Monday, 6 February 2012
The Snow and Moon
Both snow and the moon are blazing and cold white. There is a moon god named Mani in Germanic mythology but no actual knowned moon goddess. Or is there one and She's obscured by different stories and clashes of myth and time? I want to investigate this for one, and see if there is a hidden lunar goddess, or White Goddess, in Germanic myth.
In Germanic myths as told in the Eddas, there is a solar goddess, a powerful divinity queen named Sunna. She has a brother named Mani, a lesser known male god. I don't think enough has been written about sun goddesses and even moon gods, as this removes the solar and lunar from male and female by dividing this in tight catagories. For instance in Wicca, the great god and goddess are partitioned and the female goddess is moon/night/winter/water and the male god is considered sunlight/day/summer/fire. This view places too much value on male and female without looking into the deeper source. Fire and water is just fire and water. A male can be considered a story rough sea, while female water is calm. A male fire is angry and blazing, while the female fire is a hot dancing flame.
The lunar goddess is a major power. She features in other Indo-Aryan myths from the Greeks to the Celts and the Vedic Indians. She appears also in other cultural myths. Yet the male lunar god is vastly popular, sometimes unknown depending on whereabouts the myth comes from, and also just as significant as the sun gods and goddesses. For instance, besides Mani of Germanic myth, there are well known moon gods who are Manno (from the Finnish Sami), Jarilo (Slavic), Men (Phrygian Greek), Kaskuh (Hittite), and others.
Moon gods are also established fact, and these moon worshipping people focus primarily on one aspect of themselves. They avoid the solar and the lights. This is probably why the sun goddess is little known, or why the moon god isn't talked about because the sun goddess - gentle sun. The moon god - aggression and influence. Many people don't think of the three main world religions as lunar because of the hypnotic influence delving too much into the wrong side of the brain.
Now what of the Germanic moon goddess? There should be one, but there isn't a mention of one in the Eddas. However, I can locate different clues.
Most obvious is the Goddess of Night, named Natt. She rides two horses, and one is brilliant white as the moon. Yes she's a cosmic goddess of darkness.
As in many myths, there are different types of gods. Some of the earlier gods, the first ones were giants or titans. This includes the sun and the moon. Mani is a brother. To the solar male god Apollo of the Greeks, he has a lunar sister Artemis. The Germanic myths have the twins in reverse, the girl is the sun and boy is the moon. Yet there were many lunar dieties in Greek and Roman myths, Apollo and Artemis the humanlike gods and children of gods, but the Great Sun and Great Moon symbolised more powerful beings.
There is a female aspect of the moon. There is a widely accepted moon goddess and she has many names but not so in Germanic myth. For instance these myths were passed down orally. They were written down during the Middle Ages by Christians and monks. They would've had a say-so in what to extract and also whatever to write down, and I'm suggesting censorship took place when they wrote it down.
Among the gods and goddesses were giants. I can think of a goddess that is a White Goddess of winter, and winter is linked with snow and the moon. Could Skadi, the frost giantess be a moon goddess also? Skadi has been associated with hunting, sport and being a maiden. Although gods and goddesses have their special animals, many are with animals, Skadi has been artistically portrayed as a wolf goddess. The frost giantess of beauty might have been attributed to the full moon, or winter moon. Maidens and moonlight and snow are often interwined, as Nordic and Celtic brides wear white gowns on their wedding days. Snow White princess of the fairytale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" by Brothers Grimm, was a different aspect of Skadi and possibly so was "The Snow Queen." Skadi the Northern huntress goddess living in the palace mountains of Thrymheim or lunar lit landscape, night shaded place, cold and frigid. I know she's the northern White Goddess of Germanic myths. She has to be. I suspect she's a hidden moon goddess. She's a northern version of cold huntress goddess Artemis / Diana.
In the cold chill of northern Europe, the moon and winter was seen as masculine due to its severity. The sun was considered feminine and blissful. However in southern Europe where the temperature is less harsh and the days are more golden, the sun is considered male because of the burning raging light, when the moon was thought of as purely female and serene. It seems whereever people go and live, they associate anger and strength with men and quietness and gentleness with women. It isn't so much that there isn't a lunar goddess in Norse myth (perhaps Mani has a daughter) but the conditions influenced people's story telling.
(The image at the top of the page features the goddess Skadi. The artist is unknown.)