With the christianisation of Northern Europe our ancient deities were generally demonised, most especially *Thunaraz and *Wodanaz, more than likely due to their popularity and pre-eminence amongst our peoples. However our deities are deeply engrained in the Blood Memory of our folk and cannot be extinguished but have a way of re-emerging as Jung in his famous 1936 essay Wotan articulated so well. Hitler was by no means the first historical personality to be equated with Wotan.
Many of my readers will be familiar with the legend of the great German Emperor Friedrich I (1122-1190), better known by his nickname (most Kings and prominent nobles had one!) Barbarossa (red beard). Barbarossa is said to be 'sleeping' with his knights and squires in a cave in the Kyffhäuser mountain range in the modern German states of Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt) and Thüringen (Thuringia). Barbarossa was officially the Holy Roman Emperor as well as King of Germany, King of Italy and King of Burgundy. He was a member of the Hohenstaufen dynasty of German Kings (1138-1254). The dynasty takes its name from the high 'Staufen' or hill of a conical shape situated in the Swabian Riesgau. So interestingly we have this association with mountains or hills early on in the history of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. Our Gods, especially *Wodanaz and *Thunaraz have long been associated with mountains or hills as do the Baltic, Slavic and Finno-Ugric equivalents to *Thunaraz.
Barbarossa and the German princes were noted for their waging of war against the Slavs and the extension of the boundaries of Germany to the east. Not surprisingly Germany gave the name of Barbarossa to their invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941! There are various Odinic associations with Barbarossa. Firstly we have the myth of him resting in the Kyffhäuser. Mountains as I have said are closely associated with our Gods. Although in reality Barbarossa died whilst crossing the river Saleph in Armenia during the Third Crusade and his body interred in the Church of St Peter in Antioch never the less his subjects refused to believe that this great Emperor could possibly be dead and hence the legend arose of him resting in the Kyffhäuser. There are parallels between this legend and similar ones regarding Charlemagne, Heinrich the Fowler and the totally mythical 'King Arthur'. The legend relates how Barbarossa's beard has encircled a table at which he sits, twice. Periodically he will send out one of his squires to check if the "ravens are still circling the mountain". When the ravens have ceased flying or when his beard has encircled the table three times then Barbarossa will awaken finally from his sleep and arise as Germany's saviour in her time of greatest need (as with the King Arthur legend and Britain). The raven as most people will know is the creature which is most closely associated with *Wodanaz
"That Frederick and all the rest of the caverned princes and warriors are no other than Woden and his wild host, is clear from many details of the legends concerning them. People who visit the Emperor in the Kyffhäuser receive just such presents as are given by the wild huntsman,-horses' legs or heads that afterwards turn into gold; and there is a lady in the Kyffhäuser, who is variously called the Princess, the Kaiser's housekeeper, Mademoiselle or Jungfer, and sometimes even Frau Holle (Holda), who is beyond all doubt Woden's wife Fria." ( Curiosities of Indo-European Tradition and Folk-lore by Walter Keating Kelly, 1863)Another less obvious Odinic association is the fact that Barbarossa was one of the many Kings and Emperors who possessed the Holy Lance by which the side of the supposed 'Christ' was pierced. The lance is closely associated with both the legend of the pure knight Parzival who became the subject of Wagner's final music drama, Parsifal. A much more ancient and heathen association is with Gungnir, the spear of Odin. Germanic Kings and chieftains carried a spear as a symbol of the authority which they derived from *Wodanaz. (See Edred Thorsson's The Mysteries of the Goths) As the legend goes the moment that Barbarossa allowed the lance to slip from his grasp whilst crossing the river he fell from his horse and drowned.
Whist carrying out some research in the last few days I uncovered another Odinic association with Barbarossa and one which hit me like a thunderbolt from *Thunaraz! The father of Barbarossa, Friedrich II, Duke of Swabia (abt 1090-1147) was nicknamed............"the One-Eyed"! During a battle Friedrich II lost an eye and this has been said to have barred him from becoming the German King and instead this office went to his younger brother, Conrad III (1093-1152). Barbarossa inherited the Kingdom from his uncle Conrad. So we have Barbarossa, an avatar of Wotan named as the son of the 'One-Eyed'. As many of my readers will know our High Lord Woden often puts His mark on his most deserving of initiates in the form of either temporary or permanent blindness.