Hinduism has a concept of 'God' as being both un-manifest and manifest, as the One God of which the gods are projections. Most sections of Odinism do not recognise this concept, but in ancient Germania it is likely that it did exist, as I am going to try to show now. Woden is polytheistic and believes in many gods and goddesses, each with their own attributes, each being an archetype with their own archetypal myth. But we do have Woden as the All-Father, something we now must consider.
Tolkien studied Germanic and Celtic Lore, as well as having researched in other Indo-European myth and legend. He based his works on this and his cosmology starts with the idea of the Illuvater also known as Eru, both seemingly meaning 'The One'. The name Illu-vater is obviously Illu-Father, a name which reminds me of 'All-Father'. I think what we need to remember here is that in Hinduism as well as Germanic Lore it is not unusual to find a god becoming the 'High God' at some stage. So Woden becomes the All-Father, achieved through his actions and his struggles.
We have the name Uralten used in Germany, which is a variation of the name Wr.alda, the latter coming from the Oera Linda Book. Both would mean The Primal Old One, or The Primal Ancient One. Using the Old English we would render this Urealdan perhaps - Ur-eald-an. The Frisian Wr,alda is merely Uur-Alda which is 'Primal Old'. Significantly, in the Oera Linda Book the symbol of Wr.alda is the Yule or Yule-Wheel, a six-spoked wheel within a circle, which (it was said) the runes can be found. This I feel we should not dismiss, even though the book is obviously not historical, since it infers that the runes emanate from The One.
In the Eddu Kvaedi or 'Saemund's Edda' we find Voluspa which starts it off, and whose third stanza starts with Ar var alda, a phrase repeated at the start of Helgakvida Hundingsbana ('Lay of Helgi Hundingsbane'). This phrase is usually translated as 'in olden times' or something like that. I have suggested before that I see this as a direct reference to The First Time or The Primal Time which is something like the Egyptian Zep Tepi which also means 'The First Time'.
The god associated with Zep Tepi is Osiris, husband of Isis and father of Horus. He is the bringer of culture & agriculture to Egypt, so we are told. The Germanic equivalent would be our own Sceaf who also came at The First Time to bring culture and civilisation to the northern Island of Scandi. They are thus the same archetype in different traditions. We need to go to the Egyptologist R.T. Rundle Clarke to explain this -
"The creation of the myths was founded on certain principles. These are strange and, as yet, only partially understood. The most important element seems to have been as follows:
(a) The basic principles of life, nature and society were determined by the gods long ago, before the establishment of kingship. This epoch - Zep Tepi - 'the First Time' - stretched from the first stirring of the High God in the Primeval Waters to the settling of Horus upon the throne and the redemption of Osiris. All proper myths relate events or manifestations of this epoch.
(b) Anything where existence or authority had to be justified or explained must be referred to the 'First Time'. This was true for natural phenomena, rituals, royal regalia, the plans of temples, magical or medical formulae, the hieroglyphic system of writing, the calendar - the whole paraphernalia of the civilisation."
He gives an example of this which was that of the closing of the daily temple ritual where the priests raised a small figure of Maat - the Goddess of Law and Order - in front of the divine image. This meant that rightness and order had been re-established, but it was also a repeat of the event that took place at the beginning of the world - of some mythical happening in the time of the gods, the First Time.
I have touched upon all this before, so it is not new, but it is of extreme importance in understanding ritual and why it is necessary to look more carefully into our use of it within Folkish Wodenism. What is said here is merely another way of saying that we have to reconnect to the Sacred Centre since the High God here rises with the Primeval Mound (Sacred Mountain) which arises out of the Primeval Waters. Again, this is where the Mandala of Thule comes into play, for this also is the layout of the 'First Time'.
This starts at the point of the appearance of the 'High God' who can now be equated with Ur-eald-en or Uralten. He appears from the Primeval Waters on the Primeval Mountain (Su-Me-Ru) in what we can now call Ar var alda - the Primal First Time. This was the Golden Age of Perfection which we dream of a return to in our times, indeed we not only dream but we struggle to attain. This Golden Age comes to a sudden end when Osiris is slain by his brother Set.
I have mentioned Sceaf as being similar to Osiris, and I have in the past linked him with Ingwe (Frey). Since Horus is the son of Osiris, and takes on his role as the Divine King then it may also be right to link Horus with Ingwe, the latter being 'The Son' and also 'The Hero-God' (Horus = Heru = Hero). Thus, we have an interesting link with Scyld Scefing who is 'Shield, Son of Sheaf' (Beowulf); Scyld would thus be the 'Hero-God', and in Beowulf it is he who arrives in a boat as the Divine Child. The Father and the Son are one - this is a typical saying in esoteric lore.
