Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Celtic Caste System, a Comparison with the Germanic

On this blog and on my Aryan Myth and Metahistory blog I have written many times about different aspects of either the Aryan or Germanic caste systems. What I propose to do in this article is focus particularly on the Celtic caste system and discuss where it differs from the Germanic one.

As far as the structure of the Celtic caste system is concerned it would appear that it closely followed the original Aryan one:

Irish caste system

Druids (including Ovates and Bards)-priestly caste

Flaith-noble/warrior caste

Bo aire-"cow herds"-producer caste

Gallic caste system


Equites (Knights)


I would like to make two points here. Firstly my readers will note the use of the term aire which has exactly the same meaning as the term Arya or Aryan. This puts paid to the lie of many 'academics' that our European ancestors did not use this term to describe themselves. Peter Berresford Ellis writing in The Ancient World of the Celts compares certain Old Irish and Sanskrit terms. The Sanskrit Arya is translated as 'freeman' and the Old Irish aire as 'noble'. In the Germanic caste system the noble was the Jarl caste whilst the freeman was the Karl caste, the yeoman (or artisan) in other words.  I have proved before this term is not limited to the Iranians or Indo-Aryans. See http://aryan-myth-and-metahistory.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/aryan-term-not-confined-to-indo.html Indeed there is also a close connection between the Aryans and agriculture. The Aryan was not just a warrior but a farmer and he revolutionised agriculture by the invention of the plough. The English yeoman of the late Middle Ages is the epitome of this. See http://aryan-myth-and-metahistory.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/the-aryans-and-farmer-caste.html The second point that I wish to make is that the above mentioned caste system is typical of Ireland but Caesar writing in his De bello Gallica stresses the importance of the two highest castes:

“In the whole of Gaul two types of men are counted as being of worth and distinction. The ordinary people are considered almost as slaves: they dare do nothing on their own account and are not called to counsels.
“Of the two types of men of distinction, however, the first is made up of the druids, and the other of the knights.” (Book 6.13, Carolyn Hammond translation)

If Caesar is correct in his analysis then this may be an indication that the Celtic tribes of Gaul were more warlike due to the unsettled nature of the times with the threat that they faced from Rome. This situation would have increased the importance of the warrior caste whilst Ireland was largely free from conflict from external enemies and so the dominance of the two highest castes was not so evident. It would appear that there was a fair degree of mobility between the priestly and warrior castes of the Gauls but less so between these two castes and the third caste although it was also possible to rise from this caste to either of the other two but it took several generations for this position to be consolidated and to be fully recognised.

The term bo aire literally means cattle chief and cattle were regarded as an indication of wealth in both Celtic and Germanic societies and this is of course reflected in the Fehu/Feoh/Fe rune, meaning cattle or livestock as a  form of mobile wealth. Eventually land became an indicator of wealth as the tribes became more settled. This was of course before the introduction of 'money'.

The ancient Brehon Laws of Ireland date back to the Iron Age and they developed from oral laws as did the Germanic legal systems. It is said that they have their foundation in Proto-Indo-European or Aryan times. The Brehons were judges or arbiters of the law. The Brehon Laws describe the structure of Irish society and show that there were five main classes of people:

Kings of various grades from tribal Kings to the High King.

Nobles (which included Kings)

Non-Noble Freemen with property

Non-Noble Freemen without property or with little property

The Non-Free

The first three classes were known as 'privileged' and known as an aire. The nobility held land which they owned and thus were the aristocracy. Another term for this type of noble or chief was Flaith. The Freeman with property although not classed as a noble was nevertheless an aire. This would seem to equate to both the gentry and the yeomanry of late mediaeval England. The bo aire was the equivalent of the English yeoman or franklin as I have said previously. A wealthier bo aire could rise to the lowest rank of noble. The Freeman with little or no property were termed ceile or producers. The Freeman whether he be the owner of property or not would have equated to the Karl caste of the Germanic system. Craftsmen or artisans were also regarded as Freemen of the lower rank. The Non-Free were not all slaves and some could own small plots of land for subsistence purposes and they would have equated to the Thrall caste of the Germanic system. The Druids are not represented in the structure outlined in the Brehon Laws as this concerned purely the structure of lay society, not priestly.

