The Word of the Week for July 14, 2014 is Buri
The poem of the week “Niflheim” was not published during REH’s lifetime. It’s another of his image driven poems that is filled with references to Norse gods and myths:
Niflheim: The cold, dark, misty world of the dead, ruled by the goddess Hel. In some accounts it was the last of nine worlds, a place into which evil men passed after reaching the region of death (Hel). Situated below one of the roots of the world tree, Yggdrasil, Niflheim contained a well, from which many rivers flowed. In the Norse creation story. Another version says it is the misty region north of the void in which the world was created--an underworld of eternal cold, darkness, and mist with nine frozen rivers. It is inhabited by those who died of old age or illness and is ruled over by Hel, a daughter of Loki and Angerboda.
Midgard: the abode of human beings in Norse mythology, specifically one of the Nine Worlds in Norse mythology.
Audhumla: The primeval cow on whose milk the Giant Ymir fed. She was created from the melting ice at the beginning of time. She sustained herself by licking the salt and hoar frost from the ice of Niflheim eventually revealing the god Buri.
Ymir: The primordial giant and the progenitor of the race of frost giants. He was created from the melting ice of Niflheim, when it came in contact with the hot air from Muspell (Muspellheim). From Ymir's sleeping body the first giants sprang forth: one of his legs fathered a son on his other leg while from under his armpit a man and women grew out.
The frost kept melting and from the drops the divine cow Audumla was created. From her udder flowed four rivers of milk, on which Ymir fed. The cow itself got nourishment by licking hoar frost and salt from the ice. On the evening on the first day the hair of a man appeared, on the second day the whole head and on the third day it became a man, Buri, the first god. His grandchildren are Odin, Ve and Vili.
Two other verses of “Niflheim” give us more references:
Sound out the war-horn’s doom for Ragnarok!
Let man’s destroyers roar from Jotunnheimr
To rend the world and hurl the oceans down
Till in high Asgard wake the sleeping gods.
Then in the crashing combat of that day,
Let Midgard rise and roar and Ymir wake,
Till bergs of ice roar down to Muspellheim
And all becomes as thou art, Niflheim.
Ragnarok: The final destiny of the gods. The Vikings believed that the world one day would end as we know it, they called this day for Ragnarok, also spelled Ragnarök in old Norse. Ragnarok is the doom of the gods and the humans. It will be the final battle between the Aesir and Jotuns. The battle will take place on the plains called Vigrid.
Jotunnheimr: one of the Nine Worlds and the homeland of the Giants of Norse Mythology--the Rock Giants and Frost Giants.
Asgard: In Norse religion, it is one of the Nine Worlds and home to the Æsir tribe of gods. One of Asgard's well known locations is Valhalla, in which Odin rules. [NOTE: Asgard was Word of the Week on January 21 2013 http://www.rehupa.com/?cat=13&paged=8]
Muspellheim: in Norse mythology, a hot, bright, glowing land in the south, guarded by Surt, the fire giant. In the beginning, according to one tradition, the warm air from this region melted the ice of the opposite region, Niflheim, thus giving form to Ymir, the father of the evil giants. Sparks from Muspelheim became the Sun, Moon, and stars. At the doom of the gods (Ragnarök), the sons of Muspelheim, led by Surt, will destroy the world by fire.