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 Paganism and natural order.

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Satyr
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:02 pm

Interesting...

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:03 pm



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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:15 pm

Satyr contra Loki

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:01 pm

A rune does not moralize anything as good or evil; it just shows the forms of power in nature.

The reverse Ansuz warns of danger but does not say Loki is evil or bad. The same trickster who can drag you down can be good in the context of an anarchy when you need to overthrow someone with a single flaw,, and can also be bad in the context of an aspiring culture, where one rust is enough to spread the rot and corruption.

The rune merely reveals the scope of action in all its (per)mutation, but does not moralize.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:02 pm

It exposes relationships, without stating a goal.

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:10 pm

Yes.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:01 am

Fehu and the goddess of sovereignty.

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"The Greek Helen of Troy. Her name can be reconstructed *Swelenā ‘mistress of sunlight’, i.e. Dawn."

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"Tejas is a special form of splendour: the sharp, fiery, martial “force of heat and light which emanates from a human or divine personality, externally visible as an aura.” It was in the Ṛgveda used for weapons, but quickly came to take on a broader meaning of ‘energy, fiery glow’."

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Dawn. The churning of nectar. Profusion of names string into a fragrant garland, intoxicating the senses out.

Aura. Accretion of names accrue into armour. Gods of a hundred epithets.

Wealth. Swelling. The expansion of a body of splendor walks ahead of you like spikes. Light stings. People make way.

Name and Fame.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:03 am

Hope is not Odins realm. Odin is home. One either is there, or not. Odin allows no half-heart or wish.

Is there any rune that offers hope? What is hope but weakness? All runes offer knives, fire, graves, storms, cuts, certainty. The flow is of blood, nothing thinner.

This is why they are so hard to penetrate. How does one penetrate a knife?









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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:00 am

Black Panther wrote:
Hope is not Odins realm. Odin is home. One either is there, or not. Odin allows no half-heart or wish.

I was referring to your own words; you should make necessary clarifications on BTL.

FC wrote:
"Ansuz.

The word in the dark, the lines in the sand at the coasts of consciousness, the will of the one who speaks and the one who listens bound as one. The privacy of the gods, the beam of light that falls through the keyhole on the wall and reveals a small part of a great truth. Suggestion that is more powerful than knowledge. Hope, faith, the end of fear-of-fear, fear as a charm, a firefly guiding out of the swamp of safety. Strange trees, jagged hooked and crooked branches, black against the grey mist; lures into the lost-and-found. A light along the way that shouldnt be there and is only seen by oneself. The other travelers seem to follow the same path and yet notice none of its curves. Secret knowledge, decrease of relativity. Densening of perspective. Marriage to ones will-and-imagination. Initiation, a walk in the forest that never ends, Alice in Wonderland, the rabbit hole. Gods, spirits, sounds of crows, the friendly eye of a predator. Branches and leaves and the patterns in which they fall. Divination, runes, magic, release from false and unnecessary protection, freedom, aloneness, Odin."

Who said, "In the beginning was the S(w)ord"?

Germanic first function has Tyr(Sword)-Odin(word),, just as Mitra-Varuna.

Hope is the swelling power and a ray of light that cuts through an aporia. Words are hope in as much they open a Breathing space. The practice of Utiseta or mound/grave-yard/outdoor/cross-road sitting falls under Ansuz.

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"The trick of doing the four-fold breathing thing is to actually extend yourself at the times when you're holding the breath out. You breathe out for four counts, and then you slip further out during the counts before you breathe in again."

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Breathing is not just cleansing, but a slow, steady self-expansion. The art of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] chanting or shamanic throat singing, uses the voice like a steady ladder to ascend up slowly asserting oneself till one permeates and pervades as space, or till one captures the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] of a river or a mountain by catching-up with it. It stretches out the voice of the inner word like a loom of unending thread, till there is generated a life of its own, and one goes back to the inexhaustible source and well-spring of words, the voice of the voice.  

Odin gathered the runes by letting out a scream.

Ansuz, the "Pitch"-fork extracts the intent out of something.

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"Somewhere along the line I discovered that the breathing techniques learned for voice training and the breathing techniques taught by yogic practitioners were not all that different, and could be combined with a form of magic that I later learned was a form of galdr - singing your intent out with your breath."

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"In ancient Icelandic, Utiseta mean "powering down".
The term "inner child" refers to the subconscious. If you treat this child like it does not have a voice, and has an opinion, it will do what any child does. It shuts down, decides that it is unloved, grows depressed. It will stop you from dreaming and feeling those subtle emotions and feelings that it communicates with. This is when Utiseta is most important. The inner child is your only way to hear and feel the messages in our other worlds.
The Ancient Norse used Utisenta to "sit at the crossroads": between the worlds."

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Ansuz as the voice rune, more accurately means, "holding wind", the element of Odin itself:

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"The term "overtone singing" refers to an extraordinary vocal technique in, which a single performer simultaneously produces up to three separate voca1 lines, which can be clearly distinguished by listeners. The Bayad Jamiyan, for instance, recalled People who could be heard over a distance of three kilometres (IN)  The Tuvans in Bayan Olgii aimag used xöömii to "call" yaks ‑ a function which may be connected with this great value placed on carrying power.

It is claimed that several birds produce xöömii ‑type sounds. For instance, the usny buxI bittern keeps its head under water in the lake and produces a sound which can be heard a saaxalt away (Sengedorj IN). The crane (togoruu), said to live for 3,000 years, also has a distinctive call which, when heard, is considered a portent of long life (Bolorma IN). The noise produced by the wings of the snow cock (xoilog), widespread in Mount Jargalant as well as on the lakes, is said to be very like the sound xöömii. Xöömii is sometimes referred to as the 'voice's echo" or "bird's echo".
Mountains. The mountains stand alone in the steppe, seperated  from the main Altai massif. The people of Chandman' sum stress that the sounds heard in the mountains have a special quality, and those who live on Mount Jargalant often discuss the variety of sounds which they hear. For example, they say that sounds are different in the morning from the evening because of a difference in the flow of air (agaaryn ursgal), that common sounds such as rain sound quite different in the mountains, and that there is a particular kind of echo which enables a noise to be heard four or five am.

Mount Jargalant also has a special power. It is said to be able to "hold" the very strong winds which come from the west before releasing them into the steppe below. Sometimes the wind is "held" for four to five hours (Sengedorj) sometimes 24 hours (Tserendavaa INc) and sometimes for as long as three days. During this time the mountain drones or makes a hollow sound (dungenex). The people in the steppe below are thus warned of the impending wind and able to make preparations to meet it. Old people credit the same power to the lake as well. They say that Mount Jargalant and Lake Xar Us Nuur "attract and digest the sound of the wind" (tataj sleingeex). Batchuluian (IN), a horse herder who lives on the steppe between the mountains and the lake, talked of a musical communication which is set up between the two. His father, a very good xöömiich born 100 years ago, told him, "Our mountain and lakes speak to each other in musical language, and that is why people living between do the same."

Chuluun used to perform a melody on his morin xuur Called "The River Eev” or "The flow of the River Eev" producing xöömii at the same time. He said that this melody represented the sound of the River Eev which was connected with the origin of xöömii and with the playing of the tsuur. Xöömii said Chuluun is an interpretation of the sounds of the River Eev in the mind of the xöömiich.
The sounds of this river also had a magical effect. They lured animals to the water to drink but then bewitched them, causing them to fall in (Margad IN, Tserendavaa INb). They also had the power to entrance people. For example, the tale was told of a young girl who went to the river to get water: once she heard the melody of the river she remained there all day, forgetting her mission (Tseveen IN). Samdan (IN) maintained that people born by the River Eev became very good singers and very beautiful people.

When demonstrating the sounds produced in "the old tme", Purev growled impressively from deep in the chest, using the very low fundamental AA, and referred to it as xargaraa. He also admitted that the stream of air goes through three places‑the nose, lips and throat‑and stated that this is how the terms xamryn (of the nose), amny xendii (of the mouth cavity) and xooloin xöömii (of the throat) have arisen."

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"The legends narrate that Tuvan learnt to sing Khomei to establish a contact andassimilate their power trough the imitation of natural sounds. Tuvan people believe in factthat the sound is the way preferred by the spirits of nature to reveal themselves and tocommunicate with the other living beings.
What is so wonderful in Throat-Singing? It is the appearance of one of the harmonicpartials that discloses the secret musical nature of each sound. When in Throat-Singing thevoice splits in two different sounds, we experience the unusual sensation of a pure,discarnate, sine wave emerging from the sound. It is the same astonishment we feel whenwe see a rainbow, emerging from the white light, or a laser beam for the first time. The Throat-Singing allows extracting the notes of a natural melody from the body of the sound itself.

The hearing mechanisms organize the stream of perceptive data belonging to differentcomponents of different sounds, according to psychoacoustics and Gestalt principles. The “grouping by harmonicity”, for example, allows the fusion in the same sound of thefrequency partials, which are multiples of a common fundamental. The “common fate” principle tells that we integrate the components of a complex sound, which show the same amplitude and frequency behaviour (i.e. similar modulation and microvariation, similarattack and decay, similar vibrato, etc.). If one of these partials reveals a particular evolution (i.e. it is mistuned or has not the same frequency and amplitude modulation, etc.), it will be heard as a separate sound. So the Throat-Singing is a marvelous example to understand the illusory nature of perception and the musical structure of the sound."

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"Some are dream images inspired from being out on the land, a practice which Moss refers to as  utiseta or ‘out, sitting for wisdom’, divining knowledge in the ancient Nordic way.  Others seem to come from deep within her psyche, slowly maturing and nurtured over the years.

Finally, utiseta usually involves sitting outside on a seidrhjallr, a seidr platform or high seat. Odin’s Hlidskjalf (open platform or tower?) is hisseidrhjallr from which he can see the entire world."

Quote :
"Another personal means of expression is the outdoor sitting (útiseta), It is said of the seeress or the volva in the Edda:

"Ein sat hon títi She was sitting alone outdoors,
ßá er hin aldni kom. when the Old man came."

(Vsp. st. 28)

The Norwegian expert Gro Steinsland declares outdoor sitting to be "a technical term for foreboding" (Steinsland 1979, 139)."

Quote :
"The first known Greek writer to mention a sibyl is Heraclitus, in the 5th century BC:

"The Sibyl, with frenzied mouth uttering things not to be laughed at, unadorned and unperfumed, yet reaches to a thousand years with her voice by aid of the god."

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The "mound-sitting" of the hermit under the mound/hood is more brooding, than the mound-sitting of the Wanderer/gangleri, which is a "hunch" [etym., spear-"tip"], pre-sentiment of the howling heart.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:31 pm

Thank you Lyssa.

As you know I am only recently embarked on the journey into the runes, after working for 13 years to become worthy. And my entries on BTL are tentative, my first depth explorations. I still get important things wrong, I feel that. But as Bill said, no man can Fully Know the Runes.

It is my honor to honestly err before Odin. He is the bleeding god who not forgives but loves mistakes. I feel I can say this safely now. Now that I have grown strong by my own mistakes, and wanderings - far stronger than those who do not wander bleed and err can become or desire to be.

Hail Hagalaz! But you caught that in code did you not. It was for you anyway.

I will not go back on my first steps but simply make a new entry, when the power knocks. No, when it whispers in my ear.
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:25 pm

before getting a tattoo much to learn about what to inscript the skin with reminding the spirit to strive and re-learning to read the Futhark; an oath is not to be taken with ease.

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:58 pm

Nebel Zaurerer wrote:
Odin is lord of the Mannerbunde, of which one of their principle practices is untiing with their ancestors. Their dead ancestors. Not only communicating with them, but becoming their ancestors, though in living bodies, they become the dead -- all of their past selves untied into one. This is the secret of gaining your Hammingja, and is as old (or older) than the stone-age bear cults. It goes back to Rudra (who is the vedic Odin, they are teh same deity.

Rudra was later watered down to become Shiva, because Rudra and his practices were too dark for the budding Hindus.

If people understood what Odin really was, instead of their sky-daddy, most of them would shit themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:03 pm



Including subtitles



Quote :
We live in an era of over-consumption. Under conditions when consumption and attempt to get a few unnecessary things grab your whole mind, any moves in this direction will deprive you of Power. Weaklings hide from the problems, veil their eyes with mind altering substances. And only the strong draw energy for self-development in a source of strength. The main ally, which is designed to give a person the strength and durability to withstand all the destructive temptations - Nature. Nature will help you to see the right way, on the right way man needs a Will, the ability to master all the powers on one mission without spending too much energy on empty and unnecessary things. Physical Development and Sports teach self-control, self-discipline, without these qualities we are defenceless against the spiritual filth. He who conquered himself, his weakness and cowardice, he has already won, he is already on the right way. TV will show you degradation of the body and mind, and the new movie "Under the programme Father Frost 2016" will show you where and how draw Strength of Spirit and body those who are committed to the development and creation.

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:30 pm

Love these quotes, I use them often.

Satyr wrote:
''.... For Pagans it is nobility, the connection of self to ancestry, to reality, the spirit that refuses to go on living without dignity, honesty, honor.
God, the gods, for the pagans are not some vague abstraction detached from reality, and their morals reflect this.
Pagan gods begin as a worshiping of dead ancestors, manifesting as self.
When a pagan prayed to his ancestors it was to himself, for they participate in his becoming as genetic memory, as DNA.
When he honored his ancestors he honored himself, and when he respected himself he respected his ancestors.
So when he did not want to shame his ancestry he was holding himself accountable in relation to them.
And what are ancestors but past?


Then gods became anthropomorphic representations of natural processes, and those the pagan worshiped because they made him possible.
The past took on a broader perspective, because past = nature - the sum of all previous nurturing.


Nobility finds its meaning here.
To be true to self is to be true to your past.
True to your past is to hold yourself accountable before nature, the sum of all nurturing.
True to your past means your object/objective will not dishonor, or detach from it, nor will this object/objective negate, ignore, forget, this past/nature.


Nobility means to refuse to live without your core principles: honor, dignity, freedom, awareness, honesty...and to hold yourself accountable.
It is refine and discriminate, sharpening your sense of self, your identity.''


''The pagan man, the natural man, wants to take a woman and turn her from sex object, from means to self-gratification, into a mother, a means towards legend.
The Modern man takes woman and wants to retain her as sex object, as means to his own ephemeral gratification, or takes mother and wants to reduce her, like a nihilistic miser, to sexual object, even to her sons.
This is Freud, another Jew dominating western psychology.
To understand why children, especially males, are shamed away from mother, and approach father as a sexual competitor, and how this diminishes human power, you must first understand nihilism and its most vocal proponents.
In traditional families it was the female who entered into the male's clan, as a subordinate mother, to the maternal head.
In modern "marriages" of convenience, the male is expected to first break away from his family, and then become subordinated to her family’s hierarchies, no matter how dysfunctional these might be.
The male is subordinated to the father figure, which most often is subordinated to the mother, with the alpha-male, figurehead being the institution, the system.
The male is not only detached from his heritage, which he is supposed to be the representative of when his own father dies, but he becomes a representative of a representative which has no clout, no connection to anything other than the alpha-male abstraction of institution, to which he is expected to submit to and live-up to.


The process of decline can be found in Christianity where the God, the monopoly of alpha-maleness, is placed above father, as is seen in the Abrahamic tale of emasculation.
Christ takes his disciples away from their families, and tells them this is the only way they can be saved – an anti-family position where family is considered a subordination to a male other than the father figure, the corporeal real man.
In paganism the male was a direct, real, corporeal representation of his entire clan, in Nihilistic structures the male is a nothing; another female beneath the only One male.
He is second even to the female because unlike her he cannot be this alpha male’s means, except as a fertile womb for the shared memes.


The absence of blood lines, of cultural and genetic homogeneity has made the search for the shared lowest-common-denominator a concern among lost, emasculated males with no sense of self, no blood connections and no self-knowledge.
With no father figure to respect and look up to, and prepare to replace, they seek the absolute authority outside self, in the before and the after.


With no solid father figure to connect the boy to his past/nature, and give his existence meaning, stability, direction, the boy turns to mother, wanting to be the father of himself.
In the absence of a mother he becomes woman himself, a stray womb looking for fertilization; to be someone's means to an end, displaying the cynicism of the stringently critical, looking for perfection to deal with their emasculation and need to be mind-fucked until complete, absolute, fullness.
Some emasculated males find their alpha in an idea(l) and surrender to its authority completely...the ones who do not, or cannot, roam from idea(l) to idea(l) seeing the fallibility in all so as to not bend over to them: some dive into being mind-whores, others resist, wanting to save themselves for the perfect one.
The last, being not fully matures males, and not fully awake females, settle for the cynical path of 'freedom" from all; lost in space/time.
This lostness is what they call "liberty".
They laugh at everything and everything.
Their artistry is found in the thumb on nose.''
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:34 pm

Yr.

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"iris, bow, rainbow, yew wood bow, error, anger, and so on." [Gv.L]

Nietzsche wrote:
"Only the strongest can bend its bow so taut— —” [BGE / KSA 5, 242]

The yr rune is the inverted Algiz rune, and were used by the Nazis to symbolize death and life respectively.

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Byron wrote of the two trees - one of life and one of knowledge as inversions of each other, a motif that runs through Heraclitus' sleep and wakefulness, as much as the Upanishads:

Byron wrote:
"My slumbers—if I slumber—are not sleep,
But a continuance of enduring thought,        
Which then I can resist not: in my heart
There is a vigil, and these eyes but close
To look within; and yet I live, and bear
The aspect and the form of breathing men.
But grief should be the instructor of the wise;        
Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most
Must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth,
The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life. " [Byron, Manfred, Act I, Scene I]


In cosmic beliefs, where the cosmos was taken to be a sacred and stable order, the fleeting nature of the world in flux was considered the Error, as erroneous as the unstable mind of the feminine nature… fickle, following its own path, flowing 'aimlessly', the mutability of the moon and fortune…
GvL. says of the Error/Yr rune:

\"GvL. wrote:
""A sixteenth I speak to a coy maiden to get me goodness and luck:
that changes and turns the wishes and mind of the swan white armed beauty."

The yr rune or error rune, which causes confusion, whether through the excitement of the passions in love, in play, in drink (intoxication), or through pretexts of speech (sophistry) or by whatever other means will perhaps conquer resistance through confusion. But the success of a victory gained by such means is just as illusory as the victory itself -- for it brings anger, wild rage, and ultimately madness. The yr rune or error rune therefore also contrasts with the os rune, since it tries to force the conquest of an opponent with mere pretext instead of with real reasons. Therefore it teaches: Think about the end!" [Secret of the Runes]


The sophistry of the feminine or the Actor has a beguiling nature…
Which can be both good and bad, for without "illusions" of "stability", there would be no sense of self, or unity or culture, or any organizing instinct that works by fixing abstractions.
Errors are not only life-sustaining, but also life-advancing:

Nietzsche wrote:
"Increase in "dissimulation" proportionate to the rising order of rank of creatures. It seems to be lacking in the inorganic world-- power against power, quite crudely-cunning begins in the organic world; plants are already masters of it. The highest human beings, such as Caesar, Napoleon (Stendhal's remark on him)," also the higher races (Italians), the Greeks (Odysseus); a thousandfold craftiness belongs to the essence of the enhancement of man- Problem of the actor.

My Dionysus ideal- The perspective of all organic functions, all the strongest instincts of life: the force in all life that wills error; error as the precondition even of thought. Before there is "thought" there must have been "invention"; the construction of identical cases, of the appearance of sameness, is more primitive than the knowledge of sameness." [WTP, 544]

Here, N. is also careful to differentiate that from the errors of the "hunger artists":

Nietzsche wrote:
"It was suffering and incapacity that created all Hinterwelten—this and that brief madness of bliss which is experienced only by those who suffer most deeply.

