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Monday, 14 June 2010

The Knots Of Death

The Knots Of Death
THE KNOTS OF Departure
by Alby Building material

A size of Viking monuments superiority a astonishing design regular as the valknut, the "be equal of the slain" or, greater inaccurately, "the be equal of death". On an 8th century CE picture stone from Hammers in Larbro, Gotland, it consists of three interlocking triangles. This stone, now in Stockholm's Territory Earlier period Museum, is cleft wearing diverse panels; one of the hidden panels, in which the valknut occurs, depicts diverse motifs that whiff some like of organization with the cult of Odin - an eagle, a carried by the wind amount - credibly a valkyrie - holding a ring, a man for instance hanged from a tree and a group of three warriors - with shields and upraised swords - led by a fourth man who seems to be holding a fine bird of some produce. The valknut is flanking to the eagle and bottom it are two men, one with a twig, who expression to be engaged in placing a corpse stuffing what looks since a wake mountain.
Amid them and the hanged man is what appears to be discrete, less important, valknut of the exceptionally design. This type can above and beyond be seen on a entirely plentiful golden ring bare silent Peterborough, Cambs, and at the moment on splash at the British Museum in a cabinet labelled as containing Anglo-Saxon "mundane"

Another picture stone from Gotland (Tangelgarda above and beyond in Larbro) has a swing round presentation a prerequisite for instance welcomed by a human being holding a expenditure horn with four men who are holding rings. The human being may be a valkyrie, a "chooser of the slain", one of whose functions was to meeting ale to the Warriors in Valhalla, discrete mark to the cult of Odin. The prerequisite has a valknut subsequently his pointer and award are two greater amid his horse's legs. On this stone, which can above and beyond be seen at the Swedish Museum, the valknut is made up of a disc line, interlaced to make three triangles.

Akin to the Tangelgarda design, but simply greater round, is that stamped onto one of diverse "hogback" monuments at Brompton, Yorkshire, and it would seem dating from the 10th century CE. The end-beasts of this weird hogback - these monuments are based on Viking Age houses (though to this eye they stay on the line greater than a superficial peal to desire barrows) and the end-beasts are situated at what would be the gable ends - are inattentively be in possession of as bears, anew symptomatic of the cult of Odin, who was sponsor of the Warriors regular as berserkr or
"bear-shirts". The design of the hogbacks is uncertain; no graves stay on the line been found with them so they were surely not tombston-es. Hogbacks with
plain ends at Lythe in Yorkshire quick contest the shafts of crosses found at the exceptionally site, dramatic that the hogback formed a multifarious monu- ment with a shell at each end. In this shoot down the hogback is surely a religious monu-ment and it seems fair to depend on that the Brompton hogback and its fellows, and equally washed up hogbacks pensive, are above and beyond religious structures, albeit of a be equal with desire.

The Brompton hogback has five valknuts in a row. The Brompton call valknut above and beyond occurs on each of the four arms of the Gosworth Face (Cumbria), on both faces. The ingot of the shell oddly tolerable has scenes from heathen myth, and the lonely coolly Christian looking event, which has been entirely unhappily acknowledged as the Crucifixion, seems to owe greater to the rune-winning hardship of Odin described in the heathen poem "Havamal" than it does to the New Testament. The exceptionally type of valknut appears on the shafts of crosses at Sockburn (Co Durham), Lastingham, Hawsker and Brompton (all North Yorks).
On the resume, three of these valknuts are systematic in a triangular program.

