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Psychonaut
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 03:11 AM
Those of us who are of a Folkish persuasion are usually quite cautious of equating deities, even within the IE family, and seem much more prone to be "hard" polytheists. However, I've been doing a lot of thinking as I sit outside and can't help but wonder if this attitude is really appropriate for celestial deities.

Granted the Germanic conception of Sunna was different from the Greek Helios, which was different from the Vedic Sūrya, etc. That being said, a celestial deity is not really of the same class as a God like Wuotan or Donar. When I go outside, I can see Sunna, Mni, Ntt, and Dag; as does everyone on the face of the Earth. Does it really make sense for us to proclaim that our name for the Sun actually refers to a different being than that of another people? I mean really, everyone sees the Sun just about every day; are we really seeing the physical face of different spiritual entities or are we just talking about her differently and telling different stories about her depending on what tribe we belong to?

I'm inclined to believe that these types of deities might form a special class that could very well be described as universal. Not only are they found to have been worshiped by nearly every polytheistic people on the planet, they are literally seen by all of us in pretty much the same way. Anyway, what do y'all think?

Ulf
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 12:45 PM
I've wondered this as well. So here's my take.

They are the same. I call my mother Mom, my cousins call her Aunt, my children will call her Grandma. The different names do not denote a different person.

Thrymheim
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 03:47 PM
That's interesting, personaly I would class some gods together, for example the Christian Islamic and Jewish faiths all worship the same God. Would it not be possible to have many gods OF the moon though? Mani could be A god OF the moon rather than THE moon and that would also make rather more sense when looked at logicaly too.
When lumping gods together one starts to run into the problem of where to stop does Odin = Jupiter? Niord = Posiden? I would hope not.

Psychonaut
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 07:07 PM
When lumping gods together one starts to run into the problem of where to stop does Odin = Jupiter? Niord = Posiden? I would hope not.

I know, which is why I'm specifically not talking about any of the Gods outside of the four or five celestial ones. However, I did make a rather lengthy post here (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=101201) about what you're talking about and the types of logical problems surrounding it.

Morning Angel
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 10:01 PM
Interesting thoughts. Might the differences be more in how people from different cultures perceive or react to, using your example, the sun?

Perhaps an individual who lives near the equator and sees so much abundant sunshine has a different perspective compared to one from northern latitudes to whom the sun is rarer. Sitting in my garden on an autumn day in the temperate zone when the sun is declining most definitely influences my personal attitude toward this force.

I just finished read Brian Bates' book, um...The Real Middle Earth... and he made a statement about how "trees" seem to...um...I'll quote it...

"...trees and forest seem to be a natural template for the human imagination. Many ancient folk tales are set in the woods. Perhaps it is the way our neurons are connected, like great entanglements of treetops in a forest of ganglia, that draws us to the image of branches passing messages."

While I don't disagree that HE most probably sees trees this way, I disagree that the effect is universal. I grew up on the prairie, where trees were rare. The great forces were wind and sun. Grasses were my sea. My relationship with trees is necessarily very different from Mr. Bates'. My neurons are connected to absorb, perhaps, the immensity of the Kansas sky, to stand fast against the scourging wind. I, too, revere trees, but they seem (to me) the lesser power to the tremendous force of open spaces.

You were talking, of course, of celestial powers. The example of trees doesn't exactly fit. It only shows how landscape/geography might effect our perceptions.

It is interesting that some cultures personify the sun as male, some as female, as do the Japanese. I wonder why.

Psychonaut
Friday, November 7th, 2008, 02:14 AM
Interesting thoughts. Might the differences be more in how people from different cultures perceive or react to, using your example, the sun?

You were talking, of course, of celestial powers. The example of trees doesn't exactly fit. It only shows how landscape/geography might effect our perceptions.

Yes, this makes a good bit of sense. In his book On Being a Pagan, Alain de Benoist makes a very good case for language and geography being the two biggest determining factors in mythological evolution. However, it would seem that, regardless of how we talk about the Sun, it is what it is.


It is interesting that some cultures personify the sun as male, some as female, as do the Japanese. I wonder why.

The Sun is feminine for Germanics as well, and sometimes so for the Celts. I think that this is definitely a case of linguistic shifts influencing theology.

