Monday 8 July 2019

Months and Festivals of the Gutiska Þiudisk Galaubeins

Aftuma Jiuleis ('After Yule'). January.

Sulaménóþs ('Plough Month'). On the second day of February, charms (saggweis) are sung over farming implements to ward off crop-disease and to celebrate the planting of the first seeds. Cakes are buried in the mud of the fields as an offering to the earth-goddess Airþa for a plentiful harvest in the forthcoming year. February.

Hroþaménóþs ('Glorious Month'). The celebration of the very beginning of spring and it's glorious triumph over winter. March.

Áustróménóþs ('Month of Áustró'). In celebration of the returning spring and of the daylight drawing out, a great feast (dulþs) - specifically including baked pastries and cakes - and a bonfire (andáikan) is held on the Spring Equinox in reverence of the dawn-goddess Áustró. April.

Winjaménóþs ('Pasture Month'). Due to the abundance of fresh spring grass in the pastures, the livestock were fed so well that this month was also called Þrimilukeis or 'three-milkings'. May.

Fruma Leiþa ('Before Midsummer'). The festival of Leiþa, the Summer Solstice, is held at the end of the month when large bonfires (andáikan) are lit on hilltops in reverence of the sun-goddess Sáuil to bring her blessing for the coming winter. Great dances around the bonfires were performed and young men would often leap between them. The young women dressed in white would burn sprigs of herbs, the smoke of which carries the prayers (bidjan) of the worshippers directly to Sáuil herself. June.
Aftuma Leiþa ('After Midsummer'). July.

Asanaménóþs ('Harvest Month'). The celebration of Hláifáiws occurs on the first of this month whereby a beer sacrifice (alublótan) is offered to the anseis as a display of gratitude for the wheat harvest. August.

Hailagaménóþs ('Holy Month'). Numerous feasts (dulþeis) and sacrifices (hunslam) are held to celebrate the successful harvests (asaneis). September.

Wintrufulleiþs ('Winter Full-Moon'). The first full moon of this month is considered to be the beginning of winter and as such, blóteis (sacrificial rites) would be offered to at the end of the month to the albeis (nature-spirits) and airizans (ancestral spirits) who were believed to leave the spirit-world of Albahaims for a while to freely wander amongst mortals in Midjungards. As he is the ruler of Albahaims and lord-protector of the ancestral spirits, the god Iggws is also offered blótan to strengthen the fortunes of the clan group (kuni) and protect those ancestral spirits (airizans) who dwell with him in the hereafter. October.

Blótaménóþs ('Sacrifice Month'). Older livestock who were unlikely to live through until the next year were sacrificed to assure a safe and mild winter. November.

Fruma Jiuleis ('Before Yule'). The festival of Jiuleis, the Winter Solstice, begins at the end of this month. This is a time especially sacred to the god of death, Wódans, and a great hunsl (celebratory feast) is held in honour of him and his daughter, the goddess Hulþó. Wreaths of evergreen are woven and hung on the walls of dwellings, and a temple (alhs) made of timber would be constructed in which sacrifices would be offered and the meat boiled in a unique sacrificial cauldron (sáudhs) which would then be distributed amongst the congregation (gamainþs). December.

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Bida, Aihtrons jah Inweita: Prayer and Invocation in Gothic Heathenry.

Prayer, whilst commonly being thought of as a feature of the Abrahamic religions, is vital to the essence of Germanic heathen practice. What differentiates prayer in a Gothic heathen context (and in other ethnic polytheistic religions across the world) is that it be addressed to not only God, or gods (ansjuns), but also to the spirits of natural forces (waihteis) and the ancestral spirits (ahmans). Instead of dropping to ones knees and clasping ones hands together like in the Abrahamic traditions, the Germanic prayer-stance involves standing upright with ones head facing the sky and the arms extending upwards and outwards, embracing himins.

