'But the Harii, savage as they are, enhance their inborn wildness over and above the strength in which they surpass the peoples just enumerated, by devices and moment: black are their shields, their bodies painted; for battles they pick the blackest of nights, and by their very dreadfulness - and more - the semblance of an army of the dead - they produce terror. No foe can bear their strange and, so to speak, hellish aspect; for in every battle the eyes are defeated first. '
Tacitus - Germania 43.
The name used here, Harii, does not appear to be a tribal name at all, but that of a war-band. The name comes from the Old English here/Old Saxon heri meaning 'to make a predatory raid, to destroy, to lay waste, to plunder, to despoil or to commit ravages. We get the English 'to harry' from this. The god that such war-bands follow is usually that of Woden Herian. The description of this war-band seems to infer that they made themselves look like the dead, and were a Totenkult or 'Death Cult'.
We can see in the 'Jolly Roger' flag that the Death's Head or 'Skull & Crossbones' has an eye-patch, thus seemingly depicting the One-Eyed Hunter-God, Woden. This eye-patch has become the symbol of a 'pirate' who is in himself a 'raider' and one who 'makes a predatory raid'. This symbolism must have been used deliberately, since it is hardly logical to put an eye-patch on a skull which has not eyes. Woden is the mythical leader and personification of the heri; he is the Totenfuhrer im Totenheer.
We find a tale about a 'British King' named King Herla, except that he is not 'British' at all - his name is English. There is a Proto-Germanic Root *xaril which becomes the Old English herel and since we find the title Herlathing connected to King Herla, this stems from the OE Her(e)la cyng thus 'Herla King'. There is an English Tribe called the Herelingas mentioned in Widsith. The name is also connected to the Old French Herlekin which later became 'Harlequin', which is a kind of 'Jester' figure and has direct connections to Woden.
It is interesting to note that the name 'Odin' is pronounced something like 'Hooden' which is a name used in Kent connected to the 'Hooden Horse', and has been seen to be Woden by some scholars. Of course, this relates to the name 'Robin Hood', the one-eyed wanderer wearing a red mask, rover of the woodlands of England. Woden is the 'Master of Wod' and as such he can confer this power upon his faithful warriors, making them become super-human. But since they belong to him he can claim them as his right. The term wod can mean 'inspired' or 'possessed', i.e. possessed by Woden.
OE woth - song, sound, poetry.
OE wothbura - poet, speaker, prophet.
IE Root *wat-
The Woda is the force itself, whilst Woden/Wodan is the one who possesses this force, and he can confer it upon his chosen warriors. These are the 'people possessed by fury'. These are the Woden Initiates and in some of the plays still performed here in England the killing and the resurrection of The Fool is the death and rebirth of the Woden Initiate. We can see the figure as a kind of 'jester' here -
As I have said before, the word 'heathen' does not mean the same as 'pagan'; the former refers to one who lives outside the bounds of 'civilisation' for he lives on the 'heath'. The latter, the 'pagan' dwells in the village because that is what the name means, and area that has boundaries. 'Robin Hood' dwells in the woodlands, in the wilderness, outside the bounds of the village or town. 'Heathen' is more akin to the Wolf's Head who lives outside the bounds of society. In a sense this is how we use the term today, even though we live in this society - yet we do not wish to be part of it.
A 'warg' is one who is forced outside society as an outcast; but in relation to the times that we are living in today, we are 'wargs' or 'outcasts' since we are not held to be welcome with the world-view that we hold.
All of which stem from a Gmc Root *wurger meaning 'strangler'; this suggests a link more to Woden as the 'God of the Hanged' than to the Wolf itself. The Dacians used the term dhau meaning 'to strangle', again suggesting the same thing. There were a group of Scythians called the Saka Haomavarka whose name derives from the haoma which is the equivalent of the Aryan Indian soma. An Old English term wodfreca means 'mad', 'ravening' or even 'wolfish rage', and also refers to the Wolf-Fury.
There are also names which stem from very early high civilisations -
UR-BA-RA (Hittite) -
UR-BARA (Sumerian) - 'Dog of the outside', i.e. the Wolf.
These seem to be linked to the name BURI and to BOR, since the name 'buri' is associated with a wild animal, and to the Wolf in particular. These all stem from the same roots that give us the terms bear and boar. Woden was named Ulhedhin and his wolf-warriors the Ulfhedhnar; this can be rendered wolfhetan/wolfhetin and from these ideas we get the word hedhinn which was a short hooded cloak of fur, thus wolf-fur.
