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A Julleuchter (German pronunciation: [ˈjuːlˌlɔʏçtɐ]; Yule lantern) or Turmleuchter (German: [ˈtʊɐ̯mˌlɔʏçtɐ]; tower lantern), is a "small earthenware candlestick, about 4" square at the bottom, about 8" tall, and it is shaped kind of like a mountain or a tower."[1] Modern Julleuchters have the Hagall rune and a heart symbol visible on all four sides. Other examples have an Algiz rune or a Uruz rune motif instead of the heart symbol. "There is also a hole at the top for a candle (called the Summit candle), and the inside is hollowed out for a candle underneath."[1] This item is also sometimes called a Hearth Tower[2]

During Third Reich Germany, Heinrich Himmler, commander of the SS, who placed great interest in Ariosophy,[3] gave the SS Julleuchter as a presentation piece for SS soldiers to celebrate the winter solstice.

In modern times, the lantern sees some use by certain Germanic neopagans due to the perceived ancient origins of the lantern.[4] It may also see some use by neo-Nazi individuals and Right-Wing organizations, along with people interested in militaria.

Early historyEdit

OriginsEdit

(From “Julleuchter” by Hjuka Harugari) "The term itself was coined in the 30's or 40's, meaning literally, 'Yule candlestick' or 'Yule lamp'. Its also known as Turmleuchter 'tower candlestick/lamp'. The Julleuchter is a unique item within Germanic Heathenry – generally speaking, it is virtually unemployed and little received outside of the members of Irminenschaft or other German-oriented cults. The Julleuchter's development and contemporary use is the result of German efforts and research dating from around the early to mid 1900's; its exact origins and application in antiquity are unclear, and remain a matter of debate to this day. Its common design is originally based on artifacts found at an archeological dig in/ around Haithabu (Hedeby), and is attributed to the Frisians who once settled there. Of course, given the demographics of the area, it could likewise be any of a small number of Germanic tribes including the Saxons and Angles who may have been ultimately responsible for its origin… Herman Wirth, a German historical researcher, attempted to establish links between the Julleuchter and the 'eternally burning lamps of Fasta' as described in the Oera Linda Book- supposedly a Frisian historical chronicle which was passed down through successive generations- it was first 'discovered' in 1820 by a Frisian, Over de Linden (now thought to be one of its authors), allegedly found among his grandfather's effects shortly following his death. It was later publicly revealed in 1871 to much controversy – intended to be a parody of certain contemporary religious views, and although almost immediately dismissed as a fake, it was nevertheless seen as serious by many people and continued to have a large following well into the 20th century. In the 1930s, Wirth put forth his 'own translation', which is the one nearly all of today's English translations are based upon. A great deal of his work seems tied to the Oera-Linda as well as the Julleuchter, though his claims have been met with harsh criticisms and speculation over the years, and like the Frisian antiquarians/historians before him, many of his fellow researchers and others within academic circles then and since then maintain that the work is a hoax, denouncing it as fraudulent."[5]

"Some sources on the Internet refer to the findings in Halland by Sweden from the year 1882 (reportedly to be in the Nordiska Museum, inv. document number 32477). An image was perhaps published in the journal Runa in 1888 on page 20. A similar Julleuchter to the one in Freilichtmuseum Skansen which is estimated from the 18 century."[6]

The Swedish literary club Runa, which was created by Johan August Strindberg, mentioned the Julleuchter in their club magazine in 1888. The magazine describes a Julleuchter from 16th Century Holland.[7] In 1933 Germanom F.Virtom translated “Хроник Ура-Линда”("chronicles of Hurray- Lind")[8] and published it in the Germany which helped popularize the Julleuchter once again.

Third Reich usageEdit

Main article: SS Julleuchter

In a 1936 memorandum, Heinrich Himmler set forth a list of approved holidays based on pagan and political precedents and meant to replace Christian rites with SS inspired reconstructions of pre-Christian Germanic festivities. The list included April 20 (Hitler's birthday), May Day, the Summer Solstice, and the November 9 Beer Hall Putsch anniversary. Climaxing the year in Himmler’s scheme was the Winter Solstice, or Yuletide, an event that brought members of the SS together for communal meals that harked back to imagined German tribal rites.[9]

The Julleuchter and other symbols were also meant to serve as a consolation to women who, by having married into the SS, had to renounce the spiritual shelter and service of their church.[10]

The SS soldier was instructed to set up a shrine that included a ‘’Julleuchter’’ in the corner of one room of his household. "The house of the SS man ought to know because one of its corners is intended for the celebration of his family. In it is to summarize those things that remind people of his higher obligations. ...On the chest , in the corner and shall include heirlooms, are all year round and the Julleuchter the Julteller (pewter or earthenware) of individual family members who use them on all holidays of the year, but also on birthday, wedding and death . ... The Wall adorns the image of the Fuehrer and Reich SS, to pedigree and family photos, mementos of war and times of struggle. The large SS runes will not be absent. The Jul-and SS-corner is the yardstick the extent of the SS man and his wife at the Customs of the SS to participate.“[11]

Apparently even as the Red Army was advancing and the fall of Berlin was in the foreseeable future, The Julleuchter was used during the decoration French volunteers in the Waffen-SS. One surviving soldier said, “In the light of a candle burning on a Julleuchter, a Jule Candlestick, symbolizing the never dying sunlight, Fenet decorated a number of comrades with the Iron Cross. Although simple, the ceremony that evening seemed all the more extraordinary.”[12]

An article about the Julleuchter was published in the German magazine “Germanien” in December 1936.[13] Pagan and cultural information, along with information about the Allach production of the Julleuchter were given. Another article was published in the SS periodical SS-Leitheft Jahrgang 7 Folge 8a about the Julleuchter and the 2 Solstice periods of the year. In 1939 the Julleuchter was also mentioned in “Die Gestaltung der Feste im Jahres und Lebenslauf in der SS-Familie”(Celebrations of the SS Family) by Fritz Weitzel.

Porzellan Manufaktur AllachEdit

Main article: Allach (concentration camp)

In January 1936, the SS Porzellan Manufaktur Allach was created in Munich under the control of Heinrich Himmler. Well known artists were forced to participate. The program of the factory included over 240 porcelain and ceramic models. Due to a rapid expansion of the enterprise, the factory was not able to meet production, so in October 1937 a part of production was shifted to the SS-operated Allach sub camp of the Dachau concentration camp. Originally the Allach factory manufactured only art ceramic, like plates, jugs and vases, but in the war years they also produced simple utensils like ointment containers and cafeteria table-ware.[14]

Special occasion gift items for SS supporters were also made and given away at dinner parties and other events. Starting from 1941 German civilians and about 50 prisoners of the Allach sub camp of the Dachau concentration camp were forced to produce art and porcelain. The Allach sub camp of Dachau remained the main location for fine porcelain manufacture even after the original factory in the town of Allach was modernized and reopened. The factory in the town of Allach was instead retrofitted for the production of ceramic products such as household pottery. The fall of the Third Reich brought an end to the Allach concern. The Allach factories were shut down in 1945 and never reopened.[15]

Allach was a sub-camp of the Dachaucamp, located approximately 10 miles from the main camp. According to Marcus J. Smith, who wrote "Dachau: The Harrowing of Hell," the Allach camp was divided into two enclosures, one for 3,000 Jewish inmates and the other for 6,000 non-Jewish prisoners. Smith was a doctor in the US military, assigned to take over the care of the prisoners after the liberation. He wrote that the typhus epidemic had not reached Allach until April 22, 1945, about a week before the camp was liberated.[16]

Allach porcelain made a variety of candle holders ranging from elaborate gilded baroque candelabras, to the most basic plain white porcelain single candle holder. Production numbers for most candleholders were above average for other Allach items, indicating popularity and interest among the German people. The varying styles and low cost (due to slave labor) of the candleholders produced at Allach allowed most Germans of every class to own them.[14]

The Allach Julleuchter was unique in that it was made as presentation piece for SS officers to celebrate the winter solstice. It was later given to all SS members on the same occasion, December 21. Made of unglazed stoneware, the Julleuchter was decorated with early pagan Germanic symbols.[14]

Germanien magazineEdit

The information about the 1936 issue of Germanien magazine about the Julleuchter is actually from the later magazine “Der Freiwillige.” The article in “Der Freiwillige” reports Germanien magazine being, …”the official organ of the German ancestor inheritance registered association, Berlin.” The information given in that latter article is from Germanien magazine.

