Saturday, October 9, 2010

Frost Giants, Norse Magic

Giants (Norse: Jontuns) play a significant but contradictory, confusing and mysterious role in Norse mythology. The very first being in the cosmos was the giant Ymir, and giants emanated from parts of his body.

Norse hags are identified with the primordial spirits know as Giants; they are particularly fascinating because these spirits are perceived as young, powerful women as well as old, gnarled hags. In all cases they are fierce, powerful, warrior spirits.

The very first gods (Odin and his brothers) destroyed Ymir, grinding his corpse up in a mill and creating the Universe from it. The Giants are the enemies of the gods (and vice versa- Thor is always battling the giants) but they are also their parents, teachers, lovers and spouses. Unlike the Aesir spirits, the Giants are permanent and eternal.

Giants are wild, nocturnal beings, identified with ice, snow and hail stones. Their home, Jotunheim (literally translated as "Giant Home"), is a mountainous, freezing, harsh realm. Giants hurl boulders and hailstones as weapons. They are master shape-shifters and favored forms including eagles and wolves.

Female giants are also called "troll-hags" and ogresses, both words are synonyms for "witch." The giantesses correspond to Hags if one understands that the Hag is but one of many faces of these potent spirits. Female giants can manifest as fierce hags but also as beautiful warriors and nurturing mothers.

Some fairly long stories of Giants survive. Giantesses have personalities, lovers, husbands and children, but they still remain mysterious spirits. 

May Odin and Freya Bless,

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