Meaning of Name: Stems from Proto-Germanic *Wēlandaz, lit. “battle brave”.
Pronunciation: /ˈweːlɑnd/ The ‘ē’ is pronounced as the ‘a’ in ‘take’ and the ‘a’ is pronounced as the ‘o’ in ‘pond’.
Other names: Welund, Wayland (more modern English spellings), Völundr (Old Norse), Wiolant (Old High German).
Function: Wēland is the divine blacksmith. It was He who forged Beowulf’s shirt of mail, Waldere’s sword, Mimming, Sigurd’s sword, Gramr and Þorstein’s magic ring. As smith, He acts as patron God of Craft, Trade and all things fashioned of metals. Wēland is also the God of trades related to the oven, like; patroning cooks, bakers, confectioneries, etc.
Wēland, like His Roman and Greek counterparts, is also associated with the element of fire, and as such, the hearth. While Frīg is the hearth-mother, the protectress of the home, Wēland is lord of the hearth-fire itself and is given propitiatory offering so as to stave off the fire’s potentially harmful nature. There is also a fertility aspect to His personality as well. While fire can act as a purely destructive force, it can also be regenerative and possess life-renewing, fertilizing powers.
Iconography: Wēland appears on the Frank’s Casket hamstrung and lame, holding a blacksmith’s tongs. The blacksmith’s tongs, anvil, hammer and the forge itself are representative of Wēland in His role as God of industry and craft. Fire itself is also evocative of industry, and as such, emblematic of Wēland and His work.
Attested Sources: An image of Wēland appears on the Frank’s Casket alongside a Christian image of the Magi. Wēland’s torture and captivity at the hands of Niðhad is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon poem, Deor. In both Beowulf and Waldere Wēland is mentioned as having forged a shirt of mail and a sword for both titular characters respectively. A burial mound in Berkshire Downs called Wayland’s Smithy is named after the God. He is mentioned in the German poems about Theodoric the Great. Wēland is also mentioned In Alfred the Great’s translation of Boethius, as a “pre-eminently wise goldsmith.”
Interpretatio Romana: Vulcanus.
Contemporary Bīnaman: Wundorsmiþ (Wonder-smith), Seolforsmiþ (Silver Smith), Īsensmiþ (Iron Smith), Goldsmiþ (Gold Smith), Wīgsmiþ (War Smith), Wigsmiþ (Idol Smith), Wælfȳr (Deadly Fire), Fȳrspearca (Fire Spark).