The Grotti Mill

VIII. Grotti


1. Goðar and Jötnar came together and created an enormous mill, called Grotti.2 It was also called Skerja Grotta and The Mill of the Storm.3 Its foundation rests on the Niðafjöll, encircling the Hvergelmir well, which is the mother well to all the waters of the worlds.4 The waters come from Hvergelmir, and they return after a completed cycle.5 These rivers are:2. Síð and Víð,Sækin and Eikinn, Svöl and Gunnþró, Fjörm and Fimbulþul, Rín and Rennandi, Gipul and Göpul, Gömul and Geirvimul: they wind aroundthe Goðin’s dwellings.Þyn and Vin,Þöll and Höll,Gráð and Gunnþráinn.
3. One is called Vina, a second Vegsvinn, a third Þjóðnuma; Nyt and Nöt,Nönn and Hrönn,Slíðr and Hríð,Sylgr and Ylgr,Við and Vón,Vöndr and Strönd, Gjöll and Leiptr;these two fall near men, and fall hence to Hel.
4. Körmt and Örmt,and the two Kerlaugar.6
5. Through a channel going through the ocean’s bottom through the earth, the perpetual relationship between Hvergelmir and the ocean is maintained.7 Under this channel, the millstone is placed on its foundation in such a way that the eye of the moveable stone stands midway over the well. Because of this the water swells through the eye of the millstone to and from Hvergelmir. Ebb comes to the sea when the water rushes down through the millstone’s eye; flow comes to the sea when the water thrusts up again through the same opening. The revolving millstone causes the Mælstrom that is dreaded by sailors.8 One will see the Grotti-Mill after traversing the land of frost, reaching thus the Hvergelmir well, where the water of the ocean flows back to this mysterious fountain. This deep, subterranean abyss wherein the ebbing streams of the sea are swallowed up to return and which with the most violent force draws the unfortunate seamen down into the Underworld.9
Here is the unfathomably deep eddy, which we call the navel of the sea. Twice a day it swallows the waves, and twice it vomits them forth again. Often, we are assured, ships are drawn into this eddy so violently that they look like arrows flying through the air, and frequently they perish in this abyss. But sometimes, when they are on the point of being swallowed up, they are driven back with the same terrible swiftness.106. The mill can grind out whatever the grinder prescribes. One can grind riches, grind happiness and wealth in abundance on the wishing-mill. Here shall no one harm another, nor harbor malice, nor bring to bane, nor strike with sharp sword, even if he found his brother’s slayer bound.11 Nine Jötun-maids turn Grotti’s moveable millstone.12 In the beginning, however, they happily ground luck, plenty, artistry, wisdom, gold, and peace. Occasionally other Gýgur will join them in turning the mill.13 Here is the song they sung:7. “We grind riches for the worlds, we grind happinessand wealth in abundanceon the wishing-mill.May they sit on riches, may they sleep on down, may they wake to joy: then we have ground well!8. “Here shall no one harm another, nor harbor malice,nor bring to bane,nor strike withsharp sword,even if he foundhis brother’s slayer bound.”149. At this time the Goðin chose Lóðurr to be the attendant of the mill.15 Lóðurr supervises the mill’s regular motion and under him stand the nine Jötun-maids pushing the mill-handles. The mill-servants not only turn its moveable stone with these handles, but also the starry vault. It is the movement of the starry vault which Lóðurr has to supervise.16 Because of this he is called Gevarr, the ward of the atmosphere.1710. The World-Mill, Grotti, is also the origin of the sacred friction-fire, which produces the holiest flame.18 Fire had been discovered before then, and was used ever since the beginning;19 but there are many kinds, and the purest and most excellent did not come until Grotti’s stones rubbed against each other. Up until that point this fire had been hidden in the elements, without revealing itself before the eyes of the Goðin; but it was now brought forth by the friction.2011. It was this holy flame of Grotti that gave birth to the brightest Goð, Heimdallr.21 In ancient times he was born endowed with wonderous might, of divine origin: the nine Jötun-maids gave birth to the gracious Goð at the world’s edge. Gjalp did bear him, Greip did bear him, Eistla bore him, and Eyrgjafa, Úlfrun bore him, and Angeyja, Imdr, and Atla, and Járnsaxa.22 Because Lóðurr is the mill’s caretaker and the nine Jötun-maids who turn Grotti created him through their labor with the mill-handles, Heimdallr is said to be their son. This action made the mill the worlds’ first fire-auger.2

- The Asatru Edda, Chapter VIII

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Footnotes:


1 This episode is primarily quoted from Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 6.2 Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 2.1 ch. 26.3 Skáldskaparmál 25, in a strophe by Snæbjörn, Gesta Danorum bk. 3.4 Grottasöngr 10-11, Sólarljóð 56-58, Grímnismál 26, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 80.5 Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 80.6 Grímnismál 27-9.7 Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 80, Grottasöngr open prose, Skáldskaparmál 25.8 Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 6, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 79-80, Skáldskaparmál 25.9 Adam of Bremen, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 94.10 Paulus Diaconus ch. 6.11 Grottasöngr open prose, 5, 6.12 Hyndluljóð 35-6 (Völuspá inn Skamma7-8), Skáldskaparmál 25, Sólarljóð 56-8, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 80.13 Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 2.1 ch. 26, Grottasöngr 5, 6, 10-11.14 Based on Grottasöngr 5-6.15 Mundilfari (Lóður)= “Mover of the Mill- Handle”, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 82.16 Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 6, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1ch. 81, 82.17 Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 90-92.18 Rigveda I:60; Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 82.19 These fires originally came from Sökkdalir, cp. Gylfaginning 5.20 Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 6; Rigveda I:31.17; Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch. 82.21 Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol.1 ch. 82, Rigveda I:95.3, I:141.2, VIII:49.15, X:45.2; Hyndluljóð 35-6 (Völuspá inn Skamma 7-8).22 Hyndluljóð 35-6 (Völuspá inn Skamma 7-8), cp. Gylfaginning 27.23 Our Father’s Godsaga ch. 6, Investigations into Germanic Mythology vol. 1 ch.82.

Fenja and Menja at the mill Grotti, by Max Koch, 1904