Weariness that wants to reach the ultimate with one leap, with one fatal leap, a poor ignorant weariness that does not want to will any more: this created all gods and Hinterwelten." [TSZ]


Creative barbarians who are transgressors and criminals who make wither old orders, and cause havoc and disasters and costly errors beyond any rationality of loss/gain, pain/pleasure, are as life-advancing of a species' evolution as bottled-up excess only sublimate into rage-banks and lower forms of cunning and petty seduction. Terribleness as part and parcel of greatness, means to desire life For all its painful and undesirable and unpleasant elements, and not just Despite it.

A culture manages to grow only whenever breaches made into a dying civilization and its old forms shattered, is followed by a renewal of a newer and stronger health, like injured skin managing to rejuvenate again. A shift in epicentres building around new standards of values and spawning a new cycle. Excessive errors have killed many a civilization.

Such insights are what led N. to see the punishment of the criminal-hero Prometheus for his Error of "inventing" fire [mythologically "stealing" fire from the gods] as a cosmic justice.
For every Error committed upon and into nature and godly knowledge, one paid for those errors of one's ungodly wisdom.

N. saw in it, how a Prometheus without a Zeus, how an inventive artist without a reality principle would have to prove fatal:

Nietzsche wrote:
"The myth of Prometheus presupposes the unbounded value which naïve humanity placed on fire as the true palladium of every rising culture; but it struck those contemplative original men as a crime, a theft perpetrated on divine nature, to believe that man commanded fire freely, rather than receiving it as a gift from heaven, as a bolt of lightning which could start a blaze, or as the warming fire of the sun. Thus the very first philosophical problem presents a painful, irresolvable conflict between god and man, and pushes it like a mighty block of rock up against the threshold of every culture." [BT, 9]

Nietzsche wrote:
"Did Prometheus first have to imagine having stolen light and pay for it before he could finally discover that he had created light by desiring light, and that not only man but also god was the work of his own hands and clay in his hands? All mere images of the sculptor – no less than delusion, theft, the Caucasus, the vulture, and the whole tragic Prometheia of all those who know."[JW, 300]

Nietzsche wrote:
"Man, rising to Titanic stature, gains culture by his own efforts and forces the gods to enter into an alliance with him because in his very own wisdom he holds their existence and their limitations in his hands. But what is most wonderful in this Prometheus poem, which in its basic idea is the veritable hymn of impiety, is the profoundly Aeschylean demand for justice. The immeasurable suffering of the bold “individual” on the one hand and the divine predicament and intimation of a twilight of the gods on the other, the way the power of these two worlds of suffering compels a reconciliation, a metaphysical union — all this recalls in the strongest possible manner the center and main axiom of the Aeschylean view of the world which envisages Moira enthroned above the gods and men as eternal justice." [BT]

Nietzsche wrote:
"In view of the astonishing audacity with which Aeschylus places the Olympian world on the scales of his justice, we must call to mind that the profound Greek possessed an immovably firm foundation for metaphysical thought in his mysteries, and all his skeptical moods could be vented against the Olympians. The Greek artist in particular had an obscure feeling of mutual dependence when it came to the gods; and precisely in the Prometheus of Aeschylus this feeling is symbolized. In himself the Titanic artist found the defiant faith that he had the ability to create men and at least destroy Olympian gods, by means of his superior wisdom which, to be sure, he had to atone for with eternal suffering." [BT]

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In mythology, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] is the goddess of the rain-bow, which was seen as a beguiling taut bow of the gods, punishes madness upon the hero Heracles.

Errors are costly.
One pays for them with life and sanity.

The Yr rune or the Error or Death rune is more properly the rune of the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Yrrrr…. R….. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

Its not a well known fact, that the real meaning of a Hero, goes back to the ancient cult of the Gk. Heros, figures of excess who "arose from the dead" and confines of inert matter, dead bodies, buried earth, and broke and burst open those "limits"… much like a new star from the ashes of a dying civilization.

When the Nazi occultists and "Totenkopfs" revered the Yr as the death rune, it was that kind of "heroism" and ancestral cults Yrrr-rupting.

What is left of the word Hero today is yet again another proof of modern sanitization at work or our own cultural oblivion, cleaning away all the dark aspects. Dumezil's books attest to how much Heroism had to do with "pollution", like the berserker Cuchulain had to be cooled down in 3 vats of water before he could re-enter and be re-integrated again into civilization, from the deathly-excess accrued to him.

"The Blond Beast prowling about…"  could have been an apt description that fit the "Heroic" figure of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Incidentally, while the recent film Revenant portrayed a story of a father avenging his son, Sophocles' play is of a son avenging his father… both as Wandering, prowling Ghosts…
What brings the film and the ancient tragic play together is a contest of Two kinds of 'Survivals'; life within life [the rational], and the life beyond life [the Yrrr-rational]…

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Yrrr… all parts of the yew are poison. As is all ungodly wisdom.

While some see the Yr as downwards, it is an arrow pointed upwards from the depths...

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Heroism means to be able to come back from the dead.

Yr means the Ab-Origin-al.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:33 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:59 pm

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G+ wrote:
Festive and eternal cyclic myth. Beneath the city, the rustic dead. Beneath our civilization, our 'barbarian' origins. But the wild, too, is sacred. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:08 pm

"...The isolated “glance into the horrible” – what we may refer to as tragic seeing – is transfigured into a radiant picture of enchantment – what we may call Dionysian seeing: “A lightning flash. Dionysus becomes visible in emerald beauty.” Cosmological confusion is thus limited through the reestablishment of a cosmic (vertical) axis. No longer a reflection of Titanic isolation and horror, the image becomes a source of earthly and heavenly union: “the genius of heart…to lie placid as a mirror, that the deep sky may be reflected in it.”" -"Nietzsche: The Meaning of Earth"

Shakespeare wrote:
A station like the herald Mercury / New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:30 pm

Quote :
The study of ancient myth is more often than not a tedious task which leaves the reader with problems of interpretation at the basic level. The basic level would leave the reader with knowledge of the texts in that they understand plotlines and characters but would not allow for an understanding of the text in the way that it (the oral stories) were understood in the past. As a result, the reader is left seeking interpretive theories of myth from philosophers or other authors. However, the amount of ways that exist to interpret myths show that there is no clear answer to what the purpose of myths were and in turn there is no knowledge of how these myths were actually interpreted. Perhaps the logical solution would be to place these myths in a worldwide context, comparing them with different "religions" of the traditional world, contrasting them with early understandings of Hinduism, Buddhism, and pre-Christian European beliefs. This was the work of Julius Evola, an Italian philosopher from the twentieth century who found patterns in traditional ways of living which provides some answers to the obscurity of myth. By applying Evola's thought processes to Celtic myth it will be possible to have a clearer understanding of what these stories held for people and how they were interpreted at the time.

Before analyzing the subject matter it is first necessary to explain what Evola thought of modern attempts to describe and recreate ancient paganism. Evola refuses to accept the word pagan itself as it is a Christian oversight in the definition of these ancient "faiths".1 The word pagan comes from the Latin paganus which can be translated to something like village.2 As a result the labeling of faiths as pagan was for Christian authors to say that these faiths were village beliefs, they were primitive and beneath Christianity.3 Following this scheme, Evola would argue that a literal belief of pagan faiths, of multiple deities or of natural (Earth, Sun, Moon gods etc...) was an oversimplified view of the traditional beliefs. This Christian view sought to prove that pagan myths were absurd.4 Indeed, many of the stories in myths seem preposterous. This however, is only if one is to take a literal Christian interpretation that was used to discredit traditional faiths.5 If one is to delve deeper into the symbolism of the stories and myths, various patterns emerge that seem less "primitive" and more "divine". Studying two short myths this trend will hopefully become evident to the reader.

In the Adventure of Cormac, Cormac is in Liathdruim and is approached by an old warrior with a tree branch that had three apples on it.6 Cormac wants the branch because it makes sweet music (which puts the rest of Ireland to sleep) and offers the warrior any three things that he wants in exchange.7 The warrior takes Cormac's daughter, son, and wife.8 When the warrior takes Cormac's wife, Cormac is outraged and follows the warrior.9 Cormac thus finds himself on a spiritual journey, he passes a stronghold that has warriors of the sid gather feathers for the top of a house but they do not fasten them.10 The warriors then must continue the process (as the feathers keep falling off) eternally.11 In the next phase of the journey Cormac sees a warrior building a fire, the warrior only deposits a log in each time and then leaves to fetch another one.12 By the time that the warrior returns with the new log the old one was burned and the warrior had to continue this cycle eternally.13 The last part of this journey contains a well which is beautiful and the sound of the falling of the streams is described as "sweeter than any music".14 Following this Cormac meets the warrior at his house who vaguely explains the journey and returns Cormac's daughter, son, and wife.15 Evola would immediately notice the similarities between this story and methods of super consciousness described in early Zen Buddhism.16 Cormac is shown the endless cycle (Samsara) which results from the failure of the attainment of a super consciousness which joins with the conscious mind to destroy the subconcuious.17 This would subsequently destroy the cycle and lead the person into Nirvana, a high state of being in the world.18 Without spiritual guidance the warriors kindling the fire are doomed to the same material cycle for the rest of their lives, without spiritual guidance the dead warriors of the sid are doomed to repeat their same cycle almost infinitely. These cycles, in general relate to the wider understanding of time as cyclical before the introduction of Judaic faiths.19 As such this cyclical understanding is almost lost to a modern reader. Furthermore, seeing as Cormac is king it is known that in ancient societies there was no division between a priestly and noble class.20 To be a noble was to have a higher level of divinity and to be closer to the "invisible world". This is true of ancient India when the caste system served the purposes of instilling faith from the higher clasess.21 Since Cormac was the king he needed to have knowledge of the invisible world and have a transcendental experience (not going below as in the Latin but rising above) to permit him to act as a spiritual gateway for his subjects so that they did not get stuck in the cycles of samsara.22 A loose connection also exists in that Cormac is betrayed in his desire to obtain a man made material object (the branch with apples) which subdued his (and presumably Ireland's) spirituality. When Cormac heard the sound of the streams, which are made by nature, it is noted that this was more beautiful than any other sound on the Earth (including the branch). This flows into Evola's writings in Revolt Against the Modern World but the connection is not substantial enough for it to be a concrete example of nature (invisible world) having a higher level of divinity than man.

Another example is found in the story of Niall. Niall is born by his father, the King of Ireland, to another woman.23 As such he has four half brothers than were born to the Queen of Ireland.24 After being abandoned Niall is fostered by what seems to be a spiritual guardian in that he is told to have prophesized Niall's future.25 Niall eventually returns and the five brothers go on a hunting trip.26 During the hunting trip all five brothers are in need of water and each go to search for water on their own.27 Each encounter an old dreadful woman who wants a kiss in exchange for water.28 All refuse the water except for the fourth brother who gets a small prize and Niall who lays with the woman.29 The woman transforms into a beautiful lady and turns out to be the goddess of soverignty.30 She then bestows the knowledge Niall needs to be king.31 The concept of a sovereignty goddess is one that is common to many ancient faiths in that it is seen that the woman had a level of wisdom that the man did not.32 To achieve spiritual satisfaction and to act as a spiritual bridge in the form of a king between the subjects and the invisible world the king needed the knowledge of a woman.33 The old woman here falls into this ancient virtue that holds women up to high esteem. The second example that may be found is that the king, who was a spiritual bond for the visible and invisible world, needed to be the "right" king in order for the land to flourish. As the land is dependent on invisible forces in the traditional world, a secular king, a king who was not a bridge between the people would result in the land being fallow. Thus the goddess of sovereignty is old when Niall meets her, the current king is not the right king and the land thus must be suffering.34 So too, is the goddess of sovereignty suffering. However, after Niall lays with her the rightful kingship is returned and she (and most likely the land) return to their youthful form.35

There are countless examples which one can find in Celtic myth and in any traditional myth that can be viewed through Evola's lens. What makes Evola's perspective different from other philosophers is that Evola focuses on the representations and patterns between ancient societies. There are countless examples of the same metaphor in other faiths before the spread of Judaic religion that speak to a common understanding of most of the worlds populations of the invisible world and how to communicate with it. Unfortunately, most ancient traditions fell into disarray with the onset of civilization, and science was seen as the new way to interpret ancient religions. Rejecting modern "scientific" analyses of traditional myth, Evola uses what he believes to be the traditional framework (mindset) in reconstructing the meaning behind myth, ritual, and sacrifice. As a result, Evola's works are held in high regard by modern students of traditional faiths.

Skald Sigfusson

Endnotes

1. Julius Evola, and Annemarie Rasch, Grundrisse Der Faschistischen Rassenlehre. Berlin: Runge, 1943.

2. Julius Evola, and Annemarie Rasch, Grundrisse Der Faschistischen Rassenlehre. Berlin: Runge, 1943.

3. Julius Evola, and Annemarie Rasch, Grundrisse Der Faschistischen Rassenlehre. Berlin: Runge, 1943.

4. Julius Evola, and Annemarie Rasch, Grundrisse Der Faschistischen Rassenlehre. Berlin: Runge, 1943.

5. Julius Evola, and Annemarie Rasch, Grundrisse Der Faschistischen Rassenlehre. Berlin: Runge, 1943.

6. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 184.

7. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 184.

8. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 185.

9. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 185.

10. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 185.

11. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 185.

12. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 185

13. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 185.

14. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 185.

15. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 187.

16. Julius Evola, "The Meaning and Context of Zen." Radical Traditionalist Philosophy and Metaphysics.

17. Julius Evola, "The Meaning and Context of Zen." Radical Traditionalist Philosophy and Metaphysics.

18. Julius Evola, "The Meaning and Context of Zen." Radical Traditionalist Philosophy and Metaphysics.

19. Julius Evola, Revolt against the Modern World. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 1995, 3 - 7.

20. Julius Evola, Revolt against the Modern World. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 1995, 7 - 29.

21. Julius Evola, Revolt against the Modern World. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 1995, 21 - 29.

22. Julius Evola, "The Meaning and Context of Zen." Radical Traditionalist Philosophy and Metaphysics.

23. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 203.

24. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 203.

25. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 203 - 204.

26. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 205.

27. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 205 - 206.

28. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 205 - 206.

29. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 206.

30. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 206.

31. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 206 - 207.

32. Julius Evola, Revolt against the Modern World. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 1995, 7 - 16.

33. Julius Evola, Revolt against the Modern World. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 1995, 7 - 16.

34. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 206.

35. John Carey, and John T. Koch, eds. and trans, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 3rd ed. Oakville, CT and Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2000, 206.


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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:39 pm

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The first 3 are the older or sick and they set the pace of the group. If it was on the contrary, they would be left behind and lost contact with the pack. In ambush case they would be sacrificed. The following are the 5 strongest. In the center follow the remaining members of the pack, and at the end of the group follow the other 5 stronger. Last, alone, follows the alpha wolf. It controls everything from the rear. That position can control the whole group, decide the direction to follow and anticipate the attacks of opponents. The pack follows the rhythm of the elders and the head of the command that imposes the spirit of mutual help not leaving anyone behind.

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:17 am


Yes, the process of spieciation happens gradually, slowly genetically distancing one population from another, and until a total separation occurs to where reproductive mixing is no longer possible, intermediate stages allow a reversion back to the common ancestor.
Asses and horses, pumas and leopards, sheep and goats, grizzlies with polar bears and so on.
The stage before this is where we place dog breeds, and human races.

It is the stage before a separate species can be given a new name, which is the stage before a total genetic rupture is established - the past/nature manifesting as presence/appearance.
Some will claim, from a position of weakness, that mixing and reversion is a "good" thing, feeling unhappy with their own presence, or wanting to return to a uniformity in the past, idealized as "better than the undesirable present.  
The theory implies that reversion will recombine the best elements of what has been cultivated as apparent divergence, essentially watering down the entire period that manifested in divergence - all the environmental conditioning, nurturing, that gave one population different organic potentials.
It is a wishful thought to believe that nature cares or has some secret consciousness that selects the "best", which would include intellectual potential.
A thought solidly rooted in Christian, and Marxist progress.
The belief implies that there is some hidden will, some secret order, some divine consciousness, that prefers higher order to lower order, because it loves and values itself, before it is even in existence, or that it is in fact existing because it loves and values itself.
In such a belief system the positive is already presumed as evident, as self-evident, requiring, only to be proven, to be validated by awareness - enlightenment is this (re)cognition of what is already valuable, lovable, intelligent, aware, seeking its own self in the universe.

Mixing becomes a return to a unity, which has fragmented, for some reason - most likely because of evil, or ignorance, or bad luck.
The cosmos in flux, leading to the circumstances of genetic isolation and environmental conditioning, stressing each population to diverge, are considered "bad" events that must be "corrected" by us wise, enlightened, humans, returning, as it were, to higher order, connecting us back to the singularity of the cosmic event that exploded, due to some evil, some badness.
Intercourse becomes a sacred ritual returning all to their primordial unity - erasing centuries of suffering, of differences, of conflicting goods - sex as a loving embrace of our shared value, our common denominator.
Our species mission is to noetically return, using our imagination, and using our wise interventions, to this past, though we will call it an immanent future, to agree with our self-identifying progress towards the Utopian future - Paradise returned to earth.

These separated species find communion in their mixing - an affirmation of their common, singular, identity.
A promising spiritual event, returning us back to a uniformity easing differences, conflict, competitions, antagonism, war, struggle....final peace in a singular life, reflecting the Divine one's mind; a world where each one chooses his/her own identity, and it means no more than that: a consumer choice, a fashion statement, a recyclable symbol, for the single race, the single species, to play with, creatively ascending towards god's sacred promise.
Yes, "god is dead"...or they have prematurely declared him so.

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:19 pm

Gibor

GvL. wrote:
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"ge = gift, giver, the Nordic God, earth; death, and so on.

Gibor altar is still contained in the place name Gibraltar, a name for which the derivation from Arabic gibil tarik is as impossible as it can be; Gib(o)raltar was a temple site consecrated to the Nordic God, the All Begetter by the Vandals at the southern extreme of Spain) -- the Nordic God, the All Begetter! -- the Nordic God is the giver, and the earth receives his gifts. But the earth is not only the receiver, she is also in turn a giver. The primal word is gi, or ge; in it lies the idea of arising (to give), but it also indicates being, in the idea of the gift, and passing away to new arising, in the idea of going. This primal word gi or ge can now be connected to other primal and root words, a few examples of which follow. In connection with the primal word fa as: gifa, gefa, gea, geo, it indicates the gift begetting earth, and with bar or bor, burn, spring, the gift burn the Nordic God. As gigeur (the gift goes back to the Primeval), in Gigur, the gift destroying frost giant, who becomes a personification of death and later of the devil, appears to be named.

By the idea word gigas (gigeas: the gift goes out of the mouth, out of the source) the fiddle (Geige) is understood. This is the old skaldic magical instrument of awakening which introduced the song, and since song (bar) also means life, the fiddle was one of the many ideographs (hieroglyphs, symbols) of rebirth, and it is for this reason that it is often found in graves as a sacred gift. Therefore it is not necessarily so that the dead man in whose grave a fiddle is found was a fiddle player. Flutes and fiddles enticed people to dance, to the excitement of love, and were therefore banned by the church -- with its ascetic temperament -- because they served as magical instruments to arouse the human fyr, fire, of love. So the church replaced the Wotanic symbol of awakening with the Christian symbol of awakening, the trumpet of judgement." [The Secret of the Runes]


Gibor is the symbol of the perfect balance and sacrifice, that every gift-giving partnership is. The spiritual flame rising and raising things upwards. Gibor in reverse signifies greed, and the 'fall', depression, pressure that sucks and wipes you out totally when in excess of that right measure. This is why the custom of the Potlatch - the sacrificial excess was dangerous, whether given or received; Mauss went into detail of how the other word for gift was poison. Knowing where to stop, where little becomes much, and a bit more becomes ruin, shows the precariousness in tight-rope walking.

When speaking of the flute, the Orphic tragedy of not just stopping there and turning back, harkens back to the Delphic 'Nothing in Excess'.
Music can become wet, and drown you down, instead of whetting you up.

Related to this is the "fair cup", or as it was called "the cup of justice" by Pythagoras.

Quote :
"The Pythagorean cup is a form of drinking cup which is a deep sense of control measures of a drink. Creating a bowl ranked among the discoveries of Pythagoras of Samos. The uniqueness of the bowl of Pythagoras in a fairly simple principle that works as a mechanism of the valve filling the cup up to a certain level you can drink its contents as a regular cup but that’s as soon as we overfill the liquid over the mark level of the cup all of its contents follows through a hole located at bottom of the bowl. "Tradition says Pythagoras, during water supply works in Samos around 530 BC moderated the workers' wine drinking by inventing the 'fair cup'. When the wine surpasses the line, the cup totally empties, so the greedy one is punished."

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In the second video, the false philotimo wrt. "austerity measures", foreign aid, in the greek economic "depression" is metaphorized through the Pythagorean cup:








Gibor in reverse shows the power of Vir/tu(e).

Vir/tu demands right measure. The Buddhist noble 8-fold path of "right" seeing, "right" thinking, etc. shows this vir/ile spirit and vir/gin measure.
Ge - gaia, earth, virgo is the sign of sacrifice and meticulous, care-full measure.

Nietzsche wrote:
"Oh, those Greeks! They understood how to live. What you need for that is to be brave and stop at the surface, the fold, the skin, to worship appearance, to believe in forms, tones, words, the whole Olympus of appearance. Those Greeks were superficial - out of profundity… And isn't this precisely what we are coming back to? - we spiritual adventurers, who have scaled the highest and most dangerous peak of today's thought and looked round from up there, looked down from up there. Aren't we, then, precisely - Greeks?" [JW, Preface]

Superficial: "from super "above, over" + facies "form, face". Meaning "not deep, without thorough understanding, cursory, comprehending only what is apparent or obvious"."

Gibor in reverse: Pay attention to the ob-vious; "via" - way, road, path… methods.
Quality changes with quantity.

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*


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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:23 pm

In Dutch: Geven (giving), geeft (gives), gift (gift), gegeven (had given).



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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:19 am

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:34 am



This man just understands it against all academic decadence; he really has a good vision of making simple connections without the need for ''severe'' studies and theories.
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:44 pm

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This is the first of two essays dealing with the Germanic cosmology. Only in the second essay will I actually discuss the details of that cosmology, as presented in the Eddas and other sources, and offer an interpretation of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:41 am

Some interesting bits on Zeus.

Quote :
"The marriage of Zeus and Hera is a way of restarting the clock. It is what we refer to as a hieros gamos, a ‘sacred marriage’ which can be ritually enacted." [Ken Dowden, Zeus]



Quote :
"Zeus does not send rain, he actually rains. So, in Aristophanes’ comedy, Clouds, the simpleton Strepsiades is confronted by a wonderfully overdrawn sophistic Socrates and cannot understand how Socrates can claim that Zeus does not exist:

Quote :
Soc.: What Zeus? Don’t talk nonsense at me. There is no Zeus.

STREPS.: What do you mean? Who rains then? That’s what you can tell me for starters.

Aristophanes, Clouds 367f.

It is also traditional that he ‘lightens’, i.e. himself does lightning as we see in Homer:

Quote :
As when the husband of Hera with her lovely hair lightens making a large and awesome rainstorm or hail
or blizzard when snow sprinkles the ploughland . . .

Homer, Iliad 10.5–7

Quote :
As when from the high peak of a great mountain
lightning-gatherer Zeus stirs a dense cloud
and all the peaks and jutting crags shine out
and the glens, and the awesome aither is torn apart from heaven down . . .

Iliad 16.297–300

The electricity of the sky is awesome and invites cult. Places where lightning struck were very special and practically showed the god descending. In Arcadia we find fifth-century BC inscriptions dedicat- ing a spot to Zeus Keraunos, ‘Zeus lightning’ or Zeus Storpaos, ‘Zeus of lightning’ (IG V 2.288, 64). Elsewhere you might find Zeus Astrapaios, or Keraunios (‘of lightning’, both), or Keraunobolos (‘lightning thrower’), or Kataibates, ‘descending’, or, at Gytheion (Laconia) Kappotas, ‘falling’. At Gytheion a stone was on display in the second century AD, which in our modern mythology we call a meteor." [Dowden, Zeus]



Quote :
"When we think of oracles we think of Apollo and Delphi. But Zeus too had oracles, at Dodona and Olympia. We first hear of Dodona from Achilles as he prays to a very distinctive Zeus:

Quote :
Zeus lord, Dodonaian, Pelasgian, dwelling afar,
ruling over wintry Dodona; and around you the Selloi
dwell, the interpreters, unwashed their feet, their bed on the ground!

Iliad 16.233–5

This is the principal oracle of Zeus in classical times. The Selloi are an archaic priesthood, bound by ancestral tabus. Their unmediated contact with the ground has a number of parallels including those with the equally antique and tabu-ridden priest of Jupiter in Rome, the Flamen Dialis. The site itself goes back a long way: remnants have been found of Late Mycenaean pottery and of wooden huts.46 Here, thanks to the rustling of Zeus’s sacred Oak and the work of the Doves, presumably priestesses, the will of Zeus and his wife Dione may be ascertained by states or by those who wondered whether to keep sheep, emigrate or find a stolen piece of cloth. At least they might find out which god or hero it is best to pray to.

Oracles, however, are an unusual tool in Zeus’s otherwise indirect and distant management of the universe. The oracle at Olympia was dead by the time of Pausanias (c. AD 150) and only appears once or twice in the historical record, though these mentions are interesting.

Every nine years the Spartan ephors would watch the skies for a shooting star and, if they saw one, suspend the kings until an oracle from Delphi or Olympia allowed them to resume. This echoes the way in which every nine years Minos had to converse with Zeus. Kingship is something that runs out and needs to be restored from its source, Zeus.

A king is also diotrephes – nourished by Zeus, reared and made into who he is by Zeus.

Greeks were sensitive to the point at which the fortune of battle shifted or turned. The word for this was trope (usually translated ‘rout’) and the god who determined the point at which the battle turned was of course Zeus Tropaios. To celebrate this, a dedication was made, usually at the very spot, called a tropaion, which leads to our word ‘trophy’. Tropaion is however an adjective and applies to the bretas, the crude wooden statue that trophies in effect were. In their simpler form they were made from an oak tree roughly lopped of its branches, with the captured weapons displayed on it, just as ancient Germanic tribes displayed sacrificed prisoners on trees. These distinctive monuments were set up primarily to Zeus Tropaios, though of course dedications could be made to any god. Once set up it was tabu to move them. They evidently constituted a fully dedicated religious place".
[Dowden, Zeus]



Quote :
"Nausicaa knows that ‘All xenoi and beggars are from Zeus’ (Odyssey 6.207f.), a line which Odysseus himself picks up at 14.251 and which, a millennium later, was a favourite line of the pagan emperor Julian when he hammered home the point that pagans should not leave Christians a monopoly on charity. Xenia is the relationship of reciprocal hospitality between persons of different states, and both parties are known as a xenos, regardless of who is the host and who the guest on any particular occasion. To ask which is the guest is like asking which of two friends is the recipient of a good turn. Zeus Xenios, then, enforces respect for these relationships. This is why Nausicaa’s statement is tinged with the worry that the xenos may be a god in disguise, inspecting the earth, precisely as we see at Odyssey 17.485–7 when there is talk of ‘gods in the form of foreign xenoi’. This is also why Odysseus, even though he knows in his heart that Polyphemos is a savage, still appeals to him:

Quote :
. . . but we, reaching your knees,
have arrived as suppliants, in the hope you might provide us with a xenion or in
some other way
give us a gift, which is the themis [religious right] of xenoi.
Be respectful, my good man, of the gods: we are your suppliants [hiketai]. And Zeus is avenger of suppliants and xenoi,
Zeus Xenios, who stands beside respectful xenoi.

Odyssey 9.266–71

A whole culture underlies this passage: the ‘arriver’ (hiketes) is the Greek for a suppliant and he performs the ritual of supplication by getting down and grasping the knees of the person supplicated; the xenion is a present whose giving solemnly creates the bond of guest- friendship and the obligation, when possible, to reciprocate; and themis is the uninfringeable divine law or order, quite different from the dike, the order or justice that a good ruler or a good society maintains. Zeus can be Zeus Hikesios, Zeus Xenios; he has children by Themis. It is a terrible sin, requiring expiation, when a person kills a xenos. So for instance Herakles killed his xenos Iphitos.

It is said that Zeus, appalled at the xenos-killing, instructed Hermes to take Herakles and sell him as dike [in effect, ‘penalty’] for the murder. He took him to Lydia and sold him to the queen of the place, Omphale, at a price of three talents. The story is in Pherekydes.

Thus there are conventions and there are sanctions which can only be exercised by god. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of oaths. The mightiest, and most persuasive, oath is naturally by the mightiest god and Zeus Horkios (of oaths, horkoi) is its guarantor:

Quote :
The statue of Zeus in the Council-Chamber [at Olympia] is the most terrifying of all the statues of Zeus to unjust men. He is called Horkios and has a thunderbolt in either hand.

Pausanias 5.24.9

Double thunderbolts strike fear into the oath-taker who perjures himself next to the statue as he swears over slices of boar’s flesh, just as in the great oath of Agamemnon at Iliad 19.258: ‘Let Zeus know first, of gods the highest and best’. Oaths were not always by Zeus and he was in any case often combined with forces of earth and sea (e.g. Ge and Poseidon), but if an oath was worth swearing it was often worth swearing by him. Thus the thunderbolt stood for the deadly recoil of ultimate power taken in vain by those who did not understand the world’s order.

The bard Phemius is anxious to avoid Odysseus killing him. One option he considers in order to achieve this objective is to claim asylum:

Quote :
to go out of the megaron and sit at the altar of great Zeus Herkeios, a properly made altar where many
were the thighs of oxen that Laertes and Odysseus had burnt.

Odyssey 22.334–6

So the geography is clear: this Greek palace, like any Greek house, has its living room (megaron) and outside, a fenced area (herkos is a boundary fence, or the area so enclosed) with an altar of Zeus of the Fenced-off Area (Herkeios). This is where the family would do its sacrifices and is the outward-facing religious point in the house, to which in this case a suppliant flees. Zeus is the ultimate father of the family and head of household, reflecting the key person in the home, the oikos, in Greece. Like an Agamemnon or an Odysseus, the head of household would sacrifice at his altar of paternal Zeus Herkeios, though it may be doubted whether epic oxen thighs would be much in evidence, rather than sheep or pig. In the simpler rustic surroundings of Eumaios’s hut, however, there is no altar and the pig is sacrificed indoors at a blazing hearth (eschara, Odyssey 14.420). But you can talk about an eschara too when you focus on the part of the altar that burns, something which is to the forefront of your mental image, as it is for Pausanias when he describes the slaughter of Priam by Neoptolemos at the eschara of Zeus Herkeios. This was a particularly vile and irreligious act.

This is also a defining cult for citizenship. When the suitability of a candidate for archon (magistrate at Athens) was scrutinised, Aristotle tells us (Constitution of the Athenians 55) that they were asked not only about their fathers’ and mothers’ families but also about the location of their cult of paternal Apollo or Zeus Herkeios.

Zeus in the house is also frequently known as Zeus Ktesios (‘of the possessions/stores’), which seems to relate above all to the larder, where a lexicographer says an image of him had to be set up. This then replicates the pattern of household cult known from Roman religion, in which there is a division between the gods of the area of land (Lar or plural Lares) and the gods of the store cupboard (Penates). Close to the latter is the god of the hearth, Hestia in Greek (Vesta in Latin), though the personal focus is often on Zeus Ephestios (‘at the hearth’). The Romans also had public Penates as though the state itself were only a large household. This may be the sort of thinking that under- lies an altar of Zeus Ktesios in a temple at a large village in Attica or his worship at the Piraeus (the port of Athens), and similar considerations may apply to public worship of Zeus Herkeios, worshipped on the Athenian acropolis itself. Zeus Ktesios can be depicted with, or as, a snake, which matches well with the folk views of harmless snakes: they were manifestations of the beneficent spirit of a given place and should be fed. But you could also make statuettes of Zeus Ktesios at home like this:

Quote :
Put a lid on a new two-eared [i.e. handled] kadiskos [type of jar], drape its ears with white wool, and from the right shoulder and from the brow dress it with a saffron [mini-robe?], and pour in ‘ambrosia’. Ambrosia is pure water, olive-oil, mixed grain – that’s what you put in.

Autokleides, Exegeticon (fourth/third century BC) FGrH 353F1, emended
[Dowden, Zeus]



Quote :
"Where Zeus had challenged the other gods (Iliad 8.18–22):

Quote :
Come, try, you gods and all you goddesses:
hang a golden chain from heaven
and hold on to it, you gods and all you goddesses
– you won’t drag down from heaven to the ground
Zeus highest counsellor, not even if you labour very hard . . .

Aristotle took this unseemly tug of war and used it as an image for the nature of motion (On the movement of animals 699b37). Motion is relative to something fixed and unmoving and this applies to the Universe, which moves under the influence of the unmoved mover – a single, focal god, by implication Zeus in an Aristotelian Homer. What Aristotle was using as a casual illustration was used more determinedly in later mystic tradition, and by the time of the last Neoplatonists, such as Proclus, there is a doctrine that the ultimate divine force driving the universe, the One, is tied or connected to all the forms of being beneath it through a seira (‘chain’, the word Homer uses), or rather a series of chains. Though lower forms of being may display a baffling multiplicity, what makes them intelligible and valuable is their link to the divine. This idea has a continuing popularity today as the ‘Golden Chain’, or the ‘Great Chain of Being’.

Quote :
"first, Jove as fire: this is why he is called Zeus in Greek – Zeus in Greek can mean either life [zen] or heat [zein – to seethe, boil], either because they mean that all animate things have vital fire, as Heraclitus holds, or because this element is hot"

Fulgentius, Mythologiae 1.3 (bullet points added for clarity)

Vergil is of course Dante’s guide to the Underworld. Jove exists in the background, occasionally emerging thundering at the Giants he once defeated, or as the planet Jupiter, to which his name had been applied by misguided pagans. But even the Ovide moralisé doesn’t quite prepare us for this theology:

Quote :
o sommo Giove, O supreme Jove,
Che fosti in terra per noi crocifisso. who was crucified on earth for us.

Purgatorio 6.118f.

Nothing is without precedent: this equation of Zeus with Christ had also been made before by one John the Deacon, drawing the logical conclusions from Plato’s Cratylus (see p. 95f):

Quote :
And Zeus son of Kronos, father of gods and men, is to be understood as the only-begotten son of God: as he is responsible for life [zoe] he is called ‘Zeus’. But as he is the son of God, he is called ‘son of Kronos’, because we should think of Kronos as that pure mind [koros nous] which we can neither see nor grasp, which had no origin . . . but Kronides, the son of this one, consubstantial and sharing his throne, and seated above those gods who are as a conceit called his sons, judging all humanity and for this reason called father of men and gods."
[Dowden, Zeus]



Quote :
"In the nineteenth century, classical education continued to be central. The first Gilbert and Sullivan operetta was Thespis, in which Jupiter descends to earth to find out why the gods are no longer respected. But its first performance in 1871 was not exactly a success: it was booed not only by the audience but also by the orchestra! Despite 64 performances, it no longer survives. At the other end of a career, Richard Strauss’s The Love of Danae of 1940 was his penultimate opera. Hofmannsthal’s libretto brings together so much of the mythology of Zeus’s amours. Danae, Semele, Leda, Europa, Alkmene – they are all there, in a work where Strauss is thought to have identified himself in a way with the god Jupiter, inconsistently raising his tone somewhere near to the Wotan of Wagner in his Ring." [Dowden, Zeus]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:00 am

Zeus = life...born of time/space, son of time Kronos.

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:58 am

Quote :
"So I swear by Muses nine,
and, more than that, by Jove,
who for Danae took the form of gold…" [Carl Orff, Carmina Burana, 117.4]

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Quote :
"Elsewhere there were altars of Zeus Ombrios, ‘of rain showers’, and Zeus Semaleos, ‘who gives signs’ – evidently weather signs, perhaps cloud formations or, more immediately, lightning and thunder (Parker 1996: 30–32).
On Cos, there is an association of those who make a monthly, voluntary journey together to Zeus Hyetios (‘of rain’)." [Dowden, Zeus]

Hocart, Kings and Councillors

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:53 pm

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Thu May 05, 2016 12:18 am

Facedown Burials Widely Used to Humiliate the Dead

Quote :
Burying the dead facedown in ancient times didn't mean RIP, according to new research that says the practice was both deliberate and widespread.

Experts have assumed such burials were either unusual or accidental.

But the first global study on the facedown burials suggests that it was a custom used across societies to disrespect or humiliate the dead.



The archaeologist highlights religious and cultural conflict as another potential factor.

The highest frequency of facedown burials in Sweden, for instance, dates to the period of the Viking age when Christianity arrived in the region, Arcini said.

Pagan Vikings may not have accepted those who converted to Christianity and may have buried the bodies in a way that reflected their dislike, she explained.


Rule-breaking nuns and convicted witches were also buried in prone positions, she added.
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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Thu May 05, 2016 5:50 am

Interesting
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Good site.

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Lecouteux wrote:
"But what is to be said about all these little spirits of the land that in antiquity were labeled fauns, sylvan creatures, satyrs, and so forth, and which in the Middle Ages were called sprites, dwarves, incubi, and succubi? The interpretations of Lactantius and Saint Augustine combine to form a belief attested to by Martianus Capella in the fifth century:

"The places inaccessible to men are inhabited by a host of very ancient creatures who haunt woods, glades, and groves, and lakes and springs, and brooks; whose names are Pans, Fauns, Fontes, Satyrs, Sylvans, Nymphs, Fatui or Fantuae, or even Fanae."

In 658 the Synod of Nantes spoke of sacred trees and indicated that no one dared cut a branch or even a shoot, and the people, deceived by the devil, “worshipped the stones in ruinous places and in the forests.” A Carolingian sermon mentions “the sacred trees of Jupiter and Mercury,” a description that of course conceals other deities with only an extremely remote connection with the Roman gods whose names are being used here. However, Roman and Christian interpretation was omnipresent and covered up the indigenous traditions. The eighth-century Homilia de sacrilegiis (Homily on the Sacrileges) informs us that Christians observed the Neptunalia (July 23) near fountains, rivers, and the sea. The list of sites is completed by the Vita S. Eligii (Life of Saint Eligius), written in the seventh century by Audoin, who added the boundaries, borders, and crossroads where candles are lit and offerings made, something already indicated by Pirmin of Reichenau in an eloquent passage:

"Do not worship idols, stones, trees, remote places, wells, or the intersections of roads. Do not put yourself in the hands of enchanters, sorcerers, magicians, haruspices, seers, magicians, and spellcasters. Do not believe in the magical significance of sneezes, nor the superstitions connected with small birds, nor diabolical charms. Other than diabolical worship, what could such things mean as celebrating the Vulcanalia, the calends, plaiting laurel wreaths, paying attention to the position of the feet, splaying your hand on tree trunks, casting bread and wine into springs. . . . Do not hang at crossroads or in trees wooden replicas of human limbs. . . . No Christian shall sing songs in church, at home, or at the intersections of roads."

The Synod of Szabolcs (Hungary) in 1092 noted the existence of sacrifices to wells, and the treatise Ratio de cathecizandis rudibus (Reason to Catechize the Peasantry; written ca. 800 about the means of teaching the gospel to pagans) refers twice to sacrifices made in remote places (ad angulos). We also know that these ceremonies were accompanied by sacrificial meals. The Homily on the Sacrileges mentions the sacrifice of animals whose flesh was then eaten. These took place “on ancient altars and in sacred groves.” Charlemagne’s Capitulatio de Partibus Saxoniae (Capitulary for the Saxon Regions) from around 785 banned these banquets given “in the honor of demons.” We should take special care to avoid thinking that it was the object—the spring, tree, stone, and so forth—that was worshipped. This is a much too common error. No, it was the power dwelling within the object—the numen, spirit, demon—that was addressed. The Council of Agde expressly states that men believed a numinous being was residing in such places.

We should also avoid becoming bogged down in another error that is regularly repeated. Many scholars believe that the testimony of the ecclesiastical literature is not valid because it attributes a Roman paganism to the peoples of the medieval West and, moreover, that the content of the sermons and penitentials, the acts of councils and synods, in no way reflects reality because they are the product of a self-contained tradition that repeats the same things over and over. Each text is merely a copy of an earlier one and serves as the source from which the clerics in other lands draw their knowledge.

This is partially true, but if we compare these traditions with the accounts from the vernacular literature—which many historians often forget to do, rejecting such texts on the pretext that they are only unrealistic fantasies—we shall find that the catechetical texts are, like the narrative literature, a mirror, albeit a more or less distorted one, of reality. No cleric or writer ventured too far astray from reality; it fed their writings, for just as is the case today, no one invents what one does not know. Analyzing a passage from Pirmin of Reichenau’s Liber scarapsus, which I cited earlier, Philippe Walter has quite rightly drawn attention to this point:

"Contemporary reality is expressed here under the veil of an ancient culture that contributes to the blurring of certain specific features in order to dissolve them into an obsessional fantasy of universal paganism. It is, however, self-evident that certain practices condemned here must also have been actually observed by the abbot. When reading such a text we must therefore keep in mind that a screen of humanist culture and a topical condemnation was inevitably interposed between what is possible to see and the observer, whose concern was in no way parallel to the relative objectivity of the modern ethnologist."

The lives of the saints exalting Christianity’s victories over paganism (among other things) provide complementary information. The sacred trees fell to the axes of the men of God. Sulpicius Severus, bishop of Bourges (584–591), writes about how Saint Martin had a pine or pear tree near a sanctuary chopped down, “because it was dedicated to the devil.” Saint Barbatus (died 682), who  lived in Benevento under the rule of the kings Grimoald and Romuald, toppled the sacred tree where the Lombards hung the hides of slain animals, meat, and so forth. Saint Amateur (died 418), bishop of Auxerre, uprooted a pine tree on the branches of which the future Saint Germain had hung the heads of the wild animals he had killed hunting. In 725 Saint Boniface chopped down the sacred oak the Hessians worshipped in Geismar and in 772 Charlemagne destroyed the Saxon’s Irminsul. In Adam of Bremen’s Gesta ecclesiae Hammaburgensis pontificum (History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen), written around 1070, he provides a report about the pagan sanctuary of Uppsala:

"Near this temple stands a very large tree with wide-spreading branches, always green both winter and summer. What kind it is nobody knows. There is also a spring at which the pagans are accustomed to make their sacrifices, and into it they plunge a live man. And if he is not found, the people’s wish will be granted."

The waters also had their devotees. In the sixth century, Gregory of Tours described the worship dedicated to Lake Saint-Andéol in the Massif Central region of France:

"At a fixed time a crowd of rustics went there and, as if offering libations to the lake, threw [into it] linen cloths and garments that served men as clothing. Some [threw] pelts of wool, many [threw] models of cheese and wax and bread as well as various [other] objects, each according to his own means, that I think would take too long to enumerate. They came with their wagons, they brought food and drink, sacrificed animals, and feasted for three days. But before they were due to leave on the fourth day, a violent storm approached them with thunder and lightning. The heavy rainfall and hailstones fell with such force that each person thought he would not escape. Every year this happened this way, but these foolish people were bound up in their mistake."

Such examples are legion and can even be found into more recent times—coins were still tossed into Lake Saint-Andéol in the nineteenth century—even when heavily Christianized. So what were the pagans trying to accomplish through their sacrifices and prayers? At Lake Saint-Andéol, it was rain; elsewhere it was healing, as clearly stated by a Carolingian capitulary. Even if the texts generally remain quite discreet, it is relatively easy to see that the primary considerations were food and health. The hope was to have enough—enough water for the crops and enough sun for them to grow. They also wanted wild game to be plentiful. Neutrality or kindness was desired from the local spirits. People wanted the spirits to leave them alone, which is to say they did not want the spirits to send any illness with their invisible arrows, nor to pester the livestock.

Let us take a look at the Icelandic Landnámabók (Book of Settlements)—one version of which, the Sturlubók, was written by Sturla Thórðarson (1214–1284)—as it offers us a view of a still living paganism and its information matches that found in the clerical literature. Here is Thórir Snepill of Lundr: “He worshipped a grove of trees” (S 237). Here is Eyvind, the settler of Flateyardal: “He paid worship to the Stones-of-Gunnr” (S 241). Thorstein Red-Nose worshipped the waterfall near his home; on the night he died, all his sheep fell into the waterfall (S 255). There is a monster in one version of the Saint Óláf ’s Saga that is half-woman and half-whale; “The natives offer her sacrifices and regard her as a good protector of the land.”

The Christian laws (Kristenret) of the Gulaþing assembly in Norway condemn the pagans for “believing in the land spirits (landvættir) whether found in groves or mounds or waterfalls.” This is an extremely important observation because it tells us that worship was not addressed to the high gods of the Germanic pantheon, but to the numinous forces closer to man, which therefore held a greater significance for his daily life. The Gutalagen, the early lawcode of Gotland, scolds those who say prayers at the groves, tumuli, idols, and places surrounded by a fence (loca palis circumsepta). It also provides us with two interesting expressions: trúa á hult (“to believe in the hills”) and trúa á hauga (“to believe in the mounds”).

This also brings to mind what Tacitus said in his Germania about the ancient Germanic tribes:

“They consecrate woods and groves, and the mystery that they see only in their awe they call by the names of the gods.” And: “From their sacred groves they remove certain images and symbols that they carry into battle.”

In the Pharsalia, Lucan describes a sacred grove near Marseille that Caesar had destroyed as follows:

"A grove there was, untouched by men’s hands from ancient times, whose interlacing boughs enclosed a space of darkness and cold shade, and banished the sunlight from above. . . . On those boughs—if antiquity, reverential of the gods, deserves any credit —birds feared to perch; in these coverts wild beasts would not lie down; no wind ever bore down upon that wood, nor thunderbolt hurled from the black clouds; the trees, even when they spread their leaves to no breeze, rustled of themselves. Water, also, fell there in abundance from dark springs. The images of the gods, grim and rude, were uncouth blocks formed of felled tree trunks."

Adam of Bremen provides a similar description (I, 7) and he adds: “they even regarded with reverence leafy trees and springs.” The pagans, he says a little further on, “they prohibit only, to this very day indeed, access to their groves and springs which, they aver, are polluted by the entry of Christians” (IV, 18).  Around 1220, Oliver of Paderborn noted that the Pruthenes (ancient Prussians) worshipped the nymphs of forests and rivers, and, in the middle of the fifteenth century, Jerome of Prague stated they “worshipped trees sacred to demons,” especially oaks of great age. The Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks (Saga of Hervör and Heidrek) mentions the existence of a tree of sacrifices. Alcuin’s Vita Sancti Willibrordi (Life of Saint Willibrord) indicates that on the island where the Frisians worshipped the god Fo(r) site, “none of the natives would venture to meddle with any of the cattle that fed there nor with anything else, nor dare they draw water from the spring that bubbled up there except in complete silence.”  Among the Celts, the Ross Yew, the Mughna Oak, and the Uisnedr Ash attest to similar beliefs, and in France, until quite recently, processions were still made to the oak of Saint Quirin.

Several texts confirm the beliefs we have already encountered in the Mediterranean basin, Great Britain, and Germany. These texts are important because they cannot be relegated to the list of wonders and fantasies that were so abundant in the Middle Ages. One of the oldest accounts, that of Ari the Wise (Ari Thorgilsson; 1067–1148) to whom we owe the Íslendingabók, cites the Laws of Úlfljót, which stated:

"No ships adorned with wooden images of heads should be used on the open seas; however, if this rule was not followed, the image was at least to be removed before the ship made landfall so that it would not sail up to the shore with gaping head and beak and thus frighten the guardian spirits of the country."

The Book of Settlements says the same thing (H 268) and other texts—such as the Þórðar saga hreðu (Saga of Thord the Red) and Þorsteins þáttr Uxafóts (Tale of Thorstein Oxfoot)— corroborate this clear and specific testimony: every country has its spirits. When Egil Skallagrímsson attacks King Eirik Bloodaxe, he performs a magical operation intended to remove the protection of the local spirits from his victim:

Egil went ashore onto the island, picked up a branch of hazel and went to a certain cliff that faced the mainland. Then he took a horse head, set it up on the pole and spoke these formal words (formáli): “Here I set a pole of insult (níðstöng) against King Eirik and Queen Gunnhild”—then, turning the horse head towards the mainland—“and I direct this insult against the guardian spirits (landvættir) of this land, so that every one of them shall go astray, neither to figure nor find their dwelling places until they have driven King Eirik and Queen Gunnhild from this country. Next he jammed the pole into a cleft in the rock and left it standing there with the horse head facing towards the mainland, and cut runes on the pole declaiming the words of his formal speech (formáli). The spell was successful and King Eirik and his wife were soon forced to leave the country.

For those familiar with Norse traditions, it is obvious that the island is inhabited by local land spirits (landvættir) who can assume animal shape, a detail given copious illustration here and of major importance for comprehension of more recent folk beliefs and traditions in which quite often the local spirit is zoomorphic. This is the case, for example, with the Icelandic Vatnahestur, the Water Horse, a spirit that tends to lakes. But this vision of things can also be found elsewhere, and the Scottish kelpie is an exact equivalent of the Vatnahestur.

The multiplicity of forms assumed by land spirits clearly shows that they are primarily natural forces, numens that can incarnate in any creature or even any object they choose, either dwelling within it or possessing it. When this force wishes to show itself to human beings, it seems that it may be obliged to assume the appearance of a locally known creature, but its behavior or color clearly indicate that it is a supernatural being. Moreover, it suggests the paganism of ancient times: in the Þiðranda þáttr ok Þórhalls (Story of Thidrand and Thorhall), shortly before Iceland adopted Christianity, the seer Thorhall has a vision: “he sees how many graves have opened and leaving from them is all that lived there, large and small.” The underlying meaning is that these are land spirits (landvættir).

It is quite difficult to know today how various idols—whether German, Roman, or Celtic—discussed in the texts were represented, even if they were to be found everywhere. And there are some we need not consider, such as the Saxon Irminsul, which is a depiction of the cosmic tree (Yggdrasill in Scandinavian mythology) and thereore does not fall under the category of an idol since it primarily represents an axis mundi. The same probably holds true for many sacred trees, despite the fact that missionaries may have claimed such trees were sacred to a “great god.” The testimonies on this point are scarcely reliable and the fact that the “great god” in question is never named suggests that actually some other idol was being worshipped. It is also fairly difficult to know if the idols represented gods or land spirits. What do the twelve satellite stones of the Irish idol, Cromm Cruaich, which form a cromlech on the field of Mag Slecht, actually mean? The central idol Cromm Cruaich “gave peace and power to each of the provinces. . . . The brave Goidels worshipped it and asked it for good weather. . . . For it, without glory, they slew their first-born children. . . . They asked of it milk and wheat in return for their infants.”

It is certainly possible that land spirits and gods were associated with one another, at least this is what is suggested by the text preserved for us on an ex-voto. An inscription found in Mainz and dated 211 AD is addressed to the “Aufaniae goddesses and the protectors of the site” (et tutelae loci; CIL 13: 6665). Another inscription, dating from the second century, is dedicated “to great Jupiter and the spirit of the place (et genio loci; CIL 13: 7789). Siegfried Gutenbrunner’s precise, meticulous study of the inscriptions found in the German regions has shown that many gods or goddesses were inextricably connected with a specific place, and thus were originally land spirits. The goddesses Ahueccaniae, Aveha, and Helliseva were probably those of springs; the matrons Textumeihae and Mediotoutehae were the guardians of Pagus Textumis and Pagus Mediotoutus; the name Nemetocenna, associated with a city in Belgian Gaul, is derived from nemeton, meaning “sacred grove.”

Martin of Braga expressly says that the Neptunes of the sea, the Lamia of the rivers, the Nymphs of the fountains, and the Dianas of the forest are all “demons and evil spirits” (maligni daemones et spiritus). Burchard of Worms supplies one additional detail: these spirits that haunt houses, and to whom he gives the Roman names of satyrs and hairy ones, were the recipients of offerings intended to earn prosperity and wealth from them.

It is questionable whether we should take literally commands by clerics such as “You should not worship idols,” for that is a way of saying “do not be idolatrous,” meaning “do not practice any pagan worship.” A passage by Pirmin of Reichenau speaks in favor of this interpretation: “You must not worship the idols”—I underscore this term, which means, in fact, “false gods”—“nor on the stones, the trees, the nooks, and the wells.” Compare this tirade to that of a penitential: “If you come upon these places . . . namely, fountains, stones, trees, or crossroads.” What emerges from all this is the fact we must avoid the notion of idol that is the fruit of Christian interpretation, all the more so as we know, at least for the Germanic peoples, that the pagans did not depict their gods. It was the numinous powers of the place that were worshipped, and one penitential says that these practices occurred “for the veneration of the place” (pro veneratione loci)! Much earlier, Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History:

Once upon a time trees were the temples of the deities, and in conformity with primitive ritual, simple country places even now dedicate a tree of exceptional height to a god.

According to Tacitus (Germania, chap. IX), the ancient Germans “judge it not in accord with the greatness of the gods to confine them with walls or to liken them in appearance to any human countenance. They consecrate woods and groves.”

There are a great many parallels in classical antiquity. The Pelaspians worshipped numinous powers in the forest of Dodona. Numerous Greek temples had their own sacred grove and, we are told by Claudius Aelianus, the person who cut down even the smallest tree therein would be condemned to death. The Romans had their sacred service tree surrounded by a wall at the foot of the Palatine Hill. Not far from Rome, the Laurentians worshipped a wild olive tree that Virgil dubbed with a revealing name: “Faun of the Laurentians.” Cato the Elder tells us that before cutting trees, it is necessary to make a sacrifice and say a prayer beginning with: “If you are god or goddess . . .” This immediately brings to mind the verse by Ronsard:

Stay, woodsman, stay thy hand awhile, and hark—
It is not trees that thou art laying low!
Dost thou not see the dripping life-blood flow
From Nymphs that lived beneath the rigid bark?
Unholy murderer of our Goddesses.
If for some petty theft a varlet hangs,
What deaths hast thou deserved, what bitter pangs,
What brandings, burnings, tortures, dire distress!

The indeterminacy of the phrase recorded by Cato shows that it was a supernatural power, an as-yet-nameless entity that was being addressed. According to Thietmar of Merseburg, the pagan temple of Radegost (Rethra) was surrounded by a “vast forest, intact and venerable.” Around 1008, Wigbert destroyed the sanctuary of Zutibure (svetibor means “sacred wood”) and built a church on its site. The Venerable Bede tells how Coifi, the pagan priest of King Edwin of Northumbria, destroyed the local sanctuary. “He commanded his companions to destroy the temple with all its hedges” (destruere fanum cum omnibus septis). This site next took the name of Godmundingham, “home of the protectors of God.”

Today we assume these autochthonous “idols” were probably made in imitation. It has been long maintained that the ancient Germans were reluctant to depict their gods, and trees or posts, sometimes carved with a human head, served as images of the higher powers.* Incidentally, I would like to point out that Irminsul, the cosmic tree or pillar (axis mundi), is glossed in Latin texts as fanum and idolum, “sanctuary” and “idol,” which is hardly precise. I will note that these deities
are directly linked to the local land, and so intimately that if we rely on the epigraphy and research cited earlier by Siegfried Gutenbrunner, we can quite easily see in them individualized local spirits, numens given a name and who have a connection with the place they are protecting.

An inscription found near Xanten tells us that Septimus Flavius Severus founded a temple with trees for the Matres Quadruburgenses and the genius loci.  According to another inscription, Caius Tauricius Verus fulfilled his oath “to all the gods and all the goddesses, to the deae Vapthiae and to the genius loci”:

"In h. d. d. deab(us)q. omnib(us) Matribus Vapthiabus et Genio loco sacrum
C. Tauricius Verus bf. Cos. Pro se et suis v.s.l.m. posuit et dedi(cavit)."

On many inscriptions we find the spirits combined with gods, like to the Matrae Suleis (CIL 13, 31171), to Silvanus and Diana (CIL 13, 8492), and to the Ambiomarc(i)ae (CIL 13, 7789)."

Elsewhere we see names that could be those of female land spirits. The Alaferhuiae are designated as  “nymphs” (CIL 13, 7862), and Lobbo is called genius on stone tablets found in Utrecht. Other gods would seem to fall into the category of household spirits rather than that of land spirits. This is the case with the Matres Aufaniae (CIL 13, 8021), who, on an ex-voto of L. Maiorus Cogitatus, are combined with the guardian land spirits, tutelae loci (CIL 13, 6665), although the fania element of the name is assumed to have the meaning “swamp” (as in English “fen”). Some inscriptions reflect elements of the landscape, such as Sulevia with regard to the mountain (CIL 3, 1601 and 2, 1181), and the Junoniae (CIL 13, 8612) became, as we know, fairies in the Middle Ages, as did the Campestres (CIL 7, 1084). A more extensive investigation would undoubtedly turn up further confirmations.

It is, of course, quite difficult to form a more definitive judgment because the information is too laconic and rare, but I believe what we are faced with here is an amalgam, one all the easier to achieve in that time as first the Romans and then the Church used their own terms and concepts to describe and absorb the indigenous beliefs.

Moreover, the borders are blurred between natural creatures, the small spirits of folk mythology, and—since the major pagan gods were no longer actively worshipped—those beings that are hidden behind the names of Jupiter (Thor, Donar), Mercury (Odin), and Neptune. We do not know if what we see involves the elevation of a spirit to the rank of a god or the downgrading of a god into a demon (in the Greek sense of the word), or again the individualization of the hypostasis of a member of the pagan pantheon. The convergence between mother-goddesses and local land spirits could quite simply be the result of the syncretism of different forms of one and the same belief. The study of place-names can add some elements to help us evaluate all these facts.

