Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Indo-European and Possibly Germanic Origins of the Picts

Over the last 100 years or so there has been much speculation over the nature of the language spoken by the ancient Picts. Some scholars see them as non Indo-Europeans, whilst others view them as being Indo-European. Of those that allign to the second view point they are generally divided into two camps: those that believe they were a Celtic people and those a Germanic. The Pictish Chronicle  written in Latin states that the Picts were not aboriginal to Britain as many claim but came from "much further afield" (The Last of the Druids, Iain Forbes ) Candidates for this Urheimat include Thrace and Scythia, suggestive in itself of an Indo-European origin. The Picts apparently originally intended to settle in Ireland but were subsequently persuaded by the Irish king to settle in Scotland and were given Irish wives. Significantly the Scottish kings of the kingdom of Dalriada laid claim to the throne of the Picts via this matrilineal succession. It should be noted that the Scots themselves were not native to Scotland but were colonists from Ireland!

The issue of matrilineal succession was also referred to by the Venerable Bede in his A History of the English Church and People. It is often argued by scholars that because of the matrilinear succession of Pictish kings that this marked them out as a distinctly non Indo-European people but by making this argument they ignore the statement made by Bede that this condition was forced upon the Picts by the Irish king as stated:

"So the Picts crossed into Britain, (WOTANS KRIEGERS NOTE: they crossed from Ireland) and began to settle in the north of the island, since the Britons were in possession of the south. Having no women with them, these Picts asked wives of the Scots, (WOTANS KRIEGER'S NOTE: the 'Scots' here referred to were the Scots from Ireland) who consented on condition that, when any dispute arose, they should choose a king from the female royal line rather than the male. This custom continues among the Picts to this day." 

By inisting that the Picts choose their kings from the female line the Irish Scots ensured that they always had a controlling interest in the Picts. There is no evidence that this custom originated with the Picts and thus can not be put forward as an argument to deny that they were Indo-Europeans.

The reference to the Picts having originated in 'Scythia' is a common perception that reaches back to the days of the Roman Empire when it was considered that all barbarians came from Scythia, which was the great land mass to the east of the empire stretching in their eyes from eastern Germania to the Slavic lands and beyond. 'Scythia' in the context of Bede's work may be interpreted as being Scandinavia. It is likely that the colonising Picts were in fact a war band, hence the lack of women aboard their ships. Scandinavia would certainly be a good candidate and this would in all probabilty indicate that not only were the Picts Indo-European but Germanic. Indeed in the late 19th century the Earl of Southesk on studying both Pictish and Scandinavian carvings put forward the theory that they shared a common Germanic origin. (The Origins of Pictish Symbolism). Stephen Oppenheimer seems to also support a Scandinavian identity for Bede's 'Scythia' in his The Origins of the British:

"How they reached the British Isles from Scythia, east of the Mediterranean, Bede does not make clear, but elsewhere in Medieval literature the region of Scythia is sometimes alluded to as the ultimate Norse homeland in the Danish and Icelandic sagas. The longboats might imply the Picts were from Scandinavia, but in any case this story from Bede makes it clear that he did not think that they were British or Irish. His linguistic skill should have been enough to work this one out for himself."

Tony Steele in his The Rites and Rituals of Traditional Witchcraft makes the point that at one time it was considered by scholars that the megalith builders were non Indo-European, a notion that is no longer tenable.

"The archaeologist Colin Renfrew has shown that it is far more likely that Indo-European was introduced to Europe by the original Neolithic settlers, and so the megalithic builders were, in fact, Indo-European. In this connection it is worth pointing out that the territories of the Etruscans and Basques are notable for being devoid of megalithic remains-which is hardly true of the Picts."

