Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The Aryan Concept of the Supreme God
Within Aryan mythologies there is a concept of a supreme deity, a deity who manifests Himself or Herself in many forms and at many levels. This being is eternal. He cannot age or be destroyed. By contrast our manifested Gods have a certain limited lifespan. I use this term in a very loose sense for we cannot view the Gods in the same way as human beings but various Aryan mythologies do show Gods either ageing or have some sort of vunerability in that they may be maimed or be killed.
The Germanic mythology in particular gives examples of Gods being maimed: Tyr who lost his hand to the Fenris wolf, Woden who exchanged one of his eyes for wisdom and Hodr who appears always to have been blind.
In Celtic mythology we find the God Nuada lost his hand to be given a silver replacement.
In Germanic mythology we find that with the myth of the theft of Idunn`s apples that the Gods and Godesses begin to age for they rely upon the apples to maintain their eternal youth.
The defeat of the Tuatha de Danann by the Milesians where many of the Gods are slain and the final battle of Ragnarok where most of the Aesir are killed demonstrates most clearly that there is a life span of sorts attached to our Gods. But their divine essence cannot die: it simply takes a new form. A new pantheon of Gods and a new humanity replenish the earh after Ragnarok. Indeed the world itself along with the sun is renewed and a new Golden Age begins where the Gods once again walk the earth in harmony with man.
Just as Gods can be killed they can also be resurrected as we find with the Gods Baldr and Hodr after Ragnarok. In a symbolic way we see this today with the re-emergence of the Germanic Gods from the Collective Racial Unconscious into the light of day where they are once again being honoured openly by our folk.
The Swiss-German founder of Analytical Psychology Carl Gustav Jung likened the Gods to archetypes dwelling in the Collective Unconscious of a particular Volk who under certain conditions would re-manifest themselves. "Archetypes are like riverbeds which dry up when the water deserts them, but which it can find again at any time. An archetype is like an old watercourse along which the water of life has flowed for centuries, digging a deep channel for itself. The longer it has flowed in this channel the more likely it is that sooner or later the water will return to its old bed."[Wotan, 1936].
Beyond and above these Gods of the folk there is a supreme deity who the Hindus call Brahma. This figure is almost lost in Germanic mythology but we get a glimpse of Him in the Poetic or Elder Edda: "Then comes the mighty one to the great judgement, the powerful from above, who rules o`er all. He shall dooms pronounce, and strifes allay, holy peace establish, which shall ever be."[Voluspa]
The late 19th and early 20th century German Runemaster Guido von List referred to Him as Der Starke von Oben[the strong one from above]
One of Woden`s titles is All-Father which implies a total supremacy which the extant Germanic myths do not appear to substantiate. Could this be a title that He inherited from another and perhaps earlier deity when Woden gained in popularity amongst the Germanic peoples?
The ancient Germanic God of war, Tyr or Tiw may indeed have been the original supreme Germanic sky God and the first possessor of the title All-Father. He appears to have been relegated in the Eddas to a subordinate role to Woden but we must remember that the actual writing down of the Eddas came late in the history of our religion. Not only are the Eddas to a certain extent tainted by the hands of the christian scribes but Germanic religion developed over time and His original and supreme function may have been forgotten by then.
Interestingly the rune named after Tyr/Tiw/Ziu is Tiwaz/Tiw/Tyr/. Not only is this rune shaped like a spear point and thus symbolises Tyr`s warlike function but esoterically signifies the world tree, Yggdrasil or Irminsul and thus points to his earlier function of being a sky deity.
There is a little known mediaeval rune known as Ziu which signifies the `father of the Gods` and the power that he displays through the thunderbolt as a supreme sky God. It is this rune which I have chosen to accompany this article.
Sky deities in Aryan mythologies appear to be superior Gods and allude to an overarching supremacy over other Gods and beings. Indeed Tiu is cognate with the reconstrcuted Proto-Indo-European sky God Dyeus from which Zeus and Dyaus is derived.
When our Gods die we need not fear for they live again in new forms more fitting for that age. The form may change but the essence is eternal.