Ullr, the oath holder
"It shall go with thee, Atli, | as with Gunnar thou heldest
The oaths ofttimes sworn, | and of old made firm,
By the sun in the south, | by Sigtyr's mountain,
By the horse of the rest-bed, | and the ring of Ull."
– Atlakviða, Verse 32, Bellows Translation
As described by Snori Surleson, the Icelandic historian who wrote the Prose Edda, the god Ullr is a god of winter, hunting, and the snow ski; but modern research has uncovered an alternate view of the ancient viking god.
In 2007 and 2008 an excavation done in Lilla Ullevi in Uppland, Sweden found over 65 oath rings. Breaking apart the name Ullevi we have Ulle Vi, Ulle meaning Ullr and Ve being the old norse word for holy site or alter. Using place names all throughout Scandinavia, primarily in Norway and Sweden, John Julian Molin wrote a thesis titled “Ullr, A God on the Edge of Memory.”
Through the place names and the written lore, Molin connects Ullr to the sun, a god perhaps like the Greek Apollo of light and law, and perhaps like Freyr who came to prominence in the regions where Ullr once held strong sway. Ullr’s shield is the sun, Ullr’s oath ring, and the changes of the seasons. A god of circles, a god who reminds us of the benefit of light and that not all is darkness in winter.
The original fantasy painting was done in oil and measures 16" x 20".