Norse

Perhaps one of the most ancient and widely distributed traditions in the western Indo European lore is that of the Three Sisters of Destiny; known to the Northern tribes as the Norns. Each of the sisters represent a different aspect of time: the first, an old hag, peers off into the left or west... Urdr, the past. The second, a woman of middle-years, stares straight ahead to the south... Verdandi, the present.

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"They (several of the celto-germanic tribes of northern Germany) have in common the worship of Nerthus, that is Mother Earth. They believe She is interested in humanity's affairs and drives about among them. On an island in the Ocean sea there is a sacred grove wherein waits a holy wagon covered by a drape. One priest only is allowed to touch it. He can feel the presence of the Goddess when She is there in Her sanctuary and accompa-nies Her with great rever-ence as She is pulled along by kine.
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Tyr is a god misunderstood and in large part forgotten by today's neo-pagans. When most of us think of Norse warrior gods, visions of Thorr and his hammer flash before our eyes, and when one thinks of leadership or kingship we see Odinn and maybe Freyr. Yet Tyr was very important to our ancestors, as evidenced by the fact that a day of the week was named after him, and two of the eight high holidays were dedicated to him.

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As the best of the skalds, Bragi is a perfect deity to call upon for Bardic inspiration.

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The following pages are about Norse (aka Teutonic) gods and spirits:

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 GeneralDieses/Winter Nights (near Oct 31)Yule (near Dec. 21)Disting/Ewemeoluc (near Feb 2)Gleichennacht (near Mar 21)Maitag/Walburgis (near May 1)Midsummer (near June 21)Thingstide/Hlafmaest (early Aug)Gleichentag (near Sept 21)
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This is a generic solitary ritual template for Norse rituals, adapted from a group ritual template. It's also available as a Word/RTF document with the chants filled in. Please note that while I frequently offer alcohol, you are free to substitute something else if you like.PreparationThe participant gathers the following offerings (vegetable oil may be substituted if necessary):Earth MotherCorn mealOutdwellersBeerSaga/BragiOil, honey, or alcohol (e.g., Goldschläger)Fire/well/treeIncense, silver-colored item (e.g., coin), branchHeimdallAlcoholAncestorsFood/breadNature SpiritsGrainGodsAlcoholDeity(ies) of the OccasionAs appropriateThe participant also fills the Well with fresh water and places the blessing cup and branch next to it. If necessary, s/he places an offering bowl on the altar as well. He/she then clothes in ritual garb and performs a brief pre-ritual meditation to quiet the mind.GatheringParticipant gathers at the ritual area and sounds a musical signal (such as a chime) three times, then says:I am here to honor the gods.Honoring the Earth MotherNerthus, Earth Mother,You stand solid beneath my feet,Cold of rock, hardness of iceCarry me on to night's next nightSupport me well, Njord's twinVanir Mother, strong sea sisterBring faith to fruit, Birch-bright oneHonor to you,your rhythms trueHail Nerthus!(Nerthus is pronounced "nurth'-uhs"; Njord is "neye'-ord"; Vanir is "vahn'-ear")Participant sings Blossom Lifter 1xP makes an offering and says:Earth Mother, accept my sacrifice.Bardic InspirationIn the light half of the year, P calls to Bragi asking for the gift of poetic inspiration:Bragi! Odinson!Best of the wordsmiths and first of the skalds,You with the tongue of gold,Whose words are like the finest mead,I ask you best of bards,To inspire me and make my words mix well.Bragi, let your inspiration flow!In the dark half of the year, P sings to Saga asking for the gift of poetic inspiration:P makes an offering and says:Bragi (or Saga), accept my sacrifice.Grounding and Uniting with the Tree MeditationParticipant performs the Two Powers MeditationStatement of Purpose(Participant recites the purpose of the rite, lore of the season, and lore of the deities of occasion.)OutdwellersP pours a cup for the Outdwellers and takes it out of the ritual space, then says:You who come from the outer dark,You who stood against the gods and man,You who are cold of heart and cruel of mind,Take this and trouble not my work.Establishing the Sacred Grove through Fire, Well, and TreeSacred FireParticipant says:Sacred Fire, holy woodsWarm light to fill the hallNine realms are knownWith my words this nightLet all realms hear the callLight fires within, warmth to the TrueFire's flame burns to form the garthWoods kindle well, with the fire of the hearth.As I call the Kindred forth...P lights the sacred fire and places incense into it to hallow the space, then says:I kindle the sacred fire in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire, burn within me.Sacred WellParticipant says:Holy Well, waters deepThree streams strong gathers the flowOne of Wyrd, shining ones knowAnother yet, icy, serpent-safeLast of wisdom, many eyes to seeWhat is, what was, what will beWatching sisters of örlog, threeMany eyes look on, watching well.As I call the Kindred forth...(Wyrd is pronounced "weerd"; örlog is pronounced "oar'-lahg")P silvers the well and pours water from the well to the blessing cup, then says:In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters, flow within me.Sacred TreeParticipant says:Mighty Tree, middle of allNine realms full its branches makeMuch knows Har, High One hung;Ygg's steed hight, ever green stays.Serpent below, eagle aboveSquirrel between, Nith-hewer gnawsAsh-wood tall, wet with white dewsStrong-standing true, I seek shelterAs I call the Kindred forth...(Ygg is pronounced "igg", hight is pronounced "hite")P dresses and censes the bile, then says:From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree, grow within me.Opening the Gates Between the WorldsP prepares an offering for the gatekeeper and says:Heimdallr, Holy One; Hallinskihdi, Whitest AsSon of nine waves, Sire of Jarl's sonsShining guardian, Gjallarhorn holder,Rune-shower Rigr, Hight Jötun baneGreat golden-toothed Turner of hearths,Unsleeping reed-giver, Who hears the wool growWell-known wise watcher, I ask your help now:Bïfrost bridge-warder,Open the ways once again.(Heimdallr is pronounced "hime'-dahl"; Hallinskihdi is "hallin-skihdee"; As is "ace"; Jarl is "yarl"; Gjallarhorn is "gyal'-ur-horn"; Rigr is "rig"; Hight is "hite"; Jötun is "yo'-tun"; Bïfrost is "bee'-frost")P sings the Gatekeeper Chant (substituting Heimdall for <gatekeeper>) 3xP makes an offering and says:Heimdall, accept my sacrifice.P says:Let the fire open as a gate, let the well open as a gate, let the tree open as a gate between the worlds, and let Heimdall walk with me in all ways. Let the gates be open!Honoring and Inviting the Three KindredsAncestorsP says:Ancestors old, Heroes renownedBlood of my veins, Strength in my soul,Grandmothers, Disir, Wise watching women,Weal-bringing warders, I offer you welcome.Grandfathers, Alfar, light-alf, dark-alf, black-alf,Weal-bringing warders, I offer you welcome.Great heroes of eld, might-memory knows,Your valor shines still, I offer you welcome.O Ancestors of blood and heart, I call you forth!P sings Mothers and Fathers of Old 1xP makes an offering and says:Ancestors, accept my sacrifice.Nature SpritsP says:Land spirits, Keepers of place,Wise with weather, Your knowledge runs deep.Luck and prosperity, Your blessings fall,Honor to you, I bring this night.Landvaettir great, Ancient as earth,Boulder-homed, Water-homed,Land wights old, Guardians true,Your strength strong still, I offer you welcome.O Spirits of the natural world, I call you forth!P sings Fur and Feather 1xP makes an offering and says:Nature spirits, accept my sacrifice.Gods and GoddessesP says:Aesir, Vanir, Shining Ones all,On Itha Plain met, Many moons past,Of Ask and Embla, My ancestors first,Many things made, Of the gods we all come.None of you gods, is not mighty indeed,Of soul, sense, and being you have given us well,Taught us of runes, of faith and troth,Of right-mindfulness, and honor true,O Shining Ones of magic and might, I call you forth!P sings Hail All the Gods 1xP makes an offering and says:Gods and goddesses, accept my sacrifice.Meditation of Merging the Energies and Re-Centering(A meditation of merging and re-centering is done.)Honoring the Spirits of the Occasion(Participant makes appropriate offerings to the spirits of the occasion.)General Praise Offerings to the KindredsP says:I have called the Kindreds here today and it is right to give them praise: A round for the ancestors, a round for the nature spirits, and a round for the gods.(Three rounds of praise offerings: Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Gods.)P says:Shining Ones, Noble Ones, and Mighty Ones, I have given you praise and honor! A gift calls for a gift, and I pray to you as I offer up these sacrifices. Accept them, open my heart, and give to me of your blessings.Omen for the BlessingsP quietly chants Come Druids All (1x)P then takes the omen, interprets it, and records it.Receiving the Blessings of the Gods and SpiritsP raises the blessing cup high and says:Wyrd's well waters, I waited to reveal,Three women weaving, Scores cut and laws laid,Women writing örlog for the sons of men.Well have I witness to the glory of gods,Giving gift for gift, great ones all.The waters received, wetness of galdr.Words were spoken and runes were read,Wyrd was revealed And weal I await.With these waters let the blessings flow...