London Days 2009 – 2010

New Year’s Eve is fast-approaching in London. People are just getting off work and your concierge probably can give you good tips of things to do and places to go nearby. So, instead, in addition to wishing all my readers a Very Happy New Year, I’m going to share something fundamental – as each year is made up of Days – the days of our lives.

Let’s talk about 7 “English” words we use all the time — where did the days of the week’s names come from?

We let these words, and the energy they encapsulate, be an integral part of our Life. (Physicists know that the vibratory energy of sound and light physically “run” the Universe.) So we should know whether we feel comfortable with the the meanings of these words, and the concepts they invoke. I think you will be surprised with their entymology.

The names for the different days of the week in English are of ancient, and entirely non-Christian origin. Most are words from the tongues of their invaders from Scandinavia – the Angles and the Saxons – so saying “Monday, Tuesday or Thursday”, means we are talking of the days of different nations’ ancient gods.

Some countries, like Russia, renamed the days after Christianity took hold there. But, the English and most other European cultures, did not.

In a land of the Celts, whose ancient Druidic (and Indian and Egyptian) history would have been comfortable with most of these concepts, Britain stuck thoroughly to acknowledging the moon and the sun and Roman and Saxon Gods who personified other natural attributes.

The Celtic Druids are the ancient people who built Stonehenge and who understood the mysterious natural energies at Avesbury, and more.

The Catholic Church didn’t approve of these names, and therefore medieval Latin days of the week were named differently and unceremoniously as “first day, second day” and so forth.

The origin of Sunday is as straight-forward as it appears – it is the day of the sun – which symbolized the godhead in many ancient religions — including that of ancient Egypt. In Old English, the word was Sunnandæg, meant “day of the sun”. The sun usually exemplified the male principle in the yin – yang of the Universal opposites, with qualities like boundless energy, forthrightness, volatility, unbounded power. This symbol of patriarchal power became the Christian Sabbath.

Monday is the day of the moon – from the Old English mo-nandæg and mo-ndæg, both meaning “Moon Day”. This followed a long Indo-European tradition of calling the day after the moon – which exemplifies the balancing female Universal principles i.e. contemplation, quietude, softness, grace, peace. The Moon was worshiped by ancient peoples as the Mother of all Life, and the Goddess principle was so ingrained that she was the prime-target to erase by Christians, leaving only the avenging patriarch.

Tuesday is named for the Norse god Tyr (who was the Saxon god Tiw) and here English departs from Latin (and many other European languages) in naming this day of the week. In Latin, it was Martis dies, the day of Mars, a Roman god of war, but Tiw is still a god of war. The Old English word was tiwesdæg for the Saxon god of war and of single combat.

Maybe nations felt at that time that they had to inculcate warlike qualities in their populations in order to survive, but I believe we need to re-assess these values today.

At one time, Tiw seems to have been more important in the collection of Norse and Saxon gods than either the patriarch Odin or Thor, but Tiw became less significant over time – effectively he was demoted by about 400 CE. In late Icelandic legends, he became the son of Odin.

Wednesday is another Anglo-Saxon’s god’s day – this time, the day of Woden. In Latin, Wednesday was dies Mercurii, the god Mercury’s day, and that is reflected in Romance languages such as French as Mercredi.

Woden replaced Tiw as head honcho in the god spectrum, and although he is related to the Norse idea of Odin, their patriarch, he isn’t quite the same.

Woden was (like Odin) the god who carried away the dead, but in England, he also led the Wild Hunt (a belief which continued for centuries after England became Christian).

As well as being a god, he was said to have also been an ancient King. All Anglo-Saxon Kings claimed descent from Woden, as part of their right to power.

Woden, as the historic-King, was supposed to have had four sons, each of whom founded one of the four main Anglo-Saxon Royal Houses – Kent, Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia in England. This lineage still exists – for example: Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son, Edward, is the present Earl of Wessex — he is simply referred to as “Wessex”. The Duke of Kent is another title held by only close members of the Royal Family of Britain.

Thursday is another Anglo-Saxon god’s memorial day, this time Thor, who together with Odin / Woden, replaced Tiw in the Anglo-Saxon pantheon of gods during the Dark Ages.

The Old English word is Þunresdæg. The root is Þunor – the Old English name for the god, Thor, who was the god of thunder and lightning.

Thor’s hammer, named Mjöllnir, is a magical weapon used particularly for fighting giants. Like a boomerang, it returns to its owner after being thrown, and it also creates lightening bolts.

That Thor and Woden were among the most important Anglo-Saxon gods can be seen from an oath of baptism into Christianity, in ancient Britain, whereby the supplicant had to renounce Thor, Woden and the others. This was recited to (and then by) those Saxons converting to the new, Christian Church.

Friday is named after an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Frige. She was the goddess of Love, and culturally appears to combine two different love goddesses from the Norse and Scandinavian pantheon, Freyja and Frigg.

In Roman Latin, Friday, dies Veneris, was the day of the planet Venus, so once again, all the cultures danced the same tune – to the goddess of Love. In French, this day is remembered as Vendredi.

Saturday is the only day of the English week still rooted in the actual name of a Roman god; the Romans were also conquerors of Britain. Dies Saturni means “Saturnus’ Day”. And, the old English word, from which modern English derives, was Sæternesdæg.

The planet Saturn was also named after the Roman god Saturnus, who was the god of agriculture, farming and justice.

Saturday was originally the first day in the Roman week – bringing a good vibe for an industrious population with just laws — in their view. This day is also the Sabbath of the Jews – the last day of the week – the day set aside for rest from human work in order to contemplate the Divine and Divine Law.

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©2009 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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