The whole of the medieval West is teeming with theophoric names. Here are a few examples:

Lugdunum (France, Lyon) from Lugh, the well-known Celtic god; Odensakr (Norway) “Odin’s Field”; Froyle (England), constructed from Fro/Freyr, Germanic god of the third function (fertility/fecundity); Narvik (Norway), “Njord’s Bay,” named after the god who is the father of Freya and Freyr. In short, we can find as many names of this sort as we can find places today named after Saint Martin, Saint Dennis, or Saint Michael. Thanks to philology, we now know that Oslo means “Sacred grove of the Aesir” (Aslundr), and that Lugdunum means “Hill of the god Lugh.” But some names do not reflect the physical geography, nor high mythology, nor Christianity. They do not derive from family names, nor do they commemorate some event. Here is where things start to become interesting.

In order to narrow the focus, I have chosen German place-names as references. Alongside names that are self-explantory such as Heilighberc (“Sacred Mountain,” attested in 816), Heiligbrunno (“Sacred Spring/Fountain,” attested 823), Heiligenforst (“Sacred Forest,” ca. 1065), or Sacrum nemus (“Sacred Grove,” eleventh century), we find others in which a physical element is connected with a spirit or demon. Although less numerous, names like this include Scratinpach (eighth century) and Scratinberge (1120), which mean “Schrat’s Stream” and “Schrat’s Mountain,” respectively (the Schrat is a creature that has been made into a dwarf but is comparable, all in all, to the Weeper of the Jura region). A Thurse is a giant of Germanic mythology and we similarly find Thursinruth, the “Clearing of the Thurse,” and Turssental (1131) and Tursinberch (1158), the “Vale” and the “Mount” of the T(h)urse, respectively. There is Wihtungen that can be translated as “the Dwarves,” with the understanding that wiht is an all-purpose word used to designate supernatural creatures whose name one dares not speak aloud. The devotion given to stones is attested by the place-name Wihestaine (twelfth century), the “sacred” or “consecrated stones”; and likewise for forests with Wihinloh (901), streams and rivers with Wigbeke (1007), and the mountains with Wihenberc (in all these place-names, the first element wih/wig means “to make sacred, to sanctify”). From a name like Wichtlisperc (1111) we can infer that the mountain in question was reputedly inhabited by creatures related to dwarves, a wihtlîn (little wight) being synonymous with a zwerc (dwarf).

In the British Isles we find the place-names Puclan cyrce (946), “Pucel’s Church”; Pokin Tuna (1201), “Puck’s Yard”; and Pokerich (1314), “Puck’s Stream.” Puck, diminutive form Pucel (the Norse puki and the German puk), can refer to a revenant as well as a demon and a dwarf, but its meaning stabilized around the eleventh century and became consistent with that of “dwarf.” Shakespeare features a certain Puck by the side of Oberon in his A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In Scandinavia, a close look at the sagas gives us place-names like Tröllaskogr, “Forest of the Trolls”; Trollahals, “Troll Ridge”; Trollaskeid, “Path of the Trolls”; and in the Shetland Isles we find Thursasker, “Reef of the Thurse.” In France, the toponymy of the Franche-Comté region carries traces of Guyon, the name of an evil spirit connected with boulders who may be identical with the Celtic Gwyllion.

Although they may not be as common, it is readily apparent that these names are quite comparable to those found in French localities that reveal dracs, fairies, and ladies, especially near springs and fountains. Local land spirits have left many traces, such as in Belgium where the most common representatives are the Lutôn and the Duhôn, which can be traced back to an ancient Gallic divine entity named Dusios. The Breton spirit called a tuz, diminutive form tuzik, is also related to Dusios.

The evidence from ancient names is quite scarce for three reasons: the Romans rebaptized local spirits with names coming from their culture; the Church often substituted the names of the saints for the older names; and the studies of place-names are essentially devoted to finding the names of gods and therefore don’t focus attention on the place-names that refer to other creatures. We will now leave the Germanic-Scandinavian area for the Roman world, and to do so, let us consider the case of Silvanus, who was Christianized as Saint Silvanus (Sylvain in French).

Silvanus is regarded as the spirit of the fields and flocks, forests and plantations (Silvanus agrestis), as well as the guardian of boundaries (Silvanus orientalis) and homes (Silvanus domesticus). According to the fragments of a Roman surveyor’s journal, the Silvanus orientalis was placed at the edge of the fields, in a sacred grove (in confinio lucus positus). He was given the title “salutary” (salutaris) because he was considered a benefactor. Etymologically speaking, he is a spirit of the forests (silva) and even, probably, their numen, as the Indo-European suffix -no, which is part of the name, implies sovereignty.*

First and foremost, then, Silvanus means “Master of the Forest.” This is what Stacius and Servius claim. According to Horace, offerings of milk and fruit were given to him. Today it is accepted that Silvanus was a spirit of the wooded land bordering on clearings. We know he had a temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome, and another near the Viminal Hill. A great number of altars dedicated to him have been discovered, but his true sanctuary is the forest and the devotion surrounding him came entirely from the common folk.

The variety of his functions are evident in the epithets that are attached to his name. While “holy,” “unvanquished,” “happy,” “heavenly,” “father,” and “guardian” are all rather general, the compounds ending in -fer are eloquent. Pecudifer, lactifer, glandifer, poncifer, cannabifer, linifer mean, respectively, “He who encourages the reproduction of the flocks,” “He who produces milk,” “He who produces acorns, “He who produces fruits,” “He who makes the hemp grow,” and “He who makes the trees grow.” This is an agrarian deity or spirit, and Isidore of Seville named him rusticorum deus, “god of the peasants” (Etymologiae, VIII, 11, 81). Lavedan, who provides a rich iconography of this figure, thinks that “the primitive kind of Sylvain was probably a tree or stump. Pliny informs us that this was the case with the image of the god erected beneath a fig tree in front of the Temple of Saturn.”

Silvanus followed the Roman army in its conquests and by virtue of his wild (or rustic and silvicultural) nature he assimilated the local spirits and even the gods. We know, for example, that he was integrated with Sucellus, the god of the mallet. He did not banish the indigenous deities but coexisted with them, which is often indicated in the label affixed to him and which connects him to a specific place. We find a Silvanus Poeninus in Tirnovo (Bulgaria), a Silvanus Cocidius near Hadrian’s Wall in Britain, and a Silvanus Sinquatis in Géromont (Belgium). In Spain we see a Silvanus Caldouelicos who guards hot springs.

The spread of Silvanus’s popularity in the following period is attested by Christian anthroponomastics. According to the Benedictines of Paris, who compiled lives of the saints, there were nineteen named Sylvain (Silvain) and four named Sylvester, whose commemoration corresponded with carnival-related times of the year (February, May, August, November, and year’s end). The feast day of Saint Sylvester falls on December 31. Is it mere coincidence that this date was once one on which men disguised themselves in costume as wild animals, which was violently condemned by preachers?

In turn, the saints gave their names to human settlements, a process that may have been encouraged by the local presence of a spirit that had already been merged with Silvanus. In France this gives us Saint-Silvain in the Calvados, Corrèze, Creuse, and Maine-et-Loire regions; a Saint-Sauvant in Charente-Inférieur; a Saint-Sauvent in Vienne; a Saint-Sauves in Puy-de-Dôme; a Souvignardes (Silvinianicus) in the Gard; and a Sauvagnon (Sylvanius) in the lower Pyrenees. Thus when we encounter names like silvanus, faunus, pilosus, and so on in medieval Latin texts, it is essential to remember that most of the time these are concealing local spirits. Below are some examples. Here is what Burchard of Worms wrote in his Decretum around 1010:

"Hast thou made little child’s bows and child’s shoes, and hast thou cast them into thy storeroom or thy barn, so that satyrs and fauns [my italics] might play with them in this very place in order that they might bring to thee the goods of others so that thou shouldst be made rich?"

Notker the Stammerer speaks of a Hairy One (pilosus) that haunts a forge, but he also calls it a Larva. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, Gervase of Tilbury wrote:

"Many are those who, in their own experience, have seen Silvains, that are called incubi and which the French call Duses (Dusii), and Pans."

What we have seen regarding Silvanus can be extended to other rustic female creatures who are simply called agrestes foeminae, sylvaticae, and Matres Campestres, a definition encompassing nymphs, dryads, Diana, and Dictynne, as well as indigenous spirits. In Germany, sylvatica is regularly translated as “woman of the wood” (holzwîp), and dryad by “weeper of the wood” (holzmuowa). Diana and Dictynne were grouped together under the generic term of agrestes foeminae, which corresponds to the locution “wild women” in Middle High German. Glosses and translations indicate that in many cases indigenous elements matched those that came from the Roman world.

In fact, all the information strongly points to a single truth: regardless of the people and the time period in question, the world is peopled by creatures that bear many different names. In short, the great god Pan is not as dead as has been claimed!" [Demons and Spirits of the Land]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Sun May 08, 2016 7:10 pm

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Lecouteux wrote:
"In the Germanic-Scandinavian realm, local land spirits are called landvættir (plural), but they are often commingled with elves (álfar), giants (thurses and trolls), and even with the dead as well as with the Dísir, ancient deities of the third function. In recent times in Iceland it was still believed that the “Stones of the Land Dísir” (Landdísarsteinar) were the home of the genii loci.

These land spirits were merged with elves since the latter had also been confused with dwarves and therefore lost, long before the year 1000, their nature as helpful beings. It should not be forgotten that elves were worshipped. Prayers and sacrifices were offered to them in exactly the same way as to local spirits. The Church demonized elves for this reason by making them into malevolent and deadly dwarves and emanations of Satan, as I have shown before. They are confused with the giants who live in wild areas, and with the dead who spend their lives beyond the grave inside the mountains.

The “dweller in the mountain” (bergbúi) is for this reason sometimes a dead soul and sometimes a giant. All of these beings were commingled in a process of collective anathematization and became demons. A runic staff from Bergen (Norway), which could date from 1200, offers evidence of these depreciations:

I carve the runes of remedy,
I carve the runes of protection,
Once against the elves,
Twice against the trolls,
Thrice against the thurses.

A curse that is recounted in the Bósa saga ok Herrauðs (Saga of Bósi and Herraud), which probably dates from earlier than the twelfth cen tury, says:

May trolls and elves
and wizard-norns,
the dwellers [of holes, rocks, and so on]
and the giants of the mountains (bergrisar)
burn your hall.
May the frost thurses rend you!

These two texts provide a good glimpse of the individuals haunting the world of this period. In the third verse, the plural “dwellers” (búar) is a collective noun designating all the spirits (Norse vættir; Middle High German wihte) inhabiting nature. Moreover, the Bergen amulet and the saga are useful in showing us the merger that took place between different creatures that the Church simply designated with the cover term troll, which came to mean “demon” and “devil.”

The historical Icelandic Book of Settlements provides the following information:

"Because of his popularity, sacrifices were offered to Grim once he was dead and he was nicknamed kambann. (H 19)"

One detail reveals that a man venerated in this way was not an ordinary deceased individual:

“Einar lived in Laugarbrekka; he was buried beneath a tumulus . . . and his mound is always green, in winter and summer alike(S 75)."

Thanks to the Gísla saga Súrssonar (Saga of Gisli Súrsson), we learn what this means. Thorgrim’s tumulus remains green: “The people thought that their offerings had attracted the good graces of the god Freyr who did not want him to be cold”. In the Ketils saga hængs (Saga of Ketil Hængr) sacrifices are mentioned being made to a mound that the snow never covers.

The good dead individual therefore becomes, among other things, a conduit between the living and the higher powers. Such deification is a theme that can be found in the first chapter of the Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks (Saga of Hervör and Heidrek) and in the Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss (Saga of Bárðr Snæfellsáss). The details given in the latter text make it quite interesting; when Bard vanished, it was believed he had gone into the Mountain of the Snows—the inside of mountains is one form of the beyond—and prayers were made to him as if he were a god (heitguð). He was called “mountain spirit” (bjargvættr) and is nicknamed the “God of the Snaefell” (Snaefellsáss). It should be noted that a figure deified in this manner is intrinsically linked to a specific place.

It is undeniably clear that the dead individual becomes a tutelary spirit of a specific location. In the Celtic sphere, the Triads in the medieval Welsh manuscript Llyfr Coch Hergest (Red Book of Hergest) say that the head of Llyr’s son, Bran the Blessed, was hidden in the White Hill of London with its head turned facing France. As long as it remained in that position, the Saxons could not oppress the island. The remains of Gwerthefyr (Guorthemir) the Blessed were hidden in the principal ports of this island and so long as they remained concealed there was no fear the Saxons would invade the country. Pomponius Mela tells how the Philaeni brothers had themselves buried beneath a dune to ensure Carthage took possession of a contested territory and, certainly, in order to become tutelary spirits. The place took the name of Arae Philaenorum.

It is safe to say that after a certain stretch of time nothing remains of the good dead individual except his aspect as a spirit. Time eventually banishes his name and deeds from memory. Later there occurs a merging between local spirits and the deceased. This type of merger is still detectable in Scandinavian folk beliefs collected in the nineteenth century. One legend records the following: a peasant gave offense to a genius loci (gardvord, literally a “guardian of the estate”) and the narrator of the tale remarks:

“He should not have done so because the gardvord is the soul (or the spirit or ghost: attrgangaren) of the man that cleared that land where the house stands, so he should be honored and respected.”

This amalgam came about on two levels, in my opinion: 1) the local spirits and the dead worthy of offerings were merged with elves by virtue of the latter’s beneficial nature and their habitat; 2) all were the object of agrarian and/or domestic worship, and they were therefore demonized by the Church and merged with the dwarves, creatures reputedly malevolent and dreadful. Since these creatures also lived in the natural wild, it was easy for churchmen toiling for the greater glory of God (ad maioram Dei Gloriam!) to incorporate them with spirits, if only by virtue of the Augustinian principle according to which pagans worshipped demons. This shift in meaning—which was a brilliant move because it played upon an already existing opposition among the indigenous people between spirits/the dead/beneficial elves, and malefic dwarves—was quite prominent in the national lexicons of the Middle Ages, especially in the Germanic lands where the scribes were indifferent in their use of the names corresponding to elf, dwarf, and spirit. An example of this drift is provided by alp (elf), which became the name of the nightmare, a substitution that speaks for itself.

Although the evidence for it is much more sparse, it is not impermissible to think that these mergers were also facilitated by the lumping together of the dangerous dead and evil spirits (meinvættir). If the good deceased became a good spirit, why couldn’t the evil deceased—someone whose death took place under strange circumstances, or who had been a wizard, seer, or who had been a terror to his neighbors because of his asocial and brutal nature—become a demon? A passage from the Icelandic Book of Settlements deserves our attention:

"Ölvir, son of Eysteinn, took the land east of the Grimsá. No one had dared settle this area because of the land spirits since the time Hjörleif had been slain. (S 330)"

It so happens that Hjörleif had been treacherously murdered by his slaves, which means, according to the thinking of the ancient Scandinavians, that he had the right to avenge himself and thus return from the grave. Another hypothesis is conceivable: he had made an alliance with the land spirits of the area in which he settled, and they would not accept intruders. A second clue corroborates the fact that the evil dead are dangerous. People got rid of their corpses by burying them in remote locations, far from the passage of men and livestock. This is what was done with the body of Thorolf Halt-Foot in the Eyrbyggja Saga, and the danger that such corpses pose is often indicated in the place-name. The place where Olaf Tryggvason had sorcerers drowned was called Skrattasker, “Sorcerers’ Reef,” but skratti, which we encountered above in its German form schrat, also designates malevolent spirits that live in the wild. The place where Hallbjörn Whetstone-Eye was buried is called Skrattavardi, “Sorcerers’ Cairn.”

It should not be forgotten that the deceased are never truly dead and can take action from their graves. Saxo Grammaticus tells of the setbacks suffered by those who tried to violate Baldr’s tumulus. The guardian spirits of the site struck them with terror and sent them fleeing. When they finally managed to open the tomb, a torrent of water gushed out. In his analysis of this passage, Paul Hermann pointed out that the deceased was behaving both as a spirit and a mound-dweller (haugbúi).

Even at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Swedish Lapps (Sámi) avoided erecting their tents over spots where death had occurred for fear of disturbing the sleep of the dead or prompting their vengeance, as the spirits of the dead were believed to settle in these spots. This precaution was all the more justified as the dead had long been buried on mountains and in forests, even though cemeteries had come into general use since around 1641.

In fifteenth-century Germany, dangerous areas were called unsteten (singular: unstete), which were described as being “places of uncertainty” (loca incerta). “When someone who walks there is struck by a sudden illness or feel pains in his limbs, the ignorant say: ‘He has gone over an unstete.’” It is claimed that the land spirit has punished him for having violated its sanctity (et quia is sanctus sit, genius loci illum punisse)." [Spirits of the Land]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Sun May 08, 2016 7:29 pm

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Lecouteux wrote:
"In classical antiquity as well as in the Middle Ages, the virgin spaces that people wished to settle upon prompted prudence. Every colonization, settlement, and addition of a place to the civilized domain was therefore accompanied by rites that conferred a different sanctity to the space being appropriated and gave its owner legitimacy. If these rites were not heeded, the inhabitants of the place in question would treat the newcomers as intruders and threaten their livelihood, their mental health, and even their lives. Furthermore, the conquest was never definitive and whenever a farm, hamlet, temple, chapel, or castle was abandoned, it fell back into the power of the local land spirits.

In hagiographic texts, the local land spirits most often take the form of monsters, but some details make it possible to see what they are disguising. Demonized, they turn into those dragons that the saints vanquish or drive away. A highly symbolic beast, the dragon represents paganism by virtue of something the Bible says—all that crawls is unclean (Leviticus 11:42)—but it is also the materialization of natural forces. When Krakow in Poland was founded, Graccus, the civilizing hero, had to slay a dragon that haunted Wawel Hill, and to do so he resorted to a ruse once used by Alexander the Great: he placed a bull full of poisonous substances near the beast’s lair. Sometimes the monster lives at the border of the town and receives a sacrifice of men or animals every year until some holy man comes to put a stop to it.

The expulsion of the dragon is a civilizing act and not only a Christian one. The threat it poses to humans is eliminated.

Local land spirits are only driven away by a sacred force that is superior to the powers they have at their disposal. In the romances and in the less Christianized Norse texts, rites persist in which the heroes act as civilizing figures who expand the boundaries of cultivated land and cause the virgin, wild spaces to recede. These wild spaces are truly the last refuge of the spirits.

It is in the Germanic-Scandinavian countries that the rites accompanying the taking possession of a piece of land are most clear.

Initially, the colonists who travelled to Iceland entrusted the god they worshipped with the task of indicating the site of their future settlement. As they neared the shore, they threw the posts of the high-seat, which they had brought with them from their former home, overboard. The high-seat was the seat of honor reserved for the use of the master of the house, and it was often carved with the image of a god. As an example, we may take a look at what Ingolf did. He began by consulting the auguries after having performed a sacrifice and learned that he needed to move to Iceland. He fitted out his ship and set sail. “When he spied land, he threw the posts of his high-seat into the water ‘for luck’ (til heilla) and said that he would live wherever they came ashore. He claimed the land at this spot, which was now called Ingólfshöfði” (S 8 ).

The gods are not the only ones who can decide where humans can settle; the dead can do so as well. Before dying on the boat carrying him to Iceland, Kveldulf (whose name means “Evening Wolf ”) asked that his coffin be tossed into the sea and for his son to build his house a short distance from the place where his body came ashore. As we saw earlier, the dead become a conduit between men and the supernatural powers. Continuing to live in their graves, they can help the living and foil the plots of their enemies. It is not rare to come across remarks like the following in the Laxdæla Saga:

“I wish to be buried in Skáneyjarfjall,” said Odd as he died, “from there I can see the entire region.”

The underlying meaning is that “there I will be able to keep an eye on my family’s doings.” Once the home site has been chosen, it is time for the rite of taking possession of the soil, and there are several rituals for this purpose. We may look at the example of Ævarr. He goes back up the Blandá, and when he reaches the place called Mobergsbrekkur, he sticks a large staff into the ground and declares that this is where his son Véfröd will build his house. This is a common action and can be seen in the place-names. Thórolf Mostrarskegg claims the land between the Stafá (River of the Staff) and the Thórsá (Thor’s River). Rodrek, Hrosskell’s slave, takes possession of the land by “sticking in the ground his staff that has been freshly stripped of bark,” which is called landkönnud, meaning “settlement mark” (S 194). One might also be satisfied, like Náttfari, to make marks on the trees (S 247), but since this individual is later expelled from his lands, we can deduce that this approach is not truly according to ritual. As Jacob Grimm points out elsewhere, however, the marking of trees sets the boundaries for a sacred space. It is possible that the use of wood refers to tree worship.

Sæmund follows another rite. He takes possession of his lands by “carrying fire around his land-claim” (S 189). This mysterious turn of phrase is illuminated thanks to another passage from the Book of Settlements: “Önund shot a flaming arrow over the river and thereby consecrated the land to the west and lived between the rivers” (S 198). The Víga-Glúms saga says the same thing.

Helgi the Lean colonized all the Eyjafjord between Sigluness and Reynisness, and made a large fire at the spot where the lake spilled into the sea every year, “thereby consecrating the entire fjord between the capes” (H 184).

Fire allegedly drives away land spirits because it is connected to the sun, which is the enemy of chthonic creatures. It petrifies dwarves, for example, and is the absolute master of natural forces. Two common sayings express this fact: fara með eldi at fornum sið ok nema sér land (to go with fire according to the ancient custom and take the land), and fara (um) land eldi (walk the circumference of the land with fire). King Harald Fairhair may have been the one who codified the rites called eldvigning, “consecration by fire,” but they preexisted him. The Book of Settlements (H 294) states:

"The king stipulated that none should take land that he could not travel across in one day with fire and his equipage. The fire had to be kindled when the sun was in the east; it was necessary to build fires from place to place so that the last could be seen from the next, and the fires that were made when the sun was in the east had to burn until nightfall. Next they had to walk to where the sun hung in the west and make more fires."

The act of taking possession of land therefore took from sunrise to sunset. In this regard, Régis Boyer notes that the worship of fire in the northern regions was paralleled by a worship of light, which dispersed spirits of all kinds. This point is made strikingly clear in the Guta saga (Saga of the Gotlanders):

"Gotland was first discovered by a man named Thjelvar. At this time, Gotland was an enchanted island (elvist, “elfen”) that sank during the day beneath the waves and surfaced at night. This man was the first one to bring fire to the island and it has not sunk since that time."

Jean-Marie Maillefer remarks that “it is tempting to compare the name of Gotland’s first colonist, Thjelvar, which is rare and only attested in Swedish anthroponymy by a runic inscription of Östergötland (Ostrogothia), with the name Thjalvi, servant of the god Thor, whose characteristic natural element is fire and whose traditional role is to fight against the forces that are foreign to the human world.” In the Saga of Víga-Glúm.

There are simpler ways to appropriate the land than the one just described. In numerous charters, the most important passages of which Jacob Grimm collected in his Deutsche Rechtsalterthümer (German Legal Antiquities), taking possession of land could also be achieved by throwing a hammer, which, as we know, is the attribute of the god Thor. This was the case in 1360 in the archbishopric of Mainz. On the boundaries defined this way, the sign of the hammer would be carved according to the Saga of Haakon the Good. An axe can also be used when it involves setting the boundary of a forest or a body of water, a rite attested in 1121 and 1306. Many centuries earlier, the legal code of the Bavarii, Lex Baiuwariorum, mentioned a great axe in the following rite. If a farm is not enclosed (cinctus), someone contesting the boundary shall toss a great axe at noon toward the east and toward the west. It is forbidden to do this toward the north: no hedge can be placed there; the shadow will mark the border (XI, 6, 2).

I will remind the reader in passing that in the legend of Romulus, possession of the land was established by a spear toss on the Palatine Hill. In the legend of Saint Gonçalo of Amarante, the choice of the building site was chosen by the play of the saint’s staff, and in a rite of Terminatio perpetuated in Catalonia by Miguel de Iranzo in 1407, the setting of the boundaries (limites) was decided by casting a spear. Casting spears or hammers is a means of intimidating the spirits, equivalent to a declaration of war—or at the very least it is a manifestation of the will of the colonist who, strengthened by his own gods or by his own “luck,” as the ancient Scandinavians termed it, has no doubts about achieving his ends.

A flaming arrow (Old Icelandic tindrör) could be shot over coveted territory. It was also possible to combine several means of taking possession. The Book of Settlements describes a group of these that has no equivalent elsewhere in the text:

"Einar and his two brothers, Vestmad and Vémund, buried an axe in the Reistargnúp, which was consequently renamed Ax Fjord. They placed an eagle on high in the West and called this spot Eagle’s Tuft; at a third spot they placed a cross, and called this place Cross Ridge. In this way they consecrated the entire Ax Fjord."

Other passages in the Book of Settlements emphasize the duration of the operation: it takes two to three days. It seems that this difference is explained by the then existing legislation that decreed a difference between men and women. According to the directives of King Harald Fairhair, a woman marked off the boundaries of her future domain by leading a two-year old heifer, which implies a slow pace. It so happens that in the Book of Settlements, one passage implies the land can be circumscribed by riding a mare. Vébjörn marks off his plot from Horse Fjord to a piece of land called Folafótr (“Foal’s Foot”), which would confirm the legend of Saint Andreas.

In every case, there are two sacred forces that opposed each other: the original sacred power, represented by the land spirits, and the sacred power of the colonist. It cannot be doubted that all these acts involved the application of a sacred ritual, as the recurrence of the verb “to consecrate” (heilla) clearly indicates. The individual is therefore seeking in fact to substitute one sacred power (for example, that of the god who guides the colonist’s steps) for another (that of the unsettled lands ruled by their masters, the land spirit masters). The rite of possessing a piece of land seeks to drive the spirits outside the marked off space. The landvættir are thereby obliged to tolerate the colonist’s presence on their lands; their power has been dispelled but, as we shall see, that does not mean they have vanished. They even retain some power as they can bring prosperity and become household spirits, but they regain all their destructive capabilities if the rites are no longer respected.

From what we have seen, it is clear that taking possession of a piece of land often included a circumambulation, which is first and foremost a circumscription. In other words, this means that the notion of the circle, whether a perfect one or not, is of the highest importance.

The rites of circumambulation need to be read on two levels. They involve the protection of the circumscribed space against external forces—the land spirits whose ownership of the land predates that of the human settler—and also confirm the unique sacredness of a piece of land. This sacredness can be based on the presence of a god or, as was the case for Christians, the presence of a saint or a holy relic. It can also be based on the presence of a tamed spirit or that of a dead individual —often the first colonist, who has returned as a guardian spirit. The circumambulation is one of the oldest forms of establishing ownership of a piece of land and has a value equivalent to that of a legal writ. We keep in mind, however, that in this older period law and religion were inseparable.

Some of the oldest evidence we have concerns the history of the founding of Rome. Romulus and Remus followed the omens, in this case the flight of the vultures. Then, when they decided upon the Palatine Hill, which was held by Romulus, he drew the outer boundaries of the future city with a plow harnessed to two oxen. We know what happened next. Remus scoffed at this enclosure, an easily crossed ditch, leapt over it, and Romulus slew him for this sacrilege. In fact, this ancient Italic rite was a consecration ritual. According to other traditions, the plow had to be pulled by a white bull and a white cow. Titus Livy (II, 5) tells us that Horatius Cocles was given ownership of the fields that he surrounded with a furrow in one day (uno die circumararit). It so happens that this furrow, the mundus, formed the meeting point between the lower realms and the earthly world, as Mircea Eliade saw so clearly. “When the mundus is open it is as if the gates of the gloomy infernal gods were open,” says Varro (cited by Macrobius, Saturnalia I, 16, 18)."

François Delpech notes that during the nineteenth century in Catalonia a similar rite existed to the one used in the founding of Rome. The text on which he bases his claim states:

"In Gelida, until the last half of the last century, when it was necessary to build a house, the perimeter it required was marked out by a furrow drawn by a plow. The furrow was not one continuous line; the plow would be lifted up at the places where the doors would go. It was believed that if this was not done, the house would collapse."

Catalan traditions also say that the town of Villareal was founded by King James I of Aragon, “who personally used a plow to mark out the contours of the city and its streets with furrows.” There is another rite from this same province that is worth noting:

"In Cardadeu, there was a family whose heir, on the afternoon of Carnival Sunday, plowed the square to indicate his ancient claim of ownership over the village."

This is no less than a renewal of a rite for taking ownership of a land.

Furthermore, every sacred building was laid out according to a specific rite. A team of oxen opened furrows at the four points of a square starting at the southern side and working their way around it in a carefully defined order and direction. Moreover, the priests who read the auspices and auguries, after having divided up the celestial region (regions caeli) with the help of a curved staff, “freed and declared empty” the future building site. “What is then inaugurated is put in communication, in an effective symmetry, with the heavens . . . ; what is not inaugurated remains essentially earthbound,” notes Georges Dumézil. “The Italic temple,” says Eliade, “was the zone where the upper (divine), terrestrial, and subterranean worlds intersected.”

Snorri Sturluson twice tells the story of Gefjon who, in mytho logical times, took possession of the land that today forms the Danish island of Seeland:

"As reward for the entertainment she had given him, Gylfi, king of Sweden, granted a woman named Gefjon “as much farm land in his kingdom that four oxen can plow in one day and night. . . . She went to Jötunheimr [Giant-land] in the north for four oxen— which were her own sons conceived with a giant—and yoked them to a plow. They went forward so powerfully and dug so deeply, that an entire piece of land became detached. The oxen dragged it west toward the sea. . . . There Gefjon anchored the land and gave it a name: she called it Seeland. (Gylfaginning, chap. 1)"

In the Saga of the Ynglings, Snorri indicates that Odin sent Gefjon in search of new lands.

“She came to King Gylfi, and he gave her a ploughland. Then she went to Giant-land and there bore four sons to some giant. She transformed them into oxen and attached them to the plough and drew the land westward into the sea, opposite Óðin’s Island [Odense], and that is [now] called Selund [Seeland], and that is where she dwelled afterwards.”

Many texts that are of a strictly legal nature describe the appropriation of land by similar actions.

We can probably compare this measure to another rite denounced by Caesarius of Arles. This rite involved walking around houses disguised as a stag, cow, or some other portentous animal. The Arles council banned it in 578. Unfortunately, the texts do not tell us the purpose of these actions, but more recent examples, collected by ethnologists in Central Europe in the 1950s, suggest that wearing this disguise refers to some minor deity.

The sacred nature of a site can also be restored through a circumambulation. In Snorri’s recounting of Saint Óláf ’s Saga, King Olaf ’s men have trampled a field and spoiled the harvest. The peasant comes to Olaf to complain and the king decides to right this wrong: “the king rode up to the field and saw that the whole field had been flattened. He rode around it and then said, ‘I do expect, my man, that God will repair the damage done you, and I believe this field of yours will be restored in a week’s time.’ And indeed the field recovered excellently, as the king had said.” Only the detail I italicized makes it possible to see that a rite of sanctification had been performed. According to Gregory of Tours (History of the Franks, IV, 14), the first task of the new king was to make the tour around his kingdom on horseback, which is a measure for taking possession.

Count Comorre granted Gouesnou as much land for his monastery as he could enclose with ditches in a single day. He agreed to a day and a time, before which the holy man would have had to finish his circuit (assignata est dies qua sanctus debuit terram circuire). Our man then headed north, with a pitchfork dragging on the ground behind him—“and as he dragged this rude fork, a strange thing happened, the dirt rose up on either side and formed a large ditch.” He walked for a stade, then turned east and went straight ahead to a place called “Caput nemoris,” which is today Penhoat (“Wooden Head”). From there he turned right and headed south, and having walked in a straight line for around four stades, then turned westward and walked another four stades toward the north, whereupon he finally turned east to return to his starting point. It so happens that this method is the exact counterpart to the way the sacred square is drawn by the Romans and Indo-Europeans, as Georges Dumézil showed in his study of the demarcation of the āhavanīya, the fire over which offerings are passed on to the gods.

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There are rites for claiming ownership of a plot of ground, even though they may seem more like figments of legend, which at one time or another corresponded with existing realities before they lost their sacred character and were devalued more or less to the status of simple motifs for fables. Such is the case for the legend of Carthage’s founding by Dido. A bull hide cut into thin strips was used to mark off the territory of the city; in other words, to form an enclosed space (whether round or square does not matter). The same method was used to establish the boundaries of the future city of London (if we can believe the Saga of Ragnar Loðbrók), and even those of York. There is also the case of the Melusine legend, as told by Jean d’Arras at the end of the fourteenth century. The fairy advises Raymondin of Poitiers:

"Ask of young Count Bertrand . . . as much land as you can enclose within a deer hide. He should give you full franchise to this land. . . . On the next day, you shall meet a man carrying a sack of deer hides tanned in alum. Buy them from him . . . then have them cut into a single strip that is as thin as it can possibly be. Next, go back to your place, where you shall find the boundaries all drawn and prepared in accordance with my plans and desires. And at the moment you prepare to join the two ends of the strip, if the strip grows, take it down into the valley, and know that the water of the spring there, by flowing through it, shall form a small river that will be of great use in this place."

Thanks to this strategy, Raymondin becomes the owner of a vast land, whose site was selected by the fairy—she is the counterpart of the gods or dead ancestors in the texts cited above—and she provided the means of appropriating it. At the predicted time, Raymondin encountered two strangers:

"They made a skein of the leather strip and carried it into the valley, as close as possible to the rock cliff. They planted a solid stake to which they attached one end of the strip. . . . They then completed a circuit around the whole mountain and when they returned to their starting point, they found a long length of leather was left over, which they pulled down along the length of the valley. . . . A stream gushed out at this spot."

Coudrette, who independently of Jean d’Arras tells the same story, says:

"It was then two strangers appeared who took the deerskin lace and wound it into an enormous ball. They buried a stake in the ground at one spot and attached the lace to it, then surrounded, including the mountain and spring described above, a vast expanse of the plain below as far as the stream that flowed there.
Count Bertrand’s reaction is eloquent. “This is indeed quite strange. It looks like fairy work to me.”

The choice of where humans should settle is entrusted to supernatural beings, to God, or to gods, or in liaison with them (saints, the dead, fairies). Behind the various rites—demarcation by fire, furrow, a strip, or by riding—there is an essential element of the operation that stands out: the creation of an enclosed space, a cultivated space in all the meanings of the word, which will stand in opposition to the savagery of untamed nature, which is always associated with primordial chaos. As noted by Mircea Eliade, these chaotic expanses “still participate in the undifferentiated, formless modality of pre-Creation. This is why, when possession is taken of a territory—that is, when its exploitation begins—rites are performed that symbolically repeat the act of Creation: the uncultivated area is first ‘cosmicized,’ then inhabited.”

Through the rituals of taking possession of land, chaos is transformed into cosmos through imitating the gods.
This transformation takes place by the “neutralization” of natural forces, manifestations of original chaos represented by the local land spirits.

The study of the boundaries of colonized territories is difficult because we lack details about the ancient eras. Yet the entries for subjects like “Hedge,” “Boundary,” and “Frontier” in the Dictionary of German Superstitions furnish an enormous amount of data for more recent times, which can be neither new nor the result of chance, but must have its roots in much older beliefs. We have already seen that certain forms of establishing boundaries—furrows, hedges—can be understood as the materialization of religious borders since sanctuaries were encircled by low stone walls and bushes when the natural space—a clearing or island, for example—did not clearly mark a border. There is a group of legends common to all of Europe that is worth considering in this regard. We find everywhere the legend of the dishonest surveyor who has stolen land from its legitimate owner by establishing false boundaries, and similarly widespread are the stories about greedy peasants who move border markers to their neighbors’ detriment. In both cases the punishment is the same: they are condemned to wander endlessly after death carrying the illegally relocated boundary marker on their backs and asking everyone they meet: “Where should I put this?” They are only freed from their torment on the day someone answers: “Back where you took it from!” The considerable number of accounts of this legend clearly shows that boundary markers have an ancient and profound significance—one which we shall attempt to discover.

The boundary markers of Roman fields (termini) were placed under the aegis of the god Terminus, in whose honor the Terminalia festival was celebrated. This took place in February and was marked with the sacrifice of a lamb; it therefore had a pronounced sacred character. The Silvanus orientalis was also responsible for watching over borders and he was placed in a lucus at the edge of the field. During the Middle Ages, there were different methods for marking property lines. Borders were indicated by boundary markers, or by a furrow for which the dirt pile on the side formed the simulacrum of an encircling wall, or by hedges. The inner space could be marked off by low stonewalls, especially within the proximity of buildings. Trees were marked in forest domains. According to a German charter from 1155, boundary markers bore the sign of the moon in the Rhineland.

In Rhetia, the boundary sign was put on vertical boulders. In ancient Swedish law, it required at least two boundary markers or stakes called ra (staka ok sten ma ra kalla). To demarcate a path and a field, three were called for. An estate (tompt) required five arranged in such a way that one was in the center and the other four encircled it. Jacob Grimm notes that in Iceland and Norway these stones are called lýrittar (also spelled lírittar, lærittar) and considered sacred. It was next to them, for example, that oaths were sworn (lýrittar eiðr). Trees were frequently marked with a cross and rocks were arranged alongside them (ubi cruces in arbore et lapides subtus infigere jussimus). This mark is called lah in Old High German (vulgo lachus appellatur sive divisio) as is shown by documents dating from 770.

The fixation of borders was a solemn act in which the elders and the optimates took part, and it was designated by the verbs circumducere, peragrare, and cavallicare (Old German pireisa, lantleita, underganc, umbeganc), which indicated it was accompanied by a circumambulation. The boundary line of the estate being established was followed on foot or horseback. Such trees and stones were sacred and not to be touched. No one had the right, for example, to cut the smallest branch from a marked tree, nor to move the boundary stones of the fields when plowing them. Whoever committed such an impious act would have their head cut off with a plow blade after being buried in the ground up to the neck. Near Hagelsberga in Västmanland (central Sweden) there stands a hill topped by a stone surrounded by a low wall that is called the Chamber of the Nisse (Tomtenissens stuga). A spirit could be seen there at night, but it always vanished at daybreak when it heard the bells of Odensvi.

In Lithuania, borders seem to have been placed under the protection of the deity Veliona, also called Ezagulis, the “God who lives at the border of the cultivated fields” (ežia being the word for a furrow bordering a field). Several traditions also make Perkūnas the guardian of various borders and boundaries. Paul Sébillot points out that the megaliths in France have played the role of boundary markers and have been cited as such in documents. He mentions the Petra quae vertitur (Stone that turns) in Berry (thirteenth century) and notes that this name refers to a folk belief. He also mentions the duo lapides erecti (two upright stones) that served as the boundaries of the kingdom of Arles and thinks they could be identical to the standing stones of Simandre, France (IV, 1). Stones like this were objects of worship and were even sometimes given offerings and prayers.

