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Europe , Fog Fog symbolizes the vagueness that exists where the worlds of humans and gods come together, especially in sacred and mysterious places, like the forest and the cave. Also, fog, as that which covers the light or good, can represent darkness or evil. In the original myth of Siegfried and the Nibelungen, which is essentially a creation myth, Siegfried is first victorious and rises in splendor as a light hero, but falls into fog and darkness after he meets the Nibelungen or "children of the mist or fog" Chantepie de la Saussaye, Forest To the ancient Teutons, the forests were magical places inhabited by gods.

Certain sacred groves were linked with communication with other worlds. Some woods were seen as especially close to the divine; so it was believed prayers would be heard more readily there. Forests, like the symbol of the tree , were fundamental to Teutonic cosmology in connection to the World Ash Tree, Yggdrasill. Forests were like temples: there people held ceremonies and offered sacrifices to the gods.

The mysterious silence of the forests was feared and revered--for, though forests were composed of earthly material, they were links, even portals, to the supernatural worlds Davidson, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe , , , , Garden The etymology of the word "garden" is of Teutonic origin, though the English usage of it probably derived from old French.

The idea of a garden is linked directly to the Teutonic imagination through the endings "-yard" or "-jard" or "-gard" that name the mythological places of Asgard, Utgard and Midgard, the worlds of gods, giants and humans respectively. Giant In the Teutonic story of creation, the first being in existence was the frost giant Ymir.


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He was the father of the race of giants, and the nine worlds were constructed from his body. Ancient Teutons believed that though the gods created women and men, the giants preceded even the gods. In early myths, giants were seen as having great wisdom. However, in later myths, after falling out with the gods, giants were seen as stupid and slow. The giants in Teutonic myths were like the gods and dwarves in their human forms, but were bigger and stronger. Their only skill was as builders. Also, giants were believed to travel in pairs, to be easily angered and to be very dangerous, inclined to a wildness and fierceness which later would associate them with the violence of nature Davidson, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe , Gold Much of the treasure of the Teutonic gods was made of gold and was envied by the giants, dwarves and gods.

Idun's apples of gold gave the gods immortal youth; and the goddess Sif, after being the victim of one of Loki's tricks, was given HAIR of gold. Teutonic traditional beliefs held that hoards of gold were hidden in the Rhine, in the mountains, and in waterfalls Davidson, Hair The goddess Sif was renowned for her golden-yellow hair.

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However, the trickster god Loki mischeviously shaved off Sif's lovely locks. Once caught by the gods, Loki was forced to approach the dwarves and demand that they forge hair of real gold for Sif. So, clever and perhaps falsely repetant, Loki redeems himself in the eyes of the gods by presenting them with a gift of magical treasure, including Sif's new hair of magical gold and Mjollnir, Thor's short-handled hammer Crossley-Holland, Hammer The hammer is a symbol of power to ward off cold and chaos.

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The god Thor owned a short-handled hammer called Mjollnir which made thunder and lightening, could shatter rocks, could make dents in mountains and worked to keep all beings under the control of the gods' laws. Mjollnir is perhaps the most famous article in all of early Teutonic thought as an instrument of consecration and resurrection, especially since this hammer will be the only divine article to survive Ragnarok Cord, III:1, ; Davidson, 12, Hand The hand symbolizes loyalty, highlighting the importance of the bond of the oath.

According to one myth, to bind the wolf Fenrir who was ravaging Asgard and also posed a threat to Odin's life, the god Tyr kept the pledge of the gods by placing his hand in Fenrir's mouth as a sign of trust, though Tyr's hand subsequently was bitten off Crossley-Holland, Hell It was believed that after death everyone went to Hel, the realm of the dead, except for certain select warriors who would be raised up to Valhalla.

Thus, Hel was inhabited by women, children and men who died ignobly. Hel is also the name of the giant-woman who guards the palace of the dead Chantepie de la Saussaye, , Horns One of the four harts who destructively eats the leaves of Yggdrasill is a goat named EIkdrynir "the Oak-thorned".

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From one of the horns of this goat comes a stream that falls into the spring Hvergelmir, out which all rivers flow Cord, I, Drinking horns-- To many societies, drinking horns are significant in festivals and sacred rites. In Teutonic cultures, wine and mead was drunk out of common large horns rather than smaller individual vessels, a practice which encouraged community and loyalty amongst family and neighbors.

Also, the blood from animals was imbibed from horns after sacrifice as a silent closing to the ritual Davidson, , Musical horns-- Long associated with the hunt, horns are important for proclamations and festivals. However, the horn is also used as the signal of an omen, whether good or bad. In Teutonic mythology, the god Heimdall, the guardian of Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge, owns "Gjallarhorn 'Shrieking Horn' , whose sound could be heard around the world. This horn lay buried under the World Ash Tree and would be dug up and sounded by Heimdall to awaken the gods" before Ragnarok Cord, I, Horse The most important animal in early Teutonic culture was the horse, especially as a symbol of fertility and warrior virtue.

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Horses were the gods' main means of support, since divinities had to ride across Bifrost in order to get to the lower worlds. In some cases, a sacred horse was held to understand the will of the gods more clearly than the priests. Odin owned an eight-legged steed, Sleipnir; Night had a horse, Hrimfaxi, who rode with her around the world every two and a half days; and Day's horse, Skinfaxi, lights up the sky and earth every day with his bright mane Davidson, 53; Rydberg, Ice Ice symbolizes birth and creation.

At the beginning of everything, life supposedly first quickened in frozen water droplets, and from them the frost giant Ymir, the first being of the nine worlds, came into existence. According to one myth, not long after Ymir's birth, the liquid of melting ice "took the form of a cow This man became known as Buri; Buri's son was Bor; and Bor's sons were Odin, Vili and Ve, the fathers of all gods, humans and the builders of the worlds on which they live Crossley-Holland, Kiss Ancient Teutons believed a kiss had great powers.

At times it could place the recipient in a state of complete forgetfulness or could revive memories. A kiss could put one into a stupor, "intensify the emotional state" and "cause one to sense a personal satisfaction in all things, a state in which no evil would be perceived" Cord, III:1, Leaf Along with the image of the World Ash tree , Yggdrasill, in Teutonic mythology, leaves are closely linked to the cycles of death and renewal.

Yggdrasill is tortured by goats and deer who tear off new shoots and eat the leaves. Yet, two humans, Lif and Lifthrasir, whose names mean "life" but also may be cognates with the word "leaf", hide within Yggdrasill and survive Ragnarok to re-begin the human race in the next cycle of worlds. Lightning Teutonic mythology attributes lightning to the god Thor.

Though lightning is most often associated with Thor's hammer, Mjollnir, several myths describe the sparks of light that flash across the sky as originating from fragments of whetstone lodged in Thor's head. After the rise of a new world, natural phenomena like lightning and thunder were seen as a good omen by many in Teutonic cultures. They associated these happenings with the growth of crops and thus may have perceived lightning as a positive prophetic sign, especially if seen before planting or harvest Cord, ; Crossley-Holland, xxvii.

Necklace The necklace is associated with fertility. According to one of these myths, the goddess Freyja lusted after the Necklace of the Brisings and slept with two dwarves in order to obtain it. Through this myth, the necklace also comes to symbolize desire, especially sexual passion and material avarice Crossley-Holland, Oak The oak was the most sacred tree to the ancient Teutons. Despite their mythology which elevated the ash tree to the World Tree, the Teutons revered oak for its healing and magical properties. The bark of the oak cured illness; its acorns were used in a drink of forgetfulness; and its twigs and brances were used in fertility ceremonies Cord, I, 11; Davidson, Average Review.

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