Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Rigsthula Revisited

This article should be read in conjuction with my articles The Rigsthula or Germanic Caste System[16/10/06] and Jarl the Wotan Caste[2/06/07] on the Aryan Myth and Metahistory blog.

Over recent months I have given further reflection to the Rigsthula account in the Poetic or Elder Edda and I have identified an additional interpretation. In addition to this being an account of the introduction of the Germanic or indeed Indo-European caste system or its divine sanction by Rig/Heimdall or Rig/Woden it is also an explanation of the divine interference or involvement in human `evolution`. I use the term `evolution` in a restricted sense as I do not subscribe to the Darwinian concept or theory. Perhaps `development` would be a better term to use.

Rather than viewing the impregnation of the three females-Edda, Amma and Modir as occuring within a short and thus contemporaneous time frame it is possible and indeed likely that there may have been long gaps of time between each visit by Rig to these human or proto-human females. One will observe on reading the account that each subsequent visit and impregnation results in a superior child in comparison to the the previous one[s].

The careful reader will also note that the first mother is called Edda or great grandmother, the second Amma or grandmother and the third and last Modir or mother. This would imply a genetic link between the three generations rather than the creation of three seperate castes which may or may not be genetically linked. The terminology obviously implies a family relationship between the three children: Thrall, Karl and Jarl and not just a functional or caste relationship but of course both explanations may be equally valid.

The terminology-great grandmother, grandmother and mother should not be interpreted as 3 literal and directly subsequent linear generations. As I have indicated there could and probably was a great deal of time between each generation. If Rig, being a God was the father of all three children then the astute reader will question why each child is of differing quality to its relatives. The answer to this question is simple. The three females are of differing genetic quality themselves and this would account for the varying quality of the three children.

It is significant that only with the third child, Jarl does Rig develop a paternal relationship.

"Then came Rig walking,
walking out of the thicket, taught him runes;
gave him a name, said he was his son;
then he told him to get ancestral property,
to get ancestral property, a long-established settlement."
[Rigsthula 36]

Rig did not have this relationship with his two other sons. Jarl is certainly favoured by Rig. It is interesting that Rig "taught him runes" as one would normally assume that this was part of the role of the great Rune Lord Himself, Woden. However Voluspa 1 does refer to the "offspring of Heimdall", whoever this "offspring" may be.

Jarl or `Earl` himself fathers children, the youngest one being Kon or Kin as he is referred to in some translations. Again Rig has a paternal like relationship with his youngest grandson and he appears to be particularly favoured.

"He contended in rune-wisdom with Lord Rig,
he knew more tricks, he knew more;
then he gained and got the right
to be called Rig and to know the runes."
[Rigsthula 45]

From the line of Rig-Jarl-Kon/Kin a noble race of kings was born. Let us not forget that Rig is cognate with the Irish Ri and itself means `king`. The young Kon[Konr ungr] becomes the King[Konungr] a word which is found in all Germanic languages. So Rig is the kingmaker, the progenitor of Germanic royalty. Strangely though it is Woden who is usually referred to as being the ancestor of Kings. In some instances such as amongst the Swedes this honour is ascribed to Yngvi-Freyr, the father of the Yngling dynasty. This is a subject that I hope to revisit as the Germanic Gods feature most strongly as not only the fathers of Germanic royal dynasties but the fathers of the common Germanic folk as well if `common` is an appropriate term to use as I belive that as Teutons we are all sons of the Gods.