Trollkyrka, Troll’s Church


Trollkyrka, located near Tiveden (Tívheiðinn), Sweden, is a heathen sacred forest.

When catholic christianity began to prevail on heathenism, all the heathen temples were destructed or converted in catholic churches; and with lutheranism, in 1523, not much changed: sure there was more tollerance, but the heathen rites was still forbidden with the death penalty.

Anyway, Scandinavians and Germanics are not people whom one can say “Now we are christians and so you must stop to do heathen rites”, because most of them adapt themselves, but the radicals resist, because they are really radicals. In 1523 it was valued that the 40% of the Swedes was still heathen, focused especially in the regions of the North, which in the South were considered populated by trolls, goblins and various monsters, because higly unexplored.

Let’s come back to the main point: Trollkyrka is the proof of this. Inside the forest, in the Northwest corner, there’s a rock, or better a little butte (isolated little hill) of pure stone; upon it there’s the incision which describes the ritual.

Historical notions

Until c.a. 1700 (last written source is dated 1735) it was believed that enter in that forest mean being killed by the trolls which lived there, and hence its name. In facts, christians didn’t usually exit living, and the few survivors didn’t tell what happened to them. The inhabitans of the near lands probably knew exactly that in the forest there were heathens following the Ancient Way, but a Swede doesn’t betray his countrymen, nor his neighbors as well, so nothing will never had been reported to the authorities. Another hypothesis is that the authorities also knew what Trollkyrka was, but didn’t reported anything to the Church for love of the lore.
In the 1972, Hans Lidman entered and came out unscathed, documenting what happened inside.
Still in the 1972 the elderly told how about in the first middle of the XX century (in the postwar period) was still dangerous to enter the forest and that many entered never came back.

The written text for the blót with translation by Bjǫrn Mánagoði

Kärken smyger på slingrande stig | The procession creeps on a meandering path
helst osedd till Trollebergen. | preferably unseen to the troll’s hill.
Mässa skall hållas i dagarna tre, | A rite shall be held for three days,
det varde början på helgen. | this will be the beginning of the holiday.
Kolten är sid, så den nåder vid marken, | The frock is long, so it reaches down to the ground,
håsorna äro i topparna vassa, | the socks are sharply pointed,
hättan dras ned, så hålen för ögonen passa. | the hood is pulled down so that holes for the eyes fit.
Alla är lika förutom på längda, | Everybody looks alike except for the height,
prelatus han räknar på mängda. | the prelate counts their number.
Lösen den gives i lågmälder ton, | The password is given in a low voice,
prelatus han bjuder tre stötar i horn. | the prelate blows three times in a horn.
Elden den “köllas” av nio slags ved, | The fire is kindled with nine kinds of wood,
det är gammal sed. | that is old custom.
Offer till andarna skänkes, | A sacrifice is offered to the spirits,
med blodet sig allom bestänkes. | everyone is sprinkled with the blood.
Det bästa till andar föräras, | The best part is gifted to spirits,
det som blir över skall av männerna täras. | what remains is to be consumed by the men.
Uti midnattens timma | In the midnight hour
då sjärnor beglimma, | when stars glitter,
prelatus han tystnaden bjuder | the prelate asks for silence
och männerna alla det lyder. | and this is obeyed by all the men.
De falla till markone ner, | They fall down onto the ground,
prelatus han bistert mot rymderna ser. | the prelate looks grimly at the heavens.
Och svärjan och formlar i dälderna skallar | And incantations and summons echo in the dells
prelatus han kallar på andar. | the prelate is summoning spirits.
Allom de fick på sitt spörje ett svar, | Everyone received an answer to their question,
ingen av androm fick då höra varom det var. | no one heard from another man what the answer was.

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