Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Continuity of the Gods after Ragnarok

The Eddas inform us that eight of the Aesir/Vanir survive the great cataclysm of Ragnarok.
These Gods are Widar, Wali, Magni, Mothi, Baeldag, Hothr, Hoenir and Njord. Seven of these Gods are Aesir and one a Van. There is no apparent record of any surviving Godesses. There are several reasons which may account for this: either none of them survive, no `significant` ones survive or they are not mentioned purely because of their gender. Maybe it is assumed that the divine consorts of these Gods will survive with them. I find it strange that as Baeldag is released from Hel where He resided with His wife Nanna and His brother Hothr yet His wife is not mentioned. Perhaps it is assumed that the reader would take this for granted that She was released from Hel with Her husband. We can only speculate.

Let us take a look at the portions of the Eddas which refer to the surviving Gods:

"The Aesir meet on Idavoll and they converse about the mighty Earth-girdler, and they  remember there the great events and the ancient runes of the Mighty One. There afterwards will be found in the grass the wonderful golden chequers, those which they possessed in the ancient times. Without sowing the fields will grow, all ills will be healed,......"[Voluspa 60-62, translator Carolyne Larrington]

So we know that a new Golden Age is coming when crops will grow without human intervention. The earth will presumably experience that age without seasons which it experienced before the polar shift.

".....Baldr will come back; Hod and Baldr, the gods of slaughter, will live happily together in the sage`s palaces-do you understand yet, or what more? "[Voluspa 62, Larrington]

An alternative version[Benjamin Thorpe] words the previous verse slightly differently::

"Unsown shall the fields bring forth, all evil shall be amended; Baldr shall come; Hoedr and Baldr, the heavenly gods, Hropt`s glorious dwellings shall inhabit. Understand ye yet, or what?"
According to Rudolf Simek`s Dictionary of Northern Mythology Hropt is another name for Odin. So in other words the Gods will inhabit Odin`s halls. Walhalla will survive! Its future function though is not clear.
We are told that Baeldag and Hothr will be reconciled as brothers. The light[Baeldag] will be reconciled to the night[Hothr] . In the Golden Age there will be no nights as there will be no winter. Thus there will be no further conflict between Baeldag and Hothr.

"Then Haenir will choose wooden slips for prophecy, and the sons of two brothers will inhabit, widely, the windy world-do you understand yet, or what more?[Voluspa 63, Larrington]

The Thorpe version refers to the "windy world" as Vindheim which may be a reference to the home of the Vanir who apart from Nerthus appear to have been exterminate by this point in the post-Ragnarok world. Interestingly Widar means the "wide ruling one". The " two sons of two brothers"  means of course cousins. Perhaps this is a collective expression for the Aesir who of course are related or maybe it refers to the two sets of brothers-Magni/Mothi and Widar/Wali. However technically Magni and Mothi are the nephews of Widar and Wali. This may allude to Thunor and Woden at one early point being equals-brothers rather than father and son. The later mythology as recorded in the Eddas places Thunor in a subservient relationship to the more recent Woden. Thunor`s authority was eclipsed in much but not all of the later Germanic world.

"A hall she sees standing, fairer than the sun, thatched with gold, at Gimle; there the noble lords will live and spend their days in pleasure."[Voluspa 64, Larrington]

The Thorpe version instead refers to these "noble lords" as "righteous people". So presumably these are humans faithful to the Gods not just the Gods alone?

Simok speculates that Gimle means "the place protected from fire". This realm is a heavenly place and lies in the third heaven[Vidblainn] and cannot be touched by Surt`s fires. Until Ragnarok it is inhabited by light elves.

