Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Antiquity of the Thunder Axe Symbol

There is a misconception that the Thor`s Hammer amulet arose purely or mainly out of some kind of heathen reaction against the encroachment of xtianity into Germanic northern Europe. One often sees this argument even in scholarly works, the authors of which should know better. However I would state that the popularity of the Hammer/Axe amulet increased as a result of the religious and cultural threat of xtianity but it does not have its origins in this.

As followers of my three blogs will know by now, I take the view that the Hammer of Thor is simply a stylistic and mythological development of the more ancient axe symbol. Indeed the club, axe and hammer are all closely related symbols of the Germanic Thunder God, *Thunaraz. The German Donar is more often than not associated with the Donarskeule or club as well as the better known hammer and amongst the Anglo-Saxons Thunor is known to have wielded a thunder axe:

"Se thunor hit thryscedh mid thaere fyrenan aecxe." (Dialogue of Solomon and Saturn)
 "Thunor thrashes with his fiery axe."

 "It is well known in England, and also in Germany, that no witch can step over a besom laid along the threshold of the house door on the inside. She will kick it or push it aside before she can enter your house, and by this token you may know her for what she is. An axe[Thor`s weapon] and a broom are laid crosswise on the innerside 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." (Curiosities of Indo-European Folklore, Walter Keating Kelly)

"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." (Kelly)

 "Thor`s symbol in the Viking Age was both an axe and a hammer." (Scandinavian Mythology, HR Ellis Davidson)

Prior to the widespread practice of the wearing of the hammer there were many instances of Germanic people being buried with small votive axe pendants and of course axe-wielding Gods feature on Scandinavian rock art and on bronze figurines. The Celts, Balts and Slavs retained the axe as a symbol of their Thunder deity. At one time *Thunaraz was the primary deity of the Germanic peoples and even today His symbol is a sign that its wearer is an adherent to his native northern Gods.

 "In northern Europe a cult of axes, in which axes unsuitable for practical use played an important role, is evident and is supported by archaeological finds dating later than the Neolithic Age. In the Bronze Age numerous rock carvings, and also the little bronze figure from Grevensvaenge, indicate a widespread cult of axes which should probably be understood as a fertility cult, as the phallic figures on the rock pictures suggest. Miniature axes as amulets are also documented since the late Iron Age and then again in the Viking Age.

"The great age of the Germanic axe-cult, the relationship with the Cretan axe-cult and the parallels to the lightning weapons of the non-Germanic gods, such as Indra`s and Hercules` clubs or Sucellos the Gaul`s hammer all suggest an Indo-Germanic origin of the various forms of the axe." (Dictionary of Northern Mythology, Rudolf Simek)

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The `Fanatical Heathenism` of the Saxons and the Return to our Saxon Identity

The Saxon people were amongst the last of the Germanic peoples to be converted to xtianity. Unlike the Icelanders the Saxons fought to the death to preserve their heathen religion and overturn the advances of xtianity. Xtianity had to be imposed upon the Saxons by fire and by the sword. They did not meekly agree by voting to swap religions as happened in Iceland in about 1000 CE.

Widukind (also known as Wittekind) led the Saxons in defence of their heathen religion against Charlemagne (Karl der Große) in the `Saxon Wars` from 777 to785 CE. The rebellion against Karl`s Franks was no doubt precipitated by the disgraceful destruction of the Irminsul sanctuary in 772. Unlike many of the other Saxon nobles he refused to appear at Karl`s court in Paderborn in 777. The Frankish Annals refer to him as a `traitor` and an `insurgent`-words still used by today to demonise the opponents of the Zionist-American NWO.

The Saxons retaliated against the Franks (the NWO of the day) by destroying xtian churches, much like the  Vikings did a little later. Karl desperately wanted to incorporate the Saxon lands into his empire, much like the NWO is doing today in eastern Europe. Widukind`s companion and fellow Germanic heathen was the Danish Sigfred who was possibly the famous Sigurd Hring. The Nibelungenlied records an alliance of the Saxons and Danes against the Franks led by Siegfried. Gudmund Schuette in his Our Forefathers the Gothonic Nations Volume II refers to:
"Saxon-Danish political co-operation against the Franks from the sixth to the ninth century."

Warfare between the Saxons and Franks intensified between the years 782-784 and this culminated in the Massacre of Verden, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) in 782 when 4,500 Saxon rebels were captured and massacred for their refusal to capitulate to Karl and accept the alien religion of xtianity. National Socialist Germany honoured these heathen martyrs and a memorial known as the Sachsenhain (Saxon Grove) was erected in 1935 which still stands today. The memorial takes the form of 4,500 boulders to represent each of the martyrs beheaded by the butcher Karl.

