Woden/Odin is speaking
" I know that I hung there
on the windy tree
swung there nights, all of nine
gashed with a blade
bloodied by Odin
myself an offering to myself
knotted to that tree
no man knows whither the root of it runs
None gave me bread
None gave me drink
down to the depths I peered
to snatch up runes
with a roaring screech
and fall in a dizzying faint
Wellspring I won
and wisdom too
and grew and joyed in my growth
from a word to a word
I was led to a word
from a deed to another deed
As you can see this legend, which in the original sources pre-dates Christianity, has much in common with the legend of Jesus's Crucifixion/Resurrection in the Newer religion - but then there are similar themes in the story of Tammuz from the Middle East, the story of Osiris in Egypt and in many other sources. The story of the fallen God who is resurrected with great power and wisdom reflects the Shamans's confrontation with his own death - either in a literal sense through sickness or accident, or in a Psychological sense or by other means such as the mild, natural hallucinogens used by the Native Americans and other tribal peoples. (NOTE, I AM NOT ENDORSING THERE USE; THEY ARE COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY - but nevertheless, this is the practice in some cultures, where they know how to handle the power of these drugs and guide one safely through the experience. It is important to note this is not done lightly or playfully either and that the drugs they use are NATURAL substances, not the harsher chemical ones abused in our modern society for recreational use)
It also represents the natural cycles of the year - the grain grows and is cut down or sacrificed only to be reborn again, the trees lose their leaves and seem to die only to resurrected, (which is why the tree of life/cross image developed) some animals hibernate and come back, etc.
Now here is the legend of the Goddess in the Saxon form as the search by Freya for the necklace Brosingame - a silver circlet worn about her neck as a chaplet. As with the Gardnerian Wicca legend of the descent of the Goddess to the Underworld, it reflects the cycles of the year - when fertility seems to sink into the earth and vanish during winter's barren months only to have the Lady and her bounty return to us in the spring.
This tale and the Gardnerian legend of the descent of the Goddess into the Underworld (told in the 2d degree initiation) and similar myths from around the world, such as the legend of Kwan Yin's descent to the land of death and her being expelled for spreading mirth and joy, show that women also shared a very important role in the shamanism/priesthood of the European Pagan traditions and also faced the ordeals - i.e. the physical or psychological confrontation with death. And again, it reflects the times of darkness and light in the year - the waxing and waning of the moon each month and the waxing and waning of the sun each year from Yule or Winter solstice to Mid-summer's night or Summer solstice when the light grows stronger and the remainder of the year, when light grows weaker.
This site has received 11995060 hits since Aug 4, 2000
The entire content of all public pages in The Pagan Library (graphics, text and HTML) are free information, released under the terms of the GPL. All copyrighted items mentioned are the property of their respective owners, and no form of ownership or endorsement is implied.
Last modified: June 12 2016 13:19:36