Reply To: Cernunnos

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum Cernunnos Reply To: Cernunnos


    Well, the way I’ve always seen it is that the Vikings weren’t so much of a culture as one part in a short period in the much longer history of Norse/North Germanic culture. I’m not sure about the so-called hedgehog mounds, I thought these were more Beaker period.

    By the way, I am surprised that Odin has so many different names, maybe as many as 205 different names. Any thoughts on that subject? Why would he need to have so many different names?

    There are probably many answers to that question. In my opinion, what we have that has come down to us, in a way, represents a final stage or codification of the earlier beliefs of societies that were for the most part non-literate. At “codification”, if you like, they became static and frozen in time, but the many names, contradictions and so on would suggest to me that these were notions in constant evolution and change and for this reason the perhaps non-discerning monks and scribes bundled together varying traditions under one roof, so to speak. The Odin/Woden figure a Viking Age person would have recognised might well have differed a great deal from the Wodinaz figure a 1st century CE person from the same Germanic cultural area would have. The epithets, for that’s what they are at the end of the day, were added as the myths, stories, poems and songs accumulated and as the material cultures and circumstances of the peoples in questions changed and developed. In fact, it’s interesting to note how Tyr/Tiw, who should have been the “Jove” figure, is very diminished in importance by the Viking Age and Odin/Woden seems to have usurped his All Father position.

    The second answer wouldn’t be so “academic”. All language is metaphor and metaphors are useful in so far as they’re understood, the epithets are referring to something beyond human ken and vary because of this.