Thursday, 3 April 2014
One of the lesser known Valkyries of Norse and Germanic mythology is called Mist. Her name could be linked to an Old Norse word/name mistr to mean "cloudy" or "foggy".
The horses of the Valkyries were said to have manifested from air and water. Some of the Valkyries rode through mist and others appeared to be sunlike, bright, white as snow, feathers of white, swan maidens and white goddesses.
Mist was a "swan maiden" Valkyrie who was dressed in a long flowing white gown and a cloak of white feathers. Her hair was a golden honey colour and her eyes were pale grey. She was one of the "swan maidens" of ancient stories. She appeared on earth (Midgard) to bathe in pools and streams. She took on the shape of a swan, or looked like a swan when she was seen in her cloak. A shroud of mist enveloped her.
As the legend went, a man who sees a nymph, goddess, Valkyrie and swan maiden bathing is usually blinded. However, the swan maiden is vulnerable. If a man steals her cloak of feathers, she remains trapped on Midgard and is bound to the man as his wife. There are stories like this but nothing to indicate it happened to Mist.
It's said that a wish can come true if you're holding a white swan's feather. The swan maidens were also called Wish Maidens. These maidens had mystical abilities that they were born with. They were immortal and virginal, and remained pure by their feathers and protected by their luminous armour whenever they wore those. They rode across the sky and settled to drink and dip in waters on the earth.
Mist appears in two poems: Grimnismal (Sayings of Grimnir), of the Poetic Edda, and Nafnaþulur of the Prose Edda. Those are epics and adventures of giants, monsters and men with references to the Valkyries.
Valkyries, wish maidens and swan maids
Picture is by artist Kirk Reinert