It is clear that the Kings and Nobles equate to the Jarl caste whilst the Freemen of both classes equate to the Karl caste and the Non-Free the Thrall caste, thus reconciling the system in the Brehon Laws to the tripartite Indo-European system. If one considers that the Non-Free as a type of Sudra caste fall outside of the Indo-European tripartite structure then what we have is as follows:

Druids-priestly caste

Nobles (including Kings)-warrior caste

Freemen (farmers, craftsmen with or without property)

Non-Free-slaves and others of low standing falling outside of the aire and equate to the Indian Sudras.

The Germanic system does not have a separate priestly caste as this function was subsumed by the noble caste and we see the two functions of the Jarl caste divided into soverignity (Tyr) and magic-religion (Odin) and thus the Thralls which would not have been regarded as aire by the Irish are formed into the third caste, the other two moving up one level to replace the lost priestly one. I have already discussed the reason for this in http://celto-germanic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-germanic-caste-system-reappraisal.html

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Woden Remembered in German Harvest Incantations

Long after our ancestors ceased to worship the deities of our folk their remembrance lingered on in many rural folk customs. I stress here, rural folk customs for it is in the rural villages and smaller towns that our ancient customs survived the longest. The cities and larger towns were mainly the product of people being drawn into larger urban centres from the time of the Industrial Revolution, seeking employment. After 2 or 3 generations many people forgot who their ancestors were. Thus they generally lack any real continuity. As an aside I remark here that those of us who have ancestry rooted in rural areas are more likely to trace our ancestry back to the 1400s and 1500s than those whose ancestors came from larger urban centres. This causes the descendants  unfortunately to 'forget' their ancestors, having no real idea where they came from although this happily can be remedied in part by the latest autosomal DNA testing which can identify ethnic origins and even which regions of the British Isles your ancestors came from to 10 generations back (great great great great great great great great grandparents-1024 lines of descent!). Thus the larger towns and cities have always been the enemy of our folk.

Up until fairly recent times (19th century) the Gods were still being remembered in songs and folk customs, usually related to the changing seasons of the year. There are some very interesting examples referred to by Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology volume 1. In Mecklenburg Grimm tells us of a certain formula or incantation which was spoken over the last sheaf of harvest:
"Wode, hale (fetch) dinem rosse nu voder,
            nu distil unde dorn,

            tom andern jar beter korn!"

This translates as "Wode, fetch now food for your horse!" An alternative version of this incantation from the same region is:

"Wode, Wode,
            hal dinen rosse nu voder,

            nu distel un dorn,

            aechter jar beter korn!"

This is written in a German dialect and thus not easy to translate but I believe that it equates to "Wode, Wode, fetch now food for your horse, now thistle and thorn, avoid the better corn!"

"He adds, that at the squires' mansions, when the rye is all cut, there is Wodel-beer served out to the mowers; no one weeds flax on a Wodenstag, lest Woden's horse should trample the seeds; from Christmas to Twelth-day they will not spin, nor leave any flax on the distaff, and to the question why? they answer, Wode is galloping across. We are expressly told, this wild hunter Wode rides a white horse."

Grimm also tells us that in Schaumburg the mowers go out in teams of either 12, 16 or 20 scythes. They so arrange it that on the very last day of harvest they all finish at the same time:
"or some leave a strip standing which they can cut down at a stroke the last thing, or they merely pass their scythes over the stubble, pretending there is still some left to sow. At the last stroke of the scythe they raise their implements aloft, plant them upright, and beat the blades three times with the strop. Each spills on the field a little of the drink he has, whether beer, brandy, or milk, then drinks himself, while they wave their hats, beat their scythes three times, and cry aloud Wold, Wold, Wold! and the women knock all the crumbs out of their baskets on the stubble. They march home shouting and singing. Fifty years ago a song was in use, which has now died out, but whose first strophe ran thus:

         'Wold, Wold, Wold!
          haevenhuene weit wat schuet,
          juemm hei dal van heaven suet.'