Widukind translates as `child of the woods`. We are reminded of the English Saxon Robin i` the Hood, who was also considered to be an `outlaw`, fighting against foreign Norman domination and is also considered to be a Woden archetype.

So persistent was Saxon heathenism that in the 9th century a special baptismal vow, the Old Saxon Baptismal Vow had to be worded when converting the Saxons to xtianity:

"End ec forsacho allum dioboles uuercum and uuordum, Thunaer ende Uuôden ende Saxnôte ende allum thêm unholdum thê hira genôtas sint."
"'I renounce all the deeds and words of the devil, Thunaer, Wōden and Saxnōt, and all those fiends that are their companions".
The Anglo-Saxons were likewise noted for their `fanatical heathenism`.  Gudmund Schuette makes the interesting point that although the Angles were only a minority with the Jutes when compared to the more numerous Saxons yet it is their name rather than Saxon which was eventually adopted by the English nation.He speculates that this was because of the `bad reputation` that the Saxons had because of their `fanatical heathenism`. Today we should take this as a compliment!

"The Christian Anglo-Saxons, already accustomed to the supremacy of Anglian priests, naturally felt and emphasised their difference from the continental Saxons who had fallen into ill repute because of their remaining heathen for centuries longer. The contrast between Anglians who were Christians, and Saxons who were heathen fanatics, which at one time was noted in Britain, was later insisted on as distinguishing the united Anglo-Saxons from their continental kinsmen. This circumstance certainly discouraged the British Saxons from emphasising their own national name, which had in international use fallen into disrepute because of its association with the abominable savagery of paganism. They were henceforth compelled to prefer the name of Angles as a safeguard against being confused with their former brethren.

"First of all the Saxons excluded the use of their own name through their heathen fanaticism. The consequence was not to be wondered at. The strange thing is that there should have existed, here, as in German Saxony, such a degree of fanaticism as to prove a dead weight in the competition for a higher civilisation. Fortune had bestowed on the Saxons a port like London, and that part of the British coast most directly facing the Continent. But a century of obstinate paganism delayed the development of civilisation among the South Saxons so much that the Angles, though less favoured by natural conditions, got ahead of them and secured for the name `English` an inalienable supremacy." 

Schuette throughout his work emphasises the `fanatical heathenism` of the Saxons and this is something that we as Saxons or Anglo-Saxons today, who hear the call of the blood, which is none other than the call of the Gods should take heathen and racial pride in. Indeed I would go so far to say that as it is the Saxon element that predominately made up the Anglo-Saxons in England we as heathens should consider the abandoning of the name of `English` once and for all. I will here enumerate my reasons for this:

1. The ethnic English are predominately Saxon in origin, not Anglian.

2. The Saxons unlike the Angles clung tenaciously to their natural religion. There were of course honourable and notable exceptions such as King Penda of Mercia.

3.English or Anglian is wrapped up in xtianity via Anglicanism. The two are almost synonymous.

4.Non-English immigrants and their decendants are increasingly identifying themselves as being not just `British` (a civic nationality) but as `English`.

5. One who is not Germanic can not possibly identify him or herself as Saxon and this helps to preserve both our ethnic and religious identity.

6. The term `Saxon` alligns our racial and religious identity with that of our continental Germanic brethren and away from zionist `Britain`.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Hrethe and Ostara

On the 21st March as Wodenists we celebrate the rite of Summer Finding, the day when the forces of light are now in balance with the forces of darkness, Sunna beginning Her victorious ascent in the heavens. The month of March was known to the Anglo-Saxons as Hrēþmōnaþ which technically began in the modern month of February and extends to April, so roughly March. April was called Ēostermōnaþ after the Saxon Goddess Ēostre who is honoured even today by the xtians, although unwittingly in many cases. This Goddess does have variants of Her name. To the Northumbrians She was called Ēostre, to the West Saxons She was Ēastre and in Old High German She was Ôstara. In fact She is even referred to in the King James Bible:

"And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people." (Acts 12:4)

No doubt the translators of the 1611 Bible made a clear error, intending to use an English term for a jewish festival!  Modern versions of the Bible translate Easter as `Passover` but clearly they were referring to the time of year with reference to a Germanic heathen festival.

Bede (673-735) who is most widely known as the author of A History of the English Church and People referred to Ēostre in his De temporum ratione (The Reckoning of Time) in 725 CE. He stated that feasts were held in honour of Her in the month of Ēosturmōnaþ.

