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Did the ancient pagan Germanic peoples have priests?

I’m well aware of the druids among the Celts, but some sources indicate the ancient Germanics when they were still pagan did not have priests or religious leaders. Is this true?

6 COMMENTS

  1. answer: there were some priests/priestesses – you can see them referred to from descriptions of traveling priests/priestesses of Freya by Tacitus. Commonly though, no. Each head of the house was seen as a priest and priestess of the religion because it was part of daily life.

  2. The Germanic tribes were known as “Vikings”
    Vikings were mostly “Norse”
    Priests In Norse Paganism:
    “Some kind of shamanistic priesthood seems to have existed, focusing especially on magical women known as völur. There seem also to have been chieftain-priests called goðar who arranged religious festivals at their own estates for their followers[4].
    It is often said that the Germanic kingship evolved out of a priestly office. This priestly role of the king was in line with the general role of goði, who was the head of a kindred group of families (for this social structure, see Norse clans), and who administered the sacrifices.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_paganism

  3. yes, but I don’t believe they were called priests or priestesses. Have to look up my sources to find the actual titles they carried.

  4. I’m not an expert on that particular tradition
    but I would assume there must have been
    at least a few members of the group that
    functioned as spiritual leaders… it’s an
    interesting question… I happen to have it
    on my list of things to research later this
    year.
    Blessings,
    Jean

  5. There is the idea of a gothi but it seems that it was a position in a clan or family. There were cults as well. In…crap Egils I think…or maybe its Hrafnkel’s Saga… I am so not awake enough to remember, they run into a second son and it’s assumed that he’s trained a priest. It also seems that being a priest isn’t a vocation, at least not in Iceland. It’s an Elder, a leader type thing.
    Even in the evidence of religious leaders in cults they were not leading society. Clan leaders, head of family, kings lead. Over all from what I have read, preists didn’t hold a place unless they were a landowner.

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