There is also an interesting connection between the 'First Time' in Egyptian texts (the Edfu Texts) and what is known as the Seven Sages. The words of these Seven Sages were written down by Thoth, the God of Wisdom, and this work located certain 'sacred mounds' along the Nile. These Seven Sages appear in ancient Babylonian tradition and are said to have 'lived before the flood'; they also appear in Indian tradition as the Seven Rishis, and are said to have survived the flood. It would thus appear that these Seven Sages are enlightend beings who survive a great catastrophe (flood in this case) and start the process of rebuilding at the dawn of a new age, referred to as the 'First Time'.
This does fit with what has been already said, since the arising of the Primeval Mountain from the Waters of Chaos suggests the start of a new age after a catastrophic change. This was the New Creation after the destruction of the Old World. We have the same idea in the Eddas where the Earth arises once more from the Waters of Chaos, renewed and regenerated. The same thing actually happens (in symbolism) when Noah's Ark lands on Mount Ararat (The Primeval Mountain) and the waters recede, thus a new age begins.
We can also see this theme when we find the phrase Ar var alda at the beginning of the Lay of Helgi Hundingsbane since he comes at a time when one world age passes and another begins, at the time of the beginning of what is known as the Age of Iron, the Dark Age or Kali Yuga (Warg-Age). This confirms that this phrase - Ar var alda - equates with the 'First Time' or 'Primal Old Time'.
According to the Edfu Texts the Seven Sages came from an island - 'The Homeland of the Primeval Ones - and that this island was destroyed by a flood. We may here be seeing a reference to the sinking of At-al-land in the north-west of Europe, when a remnant of those in these lands fled to Egypt and started a new civilisation there. These were the Builder Gods, The Sages, Lords of Light who were very much like an older shadowy brotherhood called the Shemsu Heru/Shemsu Hor ('Followers of Horus'). (We should note that these were the 'architects' who rebuilt the fallen world, and these were a Secret Brotherhood who held and passed on their secrets. Indeed, in a later epoch we find hints that these secrets were stolen by a Dark Brotherhood who slew the Divine King to get them. This Dark Brotherhood were responsible for the creation of Masonry, whose great 'God' is 'The Architect'. It seems that they used these secrets to build their New World Order as a parody of what is natural right and good.)
In these same Edfu Texts the first manifestation of the new world took the form of a rod - 'The Perch' - on which the Divine Falcon rested. In Heliopolis there was much the same symbol, this time the Bennu (Phoenix) sat upon the pillar or column (rod). What is interesting to us is that the symbolism here is that of the Saxon Irminsul which is the Column of Irmin topped by the wings of a Swan (or other bird).
The Seven Sages are known for their knowledge, wisdom and understanding, as the name suggests. Do we have any reference to them in Norse Mythology, Well, no, not directly at least; but we do have reference to the Seven Sons of Mimir who we are told awake just before Ragnarok, i.e. just before a great catastrophe that destroys the old world. These, as the name suggests, were the Seven Sons of Memory. This itself is a significant title since it does suggest that we have a group of sages who retain the Blood Memory of the Ar var alda and who arise anew before a great catastrophe and who survive in order to rebuild after the disasters.
Indeed, these are the Seven Sleepers who lie asleep until awakened by the Horn of Awakening, and who take up the Seven Swords (of Wayland?) to do battle at the Ragnarok. The Heathen Teutons believed that near the ocean maelstrom (whirlpool) caused by Hvergelmer ('The Roaring Kettle') seven men slept from time immemorial under a rock. These are the Seven Sons of Mimir, who are great craftsmen (smiths) who made the weapons of the Gods. Mimir was a smith-god and his sons were smiths. It is also interesting to note that Mimir was the Wise God and the Seven Sages were known for their knowledge and wisdom.
Mimir's death ensured that the World Tree, Iggdrasil, would wither and begin to die; at the same time his Seven Sons fell into a deep sleep, awaiting the time of Ragnarok when they would resurrect in order to renew the World Tree and begin a new Golden Age. The key to the awakening of the Seven Sleepers is Hama's blowing of the Giallarhorn - the Horn of Awakening. This awakens the Powers of Light to the Last Battle.
* The phrase 'Ar var alda' contains 'Ar alda' which seems to be an alternative to Ur alda.
** In regard to Masonry their main symbol is the compass and square, tools of the 'builder'. This symbol is not far from our own Ing-Rune in its English version. Masonry appears, as stated, to have been a Secret Brotherhood holding the 'Secrets of Light' whose secrets were stolen by a Dark Brotherhood who slew the Divine Priest-King and stole these secrets. This seems to have been recorded in the legend of Hiram Abif.