Mr Steele makes this point as the Etruscans and Basques were among the minority of peoples in Europe who did not speak an Indo-European language and this helps to further discredit the theory that the megaliths were the product of a non Indo-European culture. Mr Steele also argues the case for Pictish being a Germanic language, partly based on the close proximity of northern Scotland with Scandinavia but concedes that it is "a very archaic and somewhat degenerate form of Germanic." Interestingly as an aside I would like to remind my readers at this point that Old English is now increasingly being considered as a more archaic language than hitherto thought and could be regarded as a separate subset of the Germanic language group. (Oppenheimer)

Professor Renfrew does not argue for a Germanic origin for the Pictish language but he does concede an Indo-European one for it:

"What language was spoken in Scotland, or what languages, is far from clear. We have evidence of personal names, and of place names, as preserved by classical writers and in early medieval sources (including the Pictish Chronicle, a list of kings in a Latin text put together in the middle of the ninth century), and in the place names of more recent times. There is some evidence to be derived from these sources which would not contradict the view that they represent a northern dialect of Brithonic, perhaps not unlike that spoken further south before the dominance of the Romans." (Archaeology & Language. The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins.)  
This theory is also referred to by Stephen Oppenheimer:

"Pictish, formerly spoken in northern Scotland, is claimed to have been Brythonic, but whether this claim covers all languages present there in the first millenium AD, apart from Scottish Gaelic, is still disputed by a few." (The Origins of the British)

It is becoming increasingly clear that with the acceptance now that the megalithic builders were Indo-European (including those of Stonehenge), that the Belgic peoples who were present in southern Britain prior to the Roman conquest were Germanic and now the increasing possibility of not only the Indo-European but possibly the Germanic origins of the Picts it is time that the early history of Britain be re-examined in the light of these findings.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Survival of the Irminsul and its Connection to Ziu

There has been much speculation over the years about the location of the historic Irminsul with the most popular choices being Eresburg and the Externsteine but I believe that it is a error to assume that there was only one Irminsul. I have now come to the conclusion that Irminsul columns are to be found all over continental Germania and England and indeed many of these pillars have survived down to the present day in the form of Jupiter Columns in Roman occupied Europe and indeed even in the humble marker crosses which are to be found all over rural England.

Eugene Goblet d'Alviella in his most interesting The Migration of Symbols (1894)mmakes reference to the perrons/perons (French) or perroen (Dutch) of eastern Belgium which are stone columns usually surmounted by a cross. In particular he discusses the Perron of Liege:

"The most celebrated of those perrons is still standing, above a fountain, on the market-place at Liege; it consists of a white marble column placed on a square base with five steps, guarded by four lions. The capital is surmounted by the three Graces, who support a Crown encircling a Fir-cone with a small Cross on its point."

Some of my readers may already be aware that the Fir cone or Pine cone is a symbol of the Goddess Zisa, the consort of the ancient Germanic sky God Ziu.  According to Nigel Pennick Cisa/Zisa had a shrine at Augsburg in Germany and her annual festival took place on the 28th of September. (The Complete Illustrated Guide to the Runes), the original name of this city being Zisenburg (A History of Pagan Europe, Pennick/Jones) or Zizarim (The Book of Primal Signs, Pennick). The Roman name of the city was Augusta Vindelicorum. The symbol of Zisa is the pine cone and many large stone pine cones survive from Roman times. Mr Pennick states that the Stadtpyr is the emblem of Augsburg and Her cone appears as a weather vane on the church of St. Peter-am-Perlach, which was built on the site of a holy hill dedicated to the Goddess.

This Goddess is referred to extensively in Jacob Grimm's Teutonic Mythology Volume 1:

"Sie bawten einen tempel gross darein zu eren[in honour of] Zise der abgoettin, die sie nach heidnischen sitten[after heathen ways] anbetten zu denselben zeiten[adored in those days]. Die stat ward genennt[city got named] auch Zisaris nach der abgoettin[after the goddess], das was der pris. Der tempel als lang stund unversert[stood uninjured], bis im von alter abgieng[as from age it passed away], der berg namen von im empfieng[the hill took name], daruf gestanden was[whereon had stood] das werck, und haist noch huet[hight still to-day] der Zisenberck."

