View Full Version : Ing/Freyr, and his Rune

Monday, January 2nd, 2006, 03:42 AM
Ing was first amid the East
Danes, seen by men, but he
since went eft, over the wet
way, his wain ran after him.

:isa: :inguz: :othala: :uruz: :raido: :fehu: :ansuz: :thurisas: :ehwaz: :raido:
The old English name Ing would appear to be the name of a hero or god.The name appears in compounds as far back as Tacitus, who names a group of Germanic tribes Ingaevones.The Ingaevones could be identical to the Ingwines of Beowulf. In old Norse sources Yngvi is given as a byname of Freyr. A variant of the name, Ingunar Freyr, is recorded in the Eddic poem Lokkasenna. Ing could then be none other than the god Freyr himself, god of fertility and community.

Despite Freyr,s importance among the old Norse speakers, the rune does not appear in the younger Futhark. The Gothic letter name was enguz, confirming that the name of the rune was probably Proto-Germanic ingwaz. Its phonetic value is ng as in sing.

A recurring motif in the myths of the Germanic peoples is that of the king who arrives as a child on a ship from across the sea. The king generally has a long and prosperous reign and upon death is sent back across the sea.
Perhaps the most famous of these myths appears in Beowulf. There we are told how Scyld [ known in old Norse as Skjold ]came to Denmark as a child in a ship filled with treasure. The child later became king and when Scyld died the Danes filled another ship with weapons and sent the king,s corpse back across the sea. The Ing verse could describe a similar situation .Ing may have
arrived from across the sea , ruled the east Danes for awhile,then went back across the sea,just as Scyld and other kings had[ here i must point out, that
there is some disagreement as to whether he went eft, [ back ]or est, [ east]
as it is unclear whether it is an f or an s in the manuscript--I personally suspect it is eft, which would be more fitting considering these myths ].

Supporting the idea that the verse for Ing could be describing the myth of a king who comes across the sea and then goes back across it could be the fact that an Yngvi is said to have ruled the Swedes and an Ingui appears in the genealogy of the kings of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Bernicia.
In addition, Freyr [ who bore the byname Yngvi ] is also said to have ruled
Sweden as a king. It also seems possible that the famous king Frodi of Denmark could have been none other than Freyr himself. One of Freyr,s titles
was inn frodi, the wise, or the fruitful,.

Beyond the possibility that Ing could be a name of Freyr is the fact that the
verse makes reference to Ing,s wain. Evidence suggests that it was a custom among the Germanic peoples to carry an image of a god around the countryside in order to increase the fertility of the crops for the coming year.
The most famous instance of this is described in Tacitus; Germania, where
Tacitus tells how various Germanic tribes would carry the godess Nerthus;
image about in a wain. Later we see a similar ritual described in the Icelandic
Flateyjarbok,where it tells how a wain carrying Freyr,s idol would travel
about the Swedish countryside. Archaeological evidence of this may exist
in the form of an ornate chariot found at Dejbjerg, Denmark which is generally agreed to have been built for ritual rather than practical use.
This makes it quite possible that in mentioning Ing,s wain, the verse for Ing
referring to this custom.

As a rune which could be linked to the god Freyr and one whose verse
possibly makes reference to the ritual of carrying his image about in a wain, Ing would appear to be a rune of fertility and growth.
The possibility that the verse for Ing is describing a myth in which a king arrives from across the sea, has a long and prosperous reign, and then returns
across the sea[ presumably to be replaced by another king ] makes it likely
that it is also the rune of the cycle of life [ the king is dead, long live the
king ]. Regardless, it seems clear that the meaning of the rune Ing can probably be found in an examination of the god Freyr and the various myths
of the Germanic peoples of kings who came from across the sea.