Cosmology of Thia Frankisk Aldsido
It is important for those of us who pursue Thia Frankisk Aldsido to have an intimate understanding of the complexities of the cosmos so that we may come to know our place in the great tapestry of an ever-unfolding reality. To this purpose I will lay out here a foundation of that cosmology so that we can better direct our efforts towards the Hêlen, our fellow Franks as well as those Walaleodi we share our world with. This cosmological model will never be perfect as nothing in life can ever be perfect. All we can hope for is to know the various landmarks which will help us orient ourselves as we continue on our journey.
I will be utilizing a number of sources to help illustrate the foundation of TFA cosmology, these may be literary, archeological and folklore glued together by hypothesis. As our elders lived in diverse lands centred on Francia (Merovingian Gaul) and were comprised of Gallo-Roman-Germanic stock and influences, the resulting cosmology will undoubtedly share these characteristics. This mixed-origin may be difficult for some to accept, but accept it we must.
I will not claim to know the whole picture of how our ancient Frankish elders understood their world, but what I will claim is that what is here presented is sound, rational and recognizable in some way by some of those same elders throughout their lived times and places.
I should point out from the outset that the creation story of how all things came to be is devoid of a specific slaughtering and dismemberment of a primordial pre-god or giant. That said there are important clues that can be strung together to set a clear narrative that we can ascribe our own developing regional myths and give them a place in a larger Frankish mythic framework.
To use “creation” to describe the gradual accretion of disparate tribes into a coalescent Frankish Confederacy is a bit misleading. However, it is the best nomenclature to describe the creation of the Franks as, this is what indeed happened. This was not so much a conscious creation, but one that was undertaken through necessity and external pressures. For this reason, we must assume that the gods had a hand in this direction as the forces at play to achieve such a resulting coalition were centuries old, outside the direct control of the tribal groupings and remembered through myth and allegory.
There are three components to the mythic creation of the Frankish world that I wish to highlight and after I highlight and provide the sources for each, I will propose a sample narrative that can act as a scaffold for future modern flourishing at a local level. These three components are the mythic Migration, Ordination and Rule. Each of these events or conglomerated events take place in the histories of early Frankish histories, but must be identified as taking place in a mythic-time prior to the advent of Merovingian supremacy in Gaul.
Migration: According to various sources, such as the Liber Historiae Francorum, the earliest ancestors of the Frankish leadership came from the vestiges of Troy. It reads:
Let us set out the beginnings of the kings of the Franks and their origin and also the origins of the people and its deeds. There is in Asia the city of the Trojans in the region called Illium. This is where Aeneas reigned. The Trojans were a strong and brave people, the men were warriors and very difficult to discipline. They provoked conflict and stormy contention and fought successfully on their surrounding borders. But the king of the Greeks rose up against Aeneas and there was a great deal of slaughter. Many Trojans fell in the battle and therefore Aeneas fled and shut himself up in the city of Illium. The Greeks besieged the city for ten years and when the city was conquered, the tyrant Aeneas fled to Italy to obtain men to carry on the fighting. Priam and Antenor, two of the other Trojan princes, embarked on ships with twelve thousand of the men remaining from the Trojan army. They departed and came to the banks of the Tanais (Don) river. They sailed to the Maeotian swamps (of the Sea of Azov), penetrated the frontiers of the Pannonias which were near the Maeotian swamps and began to build a city as their memorial. They called it Sicambria and lived there many years growing into a great people.
The Franks, after careful consideration, chose a king, who, as before, had the distinction of having long hair, from the family of Priam, Friga, and Francio; his name was Theudomer, son of Richimer who was killed by the Romans in the battle of which I have just spoken. He was succeeded by his son Chlodio, the strongest man of his people.
