The "Helthing" is a representation of the judgement given when one dies for our deeds. First we should examine the 9 nids found in our lore in multiple references to understand how our eschatology can be viewed. We have identified the nine nids as follows:
Murder - Völuspá 40, Sölarljód 64, Vafthrúdnismál 43, Germania by Tacitus.
Perjury - Völuspá 40, Völundárkvida 6-8, Skáldskaparmál 4, Vafthrúdnismál 43, Sigrifumál 23, Germania by Tacitus
Adultery - Völuspá 49, Vafthrúdnismál 43, Havamal 115, 131, Germania by Tacitus
Sacrilege - Vafthrúdnismál 43, Lokasenna 63, Skírnismál 35, Sölarljód 65, Historia Danica Book 8
Greed - Vafthrúdnismál 43, Sölarljód 63-64, Historia Danica Book 8
Thievery - Vafthrúdnismál 43, Skáldskaparmál 43, Sölarljód 61, 63, Historia Danica Book 5&6
Treason - Völuspá 29, Vafthrúdnismál 43, Germania chapter 12 by Tacitus, Historia Danica Book 8
Slander - Fjölsvinnsmál 46, Vafthrúdnismál 43, Reginsmál 4, Sölarljód 67
Cruelty - Völuspá 29, Hávamál 150, Sigrifumál 22, Vafthrúdnismál 43, Historia Danica Book 8, Gunnar's Slagr 20.
níðingr, m. [A. S. or Early E. nidering = slander], a nithing, villain, legally the strongest term of abuse (like Germ. ehrloser), for a traitor, a truce-breaker, one who commits a deed of wanton cruelty, a coward, and the like…
(q. v.) a truce-breaker:—a niggard, miser, mann-n., mat-n., q. v. COMPDS: níðings-herr, m. a band of traitors…. níðings-sök, f. a charge of villainy, Stj. 555, Sks. 764. níðings-verk, n. a dastard’s work, villainy,
Throughout the lore we are often reminded of the roles the gods play in dealings with cosmology and also eschatology. In Völuspá the seer tells us of the past creation of the worlds:
- Then sought the gods | their assembly-seats,
The holy ones, | and council held;
Names then gave they | to noon and twilight,
Morning they named, | and the waning moon,
Night and evening, | the years to number.
Here we see the gods are said to give order to the cosmos after taking their assembly-seats. And later the gods are said "to give doom" as they ride to the ash-tree. This is important in understanding the role the gods play in the Helthing.
- Kormt and Ormt | and the Kerlaugs twain
Shall Thor each day wade through,
(When dooms to give | he forth shall go
To the ash-tree Yggdrasil;)
For heaven's bridge | burns all in flame,
And the sacred waters seethe.
- Glath and Gyllir, | Gler and Skeithbrimir,
Silfrintopp and Sinir,
Gisl and Falhofnir, | Golltopp and Lettfeti,
On these steeds the gods shall go
When dooms to give | each day they ride
To the ash-tree Yggdrasil.
If we look at the following passage from Fáfnismál we see all men are said to go to hel.
- "Some one the hoard | shall ever hold,
Till the destined day shall come;
For a time there is | when every man
Shall journey hence to hell."
According to Tacitus in Germania legal assemblies were held to carry out punishment for crimes with lesser offenses being fines and larger offenses resulting in banishment or even bogging. The more serious crimamal offenses being bogged to hide the shame from the community. In a culture that has "fates", one cannot deny the importance of our actions for they will surely play a role in our judgement.