Saturday, September 07, 2013

Krodo, a Lost Saxon God, Traceable to Aryan Times

Recently whilst reading Legends and Tales of the Harz Mountains, North Germany by Maria Elise Turner Lauder[1885] I encountered a tale called The Steinkirche and the Hermit which refers to both Ostera and a God called Krodo:

"In the grey days long ago, when paganism ruled the land, there stood on the hills near the cave called the Steinkirche-altars to the gods.
Bright were the fires to Krodo in the darkness of the night, and on the opposite cliffs rose the fire pillar in honour of the goddess Ostera.
The crackling flames illuminated the country and the mountains, and invited the inhabitants of the nearlying vales and heights to the wild customs, the bloody sacrifices, and the raving dance of heathenism."
Poetically Lauder goes on to tell us how a xtian holy man converted the heathen Saxons by a supposed miracle and:

"And the hearts of the wild Sassen were opened.....
"They vowed to a man henceforth to forsake the worship of Krodo, to remain true to the new faith....."

Despite having a mother who came from the Harz mountains I had never heard or read this story before and neither had I heard of this God called Krodo. After carrying out some research I have found that He is one of the Saxons` ancestral Gods and thus my ancestral God.

Jacob Grimm refers to Krodo in his Teutonic Mythology Volume 1 and relates Him to the Roman God Saturn.

"But that AS. Saeteresbyrig from the middle of the 11th century irresistibly reveals the `burg` on the Harz mts, built (according to our hitherto despised accounts of the 15th century in Bothe`s Sachsenchronik) to the idol Saturn, which Saturn, it is added, the common people called Krodo; to this we may add the name touched upon in p. 206 (Hrethe, Hrethemonath), for which an older Hruodo, Chrodo was conjectured. We are told of an image of this Saturn or Krodo, which represented the idol as a man standing on a great fish, holding a pot of flowers in his right hand, and a wheel erect in his left; the Roman Saturn was furnished with the sickle, not a wheel."

Grimm tells us that Hrodo may be related to Baldag/Balder and he derives from this that the seventh day of the week[Saturday] may have been called Roydag and thus sacred to Krodo[see supplement 3 on page 248]. Hrethemonath, the Anglo-Saxon month of March is the month heathens normally associate with the Goddess Hrethe.

Grimm draws further connections to the Slavic Gods Sitivrat and Kirt:

"...but beside Sitivrat we have learnt another name for Saturn, namely Kirt, which certainly seems to be our Krodo and Hrudo."
Interestingly he interprets Sitivrat as being:

 "sieve-turner" and that this "would be almost the same as kolo-vrat, wheel-turner, and afford a solution of that wheel in Krodo`s hand; both wheel (kolo) and sieve (sito) move round, and an ancient spell rested on sieve-turning. Slav mythologists have identified Sitivrat with the Hindu Satyavrata, who in a great deluge is saved by Vishnu in the form of a fish. Krodo stands on a fish; and Vishnu is represented wearing wreaths of flowers about his neck, and holding a wheel (chakra) in his fourth hand. All these coincidences are still meagre and insecure; but they suffice to establish the high antiquity of a Slavo-Teutonic myth, which starts up thus from one quarter."

Thus far we have established that not only is Krodo a Saxon and thus a Teutonic deity but His antiquity goes right back to Aryan times with his association with similar Slavic, Hindu and Roman deities. Indeed Krodo`s name is so ancient that Grimm states that it "is rather too ancient, and I can find no support for it in the Saxon speech." Clearly this deity was still remembered by the Saxons and other Aryan peoples long after their dispersion out of the Ur-heimat.

Elsewhere in Teutonic Mythology Grimm states:

"Bothe`s Sassenchronik relates under the year 780, that King Charles, during his conquest of the East Saxons, overthrew on the Hartesburg an idol similar to Saturn, which the people called Krodo."
One is reminded of Charlemagne`s[King Charles/Karl der Grosse] similar overthrow of the Irminsul also in the land of the Saxons in 772 CE.

In Goslar Cathedral there was stored the bronze Krodo Altar, dating back to the year 1040 CE, which is an indication that this God was still remembered with affection several hundred years after Karl`s sacrilege. It can now be found in Goslar`s town museum. A rebuilt statue of Krodo now stands at Harzburg Castle.

Even today there are a number of locations in the Harz that bear His name such as Crodenbeke [Krodo Valley]- now called Kroedlippen, Krotenpful, Crodenleide, Crothensee and Goetzenthal [Valley of the idols]. Ground Ivy is also called Crodokraut which affords protection against witches.

After Karl destroyed Krodo`s temple he erected in its place a chapel and the site of this today is Harzburg Castle. Tradition has it that when Karl asked the East Saxons who was the God they worshipped they replied: "Krodo is our god", to which the emperor replied "Krodo is all the same as kroten-duevel!" Thus "toad-devil" became a German curse. Such curses often involve the names of our ancient deities.

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