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Loki The Crafty


†††††† One of Woden's sons was the crafty Loki of Viking tradition.He may well have been venerated more highly in Woden-lithi's time, not as a crafty ill-natured character, but as a skillful craftsman, for in the early Bronze Age technical skills would be rare and highly valued.About 10 feet north of the main sun figure at Peterborough there is an illustration of a galloping animal, and beneath it an ithyphallic Fig. (Fig. 104 ), with the following text engraved:




(magna lumis Loki lae wan Vighhya Slehefnir Wodena) "By sorcery, cunning and venom Loki won the steed Sleipnir for Woden."The word Slehefnir is assumed to be the damaged section that lies beneath, to the right.


†††††† Loki was credited by the Vikings with having powers of persuasion that the skillful dwarves of the Mid-Earth could not resist.Whenever Odin needed something from the dwarves's factories, Loki was always sent to wheedle it out of them.Similarly, when Thunor, the thunder god, required a weapon to defend the Aesir, it was Loki who was sent for, and who found means of providing it.King Woden-lithi's text states that a dwarf manufactured the magic hammer named Mjolnir for Loki to give to Thunor.This inscription is given as[Fig. 119].


†††††† Loki, despite his malevolence, was a skillful craftsman himself, and seems in this aspect to represent the blacksmith god of the Greeks (Hephaistos) and the Romans (Vulcan).The Ancient Irish (noted as Celtic) equivalent of the latter two deities was Goibhnui and he, like the Graeco-Roman craftsman god, was lame.If, therefore, we equate Loki with Goibhnui (Fig. 105), despite their apparent differences in temperament, we should perhaps include here the activities preside over by Goibhnui in his new roles in America.For, as the Ancient Irishsettlers moved westward, they encountered the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and began to harvest its wool by means of annual roundups.Goibhnui now became the presiding genius over the craft of forming.Once the wool was shorn, it passed under the aegis of the mother goddess.


†††††† At suitable locations in the mountainous areas of the Far West the ancient migrants from Ireland hunted the bighorn and the antelope.In Nevada, however, and also in British Columbia, there was an annual round up by shepherds, on foot.The pictographs show them carrying shepherds' crooks (Fig. 106a).it is probable that the long drystone walls noted by Professors Robert F. Heizer and martin A. Baumhoff (1962) were to facilitate driving the wild sheep into a confined area, where they were shorn of wool.The various pictographs (Figs.106a, 106b, 107, 108, 109 & 110), some of them rebus ogam, depict sheep, and also other animals.The spinning of yarn and various parts of the vertical loom and its associated tools (shed battens, loom-comb [replacing a reed], and frame) are shown in pictographs given in ...[Figs. 158, 159, 160, 161, 163, 164, 165 & 166].The methods appear to be the same as those used by the present-day Navaho.In Nevada Professor Fell was told of persistent legends that the region was formerly in the possession of now-vanished people called "sheep-eaters." The technical farmer's words appearing on some of the inscriptions are in some cases of Norsemen origin.This fact, taken with the mixed Irish--Norsemen features of some of the mythological inscriptions and the occasional use of Norse runes, can only mean that a contact occurred between the Ancient Irish migrants of the Milk River (and also of Wyoming) and Norsemen visitors or settlers.


Tsiw Mighty-in-Battle


†††††† In Anglo-Saxon and Norsemen mythology, Tiw is the son of Woden (Odin) and therefore a member of the superior sky gods, though subservient to Woden.Two striking differences are evident in the mythology of King Woden-lithi, which antedates the historical era from which Anglo-Saxon and Norsemen mythology derives.


†††††† First, the name of Tiw is rendered in the ancient Germany manner, with an initial ts-sound (z of Old High German), and so, like Thunor, Tsiw reminds us of the southern Teutons rather than the Norsemen.


†††††† Second, his image is by far the largest of the gods' after the sun god and the moon goddess.He is also shown as the tutelary deity of ships.The ship depicted beside his main image is not a warship, however, but a trading vessel, with a deep capacious hull for cargo and without the banks of oars of a naval may well be Woden-lithi's own ship.


†††††† By tradition Tiw was the god of battle, and he presumably had that department of human aggression under his charge in Woden-lithi's day also.His major image lies some 30 feet west of the main sun figure at the Peterborough site (Fig. 111).He is shown as a stoutly built man, standing on the initial letter TS of his own name, his right hand held aloft, his left arm with the hand severed, the stump dripping blood.To his upper left stand the letters of his title L-M-Y-TH, "maimed" (Old Norse lamidhr).Beside him to his right lies the giant wolf Wenri (Fenrir of Norsemen mythology).According to Snorri, who wrote in the twelfth century, Fenrir was one of the evil progeny of Loki.He became a menace to the gods, and Odin ordered him to be haltered.Only Tiw was willing to attempt the task, and to achieve it he had to pacify the wolf by placing his hand in its mouth, as an earnest [gesture] that the halter would not in reality restrict him.When the truth appeared otherwise, Fenrir bit off Tiw's arm.Obviously this myth was already established in the early Bronze Age, since it is so clearly depicted here.


