Only way to start is at the Beginning:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%B6lusp%C3%A1

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe03.htm

 

Bellows translation. 

 

Who wants to start?

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whats the best way to start.

well lets start with stanza 1 though 8. its a good place to start.

what does anyone make of it.

 

Voluspa: As we know Odhinn summoned the seeress from Hel (the grave) in order to obtain knowledge of forth-coming events. This is only a part of the "The Prophecy of the Seeress". I believe in order to understand and study the Eddas, one should simultainiously study both the elder and younger as well as the esoteric cosmology of Yggdrasill. Although their are several different translations (which some differ slightly to even more out of context) learning and studying Old Norse dialect (especially Old Icelandic and/or its "familiars" (i.e. Old West Norse) would greatly benefit the more serious dedicated inquirer in his/her studies of The Eddas. As for stanzas 1-8, many mysteries lie in such short a collection of poems. From when Muspellsheimr met Niflheimr, the birth-creation-evolution of Ymir, the etins(giants), the nine worlds to the Norns. It would take alot of discussion on each individual stanza to say what I myself make of it. I would love to see this group continue regularly..   

David, you started this a while ago. Are you (and anyone else) still interested in pursuing this thread?

I'm game if we get more hits then once every six months...

Yea!!! I have been itchin' for a good philosophical/theologic discussion. I will grab my book and we'll see what kind of adventure we can generate...

Bellows Translation

9. Then sought the gods | their assembly-seats,
The holy ones, | and council held,
To find who should raise | the race of dwarfs
Out of Brimir's blood | and the legs of Blain.

10. There was Motsognir | the mightiest made
Of all the dwarfs, | and Durin next;
Many a likeness | of men they made,
The dwarfs in the earth, | as Durin said.

11. Nyi and Nithi, | Northri and Suthri,
Austri and Vestri, | Althjof, Dvalin,
Nar and Nain, | Niping, Dain,
Bifur, Bofur, | Bombur, Nori,
An and Onar, | Ai, Mjothvitnir.

12. Vigg and Gandalf) | Vindalf, Thrain,
Thekk and Thorin, | Thror, Vit and Lit,
Nyr and Nyrath,-- | now have I told--
Regin and Rathsvith-- | the list aright.

13. Fili, Kili, | Fundin, Nali,
Heptifili, | Hannar, Sviur,
Frar, Hornbori, | Fræg and Loni,
Aurvang, Jari, | Eikinskjaldi.

14. The race of the dwarfs | in Dvalin's throng
Down to Lofar | the list must I tell;
The rocks they left, | and through wet lands
They sought a home | in the fields of sand.

15. There were Draupnir | and Dolgthrasir,
Hor, Haugspori, | Hlevang, Gloin,

Dori, Ori, | Duf, Andvari,
Skirfir, Virfir, | Skafith, Ai.

16. Alf and Yngvi, | Eikinskjaldi,
Fjalar and Frosti, | Fith and Ginnar;
So for all time | shall the tale be known,
The list of all | the forbears of Lofar.

also known as the catalog of dwarfs  9-17

Interesting...why did you choose theses stanzas to start?

Taken on the surface, stanzas 9-16 serve as an intro to the race of dwarves. Where they came from (out of Brimir's blood and the legs of Blain), what the gods/goddesses are going to do with them (to find who should raise/the race of dwarfs) their names and where they are going (the rocks they left/and through wet lands/they sought a home/in the fields of sand.

Some of the dwarf names are familiar as they show up in other sagas and lore (the footnotes mention a few).

But this is on the surface. What is  down deeper in these stanzas? And maybe there isn't anything else. It's just that, a geneology of the dwarf race. Makes me want to go and cross reference the names in the other sagas...

I wonder if Brimir and Blain were two giants. The footnotes say that they could be different names for Ymir or that they are place names in which case the stanza is just referring to the  location where the dwarf race was born.

Your thoughts?

many scholors believe these stanzas are to be (or should be), placed  as the catalog as such later in the Eddas but to keep to the original form they "stand" in most texts as stanzas 9-17 

Yes, I have seen the foot notes and, while I appreciate their viewpoint, IMO it is still theory. Their theory. I don't discount what they say, but I like to explore other theories as well.

Stanzas 1-8 is about the creation of the worlds. Stanzas 17 and 18 are about Ask and Embla the first humans. 19 is Yggdrasil. and so on, introducing the beginnings of a lot of the key players in the lore. Some of the foundation pieces. So why would it be out of place for the beginning of the race of dwarfs to be entered here? There are names mentioned in several stanzas. Giants, gods, humans, so why not dwarf names, especially since they show up again in other sagas.

IMO the dwarfs are pretty important in Norse lore and I think that these stanzas could be right where they are supposed to be. In the beginning with the other key players.

What do you think based on your studies?

I do not necessarily agree or disagree 100% with a certain way or order in which many  others (believe in theory) how it (The Poetic Edda)  should be written or understood. I certainly do not veiw (believe) all sacred texts with the same "eyes" as everyone and maybe no one...;~) & of course u r correct, imo there is no uniform or "correct" order to study (I bounce alot), often figuring out >my veiw< of a certain meaning or metaphor for the first time, and as I believe our ancestors would have understood. In most studies we often look for a beginning as a good place to start. But what about that which came before the beginning? However we choose to view any subject, IMO one should cross-reference & use all available resources in their studies. Excuse me for making an example: Blind faith? Does a person believe in one manner or another on, or in, anything without any extended questioning or invesigation of their own, HONESTLY ??? Sad thing my friend, I am afraid many do. ~wassail~ N/N   

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