Sphere of Influence: Loyalty and Conflict
Preferred colors: Red, Silver
Associated symbol: Horn Suitable offerings: Mead, good food
Heimdalls duty is to sound his horn (Gjallahorn) to alert the gods of the coming of Ragnarok (The last battle).
Hemidall is the god of guards, sentries, nightwatchmen and any that find themselves as protectors of others.
Image:Heimdall_öfverlämnar_till_Freya_smycket_Bryfing_(1845)_av_Nils_Blommér.jpg|thumbnail|300px| Heimdall returns Brisingamen to Freya Heimdall (ON Heimdallr, the prefix Heim- means world, the affix -dallr is of uncertain origin, perhaps it means pole, perhaps bright) is one of the gods in the Norse Mythology. He is the guardian of the gods who will blow the Giallar horn if danger approaches Asgard. His senses are so acute that he can hear the grass grow and he can see to the end of the world; he also required very little sleep. He is moreover the guardian of the Bifrost Bridge.
He was the son of nine different mother|mothers (possibly the nine daughters of Aegir, called billow maidens) and was called the White-god. His hall was called Himinbjorg Heaven-protection and his horse was Gultopp Gold-top. Snorri Sturlusons Edda relates that a kenning for sword is head of Heimdall because Heimdall was struck by a mans head and that this is treated in the poem Heimdalargaldr, a poem unfortunately no longer extant. Similarly a kenning for head is sword of Heimdall. The meaning may lie in Heimdall also being called ram, the weapon of a ram being its head, including the horns. Georges Dumézil (1959) suggested that this might also be why Heimdall is called White-god. Heimdalls nickname Hallinskíði bent stick also appears as a kenning for "ram", perhaps referring to the bent horns on a rams head. Heimdalls nickname Gullintanni golden-toothed would refer to the yellow coloring found in the teeth of old rams. Dumézil cites Wales|Welsh folklore sources which tell how ocean waves come in sets of nine with the ninth one being the ram:
We understand that whatever his mythical value and functions were, the scene of his birth made him, in the seas white frothing, the ram produced by the ninth wave. If this is the case, then it is correct to say that he has nine mothers, since one alone does not suffice, nor two, nor three.
Old Welsh practise and modern French language|French practice and modern Basque language|Basque practice is to refer to white-capped waves as sheep.
Heimdall was destined to be the last of the gods to perish at Ragnarok when he and Loki would slay one another.
The first stanza of eddic poem Völuspá proclaims:
I ask for a hearing of all the holy races
Greater and lesser, kinsmen of Heimdall.
The eddic poem Rígsthula explains in what way these races are kinsmen of Heimdall, explaing who the god Ríg, identified with Heimdall in a short prose introduction, apparently fathered the three classes of humankind as understood by the poet, the youngest of which fathered in turn Kon the Young (Old Norse Kon ungr) understood as the first mortal king (Old Norse konungr). See Ríg for details.
Hilda R. Ellis Davidson in Gods and Myths of Northern Europe sees a link between Heimdall and the Vanir as do some others, partly based on stanza 15 of the eddic poem Thrymskviða:
However other can be also translated even, which would mean instead that Heimdall had foresight "even" as do the Vanir.
The lost Heimdallargaldr may have contained the following adventure which was also referenced in Úlf Uggasons skaldic poem Húsdrápa of which only fragments are perserved:
Once, Freya woke up and found that someone had stolen Brisingamen. Heimdall helped her search for it and eventually found the thief, who turned out to be Loki and they fought in the form of seals at Vágasker Wave-skerry and Singasteinn, whereever they may be. Heimdall won and returned Brisingamen to Freya.
In the Old English epic, Beowulf, Brosingamen, is brought back to the shining citadel (perhaps Valhalla or Asgard) by Hama (Heimdall). But Hama flees from the "cunning hostility of Ermanaric|Eormenric indicating extreme euhemerism, for Eormenric almost certainly would have had no part in the tale known to the Norsemen.
Georges Dumézil considers Heimdall an old Indo-European god, a type of god he calls first god which is different than being the highest god. The Roman god Janus would be the Roman reflex to this concept. But there are other first gods. Heimdall is also a frame god, one who appears at the beginning at remains until the end. Dumézil suggested that the Hindu counterpart was the god Dyaus, one of the eight Vasus, who reincarnated as the frame hero Bhishma in the epic Mahabharata, he and his seven brothers being born to a mortal king by the River Ganges who herself had taken on mortal form. But the seven other brothers are returned to their immortal forms by being drowned by their mother immediately after birh. Only Dyaus was compelled to live a full life on earth in the form of Bhishma. Bhishma is destined to never hold power himself or have any direct descendants but acts as an ageless uncle on behalf of the line of lords that tortuously descend from from his half-brothers, including finally the five Pandava brothers who represent four classes of society: royalty, noble warrior, lower class club-bearing warrior, and herdsmen. Bhishma is the last to die in the great battle of Kurukshetra.
However Branston (1980) considers the character Heimdall to be cognate with the Vedic Agni god of fire, who is in many Vedic texts is born from the waters or hides within the waters and who is born from two, seven, nine, and ten mothers in various sources, the ten mothers being sometimes explained as the ten fingers which can manipulate a bore-stick to produce fire.
==References and external links== See Norse mythology for most references. * Dumézil, Georges (1959). "Comparative Remarks on the Scandinavian God Heimdall", Gods of the Ancient Northmen. Ed. Einar Haugen, trans. Francis Charat (1973). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0520035070. * http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~alvismal/2heimdal.pdf Sayers, William (1993). "Irish Perspectives on Heimdallr". (PDF) Alvíssmál 2. Freie Universität Berlin. ISBN 3861356015.