Today’s column comes to us from our international columnist Lyonel Perabo. Lyonel holds an M.A. in Old Norse Religion from the University of Iceland and resides in the cold, Arctic city of Tromsø in Northern-Norway (69° north), where he works in the tourism industry, principally as a tour-guide, as well as a writer. His personal research focuses on local history from northern Fenno-Scandinavia, the Viking Age, and circumpolar religions, among others.
The Wild Hunt’s weekend section is always open for submissions, Please send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. I doubt any reader of The Wild Hunt has heard about Knut Arlid Hareide and the political party he helms. Why would anyone need to, indeed, unless they happened to be a fellow compatriot of his? Yet, Hareide is, in some ways, quite important.
Votive offerings are a universal phenomenon that help define sacred space. In many ways, they are irreligious, focused within an emotional moment followed by supplication or remembrance. They are acts of promise or faith that maintain a connection to a person or an event. While they sometimes anticipatory in nature and offered in the hopes a request to be fulfilled, they are typically constructed and offered after the fact. Indeed, the word votive in English derives from the Latin votivus, meaning “vow.”
One of my most vivid school memories comes from a history lesson I had when I was about seven or eight. From very early on, history had been my favorite subject. The books were always filled to the brim with colorful pictures, and the fact that the topic encompasses just about everything that ever took place regarding mankind drew my attention. That day at school, we were supposed to learn about the Renaissance and the 16th century. As I opened my book, my eyes met with a picture of a crowd laying waste to a church, breaking windows and tearing down statues.