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Myths The Myth Concerning The Earliest Period And The Emigrations From The North.

The Significance Of The Conflict From A Religious-ritual Standpoint

Heimdal And The Sun-dis Dis-goddess

The Sacred Runes Learned From Heimdal

The Teutonic Emigration Saga Found In Tacitus

The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors

Hadding's Journey To The East Reconciliation Between The Asas And Vans

The World War Its Cause The Murder Of Gullveig-heidr

Gulveig-heidr Her Identity With Aurboda Angrboda Hyrrokin The Myth Concerning The Sword Guardian And Fjalar

Halfdan's Conflicts Interpreted As Myths Of Nature

Halfdan's Identity With Mannus In Germania

Halfdan's Character The Weapon-myth

The Breach Of Peace Between Asas And Vans Frigg Skade And Ull In The Conflict

Borgar-skjold's Son Halfdan The Third Patriarch

Review Of The Svipdag Myth And Its Points Of Connection With The Myth About Halfdan

The Creation Of Man The Primeval Country Scef The Bringer Of Culture

Halfdan And Hamal Foster-brothers The Amalians Fight In Behalf Of Halfdan's Son Hadding

The War In Midgard Between Halfdan's Sons

Scef The Author Of Culture Identical With Heimdal-rig The Original Patriarch

Hadding's Defeat Loke In The Council And On The Battle-field

Halfdan's Birth And The End Of The Age Of Peace The Family Names Ylfing Hilding Budlung

Loke Causes Enmity Between The Gods And The Original Artists

Halfdan's Enmity With Orvandel And Svipdag

Evidence That Halfdan Is Identical With Helge Hundingsbane

Sorcery The Reverse Of The Sacred Runes Gullveig-heidr The Source Of Sorcery The Moral Deterioration Of The Original Man



The Significance Of The Conflict From A Religious-ritual Standpoint






Category: THE MYTH CONCERNING THE EARLIEST PERIOD AND THE EMIGRATIONS FROM THE NORTH.

Source: Teutonic Mythology

In regard to the significance of the change of administration in the
world of gods, Saxo has preserved a tradition which is of no small
interest. The circumstance that Odin and his sons had to surrender the
reign of the world did not imply that mankind should abandon their faith
in the old gods and accept a new religion. Hitherto the Asas and Vans
had been worshipped in common. Now, when Odin was deposed, his name,
honoured by the nations, was not to be obliterated. The name was given
to Ull, and, as if he really were Odin, he was to receive the sacrifices
and prayers that hitherto had been addressed to the banished one
(Hist., 130). The ancient faith was to be maintained, and the shift
involved nothing but the person; there was no change of religion. But in
connection with this information, we also learn, from another statement
in Saxo, that the myth concerning the war between Asas and Vans was
connected with traditions concerning a conflict between various views
among the believers in the Teutonic religion concerning offerings and
prayers. The one view was more ritual, and demanded more attention paid
to sacrifices. This view seems to have gotten the upper hand after the
banishment of Odin. It was claimed that sacrifices and hymns addressed
at the same time to several or all of the gods, did not have the
efficacy of pacifying and reconciling angry deities, but that to each
one of the gods should be given a separate sacrificial service (Saxo,
Hist., 43). The result of this was, of course, an increase of
sacrifices and a more highly-developed ritual, which from its very
nature might have produced among the Teutons the same hierarchy as
resulted from an excess of sacrifices among their Aryan-Asiatic kinsmen.
The correctness of Saxo's statement is fully confirmed by strophe 145 in
Havamal, which advocates the opposite and incomparably more moderate
view in regard to sacrifices. This view came, according to the strophe,
from Odin's own lips. He is made to proclaim it to the people "after his
return to his ancient power."

Betra er obethit
en se ofblothit
ey ser til gildis giof;
betra er osennt
enn se ofsoit.
Sva thundr um reist
fyr thiotha rauc,
thar hann up um reis
er hann aptr of kom.

The expression, thar hann up um reis, er hann apter of kom, refers to
the fact that Odin had for some time been deposed from the
administration of the world, but had returned, and that he then
proclaimed to the people the view in regard to the real value of prayers
and sacrifices which is laid down in the strophe. Hence it follows that
before Odin returned to his throne another more exacting doctrine in
regard to sacrifices had, according to the myth, secured prevalence.
This is precisely what Saxo tells us. It is difficult to repress the
question whether an historical reminiscence is not concealed in these
statements. May it not be the record of conflicting views within the
Teutonic religion--views represented in the myth by the Vana-gods on the
one side and the Asas on the other? The Vana views, I take it,
represented tendencies which had they been victorious, would have
resulted in hierarchy, while the Asa doctrine represented the tendencies
of the believers in the time-honoured Aryan custom of those who
maintained the priestly authority of the father of the family, and who
defended the efficacy of the simple hymns and sacrifices which from time
out of mind had been addressed to several or all of the gods in common.
That the question really has existed among the Teutonic peoples, at
least as a subject for reflection, spontaneously suggests itself in the
myth alluded to above. This myth has discussed the question, and decided
it in precisely the same manner as history has decided it among the
Teutonic races, among whom priestcraft and ritualism have held a far
less important position than among their western kinsmen, the Celts, and
their eastern kinsmen, the Iranians and Hindoos. That prayers on account
of their length, or sacrifices on account of their abundance, should
give evidence of greater piety and fear of God, and should be able to
secure a more ready hearing, is a doctrine which Odin himself rejects in
the strophe above cited. He understands human nature, and knows that
when a man brings abundant sacrifices he has the selfish purpose in view
of prevailing on the gods to give a more abundant reward--a purpose
prompted by selfishness, not by piety.





Next: The War In Midgard Between Halfdan's Sons

Previous: The Breach Of Peace Between Asas And Vans Frigg Skade And Ull In The Conflict



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