History for the Rest of Us

Hel – Daughter of Loki

Hel – Daughter of Loki

Dec 11, 2012

Hel, goddess of death, was the daughter of Loki, god of evil, and of the giantess Angurboda, the portender of ill. She came into the world in a dark cave in Jötun-heim together with the serpent Iörmungandr and the terrible Fenris wolf, the trio being considered as the emblems of pain, sin, and death. “Now Loki comes, cause of all ill! Men and Æsir curse him still. Long shall the gods deplore, Even till Time be o’er, His base fraud on Asgard’s hill. While, deep in Jotunheim, most fell, Are Fenrir, Serpent, and Dread Hel, Pain, Sin, and Death, his children three, Brought up and cherished; thro’ them he Tormentor of the world shall be.” Valhalla (J. C. Jones). In due time Odin became aware of the terrible brood which Loki was cherishing, and resolved, as we have already seen, to banish them from the face of the earth. The serpent was therefore cast into the sea, where his writhing was supposed to cause the most terrible tempests; the wolf Fenris was secured in chains, thanks to the dauntless Tyr; and Hel or Hela, the goddess of death, was hurled into the depths of Nifl-heim, where Odin gave her power over nine worlds. “Hela into Niflheim thou threw’st, And gav’st her nine unlighted worlds to rule, A queen, and empire over all the dead.” Balder Dead (Matthew...