Sigurd
Friday, November 7th, 2008, 02:29 AM
There are some clues that they have a common root. Let's say there are two cousins who are called John Smith and Jack Miller. Both are their parents' first-born. They look identical, and share a predicament of the mind. But they do not look identical because they are the same person, nor because they'd be brothers - they look identical because they share a set of grandparents, and supposedly inherited most of the same traits.

I tend to see it similarly with the Gods. There will at some point have been a Proto-Indo-European pantheon, but as they developed into Folk Groups of their own, different gods would take different positions in the pantheon, and the myths and features of each would change to suit the needs, environment and character of each of the different Folk groups.

They both derive from the same root, and they have similar domains - but that makes them only equivalents of each other. I don't tend to see f.ex. Thor and Perun as the same person, instead I tend to see them as those cousins with similar traits, that lead on the legacy of their common grandparent "Proto-Indo-European-Thunder-God", and for all the similarity they have they apply their power, wisdom etc. to the tribe/folk group which they are allocated to.

As such, what for me is Thor is Perun for the Slav and Taranis for the Celt. They are not one and the same, but they take the same positions. Just because I may go to Ireland, I am not suddenly in the realm of Taranis - as Thor still applies to me. He does however "keep his watch" over the farmer of the folk group allocated to him, just like two brothers, or cousins would take care of the members of their own family, which may be related, but is not exactly the same - and rules may differ in each household.

Does that make sense? ;)


Odin = Jupiter? Niord = Posiden? I would hope not.

Njord isn't vicious enough for Poseidon, but gir ist. Jupiter/Zeus would seem to be closer related to Thor (god of the weather and lightning, the naming of the fourth day for their sake). The position in the pantheon doesn't mean anything, I have no clue how you arrived at the conclusion to equate Jupiter/Zeus with Odin rather than Thor, Perun etc. pp. :P

Psychonaut
Friday, November 7th, 2008, 02:45 AM
Does that make sense? ;)

Absolutely, and this is pretty much exactly the way in which I view most of the Gods. My only problems are the celestials, who aren't really invisible as are the others (under ordinary circumstances that is ;)). No matter what language you speak, you awake to the Dawn heralding the Sun; you work all Day, then witness the Moon marking our entry into the bosom of Night. These events occur daily and are experienced by everyone, they are not based on linguistic diversions from a root source, but rather seem, to me at least, to be a class of deities who transcend whatever we might say about them as they are physically apart from our earthly grasp.

Sigurd
Friday, November 7th, 2008, 03:16 AM
My only problems are the celestials, who aren't really invisible as are the others (under ordinary circumstances that is ;)).

Oh, such an idiot I am. Yes, of course. I've answered a question that wasn't actually there. ;)


No matter what language you speak, you awake to the Dawn heralding the Sun; you work all Day, then witness the Moon marking our entry into the bosom of Night.

They, in a strict sense, aren't Gods, they are personifications of natural matters, and as such are divine as such, but not deities. As such, they aren't any more godly than other personifications such as Luck, Victory, etc.

I think part of the answer can be given when we look at the Romans here: They obviously would have called the sun "Sol" and the moon "Luna" - yet at the same time, they had Diana, who was a goddess of the hunt and the moon. The same goes for the Greek artemis. Likewise, whilst Helios amongst the Greeks was the sun themselves, Apollo was the god of the sun. In the Vedas, Surya deva is the personification of the sun, whilst Savitr is the sun god.

As such, the names for the sun and the moon are linguistic differences alone, and as such they are the same all the world over.

What are not the same though are the deities in their connection, they differ. The question is now - are Mani and Sunna riders of the chariot or are they riders of the chariot: i.e. are they the sun and the moon themselves or do they accompany them? If it is the latter, it could be argued, that when Mnegarm eats the moon, Mani still had a fair chance of escaping the wolf. ;)

Either way, the question is - if Helios is the sun, but Apollo is the sun god: would Sunna/Mani not be the sun ... and who is the sun god?

We might have to draw inferences again with other mythologies to find Gods that could have possibly been seen as Sun and Moon Gods.

In other mythologies, the god/goddess of the moon appear to be the gods of the hunt. As such, Ullr would fit into the picture quite well. Especially, since it appears to be that in all cultures where the moon is female, the moon god is also female: would it not make sense that where it is male, that the god should be male too?

In other mythologies, the god/goddess of the sun appears to be the god that is most purest of heart, the most noble. As such, it would seem expedient to view Balder as the sun god.

So if we are going to nominate any existing god as God of the Sun and the Moon then it'd have to be Balder and Ullr. Because Sunna and Mani seem to only be personifications --- if we can draw the inference that their position is the same as that of the sun and the moon in other Indo-European cultures: Distinct of a god of the sun/moon.

Now, does that conclusion make sense at all? :P

Psychonaut
Friday, November 7th, 2008, 04:09 AM
Oh, such an idiot I am. Yes, of course. I've answered a question that wasn't actually there. ;)

Sorry, I didn't mean to come off as patronising or anything. :~(


Now, does that conclusion make sense at all? :P

It does if you are talking about gods of the Sun, Moon, etc. As you say it looks like we're not quite sure in which way the Germanics viewed their celestial deities, but given that we adopted our words for Sun and Moon from the deities names makes me think they might've been identified with the celestial body itself. Now, those two aside, what about Day and Night? Or what if our ancestors did worship the actual Sun and Moon? Where does that leave us? After all, if there's anything worth worshiping, I can't really think of a better case than the Sun.

Morning Angel
Friday, November 7th, 2008, 04:38 AM
After all, if there's anything worth worshiping, I can't really think of a better case than the Sun.

George Carlin thought the same! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpA47o8E46U)

Aemma
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 02:11 AM
Those of us who are of a Folkish persuasion are usually quite cautious of equating deities, even within the IE family, and seem much more prone to be "hard" polytheists. However, I've been doing a lot of thinking as I sit outside and can't help but wonder if this attitude is really appropriate for celestial deities.

Granted the Germanic conception of Sunna was different from the Greek Helios, which was different from the Vedic Sūrya, etc. That being said, a celestial deity is not really of the same class as a God like Wuotan or Donar. When I go outside, I can see Sunna, Mni, Ntt, and Dag; as does everyone on the face of the Earth. Does it really make sense for us to proclaim that our name for the Sun actually refers to a different being than that of another people? I mean really, everyone sees the Sun just about every day; are we really seeing the physical face of different spiritual entities or are we just talking about her differently and telling different stories about her depending on what tribe we belong to?

I'm inclined to believe that these types of deities might form a special class that could very well be described as universal. Not only are they found to have been worshiped by nearly every polytheistic people on the planet, they are literally seen by all of us in pretty much the same way. Anyway, what do y'all think?

Great question Psychonaut and I agree, tis a bit of a sticky wicket for the hard polytheists in the crowd (me for one lol). I've been struggling off and on with another similar question, but I digress.

I understand your question with respect to how really different is the Germanic spiritual conception of "Sun" as opposed to another indigenous religion's. But I would say that in order to fully appreciate a real difference in the sun deities, for example, much goes into the meaning of "Sun" on an experiential level as human beings spiritually, culturally and spatially tied to certain lands (ie geographical space and place) as well. I think it was in the writings of Stephen McNallen that I once read that geography is as much a cultural and spiritual determinant as anything else. Jeepers, I wish I knew where this came from now...perhaps his booklet on metagenetics??? Anyway, if one ponders this notion a bit more one gets the sense that geography impacts one's perception and experience of the Divine, and it is no different for our perception and experience of these celestial deities which are as you indicate a bit more literally "in your face" in a manner of speaking. For a Germanic, Sunne/Sol will have a different feel altogether as opposed to a Sun god worshipped by the Aztecs, let's say. Her "reign" if you will is different: she is lower in the sky during Winter while she is higher in the sky during Summer. The further up the Arctic Circle you go of course, the shorter or longer is her daily stay depending on the season. These great variations in "communing time with Sunne/Sol" during these two different seasons is not something experienced by anybody but people who come from the North. There is no Land of the Midnight Sun near the equator. The upshot of all of this? Well, though our celestial deities *might* be seen as similar, if not outrightly the same on some plane, their interpretation from an experiential basis is not and cannot be the same, as far as I can see. And it is with this notion of the difference in cultural interpretation based on experiential events that makes all peoples' celestial deities qualitatively different and in a very real way quite dissimilar in the end.

Hmm, this might be a bit of a convoluted explanation but there you have it. A first stab at it from me anyway!

Cheers Psychonaut!

Great thread!