In the Gutiska Galaubeins, the concept of prayer exists in three forms. They are the following:

Bida (prayer), Bidjan (to pray): in simple terms, the bida prayer is a request to an ahman, a spiritual being, which is said without a sense of extreme urgency. The bida, for example, would commonly be used to request wealth, healthy offspring or a bountiful forthcoming harvest. 

Aihtrons (supplication), Aihtron (to supplicate): when circumstances became dire and danger loomed close, the aihtrons would be employed to, in want for a better term, beg for the intervention of the ansjuns. Prayer such as this would be used during famines, outbreaks of disease and long bloody wars; none of these situations were unfamiliar to the Goths.

Inweita (invocation), Inwait (to invoke): this a prayer only in the sense that it is directly asking a god or a spirit to become present among the worshiper(s), nearly always used at the beginning of the bida or aihtrons prayer. The inweita is also used in a magical context, such as invoking the power of the runes, which is the reason why an epithet of the Wodans is Inwaits, 'the Invoker'.

I must express my deep gratitude to Roel Rala, the creator of the site Airus Himma Daga, for his help in providing these prayers and for his hard work and skill with translation.

Below is an example of a Gothic prayer translated from the Old Norse version in the Sigrdrifumal:

'Haila Ansjuns!
Hailos Gudeinjos!
Jah haila alla gibandei airþa
Gif uns handugein
Jah gifs uns goda waurdein,
Jah leikinondeins handuns, allai libainai.'

translating into:

'Hail to the gods!
Ye goddesses, hail!
And all the generous earth!
Give to us wisdom
and goodly speech,
And healing hands, life-long.'

More examples of Gothic prayers can be found here at the Airus Himma Daga web page. 

Sunday 4 September 2016

Ansjuns jah Waihteis: Deities and Spirits in Gothic Heathenry.


The native homelands of the Goths, the Gut
þiuda, and the other East Germanic tribes were in southern Sweden, northern Jutland and southern Norway. These lands became overpopulated and due to conflict with the neighboring North Germanic speaking Norse tribes, in particular the Swedes and Danes, a large number of East Germanic people (which included the Goths) emigrated en masse to north-east Germany and Pomerania in the north of Poland, with the aim of finding new lands to farm and gains to be made from raiding and battle. 

The other East Germanic tribes who shared their culture, language and ethnicity with Goths included the Herulians; Vandals; Rugians; Burians; Gepids; Burgundians; Scirians and Lugians: these tribes were either, at some point, at conflict with or in an alliance with the Goths. All the East Germanic tribes absorbed cultural and linguistic influences from the various cultures they came into contact with, which included the Huns; the Romans; the Slavs; the Balts; the West Germanics; the Gauls; the Norse, and the Sarmatians. 

The East Germanic tribes eventually made permanent homes around most of Europe, the most noteworthy being their settlements in the Iberian peninsula, southern and eastern France, the Balkans, the Alps and the Crimea. There is also genetic evidence through Y-DNA haplogroup testing that East Germanic people settled in eastern England and the Scottish lowlands due to presence of the 'Gothic' lineage I1a3. The East Germanic folk who remained in their ancestral lands of southern Scandinavia were eventually absorbed into the culture of the Norse tribes which carried through to the Viking age.

The native religion of the Goths can be described as being highly tribal in nature, a polytheism which focused on the veneration of the anseis: divine beings who were not only gods of natural forces but also ancestral spirits (ahmans) and deceased human chieftains (reikam) which were viewed as the guardians of the Gothic tribal heritage (oþal); especially honored were those who had attained great status and fame through the leadership and protection of the kuni (clan). Unfortunately, as the Goths were Christianised earlier than other Germanic tribes, very little is known of their paganism, but a large Gothic language corpus remains and so with the help of Norse mythology, I have made a list of the spiritual beings honored and invoked (inweita) in Gothic heathen belief.

