Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Fylfot and Church Bells



I discovered an interesting connection between the pealing of church bells and the sign of the Swastika/hammer of Thunor in Stephen Taylors The Fylfot File. Rev. Taylor states that the Flyfot appears on a number of church bells in the mid-eastern counties of England. He has identified 40 churches that contain such Flyfots in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Yorksire. Of course these counties are situated in the old Danelaw part of England where Germanic heathenism was reintroduced to a christianised Anglo-Saxon population by Danish settlers.
He believes that the occurence of the Flyfot is linked to pre-Christian Germanic tradition. The Fylfot as we know represents the hammer of Thunor/Thor,Donar and in Sweden in Thor`s temples the sound of thunder was imitated by the striking of pieces of metal with a hammer. There may be also an association between this and the presence of cauldrons in myths relating to Thor. Quoting from another author[Ernest J. Eitel] he states: "Perhaps also you remember to have heard that among the German peasantry and in Iceland the same figure is used as a magical charm to dispel thunder."
Rev Taylor goes on to refer to the medieaval custom English custom of ringing church bells to dispel storms and pestilence. Many European bells bore the Latin inscription Fulgura Frango, "I break up the lightning".
He also refers to an Icelandic magical ritual which was intended to deter or punish thieves:"If a man owns a `Thor`s Hammer`, he will know who it is who has robbed him if he loses anything. To make this hammer, one must have copper from a church bell, three times stolen. The hammer must be hardened in human blood on a Whitsunday, between the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel. A spike must also be forged out of the same material as the hammer, and this spike one must jab against the head of the hammer, saying: "I drive this in the eye of the Father of War, I drive this in the eye of the Father of the Slain, I drive this in the eye of Thor of the Aesir." The thief will then feel pain in his eyes; if he does not return the stolen goods, the procedure is repeated, and then the thief will lose one eye; but should it prove necessary to repeat it a third time, he will lose the other eye too."[Quoted via Icelandic Folktales and Legends, Jacqueline Simpson].
We can learn much about our ancient religion by analysing certain aspects of medieaval church practice which contains many elements of our ancient faith.
The above image is that of an early sign of a Thorshammar. One can clearly see the fusion of the traditional hammer of Thor and that of the Flyfot.

No comments: