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Symbols of Anglo-Saxon Religion
In Bewoulf, two objects given to the hero for his conquering of Grendel are a boar helmet and a boar's-head battle standard. This can be interpreted as a transferring of nobility to Beowulf, with the boar symbols showing his kingship. It was used as an indication of his valorous deeds and thus his dererving earldom; he is not just any noble man, but a good one, and the boar helmet was used as a symbol of this.(1).
The fylfot is also known as a swastika, but had a much more sacred meaning to the Anglo-Saxons than the discriminatory meaning that it had duing World War II. The Anglo-Saxons connected the symbol to the worship of the sun god as well as the thunder god Thunor. The fylfot can still be found today, carved on many objects throughout England.
This symbol seems to have many Anglo-Saxon connections to burial and possibly the afterlife because it is found on many gravestones and cremation urns. The Anglo-Saxons also carved the fylfot upon their weapons. They believed that by doing so they would be given Thunor's power and strength as well as being blessed with Thunor's protection during battle. The fylfot can also be found on everyday objects, which leads us to believe that it was used as decoration or possibly that the person wearing it had chosen Thunor as his patron god. (2)
The cross was a sacred symbol even back in Anglo-Saxon times, though more through the increasing Christian beliefs than the Pagan beliefs. The cross was a very powerful symbol because, whether orally, through an action, or through writing, its power was accesible by all at all times. It was thought to give the blesser or blessee power from God (possibly Fate in Pagan religions), and thus was often used in healing rituals. It both protected from evil and blessed, though, again, this particular connotation seems to be more strongly derived from Christian beliefs than anything Pagan. (3)
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