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Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.

~Homer

A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Norse mythology, runes magic and Nazi connection, one- eye gods

 Norse mythology, a subset of  Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans during the Viking  Age. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving to the modern day.
 
In Norse mythology there are "nine worlds"" (Níu Heimar in Old Norse), each joined to the other via the "World Tree"  Yggdrasil.
 
In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology, on which the nine worlds existed.
 

Friedrich Wilhelm Heine,  The world tree Yggdrasil and some of its inhabitants
 
 
Yggdrasil is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the  Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by  Snorri Sturluson.  In both sources, Yggdrasil is an immense ash tree that is central and considered very holy. The gods go to Yggdrasil daily to assemble at their things.  The branches of Yggdrasil extend far into the heavens, and the tree is supported by three roots that extend far away into other locations; one to the well Urðarbrunnr in the heavens, one to the spring  Hvergelmir, and another to the well  Mimisbrunner. Creatures live within Yggdrasil, including the wyrm (dragon) Níðhöggr,  an unnamed eagle, and the stags Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór.
 
In Norse mythology, Níðhöggr (Malice Striker, often  anglicized Nidhogg) is a  dragon who gnaws at a root of the World Tree, Yggdrasill. In the mythology, the Nidhogg is said to be controlled by only one person, the Norse goddess named  Hel.
 
The dragon Niðhöggr gnawing the roots of Yggdrasill from the 17th century Icelandic manuscript.
 
In Norse mythology, Veðrfölnir ( Old Norse "storm pale," "wind bleached" or "wind-witherer") is a hawk sitting between the eyes of an unnamed eagle that is perched on top of the  the World Tree, Yggdrasill. Veðrfölnir is sometimes modernly anglicized as Vedfolnir or Vethrfolnir.

An illustration from a 17th century Icelandic manuscript shows a hawk, Veðrfölnir, on top of an eagle on top of a tree, Yggdrasil.


Lorenz Frolich, Veðrfölnir sits atop the eagle with Ratatoskr nearby (upper right) while Odin sacrifices himself to himself upon the tree Yggdrasil (central) in an illustration (1895) 
 
In Norse mythology, four stags or harts (male Red Deer ) eat among the branches of the World Tree  Yggdrasill.  According to the  Poetic Edda,  the stags crane their necks upward to chomp at the branches. Their names are given as Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrrand Duraþrór. An amount of speculation exists regarding the deer and their potential symbolic value.

This drawing made by a 17th century Icelander shows the four stags on the World Tree. Neither deer nor ash trees are native to Iceland.
 
A summary list of the worlds:
 Ásgarðr, world of the Æsir.  (Poetic and Prose)

Asgard  is one of the  Nine Worlds and is the country or capital city of the Norse Gods surrounded by an incomplete wall attributed to a  hrimthurs riding the stallion Svaðilfari, according to Gylfaginning.  Valhalla is located within Asgard. Odin and his wife, Frigg, are the rulers of Asgard.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asgard
 
 
In the  Prose Edda, Gylfi, King of Sweden before the arrival of the Æsir under Odin, travels to Asgard, questions the three officials shown in the illumination concerning the Æsir, and is beguiled. Note that the officials have one eye, a sign of Odin. One of his attributes is that he can make the false seem true. 18th century Icelandic manuscript.
Asgard is a land more fertile than any other, blessed also with a great abundance of gold and jewels. Correspondingly, the Æsir excelled beyond all other people in strength, beauty and talent.Snorri proposes the location of Asgard as  Troy,  the center of the earth

A depiction of the creation of the world by  Odin, Vili and Ve. Illustration by Lorenz Frølich

Vanaheimr ( Old Norse "home of the  vanir" is one of the Nine Worlds and home of the Vanir,   a group of gods associated with fertility, wisdom, and the ability to see the future.All sources describe the  deities Njörðr,  Freyr and Freyja as members of the Vanir

The Vanr god Freyr stands with his boar  Gullinbursti(1901) by Johannes Gehrts

   Freyr

Johanes Gehrts, Freya

J. Doyle Penrose, Freya
 
Arthur Rackham, The giants seize Freya.

Njörðr
Alfheim ( "elf home") is one of the Nine Worlds and home of the Light Elves in Norse mythology and appears also in Anglo-Scottish ballads under the form Elfhame (ElphameElfame) as a fairyland sometimes modernized as Elfland

Meadow Elves, by Nils Blommer
 
Jötunheimr  is one of the  Nine Worlds and the homeland (heim 'home') of the  Giants of Norse mythology — Rock Giants and frost Giants. 
From Jötunheimr, the giants menace the humans in Midgard and the gods in Asgard. The river Ifing (Old Norse, Ífingr) separates  Asgard,  the realm of the gods, from Jötunheimr, the land of giants. Gastropnir, home of Menglad, andÞrymheimr, home of Þjazi, were both located in Jötunheimr, which was ruled by King Thrym.  Glæsisvellir was a location in Jötunheimr, where lived the giant Gudmund, father of Höfund. Utgard was a stronghold surrounding the land of the giants.

Louis Huard, ,  Giant Skrymir and Thor
 
Múspell, world of fire and the Fire Jötnar. 
 
