The man Franz Eduard Farwerck (1889-1969) somehow fascinates me. His first name is often spelled Frans, but his obituary has “Franz”, as do records in online genealogy websites. Before I had heard of the man I ‘accidentally’ ran into his major work Noord-Europese Mysteriën en Hun Sporen Tot Heden (‘Northern European Mysteries and their Traces to the Present’ 1970) at the perfect moment (2002/3). The amount of information, details and photos in this book is staggering and the red thread thought-provoking: In the Teutonic past there have been mystery-religions in Northern Europe just like there were mysteries around the Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere in the world. However they changed in form, especially when Christianity came to those parts, they survived to our present day as one of the origins of Masonic symbolism. Elsewhere on this website you can read more about this and how this idea fits into ‘my own scheme’. I am not going to talk about that now, since Farwerck himself is the topic of this article (mostly see Traditionalistic Asatru) .
Is it because the next holiday will be Scotland or some other reason, but I recently find myself fascinated by the so-called “Pictish stones”. The first time I saw the strange Pictisch symbols was about a decade ago in the fascinating book “Noord-Europese Mysterieën En Hun Sporen Tot Heden” (‘North-European mysteries and their traces to the precent’) (1970) by the Dutch author Frans Eduard Farwerck (1889-1969). He displays several stones, but the Golspie stone is the most fascinating. It not only contains (virtually) every Pictish symbol that we know, but also supports Farwerck’s theory about the symbolism. A theory that I have not found on the world wide web yet, so I figured my scribblings might add something to the information about the Pictish stones that is already available on the web, which is not little to begin with.
This text was written for The New Antaios online journal in 2010 or so. The website has been taken down since, so I decided to publish it here for ‘archival reasons’.
Go here for a much larger text about Farwerck
Some 8 years ago I met my girlfriend. We were both involved in a short-lived Dutch ‘spiritual magazine’ that liked to treat controversial subjects. Through the editor of the magazine my girlfriend got acquinted with a Flemish ‘Asatru’ group and later so did I. At the time my interest still mainly laid at Renaissance esotericism, Medieval magic, etc. This was already a bit closer to home, since before I had an interest in more exotic, Eastern subjects. In any case, meeting Asatru excelled my shift towards even more domestic interests, the old religion of Northern Europe. While becoming active in the group I initially sticked to my interests, but I heard a lot of interesting new paths.
In this article I want to say a thing or two about a few interrelated ‘processes’ in the Medieval Germanic society. How groups form and how they are maintained and how ‘mechanisms’ such as honour and feud work. These at first sight varied subjects will prove to be interwoven.
For this article I have used a few books that you will find listed at the bottom. All authors more or less treat parts of the whole, but from different perspectives and speaking about different societies. It seems as if all of these kinds of works owe a great deal to Willam Miller’s Bloodtaking and Peacemaking which is one of the books that I used. Miller is mostly concerned with Medieval Iceland. Another author I consulted is Jos Bazelmans who dived deeply into the Beowulf story and therefor Anglo-Saxon culture. Another Dutch author, Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld wrote a book about gift-giving mostly concerning people and the Church in the late-medieval Netherlands, a period in which little empires started to arise and this lord-civilian bond is also very present in Bijsterveld’s book. Further I used two articles and last but not least, the inspiration to start this little investigation came from Han Nijdam’s excellent Lichaam, Eer en Recht which is about Medieval Frisian society, with many references to Medieval Iceland.
by Roy Porter and Mikulás Teich (editors) (1992 cambridge university press * isbn 0521361818)
Cambridge like the Dutch publisher Brill is one of these publishers publishing books by and for scholars. The books are usually extremely expensive, hard to get and only available via your library. Yet, sometimes interesting investigations come forth from the world of universities and it is worthwhile to try and locate such books (not too hard if you know your ways) and read them. Instead of just reviewing this book, I decided that there is information in it that deserves to be written about at length, so the review became an article.
Cornelis Dekker (1961-) has something with Latinised names, just like during the period he wrote about. He writes about Dutchmen, but almost every single one of them is named with a Latin name so even a fellow Dutchman like myself sometimes has to think who Dekker writes about. But this is of course not what I am writing aout. Dekker made a superb study of the study of Germanic languages during the Renaissance, a subject that highly interests me. When I was writing my article about the Northern Renaissance I have been looking for a book like this, but it came too late. Well… never too late! It is almost incredible how much information Dekker compiled about people interested in native history and especially native and old languages. There is so enormously much information in this book that I decided not to rewrite my Northern Renaissance article, but just make a very long book review giving the information that I find of interest.
This article about the history of Freemasonry is based on the book De Kinderen Van Hiram (‘the children of Hiram’) by Andries van den Abeele. This book is not only out of print, but it seems to have never been available in English either. It was published in 1991, so probably written / finished in 1990.
The writer claims to give the history of Freemasonry for the first time based on the latest scientific findings. “The result is stirring: myths fall, accepted history becomes legend, exorbitant stories are brought back to their actual proportions.”