Schooling the Saxons or Colonization of the Mind

In the 19thand well into the late 20thcentury (through the 1990s in some areas), Native children in America and Canada were forcibly removed from their parents and forced into “Indian Schools,” where they were beaten, abused, forced to give up their native language and forcibly Christianized. This was governmental policy. It was law. The primary purpose of their “education” was, first and foremost Christianization. I always thought this was an abomination that happened in the New World. Today I learned differently.

I learned that when Charlemagne (may he be damned) conquered and forcibly converted the Saxons, the same thing happened to them.

I’m still processing this. I was assigned a book to read in one of my classes and the information was there, clear as day. Children were taken away from Saxon families and interned forcibly in monastic schools, which led upon adulthood to those children being tonsured and forced to take vows. It was slavery. Make no mistake, the Saxons did not go peacefully. They did not willingly or easily abandon their Gods. They were butchered, tortured, imprisoned, and forced into conversion by Charlemagne and his successors. Sound familiar?

A hundred years later, in condemnation of a monk Gottschalk of Orbais, a man who had been committed to the monastery as a child and forced against his will to take vows and who was now seeking freedom, his abbot Hrabanus blamed his quest for freedom on an inherent Saxon hatred of Christianity in general and monasticism in particular. Hrabanus made it clear he considered the Saxons at best, a subaltern people, underserving of liberty specifically on religious grounds:

Should those who are inferior by virtue and dignity spurn those superior and more eminent than themselves, and reject them as if they were unworthy of all honor, those to whom they were rightly made subject? For who does not know, living in this region of the world, that the Franks were in the faith and religion of Christ before the Saxons, whom they later subjected to their dominion by force of arms – being made their superiors according to the practice of lords and even more by their paternal disposition—and dragging them away from the cult of idols and converting them to the faith of Christ? But now these notions are spurned ungratefully by certain primates of this very nation according to the flesh against the law of heaven and the law of the court…(emphasis mine)

Because yes, we should all be grateful when the good Christians come to burn down our temples, destroy our religion, execute the faithful, kidnap our children, and force us into servitude. Even the author of the book (and translator, I believe, of these speeches) called this one of the “most blatantly imperialist” views in favor of forced Christianization to be found in the 9thcentury. (For both quotes see Matthew Bryan Gillis, Heresy and Dissent in the Carolingian Empire: the Case of Gottschalk of Orbais,” Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 40-41).

This is the way monotheism worked as it swept across Europe and then the Americas erasing religions and cultures. It was in every case, attempted annihilation.

This is why monotheistic colonization is so different from previous ones. The Romans, for instance conquered people and enslaved them and that was horrible but they didn’t try to completely change the internal landscape of the people, to tear away their language, to obliterate their Gods. Only with monotheism do we see this kind of conquest.  It’s not a white problem. It’s not a black problem. It’s not a problem of any race. It’s a monotheistic problem, so when you ask me why I condemn monotheism so much, why I will never, EVER advocate peace with this system of corruption, take a look at our own history.

And no, not all individual Jews, not all individual Muslims, not all individual Christians – many of them are lovely people and there are many things about their traditions that are lovely as well–but the system is dehumanizing, because monotheism is not the belief in one God, it’s a rejection of all other Divinities and therefore the monotheist can never be at peace with his neighbors.

This is all the more reason why we should commit to honoring our Gods, honoring our ancestors, and rebuilding our communities always, always remembering that they can be destroyed again, if we’re not committed, if we’re not pious, and if we’re not vigilant.   

In memory of the 4500 martyrs of Verdun and all those who have fought monotheistic obliteration before and since.