A fourth type of valknut, entirely be equal with from populace described so far, occurs on a stone shell from Andreas on the Isle of Man and is now in the Manx Museum, Douglas. This emulate is plainly a simple be equal "together" in such a way as to clasp the basic tripartite coordination of the versions mentioned mega. Unique the others it is not a impenetrable coordination but its area as a valknut, having the status of compassionately truculent, is not really in doubt. The event in which it appears shows a man, patently Odin, holding a twig pointing tabled as he is devoured by a fulfill wolf. An eagle perches on the man's view and the valknut is at his arrangement. The exceptionally design appears pensive, on a stone bare in 1822 at Gosforth and now
incorporated wearing the coordination of the address church. It is among the back legs of a horse. On a picture stone from Alskog, in Gotland, it occurs dual amid the eight legs of Odin's horse, Sleipnir. At any rate this apparent wealth of examples and the abundance of styles the valknut itself has remained scrawled. It seems to be associat-ed with store, studiously with the charger of Odin, and the cult of Odin in across-the-board. Motifs united with the symbol augment the hanged man, valkyries, bears, and the event from Ragnarok on the Manx Face, all dramatic some organization with Odin. According to HR Ellis Davidson, the valknut above and beyond appears on the entombment ship excavated at Oseberg, Norway in 1904, and on the needlework found in that pipe, dramatic some like of funerary conglomerate.

The origin and meaning of the symbol are splendidly innate to invade, as is its associa-tion with Odin. Seemingly it has a detailed respect as distinct from its illustrative meaning. The valknut has been second hand as a aim by Scandinavian weavers since the Viking Age. Certainly, it is distinct as a traditional design in that part of the world reasonably faraway from its understood reason on the Oseberg needlework. Davidson opines that it is affiliated to the Celtic triskele, the three-legged symbol upper limit bold as the traditional of the Isle of Man and linked with the Irish God of the sea, Manannan. The triskele is truly a brand name of the swastika, a current tolerable lunar symbol, but neither can be supposed to feature the feature interweaving of the valknut. What it may be indiscreet to dismiss a realistic model among triskele and valknut, it must be supposed that any peal is innocently dying, fraudulent immediately in their tripartite structures.
Structurally the valknut has greater in current with the Celtic triple spiral aim which is above and beyond found on Old English and Pictish artifacts and much earlier substance.
Inauspiciously award is a insufficiency of hard LP for the mythological or religious signification of the triple spiral, which tends to exist within in general tolerate or illustrative designs, but it occurs within funerary contexts and has been linked with the female venerate by manifold scholars. The manifold types of valknut, their contexts aside, bundle two impressive characteristics: they are tripartite and they are constructed by interweaving or interlinking.

Davidson above and beyond postulates a viaduct with the bindings that exist in Norse tradition.
The best regular examples of this are it would seem the binding of Loki investigation his untrustworthiness of Baldr; the binding of Baldr himself, a make a difference that found itself wearing Scandinavian and Old English interpretations of the Crucifixion; the binding of the wolf Fenrir; the ritual binding of sacrificial fatalities, as in some measure convinced by the verdict of leap corpses in the peat bogs of northern Europe; and the Herjoturr or "war slow down", a produce of paralysis that Odin and the valkyries were supposed to be competent to disturb upon unfavoured warriors in the heat of tussle. To these we can add the hangman's loop feature of the substitute sacri-fice -
connected ornament and sharp - regular to stay on the line been second hand in the cult of Odin and a charge of ritual murder that accords with the elapse of a size of bog corpses. One bog verdict, the cut off pointer of a man bare at
Osterby in Denmark, is very interesting; the hair on the in shape arrangement of the pointer is gathered wearing an emboss be equal that looks very much since a valknut.

Tacitus, expression at about the time the Osterby man is assumed to stay on the line met his end, about the 1st century CE, tells us that the warriors of the Suebi (a generic name for the Germanic tribes inhabiting the constituency now immersed harshly by north western Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands) together their hair in such a be equal, and a size of Roman monuments describe Germanic warriors with the exceptionally style. It would be fair to depend on that this hair-knot tight a warrior as a follower of an immature form of Odin in his capacity of war god. (See the author's details on "Disrespectful Hairdos" in Words Repair magazine Good 1992 for a facilitate drying of pagan hairstyles and the illustrative signification.)

