Sunday, 5 August 2018

Meditation on Tiwaz

Woden is a restless deity, a God of the storm:

"The name of Woden or Wuotan denotes the stormy or furious goer, being derived from a verb which is closely related to the Lowland Scotch word Wud, mad or furious.
"Originally it meant to go like one that is 'wud', to go as the winds go when they rend the forests in their furious course. So went Woden or Odin, whose original nature was that of the storm-god; and it is that character he sustains at this day in the popular legends of Germany. They picture him as sweeping through the air in the roaring winds, either alone or with a great retinue consisting of the souls of the dead, which have become winds, and have, like the Maruts, taken the shape of men, dogs, boars & c." (Curiosities of Indo-European Folklore, Walter Keating Kelly) 

Those of us who regard ourselves as initiates of Woden become at times possessed by Him or obsessed with Him and this can have the effect of inducing feelings of great restlessness and unease. One way to counter this is via meditation. In my own personal experience I have found it very beneficial to meditate on the Tiwaz/Tir/Tyr rune stave. The meditation may last upto several hours or could be limited to just a few minutes or even seconds. At the end of the meditation you will have a far calmer mind and a greater ability to focus and concentrate. I believe that the reason for this is two fold. Firstly the very shape of the stave is suggestive of polarity and stillness, evoking almost the Shiva concept of the Shiva-Shakti tantric union. By meditating on Tiwaz you absorb a sense of stillness and calm despite the insanity and chaos that surrounds our lives here in Midgarth.

"(Tir) is a token, it keeps troth well with noble-men always on its course over the mists of night, it never fails." (Old English Rune Poem from Rune-Song by Edred Thorsson, Runa-Raven Press, 1993)  
"Tir is a token; it holdeth confidence well with nobles: ever it is moving over the darkness of night: never it resteth."  (Anglo-Saxon Runes by J.M. Kemble, published by Anglo-Saxon Books, 1991 & 1993) 

As the reader can see, there are similarities and yet subtle differences between these two translations. I prefer the version by Bruce Dickins:

"(Tir) is a (guiding) star; well does it keep faith with princes; it is ever on its course over the mists of night and never fails." (Runic and Historic Poems of the Old Teutonic Peoples, 1915, published by Cambridge University Press)  

It is clear to me that the composer of the Old English Rune Poem intended to convey an association between Tir and the Pole Star which our ancestors relied upon for navigation. The Pole Star's or North Star's proper name of course is Polaris. Around Polaris turns the Plough of the Ursa Major constellation and when viewed across the cycles of the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter a virtual Swastika or Fylfot movement is observable, indicating the northern European origins of the sacred Fylfot symbol. One can imagine a Fylfot rotating around a pole. Indeed the said pole may be likened to the German Irminsul symbol, very similar to the Yggdrasil of Norse mythology. Therefore Tir has the connotation of stillness and yet at the same time it effortlessly co-ordinates the movement around it, bringing structure out of the chaos. This has a very calming effect upon the mind, bringing mental stillness.

Secondly the Tiwaz/Tir/Tyr Rune is a visual representation of the God Tyr/Tiw/Ziu/Teiws. The common (mis)conception of this deity is that he is a 'war God', due to the distorted image of Him which we find in the Eddas. However this is a late interpretation and the product of the Viking warrior age. As a deity He is far older than Woden and was at one time THE primary deity of both the Germanic and the Proto-Indo-European (Aryan) peoples. One can see in the Scandinavian Rune Poems how His image has been distorted into the Norse concept of the God based upon the story of how He lost a hand to the Fenris wolf:

"(Tyr) is the one-handed among the Aesir; the smith has to blow often." (Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme, Rune-Song

In the case of the Norwegian Rune Rhyme the form of rune stave shown is that of a Tyr rune with one of its 'arms' missing. This is not the case with the Icelandic form of the stave but the relevant verse in the Old Icelandic Rune Poem is quite similar:

"(Tyr) is the one-handed god and the leavings of the wolf and the ruler of the temple. Mars. 'Director'." (Rune-Song

It is interesting that an echo of Tyr's former greatness is contained in latter part of the verse-"ruler of the temple." Whilst the Old English Rune Poem seems sanitised in that it makes no reference to the God Himself nevertheless I believe that it conveys far better both the essence of the rune and of the God Himself, indicating a rather transcendental quality to this deity which is not to be found amongst any of the other divinities.

I have said many times on these blogs that we must be wary of uncritically using the Eddas to reconstruct our Germanic heathen religion as they are a product of a specific time and place and not representative of Germanic mythology and religion as a whole. Like Thor, Tyr is relegated to being a 'son' of Odin when it is clear from the reconstruction of the lost Proto-Germanic and even Proto-Indo-European languages that Tyr occupied a far more important position amongst our ancestors. Indeed as I have already stated He was the primary deity of the Germanic and even Aryan peoples. Evidence for His cult may be found not only in Scandinavia but in continental Germania. Duisburg in the Lower Rhineland may be derived from the Old High German *Zies burg, the city of Ziu. Tyrol in Austria is derived from either Tyr-Odal or Tyr-Ull or a combination of the two. In England we also have Tuesley from *Tiwes leah-Tiw's clearing and Tysoe from *Tiwes hoh-Tiw's spur of land.

What is particularly significant is the way in which 'tyr' is used as a suffix in the names of the Norse Gods of the Eddas as 'tyr' was literally the Old Norse for 'God' in the heathen sense of the term, the plural being 'tivar'. Indeed the term is to be found in several of Odin's alternative names; examples being Farmatyr-God of cargoes and Hangatyr-God of the hanged. So Tyr is literally God. This gives a sense of his former importance and primacy.

Tyr, Tiw and Ziu are derived from the Proto-Germanic *Tiwaz which in turn is derived from the PIE *deiwos with the meaning of 'celestial being,god'. Cognates of this name in other Indo-European languages are duw (Welsh), deus (Latin), dievas (Lithuanian), deva (Sanskrit) and daevo (Avestan). He was clearly a pan-Aryan deity of the highest significance. The Greek Zeus and the Roman Jupiter are derived from *deiwos. There is much more that I could say but I would be digressing and I intend to revisit this subject on one of my other blogs in the near future.

As a or the Sky God Tiw represents for me a transcendental quality. He is unmoveable, unchanging and far above all that we know or could know and this is why meditating on Him via His rune stave gives one calm, peace and clarity of mind. When engaging in the meditation of Tyr it is not necessary to adopt the runic asana or to chant the mantra. Indeed it is best not to. One may sit, lie or even stand. The key is to develop the ability to rapidly change one's mental state, one's mental vibration by swiftly imagining the rune stave. It is important to close one's eyes but it is possible even to do the exercise with one's eyes open if necessary. I usually imagine the rune staves as being formed by red light as this symbolises blood but blue is also another effective colour to use and of course symbolises the God of the runes, Woden.