(örlog is pronounced "awr'-log"; galdr is pronounced "gawld")Shining Ones, Noble Ones, and Mighty Ones, I have praised you and received your blessings. Hallow these waters and give to me of your power and inspiration and vitality. Seih den Lebenswassern da! Behold the waters of life!("Seih den Lebenswassern da" is pronounced "zay den lay-bens-vahs-ern dah", and means "behold, the waters of life")P sings Pour the Waters 1xP then drinks a draught from the blessing cup.Thanking the Kindreds and SpiritsP says:Kindreds have come, heeded the callingHonor was given, and honor received.Great are my dead, and great are my heroes,Great are my land wights, and great are my gods.With each call I make to the Kindreds true,They heed my calls more, and our troth stronger be.Rite ending, words waning, our troth stronger still,I carry it well, with me all waysHonor to the Kindreds, for ever more.I have called upon the Kindreds and they have answered! With joy in my heart I carry their magic into my life and work. Each time I offer to the powers they be come stronger and more aware of my needs and worship. So as I prepare to depart let me give thanks to those who have aided me.<Deity of the occasion>, Ich danke Sie!Bragi (or Saga), Ich danke Sie!Heimdall, Ich danke Sie!Goetter, Goettinnen, Ich danke Sie!Naturgeisten, Ich danke Sie!Vorfahr, Ahne, Ich danke Sie!Nerthus, Ich danke Sie.("Ich danke Sie" is pronounced "ick dahn'-keh zee", "I thank you"; Goetter is "go'-tur", gods; Goettinnen is "go'-tin-en", goddesses; Naturgeisten is "nah-tur'-geyest-en", nature spirits; Vorfar is "vor'-fahr", grandfathers; Ahne is "ah'-neh", grandmothers)Meditation of Regrounding and Recentering(A meditation of regrounding and centering is done.)Closing the Gates and Ending the RiteP says:Now by the keeper of the gates and by my magic I end what I began.Let the fire be flame,Let the well be water,Let all be as it was before.Let the gates be closed!I have done as my ancestors have done, and as my children will do, and the Kindreds have answered. I go now, a child of the Earth, in peace and blessings. The ritual is at a close. So sei es!("So sei es" is pronounced "zo zay ess"; meaning "so be it")
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The musical signal will be given to call the folk for the ritual.D1: Wir sind heir um die Goetter zu Ehren.Folk: We are here to honor the Gods.Led by the clergy, the folk processes to the ritual site & form the A.D.F. sigil singing:Come ye merrily join us, join us On this hallowed ground. Come ye merrily join us, join us On this hallowed ground. To gather strength from ways of old Welcome to the sacred grove. The Fire Maiden (FM) will light the fire and make an offering.FM: I kindle the sacred fire of nine woods in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire burn within us.Folk: Sacred fire burn within us.FM will then sense the site and the folk.The Keeper of the Well (KW) will pour the waters and make an offering.KW: In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters flow within us.Folk: Sacred waters flow within us.KW will then asperge the site and the folk.The Tender of the Tree (TT) will dress the Tree.TT: From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred Tree, grow within us.Folk: Sacred tree, grow within us.TT will then asperge and cense the Tree.D1: The fire, the well, the sacred tree,Folk: Flame and flow and grow in me!D1: In land, sea and skyFolk: Below and on high!D1: Thus is the sacred grove claimed and hallowed.Folk: So be it!D1: By the cleaning of water and fire let all ill turn away from me and mine. So sind Sie!D1: We call upon you Nerthus, mother of all, be with us today and always. Honor Nerthus!The folk kneel and kiss the Earth. The Earth Mother Hymn is sung.The folk will be led through the Grove Meditation and then will chant a Unity Chant.D1 will state the ritual purpose and historical precedent.D1: See Yggdrasill, the cosmic tree, that connects the nine realms, the axis of the universe. Now we call upon Heimdall, the gatekeeper, so we can connect to the realms and the shining ones. Watch the fire and Yggdrasill and see Bïfrost, the rainbow bridge, manifest to us. Heimdall, shining one, guardian of beautiful Bïfrost, son of nine waves and sounder of the ill fated horn, you who can hear the grass grow and even hear the wool growing on the sheep, we ask you father of all men to open the gates. You who teach us the runes and our Wyrd let us walk in your light so we may journey and learn in safety. Leuchten uns hervor, Heimdall.The folk will chant the Gatekeeper Chant.D1: Listen to the music of the universe, the music of Braggi and draw inspiration into your hearts.The Bard will invoke Braggi:Bragi, Odinson, Best of the wordsmiths And first of the skalds. You with the tongue of gold Whose words are like the finest mead, We ask you best of bards To bless us and make our words mix well. Bragi, let your inspiration flow! A cup is poured for the outdwellers and they are acknowledged.D1: Draw the strength of nature as we call the nature spirits.D2 will come to the center and pick up the offering of seed and says: Landspirits, join us in this celebration. Accept these offerings:D2 pours a little pile of seed on the Altar and then spreads some around the outside of the circle, then returns to the center and says while D1 lifts the bowl:D1: Hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings. Seih den Lebenswassern da!