About ganglerisgrove

Free-range tribalist Heathen, Galina Krasskova, has been a priest of Odin and Loki since the early nineties. Originally ordained in the Fellowship of Isis in 1995, Ms. Krasskova also attended the oldest interfaith seminary in the U.S.- the New Seminary where she was ordained in 2000 and where she later worked as Dean of Second Year Students for the Academic year of 2011-2012. She has even given the opening prayer at the United Nations Conference “Women and Indigeny”. Beyond this, she took vows as a Heathen gythia in 1996 and again in 2004, She is the head of Comitatus pilae cruentae and a member of the Starry Bull tradition. She has been a member of numerous groups through the years including the American Academy of Religion. She has also served previously as a state government contracted expert on the Asatru faith, and been a regular contributor to various print and online publications geared towards modern pagans and polytheists, and for a time had her own radio program: Wyrd Ways Radio Live. Ms. Krasskova holds diplomas from The New Seminary (2000), a B.A. in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Religious Studies from Empire State College (2007), and an M.A. in Religious Studies from New York University (2009). She has completed extensive graduate coursework in Classics (2010-2016) and is pursuing a Masters in Medieval Studies at Fordham University (expected graduation 2019) with the intention of eventually doing a PhD in theology. She has also been teaching University classes in Greek and Latin. As part of her academic career Ms. Krasskova has written a number of academic articles, and also presented at various academic conferences including Harvard University, Claremont University, Fordham University, Ohio State University, Western Michigan University, Villanova University, and the City University of New York. An experienced diviner and ordeal master, her primary interest is in devotional work and the reconstruction of Northern Tradition shamanism. Her very first book, The Whisperings of Woden was the landmark first devotional text to be written in modern Heathenry. Ms. Krasskova has a variety of published books available running the gamut from introductory texts on the Northern Tradition, as well as books on shamanism, runes, prayer, and devotional practices. She is also the managing editor of “Walking the Worlds,” a peer-reviewed academic style journal focusing on contemporary polytheism and spirit work and the first journal of polytheology. While very busy with teaching and school, she does also occasionally lecture around the country on topics of interest to contemporary Heathenry and polytheisms. A passionate supporter of the arts Ms. Krasskova enjoys going to the opera, theater, and ballet. Her affection for the arts began early as she discovered dance, which she pursued professionally becoming a ballet dancer: first with a regional company in Maryland, then in New York City. After suffering career ending injuries, she would find new forms of expression in the visual arts. For a few years Ms. Krasskova co-owned an art gallery in the Hudson River Valley of New York, and over a course of numerous years she has studied a multitude of art mediums: glassblowing, watercolor, acrylic, photography and more! She is now an avid collage artist, acrylic painter and watercolorist and has even enjoyed placement in international artist-in-residencies programs in New York, New Mexico, and Poland. Her work has been exhibited globally from New York to Paris. She has taken her passion for the arts and polytheistic devotion, to create the Prayer Card Project. Since so much religious iconography has been destroyed, or defaced in the course of human history, she is actively making new religious prayers and iconography available to the various modern polytheistic communities to support those who are building their religious communities, building their devotional practices, and hungering for art that represents their religious faith. All while also supporting the artists within these burgeoning communities.

Posted on September 18, 2019, in Heathenry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. I am currently reading The Darkening Age by Catherine Nixley, about the destruction (by Christians) of the Greek and Roman religions. You’ve probably read it, but if not, it’s . . . instructive.

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  2. But Christians will have you believe that it was Pagans who persecuted Christians (even though historians are questioning the validity of those stories). Their hypocrisy is why I gave up on Christianity.

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  3. Nauseating…

    You know what was the only group that held out against Christianity in Ireland, and that got the particular ire of the Christians there? What we might call the Fianna, the warriors who were not just warriors but were also supernatural functionaries/intermediaries and probably also ritual leaders of various kinds. We have evidence of them not only resisting, but persisting (and even then “recruiting” Normans to their cause!) into the 14th century, at least…

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  4. Nauseating…

    You know, in Ireland, we have evidence of one group resisting the Christians for quite a long period of time–into the 14th century, at least. That was “the Fianna,” basically the hunter/warrior liminal figures that were not only excellent warriors and raiders, but were also supernatural defenders, sacred functionaries, and probably ritual leaders, who also seemed to be “recruiting” those from among the Cambro-Norman invaders from the 12th century onwards, which especially incensed the Christian clergy…!

    (It erased my comment the first time…ugh!)

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  5. This was most definitely not just a New World phenomenon. In Scandinavia, Sámi children were taken from their parents and put into state-run schools where they were forbidden to use the Sámi languages and forced to assimilate into Norwegian/Swedish/etc. culture. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegianization ) I also recall reading that similar practices happened in Australia and New Zealand with their respective indigenous peoples.

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    • I know it happened in. Australia but i had no idea about the Sami and also NZ. it just makes me sick…and it’s the same pattern of destruction over and over again

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  6. Sorry for the repeated comment.

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  7. The same was done to Baltic peoples by Germans and Russians. A serious attempt was made to stamp Lithuanian out, for example. It would be quicker to list the exceptions to this, when talking about the spread of Christianity.

    I am surprised that you did not know about the case of the Saxons. If you read the life of Boniface by Willibald, he wrote of how the Frisians resisted Frankish attempts to convert them. The Frisians actually killed that cursed blasphemer Boniface. What is not thought about too much today is that Boniface(like most of these missionaries) had a sizeable force of mercenaries with him. Not only that, but all the churches in Frisian territory were controlled by Franks and basically acted as tribute collecting centers. In reprisal for the attack on Boniface and his mercenaries, another set of missionaries with more troops were sent. They killed many adults and took the rest as slaves, and distributed Frisian children to be raised into Christianity. This was bragged about by Willibald in the most glowing terms. Reading it reminded me of Augustine, who argued that the Church persecutes out of love, to get those ungrateful heretics and heathens in line. It also reminds me of a purported saying of Muhammad that many will enter Jannah(the Islamic paradise) in chains.

    In a way, we Europeans are even worse off than the Native Americans. Most of the Native Americans are well aware of what was done to them. But most of us love our captors and bless their chains, we don’t even see our status as subjection. We were strong-armed and often betrayed by greedy rulers into worshiping a false god. Christianity is built on a mass of lies, and because they are willing to do anything to win, they typically get their way. Even our names, customs, and stories have been gradually erased, to the point that if I bring up a name like Cynewulf or Hrothgar it would scarcely be recognized as a name of ours. Is anyone else that deluded? Maybe the Arabs can be said to have a similar situation.

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