Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Icelandic Foss Hammer-an Original Second Copy?

In this article I am revisiting once more the issue of the famous Icelandic Foss Hammer as it would appear that my original article on the subject has gained some traction on the Internet and is provoking discussion. I refer my readers to the earlier articles The Icelandic Wolf's  Hammer  and  Further Reflections on the Icelandic Wolf's Hammer

It has been pointed out to me that one possible explanation for the Wolf's Hammer is the apparent resemblance to the symbol known as the St Peter's Cross. After further reflection I must reject this hypothesis. I would point out that if the intended symbolism of the Foss Hammer was Christian then the artist responsible has failed miserably for it is clearly a heathen amulet. The head of the Hammer is that of either a wolf or a dragon. Both the wolf and the dragon are most definitely heathen creatures and feature prominently in Norse mythology. I gravitate towards the idea that it is a wolf, not a dragon that is being represented. The chain that would have threaded through the aperture is symbolic of the wolf Fenrir gripping or being held by the magical chain Gleipnir forged by the dwarves from 6 magical items:-the sound of a cat's footfall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish and the spittle of a bird.

Whether the head of the Hammer be that of a wolf or a dragon it is totally out of place on a supposedly Christian pendant. St Peter's Crosses were not particularly prevalent in northern Europe and in any case they would not or should not have contained heathen symbolism. The cross feature which appears in the intersection of the arms is equilateral in nature and not representative of the cross of Christ. My readers will be aware that an equilateral cross is an ancient Germanic symbol which predates Christianity by thousands of years. The arms of the Hammer are not just rounded but clublike in nature and indeed the whole shape is reminiscent of the Eyrarland Thor statue which was also discovered in Akureyri, Iceland at Eyrarland Farm in either 1815 or 1816 and dates back to about 1000 CE. The Hammer which is being gripped by Thor has three clublike terminals as does the Foss Hammer. The resemblance is unmistakeable and cannot be denied by any impartial observer. The Foss Hammer dates shortly before this time and it is clear that this form is how the Icelanders depicted the Mjolnir and appears to be unique to that island. No one would claim that the statue of Thor is clutching a Christian cross so likewise there should be no assumption that the Foss Hammer is a Christian cross either. One cannot have it both ways.

It has been argued that the Foss Hammer was deliberately designed as a hybrid in order that a follower of the old Gods may escape persecution by the church but this argument is erroneous as we know that the Foss Hammer dates back to the 9th century when the old religion was still predominant so to suggest that anyone at this time would have been subject to persecution by the church is nonsensical and thus must be rejected. It is surprising though how this error has been mindlessly repeated all over the Internet, usually by commercial websites which sell reproductions of it. One still sees this argument though being uttered by so-called academics too. If the Hammer was designed to be worn on occasions as a cross then it requires an explanation as to why there is no aperture on the bottom of the Hammer to thread a chain through?

I have often questioned whether the Icelandic Hammer was a one off or if any other copies were made at the time. Recently I discovered that another amulet, resembling the Foss one was offered for sale on an auction website: https://www.timelineauctions.com/lot/wolf-cross-pendant/79886/
The wording of the auction suggests that this is an original historical model and this is reflected in the high price. Whether it is authentic I am not in a position to say but if it is then this is an extremely exciting discovery and I am puzzled as to why there is a dearth of publicity regarding this find! No information is given regarding the place of origin of this second Hammer so if anyone has any further information about this I would like to hear from you.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Die Bauge-an Esoteric Trollskors?




Since writing the previous article http://armanen.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-trollskors-possible-origin.html I found reference to a strikingly similar symbol in Walther Blachetta's Das Buch der Deutschen Sinnzeichen which Blachetta refers to as Die Bauge:

"Die Bauge is the symbol for the- desire for a quick return- . It is a variation of the symbol of  Die Brille, only that both spheres of life are still open here. Closely related to it is the  Blitzbündel and the double spiral. - Baugen were laid by the Teutons in the grave of good friends and loyal followers." (pages 38-39)
        
(WOTANS KRIEGER's translation-please note that I have retained the German 'Die Brille', which means 'spectacles' for stylistic reasons. 'Die Bauge' has no English equivalent and thus remains untranslated but there may be an etymological link with 'Der Bogen' which means 'bow' , 'arc' and 'arch' and it certainly resembles the arch in form.)

Die Bauge very closely resembles the trollkors and this may very well be an esoteric interpretation of this enigmatic symbol. Unfortunately Blachetta does not mention a source for his entry and does not clarify what material Die Bauge as an amulet was constructed from but my guess would be that it may have been iron which was a relatively cheap metal and had special protective properties.:



Die Bauge was a symbol for the Wiederkehr, the return to life of the dead friend or follower. The two spiral ends of the symbol represent the 'spheres' of life. Blachetta compares this symbol with Die Brille:

"Die Brille is the symbol-of the return and of the resurrection-. It is an amendment of the dumbbell. There (WOTANS KRIEGER's note-'there' referring back to the dumbbell-Die Hantel) only opposition, here the continuation of life, and indeed out of death through the Origin (WOTANS KRIEGER's note-Armanen term translated from Das Ur) to a new existence. - Die Brille is a much beloved symbol in folk art and frequently found on farmhouse door arches in Westphalia. Related to it is the symbol with the rams horn, the cradle and the Jar rune." (pages 36-37) 

Die Brille resembles a pair of round spectacles, joined together by an arch or a bow. Again as with Die Bauge we have the concept of resurrection or returning to life. This is also reflected in the Listian concept of Arising-Becoming-Passing Away-New Arising. Energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed and the life force is of course a form of energy.

My readers will note Blachetta's comparison with the Blitzbündel and more information on this symbol may be found on http://armanen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/an-esoteric-interpretation-of-das.html and http://armanen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/the-trisula-and-its-associations-with.html . As I commented in the earliest of the aforementioned articles the Blitzbündel  is a symbol of both birth and rebirth. The astute observer will notice that the symbol appears to be composed of 2 Perthro runes. It is beyond doubt that one interpretation of this rune is the 'womb'. So again we have this recurring theme of rebirth, a concept that well known to our pre-xtian Germanic and Celtic ancestors.

 Blachetta refers to Die Doppelspirale or the double spirals as being a comparable symbol:

"The double spirals is the image-of the eternal dying and becoming-. The Ringhorn rolling itself up changes here immediately into a unrolling spiral. This symbol was very widely diffused in early cultures, especially in the Germanic Bronze Age. The often heard meaning, the double spirals portray the two courses of the sun before and after the winter solstice, is naturally only one in the great circle of events of dying and becoming." (page 62)

Just as our ancestors realised that the sun 'dies' and then is 'reborn' so it is the case with the Ich-heit (the 'self') which transcends the individual bodily incarnations which we continually experience.



   

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Trollskors-a Possible Origin







A symbol which I have given a lot of thought to over recent months is the trollkors or Trolls Cross which started to appear as an item of heathen jewellery in the 1990s. Not a great deal of information is available in the English language about this intriguing symbol so I have had to do a bit of digging, relying in part on my very rudimentary knowledge of Swedish.

The received wisdom is that whilst this symbol 'dates back to ancient times' it was created or rather reintroduced by a Swedish blacksmith in 1993, Kari Erlands from western Dalarna in Sweden who copied the symbol from a protective rune like inscription found in her parents' farmhouse. Either she created it or it is an ancient symbol: it cannot be both! Now I have no reason at all to doubt that she did indeed start making Troll Crosses based on the aforesaid inscription and if this is the case then it cannot be said that she invented the symbol for it was thus already in existence but rather introduced or reintroduced it as a piece of jewellery.

Many people have noticed that the Troll Cross appears to be loosely based upon the Othala rune. Some have commented that it cannot be based upon this rune as it was not known in pre-xtian Scandinavia and does not feature in the Younger Futhark but they neglect to point out that this Futhark was not introduced until the 9th century and was in fact based upon the Elder Futhark which DID contain this rune! So if the Troll Cross does have any real antiquity I would have thought that it would have predated the Younger Futhark and may indeed be based upon the Elder Futhark.

As an item of heathen contemporary jeweller it is quite ubiquitous, usually forged from iron or steel although I have noticed that it is now also being mass produced in Asia out of 'zinc alloy' and thus it is anyone's guess what metals have been alloyed to produce this! Mass production of an allegedly sacred symbol goes against one of the reasons for its existence. It is allegedly a protective symbol, worn as an amulet to ward off evil and negative forces, personified as 'trolls'.

Iron was recognised by our ancestors as having a sacred quality. It has a strong association with the Thunder God. Thor's second hammer was made from iron, possibly meteorite iron whilst His first one was constructed from stone which is of course the mother of iron. Meteorites had a divine origin according to our ancestors.  Iron axes or axe amulets, horseshoes, nails and knives were frequently used as a means of supernatural protection. Meteorite iron in particular was used for the formation of sacred tools in many cultures and iron Thors Hammers were very common as amulets.

Whether the Trolls Cross is ancient or not if it is smithed from iron or steel then it does have protective abilities and the rune like shape will also confer additional virtue to the amulet. It is vital though that it is constructed from iron or steel which is of course an alloy primarily of iron and carbon. It is pointless to purchase or make a Trolls Cross from any other metal whether it be silver, copper, brass, bronze or 'zinc alloy'. It is also vital that the amulet is hand forged and not machine produced otherwise it is little more than a curious piece of bodily adornment.

What is not well known outside of the academic world, particularly outside of Scandinavia is that the trollskors design HAS been present in antiquity in Scandinavia and whilst it may have become popularised during the 1990s it IS an authentic symbol. At some point, more than 10 years ago a couple of iron 'rattles' were unearthed, called ranglestav which bear an uncanny resemblance to the trollskors and this is perhaps how the amulet came into being.

In addition to the use of iron our ancestors believed that by making a loud noise they could drive away evil spirits and malignant forces and it is likely that ranglestav were used to cleanse an area prior to the carrying out of a sacred blot. The use of iron rattles for these purposes can be found in other cultures apart from the Germanic and is particularly associated with shamanic cultures and of course this may be found in the far north of Europe and Asia.