Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Wild Goose Chase for the Name Aurkonungr

I started my quest to find the name or word Aurkonungr while reviewing Lecouteux’s new Encyclopedia, which has an entry for Aurkonungr saying it is a name of Honir. Some of the entries had citations to sources, but not that one. Because I had never heard of such a name for Honir, I set out to find the source. Long did I trek through the mountains up the rocky river, seeking the source, the well of wisdom, beset by skaven and… ahem, no, I sensibly got on Google, which returned 0 results. That word literally does not exist on the internet. Well, it didn’t—it does now, ironically, here in this blog post.

Members of the American Asatru Association’s Facebook discussion group helped me track down where Lecouteux was most likely to have gotten the word from. Although aurkonungr does not appear on the net, there is exactly one return for a reasonable variation of the word, árkonungr: “et, que Ynglingasaga qualifie plusieurs rois de árkonungr, gódr árkonungr, roi, bon roi à moissons” from Tripertita: fonctionnels chez divers peuples indo­européens by Georges Dumézil.  This word is only written that way in French. In Icelandic texts, it's written as two words, ár konungr. 

Neither árkonungr nor aurkonungr appear in Icelandic as a proper name, at least not in any text searchable by Google. Texts one can Google might not amount to the entire body of human knowledge, but if one is using a source so obscure that it can’t be independently verified, a quote and citation would be nice.

I like the word anyway, not only because it could be accepted on Lecouteux’s reputation as a respected academic but also because it fits how I see Honir. The phrase ár konungr translates into English as “the ur-king,” the ancient or original king. Honir is one of Odin’s brothers. In the lore, Odin’s brothers are listed by several different names, but they always form a trinity: Odin/ Vili / Ve, Wotan / Wili / We, Odin / Honir / Lodhur, Odin / Honir / Loki, and Har / Jafnhar / Thridi. The first three groups are variations on the creator trinity that shaped the world and humankind, the fourth group is the one that travels together, and the last one, which translates as High, Just As High, and Third, is depicted as three co-kings on a triple throne using bynames to disguise their true selves. If Honir is Jafnhar, then he is a co-king with his brothers.

For now, I’m placing the name Aurkonungr in the my mental "pending" category:  sounds right, acceptance on hold pending further evidence. In this case, further evidence would have to be an original text (preferably in Icelandic, but a related language would do) from the conversion era identifying Aurkonungr as Honir, or at least as a brother of Odin. 

Ultimately, I did not include my wild goose chase after the name Aurkonungr in my review of Lecouteux’s book. My review already included many critiques of entries for which I was on solid ground, being familiar with the sources on which they were based. Trying to decide whether the Aurkonungr entry is correct is mental quicksand, which has pulled me into far too much research already. Being unable to find the source, I cannot prove anything about it one way or another. I finished my review, which I expect to be published in the next edition of Eternal Haunted Summer Magazine (which would be the Winter 2016 issue.) I decided to blog about Aurkonungr on the off chance that someone reading this has a text that includes it—not just as a word, but as a name, a proper name, a kenning or aspect of Honir. I’m done with writing the review, but I’m not done learning about Honir.  

Image: High, Just-as-high, and Third, by By Jakob Sigurðsson, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. 

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners and other books. She was sworn to Freya as Priestess in 1989, given to Sigyn, and is a Bride of Odin and his brothers (Honir, Lodhur, Loki.). She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, is gythia of American Celebration Kindred, and admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office. She is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press for 5 years, and is the author of the Heathen Calendar 2017 and 2018.

Comments

  • Dianne Ross
    Dianne Ross Thursday, 28 July 2016

    Thank you for your curiosity and introducing us to this new name, and for following through on where it might have originated. Dear Grönbeck, we owe him so much for his work published just before 1900.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Friday, 29 July 2016

    Thanks!

  • Carl Gustav Lindstrom
    Carl Gustav Lindstrom Saturday, 30 July 2016

    Hello Erin Lale,

    I hope you don't mind me asking for your help here. I just joined this site and it doesn't seem to be very user friendly on my end. I would like to start a blog and share more about myself, but absolutely cannot find where, or how, to create a post! I had gone into my account where it has, what should be 'my blog', but I cannot create any posts. I go into the area where I can click on 'Posts' and it comes up with 'Standard Posts' and 'Short Updates', but nowhere where I can start a post. Please help.

    Thanks.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Saturday, 30 July 2016

    Hi Carl, if Anne has selected you to be one of the pagansquare bloggers, you should have received instructions on how to do it.

  • Carl Gustav Lindstrom
    Carl Gustav Lindstrom Saturday, 30 July 2016

    Hello,

    Ok - Yeah I was not selected, but at the same time I did not know how to get in touch with her. I did not quite understand the gist of this site when I joined it. Thanks for letting me know.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Saturday, 30 July 2016

    You're welcome. This isn't a web host site, it's the website of a company that publishes magazines.

  • Carl Gustav Lindstrom
    Carl Gustav Lindstrom Saturday, 30 July 2016

    Ah ok - I wasn't sure if it was the latter, or a combination of the two.

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