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Fur and Feather.D1: Remember the wisdom of our past kin as we call them.D3 will come to the center and pick up the offering of flowers and says: People of eld, honored dead, our kindred, join us in this celebration of joy as you taught us in days of eld.D3 puts a few flowers on the Altar and then dresses the well, then returns to the center and says while D1 lifts the bowl:D1: Hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings. Seih den Lebenswassern da!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Mothers and Fathers of Old.D1: Feel the protections of the gods as we call them.D4 will come to the center and pick up the offering of oil and says: Gods and Goddesses of old times and new we ask you to join with us in this celebration of nurturing joy.D4 pours a little oil on the Altar and then on the fire, then returns to the center and says while D1 lifts the bowl:D1: Hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings. Seih den Lebenswassern da!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Hail all the Gods.The folk are now led in a meditation of recentering and merging of the new energies.D1: Frey, King of the elves, prince of the world, we ask you and your beautiful sister Freya, wild wight of nature, to join with us in this celebration of nurturing joy.The bard now conducts the praise offerings.D1: Have the folk brought praise?Bard: They have.D1: So sind Sie.Hal and Tow (during Maypole)(CHORUS) Hal and Tow Jolly Rumble-oh We were up long before the day-oh To welcome in the summer To welcome in the May-oh The summer is a'comin in And Winter's gone away-ohTake no scorn to wear the horn It was a crest when you were born Your father's father wore it And your father wore it, too (Sing Chorus)Frey and Freya bless you With all their power and might-oh And bring peace to New England Bring peace by day and night-oh (Sing Chorus)D1 holds up an evergreen branch and says: Our praise goes up to you on the wings of eagles; our voices on the wind. Hear us Frey, Freya, we pray to thee as we offer up this sacrifice of life. Accept it and open our hearts and give to us of your peace and life. So sind Sie!Folk: So be it!While the omen is being taken the folk will quietly chant Come Druids All.The diviner reveals the omen.The folk are led in a meditation on grove and personal needs.D1 raises the cup:TT: Of what does the Earth Mother give that we may know of the continual flow and renewal of life?Folk: The Waters of Life.TT: And from whence do these waters flow?Folk: From the bosom of the Earth Mother. The ever-changing All Mother.TT: And how do we honor this gift that causes life?Folk: By partaking of the Waters of Life.TT: Has the Earth Mother given forth of her bounty?Folk: She has!D1 takes the cups saying: Frey, Freya, we have praised you, hallow these waters and give to us of your power and inspiration and vitality. Seih den Lebenswassern da!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The cups are passed while the folk chant Share the Waters.D1 says: The gods have blessed us. With joy in our hearts, let us return to the realm of mortals to do both their will and ours. Every time we invoke them, they become stronger and more alert to the needs of the folk . But now comes the time when we must prepare to depart. So let us give thanks to those whom we have invited here.Another offering will be made after each time the folk say Wir danken Ihnen.D1: Frey, Freya, Wir danken Ihnen.Folk: Wir danken Ihnen.D1: Vorfahr, Ahne, Wir danken IhnenFolk: Wir danken Ihnen.D1: Naturgeisten, Wir danken Ihnen.Folk: Wir danken Ihnen.D1: Braggi, Wir danken Ihnen.Folk: Wir danken Ihnen.D1: Heimdall, Wir danken Ihnen.Folk: Wir danken Ihnen.D1: By the keeper of the gates and by our magic we end what we began. Let the fire be flame and the well be water and the ways between be shut. Lassen die Toren zumachen.Folk: Let the gates be closed.D1: We have done as our ancestors did and as our children will do and the Gods have answered!The folk are led in a meditation of regrounding, recentering, unmerging and draining of excess power.D1: Let us go out into the world secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased the gods and that we go forth under their protection. The ritual is at a close.Folk: So sind Sie.The drum begins beating, the sigil breaks up chanting Walk with Wisdom.