Muspell  is a common Germanic envisioning of the ens times. Muspell is merely an element of the end times, the apocalypse itself being called Ragnarok. In the  Continental Germanic mythology of the  Germans and Saxons, however, Muspell referred to the apocalypse itself.
 
The Old Norse Múspell appears in the 13th-century Prose Edda, where it is of uncertain meaning. Muspelheim (Múspellsheimr, literally "home of Múspell") is the world of fire, at odds with Niflheim, the world of ice; and during Ragnarök (the apocalypse), thefire giants, called the "sons of Múspell" (Múspellz synir or Múspells megir) or "people of Múspell" (Múspellz lȳðir), will break the Bifröst bridge, thus heralding the beginning of Ragnarök.

Niflhel ("MistyHel"; Nifel being cognate with Nebel, a German and Latin root meaning cloud) is the name of a location in Norse mythology which appears in the eddic poems Vafþrúðnismál andBaldrs draumar, and also in Snorri Sturluson's Gylfaginning. Niflhel overlaps with the notions of  Niflheimr and Hel.
 
Hel, the location, shares a name with Hel, a female figure associated with the location.

W. G. Collingwood, Odin Rides to Hel" (1908). 
 
Midgard (an anglicised form of  Old Norse Miðgarðr; Old EnglishMiddangeard, Old High German Mittilagart,  Gothic Midjun-gards; literally "middle enclosure") is the name for the  world (in the sense of oikoumene) inhabited by and known to  humans in early Germanic cosmology, and specifically one of the Nine Worlds  and in  Norse mythology.

Thor and the Midgard Serpent by Emil Doepler
 
Each world also had significant places within. Valhalla is Odin'ss hall located in Asgard. It was also home of the Einherjar, who were the souls of the greatest warriors. These warriors were selected by the Valkyries . The  Einherjar would help defend the gods during Ragnarok.

John Bauer, Tyr sacrifices his arm to Fenrir

Týr

Freyr (sometimes anglicized Frey, from  frawjaz "lord") is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was associated with sacral kingship, virility and prosperity, with sunshine and fair weather, and was pictured as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals". Freyr, sometimes referred to as  Yngvi-Freyr, was especially associated with Sweden and seen as an ancestor of the Swedish royal house. 

Carl Emil Doepler,  Freyr and Skírnir in a boar-drawn wagon, spreading fertility
 
The most extensive surviving Freyr myth relates Freyr's falling in love with the female jötunn Gerðr.  Eventually, she becomes his wife but first Freyr has to give away his  magic sword which fights on its own "if wise be he who wields it". Although deprived of this weapon, Freyr defeats the jötunn Beli  with an  antler. However, lacking his sword, Freyr will be killed by the fire jötunn Surtr during the events of Ragnarök.

Robert Engels, A depiction of the the meeting between Skírnir and Gerðr.

Lorenz Frølich, The second of three Skírnismál images by Frølich depicting Freyr's messenger Skírnir threating Gerðr.


Heimdallr is a god who possesses the resounding horn Gjallarhorn, owns the golden-maned horse Gulltppr, has gold teeth, and is the son of Nine Mothers. Heimdallr is attested as possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing, is described as "the whitest of the gods", and keeps watch for the onset of Ragnarök while drinking fine mead in his dwelling Himinbjörg, located where the burning rainbow bridge Bifröst meets heaven. Heimdallr is said to be the originator of social classesamong mankind, once regained Freyja's treasured possession Brísingamen while doing battle in the shape of a seal with Loki, and Heimdallr and Loki are foretold to kill one another during the events of Ragnarök. Heimdallr is additionally referred to as Hallinskiði,Gullintanni, and Vindlér or Vindhlér.

Nils Aslund, Heimdallr brings forth the gift of the gods to mankind

Emil Doepler, Heimdallr stands by the bridge, blowing into Gjallarhorn

Arthur Rackham, 'Bifrost'.

Lorenz Frølich, Three valkyries bring the body of a slain warrior to Valhalla, they are met by Heimdallr.

Loki or Loptr is a god or jötunn (or both). Loki is the son of Fárbauti and  Laufey, and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. By the jötunn Angrboða, Loki is the father of Hel,  the wolf fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. By his wife Sigyn, Loki is the father of  Nari or Narfi. And by the stallion Svaðilfari, Loki is the mother—giving birth in the form of a mare—to the eight-legged horse Sleipnir. In addition, Loki is referred to as the father of Váli in the  Prose Edda.

Mårten Eskil Winge, Loke och Sigyn showing the two mythological figures during Loki's bondage.

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, Loki and Sigyn

Willy Pogany, "The children of Loki"
 
 Emil Doepler, Loki's brood; Hel, Fenrir and Jörmungandr.

Carl Ehrenberg, Hel
 
Numerous beings exist in Norse mythology, including the Æsir and Vanir, two groups of gods, the Jötnar/Jättar (Giants), the Álfar/Alver (Elves) and the Dvergar/Dvärgar (Dwarves). The distinction between Æsir and Vanir is relative, for the two are said to have made peace, exchanged hostages and reigned together after the events of the Æsir–Vanir War.

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, Æsir gathered around the body of Baldur. 
 
In  Old Norse, áss (or ǫ́ss, ás,  plural æsir; feminine ásynja, plural ásynjur) is the term denoting a member of the principal  pantheon in the indigenous European religion known as Norse paganism. This pantheon includes Odin Frigg Thor Baldr and Tyr.. The second pantheon comprises the  Vanir. In  Norse mythology,  the two pantheons wage the Æsir-Vanir War, which results in a unified pantheon.

