Publicada por Arith Härger / 7:03 PM /
There was a recent discovery in Europe of a 9,000-year-old shamanic sanctuary which shows that there was once a culture very knowledgeable in spiritual working. There are thousands of evidences of shamanism in many places all arround the world, but in European ground ancient shamanism is still a very delicate subject. There are not many findings of shamanism in Europe, and that's why this recent discovery might bring a new light to the knowledge we have about shamanic practices by our European ancestors.
One of the major society figures of the ancient cultures was the shaman, or the person who held the power and the knowledge to communicate with the spiritual world. According to ancient accounts, the practitioners of shamanism helped shape the first human societies. They were both wise and feared by the communities of the ancient world. The role of the shaman was not only being able to commune with the spirits of the land, ancestors, deities and the spirits of the afterlife, but also able to heal both body and soul, curse enemies, cure the land, give good council and basically being the one person everyone went to for all sorts of things. The guide of the community.
This all thing seems something out of a fairy tale; complete fantasy to our modern mind. However, with the help of the human sciences such as Anthropology and Archaeology, we modern humans are getting closer and closer to understand this very delicate subject. So it seems that these people, these shamans of bygone days, were really capable of preforming these wonderful, amazing and also terrible things. The human mind is quite powerful and maybe we have forgotten how to properly use it in some fields of consciousness. This new discovery came to help us understand all these strange facts.
In the year of 2012, archaeologists uncovered an unusual site near Lake Świdwie, in north-western Poland. After analyzing the settlement the team of researchers concluded that it dated back more than 9,000 years ago. One of the most amazing finds in this area consisted in a circular design of approximately six meters in diameter where the foundation of the structures was still visible. A trapezoid-like building with poles, encircled by an arch of rocks aligned at equal distances from each other. Within this ancient design, yew sticks were piercing through the ground so that they formed the shape of the Big Dipper – a fragment of the constellation Ursa Major, also known as The Great Bear. A construction made by our ancestors some time during the end of the Mesolithic Era and the beginning of the Neolithic revolution (dates differ from place to place and it took a good thousand years to spread all over Europe. These were our ancestors who had just found farming, and had begun to settle down in specific places, constructing the first villages, the first communities, and now they also started to have a keen interest in astronomy.
This discovery is unique, because other shaman settlements were only found in Siberia and Mongolia and never so close to European ground. Apparently this structure served as a sanctuary from where the spirit practitioners engaged into rituals and out-of-body experiences which are obviously out of reach from written history, and very difficult for modern science to explain. Pieces of wood used in smoking rituals, bark, herbaceous plants and animal bones presumably used as offerings and for driving off evil spirits before a ritual were also discovered at the site.
A rich collection of different stones were also found inside the sanctuary. Among them were syenite, diorite, granite, quartzite, sandstone, gneiss, and even unusual rocks for the Pomerania area such as red marble and green syenite. These were not picked at random or to only decorate the sanctuary. Such stones had a purpose closely linked to spiritual working. It was also discovered black amber and pumice – an extrusive volcanic rock obtained when molten lava is spit out of a volcano. This is an extraordinary and rich collection of stones, unique among the previously known Mesolithic sites, located both within the vast European Plain, and in the zone of the foothills and highlands. These stones had to be brought to this place. and not only did they came from the surrounding area, but also from distant lands, the best example of which is hornfels, which occurs closest in the Giant Mountains and the Harz Mountains.
The archaeological site later proved to be very rich in items mostly made of wood such as pendants and wood masks used in mystic rituals. Thanks to the favorable conditions of the area, all the unearthed pieces were very well preserved.
This interesting discovery adds another dimension to our written history due to the fact that it proves that shamans once ruled the plains of Europe before pré-christian beliefs and Christianity itself, of course. It also demonstrates that ancient Europeans had knowledgeable advisors who could read the stars, use advanced remedies from nature, and probably a list of other good many things that have been lost to us.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 4:37 PM /
The old gods have never been forgotten. For more than a thousand years their cult was made in hiding. But now, with the turn of the century and the early years of the Twenty-first century, many pagan religions and spiritual paths have been brought to light and people openly practice the faith of their ancestors.
The first temple to the Norse Gods is still being created in Iceland. The very first since the Viking-Age and when the cult of the old gods was prohibited by christianization. But now Denmark follows the same example and has built a new temple to worship the northern gods of Europe.
The very first Odin’s temple since the Christianization of Scandinavia, which took place between the 8th and the 12th centuries. Historically speaking, the year of 1188 BCE marks the triumph of Christianity over Paganism in Denmark with the canonization of St. Canute (Sankt Knud), the patron saint of Denmark. Since then, the old ways native to the Danish folk were censored for centuries, and those who were caught practicing it were either killed, tortured or at the very least ostracized. But since the old ways have never been truly forgotten and people kept the faith of their forebears, now they are free to worship their gods in the open. Denmark has built a new temple which not only is a symbol of the old faith in the country, but also a mark of their traditions and customs which defines the identity of a culture.
It's the first time in nearly a millennium that the Nordic Gods will have another home in Denmark to visit and to be worshiped. Valheim it was named; and now it marks the reemerge of the old ways. When the temple was ready, an official opening ceremony with attendance of several Danish ministers was held. With the ribbon cut by the leader of the Danish Parliament it marked the beggining of a new era - an era where free religious practice is possible.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 3:23 PM /
We know from historical records, the norse sagas and archaeological evidence, that children (especially boys) were often trained, almost since birth, to wield a sword, axe, strengthen their muscles to lift a shield and start to practice the bow and arrow at a very early age to widen their shoulds and backs during the process of growth to be able to push the bow-string as further back as they could. It was completly understandable that these people were so violent in nature because the world of violence was upon them as soon as they were able to speak the first words.
Women also knew how to fight. It isn't strange to us to hear that from viking women; it's perfectly normal to accept warrior-women in viking society during the medieval ages, and strange when we hear of other warrior-women from other societies of the time. They would accompany men in their raids, but before that, womem were left behind to take care of their properties and to take care of the children. They had an important role in continue to educate the children in the art of war because someone had to protect their properties when mom and dad were away.
It was instilled in the mind of boys that they would only become real men through warfare. Blood and honor, bravery and strength, that would get you in Valhalla among the best of the best, the bravest warriors. There are historical reports and even archaeological evidences of this - children killing children - sometimes a youngling no more than twelve winters of age capable of killing a fifteen-year-old. According to the Eddic poem for instance, children learned a variety of combat skills and techniques, including fighting with your bare hands.
Even three year-old boys played the war game with wooden swords and throwing spears covered by a piece of leather so that they should not hurt themselves or others. As children grew older, they could be lucky and get real weapons of iron, forged in a child’s size. Archaeologists have found several such weapons, including a small sword and an ax in a child’s grave. Besides playing with weapons, wrestling was one of the most popular games and something boys were doing throughout the year. It was a type of martial arts of the viking society. Through wrestling matches, they practiced speed and agility, and the training was a good preparation for future close combat situations.
Through this fighting technique children also learned game rules and discipline. The Children had to promise that they would not hurt each other intentionally during play, and their word meant more than a thousand contracts, it was their honor that was at stake and honor meant everything in the eyes of men and gods. These rules were taken very seriously and strictly enforced. Those who broke the rules, committed “níð” and were often called “níðingr” – one of the worst epithets in the Viking Age. being a “níð” implied the loss of honour and it was the status of a villain. It meant a person had no honor, was a coward, was nothing at all in the sight of every living thing. Much like a "Vargr" which was the term given to an outlaw, a criminal, but in that case that person would become a "wolf" and lived in the wilderness, unable to return to society or else could be killed on sight by anyone since he was a threat - a wolf. While a “níð” could still live amongst men but would forever be stigmatized and people would always treat that person with indiference.
But not everything during children's training was violent and terrible. When it was snowing, children built ramparts and fortresses that they used as battle arenas. Snowball fighting was not only entertaining but also effective training in siege techniques and different throwing skills.
Most important of all this was that the young ones learned about the warrior society’s code of honor. The Norsemen were convinced that a number of Norns (goddesses of fate) spun the threads of life, and that every human life was predestined. No man could change his destiny and only the brave warrior would come to Valhalla. A Viking warrior therefore had to fight like a man and die like a man if the gods had decided it. Even if some did not believe that their fate was sealed, there was always Valhalla, the great hall of the slain where only the most honorable and bravest warriors would go after death to be with the All-father Odin. That was their ultimate goal, and to achieve that one had to die with sword in hand so to speak.
It was easy for a warrior soeciety to understand the implications of battle. Either one will fall, or survives, therefore the only thing to do was facing every trial with bravery because everything is predetermined by the Norns and nothing could change that. Nothing could kill them if their time had not yet come, and no one can save the one who is destined to die. Dying in battle was the most honorable thing a Viking could achieve, and also the ability to plunder was highly respected. Ordinary thefts were considered cowardly actions, but plunder took skill and bravery; taking riches highly defended by other skillful warriors was indeed something to praise.
Viking boys had to prove that they had the courage and skills before they were considered as grownups. If they belonged to a powerful family, they could prove themselves worthy by participating in a battle or go on Viking. The sagas mention that Olaf Tryggvason (963 to 1000 BCE) killed his first man when he was nine years old. Olaf Haraldsson (995 to 29 July of 1030 BCE), (who later became Olaf the Holy), went on Viking when he was twelve years old.
Publicada por Arith Härger / 1:42 PM /
While working to clean up the shores of the Mississippi river near the city of Tennessee, a groupd of volunteers have stumbled upon the remains of an ancient boat sheathed in mud. The archeologists from the University of Memphis were hastily called to the site. During the early archaeological interventions it was confirmed that the ship was a Viking knarr, suggesting the Norse would have pushed their exploration of America a lot further than historians previously thought.
I should say that a Knarr is a type of Viking ship used for merchant purposes. It was built in the same way all the other ships were made (clinker-built - which means the overlapping of planks riveted together) only the configuration was different: the hull was wider, deeper and shorter than a longship and it was handled by a smaller crew.
The ship was heavily damaged. After meticulous work it was possible to know the original size of this ship. It has a length of about 16 meters, a beam of 4.5 meters, and a hull that is estimated capable of carrying up to 24 to 28 tons, a typical size for this type of ship which was capable of carring more cargo than any other Viking ship. It was capable of sailing more or less 121 km (75 miles) in one day and held a crew of about 20 to 30 men.
This is a wonderful new discovery and could well be one of the oldest evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. It brings to mind the famous colony of “Vinland” mentioned in the Icelandic Sagas, which is another evidence that the first Europeans to find America (by sailing) were the Norsemen. This colony could possibly have been established by Leif Ericson around the same period as the settlement at l’Anse aux Meadows (which I've written about a few posts ago), in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the most famous site of a Norse or Viking settlement in North America outside Greenland.
The estimated dates for this ship are between 990 and 1050 AD, approximately the period associated with Vinland and the various Canadian Norse-archaeological sites. This could mean that Vikings had actually developed a far wider trade network in the Americas than what was traditionnally believed. Unfortunately, very few other artefacts have been found on the site, suggesting the crew must have most likely abandoned the ship and continued on foot, and scattered arround this area and possibly further, there might be some artefacts yet to be found.