1.6 Kennari

Corresponding card in Rider-Waite tarot: 5. Hierophant

1.6 Kennari


The picture:

A house is build around a great Ash-tree. The trunk goes through the roof. The top of the tree is many yards above the roof. There is an old man in front of the door, a Kennari. He wears a dark hat with a large brim and a large mantle. His eyes radiate light. A giant spear with a bronze point lies beside him. There is a white peace of leather with rune bars in front of him. A young man kneels in front of him on one knee. He brings an offering. In the Ash-tree there are two raven. A wolf lies beside the Kennari, stretched out in the sun. The sun is the eye of Óðinn and it looks favourable on the Kennari and his apprentice-to-be.


This card depicts a meeting between a teacher and an apprentice-to-be. For most people this means, that they should look for a teacher or that they have found one. One should approach the Kennari with respect and with an offering.

The raven are the messengers of Óðinn. The wolf symbolizes the wild animal in man. The wild part of the Kennari is tamed.

At some time the Germanic people build their house around a large tree. The tree became the center of the house. On this card the tree symbolizes Yggdrasil. Yggdrasil is the central pillar in the life of a Kennari. With guidance and through initiations of the Kennari, the apprentice can explore the tree-of-worlds.

With the druids there were three degrees: Bard, Vates and Druid. The same three degrees can be found with the Ulf-hedh-nar. Ulf means wolf, hedh means skin and nar means 'someone who is dead for the family'. The Ulf-hedh-nar were the league of werewolves: a shamanic society among the ancient people of Europe. The first degree with the werewolves was the Skalde. He had to travel from tribe to tribe and sing about the ancient knowledge. He had the same position as the bard among the druidic tradition. The second degree was the Thulr. He had to make sure that rituals were done in the right order. He had the same position as the vates among the druidic tradition. The third degree was the Kennari.

A kenningr is a word that describes its meaning. 'Devourer-of-wood' would be a kenningr of fire. 'Kennis' in dutch means knowledge. 'Kenna' in old Icelandic means 'to know'. 'Nar' also has the meaning of 'someone who has been initiated in arcane knowledge' or 'master-of-the-occult'. So a kennari is 'a man of knowledge' in the jargon of Carlos Castaneda. A Kennari is the master of sacred knowledge and he can accept apprentices.


With Light and Love, Andreas Firewolf


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