A 1936 issue of Germanien magazine claimed that the "millennium old" lantern had been used as a memento of the "Year of the Great Migrations" of the people of the north and as the small light of humanity under the stars of the night sky. When used during the 2 Solstice periods of the year, this is a symbol of the victory of Light over the Darkness, and also as a token of Eternal Circulation. The Julleuchter stands for an inseparable community, its conscience and attitude, and that it was used as a symbol of never ending sunlight. Further, the magazine stated that when the Julleuchter was used during the holiday of Yule (what is now known as The 12 Days of Christmas), twelve candles are used. One is used each night symbolizing the twelve months, until the 31 of December when the "July Moon shines." On that night a thirteenth candle is used for the new coming month of January. The candles always burn below but on the last night, the candle is again transferred upward- this is the sun, which is spilled in order to return to the earth from the gloom of another peace.[17]

The Yuletide CelebrationEdit

(From “Celebrations of the SS Family” by Fritz Weitzel)

"We celebrate Yuletide in the evening, not in the morning. Yuletide is the feast of the newborn light and the renewing life. Therefore it is the feast of the commemoration of the birth of the child, of thanks to the mother, of good wishes for the growth of the whole Folk. The reason for our giving presents at Yuletide is to show respect to other members of our Folk for the part they play in its continued existence.

In Germany Yuletide is thus a feast for both the closer and the wider family, tending to exclude outsiders but for which a long lost son or one living far away is always welcome to return. The presents, which are valuable only to the extent that the giver has worked on them, are put under the tree secretly by the father. When everything is ready, the family gathers in the adjoining room for the evening meal. The table should be festive and laid with care. This is the start of the Yuletide celebration. The meal should be substantial, with a main course of carp, goose, boar or hare. These animals have been eaten at the Yuletide meal traditionally and should never be replaced by other food.

Not only the presents but the whole celebration should be full of surprises for all members of the family. The father lights the candle in the Jul-Leuchter, or ‘Jul Earthenware Candlestick’, from which the tree candles in turn get their light. On the tree should be 13 (representing 12 months plus the 13th renewing) or 27 (three lunar weeks each with nine days) candles. Three adjacent candles should remain unlit. He then calls his wife, children and any other family members into the room using a little bell. As they admire the tree he lights the last three candles and says:

This light should burn for our ancestors who are with us tonight. This light should burn for my dead comrades from the War. This light should burn for our millions of German brothers all over the world, who all celebrate Yuletide with us tonight.

After this all should sing the song ‘O Yuletide Tree, How Green Are Your Branches’, without which the Yuletide Celebration is unthinkable, and open the presents. The evening should be quiet and sincere. At the appointed time the family will listen to the Yuletide address of the Deputy Führer, feeling through it a bond that reaches out to encompass the whole Folk of German brothers. During the evening the family photographs should be shown, old family stories told, and the results of research into the family history exchanged. New Year’s Eve and the Jul-Leuchter Yuletide Eve is followed by the Twelve Sacred Days, important feast days for our ancestors during which no one worked. Wotan and his Army of the Dead were said to ride through the air; and Frigga, or Lady Holle, led the Army of the Unborn above the heads of the Folk. We should light the candles on the tree as often as possible during these days. During the night of New Year’s Eve the celebrations reach another pinnacle. The happenings of Yuletide are repeated, and again we say good-bye to the old and look hopefully to the future.

The last evening of the year is a very happy time. The children have bought small fireworks and have their own fun. Mother fetches the spoon for the casting of the lead, which only ever should be used for this purpose. The lead is melted on the spoon and cast into a bowl of cold water. The resulting figures and shapes foretell the future. Greeting cards are sent to distant relatives. Punch fills the house with its aroma, and the evening meal is as grand as the one at Yuletide.

The Jul-Leuchter, presented by Reichsführer-SS Himmler to the SS Man, is the most important symbol used throughout the year to mark celebrations and commemorations. Its cut-out Heart represents hearth and home, and the Hagal Rune peace through victory.

At midnight, when the candles on the Yuletide Tree are burnt down, the SS Man will put the Jul- Leuchter on the table. The Candlestick with its year-long candle has been lit at every family celebration the past year. Its candle has burned down, and it should receive a new one tonight. Just as our ancestors never let the sacred hearth cooking fire extinguish, so our Jul-Leuchter must always have a light. Thus it becomes a symbol of the never dying sunlight. Everyone becomes very thoughtful when the old candle finally burns down and the new one is put in its place."[18]

How the Julleuchter might be usedEdit

A description of how and when the Julleuchter is used is given by Khaynrikh Shil’d in "Светильник Йоля"(Lamp of Yolya). The information about how the Julleuchter is used during the Winter Solstice is almost the same as the one given in the December 1936 Germanien magazine. The origin of this information, if from actual pagan information or Third Reich Germany, could be subject to debate. Despite the controversy some tend to believe this description to genuine regarding the use of the Julleuchter.

A different description of how the Julleuchter might be used is given by Osferth DCG-V in “On the History and Ritual Use of the Jul-leuchterin.” This description states that two candles are used in the Julleuchter for the transfer of the flame from the top candle to the bottom candle and vice versa. The only problem with this is that the lower candle in the inside causes the top of the Julleuchter to become hot and can melt the upper candle. This might demonstrate that the Julleuchter might designed for only one candle to be used at a time.

