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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Woden and Thunor, Mountain Deities



Our primary deities Woden and Thunor are both Gods of the storm and the sky. Their natural habitat is to be found on hills and mountain tops. Here in the Tees Valley in England we have a marvellous reminder of this fact in Roseberry Topping, previously named Othenesberg and first attested in 1119. One could compare this name with Wodnesberg (Woodnesborough) in Kent. This naming of hills after Odin/Woden follows the continental pattern of naming hills and mountains after the German/Dutch Wodan, eg Wodansberg. I am reminded that in Germany there are many legends that have survived the xtianising distortions of the Middle Ages which depcit Wodan as the sleeping king of the mountain. See my article http://celto-germanic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/woden-as-sleeping-king-in-mountain.html

Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology Volume 1 gives many examples of such sacred hills and mountains including Othensberg (Denmark), Odensberg (Sweden), Godesberg (Wodenesberg/Gudenesberg) near Bonn, Wuodenesberg near Donar's Oak in Hesse and many others. Thunor/Donar follows a similar pattern with examples such as Donnersberg (Thoneresberg) in the Rhineland, Tuniesberg (Donersperg/Duonesberc/Tunniesberg) near Regensburg, Donershauk in the Thüringer Wald, Thors klint in East Gothland and Thorsborg in Gothland.

Grimm goes on to say: "And the Thunder-mountains of the Slavs are not to be overlooked." He then gives both Slavic and Baltic examples. The Russian Perun also means 'mountain, rock'. This bears a strong affinity with the Hittite peruna ('rock'), Sanskrit Parvata ('mountain') and Thracian peru ('rock').

In the Harz Mountains, south of Halberstadt there stands a massive rock formation called the Glaeserner Moench-the Glass Monk or Crystal Monk. However the ancient Teutons called this sandstone rock the Thorstein-Thor`s Stone. Only with the enforced xtianisation of my Saxon ancestors did the name change to the Glass Monk. The shape of the rock is suggestive of both a monk`s hood but also of Donar`s hammer. Donar and Wodan have more elemental and primitive characteristics than the Thor and Odin of the later polished tales of the Eddas.

1 comment:

Rayne said...

The gods have special links with mountains and with the sky. I often wonder if their chariots were spaceships?