"Then the powerful, mighty one, he who rules over everything, will come from above, to the judgement-place of the gods."[Voluspa 65, Larrington]

This is a reference of course to Guido von List`s "Der Starke von oben" who we Wodenists refer to as Wid-Ar, the conquering son of the sun, the Kalki Avatar, the Third Sargon who will avenge the death of his father Woden and bring judgement upon a degenerate and fallen mankind. Many, indeed most will perish on that day.  In Voluspa

Woden will continue in His sons, Widar, Wali and the resurrected Baeldag and Hothr. The role of lord of the Runes will fall upon Hoenir. Thunor`s legacy lives on in His sons Magni and Mothi who will possess His hammer, Mjolnir:

"Vidar and Vali will dwell in the gods` holy places when Surt`s flame goes dark. Modi and Magni shall have Miollnir when Vingnir fights no more."[Gylfaginning, translated by Anthony Faulkes]

Njord will return to His home of Vanaheim at Ragnarok and presumably survives:

"In Vanaheim the wise powers made him and gave him as hostage to the gods; at the doom of men he will come back home among the wise Vanir."[Vafthrudnir 39, Larrington]

There appears to be no other reference in the Eddas to Njord`s survival and neither is it explained what the background is to His return to Vanaheim unless it is on the basis that the conditions of the pact between the Aesir and Vanir had now been fulfilled, after all His son Freyr had died fighting on the side of the Aesir at Ragnarok. 

Apart from the aforementioned deities the Eddas tell us of the birth of a new sun from the old after Ragnarok:

Sol is a Goddess who personifies the sun and is referred to in may places in the Poetic or Younger Edda. Among the continental Germans She was known as Sunna[Second Merseburg Charm].  She shall have a daughter before Her destruction at Ragnarok. So in a sense there will be a Goddess who survives this cataclysm, the personified and deified sun! We could therefore bring the total known number of post-Ragnarok deities to nine, a magical and significant number in Germanic mythology.

"A daughter shall Alfrodul bear before Fenrir catches her. She shall ride, when the powers die, the maiden, her mother`s road."[Gylfaginning, Faulkes]

Alfrodul is referred to as "elf-disc" in Skaldskaparmal. The sun is always portrayed as a Goddess and not as a God in Germanic mythology because Her rays are not as sharp and destructive as in the hot and sweltering south. We thank Her for this.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Esus, a Celto-Aryan Prototype for Jesus of Nazareth?

