The Vi (wih / weoh)
The Vi was forbidden by law when Christianity got the monopoly of keeping track of time. That was the end of maybe more than 5000 years tradition and custom with the local Vi as sanctified place for law, order and time keeping. There is no magic in the Vi.
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This drawing shows perhaps the oldest known Vi in Scandinavia from fourth millennium BC situated at Skabersjö Skaane.
There is a dolmen in the fork probably catching the Moon at spring equinox according to the direction E - W. The angle is about 6 days so it maybe for the catching of the New Moon after the moon has been in vane for three days. In English we should perhaps write "wih /weoh" … see alsoAnglo-Scandinavian cultural words
… The syllable WI in Linear B could be written this way however there were no standardisation at the time. Usually it is just a fork with a stroke between the legs. The Cypriot WI shows a narrowing stream and in the inlet is a little stroke. Even at our rock we see this symbol in various forms.
The V-type dagger is seen on a year plaquette from Egypt ca 3000 BC and it could be understood as the Dagger of Isis. From the Alps we know the V-shaped dagger at the same time and it must have been a ritual weapon. Some of them are drawn as if the knob symbolised the crescent moon. Some of the carved axes look like the Egyptian ritual axe. We should perhaps see also the double axe, boat-shaped axe and some more as pure ritual weapon picturing some important fact in the myth.
In Aosta Italy Franco Mezzena excavated a cemetery with a platform in V-shape made of smaller stones. In connection a stone dolmen housed the bones. Besides is a ritual field with signs of ritual ploughing. It is only that they have not found a single evidence of agriculture in that ancient village. The people were living on metallurgy. Maybe they sold copper daggers and axes and at the same time the myth.
We see the wedge shape on many carved stones for instance in the tomb of Gavrinis Carnac. On Ireland they have the wedge tomb as type. Even in Denmark there are some stone arrangements in the wedge shape. The wedge shape is also common in slab cist in Scandinavia as well as in France, on Ireland and other places with that type of monument.
The idea of resurrection must have been "born" out of analysing vegetative life. The plants have a "sleeping period" as seed. It is nearly magic when some hard kernel opens after a fire in the forest and resurrects for a period again after rest since last fire in the forest maybe 50 years ago.
When they began scheduled agriculture they animated the ritual with humanlike gods, but took the behaviour from the plants. Then they also developed the same ritual for sowing and funeral. However we cannot prove if they followed it everywhere. Yet it seems that the myth spread "all over the world".
In Nordic language the VI is root in the word "viga". With the old opposite syllable order we should read it GA-VI = "go vi" and still it means marry or consecrate. The idea is also uniting two parts and the sound is near BI which imply two parts.
From the Karelian law we know that they cut a string of turf and lifted it up. Then the brothers crawled under it to seal blood brotherhood. The same custom was in use when they married man with Earth when he bought land and surely in other connections too.
Some folk memory tells that the dolmen symbolises the womb and the pole is the male part, naturally. Then if we know the Inanna myth we understand that this was the symbolic marriage in spring. It gives us a clue to the meaning of the dolmen too.
This is the pattern on the golden plate found at Bush Barrow near Stonehenge
British astronomers have found that it could be used to decide all important dates in year. Then it also shows that they used a squared model for the year and here 5 x 5 or 9 x 9 division. It is slightly rhomboid so it is near to think of it as a ship too. We see that there are three levels and the inner square symbolises the circumpolar area in the hood.
There is some clear Vi in our rock-carvings and it were a natural method to do the practical things around synchronising moon year and sun year at Ramadan and also define other dates in the ritual year. It seems that a fenced place named "harg" was a square used as common base for their practical astronomy.
Golden brakteat from Fakse Zealand ca 400 AD with a vi and symbols that are about practical calendar making in connection with the Balder Myth.
The Balder myth is one of the greatest poems in the Edda epos and it is mainly about harvest time when Loke lure the blind Hauder to shoot Balder with a mistletoe. Murder is not allowed so he has to arrange a situation with "the innocent" killing the crops symbolised by Balder.
