Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Jörmungandr

The other day I came across this pendant on one of the auction sites with the description: "Medieval Period - Viking Pendant Depicting Coiled Sea Serpent - Jörmungandr". Lot closed. 145$...



In Norse mythology, Jörmungandr is a giant serpent whom Odin tossed into the great ocean that encircles Midgard.  The serpent is so large that it is able to surround the earth and grasp its own tail, receiving the name "World Serpent". It's arch-enemy is the thunder-god Thor...



The stories about Thor's encounters with this serpent are very interesting. They are full of symbols whose meaning, by the time the stories were recorded, was almost completely forgotten...Uncovering the meaning of these symbols will show us the true identity of Jörmungandr...

Before I analyse the only two preserved Norse stories about the encounters between Jörmungandr and Thor, I will first just quickly remind you all of the main thing Thor (as the thunder god) has to do in Indoeuropean mythology: he has to kill the dragon (Serpent)...

The identity of this Dragon (Serpent) can be deduced from, for instance, the Slavic myth about Perun, Thunder god, killing Veles, Great Serpent, who stole Perun's cattle (clouds). Perun kills Veles, releases his cattle (clouds), and rains return...

Snake is in Slavic mythology directly linked with the sun. It is the symbol of sun's heat. The symbol of summer. The snakes are in the underworld during the winter and are in our wold during the spring, summer autumn, when sun dominates the Sun-Earth system...



In the spring, sun's heat is a positive force which creates life. But as summer progresses, the heat gets stronger and stronger. And by the end of the summer, sun's heat becomes a negative force which destroys life. And so the snake grows into the Great Snake, The Dragon...

The dragon that has to be killed, or his fiery breath will turn everything into cinder. Ta-Dah!!! Enters The Thunder god of your choice, battle ensues...and the dragon dies...The drought ends, the rains return, the world is saved (again)...

In Slavic mythology, Thunder god Perun kills Great Snake Veles on Perun's day, 2nd of August, the day that marks the end of Summer, and beginning of Autumn. This day falls in the middle of Leo zodiac sign, when sun is the hottest...I talked about this in my post "Thundering sun god"...

So, Great Serpent, Dragon (Draught) dies in Leo :) Or to say it another way, Lion kills Serpent. This Romanesque object depicts Lion killing Snake under the head of Helios. Perun's day is in Serbia also the day of St Elijah, Christianised Helios...I talked about it in my post "Lion killing snake"...



Ok, back to Thor and Jörmungandr. This is one of only two preserved stories about the encounters between the Thunder god and the Great Serpent...You'll love it...




The part "the serpent disguised by magic in the form of a magic colossal cat" would make no sense at all, if we didn't know that in Slavic mythology, the Thunder God fights and kills the Great Serpent in the middle of Leo...

Now all of a sudden it all makes perfect sense...Including the fact that Thor can't lift the Great Serpent disguised as a Great Cat. One other story, from Egypt, can also be decoded using the same symbol dictionary: The story of Apep, Great Chaos Serpent...I talked about this in detail in my post "Apep"...

Guess what. Apep is killed by Ra (Sun) in a form of a Cat (Leo)...When the Great Serpent is killed, inundation of the Nile is at it's highest level, nature is saved, hence the tree behind the snake...



Of course this whole thing doesn't make much sense in far north, where there is little chance of sun causing draughts...

Jörmungandr and Thor meet again when Thor goes fishing with the giant Hymir. Hymir is a very interesting giant indeed. He is the father of the god Týr, whom Romans identified as Aries, the god of War...

Now in Slavic mythology, god Jarilo, is the Young Sun God, who was in Greek Mythology personified by Apollo, who replaced Helios, the old Titan (Giant) Sun God...

The root of the name Jarilo is "jar" which can mean both "green, young" and "raging heat, raging anger". Jarilo is symbol of male (and Sun) energy, which can be both creative and distructive...It is suspicious how close Jarilo is to Ares, the god of rage (jara)...

So is Giant Hymir, the father of Týr (Ares, Jarilo) actually Titan Helios? After all Perun kills The Great Seapent on the day of Helios, the hottest day in the northern hemisphere...And here in this story Thor kills Jörmungandr while fishing with Hymir (father of Ares)...