          Vulle kruken un sangen haet hei,
           upen holte waesst (grows) manigerlei:
           hei is nig barn un wert nig old.
           Wold, Wold, Wold!

This translates as:

“Wôld, Wôld, Wôld”!
H“Wôld, Wôld, Wôld”!
Heaven’s giant knows what happens,
He, looking down from heaven,
Providing full jugs and sheaves.
Many a plant grows in the woods.
He is not born and grows not old.’s g
            “Wôld, Wôld, Wôld”!

Grimm goes on to state that if the ceremony is omitted then the next year will bring bad crops of hay and corn. It is interesting that here Woden is referred to as "Heaven's giant" which accords with a very ancient conception of Woden as Wod, a storm giant.
"The primitive conception of Odin is the German storm giant Wode, leader of the 'wild army', O.H.G. Wuotis-her, i.e. the procession of the homeless dead through the air. The development Woden raises the name on to the same level as royal titles like Gothic thiudans and Scandinavia drottinn. (page 227, Our Forefathers the Gothonic Nations Volume 1, Gudmund Schuette)

 "The German Wode=O.N. Odr is a storm giant, the Wild Huntsman and Leader of the Host of the Dead who is finally exalted to the chief god under the name of Woden, Odin." (Page 216)
Also from Schaumburg he states that:

"On the lake of Steinhude, the lads from the village of Steinhude go every autumn after harvest, to a hill named Heidenhuegel, light a fire on it, and when it blazes high, wave their hats and cry Wauden, Wauden!" 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Thunor and Irmin Suggested as Ancestors of the Thuringii

There may be an association between the God Thunor and the ancient Germanic tribe of the Thuringii and certainly there has been some speculation about this by scholars in the past. Like all Germanic tribes they did of course wander over Germania but they finally settled in the area of Germany now known as Thuringia or Thüringen to give it its German name. This modern German state or Land borders Lower Saxony or Niedersachsen in the Harz Mountains.

The word Thuringii consists of 2 elements, Thur and ing. This would seem to suggest that those who called themselves Thuringii were the sons of Thur, Thor or Thunor. This idea has been subject to a certain amount of speculation by German scholars in the 19th century and has been repeated by more recent scholars such as Frithjof Sielaff and others (see The Baiuvarri and Thuringi: An Ethnographic Perspective, 2014 by Janine Fries-Knoblach and Heiko Steuer).

The earliest historically testifiable king of the Thuringii is Bisinius (450-500), the 5th and last one Frisud who lived about 100 years later. After this the Thuringii were conquered by the Franks who appointed dukes to govern them. However the legendary history of the rulers of the Thuringii stretches further back than Bisinius. Predecessors appear such as Merwig II, Weldelphus, Merwig I, Erpes, Hoger, Thurus and Irmin. I don't know how much credence should be given to this information as it is difficult to track down sources but it is interesting that at the head of the legendary ancestry of Bisinius, the first historically identifiable king, we have the God Irmin and Thunor is reckoned as His son, from which the Thuringii allegedly derive their name. This would therefore suggest that they belonged to the Irminone division of Germanic tribes or they were descended from earlier tribes that belonged to this division.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Donnerkeile and Odin Stones, a Protection Against Lightning

Northern European folklore is replete with information and stories about Thunderstones or to use the German term, Donnerkeile. Our ancestors believed that they were the physical remnants of thunderbolts where the core had become spent. Often farmers would collect them and take them home, siting them in their houses and barns as protection against lightning. Sometimes beer was poured upon them as an offering to the Thunder God. Hag Stones, Holey Stones or Odin Stones also served a similar process. When an oncoming storm was detected the householder would swing it three times around his head and then throw it at the door. Odin Stones made this easy as they were naturally perforated with a hole to allow the thread to pass through. I have in my possession an Odin Stone of good size which is threaded with a red thread; red representing the colour of Thunor's beard. I also have a Donnekeil amulet which is inscribed in Runes on its wooden mount. Another smaller Odin Stone is attached to the head of a runic wand which I have crafted.