So the combination of a pillar surmounted by a cone reinforces the identification of the column with Ziu and His consort Zisa. There is a strong argument for assuming that Irmin, Saxnot and Ziu are in fact different names for the same deity. All three are both highly important and ancient sky deities who reach far back into the Germanic past. If this theory is correct then I would suggest that it is Ziu who is the oldest form of this deity; Irmin and Saxnot being later developments.

Indeed as a deity Ziu is so ancient that His existence can be traced right back to Proto-Indo-European times and He was clearly The God worshipped by the still undivided Aryans. He is the Welsh duw, the Latin deus, the Lithuanian dievas, the Sanskrit deva, the Avestan daevo (demonised as a 'false God' by the Zoroastrians), the Jupiter of the Romans and the Zeus of the Greeks. Our ancient Aryan ancestors would have called Him Dyeus, 'celestial being'. He was literally the Sky Father and this is particularly reflected in the Latin Iupiter (pronounced Jupiter), Dis-Pater, Deus Pater and the Greek Zeu Pater which is remarkably similar to the Sanskrit Dyauspitah. This deity's dominance as the primary God of the undivided Aryans diminished as the various Aryan tribes went their separate ways and evolved their own pantheons of Gods. The main area of operations of this God was in the daylight sky.

As Jupiter is the Roman version of Ziu we have here a further connection between Ziu and Irmin as the Jupiter columns which are to be found in the Romanised parts of Germania are clearly a form of the Irminsul.

Returning to The Migration of Symbols the author states:

"Lastly, old chroniclers relate that in the thirteenth century the destruction of the Irminsul by Charlemagne was still commemorated at Hildesheim on the Saturday following the Sunday of the Laetare, by planting in the ground, on the cathedral square, two poles six feet high, each surmounted by a wooden object one foot in height, and shaped like a pyramid or cone. The young people then endeavoured with sticks and stones to overthrow this object. Does not this tradition directly connect the Irminsul, or rather the Irminsuls, with the stake which, surmounted by a Cone, is presented to our view in the Frankish buckle, just as the stone column of the Hildesheim cathedral links them with the perrons of Belgium?"

Here the author is referring to Fir cones placed at the end of pillars and venerated by the Franks in eastern Belgium and north east France.

Ziu was the God who presided over the ancient Thing so it is not surprising that we find miniature Irminsuls in the form of market crosses in the market squares of England and other Germanic countries where it was the tradition for public assemblies to be held. As Christopher Fee points out in his interesting book Gods, Heroes, & Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain (2004):

"Tiw was the protector of judicial assemblies; this fact is attested by a Roman inscription in Britain to 'Mas Thingus', who watched over legal proceedings, which were held on his day (Tuesday) of each week."

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Wodan and the Brocken

As I have mentioned several times before on this blog the Harz mountains in northern Germany which is situated in the German states of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) and Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt) was a centre of Germanic heathenism for a very long time and in the later Middle Ages it became associated with 'witchcraft' which was simply a demonised and debased form of the ancient Germanic religion.

In particular the Brocken or Brokenberg which is situated just inside the territory of Saxony-Anhalt stands at over 3,743 feet and is the highest point of the Harz. I have never climbed the Brocken as whenever I was in Germany the weather conditions were never appropriate but it can be seen for miles around. It is not surprising that this was the centre of the Cult of Wodan in ancient times as Wodan/Woden is more associated with mountains and forests than His Scandinavian counterpart, Odin. He is of course the Wild Hunter who haunts the German forests and mountains:

"In Lower Saxony and Westphalia this Wild Hunter is identified with a particular person, a certain semi-historic master of a hunt. The accounts of him vary. Westphalian traditions call him Hackelbarend, Hackelbernd, Hackelberg, Hackelblock. This Hackelbarend was a huntsman who went a hunting even on Sundays, for which desecration he was after death (like the man in the moon) banished into the air, and there with his hound he must hunt night and day, and never rest. Some say, he only hunts in the twelve nights from Christmas to Twelth-day; others, whenever the storm-wind howls, and therefore he is called by some the jol-jaeger (from yawling, or Yule?) (page 921, Teutonic Mythology Volume 3, Jacob Grimm)

Of course after the forced conversion of the Germanic peoples the Wild Hunter became associated with various historical or legendary personalities for this ancient Germanic archetype could not be eradicated from the German folk-soul.  Interestingly in some Scandinavia folktales we also get a glimpse of this older and more terrifying Wuotan:

"Wuotan appears riding, driving, hunting, as in Norse sagas, with valkyrs and einheriar in his train; the procession resembles an army. Full assurance of this hunting Wode's identity with the heathen god is obtained from parallel phrases and folktales in Scandinavia. The phenomenon of howling wind is referred to Odin's waggon, as that ofthunder is to Thor's. On hearing a noise at night, as of horses and carts, they say in Sweden 'Oden far forbi.' "(page 919, Grimm)

However it is true to say that this ancient archetype has survived longer in the German speaking lands and it is only in folktales that we see this more ancient God, whose original name was Wode:

 "The name of Woden or Wuotan denotes the stormy or furious goer, being derived from a verb which is closely related to the Lowland Scotch word Wud, mad or furious. The verb itself survives in English, but greatly tamed down and restricted in meaning, for it now signifies nothing more violent than to walk through shallow water, to wade. Originally it meant to go like one that is 'wud', to go as the winds go when they rend the forests in their furious course. So went Woden or Odin, whose original nature was that of the storm-god; and it is that character he sustains at this day in the popular legends of Germany. They picture him as sweeping through the air in the roaring winds, either alone or with a great retinue consisting of the souls of the dead, which have become winds, and have, like the Maruts, taken the shape of men, dogs, boars &c." (Curiosities of Indo-European Folklore, Walter Keating-Kelly)

Although primarily a Germanic deity we found a parallel deity in Indo-Aryan religion:

  "O The Wind`s chariot, O its power and glory! Crashing it goes and hath a voice of thunder. It makes the regions red and touches heaven, and as it moves the dust of earth is scattered. Along the traces of the wind they hurry, they come to him as dames to an assembly. Borne on his car with these for his attendants, the God speeds forth, the universe`s Monarch. Travelling on the paths of air`s mid-region, no single day doth he take rest or slumber. Holy and earliest-born, Friend of the waters, where did he spring and from what region came he? Germ of the world, the Deities` vital spirit, this God moves ever as his will inclines him. His voice is heard, his shape is ever viewless. Let us adore this Wind with our oblation."(Rig Veda Hymn 168)

The primary deity of the Germanic peoples has His origins in an ancient storm giant who our ancestors worshipped for thousands of years:

"The primitive conception of Odin is the German storm giant Wode, leader of the 'wild army', O.H.G. Wuotis-her, i.e. the procession of the homeless dead through the air. The development Woden raises the name on to the same level as royal titles like Gothic thiudans and Scandinavia drottinn. (page 227, Our Forefathers the Gothonic Nations Volume 1, Gudmund Schuette)

 "The German Wode=O.N. Odr is a storm giant, the Wild Huntsman and Leader of the Host of the Dead who is finally exalted to the chief god under the name of Woden, Odin." (Page 216)

It should be remembered that where our mythology refers to 'giants' this is in essence a reference to an earlier race of divinities. This is equally true of other Indo-European mythologies such as the Greek mythology and its 'Titans'. It is said that in ancient times a giant 'portrait' of Wodan was situated on the Brocken. It may be that this image was a rock craving of the God. It is on this mountain that the sacred marriage between Wodan and Freya was celebrated. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Germanic Physical Characteristics of the Caledonians and the Diamond Shape of Albion

I have already dicussed the probability that the Germanic peoples had a presence in England thousands of years before the accepted date of around 449 CE. The Ancient Presence of the Germanic Peoples in Britain

In addition to the presence of the Germanic peoples in England their presence is also to be found in other parts of the British Isles. http://celto-germanic.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/ancient-presence-of-germanic-peoples-in.html.

The Germanic peoples brought their Cult of Woden with them and Woden appears to be the same daity associated with Gwydion. http://celto-germanic.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/woden-as-gwydion-belgic-god-of-ash.html

There is potentially further evidence for the presence of the Germanic peoples in Scotland. Certain interesting passages from Tacitus' Agricola seem to indicate this:

"Who the first inhabitants of Britain were, whether natives or immigrants, is open to question: one must remember we are dealing with barbarians. But their physical characteristics vary, and the variation is suggestive. The reddish hair and large limbs of the Caledonians proclaim a German origin; the swarthy faces of the Silures, the tendency of their hair to curl, and the fact that Spain lies opposite, all lead one to believe that Spaniards crossed in ancient times and occupied that part of the country. The peoples nearest to the Gauls likewise resemble them." (Agricola 11, translated by H. Mattingley, revised by S.A. Handford, my emphasis)

This physical description of the Caledonians is matched by an obervation by Eumenius who wrote that both the Picts and the Caledonians had red hair. However we must be cautious and bear in mind that Tacitus does not reveal the identity of the language spoken by the Caledonians

Another interesting  passage from Agricola concerns the perceived shape of England and the island of Britain:

"The general shape of Britain has been compared by Livy and by Fabius Rusticus-the finest of ancient and modern writers respectively-to an elongated diamond or a double-headed axe. Such indeed is its shape south of Caledonia, and so the same shape has been attributed to the whole." (Agricola 10)

This perception by the ancients of England or Britain as being diamond shaped is significant for the diamond is the shape of the Anglo-Saxon Ing rune and the Common Germanic Ingwaz rune. This rune is the rune of the God of the English, Ing. Indeed we have a mystery here for the association between the God of the English and the perceived shape of the homeland of the English are both encapsulated in this rune's shape. This is a powerful argument for the case that the English have always resided in Albion and that their supposed arrival in 449 CE was nothing other than a RETURN. One could thus argue that England or Britain is their Urheimat and not simply a territory colonised by Germanic tribes in the mid 5th century CE. To find therefore a people such as the Caledonians residing in the north of the island and being likened by Tacitus as Germans further strengthens the argument that these islands have always been in the possession of the Germanic peoples.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Armenon-a Divine Ancestor of the Germanic Peoples

There is a great deal of fascinating information about the ancient Indo-European and Germanic peoples contained in what Professor L.A. Waddell termed the British Chronicles. Examples of the writers who would fall under this catergory are Bede, Gildas, Nennius, William of Malmesbury, Gerald of Wales, Geoffrey of Monmouth etc. It is my intention to make a thorough study of these writings when I retire in 3 months time.

The following is an extract from Nennius' Historia Brittonum (Giles translation):

"17.  I have learned another account of this Brutus from the ancient books of our ancestors.  After the deluge, the three sons of Noah severally occupied three different part of the earth: Shem extended his borders into Asia, Ham into Africa, and Japheth into Europe.
The first man that dwelt in Europe was Alanus, with his three sons, Hisicion, Armenon, and Neugio.  Hisicion had four sons, Froncus, Romanus, Alamanus, and Brutus.  Armenon had five sons, Gothus, Valaothus, Cibidus, Burgundus, and Longobardus.  Neugio had three sons, Valdalus, Saxo, and Boganus.  From Hisicion arose four nations--the Franks, the Latins, the Germans, and Britons: from Armenon, the Gothi, Valagothi, Cibidi, Burgundi, and Longobardi: from Neugio, the Bagari, Vandali, Saxones, and Tarinegi.  The whole of Europe was subdivided into these tribes.

Alanus is said to have been the son of Fethuir; Fethuir the son of Ogomuin, who was the son of Thoi; Thoi was the son of Boibus, Boibus of Semion, Semion of Mair, Mair of Ecthactur, Ecthactur of Aurthack, Aurthack of Ethec, Ethec of Ooth, Ooth of Aber, Aber of Ra, Ra of Esraa, Esraa of Hisrau, Hisrau of Bath, Bath of Jobath, Jobath of Joham, Joham of Japheth, Japheth of Noah, Noah of Lamech, Lamech of Mathusalem, Mathusalem of Enoch, Enoch of Jared, Jared of Malalehel, Malalehel of Cainan, Cainan o Enos, Enos of Seth, Seth of Adam, and Adam was formed by the living God.  We have obtained this information respecting the original inhabitants of Britain from ancient tradition.

18.  The Britons were thus called from Brutus: Brutus was the son of Hisicion, Hisicion was the son of Alanus, Alanus was the son of Rhea Silvia, Rhea Silvia was the daughter of Numa Pompilius, Numa was the son of Ascanius, Ascanius of Eneas, Eneas of Anchises, Anchises of Troius, Troius of Dardanus, Dardanus of Flisa, Flisa of Juuin, Juuin of Japheth; but Japheth had seven sons; from the first, named Gomer, descended the Galli; from the second, Magog, the Scythi and Gothi; from the third, Madian, the Medi; from the fourth, Juuan, the Greeks; from the fifth, Tubal, arose the Hebrei, Hispani, and Itali; from the sixth, Mosoch, sprung the Cappadoces; and from the seventh, named Tiras, descended the Thraces: these are the sons of Japheth, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech."

As was typical of the era in which Nennius wrote biblical personages were mixed in with historical and mythological characters, not only in the ancestry of kings but in the origins of entire peoples. If one disregards the biblical corruption evident in these chronicles then there is a great deal of information which is of both interest and of use to us. In this article I wish to focus specifically on the  paragraph which I have underlined. My readers will note the reference to a person called  Armenon who is credited with being the father of the Goths, the Burgundians and Langobards. I am unsure as to the identity of the tribe known as the Cibidi. As with Tacitus' Germania we have a founding father of the Germanic peoples Alanus who equates to Mannus, the son of the earthborn God Tuisto. Let us read again the relevant passage from Tacitus:

 "In ancient lays, their only type of historical tradition, they celebrate Tuisto, a god brought forth from the earth. They attribute to him a son, Mannus, the source and founder of their people, and to Mannus three sons, from whose names those nearest the Ocean are called Ingvaeones, those in the middle Herminones, and the rest Istvaeones. Some people, inasmuch as antiquity gives free reign to speculation, maintain that there were more sons born from the god and hence more tribal designations- Marsi, Gambrivii, Suebi, and Vandilii- and that those names are genuine and ancient."(Germania 2.2, Tacitus, J.B. Rives translation)

"In the traditional songs which form their only record of the past the Germans celebrate an earth-born god called Tuisto. His son Mannus is supposed to be the fountain-head of their race and himself to have begotten three sons who gave their names to three groups of tribes- the Ingaevones, nearest the sea; the Herminones, in the interior; and the Istaevones, who comprise all the rest. Some authorities, with the freedom of conjecture permitted by remote antiquity, assert that Tuisto had numerous descendants and mention more tribal groups such as Marsi, Gambrivii, Suebi, and Vandilii-names which affirm to be both genuine and ancient." (H. Mattingley translation, revised by S.A. Handford.)

I suggest that the formula that we have in Nennius: Alanus > Hiscion + Armenon + Negio = Mannus > Istio + Irmin + Ing. Armenon and Hiscio very clearly are derived from Irmin and Istio respectively. Negio contains within it the name Ing. Clearly Armenon is not just an earthly ancestor but the divine ancestor of the Germanic and other Aryan peoples. Thus Armenon = Irmin = Aryaman = Airyaman = Eremon = Ariomanus.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

A Connection Between Cuthman, Cuthbert and Fro-Ing

In the writings of our Folk Warder Wulf Ingesunnu there are occasional references to the mysterious figure of Cuthman http://inglinga.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/the-white-stone-of-ing.html
It would be helpful to look at the etymology of this character's name. Cuð is Old English for 'known'; some define this as 'famous' which in my mind is not exactly the same thing. It is the past participle of  cunnan, to 'be or become acquainted with' or more interestingly 'be thoroughly conversant with, know, know how to, have power to, be able to, can.' (See A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by J.R. Clark Hall). This word in turn is derived from Proto-Germanic *kunthaz.

I believe that there may be a connection between the Cuthman discussed by Wulf and the Cuthbert of Northumbria. Now I am not saying that this is the same person but it is indicative of a certain archetype, possibly a divine archetype or maybe a name or badge of office. Certainly both Cuthman and Cuthbert have miraculous powers in the surviving Old English and Norman texts.

Wulf draws a comparison between Cuthman and the ancient God of the English, Ing, Ingwe, Fro-Ing. Indeed he may be a heavily xtianised version of this God. Let us not forget that the church did not just seek to destroy or eradicate our ancient Gods but they incorporated them into their own mythology as saints-or demi-gods if you will!  One of the reasons for this is because these divine archetypes were too ingrained in the Collective Unconscious or Blood Memory of our folk to be completely eradicated so instead they outwardly changed them but the inner essence remains the same.  

Cuthbert has an additional element which I believe to be of significance. The suffix to the name, bert is derived from Old English beorht, meaning 'bright, shining, brilliant, light, clear, loud: excellent, distinguished, remarkable, beautiful, magnificent, noble, glorious: pure, sublime, holy, divine.' (J.R. Clark Hall). We get here the feeling that this is not meant to be brightness in the ordinary mundane sense of the word but a divine brightness, a sacred shining light that was an attribute of Fro-Ing. Cuthbert is said to have power over animals, the elements, had the ability to prophesy, he could detect the presence of hidden water, turn water into wine, able to supernaturally extinguish fires, cure the sick and after his death not only did his supposed dead body perform acts of healing but it lay uncorrupted (see Bede's Life of Cuthbert and Ecclesiastical History of the English People). I am reminded here of the account of Fro-Ing's 'death' in the Ynglinga Saga:

" When it became known to the Swedes that Frey was dead, and yet peace and good seasons continued, they believed that it must be so as long as Frey remained in Sweden; and therefore they would not burn his remains, but called him the god of this world, and afterwards offered continually blood sacrifices to him, principally for peace and good seasons." (Ynglinga saga 13)

According to  Snorri Sturluson therefore the body of this 'dead' God still had the capability of producing good seasons for His believers. There is an indirect link between this myth and the legend of the continuing powers of the dead body of Cuthbert, the 'powerful shining one'. I believe that this connection between Cuthman, Cuthbert and Fro-Ing merits further research and I am sure that further revelations will be brought to light.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Association of Copper with Thor

Now we all recognise that our High Lord Woden is the primary deity associated with magic. However there is evidence here and there to support the idea that some Germanic magicians also incorporated elements of the worship of Thor in their magical practices. There is an account related in Icelandic Folk Tales and Legends (Jacqueline Simpson, 1972) that supports this association:

"If a man own a 'Thor's Hammer', he will know who it is who has robbed him if he loses anything. To make this hammer, one must have copper from a church bell, three times stolen. The hammer must be hardened  in human blood on a Whitsunday, between the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel. A spike must also be forged out of the same material as the hammer, and this spike one must jab against the head of the hammer, saying: 'I drive this in the eye of the Father of War, I drive this in the eye of theFather of the Slain, I drivethis in the eye of Thor of the Aesir'. The thief will then feel pain in his eyes; if he does not return the stolen goods, the procedure is repeated and then the thief will lose one eye; but should it prove necessary to repeat it a third time, he will lose the other eye too.
"Another method is for a man to steal a copper bell from a church between the Epistle and the Gospel, and make a hammer from it. When he wants to know who the thief is, he must take a sheet of paper and draw a man's eyes on it, or, better still, a whole face with two eyes, using his own blood, and on the reverse of the sheet draw a suitable magic sign. Next, he must take a steel spike and set one end of it on the eye and strike the other end with the Thor's Hammer, saying 'I am giving eye-ache to the man who robbed me me', or, 'I am knocking out the eye of the man who robbed me'. Then the thief will lose one eye, or both, if he does not give himself up first."

As Christopher Alan Smith remarks in his excellent Icelandic Magic. Aims, Tools and Techniques of the Icelandic Sorcerers (2015)  this motif of eye-piercing is evident in the Huld manuscript, the image of which features at the head of this article.

One recurring theme in some of the Icelandic spells is the use of a copper hammer. In the Isländska Svartkonstboken there is the following thief finding spell:

"To find out a thief. If, with magical knowledge, you want to find out who is stealing from you, then take a little thorn bush and carry it on your person so that it may not be separated from you. Then take a little copper pin with a copper hammer. Make the following stave on the crossbeam of the house from which it was stolen, then stick the pin into the right eye [of the figure], and while doing this say: 'In Buskan Lucanus'.

Clearly copper was regarded as a sacred metal by the Germanic peoples and before the invention of bronze which is an alloy of copper and tin this metal in its pure state was prevalent in a period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Ages and the term for this intermediate age was the Chalcolithic, meaning Copper Stone Age. Although associated with the Neolithic it is generally regarded as part of the Bronze Age. Copper is a pure metal and has the lustre of gold. It is also known to have healing qualities. It is resistant to bacteria and is non-corrosive. Furthermore it is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. In addition to it being a primary metal in the alloy bronze it can also be alloyed with zinc to form brass and in a lesser ratio of copper to tin it forms pewter. Along with gold, silver, mercury, tin, lead and iron copper is one of the seven metals of the ancients. These metals are also referred to as the seven planetary metals and relate to seven day week. Copper is particularly sacred to the Goddesses Venus and Freyja. H.A. Guerber writing in Myths of the Norsemen stated:

"When the god thus drove from place to place, he was called Aku-thor, or Thor the charioteer, and in Southern Germany the people, fancying a brazen chariot alone inadequate to furnish all the noise they heard, declared it was loaded with copper kettles, which rattled and clashed, and therefore often called him, with disrespectful familiarity, the kettle-vendor."   
J.T. Sibley in her remarkable The Divine Thunderbolt. Missile of the Gods (2009) explains this myth as having a Greek source. The legendary King Salmoneus of Elis apparently dragged brass kettles behind his chariot in order to bring on thunderstorms in order to bring rain to his parched lands. The sound of the kettles clashing imitated the sound of thunder. (see page 227) This reminds me of the fact that in Swedish heathen temples large bronze hammers were used to imitate the sound of thunder, a practise also of the heathen Slavs and Balts.

In all three of the above spells it is noted that the hammer of Thor is made of copper but also in the first two spells it was made from copper which had to be stolen from a church bell. This in the eyes of the post conversion Icelandic magician gave the hammer a magical potency. In a remarkable tale by the Danish folklorist Hans Christian Anderson there is a further association between Thor and the metal copper:

Thursday came dressed as a coppersmith with a hammer and a copper kettle ; these were the marks of his nobility. ' I am of the highest birth,' he said, ' heathen and divine. In the northern lands I am named after Thor, and in the southern after Jupiter, who both knew how to thunder and lighten. That has remained in the family.' And then he beat on the copper kettle and demonstrated his high birth.

As I have commented before it is remarkable how much of our ancient pre-xtian Germanic lore survives in folktales. It is imperative that we continue to mine these for further examples of ancient spiritual heathen heritage.