Gedachten rond Ymir en de kosmogonische mythe

I’ve published a new article about Ýmir.It is written in Dutch but you can try to translate it with google. Click here to read the full article.


Gallo-Roman Museum Velzeke

The gallo-roman museum in Velzeke in Flanders is worth a visit. It has some nice artifacts on display, although the description about the artifacts is sometimes very cumbersome. I made some pictures of for me interesting artifacts.

All pictures by J. De Cooman. You can reuse the pictures freely. Drop me a small note when you publish them.

Heathen Symbols in Bruges

Bruges is a very beautiful, medieval city in Flanders, Belgium, which is literally a paradise for those who love old symbolism. I’ve just added some pictures taken during my last trip there.

All pictures by J. De Cooman. You can reuse the pictures freely. Drop me a small note when you publish them.


Heathen Symbols in Zerbst

The town of Zerbst in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, was a very important town during the 14th and 15th century. As one of the oldest towns, the city had a couple of very old churches and other noteworthy buildings. Unfortunately most of the city was destroyed by inhuman, anglo-american  attacks during the second world-war. Only a few ruins remained after this act of cultural vandalism. Some heathen symbols on the walls of church remained but are doomed to disappear forever in a couple of years. The Nicolai-church, of which only the walls remain, has a lot of interesting symbols and figures on it. Note that Nicolai is related to the cult of Odin/Wodan [Hnikar]. One particular well-preserved sculpture on the Nicolai-church is the so-called Judensau.

All pictures by J. De Cooman. You can reuse the pictures freely. Drop me a small note when you publish them.


Heathen Symbols in Breda

The city of Breda, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands, has a very rich history. During a visit I couldn’t resist to hunt for symbols in one of the oldest churches there. The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk was built around 1410, probably on a (heathen) sacred site dedicated to the “Allmutter”. Although the church doesn’t have too much symbols, I found some surprises.

All pictures by J. De Cooman. You can reuse the pictures freely. Drop me a small note when you publish them.

Symbols in Monastery Jerichow

The Monastery in Jerichow (Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany) was built around the 12th century in the vicinity of the Elbe river. The monastery is one of the oldest Romanesque brick style buildings in the area. Once there was a castle there too, but it was destroyed. The building inside has been stripped of almost all symbols, but in the cellar some old symbols survived. The predominant symbol is the tree of life.

I can’t truly say in which period the artifacts with the symbols were made, but the ones in the cellar surely look like they have been there since the very beginning. Some of them have been partly destroyed. Maybe because of the heathen background, maybe it was religious or political vandalism during the different wars around the 16th century. It’s nearly impossible to say. Nevertheless, these symbols find their origin in the heathen world of our ancestors.

All pictures by J. De Cooman. You can reuse the pictures freely. Drop me a small note when you publish them.



Torcs and divine Subjugation

A team of archeaologists has been excavating a burial site since 2013 near Saintes in Southern France. Between September and November 2014, they unearthed a necropolis with hundreds of Gallo-Roman graves. A couple of months ago, the archaeologists discovered skeletons showing evidence of shackling.

Almost all of the excavated burials yielded no grave goods expect for the grave of a young child in which vases dated to the second half of the 2nd century were deposited. This burial, also contained two coins, placed on the eyes of the child. The funerary practice for this grave is very different from those observed from the other burials identified at this site.


Skeleton with shackles from France (2nd century)

Even more interesting is that four adults had shackles on their right ankle, while the fourth also had a collar around the neck. A child also had a more rudimentary riveted object around his left wrist.

Wearing a collar around the neck, like a iron, bronze or golden torc, is common in Europe. It is distributed in time and space starting from the bronze age. Finding show that the torcs were particularly common among the Celtic tribes, but it was also widely known among the Germanic tribes as the geographical spread of the findings suggests.

A Celtic coin hoard discovered in Jersey, announced in December 2014, has been astounding archaeologists with a series of gold treasure finds. The treasure contained two solid gold torcs – one gold-plated and one of an unknown alloy – along with a silver brooch and a crushed sheet gold tube. One end of a solid gold torc was uncovered. The torc has a massive decorative ‘terminal’, which is where it was probably locked closed around the owner’s neck. The terminal is formed from two solid gold wheels, each about 4cm across and 1cm wide. The find can be compared to various other finds throughout Europe.


Golden shackle found in Jersey.

One of the most famous statues wearing a collar around his neck, is the one of the dying Galatian. But is was not limited to Celtic tribes. It has been said for example that the tribe of the Chatti wore rings too.

The dying Galatian with torc.

The dying Galatian with torc.

The collar is not something a slave in the classical sense wore or designated the status of an economical slave. On the contrary, the golden torcs which have been found, suggest that the were worn by a more wealthier class. However, the collar is not only a nice piece of jewelry. The wearing of the torc reveals a more mythological background. On the cauldron of Gundestrup we see probably Cernunnos with a neckring and holding a neckring. It seems as he is showing the ring to the viewer. It seems that he wants to show us that the ring is a part of a (initiation) ritual in which the ring-bearer plays a central role.

Antlered figure on the Gundestrup Cauldron

Antlered figure on the Gundestrup Cauldron

And on the horn of Gallehus we see (mythical) individuals with a similar torc around the neck.

Figures on the Gallehus horn.

Figures on the Gallehus horn.

The custom to wear similar rings was also very well known in the Germanic world. In the Vǫlsungasaga we hear about how Sigmundr and Sinfjǫtli met two princes. They wore the golden rings because they were outcasts. Both of them had to wear the wolf-pelt in the woods. Klingenberg and Kaufmann proposed that the ring around the neck has the same meaning as the noose. It is a sign that the person who wears it, has been subjugated to the will of the gods – the chained person is a slave of the gods and lives in the woods only by the mercy of the gods.

The persons on the horn of Gallehus are mythical creatures, maybe subjugated men, maybe the gods themselves. The connection and submission to the gods is probably the reason why persons are buried with a torc around neck, hands and feet. Why the dying Galatian is exactly wearing the necklace, remains speculative. Maybe he had already been sentenced to death, maybe he was a member of the warrior-band, or he had subjected his life to the gods before falling in the hands of the Romans.