Whether you have seen the word “Valkyrie” or not, the Valkyrie occupied an important in Norse mythology. Though they didn’t appear much in the myth, no one could deny their roles. Poetic Edda, one of the main sources of Norse mythology, attested to the appearance of Valkyrie in Norse myth.
But who actually was the Valkyrie?
Valkyrie (Val-ker-ee) was the female helping spirit of Odin the Allfather. In Old Norse, it was Valkyrja and plural valkyrjur. The word consists of two compounds: valr meaning the fallen in battlefield and verb kjosa meaning to choose. So overall, the word refers to the action of choosing the fallen in battlefield. Those warriors were the Einherjar.
The common image we might see in both pictorial and literal artwork about the Valkyrie was they coming to Midgard and picking the spirit of the human fallen warriors to Valhalla. While one half followed Odin and dwelled in Valhalla, the rest would stay in Folkvangr with Freya Goddess of War.
The Valkyries were not allowed to be seen by humans
In many sources about Norse myth, the Valkyries were the virgins. Around 10 valkyries would appear in one battle whenever it took place. Some of them could have the opportunity to travel throughout Midgard. But they would have to take the form of swans. If ever one human saw them in their original form, they would become mortal. This meant they would neither serve Odin nor come to Valhalla.
Modern depictions of the Valkyries sometimes declared that there existed love affair between the Valkyrie and human. Result? They would get the punishment from Odin their master. But whether this is true or not remains a mystery.
One cool thing is that, many people claimed the Shieldmaidens (Viking female warriors) well captured the spirit of the Valkyries.
The Valkyrie in archaeological findings
Many archaeological findings revealed some Viking amulets in the form of the Valkyries. To elaborate, those Viking amulets depicted a woman with their hair pulled back. They sometimes held the drinking horns. Like Thor amulets, these Valkyrie amulets were found in the Viking grave sites. This strengthens the point that the Vikings once respected and sent their wish to the Valkyrie.
The Tjängvide image stone on an island of Gotland, Sweden depicts the scene of Valkyrie and Odin the Allfather. We can easily see a man on one eight-legged creature. Quick answer: Odin the Allfather. In front of him stood a woman whose appearance resembled to the Viking Valkyrie amulet. Hair pulled back and hands holding drinking horns.