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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Holding a Heathen Ritual Upstairs

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my path, in the late 90s I started holding my own blots and sumbels in my apartment. My local area had neither festivals with public rituals nor any heathen groups I could find to join, so I started holding the holidays myself, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. When I had non-heathen friends over for the holidays of the American holiday calendar, I did my holidays the American way. That eventually grew into my personal practice which I talk about in my book American Celebration. 

When I held specifically Asatru rituals, I usually held a sumbel (toasting ritual) but also sometimes held a blot (blessing) in addition. In preparing to hold a blot or sumbel for the first time, there was a practical consideration: Where do I pour out the blotbolli or horn? At the end of a heathen ritual, there is leftover liquid-- usually mead these days-- in a bowl (for a blot) or a horn (for a sumbel.) This liquid is supposed to be given to the landwights. I would have had to leave ritual space to access the ground, which was a common strip of lawn used by all the neighbors, down a flight of stairs. So I decided to pour the horn or bowl into my potted plants on the balcony, which I called "the hanging gardens of Las Vegas."

Offering through my plants connected my potted garden, in which I grew food, flowers, and small trees, with the land spirit. There is something very primal, very pagan, about gardening. It connected me with the land, the seasons, the weather, and all those gods and beings related to those things: spring maiden and harvest lord, sun and rain, and the spirits of nature.

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One of the frequent questions I get from budding Heathens is "Where do I start?" . After fielding two such questions in the same day from a divination client and prospective student, I began this series of articles. More resources can be found on my website.


 Shirl Sazynski_Come With Me Love

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_11-25-10catnecklacegrove059-2.jpgMost of the Vanatruar I know, myself included, are not reconstructionists - each of us seems to have our own idiosyncratic way of relating to the Powers, much like bio-regions differ from region to region, the Vanic path will vary from person to person.  I do not believe that reconstructionism is superior, nor do I believe that modernism is superior: in Vanatru, there is no one true way of doing things, we recognize that diversity is organic and natural, responding to the needs of different situations and relationships. With that caveat...

One of the questions I am often asked is "where do I start? how do I begin?"  If you are new to Vanatru, you may feel overwhelmed by the very do-it-yourself approach found among much of Vanatruar.  Sometimes people need a point in some direction, even if they choose later on to do things differently.  In my book Visions of Vanaheim (paperback | PDF), I look at some older practices connected with the Vanic cultus - such as the wain processions of Frey and Nerthus - and how one might adapt these practices for the modern day.  One of the rites of the elder Heathen that we know about is a ritual called blót.  This word means "blood" (ETA: see clarification in comments re: the meaning of the word)

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  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    The Old Norse word blót does not mean "blood". That is the ON word blóð. Blót means "worship, in particular pagan worship involvin
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Thank you for clarifying! Do you know if they're cognates, by any chance? (Asking out of linguistic curiosity.)
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Doesn't seem to be, although it's a common enough folk etymology. Old Norse blót derives ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bhlā
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Thank you!

One of the frequent questions I get from budding Heathens, Asatruar and Norse pagans is "Where do I start?" After fielding two such letters in one day from a divination client and a prospective student (who already summons spirits in a Ceremonial framework but wanted to connect with the Norse Gods), I began compiling a page of resources on my website-- and this series of blog posts.


Heathen from the Swedish group Forn SedSince Heathenry is a living faith of active practice, the best place is always with a good local group, a kindred of kindhearted people open to teaching you. To find a good kindred, ask around among your pagan community or attend a regional Heathen gathering, a moot. Go to a Pagan Pride Day in your area, stop in at the metaphysical shops and book stores, and look for websites and Facebook pages for nearby groups, especially those who offer teaching and community outreach or participate in larger events.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

One of the frequent questions I get from budding Heathens, Asatruar and Norse pagans is "Where do I start?" After fielding two such letters in one day from a divination client and a prospective student (who already summons spirits in a Ceremonial framework but wanted to connect with the Norse Gods), I began compiling a page of resources on my website-- and this series of blog posts.


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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Good summary! That's the exact reason I wrote Asatru For Beginners, because when I was manager of the MSN Asatru Group, beginners

From the Wild Hunt:  Robert Rudachyk is seeking the nomination to become the Liberal Party of Canada‘s candidate for the federal riding of Saskatoon West. What makes this run for office unusual is that Rudachyk appears to be the first openly Heathen candidate to run for public office in Canada.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

In this ritual, you will mirror the actions of the heroine in one of the Grimm's fairy tales, "Mother Holle", (also known as "The Golden Girl and the Pitch Maiden"), offering your cares and worries to the Goddess by dropping them on a spindle into a fresh water "well" and praying for her assistance in resolving them. A traditional Northern European blot, a drink offering, begins the ritual. This simplified rite, suitable to any time of year, is part of a longer Norse Winternights Ceremony I wrote honoring the ancestors and the Wild Hunt during the autumn. An especially ideal time for it would be on Mothers' Night, the evening before Yule. (More information on Holle's symbols and nature can be found within that Ceremony.)


Frau Holle by Otto Ubbelohde. Frau Holle (or the young girl who faithfully served her) by Otto Ubbelohde.

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