Norse - Hákon the Good's Saga
Type of spiritual experience
Snorri Sturluson relates of a meeting between the peasants of Trøndelag and king Haakon I of Norway, a meeting which ended in a religious feud centered around the blót. Haakon was raised at the Christian English court and had returned to claim the throne of his father Harald Fairhair (the unifier of Norway) and intended to Christianize the country. In spite of the fact that the peasants had elected Haakon king at the Thing they opposed his religious ideas.
A description of the experience
Hákon the Good's Saga
It was an old custom, that when there was to be sacrifice all the bondis [freeholders] should come to the spot where the temple stood and bring with them all that they required while the festival of the sacrifice lasted.
To this festival all the men brought ale with them; and all kinds of cattle, as well as horses, were slaughtered, and all the blood that came from them was called "hlaut", and the vessels in which it was collected were called hlaut-vessels.
Hlaut-staves were made, like sprinkling brushes, with which the whole of the altars and the temple walls, both outside and inside, were sprinkled over, and also the people were sprinkled with the blood; but the flesh was boiled into savoury meat for those present. The fire was in the middle of the floor of the temple, and over it hung the kettles, and the full goblets were handed across the fire; and he who made the feast, and was a chief, blessed the full goblets, and all the meat of the sacrifice.
And first Odin's goblet was emptied for victory and power to his king; thereafter, Niord's and Freyja's goblets for peace and a good season. Then it was the custom of many to empty the brage-goblet (1); and then the guests emptied a goblet to the memory of departed friends, called the remembrance goblet..
During this ceremony, the king also had to participate, although he was a Christian, and he had to drink of the mead that was offered and consecrated for Odin, Njord and Freyja. The peasants also wanted him to eat of the meat, but he only gaped over the handle of the cauldron and held a linen cloth between his mouth and the meat. The peasants were not at all satisfied with a king who would not participate fully in the blót. The King had however, been seriously humiliated and later he converted to the old faith. The tradition says that he was buried in the old ways.
The source of the experience
Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image
Observation contributed by: John Bryant