Old Norse Mythology by Dr. Marthias Nordvig, The Prophecy of the Seeress. The Prophecy of the Seeress is likely to be the oldest Eddic poem. The Skald Arnorr Jarlaskald, who lived from 1012-1070, approximately, made use of parts of the poem between 1044 and 1066. The prophecy is probably from the late 900s or early 1000s. There are three extant originals of the poem. One in Snorri's Edda, one in Codex Regius, and one in the later Hauksbok compiled between 1310 and 1325 by the Icelander, Haukr Erlendson. Each version of the poem, deviate from the others on important subjects. Snorri's version explains that there was nothing in the beginning of time before the creation. While the Codex Regius version mentions that "Ymir" lived in the beginning of time. "Haukr's" version of the poem includes a stanza at the end where "Inn riki", or the king comes and sits in judgment. Inn riki is undoubtedly Christ. All of this attests to a widespread oral tradition that has basically compiled many different ideas over time. The content of the poem. Stanza one to two , begins the poem. Here we see the volva, beginning her recitation of the poem, by declaring that she needs silence, and that she will recite what all father, possibly Odin has commanded her to tell us. In stanzas three to seven, we see the gods creating the world, ordering the sun, the moon, and the stars and creating society. In stanza eight to 16, we see them beginning with quotes, some "women from Giantland or Jotunheimr", who show up out of pretty much nowhere, and then the gods create the dwarfs, possibly through sexual intercourse with these women from Jotunheimr. Again, we see the same thing happening in stanza 17-18, where the gods create humans as well, again, as a result of perhaps the intercourse with some women from Jotunheimr. In stanzas 19-21, the world tree, Yggdrasill is described, and we are also told about the three Nornir, goddesses of fate who appear before the root of the tree, by the well of Uror, and here they decide the fate of human beings. In stanzas 22-31, we see various kinds of discords that are being sown. First of all, there is an incident of what appears to be witchcraft, and the gods kill this presumably evil woman called Gurvager. There's also the mentioning of treachery. The gods have been betrayed somehow, and there is of course, the first war of the world where the Aesir, the primary family of the gods fight the Vanir that seemed to invade their holy planes idavatra, that they built in the beginning of time, and this of course sets the tone for the rest of the poem because the next thing to happen in stanzas 32-35, is Baldr's death, and Loki being bound as punishment for his role in the death of Baldr. Then in stanza 36-42, the poem shifts to describing the underworld, and all the scary apparitions that are associated with the underworld. In stanzas 43-46, we have the prelude to Ragnarok. There's the building up towards the catastrophe, where it is mentioned how brothers will turn on each other, and there will be much suffering in the world. Stanzas 47-55, describe the Nordic apocalypse, known as Ragnarok, where the gods will fight with giants, and they will also come in that battle. In stanza 56, we get a rebirth of the world, where the world comes back up from the ocean. It has apparently sunk into the ocean during Ragnarok. Now it comes back up by itself. From stanza 57-61, we see the sons of the gods returning, and making new laws and building a new hall called Gimle. Both Baldr and his killer, Haudhar, will rejoin and will have settled their differences, and that is setting the tone for new world. However, in stanza 62, which is the last stanza in Snorri's version and also in the Codex Regius version, we see the dragon looming in the distance. Dragon Niohoggr, who seems to be an image of evil in Norse Mythology in general. We also have in the Hauksbok version from 1325, this mention of Inn riki, the king who returns. That seems to suggest that when Haukr wrote down his version of the poem, he felt that it needed little more Christianity to it. Because apparently in his view the content of the poem was quite pagen like. The volva or the Seeress who speaks in this poem is an interesting character. She is a very old figure in nordic mythology and Northern European culture. The oldest reference to a seeress, is possibly the Roman historian Tacitus, riding around in 98 CE. Who explains that the Bructeri, a Germanic tribe in the Rhineland area in what is now Western Germany, revere a so-called witch named Veleda. Veleda may be derived from the proto-Germanic word welet, which means seer. In the sagas of volur appear as often well-respected women with prophetic power. They can go into a song trance of some kind, and see into the future. Some of them can also cause harm of course. The best example of a volva is Thorbjorg Little-volva, from Eric the red's saga, who performs this ritual where she sees him into the future in order to determine whether or not a famine is going to continue. Now the prophetic or divinatory trance, seems to be a feature that is closely related to the Sami people in Northern Scandinavia, and other Siberian-Arctic peoples and maybe even the Inuit in North America as part of a circumpolar concept of magic and divination, and rituals to ward off evil spirits and see into the future, especially, issues that had to do with famine and disease.