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Maiming of the War God
Elements of Аrуаn Pantheon Hierarchy with TheAmericanDagda
© 2020 James LaFond
Some thoughts on Elements of Аrуаn Pantheon Hierarchy Inspired by Dagda and the Faces of Power in Аrуаn Myth
A young grocer who spent some time studying comparative religion in college has offered to provide this writer with an information base on the mythic traditions of the British Isles for use in Shades of Aryas, my survey of Аrуаn myth in relation to the fate of its eventual global diaspora.
The first two papers are:
Gods of the Isles
Dagda and the Faces of Power in Аrуаn Myth

Gods of the Isles offers a definition of three echelons of the higher order:
Primordials [a trinity of earth, sky and sea]
Elder Gods [four elemental aspects]
Younger Gods [15 powers]
I will employ this as a reference work over the course of the study. It will be found as the first end note in Shades of Aryas.
Dagda and the Faces of Power in Аrуаn Myth, is, as can be read below, a cleanly delineated look into the metaphysics of kingship so central to the Аrуаn experience down through the ages, with one reference that I find particularly striking, which will be addressed at the bottom of the article.
TheAmericanDagda writes:
The Dagda and Right Leadership in Аrуаn Myth
As I’ve worked to construct a coherent narrative from the fragmentary remains of Pan-Celtic mythology there have been certain questions that I’ve found, at least temporarily, insurmountable. To my eternal gratitude, with the additional assistance of some fantastic archeological work by the likes of Dr David Anthony, one of your early episodes of the Crackpot Podcast “The Spirit of Monarchy” connected some important dots in my understanding of the king of the Insular pantheon the Dagda.
Your elder, war chief, shaman conception of a triune model of power in a hegemonic (ie tribal) society embodying good, power, and vision is a succinct and accurate reflection of the distribution of power in Аrуаn Mythology particularly in Germanic and Celtic lore. For my part it finally put into perspective the peculiar domains of the Dagda and the reason for his primacy over his warrior brother Nuada or shamanic brother Ogma as chief of the gods.
Firstly it might be important to note the most striking things about the Dagda are not the powers attributed to him per se but those of the magical relics he possesses namely a magical harp that plays on its own, a feasting cauldron that never goes empty, and a rod that deals death with one end and grants life with the other. I begin with the harp because it is the weakest link in my understanding but suffice to say that as a common symbol of the bardic tradition, itself a staple of the feasting hall and every lord’s retinue for a preliterate warrior society, it is reasonable to view as a representation of the seat of power.
The feasting cauldron is an ancient Аrуаn artifact carried clear across the continent which the likes of Dr Anthony view as a prime example of the sort of mechanisms invented to contend with changes in the nature of social interactions for a people who suddenly became nomadic with the domestication of the horse. Likely maintaining social bonds through ritualized gatherings to feast and host games while renewing contacts and pledges of fealty as have been observed in more modern tribal societies. This of course marking its possessor as the focal point of these peoples social world.
The rod puzzled me for much longer as it is often, in my opinion, erroneously translated as staff and in combination with certain other attributes is used to suggest that the Dagda is a druidic figure. I think it is more appropriate in light of an understanding of his other gifts to view it more like the later scepter and then gavel as a mark of authority and judgement, possibly owing a lineage all the way back to the precious horse head maces of the early Аrуаns, wielded to settle disputes during tribal gatherings and literally hand out life and death.
As to his other attributes, fittingly for a society where wealth was often measured in livestock, the Dagda is also Horse-Father and one of his wives the goddess of cattle. He is master of seasons and grants fair weather ensuring crops. He is sometimes known as the “man of the peak” which, I would argue again erroneously, is often seen as a shamanic or druidic aspect. It might be better understood with a little help from Tolkien borrowing his conception of kingship and connection to the divine, as espoused in the Silmarillion and Lost Tales, with the imagery of the lords of Numenor ascending the highest peak in the land to commune with god on behalf of the people.
All of these facets of his nature reveal to me a being that is neither a warrior or a visionary but instead fundamentally a steward of his people and their welfare. Where once I had fretted at this unimposing character in comparison to his Germanic counterpart, framed properly I think in your conception of the aspects of leadership, I instead see an elder in his proper place. To add further cultural and mythological context, much like the Germanics where it is suspected by scholars that once Tyr occupied the chief position amongst their pantheon as a god of battle, in the Celtic tradition his counterpart Nuada is explicitly stated to have once ruled in his brother’s stead until a maiming, specifically the loss of a hand in battle like Tyr, made him unfit to rule being no longer whole in body and ceded the kingship to the Dagda.
The similarity stops of course when we come to Odin. Beginning to get a grasp on the nature of the Dagda I was in turn puzzled instead by this shamanic figure resting on the Germanic throne more akin to Celtic Ogma also a creator of runes, keeper of the mead of poetry, and capable of titanic furies. I have to thank the Youtuber SurviveTheJive for providing the final piece of the puzzle that I had somewhat embarrassingly missed myself namely that Freyr, a god much closer in aspect to the Dagda, literally means “Lord”. The one-eyed god may in fact be a priest-king, or perhaps more appropriately shaman-chieftain, usurper.

