We know that, according to Thjoldolf of Hvin, the great hall was roofed with golden shields that covered it like shingles on a house. It is also said that the stronghold is so lofty that you can scarcely see over it. Valhalla is so large inside that it contains six hundred and forty doors, and out of a single door at any one time 960 warriors can enter. I was not a math major, I was a History major, but I believe that makes 614,400 men who can enter the great hall ! These men do not spend all of their time in the great hall, they often times go out into the courtyard and do battle with one another, laying each other low. This is their excercise, and it sharpens their fighting skills so that they will be ready for the final battle when Surt and his evil minions cross the rainbow bridge and march on Asgard. Those who die in these mock, but deadly battles, are later risen and are reconciled with their slayers. They then go back to the great hall to drink and feast.
Here Odin joins them on the golden benches. The great multitude of warriors are fed pork from the slaughtered boar Saehrimnir. He is boiled everyday by a man named Andhrimnir in a sooty cauldron, but the great beast comes alive again in the evening. Though it is not written in the Eddas I imagine that Saehrimnir's bones are laid out on its skin and then consecrated, probably by Odin himself, back to life. A similar story can be read in the Eddas which involves Thor feeding a farmer and his two children using his two goats. Thor then tells them to place the bones intact on the skin of the goats. The farmer's boy, however, breaks one of the goats leg bones , to get at the marrow, and when Thor consecrated the carcasses to resurrrect them, the one goat comes up lame, infuriating Thor.
Odin does not join in this feast of food . He gives what is on his plate to his two wolves Geri and Freki. For Odin his sustenance comes from wine . As it says in the Eddas: " The All - Father, leader of armies, himself lives on only wine. " With his wolves Odin is joined at his table by Hugin and Munin. They sit on Odin's shoulders and whisper into his ears the news that they have seen or heard on their many flights around the nine worlds.
The great warriors of Valhalla, called Einherjar, do not themselves drink wine in the great hall, but a strong mead. " A goat called Heidrun stands up on its hind legs in Valhalla biting the buds off of the branches of that famous tree which is called Laerad. From her teats runs the mead with which every day she fills a mighty cauldron which is so big that all the Einherjar can drink their fill from it ".
There is still another amazing animal that lives in Valhalla. It is the hart ( a deer) named Eikthyrir which, " stands in Valhalla devouring the branches of the tree. Such a huge stream comes from its horns that it falls down into Hvergelmir. From here flow the rivers called : Sid, Vid, Sekin, Ekin, Svol, Gunnthro, Fyorm, Fimbuthul, Gipul, Gopul, Gomul, and Geirvimul. Also mentioned are the rivers, Thyn, Vin, Tholl, Holl, Grad, Gunnthrain, Nyt, Naut, Not, Hron, Vina, Vegsvin, and Thjodnuma. " That my friends is a lot of rivers coming from a hart. Though it is not mentioned how big the animal is, it must be immense.
Valhalla is a place that I often see in my daydreams, or visions, depending on your perspective. This is my own vision of Valhalla : I see a green field bordered with forests on both sides. I see brave men fighting with every bit of their last strength, and determination. I see blood staining the grass on a sunny afternoon. I watch as a mighty warrior dies in single combat. I see Valkyries dressed in full coats of mail riding their beautiful horses over the battlefield. Suddenly a Valkyrie swoops down like a bird of prey and picks up the fallen warrior. She cradles him in her arms, as a mother holds her child. I marvel as she gallops over the rainbow bridge and into Asgard. She stops at the huge golden gates of Valhalla, and gently lays the lifeless warrior on the ground. As the heavy doors swing open, Odin slowly steps out into the courtyard and stands over the lifeless form. Odin consecrates the great warrior, and welcomes him to Valhalla. A flutter of eyes, a spark of life, and the warrior awakens as though from a long sleep. As Odin walks through the massive doors of the great hall, all of the Einherjar rise in unison. The hall itself needs no candles or torches, its golden walls and ceiling illuminate the interior with a pleasant and bright glow. Odin then takes his place at the head of the great table, while a Valkyrie escorts the new arrival to his honored place on the golden benches. Each of the Einherjar toast the new arrival in turn, until each has welcomed him. He is then accepted as a blood brother, and the feast begins !
Sadly for me this can only be a vision. For I am not the warrior type. I am just an old man who has been asked to show others "The Way". Valhalla does exist, however, for those brave individuals who choose the warrior's lifestyle. For them a seat is waiting in the Great Shining Hall Of The Warriors !
Go with Odin's Wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !