Historic Jukebox: Sigur Rós Óðin’s Raven Magic & Viking Epics

Be transported to a different time. With these floating, untethered words and music that I’ve curated or stumbled upon accidentally. In any case they are evocative and inspire deep escapism and magical voyages into the history of the world. Enjoy! There will be more Historic Jukebox to come! Instructions

1. Play Video.

2. Read Text.

3. Daydream. 


Wotan (Odin) takes leave of Brunhild (1892) by Konrad Dielitz

Image Source

Hrafnagaldr Óðins (“Odin’s raven-galdr”) or Forspjallsljóð (“prelude poem”).

An Icelandic poem in the style of the Poetic Edda.

Allfather works,
elves understand,
vanir know,
norns reveal,
íviðja gives birth,
men endure,
thurses wait,
valkyries yearn.


The Æsir suspected
an evil scheme,
wights confounded
the weather with magic;
Urður was appointed
Óðhrærir’s keeper,
powerful to protect it
from the mightiest winter.
Hugur then disappears
seeking the heavens,
men’s ruin is suspected,
if he’s delayed;
Þráinn’s thought
is an opressive dream,
Dáinn’s dream
was thought enigmatic.

The dwarves’ powers
dwindle, the worlds
sink down
towards Ginnung’s abyss;
Often Alsviður
fells from above,
often he gathers
the fallen again.

Earth and Sun
cannot stand firm;
malignant winds
do not cease;
hidden in the glorious
well of Mímir
lies all knowledge;
know ye yet, or what?

Dwells in dales
the curious dís,
from Yggdrasill’s
ash descended;
of elven kin,
Iðunn was her name,
youngest of Ívald’s
elder children.

Ill she endured
the fall from above,
under the hoar-tree’s
trunk confined;
disliked staying
at Nörvi’s daughter’s,
used to better
abodes back home.

The divinities see
Nauma grieving
in the wolf’s home;
given a wolf-skin,
she clad herself therein,
changed disposition,
delighted in guile,
shifted her shape.

Viðrir selected
Bifröst’s guardian
to inquire of
the bearer of Gjöll’s sun,
whatever she knew
of the world’s affairs;
Bragi and Loftur
bore witness.

Sorcery they sang,
wolves they rode,
Rögnir and Reginn,
against the world’s house;
Óðinn listens
in Hliðskjálf;
watched the travellers’
distant journey.

The wise one asked
the server of mead,
scion of gods
and his road-companions,
if she knew the origin,
duration, and end
of heaven, of hel,
of the world.

Her mind she spoke not,
nor was Gefjun able
to utter a word,
nor express any joy;
tears trickled,
from the skull’s shields,
the mighty one
was bereft of power.

As from the East,
out of Élivágar,
comes a thorn from the field
of the rime-cold giant,
with which Dáinn
smites all men
of glorious Midgard
every night.

Actions are numbed,
the arms slump,
a swoon hovers over
the white god’s sword;
stupor dispels
the wind of the giantess,
the mind’s workings
of all mankind.

Thus the gods perceived
the state of Jórunn,
swollen with sorrow,
when no answer came forth;
they grew more persistent
as response was denied,
but all their words
were to no avail.

Went forth the leader
of the expedition,
guardian of Herjan’s
chose as companion
the kinsman of Nál,
Grímnir’s poet
guarded the ground.

Arrived at Vingólf
Viðar’s thains,
by Fornjót’s sons
both transported;
they walk within,
greet the Æsir
forthwith at Yggur’s
merry ale-feast:

“Hale be, Hangatýr,
happiest of Æsir,
may you preside over
the mead at the high-seat!”
“Sit, gods, in delight
at the drinking-feast;
may you, with Yggjungur,
enjoy eternal bliss!”

Seated on benches
at Bölverk’s bidding
the tribe of gods
were with Sæhrímnir sated;
Skögul, at the tables,
with horns meted out
Mímir’s mead
from Hnikar’s vat.

Much was asked
during the banquet
of Heimdallur by the gods,
of Loki by the goddesses,
whether the woman had spoken
prophecies or wisdom;
all day they asked
until twilight approached.

Badly, they deemed,
had gone amiss
their futile errand
of little glory;
it would prove hard
to find the ploy needed
to get an answer
from the woman.

Ómi answers,
all listened:
“Night is the time
for new advice;
think until morning
each that is able
to provide counsel
for the Æsir’s benefit!”.

Ran along the eddies
of Rindur’s plains
the wolf’s tired
food supply;
the gods left
the feast and saluted
Hroptur and Frigg,
as Hrímfaxi ascended.

Delling’s son
urged on his horse,
well adorned
with precious stones;
the horse’s mane glows
above Man-world,
the steed in his chariot
drew Dvalin’s playmate.

At Jörmungrund’s
northern border,
under the outermost root
of the noble tree,
went to their couches
giantesses and giants,
dead men, dwarves,
and dark-elves.

The gods arose,
álfröðull ran,
njóla advanced
north towards Niflheimur;
Úlfrún’s son
lifted up Árgjöll,
the mighty hornblower
in Himinbjörg.

4 thoughts on “Historic Jukebox: Sigur Rós Óðin’s Raven Magic & Viking Epics

  1. Don’t know how I missed this one. Looks as if I “liked” this post but I never listened to the music or read the text. I may have gotten distracted while I began viewing the post (it happens)…my sincerest apologies.

    I love your “Historic Jukebox” features. They are truly original. Unlike anything I’ve ever come across on the web.

    This post is beautiful in it’s presentation. The lyrics and rhythm of the music compliment the poem. It’s a powerful mix of mystery and tradition. I got chills while reading the poem as I listened to the music a second time.

    What a wonderful experience you have created!


Leave a Reply