Donnerkeile and Odin Stones again remind us of the link with our Neolithic past when our ancestors were far more in touch with their environment and its numinous qualities. They understood that stone was not lifeless as assumed by modern man but vibrated with a different and lower frequency but nevertheless were alive and were repositories of energy and power.

"In Germany, Stone Age celts known as Donnerkeil ('Donar's wedges') were supposedly thrown to earth by the thunder god. Similar ceraunia were also treasured in Viking-period Scandinavia, as well as elsewhere in Europe into the nineteenth century." (The Divine Thunderbolt. Missile of the Gods, J.T. Sibley)

Donnerkeile could of course also be carried on the person as a general means of protection, especially in warfare as J.T. Sibley states:

"Until about 1870, a German soldier would carry a Donnerkeil (cerauniam, especially a Stone Age arrowhead) in his pocket as a protective ward against rifle fire." 

This ancient tradition has not died out. Indeed a cursory look on the Internet is sufficient to indicate that their use is enjoying a revival as our folk rediscover their ancient spiritual and magical pathways.

In England these ceraunia have been interpreted as elfshot or arrows, causing sickness and so have a malevolent interpretation but this may be a later  Christian interpretation as most of our lore was of course demonised and a contrary interpretation applied. However people still wore them as protection against disease! If mixed with or dipped into water they could effect a cure.

"'Fairies,' says Grose, 'sometimes shoot at cattle with arrows headed with flint stones; these are often found and are called elfshots. In order to effect the cure of an animal so injured, it is to be touched with one of these elfshots, or to be made to drink the water in which one is dipped." (Curiosities of Indo-European Tradition and Folk-lore, Walter Keating Kelly)

It should be remembered that before the introduction of the thunder axe or hammer the Thunder God would cast down thunderbolts to the earth in the form of these stones and thus they were much highly prized. There is a possibility that these stones at times did literally fall from the sky as fragments of meteorites or a remembrance of such events. It is conjectured by some that Thor's Hammer may indeed have been forged from meteorite stone or iron from the stone.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Hrungnir as a Proto-Thunder God

I have many times in the past discussed the transformation of the Neolithic axe into the iron hammer of the Germanic and Indo-European Thunder God. A story contained in Skaldskaparmal in the Younger Edda relates how Thor defeated the giant Hrungnir in a dual. The story begins with Odin's visit to Jotunheim on His eight-legged steed Sleipnir. Odin arrived at the abode of Hrungnir who commented:

"Then Hrungnir asked what sort of person this was with the golden helmet riding sky and sea, and said he had a marvellously good horse. Odin said he would wager his head on it that there would be no horse as good to be found in Giantland. Hrungnir said it was a good horse, but declared he had a horse that must be much longer-paced, it was called Gullfaxi."

What follows is a chase by Hrungnir of Odin who led him through the gates of sacred Asgard and into the hall of Valhall. After the drinking of much alcohol Hrungnir boasted that he could "remove Val-hall and take it to Giantland, but bury Asgard and kill all the gods, except that he was going to take Freyia and Sif home with him,..." Tiring of his boasting the Aesir invoked the name of Thor who immediately entered the hall. Thor could not slay Hrungnir on the spot because he had been invited there by Odin and so the giant was under His protection. Thor agreed to a duel which was planned to take place on the frontier at Griotunagardar which is at the frontier of Jotunheim. To slay anyone in the sacred precincts of Asgard would have been an act of sacrilege and also the giant was unarmed and so it would also have been considered as a dishonourable act.

Hrungnir was regarded as the strongest of the giants and so much was at stake on the outcome of this duel, namely the continued existence of Jotunheim and indeed even Asgard as Thor was considered to be the strongest of the Gods. This duel was not just a contest between Thor and Hrungnir but also between Thor's servant Thialfi and a clay giant called Mokkurkalfi, constructed by the giants and given a heart of a mare. This image which became animated was designed to strike terror into the hearts of Thor and Thialfi. However the reality was that the clay giant quaked with fear when he saw the God of Thunder approach. Interestingly Skaldskaparmal makes this interesting comment concerning Hrungnir:

"Hrungnir had a heart that is renowned, made of solid stone and spiky with three points just like the symbol for carving Hrungnir's heart has ever since been made. His head was also of stone. His shield was also stone, broad and thick, and he had a whetstone as weapon and rested it on his shoulder and he did not look at all pleasant."

