teutonic

cargopantsman  asked:

Figured this might be a bit specific for the Althing, so I'd throw this in an ask. I hope you, or anyone you know, have some spare words or resources on the Gullveig figure from Völuspá. Most of what I've found follows the "vague feminine entity = Freya" trend which seems unfulfilling and doesn't jive for me in this case. Been working my way through Rydberg's compelling arguments in "Teutonic Mythology," but hope there are other theories I can't dig up on my own. þökkum! (Thanks [i think...])

Velkominn, vinur minn,
(Welcome, my friend,)

I MUST SAY that this is a huge topic, and it is one that I feel unworthy, or rather unprepared, to take on. It has also taken me several attempts to properly answer it. As a historian, I study aspects of Icelandic law and society, not mythology; I am far more familiar with the sagas of men, rather than the sagas of gods. I am well-acquainted with the lore, of course, but not nearly to the extent of others.

Still, I have read the words of a few others who have pondered this problem. @thorraborinn has made at least two posts regarding this debate (here and here), both of which I have carefully read through and put much thought into. I have also read a bit of John Lindow’s Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs and H.R. Ellis Davidson’s Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. I have even considered the footnotes of translators Carolyne Larrington and Lee M. Hollander.

Now, I do not have nearly the same familiarity with the subject as they do, but I will still do my best to place my thoughts and impressions on the table for discussion. I just hope that I do not error along the way, and may I request forgiveness and patience from others if I do manage wander astray. With that said, I shall continue, and so here is the text in question for us to review before and while we discuss this matter:

22. “She remembers the first war in the world,
when they stuck Gullveig with spears
and in the High-One’s hall they burned her;
three times they burned her, three times she was reborn,
over and over, yet she lives still.”

23. “Bright One they called her, wherever she came to houses,
the seer with pleasing prophecies, she practiced spirit-magic;
she knew seid, seid she performed as she liked,
she was always a wicked woman’s favorite.”

24. “Then all the Powers went to the thrones of fate,
the sacrosanct gods, and considered this:
whether the Æsir should yield tribute
or whether all the gods should share sacrificial feasts.”

25. “Odin hurled the spear, sped it into the host;
that was war still, the first in the world;
the wooden rampart of the Æsir stronghold was wrecked;
the Vanir, with a war-spell, kept on trampling the plain.”(1)


WITH SO FEW WORDS to work from, our troubles are many. As Thorraborinn has said, gold meant many things to the Norse, especially given that they saw the world through a different cultural lens than we currently hold today. He also mentioned the problem of the name Heiðr (translated as ‘Bright One’ above), which is often attributed to many other vǫlur (sg. vǫlva). Furthermore, as also noted by Thorraborinn, there is the issue of seiðr being the only quality beyond gold to define who Gullveig is.

After all my reading, most of the interpretations put forth have chosen to merge Gullveig and Freyja, for there are many parallels that can be drawn. I have a feeling that this is due to the limitations of our material, because we simply do not have enough to safely pull the two apart; Freyja is the only figure whom we are able to evaluate Gullvieg against. She is the standard upon which we can base our conclusions, but even then there is more to be desired. Perhaps the problem is that we are always left comparing Gullveig to Freyja, when we may be able to see more clearly by treating Gullveig alone. Who is she, why did she come to Æsir, and why did the Vanir go to war over her? The problem in answering these questions, though, is that we have no evidence when we do not use Freyja as a basis; we only have an argument of logic and plausibility.

Yet, I do have one thought to share, although it has little evidence to defend it (as well as having plenty of problems with it). Usually I make a great effort to provide various sources and notations, but I do not see that as being particularly helpful in this situation.

