Folklore

Of Irminsuls and World Trees

Some of you may have heard about the destruction of the Saxon Irminsul by Charlemagne (Karl der Große, Carolus Magnus) in 772. During his efforts to destroy the German tribe, Charlemagne destroyed the Saxon fort called (H)eresburg and the stone sanctity of the Irminsul that stood near. The fort stood near to what is now the town of Obermarsberg in Westfalen. Only about 40 kilometres from this place, a more famous Irminsul could be found. It is not certain what the Irminsul at the “Extersteine” (near Paderborn) looked like or where is was located exactly (some writers say that the Irminsul destroyed by Charlemagne was the one at or near the Extersteine), but that the Extersteine were a Germanic sacred place is one thing that can be no doubt about. The stones themselves are strange ‘mountains’ upto 30 metres high that seem to have come straight up from the ground.… Read More »Of Irminsuls and World Trees

Old symbolism in a modern city

When you are walking through an old village, your eye may fall on artistic expressions of what you can call ‘traditional art’. Symbols on houses, in fences, on roofs, etc. When you start to notice them, you may also find them in more modern villages, on farmhouses, etc. But, when you know what to look for, you will also find these traditional expressions in a modern city! I live in Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands. For many decades this city has been known for finding everything older than 50 years, old enough to break down. Only recently people realised that by doing so, the history of the city itself is lost. Many old buildings no longer excist. There even have been thoughts to get rid off the famous “Evoluon” or the “light tower” in which Philips lamps have been tested for many decades. Fortunately this never happened. Now… Read More »Old symbolism in a modern city

Cubic stones from the sky

Johannes Bureus (1568-1652) (about him and his system more in other articles) said that his “15 adalrunor [“noble runes”] [were] inscribed on a cubical stone which fell from the heavens as a sign of the powerfull divinity on the mediator between God and Man.” (Flowers 1998, p. 12). For Bureus, runes formed the most ancient, original and divine language and the many runestones that can be found in Bureus’ country (Sweden) were mediators between the world of men and the upper world. The fact that Bureus ‘chose’ a cubic stone that fell from the sky is interesting. Bureus was fairly well informed about the ancient mythology of Scandinavia. His information was mostly ‘second hand’, such as the writings of Roman historians. His understanding of the native mythology was therefor indirect, linking Roman (or southern European) gods with the gods of the ancient North. With all the present-day information about Teutonic… Read More »Cubic stones from the sky

Rune calendars

Many years ago when I was reading F.E. Farwerck’s Noord-Europese Mysteriën for the first time and when I saw the “stafkalender” (“stave calendar”) on page 104 (see above), I was captured by this strange image. The writer doesn’t give a whole lot of information. The image contains parts of the months December and January of what is said to be a calendar. Farwerck only refers to the inverted horn which supposedly marks the end of the 12 days period after the winter solstice (on 12 January?). When I noticed that there are more of such ‘rune calendars’ and they are also similar to so-called ‘farmers calendars’ I wondered what they would mean. Other calendars look alike, but they obviously evolved. Just a few examples: I could have shown so much more! The first appears to be a runestone Norwegian, or perhaps English in origin, this item is made from a… Read More »Rune calendars

Slang

Maybe you don’t immediately realise this, but slang or dialect is about the only remaining regional/local tradition that is left in our modern age. It is also rapidly fading away. I was so fortunate to be raised in a small in village and in a family that still spoke (speaks) the local dialect. On elementary school we of course did speak “general civilized Dutch”, because you had to be able to speak it, especially when you would go to work in a city. Actually, dialect was already looked upon with ‘a skew eye’ as we say and many parents no longer taught their children the local language. Of course this was also due to the fact that many people who work in Eindhoven (and may have come from anywhere in the Netherlands), wanted to live outside the city and ended up in ‘my region’. But then again, as soon as… Read More »Slang