Widukind The Black
Nothing is known of Widukind before the year 777 A.C.E. In that year he is listed as the only Saxon king who did not appear at the court of Charlemagne, in Paderborn, when they were summoned. The Franks from that moment foward thought of Widukind as a traitor and soon found themselves at war with Widukind and his Saxon allies. At the Diet ( Formal Assembly )of Paderborn in 777 Charlemagne officially annexed Saxony into his kingdom. In 782 Charlemagne instituted harsh laws that outlawed the old Gods and Goddesses and called for the death of Pagans who would not convert. The angry Pagan Saxons revolted..
When Charlemagne went off to do battle in Spain in the early 780' s Widukind, who was also allied with the Frisians battled the Franks as often as he could . When Charlemagne returned he subdued the Saxons and made many convert. Widukind escaped to the safety of Denmark and his wife's people. When Widukind destroyed a Frankish force at Suntel while Charlemagne was again away on a campaign the Frankish king became very angry, and it is supposedly because of Widukind that Charlemagne massacred the 4, 500 Saxons in what became known as the Massacre of Verden.
When Charlemagne again came back to his Frankish kingdom he attacked Widukind and his Pagan Saxon allies unmercifully, and pushed Widukind' s forces back across the Elbe. Widukind finally surrendered to Charlemagne in 785 at Bardengau, with the understanding that nothing would happen to him or his people. Widukind and his troops were baptized in Attigny that same year. It is believed that Widukind was imprisoned in a Frankish monastery, which was the usual place where political prisoners were kept to live out their lives. Some believe that he died in 808, but there are no historical references made of him after his conversion.
According to one myth about Widukind before his conversion he rode on a black horse, but after his conversion to Christianity he rode only a white horse. That is why in the beginning of my article I said that I honor only Black Widukind. Though I do not condemn him for converting to save his people, I will not honor him for that part of his life either.
I hold a short ritual for Black Widukind to express my gratitude for his efforts on behalf of our Pagan Germanic ancestors. He tried his best in more than one battle to keep his Saxon lands free of the Franks, who were lead by the dreaded Charlemagne, and free from the tyranny of the Christian religion and deserves to be honored for his efforts despite his shortcomings. My altar for this ritual is very military in layout with many weapons upon it. I like to drink many toasts to the great defender of Germanic Saxony, I usually use either Schnapps or Jeigermeister, to toast him because they are German liquors. Whether he ever truly believed in Christianity, or converted to save himself and his people can be debated but never truly known. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that in his heart he was a Pagan til death.
All Hail Widukind the Black !
Widukind finally surrendering to Charlemagne at Paderborn.