Because of the triangular nature of Hrungnir's heart it has been associated with the valknut and triquetra. Hrungnir's weapon of choice was a whetstone. Christopher Fee in his rather good Gods, Heroes, & Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain makes the point that the collision of the whetstone and the iron hammer caused divine sparks to fly for this was the meeting of flint and iron. Like wise in Lappish mythology:

"As late as the end of the seventeenth century, some Lappish clans still worshiped a thunder-god shaped out of a block of wood, holding a hammer, with iron nails and sometimes flint imbedded in its head. The association of the thunder-god with sacred fire such as might be sparked in this way seems to have been a commonplace throughout the Baltic region and Scandinavia, and was exported abroad with the Germanic invasions." (Fee)

Subsequently Thor had a piece of this broken whetstone lodged in His head. This fits in well with picture that we have of the Thunder God in Lappish mythology. Intriguingly in Irish legend the hero Cuchulain has a bright shining 'Champion's Light that protrudes from his forehead like a whetstone.

Naturally Thor defeated his opponent but the most interesting part of the story for me is the way in which Hrungnir is in my mind represented as an earlier Neolithic thunder deity, supplanted by the Iron Age Thor. During the Neolithic Age flint and stone had sacred properties and the Thunder God of this era wielded a stone axe which morphed into a hammer. The duel between Hrungnir and Thor is a mythological representation of this change.

The Eddas have further examples of more ancient thunder deities amongst the races of giants and I will speak of these in future articles.

*The translation of Skaldskaparmal which I have used is by Anthony Faulkes

Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Indo-European and Possibly Germanic Origins of the Picts

Over the last 100 years or so there has been much speculation over the nature of the language spoken by the ancient Picts. Some scholars see them as non Indo-Europeans, whilst others view them as being Indo-European. Of those that allign to the second view point they are generally divided into two camps: those that believe they were a Celtic people and those a Germanic. The Pictish Chronicle  written in Latin states that the Picts were not aboriginal to Britain as many claim but came from "much further afield" (The Last of the Druids, Iain Forbes ) Candidates for this Urheimat include Thrace and Scythia, suggestive in itself of an Indo-European origin. The Picts apparently originally intended to settle in Ireland but were subsequently persuaded by the Irish king to settle in Scotland and were given Irish wives. Significantly the Scottish kings of the kingdom of Dalriada laid claim to the throne of the Picts via this matrilineal succession. It should be noted that the Scots themselves were not native to Scotland but were colonists from Ireland!

The issue of matrilineal succession was also referred to by the Venerable Bede in his A History of the English Church and People. It is often argued by scholars that because of the matrilinear succession of Pictish kings that this marked them out as a distinctly non Indo-European people but by making this argument they ignore the statement made by Bede that this condition was forced upon the Picts by the Irish king as stated:

"So the Picts crossed into Britain, (WOTANS KRIEGERS NOTE: they crossed from Ireland) and began to settle in the north of the island, since the Britons were in possession of the south. Having no women with them, these Picts asked wives of the Scots, (WOTANS KRIEGER'S NOTE: the 'Scots' here referred to were the Scots from Ireland) who consented on condition that, when any dispute arose, they should choose a king from the female royal line rather than the male. This custom continues among the Picts to this day." 

By inisting that the Picts choose their kings from the female line the Irish Scots ensured that they always had a controlling interest in the Picts. There is no evidence that this custom originated with the Picts and thus can not be put forward as an argument to deny that they were Indo-Europeans.