In medieval romances, the areas by boundary markers—sometimes replaced by crosses— were always hazardous areas and signals of peril; they were loca incerta, meaning that belief in the presence of supernatural beings survived there. I will take three examples attesting to the recuperation of these realities. In Chrétien’s Perceval, the Story of the Grail, Gawain is lost and meets a wounded knight who tells him to go no further on that road: because that’s the boundary of Galvoie

That knights cannot pass
And ever return again. (6602–4)

The boundary marker therefore signifies, to some extent, the beginning of a journey of no return. In the Second Continuation of the Story of the Grail, a “pillar” appears that causes death by a melancholic illness in whoever dares approach too near, one means of indicating that to do this is a sacrilege (31583ff). A Christianized standing stone is also mentioned: on Mount Dolorous there stands a pillar—the word denotes a standing stone—that Merlin placed there at an earlier time. It is surrounded by fifteen crosses, and an anemi, meaning a demon, is imprisoned inside it. If anyone asks it: “Who is there?” he will lose his memory and go mad, no matter how wise and shrewd he was before (963ff).

An unmistakable sign indicating the sacred character of a place is the fact that it is enclosed, even if this enclosure is strictly symbolic. The Romans made sure that a spot struck by lightning would be surrounded by a wall, and none were allowed to walk there. The sacred groves or woods of the ancient Germans formed a closed spaced, and Thietmar of Merseberg seems to consider “the large, intact, and venerable forest” that surrounds the pagan temple of Riedegost a frontier, an enclosure.
The Gotland laws (Gutalagen) prohibit: “sacrifices of all kinds, as well as all the old pagan customs. May no one invoke groves, mounds, pagan gods, sanctuaries, or enclosed spaces . . . with food or drink” (§4). The Christian laws of the Gulathing make the same proscription. In the Saga of the Gotlanders it is written that “Before this time and subsequently long after, men worshipped woods and mounds, sanctuaries, and enclosed spaces.”

If we refer to the mythology of the ancient Scandinavians—or more specifically, to their cosmogony—we see that the earth consists of three self-contained zones: Asgard, home of the gods; Midgard, the world of men; and Utgard, the dwelling place of the giants, which is to say that of the hostile forces of chaos. Extending all around the world is the ocean in which the Midgard Serpent (Miðgarðsormr) lives. The coherence of the whole edifice is ensured vertically, by Yggdrasill, the cosmic tree, and horizontally by the Midgard Serpent, sometimes called the “bond of the earth.” The apocalypse (Ragnarök) occurs when all these bonds vanish and the forces of chaos, no longer hindered by any barrier, set off to attack the world of the gods.

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It should be noted, in passing, that the three enclosures of the world are compound words including garðr, a word that means fence and is indicative of the sacred. It so happens that garðr (Gart in German) goes back to the Indo-European root gherdh that means “to weave, to bind.” The garðr is therefore the concrete and simultaneously religious bond that maintains the cohesion of the domain and the family seat, the center of judicial and cult activities. The Dísablót sacrifice to the female spirits (dísir) was performed in the home, as was the álfablót, the sacrifice addressed to the elves. It was an act of sacrilege to attack the garðr—one capable of sparking an act of vengeance in response, as occurs in the Saga of Víga Glúm. The universe was therefore organized around a series of concentric circles—enclosures—whose center is the family hearth.

It is especially important to avoid falling into the belief that this vision of the world was restricted to the ancient Germans. Fabienne Cardot has shown that space in Carolingian Austrasia was sometimes perceived as a series of concentric spheres, the smallest consisting of the villa, the pagus, and the civitas, which, with the vicus and the castrum, were the fundamental frameworks of everyday space. The loca pagana were found on the margins of this space.

The ancient Anglo-Saxon laws say that every sanctuary was surrounded by a friþgeard. A garðr was constructed around all ancient Germanic places that were considered sacred, such as a spring, tree, or fields. These places were designated as hörgr in Norse and harug in Old High German, meaning “sanctuary, place of worship.” According to Jonas of Bobbio, the Lombards had a wooden temple (fanum) near Tortona surrounded by trees (Vita Columbani, bk. 2, chap. 25).

What was the first thing to occur once one had settled in a space? A fence called a skíðgarðr or stafgarðr would be built, which by its very nature indicated the sacred nature of the enclosed space, a sanctity that was most likely extended to the occupants of the space. In fact, the proscription of a man sought to expel him from his domain, thereby stripping him of his sacred nature (mannhelgi), which means to make him óheilagr, “devoid of sacred nature.”

The fact that this sacred nature stems from his bonds with the land and with his home clearly emerges from the story of Örn. According to the Book of Settlements, “He was condemned in such way that he lost all inviolability at the hands of the sons of Örnund if they found him anywhere outside Vælugerði or within a bowshot of his property” (S 348). It can therefore be seen that the sacred nature of the property marked off by a garðr extended to within a bowshot of that boundary, something the Norse designated by the term örskotshelgi, a compound of örskot, “arrow-shot,” and helgi, “sacred.”

Archaeology has revealed that sites of worship in the medieval West—Old English ealh/alh, baro, hearg; Norse lundr, vé; and Old High German baro, harug, loh—are enclosed spaces, and when it involves a forest, it is also an enclosed space or clearing that is only entered on certain occasions. Recall what Tacitus said in his Germania about the worship of Nerthus taking place within a holy grove situated on an island (chap. 40, 3) and the sacred grove of the Semnones, which “no one enters unless bound by a shackle, as an inferior who makes manifest the might of the divine” (chap. 39, 2). The island in the river or the sea is an identical twin of the forest clearing. The Lex Ripuaria (Legal Code of the Ripuarian Franks) stipulates that oaths must be sworn “in the hazel grove” (in araho jurare), and in Old German the word forst (“forest, wood”) designates the spot where the tribunal convenes. Hincmar of Reims mentions oaks in 877; the legal texts say “beneath the linden or next to it” (in 1258 and 1261), and it should not be forgotten that the gods of the Scandinavian pantheon gathered beneath the ash tree, Yggdrasill—the cosmic tree.

According to the ninth-century German poem Muspilli, the placement of the tribunal (mahalstat) had to be marked off (kimarchôt), and the same was true for the ancient Scandinavians who called this spot dómhringr, the “judgment circle.” This location was described as a “most sacred place” (helgistaðr mikill), because it is demarcated by “sacred bonds” (vébönd, singular véband). The Thing, the assembly of free men where lawsuits are judged, is surrounded by hazel stakes, between which a rope is strung (Egil’s Saga, chap. 56). It so happens that vé means “sanctuary”—it is cognate with the Old Saxon word wîh, “temple”—and bönd means both “bonds” and “deities” (because gods are seen as “binding ones”). The stakes, connected by a rope to form an enclosed area, were called septa judicalia in 1283 and rihtepale in Middle High German, meaning “legal stakes.”

For duels (holmgangr), which originally took place on a small island (holmi or holmr)—and are also a frequent element in medieval romances—a space would be marked off with hazel staffs and an animal sacrifice to the gods would be made before the combat (Gisla saga, chap. 2). Sometimes the sacrifice (blótnaut) took place after the combat (Heiðarvíga saga, chap. 4). The stakes marking off the space are called tjösnur, singular tjasna (Kormáks saga, chap. 10 and 23), and the sacrifice was sometimes made to them as indicated by the word tjösnublót, “sacrifice to the stakes, to the boundary markers.” In the Middle High German poem the Nibelungenlied, oaths are still sworn within a circle.

The preceding should leave no doubt about the sacred nature of all spaces that have been enclosed or given some kind of boundary. We could add to these examples those of the otherworldly castles surrounded by a magical barrier. I am thinking in particular of the enchanter Malduk’s castle in Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Lanzelet, which is bordered by a malefic marsh. In the same text, the home of the “water nymph” who kidnapped Lanzelet as a child is a round crystal island. In the work of Chrétien de Troyes, we have the adventure of the Joy of the Court (in Erec et Enide), which suggests the same theme. It is an orchard enclosed by a wall of clouds (or air), where lives a very simplified sort of fairy and a knight, Mabonagrain, who possesses all the characteristics of a giant."

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[Spirits of the Land]


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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Fri May 13, 2016 5:58 pm
















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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Mon May 16, 2016 4:10 am

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"Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth; faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green…

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There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die."

- Alfred Tennyson, 1830

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Lcouteux wrote:
"Once the domain has been marked out, it remains to build the living quarters and farm buildings, but one can never be entirely certain that all the local spirits have been dispersed, nor even certain that the sanctification and the patronage of the gods one worships is going to be more powerful than the powers wielded by these spirits. Cohabitation will therefore be arranged and a tacit contract with these spirits shall be drawn up. Depending on the nature of the space, the country, and the kinds of constructions, this contract can take a variety of forms.

Almost everywhere until fairly recent times, we find confirmation of the existence of the rite of sacrificing a living being in order to be able to erect a building. Folklorists and ethnologists have long interpreted this rite as a sacrifice addressed to the local land spirits so they will not oppose the construction. In fact, this sacrifice appears like a payment of damages for the land being occupied. The individual pays his due to the land spirit in order to be able to establish the hegemony of agriculture over wild nature.

We are poorly informed about ancient times, and with the Greeks and Romans, for example, the authors are revealingly terse and only mention the rites.1 Herodotus speaks this way about the founding of a city by Darius, who did so without respecting the rites and consulting the oracles. Herodotus considers this an impious action. Vitruvius, when mentioning something under construction, speaks of the “respect for traditions.” A Roman legend tells how a crack appeared in the walls of the Forum Romanum and could not be closed until after Curtius was rushed there with his horse. A Greek legend informs us that a yong girl was immured within the foundation of Antiochia and another was treated the same way during the construction of the city’s large theater. Moreover, archaeologists have found skeletons in the walls of buildings built between 2500 and 2000 BCE. Among the ancient Egyptians, the sacrifice of young men and women, and prisoners, appears to have been common practice when the first stone of a public building was laid. What is at work here involves the exploitation of the theme of sacrificing a human being to appease a genius loci that often adopted the form of a serpent, dragon, or lizard.

Matthäus Prätorius (sixteenth century) gives us a glimpse of how the “specialists,” pagan priests called Kaukuczones or Barztukkones, were capable of enchanting the Barstucci/erdmenlin (chthonic creatures) to settle in this place or that. This is a good example of taming local land spirits and transforming them into household spirits.

A tree often stands right next to the main house in the Scandinavian countries. This tree is frequently a birch and is reputedly the home of the land spirit. The most common name for this spirit is gardvord, formed from gard, meaning “wall, boundary,” and later “estate”; and vord, meaning “guardian.” The tree is called boträ (bosträd), vårdträd (the “vord-tree”), as well as tomteträd and tuntré. This tree can be an oak, birch, elder, or elm and is considered to be the totem tree on which the family fortunes depend (Sweden), and the dwelling place of the tomtegubbe, another name for the land spirit. Offerings of food were placed at its feet and its roots were sometimes watered with milk.

To facilitate understanding of this presentation, I would like to briefly recall the names of the spirits connected with farms in the Scandinavian countries:

Denmark: Nisse, Lille Niels, Nis, Nis Puge, Puge, gaardbo, gaardbonisse, gaardbuk (the “dweller in the estate”).

Norway: Tuss(e), Bokke, Tomtegubbe, Tuftefolk (-bonde, -gubbe, -kall), Tunkall, Tunvord (the “guardian of the garden”), gardvord (“guardian of the estate”), gardsbonde (“dweller in the estate”), haugbonde (“mound dweller”).

Sweden: Vätte, Yomtegubbe (-bise) (the “dweller in the estate”), Tomtkall (the “Old Man of the Estate”), Niss, Goanisse (the “Good Nisse”).

There is an oak in Bö, Norway, at whose foot the haugbonde (dweller of the mound or hill) is propitiated with gruel on Christmas Day. If the plate was found empty the next day, good fortune was certain for the farmer’s cows and horses. We should note, incidentally, that similar offerings can be found almost everywhere. In the Telemark region of Norway offerings were made to the Vätter (spirits) on hills called Vättehauge. In West Bothnia (Västerbotten) coins were offered to the Vitra; in Funen, the fishermen do the same for the water spirits (sjörå), and when fording a river a coin is tossed to the undine (Aamand, meaning “river person”).

It is therefore easy to see that the obvious purpose of all these rites is to neutralize or attract the favors of local spirits so they may be transformed into guardian powers. The farm and its inhabitants’ prosperity in fact depends on the moods of said spirits, so it is sometimes necessary to renew the signs of esteem or worship at regular intervals, most often once a year at Christmas. This date, which marks the time of omens and thereby heralds the coming year, was certainly not chosen at random. The Cycle of Twelve Days (from Christmas to Epiphany) corresponds to the famous Epagomenal Days, a period that does not belong to either the year that is ending or the coming year. It is a “no man’s time” that represents a moment when the Other World is open and when the spirits can roam freely over the earth and are therefore particularly dreadful. It should also be kept in mind that before the conversion to Christianity in Iceland, the ancient pagan Yule festivities also had associations with the “sacrifice to the elves” (álfablót).

The offerings are also a kind of compensation given to the spirits whose lands have been taken. People must live in symbiosis with them if they wish to prosper, and it is even necessary to avoid adopting Christianity because it drives them away. Many legends have as their theme the departure of the “dwarves,” the “silent people,” the local land spirits, who cannot stand the noise of the bells of the recently built churches.

I should also say a word about the building legends in which men are compelled to turn to a supernatural being (giant, devil) in order to erect a bridge over a fast-moving river. The wondrous assistant always demands as payment the life or soul of the first living thing to cross the bridge, which is nothing more nor less than a sacrifice a posteriori. In fact, the devil, the most frequent form this assistant takes, shows himself to be stronger than the spirit of the waters and manages to build the bridge. However, he is always foiled, since the humans always release a cat or rooster as a true substitute for the sacrifice expected by the builder.

Once the estate has been marked out and the house and farm buildings built, the need to protect them still remains, and then one would set off conquering space that is yet unclaimed. Enclosures are established, first that of the tún, the garden, directly adjacent to the main house. This is a primal sacred space where the tree of the spirit (túntré) stands and where a sacred animal—often a pig—is raised. It will be sacrificed on Jól (Christmas) to the god Freyr (third function). The act of colonizing, which takes place under the aegis of an antagonistic sacred power, can only be achieved through acknowledgment of the genius loci, a recognition marked by a sanctuary and worship. It transforms the spirit into a guardian power. Once this has been achieved, the colonization of the space has also been completed.

We ought to also discuss the home as a sacred space in which the threshold, the hearth, and the main roof beam play an important role. During the thirteenth century when moving into a new home, the residents would bury at the four corners of the house a pot holding a variety of things for the household spirits. In more recent times, four consecrated branches would be buried at the four corners of the future house before construction began.

The colonization of the surrounding area was mounted from the home and the farmed land. Its principal characteristic seems to be a particular structuring of the space, which was realized in stages. First, more or less temporary installations were created, surrounded by a hedge or some other kind of fence, and this concerned not only pieces of land but also trees and springs. An enclosed space of this type is called a hörgr in Old Norse, which can be loosely translated as “worship place, sanctuary,” a name that suggests these are spots from which the local land spirits have been expelled. They are a kind of refuge offering safety and protection from the spirits and from other human beings. As a general rule, Christians initially set up crosses at these spots, replacing one form of the sacred with another. Since the fields were often far from the farm, it was necessary when visiting them to cross through “unsure territories” in which it would be necessary to establish some safe havens. It was also necessary to protect these pastures and meadows against intrusion by any untamed land spirits.* These spots were thus placed under the patronage and protection of a deity. Jan de Vries has drawn up a fairly long list of theophoric names in which the gods Odin, Ullr, Frey, Thor, and Njord are combined with nouns like field, meadow, or island, not to mention the place-names that indicate the presence of a sanctuary, such as Oslunda, Frölunda (sacred grove of Odin, or of Freyr, respectively), or even Närtuna (Njord’s enclosure).

If we do not just focus on the place-names that simply describe a morphogeographical feature of the landscape (such as Hvitá, “white river,” or Ljósavatn, “clear lake”) and provide reference points on the paths leading from one point to another, place-names more importantly invest the space with a human presence and expel its natural “wildness.” The functions of place-names can be therefore outlined as follows:

1. They establish the boundaries of estates and properties.
2. They serve as the foundation for family or clan identity, given the fact that most often the farm carries the name of its first owner.
3. They indicate which god protects the region.
4. They sometimes refer to the duty of the person living in the space, for example, Spákonufell, “Mount of the Seeress.”
5. They are part of human memory, as they preserve remembrance of specific events. For example, after Thord’s ship was lost with all hands, the place where the keel of his boat was found was named Kjalarey, “Keel Island,” and the place where the drowned sailors were buried was named Haugsnes, “Cape of the Mound.”
6. They indicate places with a reputation for being dangerous; for example, Tröllaskogr, “Troll Forest.”

The places that escape human control are quite stereotypical and essentially correspond to lands that are difficult to live in and to cultivate. This therefore causes a new natural distribution of spirits and places based on the inaccessibility of these spaces. So it is perfectly normal that the loca incerta, the dangerous places, would be forests, moors, mountains, as well as marshes and—as we shall see—bodies of water in general.

This is something that the medieval romances have preserved best. When knights-errant left the civilized space and plunged into the unknown after crossing through the marches of cultivated lands, they always stumble onto either a bewitching space (locus amoenus) where they meet fairies or a place of fear and horror (locus terribilus) where they encounter monsters of all kinds: giants, dragons, devils, sirens, women of the wood, and so on. It is almost a certainty that these alarming, monstrous creatures are the fictionalized vision of land spirits who have been here completely transposed into the sphere of the marvelous. I can therefore state that the marvelous rehabilitates and adapts local beliefs, and then, as the literature congeals and fixes such encounters into stereotypes, they are disengaged from their sources to become, in short, nothing more than recreational entertainment and compensatory dreams. But the local land spirits continued to live on in their “new clothes.”

the forest is the great lair or refuge of land spirits. It is a haunted place, an outlying space full of violence; a site of exclusion; a refuge of outcasts and exiles as well as pagan beliefs; a place of marvels and perils; a savage, marginal, dreadful space; as well as a focal point of peasant memory.

A headquarters for strange phenomena that represent all sorts of theophanies, the forest is omnipresent in medieval literature. The Lancelot-Grail refers to the forest with evocative names such as the Adventurous, the Strange, the Lost, the Perilous, the Desvoiable (unmanageable), and the Misadventurous Forest. All the texts emphasize its disturbing nature with adjectives that recur repeatedly: oscure (obscure), sostaine (remote), tenebreuse (dark), estrange (strange), salvage (wild). Moreover, the forest is almost always long and wide (longue, lee) and extremely old (des tens ancienor). The romance of Claris et Laris says of one of them:

Too fierce and large is the forest
and full of far too many great marvels. . . . (3292)
The fairies have there their stage
In one of the beautiful trees. . . . (3317)
The Anglo-Norman poet Wace writes in the Roman de Rou of Brocéliande forest:
There is where the fairies come
that the Bretons tell us can be seen
as well as many other marvels. (6387)

In short, the forest is a veritable conservatory of paganism and this is why a thousand supernatural creatures frolic here where they have found refuge after being driven from their territories by the advance of man. Moreover, throughout the Germanic realm, the forest often extends over the foothills of the mountains, thereby combining the mythical nature of both places.
The major problem encountered by the researcher is the following: to what extent are the dwarves, giants, dragons, and wild men found there the fictionalized vision of former land spirits? To answer this question, we must rely on the permanent features we have noted from other sites: a figure jealously keeping watch over his land and forbidding anyone from entering or killing game there, an individual (monstrous or not, or even replaced by a monster) demanding a tribute from his human neighbors, and a pronounced paganism.

The son of a demon incubus, a devil given an angelic cast, and a protector of chivalry, Merlin is a complex and syncretic figure. Despite the many studies devoted to him, he remains a shadowy figure in various respects. From his father he inherited his abilities of being everywhere at once, metamorphosis, and knowledge of the past, but he received his gift of prophecy from God. According to the romance Perlesvaus, when Merlin died it was impossible to bury him in the chapel and his coffin was empty because his body disappeared when it was placed inside, carried away either by God or by the enemy. He was covered with hair at birth and once grown up he was large, strong, thin, brown, and hairy. Geoffrey of Monmouth depicts him as demented and living like a wild man who is constantly returning to the forests after being torn from their midst (Vita Merlini; 1–112). He shows him riding through the forest on a stag and leading a herd of bucks, deer, and wild goats (451ff), as he knows how to compel the obedience of animals like the churl in Chrétien’s Yvain. In the Vulgate Merlin, he is called the “wild man” and uses this term when referring to himself. He also sometimes assumes the appearance of a white stag. In Le Livre d’Artus (The Book of Arthur), Merlin appears as the master of the fountain of storms, he dwells in a hollow oak, and states: “I want you to know that my habit is such that I like to remain in the woods by the nature of the one who engendered me."
Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us that when King Aurele sent emissaries in search of Merlin, he was found in the corner of the mysterious forest near the fountain of Galabes, in the land of the Gewisséens. Robert de Boron’s Merlin also emphasizes the close bond connecting him with the forest: Je voil que vos sachiez qu’ il me convient par fine force de nature estres par foies eschis de la gent.

By means of the widespread belief in incubi from the twelfth century on, the figure of Merlin was integrated into the human universe and the world of the romances, and the only clues that still connect him to his true origin are those cited above. Edmond Faral cites a thirteenth-century poem, Le Dit de Merlin Merlot (The Tale of Merlin Merlot), which depicts Merlin as a kind of wood spirit, and remarks:

“The woodland figure that appears here, so different from the type depicted by the French romances of the Arthurian cycle, perhaps answers to some ancient superstitions, independent of traditions that would be, strictly speaking, Breton.” Faral’s intuition is remarkable because he did not have at his disposal the studies made since that show that two different figures were melded together to create the fictional character known throughout the world. If we now turn our eyes to Oberon, who appears in Huon de Bordeaux (ca. 1220), the deductions made about Merlin find confirmation because we again discover many elements in common. Oberon, depicted as a dwarf because his small size is due to the curse of a fairy at his birth, dwells in “a very vast and dreadful forest. . . . None who enter this wood can ever escape it if he speak to him, if he even spend but a moment in his presence he can never again leave the wood for the rest of his life.” This amounts to imprisonment inside the Other World.

Oberon possesses great powers; when he is angry he causes wind and rain and can even break the trees. He is a master of spells and charms, and can even cause a wide river to appear. One final detail of great importance for our study concerns the mastery of animals. “All the birds, beasts, or wild boars, wild and ferocious as they might be, come to me willingly once I beckon to them with my hand.” In an earlier study of the superimposed strata found in this figure, I showed— fairly convincingly, I believe—that Oberon was an elf rather than a dwarf, but this does not exclude his being a woodland spirit because in the Middle Ages all these creatures were conflated, and their attributes and nature were blended together for literary needs.

With the romance of Perceforest, we see the appearance of another extraordinary character, Zephyr, who is depicted as a malicious and mischievous sprite.

He generally assumes the appearance of an old man clad in a homespun cloak, which brings to mind the “hooded spirits” (genii cucullati). The substance of his body appears to be air, the gust of wind from which he takes his name: “You have no more power against my vengeance,” he tells Estonné, “than you would have against a strong wind that hurled you into a ditch” (II, 96v°).
Moreover, he goes wherever his whims lead him. He renders great service to his protégé and other knights, and, when the Romans sought to invade Great Britain, he tormented them and prevented them from disembarking, an action that likens him precisely to a genius loci, a landvættr. The commonalities and differences between the three figures we have just met are quite revealing.

In short, even when tamed he remains an ambiguous and disturbing being that retains a hint of deviltry: Zephyr loves to play tricks, Merlin loves to mystify those he serves, and Oberon is easily angered and will do his worst when thwarted unless one of his vassals is found to calm him down. Outside of their literary transformation, equivalent to that of all the fairies, these figures are evidence of the persistence of ancient beliefs, even if the romances have a tendency to make them a kind of literary deus ex machina or a burlesque element." [Spirits of the Land]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Thu May 19, 2016 7:13 am

Hagal - Part I.

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Quote :
"Hail is the whitest of grain
Whirled from heaven's height,
The wind hurls it in showers
Into water then it turns."

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"May the hurricane protect you
stirred up by the whirling, dancing arms
of the terrible god magnificent
in his twilight dance.
By force of its commotion
the serried ranks of mountains fly from earth again
and Indra looks anew upon his thunderbolt.

May the god of tangled locks protect you,
at whose dance of madness in the fullmoon twilight
the golden mountain sways with leaping woods,
as sway the sun and moon, to the rhythmic motion;
as if the earth, of head resplendent,
with hair and earrings flying,
did nod in admiration."

Siva dances to destroy the fetters that bind the soul; the burning ground that is his stage represents the state where illusion and deeds are burnt away. Siva dances souls into action…
He dances all alone, and it is a dance of aggression and danger…" [Doniger, The dance of Siva in poetry and myth]

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GvL. wrote:
"Hagal=the All-hedge, to enclose; hail, to destroy.

A seventh I know, if I see a fire
high around the housing of men
however wildly it may burn,
I will bring it to rest
with taming magical songs.

Hagal!-Introspective awareness, the consciousness to bear his God with all his qualities within himself, produces a high self-confidence in the power of the personal spirit which bestows magical power, a magical power which dwells within all persons, and a power which can persuade a strong spirit to believe in it without any doubt.
Wuotan-said:"Verily, verily, I say to you, if someone were to say to this stone:
move yourself away!-and he believes in it-then this stone would lift itself away and fly into the sea."
Borne by this doubt-less consciousness, the chosen one controls the physical and spiritual realms, which he contains comprehensively, and thereby he feels himself to be all-powerful.

Therefore: "Harbour the All in yourself, and you will control the All!" [Secret of the Runes]

Quote :
"The Hagal Armanen rune was widely used in the SS for its symbolic representation of "unshakeable faith" in Nazi philosophy, as Himmler put it. It was used in SS weddings as well as on the SS-Ehrenring (death's head ring) worn by members of the SS. It is roughly similar to the ᚼ or Haglaz rune of the Younger Futhark, which stood for "hail", but it was modified by von List for his Armanen runes."

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"All the rune poems equate Hagal with the hailstone. Hail is the whitest of grains; Hail is the coldest of grains. The Old English word Haegl, Danish Hagl and the German Hagel all mean ‘hailstone’. But this is just one aspect of the rune. Hail is also a greeting, a salute to the gods and ancestors. Hail and Hallow: Heil and Heilige! Holy and Halo share the same root as Hale, a variant of Hail – and Hagal is certainly a holy rune! The Greek word Hagios, meaning ‘something sacred’ relates with both ‘Hagal’ and the ‘Hag’. Hagal is the Halo – the aura of light which appears around the crown of the divine.

Perhaps the connection lies in the fact that the Germanic words for Savior stems from the Heil root – Heliand in Old Saxon and Dutch, Hælend in Old English and Heiland in modern German.  The rays of light which circum the heads of the enlightened sometimes appear in Hagal form. The Saxon god Krodo holds his up high, in the form of a Sunwheel with six spokes or the Hagal rune.

the Sun shines in the form of the Hagal rune. Indeed this really is a Holy rune and Sun rune. The Welsh word for the Sun is itself Haul – which is pronounced as ‘Heil’.

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As a rune, Hagal certainly has healing qualities. We find one aspect of Hagal stemming from the proto-Germanic root *Hailijana (Hail) meaning to Heal. This is the heath enhancing side of the rune, the side to balance the destructive hailstone aspect. The Anglo Saxon phrase ‘Was Thu Hal’ meaning ‘be thou whole’ is itself an invocation of the Hagal rune, as Hal shares the same root. The wholeness is the holistic unity of body and mind. More infamous was the German National Socialist ‘Sieg Heil’ or Hail Victory rallying cry! This invocation was certainly a rune chant. We find in Viking history a very similar greeting – Heil og Sæl meaning be ‘healthy and happy’. Folkish Wodenists use the Anglo Saxon Hael und Sige in the same manner – as a greeting and invocation of wholeness, healthiness and happiness. As a symbol of health and wellbeing, Hagal still survives as the blue star sign on the side of ambulances – this symbol being called the ‘Star of Life’.

Hal (wholeness) is a root word meaning ‘to breath’. Inhale – exhale. In-Hail – Ex-Hail.

‘Hag All’ is a compound word meaning ‘All Protecting’.  Perhaps this is why many of our Germanic heroes had the Hagal runes adorned upon their shields. Sigurd, Barbarossa and Widukind have all been depicted with Hagal rune inscribed shields. Hagal is related to the old English word ‘Haga’ which was a protective enclosure. The ‘Hedge’ we plant around our properties to protect our boundaries is the same – the hedge is a physical boundary, the hecg – (hex or hecs) a spiritual one. One feature of Hagal is of course its SIX arms. This is the HEX rune. Hex magic centers around hex symbolism, which has the Hagal rune as its bases.  Of course there was a name for the practitioners of magic, the Hag! Meant as an insult – Hag seems a very fitting name.
Hagal represents this transition from Man to God Man – the Hallowed, the Haloed and the Holy!
This is the rune of the Crowned and Conquering sun...

Now we see hints at the symbol of the Sacred Mountain. The initiation the Sun-Man makes is to descend to the top of the Sacred Mountain. The mountain has often been seen as the home of the gods. Shiva (whose figure is symbolised in the six armed rune) dances his mantra of destruction.
Hail rains down its destructive hailstorms – which is the purpose of Shiva’s dance. To destroy so that Brahma can create. We must remember that the destructive Hailstone is frozen water and when ice forms, it does so in the six armed ice crystal.

the name ‘Helen’ is associated with Hel, the goddess of the underworld. The Old Norse ‘Hèla’ is the Hailstone and the Frost. So Hel is also associated with Hagal."

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Quote :
"he h-Rune, Hagal, Hag-All. All-Hag, God-All, Walhalla, World-All, Man-All; hedge, enclose, hem in, to hide within one's self, to include everything, the key to all rowning-Runes, to the great and holy All. The Hagal-Rune is the World Rune, the World-Tree, around the midpoint of which the whole spiritual and physical world revolves."

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Quote :
"Hagal represents a dramatic event or trauma which comes from outside your own immediate perceptions. It represents a deep reshaping. The rune is deeply integrated into the mysteries of renewal through destruction, the shaman who, like Odin, loses all in order to find his or her own personal power.
It is a crystaline form, one that is sharp and hard, yet clear and possibly deadly. It is one of the runes that can not be reversed nor turned upside down.

Magically, Hagal is the rune of the bridge of the cosmos, the dangerous path between worlds or experiences which can bring transformation or destruction. It was used in weather magic to ward off hail."

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Quote :
"Hagalaz signals a major shift of energies as the Elder Futhark begins its second row of aetts. Hagalaz is the rune of objective confrontation with past patterns. It will uncover the vast flow of energies around and through human energy systems. Its nature is completely impersonal and it represents power generally beyond human ability to harness.

Hail shocks you with stinging hardness (confrontation) then it melts into water which creates germination of seeds (transformation). The ancients describe hail as a grain rather than as ice, thus creating a metaphor for a deeper truth of life. It contains the seed of all the other runic energies and this can be seen in its other form, a six-fold snowflake. Spiritual awakening often comes from times of deep crisis.
Nine signals completion of a perfect pattern. Nine months is one of nature’s most regular human cycles, that of the gestation period. In this sense it is a protective rune, and assists us in acceptance of the unalterable, the seeking of shelter and patience while things blow over.

Hagalaz can be used as a force of repulsion or banishment. It is used in work to process and dispel the effects of subconscious baggage and ‘shadow elements’ so that your life pattern can carry itself forward in its pure form. Hagalaz has the magical energy of a ‘spring cleaning’. It reveals the personal past, past lives and early environmental factors in childhood development.
It is a dark, feminine power and can been associated with witchcraft and destructive female magic."

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Quote :
"The weather is a significant factor. Insure against damage from storm, flood or lightning. Prepare for disruptive influences. A third party interferes with relationships.

Hagalaz represents hail and it’s portent may be likened to an unexpected hailstorm, an elemental disruption of your life.
A hailstorm is daunting, but if you catch a hailstone you will see that it is only water, nothing to be feared. So it is with challenges."

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"Less is More".

The aphoristic power that shakes off the unwanted, leaving the true residual core.

When storms and uncontrollable external phenomena rattle and try to sweep you off the ground, pull the ground beneath you, it is the core and core value(s) we wind around.
The dance of frenzy cools poisonous fevers - we convulse out vomit, the undigestible excess, the accumulated useless, and shake loose the shadows, and re-new a new core. Like a good home, swept clean.
The SS Runologists called it the "unshakeable faith".
The aphorism from Joyful Wisdom on keeping to your path with single-minded focus, such that the useless and the unwanted fall off on their own, applies here.
To go against the grain, is to weather the storm by drawing from the past and keeping steady. The path of maximum resistance is from deter-mination.
The hagal like two snakes wound around a pole as in the rod of Asclepius points to healing, and the chaos of the torrential drives at the bottom of our spine - the kundalini, the matrix of all patterns.

Hail storms are like giant elephant trunks or water-divining rods drawing out water from distant sources and harshly irrigating wherever they go. Nano-technology of the future is re-sourcing energy into smaller and smaller power-chips, much like tons of water into small ice-stones.

At the same time, its also a phenomena that captures the cost of procrastination.
Water begins demanding our attention when the unattended slowly crystallizes into a hard structure, and pelts us harshly. Kidney stones, gall bladder stones are all results of irregular and inadequate circulation of water in the body, that begins to collect itself into small "stones", that "Disrupt" everything. From psychic "disturbances" to physical.
A small stone suddenly thwarts the most basic of activities we take for granted.
We turn into victims. From hale to hell.

In the active sense, some of us are also storm-brewers.
The Poet is a sacrificer who breathes - ex/hails/ex/hales life into inanimate things.
Like the shaman connects outer and inner phenomena, the Poet's creative storm, his turbulent torrent of words can raise to heights all that is fallen in his way, and knock at your core.
Hence, hale and ale.
The Poet gives His life into things.
He gives truths that twirl from the whirl-pool of his "current" self.
Harsh truths, heart/hard-core grains that can beat your senses and beat at your senses.
Like pools of eyes/ice that can talk a storm and take your breath away…

Now these were funeral flowers,
now these are garlands of words and metres adorning great deities.
The Poet gives all his dignity, capturing the entire matrix of a butterfly here to the butterfly effect there.

Disruptions break monotony.
Break rituals crystallized into empty absolutes, dead codes, dead habits, the hum-drum of sacraments.

But Interruptions also meddle, fiddle, breach gaps, to spit out branches, split and splinter.
They can confound our memory, hinder the continuity of our meditations, the holding together and linking of worlds, words, cor-res-pond-ences.

Logistical log-jams are noise.
"Sun, the singing thunder."

Old roots, old routes
new highs, new eyes.

Jinx and cat- a - strophes.

De-terminations.

hocus-pocus
mumbo-jumbo
hoodoo-voodoo
abracadabra

Hedges and hem-lines
Hexes and hoaxes
con-spire and con-found
plots and plans.

Catch a storm
hatch a form
Hagal, tempestuous temp-tress braid
plaits tied tight.

Long-distant love,
elephant-memories
old re-sources and piggy banks
"wild roses never fade"…

Cat nap

Bitch slap

Zen snap

Thunder clap

"Pretty eyebrows, put your arm like this and take your posture so.
Stretch not too high, but bend your toes. See? Just look at me."
Thus Sambhu teaches Parvati
With voice-drum sweet as thunder.
May what he adds for rhythm of her dance,
The clapping of his hands, protect you."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*


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PostSubject: Re: Paganism and natural order. Thu May 19, 2016 12:01 pm

Hagal - Part II.

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Quote :
"as·ter·isk  (ăs′tə-rĭsk′)

A star-shaped figure (*) used chiefly to indicate an omission, a reference to a footnote, or an unattested word, sound, or affix."

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Quote :
"Historical Linguistics. the figure of a star (*) used to mark a hypothetical or reconstructed form that is not attested in a text or inscription."

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Quote :
"A pair of asterisks may be used to anchor a footnote, or a trio to divide a text into sections, while in some European countries a ‘*’ is used to indicate the year of a person’s birth—“Christopher Hitchens (*1949),” for instance—with a dagger (“†2011”) denoting the year of death. For the most part, though, the traditional asterisk is a singularly underemployed mark. This is entirely apt to the circumstances of its birth: the asterisk (along with its partner in crime, the dagger) was among the first proof-reading marks, created out of necessity when a scholar at the ancient library of Alexandria set out to edit Homer’s epic poetry.
Following in the footsteps of comic strips such as Li’l Abner and Peanuts, whose characters *gulped* and *sighed* to convey non-verbal actions, the asterisk now assumes the role of online stage direction."

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Quote :
"Asterisk

1. Bolding or emphasizing a word where font types are unavailable.

2. A way of setting off a word that gives what you're writing a "tone" without actually leading the reader to believe that you're saying the word.

3. Making a correction to a previous mistake.
In order of the definitions of asterisk:

1. I *really* want to come over and rotate your tires.
2. *grin* If you gt what I mean.
3. *get (or get*)"

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Quote :
"When toning down expletives, asterisks are often used to replace letters. For example, the word 'fuck' might become 'f**k', 'f*ck' or even  '****'. "

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Daniel Roazen wrote:
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[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [Echolalias]


Follow the star.

Asterisks show the way like Ariadne's thread, maintaining structural integrity, a continuity in between disruptions that simultaneously need attention. They mark clear exits and entries in conceptual labyrinths.
They are extra re-sources we dive into for depth.

In the artistic sense, they mark the most irreducible roots we place as scaffolds, to wind around our intuitive hypotheses. Our "unshakeable faith", our "premonitions".
We "pull out of thin air" those logical hunches around which we slowly build our castles.

The Proto-Indo-European language system is a creating of root-stems from the less-is-more idea.
Its a working backwards, trimming down word-banks to the most plausible minimal root-matrix.
Formulating probable roots from comparative data, the irreducible simplicity from which we presume all words and languages branched off.
It is through the mode of such "proto-forms" that are assumptions, artistic licenses, we proclaim the presence of a common I.E linguistic edifice, a part of our cultural identity...

Hagal then, is a rebuilding of history, of lost and disrupted continuities healed and held together by asterisks...

Proto-forms are brain-storms - applied imagination to structuring simultaneous disconnected inputs pooled from diverse sources, the breaking out of stale thinking patterns.
In such sense, they are ghost-forms, that do not really exist on the surface, do not show up on the radar, but stealth forms that show their faces under masks, roots that show up only as flowers.

Archaeological models and reconstructions of ruins blown away by time, these demand Our confidence, Our inte-grit-y to come alive, to flourish as a probable part of a puzzle to our vague and distant blood memories. Our thirst to encapsulate more, grow, extend, a primal and primal body.
Hagal is that confidence.

It is an aste-risk.

We re-create our past, and history continues to germinate, like a seed ever-unfolding…


***

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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