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Indo-European Caste Systems and Cosmologies

By Isaac Bonewits

[Snip] Our story so far: In the first few episodes of our continuing saga, “All My Oakgroves,” we’ve established two key concepts for understanding the world(s)views of the Indo-European Paleopagans. The first concept is a polytheological and sociological one called the “trifunctional ideology,” discovered by Georges Dumezil and his followers. The second is a related cosmological one of the “Three Worlds plus Fire,” identified, I believe by me, from a variety of Dumezilian and other Celtic and IE studies.

Several decades ago, Dumezil noticed that the same major characters kept showing up in all the different IE myths and legends of which we had records; furthermore, they seemed to reflect a common social structure among all the IE cultures. There were usually two deities who ruled over matters of magic and law; he called this the “first function” of “magical and judicial sovereignty.” Examples include Odin and Tyr, respectively, from the Norse pantheon, and Mitra and Varuna from the Vedic. The “second function” includes the war gods (often, but not always, thunder gods as well) such as Thor and Indra. Then you have the “third function” of fertility; this was usually handled by brother-sister pairs such as Freyr and Freya or else by twin brothers such as the Vedic Asvins.

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