In the article following this one – The Bundish Movement – Hamasson traces the word bund to a meaning of binding together, but in a far deeper way than the mundane meaning of the word. Indeed, the German word bund has the same roots as our English words bind, band and bundle. The last term bundle stems from the Old English bund, again having the meaning of “to bind together”. All of these words can be traced back to an IE Root *bhendh or an Aryan Root * bhandh, meaning “to bind”. (*)
So the term Männerbund refers to a binding together of a group of men, and by extension, a group of youths of an age-set. The German word bund has retained its true meaning, but if we were to substitute this with our own English term band this meaning would be completely lost due to the word having lost its true and original meaning. This is why we have retained this Germanic term rather than trying to substitute one that would not have its true meaning.
The Männerbund was a group of men, bound together by oath, and rather than a secular group, was a cultic-warrior group. We have stated before that this warrior-band was called the here or heri (**), a term that means “to raid, to ravage, to pillage”. It was, therefore, not an army as such, but a raiding-party. This was the form of such groups as the Viking raiders, and the later sea-raiders – the pirates. Whereas the English Fyrd was set up as a form of defense militia, the heri had a far different role – that of raiding-bands.
These raiding-bands were formed of mainly young warriors who were landless and had no actual wealth, save what they gained by raiding and taking by force. In our modern age this would be greatly frowned upon, and the Judaeo-Christian commandment “Thou shalt not steal” would certainly have made this a no-no. But in eld-times this was sanctioned by cultic right, by the ancient Sacraler Stehlrecht or “Sacred Right to Steal”.
In the Feoh-Rune we find the secret of the wealth of the Germanic Folk. This rune is usually seen as being related to the moveable wealth of the tribe, and thus the wealth of the tribe. But it also relates to the cattle-raid undertaken by these Cultic Brotherhoods, where the landless gained their wealth, and also their status through the acquisition of that wealth. Tacitus in Germania describes the wealth of the Germanic Tribes as being based upon cattle. By the later Anglo-Saxon and Viking times this wealth had become associated with gold. We can see this in some of the Old Englisc kennings –
Hringsele – ring-hall
Gold-sele – gold hall
Goldwine – gold friend
Goldgiefa – gold-giver
We must not think that the idea of cattle as wealth, and of cattle-raiding as wealth, disappeared at this time. When the European peoples started to make new lands for themselves on the American continent, cattle-rustling was a feature of their pioneer days. This was, of course, in much later times.
Indeed, this is one of the secrets of the heri, for these bands of cultic-warriors formed the basis of predatory raids that would later found new nations and empires. It is not always stated that the founders of the Roman Empire – Romulus and Remus – led war-bands of young warriors and outlaws. It is perhaps significant that the prime symbol of Romulus and Remus is the Wolf.
We cannot tell for sure whether the founders of the Englisc Nation – Hengest and Horsa – were also associated with the Wolf. Ryan West, in his fictional work The Rise of the Saxons – And the Legend of Hengest and Horsa (***) – we find Hengest wearing a wolf-skin. By legend Hengest and Horsa were of the Oiscingas, a name that may derive from Oski which was a name of Woden. Oski is a variation of Wunsc-Frea which means “Wish-Lord”, one of the by-names of Woden. (I believe that Bede states that Hengest and Horsa descend from Æsc which would seem to be a misunderstanding on his part.)
In the Wolsunga Saga we have a clear account of a Cultic-Warrior Initiation where Sigmund is the older initiator, and Sinfjotle is the younger initiate. They don wolf-skins in order to go through this initiation. From Norse Mythology we find that such Initiation Rites were very strict and designed to test the courage of the Warrior-Initiate. Such Cultic-Warriors were called the Ulfhednar, a term meaning “Wolf-Hides” i.e. one who wears a wolf-skin. Woden, in his role as God of the Dead, is named Ulfhedin.