Over the coming weeks I intend to pen a series of articles concerned with the various God forms of the Aryan Krist in Indo-European mythologies. I have said many times in the past that much of what is contained in the Old and New Testaments is plagiarised from the Aryan religious systems and mythologies that the jews encountered on their travels and captivities. The Aryan world recognised the concept of a Krist but this is an entirely different deity from the Christ of modern xtianity. One interesting and now fairly obscure deity is the Celtic God Esus from Gaul. Not much is now known about this God. We must remember that the ancient Celtic world was much greater in size and variety than was the case at the time of the emergence of the Germanic peoples into world history. By then the territory occupied by the Celts had shrunk to a small part of western Europe due to conquest, subjugation and extermination by the then stronger and more virile Germanic peoples. So hundreds of Celtic Gods and Goddesses are now only known to us from brief references in classical sources, iconography and epigraphic inscriptions on stone statues, many from Roman Britain or Gaul. A good source for this kind of information is the thoroughly scholarly but very readable Pagan Celtic Britain by Anne Ross, a very useful study for those interested in comparative mythology. According to the Bern Commentary on Lucan human beings were sacrificed to Esus by being tied to a tree and then being flailed. Charms are linked to Him and He has been associated with the Roman God Mercury in the same way that Woden has and thus there is a link between Esus and Woden. The Esuvii tribe of Gaul in present day Normandy may have taken their name from this God. According to Jaan Puhvel[Comparative Mythology], in my opinion one of the best works on Indo-European mythology:
"Esus is homologous with the Norse Odin in receiving human sacrifices by hanging....."
He also draws another link with Woden:
"The figure of Esus can perhaps be brought together with the theonym Lugus, which lurks in toponyms[Lugu-dunum `Lugus town`].
My readers will be aware that I have linked Lugh to Woden in previous articles. So once again there is a further link, albeit an indirect one between Esus and Woden. Interestingly he also states:
"Esus may mean simply `Lord` and be cognate with Latin erus `master`....."
`Lord` is also an interpretation for the name of the Vana God Frey. Also `Lord` is a term that was used of Christ in the New Testament. In addition to this it is also fairly obvious that the sound and appearance of the two names Esus and Jesus is suggestive of a strong link. Indeed it was quite possibly the God Esus who had His name stolen and given to the jewish `messiah` in order to come up with a personal name for this New Testament `saviour`. The process of deciding what to call this supposedly jewish saviour god was decided at the Council of Nicaea in 325CE under the watchful eye of Constantine[the `Great`] who needed a religion to unify his empire. Puhvel also states:
Lug was the father of Cuchulainn in Irish saga, even as Odin was the sire of prominent Norse heroes; likwise Esugenus `Begotten of Esus` was a Gaulish name of nobility."
Like earlier scholars Puhvel links together Esus with Teutates and Taranis as a triad but J.A. McCulloch in his The Celtic and Scandinavian Religions tends to deny this. It should be noted that Puhvel`s scholarship[1987] is more recent than McCulloch`s[1948].
"Esus-Lugus, Taranis, and Teutates as a triad receiving human sacrifice may thus roughly match the Scandinavian set of Odin, Thor, and Freyr in pagan Sweden....." [Puhvel]
Aryan mythology is replete with examples of triads or TRINITIES of Gods but I will reserve further discussion about this to a future article. Esus is portrayed as using an axe to cut down a tree. My readers will be aware that Thunor`s original thunder weapon was an axe and a stone one at that. As symbolic of lightning the axe fells the oak tree in a thunder storm. Could Esus be a Thunder God in a similar way to Taranis or Succellos? However it is not very well known but Woden is also sometimes pictured as carrying an axe. In a 12th century CE church tapestry from Skog, Haelsingland, Sweden Thor is depicted as holding a hammer,Frey an ear of corn and Odin an axe. Likewise the Frisian God Fosite[referred to by Adam of Bremen in the 11th century CE] is known to have an axe as his primary magical weapon. Fosite may or may not be identical with the Norse Forseti. The axe is therefore a symbol of the importance and the solar nature of these sky deities; Thunor, Woden, Fosite and Esus. It was important to the Romans that the Christ be portrayed as being a solar deity. The disparate peoples of Roman Europe could relate to such a god. The accompanying photograph shows Esus on the Pillar of the Boatmen from 1st century CE Paris and now located in the Musée National du Moyen Age.

Monday, 6 May 2013

The Club, Sickle and Spear as Examples of Thunder Weapons

In many articles on my blogs I have discussed the nature of the Thunder God`s primary weapon, the axe or the hammer. But there are other weapons and implements which have been used by Indo-European Thunder Gods or Sky Gods exhibiting Thunder God characteristics. Examples of these are the club[Donarkeule], the sickle and the spear. In parts of southern Germany followers of Donar[donner=thunder] often wore `Hercules` Clubs` as a sign of their allegiance to Him rather than the more usual hammer or axe. According to Tacitus[Annals] the Germani worshipped a God identified as Hercules by the Romans. Within Lower Germania there exist dedications to Hercules Magusanus. J.B. Rives in his commentary to Tacitus` Germania states:
"The names of the dedicators and of the associated deities[eg. Hludana] indicate that this was a Germanic deity; his epithet may be connected with Old High German magan, Old English maegen, `power, strength`."
He goes on to say that
"Many scholars assume that he was *Thunaraz, ie Old High German Donar and Old Norse Thor."
There are of course similarities with the club of the Irish All-Father God The Dagda. His club was made of iron[as was Mjolnir] and
"had a soft end used to resurrect the dead"[The Divine Thunderbolt. Missile of the Gods by J.T. Sibley]
Thor`s Hammer had similar life-inducing properties and was used by Him to resurrect His goats after they had been eaten. The Donarkeule interestingly were rarely made of metal but usually from deer antler, bone or wood so few would have survived the centuries. The sickle was another thunder weapon and iron examples have been found in graves in Soedermanland, Sweden. Along with the long-handled hammer the sickle was an attribute of the Gaulish Thunder God Succellos. Interestingly the hammer and sickle was THE ultimate symbol of the USSR. Could this be an unconscious desire of the Slavic Russians to identify with their pre-xtian deities? Ancient Archetypes can never be suppressed or repressed but will always come to the fore. The more they are suppressed the greater will be the eruption of their manifestation as occurred in 1930s Germany[See Carl Gustav Jung`s essay Wotan, 1936] The spear was also a thunder weapon and in Germanic mythology it was wielded by the All-Father Himself, Woden. Woden`s spear Gungnir is generally not thought of as a thunder weapon as this side of Woden`s nature is not stressed in the mythology. However we should remember that He supplanted both the earlier Thunor and Tiw as the All-Father, the supreme sky God as Germanic society was forced to become more warlike. He even more so than Thunor is a God of the warrior, of the Maennerbund. However He did not completely replace Tiw in this respect. Like Tiw His primary weapon is the spear. Not only is this a weapon of war and consecration[as is the axe/hammer] but also a thunder weapon. It was analgous to Zeus/Jupiter`s staff/sceptre and the trident of Poseidon. On Migration Age iron spearheads one often finds symbols of thunder and lightning such as the Fylfot, small dot in circle hailstone symbols and keraunio which represent thunderbolts. Woden still retains His image as a God of the storm and tempest as best envisaged in the Wild Hunt.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Anglo-Saxon Thunor`s Hammer and the Cult of Thunor