The angle is the Vi and the Lady at left has her feet in the soil so it must be mother Earth carrying for her children. Balder in the middle is shot with the mistletoe. When we look closely his upper hand ends in a symbol for Gemini and the other is a "hook" symbol of harvest. The "bone" is normal symbol for "tool". The helpers lower hand ends in crossed bones that may be a season symbol and perhaps meaning harvest. Above we see just a glimpse of the Sun Eagle.
Another medallion in the same style from Viborg Jutland complete the picture
At the bottom is the Water-snake symbol of Womb of Earth and we note the head we see in many pictures. A bit in on the body is the Twig symbol of sowing and the line steps down. The text I read from left KIRUNIR, but I am not sure of the meaning. Evidently the snake shows the season of growth.
The figure "speaks" as we se a string with symbols and the line is marked with strokes. The string shows length in time and space as a fact and as logic. The symbols show that something is happening in time … or should happen if we see it as a command.
We do not understand the detailed meaning however we can understand what it is all about. We can also be sure that it is about time and getting food on table. The snake-figure is just continuing the tradition we see in the rock-carvings three or four thousand years' back.
The coin of Hardaknud made in Lund from the beginning of 11th century is one of a few with the Vi. The Eagle is called Merovingian Eagle but it is of course that old Sune Eagle.
From his time three of his coins have the Horse standing in the Vi. The Swedish king Anund gave also a coin with the Horse and even the later king Svend Estridsen gave one with the Horse among his many coins since his reign was long.
On the early coins there was usually the kings head on the averse and some time symbols on the reverse. This order changed in the middle of 12th century when the church took over the function as "yearman or alderman" of state. The great archbishop Absalon was the first to appear on the reverse and the kind on the averse. Of course some coins shows a bishop or Christ before that but then the other side is for the year or astronomy.
We see the Horse standing in the ritual place and that is Pegasus current at spring equinox. There is some other on which we clearly see the Vi.
In upper row the Vi including the graves of the first Danish king and queen buried at Jelling, but the mound was empty from the beginning.
The Vi was maybe the earliest ritual monument and also the latest in use in some places in the 18th century. It is mentioned in old texts, however none know for sure what it was. It seems that the word also VI pictures the V-shape and the female fork. The Vi was perhaps hard to understand for the first English and German monks. Or else it did not fit in the programme to learn the wild Scandinavians about Christ in Latin.
Province Law forbade vi, harg, hult, lund and other heathen monuments. I suppose harg was a fenced square used for the local astronomy and the other two are small groves known from Celtic customs. However the principle was the same.
Anyhow on the very holy place of the foundation of Denmark they have found a Vi. It is simply two strings of stones in V-shape with the wing in 23,5 degrees' angle or 1/16 of the circle. We see that the mounds are on the median.
The Tibirke Vi on North Zealand is on the map from 1793 although we do not know for how long the local farmers used the tradition. Yet, maybe sand took the Vi later as there were heavy sandstorms.
The Tingsted Vi is on Falster and thing was hold there until 1720. It was still on the map from 1784. Some of the big mounds have no graves and they were perhaps only meant for the thing. We may speculate if they as a ritual buried the time as some manifestos of the beginning or ending of an era.
In Scandinavia are a lot of place names with the ending -vi. In folk memory is also the concept "vising = alderman or yearman" and in the symbolism we see the division between the ritual leader and the worldly leader. Sometimes it was all in same person the king, sometimes as a leading pair.
Other old determinations to place names are -inge, -lev, -um and old dative forms. Significant is that the first part is a "god name" or attribute to some god or similar. INGE means, "give in" and it is like a ritual dative meaning that the village lives and work in the name of a deity. The ending we have in common in the old Swebian area contending Old Germany and Scandinavia. The ritual age continued maybe longer in sparsely populated Scandinavia than in Egypt.
The ending -lev means perhaps "bread" and then the place name is "bread of god NN". The ending -um and maybe -a are dative and depending on the name in front it could be an old place name. There is a Danish place name Vium, which should read "for the Vi" in the same way as Ornum means, "for the boars".