†††††† According to philologists, Tiw is the same god as the Greek Zeus.The Old High German name Tsiwaz, like the name by which Woden-lithi knew him, resembles Zeus.His tasks included that of holding up the sky.This he is shown doing in an unlabeled premaiming situation in a petroglyph (Fig. 113) located 6 feet west of the main sun figure [at Peterborough, Ontario].


†††††† In his role as a war god Tsiw has as one of his symbols a battle-ax.In Fellís book Saga America he recorded two iron battle-axes that had been discovered in America, though they seem to be of Viking origin.One was found at Cold Harbour, Nova Scotia, and the other (Fig. 114) at Rocky Neck, on the Massachusetts coast.They were formerly owned by William Goodwin, who first protected Mystery Hill, and they are now in the Goodwin Collection in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut.


†††††† At the time when Fell prepared the text for Saga America (1980) he had not realized that the Tifinag alphabet is of Norse origin, and consequently he was baffled by what appeared to be Norsemen axes engraved, as these two are, with Tifinag letters.Not expecting the alphabet to render Norse language, he could find no Libyan match for the words the letters seemed to spell, and was forced to record them in the book with the comment.... "The markings are letters of the Tifinag alphabet of Libya, although the axes appear to be Viking."


†††††† Now that we can expect Norse language written in the Tifinag alphabet, the decipherment is clear, and we can be sure that the ax is indeed bears Norse writing.The inscription shows that axes of this type were awarded as marks of honor by Norsemen kings, and that even though they are products of the Iron Age, they retain the ancient Tifinag as a persistent tradition from ancient times, as do many royal gifts given in modern times.The inscription may be transcribed as L-A-NS-ME-K-MM-MS-ME-L, to be understood as Lae sami ekjurn emum, sami eli, "Royal award for the honor of battle widows, and for the honor of old age."That two such awards have been discovered in North America and none apparently in the Scandinavian countries themselves seems surprising.


†††††† Woden-lithi associates Tsiw with ships, as his dedicatory inscription shows, and this must indicate that at the epoch when Woden-lithi lived, the god was regarded as a tutelary deity for sailors.Since the king was himself a sailor, it is natural for him to have given such prominence to his patron, greater than that which he accorded to Woden or any of the other gods, save only the sun god.No other references have been found to Tsiw on American rocks, not indeed to find which god was regarded as in charge of fishing.For want of information on the subject, included here are some of the inscriptions that relate to ships and to fisheries (Figs. 115, 116 & 117).Most of these are demonstrably Ancient Irish in origin, some are unidentified, and merely depict ships of the Bronze Age type.


†††††† The illustrations have detailed captions.However, it should be explained that Ancient Irish custom, still to be found in Ireland within living memory, required that the local chief of any community be granted a tax comprising one tenth part of all catches of fish.The tithe was used by the chief for the support, not only of his own family, but also of indigent females or widows and fatherless children.(The American gypsies, at least in the Northeast, still maintain a similar custom, or did so up to [1972]... when Fell was collecting linguistic material from the Boston gypsies.)


†††††† The inscriptions that illustrate these fishing practices come from the Tule Lake region, on the border of Oregon and California.Although no fishing is now carried out there, the local Indians and museum authorities confirm that very great runs of fish used to occur in former times, and that they were indeed caught in nets, as the inscriptions is also of great interest that the unit of measurement of fish by tally is called the M-S, to be read as Old Irish maois, the meaning of which is given in Patrick S. Dinneen's Irish-English, English-Irish dictionary (2nd ed., Dublin, 1927, p. 709) as "a hamper of 500 fishes."The lettering on the texts gives the remaining details.These texts are traced from photographs made at Tule Lake by Wayne and Betty Struble, who detected the ogam and brought the site to Fellís attention.


Thunor The Thunderer


†††††† Third of the sons of Woden, and fourth of the Aesir gods, we may note Thunor (Thor of the Norsemen).The form of his name suggests a north German rather than Scandinavian affinity for Woden-lithi's tongue.