The worship of Thunor was very strong in pre-xtian Anglo-Saxon England as evidenced from place-names and archaeological finds of Thunor`s Hammer amulets dating back to the 7th century. Gale R. Owen in his Rites and Religions of the Anglo-Saxons states:
"English place-names, both current and obsolete, testify to a cult of Thunor, mostly in Saxon areas[and apparently not at all in Anglian areas]. Thunor was probably woshipped in sacred groves or meadows, or was perhaps associated with such landscapes, since the majority of of place-names containing his name link him with the Old English word leah. Thundersley and Thunderley Hall[Essex], Thursley[Surrey], two places once referred to as on thunres lea[Hants.] and one as on tunorslege[Sussex] testify to this, together with Thunorleaw, the only Kentish place-name associated with this god. Thunderfield[Surrey] and to thunresfelda[Wilts.] show the same link, and Thundridge[Herts.] again relates Thunor to a`natural feature."
Often one hears the argument that the Mjolnir hammer amulet originated in defiance by the heathen Scandinavians to encroaching xtianisation of the north. However this is not the case. Before the emergence of the `vikings` into history in 793CE the hammer was being worn as an amulet by the heathen Englisc. However I do concede that the increasing popularity of the hammer as an amulet probably stems from a reaction to aggressive xtianisation. A grave in 7th century Gilton, Kent contained several hammer and spear pendants. The female occupant of the grave was no doubt a follower of Woden and Thunor, the spear of course representing Gungnir. As I have written may times before the hammer itself was a natural development from the axe, the original northern European thunder weapon. At one stage the two were absolutely identical in form. The Celtic Gaulish Sucellos was also portrayed as a hammer wielding Thunder God.
"Apparently, Thor`s axe/hammer was originally a long-handled double-peened/bladed weapon similar to the one in the belt of the spearman[Ing?] on Weser bone #4988. It might have originally been a long-handled single-bladed axe, like those wielded by the ancient ithyphallic men in the Bronze Age rock carvings."[The Divine Thunderbolt. Missile of the Gods by J.T. Sibley]
The Anglo-Saxons even after xtianisation still associated the axe with Thunor:
"Se thunor hit thryscedh mid theare fyrenan aecxe".[Dialogue of Solomon and Saturn.]Translated into modern English this read: "Thunor threshes with a fiery axe".
The Thunder Axe goes right back to the Stone Age and even during the Bronze Age stone axes were still carried by Indo-European warriors, kings and priests both as a sign of the primary sky/thunder God and of their very own Aryan racial identity. Over 70 carvings of upturned axes have been discovered on the sarcens of Stonehenge as a sign of consecration by the Indo-European Wessex culture to the Aryan Thunder God.