Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Here is a sample ritual that I have taught to our Chicago Area Saxon Heathen Community, and our Chicago Area Historical Norse Heathen Community. Please note, I will list the Items needed and the order first. Then I will give greater details to the items and the Saga or Historical Source references for the ritual itself. Items Needed: Haerg: A Heathen Altar historically made of stones. Blot Bowl: A bowl, preferably of wood, used for ritual only. Hlaut-tein:A twig taken from a tree, small enough to fit in a blot bowl. Woodchips/fire materials: Fire will be used in ritual. A Censor: That will hold lit fire, etc. (Not, can use a candle or a torch instead) Either a lighter or flint & steel to start a fire Pre-ritual: 1. Set up the Haerg (altar). 2. Have your Fire method ready. 3. Have your Cider/Wine/Mead/Blood/Ale in the blot bowl, with the Hlaut-tein next to it. 4. Have your weofods (statues, idols) out on the Haerg (altar). Please note, I have a 7 foot above ground Irminsul or godpole, and I put my haerg (altar) next to it.
Order: 1. Creation of Sacred Space with Fire. (I myself use a metal censor with a handle, using some oil, and woodchips. This creates a fire that lasts about 10 minutes. Candles, oil lamps, torches, tea cups, etc work as well). I light the fire, walk in a circle around the Haerg (altar), and recite a prayer to Thunaer, Uuoden, and Sassnoth to make the space sacred. Please note you can use any Germanic Deity here in your prayer to create sacred space with fire. Also, walk around everyone in the ritual. They are to be included in the sacred space. Once the sacred space is created, do not let anything enter the holy space until the ritual is completed. 2. A Bede (prayer) to the Gods, Goddesses, Ancestors of your choice. This is simple, just say a prayer to the Gods/Goddesses/Ancestors. Doesn't have to be pre-written, but can be, and can be made on the spot from your heart, whatever suits you best. For Winter Nights ritual, I give adoration to the Deities/Ancestors/Wights for a great year to come. (See Ynglinga Saga chapter 8). 3. Blotting: With blood in your blot bowl (whether you got it from the butcher, or slaughtered it yourself, or replace blood with alcoholic beverage), pick up your blot bowl and hlaut-tein. Dip the Hlaut-tein in the blod bowl, and then use the Hlaut-tein to sprinkle your weofods (statues), the offering on the haerg, yourself, and any people with you. You will dip the Hlaut-tein in the blod bowl as often as needed. I personally do each person separate. My eldest son loves Thunaer so when I sprinkle him with blood, I say "Hel uuis thu Thunar". (An Old Saxon greeting of praise.) You can do "Hail Thor" or any God or Goddess of your choice. When I sprinkle my statue of Sassnoth, I do a Hail to Sassnoth, etc. Please note, many Heathens do not slaughter their own food, but buy it at the supermarket. Some substitute Mead, Cider, Wine, or Ale for blood. Others, go to the supermarket, and ask the butcher for blood, as you need some for cooking (this is a white lie, yes, but I find that butchers do not ask questions this way.) If you slaughter your own food, catch the blood in your blot bowl. 4. Presentation of the blood. Whether you slaughter your own animal or buy your food at a supermarket, the blood is shared with the Gods. If you do not get blood from a butcher or slaughter your own food, use an alcoholic beverage as substitute. Use the blot bowl and the hlaut-tein, sprinkle your Irminsul and/or haerg with the blood, and empty the blot bowl on the Irminsul and haerg. 5. Closing Bede (prayer). Say a Bede to the God(s)/Goddess(es) of your choice. 6. Eat the meal: While ritual is done outdoors, your home is your Mead Hall / Wine Hall. Enjoy your portion of the food. 7. Sumble. Note: If you are solitary, leave Sumble out. If you are like me with a Heathen spouse and children, do Sumble as a family. For that, please see my blog on how to do Sumble: https://robert7sass.wixsite.com/germanicheathenry/blog/how-sumble-was-done-historically
EXPLANATIONS / SOURCE MATERIAL: 1. Creation of Sacred Space with Fire, taken from Saga Passages: First, when a person got a new home or land, they created sacred space when taking the new home and land. There is even a Norse Saga that is named for this "Landnamabok" meaning "Land-taking-book." Eyrbyggja Saga: "Thereafter Thorolf fared with fire through his land out from Staff-river in the west, and east to that river which is now called Thors-river, and settled his shipmates there." Landnámabók: “There he called it Svertingsstöðum. He there build a temple…. That land, Jörundr carried fire around where he later laid his temple.” Old Saxon Heliand Fitt 2: "The wise old man then brought holy smoke from** the temple and walking around the altar with his censer, powerfully serving, devoutly carried out his task; performing God's Ritual very eagerly with a clear mind." ---**--- “holy smoke”. Saxon Heathens created sacred space by walking around an area with fire, or by sprinkling blood from a blod (animal sacrifice). Here Zachariah is burning holy smoke (fire) creating sacred space in the Saxon Heathen manner at an outdoor altar. Saxon altars were outdoors in a sacred grove. 3. Blotting, (i.e. "blooding.") The best historical example is Hakon the Good Saga chapter 16: "It was an old custom, that when there was to be blot, all the bondes should come to the spot where the temple stood and bring with them all that they required while the festival of the blot lasted. To this festival all the men brought ale with them; and all kinds of cattle, as well as horses, were slaughtered, and all the blood that came from them was called "hlaut", and the vessels in which it was collected were called hlaut-vessels (or Blot-bowls). Hlaut-staves (Hlaut-teins) were made, like sprinkling brushes, with which the whole of the altars and the temple walls, both outside and inside, were sprinkled over, and also the people were sprinkled with the blood; but the flesh was boiled into savoury meat for those present." In the Poetic Edda poem Hyndluljóð “He made a high altar of heaped-up stones: the gathered rocks have grown all bloody, and he reddened them again with the fresh blood of cows.”
In the Hervarar saga, the daughter of King Álfr of Álfheim, who “reddens the hörgr (stone altar) with sacrifices” Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks: "A horse was then brought into the assembly and hewn in pieces and cut up for eating, and the sacred tree was smeared with blood." Altars or Haerg: Hörgr (Norse) or Haerg in Old English: In the Poetic Edda poem Hyndluljóð “He made a high altar of heaped-up stones: the gathered rocks have grown all bloody, and he reddened them again with the fresh blood of cows.” Here are some pictures that can help: Adam of Bremen states in his History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen c. 1073 AD: “They also worshiped a wood pillar, of no small size set up in the open. In the native language (Old Saxon) it was called ‘Irminsul,’ which in Latin means ‘universal column’ as it sustained everything.”
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