Basic Introduction of Deity
Many of you who subscribe to my blog are aware that I am spoused to Cernunnos – so perhaps some of you (like me!) are a bit surprised that I’m going to be dedicating this month of devotion to Týr . After all, I’ve only begun to work with Him since March of this year and, well, it’s pretty fair to say that the way in which I engage with Týr is not a way that others, to my knowledge, do so with Him. (For context, read this post here). In fact, everything about the ways that I have developed a relationship with Týr screams out for me to not make this public. What do you mean, He sleeps with you? What do you mean, He is ‘Himself’ with you? You must be out of your fucking mind.
But, see, that’s exactly why I want to devote this entire month to Týr. Strangely enough, Týr and Cernunnos have something very much in common: They are both highly popular and well-known Gods who are truly known by few. It is my observation that, in the Asatru community, He enjoys a powerful traditional following as a true Hero: a great and selfless warrior who leads by example, a god whose sacrifices are always for the greater good, a god whose loyalties and strengths are unsurpassed. He is passionately praised as the epitome and culmination of honor, duty, courage, and right action. There is very little (read: arguably, nothing) that deviates from this presentation, which is strongly backed by the lore. The community, I feel, has codified Týr . One knows Him as the Warrior – no less but, at the same time, no more. And my experiences with Týr have allowed me to understand that even I subscribed to this codification so, naturally, when He appeared in the way He did, behaved in the way He did, and asked what He did on me, I fell back on my ass and didn’t get up until I performed enough divinations to make Frigga sigh in frustration.
For me, that is reason enough to devote a month to Him. Because I have learned from my mistake, and because I have welcomed the way in which He has decided to share Himself with me, I have begun to understand Him SO much more. It is something I am very much still in the process of, but I do want to be able to write and remind others that our Gods, while They are what They say They are, are always more than what They say They are. Theophany is always ongoing and the Gods are great mysteries; and valid experiences, to me, are not standards that other experiences have to be measured against. Týr is much, much more than just a God of certain attributes; there is a complexity, a brilliance, an agony and a fire that I am only just beginning to see. And I would love to share that because, well, I really do feel like very, very few people give Týr a chance.
However, I don’t want to make this too long, as I would love to be able to flesh everything out in the entire month (and not just write an entire month’s worth on a single post!).
Týr is the Norse God of war, battles and combat, justice, law and righteousness, and oaths, faithful to the Aesir. However, the justice that is dealt by Týr is not a justice that always ends in peace. Unlike Heimdall, who seeks to resolve situations in a way where enemies become reconciled and both parties are at peace, Týr is a God who very much understands that justice does not always lead to happiness; fairness, honesty, and righteousness often comes with bloodshed, crushing, and problems within a community. There is a damn good reason why Týr is said to be a God who does not reconcile situations – He resolves them, yes, but not in ways where everyone leaves smiling or everyone is on good terms with each other. After all, we’re talking about the God who broke His own oath and, knowing He was betraying His friend Fenrir, lost His hand in order to protect the greater community. Justice comes at a price, and setting the balance fairly does not always mean that either end will come out unscathed – or that the balancer of the scales will be particularly well-liked.
Although He is considered to be a relatively minor God in the Norse pantheon, there are many indications that He is perhaps one of the oldest and most powerful Gods – in fact, worship of Týr predates the organization of the Norse Pantheon as we understand it. There is evidence suggesting that Týr was worshipped as a sky God and did, in fact, enjoy the position of principal God, or leader of the Gods. If this is true, then that means that Týr Himself is much, much older than thought to be – older even than Odin – and was in fact the original All-Father, Father and Ruler of Gods and Men. However, I do believe that at one point Germanic tribes had two head Gods, one who was involved in magic and one that was involved in social justice and law; but in later developments, Odin became the one All-Father and Týr was ‘demoted’ in a sense.
In the Eddas there is little mention of Týr Himself, but it is very, very clear that Týr’s judgement, loyalty, bravery, devotion to the Aesir is surpassed by none. In His strength He is considered second only to Thor, which indicates that Týr is pretty damn strong, to say the least. His important to the Germanic peoples was enough that He was gifted a day of the week in His honor (Tuesday).
His parentage is largely disputed. In the Prose Edda, one of His kennings is ‘Son of Odin.’ However, in the Eddic poem Hymiskviða, it is the giant Hymir whom Týr states as His father. The disputes over His parentage may be due to Týr’s history of having been worshipped well before He was (likely) assimilated into the Norse pantheon, but then demoted to a lesser status as Odin then took His place as Head of the Aesir.
This will be a very interesting devotional, as I am writing about a God I am still developing a relationship with and still trying to grasp. I know that I will enjoy this, and I hope that my writings will be able to properly express my admiration of this wonderful God who deserves much, much better than being boxed in and hailed as Warrior and Wolf-Binder only.