At Dawn’s First Light,
Wipe Sand from your Eye.
Sky Above spinning nigh,
Infuse Stardust upon Earth Below.
Great Tree Digs Three Roots Deep,
Lyric and Long, Branches ascending poetry,
Roots descending wounds to Heal.
Before Pillar Stand, Straight as a Nail,
Visionary Grace, Intricately Seen.
Figures of Life, of Hue, of Voice
Delicately wrought, Beauty sublime.
The brushstroke is patterned,
As thread upon Loom,
As Rain falls from as sweet Mead
Upon Fields of Gold,
So Frith to Friend, as Time Unfolds.
Yesterday I was pondering why the Ancient Ones would construct multi-ton megaliths around the passage of sun and moon. Their life was a daily struggle, from planting their own food, hunting their own meat, rearing animals to create wool to be made into clothing, and so much more. With every waking moment needed for daily sustenance, who had time to spend years creating stone circles?
This was when I injected my theory, namely: Continuity. That the ‘passion play’ of the heavens was taken as a guide for societal structure. As such, these massive structures were a means of greater understanding, of trying to reach and/or attain High Mindedness / Hôher Muot. If so, then Mundilfari has a key role to play.
In an attempt to find the significance of “why” Yule is celebrated for Twelve Days (outside of my own family history), I cobbled together a possible outline based on pre-Christian observances during this season. Today then, would be Mundilfari Day. But what does that mean?
In Norse myth, Mundilfari is the Father of Sol and Mani, the sun and moon, female and male, respectively (Vafthrudnismal, 23). His name means, “time, remember; convey, mark”, and “to remember the passage of time”. His relationship with stone circles and dolmens then – those structures built to mark the solstices and equinoxes – seems fitting. Mundilfari is the turner of Grotti, or the Great Wheel, which is both the Wheel of the Year (As Below), and the Celestial Wheel (As Above) – either the Milky Way or the universe itself.
Also from Vafthruthnismal, Mundilfari is the turner of Grotti; symbolically ‘turning; marking’ the passage of time – or the processional march of the equinoxes and solstices – which makes him the Great Time Keeper, or keeper of all time. Like a thread around a distaff, is the idea of world axis and point around which the heavens revolve-evolve. This theme is so firmly rooted in Old Europe’s folk memory that Ælfric – a 10th century English prose writer, monk, lexicographer, and Abbot of Eynsham – wrote in his Sermones Catholici that this “Water Mill” equates with the three realms of existence, namely, heaven, earth, and hell. And so powerful an image was this, that the early Church placed their own Saint James, from a 14th century painting, as the turner of this “great heavenly wheel”; and from the same period an illumined manuscript depicts the great heavenly wheel being turned by “twin angels”. This latter is particular telling in that, originally those two were Fenja and Menja, sister Gygjars (“Giantess”), and assistants to Mundilfari.
As with any mill, a substance is churned out. In this case, it was called “sand”. Understood through today’s lens, this could be the fusing of stellar and terrestrial energy, the vital forces of plant-animal life with cosmic existence. Likewise, it would correspond with the same sand found beneath the sacred posts of Old European temples, where even the soil that supports them is considered holy, meaning capable of transmitting energy from one location to another (As Above, So Below).
Mundilfari’s role as Churner and Turner of the Great Wheel is also seen as the central point of Ginnunga-gap, the very fount of creative wisdom. And in Völuspá 7, the Great Gods meet upon the “Whirling Field” that is none other than Grotti. Yes, Mundilfari is the Divine Measurer of the earth below and the sky above, and at its primal center resides the Axis Mundi, the Pole Star, around which all existence revolves.
So upon this Third Night of Yule, look to the Starry Sky and ponder its Turning – the progression of the solstices and equinoxes – and recall the importance of that divine passage to your ancestors.