Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The God Thunor

The most well known god of the Germanic pantheon was Thunor. He is famously called Thor and He has other names. To the Anglo-Saxon peoples, He is Thunor.

Everyone knows who Thor is. He is made popular in modern culture through Marvel's comic books, and recently Chris Hemsworth played Thor in films based on these adventures. This is the superhero version of Thor, and His powerful Mjollnir weapon that he wields in myth and legend.

He's a god of thunder, and His name means "thunder". In early Indo European languages, thunder also meant the same as "conqueror". In mythology, He rides a chariot across the sky, pulled by two powerful goats. The oak trees and acorns are sacred to Him. He battles with monsters and in particular the world serpent Jormungand.  

A god of power. Thor's prime weapon is the thunder hammer, called Mjollnir. When He strikes it down, there is lightening bolts and ferocious thunder issued from the impact. Hammer is an early traditional symbol of power and might, as it was once used as a weapon and a tool. Mjollnir means "to smash". Early Old Norse language indicates the name is identical with "stone". The original PIE root "Hzekmo" and the Sanskrit means both "stone weapon" and "thunderbolt". Thunder, stone weapon and conqueror tell a past when early tribes migrated over territories with their stone tools and stone weapons, like thunder, and conquering. A dominant people led by thundering conqueror warlords with heavy stones. Stone is also associated with the prehistoric structures of megaliths. Could these earlier people bringing the legendary name Thunor have been magalith builders too?

A god of fire. Before we understand His association with lightning, He is very much a sky god. A radioactive metal "Thorium" is named after Him. This element is used to power search lights, rockets, aircraft engines and nuclear reactors.

Other gods very similar to Thunor include Teshub or Tarhun (whose name means "conqueror") of the Hittites, who carries a great axe, strikes thunderbolts and battles with monsters, including a sea serpent. Indra of the Vedic religion, a god of thunder with golden hair, carries a bow and whose name means "smasher". In Greek mythology, Zeus is the supreme god, thunder god with a lightning bolt weapon, rides a chariot across the sky and linked with goats. The Romans had Jupiter. Teranis is the Celtic god of thunder, carries a thunder bolt in one hand and a wheel in the other, and further back in older languages the name is linked with Thor! Perkunus is a Lithuanian god of thunder, weapons and oak trees. Then there is the Slavic god of thunder named Perun, who carries a hammer and axe, rides a sky chariot pulled by a fierce male goat and whose sacred tree is the oak.     

So these thunder gods listed above, show that old languages contain names and meanings and myths, brought across by a migrating people from East to West.

In mythology, as quoting Snorri Sturluson's "Prose Edda", Thor owns two goats that pull the flying chariot. These goats named Tanngnjostr ("teeth grinder") and Tanngrisnir ("teeth barer") are eaten by Thor every day and returned to life because of the Mjollnir's potent lightning power. Once, Thor shared his goats among a family of peasants, but a boy named Thjalfi, breaks a bone to suck marrow. When the goats are regenerated by Thor later, one of the goats is found lame because of its broken bone. Thor made the children Thjalfi and his sister Roskva become His loyal servants. The etymology of the two servants of Thor is linked with elves, and with the two goats, traditions in some parts of north Europe celebrate a Yule Goat, a nature spirit. These stories could be because of animal sacrifices. There is also the historical fact that goats were always favoured by humans for farming and to make clothes from. Goats were domesticated by people as far back as the end of the last Ice Age. Goats represent agility, movement and the ability to climb hills.

The myth of the god Thunor/Thor, who has an ancient preViking origin that altered orally through the ages of time. Thunor came from a Neolithic era, bringing goats, thunder, weapons and stone with Him as he traveled across the continents with migrating tribes. He brought with Him the secret of thunder (power, conquering and weaponry), megalith building (stone), farming and production. The stories concerning his belt giving Him ultra physical strength and His gloves made from iron, worn by Him when using the Mjolnir. This is like a characteristic of metals, such as the Iron Age.   

Thor links

Book: "Thor: Myth to Marvel" by Martin Arnold
Book: "Thor: God of Thunder" by Graeme Davis
Thor info on Wikipedia 

Picture "Thor and his goat" by Alexander SalleS

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