The Mead of Poetry

Image of Mead pf Poetry

Mead of Poetry was a famous detail in Norse mythology. Mead of Poetry was a mysterious beverage that whoever sipped it could be a scholar and answer any question in life. The story of it revolved many big figures in the myth, from Odin the Allfather to the dwarves and giant.

Mead of Poetry Origin

Image of Kvasir death
Kvasir death

The Aesir and Vanir god tribes officially ended the war, the Norse Gods War, by spitting into a jar. They chewed the berries and spat the resulting liquid into a jar. There the liquid fermented and formed Kvasir the Wisest Norse Being. There was no question in the world that Kvasir could not give a satisfying answer. Kvasir took the life of a wanderer to disperse his knowledge to anyone he met along the way. One day he came to the house of the dwarves, Fjalar and Galar. These wicked dwarves knew the blood of this being would offer them some magic so they decided to kill him and store his blood in three vats. Kvasir’s blood was then mixed with honey and become the Mead of Poetry.

Image of Mead of poetry
Dwarves created Mead of Poetry

The dwarves kept the mead for only themselves. When being asked about Kvasir by the Aesir gods, the dwarves said that Kvasir had died because of having too much knowledge.

When the giant Gilling and his wife visited the dwarves, they were killed. As they could not return home, the giant’s son Suttung went to find them. He angrily found the Fjalar and Galar and forced the dwarves to give out the mead. Suttung then built an underground cave to keep the containers of the mead. He instructed his daughter Gunlod to guard them.

Theft by Odin

Suttung was so boastful that the Mead of Poetry story soon reached the Aesir gods. Odin disguised himself as a giant and traveled to Jotunheim. He called himself  Bolverk. He sharpened the scythes of nine slaves who worked for Suttung’s brother, Baugi. The nine slaves managed to kill each other with the carefully sharpened scythes.

Baugi hired Bolverk as he got no slaves in hand and Bolverk seemed to be strong and need no rest. Odin used his magic and worked efficiently. He worked better than anyone else since Baugi promised to give him a sip from the mead of his brother.

When Bolverk finished his work, Baugi asked his brother for a sip of the mead but Suttung refused. Baugi then drilled a hole into the cave. Odin quickly turned himself into a snake and got in. Baugi tried in vain to kill the snake though.

Image of Gunlod Odin Mead of Poetry
Gunlod offered Odin the Mead of Poetry

In the cave, Gunlod who had been lonely for so long saw Odin in the shape of a tall and handsome man, she forgot all the promises with her father. She entertained Odin for three days and three nights. In the end, Gunlod offered Odin a sip from the vats of the Mead. Odin then drank the whole vats, turning himself into an eagle and flying to Asgard. Suttung quickly pursued Odin. Because the giant sipped the Mead of Poetry so he could turn himself into a flying eagle. But the fire wall outside Asgard gate prevented the giant from entering and burned him to ashes.

On the way to Asgard, Odin unintentionally dripped out some Mead to the Midgard. That was how some lucky human could try the Mead of Poetry. Rather than keep the Mead for himself, Odin spat the precious liquid to the vessels for the Aesir gods.

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