Photo of ribbon lightning by William N. Jennings, 1885.

The case of the Thunderer in Germanic ethnolinguistic groups is a difficult one to plot effectively, especially when speaking on the origins of his name. There are significant cognates in the Indo-European lexicon that do give credence to the formation to his name, but there hasn’t been – as far as I have seen – a coherent analysis of his name and the etymological lineage he bears.

Regarding the proposed model of Indo-European mythemes, the Germanic stands out as separate and distinct in the way it doesn’t follow said model. One form that some suggest, is that Týr is the original weather and sky god; chief of all the gods. This is mostly based on surface level linguistic speculations. (1)

The reason I make this claim, is because the similarities in consonance of the classical European cultures does not constitute the same functionality in other branches such as the Germanic cultures. Especially with most cultic elements being attributed to Þórr, as an active role of the weather and sky god in most recorded contexts, while also being the center of the traditional forms of worship. (2)

There is an even further split as the literature has portrayed Óðinn fulfilling the patriarch function, and the role of the king. In many cases there seems to be shared elements between the two, such as both sharing prophylactic and malevolent wind sorcery, and even sharing names that should be attributed to the other. (3)

This status of Óðinn should certainly be taken as a late addition to the Germanic narrative structures, with the Icelandic versions primarily influenced by classical literature.

The difference from the common model, is because other Indo-European cultures such as the Mediterranean cultures have deities such as Ζεῦ πάτερ, Jupiter, or reflections of a form extending from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European Dyēus Pəter. As an active divine epithet, it was crucial in the social structure of later Indo-European cultures of southern Europe.

Vedic areas did not hold their rendition of Dyáuṣ Pitṛ́ in the same light, but the form was foundational in the Rigvedic texts as a sort of deus otiosus or inactive Uranic figure. This seems to have been a multifaceted concept that developed differently based on regional cult variants at any given time, as most cults are built upon either hierarchical preference, population norms or mores.

The proposed etymological lineage of Þórr, stems from the root (s)tenh2 which based on my understanding of reconstruction, I transliterate to tenə. The zero-grade form being (s)ton̥ə, becoming the nominative compound (s)ton̥ərós which after shifting out of Northwest-Indo-European, then became þunaraz, and later þunraz in Proto-Germanic. (4)

This seems to be connected to an original word root of ten through the form tenh2 which would still be transliterated to tenə, which then gives a similar zero-grade format of ton̥. In the original form, the ten root holds the meaning of extension, or being outstretched. Which is easily able to be translated conceptually to the outstretched sky itself, extending above and across the earth. Additionally, the ten root extends to ténəus, and then becomes þunnuz in Proto-Germanic, and gives descendant words such as þynne, þunnur and the English word thin. (5) (6)

These terms seem to point to a synthesis of sorts at some point in history, creating the myriad versions of the Thunderer in Germanic languages:

    Proto-Germanic — Þunaraz, Þunraz
    Proto-Norse — Þunaraʀ, Þunaʀ
    Old Norse — Þórr, Þóarr
    Faroese — Tórur
    Norwegian, Danish and Swedish — Thor, Tor
    Old English — Þunar, Þunor, Þunær
    Middle English — Þunor and þonder
    English — Thunder
    Scots — Thuner
    Yola — Dunder
    Old Frisian — Thuner
    West Frisian —Tonger
    Old Saxon — Thunar, Thunær
    Old High German — Thonar, Donar
    Middle High German — Donar
    German Donar — Dutch Donar, Donner, Donder, Donre.

The Scandinavian branches dropped the medial (n) in the word at a late position in their history, while the continental and western sources withheld the medial (n), resulting in our current terminologies when speaking of thunder. I do not see these have having different roots, but shifts in dialects over time.

In the later form of the root, it seems to be a technical term for augury; to indicate, presage or foretell. Evidence for this form comes from the Latin use of the word portend. (7)

With this in mind, I recall the work of Tacitus who notes that the Semnones branch of the Suevi did hold augury in a high regard; the functions of the ravens Huginn and Muginn, the sparrow-speech of the wise King Dagr, and even the hero Sigurðr obtaining the knowledge of bird-speech are in line with this type of custom. (8) (9)

These types of divinatory customs are associated with the many Sky Father renditions, and/or other celestial figures and these methods are used to interpret the will and decisions of these gods.

