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

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

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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