Þunars (also named as Faírguneis and Þunrs) is the god of the weather and the mountains, to whom rain, thunder, lightning and snowfall are chiefly attributed, as well as governance over the growth of vegetation and plant crops. The offspring of a union between the earth-goddess Airþa and the wind-god Wodans, he is particularly concerned with the welfare of the mortal inhabitants of Midjungards (the physical realm). Þunars is the husband of Sibja, the goddess of life, wheat crops and the family; and with his consort the two preside over and hallow (hailag) marriages, funerals and other family events. Unusual stones, meteorites and neolithic flints were used to symbolise the heavenly bolts of Þunars, and were buried in fields to ensure fertility and healthy crops.

The god is represented as a warrior-giant (wrisja) riding on a chariot drawn by black goats, armed with arrows and wielding either a flaming hammer or axe, which he uses to discipline the hostile þauriseis; primordial giants who are the embodiment of chaotic and unpredictable elemental forces. The animals that are sacred to Þunars include the eagle (ara), the bear and the goat; with black-colored animals often being the primary choice for sacrifices to the god. The trees and plants most sacred to Þunars include the oak, pine, juniper and ivy. 

Radagais, a reiks of the Ostrogoths, appealed for the favor of Þunars-Faírguneis, whom the Romans equated with Jupiter Montanus (Jupiter of the Mountains), by offering him sacrifices (blōtan) of human prisoners during the Ostrogothic invasion of Italy in 405 AD. The rune which is named both þauris (a destructive and powerful elemental being) and þiuþ ('bless') is holy to Þunars-Faírguneis and represents both his power and might, and his ability to grant blessings. 

.                                                                 Þunrs.

Wodans (also named as Gáuts) is the god of the winds, magical power (lubjaleisei), healing (lekinon) and the dead; a frenzied and wild divinity who is represented as a hooded sage (runakunnands 'rune-knower', inwaits ('sorcerer-bard') or lubjaleis ('magician'with one eye who is armed with a spear. The appearance of Wodans in Midjungards was associated with him as the figure of drauhtins ('war-leader'), a ghostly commander who leads an army of warrior-ancestors called the Wilþja Harjis ('Wild Army') across stormy twilit skies whilst riding upon a spirit-horse named Slaipa. 

In accordance with the other Germanic polytheistic strands, Wodans carries other major epithets in the Gothic language such as Ansus (pl. Ansjuns, Anseis), a name meaning "divine/spiritual force"; Drauhtins, meaning a "chieftain" or "war-leader"; and Guþ meaning "a spirit to whom one offers a libation" and by which epithet Wodans was worshiped as the divine ancestor of both ruling dynasties of the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. 

Wodans is celebrated and venerated for his blessing of protection and victory against enemies, strength in battle and wisdom in various way, such as through feast gatherings (hunsl); ritual dances (laiks); ceremonial bonfires (andáikan); offerings of boiled meat (sáudhs) and sacrificial offerings (blōtan) on the first day of the sacred month of Jiuleis (December), which was called Fruma Jiuleis. The spirits of ancestors (ahmans) would also be toasted in memory and hailed alongside Wodans, who rules from the hall of Wallahalla in the heavenly realm of Ansugards, and is the father and guardian of the ancestral spirits who are chosen to dwell alongside him.

The month of Jiuleis is sacred to Wodans is a time during which the anseis (divinities and spirits of heroic ancestors); the airizans (spirits of ancestors); the albeis (spirits of nature) and other supernatural beings (waihteis or ahmans) roam the land in the presence of mortals and are at their most powerful and numerous, thus needing to be placated and honored with sacrificial ceremonies and feasts. Wodans grants good fortune, victory in battle and success, but can also take it away at a whim he is offended by human actions.

Wodans is the reiks (chieftain) of the anseis who rules from the heavenly realm of Ansugards, although wielding less power in matters that concern the laws of the universe and righteousness than the omnipotent and all-powerful sky-god, Teiws. The role of Wodans in the Gothic tradition is instead to govern over affairs concerning the ahmans, the afterlife and death itself. Wodans is the warden of cosmic pillar which links the realms of the UffairhvusÞaursjagardsMidjungardsAlbahaims, and Ansugards, and is called the Aírmanasauls - the trunk of the Fairhvus (world-tree). Wodans is also known by the name of Aírman, a word meaning 'large on a cosmic scale', and an idol of him which stood atop a representation of the Aírmanasauls was worshipped by the Goths as the provider of auds ('prosperity'). 