Not all names are gods as for instance Viskinge = Twigsinge " (or bunch of twigs-inge). That bunch is seen on the rock-carvings at Laukeberget Bohuslaen. I suppose the twigs were some time symbol in May or maybe later. They invented the use of leaves for animal food too. They invented their place names in much the same way as we do today.
As we see at the Sparlausa runic stone from ca 800 AD there are symbols similar to the time symbolism in rock-carvings as for instance at Flyhov with the ground grooves about 30 miles away.
Sparlausa runic stone ca 800 AD part of the text
VI KVISL KLIVI VI
… UKR SAR SKS NU I BAN
Which I interpret
(this is) Vi
Vi twig ball Vi
… and is(?) This horn should in the path (orbit)
Naturally words and vocabulary have changed a lot through the ages. To understand we need much imagination and we must know what it is all about. In the ancient symbolism there is a "twig" or maybe man high branch they set up in the beginning of May. In folk memory on Dal they used to set up a rowan branch after they let out the animals first time in year.
The ball may be the rope we see in the symbolism. The horn is the new moon that should be in conjunction with a certain point at the ecliptic. In the rest of the text there is a word that may be "time law".
Oklunda-rock Austra Husby East Gautaland end of 9th century AD
Gunnar painted these runes
And he fled guilty and got shelter in this Vi
And he was granted safe-conduct
And he reached amicable settlement
With Vifinn who painted this
From this we understand that the Vi was more than just for time rituals. It was a sanctified place were a murderer got shelter. That gives also that there needed to be some fence that pointed out the borders of the place. A row of stones was enough.
Forssa-ring Haelsingland 9th century
One ox for the Vi
And two "penny" when the stick falls
Two ox and two "pennies" for the other team
Four ox and eight "pennies" for the stick
And all property in sequestration if he do not pay
That people have the right to according to law
It was settled and sanctified before
But they made this
Anund and Toste
And Ofeg from Hjortsta
But Vibear painted
This was before the kings so that the Vi = community got the fines. Sumerian symbolism shows that the king usually hold a stick. Here it is used as the club that falls and the decision is made. The same stick was used when a settlement was set when the parts hold the stick and let it fall. Surely it was a hazel stick.
Malt-stone Jutland maybe should be read in this way
So has the script inside
Futhark HNIAS TBMLR
Who is inside?
Oldest of Aesir
Who is inside?
Kolfinn made beer
After beloved father
Painted with rejoicing runes
Painted with eternity runes
Every man freezes
Bold he goes
and do not shrink back
when the Vi-breaker comes
These texts are pre-Christian and also from before the kingdoms were established. We understand that their vising or alderman was leader of the local community. The Vi was sanctified and the vising could be forced to defend the Vi.
This essay I write it pleasure since many archaeologists and historians have tried to make me believe that before Christianity my Scandinavian ancestors were primitive and wild barbarians, while I think they learnt something about feudal order of the barbarian Romans.
As far as I see there has always been the law and order society have needed. The ideas spread very fast in the Old World and that means for instance to the far north in Lappland. Sign of myths is seen on rock-carvings dated to the same time as the inventions were made in south.
In fact there is no big difference between Christianity and so called heathen world order and methods in making time rituals. Early Christianity used exact the same heavenly hood and symbols as their preceders and most of the Christian message is in fact heritage from Sumer and Egypt.
End of line for the ancient calendar.
This rock contains pieces from the Sigurd myth when he fought the Dragon. He tastes the blood of the Dragon and soon he understands birds' song. Regin was shortened by a heads length. However there is more when we see the Yggdrasil three and the eagle and hawk and of course the Horse.
The rest of it is much older symbolism. It should be to snakes but in this case one of them is split in two and connected. The symbol on the joint is "rising moon node" we see on early medieval calendar sticks too. In the end of the lower snake there is a little bit. That is 11 days of the 13th moon when they synchronise moon year and sun year. That is seen in many rock-carvings. Under the snake there is the Berserk = Bearwatcher we know from the animal round but also as idol for the real man.