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Anglo Saxon Witchcraft

Forums ► Norse Paganism ► Anglo Saxon Witchcraft

Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
Post # 1
I was wondering about the Anglo Saxon people on the island of Britan before the Christians came in and screwed everything up. For what I heard the horned god was Woden and the goddess was Frey. I alsoheard the god can also be depicted as Thunor, while a third god that was mentioned to be worshiped as the horned god was Tiw.

Back in middle aged Britan was the horned god and goddess the only deity you worshiped or do you just work with the other ones while worshiping them as well.

Im wonder if they even found any other gods after what happen when the Christians came.

Please answer only if you know the answer, thank you and have a nice day :)
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Re: Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 2
The first thing to do is to sort out your knowledge of history. There were Angles and Saxons, but only in the South of England; not Britain! And Christianity was already here by that time. Many Romans were Christian. The old Pagan Gods were certainly still worshipped; but there were different Gods in different parts of Britain. You should not think of England as Britain.
So, I'll try to explain. The United Kingdom of Great Britain consists of England,Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The British Isles is a lot more than those countries! There is much more to Britain than Angles and Saxons. Over the centuries, there have been so many "settlers" and "invaders" that English is the most complicated language on Earth!
Also, most of the Gods you have named were Viking! Not Angles or Saxons. Complicated isn't it?
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Re: Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
By: / Beginner
Post # 3
So far as I know, England has Christianity, Witchcraft, Celtic Paganism, and Anglo-Saxon Heathenry/Paganism; all of which are very different.

Actually, the Gods BrotherBone cited were the Anglo-Saxon forms of the Gods more commonly known as Odin (Woden), Thor (Thunor), Tyr (Tiw), and Frey/r (though he used the Norse name for Freyr and I don't really know why). It's less common, but Anglo-Saxon Heathenry is a thing.

BrotherBone, none of the Gods you listed are horned Gods. The only one that actually has any relation to antlers is Freyr, but that is because he gives up his sword and has to fight with antlers (he kills Beli with it and fights with Surtr during Ragnarok where he dies). Freyr is often seen as Heathenry's closest example of the Horned God because of him being related to sexuality, nature, and magic (and other reasons, but I honestly don't like comparing Freyr to a Horned God).

There are also a lot of other deities in the Anglo-Saxon pantheon of Heathenry. Also note that during the time Anglo-Saxon Paganism, the language was Old English, which is older and far more alien to modern English than Middle English (what most youngns know as Old English - think Shakespeare).

During the Christianization of Europe, Anglo-Saxon paganism was not lost or destroyed in the same manner that Irish and Basque Paganism were almost completely wiped out. What did survive often became Christian customs in England, as with many other countries.

I'd suggest you do a bit more reading on the subjects before stating your findings. It is alright to ask questions, but you'vebeen rather misinformed on the subject thus far (and I mean no disrespect when I say this).

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Re: Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 4
You are wrong to say that Odin, and the other Gods, are Angle or Saxon. They are Norse! Viking! The Angle and Saxon beliefs were Celtic!
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Re: Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
Post # 5
I think you'll find Alfadottir is quite correct;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_paganism and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_religion, and also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Herbs_Charm. Anglo-Saxon polytheism was/is Germanic and NT influenced, not Celtic.

But to address the OP, you could do worse than an Amazon search for Stephen Pollington, who is a recognised authority on Anglo-Saxon studies and has written a goodly number of books on the subject. There's also Bill Griffiths's book Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Magic for a more specific look at AS charms and magical practices.
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Re: Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 6
I don't care what Wikipedia says. Odin, and the other Gods, were Norse. Viking. Don't believe everything you read. I am English, and I know my own history. Angles and Saxons were Germanic; Vikings were Scandinavian.
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Re: Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
Post # 7
Er, you just said their beliefs were Celtic. Do make up your mind.
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Re: Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
Post # 8
And I believe I said that Anglo-Saxon polytheism was/is Germanic and NT influenced, so saying "Angles and Saxons were Germanic" is just reiterating what I already said.
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Re: Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
By: / Beginner
Post # 9

