The ancient Hercynian Forest of northern Europe at one time stretched from the Ardennes through to the Black Forest and Harz Mountains along to Bohemia. It marked the division between northern and southern Europe. At one time Germany itself was almost totally covered by forest and still even today is heavily forested.
Hercynian is believed to have a Proto-Celtic derivation from *perkunia, meaning "oak". With the loss of the initial `p` and the addition of `h` in Latin the word becomes Hercynian. It is probable that Harz is in turn derived from Hercynian and is Middle High German for "mountain forest".
It is significant that from *perkunia we have a direct link to the reconstructed name of the North-West Aryan Thunder God *Perkunos. *Perkunos and the related Proto-Germanic *Thunaraz is of course the God of the oak. Thus the Harz belongs to Him. It is in the forest that the Teuton feels totally at home. No wonder that modern living and the concrete jungles of today`s world have acted as a cancer in the spirit of our folk.
In the forest the Teuton feels closer to his gods than in any other environment.
According to Charles Isaac Elton in his Origins of English History:
"The original spelling of the name was `Arcynia` and `Orcynia`.
Once again we meet with the prefix `Ar` as we do so many times in the names of our Aryan deities. The meaning of Arcynia could be defined as the Ar kin, the Ar cynn, in other words the forested land of the Aryan race. It is in this forested mountainous area that the Gods of the Germanic peoples have their origins, where they revealed themselves to the Ar-cynn. Our two primary deities Thunor and Woden are Gods that are definitely connected with mountains and the forest and it is from here that the Cult of Woden travelled north into Scandinavia.
Stories of our Gods have survived to this day in the Harz which has remained a mysterious and mystical place. For those of my readers who understand German there is an excellent two DVD documentary set titled Mythos Harz which takes the viewer on an exciting and informative tour of the cultic sites of the Harz.