The Fellowship of the Ring in Symbolic Mythology by John Martin Woolsey 1917
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WOULDST thou have thy wish fulfilled, thou hast only to turn the ring on thy finger. Vernaliken.
The arms of the City of Glasgow are a bell, a tree, a bird and a fish with a ring in its mouth. And again Glasgow means the cow. They are all symbols of the same moon.
These rings of which Aaron made a calf were the same rings which Gideon collected, the spoil of the Ishmaelites, and made an Ephod, and put in his city of Oprah (Ind. 8:27.)
The man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight and gave to Rebekah. (Gen. 24:32.)
That new moon ring is one of the most universal symbols used over the earth among civilized and savage races alike. It is on the silver door of the moon that entered the hall of the moon sanctuary, the sign of "good luck," the victory wafter, the triumph of light over darkness. The sun dwelt there and rode over the dark moon waters in that ring as a silver boat.
The moon comes up every month and passes over its ring to the next constellation.
It was the halo or magic necklace of Freya; it is the cestus of Aphrodite, that golden bracelet of the moon ring whose thickness increased every night.
These rings worn as armlets had originally the same lunar expression as the ring mounds of earth for enclosures, and money was made into rings as gold and silver currency; it was the ring moon of the old Celtic and Cymric race, as mentioned by Caesar, and the old Britons had armor made of steel rings antiquary, 1887.
Frode, the god of peace of the North Mythology ruled over the red rings, and the mill called Grotte, which ground whatever was wished. Young Edda Anderson, "Song of the Grotte," or mill, and the mill was the moon.
King Solomon imprisoned evil spirits in jars which were sealed up with his signet ring, and then cast them into the sea. It is the imp in the bottle thrown down in the depths of the moon Hades during the summer. But they will escape in time to destroy the work of the summer brother. In the middle ages gems were engraved with mystic symbols and the name of God, and then blessed by the priest which rendered them potent against evil.
Again it was a wish ring and whatever its possessor required it brought, whether clothes, or food; in the absence of a ring, girls lock their little fingers and make a wish.
Biarco is unable to see one who is riding a white steed until he peeps through a ring which has been formed by the arm of a woman to whom spirits are visible.
The white steed is the sun riding the white horse of the moon at night. He is the night sun. The arm of the woman is the new moon, and spirits and ghosts are only visible at night when the sun is absent and the sun peeps through the moon ring.
The ring held by the dwarf in "Slyboots," Esthonian tales (Kirby) the ring of strength on his left hand which he will not part with, is a token of remembrance from his dead wife. The dead wife is the dark moon.
The one who held that wish ring would never want for money; it was the fruitful ring; it would drop rings until the purse was full.
That ring which was given at parting as a token, and when it changed color it betokened evil. This moon is represented as stretching out her hand in a dark passage to receive the ring. The time is at the conjunction of sun and moon on the first night of the new moon.
This ring has curative powers by rubbing styes on the eye-lids or hung in the ears in the same way as the sun healed the sore eyes of the moon Leah, and restored sight to the blind by his healing ring, and this gave rise to the superstition of putting gold rings in the ears to cure sore eyes formerly so prevalent.
The ship on which Balder's body was burned was called "Ringhorn;" it was the moon ship, that horn end ring of the moon on which Sigurd and Hercules were burned. Odin put his own ring Draupner on Balder's funeral pyre. The ring was dwarf wrought, and every ninth night dropped eight rings of equal weight.
The ring and lamp of Aladdin in Arabian Nights, by rubbing them, two genii appear who are the slaves of the lamp and ring, and are obedient to the commands of the owner.
Ring and lamp are one in phenomena. The new moon, they can only be produced at the conjunction of sun and moon when they rub together, and by friction create new fire as it were. A twin fire and the two horns of the moon are the genii, or twin-born children of sun and moon.
Her old lover was identified by a ring in the Ballad of Hynde Horn. (Buchanan, Vol. 2, p. 268):
A bride came tripping down the stair,
The combs glowed red in her wavy hair;
A cup of wine she held in her hand,
And that she gave to the beggarman.
As out of the cup he drank the wine,
'Twas into the cup he dropped the ring.
"O got ye that by sea or land,
Or got ye that on a drown'd man's hand?"
"I got it not by sea or land,
Nor got it on a drown'd man's hand.
But I got it at my wooing gay
And I'll give it to you on your wedding day."
Sometimes in drinking the maiden found the half ring in the bottom of the glass, and by this she knew her lover; the moon fills her disk by joining her horns. This will make the ring complete.
Enchantment or magic was broken by a ring when the suitor drinking the glass of wine, finds the gold ring at the bottom, which is the same phenomenon as the moon sea drawn dry by the bulls of Hu of Britain until the Avance or cup appears, or Thor, drinking the ocean or drawing up the moon sea from its bed, until that ring or serpent appears which is the ring of the new moon.
The ring of the springtime was warm and life giving and red as wine. That was the wedding ring but the winter ring was cold on her finger. The moon became paralyzed and turned to stone, or the summer gold ring was taken off the hand of Brynhild, the summer moon maiden, by Sigurd, her summer hero, and replaced by the cold ring of winter.
Story of Sakuntala, the nymph of nature, born and left in a forest where she was nourished by birds, and Avas found and brought up by the sage, Kanwa, in his hermitage.
She became the wife of Dusheyanta, a King of the Lunar race, by a Gandharva marriage, that is a simple declaration of mutual acceptance, and when her husband left her to return to his city, he gave her a ring as a pledge of love and rememberance, but finding herself about to become a mother she set off to rejoin her husband, but on her way while bathing in a sacred pool she lost the ring, and when she reached the palace of her husband, the king was unable to identify her without the ring, and she returned to the forest with her mother and gave birth to Bharata, but at that time a fisherman caught a large fish in which was found a ring which he carried to Dusheyanta, the husband of Sakuntala, and the King recognized his own ring and accepted Sakuntala and her son, Bharata.
(The above story from the Hindu Maha-Bharata has had very wide circulation and admiration.) It is the story of the new moon ring which is lost every month for three days, but is always found on the third day.
The seal of Solomon had engraved upon it the great name of God, which was a most famous talisman which gave its possessor command over all elements, demons and created beings.
The first ring of the moon was the seed ring. All the other rings are born of that one ring which never dies, though the house be burned or sunk in the sea; though robbers carry it off it will be returned, for on that all the gods have set their seal. That was the golden fleece of the shepherd, and the plough share of the tiller.
This ring belonged to the ancient hoard of the Niblungs' kept in the moon casket; it was the ring of Andvare, the dwarf, taken from him by Loki and given to Rheidmar, the ancient, and again taken by his son, Fafnir, the serpent, who slew his father and took from him the hoard, which he hid down upon the sea floor of the moon—called the serpent's bed, and the bed of the "Old Wallouer"—and again in the spring the sun prince Sigurd slew the serpent and took back the ring of Andvare, and its curse with it and wed Brunhild, and again he took it off her finger at the end of summer and gave it to Gudrun, the winter moon, his second wife.
Fairies, such as Puck and Oberon, when they danced by moonlight with locked hands formed the Elfin-ring.
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Among the Norsemen a holy oath was taken upon a ring kept in the temple for that purpose—Odin himself gave a ring oath in the Havamal (Anderson). There Loki drew off the elf ring; it was the ring of Andvare, the dwarf; it was the seed of gold and of grief.
House of "Wolflings, p. 20. "From what land cometh the Hauberg? It holdeth firm and fast the life of the body it lappeth." It was a body shield of rings. "It cometh from the land of the sun and is the coat and belt of rings which shields the moon."
In northern custom on Shrove Tuesday on Bannocknicht, a cake was baked in silence by the maiden. If she spoke or broke silence or her tongue loosed, another took her place—a ring was put in the cake and when baked it was broken in as many pieces as there were persons present, and whoever got the ring was first to be married.
The Wonderful Ring, the gift of the Serpent King from the Hindu by Steel and Temple, and the ring was the gift of the serpent king to a spend-thrift prince. It was a priceless treasure and brought its possessor whatever he wished, and it built for the prince a golden palace with golden stairs in the middle of the sea, in one night, which is the new moon palace, and then won by it the princess to wife. And in time as she was combing her hair, two of her golden hairs escaped and floated down to the mouth of the stream and betrayed the princess, and her old witch aunt fitted out a barge and in the absence of the prince, her husband, she brought her down to the royal city at the river mouth to become the wife of the winter King of Hades. And the wise woman, her aunt, who was the mistress of Hades, the winter moon, took from her the wish-ring and kept it in her mouth night and day for safety, for whoever possessed the ring could have his wish whatever it might be. But after six months the first husband obtained the ring by strategy, and then had but to wish his wife back and she was again by his side in the golden palace of the sea, which is the spring moon.
