Monday, 20 February 2017

The Serpent in Wodenic Lore

The Serpent is a symbol that works at four distinct levels which I am going to outline here -

1. In most ancient cultures it symbolises the creative force or energy of the supreme Universal Spirit. In this respect it symbolises the Life-Force that pulsates throughout the Nine Worlds, interconnecting these worlds.

2. In regard to the Earth it also represents the Life-Force that pulsates within the Living Earth. It is the Serpent-Current or Dragon-Current in this respect which moves along the energy-lines of the Earth - the Woevre. The White Dragon is important to us because it symbolises the energy of our own lands - Albion.

3. In man is manifests as consciousness reaching in its highest state towards knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment. It is the Fire-Serpent that has to be awakened at the base of the spine, rising upwards towards the higher realms, the realm of illumination. This is why the Hooded Serpent symbolises Woden as the God of Wisdom and Illumination.

4. At the lower level the Serpent symbolises virility, fertility and regeneration; here it is associated with Ingwe-Frey although this aspect has not come down to us.

The Serpent can move across the Earth, it can move in the waters, and the winged serpent (dragon) can move through the air; in this regard the symbol connects these through the ability to penetrate all things. In ancient times it was a symbol of the wisest of men, those who sought and acquired knowledge and wisdom. It was associated with the Druids of Albion - the Adder. Woden smites the adder, breaking it into nine parts (a sacred number); this is a 'healing charm' but it also suggests more. Woden uses Nine Glory-Twigs to do so, which has been interpreted as the figure below, the 'Mother of the English Runes' from which all of the runes emanate -

The symbol of the Nine Glory-Twigs represents the wholeness, the source, the Haeldom of the Runes. It represents the unity in the diversity of the rune-staves, each of which forms part of the whole. It does not contain just the 33-runes, for it contains various other known symbols from the North - the Wolf-Hook Rune for example. It is important to note that Woden uses nine twigs, and breaks the adder into nine pieces - the two numbers suggest that they represent the same thing at one level. The Nine Glory-Twigs thus represents the 'matrix' through which the runic forces pulsate, the Serpent-Force or Life-Force, and the runes represent one aspect each of that Serpent-Force.

The Serpent (Adder) represents the whole broken into nine parts making up the nine staves that form the 'Master-Rune' ('Nine Glory-Twigs'). The Serpent thus symbolises the whole ('hael') but it also symbolises the nine twigs that make up the whole, the unity in diversity. By meditating upon the symbol (yantra) the runes 'come to life' from that symbol. The 'mantras' are the sounds (gealdor) of the runes. The 'Mother-Rune' of the Armanen System is the Hagal-Rune within the hexagon, from which all other runes derive. The Nine Glory-Twigs uses exactly the same system, this being the 'Mother-Rune' out of which the others are formed. It would be a wise thing to base a simple meditation upon concentration upon the Yantra (Nine Glory-Twigs) and forming each rune-stave from the pattern of the whole. Full concentration is needed to do so, and the staves emerge as being of different proportions than we draw them normally. It also emerges that most staves are made up of the Is-Rune and the Ken-Rune (Germanic Form) - Ice and Fire.

This can be, in a sense, verified by past research which concluded that the human spinal column is represented by the 33 runes, reaching from the base (Coccyx) of the last 4 runes, the Sacrum of the next 5 runes, and the 24 runes of the unfused vertebrae. The shape of the human spinal column is that of an 'S' or a 'Serpent'. In this sense the spinal column is itself the 'Serpent', along which these runic forces move upwards and downwards.

If we use the alternative version of the Nine Glory-Twigs, shown below, the source or sacred centre is the Hagal-Rune (The Snowflake); this is the 'Seed of Life' -

When this is expanded it becomes the 'Flower of Life' -

The 'Seed of Life' is thus the source of the 'Flower of Life' as much as the Hagal-Rune/Snowflake-Rune is the source of the Nine Glory-Twigs (at this level). The rune-poems mention both the 'seed' ('corn') and the 'serpent' in regard to this rune. The analogy with the Haeldom of the Runes is thus  confirmed through this runic knowledge.

One of the roots from which the name 'Wotan' or 'Wuotan' derives is the Root *wuot- which means 'all-pervasive' or 'all-penetrating'. The meanings suggests the all-pervasive Life-Force or Serpent-Force. The wisest men of the ancient world were no doubt connected to the Serpent simply because they were those who understood the Serpent-Force best, and who could wisely connect with this force.

In India the Rishis or Initiates were those who understood this Divine Force; there was also a Race of Nagas ('naga' = 'serpent' in Sanskrit) who were of the Aryan Race, identified as being of 'Caucasian' appearance and possessing a rare knowledge of magic and insight into spiritual and natural forces. They were seen as 'White Magicians' and were a Solar Race with the Hooded Cobra as their emblem. In the 'Hidden Tradition' these Nagas were descended from a 'prehistoric race' whose homeland - the Island of the Serpents - was destroyed by a great cataclysm and flood some 10,000 years ago.