While the shifted roots of ten and tenə contributed to linguistic development, the conceptual development must be looked at from other angles and similar cognate words must be observed, as the lineages based on the model for other cultural forms of the Thunderer seem like they are missing a step in the reconstruction efforts.

Indra, for example holds an esteemed height within Rigveda, the oldest piece of Indo-European spiritual literature – mentioned more than 200 times. Which is far more than any other deity in the corpus. He is noted as having a similar position to Þórr, but the components of his name are disputed among many linguists, despite it being rather clear.

One of the oldest recorded instances of this form comes from the Mitanni-Hatti treaty (KBo I 1 Vo 56), and the form seems to be IN-TAR in their Indo-Aryan tongue. This term has been related to the Hittite verb tarḫ, which gave way to the name of their weather god Tarḫunna. (10)

The root of this term has been noted as terh₂ or terə — meaning to cross or pass; overcome or conquer. The Hattian weather god was named Taru, from the same root. (11)

Consistent forms found throughout Anatolian cultures show that this is a common form for weather gods:

  • Luwian — Tarḫunz
  • Carian — Trquδ
  • Milyan — Trqqñt
  • Lycian — Trqqas, Trqqiz

The Celtic cultures also show the same etymological similarities:

  • Gaulish — Taranis
  • Old Breton — Toran
  • Breton — Toran
  • Old Cornish — Taran
  • Cornish — Taran
  • Middle Welsh — Taran
  • Welsh — Taranu
  • Old Irish — Tuirenn, Torann
  • Irish —Torann
  • Scottish Gaelic — Torrunn, Tàirneanach

A basic reconstruction for the original word in Proto-Indo-European would be terənós.

The root terə also is one of the closest forms that can be compared to the Germanic word Þurs. This would be a significant format to follow, based on premise that within Germanic myth, the þursar and the god Þórr are on opposing forces.

Tarḫunna repeats the dragon/serpent-slaying mytheme as other Indo-European storm-gods, an archetypal tale is meant to describe rebirth and renewal of life, with the dragon/serpent representing death or chaos. Chaos is meant to be overcome, or dominated.

This connection is the reason why there is such a tension in later Germanic myth between Þórr and the þursar, as there is an intrinsic cultic relationship between the two elements. A particular form to follow that likely merged with the aforementioned one is terh1 or terɐ which means to twist, bore or drill; pierce. This is a form that relates well to the concept of a thorn, which is noted by the corresponding rune poem as given in the Anglo-Saxon sources. (12)

The root has an indication towards cereal grains, and the act of threshing. Words developed from this root in Germanic languages are þyrel, þurh, þrum and þǫrmr which each have their prescribed roots as þurhilą, þurhw, and þruma. All of these relate to creating holes; an opening, or material that is bored through such as a tree trunk, or a stump, as other continental cognates give their meanings to imply beams and poles. The Scandinavian variant seems to be an edge, or the brim of a wide hole. When we look at the different renditions of the þursar, we can see the similarities to these other terms:

  • Old Norse — þurs
  • Old English — þyrs
  • Middle English — þurs, thursse, thyrce, thurs, thirs
  • German — turse
  • Norwegian and Danish — tosse, tuss, tusse, tust
  • Swedish — tuss, tusse
  • Scottish Gaelic — tursa.

The mechanical function of this potential root serves as the aggression and action of this force when unfettered, creating holes and fractures in the flesh of the earth and the fabric of the firmament. In many ways, creating a threshold to cross as terə is implied to do, which would lend to negative connotations, as this being would be directly opposed to both the social or cosmological order. This damages the sanctity of order.

I hypothesize that in later mythopoetic renditions, this was separated to become a wholly separate set of beings that relied on entropy as their main function, hence their positions in late Germanic sources.

A final form is ters, which means a thirst or dryness. This gives the Old Norse terms þorskr and þorsti; þurstu being proposed in Proto-Germanic. It can relate to literal thirst, or towards a dryness of an object like harðfiskur, or dried fish. The Latin descendant of the suffixed ters root gives the word terrain. Based on this, we can place these beings as having a more chthonic nature, and thus within the Indo-European cosmogony – being inherently destructive and hostile towards the fundamental forces such as those aerial or celestial types. There is always this type of dualism in Indo-European macrocosmology.

Tenə, as it is given with the subscript (s), is based on cognates in Satem languages such as the following:

  • Sankrit — stánati
  • Old Church Slavonic — стенати (stenati)
  • Russian — стенать (stenát)
  • Lithuanian — stenati/steneti.

These terms come from the extended root of Proto-Indo-European sténh₂-e-ti; which can be rendered as (s)ténə-e-ti or (s)ténəti. These forms follow the similar route as postulated in Proto-Indo-Aryan and Proto-Indo-Iranian stánati. The Vedic and Iranic influence on Balto-Slavic languages is evident even today.

The interesting thing to note, is that in Middle-Iranian languages such as Parthian and Sogdian, the (s) was dropped and became the words, tndwr/tandur, and twntr/tundar respectively. These shifts are crucial, as they detail an emphasis on the initial dental. The modern Persian word is تندر, or tundar, and the Pashto term is tana. These words had formed before the actual word thunder had been created in Germanic languages. These were very likely formed from the retention of the ten root in Eurasian and other Asiatic languages based on interaction with Indo-European languages for a time.

The dropping of the (s) was also within the Centum languages at certain points, such as in Greek τείνω (teínō); τόνος (tónos), and Latin tono; tonos; tonus; tonere; tendere. Evidence of retention of the (s) is in Ancient Greek in the words στένω (sténō); Στέντωρ (sténtor), and German stöhnen. The proposed origin of this form is still said to be of (s)ten which means a groaning, or a sigh as a separate derivation of tenə. This very clearly comes from the low rumbling of thunder or howling winds often heard off in the distance during storms. A final note; the (s) subscript is what is known as an s-mobile, and likely derives from a remnant of an earlier gemination, and then was subject to a degemination process. The origin of the (s) was likely in reference to thunder in a genitive context of some sort – being owned by another being or object. (13)

But based on the overwhelming lack of the (s) in other cognates, it seems that this other being or object being left behind in favor of the resulting thunder as the sole focus. Indirectly detailing that the act of thundering was a characteristic of a certain being – the inanimate divine sky who was transitioning towards animation via violent storm. The result of this celestial violence was the power of thunder being kept as a taboo word and eventually fashioned into a separate and distinct divine form, and the original divine operator being forgotten or maintaining a more distant function as “the one who moves, but moves not”.

When looking under this lens, we may see this original being, this Sky Father as emanative; becoming various celestial or aerial divine forms over time — a different mask for the same force.


1. The first firmament element is inherent in the etymology of the Germanic Thunderer. The origin of this is from the Proto-Indo-European root TEN, denoting the expanse of the sky being the inanimate divine function.

2. (s)TEN is the second firmament element, and is an animate variation of (1), and is the audible prelude to the third firmament element; the howling sound of wind.

3. The third firmament element, or the meteorological element is noted by the shift to the word TENə which is Thunder and is an animate divine function.

4. The first chthonic element yields a notion of being a dry and cold landscape, being an inanimate divine form, which is characterized by the root TER.

5. The second chthonic element is characterized by the term TERɐ, which gives way to an action of aggression and damage by boring holes and creating negative spaces via fashioning thresholds within the cosmological, or natural order.

6. The primary aggression element is held within the root TERə, which has its origin in the characterization of the Thunderer, which later became another negative function that stood against the natural order of Indo-European cosmogony. This is an additional animate divine function and was an early cult function of the Thunderer being the one who overcomes or crosses the threshold of chaos and death that is representative of the dragon and/or serpent figures.

7. The retention and re-organization of these terms were likely kept as taboo words so as to not incur the wrath of the operant or active form of a celestial being; the result being the formation of a new entity or set of entities entirely.

8. (1), (2), (3), and (6) were merged together as both linguistic elements and concepts to create what we now as Þórr. This is primarily a celestial element.

9. (4), (5), and (6) merged together as both linguistic elements and concepts to create what we now know as Þurs. This is primarily a chthonic element.

10. This entire concept likely originated from an epithet about an all-encompassing Sky Father figure; resulting in the splitting into many different divine variations over time across many cultures.


1. Altgerm. Religionsgesch., I, pp. 170-175.; Mythes et dieux des Germains, 1939, ch 1: Mythologie indo-européenne et mythologie germanique; Mitra-Varuna, Georges Dumézil.

2. Saga Ólafs konungs Tryggvasonar 167: Þórr sat í miðju; Eyrbyggja Saga ch. 3, 4; Hann varðveitti þar í eyjunni Þórshof og var mikill vinur Þórs og af því var hann Þórólfur kallaður; Þórólfur Mostrarskegg fékk að blóti miklu og gekk til fréttar við Þór; Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, Descriptio Insularum Aquilonis: in hoc templo, quod totum ex auro paratum est trium deorum venerator populus, ita ut potentissimus eorum Thor in medio solium habeat triclinio.

3. Viðrir, from veðr; Gylfaginning ch. 6, 40; Skáldskaparmál 64, after poem 154.

4. American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots: (s)tenə.

5. American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots: ten.

6. American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots: ten, II.1.

7. American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots: ten, I.1.b.

8. Germania, Tacitus, ch 39: Vetustissimos se nobilissimosque Sueborum Semnones memorant; fides antiquitatis religione firmatur. Stato tempore in silvam auguriis patrum et prisca formidine sacram omnes eiusdem sanguinis populi legationibus coeunt caesoque publice homine celebrant barbari ritus horrenda primordia.

9. Ynglinga saga ch 21: Dagr hét son Dyggva konungs, er konungdóm tók eptir hann; hann var maðr svá spakr, at hann skildi fugls rödd. Hann átti spörr einn, er honum sagði mörg tíðindi; flaug hann á ymsi lönd.

10. Journal of Indo-European Studies; About the Mitanni-Aryan Gods, 2010, Arnoud Fournet.

11. American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots: terə2

12. Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem: Ðorn byþ ðearle scearp; ðegna gehƿylcum anfeng ys yfyl, ungemetum reþe manna gehƿelcum, ðe him mid resteð.

13. Indo-European s-mobile and Indo-European morphology, Kenneth Shields Jr., 1996.


The prevailing form of the word depicts a rune representing the mouth of rivers, a god, or Óðinn himself. But, to peer into the deeper layer of Ansuz comes from the words that assisted in its reconstruction.

It’s first recorded instance was by Alcuin, the Gothic word Aza, which gives us the word Ahsa; an axis, beam or pillar. The root Ahs, gives the meaning of an ear of grain. This root also holds a myriad divergences. The most notable, is in its initial meaning as mind or intellect. This yields the following words, all relating to the soundness of mind in Gothic:

• ahei – sense

• ahjan – mean

• ahma – spirit

• ahmeins – intelligence

• ahmeins – spiritual

Branching off from the h₂eḱs or hᵉéḱs root in Proto-Indo-European, the axis plays a key role in the religious dynamic of the Germanic element. As the objects of worship, these godpoles are imbued with the power of mediation between the divine and man – the axis mundi.

Jordanes, the scribe of Getica, held that the semi-divines worshiped by the Thervingi were hailed as the Anses, and engendered their people – they were the ancestors. Jordanes was also at one point a pagan, as he describes that he was not learned prior to his conversion. Thus, likely held some intimate understanding to the practices and customs.

Note, his name means horse-warrior.

Diving deeper towards the cultural cognates of term Anses, I found the following:

Avestan – aŋhū, and ahura.

Sanskrit – ásu, and ásura.

Uralic – asera

Tocharian – ās

Hittite – hass

All of these denominations are of lordship, and of a creative, life-giving essence. These words when reconstructed, turn to the Proto-Indo-European h₂énsus or hᵉénsus. The particle of h₂éns- or hᵉéns, means to beget.

The sequence shown below details how the word may have shifted:

hᵉénsus > hᵉánsus > ánsus > ānsus > ansuz

Some reconstruct this as Ansaz, which may have been used in a singular nominative sense. But that may have developed from hᵉénsóus, which would then lead to Ansauz, the singular genitive form.

Ansuz turns to AnsuR in Proto-Norse, after the split between different Germanic dialects. Gothic retains the more archaic Northwestern Indo-European sound structure; it is more common to see (-s) over (-z) or (-R), as a suffix. A possibility for the (-R) shift is the similar pattern displayed by the plural form of the word h₂n̥suró, or hᵉán̥suró. This may have added to the shift in their form, and I think the words with (-R) originated with the plural form and eventually dropped the (-ó), which would listed as:

Hᵉénsuró > hᵉánsuró > ánsuró > ānsur > ansuR

This may have also had a hand in the language shift, in addition to the grammatischer wechsel of Karl Verner.

In Scandinavia, these tongues would shift once more, and remove the (n) from the word, giving way to the form As, or as the Scandinavians retained Áss, Óss and in Æsir – commonly defined as pillars, beams, or masts. Óss holds the meaning of a river mouth, or an estuary leading to the ocean.

