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12 Bumps

Heathen word of the day

I'm going to guess people are a lot more familiar with Catholicism than Heathenry, so why not educate about every religion and not just one?

Today's word: oathbreaker

An oathbreaker is someone who swears allegiance to a family, deity, or other symbolic entity, and then violates the terms of that allegiance. Or, it's someone who pledges to do something, and then knowingly fails to do so.

Examples would be saying prayers or going through ceremonies to declare oneself a devotee of a religion, then repeatedly breaking the tenets of that religion, such as being hateful, spiteful, or catty after joining a faith which puts stress on loving one's fellow man. Or, pledging to make some sort of personal sacrifice or habit change, giving something up for a month, or ignoring something that bothers you, then turning around and continuing the habit in secret, or continuing to interact with whatever was supposed to be ignored.

In Heathenry, being an oathbreaker is the foulest thing a person can be. It surpasses murder and stealing. An oathbreaker is someone completely undeserving of respect or even common courtesy, and they, along with liars, are considered the only people who will not find peace in the afterlife. A murder or theft can be justified, while oathbreaking is a sign of a much deeper flaw within a person's very nature.

Breaking an oath is one of the most difficult crimes to recompense. There is no simple monetary value or act of kindness that will alleviate the chasm of mistrust it creates, not just with the people or thing to whom the oath was made, but to all the other people who witness the act.

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 4:40 PM on Jul. 22, 2012 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (22)
  • Very interesting, NP. It is not exclusive to heathenry, of course, but I did not realize that it is considered worse than murder or stealing.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 4:54 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

  • Interesting... so let me ask you this, NP. This is obviously something to be taken very, very seriously. How often does such a thing occur? I would assume it's likely rare due to the severity of it.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 5:03 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

  • How often does such a thing occur?

    Not very, though the earthly consequences aren't as shattering as they would've been years ago. Today, it's not common to be surrounded by people who adhere to that same belief. When you are part of a full community, where your friends, family and neighbors all adhere to it, to break an oath is essentially to ostracize yourself from society, give up your means of making a living, essentially your ability to survive. An oathbreaker today can still buy a Slurpee at 7-11, and the clerk won't refuse his business.

    The eventual accounting, however, is the same. Since we go to Hel and spend eternity with our ancestors, dying an oathbreaker means you will be shunned by ALL your family for eternity, and denied any respect for anything good you achieved otherwise.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 5:11 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

  • There is a grouping of books by Mercedes Lackey that have at least a partial Oathbreaker ritual/ceremony in it. *went and looked* Ironically enough, it's called The Oathbreakers. It needs a priestess, a mage, and a common man that all have been affected by said oathbreaker.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 5:23 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

  • Ooo, thanks for posting. Very interesting.


    Answer by Mama2AmLi at 5:26 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

  • In my life I have known quite a few Oathbreakers. Very disheartening when you're on the receiving end.

    I, personally, find it very hard to forget let alone forgive someone who have made "oaths" then to break them.

    Answer by PMSMom10 at 5:36 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

  • Oathbreaker is also the definition of Warlock in Old English... Great post NP

    Answer by Crafty26 at 6:18 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

  • very interesting!

    Answer by okmanders at 6:20 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

  • That was very interesting.  Glad to have learned something new.  Thanks.


    Answer by jsbenkert at 7:13 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

  • That is interesting ... I'm reading a fantasy series right now that uses "oathbreaker" in it. Thanks for posting.

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 7:20 PM on Jul. 22, 2012

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