Let’s assume, despite the ‘evidence’ to say otherwise, that Gullveig is not Freyja. Instead, let’s say that Gullveig was a minor Van deity. Even Thorraborinn played with the thought of Gullveig being another daughter (or other degree of kin) of Njord’s, and this is not a heretical idea to ponder. After all, there were other Vanir beyond the later counted three among the Æsir. Time has unfortunately chosen to devour their names and memories. In better words than my own, “the most likely answer seems to be the vast assembly of gods of fertility from many different localities, or which a few names like Ing, Scyld, and Frodi have come down to us, while many more are utterly forgotten.”(2)

Thus, I suspect that Gullveig is a Van whose name has faded into a similar obscurity, and that we are now left here to our endless pondering as a result. I then believe that Gullveig’s roles were ‘transferred’ to Freyja after memory had confined the Vanir to the three that we all know. After all, Freyja’s ‘character’ is fairly complex; her realm is not flat, but multifaceted. She takes men from battle, she taught the Æsir seiðr, she is a goddess of female fertility, and even of love. The situation is similar to how Odin took over the role of ‘Warlord God’ from Tyr, who held such status in the time of the Romans (see Davidson for more on that, if you’d like). In other words, she is the Van who took on the roles of those who were slain by time. Now, perhaps I am utterly mistaken. I have no true evidence for such a claim, rather logical assumptions. My argument does not necessarily clear any gaps in the narrative, but it does serve to explain how we managed to find ourselves in such a mythological mess.

In the end, both sides of the debate are correct (assuming that my perspective on the matter has any grounds to actually stand upon). Gullveig is Freyja, or rather aspects of Gullveig came to make up Freyja in the minds of later authors as Gullveig’s presence continued to fade from memory. Yet, that also means that Gullveig is not Freyja. Gullveig was and is an independent entity that only later became merged with Freyja (where Gullveig was perhaps once a local, regionalized cult). Gullveig continued to live, and so did her power. Her power just came to be expressed through the surviving names of her kin, like the battle-victorious Freyja. Either way, the answer never seems to be very satisfying for us.


THAT IS ALL I CAN OFFER, at least for the moment. I am sure that my theories have plenty of holes in them. As I said before, I am no expert in this realm of understanding, and I therefore do not have the depth of familiarity with it to fill in the gaps of my own narrative. My words are not meant to be absolute. Rather, they are meant to enhance and encourage further contemplation and discussion. I do not expect to be ‘right’, yet I should not be condemned to utter falseness either.

Regardless, my words have not answered any of our missing details, such as how Freyja came to be among the Æsir (though, if the Vanir merged with the Æsir after the war, that alone would have provided the opportunity), nor why Gullveig is so strongly linked to gold (however ‘gold’ was being invoked here, that is). Answering those questioned requires substantial digging, which is something that I suspect others would be far better at than myself (especially since I am so often preoccupied with other aspects of the Norse realm).

Anyway, I will stop my rambling. If I don’t, I will never be able to answer because I always find something to edit, remove, or add. That said, this is not the most organized answer that I have ever produced, but I hope my various thoughts will spark some sort of intriguing discussion or other revelation down the road. If not, I just hope no ‘damage’ has been caused. I hope this is what you were looking for in asking me about this topic. I am terribly sorry that it took my so long to respond, but, as I mentioned earlier, it was quite difficult to manage. I just hope I have not erred too much in my ramblings.

Með vinsemd og virðingu,
(With friendliness and respect,)
Fjörn


ENDNOTES:
1. Carolyne Larrington trans., The Poetic Edda (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 6-7.
2. H.R. Ellis Davidson, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe (repr., 1964; London: Penguin Books, 1990), 124.


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‘1410′
My new painting commemorating the Battle of Grunwald, where the combined forces of Polish and Lithuanian knights, crushed the power of the Teutonic Order. It was the largest battle of the Middle Ages.
If you know who is this character in the foreground … then you know that the big guy at the back has a serious problems :) Cheers!

7

Malbork Castle, Poland 


aka THE LARGEST CASTLE IN THE WORLD 

what really struck me about this place were the pictures of its desolation as a result of WWII. over half of the castle was destroyed, and then completely rebuilt, brick by brick, and finished in April this year. i saw this kind of thing in medellin too, where the city had deliberately targeted the most dangerous and impoverished neighbourhoods, and created sculpture parks as a symbol of hope and progress. v inspiring

List of gender neutral names with meanings and origins:

So, I was going to send this as a message to @oabuckvu, but instead I thought I’d post this here since others may also find it helpful!

