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2011 06 07

[Secret Doctrine][symbology of number][Hammer of Thor][Nine Worlds][cosmology][the Sun][the year][the feasts][the tree]

Nine in the Tree

             Madame Blavatsky, in The Secret Doctrine, provided the symbology of the earliest tradition that begins with a circular white plane of knowledge surrounded by the blackness of the vast unknown. It shows that the manifestation in the circle is the only knowledge attainable. At the center comes the point of differentiation that appears when we can say: here is this; there is other. When the point is extended into a horizontal line within the circle, it represents female nature and the universe within the immenseness of existence. A vertical line bisecting it makes the worldly cross of humanity in nature. The boundless circle is the single most powerful symbol of unity, and it lends truth and virtue to any within placed sigyl ~ an occult sign or device having mysterious power; such is the encircled svastika ~ derived from the Sanskrit su: good, and asti: being. "Born in the mystical conception of the early Aryans, and placed by them at the very threshold of eternity," as Blavatsky wrote, it has been extensively used as a most sacred decoration and mystical symbol in almost all parts of the world since pre-historic times. Again Blavatsky: "The Svastica is the most philosophically scientific of all symbols, as also the most comprehensible. It is the summary in a few lines of the whole work of creation, or evolution, as one should rather say ... [and] is found heading the religious symbols of every old nation." It is Thor's Mjolnir, the Worker's Hammer that strikes the sparks of existence that binds the universe through life's creative action. Thor's Hammer can also be seen in another such ancient sigyl: the inscribed Egyptian tau (identical with the eastern tao) that symbolizes evolution and the fall into generation or matter. The square that stands for humanity, when placed within the circle is the most powerful mystic and magical symbol. But while Blavatsky's earliest symbology shows a geometry of progress from the plain disc to the cross in the circle, its mundane use was accompanied by a gross regression that is shown in the Keltic cross where the bisecting lines extend beyond the circle's boundaries, then in the Egyptian ankh ~ the emblem of life, in which the circle rests on the tau, in the symbols for Venus and Earth where the sigyl is wholly outside the circle, and finally in the complete disappearance of the circle after which the svastika is merely the sun-wheel fylfot, and the cross represents humanity in ignorance. Geometric figures symbolize much arcane esoteric knowledge, and primary among these perhaps is the triangle that stands for the divine trinity. Related to it is yet another symbol that has been associated with (perhaps thought of as representing) Thor's Hammer, the triskele, the Hellenic three-legged sun-wheel. The valknut ~ three triangles linked together in a kind of knot, is shown on several memorial stones beside the figure of Woden and is thought to symbolize Woden's power to bind and unbind.
            The symbology seeks to instruct humanity of its dual and triple nature: dual ~ male and female, triple ~ spiritual and psychic within a material fabric without. Numbers have an important function in the creation of conceptual models. As R. Buckminster Fuller put it, before describing his own mathematical symbology of triangles:
            "The original disclosure of a hierarchy of rational quantation and topological interrelationships of all experiental phenomena is omnirationally accounted when we assume the volume of a tetrahedon and its six vectors to constitute both metaphysical and physical unity. The geometry of thinking recognizes that knowledge organizes itself geometrically, that is, with models. Unity as two is inherent in life and the resulting model is tetrahedal, the conceptuality of which derives as follows: life's inherent unity is two; no otherness = no awareness; life's awareness begins with otherness; otherness is twoness; this moment's awareness is different from previous awareness; differentiations of time are observed directionally; directions introduce vector (lines); two times lines demonstrates the observer and the observed; the interconnection of two lines result in tetrahedon; sixfold interrelatedness is conceptual. Because every action has both a reaction and a resultant, every now must have both a fading past and a dawning future."
            Here is what the numbers signify: One is the homogenous substance-principle of which the universe is a temporary manifestation in ever-changing life cycles from one day moth to star that each is conscious of itself; Two is the invisible male and female seed of humanity, the duality of existence, the circle's inside and outside; Three represents the temporal (past, present, future), the triangle; Four represents the spatial, the four elements of water, air, fire, and earth, materiality, the square; Five is the mystic five­pointed star that when inverted with its two horns up is human sorcery; Six is the double triangle, the six-pointed star ofthe double trinity; Seven is the triangle in the square, humanity; Eight is the compass division of the eightfold sunwheel; Nine are the numbers that when added to the boundless circle make it a zero, manifesting its potency ~ "Nine bonded i house, nine in the tree .... "

 The hammer of Thor


            The Teutonic Nine Worlds can be juxtaposed with the Vedic cosmology that both have their origin in the oldest Aryan tradition and represent besides the present existence the chaotic and formative periods before and after our present universe began to be evolved. Humanity is born from the watery mist of the supreme universal breath of the Unbounded Knowledge: the inhalation and exhalation in which universal existence lasts but a day of a thousand divine ages, to be followed by a thousand times longer night during which all is united in the divine transcendence of original purity and perfect tranquillity. THIS which has no name is the unknowing darkness of the closed eye becoming Teiwaz ~ the first manifestation of Light from which emanates first a female essence that becomes also the male essence. These essences form a Creative Potential of the harmony of the super-celestial intellectual-spiritual sphere that unites the unmanifested mother earth and unmanifested father heaven to produce the manifested universe. This is the primordial secret trinity. Asgard (the garden of the aesir) represents the creative action through which the world within the universe is made to function. The Runes provide the manifested concepts by which may be learned that the human spirit is of the supreme breath. The sound of the breath oflife is the secret speech, evocation, Rune, by which the manifestations of Teiwaz may be grasped. Helheim represents the objective or phenomenal sphere of illusion, darkness, and death. The subjective but real sphere has in the north Niflheim, the nebular, the misty place ~ the destructive (but also generative) force of water, while in the south is Muspelheim ~ the preservative (but also annihilating) force of fire and light. These forces with the Creative Potential form the trinity of existence and being (recognized by those ignorant of the real first trinity). Alfheim and Dark Alfheim are respectively the homes of light and dark elves; Jotunheim is the world of giants; Vanaheim that of the vanir.
            The great geometrical figure of the double triangle represents the three great principles and the dual principle which partakes of both and binds the two. It is the most important mystic figure, and the emblem of the double trinity. The central circle represents Midgard ~ the World Within the Universe, that is caught in the stream of Elivagar, the rivers that must be crossed to" reach other realms. The World Within the Universe is the microcosm within the macrocosm. From within the Shrine at the bosom of Mother Nature proceed all avatars ~ the sages of the invisible Teiwaz.
Star bright,
true light,
extinguished for a million years.
Dawns the sun,
be it gone,
some other vantage point but me.
            The existence of a speck of dust is miraculous, but the first and last mystery is the ocean of time and space in which it exists ~ no mystery is greater. The unknowable unknown is a presence. The knowing of that presence the only revelation. Knowledge has three degrees: opinion, science, and illumination. The means of the first are the senses. The second provides proper knowledge by understanding through representation of it as it is. The third is direct knowledge by intuition, that noble power of the soul that grasps the pure essence of eternal mystery; knowledge that can only be of what is true. As a direct source of knowledge, human perception is limited to no more than one-millionth of the total known frequency range limits of the electromagnetic spectrum. And what is perceived are not properties but interpretations (or scientific measurements) of sense impressions. The star bright's true light may be extinguished for a million years; the perception of its light real though the star no longer expresses its existence in mass. From the mathematics of design, Fuller postulated that the universe may be employing a scanner of atoms transmitted from anywhere. "There are no things," he wrote. Reality is information; information is experience; experience is an event, what occurs, what happens. Cosmic structures are event constellations. Reality is the experience of near and far events moving at different speeds in all manner of frequencies, some so high to appear as solid things, some so slow seeming to be absolute voids.