Frith...Aemma

Aemma
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 02:27 AM
George Carlin thought the same! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpA47o8E46U)

Priceless, absolutely priceless!:thumbup

Frith...Aemma

Psychonaut
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 03:18 AM
For a Germanic, Sunne/Sol will have a different feel altogether as opposed to a Sun god worshipped by the Aztecs, let's say. Her "reign" if you will is different: she is lower in the sky during Winter while she is higher in the sky during Summer. The further up the Arctic Circle you go of course, the shorter or longer is her daily stay depending on the season


Well, though our celestial deities *might* be seen as similar, if not outrightly the same on some plane, their interpretation from an experiential basis is not and cannot be the same, as far as I can see. And it is with this notion of the difference in cultural interpretation based on experiential events that makes all peoples' celestial deities qualitatively different and in a very real way quite dissimilar in the end.

So, are you agreeing that while the experiences of the Sun by disparate tries vary, they are in fact experiencing the same phenomena, albeit through their distinct cultural/linguistic/geographical lens?

Lyfing
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 03:47 AM
My first thought is that of the "elementary ideas" and the "ethnic ideas" of Adolf Bastain. The elementary idea of say the sun, with the ethnic idea of the sun being Die Sonne. It can be said that we all have the same "elementary ideas" or "collective unconscious", but what can be most imminent is that of our culture, and as I learned my first day in German class..Die Sprache ist der Spiegel einer Kulture (or something like that) ( the language is the mirror of the culture )..

What I'm getting at is that the sun is usually a dude but we call her a lady.

I know what you mean though. But, what of the planets being gods as well. They are visible. We've both read Varg's writings..what of Thor and Jupiter..?? Does this mean the same for the gods themselves..??

It's a touchy subject..

Later,
-Lyfing

Aemma
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 03:48 AM
So, are you agreeing that while the experiences of the Sun by disparate tries vary, they are in fact experiencing the same phenomena, albeit through their distinct cultural/linguistic/geographical lens?

Well yes and no (sorry! :)) Let me explain: it is this lens that makes the experienced phenomenon *different* in the end and thus not the same. At one point the similarity ends in my conception since a threshold of difference *directly caused by the experience of the phenomenon itself* is crossed at one point, if you will. Thus things become truly different in kind as opposed to merely different in degree. I would call this distinct cultural/linguistic/geographical lens, as you refer to it, the threshold of difference and a necessary precondition for distinctiveness among deities whose roles might be similar among different indigenous cultures. But I would also add that it is more than a lens (which plays more on visual perception); instead it is that and more, since all of the other human senses come into play as well and in toto define our culturally unique experience of the Divine. In the end, our Gods and Goddesses are as ethnically and culturally distinct from other Peoples' Gods and Goddesses as we are different as indigenous Peoples that populate Midgard.

Does this make sense? :(

Frith...Aemma

Psychonaut
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 03:57 AM
Does this make sense? :(


Yes, it does. ;) I'm wondering though if you see any categorical distinctions between the celestial deities (for reasons mentioned above) and the rest of the pantheon. As I said to Sigurd before, it seems that the visible nature of the celestials make the way we talk/think about them mean less important than it is for the invisible members of the pantheon.

Psychonaut
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 04:11 AM
I know what you mean though. But, what of the planets being gods as well. They are visible. We've both read Varg's writings..what of Thor and Jupiter..?? Does this mean the same for the gods themselves..??


Heh, I was actually thinking a bit about Varg as I made the first post. :thumbup

I don't think that the planets and gods were associated until relatively late, certainly after the pagan era. I don't know that planet worship was very common at all in antiquity now that I think about it.

Aemma
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 04:41 AM
Yes, it does. ;) I'm wondering though if you see any categorical distinctions between the celestial deities (for reasons mentioned above) and the rest of the pantheon. As I said to Sigurd before, it seems that the visible nature of the celestials make the way we talk/think about them mean less important than it is for the invisible members of the pantheon.