These Cultic Warrior Bands or Oath-Brotherhoods came under the tutelage of the Wolf-God whom we English call Woden. In regard to this aspect of the All-Father we can safely say that he has certain fixed traits –
He is associated with the wolf or the dog (the dog usually as psychopomp, and Guardian of the Land of the Dead. The Black Dog is usually associated with the Spirits of the Dead.
He is a one-eyed god, seen as blind in one eye. It is interesting to note that the Germanic HariR (”one-eyed hero”) derives from a root *haiha from which we get the Gothic haihs which means “one-eyed”.
He is the Hunter-Warrior God and the Wild Huntsman. In this role he leads the mythical Einheriar, the Fallen Heroes who he collects as his own to fight for him in the Final Battle at Ragnarok. It is also interesting to note that the goddess Freya collects half of the Fallen Heroes to take to Folkvang. This may be the basis of the female leader of the Wild Hunt – Frau Wode, Perchta, Berchta, or Frau Holle.
He is the Woden Hergian who leads the Wild Army – the Army of the Dead. This, again, is associated with the Einheriar, and to the Ride of the Wild Hunt.
In this role he is associated with the winter period of the year (usually), and mainly around the Twelve Nights of Yule and Halloween. This period of the year was, in Vedic India, known as the Way of the Ancestors. This was the period from Midsummer to Midwinter, whilst the rest of the year was known as the Way of the Gods. The winter period was thus dedicated to the Ancestral God – Woden.
Woden is the god who “fetters” his chosen; he can fill them with god-power and raise them to super-human heights. Thus, his initiates belong to him, and that is why he has the right to claim them in death! This is where later scholars misinterpreted his role of giving his weapon to the slayer of his chosen (such as giving his Spear to Dag to slay Helgi), claiming that Woden was a malicious and untrustworthy god. He is no such thing, for he works through his chosen, and thus has the right to claim them as his own.
He is the Totenführer im Totenheer(****) – the Death-Leader of the Army of the Dead. This is precisely what these cultic warrior bands were – an Army of the Dead. Through cultic initiation rites they were possessed by the Spirits of the Dead Heroes.
His association with the Army of the Dead, and the Underworld, links him to the horse, the Steed of the Underworld. This is why many Horse Cults were associated with Woden (and we must remember that Hengest and Horsa were also associated with horses). In fact, some relate the term Volsi ( a ritual symbol of a horse’s phallus) to the Volsungas (Wolsungas).
The Ansuz Rune has one meaning Prince of Asgard and this refers to Woden. But the rune is associated with the Ahnen – the Ancestors. It is the Ancestral Rune and can also be linked to the mythical heroes – the Einheriar.
The Ancestors, and the Cultic-Warriors who are in union with them, are the constant defenders against the forces of disorder and destruction, whether these are dæmonic forces or physical enemies. In other words, these cultic warriors were the preservers of order, and the enemies of the chaotic forces. The Saxons had a god named Irmin, whose symbols we have seen were the scales – symbolic of justice and order. Taking the IE Root *ermana (“rushing furiously”) as the basis of his name leads us to Woden as the Fury-God and the wielder of the Teuton Fury. One of the by-names of Odin was JǿrmunR which is the Norse equivalent to Irmin. (The Ior-Rune and the Ear-Rune may thus be associated with Irmin.)
In the role of leader of the Wild Hunt, Woden has associations with The Fool. In many of the midwinter plays (as well as at other times) The Fool is slain and then resurrected. It seems clear that in this role he is the Initiate who undergoes a cultic-rebirth.
The Wild Hunt has associations with justice and the fight against oppression. In earlier times a revolt was started by the Raising of the Stang which was a pitchfork. Originally, this would have been the three-pronged Trident which was a weapon of Woden (and of Rudra-Shiva). This, of course, became the weapon of “The Devil” when our Woden was turned into this demonic figure by the Judaeo-Christians – who feared him most (for good reason!). In the illustration shown in Hamasson’s article on the Bundish Movement, we see the “three-pronged” symbol used as a hand-sign (mudra). This was obviously a symbol used by the ancient Cultic Brotherhoods, since it was used for oath-swearing (*****) and also as symbolic of the stang, and of revolt. The “stang” would thus be symbolic of the Thunderbolt, a weapon of Woden shown thus by Snorri Sturlasson. This was also a weapon of Rudra.
When we have used the term Ulfhedin for “wolf-hide” or “wolf-skin” we should perhaps look at this in the sense of Woden wearing the heðinn – a short hooded cloak made of wolf-fur. This is where the name The Hooded One stems.
Woden is also the Masked One (Grim), for he wore a cultic mask, as did his followers in their cultic rites.
As we can see from various different symbols of Woden, such as the Dancing Warriors on the Sutton Hoo Helmet, and the Long Man of Wilmington, Woden lead the ancient Warrior-Dances where the Cultic Warrior Brotherhoods took part. (We shall take a closer look at this later.)
We must now move on to the symbols used by the Woden Männerbund all of which derive from very ancient symbols used by such cultic-warrior brotherhoods –
The Death’s Head which is symbolic of the Totenkult – the Cult of the Dead. This was also used on the “pirate” flag which was used by sea-vikings or sea-raiders. (It should be noted that this figure bears an eye-patch over the right eye, a clear association with the One-Eyed God, Woden.)
Black & Red, or sometimes Black, White and Red. These were the colours of the ancient Cultic Warrior Brotherhoods. Red is the colour of vigorous youth, virility, and thus Life-Force. This is why we redden the runes, which gives them Life-Force. Red is also the colour of war, and has associations with the dead.
The wearing of totem animal skins symbolizing their bond to the Ancestral Totem, and with the wolf to the Wolf-God, Woden. This is part of the Ahnenkult – Cult of the Ancestors.
The weapons used by the Cultic-Warrior. In the case of the Cultic-Weapon of the Männerbund this was the Club, as seen on the Herne Giant (Cerne Abbas Giant).
The Cultic Belt worn around the waist, and shown clearly on the Dancing Warriors. The buckle of the belt stands over the Hara – the Japanese term for the area about two fingers below the navel, the seat of the Warrior-Fire. This is the area associated with OðroeriR – The Wod-Roarer. This is why the belt-buckle is so important as a symbol, and this should be carefully meditated upon.
The Dragon-Slayer. This is a symbol associated with such cultic-warrior brotherhoods, for the Dragon-Slayer appears to have been patron of such bands. When we think of the Dragon-Slayer, we English think immediately of “St. George” – the Christian Saint. This is the patron of the English. Some English Nationalists have suggested dropping this figure in favour of King Edmund, but since we have no record of Edmund ever having been a Dragon-Slayer, this could be a gross error. If we drop the figure of the Dragon-Slayer, we drop the symbolism behind it. “Saint George” does have many different versions, and one refers to a tyrant-figure from Capadocia. But there is also one that traces his origins to a people known as the Ossettes, a people with Scythian origins. These people knew of a figure called Wastyrgi or Wasgergi, from which we get “George”. If certain of these Scythian Tribes, known as the Saka, were kin to the later Saxons, then “George” may not be so alien. Indeed, as I mentioned in an article some years ago, “George” could be seen as Ge-Urge – “Earth-Power”.
These Cultic Warrior Bands were always associated with the wilderness, with the Primal Forests. In our own Robin Hood we have a very early archetype of Woden, and one that does not feature in the other mythologies. Here we find Hooden or Woden as an Archer-God and as leader of an Outlaw Band. And here I am going to digress somewhat and speak of the Warrior-Dances led by the Cultic-God, Woden.
