The tale of King Gyfli is the grand tale of a man attempting to learn those things of a nobler nature as Julian had ascertained all those centuries ago. King Gyfli is seeking instruction from those whose knowledge and thought processes allow them to truly shape the world they wish to live in. In many cases, if one but knows what to look for, the King is being instructed in how to understand the flows of energy we call life and how it moves across the realms.
- King Gylfi ruled the land that men now call Sweden. It is told of him that he gave to a wandering woman, in return for her merry-making, a plow-land in his realm, as much as four oxen might turn up in a day and a night.
How many great men have been brought low because their success was based on the manipulation of others and not on an honest and empowered thought process? For the “wandering woman” in this tale, just about anything is possible. Despite his outward success, it is a base and simple manipulation of his ego which brings him low. A night of merry making almost always includes a great deal of flattery. How many men and women have heard that “you are the best” in all kinds of scenarios only to find out later that this may not necessarily be the case.
But this woman was of the kin of the Æsir; she was named Gefjun. She took from the north, out of Jötunheim, four oxen which were the soils of a certain giant and, herself, and set them before the plow. And the plow cut so wide and so deep that it loosened up the land; and the oxen drew the land out into the sea and to the westward and stopped in a certain sound. There Gefjun set the land, and gave it a name, calling it Selund. And from that time on, the spot whence the land had been torn up is water: it is now called the Lögr in Sweden; and bays lie in that lake even as the headlands in Selund. Thus says Bragi, the ancient skald:
Gefjun drew from Gylfi | gladly the wave-trove’s free-hold,
Till from the running beasts | sweat reeked, to Denmark’s increase;
The oxen bore, moreover, | eight eyes, gleaming brow-lights,
O’er the field’s wide: booty, | and four heads in their plowing.
Gefjon had a purpose in producing those four strong oxen. Great, powerful beasts raised for a purpose. I have to wonder if somewhere there might be written down their names. I’d be willing to bet that each one represents a powerful single-minded purpose or idea that would empower women to accomplish great things of their own accord. The Church would have likely squashed that tidbit of nonsense long ago. Of course, this is all conjecture. But one cannot help but consider it given the actions and the empowerment of the feminine throughout our lore.
But there is another, more important way to look it. The King is a mortal representation of Odin. A powerful concept represented a feminine deity has entered his court. And he has lost a great deal of his kingdom because of a weakness. For Odin, it was three Gullveig (gold-lover, or gold drink), Heith, the bewitching aspect of gold, the joy to women who will do anything to get it, and horse thief, the woman who splits the work effort of men apart for selfish gain. Three all-powerful female jotuns. The resultant chaos leaves Odin wandering and sacrificing himself to himself to earn ever greater knowledge about who he is, where he comes from and the tools within him needed to right his previous course of action and truly become who he was meant to be.
King Gyfli was perhaps in the same boat. A powerful ruler in his own right, as we see below, yet he still allowed a being into his court which he did not truly understand the danger of, for selfish reasons and when that power was brought to bear, his kingdom became much less than what he intended. Selfish reasons pale when compared to the divine feminine often referred to as “The Giving One”. An ancient and powerful virgin Goddess who knows the destinies of all men.
Perhaps it was time for this great King to earn his place in history. Great loss, the pain and trial of growth, the introspective study of oneself and the return of the hero King. How many times must we hear it before we begin to get it through our heads? All of this life is an illusion, a stage as Shakespeare proclaims, and it is only after we decide to get in the directors chair may we begin to create the story we wish the world to know.
- II. King Gylfi was a wise man and skilled in magic; he was much troubled that the Æsir-people were so cunning that all things went according to their will. He pondered whether this might proceed from their own nature, or whether the divine powers which they worshipped might ordain such things.
Here is where the musings of Julian the Apostate come to mind. For this thought process of the gods knowing themselves to such an extent that they may control and direct all things to be commented upon in reference too Greek and Norse Gods is not an inconsequential thing. It is a clue, a hint, that we may have it in us to achieve these same things.
There are two questions asked here. Both are things which any man may do something about. But it is more the question of whether one might trust deities from an outside source, that it outside of ourselves, or is it possible that we might be able to make these great accomplishments of our own accord. The entire tale is a discourse in the examples of these various deities learning, growing, suffering indignities, and developing into something greater of their own abilities. The same abilities we see being developed to various degrees by the heroes which have already been discussed at length in this book None of them fall into the category or relying upon any form of government or church to make that change for them, support them or anything else modern man believes these institutions are capable of.
He set out on his way to Ásgard, going secretly, and- clad himself in the likeness of an old man, with which he dissembled. But the Æsir were wiser in this matter, having second sight; and they saw his journeying before ever he came, and prepared against him deceptions of the eye. When he came into the town, he saw there a hall so high that he could not easily make out the top of it: its thatching was laid with golden shields after the fashion of a shingled roof. So also says Thjódólfr of Hvin, that Valhall was thatched with shields:
On their backs they let beam, | sore battered with stones,
Odin’s hall-shingles, | the shrewd sea-farers.
In the hall-doorway Gylfi saw a man juggling with anlaces, having seven in the air at one time. This man asked of him his name. He called himself Gangleri, and said he had come by the paths of the serpent, and prayed for lodging for the night, asking: “Who owns the hall?” The other replied that it was their king; “and I will attend thee to see him; then shalt thou thyself ask him concerning his; name;” and the man wheeled about before him into the hall, and he went after, and straightway the door closed itself on his heels. There he saw a great room and much people, some with games, some drinking; and some had weapons and were fighting. Then he looked about him, and thought unbelievable many things which he saw; and he said:
All the gateways | ere one goes out
Should one scan:
For ‘t is uncertain | where sit the unfriendly
On the bench before thee.
In every instance a man, no matter how accomplished he is, comes across someone who has the strength of mind, heart and will to create a word he wishes to live in, they are amazed. I have seen men attain the frenzied state of a teenage girl over meeting a legendary guitarist. I have seen women of a respectable age and accomplishment all their own, be absolutely beside themselves with happiness at meeting a celebrated entertainer. We all, to some extent or another, find heroes we would wish to know.
Look at the crowd’s politicians gather unto themselves. Everyone is convinced that they are of a like mind set. They want to meet them to make sure that the vicarious experience of their success might be enjoyed by them as well. Same thing applies to football and other sporting athletes. What makes them tick? What was it that brought such success to their doorstep? How did they accomplish these magnificent things? Even a king is susceptible to such flights of fancy. Where do we go to find this success for ourselves in a world which suggests that a foreign god might do it for us or a socialist, Marxist, communist or fascist government? Though those types of governments tend to remediate the situation by just eliminating the problem of success. Most of the modern media outlets encourage us to take this vicarious enjoyment to the extreme.
In every case, we let our guard down. In the midst of a strange hall next to a man juggling daggers, this may not be such a good idea. Yet we will do it without a second thought in the presence of someone we admire. Those seven anlaces being juggled are the up-in-the air decisions that will be made concerning the lives of men. Turning them over to a government or a church (the strange hall of congress, which is strange to a king or a farmer) is not a smart idea for the man who wishes to move forward in the world.