Now, I mentioned my own experience of a dream in which Woden is connected to the Hooded Cobra, but what I omitted to put in was the legends surrounding a 'White God' of the Americas known as Votan. This 'White God' came from Tula and he was of the Race of Chan - the term 'Chan' meaning Serpent. (*) We have two distinct and separate accounts of a White God and a White Race connected to the Serpent. We should, of course, mention that Quetzalcoatl and Viracocha are both connected to the Serpent too.

As I stated before, the Serpent is connected to the Druids so we need to look at this people now. What we see today as the 'Celtic Druids' is a moon-worshipping cult connected to such places as Stonehenge; certain aspects of the Druids seem to hint that they were once an Aryan Priesthood that were infiltrated and distorted in their works. Legends about them are varied and vague at times, but if we 'read between the lines' we can perhaps see an ancient Aryan Elite Priesthood such as the Nagas or the Race of Chan, and we can here suggest that they once formed an elite of At-al-land which may have been the 'Island of the Serpents' mentioned earlier, or at least an island which formed part of At-al-land.

In the background of the Horns of Gallehus we find various symbols which are 'dotted' rather than drawn as they would be, suggesting these are non-physical symbols. Many of these are serpents, and serpents can be found on the top of the horn shown above too. In fact the horns contain a good number of serpent-symbols which have never been explained.

The Serpent-Force is symbolised by a spiral, since this spiralling vortex-force forms the basis of life-forms at all levels. The movement of this spiralling force is symbolised by the Fylfot-Swastika, the above being the closest I can see to the real meaning of the symbol. If you look closely you can see a left-handed swastika as the main symbol (**), with a left-handed swastika forming the centre of the main symbol, and a left-handed curved swastika reaching outwards from the inner symbol. This symbol represents the movement of this force in time, whereas the reversed swastika (Widdershins Swastika) symbolises the movement back to the source.

Even in the Christian Bible we find the Serpent as the source of knowledge and wisdom; it is the Serpent who tempts Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. The Serpent has since ancient times been associated with knowledge and wisdom. In this respect it is interesting to note that the god named Votan was of the Race of Chan (Serpent), a name connected to the Kan-Rune or Ken-Rune which has the meaning 'knowledge' (ken) and 'serpent' (kan). The Ken-Rune represents the Fire-Serpent or Kundalini. The word 'kundalini' stems from a root meaning 'to coil'. I have shown how the Sig-Rune is also connected to the Serpent.

There are two equal and opposite forces whose inter-play is what is called the 'Universal Energy'. Through the interplay of these forces spirit involutes into matter.

  • The Hooded Cobra or Coiled Serpent symbolises the spiralling vortex-like movement of this Life-Energy as it permeates matter and 'livens' it. It is the Life-Force also sometimes known as 'Pure Consciousness'. The spiral forms also symbolise this force, and it was known as Sakti by the Hindus; it is a feminine, life-giving force, nurturing as the Cosmic Cow and non-aggressive and loving force.
  • The Sacred Number 9 is symbolic of this spiral-force, and the Number 6 its opposing force. The symbol is that of a spiral form.

The three-headed serpent (and maybe the three-tailed serpent on the Horn of Gallehus) seems to represent Creation-Preservation-Destruction represented by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in Hinduism. The roles of these triple-gods is clear in the physical when we consider that birth-life-death are the realities of all existence. This is why Guido von List based his runic work on the firm idea of birth-life-death-rebirth; his genius ensured that the cycle was not just 'birth-life-death' but continued into the next cycle through 'rebirth' or 'arising into new form'. Our own cycle seemingly ends with the 'dissolution' (destruction) which is given the most emphasis in Norse Mythology, but it is not an ending since the worlds rise again, green and pure.

The Edel-Rune/Odal-Rune is made up of twin Sig-Runes, here shown as 'Light and Darkness' in balance. The rune itself forms the IE Root *at-al meaning 'race', the basis of the name At-al-land. It could be pushing this too far my suggesting that the rune-stave represents Twin-Serpents, and thus the 'Island of the Serpents' mentioned in regard to the Nagas of the ancient world. In time-scale, and in the context of the legends, it seems quite possible that the sinking of a North-West European Homeland (At-al-land) meant a mass exodus to the West and to the East by sections of the tribes who dwelt there. Hamasson has mentioned that the Edel-Rune shape represents The Hooded One (Woden) so it could also represent The Hooded Serpent (Cobra).

Now, when the Vikings sailed across the oceans, raiding and conquering lands to the West and to the East, they sailed in ships that were built with great skill and ingenuity. On the front and rear of these ships was carved a dragon - a serpent. In some instances, such as their journeys to the Americas, they seem to have emulated their forebears - the 'White Gods' - sailing into these lands bearing the symbol of the Serpent just as did Quetzalcoatl and Viracocha, as well as other 'White Gods'.

