Moon in Iceland
Máni (Old Norse “moon”) is the personification of the Moon in Norse Mythology. Máni, personified, is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century. Sources state that he is the brother of the personified sun, Sól, and the son of Mundilfari, while the Prose Edda adds that he is followed by the children Hjúki and Bil through the heavens.
In the poem Völuspá, a dead völva (female shaman) recounts the history of the universe and foretells the future to the disguised god Odin. In doing so, the völva recounts the early days of the universe:
Benjamin Thorpe translation:
- The sun from the south, the moon’s companion,
- her right hand cast about the heavenly horses Arvak and Alsvid.
- The sun knew not where she a dwelling had,
- the moon knew not what power he possessed,
- the stars knew not where they had a station.
Henry Adams Bellows translation:
- The sun, the sister of the moon, from the south
- Her right hand cast over heaven’s rim;
- No knowledge she had where her home should be,
- The moon knew not what might was his,
- The stars knew not where their stations were.
“The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani” (1909) by J. C. Dollman.
A Lightsource for Navigation
For centuries the Moon was an important source of light to enable icelanders to travel overland at night.