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Earthwizard's Realms of Faërie

February, 18, 2005

Earthwizard's Realms of Faërie

beauty's face of light...

	    
	
	    Artwork (c) Earthwizard
	       
	
		 The Warg: Breaker of Oaths and Troth
	
	May all the powers, the geas of tribes
	fall on the dark men of this earth
	who measure worth in broken oaths
	and fealty to their own dark thoughts
	make shifting skins of fanged despair:
	for they shall all be cast beyond
	the warmth and light of Land and Tribe,
	dark riders of the wind and maze,
	broken men who wander outdwellers rage,
	bereft of name and human kindred;
	so let not the geas fall onto thee:
	for all who fell fowl deeds do show
	shall outcast wargs remain, always,
	till the black sun shall fell them;
	and the fire of Surt's bright flood
	shall change them to the galdor glamor
	of metal gods of monstrous seeming;
	so if by chance you come upon him,
	this dark foe of human woe:
	pass by, my friends, pass by,
	do not behold the face of darkness;
	for his visage is that of blackness
	hidden in the void of ancient madness.
	
	   - Earthwizard, aka, Steven Craig Hickman
	      (c) January, 9, 2004



On Outlaws and Criminals in Pagan Worlds.... earthwizard

In fact in ancient custom and tribal law both in Welsh, Icelandic
and many of the extant texts that relate such things (being at work
cannot unload all the scholarship this will be founde on ):

A man who committed such acts as child theft, molestation, and any
of the major Oath breakings of Troth against either Land or Tribe
would be summoned to the Great Councils and prononced dead henceforth
and banished from the circle of the tribe and lands: to be a Warg, an
Outcast and Outlaw, a wolfman who could only live in the wild
places... and, then, once declared, any member of the family that
had been offended had full pardon from the tribe to hunt the Warg
down and do with them as they liked...

Punishment among the barbarian peoples generally fit
the "crime." For civil crimes (tort, wrongful death, etc.),
barbarians established a system called "weregild" among the Teutons,
and the "eric-fine" among the Celts. These were monies paid for
wrongful or negligent death to the kindred of the victims by the
perpetrators. The victim(s) kin decided the weregild or eric-fine,
and this was approved by the council of the Thing. (In less remote
areas, it was decided by general consensus). This particular system
of settling civil cases was not flawless of course, but it did much
to keep the cycle of revenge and counter-vengeance from escalating
out of control.

In Anglo-Saxon communities, crimes were dealt with swiftly and
effectively. In the event that a person was harmed or stolen from,
that person could call to his neighbors to pursue the wrongdoer. If
the chase led from the village to another village, all those in
pursuit would call to the members of their neighborhing village to
join the chase, and so on until the culprit was captured. It was
then up to the injured party to decide the penalty (which was often
hanging). This method was known as the "Hue-and-Cry", a phrase which
we use to this day. It was by no means foolproof, as an unscrupulous
person with a grudge against his or her neighbor could create a false
hue-and cry and result in an innocent person's death or injury. This
was balanced by the fact that if a hue-and-cry was found to be based
upon a falsehood, the perpetrator was treated as an oathbreaker and
dealt with accordingly.

For worse crimes, such as oath-breaking (considered worse than
wrongful death or theft of property by the Norse and Germanics),
rape, treason, and willful murder (extremely rare in this culture),
the criminal was no longer considered to be human. He was made
a "warg"; meaning both wolf and outlaw, and became an outdweller,
living apart from the rest of humanity since, by his action, he had
set himself apart from normal humans. In the Volsung saga, both
Fafnir and Reginn become "wargs" after they murder their father for
the Rhinegold; Fafnir eventually tranforms himself into a dragon with
the use of the Tarnhelm (Helm of Awe), while Reginn dwells among the
Svartalfs (dwarves) and becomes one of them. Reginn does eventually
return to interact with humanity but, being a Svartalf, can never
fully regain his humanness. Both Sigimund and his son Sfinjolti live
as "wargs" in the woods, shape-changing into wolves and preying on
passing merchants and thanes of their enemy, Sigigaiar, husband of
Sigimund's sister Sieglinde.

Among the Celts, especially the Tuatha de Danaan, the
perpetrator of a foul or horrible crime had to become that which they
most feared. In the legend of Lir's children, their stepmother, out
of sheer jealousy, curses them by turning them into swans. For her
crime, the god Lugh forces her to reveal that which she most fears,
which is a "Spirit of the Air" (a Bain Sidhe, or "Banshee.") As soon
as she reveals this, she is immediately transformed into one, and
goes shrieking off into the night, never to be seen again. Much of
this is legend and allegory, but it does show the concept of
the "warg" again, the outdweller; one that, by their actions, has
trespassed beyond the boundaries of humanity and cannot return. In
actuality, greater crimes among the Celts were expiated by the laying
of a "geas", or the performance of a duty, that the criminal had to
complete in order to clear his/her name. Gradually, the term "geas"
came to mean "curse."


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