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Observations placeholder

Poetic Edda - The Ballad of Fafnir [extract]



Type of Spiritual Experience


Birds often give prophetic and insightful advice in the Edda.  In the poem of Helgi Hiorvardsson, Atli makes a pact – an agreement - with a bird, in exchange for information and in the List of Rig young Kon is directed towards conquest by a wise bird.

In this poem it is nuthatches who help the hero Sigurd by telling him of the treacherous intentions of Regin, his foster father, and give advice as to what to do.  Fafnir is a dragon that Sigurd has killed.

A description of the experience

The Poetic Edda

Sigurd took Fafnir's heart and roasted it on a spit.  And when he thought that it was done, and the juice was dripping out of the heart, he prodded it with his finger to see if it was done.  He burnt himself and stuck his finger in his mouth.  And when the heart blood of Fafnir came on his tongue, he understood the speech of birds.  He heard that there were nuthatches twittering in the branches.  The nuthatch said:

There sits Sigurd splattered with blood
roasting Fafnir's heart on a spit
the destroyer of rings would seem wise to me
if he were to eat the shining life muscle

 a second nuthatch said

There lies Regin plotting to himself,
he wants to betray the boy, the one who trusts him,
in anger sharp words he's uttered
that smith of evil wants to avenge his brother

….. a fourth one said

Wise he'd seem to me if he knew how to get
the friendly advice of you sisters;
if he thought about himself and made the raven happy
I expect a wolf to be around when I see his ears

The source of the experience

Poetic Edda, the

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps