Wednesday 25 February 2015

Odin the wandering deity

Odin is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, through the tribal expansions of the Migration Period and the Viking Age. Odin continued into the modern period to be acknowledged in rural folklore in all Germanic regions. References to Odin appear in place names throughout regions historically inhabited by the ancient Germanic peoples, and the day of the week Wednesday bears his name in many Germanic languages.

The official etymology of the name of the old Norse theonym Óðinn (popularly anglicized as Odin) and its cognates, including Old English Wóden, Old Saxon Wōden, and Old High German Wuotan, says that it derives from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz. The masculine noun *wōđanaz developed from the Proto-Germanic adjective *wōđaz, related to Latin vātēs and Old Irish fáith, both meaning 'seer, prophet'. Adjectives stemming from *wōđaz include Gothic woþs 'possessed', Old Norse óðr, 'mad, frantic, furious', and Old English wód 'mad'.

The adjective *wōđaz (or *wōđō) was further substantivized, leading to Old Norse óðr 'mind, wit, soul, sense', Old English ellen-wód 'zeal', Middle Dutch woet 'madness', and Old High German wuot 'thrill, violent agitation'. Additionally the Old Norse noun æði 'rage, fury' and Old High German wuotī 'madness' derive from the feminine noun *wōđīn, from *wōđaz. The weak verb *wōđjanan, also derived from *wōđaz, gave rise to Old Norse æða 'to rage', Old English wédan 'to be mad, furious', Old Saxon wōdian 'to rage', and Old High German wuoten 'to be insane, to rage'.

But this etymology does not correspond to the role that Odin or Vodan seem to have originally had.

The earliest records of the Germanic peoples were recorded by the Romans, and in these works Odin is frequently referred to as the Roman god Mercury. The first clear example of this occurs in the Roman historian Tacitus's late 1st-century work Germania, where, writing about the religion of the Suebi (a confederation of Germanic peoples), he comments that "among the gods Mercury is the one they principally worship. In this instance, Tacitus refers to the god Odin as "Mercury"...

Mercury is a major Roman god, being one of the Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. He is the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages/communication (including divination), travellers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he is also the guide of souls to the underworld.

You could see how Mercury would be perfect deity for Vikings, the traders, the travellers and the thieves...

While I was discussing Radegast (Welcome guest) with one of my friends, he reminded me that one of Odins names was "far travelled guest"...

This is very interesting. 

In some dialects of South Slavic languages word "od" or "hod" means walk. "odi" or "hodi" means walks and "oditi" or "hoditi" means you walk, walking. "odi on" or "hodi on" means he walks, he who walks. Is odin = odi on = the one that walks, travels? It is Interesting that in Greek we have word ὁδός (hodós) which means threshold, road, path, way, journey, trip, expedition...The official etymology is that the Greek word comes form Proto-Indo-European *sodos. Cognates include Old Church Slavonic ходъ (xodŭ) and Sanskrit आसद् (āsad). I wander if the Greek word actually comes from South Slavic word "od, hod" meaning to walk...The word "odos" (path) would then be something you "od" walk on..."odaš, odiš" means you are walking, "oda si, odi si" means he is walking and "odao si" means you walked, both meaning travel, trip, expedition, journey...

Vodan is another name for Odin. In South Slavic languages word "vodi, voda" means leads, "vodi nas, voda nas" means he leads us and "vodi on, voda on" means he leads, leader...The word "vodja" means leader, "vodja naš" means our leader....Is Vodan = vodi + on = leads he = leader? 

This fits perfectly with the the Roman description of Odin, Vodan as the equivalent of Mercury, the traveller, messenger, guide...

But if this is true, why does Norse god have name whose etymology comes from Slavic languages? Is this just a coincidence? 

Serbian Historian from the 19th century, Miloš Milojević, claimed that Serbs and Danes were one and the same people. This is very interesting because the latest genetic evidence is showing us that Serbs and Croats have majority I2a1 and the Danes have majority I2a2 Y haplogroup. Basically they are the closest genetic cousins. You can see this clearly from these maps published on Eupedia:



We know that there was a lot of mixing between the western Slavs and Danes and that the most prominent Danish Viking dynasties descending from Harlad the blue tooth were of mixed Danish Slavic descent. Both Danes and western Slavs were renowned traders and pirates. The Book of Veles talks about western Slavs having the same customs as Germans. So it is entirely possible that Odin's name did come from the Slavic language. 

Another possibility is that Tacitus relied on a Slavic speaking informants who completely misinterpreted the word Vodan and Odin and understood them as the one who leads and the one who wanders. This could have lead to the erroneous linking of Odin, Vodan with Mercury...But this would put Slavic speaking people in Germania in the the first century AD...

A can of worm has been opened. Or more precisely reopened.

“Origin of the Anglo – Saxon race” is a book published in 1906 by Thomas William Shore, author of 'a history of Hampshire,' etc, Honorary secretary London and Middlesex archaeological society; honorary Organizing secretary of the Hampshire field club and Archaeological society. In it the author gives detailed analysis of the “Anglo Saxons”, and shows us that both Angles and Saxons were just terms used for complex federations of south Baltic Germanic, Norse and West Slavic tribes. He describes the late Iron Age and early medieval northern central Europe as a melting pot where future great nations of Franks, Angles, Saxons, Danes, Norse, Slavs, were being created from tribal federations of mixed Germanic and Slavic ethnic, linguistic and cultural origin.

This is what he thought about conflict of the Æsir and Vanir. This is just the excerpt, you can find the rest on my blog post "The origin of the Anglo Saxon race".

...The conflict of the Æsir and Vanir is a Northern myth, which, considered ethnologically, may be regarded as founded on the wars carried on between the Teutonic and Slavonic races. That between the Goths and Vandals was a war of this kind, and it resulted in peace and a lasting alliance. The myth of the conflict of the Æsir and Vanir also terminated in a lasting peace and the exchange of hostages between the contending races....

And this is where we need to look for the origin of Odin and his name....

And this is why I believe that Odin's name reopens a can of worms which was shut after the first world war, when the Slavs became the bad guys of Europe...

So what do you think? 

Sunday 22 February 2015

Radegost - Welcome guest

This is a stone statue from Armagh, Ulster, Ireland, (pre-christian / pre- 5th c.). It represents a man with a lion's head. It was discovered and first recorded during the reconstruction of the Armagh cathedral in the late 19th century. 

The statue is still kept inside the Armagh cathedral with other strange stone slabs and statues found in the area:

Ulster is the same place where we find the only Scythian Baba stones found in Ireland. Like this one called Tanderagee Idol which is also kept in the Armagh cathedral. 

Or this one from Boa Island:

I wrote about Baba stones here. It is amazing that we find thousands of these Baba statues from Central Europe to Central Asia....A lot of these statues were found in South Baltic area. The only other place where these statues are found west of South Baltic is Ulster, Northern Ireland. I proposed that this shows the cultural link between South Baltic and Ulster, showing the cultural influence of the South Baltic area on Ulster probably linked to the presence of the same population in both areas. 

The man with the lion's head is another proof of this cultural link. The man with a lion's head is a very strange image indeed. But this carved slab from the Armagh cathedral is not the only representation of this image. 

A group of bronze idols was discovered in mid 18th century in the lake Tollensesee near Prillwitz in Mecklenburg, South Baltic. These idols are today known as Prillwickie idols. The first information about their discovery was published in 1768. Many of them bear Slavic inscriptions in runic letters. A significant number of the figures shows the characters with lion heads and lush manes. Here is one:

Finding of these idols was a big event in Europe at the time and initially researchers commonly accepted their authenticity. The authenticity of the finds was confirmed by many scientific authorities of the time, such as Lawrence Surowiecki, Joachim Lelewel and Wojciech Cybulski. 

The authenticity of the alleged findings of Prillwitz was challenged in the mid-nineteenth century. They were alleged to be "clumsy bronze replicas of other idols unrelated to Slavs....probably forged by a goldsmith from a nearby town...."

The whole debate about the authenticity of these idols has restarted again. It is not entirely certain whether the figures are the work of a forger...

Prillwitz idols are now kept in a museum in Schwerin (Slavic Zverin).

Is it possible that the originally "authentic" idols were proclaimed to be "forgeries" during the rise of the German nationalism in the 19th century which tried to remove any mention of the existence of the Slavic culture in German lands? Is it possible that this idol form Armagh actually proves the authenticity of these Pomeranian idols? I believe that it does. 

The Armagh statue was first recorded during the reconstruction of the Armagh cathedral in the late 19th century. This means that the Pomeranian figurines are genuine as the Armagh statue was recorded 100 years after the Pomeranian figurines. 

The importance of this is impossible to emphasize....

It is hard to believe that some Pomeranian goldsmith from a small village of Prillwitz would have known about this obscure statue hidden in Armagh cathedral and that he made his "clumsy copies" that look exactly like the Armagh lion man. And if he did why would he had done it? What I think we heave here is a proof that the Pomeranian figurines are authentic ancient Slavic idols and that the Armagh stone slab is just another proof of the South Baltic, Slavic, Scythian influence on Ulster. 

Now that we know that the Pomeranian idols are authentic, and considering that the Pomeranian idols have Slavic texts inscribed on them in runic alphabet, this shows that Slavs did use runic alphabet to write. This confirms the words of Chernorizets Hrabar, early medieval missionary among Slavs, who said that "Slavs wrote using several foreign alphabets and their own alphabet which he called cuts and notches"...This means that Slavs had alphabet before Cyrilic and Glagolitic alphabets were invented for them by Christian missionaries. 

Baltic Slavs who lived in Pomerania, Pomorje, Fomorie and other Western Slavs had a god called Radegast of which we have many medieval records but of which we know very little. What is interesting is that the lion headed idol with the duck on his head from the Prillwickie idols group has inscription on identifying it as Radegast. Here is another depiction of the lion headed man with the duck on his head from the Prillwickie idols group:

 This is one of the Prillwickie idols group statues from south Baltic.

This is another sculpture from the Prillwickie idols group.

If we look closely to the head of this idol we see that it has changed into what seems like a bull's head. It seems that there are indeed two related images, the bull and lion. The obviously lion headed Radegast, the idol with the duck on his head, has bull's head on his chest. The below image indeed could be either bull headed or lion headed, it is not clear. Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba, Grom Div, The Thundering Sun Giant, was often associated with the bull and is said to have been the bull or that bull was his sacrificial animal. Summer, the growing season, starts in Bull (Taurus) and ends in Lion (Leo). The Lion headed figure has bull on his chest because the Leo sun, the old sun contains bull Taurus sun, the young sun. The old Sun is the young sun in its heart. But also it is the lion that kills the bull. The Leo is the end of summer, the death of summer. Also it is the beginning of autumn, the harvesting season, and this is why the bull gets slaughtered, killed, harvested by Lion as a sacrifice for the good harvest....Lion slaughtering bull is one of the oldest mythological scenes. I am preparing an article about the symbolism of these scene and will publish it soon.

Slavs also had god Belbog of whom we know even less. I would like to propose that Radegast and Belbog are one and the same deity and they were represented as the man with the lion's head. 

Belbog means white god. This god is the equivalent of the Celtic god Belenos and Welsh god Beli. This is the god of day, summer, light. The white part of the year of the day. The name of the Celtic god Belenos comes from bel + nos. In Slavic languages bel, beli, beo means white, and nos means carries, brings. So belenos = bel + nos = white + brings = the bringer of the white??? Belbog comes from bel + bog = white + god.

Why is this god represented as a man with the lion's head? This is a representation of an anthropomorphic sun. Sun is the strongest in Leo and middle of Leo is also the middle of the white part of the year, of Bel. This day, the 2nd of August, is also the day of Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba, Grom Div...The thundering sun giant who has sun as his head... 

In both Serbian and Celtic calendar the year was divided into two parts, the dark, black part (winter and spring) and white part (summer and autumn). Beltane (Djurdjevdan, St Georges day) and Samhain (Mitrovdan, St Martin's day) marked the borders between these two parts of the year. Beltane is the day of Bel, Beli, Belenos, Belbog the day of Bringer of white, light. Samhain is the day of Bran, Vran, Chernunos, Černbog, Crnbog, the Dark god, the bringer of darkness. Čern, Črn, Crn means black in Slavic languges, so Chernunos = Chern + nos = black, darkness + brings, carries = the bringer of darkness??? Belbog - Črnbog; Bel - Bran, Vran; Belenos - Chernunos; are two halves of the solar year, the white and dark part of the year from the Celtic and Serbian calendar.

Beltane is the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 30 April, but sometimes on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man....Beltane is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology. It marked the beginning of summer...

The name for Beltane In Irish it is Bealtaine, in Scottish Gaelic Bealltainn and in Manx Gaelic Boaltinn or Boaldyn. 

Since the early 20th century it has been commonly accepted that Old Irish Beltaine is derived from a Common Celtic *belo-te(p)niâ, meaning "bright fire". The element *belo- might be cognate with the English word bale (as in bale-fire) meaning "white" or "shining"; compare Old English bael, and Lithuanian/Latvian baltas/balts, found in the name of the Baltic; in Slavic languages byelo or beloye also means "white", as in Беларусь (White Russia or Belarus) or Бе́лое мо́ре (White Sea). 

In Irish the word for fire is tine. In Serbian word "tinja" is a verb meaning "to smolder, start, kindle fire". Beltine means white fire but also smoldering kindling, starting of the sun's fire, the beginning of summer. This is why bonfires are lit for Beltine, to help the sun to rekindle...

Beltane is the day of Beli, Belenos, Belbog the god which brings summer. And here is another one of the lion headed Radegost Belbog figurines from south Baltic:

I often wandered what the duck was doing on this idol's head? Knowing what I know now, I am certain that the duck is on his head to represent the return of summer, the white (beli) part of the year. Ducks, which are migratory birds, and which according to Slavic mythology spend winters in "the land of the dead, Irij", return to Pomerania and have ducklings at the end of April, just before the beginning of the summer, the 6th of May . Duck is the welcome guest = rad gost, Radegos. Radegast. This is an euphemism for the beginning of summer...This means that Radegost was not a deity, but the name for the beginning of summer. The deity is Beli, Belenos, Belbog. 

We have hundreds of Baba stone figures in Central Europe and South Baltic and only few in Ulster and nowhere else in Europe. We have hundred of Belbog figurines with Slavic inscriptions in South Baltic, and only one isolated example in Ulster and not one anywhere else in Europe. Beli, Belenos, Belbog, Beltine all have full etymology in Slavic languages. This opens a big question: how did these tradition come to Ireland and Britain? Who brought them and when? 

Saturday 7 February 2015


The other day, while I was driving my son to school, we saw a flock of crows flying overhead. My son immediately uttered the following verse:

"Flock of birds before my eyes name the day of my surprise"

This little verse, which can also be found in this version: "A flock of birds before my eyes, what will be my next surprise", is all that is left today of the ancient practice of divination by interpreting the sound of birds and their behavior particularly flight. 

It was believed that birds, being able to fly in the sky, can commune with the sky god, which was inaccessible to humans. So all the people who used divination through flight and sound of birds, believed that the birds were messengers whose behavior carried encoded messages or signs sent to people by the sky god. 

According to the historical accounts, many nations used birds for divination among them Romans, Greeks, CeltsEtruscans, Egyptians, Arabians, Phrygians, Cilicians, Umbrians, Hindus, Chinese...and Slavs

A word for divination used in South Slavic languages is "gatanje". I believe that this word originally meant divination by interpreting the sound of flocking birds, particularly crows. I also believe that this word is extremely old and probably comes from the earliest layers of the language development in Evroasia. And this is why.  

In my post about Bran - Vran, I talked about the well known ability of crows to detect trouble and danger. Crows quickly learn that a moving car is no danger, but will rapidly flee if the driver stops and gets out. In areas where they are constantly hunted, they learn the difference between a hunter with a gun and a farmer with farming implements. Crows use a system of guards that observe and sound warnings to all other crows in the area. These sentinels guard fields of feeding crows. They also send scouts in advance of feeding forays to check for danger.  Crows are extremely territorial and will protect their colony against any potential predators. They are the only bird known to attack hawks and eagles and even peopleSo crows (vran, bran) have guards (bran) which defend (bran) the colony. People probably quickly noticed that crows use "g(r)a", "g(r)a" sound as warning signal to alert everyone that someone or something dangerous is coming. So people probably started associating the sound "G(r)a" with the meaning "I see him, it, something, danger is coming". On this video you can see the crows sounding the warning call.

Every time Crows sounded "G(r)a", people started looking around to see what kind of danger is approaching. I believe that people quickly started using the same sound to warn each other about the incoming danger. The link between the sound and the meaning already existed and all people had to do was to imitate the sound "G(r)a" to trigger the meaning of "I see danger".  "G(r)a" very quickly becomes "Ga" as "r" gets swallowed during shouting. So we end up with "GA" = "I see danger". What is interesting is that in Serbian "GA" means "him, it, that" and is used as a pointing sound accompanied with the pointing outstretched hand meaning "I see him, it, that". 

But it is not just crows that produce a sound that sounds like "GA" when they are agitated. It seems that all major flocking birds of Europe use a variant of the "GA" sound as a warning sound. These are the warning sounds made by rooks. These are the warning sounds made by ravens. These are the sounds of mallard ducks. These are the warning sounds of geese. These are the warning sounds of seagulls. 

Some people will say that this warning sound of the flocking birds sounds more like "k(r)a". And that is possible. Different people hear things differently. So if the sound that we hear is "k(r)a", it becomes "KA" as "r" gets swallowed during shouting. What is interesting is that in Serbian "KA" means "towards", at him, it, that...

Vidim GA - I see him, it, that
Idem KA - I am going towards him, it, that
Pokazujem KA - I am pointing at him, it, that

Both variants of the perceived sound have the meaning directly related to observing, noticing, identifying, signaling, informing. Is it possible that these two words developed from human imitation of the warning sounds of flocking birds? And if so how old are these words then? Are we looking at the true linguistic relics, which survived to this day from the Mesolithic or even Paleolithic times?

It seems that people listened to birds and interpreted their calls, flight and general behavior from very early days. Of all the flocking birds, the ones that lived in closest association with people have always been crows and ravens. So the "GA" warning sounds of crows and ravens were the ones people heard and interpreted most often. For our ancestors "gakanje", the sounding of crows and ravens, was not a meaningless noise, but a sound that carried a clear meaning: danger. So the "GA" sound of crows and ravens, and the crows and ravens themselves were associated with danger. And in the distant past danger usually meant mortal danger. Many thousands of years later, these birds are still considered the birds of black omen, death, even though the reason why this is so has been forgotten. 

So how long did it take before people started looking for other messages in birds sounds and behavior, including birds flight? And how long did it take before they started looking at other birds, not just flocking birds? Probably not long. And this is how divination by observing birds was born. Because what is divination, fortune telling, but the interpretation of the warning signs, in this case contained in the sounds and behavior of birds including flight. 

Knowing all this it is not a surprise to find that the word for divination in Serbian is "gatati". Gatati comes from ga + da + ti = ga (message in the "ga" sound of birds) + give + you = message given to you by birds. 

gátati - tell fortune, divine
gátanje - fortune telling, divination
gatka - mystery, riddle, puzzle
gatavac, gátalac, gatar, gatalo - fortune teller

This word is found in other Slavic languages as well as "gatati", "gadati" or "hadati" meaning both to divinate and to speak. The fact that this word means both divination and speech is extremely important, as it directly links speaking with fortune telling, warning, "GA" sound of flocking birds. We also find this word in Sanskrit as "gadati" meaning to speak, to say. And in Irish as a word isolate "gadán" meaning noise, shouting, human voice. This Irish word also directly links the noise of flocking birds with the human voice and language. This is probably a borrowing similar to Serbian "galama" meaning noise, human voices but even closer to the original Slavic root "gata, gada" meaning both to tell fortune and to speak. The distribution of these words leads me to believe that they come from an ancient R1 language family?

So. What do you think?

Tuesday 3 February 2015


Today someone wrote this comment on my post about calendars

“The original Moon Calendar is from a Woman's Body, her Bleeding Cycle. Its time for people to get simple to get to our past.”

I wanted to reply to the comment in the original post, but my reply was too long, so I decided to publish my reply as a new post. I think this is an important issue to discuss and I hope you will find this post interesting.

