Re: Odainsakur



My best guess below....

Heidi Graw wrote:

Far down in Christian times there prevailed among the Scandinavians the
idea that their heathen ancestors had believed in the existence of a
place of joy, from which sorrow, pain, blemishes, age, sickness, and
death were excluded. This place of joy was called Ódáinsakur,
the-acre-of-the-not-dead, Jörð lifandi manna, the earth of living
men. It was situated not in heaven but below, either on the surface of
the earth or in the lower world, but it was separated from the lands
inhabited by men in such a manner that it was not impossible, but
nevertheless exceeding perilous, to get there.

A saga from the fourteenth century [Eireks saga Víðförla]
incorporated in Flateyjarbók, and with a few textual modifications in
Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda, tells the following:

Erik, the son of a petty Norse king, one Christmas Eve, made the vow to
seek out Odainsakur, and the fame of it spread over all Norway. In
company with a Danish prince, who also was named Erik, he betook
himself first to Mikligard (Constantinople), where the king engaged the
young men in his service, and was greatly benefited by their warlike
skill. One day the king talked with the Norwegian Erik about religion,
and the result was that the latter surrendered the faith of his
ancestors and accepted baptism. He told his royal teacher of the vow he
had taken to find Odinsakur, - "frá honum heyrði vér sagt á voru
landi," - and asked him if he knew where it was situated.

The king
believed that Odainsakur was identical with Paradise, and said it lies
in the East beyond the farthest boundaries of India,

East of India.

but that no one
was able to get there because it was enclosed by a fire-wall,

Volcanoes.

which
aspires to heaven itself.

Tall volcanoes.

Still Erik was bound by his vow, and with his
Danish namesake he set out on his journey, after the king had
instructed them as well as he was able in regard to the way, and had
given them a letter of recommendation to the authorities and princes
through whose territories they had to pass.

They travelled through
Syria and the immense and wonderful India, and came to a dark country
where the stars are seen all day long.

High elevation. (?)

After having traversed its deep
forests, they saw when it began to grow light a river, over which there
was a vaulted stone bridge. On the other side of the river there was a
plain, from which came sweet fragrance. Erik conjectured that the river
was the one called by the king in Mikligard Pison, and which rises in
Paradise.

Biblical Pison is associated with Biblical Havila which is associated
with modern Yemen.

On the stone bridge lay a dragon with wide open mouth.

A land bridge with a nearby semi-active volcano caldera.

The
When Erik and his fellow-countryman had been swallowed by the dragon,
they thought themselves enveloped in smoke; but it was scattered, and
they were unharmed, and saw before them the great plain lit up by the
sun and covered with flowers. There flowed rivers of honey, the air was
still, but just above the ground were felt breezes that conveyed the
fragrance of the flowers. It is never dark in this country, and objects
cast no shadow.

On the equator.

Both the adventurers went far into the country in order
to find, if possible, inhabited parts. But the country seemed to be
uninhabited.

Likely if a recent volcanic eruption had taken place.

Still they discovered a tower in the distance. They
continued to travel in that direction, and on coming nearer they found
that the tower was suspended in the air, without foundation or pillars.
A ladder led up to it. Within the tower there was a room, carpeted with
velvet, and there stood a beautiful table with delicious food in silver
dishes, and wine in golden goblets.

A land with silver and gold deposits.

In regard to Erik's genealogy, the saga states (Fornald. Saga, iii.
519) that his father's name was Þrándr, that his aunt (mother's
sister) was a certain Svanhvít [Swan-white], and that he belonged to
the race of Þjazi's daughter Skaði. Further on in the domain of the
real myth, we shall discover an Erik who belongs to Þjazi's family,
and whose mother is a swan-maid (goddess of growth). This latter Erik
also succeeded in seeing Odainsakur (see Nos. 102, 103).

Meaning (my guess) that he also sailed from Constantinopolis through
the Red Sea, by Yemen, to the east of India, to visit an island near
the equator which has all the hallmarks of being one of the islands in
modern day Indonesia.

Of particular interest to me is the following:

"This place of joy was called Ódáinsakur,
the-acre-of-the-not-dead, Jörð lifandi manna, the earth of living
men. It was situated not in heaven but below, either on the surface of
the earth or in the lower world, but it was separated from the lands
inhabited by men in such a manner that it was not impossible, but
nevertheless exceeding perilous, to get there."

Separated from the known (Norse) world by treacherous uncharted seas;
which would have made exceedingly perilous.


PS: Consider Odainsakur as 'Udainsakur' in a Baltic language context:
'The water bound land'.
Indonesia has over 18,000 islands.

.