Monday, 3 February 2014

Heru, the God of the Cherusci

Following on from my recent article about the Erminones and the tribe of the Cherusci I would like to draw my readers` attention to the existence of a God who many scholars today doubt the existence of, but this was not the case in the golden age of Germanic research and that God is the eponymous divine ancestor of the Cherusci, Heru or Cheru.

"Another naked sword flashes on the wooded heights  in the land of the Cherusci; it is the weapon of the sword-god Heru, Cheru or Saxnot, who some think is no other than Tyr. Of this weapon Saga tells us that it causes the destruction of its possessor, should he be unworthy of owning it; but that in the hand of a hero  it brings victory and sovereignty."[Asgard and the Gods, Wilhelm Waegner, 1886]

Heru seems to be a God that was known only to the Germanic tribes of Germany as Waegner goes on to say:

"Nearly related to the warlike Tyr, perhaps identical with him, were Heru or Cheru and Saxnot. They were essentially German sword-gods, and were not known to the northern skalds. Their worship was wide-spread; for the Alanes, Quades, Getes and Markomanns paid divine honours to the sword, and even the Scythians, as Herodotus tells us, planted it in a high pyramidal heap of brush-wood, and called upon it as the symbol of divinity."[Waegner]

According to legend the sword was made by dwarves. We remember of course that the treasures of the Aesir and Vanir were also made by dwarves. The clan of Ivaldi were responsible for the fashioning of Freyr`s ship Skidbladnir, Sif`s golden hair and Wodan`s spear Gungnir. By contrast the dwarves Sindri and his brother Brokkr created the golden boar Gullinborsti for Freyr, Wodan`s ring Draupnir and Thunar`s iron hammer, Mjolnir. Thus any sword made by a divine smith must be credited with having special properties.

The sword became an object for the worship of the God it represented in the same way that the hammer or axe is a symbol that does honour to Thunar and the spear to Wodan.

"This sword shone every morning on the high-place of the sanctuary, sending forth its light afar when dawn arose, like a flame of fire; but one day its place was empty and the rosy light of morning only shone upon the altar from which the god had disappeared."[Waegner]

The Gods or someone who acted on their behalf granted the sword for a season to Vitellius the Roman prefect of the Lower Rhine.

"He drew the sword out of its sheath, and it was as though a flash of lightning passed through the room.
"Immediately a voice exclaimed, but whether in the room or not, no one could say: `That is the sword of the divine Caesar! All hail, Vitellius! All hail, Emperor!`

After having secured his empire Vitellius neglected the sword and it was subsequently taken by a Teutonic soldier of the Roman body-guard who exchanged it for his own. The loss of the sword caused misfortune to come to the emperor and eventually this led to his downfall. The Teutonic soldier stabbed the emperor to death with the sword of Heru in fulfillment of a wise woman`s prophecy. The soldier fought and won many battles with the sword, eventually winning promotion to the rank of Tribune.

"When he grew old and was incapable of further service, he made a hole on the bank of the Danube, hid the good sword in it, and covered it up again with earth. Then he built himself a hut and lived there until his end. On his death-bed he told the neighbours who had assembled round him, of his battles, and how he had got possession of the sword of Cheru; but he did not betray the place where he had hidden it, yet the saying that whoever should find the sword would become ruler of the world, remained current among the people from generation to generation."[Waegner]

Eventually during the Voelkerwanderungenzeit Attila gained possession of the sword after it had been dug up by a farmer and exclaimed:

"It is the sword of the war-god with which I shall conquer the world."

Eventually after a career of conquest for conquest`s sake Attila was murdered by his Teutonic bride Ildiko, the daughter of the King of Burgundy and she used the sword of Heru which had been handed to her by an old woman. With this sword she avenged upon the Hun the death of her father. With Attila`s death the Teutonic tribes chased the Huns from off Germania`s sacred soil. The last suspected possessor of the sword was Duke Alba who buried it in the earth after the battle of Muhlberg.

At this point I would like my readers to ponder whether Arminius/Hermann the Cherusker gained possession of this very same sword and indeed did the God manifest Himself through him as an avatar?

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