Some Heathen traditions in Cristianized form in Sweden

In the part of Sweden where i now live there was a custom of piling a few stones on top of eachother, forming a phallic figure in the corners of fields. They where still being re painted in the 1800´s at least (and might still be.

A remnant of the Freyr cult.

At Christmas, especially in rural areas it has been a custom to place some rice pudding (with milk) outside for the Tomte.

Probably originally oatmeal. 

It is not often done now a days, especially in urban areas where it might even be impractical / unhygienic but every Swede knows about the custom, every as in 100%.

A remnant from blots to the Vaettir at the farm. 

In Iceland they still replan road construction in order to not irritate the Vaettir, Elves and other mights that could reside in their way.

There are a customs like girls picking 7 different flowers at 7 different meadows or fields (often jumping over the fences between them) at midsummer and then sleeping with them under the pillow in order to dream about their future husband.

7 / might be inspired by Hermeticism / Kabbala via folk magic but midsummer as such, connected to fertility (obviously) was celebrated here as in many cultures.

Original pole, the large ring symbolizing the femenine and the pole representing the masculine.

The more usual Christianized form.

If you encounter a trickster / impish spirit called the Byse (BEE-see) he will try to make you get lost in the woods. You take of your shirt and put it on inside out to confuse him and you will find your way.

Celebrations that where typical blot holidays still retain much of their heathen nature despite being officially Christian like raising a pole at midsummer, a straw goat at Christmas (Thor), Ham at Christmas (Freyr , Saerimner) and even Santa, him being a syncretism of St: Nicolaus, Odin and the Tomte.

In Swedish he is actually called “Jultomten”, the Tomte of Yule / Christmas. Compare to one of Odins epithets “Jollnir” (“The Yulish”)

Todays Disa Blot at Uppsala is a market / fair, but still retains a bit of the “Thing” feeling (and heathens are there in large numbers too obviously).

As in most countries i guess, there are a number of folk remedies for ailements.

Though not as noticable today as a hundred years ago we also have a tradition of “Cunning People”.

They often went under the names “Klok gumma / Klok gubbe” (“Wise old woman or man”) or “Lövgumma / Lövgubbe” (“Leaf woman / man”. Unfortunatly i dont know the etymology) and came in many specialist versions, healing, divination and magic…all folk type.

Klok Gumma from Delsbo, Sweden.

Might be a remnant from Völvas and Seidr Konar / Seidr Mennir.

There are MANY more and many regional ( and dont forget, we have Finns and Sami here with their numerous traditions too, not to mention syncretisms among these).

Some people that use a sauna often (Finns,Sami,Russians) leave a peace of soap for the spirit residing in the sauna.

At Wahlpurgis night it is common to light big pyres.

Folkloric iron charm against trolls. Now usually worn as a fashion statement among non heathens ( a bit like the hammer pendant).

The vocal practice of “kulning” is at least medieval (cattle calling with a high pitch voice) and might (notice “might”, there are no proof) have connections to the vocal magic of Galdr (that we know was also done high pitch, thus called “Galdr”, To crow).

There is a whole heathen tradition in Scandinavia that is not recon but rather folkloric. The way they see it, todays folklore in the region they live is the continuation of the old cults and though they sometimes call to the same Gods their practice is mainly regional folkloric and kind of “contemporary”.

They usually call it “Norrön Sed” (Northern Custom).

It is said that some malicous enteties (trolls and such) cant stand lightning…..duh!!!

Placing a pair of scissors opened at a door protects it against witches.
Note that even if the scissors form a “cross”, the Swedish word for scissors is “sax”, like the viking age weapon (seax). Could be a coincidence.

Its 5:00 am here when i write this so at the moment i cant think of anything more. Just that an libation of milk doesent really surprise me even if the person performing it considers him or herself Christian.


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