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March 28, 2022 2 min read

Even if you know nothing about Norse culture and religion, the word "Valhalla" must ring a bell for you! It's possibly the most popular and well known place in Norse tradition.

The word "Valhalla" comes from "Valhǫll", an Old Norse word that means "hall of the slain".

When we wrote about the nine worlds of Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, we mentioned that Valhalla is part of Asgard which is the land of the Æsir Gods (Odin, Thor, Frigg...).

Valhalla is ruled by -you guessed it- the Allfather Odin! and it's called the Hall of the Slain for a reason.

Half of those who die in battle are summoned to Valhalla, led by the Valkeries. The other half is taken by the goddess Freyja to join the field of Fólkvangr.

An illustration of a Valkyrie taking a warrior to Valhalla on her flying horse.

Valhalla is not exclusive to those killed in battle, it's also home to different heroes and kings who led heroic lives without dying in battle.

What is it like in Valhalla?

The roof of Valhalla is made of shields, and has spears for its rafters. Seats made of breastplates surround the many feasting tables of the vast hall. Its gates are guarded by wolves, and eagles fly above it.

The dead who reside in Valhalla, the Einherjar, live a life that is the envy of any Viking warrior.

All day long, they fight one another, doing countless valorous deeds along the way. But every evening, all their wounds are healed, and they are restored to full health.

They surely work up quite an appetite from all those battles, and their dinners don’t disappoint. Their meat comes from the boar Saehrimnir, who comes back to life every time he is slaughtered and butchered. For their drink they have mead that comes from the udder of the goat Heidrun. They thereby enjoy an endless supply of their exceptionally fine food and drink.

Last but not least, they are waited on by the beautiful Valkyries.

Is it an eternal life of feast and bliss?

Like all things, this life of feast and joy doesn't last forever. By joining Valhalla, all the heroes and warriors are joining Odin to fight alongside him when Ragnarök comes.

And when Ragnarök comes, Odin and his warriors are doomed to die. But that's inevitable for all of us. The difference is that some die fighting in company with Odin.

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