The Wolf-Hook Rune, as Runebinder has shown, represents Orion the Hunter, and thus Woden, the One-Eyed Hunter-God. This is symbolised here in England by the Herne Giant (Cerne Giant).
This can be seen if you impose the Wolf's Hook Rune over the Seven Stars of Orion, using the version below -
When talking of the Sutton Hoo ship-burial Karl Hauck says -
'If the dead ruler is given his battle-standard with him in his grave, one may consider, at any case in the sphere of the Woden-Religion, whether is age did not imagine the ruler as a leader of a Retinue of the Dead.'
This is a very interesting thought since we can assume that the burying of the ruler's weapons and equipment must serve him in some way after death. This has no logical sense unless we see this as having some sort of symbolic value that in some spiritual sense can be used when he enters Valhalla. These 'physical' weapons and regalia in some way have a spiritual reality that can be used when he leads the 'Army of the Dead'.
Also, when the fallen warriors become The Immortals their Life-Force, or Divine Spark, becomes far more powerful when they are dead, now that they are no longer mortal. The young warrior has the most powerful Life-Force, and in death they become the Einheriar. What lives on after death is the Life-Force itself, and this lives on in its own body - he is an Immortal. Red is the colour of youth, the symbol of strength, the symbol of Thunor; it is the colour of war and is associated with the Dead.
'The consecrated members of the Bund are immortal and are one with the Spirits of the Dead.'
Berserks bellowed - this was their battle;
Wolfskins shrieked and shook their weapons.
The Valknut or Walknut is the 'walk-knot' which means Wolf-Knot, that which 'binds' the Wolf-warrior to Woden the Wolf-God. If this is laid out in the right way it actually creates a slip-knot which infers, and symbolises, the 'Hangman's Knot' or 'Strangler'. The Root *walk- and the Root *warg- are variations of one another. We have another clue to the use of the term warg/walk as 'to strangle'. These stem from the IE Root *wergez meaning 'to strangle'. I have also mentioned before how the 'Torc' worn around the neck is most likely a symbol of dedication to Woden. A 'torc' by definition is a 'torque' which refers to a twisted cord; this is a rope and around the neck the 'Hangman's Rope' - again related to 'to strangle'.
It is not too well known that the figure of 'St. Christopher' is described thus in the Old English tradition -
'He had the head of a hound, and his locks are extremely long, and his eyes shone as bright as the Morning Star, and his teeth were as sharp as boar's tusks.'
Of course, 'St. Christopher' is either Wade, who carries his son, Weland the Smith, on his shoulders over the waters, or Weland carrying his son, Widia, over the waters nine-yards deep. He is merely a Christianised version of the old god Wade/Weland. He is described as healfhunding - 'half-hound'.
'The beast must get loose again, must return into the wilderness..'
The One-Eyed God was known throughout these islands in the most ancient times, and has come down through various myths and legends. The Irish God, Lugh, is seen with ravens and bearing a Magical Spear; he stands on one leg and closes one eye. (*) In one tale Fergus mac Roich is slain by the blind Lugaid, and obvious reference to Lugh. His son, Cu Chullain is also seen as 'one-eyed' in some accounts, as I have shown in a previous post. Lugh means 'Light' and his counterpart in Welsh Myth is Llew who is actually seen as being hung upon an Oak Tree, just as Woden is hung upon a tree. Llew is the son of Gwydion (Woden). The Celtic 'Wild Herdsman' is another aspect of Woden, and he is seen as 'one-eyed'.
The key to understanding the Wolf-Fury and its connection to the Wolf-God, Woden, is in the continuous theme here of 'to strangle', which obviously refers to the 'God of the Hanged' whose symbol is the 'noose' around the neck. There are so many cases of a sacrificial victim with a noose around the neck that this suggests a connection with Woden. Of course, most scholars will not connect this ti Woden because it is 'before his time', as if he did not exist here in these islands before the 'Anglo-Saxons' came over. These victims are found in a bog usually, which suggests something else; such sacrifices are usually done in this manner to hold the victim down, and not let his spirit escape. This may because they have done something that transgresses the Holy Laws set down by the Gods. This is not certain but is suggested by the methods used.
(*) This is the 'Crane Stance' where one stands on one leg, shuts one eye, and holds a hand behind the back.