The only surviving prayer to the Norse gods appears in the Sigrdrífumál.
Hail, sons of day!
And night and her daughter now!
Look on us here
with loving eyes,
That waiting we victory win.
Hail to the gods!
Ye goddesses, hail,
And all the generous earth!
Give to us wisdom
and goodly speech,
And healing hands, life-long.
This is Henry Bellows’ 1936 translation. There is some dispute about the phrase “daughter of night”. The word he translates as daughter is “nipt“, which means a close female relation.Bellows translates it as night because he thinks the relative of it must refer to Jörð (Earth), daughter of Nótt (Night). Sophus Bugge (1867) thought nipt would not refer to Jörð because there is a direct reference to Earth in the next stanza. Benjamin Thorpe (1866) sidesteps the problem by leaving the words as proper names.
The Day addressed here is Dag, son of Delling (Dawn) and Nótt (Night). I wrote about him a few days ago (Hyndla, Patron of Genealogists).
In Hyndluljód (Lay of Hyndla), the hero Óttarr is descended from Svan the Red, who was son of Dag, according to Ættartolur.
12. "Thou art, Ottar, | the son of Instein,
And Instein the son | of Alf the Old,
Alf of Ulf, | Ulf of Sæfari,
And Sæfari's father | was Svan the Red.
So, I still have the same question. Whose line is this? It must have been an important family. Freyja helps them discover their descent from important mythological figures, Day and Night and Dawn and the Sun. And Brynhild addresses a prayer to those same figures when she meets Sigurd, and gives him some general advice.
But the experts don’t seem to have put it together in quite this way. Yet. I’m convinced there’s a clue here we’re missing.
- Crawford, Jackson. “The Sigrdrifa Prayer“. YouTube, Aug. 9, 2017.