I have written before on my blogs about the Germanic caste system:
The Rigsthula or Germanic Caste System[16/10/06, Aryan Myth and Metahistory].
Tacitus, Germania and the Armanenschaft[4//3/07, Aryan Myth and Metahistory]
Jarl the Wotan Caste[2/6/07, Aryan Myth and Metahistory].
The Rigsthula Revisited[31/7/11, Aryan Myth and Metahistory and Celto-Germanic Culture, Myth and History].
The Significance of Red, White and Blue/Black in Aryan Society and Cosmology[8/4/13, Aryan Myth and Metahistory]
Rather than go over old ground I would encourage my readers to study the aforementioned articles. What I would like to focus on here is the fact that the 3 sons sired by Rig-Heimdall display the Aryan caste colours or varna in their physical characteristics.
The first child sired upon Edda[Great Grandmother] was named Thrall and he is described as "dark as flax" according to the Larrington translation of Rigsthula[Poetic Edda] although .in the Thorpe translation he is described as "swarthy".
The second child sired upon Grandmother was named Karl and he is described as having a "ruddy redhead".
The third child sired upon Mother was named Jarl and he is described as having "light" hair. Interestingly his eyes are describes as being "piercing as a young serpent`s"[Thorpe translation] or "like a young snake`s"[Larrington translation]. One is reminded of the serpent eyes of the Volsung clan who were descendants of Woden Himself. It may very well be that the Rig who fathered these children was not Heimdall as popularly believed but Woden who is renown as being the sire of kings. Rig itself is borrowed from the Irish word ri, meaning `king`.
Jarl goes onto father a number of offspring but it is his youngest, Kon who receives special attention and learning from Rig in the runes. Again this points to Rig being Woden rather than Heimdall. For it is Woden who is lord of the runes. The Larrington version calls the child Kin, rather than Kon but both names have a similar meaning. In Old English for instance cyn has the meaning of both `kin` and `king` via cyning. Thus there is the sense of the king being of the same racial stock as his people, a part of the folk, not separate or distant from it as began to happen in Norman England when the structure of Anglo-Saxon society was replaced by a repressive feudal system.
Having established that the 3 Germanic castes were represented by the colours black, red and white we can trace this back to an earlier Aryan system which has its variations amongst the various Aryan peoples. Germanic society had no separate priestly caste. The priestly and warrior/noble castes were one and the same unlike other Aryan peoples such as Indo-Iranians and Celts. This would help to explain why Caesar wrote that:
" The customs of the Germans are very different from those of the Gauls. They have no druids to preside over religious matters, nor do they concern themselves with sacrifices."[The Gallic Wars, 6.21]
That is not to be interpreted that they had no priests for they certainly did and we have evidence of this from the writings of other contemporary classical writers. However the priests did not appear to have formed a separate cast in Germanic society. However with the coming of xtianity to the North this changed and the age old struggle between priestly and royal authority began all over again. The Germanic fusion of the royal and sacral roles are fused together in the chieftain or king:
"That we have here an `updated` Germanic version of the birth of the social classes is clear from colour symbolism: Jarl is white-blonde in hair and complexion, Karl is ruddy, and Thrall is black. The Indo-European priestly white, military red, and third-estate blue/green[further subdivided in India into yellow for the vaisya and black for the sudra] have slipped along with the substitute, so that white now marks the warriors, red the peasants, and black the slaves. Jarl`s youngest son Konr Ungr `young noble` ended up as a magician-king, thus symbolising the fusion of the remnants of the priestly function into the warrior aristocracy[cf. Old Norse konungr `king`or *koningaz, preserved as a borrowed petrifact in Finnish and Estonian kuningas `king`, Russian knjaz` `prince`].[Comparative Mythology, Jaan Puhvel, 1987].