I have mentioned in an earlier edition that the name of Robin Hood in the Russell Crowe film is “Robin Longstrides”, and that this links to ancient names associated with Orion the Hunter (Herne the Hunter). Here I am going to look at this from a different angle. Now, there is an old magical stance called the Crane Stance, in which the participant stands upon one leg, and closes the right eye. Now, this may well be a dim remembrance of a magical stance that mimics the One-Eyed Hunter-God – Woden. This was called the Crane-Stance. When I was researching this article in our training program in karate we were taught an advanced kata, not well known today, one which originated in China and was taken to Okinawa, and this was based upon movements of the crane. It was immediately noticed that the arms were held in a position very much like the Long Man of Wilmington, the Dancing Warriors, and the one-eyed god leading the wolf-warrior in the Swedish cast shown below –
A Swedish die-cast cast shows a Horned God with his right eye missing, leading a Wolf-Warrior in a kind of Warrior Dance. This is very much like the “Crane Dance” where the leg is lifted slowly off the ground (like a crane) and the movements of this particular kata were very slow. (It should be noted here that this is a form which can be adopted into the Cult of Woden as our own version of such a “Warrior-Dance”. (****)
This type of movement is also found in the steps made by the heron when this bird hunts for fish in water. This stance is very, very slow, and the legs are raised high so as not to disturb the waters and frighten the fish. As it does so the heron stands on one leg. In both cases the crane and the heron could be termed a “long-strider” or “wide-strider”, names used of Orion the Hunter in ancient times. Since Orion the Hunter is our own Herne the Hunter, we would not go far wrong in deriving the name “Herne” not only from horn but also from heron. Of importance to the Cult of Woden, the name Wid-Ar could also derive from “Wide-Strider” as well as “Forest-Warrior”. (Note also the name of the hero of the Lord of the Rings – Strider! He is also shown wearing a hood.)
From this we may also find yet another symbol associated with the Männerbund – the Phoenix or Fire-Eagle. In ancient Egypt we find an image of the Bennu Bird which is a version of the phoenix, and which was originally seen as a grey heron which was the “herald of all things to come”. This was the bird which opens its beak and breaks the silence of the Primæval Night with the “call of life and destiny”, which “determines what is and what is not to be”. The Phoenix (Heron) is thus the original Logos (“In the beginning was the Word”) and thus was linked to the Os-Rune (“mouth” i.e. “The Utterer”). The Phoenix regulated Time, and this was also a role of the constellation of Orion the Hunter.
Now, we also know that the Phoenix or Fire-Eagle was symbolic of regeneration and of rebirth. The Phoenix arises from the ashes of its own destruction. This symbol is very important to our struggle, and is the symbol used by the English Movement. The Phoenix was associated with the Sun and thus with the ancient Solar-Cults. It is interesting to note that the name bennu used of the Phoenix is linked to the Semitic term ben which means “son”. Our version of this would be – Ing! The benben or conical stones associated with the bennu bird were associated with the Greek omphalos, a name obviously associated with “phallus” – bringing us back to the figure of Herne the Hunter (Cerne).
We have here gone into as lengthy article on the Woden Männerbund, but even so have just started to scratch the surface on this important subject. The revival of such a concept is of vital importance to our Folk, and we are the only group to be taking up this challenge. Such a challenge will not be easy in our times, but it is of vital importance to the English Folk. This is just the start of our study of this concept.
(*) The term “Aryan Root” was one used before the word “Aryan” became taboo in our society. “Indo-European Root” took its place, and the changes are only due to different interpretations of the same words at a later date. Neither is correct in the sense that they are guesses of what the original root was.
(**) Woden’s Folk uses the word heri rather than the OE here simply because the latter would be seen as our word “here” which has no connection whatever with the root of what we mean.
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(****) Note the German title Führer used here for “leader”, a term obviously connected to the word fury, and thus to the Wod, and to Woden. This is the Leader of the Wild Army.
(*****) In Aryan India we find a group of Cultic Warriors known as the vrātyas whose name is linked to –
Vrāta – troop, brotherhood.
Vrata – oath.
Clearly the two concepts are here linked together in similar-sounding words – i.e. put together these mean – Oath Brotherhood.