EBK Activity Sheets

 



Early Religion.
 

Woden, Anglo-Saxon Chief of the Gods - İ Nash Ford Publishing

 

 

 

 

 

 
  • When the Saxons first settled in Britain, they were pagans. This means that they worshiped lots of different gods. Their religion was called 'paganism'.
  • Before and during most of Roman rule in Britain, the British had been pagans too. Many of them became Christian though before the Saxons arrived. The Picts and the Scots were also pagans at this time.
  • Each pagan god controlled a particular part of everyday life: the home, growing crops, healing, wisdom, metalworking, love, the weather, the family, war, day & night and so on.
  • There were lots of Saxon gods. Germanic people in Europe, like the Vikings, worshipped the same gods. They sometimes gave them slightly different names.
  • Most of the days of the week are named after Saxon gods. Can you work out which ones?
  • The Saxons worshipped their gods in wooden temples or sacred clearings in the woods called 'groves'.
  • Pagan Saxon priests practiced magic and fortune telling and gave out charms to help people, like against disease or for recovering stolen things. Charms usually had an incantation (a spell) and a potion or an ointment to be taken.
  • People wore amulets around their necks or put them in their homes. This was usually for good luck.
    • They might be animal teeth or bones (like bears or wolves) which were thought to give the person the strength of the animal.
    • They might be symbols of the gods, like Thunor's hammer or club.
    • They might be fossils or shells.
  • The pagan Saxons also believed that the countryside was inhabited by elves, goblins, dwarves and dragons.
  • And that, after death, you had a long journey ahead of you to an 'after-life'.
  • When the Saxons became Christians, they often turned their temples into churches and made pagan festivals Christian. This stopped pagans using them and showed that Christianity was stronger. Amulets became crosses.
  • Activity Sheet Available.

 

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