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Thread: Forgotten Gods

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    Forgotten Gods

    http://www.northvegr.org/leidstjarna/ostara2003/forgotten.php

    Forgotten Gods

    By Ansuzharjaz

    During my studies of our Germanic heritage I have encountered gods which were previously unknown to me, most of us are familiar with names like Wodan, Thunar, Freya, or Tiwaz, and many more gods are known to us because information about them has been preserved in the works of Tacitus, Grimm, Sturluson, and of course the Edda's, something which deserves our eternal gratitude.
    Not all gods were equally important and many of them were only worshipped locally, most of those gods have unfortunately not survived the ravages of time but some of them have managed to escape oblivion and can be found back in archeological findings, old texts, legends, and local folklore.
    I have tried to collect some of the information that is left about this gods to preserve this knowledge for future generations, because I am Dutch this text mainly consists of information about gods who were worshipped in the Netherlands but I will also mention some other largely unknown gods of which information has reached my ears.
    Here they are in alphabetical order:

    The Alaisiagae:

    The Alaisiagae are believed to have been two Valkyries, one of them was Bed, who could aid people in lawsuits, and the other one was Fimilo, who could divert danger.
    Their names are probably Latin and it may be possible that the Romans misinterpreted a local worship of Valkyries.

    The Alci:

    According to Tacitus the eastern Germanic tribe of the Naharvalians (who belonged to the Lugians) worshipped two young brothers at an ancient grove, Tacitus associated this two brothers with the Roman Castor and Pollux, who were inseparable and even followed each other in death after which they became two stars in the nightly sky.
    The priest at that grove dressed himself as a woman and the sanctuary contained no idols of the two brothers, Tacitus also mentions that the cult was not of foreign origin and that the brothers were called Alci.
    I am not sure whether this two brothers were gods or just mythological figures, but it may be possible that some Germanic tribes had their own version of the Castor and Pollux myth which either points to an Indo-European origin or Mediterranean influences.

    Arcanua:

    Arcanua is mentioned in Roman writings, she was worshipped in the Netherlands but for the rest nothing is known about her.
    Her name sounds very Latin and it may be possible that she is of Roman or Celtic origin, though the name can also be a Romanized Germanic name.

    Baduhenna:

    During the Frisian rebellion in 28AD a Roman army was slaughtered by the Frisians in the Baduhennawald, a holy wood which was dedicated to a Frisian war goddess named Baduhenna.
    This sacred forest was probably located to the north of the city of Velsen in the modern Dutch province of Noord-Holland, the exact location may have been the city of Heiloo ("hei"=holy? "loo"=forest), the word "badwa" may mean "battle".

    Epona:

    Epona was worshipped in the Netherlands, especially by the Roman and Celtic occupiers there.
    It is believed that they were the ones who brought this goddess to the Netherlands since she was not of Germanic origin; Epona was the Celtic goddess of horses.

    Exomna:

    Exomna was worshipped by the Batavians in the Netherlands, her name means "without fear" in Latin, which may suggest a Roman origin or a Romanized version of a Germanic goddess.

    Foste:

    There are indications that a god named Foste was worshipped on the Dutch island of Ameland, in 866AD his temple on the island was destroyed by fanatical Christians and from its wood a church was built.
    Nothing is known about this god but it is very likely that he was a local variant of Forseti (or Forsyte), who was the Germanic god of Justice.

    Garmangabi:

    The name of this goddess was found on a Roman altar stone in Great Britain, it was created by Suebians who served in the Roman army; "gabis" means gift, and there are theories which link her to the northern Germanic Gefjon.

    Haeva:

    The name of this Batavian goddess has been found on an inscription in the city Wijk bij Duurstede in the Netherlands; in the Middle Ages this was a rich trading city known as Dorestad which was eventually destroyed by the Vikings.
    It is unknown who Haeva was but it is believed that she was the wife of Thunar, which means that she may have either been connected to the northern Germanic Sif or the Giantess Jarnsaxa.

    Hariasa:

    Hariasa was worshipped in Germany and she is thought to have been a war goddess, other names for her were Harimela or Harimella, "hari" means "battle" or "war" in old western Germanic.

    Hertha:

    Hertha was an Earth goddess who was probably a local variation of Nerthus, some scholars also link her to other fertility goddesses like Berchta and Holda.
    The name Hertha may have been derived from the old Germanic word "hertan", which means heart.

    Hludana:

    This goddess was worshipped in southern Germania, she is believed to have been either an Earth goddess or a goddess of fishing.
    Most scholars believe that she was the same as the northern Germanic goddess Hlodyn or Jörd, the mother of Thunar (Thor), other scholars also see a connection to Frau Holle and Hertha.

    Hruoda:

    Hruoda is also known as Hrede in Anglo-Saxon, Grimm briefly mentions her as a Spring goddess and she may be related to Ostara though in most sources they are named as separate goddesses.
    An interesting fact is that the Anglo-Saxon calendar has a month named after her; Hrethmonath.

    Hurstrge:

    In the Netherlands a stone altar has been found which was dedicated to this goddess, Hurstrge is believed to have been a Batavian goddess but besides the inscription on the stone altar nothing is known of her.

    Nehalennia:



    Although Nehalennia (or Nehelennia) became known for her worship by the tribes in the Netherlands she was mainly worshipped by the Suebians in Germany, for this reason it can also be said with certainty that she was Germanic in origin and not Roman or Celtic like some scholars believe.
    During the 17th and 19th century AD many altar stones dedicated to her were found by fishermen on the bottom of the sea near the peninsula of Walcheren in the Dutch province of Zeeland, on some of the stones she is asked to protect the ship of the creator of the stone, there are also depictions of her on some of the stones but mostly in a Romanized form which was probably copied from depictions of Isis, a fertility goddess who was worshipped by the Romans.
    A remarkable detail is that on some of the stones the name of the creator is Roman or Celtic in origin, which implicates that the local Roman and Celtic occupiers took over some of the native deities and equaled them with their Roman counterparts.
    There also seems to have been a temple dedicated to Nehalennia near Walcheren, which was destroyed in 694AD by Christian missionaries, near the coast to the west of the city of Domburg was a temple of Nehalennia too.
    During the early Middle Ages there was a local custom in some parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany in which the people rode a ship on wheels through the country while dancing around it and celebrating, this custom was later forbidden under Christian pressure.
    This procession sounds very similar to the Nerthus ritual that was described by Tacitus, also; in Germany the people worshipped a goddess who protected ships and sea trade, her symbol was a ship; the symbol of Nerthus was also a ship so it may be very well possible that Nehalennia and Nerthus were one and the same goddess
    Before the merchants at Walcheren sailed out they visited Nehallenia's temple where they asked her to grant them a safe trip and a profitable trade, they also promised to erect an altar stone for her when they would return safely, some of this stones have been found and are displayed in museums, most of them bear the Latin inscription; "Votum solvit libens merito", which means something like; the promise fulfilled, with pleasure and reason".
    The name "Nehalennia" is thought to have meant "Goddess of the new light" and she was almost certainly the protector of ships and sea trade.

    Isecaeneuga:

    This goddess was worshipped by the Batavians in the Netherlands, the first part of her name (ise-) may mean "ice".

    Nerthus:

    In his work the Roman historian Tacitus mentions an island where a ritual was held in honour of the goddess Nerthus, the island he is speaking about is probably one of the Frisian islands which lie as a long chain along the Dutch, German, and Danish coast:

    >From Tacitus' Germania:
    "On an island of the sea stands an inviolate grove, in which, veiled with a cloth, is a chariot that none but the priest may touch. The priest can feel the presence of the goddess in this holy of holies, and attends her with deepest reverence as her chariot is drawn along by cows. Then follow days of rejoicing and merrymaking in every place that she condescends to visit and sojourn in. No one goes to war, no one takes up arms; every iron object is locked away. Then, and then only, are peace and quiet known and welcomed, until the goddess, when she has had enough of the society of men, is restored to her sacred precinct by the priest. After that, the chariot, the vestments, and (believe it if you will) the goddess herself, are cleansed in a secluded lake. This service is performed by slaves who are immediately afterwards drowned in the lake. Thus mystery begets terror and a pious reluctance to ask what that sight can be which is seen only by men doomed to die."

    In the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark mummified bodies have been found in peat bogs, historians have still not found a satisfying explanation for this but many of them agree that the bog bodies were either criminals or human sacrifices.
    Many bog bodies were found with their throats slip open while others had cords around their necks with which they must have been strangled to death, the most plausible explanation is that not all bog bodies died for the same reason; some may have been criminals that were "gotten rid of" while others could have been sacrificed to a god, something which many people even volunteered for in that time.
    It is believed that the bog bodies were sacrificed to Nerthus though this is not entirely certain.
    An older name for Nerthus is Náirţus and in later periods the name Ner was also used in the Netherlands, in other places Nerthus was known as the Earth goddess Hertha which points to a possible connection to other fertility goddesses like Holda and Berchta.
    The Gooi area in the Dutch province of Utrecht used to be a Germanic Gau (or "Gouw" in Dutch) which was called "Nardinckland", it was named after Nardinck which was the old name for the modern city of Naarden; Nar- is derived from Ner and -dinck is an old Dutch word for ţing (the Germanic folk assembly); thus Nardinckland means "Nerthus-ţing-land".

    Nornes:

    The nornes were not only worshipped in Scandinavia but also in southern Germania where they were worshipped as "Matrones"; this is the name the Romans gave to them to equal them to their own goddesses.
    In southern Germania the Nornes were called "the three eternal ones" and their names were Einbet (Urd), Barbet (Verdandi), and Wilbet (Skuld).

    Rekwaz:

    Some Roman sources mention a god named Requalivahanus, "Requaliva" is probably a Latin interpretation of Germanic "Rekwaz" or "Rekwaliwa"; Rekwaz is an old Germanic word for "darkness" (Gothic; "riqis" and Old Norse; "rokkr") and Liwa is old Germanic for "water", so Rekwaz may mean "the Dark One" and Rekwaliwa can be interpreted as "Dark water".
    Rekwaz may have been a god of Darkness or Death but other sources portray him as the god of forests or trees, though I have not been able to verify this information.
    Another theory is that "Rekwaz" is one of the names of Wodan, many Germanic gods had multiple names in various languages and dialects, besides that they were also referred to with kennings and nicknames which described some of their characteristics.

    Sandraudigr:

    Not much is known about this goddess except her name, it is believed to mean "the truly rich one" (Old Norse; "sandr"=truly, "audigr"=rich).
    In 1812 a Roman altar stone bearing the name Sandraudiga has been found near Rijsbergen in the Netherlands (southwest of Breda) Dutch historians belief that "Sandraudiga" may have meant "goddess of the sandland" though in my opinion it is also possible that it may have meant "Red-sand"; there is even a possibility that the Dutch cities of Zundert and Zandrode were named after her.

    Tanfana:

    Tanfana, who was also known as "Tamfana" or "Tan", is briefly mentioned in the work of Tacitus who describes a temple which was dedicated to her, this temple is believed to have been located in the Netherlands.
    Although the name Tanfana is Latin the word "Tan" is believed to be Germanic in origin, it probably means "water" though another possibility is that it is derived from "Tanhuz", which means "tough".
    The exact origins of Tan are unknown, she can be Germanic, Celtic, Roman, or even north African, it may also be possible that she was a local variation of Hel, Nerthus, or Berchta.
    Tan is believed to have been either a moon goddess or a mother goddess, some interesting information about her can be found in Dutch legends part 4: Overijssel under "articles".