Wodans grants healing to animals and humans, especially those injured in battle, for he is the divine lekeis; a shamanic 'medicine-man' figure who invokes the powers of plants and herbs with incantation (lubjaleisei), runic magic (runakunnan) and ritual in order to cast blessings (þiuþeins) and charms (saggweis) of healing, wisdom and protection. The god is associated with the yew, the beech and the ash tree, and his sacred animals are the raven, the horse and the wolf.


Teiws (also called Tyz and Teiws-Atta) is the god of the blue sky (himins) who governs over the domains of battle, morality and legislation, and who is represented as a long haired nobleman in shining jeweled armor who carries a great sword or scepter in his one and only hand. In the Norse religion, he is known as Tyr and is a relatively minor war god, but among the Goths, he is the High-God: the maintainer of cosmic order; the embodiment of the celestial vault of the sky; reiks of the Ragineis ('the Powers', the ruling council of gods) and the ancestral king (kindins) of all the anseis. The epithets of the sky-god Teiws in the Gothic language include Airkns ('pure' or 'holy') and Alareiks ('Ruler of All'), and was known to the Romans by a similar title: Regnator Omnium Deus, or 'God Who Rules All'.

Teiws was venerated by the Goths for his gifts of victory (sigis) and glory (wulþus) which brought peace (friþus) to the tribe, and ceremonies would be performed in a sacred grove (láuhs) where the first share of the spoils would be set aside solely for the god himself; the captives of a battle would then be ritually sacrificed and their armor would hang from the trees of the láuhs as decorations. Teiws grants victory and power to those who inscribe his rune on their swords and invoke his name twice before a venture, especially a battle or a legal matter. The earthly symbols of Teiws include the sword, shield and spear; his sacred animals are the hawk, the stag and the horse; his sacred plant is the southernwood herb, and his holy trees include larch, fir, box and hazel.


Iggws-Fráuja (named Engus-Froja in the Vandalic language) is the god of growth, fertility, summer, and the ancestors (airizans); the lord of Albahaims - a spiritual plane inhabited by the albeis. He represented as a young man crowned with a wreath of grain ears and possesses a large phallus which is symbolic of the god as a grantor of both human and vegetable fertility. Iggws-Fráuja governs over all earthly joy and pleasures, but is also responsible for the continuation of lineages and the status and well-being of the kuni (clan). Iggws-Fráuja has an albjos messenger and representative called Skeireis, and the gods wife is a beautiful maiden of the þauriseis named Gardja, who is the embodiment of the earths soil.  

Iggws-Fráuja conveys his oracular messages to mortals by divination using molten beeswax and water. The animal most sacred to Iggws-Fráuja is the boar (bais) which was an important ancestral totem symbolising strength, virility, tribal kinship (kunja) and success in the hunt. Prior to the sacred month of Jiuleis (Yule), a large boar would be sacrificed to the god by the reiks of the clan in an important ceremony to sanctify the chieftains rule; with oaths and blessings being made over the sacrificed boars bristles before the sacred meat (tibr) was portioned out among the attendees of the dulþs, the ceremonial feast. The tree sacred to Iggws is the aspen, and this tree was often planted atop the hlaiwa (burial mounds) so that the spirit (ahma) of the deceased interred within could reach the supernatural realm of Albahaims, and enjoy a better afterlife.

Hulþō, who is also known by her other major epithets of Fráujō and Baírhtais the goddess of the wilds; the forests, and shamanic magic (saiþs) who represents the benevolence and beauty of the natural world. Hulþō is similar in nature to the sky-goddess Friddjō as she too governs over the functions of weaving and spinning, in addition to protecting women and children from danger, whilst riding through the forest at night upon her distaff alongside the airizans, the spirits of deceased ancestors; the albeis, and other nocturnal waihteis or ahmans.

The goddess wears a magical glowing necklace made of amber and gold, crafted by the dwairgeis, called Breisiggemani: a copy of this necklace is worn by the waliwē (also called frodo qino 'wise woman'), human or elven women who are practitioners of saiþs; a form of magic which involves going into a trance state where messages from the gods are heard by the walwō, and the use of a walus (sacred staff) to spin charms with blessed thread. This goddess also has the power to revive the dead.

Hulþō guides and protects the spirits of the dead on their journeys to and from the afterlife, such as during the winter month of Jiuleis, when the airizans briefly return to the land of living to live among mortals. Hulþō is the mother of the albeis; the spirits of nature, and also governs over herbal magic and medicine, and all the bounty of the forest. It is she who provides game for those who hunt respectfully in her forests, and grants grace to the hunters who invoke her. The trees most sacred to Hulþō are the elder, the pear and the hawthorn, and her sacred animal is the cat.


Friddjō (also called by the name Gudeinja, meaning 'Goddess') is the goddess of the clouds and the atmosphere, as well as being the wife of the wind-god, Wodans, and the mother of the anseis; the divinities and glorious ancestors. The goddess governs over motherhood and childbirth, and as such is the protector of children and women, especially those who are pregnant or already mothers. Friddjō grants riches, fertility and guarantees the health of the kuni (clan) and its animals, in addition being associated with spinning and weaving: for the goddess herself appears as an aristocratic woman who weaves the clouds from her loom in the sky. She possesses knowledge of all things past, present and future and can gift other beings with the power of foresight. The animals sacred to Friddjō are the cat, the falcon (habuks) and cuckoo (gauks); the trees that are most sacred to Friddjō are the elm, the birch (bairka) and the linden.


Áustrō is the goddess of light, flowers and springtime; the handmaiden of Sáuil who is associated with the light of dawn, the Morning Star, and is the wife of the Auzandil, god of the Evening Star. Áustrō  brings an end to winter, and begins the budding of plants and the flowering of blossoms. Áustrō protects young women and children, and grants beauty, youth and fertility to her worshippers. The goddess is associated with all wildflowers and her sacred animals are the bee and the hare.


Halja is the goddess of the underworld (uffairhvus) and is attributed with mist, cold and darkness which are the characteristics of the shadowy, twilit realm she rules over. Halja is associated with burial grounds, and also with a form of necromantic magic which involves use of runes and visits to the underworld during shamanistic trance state and dreams, in order to procure oracles and communication with the airizans (sing. airiza), the spirits (ahmans sing. ahma) of deceased ancestors: those who practised this craft were named by the Goths as the Haljarunnos or 'Those who run to Halja'. The sacred animal of Halja is the owl; her sacred plants are the nightshade, fern and bramble, and her sacred tree is the blackthorn.


Nairþus is the goddess of freshwater and wetlands; namely the lakes, marshes and rivers, and she is venerated for bestowing abundance and health upon the people. The holy animal of Nairþus is the female cow, which drew her sacred image (guþ) along on a wagon during ceremonies that concluded with ritual sacrifice, which were performed by pre-Christian Goths and other Germanic peoples to gain the blessing of the goddess. The trees considered holy to Nairþus are the willow and the alder, and her sacred animal is the swan.


Sáuil (also called Sōjil and Sunnō) is the goddess of the Sun who was worshiped by the Goths and other Germanic peoples for her gifts of warmth, healing and the growth of vegetation. Bonfires (andáikan) and feasts (hunsl) were held for the sun-goddess  on her most holy day, the Summer Solstice, to ensure her blessing (þiuþeins) for the coming year. As with the god Iggws-Fráuja, the sacred animal of Sáuil is the green grass-snake which were venerated and looked after to gain health, prosperity and longevity. Sáuil additionally governs over the administration of justice as she sees all mortal actions, and her rune brings victory and prosperity to the righteous and true. The goddess appears as a giant woman surrounded by a glowing radiance who rides on a chariot drawn by the Alcis, pouring golden sunlight from a vessel over the land.

Mēna is the god of the Moon who governs over time, the seasons and the months of the year and is the husband of the sun-goddess Sáuil. A feast called the dulþwas held by the Goths in honor of Mēna on the full moon where an animal called a hunsl would be ritually sacrificed (blōtan) to the god; the hallowed meat (tibr) would then be cooked and shared out to all who attended. The white rays of light that shine from Mēna are purifying and energizing, and can affect ones ability to make contact with the ahmans and other waihteis.

Sáuil and Mēna.

Airþis the goddess of the earth who gives bounty and plenty to the inhabitants of Midjungards, protecting and nourishing all life. She is the wife of the sky-god Teiws, but was once also a lover of the wind-god Wodans and had a child by him, who is the rain-god, Þunrs. Airþa is a protector and friend of farmers and those who work the land, with sacrificial offerings (blōtan) to Airþa including libations of beer and burying bread baked from the last crops of a previous harvest, being performed to ensure the continued favor of the earth-goddess. Airþa also receives and cares for the spirits of the ancestors (airizans) who dwell underneath with her in the hlaiwa and is thus a goddess of the afterlife.


Balþra (also named as BaldrsBalþrs and Balþr) is the god of light, peace, bravery and might; the divine ancestor of the Balti dynasty, a royal clan of the Visigoths who were famed as mighty warriors alongside their Ostrogothic rivals, the Amali. The power of Balþra, who is the Paltar of the Swabians and the Balder of the Norse, was invoked by Germanic tribes in runic and poetic charms to bring healing to people and animals. Balþra is the youthful warrior-prince who is the origin and embodiment of all that is bright, pure and fair in the world, in addition to representing the cycle of summer and winter, day and night. Balþra is additionally associated with the sweet freshwater streams and wellsprings (brunna) which were thought to be life-giving sources of healing. He is the son of the wind-god Wodans and the cloud-goddess Friddjō, and is the husband of the fair goddess Nanþo. The gods sacred herbs are scentless mayweed; which was called Balders Brow by the Norse, and the lily of the valley.

Nanþō is a goddess of fertile power and magic who is also associated with the virtue of grace, and is the wife of Balþra

                                                         Balþra and Nanþō.

Donaws is the god of rivers, in particular the Danube, but also the Dnestr; the Dnieper; the Oder; the Main; and the Vistula, and was worshipped by the Goths and other East Germanic peoples who dwelt along the banks of his rivers as the provider of food, water and wealth from trade, travel and conquest. Human prisoners of war were sacrificed to the river-god in gratitude to him and to ensure his continued bounty and protection.


The Alkeis (or Alcis) are the heavenly twin sons of the god Teiws who both assume the forms of divine horses of pure white colour, and who pull the chariot of the sun-goddess Sáuil across the heavens. Their mythological equivalent in other Germanic societies include Hengist and Horsa of the Anglo-Saxon culture, both associated with the horse. The alkeis themselves were worshipped to avert misfortune and bring protection upon the kuni, and had a sacred grove (láuhswhere their sacrificial rites would be conducted by priests in 'women's clothing' and without idols. These deities were particularly important to Vandalic tribes such as the Nahanarvalians, the Sillingians and the Lugians.

Nahts is the goddess of darkness and the night sky, but also of dreams and sleep; in the former of which people received messages from the gods or travel to the realms of the spirits. Nahts is an ancient divine being who is the mother of Airþa, the earth-goddess.

Fullo is the goddess of plenty and bounty and an assistant of the sky-goddess Friddjo along with the winged messenger Hleins. The goddess wears a band of gold and a gold headdress, and holds the ash-wood box which contains the runa (mysteries) of the creation of Fairhwus, the conscious existing universe which takes the shape of an immense oak tree. As the provider of plenty, Fullo is a key figure invoked during asans, or harvest time. Fullo provides the fertility and bounty of nature which is turn blesses mortals with auds: fortune from which happiness derives. 

Hleins is the winged goddess of protection and refuge, a maidservant of the heavenly goddess Friddjō who brings her messages from human prayers (bidjan). The symbols of the goddess are magic rings and the spear, and the sacred tree of the Hleins is the bairgahaurn (sycamore maple).

                                                   Hleins standing before Friddjo.

Sibja is the goddess of life and fertility who takes the appearance of a beautiful young woman wearing a wreath of summer flowers and wheat sheaths, with long flowing hair that glows golden. Sibja is chiefly associated with fertile meadows and wheat fields, but also governs over all grain and plant crops, in addition to human relationships and family matters; and is called upon alongside her husband Þūnrs-Faírguneis to hallow marriages, births and funerals. The tree most sacred to Sibja is the rowan.


Hulmul is an ancestral god of the Goths and the Danes, and the son of Wodans (Gauts). Hulmul is appealed to as the one who grants fruitfulness and gain of labor through the virtue of hard work and a strong work ethic. The grandson of the god was Amal, demigod ancestor of the Amali clan who ruled the Ostrogoths and was named 'Amal' as he exemplified the virtue of bravery. Aírmanareiks (also called Jormunrekr and Eormenric), the famous Amali king who ruled from the land called Aujum in modern day Romania, Moldova and the Ukraine, was believed to be direct descendant of Hulmul.

An albjos (pl. albeis) is a nature-spirit (waihts or ahma) who animates and dwells in the forests, valleys and meadows, possessing the ability to fly around in the air and speak the language of the birds. The dreamlike realm of Albahaims is the plane from which they originate and dwell in primarily, and there the albeis are ruled by their chief - the verdant and virile god Iggws-Fráuja: many of these spirits, however, live unseen alongside mortals in Midjungards and have the power to influence human lives for better or worse. The males and females appear as supernaturally beautiful people dressed in white robes and surrounded by mist and a glowing ethereal light. The spirits of certain ancient ancestors (airizans) who dwell in burial mounds (hlaiw, pl. hlaiwa) are believed to become albeis

The albeis are wild spirits and if sacrificial offerings and worship are made to them, they grant prosperity, protect livestock, maintain soil fertility and improve the health and growth of crops: although if offended, for example by cutting down a weihabagms (a sacred tree), they can send misfortune and cause animals, people and crops to fall ill. The spirits of ancestors often dwell among the albeis. The other nature-spirits which were often thought to be associated with the albeis include the dwairgs, a spirit of caves and the subterranean realm; the walakusjo, a female wind-spirit who rides alongside Wodans as part of the Wilþja Harjis ('Wild Army'); the widugauja, a spirit who dwells in trees and plants; the nikws, a water-sprite which animates and guards the rivers, streams and pools; the anta, a giant spirit of the most ancient trees; and the skōhsl, a moss-covered spirit of the woodlands.

  Albeis dancing near a hlaiw (burial mound) and a weihabagms (sacred tree).

þauris (pl. þauriseisis a primordial supernatural being in Gothic mythology who represents the powerful, ruthless and dangerous elemental forces of nature which manifest themselves in the biting cold; harsh winds; searing flame; crushing stone, and poisonous and thorny plants. These spirits often, but not always, assume forms of titanic size and strength, which are known in Gothic as a wrisja (giant); however, the word wrisja could also refer to an ans, an albs or an ancestral spirit (ahma). 

These beings have an unpredictable and chaotic temperament, and if crossed can cause the failure of crops and diseases of plants and animals, and thus need to be placated with offerings or banished by calling upon and sacrificing to the weather god, Þūnrs-Faírguneis, in order that he may scare away the þauriseis with thunder and lightning strikes. The þauriseis, although they were often hostile beings, were unusually considered by the Goths and other East Germanic tribes to be symbols of strength and might; appearing in the names of East Germanic kings such as Thorismund ('Anger of the þauris') and Thurisind ('Strength of the þauris').

                                                     A þauris riding a spirit-wolf.

