Saturday, 19 July 2014

Horagelles, the Lappish Thor

Heathenism continued in the very far north of Europe well after the last of the Germanic peoples were xtianised in the 11th century. Lithuania for example was not officially converted until 1387 (A History of Pagan Europe, Prudence Jones & Nigel Pennick). Indeed the Lithuanians were amongst the first Northern Europeans to restore their native religion in 1967 and is known as Romuva. Traces of heathenism lingered even longer amongst the non-Indo-European Saami or Lapps. Shamans were still being burnt alive by the xtian church as late as 1693 (Jones & Pennick).

It is clear to me that if we are to recover as much of our lost ancient Germanic lore as we can we must explore the surviving remnants of the closely related Indo-European Baltic mythology (Lithuanian and Latvian) as well as even the Finno-Ugric peoples of the North (Finns, Lapps and Estonians). Inevitably the cultures of the Baltic, Finno-Ugric and Germanic peoples share common concepts and practices due to the close geographic proximity of these peoples but also the shared blood. There is a very high degree of Nordicism amongst these people, even amongst the Lapps who by the way share mtDNA which is to be found amongst other Europeans. The Haplotype V which I happen to share and is very rare in central Europe (about 4%) is to be found in abundance amongst the Lapps of Finland, Norway and Sweden (59%).

The Lapps worshipped Thor who was known to them as Horagelles (Old Man Thor) or Toora/Taara in Estonia and Torym to the Ostyaks. My readers will note that in the accompanying image of a 17th century engraving of a Saami sacrificial site Horagelles has a long handled hammer, and nails in the head. Suspended from the nail is a flint which the God can use to make fire.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Hammer Blessing, Rooted in History

Making the sign of the Hammer, particularly as a blessing over the mead horn in our sacred rites has well defined roots in Germanic history. In Snorri Sturlason's Saga of Hakon the Good in Heimskringla King Hakon of Norway is required as leader of his people to participate in the festival of sacrifice at harvest. He is reluctant to do so as he is a xtian but understands that ultimately he has no choice if he wishes to retain his crown.

"The king accordingly sat upon his high-seat. Now when the first full goblet was filled, Earl Sigurd spoke some words over it, blessed it in Odin's name, and drank to the king out of the horn; and the king then took it, and made the sign of the cross over it. Then said Kar of Gryting, 'What does the king mean by doing so? Will he not sacrifice?' Earl Sigurd replies, 'The king is doing what all of you do, who trust to your power and strength. He is blessing the full goblet in the name of Thor, by making the sign of his hammer over it before he drinks it." (Chapter 18)

When we make the sign of Thunor's Hammer we perform an act of sacrifice for we are blessing the mead or whatever the substance may be in His name and sanctifying it. The Hammer was not only a weapon of war against the etins, the agents of chaos but the bringer of rain and fruitfulness. It played a prominent part in wedding ceremonies and in leagal matters, surving today as the judge's gavel. Also of course we have the myth of Thor blessing Bardr's funeral pyre.

The reader will note that whilst we make the sign of the Hammer over the horn we actually say a blessing in the name of Odin/Woden/Wodan/Wotan. We invoke the energies of both Gods in this act.

Full details on making the sign of the Hammer may be found in my article The Sign of the Hammer posted on my Die Armanenschaft der Ario-Germanen blog on 21/11/10.