Good question and this is a topic that I did want to address as well. If I recall correctly, you had made the distinction between Thor and Odin as one class of Gods and our celestial ones as another as an example. I can understand this kind of typology but I think that it may put unnecessary limitations upon how we can experience our deities. Let me explain :)

If we take Thor as an example (actually he's quite a good example I think in terms of the multifacetedness of our deities): in our previous line of thinking in terms of 'experienced phenomenon' with respect to our celestial deities, an argument can be made that Thor could also be categorised in this same class. He is the God of Thunder after all. And thunder is as tangible a force as is Sunne/Sol's beams of light or Nott's dark blanket. What I mean to emphasise here is Thor's tangibleness in terms of human perception. Freyr is also seen as the God of rain in one reference in the Poetic Edda, iirc. Having said this though, I do realise that in the common heathen worldview, Thor and Freyr appear to be more relegated to the invisible world (the intangible) as opposed to the visible world. Consequently I can see how a typology based on degrees of meaning to a person might come into play. But for me it comes back to examining our deities as a whole and over a very long span of time (going beyond the concept of Time even, if that's at all possible). What might be more relevant to me as a 21st century woman in Midgard today might be what strengths I can derive from Thor or what inspiration from Odin or what guidance from Frigga. But I can't help but think that for a Bronze Age follower of the Old Ways, perhaps Nott and Daeg and Sunne/Sol and Mani held as high of a place of prominence as do our more "popular" deities today and for reasons very much having to do with the state of Living during this period of time.

It's funny but I can't help but think that because our scientific mindset offers us the security of taking night and day, sun and moon for granted (the sun will rise tomorrow after all) perhaps we're missing out on a vital aspect of not taking things in life for granted...not anything. And I think by appropriating due respect to our more 'visible' celestial deities we can learn about yourselves from them as much as from our other more-frequently called upon deities.

So I guess all of this is to say, that although our lore, folklore or ethno-anthropological sources don't talk much about a cult of Sunne/Sol and much less one of Daeg or Nott, I personally hesitate to categorise them as 'secondary' in any way.

Hmm now does any of this make sense? :(

Cheers Psychonaut!

Frith...Aemma

Psychonaut
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 05:12 AM
...an argument can be made that Thor could also be categorised in this same class. He is the God of Thunder after all.

Well in this case, I think we are dealing with what Sigurd brought up about Gods of such and such being opposed to Gods that are such and such. All Gods are the Gods of something, but very few are, as Heidegger would've said, the things themselves.


So I guess all of this is to say, that although our lore, folklore or ethno-anthropological sources don't talk much about a cult of Sunne/Sol

Eh? Sun wheels are ubiquitous throughout not only Northern, but all the world's religious iconography. To my knowledge no deity aside from the Sun herself is associated with these in the Germanic world.

Aemma
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 05:49 AM
Well in this case, I think we are dealing with what Sigurd brought up about Gods of such and such being opposed to Gods that are such and such. All Gods are the Gods of something, but very few are, as Heidegger would've said, the things themselves.

I guess I need to re-read Sigurd's posts. :)




Eh? Sunwheels are ubiquitous through out not only Northern, but all the world's religious iconography. To my knowledge no deity aside from the Sun herself is associated with these in the Germanic world.

LOL! You're sounding Canadian now...LOL. No what I meant is that from my readings so far, in the Germanic world it does not appear as though there have been any cults of the sun per se. I offer you this entry from Simek's Dictionary of Northern Mythology:

"Sunna: A goddess who is only mentioned in the Second Merseburg Charm, and should probably only be understood as a literary personification of 'sun', since there is no other evidence for the worship of a personified sun among Germanic peoples. Even the ON goddess, Sol is only very rarely mentioned in the sources." (p. 303)

So far my other readings have pretty much substantiated this as well. Archaeological research has as yet to offer us evidence of place names which would reflect a particular 'cult of Sunna' in and of itself. This is more so what I was trying to get at by that statement. There's no denying that Sunna is important, and as you rightly pointed out, she is reflected in all of the world's religious iconography. But as far as having been a deity who was actively worshipped, there is no evidence of such in Germanic heathenry from what I have read so far. Of course this is not to say that one day such might not be found. Who knows?

But I do understand your points Psychonaut. As I said, I think I need to re-read Sigurd's posts and think about it a bit more. To be sure, the celestial deities are an interesting group to explore within Germanic heathenry.

Frith...Aemma

Psychonaut
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 06:27 AM
in the Germanic world it does not appear as though there have been any cults of the sun per se...Archaeological research has as yet to offer us evidence of place names which would reflect a particular 'cult of Sunna' in and of itself.

