With Borvo’s family being outsiders with the gift of healing, his Gramma and his mother Elvina were firmly rooted in their pagan past and although Borvo is taken up by the Christian King in “Borvo” and sent to be a monk to try to rid him of his pagan past, there are still certain customs that are in evidence in England today that have come from pagan festivals which Borvo himself would have been party to.
Pagans worshipped many different gods, with each pagan god controlling a particular part of everyday life, be it the family, love, healing, wisdom, war, the growing of crops, the weather or the changing from day to night.
Woden was known as the Chief God, yet there were many other such as Eostre, Frigg and Hel the Goddesses of Birth, Love and Death respectively; Thunor and Tiw, the Gods of Thunder and War; Balder the God of Immortality; Loki the God of Cunning; Wade the God of the Sea and Saxnot, God of the Family – something that remains very dear to Borvo’s heart throughout his travels and is almost like the compass that keeps bringing him home to help his nearest and dearest.
Pagans often used religion as a means of ensuring success in material things such as praying to a particular goddess or god for a successful harvest, the health of your family, or the winning of a battle.
The names of our months and days of the week also have their roots in paganism: Sunday, being the first day, was named after the Sun God; Monday named after the Moon Goddess; Tuesday named after the God Tyr, the Norse God of War; Wednesday named after the God Odin or Woden; Thursday named after the God Thor, the God of Thunder; Friday after the Goddess of Love, Frigga, wife of Odin and Saturday after the God Saturn
For our months, January was named for the Roman Janus, a man with a face either side of his head; February derived from Februa, a Roman festival of purification; March, named for Mars, the Roman God of War; April from the Latin Aprilis, indicating a time of fertility; May for Maia, the Roman female deity of growth; June, named for June the wife of Jupiter in Roman mythology; July for the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar; August for the Roman Emperor Octavius Augustus Caesar; September derived from the Latin “septum” meaning seven; October from the Latin root octo, meaning eight; November from the Latin novem meaning eight and December from the Latin decem meaning ten.
With Borvo II following the life of a healer who finds his pagan past at odds with the Christian trend of the 9th century in the Kingdom of the West Saxons, it is his family that is both his destination and his difficulty; his survival and his struggle.
As Borvo himself comments in Chapter Fifteen – ‘Borvo finds solace from the past’ – “ Lately he had been lost because he was trying to please everyone, now he knew he had to be true to his chosen path and if he managed to please his family and friends and benefactors at the same time then all was to the good. Borvo was back on track, the healer, the man from two worlds, the son and grandson who had found his gifts and used them for others.”