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We recently attended our first Asatru rite with the Kindred and I thought I would record the elements of the ritual while they are somewhat fresh.  Before doing so, I think it would be good to lay out a few key points about Asatru beliefs in general.

First of all, Asatruar do not often petition the Gods for favors, etc.  It is believed that our Ancestors have more day to day influence on events in our lives than the Gods and for that reason they are to be honored and revered.  The Gods are thought to be busy doing God things and those things are not always beneficial to those who worship them, at least not in a way that we would wish them to be.  Many Asatru believe that reincarnation occurs within family lines and that using the ancient symbols of our faith allows us access to the minni (ancestral spirit).  Many Asatruar refer to themselves as Folk.  Since family is such an important part of the faith, children are welcome and encouraged to participate in the rites.

Heathen holidays and festivals follow a similar pattern to the neo-pagan Wheel of the Year with some variation.  Several of the holy days are dedicated to particular Gods or Goddesses but, as with most things, this is up for different interpretations by different individuals and groups.  Our Kindred likes to meet at least once a month and honors different Deities based on season and need.  The Folk honor the Gods through offerings and sacrifice and these rites include two basic types, Faining and Blot. 

Blot would be the traditional animal sacrifice where the animal’s blood is offered to the chosen Deity and then sprinkled on the Folk as a form of Blessing.   The animal’s flesh is considered as holy and is consumed by the Folk at Feast thus furthering the Blessing.  Faining is a sacrifice that does not involve blood – usually it is mead or fruit juice which is offered to the chosen Deity and then sprinkled on the Folk and shared .  In both cases, the sprinkling is done using an evergreen branch which represents Yggdrasil, the Norse World Tree.  From what I can tell, Blot seems to be geared more towards the Gods and Faining tends to be more suited for the Goddesses.   

The most holy rite of the Folk is Sumbel.  Sumbel is a toasting ritual usually consisting of at least three rounds.  Generally, the first round is reserved for the Gods with the horn passed to each individual and raised to whatever Gods they wish to honor.  The second round is reserved for the ancestors which might also include other people who have passed that the participant feels kinship to.  The third round is for giving gifts, reciting personal deeds, praising living persons, and for making oaths.  Everything that is said in Sumbel is sacred and effects the orlog and the wyrd of the entire group.  For this reason, most Kindred require council to approve any oaths that will be taken therein.

The concepts of orlog and wyrd and how they interact are the basis for the Asatru view on karma and fate.  Roughly translated, orlog is “primal law” and is the framework for how our fate is woven.  This is the part of fate that we have no control over, the absolute.  It is our innate potential and is predetermined by the Norns, by the actions of our ancestors (or past lives), and by the Gods .  Roughly translated, wyrd is to turn or to become.  This is the part of our fate that we weave through our own efforts and is also affected by the Norns who spin the fate of all humans. 

Thanks, DS. That was really informative. I like the beliefs regarding ancestors and orlog and wyrd-- they seem similar to my own take on those things.

Crystal Dragon:
Very cool. :)  Thanks for sharing DS. :warmfuzz:

Eternal Seeker:

Through my prison ministry, I have conducted or been present through many Blots and Sumbels now, and lead weekly classes. We should compare resources; I might have some sources useful to you, and vice versa.


Sounds good ES.  I have been compiling favorite internet sites, including several blogs. The sunnyway site that you recommended is a great resource.   :D  I have also been reading quite a bit. I am lucky that GW has such an extensive library and helps me select the most useful tomes.  We are both fortunate that we have an experienced gothi who shares his wisdom - he was very open and helpful in explaining things at our first rite.


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