Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Oskapt - Fire and Ice

On a forum I frequent, it was asked:

In The Saga of the Volsungs translated by Jesse L. Byock there is an interaction where Sigurd said: "What is the name of that island where Surt and the Aesir will mix together their blood?" Fafner answered: "It is called Oskapt, the uncreated." Does anyone have any insight into Oskapt?
This is an interesting idea - I like to speculate about interesting ideas.

Google translates oskapt as "terrible." I've also seen the word translated as "unshapen" and seeming derivatives of the word are associated with the idea of something which may not be of the normatively experienced natural worlds (that is, "unnatural") - so, oskapt may refer to a deeper or alternative level of nature which precedes mental, psychological or material constructions. In other mystical systems (from my learning as a kabbalist primarily), "terrible" often is a term applied to a level of Being "above" (in terms of extension into manifest reality) the created worlds, a correspondence which is in agreement with the Germanic ideas of some place which is both "uncreated" and "terrible." In kabbalah, the "terrible" universe is called atzilut, or universe of divine emanation from which creation is forthspoken via utterance, then shaped and then made manifest. Taking the correspondence further, it may be that the "place" of oskapt corresponds to some high unmanifest place from which that which is to become manifest first comes forth, if that makes sense. It's interesting to me the the word oskapt could be divided into "os" ("mouth") and "kapt" (or West Germanic Dutch "kopt", a form of koppen - like German "kopf") which can pertain to both the head in general (and to the crown of the head more specifically), making "oskapt" pertain to the "mouth of the head" - this is congruent with the idea of forthspeaking.

So, it seems to me that this island "Oskapt" may refer to a "place" within the Folksoul within which we all mix with one another as a unified community before extending out as individuals (or tribal families of individuals like soul families) into created reality.

Another interesting correspondence is that in kabbalah, the "terrible" place is also called the place of "terrible ice" (despite that it exists in the fiery Universe of Atzilut), so Oskapt may also be an "island" of "Niflheim within Muspelheim" in Germanic cosmology.

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