Fertility Gods, History, Culture & Worship, Relationships Between the Gods

Sibling-Consort Relationships Among the Vanir and the Real Life History Behind the Myths

(At the bottom of this post, you can find a list of definitions of the terms used in this post.)

Before anything else, I want to make it clear that I am not going to even attempt to take any moral stance on what is written here, as that is quite beyond the scope of this blog post, and furthermore it would ultimately be pointless and do nothing but hinder my and your arrival at the best possible understanding of the actual content. My goal in posting this is simply the provision of knowledge and the facilitation of discussion in the name of common understanding.

gullveig_by_frc3b8lich
Gullveig (Lorenz Frølich)

Most people who are aware that Freyr and Freyja were at one point worshiped as gods are also aware that they are siblings. They probably also know that the pair were primarily fertility deities, and then following that, a person might know that this is because they are Vanir gods, and the Vanir are chiefly concerned with fertility.

Less commonly known, however, is that the Vanir were at one point a separate pantheon from the Æsir and other gods that now collectively make up the “Norse pantheon.” If you could travel back far enough in time, you could eventually arrive at a time and place where the Vanir had nothing at all to do with any other Norse deities. This time and place would come across as being strange to the average person–not just because of the difference in time period or location, but also because during this time, the people who worshiped the Vanir were part of a matricentric society that existed in Neolithic Old Europe (approximately 4500-1700 BCE in North-West Europe; the general time period is pushed back by a few millennia as one ventures further south).

Continue reading “Sibling-Consort Relationships Among the Vanir and the Real Life History Behind the Myths”

Quotations on Pre-Christian Spirituality

“Whatever Their Enlarged and Numerous Senses Could Perceive” (Quotations on Pre-Christian Spirituality)

William Blake - God Judging Adam
God Judging Adam (William Blake)

In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the visionary poet and painter William Blake gave a succinct and powerful statement of the changes in religious worldview that occurred in the ancient world.

“The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities nations, and whatever their enlarged and numerous senses could perceive. And particularly they studied the genius of each city and country, placing it under its mental deity. Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslaved the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood. Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounced that the Gods had ordered such things. Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.”

The poet is talking about a loss of perception: “whatever their enlarged and numerous senses could perceive.” This loss resulted from the gradually increasing emphasis, started by the Greeks and continued with Christianity, on abstract conceptions of deity rather than on the direct, sensory perception of and communication with spirits that was the norm in polytheistic animism. The exceptions are the gnostics, and mystics and clairsentient poets, who cultivated and celebrated direct perception and sensuous awareness of the sacred aliveness of creation.

– Ralph Metzner, The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe

This is a perfect illustration of why it is only through a combination of revivalism and reconstructionism that pre-Christian religions will be able to prosper again. This combination will allow us to connect the old deities with the mechanical era in which we find ourselves, and to reconnect them with the natural world that is their homeland. So, if you maintain a UPG (unverified personal gnosis) that a certain deity is connected to traffic lights or factory work, but hesitate to make the connection public without tempering it through a process of more abstract association with pre-existing correspondences, don’t. If you see a god in those traffic lights? Well, all that means is that that’s one more place in the world where they can be found.

© Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com, 2018. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.