Lamp of YolyaEdit

"During the Vernal Equinox, the holiday of Ostary (Ostara-Feier) which symbolizes the revival of the sun, a candle is lit in the lower part of the Julleuchter and is then transferred to the upper position. During the Summer Solstice (Mittsommer-Feier) the holiday that symbolizes the sun, which entered the total force (god of bal’dura). A candle only burns at the top of the Julleuchter. During the Autumnal Equinox or Autumnal Ting (Herbst-Thing) the holiday which symbolizes the beginning of niskhozhdeniya of the sun in the worlds of other. A candle is lit at the top of the Julleuchter and transferred downward. During the Winter Solstice, the holiday of Yol, twelve candles are used. One is used each night symbolizing the twelve months, until the 31 of December. On that night a thirteenth candle is used for the new coming month of January. The candles always burn below but on the last night, the candle is again transferred upward."[8]

On the History and Ritual Use of the Jul-leuchterinEdit

"We will start by stating that the year is divided into six equal spokes. For simplicity’s sake, we will call the first spoke the Ostara-fest, since this commences the "light half" of the year. Prior to the Blot itself, the Jul-leuchter is set with a candle at the Summit, as well as one underneath. At the beginning of the blot, we light the candle underneath by using a twig, which receives its flame from the stove – symbolic of the old Hearth Fire as the stove holds the family’s cooking fire. At the high point of the Blot, it becomes time to take the flame from the candle underneath and take it to the top candle. This sacred act is symbolic of the re-birth of the Sun, since we are now in the "light half" of the year (meaning that the Sun is commencing her ascent). For the next two festivals, the Midsummer-fest and the Harvest-fest, only a Summit candle is lit, as we are still in the "light half" of the year. The Winternights-fest is quite the opposite of the Ostara-fest. The Jul-leuchter is set with the candle underneath, and one on the Summit. As we are entering into the "dark half" of the year, we begin by lighting the Summit candle (from a flame taken from the stove). From this, we transfer the flame to the bottom candle. This symbolizes the death of the Sun – as she is in the decline, moving toward her "grave". The Jul-fest is quite a special festival, and the use of the Jul-leuchter is a little different than the other festivals… The Winter Solstice is a time when the Sun is at her lowest, seemingly dead. So our late evening Jul-fest rite (held on the 21st December) uses the Jul-leuchter to help "re-awaken" her from her grave. As it is the "dark half" of the year because the hours of daylight are so short – we begin our rite by lighting the candle underneath the Jul-leuchter. This candle is the same candle we used at the past year’s Jul-fest, which sat on the Summit. We then take a small twig, and pass this through the heart or Hagal-rune on the North side of the Jul-leuchter. The purpose of this is to take the flame from the bottom candle, and transfer it to the top candle. This symbolizes the eternal return of the Sun. After this time, all go to bed and in the morning, all awaken and look to see if the Sun has arisen from her grave – if it is so, all say a prayer of greeting to her, and open gifts in her honor, and in the honor of our Gods and Goddesses, who have made it possible. Finally, we have the Disting-fest. This is another "dark half" festival, so only the candle underneath is lit."[1]

Modern UseEdit

Although due to Christianization and the association with Nazi Germany the symbol has either been forgotten or perceived as associated with Nazism, the Julleuchter has experienced a rebirth in forms of Germanic Neo-paganism.[4] Today some Neo-pagan individuals use the lantern and newly crafted Julleuchters may be purchased from various websites.

However despite its use by Neo-pagans, the association of the Julleuchter with Nazi Germany may still cause it to be used by some neo-Nazi groups and other Right-Wing organizations, such as the Thule Seminar and the National Democratic Party of Germany. Also it may see some use by collectors of 'military antiques' and other forms of militaria.

Modern Beliefs Associated with the JulleuchterEdit

There is a belief that the Julleuchter is connected to Freyja and that the Julleuchter would hold a flame of the foddik or Need-fire, making it a “ken”, a sacred torch used for consecration and as an invocational beacon to the gods.[4]

"Baldur is not a sun god (the sun, Sunna, is in the Germanic mythology female), but he is back in circle: summer solstice to remind us of his death in the "flower of life". Then follows the descent of light, at Jul reborn when the wheel of the year to a new circulation strategies. Baldur associated with the swan, sun wheels, Julleuchter."[19]