 The Nine Worlds

            The Sun has a path of travel that is called the back-tracking of even-metes (the regression of equinoxes). This movement gives our astrological Ages which resolve in the completion of the great solar cycle every 25 868 orbits of Earth. Worldly time is a means of reckoning provided by each setting Sun, and from moon to moon, season to season, as the flaming orb moves across the stars to return nearly whence it started. Counting time is a function of cosmic events ~ a recognition of cycles, from polarity reversals of the geomagnetic field that occur about every million years, activity of spots in the Sun, and lunations, to a single rotation of Earth.
            The Teutons divided the year into halves: Summer and Winter. The solar year ended with the Feast of the Disir, the three Holy Sisters, that lasted five days to the (longest) Mother's Night, when the Sun had retreated to its southernmost position in the sky: Winter Sunstead, when the Sun stands still, as it were, before returning to the northern lands. But the Moon, not the Sun, was the main time cycle in the north. If in the twelve nights following the longest night a full moon waxes, then will the solar year have thirteen moons, otherwise it will only have twelve. According to the moon cycle, the first wind-cold day of Winter comes before the Gore-Moon waxes full; it was named from the seasonal animal slaughter. Ram-Moon follows, when rutting stock was put in breeding pens; perhaps it was also called Rutting-Moon, or Blood-Moon ~ the month of sacrifice. Yule-Moon is the frost month at Sunstead when the year turns. Thorri, Waning-Moon, signals winter's ebb. Then comes the Moon-Of-Sprouting-Kale. Storm-Moon, or One-Moon, is the last of winter. The first gentle breeze of Summer blows in before the middle of Harpa, the Moon of Ostera the dawn goddess; it is followed by the Moon-Of-Three-Milkings that freshens animal lactation by plentiful tender plant growth; the Rites Of Spring are informed by these two Moons. Sol-Moon, or Jon-Moon has the Summer Sunstead. Shed-Moon (also Hay-Moon and Mead- Moon) remembers animal husbandry practices that called for bringing in stock from pasture. Reaping-Moon is the time of harvest and shearing; and reaping in the Grain-Moon (Barley-Moon) that follows. The Moon Period became the month of the Italic calendar. While the months have lost their Teutonic names, such is not the case with the days: Wodensday is for the one whose name means prophet; Thorsday is for the might expressed by his mallet, when the meeting was held and no work to be done; Frigsday for the silent wise woman who spins her wheel in secret, or perhaps Freija's-day for the mistress of lovers and fertility; Saterday for the fire of Loki (the primeval satyr); Sunday ~ fire of life; Moonday, ruler of cycles ~ woman's friend, destroyer of foes; Tiwsday, for Teiwaz.
            There were three great annual fire feasts: when Summer began, when Winter set in, and at midwinter's Yule-time. The Feast of Twelve Nights was one of the most important celebrations among the ancient Teutons. Yule Father is a name for Woden. According to Cleasby, "in Icelandic popular usage Yule-eve is a kind of landmark by which the year is reckoned, so that a man is as many years old as he has passed Yule nights, for the year counts from Yule night. . . . The heathen Yule lasted thirteen days, whence are derived . . . also the English ‘Twelfth-night'; the heathen Yule was a great merry-making, and tales of ghosts, ogres, and satyrs were attached to it, especially the . . . ‘Yule lads,' a kind of goblins or monster satyrs, thirteen in number, one to each day of the feast, sons of the kidnaping hag Gryla, whose names were used to frighten children with." In the Middle Ages the Holy Roman Church stipulated Christmas as the surrogate for these celebrations of the heathens (that is, those peoples who did not worship the god of the Christians, Jews, or Moslems), but to this day many of the celebrations of the holiday season recall the practices of the free peoples. During the Feast of Yule (Wheel) the people remembered by certain ceremonies their ancestral spirits, conducted rituals to ensure the fertility of the Earth in the coming new year, and celebrated the return of the unconquered Sun. Light, fire, and fireworks were important to the Yule feast. All of the tame fires in the hearths of the community were put out and not even a night light must shine so that the sacred wild fire, the living fire with a life of its own, comes in spontaneous combustion as by an agency other than human. People made it by friction with posts and poles of oak, fir, poplar, and nine kinds of wood sometimes. This was called the Needfire, and from it Yule fires were kindled in the houses and in every community huge bonfires were made that were held sacred and over which the people leaped as a purification rite and past which the animals were led to protect their health and well being, for contact with the fire was interpreted as symbolic of contact with the life-giving Sun. A huge Yule log was hauled to the homefire, there to burn during the full twelve night cycle. The ash of the burnt log was spread on the fields and kept for use in medicinal preparations, and one piece of the log was saved to be kept to kindle the next Yule fire. Offerings of food and drink were burned in the fire to ensure next season's harvest of plants, animals, and fish. The sacrificial offerings might be entire oxen or horses, as well as spices and drink. A Yule goat was often made of sheaves of grain and burned in the fire. Yule cakes were baked of flour ground from the grain of previous harvests mixed with that of spring seed to carry the fertility of the old year into the new. Yule beer, prepared according to ancient rites, made a special offering as well as a festive drink. Much eating and drinking encouraged the Earth's fertility. The mad joy of the feast resulted in wild dancing around the fire throughout the night. During the twelve night cycle no worldly law had force and the people chose a Lord of Misrule who was the Spirit of Anarchy when the people recalled the One Law of the free tribes that stated that no law had more authority than the conscience of a single human being and that none had greater power than another. While the Feast of Twelve Nights was celebrated, the people were to refrain from labor that involved any circular motion. This was in deference to Frig who in tribal tradition ever spins the life threads of mortals, and the three Norns who spin the threads of fate, and for each personal fylgja (follower) who may pass on to another family member at death. While the feast was a wild celebration, it also was a serious time of toasting and praising the spirits of the ancestral past. Then rode the one-eyed Woden on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, and souls of the dead rode goats as the following host of the wild hunter. The people communicated with the far off spirit world by raising a loud and noisome din. Young girls and boys especially were enlisted in the banging of objects, the blowing of horns, and the ringing of bells. Because the spirit world was alive in the Earth during the Yule Feast, miraculous happenings were thought to occur. In the secret depths of the forest, it was believed, trees and shrubs bloomed, bees sang in their hives, and the animals foretold the future in ancient prophecies. To see or hear these secret happenings, however, meant death to the human observer. This was of old also the season of gifting as the people believed that if they gave much to each other so the Earth would give much to the people in the coming year. With the gifts, powerful bonds were created between the giver and the recipient, and return gifts bound the people together. The greatest of gifts, however, are not things but good wishes ~ especially when presented by innocent children; wishes that gain the ritual power of prophecy when properly offered.
            The hare and eggs of Ostera the dawn goddess were honored as the power of fertility when summer began. "The summer-moon," wrote Cleasby, "i.e. the moon at the time when summer begins, in popular belief, one ought to notice when he first sees the summer-moon, and then mark the first word spoken by the first person he meets, for it is prophetic; this is called . . . to address one at the summer-moon." It was followed by the Rite of Spring that was also an important fire festival: May day, the Keltic Beltane, or Walpurgis Night.
            Common to every Aryan mythology is the celestial tree with luxuriant boughs under whose protecting shade humanity lived without desire as without any fear during the Golden Age of the distant past. "In the religious history of the Aryan race in Europe," Frazer wrote, "the worship of trees has played an important part. . . . From an examination of the Teutonic words for temple Grimm has made it possible that amongst the[m] . . . the oldest sanctuaries were natural woods. However that may be, tree worship is well attested for all the great European families of the Aryan stock. . . . At Upsala, the old religious capital of Sweden, there was a sacred grove in which every tree was regarded as divine." As a penalty for peeling the bark of a standing tree, he noted, "the culprit's navel was to be cut out and nailed to the part of the tree which he had peeled, and he was to be driven round and round the tree till all his guts were wound about its trunk." (Consider then the outrage when a Christian zealot cut down in the eighth century the sacred oak in Hesse known as Thor's Oak.) Wrote Walt Whitman (in ‘Song of the Open Road'): "Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me? (I think they hang there winter and summer on those trees and always drop their fruit as I pass.)" The tree spirit was captured in the May Tree, its boughs fixed over doors and houses, because it annually brought fertility, love, sex, to boys and girls, and seasonal queens and kings. Burning brands in fields, fires of the sacred flame, running through golden embers, throwing flowers into the fire, baking and distributing large loaves and cakes, fires by sacred trees. The May Pole was a tree (stolen to increase its magical potency) cut in the dark, brought inside and decorated with flower wreaths. Then followed dancing through the night, and orgiastic activities celebrating the fertility in nature and especially of young girls. The tree stood only one night and day, then it was to be burned or drowned. Decorate the house with green boughs and dance around the pole. In the New Moon dawn, bathe in dew. The May Feast was formerly widespread but was forbidden by the church because of the practice of ancient heathen dances.
            The time of Summer Sunstead is great to rejoice the Sun regaining full power and virility. The circular dance when the man with the horse's head speaks true ~ as ‘from the horse's mouth'. Dreams of a Midsummer's Eve are true, and all magic especially potent; work on a Midsummer's Day must be shared. It is a time of lovers and happy lunacy, and for swimming and nudity, and flowers over the doors and in the homes. The feast of Jon was, again according to Cleasby, "in the northern countries a kind of midsummer Yule and was in Norway and Sweden celebrated with bonfires, dances, and merriment; and tales of fairies and goblins of every kind are connected with St. John's eve in summer as well as with Yule-eve in winter."
            Harvest time was one of thanksgiving in a festival of bread, and for fruit offerings, horse races, wildberry cakes, bonfires in circles of stones, marriage. On the Hallowed Eve did Teutons sing by the communal bonfire, bring new fire to the hearth, have a small wake and think of the dead and dying; brought candles into the houses to banish the dark with fire and illumine plans, predictions, visions, and prophesies. At Fall Evenmete they desired to eat roast goose when gathered at the feast of mourning for the dying Sun, and at the Spring Evenmete the first sun following see.

[About Ragnarok] [In the Beginning] [Futhark] [Name Scroll] [Nine in the Tree] [Runes of Magic and Mystery] [Weird] [Wise Woman Speaks] [Words of Woden] [Works Cited]