I have before remarked on my blogs the similarity between the Germanic God Woden and the Celtic Lugus/Lugh/Lleu. Woden as we know has one eye due to His deposit of an eye in Mimir`s well in order to gain wisdom. Likewise when engaging in magic the Irish Lugh closes one eye and hops on one foot. Both Gods wielded a magical spear and Lleu[Welsh form of Lugh] was able to transform Himself into an eagle after His `death`. Lleu then took up residence in a tree on a plain[which in mythology has magical significance] and one is reminded of the suspension of Woden on the World Tree for nine days and nights.
Scholars also draw parallels between the Gaulish God Esus[a possible explanation for the name given to the Nazarene] and Lugus and thus with Woden. We know that men were sacrificed to Esus by hanging and stabbing in sacred groves, methods of sacrifice sacred of course to Woden who is known as Hangatyr[The Gods of the Hanged] who hung and stabbed Himself whilst on the World Tree. Anne Ross in her Pagan Celtic Britain stresses "the necessity for a general investigation of religious exchanges and influences between the Celtic and Germanic peoples."
The preservation of Mimir`s head with herbs and incantations spoken by Woden along with the association of the presence of His lost eye in Mimir`s well have strong parallels in Celtic mythology. The Celts were renown for the preservation of skulls for sacred and magical purposes. This may hint at a common Celto-Germanic inherited legacy rather than `exchange` or `borrowing`. One particular important example is the preservation of the head of Bran which seemed to have similar properties to Mimir`s.
In the past some scholars have associated the Gaulish Lugos with ravens, another connection with Woden.
Lugus is both a martial and an intellectual/magical God:
"He appears to have been regarded as a deity of a type which is closely paralleled by the Germanic Odin, and in the descriptions of Odin`s powers as a magician, patron of the arts and crafts, and in the representations of him as a horse-riding, spear-brandishing warrior, accompanied by his two ravens of wisdom and knowledge, we are clearly dealing with a closely similar concept, perhaps ultimately stemming from a common European religious tradition."[Ross]
Interestingly there is a further association with the Welsh Bran via the raven:
"Bran is associated with the bird by reason of his name alone..."[Ross]
I have commented before that the presence of Woden`s eye in Mimir`s well symbolises the passage of the sun across the sky, finally descending into the sea in the west prior to its resurrection in the east. Significantly the Sun Wheel, Sonnenrad or Solar Cross is the symbol of Woden whilst curiously the Fylfot or Swastika belongs to Thunor, symbolising His hammer or axe in flight. Jaan Puhvel in his Comparative Mythology, 1987[which I highly endorse] associates the eye with the well in other Indo-European cultures.
"`Eye` and `[well]spring are curiously interchangeable in the lexica of many Indo-European and Semitic languages: Hittite sakui-, Armenian akn, Akkadian inu[m], Hebrew and Arabic `ayn have both meanings, Persian casm `eye` and casma `spring` both reflect Old Iranian casman- `eye`, and Latvian aka `well` matches Russian oko `eye`. The connection might reside in mythical traditions about fiery substances deep in water on the one hand, attested from India and Iran to Ireland, and in prescientific speculations about sight as an intraocular form of fire, found for example in Plato`s Timaeus (45b-d) and in the Old Indic Sutrasthana (21.7) by Susruta."
So one can visualise how Woden`s lost eye is a fiery circle that submerges into the well or sea which represents the Unconscious. On a personal note this conforms with my own Wodenic initiatory experience which I related in my article A Personal Mystical Vision of the Runes from 17/10/11 posted on my Die Armanenschaft der Ario-Germanen blog.
The remaining eye of Woden symbolises intellectual knowledge and the Conscious whilst His submerged sacrificed eye represents instinctual knowledge, the Unconscious and the Blood Memory which may be referred to as the Racial Collective Unconscious. Likewise His raven Huginn stands for thought, the intellect and the Conscious. Muninn on the other hand stands for memory, both personal and collective as the Blood Memory, the instincts and ancestral knowledge. In the Grimnismal in the Elder Edda it is stated[Benjamin Thorpe translation]:
- "Hugin and Munin fly each day
- over the spacious earth.
- I fear for Hugin, that he come not back,
- yet more anxious am I for Munin"
The well of course can be linked to the sacred cauldron of Indo-European mythology, most strongly found in Celtic and Arthurian mythology and also known as the Graal. This is a theme which I intend to comment further on in a future article.