Every time I see a child sitting on the lap of Santa Claus at the local mall, my mind screams with images of a Pagan child being ripped out of his mothers arms as his parents are slaughtered like animals for refusing to convert. The child would either then be sold into slavery, or adopted and brought up as a Christian. When I close my eyes I can see their faces, I can hear their screams for help, and their futile pleas for leniency and mercy haunt me . I can almost feel the pain of those who were maimed and tortured, by cruel and inhuman kings like the two Norwegian Olaf' s, and the Frankish King Charlemagne. St. Olaf thought nothing of cutting off a man' s hands, feet, tongue, or blinding a man by poking out his eyes. And all because they honored different Gods ! I pity the child afraid and alone, who would now have to make it in a cold hard world without parents. Unfortunately there is not much that can be done to help them because these images are from a past long since gone and cannot be altered.
The one thing that I can do, however, is remember them in ritual, and in my writings. Normally on the first of every month I honor, through a ritual, the modern victims on violent crimes. During December I change this ritual to include only our Pagan ancestors who were killed for their religious beliefs, from the time of The Byzantine Empire until the last Swedish Pagan was killed or converted sometime in the 13th century. These Scandinavians, many of whom were caught in between the movements of the White Christ Christians, and Red Thor Pagan armies, were generally not Vikings, but peaceful craftsmen, farmers, and those who worked in trades, and other forms of commerce. They did not want to convert, did not want war, and most certainly did not want to be caught in the middle of a conflict not of their choosing, and one that was quickly changing right before their eyes. Some died without converting, and now reside with our Gods and Goddesses, while others converted to save their families, only to be killed by the side that they once held faith with. They all suffered, and many perished. They all need to be remembered for their sacrifices.
During my regular ritual for the innocent victims I usually only call Freyja and Frigga to join me at my altar, but for this ritual I call all the Gods to join me. These were Their children and they died because of the faith they had in the Aesir and Vanir Gods. They gave the ultimate sacrifice for their religion, their Gods, and their ancestral traditions, and in doing so deserve to be honored for their deeds. Because this is an Ancestral Rite I give a blood sacrifice to those who gave their blood all those years ago. No, I do not slaughter an animal, but give back some of the blood that my ancestors handed down to me through the centuries. I do not do anything as dramatic as what you see on T. V. when someone slices open the palm of their hand, which by the way is dangerous, and can cause permanent damage, but instead cut or puncture my finger and allow a few drops of blood to flow into my purification bowl. Make sure that whatever you use to bleed yourself is sterilized ! As I am performing solemn toasts, later in their memory, I pour some of the mead into the purification bowl to signify the mixing of our blood and the bond that still exists between our new Pagan religion, and that of our ancestor's religion. Afterwards I have a quiet feast in their honor and put out extra plates, one for the children, one for the women, and one for the men, who did not survive the Christian onslaught.
I will never tell you how I perform my rituals exactly because I am a lone practitioner and my rituals are meant for me and me alone. Speak to our ancestors from your heart, and you will honor not only our ancestors, but our Gods, and our folk as well.
All Hail the faithful !
All Hail the fallen !
Go with Odin's Wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !
Defend And Honor !
Off in the distance a small child is crying,
Held in the arms of a mother who' s dying.
She tells her son that he must not be afraid,
That the pain of her passing one day will fade.
His berserker father fought the Christian invaders so well,
Sent so many of their great warriors straight to their Hell !
There were too many, and he would not retreat,
Now he lies dead at his mourning son's feet.
The boy takes the sword from his father's dead hand,
In tears swears to his father to defend his Pagan land.
He raises the sword high, and cries out to Mighty Thor,
I will allow these damned Christians to kill us no more !
Against long odds he fought in many a war,
Became part of their history, mentioned in lore.
He died as he lived, his father' s sword held high,
Killed in battle, for the Gods he would not deny !
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2012.