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The rune AND the god--my opinions

From: "Ingeborg S. Nordén" 
Subject: The rune AND the god--my opinions
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 12:00:35 -0500

Hail Jordsvin (and my other friends who get this)!

Although I haven't commented on the last two runes (you pretty much covered
everything I would have said!), I can't resist chiming in for Ingwaz--being
a fellow devotee of Freyr myself.

Many Heathens have asked me if my first name was connected with this rune.
They're actually right:  "Ingeborg" does mean "Freyr's help" or "Freyr's
protection" in Old Norse.  Other Scandinavian names preserve the Ing-
element as well; though they aren't as common as the Thor-names, enough
still exist to show that Freyr's cult had some serious followers in ancient

As far as that verse in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem:  I've seen other
Anglo-Saxon texts which used "Dane" generically to mean "Norseman".  (When
those church historians were writing about Vikings looting their
monasteries, they really didn't care which country the raiders came from!
*LOL*)  Given that the Ynglingasaga already associates Freyr with Sweden,
and that the Swedes live the farthest east of all Scandinavians...well, you
figure it out.  (Yes, Anglo-Saxon had a separate word for Swedes; but the
poet did have to watch his alliteration!)

There are also a lot of runic inscriptions *by* Swedes, raised to
commemorate people who died "in the east with Yngvarr".  Now, this Yngvarr
may have been a flesh-and-blood sea captain (the stones that mention his
name were raised at the time when Swedes were sailing out to Russia and
Byzantium).  But if he wasn't, then comparing that line with the Anglo-Saxon
verse DOES make you go "hmmm"!

Some rune books, BTW, try to make Ingwaz into a "castration" rune--reading
Freudian symbolism into the myth where Freyr sacrifices his magic sword to
gain a wife.  I see at least THREE things wrong with that interpretation:
(1)  Castrating yourself in order to get married, makes about as much sense
as cutting off your feet to enter a marathon!  (2)  The groom giving the
bride an ancestral sword seems to be a regular Norse marriage custom; if
phallic symbolism *is* involved, I'd associate it with offering the woman
his manhood to use normally.  (3)  The conventional image of Freyr (judging
by the lore and religious art) is anything BUT castrated!

Believe it or not, one feminist rune book (Susan Emmett's _Lady of the
Northern Lights_) even claims that Freyr was originally a "Great Mother
Goddess" whom Norsemen later changed into a castrated male.  There is NO
evidence in the lore for this kind of sex-change, however.  If all Emmett
wanted to do was eliminate a male reference, she could have simply
re-assigned Ingwaz to Freyja... ;-)

Even though I am both single and childless by choice, Freyr occasionally
reminds me that his sexual aspect is still very real.  Here's a rather
graphic example:  I work as a rune-reader on the market square each weekend.
One of my clients, who turned out to have Swedish ancestors, said that he
was looking for someone to teach him more about Asatru and the runes.  After
he had left, I asked my runes whether Freyr had sent this man to me--and the
Ingwaz rune was the first one out of the bag!  Now for the X-rated part:  on
my way home, I noticed that someone had left a rubber "marital aid" (quite
realistic-looking, too!) leaning against a tree.  If THAT wasn't a divine
calling card, I don't know what would qualify.  *ROFL*

Ingwaz as a seed-rune in general:  I agree with that interpretation 100%.
Seeds in the earth or in the body are both alive, but have not grown yet;
their potential energy is still hidden.  I also see a connection with the
dead here:  the spirit living on in the grave until its time for rebirth
comes.  Again, I'm reminded of that passage in Ynglingasaga--

"When it became known to the Swedes that Frey was dead, and yet peace and
good seasons continued, they believed that it must be
so as long as Frey remained in Sweden; and therefore they would not burn his
remains, but called him the god of this world, and afterwards offered
continually blood-sacrifices to him, principally for peace and good

In the original Old Norse, BTW, two particular words are worth noticing.
First, the word for "Sweden" (_Svíţjóđ_) literally means the Swedish PEOPLE,
not the place they inhabit.  I don't believe in a folk-soul per se, nor do I
believe that Freyr is as strictly attached to one place as a landwight would
be.  I don't necessarily believe that Freyr was buried in that mound at
Gamla Uppsala either (if he was, any evidence is long gone by now).
BUT...the Swedish *people* acknowledged that their peace and prosperity
depended on Freyr's staying among them, even in death.

Second, the word for "world" in that passage does NOT mean the earth or the
environment.  (If that were what Snorri had meant, the Old Norse would have
called Freyr _heimsins gođ_, not _veraldar gođ_!)  The word _veröld_
literally translates as "man-age" or "human lifetime".  ("God of everyday
life" or "god of the here and now" would be more accurate, though less
formal, translations!)  Those tie in with your comments:  "This is a very
GOOD rune.  'Good sex', as Dr. Ruth would put it, as
well as good food, good friends, and a good home life all fall under Ingwaz
in some way. "  Very appropriate for a god of everyday life at its best!

Please feel free to add these comments to your web site, as long as you
acknowledge the source.  I'll also be sending copies of this message to a
few other rune-minded friends, if that's OK with you.

Ingeborg S. Nordén

Ek Ingwibergo stabaz fahiđo

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