A Tiwaz For Tuesday

It is TUESDAY – so therefore, some perhaps slightly unexpected rune-lore on the Tiwaz rune, extracted from my recent piece on the Krtikka ‘Six Swords of the Stars’ Bindrune asterism I had carved; which had taken three Tiwaz runes as its basic construction.

” Something which also fits rather well with the Tiwaz shape given to the Runic asterism – as we actually find in the Old English rune poem the ‘Tir’ rune (as they knew it) being hailed as, well, a star or constellation … and, tellingly, is itself on a ‘journey’ (færyld) over the Night’s dark myst(eries). This particular combination is, therefore, a rather excellent ‘inception’ to what we are endeavouring to do here.

As applies the middle pairing – the twin Tiwaz – partially we have addressed this earlier. Tiwaz is often identified with a ‘point’ – whether of a spear according to some, or a sword in the more dominant opinion (a situation particularly helped by the Valkyrie, Sigrdrifa, instructing the hero Sigurd to inscribe ‘runes of victory’ upon his sword whilst invoking Tyr – which has lead to the understandable belief that ‘sword runes’ in shape is what the ‘T’ is intended to be). The etymology itself stems from the same PIE *Deywos which gives us ‘Deus’ in Latin and ‘Deva’ in Sanskrit. The essential sense is ‘Shining One’. And whilst it is ordinarily the ‘Daylit Sky’ that is somewhat implicit when speaking of these Deifics – if ‘Tir’ is turning up to mean a Star or collection thereof, then it is possible that it had come to mean the distant twinkling lights of the sky even by night as well. After all, across the Indo-European sphere we so often find Gods represented amongst the Stars – Their Myths played out once more in the turning, wheeling panoply of the Night’s dark-skinned beauty.

We should note, of course, that ‘Tiwaz’ / ‘Tyr’ – whilst it does inform the specific theonym for that particular God known as Tyr, is a generalized term for a deific also (as seen with the breadth of Odin theonymics which have a “-Tyr” in them, the at least one Thor designation built from the same particle, and “Tivar” to mean “The Gods” in plural). Indeed, there is some arguable precedency for this (contingent upon reconstructive interpretation) for Ansuz being invoked multiple times in a carving to stand for multiple Gods – rather than the one very particular God most associated with that Rune. So, as applies the arrow Tyr rune: even though it does occur in the Icelandic and Norwegian Rune Poems with especial reference to that Tyr particularly – we have reasonable grounds for its application in a somewhat broader sense.

This is especially the case given a lesser-known element of rune-lore: namely, that the word utilized in the Old English Rune Poem, ‘Tir’, is actually quite likely from a different root and with different meaning to ‘Tyr’. It means ‘Glory’, ‘Fame’, ‘Honour’, ‘Renown’; from Proto-Germanic *Tiraz or *Tera- (which also supplies Old Norse ‘Tirr’). This same Proto-Germanic term is carried forward into modern German via the somewhat archaic ‘Zier’ – ‘Beauty’ or ‘Splendour’ – which is ‘operationalized’ in ‘Zieren’ to mean ‘To Adorn’ or ‘Decorate’, and ‘Zierde’ to mean ‘[having the quality of] beauty’, ‘an adornment’ or ‘decoration’. [As a point of perhaps rather more than comparative interest – the actual Proto-Indo-European particle this ostensibly derives ultimately from … is, in fact, the same one that gives us ‘Tyr’ etc.; it’s just that the ‘Day-light’ sense has been more directly continued to give us the terms for beauty, radiancy, renown, etc.]

Now, the reason why this is incredibly relevant to us here is because there are good grounds to presume that not only is the Old English poem literally older than the Icelandic iteration that has come down to us (with major versions of it being post-Christianization) – but that it is also, in various respects, more ‘conservative’, with the Icelandic effort being ‘templated’ after the older and more southerly efforts in some particulars … and not coincidentally, changing some details along the way (indeed, some of the Icelandic Rune Poem iterations have … elements found nowhere else when talking about the God Tyr, to put it politely; and we also see entire runes that have dropped out in the Younger Futhark preserved with reasonable felicity in the Anglo-Saxon Runic Rows). It should not seem improbable that, in a similar fashion, what was once ‘Tir’ became displaced by ‘Tyr’ – and therefore, correspondingly, something was lost. Something ‘Celestial’ – ‘pointing’, we may in-fer, towards a Star.

Handily, this would also fit rather well with the speculation of Tiwaz being the rune-shape applied to the sword of Sigurd as ‘Victory Runes’ – as this sense of ‘adornment’ fits strongly within the adjacent definitional ambit for the continental Germanic ‘Tir’ expression. The Rune which is Beauty, Glory, Victory, Renown – is applied to the Blade to render the weapon itself Beautiful, Glorious (and Glory-giving), Victorious (and Victory-bestowing), Renowned (along with its bearer). The Sword is made ‘radiant’ via the investiture of the arka-ning runic energy – becoming empowered with the beauteous forces of (day)light and order. A Sword of the Sun – a Sword of Starlight. Eminently apt, in this circumstance, for six Metaphysical Blades which form the ‘Cutters’ asterism.”

2 thoughts on “A Tiwaz For Tuesday

  1. Pingback: A Tiwaz For Tuesday – Glyn Hnutu-healh: History, Alchemy, and Me

  2. Pingback: A Tiwaz For Tuesday — arya-akasha | Vermont Folk Troth

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