©2021 Michael Raven

struck by a volley of arrows
buried to fletch
blood foaming at mouth
with no succor in sight
the warrior considers he
may have lost a battle
he never wanted
waits for the beat of wings
to carry him to fólkvangr
praying he, at least,
passed that test

Author’s note: As I’ve been digging into the runes and the Northern Shamanic Traditions for hints at what our “prehistory ancestors” (never mind that their oral history was annihilated by a conquering religion) may have believed and done, I am struck by just how much emphasis is placed on Odin’s Valhalla, which is a place where but half of those slain in battle may end up (provided they meet the standards of the gods). A frequently ignored detail: the other half of the slain are selected by Freya for residing in Fólkvangr until the time of Ragnarok. I wonder if the old warriors were picky about such things (“Oh! Thanks, but no thanks, I want to hang with Odin. Tell Freya I want to see if he has a better offer.”). Anyway, I decided to mix it up and assume that they wouldn’t much care which seat they held in the afterlife.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

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