These would play a pivotal role in the culture of the Germanic people of the late era, especially within the history of the settlements of Iceland. Men like Ingólfur Arnason, and Þórólf Mostrarskegg, and the sagas surrounding them detail an incredible amount of piety, and attention to old custom.

Heaving their öndvegissúlur into the sea, to guide them where they would build their settlements. They would travel with the very dirt under their ancient temples, to establish a new sacred space for themselves. Even a new afterlife would be fashioned for their ancestors and descendants, from the local environment, dwelling and feasting in the center of Helgafell.

Ingolf takes possession of Iceland by Johan Peter Raadsig, 1850.

Quite similar in use to the bolvan/bałwan of Slavic peoples, these idols depicted the gods, heroes of old – or great chiefs who displayed martial ability.

Zbruch idol

The axis poles of the Germanic tribes, likely shared this commonality at the beginning stage of their demarcation from the Northwestern Indo-European branch. Eventually they started to display more centralized deities, such as the tribunal of Óðinn, Þórr and Freyr.

Broddenbjerg idol

Both Óðinn and Freyr have a marked distinction of fathering royal lines in both Scandinavia and England, receiving reverence as fathers of both kings and lords. Ancestral ties from both these figures would have been highly prized – and praised.

Other developments in the Anglo-Saxon runes hold that there was a shift in meaning likely due to the local environment, being shrouded in oak and ash trees; ac and æsc respectively. Both have slightly different, but related roots; oak from a mix of the hᵉéyǵ root, and the hᵉéḱs root, and ash from the hᵉéhós root.

But what does this mean exactly for the definition of Ansuz?

This gives a different context to what the rune itself means, from a standpoint of origins. It allows for the information gleaned to be applied in a realistic form, rather than a fantastical one.

Three major points for practical use:

1. As offerings, we should give them grain – to feed them, nourish them. This will ensure that we can gain insight, soundness of mind from them, allowing them to bestow their spirit upon us.

2. The Pillars should be erected, and depicted with imagery of these Ancestors – the Gods. Further, these idols should be fashioned from the oak or ash trees. These are the pillars of the world; holding the up firmament, showing us the way onwards to our First Fathers.

3. Fresh water should be given to them, from the mouth of a river or a small lake. To wash these idols in water from these places, is to remind them of home – and purify them for their journey back into flesh.

These Ancestors were once at the forefront of our mind at all times when dealing with things socially, and were given copious amounts of sacrifices and gifts. They had their place on high, as they were the ones who made us. They were the ones who paved the way for our children, and thus importance is quite clear.

Most of the rune poems associated detail an overwhelming emphasis on core concepts such as ancestry, asylum, death and remembrance.

The following translations are based on the aforementioned etymology of Ansuz:


ᚬ Óss er flæstra færða fǫr;

en skalpr er sværða.

The Pillar is the flow moving, faring;

but also the scalp of the sword.


ᚬ Óss er aldingautr

ok ásgarðs jöfurr,

ok valhallar vísi.

The Pillar is the Old Pourer of Sacrifices,

Lord of the Ancestor-yard;

and wise of the Slain-stones.


ᚩ Os byþ ordfruma ælere spræce,

wisdomes wraþu ond witena frofur

and eorla gehwam eadnys ond tohiht.

The Pillar be the chief of all speech;

wisdoms wrath, and wise-man’s sheath,

and each Lord’s old-age and thought.

ᚪ Ac byþ on eorþan elda bearnum

flæsces fodor, fereþ gelome

ofer ganotes bæþ; garsecg fandaþ

hwæþer ac hæbbe æþele treowe.

The Pillar be on earth the elder bairn,

Flesh fodder, fowl fares often over the lake;

The Spear-man proved where the Pillar has noble trow.

ᚫ Æsc biþ oferheah, eldum dyre

stiþ on staþule, stede rihte hylt,

ðeah him feohtan on firas monige.

Pillar be over on high,

Dear elders hard on the foundation,

Placed right on the wood,

However many men fought him on Mona.

The Norwegian shows a sense of neutrality, or reverence in the presence of an idol – hence the Pillar being the scalp, or scabbard of the sword. A man must put his weapons away in front of the idol, because it is imbued with the power of his Ancestors. Sacred grounds were areas of law, and no blood must be shed there unless it was an ordained sacrifice.

