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Author Topic: Aettir?  (Read 1993 times)

Froði Ingsson

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Aettir?
« on: January 30, 2017, 03:57:57 am »
I know historically there's not much to say about the aettir other than they appear early on. The first appearances are on two sixth century bracteates (Vadstena and Grumpan). I've also heard aett translated as "eighth" and "family."

I know some have connected it with the eight quadrants of space and time, and the three seasons (spring, summer, and winter).

Some Heathens consider the aettir to represent:
  • Three initial states: Ice, Fire, Void
  • As conscious states: unconscious, conscious, and superconscious
  • Dimensions (Freya/Freyr - Midgard, Hel - Helheim, and Tyr - Asgard)
  • Domains of being (physical/body, emotional/heart, and mental/mind)
  • and so on.

I realize adding to what the aettir mean and represent is not justified historically. Even so, I've found it helpful to look through different perspectives/lenses sometimes, and so I ask:

What do the aettir mean to you?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2017, 04:03:28 am by Froði Ingsson »

Froði Ingsson

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2017, 02:18:38 pm »
Quote from: Froði Ingsson;202080
I know historically there's not much to say about the aettir other than they appear early on. The first appearances are on two sixth century bracteates (Vadstena and Grumpan). I've also heard aett translated as "eighth" and "family."

I know some have connected it with the eight quadrants of space and time, and the three seasons (spring, summer, and winter).

Some Heathens consider the aettir to represent:
  • Three initial states: Ice, Fire, Void
  • As conscious states: unconscious, conscious, and superconscious
  • Dimensions (Freya/Freyr - Midgard, Hel - Helheim, and Tyr - Asgard)
  • Domains of being (physical/body, emotional/heart, and mental/mind)
  • and so on.

I realize adding to what the aettir mean and represent is not justified historically. Even so, I've found it helpful to look through different perspectives/lenses sometimes, and so I ask:

What do the aettir mean to you?

 
As I continue to learn about the aettir I'm finding myself needing to tweak what I said earlier. It seems more people consider the second aett to be Heimdall's rather than Hel's, though I still think of the second aett more like Hel's in that we start with some gnarly winter Runes and then add in Eiwaz, a Rune intimately connected with death itself. Even so, know that more sources mention the second aett as Heimdall's.

The second thing I needed to tweak is the etymology. I have not found the number "eight" to be connected with aett. I came across "eighth" from Paxson's Taking up the Runes and "group of eight" from Osborn's and Longland's Rune Games. As for etymology, aett is connected with "family" and "lineage."

I've also come across some information on the aettir being used as ciphers: Tent and Branch Runes. That's pretty cool.

Here are a few other things people have said on the aettir.

First Aett
Joyful Union
Growth, Increase, and Development
Creating/Creation
Natural World
Providers
Physical
Relationship with Vital Force
Life Cycles
Social Journey
Individuals

Second Aett
Physical Struggles
Natural Forces / Elements
External Forces
Relationship with the Physical Dimension
Initiation, Bridging Between, Journey
Psychological
Warriors/Protectors
Psychological Journey
Shamanism
Natural World

Third Aett
Esoteric Needs
Problems, Difficulties, and their Solution
Order
Internal Forces
Divinity
Spiritual
Rulers
Relationship with the Spiritual Dimension
Spiritual Journey
Humanity


Anything anyone can add to this discussion would be greatly appreciated, even if that's correcting something I've said. I genuinely want to learn and know what I'm talking about.

hraefngar

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 12:03:48 am »
Quote from: Froði Ingsson;202080


What do the aettir mean to you?

 
There are competing esoteric theories out there.  

But let me throw you a curve ball.  There may be a far more prosaic origin.

Runes: Literacy in the Germanic Iron Age by Stephen Pollington.   Great book to read, if you haven't.   Pollington theorizes the runes were the creation of Germanic peoples of the 1st century CE who were familiar with Roman literacy via their service as auxilliaries in the Roman military.   Most likely tribes that revolted in the Batavian rebellion.

Further, working off some other scholars, he theorizes the gridlike formation of the aetts might have descended from the gridlike signals intelligence used by the Roman cohorts of the time.  

Thus doesn't necessarily invalidate an esoteric meaning to the aettir, mind you.

Froði Ingsson

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2017, 01:16:45 pm »
Quote from: hraefngar;203888
There are competing esoteric theories out there.  

But let me throw you a curve ball.  There may be a far more prosaic origin.

Runes: Literacy in the Germanic Iron Age by Stephen Pollington.   Great book to read, if you haven't.   Pollington theorizes the runes were the creation of Germanic peoples of the 1st century CE who were familiar with Roman literacy via their service as auxilliaries in the Roman military.   Most likely tribes that revolted in the Batavian rebellion.

Further, working off some other scholars, he theorizes the gridlike formation of the aetts might have descended from the gridlike signals intelligence used by the Roman cohorts of the time.  

Thus doesn't necessarily invalidate an esoteric meaning to the aettir, mind you.

 

Nice. Thank you. I like Pollington. I've read his Rudiments of Runelore and I have his, The Mead-Hall: The Feasting Tradition in Anglo-Saxon England, coming to me. Do you know more about how the signals work? Does Pollington go into more details in his book?

Frith

Hildeburh

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2017, 06:22:00 am »
Quote from: hraefngar;203888
There are competing esoteric theories out there.  

But let me throw you a curve ball.  There may be a far more prosaic origin.

Runes: Literacy in the Germanic Iron Age by Stephen Pollington.   Great book to read, if you haven't.   Pollington theorizes the runes were the creation of Germanic peoples of the 1st century CE who were familiar with Roman literacy via their service as auxilliaries in the Roman military.   Most likely tribes that revolted in the Batavian rebellion.

Further, working off some other scholars, he theorizes the gridlike formation of the aetts might have descended from the gridlike signals intelligence used by the Roman cohorts of the time.  

Thus doesn't necessarily invalidate an esoteric meaning to the aettir, mind you.

 To add to your curve ball :)

There are many theories regarding the origin of the elder futhark runes, non of which are agreed upon, so Pollington's theory can only be described as interesting speculation.

There are so far two slightly different divisions of eight known in the elder futhark, the earliest being found on the Kylver stone from Gotland Sweden and the second on 5th century CE Vadstena bracteates found in Östergötland Sweden.

The divisions and order of the runes found on the Kylver stone being the standard order found in the Elder futhark today. The reason for division into eights is not understood but it has been suggested that it was an aid to memory or cryptographic (encoded), rather than esoteric.

Division into groups continued in the younger futhark, according to 17th century Icelandic manuscripts these groups are called aettir, which is Old Icelandic and means either family or group of eights.

Kylara

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2017, 08:26:02 am »
Quote from: Froði Ingsson;202128


Anything anyone can add to this discussion would be greatly appreciated, even if that's correcting something I've said. I genuinely want to learn and know what I'm talking about.

 
I have this bit in my rune notes...I know it's strongly influenced by someone (but probably rewritten in my own words) that I read, but I didn't write (or remember) who influenced it.

The first aett
The ruling God and Goddess of the first aett were Freyja and Frey.  Their names mean 'the Lady' and 'the Lord'.  Freyja ruled over the plant life of the earth, the trees and the animals of the forest, natural love, female sexuality and magic.  She was also the Goddess of love between men and women.  Frey ruled over fertility, male sexuality, prosperity, marriage and sacred kinship.

The first aett is about creation.  It illustrates the emergence of order from chaos and the establishment of cosmic patterns.

The second aett
The ruling God and Goddess of the second aett are Heimdall and Mordgrud.  Heimdall is one of the Aesir, and is the guardian of Bifrost, the bridge between Midgard and Asgard.  Legend says he will sound a horn to alert the Aesir of the start of Ragnarok.  Heimdall is associated with light and Mordgrud with dark.  Mordgrud was also an Aesir, and a giantess.  She is said to guard the bridge that leads to Hell.  She allows the newly dead to cross if they state their name and business.

The second aett is about human energies, the energies that stir, weave, pull and disrupt the cosmic patterns of the first aett, and as a consequence cause change.  It represents the dynamic powers of transformation, which serve as a counter balance to the forces of creation.

The third aett
The ruling God and Goddess of the third aett are Tyr and Zisa.  Tyr is the god of single combat, victory and heroic glory.  He lost his hand when the gods bound Fenris by offering to place his hand in the wolf's mouth.  Zisa is considered by some to be Tyr's consort or wife.  She is a harvest Goddess and might have a connection to Isis.

