Monday, December 7, 2015

From Runes To Ruins - The Often Ignored Anglo-Saxon And Germanic Herritage

So I recently watched this documentary titled, From Runes To Ruins, which is based on the Anglo-Saxon contribution to England and how it's mostly been forgotten.

For those who don't know, the Anglo-Saxons were Germanic peoples who settled in Britain after the fall of the Roman empire. They are important because it is they who basically created England. The name England itself means "Land of the Angles", and of course, English, in the form of Old English, began as a Germanic tongue that would evolve into Middle and Modern English.

The Anglo-Saxons were pagans when then arrived in Britain and it is through them that we get our days of the week. All but Saturday is named after an Anglo-Saxon god.

Sunnendaeg - "Sunna's Day" (Sunna, pronounced "soo-nah", is the goddess of the Sun.)

Monandaeg - "Mona's Day" (Mona, pronounced "moo-nah", is the god of the moon.)

Tiwesdaeg - "Tiw's Day" (Tiw, pronounced like the number 2, was the god of war.)

Wodnesdaeg - "Woden's Day" (Woden is the king of the gods.)

Thursdaeg - "Thunor's Day" (Thunor is the god of thunder.)

Frigadaeg - Frige's Day (Frige, pronounced "free-gah", is the goddess of love, sex, beauty and fertility.)

Saeterdaeg - Saturn's Day (Saturn is the Roman god of harvest.)

I've been fascinated with the Germanic culture since I started watching the History show, Vikings. It's a really good show which I do recommend. What really confuses me is modern Wiccans and Neopagans. When it comes to Germanic paganism, the majority of Wiccans, Neopagans and self-styled witches seem either to be ignorant of the subject or else have a hatred or intolerance of it. Such peoples tend to be fascinated in all things Celtic, which itself is odd since the very word "witch" is in fact Germanic, stemming from the Anglo-Saxon word "wicca" and "wicce", pronounced "witcha". Even the word "hag" comes from the Anglo-Saxons. Hag, meaning an old and often ugly woman, as well as a synonym for witch, stems from the Anglo-Saxon word "haegtesse", meaning female practitioner of witchcraft or sorcery.

I'm betting ignorance is probably the greater culprit here because most people don't even know what is meant by the term "Germanic". Germanic means all the tribes that evolved in the area the Romans called "Germania". These tribes then spread out to what is now the countries of Germany,Austria, Denmark, Liechtenstein Switzerland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Belgium, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Netherlands, England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Germanic people share common tongues, common culture, and a common former paganism. Unlike with the Celts, the Germanic pagan gods tended to be the same across various Germanic tribes with only slight spelling difference of their names. For example, whom the Norse called Odin, the king of the gods, was also known as Woden, Wotan, Woen, and Godan, depending on the tribe.

The Anglo-Saxons were only pagans in Britain for a couple of centuries before they were Christianized. The Anglo-Saxon magical practices reflect the change from paganism to Christian. All practitioners did was use the same charms to heal or curse but merely swap out the names of the old gods with Christ, the Virgin Mary or a Saint. In the future I will probably post some Anglo-Saxon charms for my readers.

So to my pagan friends out there, and yes, I do have pagan friends, why not research what is probably your actual ancestry? Not everyone can be Celtic. I'm not going to dis the Celts as all I think they were cool as well. It's just that I'm convinced that the overwhelming majority of white people involved in Wicca and modern Neopaganism probably don't realize that they are likely of Germanic ancestry and not Celtic.

FYI: Modern Neopagans who follow Germanic paganism use words like "Heathenry", "Odinism" and "Asatru" to describe their religion.

If you haven't seen the show, Vikings, do check it out. Here's a sample of the human sacrifice scene below.

If you are interested in watching the documentary, From Runes To Ruins, click on the link below. It's $3.99 to watch but it's worth it.

Another FYI: As we head into the Christmas season, please be aware that nearly all of our Christmas traditions come from the Germanic people. The word Yule, which is used as a synonym for Christmas and which is used by Wiccans and Modern Neopagans, was the official name of the Germanic pagan mid-winter festival. Christmas trees and evergreens, as well as mistletoe, which was never strictly Celtic, were all part of Germanic Yule celebration. Christmas drinking of alcoholic beverages such as wassail and eggnog are Germanic, and even the traditional Christmas ham is as well. Even Santa himself is a blend of St. Nicholas and the god Odin/Woden/Wotan.

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