Go back five years and, despite already being a Roman polytheist, I still wore the hammer pendant I bought in Sweden in 2005 or 2006. It was a comfortable left-over from my time as a heathen and one of those things that survived the shift from Norse to Latin traditions. Then came Mercury like a gust of wind and for a few years I wore a caduceus. That pendant broke last year and now rests on my domestic shrine to the Swift One, but instead of replacing it with a new one, I found myself drawn back to my old Thor’s hammer. Initially, I just kept it in my pocket, but eventually I started wearing it again. And it feels good! Of course, it meant that I had to acknowledge the Red Thunderer, since I’m wearing His most distinguished symbol, so I started offering Thor a libation of wine on the Ides of every month. The choice of date was motivated not by a belief that He and Jupiter are the same – I do seem them as separate gods – but by a desire to integrate Him in my Latin praxis. It was, after all, something born out of a choice of jewellery and not a shift back to Heathenry. Yet unlike the case of Freyr, whose Romanization I took much further, Thor’s stopped there. No annual celebration or no Latin name and titles, just a libation according to Roman praxis with little or no further thoughts about it. Until last night.
When I started to mentally place the gods in either the inner or outer circle, I realized Thor is in a limbo. He receives a monthly offering like Mercury, Minerva and Jupiter, but lacks a domestic shrine and doesn’t even have a yearly celebration in my religious calendar. And that’s because, by virtue of a pendant, He basically fell into my practices without setting a firm foot on them. He sort of hovers with one stop every month, so I wondered whether I should give Him a solid footing. And that in turn made way for a burst of ideas.
In a modern Latinization, Thor could be called Tonitrus, a Latin word that simply means “thunder”, just like the Proto-Germanic Þunraz, which originated the Old English Þunor, the Old High German Donar and Old Norse Þórr. He could be dubbed Jupiter Borealis, the Northern Jupiter, because He is to northerners what Iovis is to southerners. He would receive tiles like Malleator (Hammerer), Rufus Barbatus (Red Bearded), Hircorum (of the goats), Filius Terrae (Son of the Earth), not to mention the obvious Fortis (Strong) and Invictus (Invincible). This would naturally lead to the question of which rite to use in formal and semi-formal ceremonies to Thor, if fully Roman or a Romanized ritual with a hammer and other elements from Norse lore. And as for a yearly celebration, the Ides of November sound like a good idea, since the date is traditionally associated with Jupiter and I already have a feast to Him on mid-September. It would basically be a use of the same criteria that leads me to offer libations to Thor on the Ides. The only question is whether to go forward with this or not. Again, it feels like I’m “liminaling”: walking between two worlds and translating things from one to the other.