The Icelandic gives a direct proclamation that the Pillar is an elder priest, who was once the guide of the people. In death, he joins the rest of the Ancestors. He, being one who knew the tales of the slain, written in stone.

The first Anglo-Saxon poem again details the neutrality of the sacred space. But it furthers that idea with adherence to customs of speech; words were binding, and this Pillar is where the most crucial of bonds must be spoken. If one was lacking in wisdom, it could mean their reputation – and their life. This is certainly why it is said to be associated with the old age of Lords, and on the thought on their mind. You will be remembered for your words.

With the second, the Pillar is signified as being the elder children of the group. The old ones who have left us in their deaths, but will return again in the flesh. This new flesh will be flattened by the meat of fowl, and become strong spearmen. They will prove their nobility and become great – as only the most noble become worthy of being placed on the high Pillar within the Ancestor-yard.

The third poem, reiterates the importance of reputation. A man who fought with many men on the Isle of Mona, or Anglesey, joins the Ancestor-yard for his deeds. Beloved elders are placed right on the wood of the Pillar – becoming the foundation for the next generation.

There are so many layers to this concept, but the crux is simple and effective.

Remember your Traditions.

Remember your Ancestors.

Remember your Gods.

Remember ANSUZ


For wisdom, listen not to me but the word, and know that all is one..

…and that word is WODAZ.

The essence of a word, is found in its origin. What it ignites in the mind, and the mental recall associated with it. Here, is where the roots of all form lie, as dormant kernels to be collected and seeded. This requires focus.

Most minds these days are mercurial, and thus require alternate stimuli to effectively dictate a direction. For those of us out at Waldgang, the remedy for this, is the madness expressed by WODAZ.

This is what directs us.

All magic words are an innate part of loaded language. Evoking an emotional response, far beyond what it means on a baser level. Politicians use them, salesmen use them, and especially internet gurus – they use them, too.

WODAZ, is not the expression of addled minds. It is the possession of pure vision.

In truth, the word madness holds a transformative impulse by the root mey-, which produces an understanding of bonding, or a strengthening. This metamorphosis is the foremost manifestation when WODAZ is called upon in our rituals, and even in daily life.

WODAZ was fashioned over the course of centuries of use, from the weht, or wāt root. Meaning an inspired force, the same power that possessed the Germanic Wōdanaz; an archetype taken by fury, inspiration, and the will to create. By this word, we carve our way.

Kris Kershaw proclaimed in his tome-like work “The One-Eyed God”:

in fact, madness, to earlier peoples, did not mean loss of control; it meant control by someone else: inspiration or possession..

This possession, or control by someone else, is of the Higher Self. The version of oneself that is molded from the mud that suffocates us into subservience. The best version of yourself.

This form is the one many fear the most, as it threatens their sense of comfort, and proposed sense Self.

WODAZ is the key to that threshold beyond. Metamorphosis is not an easy feat. It takes a certain extremism, or dedication. It takes a sort of madness.

Madness of might, madness of spirit.

This is the word of our mission.

Now, say it with me…


Rituals from the Mead Myth

The Blood Ritual

Invited to their home for a private discussion, the Dwarves Falarr and Galarr murdered the wise Kvásir. They first poured his blood into two vats called Són, and Boðn. Then, poured both into a final pot they called Óðrǿrir. By this slaughter, the sacred Mead was formed.

A curious selection of very precise names litters this part of the Mead Myth. The murder of Kvásir by these Dwarves is eerily reminiscent of the practice of catching the blood of a sacrificial animal in a hlautbolli, or blood-bowl, as mentioned in the Icelandic Eyrbyggja saga.

The names of these two Dwarves mean a demand, and yeller, or enchanter. Which indicates to me, that there may be a hidden idea within this story, as the names of the murderers represent ritual components, anthropomorphized for the telling of a story.

The first being a demand of the operant, and the second being the voicing of that demand by the operant.

While the names of the Dwarves represent the primary prerequisites for a ritual, the vats themselves represent the actions of the ritual itself:

The first vat is called Sacrifice. The word is akin to the term sóa, as heard in the Hávamál. Used in the form of a ritual, it pulls from the terms Sónardreyri, the Sacrificial Blood and the object being sacrificed, the Sónargöltr, the Sacrificial Boar. This was done at Yuletide, and the term Sónn, means to sound. During this celebration, it was customary to sound off one’s vows, or oaths, as the heitstrenging demanded.

