Symbolism

Freya or Brisingamen

A while ago I was reading a collection of articles by Karl Theodor Weigel. The man speaks about folkloristic habbits and symbolism that goes back to the prechristian religion. He gives symbols representing the years, such as I have shown you in my article “Odhinn, God of the year”. Towards the end there is an image of a Christmas-bread from Lauterbach Hessen, Germany (left) “that strongly reminds of the god in the wheel, in the course of the year”. That is the same symbolism as that I gave to Odin with his two arms on the hips. The Christmas bread made me think of the famous statue of Freya with a gigantic necklase, her Brisingamen, around her neck. Freya as Goddess of the year, not such a strange idea, because she is connected to fertility and therefor the cycle of the crops, death and rebirth, the changing seasons and thus… Read More »Freya or Brisingamen

The Balder play

The beginning of this tale is, that Balder dreamed dreams great and dangerous to his life. When he told these dreams to the asas they took counsel together, and it was decided that they should seek peace for Balder against all kinds of harm. So Frigg exacted an oath from fire, water, iron and all kinds of metal, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts and birds and creeping things, that they should not hurt Balder. When this was done and made known, it became the pastime of Balder and the asas that he should stand up at their meetings while some of them should shoot at him, others should hew at him, while others should throw stones at him; but no matter what they did, no harm came to him, and this seemed to all a great honor. Gylfaginning 49, Rasmus Anderson translation I am sure most of you know the… Read More »The Balder play

Fire in Northern mythology

Fire, a concept that is very present in Northern mythology and also a concept that I have broken my head over for some time now. The symbology is multi-layered and however I still haven’t fully worked out the subject, I want to present some thoughts and come to an interpretation of some elements of Northern mythology. Creation There are two primal forces in Nordic myths, two forces that are known under the names, “fire” and “ice”. Before there was anything, there was Ginungagap, a “yawning gap”. In the south of it, fire ‘resided’ and in the north, ice. When these two came together, everything started. So, fire is the primal force, one side of the Divine. Some symbology! It is not strange that fire keeps coming back in the symbology of Nordic mythology. What may be strange is that fire is much better represented than ice, but this is not… Read More »Fire in Northern mythology

Thórr, God of initiation

Recently I wrote an article with thoughts on the symbolism of the posture of the famous statue of Odhinn. I am sure you understood that this article is not meant to say that this is what the statue ‘means’, the article contains “thoughts on symbolism”. Other writers will say that this posture of Odin is a ‘cultic posture’. More funny even is that there is a statue of Thórr, found in Schmedt an der Oder (so he will have been called “Donar” or something similar), with the same posture as Odin in the statue that my other article was about. Also, Farwerck also has the image ‘little man of the year’ accompanied by the text, “idol, probably Thor”. But of course, more famous is the Icelandic statue of Thor with him sitting and… and what actually? The first thought is that this statue represents Thor and his hammer Mjöllnir. Modern… Read More »Thórr, God of initiation

Odhinn, God of the year

In Lindby in Sweden a famous statue of Odin was found, a photo (that I took from Arild Hauge) shows it. As you can see the statue misses an arm. Replicas usually look like the one you can see on the right. I have this particular one myself, it is from Sacred Source. Both his hands in his sides, did you ever wonder why? We often take things for granted too easily, also the (neo)pagans among us. Personally I can’t imagine that the image just happens to be as it is and there are some things that may confirm this idea. Let me take you on a short journey through Gemanic symbolism. A year The Germanic year was divided in two parts: summer and winter. Symbolically this can be given very well as a split circle, the circle is the year and it is split into two halves. A circle… Read More »Odhinn, God of the year

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