Tuesday 21 February 2023

The Germanic Mannerbunde - Part One


The whole idea of research and study into the ancient Germanic Mannerbunde is not merely to look back into the past but to take stock of the past and how we can, in our own time, revive some of the most useful concepts of our forefathers. The Mannerbunde was made up of young aethlinga warriors who were sent out as Lone-Wolves or Wolfish Bands into the wilds to hunt and fight for their survival in the most harsh conditions. If young people today were subjected to such rigorous training the social services would seen get involved. And here lies the problem, since young men need to go through some forms of hardship and training in order to become strong men. This is denied them, although parents can, in some small degree, help by not bringing young boys up in totally soft conditions - martial arts, strength-training and survivalism are some ways to do this. 

In this Swedish bracteate we see what is most likely Woden as a Horned God, bearing the Solar-Horns & Lunar-Horns, a sword and two spears, in the pose of the Long Man of Wilmington. He seems to be leading a Wolf-Warrior in a war-dance; he is here the leader of the army of the ecstatic wolf-warriors. The Wolf-Warrior is a Wolf-Krieger or Ulfhedhnin, and the horned figure seems to have the right eye missing.

Woden's role in this Warrior Cult is as the Heerfuhrer or 'Leader of the War-Band'; but using the term 'Fuhrer' is not an arbitrary one, since this title links him to the Teuton Fury or Wolf-Fury which is the basis of the Wod-Force, and Woden is the 'Master of Wod'. The word here, here, heri is usually translated as 'army' but its origins lie in the idea of a war-band, a Cultic-Warrior Band. We find this term in the rod for the 'Single Combatants' or Einheriar. 

Here we should look at the idea of the Einheriar since they are the Chosen Warriors of Woden who ride out of Valhalla to fight the Last Battle at Ragnarok. They are thus the Warriors of Valhalla in this sense, but in another sense they could be seen as the Lone Wolves who are the last to stand here in Middle-Earth against the Forces of Darkness. They are the One-Harriers who stand alone and isolated in an alien world but who are ready and willing to stand behind the Heerfuhrer when he arises to lead them into the Last Battle. 

The Old English hergian, herigan means 'to make a predatory raid, to destroy, to lay waste, to plunder, to despoil, commit ravages', and the modern English 'to harry' and 'harrow' stem from this too. War was razzia, the theft of cattle and the abduction of women; this seems clear from much later times when the Americas were being settled by pioneers, and cattle-rustling was one of the 'pastimes' of this era. In later times, such a the Viking era, we find much the same thing, but at this time it was mainly gold and not cattle, since gold had replaced cattle as a means of barter. This is shown in the rune-poems where the Old English Poem has 'cattle' for Feoh, and later substitute 'gold'. This was called by the PIE *koryo-no-s and the troop were the *koryos; we shall refer here to the war-band as the heri since this is the Germanic title.

These were Cultic Warrior Brotherhoods and Thunor was chided by Loki as being an einheri which tells us that Thunor is the Archetypal Cultic-Warrior. These Cultic-Warriors upheld the Totenkult (Cult of the Dead) and the Ahnenkult (Cult of the Ancestors). Woden its the Totenfuhrer im Totenheer who leads the Army of the Dead, and the dead are the honoured ancestors - the Immortals - whose life force, that divine spark, is far more potent after death than before they died. It matters little whether they died in battle or of old age, it was their life's work that counted. Believing that one has to die on battle to go to Valhalla could mean that the individual only has to fight one fatal battle to do so; this is like the Christian view that it only needs a death-bed 'conversion' to do the trick. The secret lies in a Heroic Life that ends in death, where the Life-Force lives on, but it lives on in its own Immortal Body which cannot die again. 

The whole theme of 'Halloween' or 'All-Hallows Eve' is that of an Ancestral Cult and Cult of the Dead. The skeletal dress, the weapons, the ghostly aspect of the dead, the point of the year when the Veils of the World are thinnest, even the 'Trick and Treat' which is supposed to be a modern addition, but which has its roots in the Cultic-Warrior Cults. Between October 31st (Halloween), November 5th (Fire-Festival) and November 11th (Einheriar Day) we have a long ritual period dedicated to the Totenkult and to the Ahnenkult. 

Both the Wild Host or Wild Army and the Wild Hunt are connected to these Cultic Brotherhoods, hunting being a kind of practice for warfare at this time. In blackening their faces and body, and wearing masks, these Cultic-Warriors are Woden's Daemonic Warriors - they are the Dead! This is a concept that arises anew in Lord of the Rings where Aragorn leads an 'Army of the Dead' into the Battle of Pelinor Fields. 

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