I actually agree that the first cycles people noticed and used for measuring of the passing of time were natural cycles they saw around them, like menstrual cycle or seasons cycle. Women even today use their menstrual cycle to locate events in time. Like: "after my next period, every time just before my period". People still use seasonal vegetative cycles to locate events in time. Like brigands in Serbia who used to meet at their secret meeting point "kad gora zazeleni" meaning "when forest gets green". Pigs are still slaughtered in Serbia "after the first frost". Acorns are gathered when they get brown, ripe...But these cycles are only good for crude time calculation which is not mission critical. This is because all these cycles are variable cycles. They change in time and in place. Duration of women's menstrual cycle changes through woman's life and the beginning and the duration of the menstrual cycles vary from woman to woman. Spring sometimes comes earlier and sometimes later depending on the location and year. Oaks sometimes don't produce any acorns at all and sometimes acorns ripen early and sometimes late depending on the weather. So these cycles very quickly become unreliable as time calculating devices.

The problem is even bigger if you need to coordinate actions between many separated groups. If they all need to meet somewhere at the same time in the future, they can't determine that moment in time using menstrual cycle. They would all have to have access to the same woman and she better not get pregnant...Even vegetative cycles are not good enough for this type of planning as for instance spring comes and forests gets green at the different times in Scotland and in Cornwall. It is even worse if you have an altitude difference. Sometimes it is still winter in the mountains in May.... And if people wanted to meet somewhere to celebrate and do some matchmaking, trading, showing off, saying "let’s meet in the spring to have a party" is no good, because some people would arrive in February and some in May. So people had to find something that changes, but changes in the same way all the time and in every place and use this change cycle for time calculation and planning. And guess what, there was this shining thing in the sky, visible every night, or almost every night, which changes every night and it's change cycle is the same all the time in every place. The moon. So the first precise time calculations were made based on moon cycle. You could say: "let's meet in 10 moons from next fool moon for a bit of a light entertainment” and no matter where you were, Scotland or Cornwall you would all arrive at the party at the same time. But moon cycle does not correspond to the seasonal cycle and it is not possible to use lunar calendar to predict and organize events lined to the seasonal and vegetative cycle. 

Lunar calendar is ok for planning once off events, but not for planning repetitive events. If you want to have a party in the summer, so you can all run around naked and have a good time, you can't use lunar calendar to plan it. The lunar cycle and seasonal vegetative cycles are not in sync. You need something that is in sync with the vegetative cycle, and that is the solar cycle, because it is the sun's cycles that govern seasonal vegetative cycles....And solar cycles are also constant and repetitive and can be observed from any point in the same way. So you could say: "Hay Groo, that was a great party, let’s have it next summer as well. How about at the summer solstice?” And hey presto, every summer everyone arrived to the same place for the summer solstice and had a great fun together, drinking, dancing, singing, shagging and waiting for the sun to rise....

But then people tried to plan dates between the solstices by using lunar calendar. They would say: "Let's meet on the first full moon after the summer solstice". This sounds fine, but it doesn't work as the lunar cycle is not in sync with the solar cycle. The first full moon after the summer solstice can sometimes fall on the day after the summer solstice and sometimes 10 days after the summer solstice....People could have said: "Let's meet 10 days after the summer solstice". And that would work like a charm. But what about 234 days after summer solstice? To make this kind of planning easier, to be able to efficiently plan events between the solstices, people needed some cycle smaller than the solstice cycle and longer than the day cycle. So people decide to continue using the moon cycle but they had to abandon the actual moon for determining the beginning and the end of the moon cycles. They needed some means of counting the moon cycle without looking at the sky. And hey presto, the time measuring sticks were invented where you can sratch on line for each day and a cross or some other symbol for a moon...And you end up with lunisolar calendar....

Now people could say: "That party was great. Your son and my daughter seem to like each other very much. Let’s get them married. How about on the second moon after the summer solstice?" Now if you all agree that your moon has 28, or 29 or 30 days, or what ever number of days that you all agree on, and you all know when the summer solstice is and you all start counting days and moons from that day, then you will all meet at the same place in two moons and have another great party, whether your kids like it or not....

And this is it...No mystery, no Male or Female chauvinism. Just using what is practical and does the job.