Giantesses Fenja and Menja from an engraving by Carl Larsson (1886) for the poem  Grottasongr.
 
In addition to the world of the gods, there was also the world of spirits and demons, appearing under different names: elves,kobolds, niksy, trolls,fylgie, Norns, Valkyries. They were favorable or hostile people, took the form of animals, people or monsters, giants and dwarfs.
 
kobold is a small, goblin-like spirit who can be both helpful and mischievous. He often helps with household chores, but sometimes hides tools and implements. His favorite prank is to kick over stooping people.
Although usually invisible, a kobold can materialise in the form of an animal, fire, a human being, and a candle.

Kobold

Heinzelmann was a kobold who haunted  Hudemuhlen Castle.
 
 
 
Niksy - in  myhtology, Germanic demons Water appearing in human form as beautiful girls or(maiden with a fish tail ), whose beautiful singing had lure young men into the depths. There were also acting as Niksy ugly little creatures, Longbeards old men with green hair, who also had drown people. It was believed that they have the gift of prophecy.
 
The troll (or trold ), in Norse mythology,  is a humanoid creature that lives in the forests of northern Europe
 
Some characteristics attributed, depending on the case, to trolls:
  • when hit by the light of the sun becomes stone : therefore moves only  night or in the forest denser
  • has a character more often than not  evil or good but naughty
  • looks horrific (with two heads) and can get very  violent
  • Only children can seen usually shared with other specimens of the caves in the natural waterways that used to drink
  • can be very smelly

Good evening, old man! He greeted the boy , illustration of 1915 the Swedish John Bauer  for the tale of Walter Stenström: The boy and the trolls or The Adventure
 
Fylgia -  guardian spirit of man, the personification of his mental characteristics, the equivalent of  the Roman Genius and Juno . 
 
The Norns  are female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men, a kind of disir comparable to the Fates in Greek mythology.
 In addition, they could scatter nightmares and create runes. There were at birth, but can also cut the golden thread of life bringing death. Norns did not belong to a separate race. They could come from both dwarfs (daughter dwarf Dwalin), giants, elves, and the same Aces. Their worship survived even the adoption of Christianity. On the wall of the church Borgund (Norway) discovered an inscription that says: "Both good and evil give Norns, brought me great pain."
  • Urd ( Urdhr , Los , Application ) - is responsible for the past. Arriving identified with the moon, considered a charity and blessing the people.
  • Werdandi ( Werdhandi , Becoming Up ) - responsible for the present. Identified with the moon play, also regarded as a benevolent goddess.
  • Skuld ( obligation ) - responsible for the future. The youngest of the Norn, to determine the life expectancy of children born, it was considered as ruthless and cruel, personification of declining moon.
There is no clear distinction between norns, fylgjas, hamingjas and valkyries, nor with the generic term disir. 
Woman is also metaphorically called by the names of the  Asynjur or the Valkyrs or Norns or women of supernatural kind.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norns


In Norse mythology, a dís ("lady", plular disir) is a ghost, spirit or deity associated with fate who can be both benevolent and antagonistic towards mortal people. Dísir may act as protective spirits of Norse clans. Their original function was possibly that of  fertilty goddesses who were the object of both private and official worship called disablot and their veneration may derive from the worship of the spirits of the dead. The dísir, like the valkyries, norns , and vættir, are almost always referred to collectively. The  North Germanic dísir and West germanic Idisi are believed by some scholars to be related due to linguistic and mythological similarities, but the direct evidence of Anglo-Saxon and Continental German mythology is limited. The dísir play roles in Norse texts that resemble those of fylgjur, valkyries, and  norns, so that some have suggested dísir is a broad term including the other beings.

Johannes Gehrts, The three norns surround a child

 Arthur Rackham the Norms

Friedrich Paul Thumann, "The Fates"
 
 August Malmstrom, Elf play 
 
 
Reginn, often Anglicized as Regin, , was the son of Hreiðmarr and foster father of Sigurd. His brothers are  Fafnir and Ótr. He with cruel, wise and skilled in magic, living in a giant dwarf. When Loki mistakenly kills Ótr,Hreiðmarr demands to be repaid with the amount of gold it takes to fill Ótr's skin and cover the outside. Loki takes this gold from the dwarf Andvari,  who curses it and especially the ring Andvaranaut.  Fafnir kills his father for this gold, and Regin gets none of it and becomes smith to the king. He eventually becomes Sigurd's foster father, and teaches him many languages as well as sports, chess, and runes.

Arthur Rackham, MimeReginn works on a sword for Siegfried.
Illustration to Richard Wagner's Siegfried.
 
 Fáfnir  or Frænir was a son of the  dwarf king Hreiðmarr  and brother of  regin and Ótr.

Arthur Rackham, Fáfnir

Arthur Rackham,, Sigurd kills Fáfnir

Alberich and Mime argue by Fafner's dead body.
 