A:

Addison- child of Adam- English
Adina- slender- Hebrew
Alby- from Alba- Latin
Ally- friend- English
Ash- ash tree clearing- English
Azra- pure- Israeli
Asa- physician- Hebrew
Arin- enlightened- Hebrew
Arlo- army, hill- old English or barberry tree- Spanish
Avery- elf ruler- English
Alex- defender of mankind- Greek
Arlen- promise, oath- Irish
Ambrose- immortal- Latin
Aspen- tree- English
August- dignity, vulnerable- German

B:

Blaine- yellow- Scottish
Blake- blonde, dark- English
Bryce- swift- Celtic
Brooklyn- broken land- English
Bradley- clearing in a woods- English
Bailey- bailiff- English
Beck- brook, stream- Norse

C:

Chyler- beloved- English
Cody- child of cuidightheach- English
Charlie- charles- English
Chris- christ- English
Coby- supplanter- Latin
Casey- brave- Gaelic
Corin- spear bearer- Irish
Cameron- crooked nose- Scottish
Colby- town, dark- Norse

D:

Dakota- friend- Native American
Devon- poet- Irish
Delaney- descendent of the challenger- Irish
Drew- manly- English
Denham- habitation- English
Dael- knowledge of God- Hebrew
Danny- God has judged- Scottish

E:

Ellis- Jehova is God- Greek
Ellery- from the elder tree island- English
Evan- youth warrior- Irish
Emery- brave, powerful- German
Eden- delight- Hebrew
Ellison- child of elder- English

F:

Farron- iron grey- Anglo Saxon
Freddie- peaceful ruler- German
Frankie- free one- French
Fynn- river in Ghana- African
Finch- bird- English
Flynn- child of red hair- Irish

G:

Gene- well born- English
Gale- cheerful, pleasant- English
Glade- shining- English
Glen- valley- Gaelic

H:

Hollis- Holly tree dweller- English
Harlow- rock, army, hill- English
Halley- lived near a grove- English
Hadley- Heather field- English

I:

Isa- devoted to God- Teutonic
Ives- archers bow- English
Iggy- firey one- English

J:

Juniper- youth producing, evergreen- Latin
Jesse- gift- Hebrew
Jo- God is gracious- English/German/French
Joey- may Jehova add- Hebrew
Jordan- river flow- Macedonian
Jet- black gemstone- German

K:

Kellam- at the ridges- Norse
Kelsey- from the ships island- English
Kendall- royal valley- English
Kai- sea- Hawaii

L:

Logan- hollow- Scottish
Leslie- garden of holly- Scottish
Lee- dweller near the wood- English
Lane- path- English
Luca- bringer of light- Italy
Lirit- poetic- Hebrew
Lex- defender- Greek
Lakota- friends- Siouan

M:

Mattie- strength in battle- German
Morgan- sea defender- English
Misha- God live- Russia
Max- greatest- Latin
Mattise- gift of god- French
Monroe- from the mouth of the river Roe- Irish

N:

Newlyn- from the new spring- Celtic
Noel- Christmas- French
Nicky- victory- English
Nat- gift of god- English
Nova- chases butterfly- Native American

O:

Oakley- from the oak tree meadow- English
Oak- tree- English

P:

Perry- dwells by the pear tree- English
Piper- one who plays the pipe- Scandinavian
Pema- lotus- Tibetan
Puck- unknown meaning- Dutch
Parker- park keeper- English

Q:

Quinn- fifth- Irish
Quinta- fifth- Spanish

R:

Reese- firey- Welsh
Rey- king- Spanish
Reed- red, clearing- English
Rune- secret- Norse
Rue- herb, regret- English
Rain- blessings- American
Riley- dweller by the Rye field- English
River- river- English
Rowan- red- Gaelic
Rory- red king- Gaelic
Ronson- child of ron- English

S:

Sawyer- cuts timber- Celtic
Stevie- crown- English
Shiloh- owner- Hebrew
Sage- wise one- French
Saxon- knife- Teutonic
Sammy- bright sun- Finnish
Scout- to listen- French
Shane- gift from God- Irish

T:

Tex- texas- American
Toni- worthy of praise- Latin
Theo- God given- Greek
Taylor- to cut- French
Tyne- a river in england- English
Tyler- maker of tiles- English
Terry- powerful ruler- English

U:

Umber- shade- French

W:

Wyatt- guide- English
Willow- graceful- English
Wynne- fair- English
Wren- song bird- English

X:

Xen- religious- Japanese

Y:

Yael- mountain goat- Hebrew

Z:

Zen- meditative state- Japanese

When Christian missionaries asked the north Teutons who or what they believed in, they received the reply which centuries previously the south Teutons who had believed in das Gott (neuter) might also have given that they believed in their power (matt) or strength (magin), a power working within them, a deity filling the religious man, an inner-worldly and inner-spiritual deity. Such an answer must have seemed to the missionaries, as it would to many present-day commentators, a mere boast of power or an idolatrous presumption, while in fact it must be understood as a factual ”The God” (Das Gott) corresponding to the dominans ille in nobis deus. But it is easy to understand that the missionaries, who in Christianity had accepted the extra-mundane, transcendent ideas of a ”personal” God, from the Semitic peoples, were at a loss when confronted by faith in a destiny ruling within men.
—  Hans F. K. Günther, Religious Attitudes of the Indo-Europeans

The Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals, observed by many modern Pagans. It consists of either four or eight festivals: either the solstices and equinoxes, known as the “quarter days”, or the four midpoints between, known as the “cross quarter days”.

The festivals celebrated by differing sects of modern Paganism can vary considerably in name and date. Observing the cycle of the seasons has been important to many people, both ancient and modern, and many contemporary Pagan festivals are based to varying degrees on folk traditions.

In many traditions of modern Pagan cosmology, all things are considered to be cyclical, with time as a perpetual cycle of growth and retreat tied to the Sun’s annual death and rebirth.

Yule/Winter Solstice: a festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples, later undergoing Christian reformulation resulting in the now better-known Christmastide. A celebration the beginning of longer days, as this is the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight. 

Imbolc: the first cross-quarter day following Midwinter this day falls on the first of February and traditionally marks the first stirrings of spring. It is time for purification and spring cleaning in anticipation of the year’s new life. 

For Celtic pagans, the festival is dedicated to the goddess Brigid, daughter of The Dagda and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Among witches reclaiming tradition, this is the  time for pledges and dedications for the coming year.

Ostara/Spring Equinox: from this point on, days are longer than the nights. Many mythologies, regard this as the time of rebirth or return for vegetation gods and celebrate the spring equinox as a time of great fertility.

Germanic pagans dedicate the holiday to their fertility goddess, Ostara. She is notably associated with the symbols of the hare and egg. Her Teutonic name may be etymological ancestor of the words east and Easter.

Beltrane: traditionally the first day of summer in Ireland, in Rome the earliest celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. 

Since the Christianization of Europe, a more secular version of the festival has continued in Europe and America. In this form, it is well known for maypole dancing and the crowning of the Queen of the May.

Litha/Summer Solstice: one of the four solar holidays, and is considered the turning point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest.

Luchnassad/Lammas: It is marked the holiday by baking a figure of the god in bread and eating it, to symbolize the sanctity and importance of the harvest. Celebrations vary, as not all Pagans are Wiccans.  

The name Lammas (contraction of loaf mass) implies it is an agrarian-based festival and feast of thanksgiving for grain and bread, which symbolizes the first fruits of the harvest. Christian festivals may incorporate elements from the Pagan Ritual.

Mabon/Autumn Equinox: a Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three Pagan harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas / Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.

Samhain: considered by some as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets, and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the festival of Beltane, which is celebrated as a festival of light and fertility.