this new age, the followers of the old þéaw sometimes suddenly became lost. This happened for many reasons, but some of them were turned into an eardstapa, a wanderer. These wanderers were forced in the wræclastas, the “paths of exile”, sorrowfully facing their own Wyrd, once all joy has died.
From a þeġen or an æðeling, a man then became an ánhaga, a “solitary man”, suffering for the death of his warrior fellows and his lord, lost in a world that had no place for him. This solitary man realizes that he lost many of the meadhall culture’s pleasures, like the gift-giving, the loyalty of his lord and his companions. He thus ought to hide his thoughts, in order to keep his customs.
This kind of wanderer then might become a modcearig mann (a man troubled in mind), meditating in how harsh life is, how the killings shaped his life, and how to survive as a foreigner in that new order. Wyrd could also be ruthless.
The wanderer then would notice thus that the world has changed; all the glory from the past was dead and the old þéaw didn’t exist anymore, nor do the treasures, feasts, battles, nor even the horses, in one word, that whole culture is dead: he then achieved to be a snottor on mode, a “wise man”, though it seems to be a bit pessimist and hopeless state of being in a post Anglo-Saxon heathen world. That’s what the absence of the old þéaw led the wanderer to feel.
XXIV. The Old Seed
After the Roman religion was imposed, the Dark Age started. But the end only marks a new start point. That was overcome, so this may be. Nature and time are cyclical. The actors may change, but the roles are the same. The seed was left and forgotten for many centuries, but now is the time to make it grow again.
It is said that one day Loc and his útanġeard’s beasts will finally come and attack the ése, with Syrt and the fire and ice éotenas, as well as the foolish þyrs, and many ése will die, as well as the world will be burnt and renewed, as it is designed by Wyrd. But the land is still alive and plenty of wihta, our ancestors are still responding our calls and the gods are still fighting and making the land fertile. That day haven’t come yet.
Of course, I don’t intend this became the only attempt of reconstruction of Anglo-Saxon creation myth.
Special thanks to Richard Patten from Fyrnsidu Facebook group that helped me a lot with many Old Norse to Old English names.
Yes, there is a lot of Norse lore here. This is not my fault that Anglo-Saxon lore is so fragmentary. It is better to mix some Norse lore with Anglo-Saxon lore than creating from nothing. I haven’t brought Norse concepts most of time. I just used Norse characters to reflect Anglo-Saxon values, attested in Anglo-Saxon sources.
Yes, there is a lot of Proto-Indo-European stuff here.
Yes, everytime that I found any Ingaevonic or Anglo-Saxon version, I have chosen it over Norse or PIE.
This is a story. Keep that in mind. We have almost no preserved data to build a perfectly Anglo-Saxon story. Therefore, I thought that it was better to became as closer as I could. Of course, “closer” is a very subjective thing. But every single tale of the heathen period of Anglo-Saxon England I know is there.
I attempted to avoid that any of the ideas inserted here contradict the lore, but sometimes I made some additions to things that can’t be proved nor denied.
Tíw is here fulfilled with Dyḗus Ptḗr and the Norse Týr.
The Vanir and the ælfe were renderized in one tribe, following Turville-Petre and Ellis Davidson’s suggestions.
Myspell as a concept may be supported not only by Norse Musspell, but also by Old High German late concept of muspilli and the Old Saxon concept of mutspelli or mudspelli, a kind of destructive force, a thief of the night, associated to the end of the world or a final judgement. In these contexts the concepts are widely Christianized, though they seem to bear a pre-Christian origin in themselves.
Yes, Sunne and Mona myths were adapted to fit in our modern understandings of astronomy. It seems unlikely that the Anglo-Saxons of yore would rather prefer a wrong knowledge when they knew how the things really happened.