 
Dvergar or Norse dwarves ( Old Norse dvergar, sing. dvergr) are entities in  Norse mythology associated with rocks, the earth, deathliness, luck, technology, craft, metal work,  wisdom, and greed. They are sometimes identified with Svartálfar ('black elves'), and Døkkálfar ('dark elves')

Louis Huard, Giant Suttung and the dwarfs

George Pearson, The Dwarfs at Work
 
In addition, there are many other beings:  Fenrir the gigantic wolf, Jörmungandr the sea-serpent (or "worm") that is coiled around Midgard, and Hel,   ruler of Helheim.  These three monsters are described as the progeny of Loki. Other creatures include Hugginn and Muninn (thought and memory, respectively), the two ravens who keep Odin, the chief god, apprised of what is happening on earth, since he gave an eye to the Well of Mimir in his quest for wisdom, Geri and Freki  Odin's two wolves, Sleipnir, Loki's eight legged horse son belonging to Odin and Ratatoskr, the squirrel which scampers in the branches of Yggdrasil.

Dorothy Hardy, Odin and Fenris
 
Jörmungandr (Old Norse: Jǫrmungandr, pronounced [ˈjɔrmuŋɡandr]), often written Jormungand, or Jörmungand and also known as the Midgard Serpent (Old Norse: Midgarðsormr), or World Serpent, is a  sea serpent, the middle child of the  gigantess Angrboða and the god  Loki.
 
Huginn (from Old Norse "thought" and Muninn (Old Norse "memory" or "mind") are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world, Midgard, and bring the god Odin information.

Huginn and Muninn sit on Odin's shoulders in an illustration from an 18th century Icelandic manuscript

 Valkyrie (fromOld Norse valkyrja "chooser of the slain") is one of a host of female figures who decide who dies and lives in battle. Selecting among half of those who die in battle (the other half go to the goddess Freyja's afterlife field Fólkvangr), the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god  Odin. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar. When the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bear them  mead. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens, and sometimes connected to swans or horses.

The valkyries Hildr, Þrúðr and Hlökk bearing ale in Valhalla (1895) by Lorenz Frølich

John Charles Dollman,The Ride of the Valkyrs

Emil Doepler, Walkyrien

Edward Robert Hughes, The Valkyrie's Vigil 
 
These worlds are connected by  Yggdrasil, the world tree, with Asgard at its top. Chewing at its roots in Niflheimis Nidhogg, a ferocious serpent or dragon. Asgard can be reached by Bifrost,  a rainbow bridge guarded by Heimdall, a god who can see and hear for a hundred leagues.
 
 
 Ragnarök , typically spelled Ragnarǫk in the handwritten scripts, is a series of future events, including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures (including the gods Odin, Thor, Tyr, Freyr Heimdllar and Loki), the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water. Afterward, the world will resurface anew and fertile, the surviving and reborn gods will meet, and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors. Ragnarök is an important event in the Norse canon, and has been the subject of scholarly discourse and theory.
 
 
Odin  is a major god  in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the  Old English "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wôdan",the name is descended from  Proto-Ggermanic  Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz". "Odin" is generally accepted as the modern English form of the name, although, in some cases, older forms may be used or preferred. His name is related to ōðr, meaning "fury, excitation," besides "mind," or "poetry." His role, like that of many of the Norse gods, is complex. Odin is a principal member of the Æsir (the major group of the Norse pantheon) and is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, magic, poetry prophecy, and the hunt. Odin has many sons, the most famous of whom is  Thor.
Odin is also associated with trickery, cunning and deception. Most sagas have tales of Odin using his cunning to overcome adversaries and achieve his goals, such as swindling the blood of Kvasir from the dwarves

Odin with his ravens and weapons (18th century)
 
 Georg von Rosen, Odin the Wanderer
 
 Lee Lawrie, Odin (1939). Library of Congress  John Adams Building, Washington, D.C.
 
 Johann Heinrich Fussli, Thor fighting the mighty worm Jormundgandr at fishing trip with a giant
 
Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightening, storms, oak trees, streinght, the protection of mankind, and alsohallowing, healing, and fertility. Thor bears at least  fourteen names, is the husband of the golden-haired goddess Sif, is the lover of the jötunn Járnsaxa, and is generally described as fierce-eyed, red haired and red-bearded. Thor has two servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, rides in a cart or chariot pulled by two goats
 
 Thor's Battle Against the Jötnar (1872) by Mårten Eskil Winge

 The name Thor is the origin of the name Thurdsay.  By employing a practice known as interpretatio germanica during the  Roman Empire period, the Germanic peoples adopted the Roman weekly calendar, and replaced the names of Roman gods with their own. Latin dies Iovis ("day of Jupiter") was converted into Proto-Germanic *Þonares dagaz ("Thor's day"), from which stems modern English "Thursday" and all other Germanic weekday cognates.
 
Týr  is the god of Law the althing,  Justice, The Sky, and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as a one-handed man. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws,  Old English Tīw and Old high German Ziu andCyo, all from Proto- Germanic  *Tîwaz (*Tē₂waz). The latinised name is Tius or Tio. Tiw was equated with  Mars in the interpretatio germanica.  Tuesday is in fact "Tīw's Day"
 
 
Odin enthroned and holding his spear Gungnir, flanked by his ravens Huginn and Muninn and wolves  Geri and Freki (1882) by Carl Emil Doepler
 
Mímisbrunnr (Old Norse "Mímir's well") is a well associated with the being Mímir,located beneath the world tree  Yggdrasil.
 
