49. My garments in a fieldAn unrelated thought: the Berserkers were so-called because they wore 'bare skin' i.e. no clothing, because a berserker is the mascline frenzied raw unrefined energy that only scrutinizes and is not scrutinized at all (even by the presence, sensation of clothing on the skin).
I gave away
to two wooden men:
heroes they seemed to be,
when they got cloaks:
exposed to insult is a naked man.
berserk (adj.) Look up berserk at Dictionary.com
1844, from berserk (n.) "Norse warrior," by 1835, an alternative form of berserker (1822), a word which was introduced by Sir Walter Scott, from Old Norse berserkr (n.) "raging warrior of superhuman strength;" probably from *ber- "bear" + serkr "shirt," thus literally "a warrior clothed in bearskin." Thus not from Old Norse berr "bare, naked."
Etymology is not an exact science, but for many years I have held the opinion that the ursine derivation is more likely than the unclothed derivation.
Beyond that, I honestly don't know what the Edda means when it talks about giving clothes to wooden men. Is it a magical ritual, making dummies into charmed talismans? Is it a poetic way of talking about normal but cowardly human warriors as "wooden"?
'Etymology is not an exact science, but for many years I have held the opinion that the ursine derivation is more likely than the unclothed derivation.'ReplyDelete
It's difficult to say as it could be that both interpretations are true. Berserkers (according to http://www.uppsalaonline.com/uppsala/berserk.htm) take on the mindset, the character of a bear or wolf, and so the berserker might use the bear-skin as some kind of spiritual paraphenalia to help get them into the mind of the bear (or be 'taken over' by the nature of the bear).
But on the other hand when you're in the mindset of a beserker you want to scrutinize/oppress other things, rather than be oppressed by other things, which means that you would not wear any clothes (including chain-mail, or bear-skins), and hence go "without mailcoats".
As for the wooden statues being clothed, I can only scratch my head and wonder. The only explanation that I've read is that Odin doesn't like seeing naked wooden idols of Gods, (because he thinks it indencent) and prefers to see them clothed (http://www.nordic-life.org/nmh/NewEngStanza49.htm). It's a curious stanza that's for sure.