Monday, November 10, 2008

Queen Sigrith's Day

Yesterday, Sunday, was the 9th, the monthly Day of Honor, the day when a historical, semi-historical or mythical hero is honored as a virtuous, courageous or spiritual inspiration to modern Heathen practitioners. Pagans discover these paragons in literature and archaeological evaluation. The path of Reconstructionism, especially, leads pagans into study, also into experimentation with artifact (i.e. Thor's hammer), symbol (i.e. labyrinths, runes) and custom (i.e. sumbel, blot). Because there is no dogma, the pagan is a perpetual seeker. Ironically for Heathens, they eventually discover that the journey is the destination.

Yesterday was Queen Sigrith's Day. She is honored for her courage in refusing to deny her belief in the gods. She reminds Heathens, too, that the faith is of "kinsmen before", thus a tradition, a "handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, etc., from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice." But even more, Queen Sigrith, while insisting on her independence from the foreign god of King Olaf, demonstrated the noble path of tolerance.

She says it all best herself. Therefore, from the Saga of Olaf Tryggvason, trans. Lee M. Hollander...

"Chapter 61. Queen Sigrith Refuses Baptism

Early in spring King Olaf journeyed east to Konungahella for the meeting with Queen Sigrith. And when they met they discussed the matter which had been broached in winter, that they were to marry; and matters went very well. Then King Olaf said that Sigrith should be baptized and accept the true faith. She replied in this wise: “I do not mean to abandon the faith I have had, and my kinsmen before me. Nor shall I object to your belief in the god you prefer.”

Then King Olaf became very angry and said hastily, “Why should I want to marry you dog of a heathen?” and slapped her in the face with the glove he had in his hand. Whereupon he arose, and she too.

Then Sigrith said, “This may well be your death!” With that they parted. The king returned north to Vik, and the queen east to Sweden."

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