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.


SerpentSlayer said...

I have had a quick look into the Romuva religion. I had no idea that it had lasted so long and been revived. I still dont know how widespread it is in modern day Lithuania, though I know it has spread to Latvia and other places.
The fact that it is not well known about proves how poor links are between different Indo-European pagan groups.
I know some groups are to be avoided like the plague but there are plenty of non Germanic Aryan pagan groups that we could take reference from and maintain links with.
Pagan groups I've known seem pretty insular and sadly lacking the family environment that they really need.
The nature of the modern day makes it so members come from different communities, cults seem not to exist at all and we seem to lack the level of ceremony others seem to have (I think costumes, especially for priests are an important part of the ritual)
We also seem to lack a clear priest class, maybe WF is different from groups I have known but sadly and partly through no fault of our own, we seem to be years behind others.

Wotans Krieger said...

I agree.There is much to be learned from the Baltic and Slavic heathen groups which we are simply not learning.Whether this is through narrow-mindedness (a common fault amongst many but not all Wodenists) or the barrier of language I do not know.Even finding accessible information in book form on Baltic and Slavic mythology is notoriously difficult.Even in the Germanic spehere the best literature is to be found in German, not English.As far as WF is concerned they have reformed with a different structure so I am no longer party to what is going on although they do have some useful and informative blogs and sites which I have linked to my own blogs.They appear to be moving in the right direction though.

Steed EOW said...

I believe WF is to become more of an educational body, which could play a vital role in nurturing some kind of priest-class. The problem we have in England is that there is no geographical concentration of Heathens, so it is vital that potential Hearth-leaders are given the necessary tools and wisdom to build local Hearths.