Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Who do you invoke?

There’s snow on the ground, and apparently more in the air waiting to come down. But how do you get it to come down? Reverse psychology seems to work: “Oh it’ll never snow…” Then when it’s snowing: “Oh, it’ll never stick…” On my Facebook status I’ve invoked Thor to prove me wrong.

But technically, although Thor is a weather god, he’s more a god of thunder and storms, than a god of snow. So who should you invoke for snow? A quick look on Wikipedia reveals there are a few ‘snow gods’ out there.

Himavat is the Hindu god of snow, and also a personification of the Himalayan mountains, so I’m guessing he’s quite big.

Heikki Lunta is the Finnish snow god. Pray to him for good snow before your cross-country ski trip.

The ancient Aramaic/Syriac culture had a god called Baal Loubnan which translates as the ‘God of Snow’, but he also seems to have been a general weather god too.

The Lithuanians have Blizgulis. His name means "that who glitters", which is possibly one of the more poetic names for a snow god.

Moving away from more traditional anthropomorphic gods, Okami no kami is a legendary Japanese dragon and Shinto deity of rain and snow. I like dragons.

And then we get back to the Anglo-Saxon and Norse pantheon and Ullr, the god of the winter and snow who is Sif’s son and Thor’s stepson. He’s also known as Ollerus, who according to an ancient legend “was such a cunning wizard that he used a certain bone, which he had marked with awful spells, wherewith to cross the seas, instead of a vessel; and that by this bone he passed over the waters that barred his way as quickly as by rowing”.

Hmm, travelling with the aid of a ‘magic bone’… Sounds like quite a guy. Ollerus also filled in for Odin when the top god was exiled for ten years, until the true Odin was called back. After handing Odin’s throne back to him, Ollerus retired to Sweden where he was slain by Danes. Those damn Danes.

So there you have it, a veritable pantheon of gods (and one dragon) to ask for more snow. And for the Judeo-Christians among us, old Yahweh is known to have some influence on the weather too:

“God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’” - Job 37, verses 5-6.

So, it's God's fault when it rains in Wales, then...

1 comment:

  1. It reminds me of the "Snow Demons" in Calvin & Hobbes