While it's true that the Anglo-Saxons were Germanic and that much of the actual Paganism in Germany was Celtic (Gaulish Paganism, which also extended to France), Anglo-Saxon Paganism is far closer to Norse Paganism than it is to Celtic Paganism. You can see that simply from the names Woden, Thunor, and Tiw. While they are not Odin, Thor, and Tyr, they're considered cognate deities, much like Zeus and Jupiter are considered cognate deities between the Greeks and the Romans. I'd also like to note that the term Germanic refers to Scandinavia as well (in both beliefs and genetics). It's a very loose term, to be honest.

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Re: Anglo Saxon Witchcraft
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 10

As Brysing said, one cannot look at the British Isles as a cohesive unit. Prior to the arrival of the Romans in 43AD the peoples of the British Isles were largely Celtic. The Celts were not a homogenous people, they were very tribal with different Deities affiliated with different tribes. None of the Celtic deities were "Horned Gods" with the exception perhaps of Cernunnos. But we only have one example of a statue that we know is Cernunnos and that has horns, and that figure came from Gaul. It is possible that Cernunnos came to Britain with some of the Gaulish tribes such as the Belgae but we have no hard evidence either way on that question.

As I said, the Romans arrived in Britain in 43AD and managed to assume rulership south of Hadrian's Wall and over to the Welsh borders. They were less successful in conquering most of Scotia (Scotland) or Cymry (Wales) despite a military presence in both areas. The Romans of course brought in both the religion of Rome and the religious practices of the many mercenaries from all over the Roman world. Although the Romans destroyed the Druid priesthood in Britain, not because of religion but for political reasons, they made no attempt to change the religious practices of the Celtic population.

Christianity arrived in Britain with the Romans and rapidly spread through the areas of Roman influence, but it was a peaceful spread of belief and coexisted side by side with Pagan practices. It was brought to Ireland by St. Patrick in the period between 387 and 461AD. By the time that the Roman legions marched away from Britain in 410 AD the southern part of Britain was largely Christianized.

The Angles and Saxons (Germanic tribes from the region of Saxony) began to arrive in Britain just before the departure of the Roman legions and continued to be in power until the Normal Conquest in 1066. The Anglo-Saxons brought with them their own Gods, none of whom were Horned Gods. They were not sympathetic to the Christians of Britains and in the early centuries many Christians were killed for not bowing to the Heathen gods. However, Christianity again began inroads in the areas held by the Anglo-Saxons and eventually became the predominant religion of those areas held by the Anglo-Saxons.

In 793AD the Vikings raided and destroyed the Christian monastery at Lindesfarne. Over the next 300 years the tide of Viking control in Britain, Scotland, and in Ireland waxed and waned. The Vikings had brought with them their own Gods from Scandanavia and again the beliefs of Christianity suffered. But other religious practices continued in homes and smaller communities. None of the Scandanavian Gods were viewed as Horned Gods either. The Viking presence in England ended with the Battle of Stamford Bridge in September 1066,

The Normans, who were thoroughly Christianized, invaded and assumed control of Britain and later of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales beginning with the Battle of Hastings in October 1066.

The idea of one Horned God and one Goddess is a completely modern one, largely based on the book "The White Goddess" by Graves. None of the Pagan peoples who invaded or occupied the many regions of the British Isles as defined as Britain, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland, etc. ever, to our knowledge, worshipped only a goddess and a horned god. All of that is modern.

There are some books I'd suggest you read to understand the history of religion in that part of the world. Start by putting down any so-called "history" in the Pagan section of the book store and read what actual historians and archeologists have to say. Here's some books I'd suggest"

"Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles" by Ronald Hutton

"The Pagan Celts" by Anne Ross

"Rites and Religions of the Anglo-Saxons" by Gale R. Owen

"Viking Age England" by Julian D. Richards

"Triumph of the Moon" by Ronald Hutton

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