What Is Almighty in Germanic Polytheism?

Written by Dyami Millarson

Disclaimer: This is a dispassionate anthropological enquiry.

We can infer that the Teutons saw their Gods as almighty, because the later Norsemen, from whom we derive most of our knowledge about the ancient Germanic polytheism in general, called their Gods almighty. What then does almighty mean in such polytheist framework?

The Gods are very powerful in the eyes of the Teutonic ancestors, but the nuance is that They, i.e. the Gods, are no more powerful than fate. Thus fate is almighty in an objective sense while the Gods are almighty in a subjective sense. Fate is no specific being, but it is a force controlling the universe, and therefore its attribute of omnipotence is objective.

Consequently, the Gods and fate can be simultaneously almighty, but in different senses that are readily understood by the polytheists. It is not an either-or issue for the polytheists who accept both propositions as equally true: (a) the Gods are omnipotent and (b) fate is omnipotent.

The Gods wield all power that a living human can possibly fathom or aspire to, which makes the Gods idealistically attractive to humans, and fate wields all power in the universe which includes God and man, making everyone who ever exists and existed subject to fate.

In human eyes, the Gods have complete power, because humans could possibly never attain such power, rendering the glory of the Gods an object of reverence. While from the perspective of the universe itself, rather than the living human world alone, fate controls all, and both the Gods and the wisest of mankind know this universal secret. This is in a nutshell the Germanic polytheist view on omnipotence.

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