Wihta

The concept of wights in the heathen religion is one of those tricky things that tends to baffle newcomers. Looking at the Old English definition does little to clear up the confusion, considering Bosworth and Toller lists the word as simply meaning “a creature, a being or created thing.” While in most cases the word wiht is used in reference to supernatural beings, the word can also be used for any living creature. Supernaturally speaking, Dweorg (dwarfs), Ylfe (elves), Ēotenas (Ettins), general spirits and even the gods can fall under the heading of Wihta. So really, the idea of wight-worship is all encompassing thing that has no real or defined characteristics.

Most modern practitioners see wights as beings connected to nature, a concept based mostly on the Norse Landvættir. The idea that wihta could inhabit geographic locations of importance is not a Norse-specific concept, though. Nature-wight worship was so prevalent in Anglo-Saxon England, that specific laws had to be enacted to put an end to it.

The following three compounds appear in the law codes of King Ecgberht of Wessex, showing that pagan practice was still alive and kicking to some degree in the early 9th Century.

Stānweorþung – Worship of stones

Trēowweorþung– Worship of trees

Willweorþung– Worship of springs

As heathens, we are all wight worshippers in one way or another. Wight seems to be, at least in the Anglo-Saxon context, a blanket term for all otherworldly beings used interchangeably with elf, dwarf, god etc.


Ylfe

Wælcyrian

Dweorgas

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