"They...went without mail coats, were frantic as dogs or wolves; they bit their shields and were as strong as bears or boars; they slew men, but neither fire nor iron could hurt them. This is called "running berserk'..."
Today, the phrase 'going berserk' is used when someone flies into a great rage and attacks people or things at random, using, seemingly superhuman strength. Originally 'to go berserk' meant to go into battle wearing a bear-skin shirt.
The wearing of the bear-skin shirt was the mark of the 'Berserker', a practitioner of martial arts who went without normal chain mail armor, yet who was so strong and ferocious that he was feared by his opponents.
The bear-skin shirt was a symbol that the Berserker could draw upon bear's strength, that super power manifested in the Eastern Martial Arts as the channelling of Chi, ie. "Life force," the Ond or (Vril) of the Northern Tradition. Bear's strength was a technique taught by Northern Martial Arts Masters.
They would demonstrate their channelling of Ond, (Vril) by the connected feat of the bear's warmth, where they sat scantily clothed or naked in the winter snow, yet did not feel the cold or suffer from it. It appears that the Berserkers were devotees of the widespread European warrior-cult of the bear.
The power of the bear was gained at the Berserker's initiation. Hrolfs Saga Kraki tells us that among the tests, the would be Berserker had to kill the image of a beast set up in the royal hall, then to drink it's blood, when the power of the beast would be assimilated with the warrior's power.
The Berserks were given the power of shape-shifting. This could be direct, by acting upon and altering the perception of others, or an out of body experience.
It is clear that the Berserker was a practitioner of a specialized form of shamanic martial arts which involved not only the control and channelling of Ond, (Vril), but also psychic manipulation. Sometimes this involved combat in the astral body.
Because of their martial prowess, Berserkers were present as key fighting men in the armies of pre-Christian Norse Kings. Harald Fairhair, a Norwegian King in the ninth century, had Berserkers as his as his personal bodyguard.
The next blog to follow will be concerning the "Ulfhednar (The Wolf shirt, guerrilla fighters.)