    Thunar:

    Some Roman texts mention gods like Hercules Magusanus, Mars Halamardus, Jupiter tonans, Hercules, etc; this were all Roman names for the Germanic god Thunar, who was also known as Donar or Thor.
    The Romans equaled this god to their own, so although this god was well known I have decided to mention the Roman names to avoid confusion.

    Tiwaz:

    Some Roman sources mention the god Mars Thingsus, this was another name for Tiwaz, "thingsus" may refer to the Germanic folk assembly (ţing) in which Tiwaz (also known as Tyr/Tiu) played an important role.

    Vagdavercustis:

    This goddess was worshipped at the city of Cologne (Köln) in Germany, she is thought to have been a goddess of trees and wood and was also worshipped by the tribe of the Batavians in the Netherlands.

    Vercana:

    Vercana is an unknown goddess mentioned by the Romans, the Germanic name of this goddess may have been "Werkana" which points to a connection with labour ("werk"=work).

    Viradecdis:

    The name of this goddess has been found on Roman altar stones in Belgium, it may be possible that she was a Celtic goddess though the "-dis" ending points to a Germanic origin.

    Zizarim:

    The goddess Zizarim was worshipped in Germany, in later times she was also known as Zisa or Ciza and in Switserland the people called her Cisara, in the German city of Augsburg she was worshipped as the protector of the city, her holiday was held on the 28th of September.
    A temple dedicated to her was located in a forest on the Zisenberg hill but this was later destroyed by Christians, she was associated with Tiwaz, who was the god of war, and she may have been his wife; an interesting side note is that Tiwaz was called "Ziu" in some areas in Germany.

    Other unknown goddesses:

    These goddesses are only known by name but I don't want to leave them out:

    -Alateivia
    -Burovina
    -Sunucsal
    -Vihansa

    Conclusion:

    Although most of the gods and goddesses on this page were of minor importance they can still tell us a great deal about our history and it is very pitiful that most of them have been lost forever in the haze of time.
    With the disappearance of this ancient gods we have lost a part of our own identity, and I have decided to write this text as a commemoration to the gods of our ancestors and I hope that they will never be truly forgotten.

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    Hard to believe that nowadays we only worship one...

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    What about Habondia?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimr
    Hard to believe that nowadays we only worship one...
    Or three in one

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    Loki,
    You have also missed out the trumvirate of the 'Genii Cucullati', worshipped in Europe in Roman times.

    Normally depicted as three hooded figures or spirits, the 'Genii Cuculati' were worshipped in dedicated shrines throughout the empire. A depiction of them in stone, and a shrine to them was found in Britain.

    'Modern day sightings of 'three robed hooded figures' in remote roads andancienttracks have been attributed as a modern-day manifestation ofthe 'Genii Cucullati' or 'hooded spirits'.


    Not a lot is known about these forgotten Gods........................

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    Post Re: Forgotten Gods

    Nerthus is definetly not forgotten. There are many Heathens today who worship Nerthus, so She is definetly not a forgotten diety. The Nornes are also still recognised today while many of the other dieties you mentioned are not. Thunar (Thor) and Tiwaz (Tyr) are two of the most recognised dieties of the Teutonic pantheon today..though not known through those names today (due to evolution of heathenism) the dieties are still some of most recognised.

    You did mentioned many forgotten gods and goddesses..but you missed a very important one. Seaxnet was quite important to the Saxons, in fact the Kings of Essex for a while claimed to be descended from Seaxnet and not Wotan. But today he is not known by most. So in "conclusion"...Hail the AEsir! Hail the Vanir! Hail all Teutonic Gods forgotten by time! Hail Seaxnet friend to the Saxons!

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    The underlying wisdom behind the Gods is important. The mythology itself is only important to the degree it carries the message... unless you have an obsession with folklore

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