Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays : November 23rd: A Norse & Saxon Observance

On this day, November 23rd, our Norse and Saxon ancestors celebrated an Observance for Völund

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1st Day of Winter

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Völund, also known as Wayland  or Weyland the Smith, was quite an interesting legend of the Norse and Saxons. He was a mystical blacksmith & armor-maker. Perhaps you have heard of him since he appeared in the original writings of Beowulf , as well as many other written material. In fact, Völund was the one who created the sword called Balmung—the very weapon used by Beowulf to destroy Grendel.

 Völund had two brothers named Egil & Slagfidur. With his brothers, he lived with 3 Valkyries named Olrun, Alvit, and Svanhvit.

Legend says that after living together for nine years, one day the Valkyries just vanished—basically up and took off without a word or a good-bye—except for a ring left by Olrun for Völund.

Völund and his brothers went on with their lives until years later, King Nidud captured and imprisoned Völund on his island named Saeverstod. The ring that Olrun gave to Völund was stolen away, along with his sword, by Nidud. The ring was given to Nidud’s daughter, Bodvild, while the King kept the sword for himself.

After being held a prisoner for far too long and having two things Völund cherished ripped from him, eventually he did have his revenge. Völund escaped from his prison and killed Nidud’s sons. Not only did he kill them, he made goblets out of their skulls, and jewelry from their teeth and eyes!

Now some warriors would have been done after that, but not Völund. No, he was determined to make Nidud regret for all eternity for making him a prisoner and for taking his things.

So that’s why he went on to send the goblets to King Nidud and the jewelry to his Queen. (Can you imagine unwrapping a present made from the corpses of your sons?) And then he made sure to seduce their daughter Bodvild just for spite. (Bet you he got his ring back.)

Once Völund had his fill, being the creative soul that he was, he built wings for himself and escaped the island and King that would never forget his name.

And neither would England where a number of places sport his name as Wayland. One example: Wayland’s Smithy in Oxfordshire.

 

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