Admittedly she is not mentioned as a major cultic focus in any of the surviving texts, however I humbly submit a few pieces of evidence to keep the discussion interesting. :D

The linking of geographical spots to particular deities is a big part of how we asses the relative importance of any given deity within the scheme of things. However, there are a great many gods for whom we have similarly no corresponding place names. Does this mean that they were not cultic foci? Not necessarily, particularly when considering the nature of the Sun. For what reason would she be tied to a particular spot of Earth? Why would a grove or rock be sacred to her when she exists as the fiery orb above us?

Also, I would submit the Trundholm Sun Chariot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trundholm_sun_chariot) as evidence of her cult in the Nordic Bronze Age. An artifact of that quality, craftsmanship and value would probably not have been produced if the Sun did not hold a particularly important place to these people. Perhaps though, with the rise of Wuotan, her cult was brushed aside, as was that of Tiw and Nerthus.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Solvogn.jpg

Lyfing
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 02:18 PM
All of a sudden I'm reminded of this hymn of the Veda..

Glorious to behold, she wakes the world of men,
Riding ahead, opening the way
In her lofty car, majestic, delighting all,
Spreading light at the break of day.

As though proud of the loveliness of her body,
Freshly bathed, the young Dawn stands upright,
To be seen. Darkness, the Enemy, is expelled
When Heaven's Child appears, spreading light.

Heaven's Daughter, like a fair bride, lets fall the veil
From her breast: reveals brilliant delight
To him who adores her. As of old she came, so
The young Dawn stands again, spreading light.

Joseph Campbell says this in Oriental Mythology..


The gods of the various Aryan pantheons are, for the most part, disengaged from local associations. They are not specifically identified with this or that particular tree, pond, rock, or local scene, like so many divinities both of primitive and of advanced, settled cultures, but are the powers made manifest rather in such phenomena as the ranging nomads could experience or transport here, there, and everywhere...Hymns addressed to the sun, the wind, the rain god, and gods of storm were numerous. The brilliant Father Heaven and the broadly spreading Mother Earth, together with their daughters, lovely Dawn and Night, also were celebrated.

Pages 176-177

I don't really have a point other than that Dawn is lovely, and maybe that those Aryans are an example of why/how, like Psychonaut was going on, there ain't no place names.

Later,
-Lyfing

Psychonaut
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 10:39 PM
I don't really have a point other than that Dawn is lovely, and maybe that those Aryans are an example of why/how, like Psychonaut was going on, there ain't no place names.


Yeah, we know the Germanics were quite fond of the Dawn, since April was named after her feast in almost every Germanic region.

Psychonaut
Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 02:04 AM
Also, speaking of evidence of a cult of the celestials, I can't believe I forgot to bring up Sigrdrfuml:

2. Heill dagr!
Heilir dags synir!
Heil ntt ok nift!
reium augum
lti okkr inig
ok gefi sitjndum sigr!

3. Heilir sir!
Heilar synjur!
Heil sj in fjlnta fold!
Ml ok mannvit
gefi okkr mrum tveim
ok lknishendr, mean lifum.

===============================

2. Hail, day!
Hail, sons of day!
And night and her daughter now!
Look on us here
with loving eyes,
That waiting we victory win.

3. Hail to the gods!
Ye goddesses, hail,
And all the generous earth!
Give to us wisdom
and goodly speech,
And healing hands, life-long.

Translation by Bellows

This is the prayer offered up by Sigrdrfa upon being awakened by Sigurr. I find it quite interesting that rather than calling upon any of the sir by name, she first hails Night and Day.

Ulf
Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 02:51 AM
That to our remote ancestry the heavenly bodies, especially the sun and moon, were divine beings, will not admit of any doubt. Not only do such symbolic expressions as 'face, eye, tongue, wheel, shield, table, car' bring us face to face with a vivid personification.
(...)
The very oldest and most universal image connected with the sun and other luminaries seems after all to be that of the eye. Ancient cosmogonies represent them as created out of eyes. To Persians the sun was the eye of Ahurmazdo (Ormuzd), to Egyptians the right eye of the Demiurge, to the Greeks the eye of Zeus, to our forefathers that of Wuotan; and a fable in the Edda says Oinn had to leave one of his eyes in pledge with Mmir, or hide it in his fountain, and therefore he is pictured as one-eyed.
(...)
Like the giant, the god (Wuotan, the sky) has but one eye, which is a wheel and a shield. In Beow. 1135 'becen Godes' is the sun, the great celestial sign. (8) With this eye the divinity surveys the world, and nothing can escape its peering all-piercing glance (9); all the stars look down upon men. (10) But the ON. poets, not content with treating sun, moon and stars as eyes of heaven, invert the macrocosm, and call the human eye the sun, moon, or star of the skull, forehead, brows and eyelashes; they even call the eye the shield of the forehead: a confirmation of the similar name for the sun.
(...)
All the liveliest fancies of antiquity respecting day and night are intertwined with those about the sun, moon and stars: day and night are holy godlike beings, near akin to the gods. The Edda makes Day the child of Night.

