View Full Version : The Gods of the Saxons

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005, 12:59 PM
The Phol mentioned in the Merseburg charm has been identified as being the same Balder as told about in the Norse myths. According to Jakob Grimm, Baldag was the name that the Saxons used for Balder/Phol.

Frţ is the Germanic name given for the goddess known to the Norse as Freya. As Freya, Frţ is a sensual goddess whose activities have been connected to war, wealth, and seith, a feminine form of magic.

The goddess Freke is believed to be the Germanic counterpart to the Norse Frigga, and therefore would be the wife of Uu˘den. She is said to be incredibly wise and have the gift of foresight, though she usually keeps her own counsel.

Long equated with the Norse god Frey, Fr˘ was widely worshiped as a bringer of peace (frith) and god of kingship by tribes on the continent, in England, and Scandinavia. The image of Fr˘ was said to have been carried through the land on a wagon much in the same way that the image of Nerthus was carried about. By this account and by what is written of Frey by the Norse, it is known that Fr˘ was a god largely responsible for the fertility of the fields.
Both the horse and the boar have been associated with Fr˘'s cult and it was common for warriors to wear helmets crowned with boar emblems. If Beowulf is indeed a memory of a Heathen hero, Beowulf himself may have been a devotee of Fr˘ as Beowulf and his men were noted to have boar emblems upon their battle gear.

Georges Dumezil identified Fro with Sahsn˘t in his work Gods of the Ancient Northmen p.19. Likewise, Sahsn˘t might have originally been Sahsginot, "sword champion".

If one were to continue in one's comparisons between what is known of the Early Germanic gods from Tacitus and the Old Norse myths as recorded by Snorri Sturluson some eleven centuries later, it would follow that Mannus might indeed be connected with Bor, whose three sons, Odin, Vili, and Ve, went on to complete creation and form the first man and woman (or at least the first Northern man and woman). The name of Mannus seems to be connected to the word "man" which would only make sense as he is credited with such an important role in the creation of mankind.

Nerthus is mentioned by the Roman Historian Tacitus, who says of her that she was worshiped as Mother Earth. While not listed as a Saxon goddess proper, Nerthus was widely worshiped among the Germanic tribes and it is quite possible that her cult extended into Saxon regions as well. It may very well be that Nerthus is connected to Tuisto, the "earth-born god". If Nerthus does indeed have a motherly role to Tuisto, one might be tempted to see a connection between Nerthus, whose image is drawn by cows, and the primordial cow of Norse myth, Audhumla.

Ostara is the spring goddess of the Germanic peoples. It was after her that the Christian holiday was named. As a fertility goddess, she is often depicted with eggs, hares, and other symbols of fertility. It is quite possible that the Easter Bunny is a faded memory of Ostara.

Sunna is the goddess who represents the Sun. It is said that she is chased by a wolf. Eclipses are thought to be time when the wolf nearly devours the goddess.

Thunaer is the German name for the god known to the Norse as Thor. As with Uu˘den and Sahsn˘t, Thunaer was one of three gods that the Saxons were forced to renounce upon their coerced conversion to Christianity. This formula for renunciation was the preface to the "Indiculus Superstitionum et Paganaruim" of the Capitulatory of Carloman (743 CE) (Northern Mythology p.168)
"I renounce all the works and words of the Devil, Thunaer and Uuoden and Saxn˘t and all those fiends that are their associates"

Better known as the Norse Tyr, Tir was also known as Zio, and possibly Er. Among the Cheruski he was known as Heru or Cheru. Tir is the god of thau (custom) and law and is said to preside over worship in the Icelandic Rune Poem. So noted was Tir's fame in regard to the law assembly that the Romans named him Mars-Thingus (God of the Thing).

"In the traditional songs which form their only record of the past the Germans celebrate an earth-born god called Tuisto. His son Mannus is supposed to be the fountain-head of their race and himself to have begotten three sons who gave their names to three groups of tribes - the Ingaevones, nearest the sea; the Hermminones, in the interior; and the Istaevones, who comprise all the rest." Germania 2

Tuisto is remembered in the Norse Eddas as Buri, father of Bor, and grandfather of Odin.

Known as Urd to the Norse and Wyrd to the Anglo-Saxons, Uurd is the goddess who presides over the layers of the past which give shape to the present and determine the future.

Volla (Uolla) is likely the same goddess as the Norse Fulla. In the Prose Edda she is described as follows. (p.59)
"She is a virgin and wears her hair loose an a golden band round her head. She carries Frigg's little box and looks after her shoes and knows her secrets."

The word Irmin is kin to the Norse word Jormunr, one of the names of Uu˘den. The Saxon historian Widukind recorded an account of a large oak pillar known as the Irminsűl that had been set up by the Saxons as a center of worship. Some scholars have connected the Irminsűl to Yggdrasil, the world tree which Uu˘den hung from to gain the knowledge of the runes.
Uu˘den was referred to as Mercury by the Romans and it was Uu˘den that Tacitus was writing of in the following excerpt from The Germania.
"Above all other gods they worship Mercury, and count it no sin, on certain feast days, to include human victims in the sacrifices offered to him. Hercules [Thunaer] and Mars [Tiwaz] they appease by offerings of animals, in accordance with ordinary civilized custom." Germania 9
The worship of Uu˘den was extensive amongst the Germanic tribes, and among the Anglo-Saxons he was considered to be the divine ancestor of kings. Like his Norse equivalent Odin, Uu˘den was oft invoked along with Tir to give victory in battle. In both the German Merseburg charm and the Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs charm, Uu˘den is depicted as having healing powers. In places such as Mecklenburg, Uu˘den was called upon to provide an abundant harvest. Benjamin Thorpe cites the following charm in his work Northern Mythology in which this practice is vividly remembered. (p.199)

Wode, hale dynem rosse nu voder,
nu distel unde dorn,
thom andren jahr beter korn!

Wode, fetch now fodder for thy horse,
now thistles and thorn,
for another year better corn!

Source (http://sahsisk.org.hosting.domaindirect.com/religion/gods.htm)

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005, 07:53 PM
You have given out too much Reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later.