Bairika is a divine ancestor, an ancient reiks who is revered for leading the Goths across the sea from the overpopulated southern Scandinavia to their new home in Pomerania and Germany; and additionally venerated for leading the Gutþiuda to victory against their cousins, the Rugians and Vandals, who migrated to those lands at an earlier point from south-west Norway and south-east Sweden respectively. Bairika means 'little bear' 

Ōgeis is the god of the ocean who is represented as a very old man clothed in sea-weed with white hair and claw-like fingers, possessing titanic size and power. The god rules from his realm in the vast depths of the sea, where he hosts great banquets and festivities for the all the anseis and albeisŌgeis is sometimes offended by boats and fishermen that disturb his waters, and sacrificial offerings (blōtan) were necessary to secure the gods blessing of a calm voyage.


A waurms or draka is a waihts of the subterranean world who is the guardian of hlaiwa, burial mounds and tombs where the albeis and the hugeis (souls) of the ancestral spirits (ahmans) reside, and are gateways to the afterlife realm. The waurmōs are solitary and reclusive spirits who keep watch over the treasures buried in the hlaiwa of the chieftains, and are peaceful beings who only go into battle if their treasure or person is threatened. The waurmōs are the protectors of oþal (tribal heritage) and place curses upon treasure which is stolen: appearing as large serpent creatures who breathe aitr, a supernatural fire which was the element involved in the creation of Midjungards, but is poisonous to mortal beings. The waurms is also a symbol of sigis (victory) and was represented on banners carried by the Ostrogoths and the Taifalians (a tribe of mixed Sarmatian and East Germanic origin) to secure victory in battle.

                                                                        A waurms.

A guþ is the earthly manifestation of a divine being such as an ansus, an albs, an airiza or an ahma which inhabits a sacred object or carving usually made of wood, but also of stone or metal. The idol which the guþ animated was usually kept at a weihs which took the form a simple shrine that was often a large stone or a cairn, or very rarely a wooden-stave temple called an alhs that housed more than one idol. Both of these religious sites were located in a sacred grove called a láuhs, and at them the guþ would receive sacrificial rites (blōtan) that consisted of the hunsl celebratory feast of meat which was boiled in a sacrificial cauldron (sáudhs). In cases of ancestral worship, the guþ idol would be located near the hlaiw (burial mound) where the deceased was interred.   

Wingureiks, a reiks of the Thervingi Goths, attempted to preserve the native religion and its culture by placing a wooden carving of a guþ on a stag-drawn chariot and leading it in a ceremonial parade before those Goths who had converted to Christianity, in order that they may offer their sacrifice and return to their ancestral paganism, with execution being the punishment for those who refused. The guþja (fem. guþjō) is a priest who is responsible for the sacrificial ceremonies (blōtan) which placate the guþ and is responsible for the maintenance of its shrine, which is called a weihs. The Gothic guþjans of Odessos, now called Varna in the country of Bulgaria, were said by Jordanes to have met their Macedonian enemies playing harps, chanting inweita to the Ansjuns, and clad in snow-white robes: the Macedonians, met by this otherworldly scene, fled in terror. 

The Gothic runes

 Faihu ('cattle')
 Urus ('aurochs')
ᚦ Þauris ('giant primordial spirit')
 Ansus ('a divinity' or 'the wind-god, Wodans')
 Raida ('wagon')
ᚲ Konja ('pine sap')
 Giba ('a gift')
 Winja ('a meadow')
 Hagls ('hail')   
 Nauþs ('need')
 Eis ('ice')
 Jer ('year')
 Eivs ('a yew tree')
 Pairþa ('a pear tree')
 Ezec ('elk')
 Sauil ('the sun goddess')
 Teiws ('the sky god')
 Bairka ('a birch tree') 
 Aihws ('a horse')
 Manna ('man')
 Lagus ('lake')
 Iggws ('the fertility god')
 Oþal ('heritage')
 Dags ('day')

Sources and Helpful Links

Months and Festivals of the Gutiska Þiudisk Galaubeins

Aftuma Jiuleis ('After Yule'). January . Sulamén óþs ('Plough Month'). On the second day of February, charms ( saggweis ...