 Robert Engels, Odin drinks from Mímisbrunnr as Mímir looks on (1903)
 
Geri and Freki ( Old Norse,  both meaning "the ravenous" or "greedy one") are two wolves which are said to accompany the god Odin.

Ludwig Pietsch, The Norse god Odin enthroned, flanked by his two wolfs, Geri and Freki, and his two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, and holding his spear Gungnir.

Emil Doepler, Einherjar are served by Valkyries in Valhöll while Odin sits upon his throne, flanked by one of his wolves.
 
Sleipnir (Old Norse "slippy" or "the slipper") is an eight-legged horse.
 
  An illustration of Odin riding Sleipnir from an 18th century Icelandic manuscript
 
Ratatoskr (Old Norse, generally considered to mean "drill-tooth" or "bore-tooth") is a aquirrel who runs up and down the world tree Yggdrasil  to carry messages between the  unnamed eagle, perched atop Yggdrasil, and the  wyrm Níðhöggr, who dwells beneath one of the three roots of the tree.

Ludwig Burger, At the top of the tree is an eagle (likely Veðrfölnir), on the trunk of the tree is a squirrel (likely Ratatoskr), and at the roots of the tree gnaws what appears to be a small dragon (likely Níðhöggr). At the bottom left of the image is the well Urðarbrunnr.
 
Ragnarök("Doom of the Gods"), also called Götterdämmerung, means the end of the cosmos in Norse mythology. It will be preceded by Fimbulvetr, the winter of winters. Three such winters will follow each other with no summers in between. Conflicts and feuds will break out, even between families, and all morality will disappear. This is the beginning of the end. The wolf Skoll will finally devour the sun, and his brother Hati will eat the moon, plunging the earth [into] darkness. The stars will vanish from the sky. The cock Fjalar will crow to the giants and the golden cock Gullinkambi will crow to the gods. A third cock will raise the dead. The earth will shudder with earthquakes, and every bond and fetter will burst, freeing the terrible wolf Fenrir. The sea will rear up because Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, is twisting and writhing in fury as he makes his way toward the land. With every breath, Jormungand will stain the soil and the sky with his poison. The waves caused by the serpent's emerging will set free the ship Naglfar, and with the giant Hymir as their commander, the giants will sail towards the battlefield. From the realm of the dead a second ship will set sail, and this ship carries the inhabitants of hell, with Loki as their helmsman. The fire giants, led by the giant Surt, will leave Muspell in the south to join against the gods. Surt, carrying a sword that blazes like the sun itself, will scorch the earth. Meanwhile, Heimdall will sound his horn, calling the sons of Odin and the heroes to the battlefield. From all the corners of the world, gods, giants, dwarves, demons and elves will ride towards the huge plain of Vigrid ("battle shaker") where the last battle will be fought. Odin will engage Fenrir in battle, and Thor will attack Jormungand. Thor will be victorious, but the serpent's poison will gradually kill the god of thunder. Surt will seek out the swordless Freyr, who will quickly succumb to the giant. The one-handed Tyr will fight the monstrous hound Garm and they will kill each other. Loki and Heimdall, age-old enemies, will meet for a final time, and neither will survive their encounter. The fight between Odin and Fenrir will rage for a long time, but finally Fenrir will seize Odin and swallow him. Odin's son Vidar will at once leap towards the wolf and kill him with his bare hands, ripping the wolf's jaws apart. Then Surt will fling fire in every direction. The nine worlds will burn, and friends and foes alike will perish. The earth will sink into the sea. After the destruction, a new and idyllic world will arise from the sea and will be filled with abundant supplies. Some of the gods will survive, others will be reborn. Wickedness and misery will no longer exist and gods and men will live happily together. The descendants of Lif and Lifthrasir will inhabit this earth.
  
A unique eye-witness account of Germanic human sacrifice survives in Ibn Fadlan's account of a Rus ship burial, where a slave-girl had volunteered to accompany her lord to the next world. More indirect accounts are given by TacitusSaxo Grammaticus and Adam von Bremen.

Carl Larsson, Midwinter Sacrifice
 
Sigurd (Old norse: Sigurðr) is a legendary hero, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga. The earliest extant representations for his legend come in pictorial form from seven runestones in Sweden  and most notably the Ramsund carving (c. 1000) and the Gök Runestone (11th century).

Siegfried's Departure from Kriemhild, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld,
 
Albert Pinkham Ryder, Siegfried and the Rhine Maidens

Füssli, Johann Heinrich, Kriemhild sees the dead Siegfried in a dream

A sculpture of Sigurd fighting Fafnir by Constantin Dausch, Germany.
 
 Brünnhilde is visited by her Valkyrie sister Waltraute. By Arthur Rackham
 
The Rhinemaidens warn Siegfried by Arthur Rackham

Brünnhilde throws herself on the flames, by Arthur Rackham
There is some evidence that, in addition to being a writing system, runes historically served purposes of  magic. This is the case from earliest epigraphic evidence of the Roman to Germanic iron Age, with non-linguistic inscriptions and the alu word. An erilaz appears to have been a person versed in runes, including their magic applications.

Bracteate G 205 (ca. 5th to 7th century), bearing the inscription alu.
 
To drink from the Well of Wisdom, Odin had to sacrifice his eye (which eye he sacrificed is unclear), symbolizing his willingness to gain the knowledge of the past, present and future. As he drank, he saw all the sorrows and troubles that would fall upon men and the gods. He also saw why the sorrow and troubles had to come to men.

Mímir accepted Odin's eye and it sits today at the bottom of the Well of Wisdom as a sign that the father of the gods had paid the price for wisdom.

In Rúnatal, a section of the Hávamál, Odin is attributed with discovering the runes. In a sacrifice to himself, the highest of the gods, he was hanged from the world tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nughts, pierced by his own spear, in order to learn the wisdom that would give him power in the nine worlds. Nine is a significant number in Norse magical practice (there were, for example, nine realm of existance), thereby learning nine (later eighteen) magical songs and eighteen magical runes.
Odin has a number of magical artifacts associated with him: the spear Gungnir, which never misses its target; a magical gold ring ( Draupnir)), from which every ninth night eight new rings appear; and two ravens Huginn and Munnin ( Thoughts and Memory), who fly around Earth daily and report the happenings of the world to Odin in Valhalla at night. He also owned Sleipnir, an octopedal horse, who was given to Odin byLoki, and the severed  head of  Mimir, which foretold the future. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odin

 
In early modern and modern times, related folklore and superstition is recorded in the form of the icelandic magical staves. In the early 20th century, Germanic mysticism coins new forms of "runic magic", some of which were continued or developed further by contemporary adherents of Germanic Neopaganism.  Modern systems of runic divination are based on hermeticism, classical Occultism, and the I Ching.
 
Icelandic magical staves (sigils) are symbols credited with magical effect preserved in various grimoires dating from the 17th century and later. According to the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, the effects credited to most of the staves were very relevant to the average Icelanders of the time, who were mostly subsistence farmers and had to deal with harsh climatic conditions.
 
The Ansuz and Tiwaz runes in particular seem to have had magical significance in the early (Elder Futhark) period. The Sigrdrífumál instruction of "name Tyr twice" is reminiscent of the double or triple "stacked Tyr" bindrunes found e.g. on Seeland-II-C or the Lindholm amulet in the aaaaaaaazzznnn-b- muttt, sequence, which besides stacked Tyr involves multiple repetition of Ansuz, but also triple occurrence of Algiz and  Naudiz.

The inscription on the Kylver stone ends with a stacked bind rune combining six Tiwaz runes used to invoke the god Tyr and four Ansuz runes to invoke the Æsir.
 
 Many inscriptions also have  utterances interpreted as magical chants, such astuwatuwa (Vadstena bracteate), aaduaaaliia (DR BR42) org͡æg͡og͡æ (Undley bracteate), g͡ag͡ag͡a(Kragehul I).
 Alu is a charm word appearing on numerous artifacts found in Central and Northern Europe dating from the Germanic Iron Age. The word is the most common of the early runic charm words and can appear either alone or as part of an apparent formula. The origin and meaning of the word are matters of dispute, though a general agreement exists among scholars that the word either represents amulet magic or is a metaphor (or metonym) for it.
 
 A few Viking Age rings with runic inscriptions of apparently magical nature were found, among them the Kingmoor Ring. The phrase "runes of power" is found on two runestones in Sweden.
 
Drawing of the Bramham Moor Ring inscription as published in 1736 in Drake's Eboracum.
 
The most prolific source for runic magic in the poetic Edda is the Sigrdrífumál, where the valkyrie Sigrdrífa (Brynhild) presents Sigurd with a  memory-draught of ale that had been charmed with "gladness runes" (stanza 5)
 
 Beer I bring thee, tree of battle,
Mingled of strength and mighty fame;
Charms it holds and healing signs,
Spells full good, and gladness-runes.
 
She goes on to give advice on the magical runes in seven further stanzas. In all instances, the runes are used for actual magic(apotropaic or ability-enhancing spells) rather than for divination:
  • "victory runes" to be carved on the sword hilt (stanza 6, presumably referring to the t rune named for Tyr),
  • ølrunar "Ale-runes" (stanza 7, a protective spell against being bewitched by means of ale served by the hosts wife; naudiz is to be marked on one's fingernails, and laukaz on the cup),
  • biargrunar "birth-runes" (stanza 8, a spell to facilitate  childbirth),
  • brimrunar "wave-runes" (stanza 9, a spell for the protection of ships, with runes to be carved on the stem and on the rudder),
  • limrunar "branch-runes" (stanza 10, a healing spell, the runes to be carved on trees "with boughs to the eastward bent"),
  • malrunar "speech-runes" (stanza 11, the stanza is corrupt, but apparently referred to a spell to improve one's rhetorical ability at the thing),
  • hugrunar "thought-runes" (stanza 12, the stanza is incomplete, but clearly discussed a spell to improve one's wit)
The Poetic Edda also seems to corroborate the magical significance of the runes the Hávamál where Odin mentions runes in contexts of divination, of healing and of necromancy (trans. Bellows):
"Certain is that which is sought from runes / That the gods so great have made / And the Master-Poet painted" (79)"Of runes heard I words, nor were counsels wanting / At the hall of Hor" (111)"Grass cures the scab / and runes the sword-cut" (137)"Runes shalt thou find / and fateful signs" (143)" if high on a tree / I see a hanged man swing / So do I write and color the runes / That forth he fares / And to me talks." (158)
Other oft cited sources for the practice of runic divination are chapter 38 of Snori Sturluson's Ynglinga Saga, where granmar, the king of Södermanland, travels to the temple at Uppsala for the seasonal blót. "There, the chips fell in a way that said that he would not live long" (Féll honum þá svo spánn sem hann mundi eigi lengi lifa).
 
Another source is in the Vita Ansgari, the biography of Ansgar the  Archibishop of Hamburg-Bremen,  which was written by a monk named Rimbert.  Rimbert details the custom of casting lots by the pagan Norse (chapters 26-30). The chips and the lots, however, can be explained respectively as a blótspánn (sacrificial chip) and a hlautlein (lot-twig), which according to Foote and Wilson  would be "marked, possibly with sacrificial blood, shaken and thrown down like dice, and their positive or negative significance then decided.
 
Egils Saga features several incidents of runic magic. The most celebrated is the scene where Egil discovers (and destroys) a poisoned drink prepared for him, by cutting his hand and cutting runes on the drinking horn, and painting them runes with blood. While the motif of blood painted runes also appears in other examples of early Norse literature it is uncertain whether the practice of painting runes with blood is merely a literary invention or whether it had precedence in magical practice.
 

Heinrich Luitpold Himmler C 1900– 1945) was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (SS), a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Nazi Germany. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler later appointed him Commander of the Replacement (Home) Army and General Plenipotentiary for the entire Reich's administration (Generalbevollmächtigter für die Verwaltung). Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and one of the persons most directly responsible for the Holocaust.

Himmler was interested in mysticism and the occult from an early age. He tied this interest into his racist philosophy, looking for proof of Aryan and Nordic racial superiority from ancient times. He promoted a cult of ancestor worship, particularly among members of the SS, as a way to keep the race pure and provide immortality to the nation.

Viewing the SS as an "order" along the lines of the Teutonic Knights, he had them take over the Church of the Teutonic Order in Vienna in 1939. He began the process of replacing Christianity with a new moral code that rejected humanitarianism and challenged the Christian concept of marriage. The Ahnenerbe, a research society founded by Himmler in 1935, conducted research all over the globe to look for proof of the superiority and ancient origins of the Germanic race.

All regalia and uniforms of Nazi Germany, particularly those of the SS, used symbolism in their design. The SS adopted runic symbols, chosen by Himmler, as insignia. The stylised lightning bolt "SS" runes were derived from the Armanen runes of Guido von List, which he had loosely based on the indigenous runic alphabets of the Germanic peoples.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Himmler


The stylized lightning bolts of the SS insignia were based on the Armanen runes of Guido von List.


Guido Karl Anton List, better known as Guido von List (October 5, 1848 – May 17, 1919) was an Austrian /German  (Viennese) poet, journalist, writer, businessman and dealer of leather goods, mountaineer, hiker, dramatist, playwright, and rower,  but was most notable as an occultist and völkisch author who is seen as one of the most important figures in Germanic revivalism, Germanic mysticism, Runic Revivalism and Runosophy in the late 19th century and early 20th century, and continues to be so today.

He is the author of Das Geheimnis der Runen (The Secret of the Runes), which is a detailed study of the Armanen Futharkh, his intellectual world-view (as realised in the years between 1902 and 1908), an introduction to the rest of his work and is widely regarded as the pioneering work of Runology in modern occultism.

Guido von List was strongly influenced by the Theosophical thought of Madame Blavatsky, which he blended with his own racial religious beliefs, founded upon Germanic paganism.

List called his doctrine “Armanism” (after the Armanen, supposedly the heirs of the sun-king, a body of priest-kings in the ancient Ario-Germanic nation). Armanism was concerned with the esoteric doctrines of the gnosis (distinct from the exoteric doctrine intended for the lower social classes, Wotanism).[citation needed]
List claimed that the tribal name Herminones mentioned in Tacitus was a Latinized version of the German Armanen, and named his religion the Armanenschaft, which he claimed to be the original religion of the Germanic tribes. His conception of that religion was a form of sun worship, with its priest-kings (similar to the Icelandic goði) as legendary rulers of ancient Germany.
He also believed in magical powers of the old runes. In 1891 he claimed that heraldry was based on the magic of the runes. In April 1903, he had sent an article concerning the alleged Aryan proto-language to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna. Its highlight was a mystical and occult interpretation of the runic alphabet. Although the article was rejected by the academy, it would later be expanded by List and become the basis for his entire ideology.
Among his ideological followers was Lanz von Liebenfels. More controversially, some allege that, in his pagan-Theosophical synthesis, List developed the direct precursor of  occult Nazism.
List’s Ariosophy was closely related to the philosophy of the Thule Society. In 1919, Anton Drexler, a member of the Thule Society, founded the German Workers’ Party (DAP), the predecessor of the Nazi party (NSDAP). List’s prophecy that a “German Messiah” would save Germany after World War I was popular among Thule members. Thule member and publicist Dietrich Eckart expressed his anticipation in a poem he published in 1919, months before he met Hitler for the first time. In the poem, Eckart refers to ‘the Great One’, ‘the Nameless One’, ‘Whom all can sense but no one saw’. When the Thules met Hitler in 1919, many believed him to be the prophesied redeemer. As most Thule members were socially and politically influential, their faith was crucial to Hitler’s meteoric rise.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guido_von_List