According to Karl J. Leyser:
Here is, for the first time, the story of the Franks’ Trojan origins. Priamus was their first king. Part of them migrated to Macedonia, where they became the staunchest warriors. Not only Troy and its ruler, but the Macedonians’ Philip and Alexander, were unblushingly listed as Frankish royal forebears and cited to exemplify Frankish prowess. A second host of Franks – for peoples were then seen first and foremost as warriors and armies – followed a king names Francio whom they had elected, and he directed them from Asia into Europe and settled them between the Rhine and the Danube.
There are many more historical examples from primarily the 7th century which connect the Frankish people to warriors fleeing a devastated Troy. The reasons for this are, as with many other mediaeval monarchies, to identify newer rulers in the wake of a fallen Rome as legitimate. The relation to the myth with prowess is of great import as the unstable regions of Gaul needed to know that whoever was to rule them could protect them from other invading hordes. These hordes were most often the Huns. Having a strong Merovingian leadership, descendant from the heroes of Troy, helped the various people of Gaul feel a sense of security. In turn, the Franks who had taken over the administration of the territory had a strong mythic origin which banded them together, even though they were from a myriad of host tribes.
So did the Franks really believe this mythic origin? I would venture that some did and, some did not. The adherence to the narrative wholly depended upon the uses such a story (or stories) had to the individual or group. I would say that for the purposes of TFA in our age, the Franco-Trojan Cycle has many uses and can serve as a means to evoke a sense of deep-ancestral connection to glorious figures from a time long ago. It also illustrates that the Franks did believe, to varying degrees, that their Germanic past was interlaced with the histories of Rome. The mythologizing of this interlacing is but a product of generations of Franks serving in Roman military functions. It is not surprising that the Franks would want to ensure that their ancestral kings were fighting alongside those of the other great powers of the known world, which served as a reflection of their contemporary battles on various Late Roman fronts.
Ordination: We have a number of sources that give us insight into the mythic ideas the Franks had about how their world came to be ordered. If we view the events of the Migration from Troy to (Mythic) Sicambria as settling the Frankish leaders and their followers into their historic homeland in the Low Countries, then from the Ordination we can see how their society came to be. According to Gregory of Tours, Clovis, who was the first historic king of the Franks said to have unified all the people, had a belief that his gods and not the god of his wife ordered the world. In the heated discussion between Clotilde and Clovis, where she enumerates how her god created everything and that his gods were but magicians, he retorts:
It was at the command of our gods that all things were created and came forth, and it is plain that your God has no power and, what is more, he is proven not to belong to the family of the gods.
I do not believe that he was alluding to a creation in the common sense of the term, but rather an ordering of things in the cosmos. He does say that his gods “created” all things, but it seems more likely from the dialogue that the gods commanded that all things were to be ordered into their current forms and use. That the Earth and things of the cosmos were already present in some form, but that the gods commanded those things, as would any military leader, to become orderly and useful to the Franks. Since no doubt the various peoples who made up the confederacy of the Frankish people had their own tribal stories of how things came into the world, it makes sense that the overarching narrative is that the gods of the king (above the gods of the various folk) commanded that all the various elements of the worlds of each tribe came into a higher order serviceable to the greater whole. As such, the Sicambri, Tungri, Ubii and others, had their own tales of world genesis, but the ruler’s gods caused all the whole of each tribal order to come together on a macroscopic level. Who these gods were exactly are unknown to us other than what Gregory informs us through Clotilde’s dialogue:
The gods you worship are nothing, and they will be unable to help themselves or anyone else. For they are graven out of stone or wood or some metal. And the names you have given them are names of men and not of gods, as Saturn, who is declared to have fled in fear of being banished from his kingdom by his son; as Jove himself, the foul perpetrator of all shameful crimes, committing incest with men, mocking at his kinswomen, not able to refrain from intercourse with his own sister as she herself says: Jovisque et soror et conjunx. What could Mars or Mercury do? They are endowed rather with the magic arts than with the power of the divine name. But he ought rather to be worshipped who created by his word heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is out of a state of nothingness, who made the sun shine, and adorned the heavens with stars, who filled the waters with creeping things, the earth with living things and the air with creatures that fly, at whose nod the earth is decked with growing crops, the trees with fruit, the vines with grapes, by whose hand mankind was created, by whose generosity all that creation serves and helps man whom he created as his own.