†††††† Thunor was the name by which he was known to the Anglo-Saxons, before the Vikings came to England.He is accorded much space on Woden-lithi's rock platform [Peterborough, Ontario, Canada], and seems to have been one of the major objects of veneration.About 24 feet south-southwest of the main sun figure.He is depicted (Fig. 119) with his sword and hammer, but no text.He wears a high-peaked conical helmet.Some 20 feet west of the main sun figure his famous hammer is depicted, together with his personal name, M-O-L-N-R (Mjolnir).In the Bronze Age all famous weapons had personal names, on the model of Siegfried's sword, Volsung.Images of the short-handled hammer, usually not labeled, are seen all over the site.About 11 feet southeast of the main sun figure Thunor himself is depicted (Fig. 120), helmetless, arms akimbo, his hammer beside him to the right, and its name, M-L-N-R, inscribed to the left.In a corrupt spelling M-N-R the hammer appears about 45 feet to the south-southeast of the main sun figure, beside a pair of serpents, and to the right Thunor stands, demonstrating his mighty glove, one of the sources of his power.As conqueror of the sea giant Ymir (Himir of the Norsemen), he may have been accorded special veneration by Woden-lithi's mariners.


†††††† He is shown with his high conical helmet and his hammer also in a petroglyph composition (Fig. 123) centered at about 15 feet northeast of the main sun figure.This shows Thunor at the outset of the final battle of the gods against the forces of the underworld.The giant serpent-dragon of Middle Earth lies to the right, coiling its body, with a text composed of the dot-letters of the alphabet along its length.The text that accompanies this composition appears to be a continuation of the text given in Fig. 119, where a dwarf is recorded to have made Molnir for Thunor.This section reads:




which may be interpreted as Nema Thunor molni haka Orma likkja luk la hawa, "Thunor takes up Molni to strike at the Serpent, its body lying coiled in the sea." (In Fig. 123 only the god and his hammer, and the first three words of the text are shown.)The dragon defeated Thunor in the end, leading to the ascent to Walhol, as recorded later in this section.


†††††† As we have already seen, the ogam alphabet that for so long has been supposed to be an exclusively Ancient Irish script was in fact well known in Norsemen countries as early as the Bronze Age.This fact accounts for the otherwise untranslatable ogam inscriptions that occur in the Western Plains and as far west at the valley of the Milk River in Alberta, Canada.


†††††† Here occur many petroglyphs cut in soft bedrock; they are obviously not more than a few centuries old at most.One such is shown in Fig. 124, where a supernatural figure is depicted holding aloft what appears to be a rake.Indeed, the archaeologists who have recorded these and similar inscriptions say just that.Now it so happens that the Ogam Tract written by the mediaeval Irish monks describes a special kind of ogam called by them ogam reic: literally "rake ogam."It is not known in Ireland as occurring in petroglyphs, nor indeed anywhere save in the manuscripts written by the monks.Thus the American petroglyphs are the first examples to be recognized as archaeological artifacts.


†††††† When Fell was first confronted with these examples he naturally expected the language contained in the ogam script to be people of ancient Ireland and related to Irish Gaelic.But the decipherment proved baffling, as no Ancient Irish words known to him matched the concatenation of consonants present in the rakes and in the associated finger ogam (also mentioned in the Irish texts).


†††††† After the presence of Norse inscriptions was made clear by the Peterborough [Ontario, Canada] texts, the solution of the mysterious rake ogam of the Milk River petroglyphs became evident.The letters are indeed ogam, but the language is Norse, allied to Old Norse.As can be seen from Fig. 124, the "rake" represents the hammer Mjolnir and the god depicted is Thunor, here rendered as ogam T-N-R.


†††††† As god of war the deity may be presumed to rule-over the art of using weapons, whether for battle or for hunting.Fig. 125 is an example of many similar petroglyphs, in this case written in Ancient Irish language, where hunting scenes are is from Site 77 near Canal Flats in British Columbia, discovered by John Corner.This is modern work, for the medium in which it is executed is paint, exposed to the atmosphere; another piece of evidence pointing to the long memory of the Amerindians.The artist was a member of the Takhelne tribe, with a spoken tongue of partly Ancient Irish derivation."Please also see Figs. 121 & 122.


Mabona and Freyr-- The Phallic Gods


†††††† King Woden-lithi seems to have devoted less space on his platform to the Wanir, gods of the earth, than to the other deities.Under the inscribed word W-R-Y-aR (Freyar) he has depicted a phallic god ... [eleven] feet west of the main sun figure.Beside Freyr is an up-ended ship, one of his symbols by Norsemen tradition, though the connection with male fertility is not immediately obvious.The hull of a ship is perhaps here regarded as a phallic symbol.


†††††† The interesting interconnection between Ancient Irish and Norsemen gods, already noted in Fig. 92, under Lug, is again evident in a petroglyph at Coral Gardens, near Moneta, Wyoming, photographed by Ted Sowers of the Wyoming Archaeological Survey.The Ancient Irish god Mabona is shown below his symbol, a giant phallus and beneath is written his name, in younger runes.Again we have evidence of a later contact between the ancient American migrants from Ireland and Norsemen of the period of Leif Eriksson.


