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18 votes
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Why would slaves be sacrificed after their master's death?

Although slaves aren't specifically mentioned, Odin's burial laws tell us that "every one will come to Valhalla with the riches he had with him upon the pile": Odin established the same law in ...
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8 votes
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What kind of offerings did worshipers make to Thor?

Blood and poetry. Before I go any deeper, I want to clear up a misconception: Thor is not really a god of thunder. Yes, he does generate it, but his main function is as guardian against the forces of ...
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8 votes
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Symbolism of three characters leading Mayday ritual in The Wicker Man

These three characters are recurring in various mummer or guiser plays. These are old traditional folk dance/theatrical rituals which are known to have been performed at least as early as in the ...
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7 votes
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How did the Norse ship burial ritual originate from?

Cremation with one's possessions is given as Odin's law in the Ynglinga Saga. The reasoning given is that cremation with one's possessions allow them to bring whatever was burned with them into ...
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6 votes

Why thank the person who is cutting out your heart?

This falls under the idea that it is an honor to be a sacrifice for the gods. On film that may be worth looking at is Pasolini's 1969 film Medea. The film opens with Medea's royal family sacrificing ...
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6 votes
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Are there any old religions/mythologies where people would get tattood to get closer to or for their god?

The Maori and their tattoos, the Ta Moko and Kiri Tuhi I'll start by saying that the Ta Moko is well represented of course in the Maori folklore and traditions. For the mythology: The legend of ...
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5 votes

Symbolism of three characters leading Mayday ritual in The Wicker Man

Well, the movie's culture is purportedly based on Celtic paganism. Mostly gods were worshiped locally in this tradition. Epona is a rare exception: Epona is a unusual case of a pagan Celtic god ...
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5 votes
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How would a body be prepared for the Greek afterlife?

The Greeks believed that at the moment of death the psyche, or spirit of the dead, left the body as a little breath or puff of wind. The deceased was then prepared for burial according to the time-...
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4 votes
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Why do we dress up to celebrate Halloween?

On the Wikipedia page for Halloween Costumes it says: An early reference to wearing costumes at Halloween comes from Scotland in 1585. Looking at the external links on the page I found something ...
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3 votes
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Which ancient cults would cut out the hearts of live animals and offer them as sacrifices?

Out of interest of spreading information, I'm copying here the answer I wrote yesterday to this question on Judaism.SE, with a few alterations: A possible answer: Maimonides on the mishnah states that ...
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2 votes
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What would a Roman want to achieve with writing inscriptions and magical signs on bronze nails?

I suggest you take a look at Nails for the dead: a polysemic account of an ancient funerary practice by Silvia Alfayé. The paper focuses on the use of nails in Roman funerary practices, but in section ...
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2 votes

Is there any mention of human sacrifice in the mythologies of Britain of the period before advent of Christianity?

Yes, we have two main sources from the Early Roman Occupation era: Strabo, Geographies (64-21 BCE): The Romans put a stop both to these customs and to the ones connected with sacrifice and ...
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