The fame and importance of Ostara must have been great for the Church was unable to eradicate Her name and thus they named one of their most important festivals after this Goddess as Jacob Grimm states:

"This Ostara, like the A.S.  Ēastre, must in the heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries. "(Teutonic Mythology Volume 1)

The German variant of Her name has a special significance:

"The OHG. adv. ostar expresses movement toward the rising sun (Gramm. 3, 205), likewise the ON. austr, and probably an AS eastor and Goth. austr. In Latin the identical auster has been pushed round to the noonday quarter, the South. In the Edda a male being, a spirit of light, bears the name of Austri, so a female one might have been called Austra; the High German and Saxon tribes seem on the contrary to have formed only an Ostara, Eastre (fem), not Ostaro, Eastra (masc). And that may be the reason why the Norsemen said paskir and not austrur: they had never worshipped a goddess Austra, or her cultus was already extinct.

"Ostara, Eastre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted to the resurrection-day of the christian`s God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter, and according to a popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy (Superst. 813). Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing (Superst. 775. 804); here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess (see Suppl.).  
The town of Osterode in the Harz mountains in the German `Land` of  Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) is reckoned to be named after Ostara and Grimm relates this tale about Her:

"At Osterrode, every Easter Sunday before sunrise, may be seen a white maiden, who slowly walks down to the brook and there washes; a large bunch of keys hangs at her girdle. A poor linen-weaver having met her at that season, she took him into the castle ruins, and of three white lilies she plucked him one which he stuck in his hat. When he got home, he found the lily was pure gold and silver, and the town of Osterrode had not the money to buy it of him. The Easter-maiden`s marvellous flower was taken by the Duke in return for a pension to the weaver, and placed in his princely coat of arms. (Teutonic Mythology Volume 3)

 Scholars conjecture that Ostara derives from a Proto-Indo-European Goddess, *Hausōs and as a beautiful young woman the dawn is personified. Indo-European mythologies are replete with examples of an abduction and imprisonment of a dawn Goddess and Her liberation by a dragon-slaying hero. This motif continues down to the present time in the form of legends and fairytales.

Interestingly the Ariosophist Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels believed that the Ostrogoths and Austria (Österreich) were derived from Ostara and thus he named his magazine after Her.

By contrast the Goddess Hrethe (Hrêðe/Hrêða) which means `famous` or `victorious` appears to be more of a warrior deity whose purpose is to banish winter to make way for the coming of Ostara for Hrēþmōnaþ precedes Ēastermōnaþ. Grimm also considers Hrethe to be a "shining Goddess":

".....I believe that the AS. name was really Hrēþ or Hrēþe = OHG. Hruod or Hruoda, and derived, as I said on p.206, from hruod gloria, fama; so that we get the meaning of a shining and renownful goddess."

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Lower Saxon Clan Names

The ancient Germanic tribes that made up the Saxon confederation in northern Germany were divided into clans that often took their name from an aspect of their natural environment. This is made very clear in the novel by Hermann Löns, Der Wehrwolf (The Warwolf) published in 1910:

"Many of the clan names originated from nature, eg Ul `owl`, Wulf `wolf`, Bock `goat`, Specht `woodpecker`, Katz `cat`.

These clan names continue to the present day as surnames. In the cemetry in Langelsheim in the Oberharz one may find many gravestones with my mother`s maiden name Bock, indicating that this tribal name is still very numerous in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). The Low German for Niedersachsen being Nedersassen.

The goat is an animal which is sacred to the God Donar and this may indicate that this clan were originally worshippers of the Thunder God and their houses were decorated with the sign of the goat.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The God of the Semnones, *Tiwaz?

Tacitus in his Germania refers to a curious religious rite practiced by the Semonones, the Sveborum caput, the head tribe of the Suebi (Swabians):

"The Semnones relate that they are the oldest and noblest of the Suebi. Confidence in their antiquity is confirmed by their cult. At a set time, the peoples who share that name and bloodline send embassies to assemble in a forest hallowed by ancestral auguries and ancient dread, and by slaying a man on behalf of the people they begin the barbaric celebration of their fearful rites." (39.1, Rives translation)

"The oldest and most famous of the Suebi; it is said, are the Semnones, and their antiquity is confirmed by a religious observance. At a set time, deputations from all the tribes of the same stock gather in a grove hallowed by the auguries of their ancestors and by immemorial awe. The sacrifice of a human victim in the name of all marks the grisly opening of their savage ritual." (Mattingley translation)

The first thing I would like to point out is that the Semnones must have occupied their land for a very long time as their sacred rites had hallowed the soil over many generations. Thus their religion was a blood and soil religion-blut und boden! Only those who shared the same racial and tribal ancestry could participate in their rituals. Theirs was not a universalist religion that was open to all and sundry but was entirely folkish.

