Day of Remembrance for Queen Sigrith of Sweden

This day we stop to remember Queen Sigrith of Sweden.

Olaf Tryggvason (better known as Olaf the Lawbreaker/Oathbreaker or Saint Olaf to Roman Christians) found he could gain more territory in Norway if he converted to the new religion of the God from the desert.

He wanted to rule Sweden also and sought the hand of Queen Reina Sigrith of Sweden in marriage.  She agreed until he insisted that she submit to Christian “baptism”.  He didn’t want to give up the power the Roman church had just three years before given him.

She, however, would not break her oath to the more ancient Gods of her ancestors. Said she, “I do not mean to abandon the faith I have led, and my kinsmen before me. Nor shall I object to your belief in the god you prefer.”

The marriage was called off and through Olaf’s intolerance it would take three-hundred more years for Christianity to establish itself in the Northlands.

Pour out a libation to Queen Sigrith as you remember her struggle to remain true to the  Æsir and Vanir.

Hail to Queen Sigrith, defender of the Ancient Northern Path.

October 8 – Day of Remembrance for Erik the Red

Erik the Red sets sail for Greenland in 982-983.

Erik the Red sets sail for Greenland in 982-983.

Erik the Red was probably so named for his red hair and beard.  He was born sometime in the mid-900’s and lived a tumultuous life.

His father, Thorvald Asvaldsson (Þórvaldr Ásvaldsson), was exiled from Norway c. 960, during the reign of King Harald Fairhair, for the crime of manslaughter. He left with his son Erik to northwest Iceland, where he died.

Erik was later exiled by the Icelanders for three years because of some murders he committed around the year 982.

He married a lady named Thjodhild (Þjóðhildr) and he sired three sons and a daughter by her; explorer Leif Eiríksson, Thorvald Eiriksson (Þorvaldr), Thorstein Eiriksson (Þorsteinn) and Freydís Eiríksdóttir.

During his exile Erik took his family and sailed to an island where they lived and explored.  When his exile was over he and his family sailed back to Iceland where he told the people stories about a grønn land (green land).

Many of the Icelanders were excited to see “Greenland” so the next year (985), Erik with 14 ships arrived with about 350 colonists, plus livestock and gear. They settled on the eastern shore. Erik established his family at an estate he called Brattahlid (Brattahlíð).

As the Roman Church spread it’s “desert religion” through the cold lands of the North many Heathen followed the strange cult. Many were forced to convert to the new religion through painful coercion (torture). If they would not they were executed.

Erik’s son and daughter-in-law Leif and his wife, were happy to forsake the Gods of their people and were “baptized” in Norway by none other than the law-breaker King/Saint Olaf Tryggvason.

When Leif and his wife returned to Greenland they became evangelizers and converted many there, including Thjodhild, Erik’s wife. She so heartily embraced the White Christ religion she even commissioned Greenland’s first church at Brattahlid.

Erik remained loyal to the Gods and Goddesses of his ancestors even after Thjodhild estranged herself from him and withheld sexual intercourse.

When we remember Erik the Red we remember his steadfastness, resolve, loyalty and love for the Nordic Pantheon, the Æsir and Vanir. Raise a glass in toast to Erik the Red – thank him for remaining true.  I resolve in my own life to remain true to what I believe in.

A fine article is found here.

Old Norse (Dǫnsk tunga)

runestone

 

Old Norse, the language of the Vikings, is a North Germanic language once spoken in Scandinavia, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and in parts of Russia, France and the British Isles. The modern language most closely related to Old Norse is Icelandic, the written form of which has changed little over the years, while the spoken form has undergone significant changes.

Thanks to Omniglot.

Why (did) the Vikings call Jesus, the White Christ?

