midwife 2

“Turning now to Oddrúnarkviða, or Oddrún’s poem – an Eddic lay named for a powerful Healing Woman who is described as both ‘magical’ and ‘mighty’ – we find Borgny in the midst of a difficult delivery.  Oddrún’s healing hand and rammt galdra, “powerful galdr”, assist Borgny in giving birth to twins – a healthy boy and girl; no doubt a combination akin to the birth-runes mentioned in Sigrdrífumál  9 (above).  For her assistance, Borgny thanks Oddrún with these words:

So help you Frigg and Freyja, holy wights, and more gods;

As you lifted me from harm with your hands.

 

Interestingly enough, Oddrún then replies:

I have not come here to help you, because you were never worthy of shelter.

I was called and so fulfilled that which was spoken – that I am bound to help anyone.

 

According to the Hippocratic Oath: “Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick.”  If Oddrún made a similar oath, specifically ‘bound to help anyone’, could this denote her participation in a healing tradition that taught both medicine and ethics?  Or is Oddrún bound personally to Gunnar, and so when he called her, she came to assist Borgny, regardless of how she felt personally about her?  Whatever the case may be, Oddrún’s words certainly seem like a Heathen reference to a Hippocratic Oath.”

Forn Þreifa: Ancient Healing Touch, page 44 (forthcoming)

 

 

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