This is the one hundred and 88th post on this blog; to mark this occasion I am going to remind people of the importance of Ingui, and in doing so equate him with Scef (Sheaf).
"This Sheaf came to land in a small boat, surrounded by weapons, on an island in the ocean which is called Scani. He was indeed a very young child and unknown to the folk of that land. However, they took him up and looked after him as carefully as if he were one of their own kin and afterwards elected him king. And King AEthelwulf came from the line of his descendants."
(Ealdorman AEthelweard in 990 added this note to the genealogy of the West Saxon Royal Line.)
About 150 years after this recording William of Malmesbury told the story of Sheaf as below -
"He was brought as a child in a ship without oars...he was asleep and a sheaf of corn lay at his head. Therefore he was called Sheaf and taken for a miracle by the people of that region and carefully fostered. When he grew up he reigned in a town that was called Slaswic and now called Haithebi. Now that district is called Old Anglia...from it the Anglii came to Britain.
De Gestis Regum Anglorum Book II.
In the time of King Edmund I (941-946) the monks of the Abbey of Abingdon were in dispute over a piece of land and this is recorded about it -
"....the monks put a sheaf of corn, with a lighted taper at its head, onto a round shield and launched the shield into the Thames where it flowed past the abbey...."
This 'ritual' was used to lay claim to a piece of land but it clearly derives from the Legend of Sheaf. The West Saxon Royal Line stemmed from Woden, but the name 'Noah' was added to Christianise it - we would think maybe. They also added Scef (Sheaf), Scyld (Shield, his son) and Beow (Barley, son of Scyld), the latter becoming 'John Barleycorn' of the song.
We are primed to see the 'addition' of a Christian figure (Old Testament really) as being a deliberate attempt by the Christians to legitimise their new religion, but if we consider that a dual-faith existed until around the Tenth Century at least the addition of 'Noah' could have been because he is the one figure associated with 'The Flood'. There are certain things that hint that this legend was not originally about the area from which the English moved from to get over to England, but was a far older legend about an earlier folk-movement.
- The entry of 'Noah' associated with a Great Flood and catastrophe.
- The 'ship without oars' is just one version of this, and it is the opinion of many that this was a ship pulled by Swans, a theme developed in the figure of Lohengrin. Swans are, and always have been, associated with Thule and Hyperborea.
- There are certain distinct symbols we can get from the Legend of Sheaf and the Legend of Scyld Scefing (Shield, Son of Sheaf) found in Beowulf - Sheaf of Corn, Sun-Disc or Sun-Shield, the Lighted Taper (Fire).
The archetype that comes to mind is that of Hama-Heimdall who is also associated with Fire; he is the 'Manu of the Aryans' and his role as the progenitor of the Divine Order of Caste is the same as Manu of the Hindus. The figure of Sheaf 'appears from the Great Deep' which is something etched firmly in the English Consciousness. Even in the animated 'Beowulf' film this very theme arises as Beowulf appears from the sea (Great Deep), and the song has this written into it too.
The above symbol is that of the Swan Ship that arises from the Great Deep (Wafeln) and depictions of swan-masted ships of this same shape can be found in Scandinavia. This is the Swan-Ship that sails upon the Waters of Chaos and Dissolution. This is important because the Legend of Sheaf most likely recalls the folk-movement out of At-al-land when Ingwe led the English Tribes away from the catastrophic sinking of the land-mass, leading them eastwards across the waves. This, of course, is not recorded since it is the arrival of Sheaf that is given to us by these records. But we have to realise that this is an Archetypal Myth which is clear when we hear of a 'ship without oars' because the Sun-Child and 'Child of Light' is an Avatar of Ingwe who appears at a particular time of the Cycle of the Ages in order to aid his Folk in a time of disasters. This Archetypal Myth would also appear far earlier than the sinking of At-al-land, back to the Legend of Thule-Hyperborea.
In my opinion we should not take the account of the Abingdon monks in a literal sense; what is more likely is that this ancient Legend of Scef was recorded through hiding it within a Christian context, as has been done in the New Testament. The 'disputed meadows' that were being flooded became 'an island' which merely adds yet another symbolism to the account - Sheaf of Corn, Shield, Taper, and Island.
I know the English may lay claim to this myth but I would be very surprised if it is not known to many Indo-European Myths and Legends. It was known to the Langobards who are akin to the English. Further research is needed on this subject because if it does appear (obviously not the same version) in other mythologies then we may be able to get even more knowledge of the figure of Scef-Ingwe. The Legend of Agni from the Vedas is certainly based around a Fire-God who appears from the waters and whose role is to create Fire-by-Friction, which is hinted at in the 'lighted taper' mentioned by the Abingdon monks. We can gain a great deal of knowledge from the accounts of Agni which add to our own work.