Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Triple Horn Symbol of Woden



Symbols associated with the number 3 are frequently regarded as being linked to the God Woden in some way. We are all of course familiar with the Valknut, a symbol of 3 interlocking triangles but the Triple Horn is also associated with Him in both antiquity and in mythology.

The Snoldelev Stone which is situated in Snoldelev in  Ramsø, Denmark is decorated with a design of 3 interlocking horns, a fylfot and Younger Futhark runes. The inscriptions are dated to the 9th century CE.
Interestingly the fylfot on the stone is dated to the Bronze Age.

Exoterically an explanation for the 3 horns may be found in the story of the theft of the poetic mead in Hávamál in the Elder Edda and in Skáldskaparmál  in the Younger Edda. Woden stole the mead from Suttung in three draughts after spending 3 nights with Suttung`s daughter, Gunnlöd. This is mirrored in the theft of the Soma by Indra. Mead in Germanic mythology fulfilled a similar function to the Soma of the Indo-Aryans and the Haoma of the Iranians. This story of Woden`s theft of the poetic and thus sacred mead no doubt goes back to ancient Aryan times.

"Gunnlod sat me in the golden seat,
Poured me precious mead:
Ill reward she had from me for that,
For her proud and passionate heart,
Her brooding foreboding spirit.
What I won from her I have well used:
I have waxed in wisdom since I came back,
bringing to Asgard Odhroerir
the sacred draught.
Hardly would I have come home alive
From the garth of the grim troll,
Had Gunnlod not helped me, the good woman,
Who wrapped her arms around me."(Hávamál)
Our ancestors certainly used drinking horns in their sacred rites, long after they went out of use for daily purposes. I am reminded of the golden horns from Gallehus in Denmark which were decorated with mythological scenes and runes. They are very similar to the motifs found on the Gundestrup Cauldron, also from Denmark. Clearly these horns had a sacred purpose but alas they were stolen and melted down in 1802-an act of extreme greed and indeed in my eyes, sacrilege. Replicas of these horns were made from detailed drawings and even these were stolen and recovered twice in 1993 and 2007. Let us hope that the golden Chiemsee Cauldron does not meet with a similar fate!

Esoterically the number 3 signifies the Armanen concept of Arising-Becoming-Passing Away to New Arising.
This is not only the Germanic concept of rebirth but is the cycle that all organisms and indeed history itself takes. Far from time being linear as the Judeo-Christians maintain time is cyclical.

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