I recently, for a second time in 2 years, had surgery. It was routine and no complications were expected. Even so, the hospital required "What If" papers to be filled out and signed. The 2 major Questions are: What are your religious beliefs and How do you want your body handled in the event of your death?

My first answer was - I am dedicated to Othinn, easy enough. The second was a little more complicated.

As a Warrior my choice would be to die in battle, however, my time in the Military is long over. So how do I enter Valhalla? I may yet die well in this crime filled world but unlikely. If by some unfortunate happenstance I expire on the operating table, what then?

I found an answer to this question in the Lee Hollander translation of the Heimskringla. This is what I found on page 15, chapter 9 : Othinn  is on his deathbed and has himself marked with a spear point claiming fallen warriors for himself....Othinn was burned after death...Now how do I use this when and if?

On part two, cremation is the order over burial. My wife knows my wishes and is willing to carry it out (very rare indeed! being we don't walk the same path). My sister is also aware although she does not agree with it. My son is also aware of it and respects it.

If I were to expire this is the process I came up with:

If I expire on the table a family member (or other Warrior) would be armed with a fighting knife and would 'Mark me for Othinn" and yell: OTHINN, OTHINN, OTHINN! A Warrior of the Einherjar is at your door; bid him enter and take his place among the Brave!

If I am conscious with no hope of recovery and death upon me, then my wife will bring the knife to me and I will mark myself. Upon expiring my wife and son will yell the Warrior's Ascension above. 

If unconscious with death upon me, then my wife or son would then mark me. I had already indicated no life support.

And so the prisoner's dilemma: I don't know if any of this is "legal" and I don't want family members held accountable for murder/manslaughter. It was suggested to talk to the hospital Ethics Committee and have them rule on it, which I plan to do.

Another alternative is have the doctor do the marking with a scalpel?! Some friends suggested ritually marking myself before the surgery and thereby bypass all of the unknowns.

I'd like some feedback on this issue and hear some of your thoughts and solutions to this problem.

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Replies to This Discussion

some body modification places to scarification.  Might be a way to go if things look grim.  It's pretty simple and very clean.  Modern laws are not the most understanding on our beliefs and it can get tricky.  I have thought about similar scenarios and it can get pretty muddled in today's legal system.
I am checking into the "Ethics Committee" at the hospital to see what the options are. I am also looking into  Legal Aid here in San Mateo, CA to get an idea of the laws. I will be following up with that info once I have it.
I too am facing that dilemma having congestive heart failure. I have already offered my self up to the Allfather. what do you think about tattooing it? it is symbolism, as I have no next of kin.
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I see this is an old discussion, but I've seen this type of question before.

I think it really comes down to how literally you want to take the writings we have.

Since the Einherjar train daily (to death!) in Valhalla, is it really say that you must die in battle?  Or does Odin want the most courageous warriors with the proper heart?

If you think of it, if he only took those who died directly due to battle wounds, he would get mostly the worst of the lot.  A warrior good enough to survive battle would then be unacceptable to Odin because he died of old age?  Doesn't make sense.

If, however we look at the writings we have for the concept behind them, it would seem that Odin wants those of the heart of a warrior, the will to persevere and the love to put the safety of the folk above his own.  Training daily in Valhalla will give you better and more, battle training than all of the training and the little fighting (relatively speaking) in this world. 

I think Odin wants more of someone with the proper heart, than a coward that got stabbed to death.

Of course, that doesn't guarantee your entry into Vallhalla, either.  Freyja gets first pick and fully half of the "slain warriors", so you may end up in Sessrúmnir!

I completly agree, I think the whole"Dieing in battle" thing was made up by some king to get people to fight for him, or something

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