Odin is in charge of the gorgeous, golden hall known as Valhalla. It is situated in Asgard, the Aesir's stronghold home. The Einherjar, warriors chosen by Odin, and the Valkyries, winged female figures tasked with taking the chosen warriors after their death in combat, are the only inhabitants of Valhalla. The Einherjar lived in Valhalla, where they would eat, drink, and train until Ragnarök, when they would march out of the many doors of the vast hall to battle the giants of Jötunheim.
Valhalla is identified as being in the Glasheimr realm and is described in the stanzas 8 to 10 of the poem Grmnismál as dazzling and golden and rising calmly. A wolf hangs from Valhalla's west entrance, an eagle soars above it, and there are spear-shafts for rafters. Its benches are covered with chainmail, and its roof is thatched with shields. In stanzas 22 to 24, more information about Valhalla was disclosed. The big hall has more than 540 doorways, and 800 Einherjar can walk through them to fight the wolf giant Fenrir during Ragnarök.
Some Viking myths claim that Valhalla is a battlefield where warriors train before the next phase rather than the last resting place. Since Vikings are frequently depicted engaged in combat in Valhalla scenes, honing their skills in preparation for the next level, this notion makes a lot of sense.
Some Norse mythology refers to this stage as Ragnarok. a location where the Final Battle of the Gods, Beasts, and Giants will have to take place. Odin gets ready for Ragnarok in advance since he is recognized for being a figure who is preoccupied with learning what will happen in the end. According to certain myths, Odin is also aware that God will fail and that his army will triumph. For the day of Ragnarok, when every ounce of their warrior spirit would be required for success, Thor is still perfecting his warriors through combat training.
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There are 540 chambers in Bilskirnir, the hall of the thunder god Thor, which is located within Valhalla. Odin claims that his son's hall in Valhalla is the greatest of all the halls.
The gathering of warriors who had died and been gathered by the Valkyries was called Valhalla. Until the day of Ragnarök, these warriors will fight, feast, and engage in sexual activity. The Valkyries were cursed by Odin, which prevented them from accomplishing their duty of gathering fallen soldiers. Helheim eventually became overpopulated with dead people as a result, and the dead started to roam the mortal realm as Hel-Walkers.
The Valkyries had the choice of being let free, which would enable them to carry out their mission and return the world to balance. The Einherjar have a connection to Asgard through Valhalla because if they lose a battle, they immediately return there to be endlessly reborn. As a result, during Ragnarök, the connection to Valhalla must be broken in order to stop the Asgardian army from sending further reinforcements. Surtr, who had become a destructive and enormous primordial form, destroyed the abode of the Einherjar along with Asgard.
It can be assumed that all souls who had previously ended up in Valhalla were automatically moved to Helheim or Folkvangr after the fall of Valhalla. Freya claimed that Valhalla existed both inside and outside of Asgard, raising the possibility that the souls were sent back to Helheim or Folkvangr. However, the precise significance of this is still uncertain.
The male term valr, which means "the slain," and the feminine noun holl, which means "hall," are the two elements that make up the composite noun Valhall in Old Norse. In an effort to make the word's grammatical gender more clear, the form "Valhalla" was created. Valr contains cognates in various Germanic languages such Old English wael, Old Saxon wal-dad, and Old High German, which means "battlefield, blood bath." The Proto-Germanic male noun *walaz is the ancestor of all of these forms. Among other similar Old Norse ideas, valr also appears as the initial component of the noun valkyrja, which means "valkyrie, chooser of the slain. Take a look at our Viking Necklace collection
Holl, the second component, is a typical Old Norse word. It offers the same sense as Modern English's hall and is a cognate. Both words evolved from Proto-Germanic xallo or hallo, from the Proto-Indo-European root kol-, which means "covered place, hall." According to philologists like Calvert Watkins, the same Indo-European root also gave rise to the contemporary English term hell as well as the Old Norse proper noun hel, which was used to refer to both another afterlife region and a magical female creature that oversaw it. Some mountains that were formerly thought to be the resting places of the dead were also known as Valhall in Swedish folklore. Many researchers argue that the holl part refers to an underworld rather than a hall and stems from the word "rock" hallr.
How does Valhalla look like?
In Norse mythology, an almost holy, celestial "hall" where the ghosts of the dead live... Isn't that fascinating? Well, the idea of Valhalla intrigues some Norse mythology enthusiasts in particular. Legend has it that the Valkyries transport brave soldiers who pass away in battle. These warriors' ghosts are transported to Valhalla, where they feast and battle forever. What's lovely about this idea is that it's been reported that these troops later reconcile with their loved ones. This life is known to be luxurious and enjoyable for the martyrs and warriors.
An almost holy, celestial "hall" where the spirits of the dead reside is described in Norse mythology. That is fascinating, no? Well, certain fans of Norse mythology are particularly intrigued by the concept of Valhalla. According to legend, the Valkyries carry courageous soldiers who perish in combat. The ghosts of these soldiers are taken to Valhalla, where they feast and fight eternally. This thought is great because it has been said that these soldiers later make peace with their family members. The martyrs' and warriors' lives are reputed to be opulent and joyful.
Odin purposely selected the Valhallan heroes to serve as his army at Ragnarök, and as a result, they were believed to be practicing constantly for the final conflict of all time. 800 warriors could march through the hall's 540 doors, each of which had a wolf as a protector and an eagle hovering overhead. During the day, they trained the art of war, killing and being killed, before becoming whole again in the evening and feasting together. The Valhalla warriors were referred to as einherjar ("army of one"), defined as someone who was capable of handling any circumstance while still honing their abilities in preparation for Ragnarök.
The Cook of the Gods, Andhrimnir, roasted the enormous beast Saerimnir (often referred to as a hog) over a continuously burning flame, and every evening Saerimnir regenerated to provide meat for the following day, thus there was never a scarcity of food or drink. The hart Eikthyrnir drops cool water from its antlers, providing Valhalla and all the realms with clean, clear water, while the goat Heidrun offers infinite mead from her udders.
Huginn and Muninn, his two ravens, are perched on his shoulders as he sits on his throne among the spirits of the kings and warriors. Odin is always aware of what is happening in the Nine Realms since ravens travel the world every day and deliver news to him at mealtime. While the Valkyries who brought the souls to the hall are now serving them at their tables, Odin himself does not eat with the rest but instead simply drinks wine and feeds his piece of the meat to his two wolves, Geri and Freki.
Where is Valhalla Located?
The most well-known Old Norse literary account of Valhalla, Grmnismál, depicts it as being situated in Asgard, the heavenly stronghold of the gods. Other pieces of information, however, imply that it was at least occasionally believed to be subterranean, similar to the more broad underworld. As we've already mentioned, one of Valhalla's distinguishing characteristics is the ongoing conflict that occurs there.
The hero Hadding is said to have found such a location in the underworld, according to the medieval Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus. Furthermore, the name Valhöll, which means "the hall of the fallen," is unmistakably connected to Valhallr, which means "the rock of the fallen," and refers to certain rocks and hills in southern Sweden, one of the most significant historical hubs of Odin worship.
So where was Valhalla located, then? Depending on the source you look at. It appears that the Vikings did not recognize any real distinction between Valhalla and the other halls of the dead. See Death and the Afterlife for further information on this topic as well as a broader overview of Norse afterlife beliefs.
Looking for more worthwhile details on Norse religion and mythology? While this website is the best introduction to the subject available online, my book The Viking Spirit offers the best introduction to Norse mythology and religion in general.
Who gets into Valhalla?
Those who pass away in battle are sent to Valhalla, while those who pass away from illness or old age are deposited in Hel, the underworld, according to Snorri. However, Snorri openly contradicts this claim in his story of Baldur's death, who was violently killed but was nonetheless carried to Hel. No other source does so, and several more provide additional evidence to the contrary, some of which we'll look at below. As a result of Snorri's propensity to try and systematize Norse paganism which was never a neat, tidy system while it was still in practice he created this neat, tidy separation between Hel and Valhalla.
Snorri, however, wasn't altogether off the mark. Even while it appears that Odin and his Valkyries picked who would reside in Valhalla rather than any certain impersonal norm, it is logical to assume that Odin would choose those who would best support him in his last conflict. Therefore, heroes and rulers would make up the majority of the warriors who serve in Valhalla. And it's true that when Old Norse texts speak of specific individuals staying in Valhalla, they almost always meet that description along with elite representatives of other professions that would have been present in the hall of a Viking Age chieftain, such the poet Bragi.
There are other situations where one would be tempted to think that Valhalla is a special destination reserved for royalty, such as the King, and everyone connected to him since they appear to be transported there after passing away. But it's not a must to get into Valhalla.
Valhalla is a goal for warriors, a promise that there would be goodness in the afterlife, and a light at the end of a dark tunnel. It is also a sense of consolation for them to reach Odin's Hall and lie in the joy of eternity because the majority of these Vikings die due to other people's causes.
The grand hall of the dead warriors, Valhalla, is a place that represents valor, honor, and everlasting glory. It is a location that warriors dream of and strive to reach because of its magnificent architecture, thunderous feasts, and never-ending fights. Legends are reborn and the brave's spirits continue to exist in Valhalla, where their bravery and sacrifice are eternally praised. The idea of Valhalla still captures our collective imagination and serves as a constant reminder of the strength of bravery and the unbreakable character of those who face hardship with unshakable resolution.