Barbarians. Celts

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    Each of the portions of the Being was associated with one of the Nine Worlds.

    The Lich was of Hela's realm; the Haminja was of Mulspelheim (Fire), the Fylgia was of Nifelheim (Ice), Orlog was of Midgard (the Earth itself), Minni was of Jotunheim (realm of Giants), Modig was of Svartalfheim (the Dwarven realm), Manig was of Alfheim (the Elven Realm), Hugr was of Vanaheim (the home of the Vanir Gods), and Hamr was of Asgard, realm of the Aesir.

    A tenth attribute of the being, that of the Aldr, was the "Life-Age", and pertained mainly to the Soul's Age as measured by its experiences through its various incarnations on Earth.

    Mention, too, must be made of Wyrd; that aspect of the Soul that counteracted Orlog and could rewrite it; known to us as "chance" and "Free Will."

    In a largely war-based society such as the Norse, Celts, and Teutons lived, death was viewed as an inevitable, yet not calamitous, portion of Life.

    In particular, the Norse (later, the Vikings), believed that to expiate yourself in death on the field of battle assured that you would have a place in Walhalla, the Norse paradise; where there would be feasting, gaming, and battle on a daily basis.

    Those who died of sickness or old age were relegated to the shadowy realms of Hel, ruled by the Goddess of Death of the same name.

    The concept of Valhalla and Hel tends to be a more recent one (only 1000-1100 years old) and seems to have been influenced by Christian philosophy of Heaven and Hell.

    The barbarian peoples before 400 C.E. believed that after death, the intelligence and soul would be reborn back into their family's lineage, thus indicating a strong belief in reincarnation (along blood lines).

    The Celtic philosophy is very similar, although some of the Celts (in particular, the Druids), believed in the ability to return as plants or animals rather than as humans and in a particular blood line.

    Other barbarian tribes who did not believe in reincarnation, believed that the intelligence and "soul" continued on Earth, only in a separate but parallel dimension, accessible through their burial site, or howe.

    Burial practices among the barbarians ranged from cremation to actual burial (without embalming, of which technology the barbarians were ignorant).

    Cremation was an elaborate ceremony, reserved mainly for drightens (warlords), kings, and true heroes (think Sigurd, Beowulf, and Cu Chullain). The body was prepared for burial by adorning it in the richest of garments, furs, torcs, armbands, and other jewelry.

    The weapons, shields, and drinking horn(s) or goblets of the hero were also placed with the body, in the belief that the hero would require them in the Otherworld; be it Walhalla or Tir Na nOg (among others).

    The body would then be placed upon an outdoor bier, which would be ignited. During the funeral service, sumbels (toasting ceremonies) would be drunk in honor of the dead one; both laughter and tears were welcomed. Stories would be told of his/her battle prowess and other legends of his/her feats.

    At the end, the ashes of the hero would be gathered and either scattered over the water (for a sea-faring people) or placed in an appropriate burial chamber (such as a howe).

    There is no historic evidence to suggest that the Vikings or the barbarians ever engaged in sea cremations (where the bier was placed afloat on a boat and then ignited as the boat sailed into the sea).

    Although such a practice could have been possible, it was highly unlikely that it was widely used; and it seems to be more of a dramatic theatrical modern supposition upon Viking culture equalling that of placing horns on their helmets. It works for Hollywood, but not for historical fact.

    Other barbarians, especially the ones espousing Christianity, employed burial without cremation for the honorable disposition of the lich (corpse). Even those who were non-Christian often used this type of burial for the remains of those who were non-noble or had not died upon the field of battle or while performing a heroic feat.

    The body would be adorned similarly to that of the hero; in their best and finest garments, jewelry, and possessions, and placed within a howe; a burial chamber of a mound.





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    QUICK LINKS:

    Maya:
    Mayan religion - Popol Vuh

    Celts:
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    Celtic civilization
    Celts, another overview
    Celtic Knotwork: celtic knots
    The Voyage of Bran, Son of Febal