Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Forshem Kyrka, Interior. Old Odin Traces

Forshem Kyrka
Find Odin 
Religions Appropriate Symbols, Rituals

Easier to swallow the new, if the old is also on the spoon

Crucifixion; and Odin hanging on Yggdrasil in the wind, nine days, a sacrifice, wounded by a spear.

It is not a far leap to accepting a version of the Jesus story, when already familiar is the Norse story of Odin: Odin hung on Yggdrasil and there he learned the meaning of the runes.

Find a contemporary, pop art Odin hanging at Odin

The story is at Havamal, "Sayings of the High One," at Timeless Myths. He hung there nine days, wounded by spear, his own spear. Nine is a symbolic, magical number; he drank the mead from the horn Odrerir; or, other versions, he had no food nor mead.  There was a rope around his neck. Hanga-tir -- "god of the hanged." The price of learning the runes was sacrifice, death, so Odin sacrificed himself. On the ninth day, with the last rune, he ritually died, darkness fell, chaos ruled until midnight when the light came back, he revived.  Sacrifice by hanging a victim was also known in Rome, their accounts of Germanic practices. See the Timeless Myths site.

Mythologies, pantheons, old ideas blended with new dogma.  Sweden, with its seemingly untouched old churches, retain much of the old.  There are renovations, additions, repairs, but see the traditional Odin still there. And the Reformation seems to have taken a calmer path.  The gilt, statues, all have remained -- none of the stark Calvinist forced austerity that is seen in Switzerland's Geneva, for example.  Is that so?  The Swedish Churches remain breathtaking. Unvandalized.

1.  Horns, or horned gods, the Tree of the Lives, the World Tree Yggdrasil. It would take a heraldry expert to decipher and check, but a first look shows ties with the past religion.  Still checking.

Would those be mead horns?

Wall plaque, carved in relief.  Looks like a flower, lily, horns, a crown, a globular mask or simply an openwork globe, a necklace (the globe must be a head, and is that curls?  Leaves entwined, perhaps a World Tree, Ygdrassil, but three flowers down on left, four on right, so very stylized. Unreadable area with perhaps etching. A stick for holding it all up? Procession?

Etched writing? Heraldry, Forshem Kyrka, SE

Start at the Swedish Heraldry Society.

Aha.  Counts wore "three barred helmets" (three [3] helmets each with bars, or three-barred helmets?), with a "count's coronet" instead of a wreath (is this one?). We have a count. Viscounts wore two barred helmets. Untitled nobility wore one barred helmet.  Perhaps that is this one. We are not looking at a coat of arms, however, with its four quarters. The barred helmet with a necklace meant a noble; a mere burgher did not have a necklace. Here is a necklace.  For arms of the provinces, see See also the use of the hammer symbol in heraldry there, including new heraldry. There are also crowns there, and the bauble-balls on  this one looks like the coronet of the untitled nobles.  See armorialblog.  For three barred helmets, see Looks different.

More heraldry.  Arms extended up at top, hands holding or building a graduated tapering block shape, pyramidal, similar barred helmet and necklace, shield with more wall-block shapes, surrounded with many heraldic symbols.

To identify each: would have to enlarge and check each one -- later) and crossed spears at bottom, and heart-shaped area with illegible writing or etching.  Many feather shapes.

The list of priests ("Kyrkaherdar' - herder of the church?) starts at1290, it looks like.  Are those bishops?  We would expect a cross sign if so; as is shown in the later names.  Who was in charge between construction in 1150 give or take, and 1290?

What is commemorated on this wall plaque, vines, and it looks like hebrew at the top.

To find the Hebrew, go to the alphabet, and from there to a site to translate, try  It does not look like "INRI"

Pulpit carvings:  Note that the disciples, the gospel writers, are blonde.

The scallop shell would stand for a pilgrimage site.  This church was a "grave church" or designated substitute for pilgrimage, since people could not get to the Holy Land easily. See post re exterior of church.

Saint Mark, Saint Luke.  Also blond. 

Stork heraldry, single barred helmet, is that a necklace or not?  Stork, or crane.  Usually shown holding a rock, see Birds in Heraldry. While the flock slept at night, the watchbird held a stone so it would awaken if it fell asleep and the stone fell, and the pygmies along the Nile attack. The heraldry legend is French! Who knows.

Is this the Storckenfeldt family?  Read carefully.

Find them still listed at

Now to ceilings, frescoes at Forshem:

Who can read the words above the frame area?

An old art course used to describe these all-over patterns as "horror vacui" or fear of anything left empty.  Here, vines, angel faces on wings, even looks undinished, as though all the colors were not filled in.
 That is a chandelier hanging down.

And we are still looking for Anna Kajsa.  We found one here, the name is common and this one was born in 1847, died 1876?Anna Kajsa,  and was apparently married to Alex Strom --not the same one as in our family?

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