Monday, 21 December 2015

Yule seed thought : Wuldor

Wuldor has been nagging at my subconscious for a few years now. At this time of year when I see the Turneresque-light that word comes forward into my minds-eye like an overlayed image.

A voice booms deep into my subconscious with the name. The light is so different at Yule with the sun low in the sky it is just glorious to see the gold against the deep purple and dark greys of the winter landscape.

What or who is Wuldor? The dictionary says it means "Glory or Splendour" which fits with the light at this time. Modern historians make the Anglo-Saxon Wuldor cognate with the Norse Ullr. Ullr is the god of hunting & skiing and his sacred tree was the Yew as it is used in making bows. In Griminsmal Ullr's home is named a Ydalir, yew-dale. The age of references to Ullr suggest that he was a significant older god perhaps, like Tiw, somewhat overtaken in the later mythology. One of the earliest runic writings is dedicated to Wuldor/Ullr. There is also reference to Ullr taking over the leadership from Odin when Odin was exiled. However, within the Anglo-Saxon world there is little or no mention of Wuldor but wuldor is used extensively within Christian Anglo-Saxon texts as alternate names for God such as wuldor-cyning "king of glory" and wuldor-dreám, es; m. Joy in the glory of heaven, celestial joy. Wuldor, Ullr is also well known for his alters being filled with oath-rings.

So what can a modern Gewessi learn from this? Wuldor seems to have been an important concept to the Anglo-Saxons, this suggests that he may well have been a god. Within England there is continuity around the Yew having been important, some of the older churches, likely to have been built on previously pagan sacred ground, have Yews that are older than the church. Wuldor, assuming he was similar to Ullr was also likely to have been a winter god and god of the hunt or feast. The modern Ullr is the Nordic patron of skiing but this seems to fit less well with Wuldor as England is not known for its long skiing season. Which brings us to Father Christmas in England.

Father Christmas, before he became synonymous with Santa Claus (the Americanized Sinterklaas), was the English bringer of feasts; the twelve days of Christmas being a time of feasting. Whereas the modern Santa Claus is all about gifts for the children, I hear many say "Oh Christmas is for the children" as if it's unimportant for adults, this Father Christmas is all about the community feast which is a much more important affair. This fits with Wuldor as huntsman, master of the feast and god of oaths. At the sacred-feast, or blót, there was the tradition of exchanging gifts to bond friendship and it included sacred oath taking. During the Christmas period in the later Medieval period and into Tudor times there is a long tradition of the Lord of Misrule or Master of Merrymaking taking over from the village Lord for the Xmas period. This is reminiscent of Ullr taking Odin's throne as described in Saxo Grammaticus' "Gesta Danorum".

My personal gnosis would put the Wuldor-faeder as Father Christmas, the god who takes over from Woden for the 12 days of Yule: from the 21st December until the 1st January. He is the huntsman who brings the feast with him, who is the god of gift giving. His Rune would be Gebo which is the X in Xmas and he oversees the oaths given on New Years Eve.

Finally, I have been mulling this over for the past few days but it was in the forefront of my mind as I rode for my Yule ritual to greet the dawn.

I was cycling in good weather and as Sunna crested the hills to the South-East I rode looking at a rainbow to the North-East; suggesting that Heimdall had opened the gate to Asgard. A romantic would think it was a sign that my personal gnosis was being affirmed by the Gods, Wuldor is Father Christmas, the Yew-king. When I got home the heavens opened; I had seen the best of the day.

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