Tag Archives: horse sacrifice

Viking Ribe. A horse sacrifice

Viking Sacrifice of horse to Norse Gods at Ribe VikingeCenter, Denmark

The Vikings in Ribe in Denmark have sacrificed a horse
The Vikings in Ribe have sacrificed a horse  . Denmark

A sacrificed horse and lamb was the shocking sight that met one of Danhostel Ribe’s visiting groups at Ribe VikingeCenter. The völva, the wise woman of the Vikings, had slaughtered the horse, skinned it and placed the hide on a long pole, so that everybody could see her big sacrifice. The blood she sprinkled on a sacred stone filled with other gifts to the gods.
Why did the völva slaughter and sacrifice the horse, and should the hostel’s guests be afraid of being the next in line?
Listen to the völva’s own explanation in this video.

Blot – a pagan rite in the Viking Era

The völva  was in the Norse Mythology supposed to have a special connection with the old gods and goddesses, the Aesir. Therefore it was also often her who carried out the pagan rites like the offerings to the gods. The “Blot” was a main rite celebrated in Heathenry. In this video the blot is a ritual sacrifice of a horse to honour the gods, followed afterwards of a feast at which the meat was eaten by the participants.

Horse sacrifice at Ribe VikingeCenter in Denmark
The völva has sacrificed a horse at Ribe VikingeCenter in Denmark

Horse and human sacrifices

To sacrifice a horse to the gods demonstrated you had great wealth, but also slaves were sacrificed, as you can see in the exhibition “The Christian Vikings” at Ribe Viking Museum  (2014 and 2015)

Master with beheaded slave. Ribe Viking Museum
Master with his beheaded and sacrificed slave. Ribe Viking Museum

Real Viking Era Horse sacrifices in Ribe

A pit with a horse sacrifice is found in the middle of a graveyard from the 700s in Ribe (next to the railroad). This indicates that this burial place was founded with a sacrifice to the Norse gods (see  link number 10).
In the summer 2014 an archaeological excavation in Ribe revealed a fully equipped warhorse from around 700 .  The archaeologists can’t say if this is a horse sacrifice, but it is unique  to find a grave with a war horse  from the Early Medieval Era  in Denmark. In the article “Viking Ribe in Viking Denmark“, you can hear the archaeologists tell about the find in the video “The discovery of a dark age horse burial in Ribe, Denmark” .

The Viling völva reading the runes at Ribe VikingeCenter in Denmark
The Viking wise woman, the völva, reads the runes at Ribe VikingeCenter in Denmark

The völva could also tell you your fortune

The völva was also a seer and a fortune-teller.  At Ribe Viking  Centre she might throw and read the runes for you, and tell you her prophecy. That was what  she did for the hostel’s photographer, listen to the völva’s prophecy for the photographer in the video in this article: The Viking wise woman was the late Middle Ages witch

Viking Places in Ribe

  • Ribe Viking Museum (Museet Ribes Vikinger).  Here you can see many of the archaeological findings from Ribe town and different special exhibitions, The Viking Museum is 0,5 km. (0,3 American miles) away from Danhostel Ribe
  • Ribe Viking Centre (Ribe VikingeCenter)  is a ‘living village’ reconstructed according to archaeological findings in Ribe town and with lots of hands-on experiences. Ribe Viking Centre is 3,2 km (2 American miles) away from the hostel
  • Ribe Viking Market takes place at Ribe VikingeCenter one week around 1st of May. See photos
  • Book a guide for a Viking Walk at the Viking Museum or walk the hostel’s self guided walking tour in Ribe
Facts about the horsehide
Facts about the horsehide
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Photos and video: Gudrun Rishede, Danhostel Ribe