RAGNA - meaning and the legend of Ragnarok

By W.G. Collingwood (1854 - 1932) - The Elder or Poetic Edda

Ragna is a Norwegian name and is the short form for Ragnhild or Reinhild. The name consists of two roots, whereby "Ragn" means "advice, councel" and "Hilta" meaning "battle, warrior". 


Ragna, the advisory, i.e. wise Warrior Goddess.


The name Ragna also has its roots in Ragnarok, meaning the "fate of the gods".


In Norse mythology Ragnarok is the legend of the destruction of the world and everything in it, including the gods. It is the legend of a series of events, which end in a great battle between the gods, giants and monsters. Not only the battle leads to the demise of the world, the elements are also involved. One after the other, the Fimbulwinter, the world fire, the sinking of the earth and the darkening of the Ragnarok sun warn of what is to come, and seal the fate of the world even before the final catastrophe occurs.


The Fimbulwinter:

A barren ice age with three severe and ice cold winters in succession, characterized by snowfall, frost and storms. A sign of destruction.


The world fire:

The world fire followed the ice age, triggered by the giant Surt, who's flaming sword engulfs the earth.


The sinking of the earth:

This is the third event to follow, the sinking of the earth into the waves of the ocean, stirred up by the raging Midgard Serpent, flooding the land and devouring everything in its way.


The darkening of the sun:

The last of the four events is the darkening of the sun. In the chaos caused by the trembling earth, the dangerous Fenris Wolf frees itself from captivity in chains. He devours the sun, bringing darkness over the world.


The boat Naglfar brings the enemies of the gods to Bifrost, the burning rainbow bridge that reaches between Midgard (earth) and Asgard (the realm of the gods). When Heimdall, the bridge's guard, can no longer keep the enemies at bay, he sounds his horn, announcing to the gods of Asgard that danger is approaching. They head for the Vigrid plain to face the final battle. 


Ragnarok: The final battle

The Vigrid plain is the scene of the last and catastrophic encounter between the gods and the powers of the underworld. Freyr falls in battle with the terrible fire giant Surt, whose sword soon sets the earth on fire. The hellhound Garm and the warrior god Tyr kill each other in a cruel duel, even the crafty traitor Loki and Heimdall face each other and end one another's lives. The mighty god of thunder Thor meets the terrible and mighty Midgard Serpent in battle. Although he manages to kill the monster, he dies only a few seconds later from its deadly poison. Even the father of the gods, Odin, meets his fate in this batte and his life ends in the claws and between the jaws of the Fenris Wolf. His son Vidar finally avenges his deceased father and defeats the Fenris Wolf.


A new beginning after the end:

Not all the gods fall in the last battle, the sons of Thor, Magni and Modi, survive, even Odin's children Vidar and Vali find themselves in the former Asgard. Balder and Hodur return from Hel.


In the end a new and purged world arises from the ashes once the old world has fallen. 


The legend of Ragnarok represents the cycle of life, it is a reflection of ourselves, as so many deities, legends and myths are. Nothing ends without a new beginning. The seasons, the years, our existence. 


Read the legend of Ragnarok here


To me the name RAGNA, the Warrior Goddess, is a representation of the Primordal Goddess in one of her many forms (the Triple Goddess: the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone) . To me she is the elderly woman, of intense and sometimes frightening appearance. Often she is portrayed with a large nose and long teeth. She strikes fear into those who meet her. But do not be fooled by her appearance, she is also a kind and mild goddess. Her appearance represents the violent forces of nature. It is violence, from which our world arose. The big bang. The immense forces of the elements have created our earth as it is today. The continental plates push against each other with such force that mountains arise, volcanoes offer passage to the molten lava coming from the centre of the earth, and give us fertile ground. The violent forces of nature bare life. Mother Nature bares life. 


The Crone is also known as Frau Holle, Baba Yaga, Cerridwen, amongst others. She is the goddess of life, death and rebirth. She accompanies us through the cycles of our life, of the year and of the seasons. She is kind to those who are pure of heart and honest both to themselves and to her. She assists us in our transformation and in our transcendence, if we ask for her help. She is the Crone, very old and wise, and extremely powerful.