Andvari loves treasure. In the past, he didn’t need to forge it because he could find or even produce it with his magic ring, Andvaranaut (literally “Andvari’s Gift”). This golden ring can locate gold and possibly generate it. It was the prize of Andvari’s collection, and his collection was amazing, featuring various magical armors, weapons, and items of unspeakable value. You may notice that sentence was written in the past tense because Andvari’s treasure was stolen by Loki, who needed to pay a ransom demand. (
Andvari was initially not that upset about losing his hoard assuming that he could regenerate it with his ring. However, when Loki forced him to surrender the ring, too, Andvari was devastated. He may have lost his wealth, but his magical powers weren’t stolen: he put a curse on the ring, dooming anyone who came into its possession. The story of Andvari and his ring appears in the epic Volsung Saga. It was adapted by Richard Wagner into his Ring series of operas although Wagner merged Andvari’s character with that of Alberich, using the latter’s name in his operas. Wagner may have desired royalty: Andvari, unlike Alberich, is not a king, although at the peak of his wealth he possessed more gold and treasure than many kings put together.
Andvari allegedly remains a bitter spirit, but if he evokes a chord in you, he may be appealed to for advice regarding finances and investments.
He can shape-shift into the form of a salmon when he wishes, enabling him to live beneath the water as well as on land.
The physical object with which he is most associated is his ring, whether or not it is now in his possession.
Water and earth
What else? Gold.
Although he is at home on land, Andvari kept his trove in an underwater cave beneath a waterfall. Despite Wagner’s operatic associations with the Rhine, the real Andvari probably inhabits a Scandin avian river.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.
Andvari is in Norse mythology, a dwarf who is robbed of his wealth by Loki, the firetrickster god. He is called Alberich (elf rule) by Wagner in Der Ring des Nibelungen. Once the gods Odin, Hoenir, and Loki came down to earth in human guise to test the hearts of various people. They came to the land where Hreidmar, the king of the dwarfs (or elves), lived. The gods had not gone far when Loki saw an otter basking in the sun. Up to his evil tricks, Loki killed the otter, which happened to be Hreidmar’s son Otter. He flung the lifeless body over his shoulder, thinking it would make a good meal. Following his companions, Loki came at last to Hreidmar’s house with the dead otter, which he flung on the floor. When Hreidmar saw his dead son, he flew into a rage. Before the gods could act, they were bound and told they could not be freed unless they paid for Otter’s death with gold enough to cover his skin, inside and out. The otter skin had the magical property of stretching itself to any size, so no ordinary treasure would suffice. Loki was appointed to find enough gold. He ran to a waterfall where the dwarf Andvari lived. Loki did not find Andvari but instead saw a salmon in the water, which he knew to be Andvari in disguise. Loki caught the salmon in a net and said he would not free him unless he gave Loki his treasures, including the Helmet of Dread and his hoard of gold. Only his magic ring, Andvaranaut, was Andvari to be allowed to keep. The ring worked like magic, collecting rich ore. But then Loki, greedy as usual, also took the ring. Andvari cursed it, saying anyone who possessed the ring would be destroyed. In the Poetic Edda Andvari says:
That gold which the dwarf possessed shall to two brothers be cause of death, and to eight princes, of dissension. From my wealth no one shall good derive.
Loki nevertheless took the ring. It was given in the payment to Hreidmar, who gloated over his new treasure. One night his son Fafnir killed him and took the treasure. The myth, which is the basis of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, is found in the Poetic Edda and the Volsunga Saga, which also influenced William Morris’s epic poem Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs. Andvari (Alberich) is portrayed by Arthur Rackham in his illustrations for Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante