Sunday, 21 December 2008

Modraniht [Night of the Mothers]

Modraniht is Old English for `Mothers-night`, an ancient Anglo-Saxon feast referred to by the Venerable Bede in De temporum ratione 13. He wrote that the still heathen Anglo-Saxons hold a sacrifice in the New Year in the modraniht id est matrum nocturum["the Modraniht, that is, in the night of the mothers[=matrons?]"]

This feast corresponds to other Germanic Yule-tide festivals. It was once speculated that this may have been a Celtic festival but this is largely refuted these days. Modraniht may be associated with the cult of the mothers or the matrons largely found amongst the West Germanic tribes and the disablot celebrated by the North Germanic tribes in Scandinavia.

The Matrons or matronae are Mother-goddesses to whom votive stones and altars were set up between the 1st and 5th centuries CE. There are approximately 1100 inscriptions and half give Germanic matron names. The matron cult was also to found amongst the Celtic tribes.

Almost exclusively these matrons were presented in groups of three. These females were worshipped as matrons or Mother-goddesses. Their functions involved fertility, childbirth, the protection of the family and occasionally to act as war-goddesses. These correspond to the disir in the North Germanic areas.

The disir were female fertility deities. The word stems from the Old Swedish dis.
This is possibly related to the Old Saxon Idisi mentioned in the First Merseburg Charm.
The disablot is recorded twice in two Icelandic sagas from the middle of the 13th century CE.
In Viga-Glums saga 6 the disablot is celebrated at a Norwegian farm at the beginning of winter in mid-October. Egilssaga 44 also mentions a disablot at an autumnal festival in Norway.
Snorri Sturluson writing in the Ynglinga saga 33 identifies a similar feast at Uppsala in Sweden.
Literary sources indicate that the cult of the disir was more common in Sweden than in West Nordic regions.

First Merseburg Charm

Once the Idisi set forth, to this place and that;
Some fastened fetters; some hindered the horde,
Some loosed the bonds from the brave
Leap forth from the fetters! Escape from the foes!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Reincarnation-a Celto-Germanic Perspective

How did our Germanic and Celtic ancestors view reincarnation? Is this simply a view confined to the Aryan Hindus or can we find traces of such a concept nearer to home?
I believe we can.
Edred Thorsson[Dr Stephen Flowers] writing in his The Book of Ogham makes the observation;
`It is often said that the ancient Celts believed in "reincarnation". This is not true if by "reincarnation" it is meant that the psyche-including personal memories-was thought to be transferred from a dead person to the unborn in an arbitrary fashion. The idea that a Celtic chieftain could be `reborn` as a Roman soldier or an Indian potter would have been unthinkable. But they-along with all their fellow Indo-Europeans-did hold that the essential powers and abilities of the dead were almost genetically passed on to their descendants and relatives within the tribe or clan. This genetic chain reaches all the way back to the Gods and Goddesses themselves. The descendants are the ancestors reborn. As the ancient Celts were not as alienated from the reality of their bodies as modern people often are, the idea that the descent of the body from one form to another was paralleled by a spiritual descent was only natural-and so it will be again.
Classical authors mentioned a belief in immortality held by the Celts. The Greek ethnographer Poseidonus was probably the original source for most of these early references. He equated the Celtic doctrine with that of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. Julius Caesar probably used Poseidonios as his source when he wrote:

A lesson which they[the druids] take particular pains to inculcate is that the soul does not perish, but after death passes from one body to another; they think this is the best incentive to bravery, because it teaches men to disregard the terrors of death.
[De bellico Gallico VI, 14]`

In Listian teaching Germanic time was not a simple matter of past, present and future. Our ancestors did not think in such simplistic terms and linear time was not an Aryo-Germanic concept. Today many of us are used to thinking in linear time but this is no doubt a left-over from our unfortunate enforced xtianisation. As anyone who has studied the bible will be aware the semites in general and the jews in particular do think in linear time and frame their prophecies in this way.In contrast according to the most ancient sacred texts of the Aryan peoples Aryan man conceived of time as being a progression of cycles, not in the sense of going round in a circle for things and events to repeat themselves incessantly but as a series of cycles moving forward like the waves on the ocean, moving forward rather than round and round. According to the works and teaching of Guido von List man repeatedly incarnates. There is nothing new in this doctrine for this was a well known teaching in the ancient Aryan world both in the East and the West but what makes his teaching slightly different is his use of cyclical time within this concept, ie Entstehen>Werden/Wandelns>Vergehehen zum NeuerstehenArising>Becoming/Change> Passing Away to New Arising.

This formula can be applied to not only humanity but the entire organic world. All creatures, all things animate and inanimate go through this tripartite process. One can see this reflected in the three Norns: Urd Verdandi SkuldUrd=Became, Verdandi=Becoming, Skuld=Blame[result of Karma or to use the Listian term, Garma]. Germanic time is not to be viewed as static but a process of becoming. Significantly the German verb werden is used-to become rather than sein-to be. Life is dynamic and the only constant is change. The whole process of Entstehen>Werden/Wandeln>Vergehen zum Neuerstehen through countless incarnations represents a single day of Brahma.The German verb werden[to become] is used rathen than sein[to be] because it conveys the feeling of continuing change and evolution. This continuing change, development and evolution is to be strived for in a progressive sense. Our aim in essence is to rediscover the" lost master word": "Dieser Name wird als das `verlorene Meisterwort`, der `verlorene Name` in den Mysterien bezeichnet, das der Meister suchen soll, denn dieser Name gaebe ihm alle Macht und Kraft der Gottheit selbst." "This name is described as the `lost masterword`, the `lost name` in the mysteries, that the master should seek, because this name would give him all power and strength of godhood itself."In other words we are to rediscover the key to our own divinity, to realise the god within, that we are god-in the making or becoming.The tripartite formula generally is to be discovered in many aspects of the pre-xtian Indo-European world, in the caste systems of the Indo-Europeans and even in the ancient triune respresentation of deity which undoubtedly was plagiarised by the xtian church.This tripartition is expressed by von List as dreieinig-dreispaeltige Dreiheit or the trifidic-triune triad as translated by Dr Stephen Flowers[Edred Thorsson] in The Secret of the Runes[Das Geheimnis der Runen].In Die Religion der Ario-Germanen in Ihrer Esoterik und Exoterik Guido von List explains that we are in effect our own ancestors and our own descendants being reincarnated continually within the same race, nation, tribe and clan."Darum errichteten sie Familien und Familiengueter, da sie wussten, dass sie ihre eigenen Nachkommen sein werden......""That`s why they established families and family goods, because they knew, that they will become their own descendants........"

So we are in fact our own ancestors[direct and indirect] and descendants[direct and indirect] so we must consider ourselves to be merely the bodily carriers of our genetic inheritance and guard our genes well.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Runes and Ogham

Edred Thorsson[Dr Stephen Flowers] in his The Book of Ogham speculates on the relationship between Germanic runes and Celtic ogham.
The Germanic and Celtic peoples have interacted closely for thousands of years, sharing the same living space or borders in both the British Isles and continental Europe. Even in far flung Iceland genetic testing has revealed that modern day Icelanders are a Celto-Germanic mix with a significant amount of Celtic DNA[estimated at about 20%] in their gene pool.
One sees a similar fusion in parts of the British Isles and southern Germany where majority Germanic populations have pockets of admixture in their border lands.
In the case of Iceland which was populated by Norwegians fleeing religious persecutions by christians, and Viking settlers from Ireland with Irish wives much of this Celtic ancestry is demonstrated in MtDNA which is transmitted only by females but both males and females possess it.
If there was such ethnic interaction then we should assume that cultural and religious interaction also occurred. However it is difficult to determine how much of the shared cultural and religious heritage is due to interaction or is due to our shared Aryan past.
Both Celtic and Germanic belong to the centum isogloss of Indo-European languages.
Whilst one may speak of a shared Indo-European/Indo-Germanic/Aryan distant past it is in my opinion also legitimimate to assume that after the Celts and Teutons split from their parent Aryan grouping that they shared a common livingspace and culture prior to differentation and seperation into Celtic and Germanic. I refer to this shared past Celto-Germanic.
One aspect is our magical writing systems, the runes and ogham. There is a clear similarity in their use, method, purpose and alleged origins.
The runes were discovered[not invented or created] by the Germanic god Woden/Wotan/Odin who received them at the culmination of a shamanistic experience when he hung upside down for nine days and nine nights on the world tree as an offering to Himself.
By comparison the Celtic warrior god Ogma[Gaulic god Ogmios] is the inventor of ogham according to Celtic lore[Book of Ballymote]. Odin shares this warrior charecteristic but like other gods that are comparable to him from Celtic myth[Lugh/Llew] he is also a god of magic and poetry.
In particular Odin/Wotan/Woden and Lugh/Llew share the following characteristics-
1. They are chief gods.
2. They are war-leaders.
3. Both played leading roles in the ancient battle between different races of gods[Aesir against the Vanir and the battle of Mag Tured].
4. Both gods have spears as their main weapon.
5. Both are practitioners of magic.
6. Both have use of either a single eye[Odin/Wotan/Woden] or a single eye magical technique[Lugh/Llew].
7. Both are masters of poetry.
8. Both have a connection with ravens.
9. Both are the sires of heroes[Sigurd and CuChulainn].

The Druids learned their craft over a period of about twenty years and did not permit their sacred and esoteric learning to be written down. Ancient historians tell us that when they did use letters it was the Greek script that they used for profane writing.
The alphabetical system used for the creation of the ogham system was not Celtic but was adapted for use in writing Celtic as the H and Z characters are never found in ogham inscriptions in Celtic.
Thorsson speculates that the alphabet which underlies the ogham system is Chalcidic Greek which was in use in northern Italy in the last centuries BCE.
As the Druids had to commit their learning to memory they required a memory aid to do this and ogham which is a system of classification could have been used to assist this process.
Both runes and ogham were used for magical and profane purposes and were inscribed on hard surfaces such as stone, wood and bone. Both systems have a very distinct cosmology and represent sounds, names and ideas.
Whilst the Celts never used runes and the Teutons never used ogham there is a striking example of both being inscribed on the same stone cross from Killaloe in County Clare, Ireland. The inscriptions probably date back to the late 12th or early 13th centuries CE.
The runic inscription reads thurgrimsta/krusthina["Thorgrimr carved this cross"]
The ogham inscription reads BENDACHT AR TOROQRIM["a blessing on Thorgrim"]

Another similarity between runes and ogham is the fact that whilst ogham is a system that is based on trees with its individual fews[staves] named after various trees the runes have also correspondences with trees, and runic codes which dates back to the middle ages use a similiar system of encoding. This issue will be explored in more depth later on my Armanen blog along with individual runic and ogham correspondences.

Whilst runic and ogham are to be seen as seperate and distinct sacred and magical writing systems it is quite possible that both derive from a much older system that was common to the Aryan peoples before their seperation and migrations. Again this issue with be explored in more depth on my Aryan Myth and Metahistory blog.

I will leave you with this quote from Thorsson`s book:

"For those who for whatever reason wish to resist the idea that the Celtic mythology and religion[as well as culture] is essentially based on Indo-European roots, it might be noted that the first element in the names Ire-land and Ira-n are the same linguistically, and both are related to the Arya-ns of India."

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Gungnir, the Spear of Odin

"The spear which, in the days of Tacitus, and much later, was the chief weapon both for foot-soldiers and cavalry in the Teutonic armies, is wielded by the Asa-father himself, whose Gungner was forged for him by Ivalde`s sons before the dreadful enmity between the gods and them had begun."
[Viktor Rydberg, Teutonic Mythology]

However Wagner presented a different explanation for the origins of Gungnir:

"A dauntless god
Drew for drink to its gleam,
Where he left in endless
Payment the light of an eye,
From the world ash
Ere Wotan went he broke a bough;
For a spear the staff
He split with strength from the stem."

[Dusk of the Gods, Wagner-Forman`s translation]

The spear of Odin, Gungnir was the sacred weapon on which oaths were sworn and treaties were agreed.
By the use of Gungnir Odin pierced his side when he offered himself to himself on the world tree.
[Ynglinga saga 9]

"In his hand Odin generally carried the infallible spear Gungnir, which was so sacred that an oath sworn upon its point could never be broken....."
[The Norsemen, H.A. Guerber]

According to Sigdrifumal 17 there are runes carved into the point of the spear Gungnir and runic inscriptions have been found on spears excavated during archaeological finds. Bronze Age rock carvings also depict a spear-god which has been identified as Odin by the presence of his eight-legged horse Sleipnir.

"When he had fully mastered this knowledge, Odin cut magic runes upon his spear Gungnir, upon the teeth of his horse Sleipnir.........."
[A.H. Guerber]

The `knowledge` referred to is the knowledge of the runes.

In the Poetic Edda in the Lay of Sigrdrifa[Sigrdrifumal] verse 17 the valkyrie Sigrdrifa on giving advice to Sigurd on the use of the runes says they can be cut "on the point of Gungnir and the breast of Grani, on the nail of the norn, and the beak of the owl."

Rudolf Simek comments in his Dictionary of Northern Mythology "However it is not very likely that the `rise` of the spear god Odin and a `fall` of of the older sword god Tyr reflect an actual change in the form of battle from the sword to the spear[Schwietering]; perhaps the spear is significant as the symbol of lordship which was as relevant for the god of justice Tyr as well as for Odin in his function of lord."

In the beginning when war broke out between the two pantheons of Germanic gods, the Aesir and the Vanir, Odin threw his spear over the heads of the assembled Vanir. It does not specifically state in the Poetic Edda that this was Gungnir but the assumption appears to be there.

At the end at Ragnarok Odin again rides into battle with Gungir at his side.[Gylfaginning]

Wotan[Odin/Woden/Wodan/Wuotan] appears as one of the central characters of his Der Ring des Nibelungen tetralogy.
In Scene Two of Act Three of Siegfried[The third music drama in the Ring tetralogy] there is a confrontation between Wotan and his grandson Siegfried[Sigurd], the semi-divine Germanic hero in which Wotan`s spear Gungnir is shattered by Siegfried`s sword.

Wotan: "If you`re not afraid of the fire,
my spear will bar your way for you!
My hand still holds
the haft of power;
the sword you wield
was shivered ere now by this shaft:
once more let it
splinter upon my eternal spear!"

Siegfried: "My father`s foe!
Do I find you here?
What a glorious chance
for vengeance is this!
Stretch forth your spear:
my sword shall strike it in splinters!"

["With one blow, he strikes the Wanderer`s spear in two: a flash of lightning bursts forth from it towards the summit, where the glow, previously somewhat faint, now begins to blaze with ever-increasing fury. The blow is accompanied by a loud clap of thunder, which quickly dies away. The fragments of the spear fall at the Wanderer`s feet. He calmly gathers them up."]

Attempts have also been made over the years to draw a link between Gungnir and the Spear of Longinus[which pierced the side of Christ] or Parsifal`s spear.
Parsifal was the last of Wagner`s music dramas and follows on directly from Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Both Gungnir and Parsifal`s/Longinus` spear are weapons that bestow rulership of the world upon its owner and a future article will focus more closely on this legend.

There is also an obvious link between Gungnir and the Tir/Tiw/Teiwaz rune in both shape and meaning.
Tir heads the third aett of the Common Germanic Futharc and it has the meaning of war, victory, law and cosmic order and is associated with the ancient Germanic and Aryan sky god Tir. This rune also resembles Irmunsul the world tree.
Odin largely eclipsed and took over many of Tir`s functions and is often viewed as being a more recent deity than Tir.
The British Army along with other government departments inscribe this rune upon government property. This rune is often found upon ancient sword blades and spear points.
In the Anglo-Saxon and Northumbrian Futhorcs the Gar rune which is the 33rd and final rune has the literal meaning of a spear. Interestingly this rune unlike the previous 32 is not assigned to a specific aett in the Northumbrian system. This rune is considered to contain all the others within its form. It represents the beginning of a brand New Order.

Saturday, 6 September 2008


Who was Veleda?
According to the Roman writer Tacitus writing in 98CE she was a Germanic Vala, a wise woman or prophetess from the Bructeri tribe and gained authority during the Batavian revolt due to foretelling success for the Germani and the destruction of the Roman legions.
Allegedly she lived in a tower along the river Lippe.
The Bructeri were a Germanic tribe located in northwestern Germany between the rivers Lippe and Ems south of the Teutoberg forest in present day NordRhein-Westfalen. Reportedly they were allies with the Cherusci, the tribe led by the great Germanic chieftain and hero Arminius[Hermann].
Her kinsmen controlled access to her and would pass questions to her from those who came seeking consultations and then pass the answers back. She was held in high esteem by both the Germanic and Roman peoples. The Romans captured her in 78 CE and she was taken to Rome.
An inscription from the Italian town of Ardea refers to Valeda as "the tall maiden whom the Rhein-drinkers worship". Her fate is unknown.

"Tradition has it that various armies, already wavering and about to give way, have been rallied by women through steadfast entreaty and baring of breasts, revealing captivity close by. This they fear far more keenly for the sake of their women, so much so that to bid a state include well-born maidens among its hostages is to bind its spirit to greater effect.
Not only that, they even think that there is in them some holy and prophetic force, and they neither scorn their advice nor ignore their utterances. In the days of the Divine Vespasian we saw how Veleda was long esteemed by many as a supernatural power, and they have in the past revered Aurinia also, and many others: not like sycophants, though, making them gods."
Tacitus Germania, 8.1, 8.2.]
Other such inspired women include the Alemannic-Frankish woman Thiota, the seeress of the Semnones Ganna of the 1st century CE, Waluburg and the Gothic Haliarunnos.
This tradition continued well into the Viking age as testified in the Icelandic sagas, the most famous Icelandic sybil being Thordis Spakona.
Indeed the sagas reveal that even ordinary housewives were endowed with the ability to foretell the future, gifts of healing and the power to work spells of protection and power.