Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Not So Random Thought - The Irminsul and Externsteine

The winners of every contest brag about their success while the losers try to not let their heads fall too low, especially if they were forced militarily into giving up more than a battlefield victory.  History is written by the victorious, but often later than the actual event and many times not by true eye witnesses (in the case of the history of the Christianization of Northern Europe, it may be more akin to playing whisper down the valley).  In those days Monotheism's Christianity while consolidating its power, I think, was afraid of losing the very things that it killed  to possess; hearts, minds, souls, and the still breathing bodies of the vanquished.

Charlemagne and his churchmen found the Saxons a hard nut to crack - it's not called The Thirty Year Saxon Wars for nothing.  Good old Charlemagne and his priests created something known as the Saxon Baptismal Vow.  Translated, it reads something like ..... I renounce all the deeds and words of the devil, Thunear, Woden, and Saxnot, and all those fiends that are their companions.  It appears that in their fear fest they tried to collectively make Thor, Wodan, and Saxnot into their devil, something a good Christian then and now wants nothing to do with. That said, it was then and still is  commonplace today to vilify what stands in the way of victory/consolidation (because it is a threat to the new status quo and therefore must be eliminated - even after centuries!).  Also during this era it was recorded that Charlemagne tore down the Saxon's holy Irminsul.  Or did he just rip out a tree and the history become distorted?

Back in the year 1564 a fellow named Hermann Hamelmann floated the idea that the stones found at Externsteine and the immediate environs was the Saxons most holy site and the home of the Irminsul.
August Hunt, in his book, The Terrible One's Horse:  Revealing The Secrets of Norse Myth (pages 139-140 Daniel August Hunt Copyright @2012 Stag Spirit Books) postulates that maybe, just maybe the stones themselves (or at least the tall one) is/are the Irminsul.  If Hunt's postulation is correct, the Irminsul still stands and is a tribute to the Heathen spirit.  Here is another interesting piece of information.

Externsteine is located within the Teutoburg Forest.  It was in this forest in 9 CE that Arminius of the Cherusci led a combined tribal force that annihilated a Roman army consisting of three full Legions and their auxiliary units.  Very interesting indeed.

Author's note:  Concerning the Irminsul and the Externsteine stones - all we have is tradition, and no facts to support the tradition or any postulation, regardless how tantalizing they may be.  But in time, who knows.  It certainly would not be the first time jaded, recorded history is proven wrong.

                                                        Copyright @2016 Terry Unger

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