Continental Germanic mythology

Continental Germanic mythology is a subtype of Germanic paganism as practiced in parts of Central Europe during the 6th to 8th centuries, a period of Christianization. It continued in the legends, and Middle High German epics of the Middle Ages. Traces of these stories, with the sacred elements largely removed, may be found throughout European folklore and fairy tales.


The mythologies of the following tribes are included in this category:


Compared to North Germanic and, to a lesser extent, Anglo-Saxon mythology, examples of Continental Germanic paganism are extremely fragmentary. Besides a handful of brief Elder Futhark inscriptions the lone, genuinely pagan Continental Germanic documents are the short Old High German Merseburg Incantations. However, pagan mythological elements were preserved in later literature, notably in Middle High German epic poetry, but also in German, Swiss, and Dutch folklore.


Old High German

Middle High German

See also


  • Jacob Grimm: Deutsche Mythologie. 1835.
  • Wolfgang Golther: Handbuch der Germanischen Mythologie. Stuttgart 1908.
  • Jan de Vries: Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte. Berlin 1956.
  • Åke V. Ström: Germanische Religion. Stuttgart 1975.
  • M. Axboe; U. Clavadetscher; K. Düwel; K. Hauck; L. v. Padberg: Die Goldbrakteaten der Völkerwanderungszeit. Ikonographischer Katalog. München 1985-1989.
  • Rudolf Simek: Lexikon der germanischen Mythologie. Stuttgart 2. Aufl. 1995. ISBN 3-520-36802-1
  • Rudolf Simek: Religion und Mythologie der Germanen. Darmstadt 2003. ISBN 3-534-16910-7
Absolute (philosophy)

In philosophy, the concept of The Absolute, also known as The (Unconditioned) Ultimate, The Wholly Other, The Supreme Being, The Absolute/Ultimate Reality, and other names, is the thing, being, entity, power, force, reality, presence, law, principle, etc. that possesses maximal ontological status, existential ranking, existential greatness, or existentiality. In layman's terms, this is the one that is, in one way or another, the greatest, truest, or most real being.

There are many conceptions of The Absolute in various fields and subjects, such as philosophy, religion, spiritual traditions, mathematics, and even natural science. The nature of these conceptions can range from "merely" encompassing all physical existence, nature, or reality, to being completely unconditioned existentially, transcending all concepts, notions, and types, kinds, and categories of being.

The Absolute is often thought of as causing to come into being manifestations that interact with lower or lesser forms of being. This is either done passively, through emanations, or actively, through avatars and incarnations. These existential manifestations, which themselves can possess transcendent attributes, only contain minuscule or infinitesimal portions of the true essence of The Absolute.

The term itself was not in use in ancient or medieval philosophy, but closely related to the description of God as Actus purus (Pure Actuality) in scholasticism. It was introduced in modern philosophy, notably by Hegel, for "the sum of all being, actual and potential".

The term has since also been adopted in perennial philosophy.

German folklore

German folklore is the folk tradition which has developed in Germany over a number of centuries.

It shares many characteristics with Scandinavian folklore and English folklore due to their origins in a common Germanic mythology. It reflects a similar mix of influences: a pre-Christian pantheon and other beings equivalent to those of Norse mythology; magical characters (sometimes recognisably pre-Christian) associated with Christian festivals, and various regional 'character' stories.

As in Scandinavia, when belief in the old gods disappeared, remnants of the mythos persisted: Holda, a "supernatural" patron of spinning; the Lorelei, a dangerous Rhine siren derived from 19th century literature; the spirit Berchta (also known as Perchta); the Weisse Frauen, a water spirit said to protect children; the Wild Hunt (in German folklore preceded by an old man, Honest Eckart, who warns others of its approach); the giant Rübezahl; changeling legends; and many more generic entities such as the elf, dwarf, kobold and erlking.

Popular folklore includes Krampus and Knecht Ruprecht, a rough companion to Santa Claus; the Lutzelfrau, a Yule witch who must be appeased with small presents; the Osterhase (Easter Hare - the original Easter Bunny); and Walpurgisnacht, a spring festival derived from pagan customs.

Character folklore includes the stories of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the trickster hero Till Eulenspiegel, the Town Musicians of Bremen and Faust.

Documentation and preservation of folklore in the states that formally united as Germany in 1871 was initially fostered in the 18th and 19th centuries. As early as 1851, author Bernhard Baader published a collection of folklore research obtained by oral history, called Volkssagen aus dem Lande Baden und den angrenzenden Gegenden. The Saxon author Johann Karl August Musäus was another early collector.

Study was further promoted by the Prussian poet and philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder. His belief in the role of folklore in ethnic nationalism - a folklore of Germany as a nation rather than of disunited German-speaking peoples - inspired the Brothers Grimm, Goethe and others. For instance, folklore elements, such as the Rhine Maidens and the Grimms' The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear, formed part of the source material for Richard Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Some of the works of Washington Irving - notably Rip van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - are based on German folktales.

Within Germany, the nationalistic aspect was further emphasised during the National Socialist era. Folklore studies, Volkskunde, were co-opted as a political tool, to seek out traditional customs to support the idea of historical continuity with a Germanic culture. Anti-Semitic folklore such as the blood libel legend was also emphasized.

Germanic mythology

Germanic mythology consists of the body of myths native to the Germanic peoples. Commonly featuring narratives focused on Germanic deities and a large variety of other entities, Germanic mythology dates from the Proto-Germanic period and reaches beyond the Christianization of the Germanic peoples and into modern Germanic folklore. Germanic mythology includes Norse mythology, Anglo-Saxon mythology, and Continental Germanic mythology.As the Germanic languages developed from Proto-Indo-European language, Germanic mythology is ultimately a development of Proto-Indo-European religion. The study of Germanic mythology has remained an important element of Germanic philology since the development of the field and the topic is an integral component of Heathenry, the modern revival of Germanic paganism.

Germanic paganism

Germanic paganism refers to the indigenous religion of the Germanic people from the Iron Age until Christianisation during the Middle Ages. Rooted in Proto-Indo-European religion, Proto-Germanic religion expanded during the Migration Period, yielding extensions such as Old Norse religion among the North Germanic peoples, Continental Germanic paganism among the continental Germanic peoples, and Anglo-Saxon paganism among the West Germanic people. Among the East Germanic peoples, traces of Gothic paganism may be discerned from scant artifacts and attestations. According to John Thor Ewing, as a religion it consisted of "individual worshippers, family traditions and regional cults within a broadly consistent framework".

List of legendary creatures (M)

Maa-alused (Estonian mythology) - Subterranean spirit

Machlyes (Medieval bestiaries) - Hermaphroditic humanoid

Macrocephali (Medieval bestiaries) - Giant-headed humanoid

Madremonte (Colombian folklore) - Nature guardian

Maero (Māori) - Savage, arboreal humanoids

Magog (English folklore) - Giant protector of London

Maha-pudma (Hindu mythology) - Giant elephant that holds up the world

Mairu (Basque mythology) - Megalith-building giant

Mājas gari (Latvian mythology) - Benevolent house spirit

Makara (Indian mythology) - Aquatic beings

Makura-gaeshi (Japanese mythology) - Pillow-moving spirit

Mallt-y-Nos (Welsh mythology) - Spirit of the hunt

Mami Wata (Africa and the African diaspora) - Supernaturally beautiful water spirits

Manananggal (Philippine mythology) - Vampires that sever their torsos from their legs to fly around

Mandi (Medieval bestiaries) - Humanoid with a forty-year lifespan

Mandrake (Medieval folklore) - Diminutive, animated construct

Manes (Roman mythology) - Ancestral spirits

Mannegishi (Cree) - Little people with six fingers and no noses

Manticore (Persian mythology) - Lion-human-scorpion hybrid

Mapinguari (Brazilian mythology) - Giant sloth

Mara (Scandinavian folklore) - Female night-demon

Marabbecca (Italian folklore) - Malevolent water spirit

Mareikura (Tuamotu) - Attendant of Kiho-tumu, the supreme god

Mares of Diomedes (Greek mythology) - Man-eating horses

Marid (Arabian mythology) - Jinn associated fortune tellers

Marmennill (Norse mythology) - mermen with prophetic abilities

Maro deivės (Lithuanian mythology) - Disease spirits

Maski-mon-gwe-zo-os (Abenaki mythology) - Shapeshifting toad spirit

Matagot (French mythology) - Spirit that takes animal form; usually that of a black cat

Matsya (Hindu mythology) - First Avatar of Vishnu in the form of a half-fish and half-man

Mayura (Hindu mythology) - Peacock spirit

Mazzikin (Jewish mythology) - Invisible, malevolent spirit

Mbói Tu'ĩ (Guaraní mythology) - Snake-parrot hybrid

Mbwiri (Central Africa) - Possessing demon

Medusa (Greek mythology) - Serpent-female hybrid (Gorgon) with numerous snake heads

Meliae (Greek mythology) - Ash tree nymph

Melusine (Medieval folklore) - Female water spirit, with the form of a winged mermaid or serpent

Menehune (Hawaiian mythology) - Little people and craftsmen

Menninkäinen (Finnish mythology) - Little people and nature spirits

Merlion (Singapore) - Combination of a lion and a fish, the symbol of Singapore

Mermaid/Merman (multiple cultures) - Human-fish hybrid

Merrow (Irish mythology and Scottish) - Human-fish hybrid

Metee-kolen-ol (Abenaki mythology) - Ice-hearted wizards

Mimi (Australian Aboriginal mythology) - Extremely elongated humanoid that has to live in rock crevasses to avoid blowing away

