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KRONOS Vol X, No. 1

Odin

DWARDU CARDONA

Copyright 1984 by Dwardu Cardona

Odin (or Othin) and Woden (or Woutan or Wodan), in their many variants, were names of the same god. To the Germanic peoples, the name was Woden or Wotan; to the Scandinavians, including the Icelanders, it was Odin.

In Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky identified Odin/ Woden as the planetary god Jupiter/Zeus.(1) But, in the same work, he also hinted at a connection between this deity and the planet Mars.(2) Earlier, other writers had identified Woden as Mercury;(3) and, in fact, the Romans so identified this deity.(4) The Anglo-Saxons, who brought this Teutonic god with them to Britain, named a day of the week in his honor. Woden's day became Wednesday, which the Romans called dies Mercurii (or Mercurii dies) - i.e., Mercury's day.(5) In French it became Mercredi.(6)

With these three identifications to choose from - Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury - how can we be sure of the real planet represented by this deity?

Of Odin/Woden as Jupiter/Zeus, Velikovsky supplied absolutely no evidence beyond the fact that both sets of deities were gods of the thunderbolt.(7) This is the same meagre evidence he supplied in favor of his identification of the Hindu Shiva as the same Jupiter/Zeus.(8) In more than one of my previous writings, I have stressed the point that just because a deity is presented in mythology as a wielder of the thunderbolt, he is not necessarily to be identified as Jupiter. Granted that Jupiter seems to have been the prime wielder of thunderbolts,(9) other planetary deities were also vigorous in their thunderings. In an earlier paper I have shown that the attributes, characteristics, and mythology of Shiva properly fit the planet Saturn and not Jupiter.(10) Velikovsky's identification of Odin/Woden as Jupiter cannot, therefore, be accepted merely on the evidence of the thunderbolt.

To the Romans, Mercury was the god of trade. His attributes were the caduceus, the winged sandals and/or helmet, and the purse.(11) None of these attributes were shared by Odin. The mythologies of Odin/Woden and Hermes/Mercury have absolutely nothing in common. Why, then, did the Romans identify one with the other?

Among his many attributes, Odin was regarded as the god of spiritual life. According to E. Tonnelat, it was this that led the Latins to compare him to Mercury.(12) To us it is not enough.

In Germanic lands,there was a widespread belief that, on dark and stormy nights, a god in flowing mantle and wide-brimmed hat, mounted on a horse, was wont to thunder through the sky at the head of a furious army bent on a savage hunt in pursuit of some fantastic game. The god's name was Wode, derived from a word which expressed fury and frenzy. In modern German, this word is "wuten". Thus, say some, Woden derived his name.(13)

In the north, among the Scandinavians, Odin rode on his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. The god was clad in a shining breast-plate and golden helmet, while in his hands he carried his magic lance, Gingnir.(14)

Among both peoples, Odin/Woden became the national god of war and it was under his patronage that the Angles and the Saxons invaded Britain.(15)

Seen thus, Odin reminds one of the Babylonian Nergal at the head of his demons, (16) the Greek Ares with his "never resting horrible creatures",(17) or the Vedic Indra leading his terrible Maruts.(18) Students of Velikovsky may therefore recognize Odin/Woden and his furious celestial army as the planet Mars when, according to Velikovsky, it plagued the Earth as it brushed close with its accompanying brood of comets during the 8th and 7th centuries B.C.(19)

Nergal's and Ares' identity as Mars has never been contested. Velikovsky's identification of Indra as the same planet, on the other hand, has. Indra's identity as Jupiter has been brought out elsewhere.(20) I have also already indicated that the celestial portents which the Hindus personified as the Maruts were associated not only with Mars but also with Jupiter and Saturn.(21) If Odin/Woden's furious army was the same as the Maruts, it does not therefore necessarily identify the god as Mars.

