It did not end of course during the Viking period. During the Middle Ages every disease, plague, or misfortune was blamed on Pagans, and witches in particular. The church authorities would single out individuals and charge them with witchcraft and usually torture these innocent people into confessing things that they never did. I would be very surprised if even 10 % of these "witches" were actually what we would consider Wiccans today. They were merely scapegoats used by the Catholic Church to explain why these tragic events were occuring. There of course was the Spanish Inquisition whose reign of terror, backed by the church, tortured many and also extracted false confessions to justify their methods. Even here in North America, as late as the 1600' s, in Salem, Massachusetts, there were witch trials performed through false charges !
Of course none of this can match the devastation that took place on the American continents from the 1500' s to the early 1900's when starting with the Conquistadors the indigenous peoples were systematically killed, first for gold, and then because they did not believe in the Christian God. Even those who converted were treated poorly, and their cultures destroyed. In North America Native Americans were slowly pushed west with, at first, treaties and promises, and later with death and war. All under the slogan of Manifest Destiny that somehow made it justifiable.
On this day we who call ourselves Pagans, Heathens, or just Followers of the Old Ways, should mourn those who died trying to protect their people, culture, and religion, against the onslaught of the Christians. I include in this group all of the following : Asatru, Wiccans, Druids, Hellenes, Celts, and all Native Americans, and Native Africans. Let us remember these brave people for not only what they died for, but also what they lived for. They lived of course, to honor their Gods, their ancestors, and to perpetuate their culture and their folk. They were the innocent victims of mass genocide ! May the Gods and Goddesses, and spirits of every non - Christian belief watch over their souls and protect them for eternity !
- Glenn Bergen
Respected are those who fought for our religion and our ways,
Blessed are those who fell for their love of our Gods,
Rewarded are those who resisted the neverending Christian tide,
Loved are the children taken away before their time,
Missed are the generations never born,
Praised are those who kept our traditions alive,
Honored forever, every man, woman and child who refused to convert,
Glorified they now, and through eternity, reside with the Gods !
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2010.