That ring of Andvari was called the Bale of men, the ring of the Elf King, and a curse went with it.
The above story is easily explained. The serpent king is the winter moon, the owner of the jewel and he is Hades, sometimes brother and sometimes uncle to the sun prince, and that gem is his crown jewel. This old uncle is the school master who educated the young prince. He is Chiron the Centaur, the master of masters and is obliged every spring to give up the jewel to the summer king as Jason compels him to give up the Golden Fleece, and as Sigurd, the Volsung, compels the serpent to give up the winter hoard of gold; as Hercules compels him to give up the golden apples of Eden, that golden palace built in the middle of the sea in one night, is the new moon of spring built in the middle of the blue sea of the moon. His bride is but the feminine form of himself, her two golden hairs were the two forks of the moon floating down to winter or the underworld, the herald and presage of her doom. She had to become the Proserpine and bride of the winter king. The ring is kept concealed in the mouth of the wise woman, her witch aunt, that is shut in the dark moon and that ring must be obtained before the princess can be released. It cannot be kept longer than spring-time, for it has power over all things and will burst the iron chamber and break the chains of darkness, for it is the rod of life and will restore the golden maiden and golden fleece. That wise woman and aunt was the third fate who severs the thread of the year— that ring was removed from the finger of the princess as Sigurd, the Volsung, removed the summer ring from the hand of Brynhild.
In the Volsung Saga, this ring was called the "seed of gold and of grief;" it was an elf ring and wrought by the dwarfs, the pigmies down in the depths of the moon mines. This gold was the seed of gold to the wise and shapers of things, and the hoarders of hidden treasures, but the seed of woe to the world and the short-lived race of the earth.
The seed of gold is the nugget which survives the conflagration of the moon, and was called the seed of gold, for it grew to fill the moon, and was the glory of rings from which a new ring was added every night; it grew for fourteen nights and then came the black Rakshasa and devoured the fingers of the moon, one every night.
This ring possessed by Odin, the chief god of the Scandinavians, was called Draupner, or drop ring, for it dropped a ring of light every night.
To find out how much pure gold there was in the moon it was put into a crucible and melted up, a tentative method to find how much remained unalloyed, and in the slaked ashes, after it had cooled, it was found that the little ring we call the new moon was all that survived the crucial test.
These were the rings which Aaron, the priest, collected from his congregation, the gift of the sun and moon, which had floated clown since the first ring was wrought to mark the beginning of time, and he put them in this old iron pot of the moon which was kept for smelting purposes and melted them up, and, behold! there came out a golden calf, for as the moon wore horns and was the giver of the dews, the milk and wine of heaven, she was likened to a cow and this was her young calf, and it had been the custom from of old to celebrate the event with festivity, and with dance and song.
When the regeneration of the season occurred in Taurus, the sign of the Bull under the old Tauric system, the new-born child of the sun and the moon was called a calf, but when it occurred later under the sign Aries or the Ram, we find the Media, the moon sorceress, cut the old ram of the year in pieces, which were put in the same moon caldron and reborn as a lamb. The bull worship was well nigh universal, among the civilized nations of the earth, and very popular with our Druidical ancestors of Britain and the Isle of Man. Anciently Mona, or Moon Island, was the favorite seat of worship, and near it is situated a little island still called the Calf.
The moon was the mighty Prahlada, son of Hiranga Kasipu, a righteous man whom fire could not burn, who died not when pierced with weapons, thrown in the sea, overwhelmed with rocks, bitten by venomous snakes, hurled from the mountain crest, cast in the flames; though deadly poisons were administered by the servants of the King, he still remained unhurt.
Sigurd the Volsung drew out his treasure of the moon and loaded it upon his horse, Greyfell. It was that bed of treasure we see the golden nugget lying in the dark cavern of the moon; it is as a floor or bed of the moon sea, on which the black serpent slept all winter hoarding the treasure. He slew the serpent Fafnir and took the gold and scattered it abroad in golden sunshine every spring.
"Bind the red rings, O Sigurd; bind up to cast abroad! That the earth may laugh before thee rejoiced by the waters Hoard." Sigurd, Volsung, B. Regin, p. 111.
That new moon is Proteus, the "first form" or principle, the Pramantha, the Prometheus, not born to die.
The warrior wore ring-mail.
He is Nereus (ner "lamp" cruden) Neriah, lamp of the Lord.
The first ring of the new moon. That ring was called "the seed of gold and of grief;" in the Norse epic was the ring of Andvari, the dwarf, the ring that covered the door of the moon vault where the golden treasures were buried in winter.
