In Norse mythology, Fólkvangr (“field of the host” or “people-field” or “army-field”) is a meadow or field ruled over by the goddess Freyja where half of those that die in combat go upon death, whilst the other half go to the god Odin in Valhalla.

Others were also brought to Fólkvangr after their death; Egils Saga, for example, has a world-weary female character declare that she’ll never taste food again until she dines with Freya. Fólkvangr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. According to the Prose Edda, within Fólkvangr is Freyja’s hall Sessrúmnir. Scholarly theories have been proposed about the implications of the location.

After each battle, Odin and Freyja would choose the einherjar who have proven themselves to be the most courageous fighters and divide them among themselves. The fallen Viking warriors will later be brought to either Folkvangr or Valhalla. The less fortunate ones, however, had no choice and would go to Hel. In the underworld, they would live eternally, but only merely continuing their ordinary lives on earth: eating, drinking, and sleeping.

There are not many differences when it comes to practicality and routine in these two dwelling places of the Gods. In fact, life in both of them equally would be an envy of any Viking warrior. In Folkvangr, as well as in Valhalla, warriors would fight amongst each other every day, making sure they will be prepared when the Ragnarok comes. Many of them would be injured, many of them slaughtered; however, in the evening, their wounds would heal, and they would be ready to feast.

Actually, the only real difference between Valhalla and Folkvangr lies in the way of entering them. Namely, those who die honorably are chosen between Odin and Freya to enter their respective realms. The ones chosen by Odin enter Valhalla, while those who are selected by Freya enter Folkvangr.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s