Every September the 9th, ( Some hold it on the 21st ), I honor the great Germanic warrior, who in a dense forest known today as the Teutoberg forest, destroyed three whole legions of Augustus' Roman army. Arminius did not randomly attack these Roman legions, who were lead by the Roman general Varus, he planned it all out in such great detail, and executed it so superbly, that even after almost two thousand years writers are still writing books about this perfectly engineered, and fought battle. Even the books from that era speak of how the Germanic tribesmen trapped the much heralded Roman forces in the Teutoberg forest and annihilated them.
Arminius is to the Germanic peoples what Alexander the Great is to the Greeks; Julius Ceasar is to the Italians; Genghis Khan is to the Mongolians; and what Hannibal is to the North Africans. He was, and always will be, a cultural icon for the Germanic peoples to look up to for generations and generations to come. Arminius literally drew a line in the earth, and when the Romans crossed over it, he and his Germanic allies attacked a much stronger, and better equipped army, and destroyed it without mercy.
Only Beowulf in my eyes rises to the level of Arminius. Beowulf, however, may or may not be an actual warrior king who lived. Some still see him as a mythological figure based loosely on some long forgotten warrior. With Arminius there is no doubt, no guessing, and no speculation. Arminius lived, he was a prince in the Cherusci Germanic tribe, and was indisputably the leader of the Germanic peoples who attacked, and destroyed the three Roman legions at the Battle of the Teutoberg forest. His worst enemies, the Romans, wrote about his attack, and although they blame a good portion of the failure on the poor leadership of general Varus, they also point to Arminius as the leader of the victorious Germanic tribes.
This is the only ritual that I hold where I still use the old Germanic names for the Gods and Goddesses. I do this to respect and honor the Germanic peoples that fought in the Teutoberg forest. They would not have recognized names such as Tyr, Odin and Thor. To them they honored Donar instead of Thor, Wodan instead of Odin, and Tiw instead of Tyr, etc.... I make sure that my altar has every type of weapon I own on it. Bow, seax, dirk, sword, axe, spear, ( Yes I have two spears ), and shield lay either on the altar or up against the altar during the ritual. On the altar I also place a copy of Tacitus : Agricola and Germania, which I read excerpts from to honor Arminius during the ritual. For some reason, unknown to me, I like to drink dark beer while I am toasting Arminius and his Germanic warriors. It might be that I like the fact that dark beer has a bolder flavor which reminds me of Arminius' boldness, but I am not certain. As always I will never reveal what I say during a ritual. That is a personal matter between myself and those I am honoring.
I hope that all of you out there will join me in honoring Arminius this month. Whether it be on the 9th, the 21st, or a day of your choosing is of little matter. What does matter is that we honor one of our finest warriors for his brave exploits, and in so doing honor our ancestors, and Gods and Goddesses as well. With every heartbeat my ancestral blood flows with Germanic pride when I think of Arminius. He is OUR greatest warrior ! He is OUR greatest hero !
All Hail Tiw the Great God of War !
All Hail Arminius, warrior supreme !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !