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Thread: Sheeps and goats in Norse paganism

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    Sheeps and goats in Norse paganism

    Sheeps and goats in Norse paganism

    Kristina Jennbert


    Sheep and goats are some of the most important animals in prehistoric
    Scandinavia. The habitus of the animals was used and transformed into
    cultural categories. Owing to their important and long-term utility they
    were ritualised during the pre-Christian periods. The role of these animals
    and the attitudes towards them in and beyond Norse paganism is
    discussed with habitus perspectives applied to the animals themselves
    and to the fi eld of modern research.


    http://www.svenska-institutet-rom.or...s/jennbert.pdf

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    What about horses ?
    In Germany I read they were the highest sacrifice animal for the gods.
    Their meat was also considered of a high spiritual value for those people, that's why christians probibted to eat horse meat later: to prevent people from keeping their old culture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatte View Post
    What about horses ?
    In Germany I read they were the highest sacrifice animal for the gods.
    Their meat was also considered of a high spiritual value for those people, that's why christians probibted to eat horse meat later: to prevent people from keeping their old culture.
    I have never heard of this but it would make sense as the incoming Christians were very anti-Germanic.

    I do know that severed horse heads were put on large branches and pointed towards a specific person's home in the form of a curse. The word for it is Nidstang.



    "Nidstang means, literally, "curse pole." The nidstang (sometimes called a "Nithing Pole," or "niding pole") is an ancient Scandinavian custom of formal cursing or hexing someone. A wooden pole or stake was inscribed with the intended consequence and erected with a ceremony. A horse's head or carcass was placed atop the pole in the facing in the direction one wished to send the curse. Today, the nidstang is more likely to be virtual- an internet curse accompanied by a virtual horse's head (I'm sure the horses are relieved)."

    Source

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    http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/features/vikings-153.shtml

    Also in the Viking age, people wagered fortunes on stallion fights, confining horses in an enclosure sometimes til they fought to the death.
    Different mindsets create normalities out of practices that would shock today, I know, but speaking purely personally I have no beef with eating horse meat, hee....ok..sorry for that.....dreadful joke....

    There`s a fabulous story from the Sagas of Egil Skallagrimsson erecting a Nidstang, and the effect it had.

    http://www.sunnyway.com/runes/nidstang.html


    I keep goats, for meat, milk and skins. Some years ago, my herd of goats became ill, and here we have no vet on isle. I had to deal with it myself, and I`ve little skill at healing.
    In desperation, I blotted to Thor. Overnight, my goats became well and recovered within the week.
    There are witnesses to this, though I understand why folks look sceptically at me when I tell of this happening. But hey, it`s one of the many reasons I have been, and remain, heathen.
    I`ve also kept sheep in the past and plan to again, once I return to Scotland. But of the two, have to say, goats are more trouble to keep! They have no sense of self preservation and if out of sorts are quite happy to lie down and die!
    Sheep are more docile and less of an escape artist...the place to keep goats needs to look like the perimeter of a prison....they will squeeze through the tiniest gap simply to get to the greener looking grass in the next field!
    They can also be aggressive. I had one nanny goat (all my goats are horned) who, objecting to a goat in the next stall, head butted the stall door and broke her neck immediately, which displays the force they use when attacking.
    Yup...trying to remind myself why I keep them, again.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinlandViking View Post
    I have never heard of this but it would make sense as the incoming Christians were very anti-Germanic.

    I do know that severed horse heads were put on large branches and pointed towards a specific person's home in the form of a curse. The word for it is Nidstang.



    "Nidstang means, literally, "curse pole." The nidstang (sometimes called a "Nithing Pole," or "niding pole") is an ancient Scandinavian custom of formal cursing or hexing someone. A wooden pole or stake was inscribed with the intended consequence and erected with a ceremony. A horse's head or carcass was placed atop the pole in the facing in the direction one wished to send the curse. Today, the nidstang is more likely to be virtual- an internet curse accompanied by a virtual horse's head (I'm sure the horses are relieved)."

    Source
    If someone is a "niding" he or she is a person with no honor.
    I have a yule goat up every year:
    It's a tradition many Norwegian practise, without knowing where it comes from. It actually represents Tor. There is also a custom that is called "å gå julebukk" (to walk yulegoat). Kids dress up and knock on peoples door and sing and then they get food or sweets. Maybe it has something to do with the åsgardsreia...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfadir View Post
    I have a yule goat up every year:
    Did you make yours or did you buy it somewhere?

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    They remind me of the Corn Dollies made here at harvest time in Britain. Wish they were sold here, they`d be a lovely addition to the Yule decorations.

    http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch...s/Harvest.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinlandViking View Post
    Did you make yours or did you buy it somewhere?
    I bought mine, but it isnt so hard to make one yourself. I think Ladybright posted a "recipie" for it on the althing. Here is some threads about the goat and yule in general:
    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.p...ight=yule+goat
    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.p...ight=yule+goat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatte View Post
    What about horses ?
    In Germany I read they were the highest sacrifice animal for the gods.
    Their meat was also considered of a high spiritual value for those people, that's why christians probibted to eat horse meat later: to prevent people from keeping their old culture.
    That's what I learned in school too, don't know if it's correct though.


    Here is how to make your own Yule Goat (it's in Swedish but I think you can figure it out anyway).
    http://www.halmenshus.com/sbock.asp?nr=0
    ---

    What do you know, there's actually both an English and a German language version.
    http://www.halmenshus.com/ebock.asp?nr=0
    http://www.halmenshus.com/tbock.asp?nr=0
    Last edited by Liemannen; Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 at 12:55 PM. Reason: en+de

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