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Saturday, 9 November 2013

Polar Symbolism and the Immoveable Centre in Aryan and Celto-Germanic Tradition



The idea of the sacred centre in an important feature in Germanic, Celtic and other Indo-European spiritual systems. This is most clearly evidenced in Ireland and Iceland, both of which are islands in the outer perimeter of the Aryan European centre. This may be significant, the idea of an island in the middle of the sea.

In Iceland shortly after its colonisation from Norway the island was split into four quadrants, each governed by a Thing, the Germanic legal assembly in which laws were made and recited and cases brought before the law for settlement. The centre of the four Things is where the annual All-Thing was held at Thingvellir where the most important cases were settled. In Ireland we also have a similar sacred centre at Tara which was surrounded by the four Irish kingdoms of Ulster, Connact, Leinster and Munster. This centre like Thingvellir in Iceland had both a sacral and legal aspect. This was the symbolic centre of Ireland and the residence of the High King.

Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson in Myths and Symbols of Pagan Europe[1988] states:

"The pattern of four divisions round a central point is found in both Iceland and Ireland, and Mueller claims that this is a fundamental pattern in both Germanic and Celtic tradition."
 This fourfold division reminds one of the fourfold division of the year and the four cardinal directions. Indeed one can see this same division in the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc with its 4 aetts of 32 Runes and its 33rd Rune Gar[the spear of Woden] placed at the centre of the 4 aetts when arranged in a circle. At the centre of both Tara and Uisnech sacred stones were erected: at Tara the Stone of Knowledge[Lia Fail] and at Uisnech the Stone of Division. An example of what these stones may have looked like is the Turoe Stone in County Galloway in Ireland. The stone is curiously dome shaped and its curious patterns are divided into four parts. The stone is said to resemble the Omphalos at Delphi, reckoned also by the ancient Greeks to be the centre of the world.

One of the principal sacred sites of the continental Germans was Eresburg, the location of the Irmunsul, a wooden column held sacred by the Saxons which corresponded with the mythical Scandinavian world tree Yggdrasil, the centre of the nine worlds of the Eddas. The Irmunsul was cut down by Charlemagne in 772. Irmin is considered by some scholars to be an alternative name for the ancient Germanic sky deity Tiw. The Elder Germanic Rune stave Teiwaz is dedicated to this God and is shaped like a tree. Irmunsul like Yggdrasil supported the entire cosmos. In the Volsungasaga a tree is said to have supported the hall of Sigurd`s grandfather Volsung. Significantly beneath Yggdrasil the Gods held assembly and so the link between a symbolically central site and divine communication and judgement is paralleled.

The location of a stone, mountain or tree at the sacred centre  reminds me of the polestar around which the milky way in the form of the flyfot circulates. The pole is immoveable, only the outer arms of the fylfot rotate.
Polar symbolism is an integral aspect of Aryan Hyperborean tradition:

"Its motionless centre signifies the spiritual stability inherent in those who are not affected by the stream and who can organise and subject to a higher principle the energies and the activities connected to the inferior nature. Then the cakravartin appears as the dhamaraja, the `Lord of the Law`, or the `Lord of the Wheel of the Law.` According to Confucius: `The practice of government by means of virtue may be compared to the polestar, which the multitudinous stars pay homage to while it stays in its place.` Hence the meaning of the concept of `revolution`, which is the motion occurring around an `unmoved mover`, though in our modern day and age it has become synonymous with subversion.

"In this sense royalty assumes the value of a `pole`, by referring to a general traditional symbolism. We may recall here, besides Midgard(the heavenly `middle abode` described in the Nordic traditions), Plato`s reference to the place where Zeus holds counsel with the gods in order to reach a decision concerning the fate of Atlantis: `He accordingly summoned all the gods to his own most glorious abode, which stands at the centre of the universe and looks out over the whole realm of change.`"[Revolt Against the Modern World, Julius Evola, 1934]

Evola goes on to discuss some of the symbols of  regality and their polar connections, eg the sceptre which is symbolically related to the `axis of the world` and the throne which like the mountain is an elevated place. In Germanic mythology the sword of Tiw, the spear of Woden and the club of Donar would of course represent the royal sceptre. At various times these Gods represented the highest of the Northern Gods: first Tiw, then Thunor and latterly Woden. Likewise in Celtic mythology the sceptre symbolism is found in the sword of Nuada, the spear of Lugh and the club of the Dagda. In turn these Celtic counterparts for the Germanic high Gods also represented the chiefs of the Gods.

Tiw is a more remote deity from Thunor and Woden. This may in part be the result of the distance in time since Tiw was regarded as the highest God. In historical times this honour was accorded to Woden and prior to that, Thunor. Tiw is thus transcendent, immoveable and His laws are fixed. He is the centre around which all else revolves. He is the `unmoved mover`. This symbolism is also reflected in the Indo-Aryan myth of  Shakti and Shiva, Shiva representing the divine male who is still and unmoving. His function is action via non-action. This is discussed in some detail in Julius Evola`s Eros and the Mysteries of Love[1958]


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