Thou shalt find to the left of the House of Hades a spring,
And by the side thereof standing a white cypress.
To this spring approach not near.
But thou shalt find another, from the Lake of Memory
Cold water flowing forth, and there are guardians before it.
Say, ‘I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven;
But my race is of Heaven (alone). This ye know yourselves.
But I am parched with thirst and I perish. Give me quickly
The cold water flowing forth from the Lake of Memory.’
And of themselves they will give thee to drink of the holy spring-
And thereafter among the other heroes thou shalt have lordship.
[Plate from Petelia, South Italy, fourth-third century B.C.]
In my post on the enigmatic Norse god Hœnir, I mentioned two goddesses, Frigga and Saga. I argued that Hœnir personified poetic memory and inspired speech. His partner, Mimir, was the god of memory, without whom he couldn’t speak at all. Like our gods, Frigga and Saga have access to the knowledge of fate and of history. And like our two gods, one of them tells about it, the other doesn’t.
Although Hoenir was a companion to Odin and Loki, two well-publicized Norse gods, very little has survived about him, and he does not seem to have had cult places or worshippers.
Which is surprising in a way, because in Völuspá he is the one performing the old rites after the world is reborn, so you automatically think “priestly god”. Several scholars have decided that his role was in fact a priestly or vatic one, based on this.