†††††† Much more obvious attention is given to the worship of the power of the phallus as a fertilizer not only of women but of Mother Earth herself, in the shape of the great stone phallic monuments that the Ancient Irish and Norsemen peoples erected in Europe and that their American cousins placed at corresponding suitable sites in the New World.That these are, in some cases at least, Bronze Age monuments is evidenced by the presence of ogam and consain script, making reference to ancient pagan divinities and rituals.Figs. 129 , 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, & 137illustrate typical examples in both Europe and America...."The inferred fertility rituals are discussed in America BC. [Please also see Figs. 126 & 127].


†††††† That Mabo was preferred by the youth of America to his Norseman equivalent Freyar is made clear by the much larger number of inscriptions dedicated to the former, and usually written in Ancient Irish ogam of the type called fringe ogam (...Fig. 1).A telling piece of evidence is seen at Woden-lithi's site (Fig. 128), where the male fertility god is named in ogam as Mabo.And the reason for the preference of young for the Ancient Irish god of youth is his three spheres of activity-- sex, sports, and music-- all of primary interest to the youth of every country.


†††††† In this first aspect, that of god of male sexuality, the numerous stone phalluses and menhirs, erect or fallen, in both Europe and North America, bear silent witness.Figs. 129, 130 & 131, show three European examples in France and Spain, and North American examples appear in Figs. 132, 133, 134 & 135.Most of the American phalluses have fallen into a recumbent posture.Those on Phallus Hill, South Woodstock, Vermont, have since been transferred to the museum of Castleton State College in Vermont.


†††††† In New England, groups of phallic stones were erected on the summits of hills (Fig. 137).Whether these were used as calendar determination sites is not yet established.


†††††† In British Columbia and in the Nevada and Californian deserts, there occur inscriptions in ogam, in a Ancient Irish language, relating to matings and the marriage bond (Figs. 138 & 139).


†††††† In addition to the worship of Mabo as a fertility god, interest in the various games and athletic sports under the protection of Mabo, and brought by ancient colonists from Europe is manifest in various petroglyphs (Figs.140, 141, 142 & 143).What may be the Ancient Irish ball game of camanachd seems to be depicted in some cases.Running and hurling the caber are other athletic subjects, and we know from historic contacts in the nineteenth century that the Takhelne tribe of British Columbia practiced a sport much resembling the Scottish caber-tossing.An inscription at Cane Springs, in Clark County, Nevada, recorded by Professors Robert Heizer and Martin Baumhof, carries fringe ogam (Fig. 143) that implies that the game depicted can scarcely be separated from baseball, the latter an invention attributed to New York State in modern times." [Please also see Figs. 141 & 142].


†††††† The third aspect that Mabo assumes, as the Apollo of the Ancient Irish, is that of the god of music.This is succinctly referred to in a Takhelne pictograph (Fig. 144) discovered by John Corner near Robson, in British Columbia as his Site 65, where the god has the head of a lyre, while his outstretched arms make the letter m, and his erected phallus an ogam b, thus spelling his name.


†††††† The lyre-faced god appears in various inscriptions in Nevada (Figs. 145, 146 & 147), with remarkable fringe ogam inscriptions incorporated into the petroglyphs as rebus forms.The captions to the figures give details.Designs evidently influenced by these compositions enter into the art of the Navajo and Apache tribes, who entered the western territories as late in wanderers from eastern Siberia (their language still retains many recognizable Turkmenian roots).It seems likely that these late invaders dispossessed the Pueblo peoples and acquired many of their art forms, so that the Navajo and Apache today are regarded as the foremost exponents of Amerindian culture in North America.In the process they seem to have acquired the Mabo rebus and converted it into a new but similar style, expressing a wholly different tribal mythology from that of the Ancient Irish from whom these figures originated.


†††††† Dancing to music, the dancers holding stag's antlers, is an ancient Irish cultural feature, also reflected in the North American petroglyphs (Fig. 148).


†††††† Amerindian musicians possessed many different though simple types of musical instruments.But the petroglyphs depict a wider range than was found in recent times and, in addition to the lyre, we see various representations of the Ancient Irish harp, both the large and the smaller kinds.The associated ogam lettering, in a Gaelic language, is illustrated in Figs. 149 & 150, and the captions explain this.Competitive performances on these instruments may have been judged by priests (druids), ensconced in seats like the curious stone ones that occur in New England (see Fig. 151).


†††††† The conclusion we reach, then, is that Norsemen and Irish colonists in ancient time, even as early as Woden-lithi's epoch, came to North America and influence done another and the Amerindian neighbors they encountered, producing a rich culture with varied strands.The inability of the Norsemen people to establish bronze industrial sites in America led to the disappearance of the great trumpets, the lurs, but the various instruments manufactured from turtle shell and wood, such as the lyre and the harp, were capable of manufacture here, and so survived almost to modern times.


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