Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Walhalla Prayer

The Warrior's Prayer used in the rites of Woden's Folk is based on sound historical evidence although the version that is used is the popularised version that was included in the 1999 film 13th Warrrior which was based loosely on an amalgamation of the ancient English epic Beowulf and Ibn Fadlan's Journey to Russia. The version in the film reads far better than the literary account which is as follows:

"Behold I see my father and mother,
           There I see all my deceased relatives sitting,

           There I behold my lord sitting in paradise,

           and paradise is fair and green,

           and around him are men and servants.

           He calls me; bring me to him."

It should be remembered that this is an account of an Arab traveller and inevitably what has been translated to him from the original Old Norse has been redefined into his own cultural matrix. The Germanic peoples did not refer to 'paradise': this is a Persian term which is associated with the Abrahamic religions, most notably in Islam. Thus the term  originally would have been 'Walhalla' in the slave girl's prayer and the script writer of the film who based his version on Michael Crighton's The Flesh Eaters correctly substituted paradise for the original Germanic term.

The version in The Flesh Eaters is remarkably close to the original account:

"Behold, I see my father and mother.
           I see all my dead relatives seated.

           I see my master seated in Paradise

           and Paradise is beautiful and green;

           with him are men and boy servants.

           He calls me. Take me to him. 

The version adapted for the film in my view reads better, especially when part of a sacred rite and despite all the unnecessary criticism from our enemies it is based on an historical prayer which no doubt would have been quite common at a Scandinavian funeral. The following is an adaptation of the prayer used by Woden's Folk:

" Lo there do I see my father,
   Lo there do I see my mother,
   and my sisters and my brothers.
   Lo there, do I see the line of my people,
                       back to the beginning.
   Lo, they do call to me,
   they bid me take my place beside them
   in the Halls of Valhalla,
   where the brave may live forever!
                       Hail the Victorious Dead!"
This prayer is important as it links those of us who still walk on Midgarth with the ancestors that have gone before us and it is hoped that our descendants will invoke this prayer thus linking themselves to those of us who will have entered the halls of Walhalla and therefore presenting an unbreakable genetic chain that links back into prehistory and forward into an unknown future. By their very use in these circumstances the words have become sacred.