Paganism vs Heathenism, is there a difference?

Where do the terms pagan and heathen come from and what’s the difference? The word pagan is a Latin term which means “nonparticipant” (paganus) or more accurately, “country dweller” or “civilian” in contrast to being “Soldiers of Christ”. “Pagan” was used by Christians in Anglo-Saxon England to describe non-Christians.  Latin was the spoken and written language of the Christian Church at the time, so it is of no surprise they would use a Latin word to refer to those not members of their church or religion. It wasn’t until the…

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Get off my Boat! Jarl Haakon resists Conversion

Harald Bluetooth tried to force covert Jarl Haakon, but he and his men weren’t having anything to do with that. Most of the early Christian conversion attempts on the Norse people were done by means of entire communities converting as a whole rather than individual conversions.  Mass conversions were usually carried out by methods such as demanding conversions through subjugation. The subjects of a leader would be forced to convert.  Typically, the Norse leader or King would convert to Christianity themselves and as an opportunity to solidify their power, they…

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Redbad, The Last Pagan King of Frisia (Northern Netherlands)

King Redbad refused to convert to Christianity because he, “preferred eternity in Hell with his pagan ancestors than in Heaven with his enemies.” Redbad (also Redbod or Radbod) was the King of the Frisians from 680 AD until his death in 719 AD. He is often considered the last independent ruler and the last pagan ruler of Frisia before Frankish domination. The previous ruler of Frisia, King Aldegisel, had welcomed Christianity into his realm.  Aldegisel harbored and protected Wilfrid, the deposed Archdiocese of York, who had just been exiled from Northumbria.  On his way to…

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The Christianization of the Norse

The Christianization of the Norse took place between the 8th and the 12th centuries. It was a gradual process that took considerable effort by Christians. Christian clergy attempts to convert the Norse proved to be difficult. The Norse people were quite content with their own gods and simply did not wish to be converted. In many cases, conversion was only achieved by force. Prior to Christianization, the traditional religion of the Norse people was firmly in place. The Norse religion wasn’t just a form of worship, it was a part…

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How the Norse named their Children, the Rite of Ausa Vatni and Nafnfesti

When a child was born, there was a great deal of ceremony conducted by the Norse in claiming and naming their children. Prior to the Christianization of the Norse, the traditional religion of the Norse people was firmly in place. The Norse religion wasn’t just a form of worship, it was a part of their culture and way of life. A belief system that was so deeply rooted that it made the concept of the original sin and other Christian beliefs just too hard for the Norse people to understand…

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