Iron as a metal has fascinated me for some time, mainly because of its association with the Thunder God.
My readers will recall that Thunor/Thor/Donar was given an iron hammer by the dwarves Brokk and Sindri as part of a contest between them and the sons of Ivaldi.
However as I have written before this iron hammer was not the original one. Thunor first wielded a stone hammer which he had taken from his foster parents, Vingnir and Hlora who raised Him.
"It is certain that Thor took a stone hammer from Vingnir`s home as a spoil of victory, which he always used against the giants afterwards, except during the short time he possessed an iron hammer that Mimir`s son Sindri had forged for him."[Our Fathers` Godsaga, Viktor Rydberg]
After the new iron Mjolnir was destroyed by Wieland`s sword Gambantein, Thunor resorted to using the original stone one again and it is this stone one which will be recovered by Thunor`s sons, Magni and Modi after Ragnarok. In my opinion the tale of the two hammers is a reflection of the transition from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. During the Bronze Age neolithic tools were still used alongside bronze ones and this is why we do not hear of any stories of Thunor having a bronze hammer. Of course originally the stone hammer would have been an axe. Many Thor`s Hammers do tend to resemble the axe rather than a pure hammer.
The stone battle axe is a symbol not only of the Aryan Thunder God but a symbol uniquely associated with our Germanic and Aryan ancestors.
Meteorites were considered by our ancestors to be divinely sent and from the meteorite iron of a special quality may be obtained. Meteorite iron according to J.T. Sibley, the author of The Divine Thunderbolt. Missile of the Gods, is "capable of taking a brilliant polish." This is because it contains 5-12% nickel which also helps to retard rusting. Iron pyrite which is also called `fools` gold` would have made quite an impression and of course when struck by flint it would shoot off sparks.
Iron in folkore was used to repel witches, ghosts, fairies and any kind of malevolent being. Iron axes or axe amulets, horseshoes, nails and knives were frequently used as a means of supernatural protection. Meteorite iron in particular was used for the formation of sacred tools in many cultures. In Sweden the `trolls` cross` was made of iron in the shape of an Odal rune and used to ward of malevolent magic.
"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.
"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."[Curiosities of Indo-European Tradition and Folk-lore, Walter Keating Kelly].
There is a reference to iron in the Old Norwegian Rune Poem for the rune Ur:
"(Slag) is from bad iron;oft runs the reindeer on the hard snow ."