This is a twofold requirement; sacrifice is to be given accompanied by sound.

The second vat is called Bidding. Akin to prayer but based more on a transactional relationship with a person, or a God. From biðja, the function of this term can be seen in at bíða byrjar, to bid for a wind.

This is to give a message to the whomever you are entering into a transaction with, or entreating.

The pot that was used to hold the remainder of the blood, was known as Furiously-stirred. From a combination of óðr, and hræri; but in this spelling, the past tense of róa, rørir, these words present culmination of the ritual – the stirring of honey into the blood, blending the two into the liquid now known as Mead.

This is the product of the sacrifice, the furious inspiration that is felt upon the completion of such a raw action.

The Mead itself, is a substance that holds a divine status, and it has been said that ok sá er af drekkr verðr skáld ok frǿðamaðr, “and so is a drink worthy of skálds and wisemen” – those that partake, are upheld as sages. The Dwarves, after the slaughter, had said that Kvásir perished because of his exponential wisdom. Clearly, the drinking of the Mead, was a metaphor for attainment of spiritual gnosis.

In the case of this story, the Dwarves are the operants of ritual slaughter to receive gnosis of a kind. The aspect of an operant being furiously shaken after such a ritual, indicates their particular use.

There are key points of structure here, that may be applied as a format for our spiritual operations. The operant, having a specific demand, initiates a ritual with the corresponding components:

Sacrifice – the blood is crucial in this action; it serves as the foundational medium between you and the Gods. This is to be from an animal.

Sound – the action of drumming, or a moving song affects the human brain in such a way that it initiates a trance state, this separates the operant from the rest of the world, and focuses the immediate psychosphere. This also projects the intent of these actions further into the world around them.

Bidding – this is a vocalized direction of intent, either used in a verseform, or a straight-forward declaration of your demand.

The combination of these elements, follow the Law of Similarity formula in sorcery, that (x) begets (x); a common understanding in many folkways. The objective of this ritual type, would be to give something in order to get a thing – the ancient principle of “a gift for a gift”.

In almost all religions, this principle is recurring as expiation. Some worshippers are rewarded with revelation through prayer, others with victory in battle, or more often, an increase in their yearly yield.

This is different from the gæfa concept, as it is more of an action done for oneself to gain from, rather than the unification of two opposite forces into one new spiritual body. Sorcerous acts are naturally self-serving but, can yield worldly benefits to all parties involved in these types of rituals.

I have provided two ritual formats for implementation, one in its dual form, and the other for a solitary practitioner.



• Both (x) and (y) parties produce equal funds to purchase and dedicate an animal for sacrifice.

• Both parties bring this animal to a designated sacred space.

• (y) party states intent/demand before the presiding power, while (x) party produces either song, mantra or drumming to invigorate the sacred space.

• (y) party will then state the intent/demand once more as they complete the sacrifice;

▪ If singing, (x) party still maintaining their song or mantra, if assisting with completion. If drumming, (x) party must state intent/demand while maintaining drumming during the completion of the sacrifice by (y) party.

• The blood is to be caught in a bowl, or cup, and both parties anoint themselves with the blood of the animal; any witnesses are also anointed.

• Both parties prepare the remains for use; entrails are for the terrestrial guardians of the sacred space, and meat is to be used for later consumption.

▪ Bones/hides are to be cleaned and re- used as ritual tools, and/or embellishment of the sacred space.



• The operant brings the dedicated animal to the designated sacred space.

• The intent/demand is stated, and a suitable song or mantra is created to send off the spirit of the animal.

• When the operant is charged, the song/mantra is maintained as the sacrifice is completed.

• The blood is to be caught in a bowl, or cup, and the operant anoints himself.

• The operant states intent/demand once more.

• The operant prepares the remains for use; entails are for the terrestrial guardians of the sacred space, and meat is to be used for later consumption.

▪ Bones/hides are to be cleaned and used as ritual tools, and/or embellishment of the sacred space.

Rituals from the Mead Myth


After the war that was perpetrated by the first tribes of the Gods, a truce was struck. The ills between the Æsir and Vanir, were reconciled by having each member of the respective tribes spit into a bowl.

The culmination of this ritual, resulted in the creation of a being, in the shape of a man, whose name was Kvásir. This man was an intermediary figure between the two tribes. In another version, the truce between the Gods was finalized after an exchange of individuals from each tribe, each taking up an office in their new lands. He was upheld as the wisest man; whose only comparison was to Mimir.

Now, the name Kvásir holds some indication as to what this ritual may actually be about. The term kvass– is used as a cultural link between the Danish kvase, a liquid that results from crushing and the Slavic kvasu. Reconstruction into Proto-Germanic gives *hwassaz, later becoming Old Norse hvass, shows more of sharp definition, in relation to intellect; of sight and sound. There is additionally a Nynorsk term vass, with the same meaning as hvass.

Despite the linguistic dissolution, the kernel of this word remains the same between all these different stems in Northern Indo-European languages. Early kw-, gw-, and gwh- stems from Proto-Indo-European influenced these terms, and became the stems /kw/, /xw/, and /gw/ in Proto-Germanic. These are subtly interchanged in later Germanic languages, becoming /kv/, /hv/, and a voiceless /hw/.

Though it seems that in later literature, the –á particle in Kvásir has been dropped from common use, as noted by Guðbrandur Vigfússon:

As scribal abbreviations were common among Old Norse scribes, this may have simply been dropped because of being a misprint, or a misunderstood sign. The letter Q was also used for the /kw/, and /kv/ sounds, to differentiate from the letter K itself. This has since been discontinued in most Germanic tongues aside from English.

There are clear connections to the process of fermentation, which as a literal transition of substances and growth into another. This acts as a representation of a sacred bond. As a rousing force, the stage of fermentation in Alchemy, is often seen as a twofold operation – with the death of the twin being in conjunction, and the production of new life all together. Union for the sake of creation.

From legal cohesion to matrimony, there is an archetypal truth to this type of coupling; a stirring of two forms towards evolution. Distinct, yet coming together as one to be introduced as a new entity.

With the most common being the ceremony of marriage, it was meant to secure favor towards the future with a child. These are fundamentally transactional, as there was likely a specific exchange, and the resulting product was both a child – and shared/acquired resources.

This point is elucidated further when the kvá- root is observed. The root often holds a meaning concerned with union, in some faculty or another. As shown below:

    Kván, or queen; used broadly as any woman.
    Kvánarmál, or matrimonial affairs.
    Kvánbænir, or queen-boons; a courting process.
    Kvánfang, or queen-fetching; matchmaking.
    Kvánfang eiðr, also denotes marital oaths.
    Kvánga, kvángan, and kvángask, all mean for a man to take a wife.

The other uses for the root of kvá-, are when used for the words kvátra, kváðan, or kvára. One means a type of game played in Iceland during the 13th century – think ‘quarters’, and the other is used for a resin substance, from kvoða. The final word means to rattle. These are likely liturgical influences.

The use of these terms all denotes that kvá-, holds a principle of union. Hence, the use within the myth for the name of the fashioned figure that is the embodiment of the truce between the two tribes.

The initial scene of the Mead Myth shows an underlying form of a unifying custom; a transaction solidified by mingling the essences of two different people together. Kvásir is essentially the euhemerized element of the myth; a child of the two tribes, and thus represents a new inspired, fermented form. Kvásir was known for his intelligence and disseminated his solutions to many problems that were among the two tribes.

Some basic ritual elements have been drawn from contents in the story and may be used in accordance to one’s own tradition. This may be used as a varying form to the leikr rite of foster brotherhood, to still hostilities, or to solidify a specific pact between two parties.

The ritual is not complicated and does not have much flair. It may be enacted anywhere the participants choose. Meant to produce good tidings, it is more than just an exchange of items between two people. It develops a certain amount of gæfa, or luck, which is intrinsically linked with gifts and heartfelt exchange. Shared gæfa, is shared spirit.

Be fully assured before use of this ritual, as the sharing of gæfa, is to be upheld in all your dealings with the party you are bonding with. If broken, no matter by which party, both parties run the risk of a damaged gæfa.

For the sake of simplicity, only a dual form will be presented below.

Implements needed for this ritual:

  • Ritual bowl produced by (x) party; this is a bowl that no food has been eaten out of; of wood or metal.
  • Mead produced by (y) party.

The operation is as follows:

• A sacred space is designated by the two parties.

• The mead is poured by (y) party into the ritual bowl, being held by (x) party.

• The mead is passed until drained.

• The party who drains the bowl, spits into the bowl, and the opposite party does the same.

• The ritual bowl is then poured onto the earth by (y) party; hands are shaken as a sign of the bond.

• Gifts are then exchanged between the two parties.