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Sumer is Icumen In Sumer is icumen in, lhude sing cucu. Groweth sed and bloweth med and springth the wode nu. Sing cucu. Awe bleateth after lomb, Lhouth after calve cu; Bullock sterteth bucke verteth Murie sing cucu. Cu, cu, cu, cu Wel singes thu Cu cu Ne swik thu naver nu. Sing cucu nu, Sing cucu. Hal-an-tow Take no scorn to wear the horn, it was a crest when you were born, Your fathers father wore it and your father wore it too.Chorus Hal-an-tow, jolly rumble oh! We were up, long before the day - oh, to welcome in the summer... to welcome in the May - oh, The summer is a comin' in and winter's gone away - oh.Robin Hood and marion have both gone to the fair - oh, and we were to the merry greenwood to hunt the buck and hare - oh.ChorusWhat happened to the spaniards that made so great a boast - oh, Why they shall eat the feathered goose and we shall eat the roast - oh.ChorusThe Aesir and Vanir bless you with all their might and might - oh, And bring firth to our Walburgia, bring frith by day and night - oh.ChorusPadstow Morning SongUnite and unite and let us all unite, for Summer is a comin' in today And whither we go we will all unite, in the merry morning of May.Arise up, Mr. _______ and joy to you betide, for Summer is a come intoday, And bright is your bride that lies by your side, in the merry morningof May.Arise up, Mrs. _______ and gold be your ring, for Summer is a come intoday, And give to us a cup of ale that merrier we'll sing, in the merry morningof May.Now fare you well, and we bid you all good cheer, for summer is a comein today, We'll call once more unto your house in another year, in the merrymorning of May.Swinton May SongAll in this pleasant evening, together come as we for - The summer springs so fresh and green and gay, We'll sing you of the blossom and the bud on ev'ry tree, Drawing nearer to the merry month of May!Rise up! The Master of this house, all in your chain of gold for - The summer springs so fresh and green and gay, We hope you're not offended with your house we've made so bold, Drawing nearer to the merry month of May!Rise up! the Mistress of this house with gold all on your breast for- The summer springs so fresh and green and gay, And if your body is asleep we hope your soul's at rest, Drawing nearer to the merry month of May!Rise up! The Children of this house, all in your rich attire for - The summer springs so fresh and green and gay, May ev'ry hair upon your heads shine like a silver wire, Drawing nearer to the merry month of May!Gods Bless this House and Arbor, your riches and your stores for - The summer springs so fresh and green and gay, For ev'ry blessing on your heads we wish you ten times more, Drawing nearer to the merry month of May!So now we're going to leave you in peace and plenty here for - The summer springs so fresh and green and gay, We will not sing you May again until another year, For to drive you these cold winter nights away!
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Walburgis is also known as "Maitag" for "May Day" and, as you might expect, is usually celebrated at the beginning of May. Corresponding with the Celtic high day called Beltane, many groves set up the traditional "Maypole". This is a tall pole from which ribbons hang, and ritual attendees each take a ribbon and dance around the pole (usually going "over-under") until all the ribbons have wound around the pole. The Maypole is often left standing either until the next High Day celebration or throughout the year. This time of year is typically associated with fertility in both plants and humans.MaitagWalburgis Songs


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