Friday, 26 August 2011

The Antiquity of Thunor`s Hammer

Contrary to the assertions of many writers on Germanic religion Thunor`s hammer was already worn as an amulet and religious symbol prior to the Viking Age and was common throughout the Germanic world, not just limited to the Scandinavians.
I give as an example the discovery of hammer amulets in 7th century Jutish graves in Kent.
"Amulets made in the charecteristic shape of Thunor`s hammer were carried by women buried in the seventh century at Gilton and Kingston in Kent. They were worn with other trinkets, including the little spears which were the amulets of Woden."
[Page 25 of Rites and Religions of the Anglo-Saxons by Gale R. Owen]
Owen goes on to state: "Thunor`s signs-hammer and swastika-link him, therefore, with both cremation and inhumation graves in England. Although his name has not survived as a place-name in Anglian areas, the sign of the swastika on Anglian urns is evidence of his influence."
Of course one could argue that the wearing of the hammer by Anglo-Saxons, Jutes and Frisians in post migration Britain was indicative of a heathen reaction against the encroachment of the slave religion of Christianity but it is more likely in my opinion that this practice goes back to deep antiquity but it may have become more popular in the 6th to 7th centuries with the arrival of Christianity.
A passage from page 110 of Brian Branston`s brilliant work The Lost Gods of England states: "There can be little doubt that the Old English Thunor was regarded as the son of Woden and Earth, driving over the storm clouds in his chariot drawn by two goats while he flung his thunderbolt from mountain peak to mountain peak. Many Old English place-names incorporating Thunor have as their second element Old English -leah meaning `wood` or `woodland clearing` and it is certain that the Saxon part at least of our forbears connected the god with trees and particularly with the oak tree. The `blasted oak` has become a cliche because of the tree`s susceptibility to being struck by lightning. No doubt the ancient Indo-European speakers gazed in awe at the riven forest giant after a storm and thought of the god who wielded the thunderbolt. No missile was ever found after the fire and fury were spent, but the searing damage was plain to view: so must have arisen the report of a terrible hammer or axe which flashed from the god`s hand and returned there like a boomerang when its work was done. This weapon was old, older than Thunor. The Indo-European weather god had hurled it. It was found in Crete as the labrys or double-axe[lately to turn up so thought-provokingly on our own doorstep carved in the rocks of Stonehenge]; it occurred in Asia Minor as an attribute of the Hittite weather god, and in the hand of Jupiter Dolichenus. The sign of the double-axe or hammer, a T-shaped mark, has indeed been discovered in the French department of Seine-et-Oise. These marks had been branded so deeply that the skulls still show the scars:....."

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Thor`s Axe-the Original Hammer

This article should be read in conjunction with `Two Hammers of Thor` posted on this blog on 17/1/10.
In addition to the transformation of Thor`s Hammer Mjolnir from a stone weapon into one of metal there is a lot of evidence to suggest that originally this weapon was an axe.
The renowned scholar of Germanic and Celtic mythology H.R. Ellis Davidson repeatedly in her books The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe and Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe refers to Thor`s Hammer as an "axe-hammer" or "hammer-axe".
In Gods and Myths of Northern Europe she states that "the hammer-shaped weapon is similar to the double axe of antiquity, which also represented the thunderbolt, and which was shown in various temples of the ancient world."[page 82]
She also draws an association between the axe-hammer and the sun-wheel, all symbols that were well known in the Bronze Age[page 83].
For more information on this particular aspect see my article Thunor and the Flyfot posted on this blog on 24/10/10.
In Curiosities of Indo-European Tradition and Folklore Walter Keating Kelly refers to Thor`s weapon as being an axe: "It is well known in England and also in Germany, that no witch can step over a besom laid along the threshold of the house door on the inside. She will kick it or push it aside before she can enter your house, and by this token you may know her for what she is. An axe[Thor`s weapon] and a broom are laid crosswise on the inner side of the threshold over which the nurse has to step when she goes out with an infant to have it christened. This is done that the babe may be safe from all the devices of the powers of evil."[pages 226-227]
"....and German herdsmen lay a woman`s red apron, or a broad axe covered with a woman`s red stocking, before the threshold of the house, and make the animals step over it."[page 229-230].
"As Indra used to milk the cloud cows and churn the milk lakes and fountains with the thunderbolt, so did Thor. The German god`s fiery weapon was often represented as an axe, and hence it is a customary thing with witches to draw milk from the handle of an axe stuck in a doorpost."[pages 231-232]

"Se thunor hit thryscedh mid theare fyrenan aecxe."