The reference to the Picts having originated in 'Scythia' is a common perception that reaches back to the days of the Roman Empire when it was considered that all barbarians came from Scythia, which was the great land mass to the east of the empire stretching in their eyes from eastern Germania to the Slavic lands and beyond. 'Scythia' in the context of Bede's work may be interpreted as being Scandinavia. It is likely that the colonising Picts were in fact a war band, hence the lack of women aboard their ships. Scandinavia would certainly be a good candidate and this would in all probabilty indicate that not only were the Picts Indo-European but Germanic. Indeed in the late 19th century the Earl of Southesk on studying both Pictish and Scandinavian carvings put forward the theory that they shared a common Germanic origin. (The Origins of Pictish Symbolism). Stephen Oppenheimer seems to also support a Scandinavian identity for Bede's 'Scythia' in his The Origins of the British:

"How they reached the British Isles from Scythia, east of the Mediterranean, Bede does not make clear, but elsewhere in Medieval literature the region of Scythia is sometimes alluded to as the ultimate Norse homeland in the Danish and Icelandic sagas. The longboats might imply the Picts were from Scandinavia, but in any case this story from Bede makes it clear that he did not think that they were British or Irish. His linguistic skill should have been enough to work this one out for himself."

Tony Steele in his The Rites and Rituals of Traditional Witchcraft makes the point that at one time it was considered by scholars that the megalith builders were non Indo-European, a notion that is no longer tenable.

"The archaeologist Colin Renfrew has shown that it is far more likely that Indo-European was introduced to Europe by the original Neolithic settlers, and so the megalithic builders were, in fact, Indo-European. In this connection it is worth pointing out that the territories of the Etruscans and Basques are notable for being devoid of megalithic remains-which is hardly true of the Picts."

Mr Steele makes this point as the Etruscans and Basques were among the minority of peoples in Europe who did not speak an Indo-European language and this helps to further discredit the theory that the megaliths were the product of a non Indo-European culture. Mr Steele also argues the case for Pictish being a Germanic language, partly based on the close proximity of northern Scotland with Scandinavia but concedes that it is "a very archaic and somewhat degenerate form of Germanic." Interestingly as an aside I would like to remind my readers at this point that Old English is now increasingly being considered as a more archaic language than hitherto thought and could be regarded as a separate subset of the Germanic language group. (Oppenheimer)

Professor Renfrew does not argue for a Germanic origin for the Pictish language but he does concede an Indo-European one for it:

"What language was spoken in Scotland, or what languages, is far from clear. We have evidence of personal names, and of place names, as preserved by classical writers and in early medieval sources (including the Pictish Chronicle, a list of kings in a Latin text put together in the middle of the ninth century), and in the place names of more recent times. There is some evidence to be derived from these sources which would not contradict the view that they represent a northern dialect of Brithonic, perhaps not unlike that spoken further south before the dominance of the Romans." (Archaeology & Language. The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins.)  
This theory is also referred to by Stephen Oppenheimer:

"Pictish, formerly spoken in northern Scotland, is claimed to have been Brythonic, but whether this claim covers all languages present there in the first millenium AD, apart from Scottish Gaelic, is still disputed by a few." (The Origins of the British)

It is becoming increasingly clear that with the acceptance now that the megalithic builders were Indo-European (including those of Stonehenge), that the Belgic peoples who were present in southern Britain prior to the Roman conquest were Germanic and now the increasing possibility of not only the Indo-European but possibly the Germanic origins of the Picts it is time that the early history of Britain be re-examined in the light of these findings.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Survival of the Irminsul and its Connection to Ziu

There has been much speculation over the years about the location of the historic Irminsul with the most popular choices being Eresburg and the Externsteine but I believe that it is a error to assume that there was only one Irminsul. I have now come to the conclusion that Irminsul columns are to be found all over continental Germania and England and indeed many of these pillars have survived down to the present day in the form of Jupiter Columns in Roman occupied Europe and indeed even in the humble marker crosses which are to be found all over rural England.

Eugene Goblet d'Alviella in his most interesting The Migration of Symbols (1894)mmakes reference to the perrons/perons (French) or perroen (Dutch) of eastern Belgium which are stone columns usually surmounted by a cross. In particular he discusses the Perron of Liege:

"The most celebrated of those perrons is still standing, above a fountain, on the market-place at Liege; it consists of a white marble column placed on a square base with five steps, guarded by four lions. The capital is surmounted by the three Graces, who support a Crown encircling a Fir-cone with a small Cross on its point."

