Frumgesceap: An Anglo-Saxon Creation Myth

Before all things, there was madness.

And this madness was called Dwolma and was without beginning and it was without end, ageless and churning.

From the Dwolma came mists and the mists became rime and things were set into motion that could not be undone. It was from this rime that a being was born, an Ēoten, the first of his race. For countless eons he lived in solitude, a child of madness, basking in madness, until he grew weary and settled into rest. During this long sleep, the mists came once more and from him two children were born, one male and one female. From them more Ēotenas were born and their race did flourish.

During this time, the mists created another being, a mighty aurochs, and from her womb sprang the first of the godly race. They called her Mōdorūr and It was from her teats that they received their nourishment, from her fur their warmth.

The three greatest of Mōdorūr’s  sons were named Wōden, Willa and Weoh .  They fed from Mōdorūr until she was nearing death, and then Wōden spake.

“Mōdorūr, if we continue to suckle at your teat, you shall die.”

And Mōdorūr responded.

“Great potential do I see in you, my sons, and yet fully grown you are not. How then will Dwolma be overcome, if I do not sacrifice myself, how will you and your kin fare?”

And so they suckled, their hunger sated and Mōdorūr perished.

From Mōdorūr’s skin, the gods clothed themselves, from her meat they did feast and were made whole and from her bones they fashioned weapons. From her leg did Wōden fashion a great spear, that he called Hygegār, which always found its mark.

From what remained of Mōdorūr, grew a tree called Eormensȳl, the centre of all things.  The roots of this mighty tree ran deep, without end, into the darkness of Dwolma and its branches did pierce the heavens. The fruit that it bore was endless, succulent, and the sap that ran from its trunk formed streams from which the gods fished, and there was plenty.

Seeing this prosperity, the Ēotenas became enraged, and so plotted to slay the gods. Their attack was fierce,  and many perished on either side of the fray. They fought for what seemed like an eternity, until Wōden and his brothers slew the first Ēoten. In his death throes, the Ēoten’s blood spilled upon the battlefield and swallowed up most of his children, thus winning victory for the gods.

Once victory celebrations ended, Wōden, Willa and Weoh set about making the seven worlds. They took the great Eoten’s eyes and made the sun and the moon. Then they took the hair from atop his head and from his beard and made the grasses and moss.  From his bones they did form mountains, hillocks and caves. And they used his spittle to make the seas and the meres. What remained of his blood became bog and marshland, and from his skull was the sky formed. Wōden then used Hygegār to punch holes in the sky, and thus, stars were made. From his teeth, great stone monuments were made and placed, so that men could marvel at the work of the gods.  The remaining muscles and sinew became the first beasts who were loosed upon the world, where they quickly multiplied and thrived.

Then Willa spake.

“We have made these worlds, green and fertile and yet there lives no being who can marvel at our work.”

Wōden smiled and grabbed from the ground a mound of earth and from it he formed woman. From the skies he grasped clouds and from it he made man. In both their ears he whispered spells that gave them life, appetite and inspiration. Then Willa, too whispered spells into their ears and gifted them desire, thought and action. Finally, Weoh stepped forward and he too whispered spells, which gave them religious reverence.

The first man and first woman reared many children, the eldest of which was a son named Mennisc. After a time, Mennisc had three sons of his own. When they came of age, Mennisc’s sons set out upon the world.  As they journeyed, they came upon the sea, cold and unyielding and the youngest brother said.

” Brothers, this is where we part, for in this land I shall make my name and my fortune.”

And there did he settle and he took a wife, shrewd and sturdy. From their union the tribes of the Seaxan, Fresan, Angles and Gēatas would propagate.

The remaining brothers carried on in their journey until they came upon a mighty river. The middle brother then spoke.

“Brother, this is where we part, for in this land I shall make my name and my fortune.”

And there did he settle and he took a wife, adaptable and prudent. From their union the tribes of the Langbeardas, Swǣfas and Þyringas would propagate.

The remaining brother ventured on until he reached another mighty river.

“This is where my journey ends, for in this place I shall make my name and my fortune.”

And there did he settle and he took a wife, resolute and fierce. From their union, the tribe of the Francan would propagate.

The gods did look on and they were pleased, for their work was good and man did marvel at it.


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