It says that King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway, who converted the country to Christianity in 995, tortured Raud with hot irons then executed him by making him swallow a snake. His crime was refusing to give up Norway's pagan religion of Asatru.
The Pagan Calendar suggests that on Saturday we "Praise Raud by lifting a horn (or cup or glass) in his honor and do something deliberate to spread the religion King Olaf tried so hard to stamp out."
Well, I'll be more than happy to raise a toast to Raud the Strong this Saturday night - perhaps even with a glass of the old Punk cocktail Snakebite, which seems sort of appropriate.
And in honour of Asatru, I have picked one of their top gods - Odin - as the Bad Witch's God of the Week.
Odin is the ruler and father of the gods according to the Asatru. Pagan website Pagan Magic states:
"His very name is related to the word oor, meaning fury and excitation, as well as poetry and mind. forging a complex origin paves the path for his complicated role as chief of the Norse Gods. The lord of wisdom, war, battle, and death he was also known to have held sway over magic, poetry, prophecy, victory, and the hunt; a complex mingling of many of the virtues that the Norse people held sacred.The picture above shows a statue of Odin that is available from Pagan Magic. Sculpted of cold-cast resin and painted in muted tones that give the appearance that he is sculpted of brass, the statue is 10" tall and 8 " wide and costs £99.99.
"It was he who received the souls of valiant warriors that died in battle and the women he favored become the legendary Valkyries, who strode among the battlefields and brought the valiant dead to the halls of Valhalla, where they would wait, training and feasting. Then, when Ragnorok came, they would take up arms again and fight for Odin in the battle that was foretold to mean his death."