Five anglo-saxon pagan rituals

Woden, also called Wodan, is an Anglo-Saxon and old high (royalty) German deity who was worshipped until the 8th century. Many Anglo-Saxon kings claim to be his descendants. Here are some ancient Anglo-Saxon pagan rituals that were evident through excavations in the areas where they were settled between 5th and 7th century B.C.

1. Nine Herbs Charm for Healing
This charm is used to treat poison and infection in the body. This preparation includes the nine herbs Mugwort, Cockspur grass, Betony, Lamb’s Cress, Plantain, Mayweed or Chamomile, nettle, Crabapple, Thyme, fennel, etc in varying amounts. This is made into a paste and then into dust and to mix them with old soap and apple juice. To apply, make a paste of this mixture and add some water and ashes and boil the fennel into the paste, bathe it with beaten egg before and after applying the salve.

Also, it is necessary to sing over the herbs and the crabapple three times and chant the poem aloud to impress upon the wounded patient the importance of using their own spiritual powers to heal themselves.

A snake came crawling, it bit a man.
Then Woden took nine glory-twigs,
Smote the serpent so that it flew into nine parts.
There apple brought this pass against poison,
That she nevermore would enter her house.

Woden is believed to assist the healing of these wounded by using his nine magick twigs, each inscribed with the runic first letter initial of a plant.

2. Votive Deposits

Offering a Votive expresses a dedication or fulfillment of a wish or pledge. In earlier times, people were aware of the power of their mind to create anything they wished for. To cement this idea, people would offer prayers, mass or lighted candles in the hope that their wish would be fulfilled. Votives were mainly used or dedicated to a higher purpose mainly to fulfill the highest hopes of the pagan followers. Such offerings were usually made with the intention of appeasing natural or supernatural forces. Sometimes, the offer of the votive would be made in earnest ahead of time and only when the result is obtained will the votive be actually donated or offered to the deities. This is similar to the modern act of throwing coins into a wishing well or fountain while making a wish for the future. The rituals of early Anglo-Saxons included votive deposits which may include swords, spearheads and animal parts.

3. Furnished burials
Wherever the Anglo-saxons settled in the fifth to seventh century, it was evident that they had a tradition of furnished burials which included cremation as well as the inhumation ritual. Some of the cemeteries contained gold jewelry as well as exotic items that were obviously imported to the area. Some of these cemeteries contained from fifty burials to more than many hundreds. These “grave goods” as the items added to the burial area were called included clay pots, iron knives, expensive items and complex goods. The cemeteries may contain humans that were inhumated or cremated, sometimes in urns buried together. Wood structures, buried pets or other animals, weapons, etc. With the spread of Christianity, the amount of grave goods diminished. As proselytizing increased, many of the furnished cemeteries included Christian symbols such as the cross. Furnished burials were completely eradicated in the later phases when Christianity used coercion and other fearful tactics to convert pagan followers.

4. Animal Sacrifice
One of the rituals that the Anglo-Saxons performed was animal sacrifice to honor the Gods. The most important of deities at the time was Woden and most of the sacrifices were performed. Other deities included Thunor and Tiw who were also honored by sacrifice of animals as well as inanimate objects. At some of the funerals, there may have been shamanic influences as well. The pagan Anglo-Saxons are believed to prefer Oxen sacrifice over all others. At that time, many of the common Germanic religions practiced similar rites and rituals. Evidence shows that blood sacrifice and sacrifice of cattle, pigs, boars, etc were found at burial sites. Other animals that were forced to accompany humans in their deathly rites included animals such as goats, geese, duck and other items such as crabapples, duck eggs, hazelnuts, etc.

Although there are some records that indicate human sacrifice, no concrete evidence has been found. At times, though, some of the women were buried alongside their husbands which may have been the result of a form of sacrifice in which the wife is forced to “accompany” the husband to the next world similar to the unique practice of Sati that was practiced in a few ancient parts of Indo-European areas which practiced this shocking and inhumane ritual.

5. Transmission of Germanic Poetry and Legends

One of the customs of the Anglo-Saxons was the way they orally transmitted their legends and stories to the future generations. Just as the Indo-Europeans transmitted their Sanskrit “slokas” or poems into epic stories and songs such as the Maha Bharatha or Ramayana, Anglo-Saxons preferred to remember their history through stories that were passed on to the future. One of their epic poems is the “Beowulf” which tells the story of a warrior named Beowulf who defeated a monster and then becomes king before dying in a battle.

Rose Ariadne: Providing “Magickal” answers to your Pagan, Wiccan, Witchcraft spell casting questions since 2006.

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