Many times on my blogs I have referred to the mythological fact that Thunor`s Hammer was originally a stone not an iron weapon and that it was an axe which in northwest and western Europe evolved into a hammer. Some Thunor`s Hammers are indestinct from axes. What I have not discussed before is the mythological explanation for the shift from a stone axe into an iron hammer in the Eddas. I will attempt to do so in this article.
In the Prologue of the Prose or Younger Edda Snorri Sturluson refers to Thunor being fostered out to a man[probably a giant] called Loricus and his wife Lora/Glora who He susbsequently kills once He inherits His foster-father`s weapons. It was the norm in pre-xtian times for the sons of noble men to be fostered out to others in order to foster alliances and for the boy to have a greater range of life experience. This was of course in the era before schools!
"When he was ten he inherited his father`s weapons." and also "and then he killed his foster-father Loricus and his wife Lora or Glora."
There is a presumption of course that the hammer was one of the "weapons" he inherited from His foster-father. The Asatru Edda clarifies this whole episode as follows:
"Thorr was brought up in Jotunheim by a jarl named Vingnir, and when he was ten years old, he received the stone hammer, Vingnir`s Mjollnir."[XVI.7]
This passage makes it clear that this particular hammer was made of stone. This follows on from the research of Viktor Rydberg[1928-1895]. In his Teutonic Mythology volume 1, chapter 111 Rydberg states:
"In the Teutonic mythology, Thor`s hammer was not originally of metal, but of stone........ "
Then again in his Teutonic Mythology volume 2, part 1 he states:
"Thor`s oldest weapon is made of stone. The name itself says so, hamarr, and this is confirmed by the folk-idea of the lightning bolt as a stone-wedge."
Elsewhere in the Younger Edda Loricus is referred to as Vingir by Sturluson. We must remember that many of the personalities in the Eddas had multiple personal names. Rydberg did extensive research into this and bravely attempted to untangle some of this spider`s webb and found that many of these so called different personalities in the Eddas could and should be conflated together. Volume 1 of Teutonic Mythology focuses on bringing clarity to the Eddas and presenting them as one continuous Germanic and Aryan epic. The Asatru Edda follows in this same light of scholarship and is well worth reading.
In Skaldskaparmal 4 Thunor is described as the "foster-son of Vingnir and Hlora". No doubt Hlora is the same person as Lora and Glora in Sturluson`s Prologue.
After Ragnarok, Thunor`s sons, Magni and Mothi will inherit His hammer:
"And in the poem, verse 51, it is said that Thor`s sons shall possess Vingnir`s hammer after the battle of Ragnarok-doubtlessly referred to as such, because Thor received his first hammer either from Vingnir or in a battle with him."[Teutonic Mythology volume 2, part 1]
The above passage makes it clear that the receiving of the hammer from Vingnir/Loricus was not an alternative myth to the gift of Mjolnir from the dwarf Sindri. On the contrary these were two separate events and account for two different hammers. As I have mentioned before in earlier articles the cult of an Indo-European Thunder God can be traced right back into prehistory, into the Neolithic. The myth of Vingnir`s stone hammer is a reflection of this earlier phase of the Aryan Thunder God.
Significantly it is this stone hammer not the iron Mjolnir that Magni and Mothi recover. Will the iron one be destroyed in the chaos of Ragnarok? Does this signify that the new Golden Age will cause us once again to revert to an earlier and more earth-friendly kind of technology? I would like to think so!