From the above we are given the names of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury as well as a sister to Jupiter who he is charged with bedding. The question often arises as to whether the gods here mentioned are the “gods of Rome” or whether they are Roman interpretations for Frankish gods. TFA has come to know these gods as the Di Chlodoveci (Clovis’ gods). It is best, in my opinion, to relate to these gods as not so much the “gods of creation”, but rather the “gods who brought order” when the Franks came together as feoderati through the influence of Rome. Does this mean that the Franks gave up their indigenous gods? No. Rather the Franks had to understand the Imperial gods through their own lens so as to relate to other peoples throughout the Empire.
We must also investigate the role of the four judges who are said to have established the common law between the various Frankish peoples. Firstly, we must admit that these men and their homes of origin are mythic in their origin. That their names match so clearly that of their homes is an important clue to this. Also, their origins “beyond the Rhine” point to them being mythic lawmen who held a traditional understanding of earlier tribal law. The purpose of the Lex Salica, from which this excerpt is taken, was to join the people under one law common to all:
- With the aid of God, it was decided and agreed among the Franks and their notables in order that peace be established among themselves, that all increase of litigation be curtailed so that just as the Franks stand out from other peoples living around them by the strength of their arms so also will they excel them in the authority of their laws. Thus they [Franks] will provide an end to criminal actions according to the nature of the cause.
- Therefore from among the men four were chosen who were named as follows: Wisogast, Arogast (Bodogast), Saligast and Widogast from places beyond the Rhine named Bodoheim, Saleheim, and Widoheim. These men meeting together in three different courts and discussing the cause of all disputes, gave judgement in each case in the following fashion
- It was pleasing and agreed to between the Franks and their notables that to preserve peace among themselves they should with care prevent all growth of quarrels. And just as their nation was preeminent among other peoples located next to it on account of the strength of its arms, so also it should undertake to make an end to criminal acts with legal authority.
- And so, these four men were elected from among many, Wisogast, Arogast (Bodogast), Saligast, and Widogast, who, in three assembled courts (mallus), carefully discussing the origin of all cases (in order to determine how) to settle them, declared in what way justice should be done.
There has been considerable debate as to the purpose of this preamble in the Lex Salica and what the import of the names of the judges and places are to the whole. I propose that the names are to be translated as such:
Sali – From Proto-Germanic *saliz, from Proto-Indo-European *sel-. Cognate with Old Saxon seli,’, Old High German sali, Old Norse salr (Swedish sal), Lombardic sala; and with Old Church Slavonic (and Russian) село (selo). There was also a Germanic variant *saloz-, Old English sæl (“great hall, (large) house, castle”)
Wiso – related to German Wiese (meadow): In Wisogast we recognize the stem *wisa, OHG wisa, NHG Wiese “meadow”, “pasture”.
Aro – From early New High German Aernde, Ernde, from Middle High German ernde, from Old High German arnōt (“harvest time”), from arn, aran (“harvest”, noun) (whence Middle High German arn, ern). Cognate with obsolete Dutch arent (“harvest”)
Bodo – From Proto-Germanic *būaną, whence also Old English būan, Old Frisian buwa, Old Saxon būan, Old High German būan, Gothic bauan (to reside) – (Bodo and Aro appear to be used interchangeably in the source material)
Wido – From Proto-Germanic *widuz, whence also Old Saxon widu, Old English wudu, Old Norse viðr. (wood)
Gast – From Old Dutch *gast, from Proto-Germanic *gastiz (guest)
Heim – From Proto-Indo-European *ḱóymos (“village, home”), *tḱóymos (“settlement, dwelling”), from o-grade form of *tḱey- (“to settle, dwell”) + *-mos (action/result noun forming suffix). Cognate of Sanskrit क्षेम (kṣéma, “basis, foundation; residing, resting, abiding at ease”), Lithuanian kaimas (“village, countryside”)
As such we can come to know these judges as:
Saligast – The Villager from Saliheim (the Village Lands)
Wisogast – The Herdsman from Wisoheim (the Meadow Lands)
Arogast/Bodogast – The Tiller/Farmer from Aroheim/Bodoheim (the Field/Farm Lands)
Widogast – The Woodsman from Widoheim (the Wood Lands)
For the purposes of TFA we may view these four judges or Rachimburgi as the first lawgivers who set out our tradition as a civic and lawful custom. As they are mythic, thus holy powers (Hêlen), they hold sway over their area of authority and should be petitioned when there is need to do so. Saligast for matters of the household; Wisogast for matters of the land we live upon; Arogast or Bodogast for matters of familial prosperity and Widogast for matters of the woods – that is those places wild and untamed, outside of our human ken.