Some of my readers may already be aware that the Fir cone or Pine cone is a symbol of the Goddess Zisa, the consort of the ancient Germanic sky God Ziu.  According to Nigel Pennick Cisa/Zisa had a shrine at Augsburg in Germany and her annual festival took place on the 28th of September. (The Complete Illustrated Guide to the Runes), the original name of this city being Zisenburg (A History of Pagan Europe, Pennick/Jones) or Zizarim (The Book of Primal Signs, Pennick). The Roman name of the city was Augusta Vindelicorum. The symbol of Zisa is the pine cone and many large stone pine cones survive from Roman times. Mr Pennick states that the Stadtpyr is the emblem of Augsburg and Her cone appears as a weather vane on the church of St. Peter-am-Perlach, which was built on the site of a holy hill dedicated to the Goddess.

This Goddess is referred to extensively in Jacob Grimm's Teutonic Mythology Volume 1:

"Sie bawten einen tempel gross darein zu eren[in honour of] Zise der abgoettin, die sie nach heidnischen sitten[after heathen ways] anbetten zu denselben zeiten[adored in those days]. Die stat ward genennt[city got named] auch Zisaris nach der abgoettin[after the goddess], das was der pris. Der tempel als lang stund unversert[stood uninjured], bis im von alter abgieng[as from age it passed away], der berg namen von im empfieng[the hill took name], daruf gestanden was[whereon had stood] das werck, und haist noch huet[hight still to-day] der Zisenberck."

So the combination of a pillar surmounted by a cone reinforces the identification of the column with Ziu and His consort Zisa. There is a strong argument for assuming that Irmin, Saxnot and Ziu are in fact different names for the same deity. All three are both highly important and ancient sky deities who reach far back into the Germanic past. If this theory is correct then I would suggest that it is Ziu who is the oldest form of this deity; Irmin and Saxnot being later developments.

Indeed as a deity Ziu is so ancient that His existence can be traced right back to Proto-Indo-European times and He was clearly The God worshipped by the still undivided Aryans. He is the Welsh duw, the Latin deus, the Lithuanian dievas, the Sanskrit deva, the Avestan daevo (demonised as a 'false God' by the Zoroastrians), the Jupiter of the Romans and the Zeus of the Greeks. Our ancient Aryan ancestors would have called Him Dyeus, 'celestial being'. He was literally the Sky Father and this is particularly reflected in the Latin Iupiter (pronounced Jupiter), Dis-Pater, Deus Pater and the Greek Zeu Pater which is remarkably similar to the Sanskrit Dyauspitah. This deity's dominance as the primary God of the undivided Aryans diminished as the various Aryan tribes went their separate ways and evolved their own pantheons of Gods. The main area of operations of this God was in the daylight sky.

As Jupiter is the Roman version of Ziu we have here a further connection between Ziu and Irmin as the Jupiter columns which are to be found in the Romanised parts of Germania are clearly a form of the Irminsul.

Returning to The Migration of Symbols the author states:

"Lastly, old chroniclers relate that in the thirteenth century the destruction of the Irminsul by Charlemagne was still commemorated at Hildesheim on the Saturday following the Sunday of the Laetare, by planting in the ground, on the cathedral square, two poles six feet high, each surmounted by a wooden object one foot in height, and shaped like a pyramid or cone. The young people then endeavoured with sticks and stones to overthrow this object. Does not this tradition directly connect the Irminsul, or rather the Irminsuls, with the stake which, surmounted by a Cone, is presented to our view in the Frankish buckle, just as the stone column of the Hildesheim cathedral links them with the perrons of Belgium?"

Here the author is referring to Fir cones placed at the end of pillars and venerated by the Franks in eastern Belgium and north east France.

Ziu was the God who presided over the ancient Thing so it is not surprising that we find miniature Irminsuls in the form of market crosses in the market squares of England and other Germanic countries where it was the tradition for public assemblies to be held. As Christopher Fee points out in his interesting book Gods, Heroes, & Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain (2004):

"Tiw was the protector of judicial assemblies; this fact is attested by a Roman inscription in Britain to 'Mas Thingus', who watched over legal proceedings, which were held on his day (Tuesday) of each week."