An informal look at the culture of the Vikings and other Germanic warriors and how we can apply their wisdom to modern life. Illustrated by Mark Morte.
The original Helm first appears in the Volsunga Saga as part of a dragon’s hoard which started off as weregild for the killing of an otter who happened to be somebody’s relative.
As usual, it was Loki who committed the offence. He threw a fatal stone. The victim was the brother of Regin and Fafnir who went as an otter by day. As compensation to the powerful and wealthy father, the gods were required to fill the skin and cover the outside with gold. This was done, although Odin warned that the treasure would bring death.
The brother, Fafnir, killed the father in greed and hauled the gold off to a lair in the woods. Sitting alone on his hoard eventually turned Fafnir into a dragon.
Regin, having been deprived of his inheritance, told Sigurd (known to Wagnerians as Siegfried), who was one of our greatest legendary heroes. Regin reforged the broken sword which had belonged to Sigurd’s father. The sword was the only one sharp and strong enough to pierce the dragon.
As Sigurd prepares to kill Fafnir and Regin hides in the woods at a safe distance, a stranger tells Sigurd how to avoid being killed by the dragon’s blood. The stranger, obviously Odin, departs as mysteriously as he appeared.
As the dragon dies, he boasts of having borne the Helm of Terror and that no matter how many men had stood before him, he had thought himself stronger, and everyone was afraid of him. Sigurd replies that such a thing will not assure victory, because each warrior must eventually discover when in the company of many, that no one is the bravest of all.
The lesson we each must learn is that Odin has given the Helm of Terror to the dragon. Each of us must face and slay our dragon in order to take the Helm for ourselves. While the dragon uses the Helm to intimidate all who meet him, we must learn to use it with wisdom and discretion.
An effective warrior keeps an open mind with regard to the usefulness of potential tools and weapons. While some may may be seduced into the partial worlds, and perhaps fantasy worlds, which evolve in any medium, whether TV world, web world, book world, or academia, we can not
afford to dismiss the substantial effects these worlds have on the "Real World" of Midgard. The warrior looks into each of these worlds and uses each with full consciousness, recognising each as a partial and imperfect view, and assessing each for its potential real uses.