Tag Archives: wise woman

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
Find Danhostel Ribe på facebook
Danhostel Ribe’s facebook

Photos and video: Gudrun Rishede, Danhostel Ribe

The Viking wise woman was the late Middle Ages witch

Viking Wise Woman reading runes. Ribe, Denmark
Viking Wise Woman reading runes. Ribe, Denmark

During Viking Age and Norse paganism  (approximately from 800-1100) the völva – wise woman – was a highly respected member of the Viking society. She was a seer, a fortune-teller, she saw and understood more than most people – she was a master of prophecy.
In Ribe – the oldest town in Denmark and Scandinavia – you can still meet a Viking wise woman (völva) at Ribe VikingeCenter (Ribe Viking Centre) and if you have the courage to let her tell her prophecy for you, you can let her throw and read the runes for you.
In this video you can listen to her prophecy for Danhostel Ribe’s photographer who had just survived a severe cancer (Danhostel Ribe = Ribe’s hostel):
During the late Middle Ages and Renaissance – when Christianity spread in Europe – wise women were considered as witches who practiced witchcraft.

Witch Maren Spliid - Street Theater
Witch Maren Spliid – Street Theater

During the witch hunts,  they  were condemned as witches and burned alive at the stake.

Ribe is famous for its witch trials. Denmark’s best known witch was Maren Spliid from Ribe, she was burned at a fire at the Gallows Hill near

Ribe on November 9th 1641. The last one burnt as a witch in Ribe was Anna Bruds who was burned April 1652.
When you walk around in Ribe Old town you can still see many houses from around 1600 AD with a cross carved into the wooden brackets that hold the roof. These crosses were meant as protection against witchcraft.

Witch cross in Ribe, Denmark
Witch cross in Ribe, Denmark

Be wiser on the Viking era and the Middle Ages in Ribe

In Ribe – Denmark ’s oldest town  – you can be wiser on the Viking era and the Middle Ages in Ribe Viking Museum (Ribes Vikinger), at Ribe Viking Centre (Ribe VikingeCenter), at Ribe Viking Market (1 week around 1st of May every year), by walking the Ribe Viking Walk, or Ribe Old Town Walk – and you can follow Ribe’s Night Watchman when he takes tourists on a free town walk through Ribe’s historic streets.

These links might also interest you:
Viking sacrifice of horse to norse gods at Ribe VikingeCenter
Viking Ribe in Viking Denmark

Looking for cheap accommodation in Ribe

Summary in Danish


Under vikingetiden  (ca. 800-1100) var en vølve – vikingernes kloge kone – et højt respekteret medlem af Vikingesamfundet. Hun var en seer, en spåkone –  hun så og forstod mere end de fleste mennesker og var en mester i profeti.
I Ribe – den ældste by i Danmark og Skandinavien – kan du stadig møde vikingernes kloge kone (vølven) på Ribe VikingeCenter, og hvis du har modet, kan du lade hende kaste og læse runer for dig.
I denne video kan du lytte til hendes profeti for Danhostel Ribe‘s fotograf : Kaste runer

I løbet af middelalderen og renæssancen – da kristendommen spredtes i Europa – blev vølve betragtet som hekse, der praktiserede hekseri. Under Europas heksejagt blev de dømt og  brændt levende på bålet.
Ribe er berømt for sine hekseprocesser. Danmark bedst kendte heks var Maren Spliid fra Ribe, hun blev brændt på et bål på Galgebakken nær Ribe i 1641.
Den sidste, der blev brændt som heks i Ribe, var Anna Bruds, som blev brændt i 1652.

Kors i knægt - kors mod hekse
Kors i knægt – kors mod hekse

Når man går rundt i Ribes gamle bydel kan man stadig se mange huse med et kryds skåret i knægten, der holder taget. Disse kors skulle beskytte mod hekseri og stammer fra perioden omkring år 1600 efter den store bybrand i Ribe.
I Ribe – Danmark ‘s ældste by – med masser af fund fra Vikingetiden kan du blive klogere på vikingetiden og middelalderen på Museet  Ribes Vikinger – museum for vikingetid og middelalder, på Ribe Viking Center , til Ribe Vikingemarked (en uge omkring 1. maj hvert år), og ved at gå en Ribe Vikinge-Gåtur eller Gåturen i Ribes gamle bydel – du kan også følge Ribes Vægter, når han tager turister på en gratis byvandring gennem Ribes historiske gader.

Tilbud på Viking miniferie på Danhostel Ribe indtil 12.juli 2013