The term for “White Christ” (White Christ) or  Hvítakristr  . entered into currency among the heathen pagan Icelanders in time and Christian religions were in conflict with each other  a direct reference is made ​​to this in  Flateyjarbók  : ”  without your Thann Sid hafa, taka nafn af Theim Gudi, er their will Trua, er heitr Hvítakristr.  “
That the Christian God was called  Hvítakristr  it was originally probably due to the fact that the newly baptized converts were required to wear white clothes (  i hvítaváðum  ) during the first week after baptism.
The adjective  hvítr  when applied to Christ was not to describe their physical appearance. At a time in the development of Old Norse, the term was used of both sexes to designate someone who was blond and / or pale-complected.
However, the Viking Age, the term  hvítr  had acquired a pejorative connotation. To call a man  hvítr  was say he was cowardly, effeminate, and guilty of  ArgR  . (See article on homosexuality among the Vikings for more information on the term  ArgR  and how it was related to the concept of cowardice by the Vikings). A related phrase was saying, “Your liver is white,” meaning once again, a coward … that is almost identical to modern English usage, “coward” with the same meaning. (Modern usage also uses “yellow” in this sense.)
In contrast to the peace-loving  Hvítakristr  , which was considered by a pagan warrior culture to be effeminate or cowardly, the Vikings revered his manly, virile god Red Thórr, red not only for its red beard and flashing red eyes, but also for blood pouring a warrior.
redthor3
redwhitcrs1

The conflict between pagan and Christian views crystallized around the dichotomy  Hvítakristr  and Red Thórr, becoming a recurring theme in events saga near the time of conversion, as in this poem

contempt for Steinunnn, mother Chorus Gestasson, describing how Thórr sank the ship from a Christian priest, Thangbrand, showing Steinunn Christ thus was the weakest God:

Þórr Bra Þvinnils dýri
Þangbrands or Stad Longu,
hristi Bord beysti ok
ok bards Laust við Jordu;
munat skid hum SAE Sidan
sundfært Atals grundar,
hregg því in hart Tok leggja,
hanum kennt, í Spânu.
[Thórr altered the course of Thangbrand
horse long Thvinnil   1  ,
he threw and hit
the board bow   2  and broke
it to solid ground;
the Atall bedding ski   3
shall not be later floating in the sea
as the gale disastrous caused by it all chipped in kindling.
Braut fyrir bjollu gæti
(bond Raku val strandar)
mogfellandi mellu
móstalls vísund allan;
hlífðit Kristr, Tha er kneyfði
knorr, málfeta varrar;
Litt hygg ek in Gud Gaetti
hreins Gylfa in einu.
The killer’s relatives’ ogresses   4
sprayed completely bison mew perch-   5
bell Guardian   6
(the gods chased the stallion chain   7  )
Christ did not take care of step sea tile   8
when the cargo-boat disintegrated;
I think God -kept
reindeer Gylfi   9  at all.
  1. long horse Thvinnil  = ship Thangbrand
  2. Plank bow  of the ship =
  3. floor Atall  = sea,  sea ski  = ship
  4. kin ‘ogresses  = giant,  giant-killer  = Thórr
  5. mew-perch  = sea,  bison March  = ship
  6. guardian bell  = the priest, ie Thangbrandr
  7. steed shed  ship =
  8. tile step-sea  ship =
  9. Reindeer Gylfi  = ship

It was during this period of conflict between religions that Thórr hammer amulets, Mjollnir, the increase in popularity as ornaments, perhaps in response to Christians weraing the symbol of the cross. Jewellers were still hedging their bets by making foundry molds crosses and Thórr hammer simultaneously, as shown by this mold soapstone tenth century, found in Trendgården, Jutland, Denmark.

redcros_hmr
Other amulets were hybrids representing the cross and the hammer simultaneously as the silver pendant, found near Fossi Iceland, shown below.
redthorcrs2
The pejorative sense that was connected to  hvitr  was not associated with other words meaning white, including  bjartr , “brilliant”,  bleikr,  “wan, pale” or  ljóss  , “light”.
This is a post from Celtic-Viking

FROM TRADING TO PLUNDER RAIDS

call

The Norsemen were well known in northwestern Europe as peaceful and respectable traders, at least for several hundred years prior to 800AD. But in the late 700’s this peaceful activity evolved into plundering raids instead. The Vikings started to attack and plunder monasteries, towns and areas along coastlines. In the year 793 they attacked the Lindisfarne monastery and in the following year the Jarrow monastery.
Many theories have been launched concerning why the Vikings started with the plundering raids. Since the 1930’s, recommended books studying this question have maintained that over population was responsible for this activity. Later, this theory was supplemented with an explanation to the effect that there was also a spirit of adventure and a need for discovery.

