I’m producing illustrations for The Poetic Edda, a collection of Old Norse poems dating back to the Viking Age.
The poem i’ve chosen is an account of the god Odin’s eighteen magical songs.
Breakdown of the poem (if required)
The father of the gods, Odin is obsessed with aquiring arcane knowledge. He has previously given up an eye in exchange for a chance to make use of Mimir’s well of knowledge.
At the start of the poem one-eyed Odin hangs on the tree, Yggdrasill. He stabs himself with his spear, sacrificing himself to himself. Now dead and in the underworld he aquires knowledge of nine songs (charms or spells) from a giant, his unnamed maternal uncle. Odin is re-born, wiser and inspired. He is able to create a new song from each of the nine taught to him. A stanza is then dedicated to a desciption of the powerful magical effects of each song.