In 1904, Lanz von Liebenfels published his book Theozoologie ("Theozoology") in which he advocated sterilization of the sick and the "lower races" as well as forced labour for "castrated chandals", and glorified the "Aryan race" as "Gottmenschen" ("god-men"). Theozoology could also be classified as a work encompassing what has now come to be called cryptozoology. Lanz justified his neognostic racial ideology by attempting to give it a Biblical foundation; according to him, Eve, whom he described as initially being divine, involved herself with a demon and gave birth to the "lower races" in the process. Furthermore, he claimed that this led to blonde women being attracted primarily to "dark men", something that only could be stopped by "racial demixing" so that the "Aryan-Christian master humans" could "once again rule the dark-skinned beastmen" and ultimately achieve "divinity". A copy of this book was sent to Swedish poet August Strindberg, from whom Lanz received an enthusiastic reply in which he was described as a "prophetic voice".

As a student of Guido von List, Lanz further expanded his theories; other influences included Otto Weininger, of whom Lanz was a fervent follower.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanz_von_Liebenfels

 One eye gods

To drink from the Well of Wisdom, Odin had to sacrifice his eye (which eye he sacrificed is unclear), symbolizing his willingness to gain the knowledge of the past, present and future. As he drank, he saw all the sorrows and troubles that would fall upon men and the gods. He also saw why the sorrow and troubles had to come to men.

The association of the Eye with the deity Horus begins with the myths of the disputes between the deities Horus and Seth, called the Contendings of Horus and Seth.  Seth is usually portrayed as a negative force and in early versions of the myth is the uncle of Horus (in later version he is described as his brother).  In the myth Seth murdered Osiris, the father of Horus, in order to gain the throne.  Horus, of course, wished to reclaim the throne for himself as the rightful heir.  During the dispute Seth stole one of the eyes of Horus whilst the deity was asleep, the eye identified with the moon.  In another version both the eyes were removed.  The stolen eye or eyes were, in different versions, either buried, thrown into the Primeval Ocean or swallowed by Seth.  In some versions of the myth Seth broke the eye into pieces.  This, or these, had to be restored by, in different versions, either the deity Thoth or the goddesses Hathor or Isis.

The term wedjat, usually associated with the symbol of the Eye, seems originally to have referred specifically to the left (lunar) eye of Horus, meaning whole, complete or restored, but has become adopted as a general description for all representations of the Eye.   The termwedjat also seems to refer to the version of the myth where the eye is split into pieces by Seth and has to be reconstructed before it can be restored to Horus.  After the eye was restored by Horus it was named the wedjat eye, the lunar left eye.  The power of the wedjat eye helped Horus to restore his father Osiris to eternal life in the netherworld where he reigned over eternity.

An additional section of the Contendings recounts that Horus gave his recovered eye to Osiris as an offering.  When Osiris accepted the offering and ate the eye he was given life.  Again, the themes connected with the eye of Horus are associated with healing and restoration.
Just to add to the confusion in some accounts the right eye of Horus, the solar eye, is the eye of Ra.  In the Middle Kingdom Coffin Text number I Bastet is equated with the eye of Horus.  In the 19th Dynasty Papyrus of Hunefer, Thoth is shown offering the wedjat eye to the divine cow, and the 19th Dynasty Papyrus of Ani now in the British Museum shows a cow emerging from the mountainside with the wedjat eye in place of her own eye.  On the whole, however, the Eye of Horus is connected with Horus alone.
 http://www.egyptological.com/2011/04/eye-of-ra-eye-of-horus-1155


 Eye of Horus Egyptian hieroglyph: Eye of Horus



 Stele dedicated by the doorman of Horudja temple to the God-bull Apis.

POLYPHEMOS (or Polyphemus) was a man-eating Cyclops giant with a single orb-shaped eye set in the middle of his forehead.
He loved the sea nymphGalateia and wooed her with song, but she spurned his advances. When he discovered her in the arms of another,Akis, he crushed the boy beneath a rock.
Odysseus later found himself trapped in the cave of the giant who began devouring his men. The hero plied him with wine and while he slept, pierced his eye with a burning stake. The blinded Kyklops tried to sink Odysseus' escaping ship with rocks, but failing in the attempt, prayed to his fatherPoseidon to avenge him.
http://www.theoi.com/Gigante/GigantePolyphemos.html

 Polyphemus


 Frascati, Villa Aldrobandini - Polyphemus

Manasa  also Mansa Devi is a Hindu folk goddess of snakes, worshipped mainly in Bengal and other parts of North and northeastern India, chiefly for the prevention and cure of snakebite and also for fertility and prosperity. 
Her myths emphasize her bad temper and unhappiness, due to rejection by her fatherShiva and her husband, and the hatred of her stepmother, Chandi (Shiva's wife, identified with Parvati in this context).
Manasa is depicted as a woman covered with snakes, sitting on a lotus or standing upon a snake. She is sheltered by the canopy of the hoods of seven cobras. Sometimes, she is depicted with a child on her lap. The child is assumed to be her son, Astika. She is often called "the one-eyed goddess", as one of her eyes was burnt by her stepmother Chandi.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manasa

 Goddess of Snakes and Poison