Torgrim Titlestad, while discussing the issue in a book (Titlestad, Kampen om Nordvegen, 1996) , has suggested an alternative explanation. He has maintained that the Vikings were not beset by vulgarity, brutality or voracity; thereby becoming brutal murderers and rapists – so called “galloping coarseness”. First, he shows that The Vikings did not surpass their contemporaries in Europe in vulgarity and brutality. If anything, it was to the contrary. For example, The French king, Charlamange (Karl the Greate) (747 – 814 AD), cut off the heads of 4500 Saxons in one day. He first had them baptized, so their souls could find salvation before being decapitated. (These Saxons were executed because they didn’t accept the Christian faith).

Read the rest of this interesting article written by Bryan at Ásatrú World.

26th MAY 865 AD, THE VIKINGS INVADE ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND

Extract from THE GREAT HEATHEN ARMY “Ivar the Boneless and the Viking invasion of Britain”

Ivar “The Boneless” now the head of the formidable Ragnarsson clan gathered together a large coalition of Viking warlords under his father’s sacred Raven Banner. The objective of the fore coming campaign was to conquer and settle the Island of Britannia. The Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of England would face the initial Viking onslaught. Out of the fog of the North Sea Ivar’s massive fleet of some 10,000-15,000 battle hardened Norsemen landed on the East Anglian shore. East Anglia may have been chosen for strategic reasons, being a much smaller Kingdom than that of Northumbria, Mercia and Wessex.

ivan

 

It would have been unable to resist the Great Heathen Army without help from the neighbouring Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms. Also it may also have been an easier rendezvous point for the Viking contingents coming from Frisia and the other parts of continental Europe.

ivan-the-boneless
The East Anglian landings fooled King Ælla that he was not the target of Viking aggression. Ivar’s heathen host spread out across the land and forced the King of East Anglia, Edmund to negotiate and provide the Vikings with horses and provisions.
Ivar and the army wintered in East Anglia and gathered intelligence on events in Northumbria. All was not well in the Northern Kingdom for King Ælla was in the midst of a civil war with Osbert, another contender for the Northumbrian crown. With the Northumbrians divided, Ivar “the Boneless” decided the time was right to launch a surprise attack.

ivan-England_Great_Army

Thanks to Ásatrú World @ Facebook

Nordic Constellations?

Nordic stars

Theoretical map of Norse constellations. There is some evidence in the Eddas of stars being associated with beings: Thiazi’s eyes, Aurvandil’s toe, Frigg’s (or Freyja’s) distaff, etc. While evidence is scarce, it’s nice to think that the Greeks and Romans weren’t the only ones looking to the stars for inspiration, guidance, and insight.

Oldest Charlemagne Coin in Norway

An archaeological dig in Trondheim, Norway turned up quite a surprise last week, when a 1200-year-old coin was unearthed – the oldest coin from the Carolingian period ever found in Norway.

The coin reads CAR LVS (Carolus). (Photo: Ellen Wijgård Randerz, NTNU University Museum)

The coin was found at Ranheim, which lies just north of the city of Trondheim, in mid-Norway. Trondheim is the country’s third largest city and became an important pilgrimage centre starting in medieval times.

“We are looking for traces of a farm called Vik, mentioned in historical sources and recognised in surrounding place names,” says Geir Grønnesby, an archaeologist and head of the dig, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) University Museum.

“It seems it was deserted in the 17th or 18th century, and since then the exact location has been lost.  We have localized Vik from piles of cooking stones, post holes and cooking pits.”

The archaeologists found four coins during this survey – including the very early Carolingian coin.

King of the Franks

The silver coin was made during the rule of Charlemagne, also called Charles I or Charles the Great, who reigned from 768-814. It was made before he reformed coinage practices in 793-794, which means the coin must have been made between 768 and 793-794.

“…this coin was not found in a grave, in contrast to almost all other coins from Charlemagne and his successors that have been found in Norway.”

“One might speculate as to how and why this coin ended up at the Vik farm in Trøndelag. The find shows very clearly that this was a great farm with international contacts,” Grønnesby says.  –  ScienceNordic