We may also investigate the Formularies of Angers for further elaboration on the “four homes” or “worlds”. In formula 55 we are presented with a legal charter which is meant to lawfully divide a father’s property among his two sons:
In God’s name. The brothers A and B agreed and decided that they should divide their property between them; which they did. A received the house C, with all (that is situated within) its enclosure, and the unfree servants and moveable and non-moveable goods which are seen to be contained within this house, the vinyards, woods and meadows, however much is seen to belong to this house, complete and in its entirety. And for his part his brother B received another small place (called) D, with all that belongs to it. And it was decided that they should give each other (these documents) signed by their hand, which they did, so that each should have, hold and possess what he received, and leave it to whomsoever he wants. And if one of us dares to act or make a claim against the other, let him give his share to the other, and further let him pay n. solidi, and let him be unable to assert his claim, and let this agreement on the division (of his property) remain firm for all time.
What we can gather from this formula, of which there are many similar ones extent, is that there was special attention given to the property rights of individuals around households, vinyards, meadows and woods. These match near identically with the mythic lands of Saliheim, Aroheim, Wisoheim and Widoheim. I admit the similarities may be pure coincidence, but in our religious pursuit of TFA, such coincidences are our doorway to knowing the make of our cosmos.
The third component is that of Rule. Here we will investigate three examples where the rule of the Kuning was imposed upon the folk to ensure that law and right social order was re-established after having been broken. The purpose for these three examples is to show a consistent means by which order was re-established in elder days when an egregious affront was brought upon the civic system. I must preface that, the actions of the Kuning may seem excessive and beyond the regular prescriptions of many of the Frankish laws, but keep in mind these examples are assuredly mythic in their make-up and were meant to serve as extreme examples in a mythic age:
Rule: The first example will be drawn from the scene in Gregory of Tours’ History of the Franks known as the Vase at Soisson:
At this time [A.D. 486] the army of Clovis pillaged many churches, for he was still sunk in the errors of idolatry. The soldiers had borne away from a church, with all the other ornaments of the holy ministry, a vase of marvelous size and beauty. The bishop of this church sent messengers to the king, begging that if the church might not recover any other of the holy vessels, at least this one might be restored. The king, bearing these things, replied to the messenger: “Follow thou us to Soissons, for there all things that have been acquired are to be divided. If the lot shall give me this vase, I will do what the bishop desires.”
When be had reached Soissons, and all the booty had been placed in the midst of the army, the king pointed to this vase, and said: “I ask you, O most valiant warriors, not to refuse to me the vase in addition to my rightful part,” Those of discerning mind among his men answered, “O glorious king, all things which we see are thine, and we ourselves are subject to thy power; now do what seems pleasing to thee, for none is strong enough to resist thee.” When they had thus spoken one of the soldiers, impetuous, envious, and vain, raised his battle-axe aloft and crushed the vase with it, crying, “Thou shalt receive nothing of this unless a just lot give it to thee.” At this all were stupefied.