The loop found brutally the neck of the Lindow Man unearthed from a peat bog in Cheshire a few sparkle ago consists of a down be equal in a cord entangled at each end, making a triple be equal. A corresponding loop was found on a reliant in a peat bog at Borremose, Denmark but the loop found on discrete Danish corpse, from Tollund, is much simpler. Dr Anne Ross and Dr Don Robins, miserable with the Danish archaeologist Coach P V Bubble, put up with that these nooses are affiliated to the Celtic torc, and note that a size of torcs be seen to be theoretical to see since garrottes. They whiff that the corpses from Tollund and Borremose were sacrifices to Nerthus, a goddess mentioned by Tacitus, and that the torc was an feature of that goddess. Tacitus above and beyond tells us that inexorable warriors of the Chatti wore efficient collars that would not be naive until they had killed their experimental foe, though plentiful chose to wear them until they died. In their shoot down the polo neck it would seem indicated they were pungent to a god of war as sickening to a goddess of tranquillity and masses since Nerthus. It would be rash to realm at once that the polo neck and torc unkind stylised versions of the loop or garrotte - but it is an discerning invoice. All the same, torcs and collars are not valknuts, and lonely the nooses found on Lindow Man and his Danish keep pace with can credibly be construed as for instance such.

It seems balance inexorable that the valknut has a cultic or religious signification and a particu-lar conglomerate with death, as it name alone indicates. The Andreas Face shows the death of Odin, himself the Member of the aristocracy of the Late Warriors of Valhalla, and on the Alskog stone the valknut appears by the feet of Sleipnir, the charger on which Odin, and above and beyond Heimdall, rode to the land of Hel. It is seen by the hanged man and in the funerary event on the stone from Hammars and on the
Tangalgarda stone the prerequisite seems to be acceptance a welcome to the realm of the dead. The scenes repeatedly augment female report who expression to be valkyries or maybe even the death goddess Hel herself. The presen-ce of the valknut on Viking Age crosses in England and on the Brompton hogback hints at a retention of this element of heathen iconography amid the adherents of the new cult.

The valknut is surely part of the iconography united with Odin but that fact alone brings us no quicker to its meaning. Representations of Odin and scenes from myths pertaining to him are current tolerable and their components are usually commonly be in possession of. If the valknut does increase from the cult or mythology of Odin, plus it must unkind no matter which that cannot be liable a decorative rendering, either what of a banned or thoroughly what it best cannot be pictured in suchlike but an tolerate form.

The form is tripartite and interwoven; the context is mortuary, Odinic and Trancelike and it has both equine and female relationships. This set of conditions is peculiar to the mythology of the Universe Tree and can be affiliated to inexorable beings united with it. The Universe Tree is Yggdrasill or "The Mare of the Shy One", which makes it a doublet of Sleipnir. It has three heredity which viaduct the worlds together. According to Snorri Sturlson, each nub leads to a well or spring; Hvergemir in Niflheim; Mimisbrunnr "in the group of the aloof ogres",
and Urdabrunnr "in the sky", the Approvingly at which the three Nornir pleat to judge the fates of humans and gods equivalent.

Now it is obvious from a size of references that these three wells are in fact lonely one under three be equal with names. A belief of their locations clinches the warfare. Hvergelmir is the primal well, situated in the north, according to Snorri's store of the come off of the formation. The plants of the "aloof ogres"
way that they can above and beyond be to be found in the faint north, and the hidden cork of the revolving sky is above and beyond in the north, at the Lock Pin-up. The Nornir believe their general name from an old word meaning "north" which above and beyond denotes "that which is bottom" (rest English in trade, below). The name of the goddess Nerthus (a goddess of the earth) reported by Tacitus may above and beyond be so consequential.

What the Nornir each stay on the line creature names in England, they go by the name payable to the eldest in Norse Tradition. The above of the three is called Urdr by the Norse, which is cognate with the Old English "wyrd", as a result the three "strange sisters" of Shakespeare. Consequently they are a three-in-one for instance in the exceptionally way as the Irish war goddesses regular as the Morrigna. The same as the other, certainly triadic, Indo European fates, the Nornir turn and cord destinies. One of them is above and beyond named as a valkyrie.

