Our Days of the Week Tell a Story

Life, Death, and Fertility

Many of us already know that the days of our week were named after Roman and Germanic gods. Thursday was named after Thor, and Saturday after the Roman god Saturn (also associated with the planet). But a closer look shows the weekdays weren’t chosen randomly. There is a hidden message, and it tells the story of Genesis.

Our modern seven-day week came about during the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. That’s when the Romans replaced their earlier eight-day week, and the Germanic peoples further north began dropping their nine-day week. (Three weeks of 9 days equals a 27-day moon month, which is also the duration of a woman’s menstruation cycle.)

Sunday —Sun Day, or “ Let There Be Light”

Sunday refers to Sun Day. Sunday used to be the first day of the week. The ancients started their week with Sunday, and finished it on Saturday, the day of rest. Things have changed a bit in our time. Christians now consider Sunday their day of rest, but many orthodox Christians, as well as Jews, still consider Saturday the original day of rest.

So, in the ancient configuration, the Sun being the main source of light on our planet, it indeed refers to the biblical act of creation, as in Genesis 1:3,

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Monday —Moon Day, or “And the Darkness He Called Night”

Monday refers to Moon Day. It’s nighttime. After God created the light, he separated it from the darkness, as in Genesis 1:4 and 1:5,

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.

Tuesday — Týr’s Day, or God’s Day

Tuesday is commonly believed to refer to Týr’s Day. Týr was one of the gods of Norse mythology.

In Old English, Týr was called Tiu, and in Old German, the deity was called Ziu. From Ziu, indeed, there is a connection with the ancient Greek god Zeus. Ziu’s Day/Zeus’s Day? Zeus is connected to the Latin word for god, deus, and even to the modern French word for god: dieu.

However, there is a misconception here that originated among the ranks of modern academic scholars. They mistakenly believe that Týr was a god named Týr. This is because such a character indeed appears in Norse mythology — Týr as a god of law and justice.

But in a seminal work on The Cult of Ódinn: God of Death?, author Dr. Grundy offers a different point of view. In ancient times, perhaps there was never a god named Týr. Rather, the word ‘týr’ simply meant: god. For example, Norse mythology speaks of Odin and other gods in terms of a battle-týr or a warrior-týr, etc., namely a battle-god and a warrior-god.

If we accept that a ‘týr’ was an old word that meant God, like the French word dieu still does today, then Tuesday really means God’s Day! God is good, and this relates to the next day of the week.

Wednesday — Odin’s Day, or The Devil’s Day

Wednesday unmistakably comes from Woden’s Day or Odin’s Day. But there’s more to it than just a name. From Dr. Grundy’s aforementioned work, we learn that the Viking god ‘Odin/Othínn’ was originally a god of death.

The old Europeans, possibly from up to five thousand years ago, had started worshiping death, namely, to keep death away! In Northern Europe, death was always lurking around the corner in the form of cold, disease, and long months of winter darkness. It made sense for them to give offerings to the god of death.

But from the Christian point of view, the old European death-god Woden/Odin had to be demoted to the role of devil, so that the God of Light might shine in his place. I accept this theory and suggest that Wednesday — Odin’s Day — really meant: Death’s Day. Or in other words, Wednesday was the Devil’s Day (from the Christian perspective).

We already saw the contrast between Sun & Moon/Day & Night, and now we also see another contrast between Týr & Odin/Life & Death/Good & Evil/God & the Devil.

Thursday — Thor’s Day, or Male Virility Day

As I mentioned in the introduction, Thursday is named after the Norse god Thor, the son of Odin and a prolific killer of giants.

Whatever giants (“trolls”) once were in reality, in the most ancient sense, whether they were diseased people or enemy hordes, the mythological Thor deploys his hammer to crush their skulls, to keep them away from Asgard (“gardens of the Aesir”). In the archaeological record, we find plenty of hammered-in skulls from the early Bronze Age. Thor wasn’t just a myth, he was a male archetype, a virile defender of health and prosperity.

Thor’s hammer, as in the popular poem The Lay of Thrym, represents a phallus. As long as the men have their hammers, the people shall thrive. In the poem, Thor loses his hammer and consequently has to be dressed up as a woman. Angered and humiliated, Thor and Loki (as his bridesmaid) must deceive a giant, Thrym, to give Thor his hammer back. When the god finally gets it back, his virility is restored and he exterminates the race of giants.

Now, if we accept that Thursday refers to Thor’s Day, we must also accept it refers to male virility. Thursday is a day to celebrate Male Virility.

Friday —Freya’s Day, or Female Fertility Day

Friday refers to Freya’s Day. She was a fertility goddess of Norse mythology, but originally, she wasn’t an Aesir goddess. She was with the Vanir first, and joined Asgard later as an offering of peace between the two warring factions of gods.

In Thrym’s Lay, Thor and Loki seek her out for help. They ask her to go to the giant and marry him, so that Thor may get his hammer back. Freya refuses, for although she is known to be a most lustful goddess, sleeping with giants is still a bridge too far — even for her, the goddess who slept with every other god in Asgard.

Freya represents female fertility and lust. Friday means Female Fertility Day, and forms a contrast with Thursday’s Male Virility Day.

Saturday — Saturn’s Day, or the Day of Rest

Why is Saturday named after Saturn’s Day, the Roman god and the name of the planet? Why didn’t the ancients pick Jupiter, e.g., giving us Jupiday instead of Saturday? Why not Uraday for Uranus? Plutoday?

Well, the planet Saturn is the farthest-away planet in our solar system that can be seen with the naked eye. For much of ancient human history, Saturn was considered the edge of our solar system.

Moreover, the trinity of Saturn, Sun, and Moon (as in our days of the week) may, in fact, be compared to the Christian holy trinity of the Father (Sunday), the Son (Monday) and the Holy Spirit (Saturday). Odin and Thor, Wednesday and Thursday, are also father and son.

Saturnday may, therefore, be regarded the resting day, since, in ancient times, Saturn was considered the last creation of God in our solar system, i.e., after which He took rest. You don’t have to believe in Genesis to accept that ancient Jews and Christians perceived the universe from a religious point of view.

In Conclusion

Our days of the week, in English, as derived from West-Germanic languages but heavily influenced by Roman and Judeo-Christian culture, tell us a story:

  1. It is the story of how God created light (Sunday),
  2. separated it from the darkness (Monday);
  3. how he separated good (Tuesday/Týr’s Day/God’s Day)
  4. from evil (Wednesday/Odin’s Day/Death’s Day/Devil’s Day);
  5. how he created Adam (Thursday/Thor’s Day/Male Virility Day)
  6. and Eve (Friday/Freya’s Day/Female Fertility Day);
  7. and finally, took rest (Saturday/The Holy Spirit’s Day).

And so, our days of the week echo the story of Genesis.

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