What's in a name

What's in a name

All of the  founder members shared an interest in and a passion for Anglo-Nordic history and an appreciation of the symbolism inherent in rings, rings of power, Dragons and the circle serpent often known as Ouroboros. The antiquity of the serpent biting or swallowing it's own tail dates back to Egypt of 1600BCE, thence to the Phoenicians and subsequently to the Greeks, who gave it this name, Ouroboros, meaning '' tail devourer ''. In the East the symbol may go back further and be the origin of the yin/yang symbol.

''The serpant ouroboros'' from anciant Egypt

Chinese Ouroboros from the Chou dynasty 1200BC

In another variant, which is usually in the shape of a dragon, the tail is not being swallowed -instead the dragon has grasped it cross ways in it's mouth with the tip end sticking out the opposite side. This is the form chosen by our group, our logo, and several members have this as a tattoo - this is not mandatory for membership

The classic Ouroboros is depicted as a snake or dragon, forming a complete circle with the tail entering directly into the mouth, where it appears to be swallowed.

 Of all the world's monsters the dragon appears to be the most universal, and complex. Coming from the Greek ' Drakon ', meaning ' sharp sighted one ', this evolved via the latin ' Drako ' meaning giant snake. In ' old Anglo Saxon ' the word '' Wyrm'' originally ' Gewum ' has been translated as equally meaning 'dragon', 'serpent' or 'worm'.

The dragon in Beowulf is called the Worm. In the west, dragons were originally legless, and usually but not always evil - occasionally however, they were admired for their power and were emblematic of wisdom - to the Greeks they were benevolent conveyers of enlightenment, while to the Gauls they represented kingship, and the keeper and bringer of wisdom. The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl was often depicted as an Ouroboros. Interestingly, this was a god from the eastern seas, having white skin, yellow hair, a beard and blue eyes (Viking?). 

Dragons were highly significant to the peoples of North west Europe, and appeared in many teutonic legends. The two most renowned were Nidhogg and Jormungandr. Nidhogg ''Dread biter''  gnaws on the root of the world ash tree (Yggdrasil) which supports the world in which we live. When the tree root is chewed through Ragnorak will come, and Nidhogg will lead the dead to battle. Usually, Nidhogg will survive this battle and will help lead the new order.

Jormungandr, the World or Midgard serpent, a son of Loki was thrown into the ocean by Odin, where he grew so big that he circled the world and grasped his own tail, which is how he is often represented. He is to be killed by (and to kill) Thor, at Ragnorak. Other, lesser dragons symbolized hoarders of wealth as well as wisdom.

The Ouroboros symbolizes infinity, eternity, enduring values and continuity, combining as it does the mythical powers of regeneration, rebirth and renewal attributed to the serpent, and the qualities of the ring, or circle.

For us in Wryngwyrm therefore, the name and symbol represents our values of continuity, an appreciation of our heritage and history, of the rebirth of a society and of the passing on of knowledge.

It is also a representation of our belief in the power of humor and the ability to laugh at ourselves, as it also symbolizes a rather embarrassing disease, hence our battle cry of victory

''You've been Wyrmed''!!

Halfdan Thorfinson

Wryngwyrm, founder group member

Furrowing the deep blue sea with oars, The Wyrm pursues to Jutlands shores, They met; and in the battle storm of clashing shields, full many a form of goodly warrior on the plain, Full many a corpse by Wryngwyrm slain.