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 and human sacrifices
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 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
Photos and video: Gudrun Rishede, Danhostel Ribe