Minka Bird (Australian Aboriginal mythology) - Death spirit

Minokawa (Philippine) - Giant swallow

Minotaur (Greek mythology) - Human-bull hybrid

Mishibizhiw (Ojibwa) - Feline water spirit

Misi-ginebig (Ojibwa) - Serpentine rain spirit

Misi-kinepikw (Cree) - Serpentine rain spirit

Mizuchi (Japanese mythology) - Water dragon

Mogwai (Chinese mythology) - Vengeful ghost or demon

Mohan (Latin American folklore) - Nature spirit

Mokèlé-mbèmbé (Congo) - Water-dwelling creature

Mokoi (Australian Aboriginal mythology) - Malevolent spirit that kills sorcerers

Moñái (Guaraní mythology) - Giant snake with antennae

Monocerus (Medieval bestiaries) - One-horned stag-horse-elephant-boar hybrid, sometimes treated as distinct from the unicorn

Mono Grande (South America) - Giant monkey

Monopod (Medieval bestiaries) - Dwarf with one giant foot

Mooinjer veggey (Manx folklore) - Nature spirit

Mora (Slavic mythology) - Disembodied spirit

Morgens (Breton and Welsh mythology) - Water spirits

Morinji-no-okama (Japanese mythology) - Animated tea kettle

Mormolykeia (Greek) - Underworld spirit

Moroi (Romanian) - Vampiric ghost

Moss people (Continental Germanic mythology) - Little people and tree spirits

Mujina (Japanese mythology) - Shapeshifting badger spirit

Muldjewangk (Australian Aboriginal mythology) - Water monster

Multo (Philippine mythology) - Spirit of a deceased person seeking justice or has unfinished business

Muma Pădurii (Romanian folklore) - Forest-dwelling hag

Muscaliet (Medieval bestiaries) - Hare-squirrel-boar hybrid that has an intense body heat

Muse (Greek mythology) - Spirits that inspire artists

Musimon (Heraldic) - Sheep-goat hybrid

Myling (Scandinavian folklore) - Ghosts of unbaptized children

Myrmecoleon (Medieval bestiaries) - Ant-lion hybrid

List of mythological objects

Mythological objects encompass a variety of items (e.g. weapons, armour, clothing) found in mythology, legend, folklore, tall tale, fable, religion, and spirituality from across the world. This list will be organized according to the category of object.

List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic." A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

List of war deities

A war deity is a god or goddess in mythology associated with war, combat, or bloodshed. They occur commonly in both monotheistic and polytheistic religions.

Unlike most gods and goddesses in polytheistic religions, monotheistic deities have traditionally been portrayed in their mythologies as commanding war in order to spread their religion. (The intimate connection between "holy war" and the "one true god" belief of monotheism has been noted by many scholars, including Jonathan Kirsch in his book God Against The Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism and Joseph Campbell in The Masks of God, Vol. 3: Occidental Mythology.) The following is a list of war deities.

Martin Luserke

Martin Luserke (3 May 1880 in Berlin, (Germany) – 1 June 1968 in Meldorf, Holstein, Germany) was a progressive pedagogue, a bard, writer and theatre maker. He was one of the leading figures of German progressive education and a precursor of outdoor education. As his distinguished achievement counts the integration of community theatre into school and youth work. It was also integrated in German Youth Movement.

Merseburg charms

The Merseburg charms or Merseburg incantations (German: die Merseburger Zaubersprüche) are two medieval magic spells, charms or incantations, written in Old High German. They are the only known examples of Germanic pagan belief preserved in the language. They were discovered in 1841 by Georg Waitz, who found them in a theological manuscript from Fulda, written in the 9th or 10th century, although there remains some speculation about the date of the charms themselves. The manuscript (Cod. 136 f. 85a) is stored in the library of the cathedral chapter of Merseburg, hence the name.

Mythology in the Low Countries

The mythology of the modern-day Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg has its roots in the mythologies of pre-Christian (e.g. Gaulish (Gallo-Roman) and Germanic) cultures, predating the region's Christianization under the auspices of the Franks in the Early Middle Ages.At the time of the Roman Empire and in the Early Middle Ages, the Low Countries' some of the resident peoples included:

Germanic tribes north of the Rhine River (with a lot of exceptions like the Eburones or the Celtic Nervii,...)Low Franconians





the decidedly more Celtic and Gallo-Roman Belgae tribes of Gallia Belgica south of the Rhine (also mainly but with many exceptions).Old Dutch mythology can mean the myths told in Old Dutch language specifically, however many of the myths in this language are ancient and part of larger movements across Europe, such as Roman mythology that spread through the Roman Empire, and Continental Germanic mythology.

Pre-Christian traditions of veneration of trees (particularly the oak, see Donar's oak), springs and woods native to the Low Countries survived in Christianized guise into the Middle Ages.

Sources for the reconstruction of pre-Christian traditions include the accounts of the Anglo-Saxon missionaries to the region, medieval and modern folklore and legend, and local toponymy.

Pre-Christian Alpine traditions

The central and eastern Alps of Europe are rich in folklore traditions dating back to pre-Christian times, with surviving elements originating from Germanic, Gaulish (Gallo-Roman), Slavic (Carantanian) and Raetian culture.

History of the Germanic peoples
Pagan society
(until about
Early Middle Ages)
Mythology of Europe
Sovereign states
States with limited
Dependencies and
other entities

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