ANGLO-SAXON CHARMS

There are some who perceive "Anglo-Saxon" as merely Norse Paganism with funny names, but we can easily find distinct differences between the two. The Lammas festival (Hláfmæsse), for example, was not celebrated on the continent or in Scandinavian nations. Lammas is specifically Anglo-Saxon, and was likely inspired by the Welsh festival of Calan Awst. The pantheons of the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse are also different. The goddess Eostre was known on the continent as Ostara, but she has no equivalent in the Scandinavian pantheon. And Loki, so prevalent in Norse mythology, was either rejected by the Anglo-Saxons or simply took no notice of the island off the coast of Europe.

Norse Pagans refer to the Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda and an array of Scandinavian sagas as their "lore". Anglo-Saxon lore is more scattered, but it is there for those who seek it. Some is encoded in the English language, in words like Tuesday (Tiw's Day) and Easter (Eostre). More can be found in Old English literature. Fréo's necklace is referenced in Beowulf, and Ing Fréa is described in the Rune Poem as being first seen among the East Danes (Swedes).

Sources for Anglo-Saxon lore include many Old English charms. The majority of these are healing charms or some sort of agricultural-related magic. These charms were recorded by Christian scribes, and many of them include references to the Biblical god, the names of saints, the crucifix and similar devices appealing to Christian sensibilities. Nevertheless beneath this veneer we can find passages revealing how the early Anglo-Saxons perceived the universe.

Here are some examples of Old English charms, given in the original language along with Modern English translations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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