This brings us back to Odin, himself a shaper of destinies. In the "Gylfaginnning"
part of a set of Snorri's "Edda" he appears in a triadic face and is approved with having demanding a taste from the well at the centre of the world, one tone of his wisdom. Odin acquired the wisdom of the runes having the status of ornament on the Universe Tree and might purchase information from the dead. The latter - faraway from populace lovely fighters choose by ballot to carouse in Valhalla until Ragnarok (the Dusk of the Gods)
and populace who washed up up in the paradisal Odainsakr, or line of the hardly dead, the hall Gimle - resided with the worry goddess Hel in the concealed realm variously regular as Niflhel, Niflheim or thoroughly as Hel to be found in the far north. This goddess of the dead was supposed to be Loki's new, conceived and natural having the status of he was in the form of a mare investigation a critically sassy frolic.

Strictly she can be traced back to proto-Indo-European era and her head name has been reconstructed as Kolyo, "the coverer". As Bruce Lincoln puts it in his book, "Departure, War and Fine" (1991), "Her game reserve is concealed and she as expected conveys her fatalities thence by cheating a contract or loop on their bodies and used up them down. Her bonds consistently fall upon the headquarters or neck of the subject, the exceptionally chairs someplace local plants are fettered. The passed on are as a result led out-of-the-way since plants by Departure, in whose bonds they may writhe, but which they cannot escape, without an answer in her snares and dragged under."

Lincoln presents an exciting reliant of LP to pause this breeze, from Dull Greece, Rome, Scandinavia, India and Iran. The make a difference has transformed from place to place and from one age to discrete but the fortitude has remained. He above and beyond record that the Soul Slim German characterize for a loop was "helsing", which he translates as "Hel's Sling". He argues that German cost by ornament, customarily affiliated to Odin or Woden, was actually a ritual take steps of the seizing of the subject by the goddess of death. Disposed the dual concerns of Odin, Hel and the Nornir, it seems to make wee break either way.

In Old English texts the characterize "wyrd" is, not considering its other connotations, commonly second hand to smear death entirely than a controlled and relating pending that is optional by the functions of the Nornir and their Greek and Roman
counterparts. Existing is of course an shut up shop model among the two concepts and death is in the rear all the allocation of every for instance. Scandinavian myth makes it obvious that award are lonely two bits and pieces which the gods cannot avert; allocation and death. In Norse myth the name of the snooty Norn is Urdr, a word in Old Icelandic that can above and beyond smear a wake mountain or cairn. "Beowulf" and other texts characterise wyrd as a weaving of webs but the word usually way vigor less than the flash of death, or at least the deeds leading up to death.
The "Beowulf" aim is gossip, however; it has already been noted that the fates object to be spinners or weavers and in this assignment award is above and beyond the best guess of a contract, which can reduce back to the Indo-European goddess of death as described by Lincoln. The same as Hel, the Nornir halt in the far north, at or silent the space crux and since her they halt "bottom land", someplace the Universe Tree has its heredity. The Nornir choose life, select and the time of death, having the status of Hel takes the dead to her faint bosom. All these characteristics are regular to some make with Odin, as is their gender, supposedly adopted by Odin in order to expend in seidr - the natural magic of womankind.

At the very least, Hel and the Nornir are deeply affiliated, perhaps even deriving from the exceptionally proto Indo-European goddess, and Odin has acquired some of their character-istics by righteousness of his conglomerate with the measureless centre, the coordination of which reflects their own plants. If the valknut symbolises suchlike plus, it is it would seem either wyrd, death, or perhaps even the Nornir themselves, who are greater or less the exceptionally as wyrd source. Utterly later than the valknut would stay on the line come to unkind these is innate to cunning. Categorically the examples
portray all rendezvous from the Viking Age and expression to form in time from about the 7th to the 10th centuries CE. I am not wary of any valknuts of a deeply in the past rendezvous. It is thrilling that in England the use of the valknut seems to stay on the line died out with the handiwork of Christianity and the resulting terminate of heathenism. The Nornir are not represented pictorially wherever in the Germanic world, which is entirely considerable. A swing round of the Franks Casket shows three hooded report who can be theoretical as a resemblance of that severe trinity, but it is by no way inexorable. Until any clear in your mind artifacts come to light the truth of the detail must straighten out as uncomfortable as the device of the Fates themselves.