Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Slea Luin-the Spear of Lugh, the Spear of Wodan, the Spear of Parsifal and the Rune Gar

From the city of Gorias the Tuatha De Danann brought the Slea Luin, the spear of Lugh. Lugh is one of several Celtic deities associated with Wodan. He was known as Lugh to the Irish, Lleu to the Welsh and Lugus to the Gauls. Like Wodan He was a father of heroes such as Cuchulainn. As a martial God Lugh held a spear as one of His weapons. The origins of His name are uncertain. One school of thought is that His name is derived from Proto-Indo-European *leuk,  `to shine` but this is contested. The other theory is that it is derived from *leug, `black`,` to break` or `to swear an oath`. The latter interpretation dovetails with one of the concepts of Wodan as sacred oaths were sworn on the point of His spear, Gungnir.
Another association with Wodan is reflected in the fact that both Gods were patrons of the arts and of high magic. When engaging in magic Lugh would hop on one leg with one eye closed which reminds us of the one-eyed Wodan.

Spears feature prominently in both Celtic and Germanic mythology. Cuchulainn like his father Lugh possessed a magical spear, the Gae Bolg which was given to him by his mentor Scathach who taught him the martial arts. She is very much like the Germanic shield maiden in this regard. Gae is derived from the Proto-Celtic *gaisos. We are reminded of the similarity between gae and the Old English gar which is derived from the Proto-Germanic *gaisaz.

"The word would appear to have originally been a Celto-Germanic term, in the same way the word runo is shared between them."[ALU. An Advanced Guide to Operative Runology, Edred Thorsson, 2012]

Gar is also the 33rd rune of the Northumbrian Futhorc and is the runic symbol for Woden. According to runologist Nigel Pennick[See Wyrdstaves of the North, 2010] Gar stand outside of the four runic aetts, being the final and central rune around which all the others circulate; it is the central pole, the axis. Gar is a combination of the Gyfu rune superimposed over the Ing rune, thus meaning the `gift of Ing`, Ing being the divine ancestor of the English folc. Furthermore a careful study of the rune will demonstrate that it contains all the other runes within itself, making this probably the most powerful of all runes in addition to its association with Woden. Gar is therefore self-sufficient and this is why it stands alone. Interestingly the Gar rune was used as a mother`s jewellery pendant and worn by wives of members of SS Standarte 72 based near Detmold.

Three magical cauldrons were required to soothe the hot spear of Lugh after its battle frenzy. The phallic symbolism of the immersion of the hot spear into a cauldron of liquid is obvious. We are immediately reminded of the association between the spear of Parsifal and the holy gral in its form as a chalice rather than as a stone. Although in Arthurian mythology we also have the symbol of the magical sword embedded in the stone. This picture reminds us of both the Claiomh Solais, the sword of Nuada and the Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny. In the Volsunga Saga there is of course the related imagery of the sword placed into the tree by Wodan for the hero Sigmund to draw out as the appointed hero. In Wolfram von Eschenbach`s Parzival the connected symbols are the spear and the gral as a stone.

The spear is not just a martial weapon; it is a regal symbol, one originally associated with the great High God Wodan. Consequently Germanic kings who regarded themselves as the descendants of Wodan always carried a special spear as a sign of their kingship.

"When the Germanic peoples were first Christianized their kings and chieftains typically carried spears as symbols of their sovereign power-a power ultimately derived from their own `divine blood`. The divine blood stemmed from their god-like ancestors-called anseis by the Goths as we have seen."[The Mysteries of the Goths, Edred Thorsson, 2007, Limited First Edition]

With the enforced xtianisation of the Germanic peoples the spear of Wodan became the spear of Parsifal. It became the symbol of Parsifal`s divine authority as a god-king. Some draw a connection between this spear and the so-called `Spear of Longinus` or `Spear of Destiny`[see Trevor Ravenscroft`s The Spear of Destiny, 1973 and Mark of the Beast. The Continuing Story of the Spear of Destiny, 1990]

We know that the Spear of Longinus[if this is not a substitute!] dates back no earlier than the 8th to 10th centuries CE and is of Germanic manufacture[see Thorsson, page 106, 2007]

"As a symbol, the spear clearly has its origins in pre-Christian usage. Albert Brachmann, writing in Deutsches Archiv 6[1943], pp. 407-09, clearly outlines the development of the symbolism of the spear of Wodan into a spear of supposed Christian significance."

Edred then goes on to point out that the use of the spear as a symbol in the coronation of Langobardic kings was of greater significance than the reception of the crown. Indeed he believes that the Spear of Longinus was most likely of Langobardic manufacture. Readers may recall that Wodan placed a special blessing upon the Langobards, formerly called the Winnilli after being tricked by His wife Frijjo. It is He who gave them their name, Langobards because of their long beards. The Langobards called Him Godan.

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