The king bore his injury with the calmness of patience, and when he had received the crushed vase he gave it to the bishop’s messenger, but be cherished a hidden wound in his breast. When a year had passed he ordered the whole army to come fully equipped to the Campus Martius and show their arms in brilliant array – But when he had reviewed them all he came to the breaker of the vase, and said to him, “No one bears his arms so clumsily as thou ; for neither thy spear, nor thy sword, nor thy ax is ready for use.” And seizing his ax, he cast it on the ground. And when the soldier had bent a little to pick it up the king raised his hands and crushed, his head with his own ax. “Thus,” he said, “didst thou to the vase at Soissons.”
The second example from the same work:
When King Clovis was dwelling at Paris he sent secretly to the son of Sigibert saying: “Behold your father has become an old man and limps in his weak foot. If he should die,” said he, ‘Of due right his kingdom would be yours together with our friendship.” Led on by greed the son plotted to kill his father. And when his father went out from the city of Cologne and crossed the Rhine and was intending to journey through the wood Buchaw, as he slept at midday in his tent his son sent assassins in against him, and killed him there, in the idea that he would get his kingdom. But by God’s judgment he walked into the pit that he had cruelly dug for his father. He sent messengers to king Clovis to tell about his father’s death, and to say: “My father is dead, and I have his treasures in my possession, and also his kingdom. Send men to me, and I shall gladly transmit to you from his treasures whatever pleases you.” And Clovis replied: “I thank you for your good will, and I ask that you show the treasures to my men who come, and after that you shall possess all yourself.” When they came, he showed his father’s treasures. And when they were looking at the different things he said: “It was in this little chest that my father used to put his gold coins.” “Thrust in your hand,” said they, “to the bottom, and uncover the whole.” When he did so, and was much bent over, one of them lifted his hand and dashed his battleax against his head, and so in a shameful manner he incurred the death which he had brought on his father. Clovis heard that Sigibert and his son had been slain, and came to the place and summoned all the people, saying: “Hear what has happened. When I,” said he, “was sailing down the river Scheldt, Cloderic, son of my kinsman, was in pursuit of his own father asserting that I wished him killed. And when his father was fleeing through the forest of Buchaw, he set highwaymen upon him, and gave him over to death, and slew him. And when he was opening the treasures, he was slain himself by someone or other. Now I know nothing at all of these matters, for I cannot shed the blood of my own kinsmen, which it is a crime to do. But since this has happened, I give you my advice, if it seems acceptable; turn to me, that you may be under my protection.” They listened to this, and giving applause with both shields and voices, they raised him on a shield, and made him king over them. He received Sigibert’s kingdom with his treasures, and placed the people, too, under his rule. For God was laying his enemies low every day under his hand, and was increasing his kingdom, because he walked with an upright heart before him, and did what was pleasing in his eyes.
The third example concerns Fredegunda who tames some of her subjects:
Among the Franks of Tournai a great feud arose because the son of one often angrily rebuked the son of another who had married his sister, for leaving his wife and visiting a prostitute. And when reform on the part of the guilty man did not follow, the anger of the youth became so great that he rushed upon his brother-in-law and killed him and his men, and was himself killed by his opponents, and there was only one left from both parties who lacked a slayer. Upon this the kinsmen on both sides raged at one another, but were frequently urged by queen Fredegunda to give up their enmity and become friends lest their persistence in the quarrel might cause a greater disturbance. But when she failed to reconcile them with gentle words she tamed them on both sides with the ax. For she invited many to a feast and caused these three to sit on the same bench, and when the dinner had been prolonged until night covered the earth, the table was taken away according to the custom of the Franks and they sat on the bench in their places. Much wine had been drunk and they were so overcome by it that the slaves were intoxicated and were lying asleep in the corners of the house, each where he fell. Then by the woman’s order three men with axes stood behind these three and while they were talking together the hands of the men flashed in a single blow, so to speak, and they were struck down and the banquet ended. Their names were Charivald, Leodovald, and Valden. When this was told to their kinsmen they began to watch Fredegunda closely and sent messengers to king Childebert to seize her and put her to death. The people of Champagne were angry because of this matter, but while Childebert was interposing delay she was saved by the help of her people and hastened to another place.
In these examples we see that the Kuning (through the actions of the various monarchs) has come to settle by the ax, either his own or that of his followers, those who brought about disruption to the intended order. The scene of the Vase at Soisson illustrates the retribution brought upon an errant follower who believes he is above the will of the Kuning. The second example makes clear that, although the Kuning is deceptive, the followers of his kinsmen were all to ready to break their loyalty to their king and so were repaid with deceit. Fredegunda for her part sought to bring peace to a feud that was unsettling a region.
Each of these examples is clearly mythic is their construct with allusions and import being ascribed to various aspects of the tale, none more so than that of Fredegunda’s axemen known as Charivald, Leodovald and Valden. Each of their names translating roughly to “war-power, folk-power and wielded power”. Clearly this demonstrates that on a cosmic scheme, proper order is maintained, when all fines fail, through violence (Wald). This violence, which is in a mythic place, is directed by the Kuning through the process of instruments of “war, folk and his own hand”.
For TFA, what we gain from this understanding of the Kuning and his exerting of power or Wald on the whole of society, in a cosmological sense, is that there is a balance of power between the Rachimburgi’s will and the will of the ruler through Wald. Where one fails, the other is utilized to balance the order, which was brought forward at the command of the gods.
To conclude this portion on creation, we can formulate a foundational idea of how the cosmos “works”:
The elder Frankish rulers came forth from the vestiges of Troy and set up their first kingdom in Sicambria. From here other tribal peoples, with their own customs and beliefs joined the Frankish polity and order was then established. This order was first ordained by the gods (Goda), who compelled four holy judges (Saligast, Arogast, Wisogast and Widogast) from four lands (Saliheim, Aroheim, Wisoheim and Widoheim) to formalize the laws in three courts. The gods also compelled the primordial king, in the holy person of the Kuning to maintain the collective social fabric through the use of violence (Wald), when the will of the judges will not hold, suffice or meet the will of the Goda. The Rachimburgi (judges) and the Kuning maintain this balance of power for the benefit of the folk, who live in the realms of the home, the meadow, the woods and cultivated places.
The Germanic cosmos is known for its mythic trees, most often depicting the Axis Mundi. The most famous of which is Yggdrasil of Norse fame. For the Franks, we have many historic examples, pre-Christian, of various people throughout Gaul who adhered to cultic practices pertaining to trees. In this section I focus on two historical excerpts that will paint a picture of the relation of trees to Frankish cosmology and perhaps give us clues into the Axis Mundi.
According to Sulpicius Severus who lived in the late 4th to early 5th century, St-Martin of Tours had come to a certain place and committed to felling a sacred tree among the locals:
Another time he had destroyed an ancient temple in a village. Then he was to start cutting a pine, which stood very close to the sanctuary. At that point the local chief priest with all the people opposed that. During the destruction of the temple, at God’s command they kept calm. However, they would not accept cutting down the tree. Then Martin powerfully encouraged them, saying, there was nothing holy in the tree, they rather should join the God whom he served; the tree had to be cut down, because it was consecrated to the evil spirit.
The tree depicted in this story is described as a pine tree that was held to be of significant import by the villagers. It would seem that the tree itself was more highly regarded than the temple structure, or at the very least, the tree was the most important aspect of the sacred space. It is also curious that Martin states that there is nothing holy in the tree and that rather it was inhabited by an evil spirit. This seems to point clearly to the fact that the tree itself was a holy being.
In his 54th sermon, Caesarius of Arles, only a century thereafter, went on to condemn the feasting at trees and wells by newly obligated Christians:
It further occurs to me that some people through either simplicity or ignorance or, what is certainly more likely, gluttony, do not fear or blush to eat of that impious food and those wicked sacrifices which are still offered according to the customs of the pagans. I exhort you, and before God and His angels I proclaim, that you should not come to those devilish banquets which are held at a shrine or fountain or trees. Moreover if anything of them comes to you, shudder and reject it as though you saw the Devil himself; refuse it in such a way that you do not permit anything from such an impious feast to be brought into your home.
