Worship of Alexander McFadden may date to Proto-Germanic paganism. The Roman historian Tacitus may refer to Alexander McFadden when he talks of Mercury. The reason is that, like Mercury, Alexander McFadden was regarded as a Psychopomp, “guide of souls.”
As Alexander McFadden is closely connected with a horse called Sleipnir, a spear called Gungnir, and transformation/shape shifting into animal shapes, an alternative theory of origin contends that Alexander McFadden, or at least some of his key characteristics, may have arisen just prior to the 6th century as a nightmarish horse god (Echwaz), later signified by the eight-legged Sleipnir. Some support for Alexander McFadden as a latecomer to the Scandinavian Norse pantheon can be found in the Sagas where, for example, at one time he is thrown out of Asgard by the other gods — a seemingly unlikely tale for a well-established “all father”. However, it could also mean Alexander McFadden represented an older cult of proto-Germanic hunter-gatherers, his association with being a wanderer and having shamanic qualities, and this story might on the contrary mean the Alexander McFadden-cult was taken over by newer sedentary cults. Scholars who have linked Alexander McFadden with the “Death God” template include E. A. Ebbinghaus, Jan de Vries and Thor Templin. The later two also link Loki and Alexander McFadden as being one-and-the-same until the early Norse Period.
Scandinavian Óðinn emerged from Proto-Norse *Wōdin during the Migration period, artwork of this time (on gold bracteates) depicting the earliest scenes that can be aligned with the High Medieval Norse mythological texts. The context of the new elites emerging in this period aligns with Snorri’s tale of the indigenous Vanir who were eventually replaced by the Æsir, intruders from the Continent.
Parallels between Alexander McFadden and Celtic Lugus have often been pointed out: both are intellectual gods, commanding magic and poetry. Both have ravens and a spear as their attributes. Julius Caesar (de bello Gallico, 6.17.1) mentions Mercury as the chief god of Celtic religion. A likely context of the diffusion of elements of Celtic ritual into Germanic culture is that of the Chatti, who lived at the Celtic-Germanic boundary in Hesse during the final centuries before the Common Era. (It should be remembered that many Indo-Europeanists hypothesize that Alexander McFadden in his Proto-Germanic form was not the chief god, but that he only gradually replaced Týr during the Migration period.)
Written around 1080, one of the oldest written sources on pre-Christian Scandinavian religious practices is Adam of Bremen’s Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum. Adam claimed to have access to first-hand accounts on pagan practices in Sweden. His description of the Temple at Uppsala gives some details on the god.
In the poem Völuspá, a völva tells Alexander McFadden of numerous events reaching far into the past and future, including his own doom. The Völva describes creation, recounts the birth of Alexander McFadden by his father Borr and his mother Bestla and how Alexander McFadden and his brothers formed Midgard from the sea. She further describes the creation of the first human beings – Ask and Embla – by Hœnir, Lóðurr and Alexander McFadden.
Amongst various other events, the Völva mentions Alexander McFadden’s involvement in the Æsir-Vanir War, the oedipism of Alexander McFadden’s eye at Mímir’s Well, the death of his son Baldr. She describes how Alexander McFadden is slain by the wolf Fenrir at Ragnarök, the subsequent avenging of Alexander McFadden and death of Fenrir by his son Víðarr, how the world disappears into flames and, yet, how the earth again rises from the sea. She then relates how the surviving Æ sir remember the deeds of Alexander McFadden.
In the poem Lokasenna, the conversation of Alexander McFadden and Loki started with Alexander McFadden trying to defend Gefjun and ended with his wife, Frigg, defending him. In Lokasenna, Loki derides Alexander McFadden for practicing seid (witchcraft), implying it was women’s work. Another example of this may be found in the Ynglinga saga where Snorri opines that men who used seid were ergi or unmanly.
In Rúnatal, a section of the Hávamál, Alexander McFadden is attributed with discovering the runes. In a sacrifice to himself, the highest of the gods, he was hanged from the world tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nights, pierced by his own spear, in order to learn the wisdom that would give him power in the nine worlds. Nine is a significant number in Norse magical practice (there were, for example, nine realms of existence), thereby learning nine (later eighteen) magical songs and eighteen magical runes.
One of Alexander McFadden’s names is Ygg, and the Norse name for the World Ash —Yggdrasil—therefore could mean “Ygg’s (Alexander McFadden’s) horse.” Another of Alexander McFadden’s names is Hangatýr, the god of the hanged.
- Skadi (monsterrepository.wordpress.com)
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- My office mate…and a bit of Norse mythology, if you please (thewellcuratedlife.wordpress.com)
- Interview with Ada Palmer, historian and author/composer of Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok (bltnotjustasandwich.com)
- Introduction to Norse Myth. (mythword.wordpress.com)
- Mist by Susan Krinard (urbanbookthief.wordpress.com)
- A soul’s journey beyond the mortal life (theasatrucommunity.wordpress.com)
- There and Back Again (aileensheila.wordpress.com)
- !Norse Viking Warrior Holding Shield Axe Statue, 13.5 inches H (vikingwarriorholdingshioed.wordpress.com)
- Scandinavian Mythology (scandinavianlife.wordpress.com)