Shining breast-plates and golden helmets might be thought to compare favorably with the Homeric armor of the Achaeans who, according to Velikovsky, fought their Trojan war during Mars' bloody reign. Odin's armor might also bring to mind Greek and Roman depictions of the god of war. Flowing mantles and wide-brimmed hats, however, leave us with something of a Medieval impression. One can hardly visualize this apparel encumbering a god who predated the Teutonic age. This aspect of the god is obviously a very late one. Tonnelat was of the same opinion:

"There is no evidence to suggest that leading the wild hunt was Woden's original function. There is no evidence, either, to suggest that the name Wode precedes Woden; both may be synchronous..."(22)

This has led some researchers to the belief that Odin/Woden arrived late on the Nordic scene and that the god's characteristics evolved from that of an originally minor demon. As Tonnelat indicated, this, too, is a false impression:

"For some time, scholars have regarded Woden as a 'jumped-up' god; originally a minor demon, he has managed to oust the more important [Nordic] divinities such as Donar . . . or Tiw . . . [But] recent researches have shown that this is not the case, that Woden is a prolongation of an Indo-European type."(23)

My own belief, now shared by most mythologists, is that Odin/ Woden is a very ancient deity who, throughout the ages, has undergone a number of changes in his depiction as leader of the wild hunt. Like that of other deities, the mythology of Odin/Woden is quite a complex one but, at its root, we can recognize several motifs which, without the shadow of a doubt, identify this Teutonic monarch with the real planet he originally personified.

II

While Kronos and chronos are semantically similar, they are linguistically derived from different roots. For this reason it has long been assumed that the connection of "chronos", which means "time", and Kronos, the name of the planet Saturn, was merely due to a pun of the Greeks. Recently, Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend have conclusively shown this not to have been the case.(24) Earlier, Livio Stecchini had put forward his thoughts on the subject.(25) It has now been ascertained that the connection of time with Saturn was not a notion believed in merely by the Greeks. Other peoples also connected time with Saturn.(26)

Stecchini, however, is not correct in his surmise that Saturn's connection with time derived from the planet's slow movement along its orbit. That is a mere coincidence.(27) Nor can it be said that the name Kronos derived from "chronos". If anything, the opposite is true.

The name Kronos could more easily have been derived from "krunos" - i.e., "horns" - or even "corona"; the former in memory of Saturn's bull effigy,(28) with its ring(s) in horn-like crescent, the latter as a reminder of the entire coronal ring(s) which once surrounded the Saturnian sun. In Hebrew, or more properly Chaldean, "qeren" means both "horn" and "a ray of light"; "qaran" means "to gore" but also "to shoot out rays". "To have horns" and "to shine" are expressed by the same word - "qaran".

Others have surmised that the name Kronos was derived from the Greek "corone" - compare also the Latin "cornix" - which means "crow".(29) Whether this latter view is acceptable or not, it remains a fact that Kronos/Saturn was often pictured in the company of a crow. So was Bran, the British Saturnian deity and, for that matter, so was Odin who was actually known as the "god of ravens".(30)

Like the Saturnian deities of other races, it was Odin who was said to have created the world.(31) Known by the epithet of Alfadir (All Father), Odin was also, like Khepera/Osiris/Saturn,(32) the creator of the gods.(33)

"Odin may justly be called All-father, for he is verily the father of all, of gods as well as of men, and to his power all things owe their existence."(34)

Like the Saturnian deities of other nations, Odin was the very first ancestor and the very first king of the world.(35)

Like Saturn, Odin resided at the cosmic centre, Ginnungapap, also called the Navel of the Earth.(36) The cosmic centre was the celestial north pole.

Like other Saturnian gods, Odin only had one eye.(37) Described as "a giant wheel",(38) this single eye was a reference to Saturn's shining orb in the middle of its encircling ring(s).

Like other Saturnian deities, Odin created a celestial city in the midst of which he resided. This was the famous Asgard, which is also understood here as the same Saturnian coronal enclosure. The Eddas expressly state that Asgard was built "in the Centre of the World"(39) rendered by others as the "centre of the Universe"(40) - "where Odin sat on his throne seeing over the whole world".(41)

The central or Cosmic Tree, which I have elsewhere presented as a manifestation of Saturn's Polar Configuration,(42) is here known as Yggdrasil and was directly connected with Odin.(43) Asgard itself, as is to be expected, was said to have been perched at the top of Yggdrasil.(44) On this tree, Odin was said to have hung himself.(45) In "Odin's Rune Song", as found in the Elder Edda, Odin himself is made to state:

"I know that I hung, on a wind-rocked tree, nine whole nights, with a spear wounded, and to Odin offered, myself to myself. . . "(46)

Like Osiris/Saturn, Odin was also the god of the dead.(47)

What more need the reader ask for - even though much more can be offered? Do any of the above enumerated attributes and characteristics of Odin fit the celestial roles enacted by the planetary deities identified with Jupiter, Mars, or Mercury?