[An Anglo-Saxon poem, quoted by Kemble, says that the thunder threshes with a fiery axe.]

We must remember that Thor`s hammer or axe was not only an offensive weapon but a defensive one also, used to protect people and animals from malignant supernatural forces and as a tool of consecration in weddings and fertility rites.
On discussing Thor`s hammer Jaan Puhvel states "It is thus the bolt, and it can be represented also as an[originally stone] ax, a club, or a counterclockwise hooked cross symbolizing a thunderball, resembling the Indic svastika-`good luck sign`[from Vedic su-asti-`well-being, good fortune`].[Comparative Mythology, page 201].
According to European Myth & Legend[Mike Dixon-Kennedy] the Lithuanian thunder God Perkunas was red bearded, brandished an axe and rattled across the heavens in a chariot drwan by a billy goat[page 187].
Lithuanian is regarded by scholars as one of the very oldest of the Indo-European languages so it is logical for us to assume that this image of Perkunas is an accurate reflection of the original Aryan thunder God and that his weapon was originally an axe, rather than a hammer. How or why the axe developed into a hammer is a issue that I hope to address in a future article.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Eriu,Goddess of the Aryans

The Gods and Goddesses can communicate with us from the Collective Unconscious via dreams and other states of altered consciousness such as hypnotic trances.
Recently I encountered a Goddess during the hypnopompic state of sleep prior to awaking. I often find that dreams experienced shortly before waking stay imprinted on my memory especially if they have a mystical content as this one clearly did.
My dream seemed short and the entire focus of my attention was on the appearance of a nordic looking female being who spoke these words to me: "I am Eriu,Goddess of the Aryans."
This is all She said but it made a deep impression upon me.
Eriu, daughter of Emer[a God of the Tuatha De Danann] was one of a trinity of Goddesses who along with Banba and Fohla founded the land of Ireland[also known as Eire, Erin and Eireann]. Indeed Eire was named after Eriu Herself. Thus we can conclude that She is a Goddess of sovereignity and inheritence.
In Jungian terms this may be interpreted as the manifestation of the Anima, who may be regarded as the collective manifestation of all the females a man has known, especially one`s mother. This idealised feminine is the direct counterpart to the Animus in women. The Anima is a guide to inner wisdom and is a sign that the dreamer must confront his destructive side. She is the embodiment of the feminine qualities of female power, sensitivity and intuition.
For a person to be psychologically whole the feminine and masculine parts of the psyche must be in balance.
In Germanic mythology the a man`s Anima was known by the term Fylgia who accompanied him throughout his life in Midgard and was a type of ancestral guardian spirit.
I have in part interpreted this dream as a need to explore and integrate the solar mythology with the lunar, the God with the Goddess. Too often in Asatru we focus primarilly on the male deities often to the exclusion of the female deities and this creates a spiritual imbalance. This is something we must address in the Northern Tradition to avoid our religious path becoming imbalanced and to avoid females from being deterred from exploring their native Germanic traditions.
Shortly after the manifestation of Eriu a most exciting Aryosophical work has been published called The Epic of Arya. In Search of the Sacred Light by Abir Taha, the author also of Nietzsche, Prophet of Nazism: The Cult of the Superman-Unveiling the Nazi Secret Doctrine. I fully encourage readers of my blogs to obtain copies of these two exciting works.
It is significant for me that a deity whose name is linked to the term Arya and the blood and soil doctrine should choose to reveal Herself to me.
I believe that as followers of the ancestral Gods we must actively seek to communicate with the Gods and Goddesses and two of the most practical and legal ways of doing so are by inducing trance like states and the incubation of dreams[a subject I shall explore later].