Thanks for this work, sir. [hoping the small s makes this palatable for your border state taste]
The maimed war god losing his power strikes me in numerous ways:
-In Amerindian tribalism, which, as we understand it, was entirely under European influence, the war chief only has power at war, and this is never administrated, in the managerial style expression of power as Modern Western Military minds conceive of it, but purely the honor of leadership, which, in Amerindian, Asian and European tradition, is only really held onto by a war chief who wishes to maintain power outside of a war setting, through acts of generosity and redistribution, such as that practiced by Hrothgar at Heorot in Beowulf. Hence, this would seem perfectly natural to chieftom societies.
-A highly cultivated warrior ethos which is culturally insular, taken to alien lands, causes much suffering on all sides. Alexander’s “boys from the gym” when confronted with a different kind of tribalism, broke their moral teeth in Afghanistan, actually winning through about a dozen genocides, unlike the Brits, Soviets or Americans. But their dehumanization resulted in killing, betraying and assassinating each other and eventual mutiny after their first honorably victory on the other side of the Mountains of Hell in India. The Japanese military in China, Korea and New Guinea suffered complete moral dysfunction under alien stress, with their highly evolved warrior code virtually counter to effective domestic rule and resulting in one of the worst records of war crimes by warriors of a society renowned for its internal tranquility.
-The maimed war god, is described as physically maimed. However, this in human terms, would impact him in battle, not home rule. Heck, the maimed warrior would be a better adjudicator, just like the injured coach is a better advisor for the fighter. So, I would interpret the physical maiming of the god as representing the spiritual maiming of a warrior class put into conflict in a guerilla war setting with an alien people, such as happened in Tennessee during the American Civil War, causing numerous Union and one Confederate atrocities, but better illustrated by the American emotional meltdown in Vietnam and again, reflected in Beowulf, with the complete emasculation and disorientation of the warrior class of Heorot in what the poet describes as Grendel’s monstrous depredations, in such a way as to suggest the tribal insurgency of an alien and colonized people. In Beowulf, there is a crises of faith such as can well be imagined as resulting from an honor-based, confrontational, land-taking warrior culture would face when adjusting to what is now called 4Gwarfare. In the above-mentioned Tennessee analog, the premier resistance commander, Forest, refused to continue as a guerilla leader, as did John Singleton Mosby in Virginia, because they knew it would result in a land unfit to live in according to their honor code—a landed not conquered by war, but haunted by its restive specter grown monstrous in frustration.
‘Mead Halls’
a warrior be
‘Nothingness the Black Flame’
the gods of boxing
winter of a fighting life
by the wine dark sea
AmericanDagda     Mar 4, 2020

An addendum since James' post time is somehow still faster than my edit time.

I think it would be remiss to not also take into account the third and final arm of of the Western arm of the Аrуаn diaspora, the Latin. If only to point out the glaring lack of a clear delineation between Elder/Warchief/Shaman amongst the ruling triune of the Greco-Roman tradition. Perhaps the Latin had a mythology more akin to his northerly kin before the adoption of the Grecian model but we have to work with the example left to us.
James     Mar 4, 2020

Thanks. This is the point of hitting the Aeneid in depth alongside Evola.

We can do what we can.
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