Secondly their rites were conducted outside and in the forest. This is the natural environment for most Germanic peoples. I come from a long line of Lower Saxon mountain and forest folk  and only feel at ease in such an environment. Over centuries and millennia the environment does have a hand in the shaping of the soul of a people. This is why city life from the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution has had such a devastating effect on the Germanic peoples. This is a subject which I hope to return to in future as I do not wish to digress from the main theme of this article.

Thirdly we must accept that our ancestors did practice human sacrifice as did many other cultures across the world. Unlike the `neo-druids` we do not try to wriggle out of this and argue that it is just mere `Roman propaganda`. The shedding of blood adds further to the sanctity of the soil. Tacitus does not reveal however what status the victims held.

"They revere this grove in other ways too: no one enters unless bound by a shackle, as an inferior who makes manifest the might of the divine. If by chance he stumbles, it is not lawful to lift himself up and rise: they roll out over the ground. On that place their entire superstition is centred, as though from there the tribe has its origin, as though there the god is ruler of all, and the remainder subordinate and submissive." (39.2, Rives translation)
"Another observance shows their reverence for this grove. No one may enter it unless he is bound with a cord, by which he acknowledges his own inferiority and the power of the deity. Should he chance to fall, he may not raise himself or get up again, but must roll out over the ground. The grove is the centre of their whole religion. It is regarded as the cradle of the race and the dwelling-place of the supreme god to whom all things are subject and obedient." (Mattingley translation)

The Semnones and other Suebi acknowledged this sacred grove as the birthplace of their whole tribe, regardless of where individuals or clans are born. It is their Ur-Heimat which is acknowledged. By the same token aliens may be born upon our sacred Germanic soil but that does not make them part of our folk and neither does this soil belong to them. The individual clans still acknowledged their blood ties to each other and this was commemorated by this presumably yearly meeting. We are not told unfortunately at what time of the year this rite was held or the exact location. There is a close connection between trees and the origin of Germanic man as related in the Eddas. A similar theme is present also in Iranian mythology.

There is much debate as to the identity of this ibi regnator omnium deus, "in that place is the god who rules all things." Scholars usually show a preference for one of two deities being the God of the grove of the Semnones, either *Tiwaz or *Wodanaz.  Gudmund Schuette posits the theory that the God is the eponymous Semno, `the united.`

"The rite of linking his worshippers` hands and feet may allude to the same idea." (Our Forefathers the Gothonic Nations Volume II)

He does not seem to support the idea that the God is Woden:

"The worship of the `regnator omnium deus` among the Semnones of the first century A.D. shows that their religion had not yet submitted to the hegemony of Woden. But who was the god whose name Tacitus does not mention? He is generally identified with the ancient god of heaven, Tyr. It is probable that the Swabians worshipped Tyr (cp. Schwabian ziestac `Tuesday`, instead of Bavarian ertag and North-west German dingstag `the day of Mars Thingsus`).

However Woden is known as the God who can bind or fetter and it is He who received human sacrifices. Tacitus however does not disclose the method of sacrifice which could have given us further clues as to the God`s identity. The later Swabians were known as Ziuwara, worshippers of Ziu or Tyr. Schuette states:

"Later, owing to south-western influence (cp. Mercurius in inscriptions of the Vangiones, Nemetes, Triboci), Woden was introduced even among the Swabians. Columbanus in the ninth century found the Alemanni near the Boden Lake feasting round a huge bowl of beer in worship of Woden. The Alamannic clasp from Nordendorf shows the runic names Wodan and Donar."

As a side note the Quada, another Swabian tribe worshipped the sword. I am reminded here of the sword God Heru/Cheru.

The idea of fettering can also be associated with Tyr via the binding of the Fenris Wolf. H.R. Ellis Davidson makes the point in her Gods and Myths of Northern Europe:

"This appears to emphasize the power of the god to bind his followers, as Tyr bound the wolf; the idea of binding is found associated with Odin as war god, and more about this will be said later (pp. 63 and 147). We cannot be certain that Tiwaz was in fact the god of the Semnones, but it seems most probable that he was the supreme deity worshipped in the wood."