The sun prince wed the moon every spring with th golden ring; it was cast in the sea like the Jonah, and the third day floated upon the waters.
The dramatic representation of this was enacted on Ascension Day when the Doge of Venice wed the waters of the Adriatic with a gold ring cast into the waters saying, "We espouse thee, O sea, as a token of our perpetual dominion over thee."
A heavy gold ring was kept in the temple by the Norsemen upon which the holy oath was sworn, having been previously dipped in the blood of the sacred animals offered up to the god Frey.
It is the ring Draupner which Odin placed on the funeral pyre of Balder when he and his wife Nanna lay dead.
Even the god Odin gave a ring oath.
As chief ring it drops the other rings or creates the other rings of the moon; it is the seed ring. That one seed ring grew to fill the moon.
Busk, Rome, and the goldsmiths and alchemists were summoned to learn the history of this ring and at the end of seven days declared, "We find, O King, that this ring is made of gold which comes from afar and is the workmanship produced in the Kingdoms of the west.
It is the first ring of the new moon which is always forged in the western smithy of the moon. It never appears but in the west where the Telchines or metal workers are seen working in that shop of the moon amid fire and smoke—that is fairyland and these workmen are the dwarfs and forgers.
Gen. 15:17, and it came to pass that when the sun went down and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces; that is the smoking furnace; it is that smelting house or smithy where the weapons and cutlery of the gods and the rings and bracelets and the necklaces and girdles were wrought by the dwarfs, the Telchines and Dactyli who were metal forgers and great sorcerers, part of them worked a spell, those of the left and those on the right broke the spell of enchantment—in the above account of the vision of Abraham, the sun had gone down and it was dark and the lamp of the new moon passed between the smoking furnace of the dark moon and the sun which had gone down.
In the northern mythology, Hodur possessed a golden bracelet which he had taken from the giant Hrimthursi. The thickness of this bracelet increased every night, which is the moon on the wax or increase.
The moon was never known to leave the sun until she had recovered her ring and is always seen in the west just after she has escaped the tangle of the sun's rays with the new moon ring upon her finger and her ship steaming on after the sun under a cloud of smoke.
The sun dare not refuse the gift for the moon was the great timekeeper of the sky and time would unravel and run backward.
And again she was the fountain where the sun water his horse at the water trough of the moon.
King Solomon had a signet ring with the hidden name of God engraved upon it. This gave him authority ov the genii and evil spirits—but an evil spirit obtained this, and assuming Solomon's shape, altered the law for forty days—they were the forty days of temptation in spring. This evil spirit is the winter brother of King Solomon. They both look alike in appearance but the winter moon has the evil eye; he is the destroyer and turns to stone, but the spring moon is life-giving.
The sun king takes the light off the moon—takes the old ring off and puts a new ring on her finger or sends it back to the moon, or sometimes they exchange rings as pledges. The sun takes the last bright ring off the moon's finger, and on the third day replaces or puts his own in its place—the ring will fit anywhere an always contracts or expands to accommodate itself to the size of the moon, like the ship Skidbladnir.
King Arthur had on his finger a ring, the gift of the fairy Vivian le Fay, or the Lady of the Lake, by which she held him a prisoner in the forest of enchantment. This ring caused him to lose reason and memory, an the enchantment could only be broken by the removal of the ring.
It is the winter ring of the moon cold and insensible; it will hold its captive bound until removed by the life-giving warmth of spring.
The "ancients used to represent Promotheus with a ring of iron," (Pliny, B. 33, ch. 4), which means the ring of winter, like the iron mask of the prisoner of the Bastile.
In the Seventeenth Century a Jewish bridegroom sent to his bride the day before the wedding a girdle with a golden buckle. And she sent one in exchange with a silver buckle (the sun is golden and the moon silver) and the bridegroom walked three times around the bride and took her by the right hand in the way the sun walks three times around the moon on the three dark nights of the moon before he gives her his hand, which is the wedding ring.
This ring was given to embassadors, generals and state messengers, which was a passport to foreign kings by which they might be recognized at a foreign court, in the same way as it was carried by the moon, Mercury, as messenger and ambassador of the gods, that he might be identified at foreign courts when challenged at the gate on entering every new constellation in the circuit of the Zodiac.
Pharaoh took off this ring and put it upon the hand of Joseph. By this he delegated his authority, and when a pope dies his ring is broken.
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