The ‘berserkergang’ or possession
Before combat, the berserkers entered together in a trance called berserksgangr or berserkergang. This trance was the process of possession, for which not everyone was prepared, because their energy could destroy the body of the profane. According to the Scandinavian tradition, such a state of ecstasy began with a sinister chill that ran through the body of the possessed and made his hair raise on end and produce goosebumps.
This was followed by contraction of the muscles, a premonitory tremor, increased blood pressure and tension, and a series of nervous tics in the face and neck. Body temperature began to rise. The nasal fins dilated. The jaw tightened and the mouth contracted in a psychotic grimace revealing the teeth. Then came a disturbing grinding of teeth. The face was inflated and changed colour, ending in a purple tone. They began to foam through the mouth , to growl, to shake, to roar and scream like wild animals, to bite the edges of their shields, to beat their helmets and shields with their weapons and to tear their clothes, invaded by a fever that took possession of them and turned them into a beast, their blind instrument.
Witnessing such a transformation must have been something really alarming and anguishing, reminiscent of the most urgent panic. It was a full-fledged initiation transformation, and some have seen in it the origin of the legends of werewolves.
After this process, the berserkers received the Od or Odr (called Wut in Germania and Wod in England), the inspiration that Odin granted to some warriors, initiates and poets, touching them with the tip of his spear Gugnir (‘shuddering’).
With it they became a furious whirlwind of blood and metal. The physical strength of the ‘inspired’ by Od fever increased in a superhuman and inexplicable way, and also increased their resistance, aggressiveness and combative fanaticism. The pain, the fear or the fatigue disappeared, and what replaced them was an intoxicating sensation of will, unstoppable power and desire to destroy, devastate, kill, annihilate and overthrow. A good reference to the Celtic version of the berserkergang can be found in Táin Bó Cúailnge, which describes the transformation of the hero Cú Chulainn before the battles:
Then contortion seized him. You would have thought that it was a hammering wherewith each little hair had been driven into his head, with the arising with which he arose. You would have thought there was a spark of fire on every single hair. He shut one of his eyes so that it was not wider than the eye of a needle. He opened the other so that it was as large as the mouth of a meadcup. He laid bare from his jawbone to his ear; he opened his mouth to his jaw so that his gullet was visible.
The Berserkers went on to fight furiously without caring at all about their own lives or physical safety. Many preferred to carry a sword and an axe instead of a single weapon with the shield . In groups of twelve, they charged savagely against the enemy regardless of their numerical inferiority, and wounds that would kill anyone did not change them in the least. In cases of defence against overwhelming crowds, they formed an impenetrable circle from which they fought until the death of the last man.
If we imagine the appearance of those men laden with muscles, veins, nerves and tendons, with their face twitching under the skin of the beast, the fanatical clear eyes opened like plates and shining with that acies oculorum that Julius Caesar and Tacitus noticed among the German warriors; the teeth clenched with fury and foaming, splashed with enemy blood… we will instantly understand that those warriors had nothing to do with modern Western man. These berserkers were of the same blood as many modern Europeans, but they were men who lived for war, while the middle Westerner of today is a soft effeminate who lives for peace and, in his nearsightedness, persists in believing that he knows everything about the world and life.
The Wut, Wod, Od or berserkergang was a terribly intense and violent trance, in which one completely lost control and reason, and in which the beast freed itself of its iron chains to vent its claustrophobia and to ride in glorious and unbridled freedom through the dark and blurred forest, without responsibilities, without ties, without limits and without laws. It was not just about letting the inner beast emerge, but letting itself be possessed by the absolute, external divinity. The body of the warrior, in the hands of these tempestuous forces, and totally disconnected from the rational mind, was a simple puppet that could barely cope with so much anger.
Those affected could be fighting for hours and even days in the most furious and fierce way without pausing a single moment. In fact, thanks to their brutal contribution, often the battles ended too soon, and the berserkers could not stop fighting, needing to vent their fury, running without stop to scream and unload their weapons against trees, rocks, animals or people, even coming to attack members of his own army (although apparently the berserkers never attacked each other), since in such states they did not distinguish between friends and enemies.
However, when the berserkergang passed, they fell into a state of total weakness, in which they were unable to defend themselves or even stand. This hangover lasted several days, in which the warrior should stay in bed. According to the Scandinavian sagas, often their enemies took advantage to kill them at that time. Some berserkers, without receiving any injury, fell dead after the battle for their superhuman effort: their bodies were not prepared to be instruments of divine fury—at least for such a long time. Life expectancy was probably shortened for many years after each ‘session’ of berserkergang.
 Foaming at the mouth may be related to the rage that possesses the fanatical fighter transformed into battle. Interestingly, in certain battles during the Spanish Civil War, many members of the Spanish Legion, visibly fanaticized and altered by the brutality of the fighting and by their own pseudo-mystical indoctrination, foamed at the mouth.
 The latter-day Almogavars of the Kingdom of Aragon also had this custom.
3 replies on “Holy wrath, 3”
Since last Wednesday, I promised myself that I would not visit alt-right sites anymore (unless someone calls my attention to a link).
It is obvious that we are living in parallel worlds: I would like to awaken those few genes of the blond beast I carry inside while they’re complacent in their bourgeois world.
But I must continue working for this site. If there are young people willing to leave behind the discreet charms of the bourgeoisie live there will be hope.
These Beserks, are maybe best seen today in the pre-lifting rituals of weight lifters, who lift 200+kg weights. They perform the “distorted face and body” in pre-lift psych rituals to trigger their muscle and hormones.
Another term is “in-the-zone” where sportsman act in perfect synchronisation for their sport.
The extreme body heat and other physiological changes are perhaps purer berserker traits. There is also the term “white-rage” where one acts virtually subconciously to perform violent deeds.
Weight lifters are degenerates. Beserks, on the other hand, were just close to the animal.