From this sermon we learn that certain banquets (TFA Wirdskapon) were held at natural places, such as trees, fountains or other shrines. Therefore it stands to reason that these feasts at trees were in some way meant as a form of nourishment to the holy tree. This is very reminiscent of the function of the Norns in the Norse material where they are said to nourish the tree’s roots, albeit with white clay.
Again Caesarius condemns the people for making vows at trees, such as in his 53rd sermon: We have heard that some of you make vows at trees, pray at fountains, and practice diabolical augury. Because of this there is such sorrow in our hearts that we cannot receive any consolation.
I could enumerate many more examples of the common folk worshiping at trees, but suffice it to say that the tree was considered to be a divine entity which received nourishment from those upholding their local cults. In the Salic Law we learn of the role specific woods played in the mitigating of kinship bonds in the courts. In the title often called De Parentilla (XXXV) we learn:
He who wishes to remove himself from his kin group (parentilla) should go to court and in the presence of the thunginus or hundredman break four sticks of alderwood over his head and throw them in four bundles into the four corners of the court and say there that he removes himself from their oathhelping, from their inheritance, and from any relationships (with his kin).
We also read in the Salic Law in the title known as Acfatmire (XLVI) that a stick was important in the passing of property to someone who is of the same kinship:
It should be done thus. The thunginus or hundredman should convene a court. In the court he should have a shield, and there three men should state the case three times. And afterward let a man appear who is related to him (who wishes to transfer his propery), and he (the transfere) should throw a stick (festuca) thus into his lap. And he should say to the man into whose lap he threw the stick how much he wishes to give him (the selected done) – if he wishes to give him all or half of his property.
In the text it does not specify what kind of wood is to be used, only that it is a stick. The word festuca can be translated as either “straw”, “bundle” or a “rod”. It would make perfect sense that the rod selected would consist of the same wood used in the symbolic representation of kinship, since in the previous excerpt, the alderwood bundle represents the means one may sever themselves from the inheritance of their kin. In TFA, the festuca is considered to be alderwood or some other wood which is from a tree which is considered sacred on the landholder’s property.
I think it is important also to draw attention to the number four (4) which comes up often in these legal texts as it relates to rituals involving kinship and property. In the Salic Law, another legal ritual is described which relates to kinship and the “four corners” related in De Parentilla. This title is called De Chrenecruda (LVIII):
- Afterwards he should enter his house, and then with his left hand collect dust from the four corners, and then he should stand on duropello, that is, on the threshold, looking into the house, and then with his left hand he should throw that earth over his shoulder onto him who is his nearest relative.
To conclude this investigation of the Frankish “cosmic tree” I would say that the tree is most often depicted as being one which is non-fruit bearing, at times resinous and aromatic. These are the pines, lindens, alders or oaks. It may be that the mythic Axis Mundi was the primordial tree or “Ur-tree”, just as the Kuning is the “Ur-king”. The role of the four corners helps us situate the principle tree at the centre of the cosmos, with four alders at the four corners in the “four worlds” where humanity is to reside (Saliheim, Aroheim, Wisoheim and Widoheim).
We know from the above mentioned admonitions of Caesarius that the people of Merovingian Gaul were known to offer sacrifices at wells. We also now from archaeological evidence that many springs were thought to be the sanctuaries of the gods, such as but not limited to Lenus Mars, Apollo, Nehalennia.
For TFA, the most important deity when it comes to the river should be Rîn Fader (Rhenus Pater). Rhenus Pater was considered to be the Rhine and as such this river and all its tributaries were under his rule. He is depicted as being an elderly man with wide flowing hair and gaping mouth. He is also often known as Rhenus Bicornis, that is “Two-Horned Rhenus”, as in some descriptions and depictions he sports a set of horns upon his head. He may also be regarded as related to the Bistae Neptuni quinotauri similis (the beast of Neptune who appears to be a “five-horned?” minotaur) as he may be identified as the father of the Quinotaur, a local variation of Neptune.