This story is great. The part: "Hymir refuses to provide Thor with bait, Thor strikes the head off Hymir's largest ox to use as his bait" makes no sense unless we know that Summer which is ruled by The Great Serpent, starts in Taurus, Bull...

In Slavic mythology, Perun kills the Great Serpent at the end of summer. At the end of the season whose symbol is The bull...So Bull also dies on Perun's day...I talked about this in my post "Symbols of the seasons"...



That there is a direct link between bull and dragon can be seen from some legends preserved in the Balkans, in which young girls were sacrificed to the Giant Bull rather than to the Dragon...I talked about this in my post "Water bull"...

So Thor kills the bull to kill the Dragon...This is the Altuna Runestone showing Thor fishing for three headed dragon using a bull head...With his hammer on the ready to strike the final blow...



What is interesting is that in the Balkans, the day of Perun, the day of Helios, is the day when people organise Bull fights. I talked about this in my post "Alidjun"...



This is also the day when bulls are ceremonially slaughtered, roasted and eaten...Historical sources tell us that Slavs sacrificed bulls to Perun...So these bull fights were originally probably a ritual in which the best bull was chosen to be sacrificed to Perun...

I talked about ritual slaughtering of Bulls in Slavic culture, and the meaning of this ritual, in my  post "Bull of Grom Div"...

But it wasn't just Slavs who sacrificed bulls, symbol of summer which starts in Taurus, at the end of summer...The Old Gaels (The Irish) did it too. I talked about this in my post "Bull of Crom Dubh"...

So what are we to make of all this? Well, well done Thor, you are truly Indoeuropean Thunder god now. You killed your Great Serpent, Dragon...But why is it that this Norse legend can be explained through Slavic folk tradition, but not through Norse folk tradition? Or can it be?

Also, as I already said, the story makes no sense in the far north. In the far north the Thunder god has no need to kill the heat of the summer. The opposite is the case...In the far north you want sun to be hot and the summer to last as long as possible...

There is one more thing that can be decoded once we know what does the cat represent. Why is Freya riding around in chariots pulled by cats...She is just another representation of Virgo, the feminine, yin, earth influence which becomes ever stronger from the middle of Leo...



I talked about this ubiquitous Lion Lady in my post "Assumption of Mary"...

One other thing. Why is The Great Serpent Jörmungandr biting its tail? Enters Ouroboros. This symbol of the serpent biting its tail was first seen in Egypt. There it is linked to deity Mehen, who in other funerary texts protects Ra in his underworld journey...



Ra spends every night in cold watery underworld. In order to emerge bright and shining in the morning, Ra's fire, his heat, needs to be preserved. By coiled snake... Symbol of sun's heat in Slavic mythology...

Ra's heat also needs to be preserved during the winter. According to the 4th-century AD Latin commentator Servius who was aware of the Egyptian use of the Ouroboros symbol, the image of a snake biting its tail represented the cyclical nature of the year...Solar wheel...

That Ouroboros did represent the solar year, the ever turning (changing) life creating solar wheel, can be seen from Gnostic Pistis Sophia (c. 400 AD), which describes the ouroboros, the soul of the world, as a twelve-part dragon, surrounding the world with its tail in its mouth

In my post "Yin and Yang", I talked about this ever changing, life producing interplay between the Earth and the Sun...



One thing that most people don't know, is that the Yin-Yang symbol is spinning and ever changing. The Great serpent, the Sun, The Yang, is constantly oscillating between its minimum (in the middle of maximum Yin) to it's maximum (where we find minimum Yin in the middle of it)...

This is what "Serpent biting it's tail means". Dragon, The Great Serpent doesn't get killed by Thor or Perun or any other Thunder god. It kills (eats) itself. Spring-Summer-Autumn-Winter-Spring...The ever spinning Ouroboros, the solar wheel...



And this is why the end of the world will come when Jörmungandr spits its tail...Because that means that the Earth-Sun system has gone out of balance. The heat will either increase so much that the world will burn, or will decrease so much that the world will freeze...

I love Jörmungandr...

2 comments:

  1. Is it possible that the origin is Neolithic (Anatolian) and not Indo-European? There's evidence of a lot of serpent lore in Basque myth and Minoan imagery and... neither was or is Indo-European

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    1. Both serpent lore and thunder god killing dragon lore originated with the first farmers...

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