Sigrdrífumál 2-3: A Model for Folk Religious Prayer

Written by Dyami Millarson

Verses 2 and 3 of Sigrdrífumál provide us with a model for Germanic folk religious prayer: (a) entities are invocated with good luck wishes/greetings, (b) favours are asked immediately after the invocations, and (c) alliterative verse is used for expressing the invocations and requests that may together be interpreted as constituting a Germanic prayer.

Those who are willing to adopt Germanic folk religion have to learn how to pray again. The three components of the model prayer in Sigrdrífumál offer us a look into an authentic folk religious prayer. We ought to note that it is very succinct; no words are wasted as the purpose of the invocation is made immediately clear by the invocator who speaks in alliterative verse.

Religious speech among the Germanic peoples would have been spontaneous yet bound by the rules of alliterative poetry, which distinguished religious speech from ordinary speech. Alliterative verse makes each utterance memorable as it leaves a distinct rhythmic impression. Poetry had strong religious connotations among the Germanic pagans.

Sociologically, we can interpret alliterative verse as fulfilling a societal need, namely that of distinguishing magico-religious activities from day-to-day activities. When one comes into contact with higher entities, the correct way to address them is in alliterative verse which is perceiced as holding magical properties that may persuade them to fulfill one’s requests.

Published by Operation X

Operation X is a team of innovative language learners who wish to save, promote and study indigenous languages, integrate culturally and linguistically and philosophically with the respective language communities and earn community membership through hard work aimed at adopting and respecting the existing linguistic, cultural and philosophical norms of each community, and finally make each language thus acquired one of the official languages of the non-profit "Foundation Operation X for languages, cultures and perspectives." The languages that our non-profit Foundation officially recognises include (but are not limited to) Klaaifrysk, Wâldfrysk, Aasters, Westers, Eilaunders, Hielepes, Mòlkòrres, Seeltersk, Wangerōgersc, Harlingerland Frisian, Wursten Frisian, Upgant Frisian, Hâtstinge frêsh, Brêkleme frêsh, Trölstruper Freesch, Hoolmer Freesch, Hoorninger Fräisch, Bêrgeme frêsh, Halifreesk, Ingsbüllinge frėsh, Risemer Frasch, Naischöspeler Freesk, Hoorblinger Freesk, Halunder, Amring, Aasdring, Weesdring, Söl'ring, Hogelandster Grunnegers, Oostfreesk, and övdalsk.

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