In the third aett, humankind either becomes divine or descends into the recess of destruction known as Ragnarok.  This means that within each pattern lies both the seeds of it's successful cultivation or total destruction, depending on the choices made and the paths taken.  It also embodies the Gods and Goddesses as teachers, for it is they who ultimately teach humans to master the energies and elements of Oneness.

***

Looking back on this, it feels like a pretty neo-Pagan influenced bit of information.  But I like the idea of the cycle of energies, from primordial creation through the 'age of man' and into an ultimate rise or fall..then back to the beginning again.
Check out my Patreon for more writing and other goodies!

hraefngar

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2017, 07:31:09 pm »
Quote from: Froði Ingsson;204018
Nice. Thank you. I like Pollington. I've read his Rudiments of Runelore and I have his, The Mead-Hall: The Feasting Tradition in Anglo-Saxon England, coming to me. Do you know more about how the signals work? Does Pollington go into more details in his book?

 
My copy has been lent out; sadly I don't have it to page through for reference. I remember 2 or 3 paragraphs on it with footnotes referencing other works.

Froði Ingsson

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2017, 01:04:33 am »
Quote from: Hildeburh;204069
The reason for division into eights is not understood but it has been suggested that it was an aid to memory or cryptographic (encoded), rather than esoteric.

 
I've come across the cryptographic information from a few different sources and I see the merit in the theory, though it seems the evidence of using them in this way comes far later than the Kylver stone and bracteates. I lean towards the belief that the cryptographic uses came later on as people continued to extend the meanings and uses of the Runes.  

I do wonder though if the division was of a more practical nature than esoteric as you say. I know our modern mentalities seek to deepen and mystify the Runes, at least, I tend to do so. At the same time, I very much like to know the original intention if possible. Sadly, in this particular case, I don't imagine we will every really know.

Thanks for your response.

Frith

Froði Ingsson

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2017, 01:08:23 am »
Quote from: hraefngar;204081
My copy has been lent out; sadly I don't have it to page through for reference. I remember 2 or 3 paragraphs on it with footnotes referencing other works.

 
Bummer. Either way, I did not know of this book so I'm excited to get it. I imagine it goes into more detail than his Rudiments of Runelore.

Thanks again.

Frith

Froði Ingsson

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2017, 01:40:10 am »
Quote from: Kylara;204071


The first aett

The first aett is about creation.  It illustrates the emergence of order from chaos and the establishment of cosmic patterns.

The second aett

The second aett is about human energies, the energies that stir, weave, pull and disrupt the cosmic patterns of the first aett, and as a consequence cause change.  It represents the dynamic powers of transformation, which serve as a counter balance to the forces of creation.

The third aett

In the third aett, humankind either becomes divine or descends into the recess of destruction known as Ragnarok.  This means that within each pattern lies both the seeds of it's successful cultivation or total destruction, depending on the choices made and the paths taken.  It also embodies the Gods and Goddesses as teachers, for it is they who ultimately teach humans to master the energies and elements of Oneness.

***

Looking back on this, it feels like a pretty neo-Pagan influenced bit of information.  But I like the idea of the cycle of energies, from primordial creation through the 'age of man' and into an ultimate rise or fall..then back to the beginning again.

 
I've come across something like that in my readings but I cannot remember who it was from either.

I've definitely come across a few who see the aettir as energetic cycles. As a gardener I like the idea of working with the aettir as the three stations of the day (morning, noon, and evening) and the eight quadrants of the earth (E, SE, S, SW, W, NW, N, NE).

One way I've work with this in the past is to divide my land into eight sections and then during the three stations of the day go around and see where the light and shadows are. This helps me determine which plants will prosper in each section.

Granted, this way of working with the Runes is not historical, but it does lend itself nicely to structuring the world in a certain way so that I can have more understanding and control over it. On top of which, it invites a sacredness to life that is refreshing and magical.

Thanks for sharing your notes.

Frith

Froði Ingsson

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2017, 02:38:55 am »
Quote from: Hildeburh;204069
The divisions and order of the runes found on the Kylver stone being the standard order found in the Elder futhark today. The reason for division into eights is not understood but it has been suggested that it was an aid to memory or cryptographic (encoded), rather than esoteric.

 
Here is a cool link talking about the Jötunvillur code that dates back to the Viking Age: http://sciencenordic.com/mysterious-code-viking-runes-cracked

I like how it discuses the pleasure of challenging others to solve the code, even if the message is simple and mundane.