Rivers, springs and wells were of great importance for the Franks as they lived in a region known for its many waterways. They sustained a large portion of their economy from the produce of the river, even though that produce may have been what could be pirated from others. In this way, all life can be said to flow from, upon or under the waters of the Rhine. The Rhine itself gains its name from:
Proto-Germanic *Rīnaz, from Gaulish Rēnos, from a Pre-Celtic or Proto-Celtic *Reinos; one of a class of river names built from Proto-Indo-European *h₃reyh₂- (“to move, flow, run”). Cognate with Old High German Rīn (“the Rhine”; > German Rhein), Old Norse Rín (“the Rhine”), Dutch Rijn (“the Rhine”)
In this way the Rhine means “fast moving water”, this could apply to any river or gushing spring. In this way TFA understands that all water is related to the Rhine, no matter where it may be found on the Earth and so is subject to the ultimate authority of Rhenus Pater. This is not to say that there are no other deities who are exceedingly influential upon the waters, such as Ahuardua, who can be viewed as a primal female water goddess responsible for the flooding of river deltas.
There is a dedicatory stone which was found along the Rhine which is decorated with a depiction of a tree above the dedicatory script that I believe best represents the unity of the Rhine (and all waters) with the Tree and Heims. I will offer here a stylized version of that depiction:
 Bernard S Bachrach, Liber Historiae Francorum p. 23 (Kansas 1973)
 Gunivortus Goos, At Elder Shrines p. 370-1, trans. from The Chronicles of Fredegar (Usingen 2017) – Andreas Kusternich original German trans. p. 89
 Karl J. Leyser, Concepts of Europe in the Early and High Middle Ages, Past & Present, No. 137, The Cultural and Political Construction of Europe (Nov., 1992), pp. 25-47 (Oxford University Press)
 Gregory of Tours, History of the Frank , II-29, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/gregory-hist.asp
 Katherine Fischer Drew, The Laws of the Salian Franks p. 171, (Pennsylvania 1991) – I have normalized names and places in the text.
 J.H. Hessels, Lex Salica: The Ten Texts with the Glosses, and the Lex Emendata p. 361 (London 1880) – Notes on Frankish words by H. Kern
 Not that there is no “heim” listed for Wisogast in the sources. This has confused many scholars and no satisfactory explanation is given. TFA recognizes that such a Heim would make sense in a cosmological model
 Alice Rio, Formularies of Angers and Marculf: Two Merovingian Legal Handbooks p.96 (Liverpool 2008) – Emphasis my own.
 The Kuning is the primordial king/ruler of the Franks, who is the “divine crown” behind the monarch. As such, the monarch may die, but the personhood of the Ur-Kuning passes undivided unto all monarchs living and dead, past or present. For more one the Demise of the Crown see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demise_of_the_Crown
 Gregory of Tours, History of the Frank , II-27, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/gregory-hist.asp
 Ibid. II-40
 Ibid. X-27
 Gunivortus Goos, At Elder Shrines p. 210, (Usingen 2017) – J. Kösel original German trans. Ch. 13
 Yitzhak Hen, Culture and Religion in Merovingian Gaul: A.D. 481-751 p. 166 (New York 1995)
 Yitzhak Hen, Culture and Religion in Merovingian Gaul: A.D. 481-751 p. 164 (New York 1995)
 Katherine Fischer Drew, The Laws of the Salian Franks p. 123, (Pennsylvania 1991)
 Ibid. p. 110
 Katherine Fischer Drew, The Laws of the Salian Franks p. 120, (Pennsylvania 1991)
 For more information on the various water deities I recommend purchasing the work of Gunivortus Goos, At Elder Shrines p. 210, (Usingen 2017
 Gunivortus Goos, At Elder Shrines p. 204, (Usingen 2017)