By Grima AOR
MOST of us are familiar with the Saxon Oath of Renunciation which Charlemagne, Kaiser Karl, forced upon our Folk with the blessing of the Roman church. Among his many atrocities he destroyed our great religious centre, the Irminsul, in the year 772 and conducted mass baptism of POWs by force, even clubbing unconscious those who rightly objected. Those who continued to resist his Oath and still served the ancient gods of their fathers, lost their homes, their property and often their lives.
THE Oath exists in three versions, Saxon ‘A’, Saxon ‘B’ and Frankish, although we are best acquainted with the first since, unlike the other two, three of our gods are mentioned by name. I have used Early Modern English, familiar to Shakespeare and Queen Bess, to translate it. EModE has a dignity sadly lacking in our bland, dumbed-down, user-friendly 21st century English, and it follows much more closely the style of the Old Saxon. Numbering and square brackets are my additions. Being an unashamed Anglo-Saxon nationalist I make no apology for giving the Holy Ones their Old English names.
1 Forsachistu diobolae?
Forsakest thou [the] devil?
and (s)he should reply:
Ec forsacho diobolae.
I forsake [the] devil.
2 End allum diobolgeldae?
And all idolatry?
End ec forsacho allum diobolgeldae.
And I forsake all idolatry.
3 End allum dioboles uuercum?
And all [the] devil’s works?
End ec forsacho allum dioboles uuercum ende uuordum, Thunaer ende Uuoden ende Saxnote, ende allum them unholdun the hira genotas sint.
And I forsake all [the] devil’s works and promises, Þunor and Wóden and Seaxneat [“sword-friend”, i.e. Tíw] and all those devils who are their followers.
4 Gelobistu in got alamehtigan fadaer?
Believest thou in God [the] Almighty Father?
Ec gelobo in got alamehtigan fadaer.
I believe in God [the] Almighty Father.
5 Gelobistu in Crist godes suno?
Believest thou in Christ, God’s Son?
Ec gelobo in Crist godes suno.
I believe in Christ, God’s Son.
6 Gelobistu in halogan gast?
Believest thou in [the] Holy Ghost?
Ec gelobo in halogan gast?
I believe in [the] Holy Ghost.
Saxon ‘B’ expands this paragraph with the silly superstition of physical resurrection:
Gilouis thu an thena helagon gest endi an thia hilagon samunga end helagaro gimenitha, fleskas arstandanussi, that thu an themo fleska the thu nu an bist te duomesdaga gistandan scalt endi gilouis thu an livas ahtar dohta?
Believest thou in the Holy Ghost, and in the holy assembly [i.e. the church] and [the] host of saints, [and in the] resurrection of the body, [so] that thou shalt stand at Judgement Day in that body in which thou now art, and believest thou in life after death?
The Frankish version finishes with a nice little Latin rubric to the priest:
Deinde exsufflas in faciem eiusdem et dices: ‘Exi ab ea/o, spiritus immunde, et redde honorem d[omin]o vivo et vero,’ et dices tribus vicibus.
Thereafter, thou blowest in that person’s face and shalt say: ‘Go forth from her/him, [thou] unclean spirit, and render honour to [the] living and true Lord,’ and thou shalt say this three times.
Let’s hope the reverend father didn’t suffer from halitosis!
Here now is my ritual response to all of this outrageous mummery, in which I have tried to use an entirely Germanic vocabulary, with no Mediterranean words (apart from ‘prophet’ and ‘saint’):
FORSAKEST thou the outland God of the Christians, and the White Christ, the so-called son of this God, and their Holy Ghost?
I forsake them.
Forsakest thou the unholy belief that, after thy time in Middle Earth, if thou trustest in the death of the White Christ, thou mayest fare forthwith to everlasting bliss, thus foregoing the reckoning of all thy good works and misdeeds, but if thou settest thy face against the White Christ thou art to be cast into everlasting darkness?
I forsake it.
Forsakest thou all the priestcraft and snares and untruths of the Christians, with all their ungodly misbeliefs and all the unhallowed lore and wrong teachings of their prophets, saints and fathers?
I forsake them.
Believest thou in Wóden and Þunor and Tíw, in Fricg and Sif and Zisa, and in all the goodly fellowship of Osgeard; believest thou too in Neorð and Ingui Fréa and Orð, in Sceadu and Gearde and Fréo and all the Wise Ones of Wanham, all of whom thou mayest call upon in friendship as thy father or mother, sister or brother: kindly helpmeets of thy stay here in Middle Earth?
Believest thou that thou art set about both by wights of good will who give kindness for kindness, and by wights of ill will to be fought and overcome?
Believest thou that when thou leavest Middle Earth thou art deemed a doom worthy of thy deeds, good and ill, that thou dwellest awhile in the Halls of Hel, and that thou farest back to Middle Earth?
So help thee, all Holy Goddesses and Gods, and all wights of good will.
So help me.