Nrvi, a itunn, had a daughter named Ntt, black and dingy like the stock she came of (svrt oc dck sem hon tti tt til); (1) several husbands fell to her share, first Naglfari, then Anar (Onar) (2) a dwarf, by whom she had a daughter Ir, who afterwards became Oin's wife and Thrr's mother. Her last husband was of the fair race of the ses, he was called Dellngr, and to him she bore a son Dagr, light and beautiful as his paternal ancestry. Then All-father took Night and her son Day, set them in the sky, and gave to each of them a horse and a car, wherewith to journey round the earth in measured time. The steeds were named the rimy-maned and the shiny-maned (p. 655-6).
(...)
Norse poetry, as we saw, provided both Night and Day with cars, like other gods; but then the sun also has his chariot, while the moon, as far as I know, has none ascribed to her. Night and Day are drawn by one horse each, the Sun has two; consequently day was thought of as a thing independent of the sun, as the moon also has to light up the dark night. Probably the car of Day was supposed to run before that of the Sun, (6) and the Moon to follow Night. The alteration of sexes seems not without significance, the masculine Day being accompanied by the feminine Sun, the fem. Night by the masc. Moon.
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:shrug just some interesting things I found.

Aemma
Tuesday, November 25th, 2008, 02:30 PM
Admittedly she is not mentioned as a major cultic focus in any of the surviving texts, however I humbly submit a few pieces of evidence to keep the discussion interesting. :D

The linking of geographical spots to particular deities is a big part of how we asses the relative importance of any given deity within the scheme of things. However, there are a great many gods for whom we have similarly no corresponding place names. Does this mean that they were not cultic foci? Not necessarily, particularly when considering the nature of the Sun. For what reason would she be tied to a particular spot of Earth? Why would a grove or rock be sacred to her when she exists as the fiery orb above us?

Also, I would submit the Trundholm Sun Chariot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trundholm_sun_chariot) as evidence of her cult in the Nordic Bronze Age. An artifact of that quality, craftsmanship and value would probably not have been produced if the Sun did not hold a particularly important place to these people. Perhaps though, with the rise of Wuotan, her cult was brushed aside, as was that of Tiw and Nerthus.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Solvogn.jpg

Apologies for my tardiness in coming back to this Psychonaut. I didn't forget; I'm just tardy!

Ok, I fully agree with what you are saying. My take was more from the perspective of the social anthropology/sociology of religion perspective. From that perspective, and given our limitations with what we have discovered (or rather uncovered) thus far via archaeology and all of our other finds, there is not a whole heck of a lot of evidence suggesting that there ever was a cult of the Sun. As I said before, who knows what future finds will reveal? But as of today, from my understanding of things, I doubt very much that a strong case could be made for the existence of a widespread cult of Sunne. Dunno, this is just what I have surmised so far. :)

Cheers Psychonaut!

Frith...Aemma

Aemma
Tuesday, November 25th, 2008, 03:11 PM
But the ON. poets, not content with treating sun, moon and stars as eyes of heaven, invert the macrocosm, and call the human eye the sun, moon, or star of the skull, forehead, brows and eyelashes; they even call the eye the shield of the forehead: a confirmation of the similar name for the sun.

Hmm I do like this passage. It reminds me of the richness of our mythology and how 'accessible' it is. We are not asked to think of our surroundings as "up there" belonging to an empty space that is beyond human scale. Rather we are asked to think of our surroundings as very much within the parameters of human scale: Ymir's body is the stuff that Midgard is made of. This notion is indeed relatable, accessible, within the grasp of human understanding and hence within 'human scale' as I have here used. The cosmos indeed have a recognisable corporeal aspect to them. And it is in this body that was Ymir's that we also recognise ourselves and from what elemental core we are indeed made.

Frith...Aemma