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2017, 11:31:01 am »
Quote from: Froði Ingsson;204099
I've come across something like that in my readings but I cannot remember who it was from either.

I've definitely come across a few who see the aettir as energetic cycles. As a gardener I like the idea of working with the aettir as the three stations of the day (morning, noon, and evening) and the eight quadrants of the earth (E, SE, S, SW, W, NW, N, NE).

One way I've work with this in the past is to divide my land into eight sections and then during the three stations of the day go around and see where the light and shadows are. This helps me determine which plants will prosper in each section.

Granted, this way of working with the Runes is not historical, but it does lend itself nicely to structuring the world in a certain way so that I can have more understanding and control over it. On top of which, it invites a sacredness to life that is refreshing and magical.

Thanks for sharing your notes.

Frith

 
That is a pretty cool way of looking at your garden.  I too enjoy learning both the historical roots but also how people are taking things and bringing them into their modern lives, using old ideas in new and interesting ways.
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Elding

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Re: Aettir?
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2017, 09:00:52 pm »
I know historically there's not much to say about the aettir other than they appear early on. The first appearances are on two sixth century bracteates (Vadstena and Grumpan). I've also heard aett translated as "eighth" and "family."

I know some have connected it with the eight quadrants of space and time, and the three seasons (spring, summer, and winter).

Some Heathens consider the aettir to represent:
  • Three initial states: Ice, Fire, Void
  • As conscious states: unconscious, conscious, and superconscious
  • Dimensions (Freya/Freyr - Midgard, Hel - Helheim, and Tyr - Asgard)
  • Domains of being (physical/body, emotional/heart, and mental/mind)
  • and so on.
I realize adding to what the aettir mean and represent is not justified historically. Even so, I've found it helpful to look through different perspectives/lenses sometimes, and so I ask:

What do the aettir mean to you?

At first I was so confused, because I thought you were referring to the... well... aettir  ;D Not the runic aettir.

I can probably give some insight in this. The word aett (ätt in modern Swedish) is a form of extended family headed by a family head. The ätts no longer remain in Scandinavia as it was one of the things the Church abolished the hardest (as it was tied to the idea of ancestral land and burial grounds, and the Church worked to create public graveyards), but you can still find the very same concept all over the world. Probably the easiest way to describe how an aett function is to say it's a "tribe", with its own legal system and likely its own spiritual system. In the Sagas we see the aetts described as descendants from the Gods (one aett had Odin as their ancestral deity, another one Frey ect., but it's of course unclear if divine ancestry was required of an aett). You can still see this type of family unit in the world today, most famously in the Middle East where families still practice law without major involvement from the police - just family agreements, people pooling together to pay for the wrongdoings of an own member, ect. Causes a lot of strife when they immigrate to the western world, you've probably read about it in some newspaper article or something. Kind of a protection system in a sense.

So, sure, I can see each runic aett representing a theme and working in unison. The second aett is the most obvious one to me (I work with the younger). You've got Need and Year, mirror reflections of each others visually, placed around the Ice rune (a neutral stave). First rune is Hagal, which contains both Need and Year, and last rune is Sun, a rune of Balder and resurrection. As a theme the second aett goes something like: trial -> need/fate/despair/debt -> stagnation/breaking point -> the year keeps turning anyway and we'e all part of something bigger -> resurrection/lesson learned/enlightenment.

It's very obvious in the younger rune rows I think, there is a succession of sorts within the aetts. I don't see it as much in the older Futhark.

So if we look as the runic aetts as inspired by the blood aetts/family lines, there are a few possibilities. Either that the first rune of each aett is seen as a progenitor/ancestor/origin of the other runes in that aett (speaking symbolically, not which God represents the rune - though that might've also been the case). There could be something like a metaphorical "journey through/stories in" each aett, like with the second row of the younger seen above. You could also have something like a "legal unit" supporting each other, each to be understood in the context of its aett and incomplete without it.
Out in the woods, and I\'m not alone, but the sun\'s quickly going down!
There! In the trees! Something stalking me! Stop walking around!
\'K, just be cool, don\'t be such a fool! There is nothing at all to fear...
... other than the trees and the night and a beam of light, and the breathing in my ear...
[/I]

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