“The heart here represents the bosom of life, more so than it does the cardiac muscle.”[20] “This Hagal rune below it, from the younger Futhark, is the rune which literally represents hail and can be seen as a metaphor for the both destructive and generative (life-giving water as it melts) aspects of it, embodying the concept of the eternal return and the thought that creation is only possible through destruction. Some have also seen this six-spoked rune as a representation of the yearly cycle.”[20]

"Nordic New Year of our calendar as occurring on the eve of Mother Night, the 20th of Yule. It is the night which the Julleuchter is lit, symbolizing the need-fire and the glory of Sunna's light and power. The Mother Night also presages the longest night of the year which occurs on the Winter/Yule Solstice which will also be the shortest day of the year. The 9th of Yule is a Day of Remembrance for Egil SkallaGrimsson. We may all take a cue from Egil's stalwart and unyielding disposition, in our own pursuits of fortitude, courage, self command and mastery over our actions and lives."[21]

"In various pictures the pious mind of our people experienced the rebirth of the light and from it sealed. One of the oldest and most beautiful are from the newborn child flax, which lies in golden cradle in the hill of the ancestors and which the faith of the sunful divine life in the kinship gives marvelous expression. Another is from the winter-green tree, which retains and in lights at its branches flash lets the life by the yearly night. And a third picture, much in legends and fairy tales, are the virgin with the golden hair, who is enclosed in a dark tower, in order after the prisoner shank, again lives besungen, the Zinne to be appeared radiating. This tower, in clay/tone in an educated manner (Julleuchter/Turmleuchter), belongs to the most beautiful symbols of our Christmas season. The yearly wheel, holy July, decorates it and the heart, the symbol of Germanic God intimateness. Down in the tower a small light flax, burns the symbol of the light in the darkness until with the beginning of the new yearly and the light turn the large light is ignited above on the tower.

So it may a only one scholarly message, but many legends and fairy tale and above all this Turmleuchter in the people use once in the Vorzeit on the towers of our ancestors have burned, of those have only told."[22]

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 On the History and Ritual Use of the Jul-leuchter by Osferth DCG-V http://web.archive.org/web/20010816031236/www.odinic-rite.org/j-l.htm
  2. Odinic Rite Vinland
  3. “Biographers have defined Himmler’s theology as Ariosophy”, http://google.com/search?q=cache:HWcMHudZGpcJ:www.airnews.info/%3Ftag%3Dheinrich-himmler+himmler+Ariosophy&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&safe=active
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Puryear, Mark. The Nature of Asatru: An Overview of the Ideals and Philosophy of the Indigenous Religion of Northern Europe (2006) ISBN 978-0595389643
  5. Julleuchter by Hjuka Harugari,http://gamall-steinn.org/irmen/hj-julle.htm
  6. Heathen Hearts wolfficial paneuropean Heathen forum post by Heimir on August 29, 2006 on Julleuchter. http://forum.asatru.cz/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=76&p=18011
  7. Runa magazine 1888 page 20.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Khaynrikh Shil'd Lamp Of yolya,http://seidr.woods.ru/yule2.htm
  9. Time/Life book "The Third Reich – The SS"
  10. Power Politics and Social Change in National Socialist Germany: A Process of Escalation into Mass Destruction, by John Michael Steiner, page 117.
  11. SS Upper Section West: The design of the celebrations in the year and resume in the SS family, Wuppertal, nd, page 41, KW, Archive, 70/1/3/7, quoted in [1], page 217
  12. For Europe: the French volunteers of the Waffen-SS, by Robert Forbes, page 454.
  13. Photos of Germanien magazine, December 1936,http://frikorps-danmark.dk/Julleuchter.htm
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Candle Holders,http://www.allachporcelain.com/
  15. Allach Porcelain
  16. Liberation of Allach, a Dachau sub-camp,http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Dachauscrapbook/DachauLiberation/Allach.html
  17. Germanien magazine, December 1936
  18. Celebrations of the SS Family, by Fritz Weitzel 1939
  19. http://www.chaoscon.de/web-content/asatgot.html
  20. 20.0 20.1 Chris Meyer’s Helpful Heathen Holiday Hints No.2 http://weltenbaum-yggdrasil.blogspot.com/2007/12/meyers-helpful-heathen-holiday-hints-no.html
  21. “And The Wheel Goes 'Round” by Dr. Casper Odinson Cröwell, 1519-CCG Allsherjargothi, HOLY NATION OF ODIN, INC. and SONS OF ODIN, 1519 – VINLAND / USA http://holynationofodin.org/ministry/hofservices/hofservices_200612.html
  22. The birth of the Light (Letter5-July moon 1997 http://unglaublichkeiten.com/unglaublichkeiten/htmlphp/u0283Lichtgeburt.html


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