I have shown this Mayan Stela many times before but the need to do so again arises due to the nature of this post. Shown here is an Aryan Thunder-God, red-bearded, red-haired and white features. He holds twin 'Hammers' and his ship is adorned with Serpents. Since we can find both a White Stone and also the Sign of Ingwe (XX) and the Gift of Ingwe X-XX) on this stela the idea that this represents one of the 'Serpent Elite' of At-al-land (ruled by Ingwe) comes into mind straightway. Indeed, the Ing-Rune itself is a glyph of the 'Double-Serpent' ('double-helix' or DNA) or 'Twin-Serpent'. Significantly this version is found here in England-Albion and differs from the Germanic Ing-Rune; in the Scandinavian row this rune is missing. This suggests a North-West European origin for the symbol, since it is found in Frisia too. These areas form part of the sunken lands of At-al-land.

The letter 'S' shows the serpent in its creeping form as it slides across the ground; the sound mimics the sound of the snake as it 'hisses', as the adder does in our lands. There are two other letters which have been used to represent the serpent - the 'N' and the 'Z', the latter of which is an 'N' turned upon its 'belly'. The names 'WODEN', 'ODIN', 'GODAN', 'WODAN', 'WYDION', 'WOTAN' and 'VOTAN' all end with the letter 'N', seen in many ancient texts as a sign of the Serpent. The suffix -an, -en, -on seems to be related to -an meaning 'master of', thus Woden or Wodan is 'Master of Wod'. But very often the word-hoard, through the ravishes of time, undergoes changes because the original meanings are forgotten altogether. Thus the meaning 'master of' could (emphasis on 'could' since we cannot be sure) have stemmed from the symbol of the Serpent as being the 'Master Folk' or 'Master Race' (such as the Shemsu Hor or 'Followers of Horus' from Egyptian Lore). This is a logical conclusion when we consider that the ancient Rishis, Nagas, and Hyperborean Druids were the 'Masters of the Life-Force' or 'Serpent-Force'. It is perhaps significant that our English word 'adder' is a corrupted form of the original Nadre.

The Irminsul is symbolic of the spinal column of man, the wings of the swan, eagle, dragon at the top being symbolic of the harmony of the left-brain and right-brain. It is this harmony that produces a higher consciousness or super-consciousness, the aim of raising the Serpent-Force at the base of the spine (base of the World-Tree) to become the Eagle-Swan-Winged Serpent at the top. It is thus the 'Serpent-Force' that creates a higher-consciousness and thus a 'higher man'.

It is significant to note that the Druids are always associated with Tree-Lore and the use of the Ogham underlines this. When we find that our English Rune-Row contains extra runes related directly to certain trees it is usual for scholars to see this as being a 'borrowing' (as always) from Celtic sources. This is not necessarily so, since these may stretch back into ancient times, back to At-al-land, the remnants of some of the Germanic Tribes remaining in these islands, today seen as 'Celts'.

The Torc is a twisted cord, and when worn around the neck is symbolic of Woden as the Hanged God. It is a sign of the Woden Initiate 'fettered' to the Great Initiator. But the twisted cord can also be a 'Coiled Serpent' and sometimes a serpent's head or dragon's head is added to the ends of the Torcs (especially in Viking times). This coiling pattern could represent the coiling, spiralling vortex-force or 'Serpent-Force' too. Since WUOTAN is the 'all-penetrating' god then his symbol is the Serpent. Symbols works at so many levels of meaning.

It could be thought that the 'crown' worn by kings represents the 'halo' seen on the 'saints' of Christian tradition. It would seem that the English used crowns at a later date, and the original head-gear was more like the Sutton Hoo Helmet or Mask, as symbolic of Woden. This has the Serpent moving over the skull, ending in the swan-eagle-dragon motif over the 'Mind's Eye', with the nose-piece representing the means to arouse the Serpent-Force - the Vital Breath. There are serpent-symbols to be found when we look carefully.

It is interesting to note that there is an IE Root *angwhi which means 'serpent' or 'eel' and gives rise to the Greek ekhis - 'snake'. There is also a Greek word ophis meaning 'snake' or 'serpent'.

The adder has this distinctive zig-zag pattern and is the only poisonous snake here in England. The Old English name was naedre meaning 'snake' from the Germanic nethro, which derives from an IE Root *ne-tr - 'snake' The above photo was taken on the South Downs in the South Saxon Mark (Sussex), where these are plentiful.

The Serpent symbolism has its 'evil' side, of course, and the serpent in the Garden of Eden is the main influence on this symbolism. When we look closely at this tale the Serpent was the friend of man, it was 'God' who wished to hold man in ignorance (easier to control). But the biblical serpent's depiction as 'evil' is not the only source since many Indo-European legends have an evil side to the symbolism. But the opposite side to the symbolism has been over-emphasised, hence the need for a work to show the other side of the coin.

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