REFERENCES

1. I. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision (N.Y., 1950), p. 86.
2. Ibid, p. 253.
3. J. A. MacCulloch, Eddic Mythology (N.Y., 1930/32), p. 37.
4. Ibid.
5. T. Froncek, The Northmen (N.Y., 1974), p. 142; E. Tonnelat, "Teutonic Mythology," New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (London, 1972), p. 252.
6. Ibid.
7. I. Velikovsky, op. cit., p. 86.
8. Ibid; Idem, Oedipus and Akhnaton (N.Y., 1960), p. 62, where "Shiva" is rendered "Siwa"; Idem, "My Challenge to Conventional Views in Science," Pensee IVR VII (Spring 1974), p.10; Idem, "On the Advance Claim of Jupiter's Radionoises," KRONOS III:1 (Fall 1977), p. 27.
9. D. Cardona, "Jupiter - God of Abraham," Part IV, KRONOS IX: 1 (Fall 1983), pp. 46-47.
10. Idem, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982), pp. 29-33; Idem, "Vishnu Born of Shiva," KRONOS VII:3 (Spring 1982), pp. 17-18.
11. P. Grimal, "Rome: Gods by Conquest," Larousse World Mythology (London, 1972), p. 180
12. E.Tonnelat, op. cit., p.253.
13. Ibid.
14. Ibid, p. 254.
15. Ibid., pp. 252 ff.
16. J. Bollenrucher, Gebete und Hymnen an Nergal ( 1904), p. 29.
17. I. Velikovsky (see ref. No. 1), p. 281.
18. F. Max Muller, Vedic Hymns (1891), Mandala 1, Hymn 171 and others in same work.
19. I. Velikovsky, op. cit., pp. 281-289.
20. D. Cardona, "Indra," KRONOS VII:3 (Spring 1982), pp. 19-24; R. Ashton, "Brhaspati," in Ibid., pp. 25-27; but see also A. Isenberg, R. Ashton, & D. Cardona, "Indra and Brhaspati," KRONOS VIII:4 (Summer 1983), pp. 75-85.
21. Idem, "Indra" (see above), pp. 19-21.
22. R. Tonnelat, op. cit., p. 253.
23. Ibid., pp. 252-253.
24. G. deSantillana & H. von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time (Boston, 1969), pp. 134-135, 373-374.
25. L. C. Stecchini, "Chronos and Kronos, " KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982), p. 41.
26. D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982), pp. 32, 36.
27. A detailed argument of this point would carry us well beyond the topic being discussed. It can safely be stated, however, that the connection of Saturn with time arose through the ancient belief that time did not exist prior to the Saturnian Age. The present writer hopes to be able to say more about this subject in his forthcoming serialization, "Darkness and the Deep".
28. D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982), pp. 35-36.
29. R. Graves, The Greek Myths (Harmondsworth, 1964), Vol. I, p. 38.
30. J.P. Hallet (with A. Pelle), Pygmy Kitabu (N.Y., 1973), p. 388.
31. J. W. Perry, Lord of the Four Quarters: Myths of the Royal Father (N.Y., 1970), p. 184.
32. E. A. W. Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians (N.Y., 1904/1969), Vol. I, pp. 300, 314.
33. J. W. Perry, op. cit., p. 188.
34. Ibid., p. 185.
35. Ibid., p. 182.
36. Ibid., pp. 182,183.
37. Ibid., p. 187.
38. J. Grimm, Teutonic Mythology (N.Y., 1966), Vol. I, p. 703.
39. Idem, Deutsche Mythologie (Tubingen, 1953 reprint of 4th ed.), p. 778.
40. J. W. Perry, op. cit., p. 185.
41. Ibid.
42. D. Cardona, "The Mystery of the Pleiades," KRONOS III:4 (Summer 1978), pp. 36, 38
43. J. W. Perry, loc. cit.
44. W. F. Warren, Paradise Found (Boston, 1885), p. 217.
45. J. W. Perry, op. cit., pp. 186-187.
46. B. Thorpe (trans.), The Elder Edda (N.Y., 1907), pp. 44-45 (emphasis added).
47. J. W. Perry, loc. cit.

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